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U.S. Chess Star Refuses to Play on Sabbath in Moscow; Delays Game

July 5, 1955
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Samuel Reshevsky, star of the United States chess team playing the Russian champions in Moscow, has not only toppled the Soviet ace, Mikhail Botvinik, but has also taught the Russians a lesson in Sabbath observance.

While the U.S. team seems hopelessly defeated thus far–the total scores standing 11 to 3 in favor of the Russians–Reshevsky’s playing against Botvinik has been the highlight of the Moscow matches. Both of these leading players are Jews.

Reshevsky had refused, last Friday, to start a new game, according to a report from Moscow in the New York Times, because he would have had to continue the game on Saturday–and he insisted on observing the Jewish Sabbath even in Moscow. He played Botvinik again on Sunday. The three games played between Reshevsky and Botvinik so far, ended with draws in the first and third games, and a victory for the American Jew in the second. The two will play again tomorrow, but Botvinik can do no more than tie the series, even if he wins tomorrow’s game.

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