Saturday, September 11, 2021

A Porat Interview, a Najdorf Quip, and a Nimzowitsch Story

From an interview with Yosef Porat by Yosef "Tommy" Lapid, Ma'ariv, Oct. 19th, 1962, p. 11, brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent:

Botvinnik is very modest and doesn't demand special treatment... Bobby Fischer the American is the exact opposite: incomparably vain, a show-off. Success had gone to his head...

Najdorf lost to Fischer in the [1962] Olympiad. After the game, in which he blundered, I've heard him say: 'I always told myself there's only one chess player I need to fear - Najdorf.'

Nimzowitsch once played in an international tournament against an old English player and got into difficulties. He muttered [in Yiddish]: 'this alter ganef [literally, 'old thief'] tricked me after all...' the English player understood the entire sentence except for the word ganef [thief] but all present didn't want to explain it to him. So finally he asked if a ganef can be a gentleman or not.

The last anecdote was shared by Porat in good faith, but unlike the other two, he was of course not a witness. Is there any proof of the actual occurrence of this 'once' story? 

We are skeptical. First, Nimzowitsch is the subject of quite a few such 'once' stories. Second, the opponent and occasion are not specified. Third, we have read at least one other version. In it, Nimzowitsch himself, and not all present, does not want to explain what ganef means. It is added that he quickly agrees that, yes, a ganef can be a gentleman, calming the English player. 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Beginning, End, and Fischer


The same correspondent which we just mentioned in the previous post had also notified us of two newsreels made in Israel of the 1964 Tel Aviv Olympiad: one of the start and one of the end of the tournament. He also provided us with a clip of the 1968 Netanya tournament, with - naturally - concentration on Fischer's participation. 

Yoram Lubianiker's Stamp Collection


A frequent correspondent notified me of the chess stamps' collection of Yoram Lubianiker. It is a collection, not of chess stamps per se, but of chess stamps related in some way to war. The online (and physical) exhibition has 94 different placards, of which this is one - showing the cancellation stamp commemorating the 1935 Olympiad, as well as two more modern stamp and collections about the Olympiad. 

Monday, July 12, 2021



Today in the mail arrived a present from Mr. Herbert Halsegger. It is an original participation certificate from the 1976 Haifa Olympiad! We thank Mr. Halsegger for this gift, indeed, and will update with more information about Ms. Wagner when available. 

Edited to add: well, the first update, form more material Mr. Halsegger sent us, is that it is Ms. Wagner and not, as we assumed, Mr. Wagner. She also had gotten a certificate for making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem at the same time. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Flohr Simul


This note from the Palestine Post, July 3rd, 1934, p. 6, was brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent. It verifies the identity of some of the strong players who played against Flohr in Palestine in his match with 11 of the strongest players in the country. As noted, Winz drew, Dobkin won, and the rest lost to Flohr. Mohilever and Lucovich came all the way from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv to play - no mean dedication at the time. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Jerusalem - Tel Aviv Match, 1935: a Pen Portrait


The above note, from the Palestine Post (later the Jerusalem Post), Feb. 15th, 1935, p. 7, gives a short pen portrait of the players on both team. It was brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent. Note, in particular, the many foreign Jews who came to the country - Enoch, Blass, and Czerniak

We add that we finally find an English source for the player we phonetically spelled 'Churgin.' The Jerusalem post prefers 'Hurgin'. But neither Gaige's Chess Personalia nor Chessbase's database has a fitting player (except for one 1923 correspondence game with 'Churgin,' which may or may not be the same person.) As both spellings seem reasonable, we shall keep 'Churgin.'

Saturday, June 19, 2021

"Dedicated to the Editor of this Column"


Chess problems are often dedicated to various individuals, but we wonder how often it is that a problem is dedicated directly to the "the editor of this column" to who it is sent. In this case such a problerm was dedicated to Marmorosh. The problem is a mate in three by G. Taroch (ph. spelling) from Lithuania. It was duly published by Marmorosh in his chess column in Ha'aretz, April 14th, 1939, p. 7.

