Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chess Match: Natan Sharansky vs. Commentary Magazine (Updated)

Gabriel Schoenfeld, senior editor of Commentary Magazine writes about a visit yesterday from Natan Sharansky, during which the two played 2 games of chess. Schoenfeld earned the rank of American Master in 1989, the last year he played a game of competitive chess.

Sharansky is no chess novice either:
During long years as a Soviet refusenik, and then a decade in the Gulag on the trumped-up crime of treason, Sharansky had a lot of time to ponder the fine points of the royal game. As the New York Times reported, “he had little time for chess during his dissident years in the Soviet Union, but he recovered his skills in prison, where he said he spent the long days in solitary confinement playing three simultaneous games in his mind.” Sharansky told the newspaper, “I played thousands of games, and I won them all.”
Keep in mind that in those games, Sharansky would have played both the white and black sides. He also played former Chessmaster Gary Kasparov during simultaneous exhibitions--beating Kasparov once and drawing once.

Schoenfeld gained the same result--as Kasparov.

The 2 games can be found on Schoenfeld's blog, Connecting the Dots.

Schoenfeld writes:
Lately, however, Sharansky has devoted most of his time to preventing the state of Israel from (to use chess lingo) sacrificing its pieces without adequate compensation.
I wonder how good Sharansky is at Shesh Besh...

Update: Here is an interactive version of the game that Sharansky won against Kasparov

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