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    Ossip Bernstein

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    September 20, 1882 – November 30, 1962

    Ossip Bernstein was a pretty good chess player, but he never challenged for the world championship. However, he played a game of even greater importance.

    Bernstein was a lawyer by trade, and served as a legal advisor to bankers. Once the Russian Revolution hit, that was not looked at too fondly. Bernstein was arrested by the secret police, which had a simple solution: the firing squad.

    Thankfully, one officer recognized his name. Are you the famous chess player, he asked. (Hooray for Bolshevik chess groupies?) Not believing his answer (Bernstein is a pretty common Jewish name, after all), the officer offered a game of chess. If Bernstein won, he would get to live. Lose or draw? Well...

    Bernstein won. The police released him and he escaped to Paris. Bernstein would live a long life, playing chess in major tournaments all over the world. He didn't win that many... but, clearly, he won the one that mattered.

    Verdict: Jew.

    April 3, 2017

    See Also

    David Bronstein

    Miguel Najdorf

    Aron Nimzowitsch

    Samuel Reshevsky

    Carl Schlechter
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