Sunday 4 December 2016


CHARLES JAFFE (December 10, 1887-July 12, 1941)
            He was born in Dubrovne (Dubrowna), Byelorussia, to a father who was an itinerant elementary school teacher and author of works for Hamelits (The advocate) and Hatsfira (The siren).  He studied in religious primary school and in the Dubrovne yeshiva, and secular subject in the municipal Russian school.  In 1898 he moved to the United States, worked in Paterson, New Jersey, as a weaver, and at the same time he excelled at chess.  In 1907 he became the chess champion of the state of New Jersey, and in 1916 he acquired the title for the state of New York; he was also the winner of the second and third prizes in nationwide American chess tournaments.  He began writing in Vienna in 1911, and afterward he ran a chess column in Yidishes tageblat (Jewish daily newspaper) in New York, and for many years thereafter he was in charge of the division “In der shakh-velt” (In the world of chess) for the Tsukunft (Future) in New York, in which, until October 1938, he published a theoretical series on chess playing.  He also published on chess matters, general articles, and stories in: Der amerikaner (The American), Harlem Press, Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), and Der farband (The union), a monthly of Polish Jews in America, among others.  He was the author of Jaffe’s Chess Primer, with a preface by the American chess champion, Samuel Reshevsky, and a foreword by Sigmund Miller (New York: Parnassus, 1937), 95 pp.  He died in Sea Gate, Brooklyn.

Sources: Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO), vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1928); obituary notices in the Yiddish and English press; American Jewish Yearbook (1941); “Biographical Sketch,” in Jaffe’s Chess Primer (New York, 1937), p. 5; The Chess Review (New York) (June-July 1941), p. 141.
Zaynvl Diamant

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