Rubinstein’s real date of birth?
Few players stand out in modern chess history as much as the great Akiba Rubinstein. Not only was he a legend in his own time, but his contributions to opening theory have stood the test of time: virtually every major opening system that is popular today is so because the Polish grandmaster discovered, researched and popularized the weaponary of modern tournament chess players. Rubinstein defined modern chess theory.
My own chess progress in chess in the mid to late 80’s is largely due to a deep study of Rubinstein’s games. For a while back in 1983/84 I carried with me a Russian copy of his games where ever I went. I found inspiration in his games. Not to mention wisdom and knowledge. I asked Bent Larsen to autograph this book for me at the New York Open (1984). A later work on Rubinstein, by IM John Donaldson, has the autograph of David Bronstein (1996). In my library I have a half-dozen works on the life and games of this Polish genius.
Akiba giving a simul in Palestine,May 1931. More images can be found HERE
But this blog article is not about Rubinstein’s greatness. Instead , it is about his REAL date of birth (DOB). There appears to be some confusion about this, and if Ela and Jan Kusina are correct, then Rubinstein’s DOB is several years earlier than officially recorded.
According to WIKI and all of the books that I have in my library (including Kmoch’s ”100 Selected Games” and John Donaldson’s ”Uncrowned King”) the official DOB is 12th December, 1882 (or 12th October, depending on which calênder is used). However, the tombstone of the Great One is 1-12-1880, some two years earlier.
The well respected historical blog ‘Ken Whyld Foundation and Association’ wrote last week:
”Our Polish friends Ela and Jan Kusina were successful in their research on Akiwa Rubinstein’s date of birth, they have now confirmed by official documents that the DOB 01-12-1880 given on Rubinstein’s gravestone is correct!
(See the updated Rubinstein entry in our Chess Graves series.)
Until now mostly October 12, 1882 was quoted to be Rubinstein’s DOB. Maybe Rubinstein has made himself 2 years younger than he was in order to escape military service? (Michael Negele)”
You can also find some more information on the dedicated blog Akiba’s Dream. Good Reading!