1939 Team


We have previously posted on this blog a picture of the 1939 Palestine team. Herbert Halsegger had kindly provided us with a much better quality photo (obviously taken on the same occasion, based on the clothes). In particular he noted Salome Reischer, born in Austria, who was part of the Palestinian team in 1939. As her Wikipedia page points out, she (like Karff) didn't stay in Palestine after the war, but went back to her native country, Austria. 

Added: Mr. Halsegger notes the photo is found on this web page, of the Associacion Rosarina de Ajedrez, which credits La Nación, sept. 3rd, 1939 for the photos, as well as Edward Winter, David McAlister, and Knud Lysdal.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Euwe Training - Updated


The above cutting, from Davar, Oct. 11th, 1935, is a report of Euwe's training for his world championship match with Alekhine. The report notes Euwe's serious preparations, and the photo  captions identifies, seated from right to left, Mrs. Flohr, Flohr, Euwe with Maroczy (his second) standing behind him, Spielmann, Holinger, Becker and Eliskases

Added: We thank Herbert Halsegger for providing us with a much better picture, from the Wiener Schach-Zeitung (all details in the link): 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Chess Music


A frequent correspondent notes that in 1960, the Israeli composer Abel Ehrlich composed a suite 'A Game of Chess', which was performed on Kol Israel radio. The above criticism (La'merchav, Oct. 28th, 1960, p. 6) notes the suite's parts are named 'White opens the game,' 'Black regrets his move,' 'White wins, Black upturns the board in anger' and so on. The work's score is available for purchase at the Israeli Music Institute, which has complete details about it. 

Beutum - Gruenfeld 1:0


We noted before that Siegmund Beutum was a strong player before he came to Palestine. Here is one example: his defeat of no other than Ernst Gruenfeld in 20 moves. The game does not seem to appear in Chessbase's database. We thank Herbert Halsegger for providing us with the source, the Pilsner Tagblatt, 16 March 1930, p. 5.

It is comforting to a "patzer" like myself to note that Black, in a worse but not lost position, loses the game to a one-move blunder - and that he was one of the best players of the era! 

Beutum,Sigmund - Gruenfeld,Ernst

Two Knight's Defense [C56]

Trebitsch tournament

Source: see above

Annotations: Pilsner Tagblatt

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.Re1 d5 7.Bxd5 Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qa5 9.Nxe4 Be6 10.Neg5 0–0–0 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Rxe6 Be7 Better is the old 12...Qd5 

13.Ne5! Nxe5 14.Rxe7 Rhe8 15.Bd2 Qd5 16.Rxe8 Rxe8 17.Qh5 This positional move is already discussed in [Tartakover's] "The Hypermodern Game". 17...g6 18.Qxh7 Qe4 19.Re1 Qxc2?? 

Loses the queen. 20.Rc1! Black resigns (1–0). 


Monday, May 17, 2021



The state of chess funding in Palestine can be gleamed from this advertisement, brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent. It is by the 'Chess section, Ha'poel physical exercise union, the Histadrut' about a chess tournament to take place in 1937 in Netanya. The official advertisement (with the stamp, 'advertising tax paid') was actually hand written in pen. 

Street Advertisements


The above street poster from 1961 was brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent. It advertises both a lesson about opening traps and a simultaneous display (the next day) in the lecture hall in the Philip Murray cultural center in Tel Aviv. Both were given by Dr. Menachem Oren, Israel's first chess champion. 

How Berend Lehmann won the King's Favor

The above quote has been brought to our attention by Herbert Halsegger, an Austrian chess historian. It concerns Berend Lehmann, the most important "court Jew" of his time (1661-1730), being an advisor to the courts of Prussia, Hanover, and Saxony. The memory is of his great-great-grandson, Emil Lehmann. Halsegger's translation (adding the last words of the paragraph, missing in this photo) is: 

He earned the favour of KING FRIEDRICH I. through a chessgame! Coming to an audience, the king played chess with PRESIDENT VON RUCK, said to him, he should wait, because his position is bad and he will loose. Berend Lehmann (Bermann) a fine chessplayer had an other opinion and played instead of the king and won!!

