Raaphi Persitz, 1934–2009

2/6/2009 – We have received the sad news from Tel-Aviv: Raaphy Persitz, English-Israeli-Swiss chess player, passed away in his sleep at the age of 74. Apart from his chess skills he was mainly known as one of the brightest financial analysts in Israel, writing to the last day his highly instructive articles in the respectable daily Haaretz, which belonged to his family. Eulogy.

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Raaphi Persitz, 1934–2009

Raphael Joseph Arie (a.k.a. Raaphy, Rafi, Rafael) Persitz was an English-Israeli-Swiss chess player, born on 26 July 1934 in Tel Aviv, Israel. He played thrice for England in World Student Team Chess Championship.

* In 1954, at second board in 1st WST-ch in Oslo (+6 –0 =3);
* In 1956, at first board in 3rd WST-ch in Uppsala (+3 –1 =6);
* In 1957, at first board in 4th WST-ch in Reykjavik (+3 –6 =4).

He won an individual gold medal at Oslo 1954.

Persitz studied at Balliol College, Oxford, and represented Oxford University in the annual match against Cambridge University on three occasions (1954, 1955 and 1956). In 1954 he won his individual game in the Oxford-Cambridge match in the morning, playing very quickly in order to be able to travel by train to Swindon (some 75 miles away) in time to play top board for his county (Oxfordshire) against Gloucestershire in the afternoon. He was paired against a former British champion, Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander, and managed to win this game as well (British Chess Magazine, May 1954, p.150].

Persitz moved from UK to Israel, and then to Switzerland. He played for Israel at fourth board in 14th Chess Olympiad at Leipzig 1960 (+6 –4 =2). In 1955/56, he tied for 6-7th in Hastings (Viktor Korchnoi and Fridrik Olafsson won). In 1958, he played in Haifa/Tel Aviv (Samuel Reshevsky won) and in 1961 tied for 7-8th in Netanya (Moshe Czerniak, Milan Matulovic and Petar Trifunovic won). In 1968/69, he tied for 8-10th in Hastings (Vasily Smyslov and Svetozar Gligoric won).

Persitz was also a prolific and entertaining chess writer, contributing articles to a long-running column in British Chess Magazine entitled The Student's Corner. [Source: Wikipedia]

Yochanan Afek adds: Raaphi's grandmother Shoshana Persitz was a member of the first Knesset (the Israeli Parliament).He himself was one of the country's best players in the late 50s and 60s, when he became Israel's first champion for lightning chess and took part in the country's first International tournaments. Later for some 15 years he worked with his father in the banking business in Geneve, Switzerland. His command of the English language was amazing, but he was indeed a super grandmaster of the Hebrew language, creating various novelties, especially economical terms, in his capacity as a member of the national Hebrew language academy. He wrote a couple of Hebrew chess books and later translated several others to English. Raaphy was a regular reader of Chess (British monthly), British Chess Magazine, The Problemist and EG to his last day. He was a passionate lover of the endgame study and a close friend of mine. A great man of culture, music and literature yet at the same time a modest and gentle person who was always willing to help and whom I will strongly miss. [Yochanan Afek is an Israeli IM, and an internationally renowned chess problem and study composer]

Here's a game by Raaphi Persitz

Persitz,Raaphi - Huebner,Robert [E82]
Hastings 6869 Hastings (6), 1968
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 b6 7.Bd3 a6 8.Qd2 c5 9.d5 e6 10.Nge2 exd5 11.exd5 Nbd7 12.0-0 Ne5 13.b3 Nxd3 14.Qxd3 b5 15.Rae1 Qa5 16.Ng3 Rb8 17.Bd2 Qb6 18.Nce4 Nxe4 19.fxe4 a5 20.Bc3 bxc4 21.bxc4 Bxc3 22.Qxc3 Qb2 23.Qxa5 Qd4+ 24.Kh1 Rb2 25.e5 Qxc4 26.e6 Qb4 27.Qc7 Ba6

28.Qxf7+ and Black resigned. 28.Qxf7+ Rxf7 29.exf7+ Kf8 30.Re8+ Kg7 31.f8Q#. 1-0. [Click to replay]

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