Gelfandmania in Israel and the online Israel-Spain match

6/27/2012 – Gelfandmania has officially taken over Israel after Boris Gelfand's title run. He has appeared on TV, met the prime minister, given countless interviews and even been parodied by a famous comedy show. More importantly, he has sparked a huge interest in chess, leading to the match between Israeli and Spanish schools made possible through Playchess. GM Boris Alterman shares all.

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The Show Goes On

By Boris Alterman

After his impressive attempt to wrest the world title from Vishy Anand, resulting in a draw in their classical match, Boris Gelfand has become a national hero in Israel. In fact, he is now a super star in Israel with numerous TV appearances, newspaper interviews, and meeting with the Prime Minister etc.

Recently Boris became even a more popular as a parody star in one of the most popular comic show on Israeli TV,"Eretz Nehederet".


This is how a satirized Gelfand looks - Click here for the actual episode

In fact, on the recent TV show "Dancing in with the Stars (Israel)", chess was one of the main items.

Israeli TV Channel 10 has also made a nice report about "chess in school program" in its Prime Time News:


Gelfandomania in Israel - "More and more schools and kindergartens in Israel include chess into their curriculum".

In this video you may see one of the most famous Savyon "Chess in school program"

Adi Tzimmerman, the Israeli Under 12 Girls Champion and product of the Savyon "chess in school program" plays a journalist, while beating him in just 3 min. We also see a heavily equipped computer room where kids study chess, solve puzzles, play and work with text books, and Grandmaster Boris Alterman explains the important role of chess in the education system.

There are many Russian emigrants who are still looking for a partner in the park and watching closely after Gelfand.

At the end of the video we see a school from Tel-Aviv Jaffa, where most of the kids are Israeli Arabs studying chess. One of the kids made a great impression on journalists when was asked about a game of chess.

"Is chess a quiet game?" - "It seems quiet but my mind is athletic!"

Israel beats Spain – not in soccer but in chess! 

This year Savyon "Chess in school program" made its next move - On June 18 the first Internet match between two elementary schools took place, one from Savyon (Israel) and one from Salou (Spain). Savyon's municipality is the small town near Tel-Aviv area with 3500 people. SHowing progressive thinking, it decided to include chess lessons into its education system as early as 2007. Savyon's Mayor Moshik Lipetz believes that chess improves dramatically the scoring level of the students, their mind skills.


Savyon's Mayor Moshik Lipetz

Kids study chess from the Kindergarten up to 3rd grade, when many also participate in after school chess activities once a week, participating in the regional and national school championships.

The two teams met on the Playchess server with five players playing a double round match at 20min +10 sec increment.


The children from the Salou school in Spain smile for a picture of their online match


"All right Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up"


Grandmaster Arthur Kogan, captain of Salou team, with his class

GM Arthur Kogan reported:

We lost the first round by 4.5-0.5, but in the second round our youth nearly caused a sensation (versus experienced Israel's school!).

We began with two big wins and 2-0 scoring for Salou and ... a good advantage in the other games ... only at the last moment the advantage of experience helped and Savyon turned the tables and won all three games, so we lost by the minimal score 3-2 and an overall 7.5-2.5.

Players from both teams were happy and excited. Bravo to all children of the Savyon School and School of Salou and thanks to the council and club members for helping make this wonderful initiative! Until next time!


The computer room of the Sayvon school


GM Boris Alterman


The match was projected onto a screen so the children could follow


Of course, some preferred to just walk around


The children loved the idea and had a great time


Playchess sysop, Holger Lieske, was a key figure in ensuring a fluid event


Savyon Players: Adi Tzimmerman, Or Ben Shahar, Nitzan Roi, Tom Broyda, Daniel
Moldavsky and the Reserve were Simovich Ariel and Daniel Tzimerman together with
their teachers.

Deepest thanks Holger Lieske and the Playchess/ChessBase team for the great help in organizing the event.

Copyright ChessBase


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