Monday, October 31, 2005

Chess in the Israeli desert

Where the battles are confined to a board:

The Australian : immigrant town on the edge of Israel's southern desert seems an unlikely venue to host the World Chess Team Championship...
..with a higher percentage of grandmasters per capita than any other city in the world -- one for every 22,000 inhabitants -- Beersheba is firmly on the world chess map; thanks to one man.
In 1972, Eliahu Levant was one of 140,000 Jews who managed to get out of Leonid Brezhnev's Soviet Union. He sold his Leningrad (St Petersburg) villa, his city centre apartment and car to raise the $US25,000 needed to buy himself out....

Here the white-haired patriarch sits beneath shelves of trophies and walls filled with black-and-white portraits of past masters. Levant proudly ticks off the dozen international masters and six or seven grandmasters he has produced, including two of the Israeli team who will line up against Russia -- the favourites -- Georgia, the US, Cuba and China during the 10-day championships at a nearby community centre next week...
posted by Yeshiva Orthodoxy
at 12:36 PM


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