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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Raphael Persitz

       Raphael Persitz (May 26, 1934 – Feb 4, 2009), born in Tel Aviv, was the greatest natural chess talent in Israel. As a 20-year-old playing on second board, he made an excellent 7.5/9 score in the 1954 students' Olympaid and made a respectable showing in the Hastings tournaments in the mid-1950s. From 1958 to 1962, he was the strongest Israeli player having defeated other Israeli players like Czerniak, Porat, Aloni.

        He represented Israel in the Leipzig 1960 Olympiad in 1960 and scored 60% score, the second-best on the team. As a student in Oxford, he defeated C. H. O'D. Alexander, the former British champion.
       He was always an amateur who spent little time on chess.  Moshe Czerniak noted in Israel in the Chess Olympiads, 'It's a pity Rafee Persitz doesn't devote more time to chess. He should have been an excellent International Master by now.'  Persitz studied economics and became a well-known financial analyst and had several long-standing fights with the Israeli Chess Association's administration.  He once sent a letter to the ICA which began, "Dear honorable gangsters, ...".
       He was known not only for his natural talent, but for his for his excellent written analysis anf was a long time contributor to the British Chess Magazine's 'The Student Corner'.  In addition he authored three chess books in Hebrew.
       Persitz was Israeli Junior Champion in 1951. He studied at Balliol College, Oxford, and represented Oxford University in the annual match against Cambridge University on three occasions (1954, 1955 and 1956).  

       Persitz played three times for England in the 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 the individual gold medal at Oslo 1954.

       In 1955/56, he tied for 6-7th in Hastings. In 1958, he played in Haifa / Tel Aviv and in 1961, he tied for 7-8th in Netanya.    In 1968/69, he tied for 8-10th in Hastings.
       After college he moved to Switzerland where for 15 years he worked with his father in the banking business in Geneva.  Persitz’ grandmother, Shoshana Persitz, was a member of the first Knesset (the Israeli Parliament).

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