Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Czerniak's Fighting Spirit

A frequent correspondent reminds us that Moshe Czerniak's 64 Mishbatzot (you guessed it - "64 Square") had strong opinions expressed in the editorials. One particular one is Czerniak's dislike of avoiding battle - either by not joining a tournament at all or by early draws. As one of his pupils told us, he would tell younger players who agreed to such a draw: 'why did you agree to a draw? Don't you like playing chess?'.

Another example of this in an editorial in the May-June, 1957, editorial (p. 225). Czerniak notes that:

The fact that only one master played in the semi-final [of the Israel 1957 championship] is no coincidence. It is true that some were abroad, some could not leave work, and some are no longer, due to their age, able to stand the stress of such a tournament. But still is no justification for the absence of some of our masters. Could their regretful distancing form combative chess be seen as fear of defeat? If so, are they worthy of bearing the title of 'master'? 


By the way, 64 Mishbatzot came out regularly for about 3 years, and had as editors, apart from Czerniak, also the masters Porat, van Amerongen, and Dr. Oren, as well as Zehavi. It was a great leap in both quality and quantity from previous Israeli, or Palestinian, chess magazines. 

Another "Wunderkind" in Chess?


The above is a short article by Dov Goldstein, sent to us by a frequent correspondent. The source is Ma'ariv, Feb. 10th, 1955, p. 3. It is about a "Wunderking" in chess - six year old Gideon Ratanovsky (ph. spelling.) It is noted that 'nobody knows how he learned the rules of the game' - or that he knows how to play at all - until he told his mother. The child is being trained by Dyner, the Israeli master, in his optician's shop, where he always have a board set up. It is (as usual in such reports) added that the little child will surely be a strong master, although this seems not to have happened. His life ended tragically: he fell in 1970 in the Israel "War of Attrition" (1967-1970). His memorial page (in Hebrew) notes he was known as a chess "Wunderkind".