Today’s tactics training
James Harvey Robinson
Solutions can be found at: http://www.wtharvey.com/bern.html
WHITE TO PLAY AND MATE IN 5 MOVES
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN
Ossip Bernstein was one of those players who lived and thrived in troubled times. A successful financial lawyer, grandmaster calibre chess player, world traveller and a very cultured individual, his career(s) crossed with the Russian revolution, two world wars, the great depression and meeting every great chess champion of his time. In his tumultuous life he lost his fortune not less than 3 times!
–In February-March, 1911, he played in San Sebastian and tied for 8th-9th. Capablanca won the event.
(Note: the San Sebastian 1911 tournament, contrary to popular belief, was not held at the Casino, but was held in a now demolished hotel some 200 meters from the Casino. In those days there was a loud band playing 18 hours a day outside the Casino (which was world class) , and hence it was too noisy to play chess.-kbs)
–In March, 1911, he won the Moscow championship.
–In 1912, he took 2nd at Wilno (now Vilnius), behind Rubinstein.
–In 1914, he played at St. Petersburg. He tied for 6th-7th. Capablanca won the event.
–In 1917, he lost his fortune in the Russian revolution. In 1917, he was arrested in Rostov, but released because of his chess reputation. They later moved to Kiev, then to Odessa.
—In 1918, in Odessa, he was arrested and imprisoned in the Cheka (Bolshevik secret police). Bernstein’s crime was his role as legal advisor to bankers. There was no court trial. A minor official had a firing squad line up Bernstein and a number of other prisoners against a wall to be shot. A superior official appeared and asked to see the list of prisoners’ names. Discovering Ossip Bernstein on the list, he asked Bernstein if he was the famous chess master. Bernstein said yes. The official then made Bernstein play him a game of chess to prove it. When Bernstein won, the official release Bernstein.
–In 1919, the British government sent several ships to Odessa to help some of those escape who were in special danger of being killed. The Bernsteins were permitted to board one of the ships. The ship sailed to Serbia where Bernstein left and went to Belgrade. He then went to Vienna and to Oslo, Norway.
—In 1920, he settled in Paris where he became a financial lawyer. One of his first duties was to go to New York to take care of some financial matters for some clients. His chess reputation helped him get a visa right away and he made the trip to New York. Once on New York, the law firm he visited refused to turn over any documents to an unknown like Bernstein. However, a member of the Manhattan Chess Club that was also well known in the banking circles vouched for Bernstein, and he was able to complete his transaction. In 1920, he became a French citizen.
—In 1929-30, he lost his fortune again during the financial crash.
–In 1932, after an absence of 18 years, he took up chess again. He played at Bern in 1932.
–In 1933, he drew a training match with Alekhine (+1 =2 -1) in Zurich.
–In 1934, he played at Zurich.
—In 1940, he lost his fortune again when Paris fell.
–In 1940, he fled to Spain. When he reached the Pyrenees, he and his family had to walk over mountain roads at night, hiding in caves during the daylight hours to avoid the Germans. After two exhausting nights. he reached Spain. However, Bernstein had a heart attack and was unconscious. The Spanish frontier guards arrested the family and placed them in separate prisons. Through the intervention of some influentual friends in Spain, his family was released and was allowed to stay in Spain.
–After World War II, he returned to Paris in 1945. Their Paris home was completely robbed by the Germans. They did find their son again who had been a prisoner of war in Germany for 5 years.
–In 1946, Ossip’s son was an interpreter for the United Nations. He was able to speak almost every language in Europe.
–In 1946, he played at Groningen at the age of 64. He took 15th place out of 20.
–In 1946, he took 2nd in London.
–In 1948, he drew a game against Fine at a cable match between Paris and New York.
–In 1949, he won at the Mandrake Club in London.
–In 1950, he was awarded the International Grandmaster title.
—When President Eisenhower went to Europe to meet Kruschev, Bernstein’s son was selected to accompany him as interpreter.
–In 1954, he played Board 1 for France in the Amsterdam Chess Olympiad. He was 72. His score was 5 wins, 5 draws, and 5 losses.
–In 1954, he played at Montevideo and won a brilliancy prize for his game against Najdorf. Bernstein took 2nd place, behind Letelier.
–In 1956, at the age of 74, he played in a small tournament at Ostend. He played there 50 years earlier. He took 5th place.
–In 1956, he went to Moscow with the intention of playing for France in the Olympiad. But he fell ill before he could play a game.
–In 1961, he played in the IBM tournament in Amsterdam,
–In 1961, he retired to St. Arroman, a small town in the Pyrenees.
–He died in his sleep on November 30, 1962 in a sanatorium in the French Pyrenees.
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS