Friday, February 18, 2022

Ezra Glass, from China to Israel


A frequent correspondent asks us how reliable are the stories of Ezra Glass being in Shanghai an d becoming the local chess champion there during the second world war. Another correspondent, Herbert Halsegger, supplied us with the following cutting, from the Washington (D.C.) Evening Star, March 17th, 1949, p. A-6. 

In it we learn the Glass was travelling to Israel from China, with a group of another 191 Jewish DPs ("Displaced Persons," i.e., refugees) from China, en route to Israel. The article notes Glass taught them to play chess during the long journey. It is noted he was champion of Austria "and of the far east" before the war. 

Chess in Schools


There had been many efforts to promote chess in schools in Israel. Shaul Hon, the editor of Davar's chess column in the 1940s, had occasionally promoted such efforts. Here is one such example, from Davar's  9 December 1949, p. 17 of the weekend supplement. We than Moshe Roytman for bringing this example to our attention. 

A teacher in a Hedera school accepted the parents' requests in a class meeting and agreed to give a chess lesson to all the pupils in the class. For now, the class is one hour a month during school time. It caused  much excitement and interest among the pupils. 

Not exactly a mass movement, but it's a start! 

Chess Problemist Rescued

Even at the height of the second world war, some Jewish players were rescued. In the following note, by the Aufbau (an German and English language Jewish weekly from New York) reports on New Year's day, 1943 (p. 24) that the "famous chess problemist Otto Gross," formerly from the Chess Club Anderssen, Frankfurt, is in New York, and promised his "lively participation" in chess activities. We thank Mr. Herbert Halsegger for bringing this report to our attention.