Friday, April 24, 2015

Unusual Book Title

Photo Credit:
In my occasional forays into non-Jewish areas of chess on this blog, I discuss various matters. Today, I note that fiction titles with chess-related terms, from 'chess' itself to 'stalemate', 'checkmate', etc., are quite common, especially in (it seems) political thrillers and similar-themed works. But 'castling' seems rare. Here is one example, of a book written by a major Swedish writer, Lars Gustafsson.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Source: Davar, Sept. 24th, 1937, p. 4
In the following note, a propos of the Palestinian championship, Marmorosh adds that on Sept 18th, the representatives of 'a few chess organization in the country' had convened to 'renew the national chess organization and to put it on a solid base'. These included the Jerusalem Lasker club; the Tel Aviv club; the clubs in the Sharon area; the 'new chess club in Haifa'; and the 'chess association of the clerks' club in Jerusalem'. The 'founding meeting' was scheduled for 25/9/1937 in the Menorah club.

While this federation's activity, like chess activity in Mandatory Palestine in general, became (almost) moribund due to the war, it shows us a good 'snapshot' of the growth in interest in chess all over the country since the early 30s, as interest was raised for various reasons, such as visits by RubinsteinFlohr, and Mieses, the sending of a team to the Olympiad in Warsaw in 1935, etc., as we have seen previously on this blog.

Nice Combination by Marmorosh

Source: Davar, Sept. 10th, 1937, p. 3
On Sept. 5th, (p. 6), Marmorosh reported in Davar he will give a simultaneous display at the chess club in 4 Allenby St., Tel Aviv, on the 7th. Three days later, he reported the result (+27 -3 =4) in his column, as well as the following position. Apparently, Marmorosh, like some other masters, was willing occasionally to play black in such displays.

The game continued (Marmorosh's annotations):

1. ... Rf3! 2. Re1 (of course 2. gxf3 Nxf3+ - A. P.) Qg3+ 3. Kg1 Rf2!! 4. Qxf2 Nf3+ 5. Qxf3 exf3 6. Rc1 f2+ 7. Kh1 Bf3! 0-1

A bit generous on the exclamation points, perhaps, but a nice finishing-off combination nonetheless; and thanks to the commentator below for pointing out my original typo (writing the impossible 2. Re3 instead of 2. Re1).

Chess on the Radio -- in 1937?

Source: Davar, Sept. 10th, 1937, p. 3
In the above selection from Marmorosh's chess column, it is noted that the results of the 1937 Palestine championship will be 'be announced that very night on the radio [emphasis in the original - A. P.] and published the next day in the press'.

Does anybody know if the tournament's results really were broadcast over the radio? Checking the radio schedule in Davar from the relevant period notes that there were various programs which might have broadcast this information -- e.g., the evening news or the sports broadcasts -- but nothing more specific was noted.

But, if so, it would (probably) be the very first radio broadcast about chess in Israel or Mandatory Palestine, unless the previous visits of foreign masters (Rubinstein, Flohr, or Mieses) happened to be mentioned in the radio news at the time. 

Unusual Prizes

Source: Davar, Sept. 5th, 1937, p. 5.

Moshe Roytman, our frequent correspondent, found the following "coming attraction" notice for a simultaneous exhibition by the 'well known Viennese master Siegmund Beutum' (link to Wikipedia; see also 'Beutum' in this blog) against 30 opponents in Nahariya, at the Paltov Coffee House -- a local "institution" at the time (photo credit: Andreas Meyer, an early resident of Nahariya who recorded much of its history).

The tournament was sponsored by the Haifa branch of the Dubek cigarette factory, and promised prizes 'from the Dubek factory's products' -- presumably, cigarettes -- to the winners. Are there other cases where cigarettes were offered as prizes in tournaments?

It should be added that less than a month later, while reporting on the 1937 Palestinian championship, Marmorosh (Davar, Oct. 1st, 1937, p. 4) notes that 'the Dubek company made sure there was an ample supply of its product' , which implies they provided the contestants with cigarettes gratis as a sponsorship.


It could be that the simultaneous display didn't take place, as there is no report on it in the next days in Davar -- including in Marmorosh's chess column of the Sept. 10th issue (p. 3) in the same month.