Such dramatic stories are often not 100% accurate, being in this case a story from nearly 200 years after the fact. But since Berend Lehmann was a well known archivist, among other things, and his descendant may well have had detailed family information, I am tempted to consider the story genuine. 

We add that Mr. Halsegger is engaged in research about, in particular, Jewish players of Ha'koach in Graz. Mr. Halsegger can be reached at: . 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Ehud Gross, RIP


The above photo is of Brig. Gen. Ehud Gross (from Yochanan Afek's facebook post about him). Gross was not only a general, but in particular the IDF's Chief Education Officer, responsible for the Education and Youth Corps. He was, as Afek and others noted, both a chess master (in the Israeli Chess Federation) and an international judge. He was surely one of the strongest chess players among senior officers. 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Porat ‎Wins

In this photograph, from Ha'aretz 21/4/1939 p. 5, we see the winner of the Palestine masters' championship, Yosef Porat (then Heinz Foerder). He is holding the 'Maspero Cup,' a 'valuable silver cup donated by the Maspero corporation,' as noted in Ha'aretz on 17/3/1939, p. 6. Does anybody have a better-quality photograph? 

Edited to add: a frequent contributor to this blog notes that the corporation, the Maspero Freres Ltd. cigarette corporation, also patronized other sports events, such as an archery, at that time. More on the corporation here (in Hebrew).

Karff ‎in ‎Ha'aretz

Above, from Ha'aretz, September 18th, 1938, p. 4, is a nice photo of Mona May Karff, identified as the 'Queen of American Chess' (with the word 'chess' misspelled...) after her victory with a clean score in the 1938 American women's championship. 


Two for the Price of One


Here is an odd occurrence. It is often the case that a chess column does not appear in a certain week or day in a paper. But on November 12th, 1937, in Ha'aretz, two different issues of Marmorosh's chess column appeared... both on two different "page 12". A partial explanation is that one of them appeared in the regular (morning) edition and another in the supplemental (evening) edition. 

Marmorosh in Action


This photo, from Ha'aretz, January 3rd, 1936, p. 16, shows Marmorosh, identified as "the editor of the Ha'aretz chess column," in action in a simultaneous display. The note also says his result was +28 =2 -3. 

"A Chess Players' Center"


On chess's increasing popularity we can learn from the following advertisement in Ha'yarden (August 11th, 1939, p. 9). It notes that the Ya'akov coffee house and restaurant in Tel Aviv has a "first rate kitchen," a "cool and breezy garden" (quite important in Tel Aviv in the summer before air conditioning!), and is a "center for chess players." 

A Pen Portrait


Above is a long article from Davar, April 9th, 1939, p. 5, by Y. Straight (ph. spelling). It looks at the various players in the Lasker club in Tel Aviv during the triple tournament held there: the men's, women's, and youth championship of Palestine. The author praises Marmorosh's organization of the tournament (in the "Palga" coffee house next to the beach), and gives pen portraits of both many of the men and the women playing - Dobkin, Czerniak, Kniazer, Porat (then Foerder), and the woman player Zitolenitzka (ph. spelling). 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

"A Lousy Book"

Looking for other material, we have by chance found a scathing review of a book by... von Weisel, which we have met here before, published with Asad Bey [ph. spelling] in Germany. The review, by Wolfgang Jungerau [ph. spelling]. The review appeared in Davar on p. 8 of the literary supplement on August 27th, 1938. 

The book is Allah is Great - a popular book about Islamic history. The reviewer notes the book has little that is new, and in fact suspects the book was mostly cribbed from previous popular histories. 'The opening is pathetic, it continues as in a bad movie, and ends with a cheap romantic conclusion.'  The reviewer notes that the book was also published in French, this time only with Bey's name. 'Did Weisel regret the joint effort and wished his name removed?' 


