Ossip Bernstein was a chess grandmaster and a lawyer. Here’s his amazing story of how he managed to escape death by winning a superior officer in a game of chess.
Born in 1882, Bernstein received his PhD in law and by 1906 he was a financial lawyer. After the First World War, he fled to France where he started working with banks and financial institutions as a lawyer. In 1918, during the Ukrainian War of Independence, Bernstein was working in Ukraine and, because he was a legal advisor to some bankers that the state declared corrupted, he was sentenced to death by firing squad.
A few days later, when he was lined up in the firing squad, a superior officer recognised his name in the prisoner’s list. The officer then asked him if he was indeed, the famous chess grandmaster Ossip Bernstein. Bernstein replied but since the officer was not quite convinced with his answer, he challenged him into a game of chess. If Bernstein won (thus proving he was the chess master), he would be released, if not, he would executed. (the article continues after the ad)
Of course, Bernstein won the game quite easily and, as per the officer’s promise, he was released to return to France!
He settled in Paris and died in 1962.
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Main Article Photo: FixiPixi_deluxe / Pixabay, Creative Commons
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: The Bobby Fischer I Knew and Other Stories
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