Chess problems are more often than not futuristic, that is, one must analyze a given position to determine how soon Black or White can win or draw. Yet rare is the position that one must engage in retrograde analysis, using deduction and logical reasoning to determine the past history of a game.
Perhaps the most difficult chess problem I’ve ever seen of that genre is depicted above. Given that the game was played with legal moves only, the quest is to figure out that which piece resides at square h4. There is only one of the 12 missing pieces which can sit on this square. Yes, there is enough information to figure it out.
Chess players are known to look for the minutest advantage to score a victory; on or off the board. In one match (pun not intended), one player withdrew a cigarette from his breast pocket and placed it gingerly on the table. When the opponent protested that smoking was against the rules, the first player said that he was not smoking. The opponent challenged the referee saying that in chess, it is not necessarily what you are doing, but rather the threat of what you might do. The umpire agreed.
In another tournament, a neophyte touched a rook pawn to start the game. Before she placed it on the new square, she changed her mind and decided to move the king pawn. The opponent challenged her saying that once she touched the rook pawn, she must move it, while she claimed that the game hadn’t started yet. Ingenuitively (no, there is no such word), she switched her rook pawn and king pawn claiming that she was still setting up the pieces and then proceeded to move the piece she had touched!
Intelligence has always been a hallmark of chess players. Many great chess players of world championship caliber were/are Jewish. This week’s Mishpacha magazine features GrandMasters Boris Gulko and Leonid (Aryeh) Yudasin as some current examples of this phenomenon. They join a long list of Jewish greats who played the game. Aron Nimzowitsch, Akiva Rubinstein and Samuel Reshevsky are more examples. Additionally, these three all attended Yeshivos.
The great Chess Championship of 1972 which pitted Boris Spassky against Robert (Bobby) Fischer brought great pride to the United States in that they were finally able to beat the Soviets. Both Spassky and Fischer were born from Jewish mothers.
In fact, better than half of the World Chess Champions in the modern era were Jewish.