Jaffe's Primer


Charles Jaffe's Chess Primer, a 'spectacularly awful book' according to Edward Winter, was also advertised in Palestine. The advertisement above is from Davar, June 18th, 1937, p. 8. It is a Hebrew translation of the biography from the book. See Winter's article for more details about the rather significant inaccuracies in the description. 

Abdullah vs Storrs


The above picture of Abdullah of Transjordan playing chess is well known, but what was the occasion? The answer is found in, of all places, Omer (5 June 1937, front page,) an obscure 2-page paper published in Tel Aviv. The photo, says the caption, was taken when Abdullah played in London with no other than Sir Ronald Storrs, ex-military governor of Jerusalem, when Abdullah was on a private visit. 

Storrs and Abdullah apparently played whenever they met. One time they have met in 1922, they have played 'eight games after dinner while the rest of the conversation flagged.' On the same British diplomatic visit, Abdullah also played chess with British diplomats Sir John Philby and with Sir Herbert Samuel (Samuel won). See Mary Wilson's King Abdullah, Britain, and the Making of Jordan (Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 70.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Lost and Found



One of the problems with doing history is that even primary sources are often not 100% reliable, to say the least. For example, starting from ca. 1935, Davar proudly claimed it has a chess column in its paper on Fridays. But there is no chess column. Had Marmorosh, the chess column's editor, quit? Not quite: the chess column moved to Thursdays, but the newspaper's table of content was not updated... 

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Marmorosh on Film


We have already noted that Marmorosh was filmed playing a simultaneous display in Tel Aviv in 1935. From the same column as in the previous post, we find the advertisement for that display, adding in large letters, 'This game will be filmed by Carmel-Film for the Newsreel.' 

The exact date and time were Saturday, June 22nd, 1935, 2:30 PM, in 'the Palga coffee house on the sea shore' of Tel Aviv. One could also buy tickets 'at I. Vest's flower shop, Allenby 45 [phonetic spelling]'.  The results (reported the next week, Ha'aretz, June 28th, p. 13) were Marmorosh winning by +26 =1 -2. 

Women Solvers


The following note (Ha'aretz, 21 June 1935, p. 13) is a notification of the winners of the solving tournament by the editor of the chess column in Ha'aretz, Marmorosh. It is interesting to note that among the tope solvers we have three women: Leah BroidaHannah Zefah and Mira Vergad (ph. spelling). Broida and Zefah also won two of the three top prizes: Hans Kmoch's Rubinstein Gewinnt! and a chess clock, respectively. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Bogolijubow in Strobek

On the same page as the previous post, there is a photo of Bogolyubow playing a simultaneous game in the well-known "chess village" of Strobek. The note credits other "newspapers" in general, but does anybody have a better quality photo? 

Edited 17 May 2021: We thank Douglas Griffin for linking to just such a photo (as well as other photos of the event) in the comments. We also add that on the villager's chess club web site there is a list of all players who gave a simul there (in German). We thank Herbert Halsegger for the link. 


 Without comment, from Davar's chess column, February 9th, 1933, p. 5:

One doesn't need to know Hebrew to spot the mistake in the note about Tartakover's book...

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Glass and Salinger


Mr. Halsegger also adds that the Wiener Schach-Zeitung of 1938 also reports (No. 3, 22 January, p. 1) that Glass has played in the 20th Leopold Trebitsch tournament, and that (1938, p. 50) Dr. A. Salinger of Jerusalem, Palestine, is playing in the WSZ's correspondence tournament. It is interesting that Glass did not fear to return to a trip to Austria in 1938! 

International Notice

Herbert Halsegger (Graz, Austria) who is researching the history of Hakoah (the German spelling) Jewish sports organization in Austria, points out to us that the Wiener Schachzeitung took notice of the championship of Palestine in 1936 (p. 314). In particular, it notes that some "very well known" players from Europe participated. These include Czerniak, Blass, Porat (Foerder), Blass, and Macht

In a previous note, the same journal (1936, pp. 217-218) reports on the Tel Aviv championship (won by Weil) notes that Porat and Enoch from Germany, Beutum from Austria, and  Macht from Lithuania will participate in the Palestinian championship "later this year." In the event, Enoch and Beutum did not participate. 

