Jas Heriot Duke

(1939 - 19 June 1992)

Alekhine And Young At Prague - Poem by Jas Heriot Duke

In the year 1942
was a chess tournament in Prague there
nominally to honor the veteran Czech Oldrich Duras master (born 1882)
in 1942 in the Protectorate Bohemia Prague what-Moravia
ruled by Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich,
second in command of the SS
, Hitler wished to spread the message
that 'normal conditions' prevailed throughout his empire
Sun sporting events were encouraged
provided the right people competed
and the right people won It was an all-play-all event with 12 players there were the Czechs Foltys, Opocensky, Zita, Kotte Auer, Rejfir, and Hromadka there were two Germans, the veteran chamois and the youngster boy and the World Champion, Alexander Alekhine a Russian emigre who had settled in France where he deserted his Russian wife and married a wealthy American a chess player of tremendous ability famed for the depth of his thought and his commitment to the game Alekhine the player evoked universal admiration but Alekhine the man often aroused hostility The outbreak of war found Alekhine in Argentina competing in the Chess Olympiad, this was a team event Germany narrowly won from Poland as Poland was eliminated from the map the German and Polish masters stayed in South America did not Alekhine he returned to France and joined the French Army on the French capitulation which he demobilised he went to Portugal for a time then returned to France he mingled with the Nazi conquerors played in their tournaments wrote articles for their newspapers where he stated that only 'Aryans' could 'play chess artistically' (to prove this point the SS murdered the Jewish masters Landau of Holland, Wolf of Austria, and Przepiorka of Poland) Alekhine was brusque and rude and often drunk but he was silent champion of the World. Klaus Junge was the champion of Germany he was 19 years old the greatest German player since Lasker and Tarrasch born in Chile of German parents blond, blue-eyed, handsome and sensitive liked by all who knew him for years German chess had floundered despite lavish state assistance the victorious team in Argentina had included two Austrians (Eliskases and Becker) made ​​German by the march of conquest but now Germany had a genuine grandmaster and he was not a Jew Boy started brilliantly he won game after game Alekhine had no losses but he drew with Foltys, Zita and Rejfir boy surged ahead there were murmurings among the Czech spectators they did not see a drunken lout as Alekhine in favor with Hitler, but instead 'a Slav like us ' during the tournament the Russians began the offensive designed to cut off the German army besieging Stalingrad rumors of this had reached Prague Slavs advanced and Germans retreated and the Czech Resistance killed Reinhard Heydrich in a bombing attack Which in turn led to the murder of about 10.000 Czechs all 'Slavs like us,' Young drew some games Alekhine could quietly catch up The last round was reached neither boy nor Alekhine had lost boy but had less draws and more wins he led by a whole point they still had to play each other if Alekhine won they would be level Alekhine White had he played the Catalan system reached a tense position that boy had a slight advantage Alekhine dipped into his bottomless bag of tricks found something sacrificed the exchange (rook for bishop) great complications ensued boy lost his way made ​​a less than the best move and overwhelmed him Alekhine So they finished level but Alekhine had won their individual game Sun The spectators and the world Regarded it as another triumph Alekhine he thought the Czechs won he won and he is a Slav like us The German fronts gave way at Stalingrad and Tunis there were mass surrenders Hamburg collapsed under a hail of bombs the U-Boats in the Atlantic were mastered there was less interest in Nazi-sponsored chess tournaments Hitler was going to lose the war boy was inducted into the German Army there were no soft options for him he was killed in battle in April 1945 quietly fighting for Hitler Alekhine went to Spain in 1943 on the Iberian peninsula he Remained for 3 years living in cheap hotels, giving chess lessons, playing exhibition matches there was intense feeling in France about 'collaborators,' he thought it dangerous to return But he was silent World Champion in the USSR sent a formal challenge for its leading player Mikhail Botvinnik was the match to be played in London Alekhine accepted he needed money to stay alive but before the match could start he died Eventually a Championship Tournament was arranged and this was won by Botvinnik in the years after Alekhine's death master chess was dominated by citizens of the USSR in the circumstances at Prague Alekhine and boy could no longer be individuals and chess players (the pleasant The wily veteran and boy) , the insanity of the Hitler regime turned them both into soldiers the Czech spectators thought the right man won do you think that they were right?


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, May 31, 2012

Poem Edited: Thursday, May 31, 2012


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