Alik Gershon has set a new world record for the most chess games played simultaneously by one player: He played against 523 people, moving from one board to the next in a Tel Aviv square. He only lost 11 of these matches. Taking into consideration the 58 draws, he won more than 86 % of the matches.
Just a nice story for chess freaks? Maybe.
But there might be more to it: Because not only is Alik Gershon an Israeli, but the previous world record in simultaneous chess had just been set last year by Morteza Mahjoob, an
Iranian chess player who had played against 500 people in Tehran. Mr Gershon noted the Persian origins of chess, stating that this makes his new world record even sweeter, but also adding that he hoped this “chess war” will be the only war ever fought between Israel and Iran. – As someone who has travelled both Israel and Iran and who appreciates both peoples, cultures and countries (although in the case of Iran this excludes the political and legal system), I can only share that hope.
For those old enough to remember, this brings back memories of the “chess war” between the USA and the USSR, culminating in the 1972 contest between Bobby Fisher and Boris Spassky. I am already curious what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s notoriously anti-Israeli president will have to say about this world record.