Menu JTA Search

Slants on Sports

Download PDF for this date

So many readers of the Jewish Daily Bulletin have requested that we do a column on chess and the master minds of the board that we have decided to write one coincidental with the news that Samuel Reschevsky, genius of the chess board, is preparing for a nation-wide exhibition tour.

There are many good Jewish chess players in America. There are several Jewish young men who rank with the foremost wizards in the country. But, there is only one Sammy Reschevsky, greatest of them all.

It was only a few short years ago that a Russian lad took the entire world by storm with his wizardry at chess. The pawns were nothing but toys to him, and no matter how adult or astute his opponents, little Sammy Reschevsky outwitted them—and at their own game.

In 1924 the sport pages of the country’s press heralded the fact that Sammy Reschevsky, eleven-year-old prodigy, would play twenty games of chess against as many opponents at the same time wherever he appeared. And, he seldom failed to defeat everybody he met, even when he played the best chess wizards in this country.


If the story of Reschevsky, the Polish Jew, were told in a few words it would read, “From wonder child to grand master.”

The same poise, the same complete calmness and mastery that were something to marvel at when Reschevsky played as a child were with him at Syracuse this Summer when, for the third time in succession, he did not lose a single game.

“Some day you will be champion of the world,” Akiba Rubinstein told the little fellow after the famous Polish master had had an interesting session with the prodigy. The prophesy seems to be in a fair way to come true, for Sammy is on his way. Dr. Alekaine and Capablanca must of necessity look to their laurels.


Rescevsky was born in Lodz, Poland, of extremely orthodox parents. He is imbued with the same spirit of orthodoxy as his people. He began playing chess at the age of five, after watching his father play with friends in his home. It is said he pointed out moves to his father at the time. At the age of six he was acclaimed one of the best chess players of all Europe.

When he was seven, Sammy played and defeated a number of master chess players in Europe and was praised by Dr. Lasker, former champion chess player of the world, as having a phenomenal chess brain. During the World War the youngster gave a number of exhibitions in the war zone and made himself famous in a game with the Governor General of Warsaw, during the German occupation. After trimming the General, Sammy remarked to him, “You can shoot, but I can play.”

Among the outstanding victories of the prodigy’s early career were those over Janofsky, former French champion; Michelson, former Dutch champion, and Charles Jaffe of New York City.

While in Washington, shortly before the death of President Harding, Sammy was received at the White House. He won a number of matches from Senators and Congresmen during his stay in Washington and also won a match from William J. Burns, head of the Investigation Bureau of the Department of Justice.

Shortly after the boy arrived in the United States he gave a remarkable demonstration of his ability at West Point, where he defeated nineteen Army officers and drew one game with Colonel Frieberger, veteran of the service.

Sammy is the youngest of a family of six. He attended the New York City public schools and had private tutors when he was away. It was said then that he was exceptionally brilliant in mathematics, mechanics, and music and that he had a very good voice. He appeared in a number of concerts for charity organizations with some of the leading singers, notably the late Cantor Joseph Rosenblatt.


Today, though still a little fellow, he is twenty-two years old and has a framed diploma from the University of Chicago in his room. He graduated from that institution with high honors and a reputation for being the greatest mathematical student ever to have attended that school.

During August of the past summer the international tournament of the New York State Chess Association was held in Syracuse. Such chess masters as Isaac Kashdan, Herman Helms, Abraham Kupchik, Reuben Fine and J. A. Horowitz competed.

It was here that Reschevsky won ten of fourteen games and drew four. Isaac Kashdan, runner-up, had seven draws scored against him.


At present young Reschevsky is preparing for a nation-wide exhi-His itinerary is being mapped by from the Atlantic to the Pacific, bition tour which will carry him Mr. J. Diamond who will accompany the chess wizard on his journey.

Reschevsky will play for various organizations and thereby assure a method of raising funds for the organization and himself. To this corner, as a sports writer, this method of gathering in money for institutions and organizations seems a better idea than a theatre party or a bridge.

On his intended trip Reschevsky will play against the best chess minds of America.

All information concerning Reschevsky, his trip, and further particular to secure his services can be had from the office of the Jewish Daily Bulletin, 221 Centre street, New York City, care of Morris Weiner, sports editor.

Organization wishing to contact Samuel Reschevsky should likewise write or wire the writer at the above address.


Not so long ago, before the brothers Dizzy and Daffy blew the seven game lead of the Giants into the Hudson River, we had one of those well-known pipe dreams.

“Imagine,” said we, “a world series game between the Tigers and the Giants. Hank Greenberg, Phil Weintraub, and Harry Danning batting, catching, and fielding like a charm. We couldn’t ask for anything more.”

“Just picture Danning behind the plate,” we remarked, “as cool as a codfish and as steady as a calendar. Phil Weintraub, in the asparagus beds near the bleachers, and Hank Greenberg, the new mayor of the Bronx, up at the home sack with three and two on him. Danning signals Hubbell for an inside curve and the pitcher winds up. He throws the ball and—we left the rest to you depending on the team of your cheree!

Evidently our pipe was loaded and the resulting dream proved just a bubble. The news that the Giants were washed out by the Dodgers from Brooklyn, of all places has been published on every obituary page in the country. But, we weren’t all wrong on our dope. Hank Greenberg is still in the business and it’s our guess that he’ll knock the Red Birds out of the ball park.

After Greenberg slugs a few into the left field bleachers at Navin’s Park, the brothers Dean will be Dizzy and Daffy.

P.S.—Danning told us he’s heading straight for California and the fishing streams. And Weintraub is headed for the butcher business once more.


They’ll Knock You Goofy

The “Imps” are here. They’ve been here since Monday and we’re all nuts. From now on New York is going to go daffy working the “Imp” problems which appear every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the Jewish Daily Bulletin.

The arrival of the “Imps” was comparatively quiet. They crept into the city some time around dawn making no more noise than a landslide, an explosion, and a boiler factory in action all rolled into one. Already they have inundated stores and shops and lunch rooms. Now they are advancing on private homes. They are irresistible. One, at the moment, is clamboring up our typewriter and we can’t keep concentrated on what we are trying to do.

Half of the office is already mildly goofy. The other half is completely mad. A minute ago the office boy passed out.


Send in your subscription for the Sunday edition of the Jewish Daily Bulletin and get an IMP free of charge. Or else, work out the problem and write in your number of moves. Five persons already have received free Imps because their scores for moves were smallest. And, it’s more fun to work them with the real thing.

In case you have not as yet bought one of the manufactured games, Rule off sixteen blank squares, cut them out and paste on card board. Number the squares from one to fifteen, four lines of four squares each. Discard the sixteenth square and then, without lifting any of the squares from the table, proceed to work out the IMP problem.


For those IMPERS who would like to get an IMP game the procedure is easy. Write in the number of squares you have moved to arrive at the correct solution and mail in to “Slants on Sports.” The five people who have the smallest number of moves will receive one of these “IMP” games free.

However, if you would like to facilitate matters and get the IMP immediately fill out the coupon below.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund