Monday, June 18, 2007

Funny old Geza

Occasionally you find yourself reading some unexceptional passage, so apparently uncontroversial that it's only when you've gone past it that you think you saw something awry. Your eye drags you back up the page, like a kid pulling their mother's arm, and you look again and say to yourself - hang on, that's got to be nonsense, hasn't it?

From Hans Kmoch's reminiscences of Geza Marozcy, republished this month by the Chess Café:

Maroczy was forced to live in exile for some seven years. Somehow he had become compromised during the Communist revolution that shook Hungary in 1919. To imagine Maroczy as a revolutionary, and a Communist one at that, is completely ridiculous. He would never knowingly break the law or abet any kind of law-breaking. The only explanation for his difficult situation is that he must have fallen into some sort of political trap, perhaps by signing a petition the portent of which he failed to appreciate. He was naive enough to have done that.

Some time after he left Hungary the Communist authorities realized their mistake and called him home, but since he had in the meantime resumed his chess career, they had to wait.

Maroczy's second chess career (1920-1936) was to last about as long as his first (1895-1911).

So Kmoch has Maroczy fleeing the country because he was suspected of being a Communist - and being pursued for that by the "Communist authorities"! Not only that, but they "call him home" during a chess career that starts in 1920: despite the fact that their government had been overthrown by a Romanian invasion in - August 1919.

So what was Kmoch babbling about and - since the article first appeared 56 years ago - has anybody, before now, pointed out that this appears to be nonsense?

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