"The Victory of Energetic Accuracy."

 A frequent correspondent notes that Blass and Aloni has met in the Histadrut championship of 1960 and Blass had won. The game, with Czerniak's annotations, from which the title of the post is taken.

Moshe Blass - Itzchak Aloni

French Defense, Winaver Variation [C18]

Histadrut Championship, January 1960 

Source: Ha'aretz, January 29th, 1960

Annotations: Czerniak

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 cxd4? Rauzer showed in the 1930s that, for the pawn, White gets a strong initiative on both sides of the board. 5... Bxc3+ or 5... Ba5 are the modern choices. (If 5... Ba5 6. b4 cxd4!; not 6... cxb4? 7. Nb5! bxa3+ 8. c3 and White is better.) 6. axb4 dxc3 7. Qg4 Rauzer's move, which Bogoljubow used successfully in many games. Also possible is 7. bxc3 Qc7 8. Nf3!because after Qxc3+? 9. Bd2 Black's position is suspect. 

7... cxb2? 8. Bxb2 Qe7 9. b5 Right now 9. Qxg7? Qxb4+, but placing the black queen on this diagonal isn't recommended, as the game's continuation shows. 9... f5 10. Qd4 b6 11. Ba3 Qd8 12. h4 Ne7 13. Nh3 O-O 14. Nf4 Rf7

Black castled and freed his pinned knight, but is far behind in development. 15. h5 Bd7 16. Bd3 Qe8 17. c4! dxc4 18. Bxc4 Bxb5 

It is hard to criticize this move, which sacrifices the exchange to get some breathing room. 19. Bxe6 Nbc6 20. Qb2 a6 21. Bxf7+ Qxf7 22. e6! White won material, and keeps the initiative. Qf8 23. h6! Rd8 23... gxh6? 24. Nh5 loses immediately.23... g6? 24. Nxg6! wins the queen. 

24. hxg7 Qxg7 25. Qxg7+ Kxg7 26. Bb2+ Kg8 27. Rd1 To prevent the counterattack starting with Nb4 and threatening Nc2#. Now the game moves to an easily won ending for White. Rxd1+ 28. Kxd1 Bc4 29. Rh3 Nd5 30. Rg3+ Kf8 31. Nxd5 Bxd5 32. Ba3+ Ne7 33. Rc3 The final blow. Black loses a piece and resigns (1-0).

A Tactical Battle

 A frequent correspondents brings out attention to the following game, played in 1959, a really sharp tactical battle. The diagrams show positions not often reached in master games. 

Giora Pilschtick - Ya'akov Mashian

Four Knights' Defense [B00]

Histadrut Championship singles, Rd. 9, 18.3.1959.

Source: Davar, 27.3.1959, p. 8.

Annotator: A. A. Mendelbaum

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. d4 Bb4 5. Nxe5 

5. d5 Ne7 6. Nxe5 d6?! (6...O-O 7. Qd4 Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 Re8 9. Bg5 Persitz - Alexander, 1955) 7. Bb5+ c6?! 8. dxc6 O-O 9. Nd7 Persitz - Silverberg, 1955. 

5... Nxe4?! A sharp continuation. 

5... Qe7 6. Qd3 Nxe5 7. dxe5 Qxe5 8. Bd2 O-O 9. O-O-O d6! with equality. 

6. Qg4 Nxc3 7. Qxg7 Rf8 8. a3 Nxd4!?

 8... Qf6? 9. Qxf6 Ne4+ 10. axb4 Nxf6 11. Nxc6 And White remains a pawn to the good. Relatively best is 8... Ba5 9. Nxc6 dxc6 10. Qe5+ Qe7 11. Qxe7+ Kxe7 12. Bd2 Bf5 13. Bxc3 Bxc3+ 14. bxc3 Bxc2 with a slight advantage for White. 

9. axb4!! Nxc2+ 10. Kd2 Nxa1 11. Kxc3 

The first stage of the face-to-face combat, starting before development ended, has reached a time out. Black is a pawn and exchange to the good, but due to threats like Bg5 or Bh6 and action on the open e-file, Black must immediatelly take counter-measures. 

11... a5! With the idea of exploiting the exposed position of the white king and also protecting the a1 knight. 

11... d6? with the idea of finishing development with Be6, Qd7, and 0-0-0 fails to 12. Bb5+! with a quick mate. 

11... c5? 12. Bc4 and the white king will find safety on d3.

12. bxa5! 

12. Bg5 f6 13. Be2 Qe7 14. Bh5+ Kd8 15. Nf7+ 

15... Rxf7 16. Bxf7 axb4+ 17. Kd3 Qd6+ 18. Ke2 fxg5 19.Qg8+ Ke7 20. Rd1 (20. Re1 Nc2!) 20... b6 21. Qe8+ Kf6 22. Rxd6+ cxd6 23. Qh8+ Kxf7 24. Qxh7+ and Black has three pieces for the queen and counter chances. 

12... Qe7 

12... Rxa5 13. Bg5! f6 14. Bh6 Qe7 15. Qxe7+ Kxe7 16. Bxf8+ Kxf8 17. Nc4! with a better ending for White.

13. Bc4 d5 14. Bxd5? More in the spirit of aggression and the position is 14. Bh6!, keeping the initiative and good winning chances. 

14... Qc5+ 15. Bc4? The crucial mistake. 15. Nc4 is necessary. If 15... Qxd5 16. Bh6 

15... Be6 16. Rd1 Qxa5+ 17. b4 Qa4 18. Rd2 Bxc4 19. Nxf7 Qb3+ 20. Kd4 Bxf7 21. Re2+ Kd7 22. Rd2 Rae8 23. Kc5+ Kc8 24. Qd4 Qe6 

24... Re5+ 25. Qxe5 Qc4# would have been quicker, but this oversight doesn't change the result. White resigns (0-1).

Ignatz Hermann Korner


This book was written by Ignaz Hermann Korner (link in German), the longtime president of Hakoah in Vienna, Austria. Herbert Halsegger, who is researching and is interested in the Jewish players and chess club of Hakoah in Graz, Austria, notes in an email to us, Korner organized the international tournament in Vienna in 1928, where many strong Jewish players played, as reported in the Wiener Schach-Zeitung (No. 5, 1928, pp. 69ff):  

This is especially interesting for chess in Palestine and Israel since, as Halsegger notes, the players included Wolf, Beutum, and Glass, who later emigrated to Palestine, as did Korner himself, in 1938. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Chess on the Front Page


More from the "chess on the front page" file: This time, from Ha'aretz (May 14th, 1954), p. 1 - Botvinnik's retaining his title after drawing the match 12:12 with Smyslov

Sure-Fire Prediction Fails


In the above note (Ha'aretz, April 30th, 1954, p. 3), there is a report of the Jerusalem championship, with Dobkin, Czerniak, Etinger (ph. spelling) and others. Of the three unfinished games, the editor  of the chess column notes, inter alia, that "Etinger is about to beat Czerniak." 

That's certainly an expert's opinion. The editor was Moshe Czerniak. But he was wrong! As he reports On June 11th in the same paper, p. 3:

 "The game Czerniak - Ettinger, in which Ettinger was about to win, ended in a draw after a surprising and extraordinary ending." This time, Czerniak adds also that "Czerniak is about to win again Zucker..." (ph. spelling). 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

A Reshevsky Simul


A Reshvesky simul in Jerusalem (against 40 players) in 1959 was brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent. It was reported with humor but with keen observation in Ma'ariv (20.11.1958, p.2) by Uri Oren. The author lists the well-known Jerusalem figures who played, from professors and lecturers to 'a new immigrant from India and Rosenberg the tailor'. He is surprised nobody lynched the noisy major who kept thinking out loud, and notes Reshevsky looks only at the boards and rarely looks at his opponents or communicates with them, and measures Reshevsky's "round" time (starting at 4 minutes and ending at 10 minutes). 

A Snapshot, 1956


The following "snapshot" of La'Merchav's chess column (Jan. 27th, 1956, p. 7), brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent, gives an interesting view of chess growing in Israel. We have in particular local tournaments in the south (Ashkelon, six southern kibbutzim, simuls in Eilat, etc.) and, more generally, in the small agricultural communities all over the country. 

The report emphasizes the activity of established players, like Itzchak AloniCzerniak, and Oren, in giving simuls, organizing tournaments, and so on all over the country. No less than eight of the reports deal with chess activity in the country's small cities and agricultural communities, 

Mashian Annotates

 A frequent correspondent notes that Ya'akov Mashian, 'Persian Champion 1958', had arrived in Israel in 1958 and immediately began to be involved in the chess life of the country. One example is him annotating, in Davar's chess column (ed. Zalman Gurevich) the game Van den Berg - Szabo from the 1958 international tournament in Israel. Here is the game (Davar, Nov. 14th, 1958, p. 10): 

Van den Berg - Szabo 

Ruy Lopez [C89]

1958 International Tournament, Tel Aviv/Haifa, rd. 13

Source: see above

Annotator: Ya'akov Mashian

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 Better is 8. a4 since after} Bb7 9. d3 $1 d6 10. Nc3 b4 11. Ne2! White has better chances. 8... d5 9. exd5 e4 There is another way, as in Capablanca-Marshall, which is better for White: 9... Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 Nf6 12. d4 Bd6 13. Re2!, defending against Black's KS pressure. 10.dxc6 If 10. Ng5 Bg4 11. f3 exf3 12. Nxf3 Nxd5 13. d4 10... exf3 11. Qxf3 Bg4 12. Qg3 Bd6 12... Re8 Doesn't do much for Black:13. d4 Bd6 14. Rxe8+ Qxe8 15. Qe3 Qxc6 16. f3 Re8 17. Qf2. 13. f4 Re8 14. Re5? A mistake! This move was played before by masters, but only this time the Hungarian grandmaster manages to exploit the mistake. Correct was 14. d4 Nh5 15. Rxe8+ Qxe8 16. Qf2 Qxc6 17. Be3 Re8 and Black doesn't have enough initiative for the pawn.

14... Bxe5!! 15. fxe5 Nh5 16. Qxg4 Rxe5 17. Na3 White has no stronger move. For example: 17. d4 Re1+ 18. Kf2 Nf6 19. Qf4 Qe7 20. Be3 Rxe3 21. Qxe3 Ng4+  wins the queen. 17... Re1+ 18. Kf2 Nf6 19. Qf4 19. Qf3 Rxc1 and wins (due to 20. Rxc1 Qxd2+ - A. P.) 19... Qe7 20. Qf3 Rh1 21. Nc2 Ne4+ 22. Ke2 Nxc3+ 23. Kd3 Rd8+ 24. Nd4 Ne2 White resigns (0-1)

Gruengard- Smiltiner Match


In the following short notice, brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent, we see a note about a match between Gruengard and Smiltiner in the Tel Aviv Lasker club, noting the latter is leading 1-0 so far. It always speaks of a "retirement tournament" - presumably, an elimination one - that will start, with 32 players, the coming Saturday. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

"Chess Characters," by the Badmaster


One of the most charming characters in British chess was G. H. Diggle, the "Badmaster." Edward Winter published his memoirs in 1984. I read them with great enjoyment. I will not violate copyright by extensive quoting (although I am tempted). I shall note only one of his many quips: he describes one kibitzer as a man "whose recreations were chess and hypocrisy." (p. 14). 

Rather, I will give here the table of content, to give potential readers an idea of the breadth, both in subject matter and chronology, of the Badmaster's chess interests: