Kuperman Iser

-Waiter's ,checkmate!- cried Lange.
Checkmate immediately appeared and the game started.
Mr. Lange, employee of the local bank, was a regular customer of this bar in the Wilhelmstrasse. A haunter made usually an order for a bottle of wine or a couple beers with some snack. The five chessplaying tables were seldom empty. Here people are playing usually for money.

Iser Kupermann.
-Waiter's ,checkmate!- cried Lange. Checkmate immediately appeared and the game started. Mr. Lange, employee of the local bank, was a regular customer of this bar in the Wilhelmstrasse. A haunter made usually an order for a bottle of wine or a couple beers with some snack. The five chessplaying tables were seldom empty. Here people are playing usually for money.

According the tradition you can follow the games, but only in silence, without comments. But the players make sometimes jokes or remarks amongst each other which could provoke general approval and laughter from the public. When in the bar arrived an old man with white hair, sunken chest and leaning on a stick, dressed in a dark grey costume, all tables were in use.

Mr. Mayer just now came for business in Hamburg . He passed the chesstables with his crippled leg and took a seat not far from the tables. He said to himself: "Ï am sure that I heard that voice once before" and he looked attentively to the man with dark glasses, long whiskers and curled moustache.

-I could not leave this spot before remembering where we met earlier ! Asking the bill from the waiter, he asked him :

" By the way,do you know who is that gentleman with dark glasses ?"
"Oh, that is mr. Lange, one of the best chessplayers of our town".
"-Lange ...Lange..." Mr. Mayer tried to remember - "No. I don't know that name". Making his way to the exit he halted for a moment near that table and looked once more at the man with dark glasses.
The style of his playing also called for association. He used two fingers like pincers to take a piece from the board. Mr. Mayer had the feeling that sometime ago he had seen the same. At that moment Lange made a mistake and Mayer suddenly exclaimed: "Not that move".

Lange sharply cut him : "Public must not interfere , but if you can play, please be wellcome for a game. But mind, a game cost you 100 Marks" He adds with an ironic smile , looking at his shabby sleeve.
"I agree", answered Mayer,
"But one condition : money in advance for any case". Lange made a wink to the present public. Money was placed on the table. After shaking the pieces, Lange had to play with white. He made first move with queens pawn ; Sicilian opening. They performed rather fast and they kept that good tempo.

When white tried to pass forward his pawn, black answered with the long rochade. When white hoisted the knight in centre , black attacked him with the castle.

"Missing " that knight means that the white knight stays under attack . Black did not hesitate to avoid the Trojan's horse. It looked if the two enemies played that debut before. The eyes of the players crossed each other.
"That is him" Mayer suddenly realised. He made whiskers and moustache for camouflage. But what name he choose for himself......Lange.

The game became slower and when Lange was thinking longer about his next move ; in the memory of Mayer appeared images of an unforgettable past.

1943. Little concentration camp in Glenkov.
When Mayer was in thrown in a barraque as prisoner there was another prisoner. They explained him: our barraque is first. After one week you will go to barraque nr 2 and again one week later to barraque nr. 3, and that is point.
Why point, asked Mayer. When they take you from barraque nr. 3 it will be the end.

But nobody knows exactly , it is only gossip that the Germans use prisoners for experiments with new weapons. After twenty days in the barraque came a German soldier. "They will drive us as animals to the slaughterhouse" In his mind came an impuls to strangle that hangman but I knew that if I would jump , it would be immediate death. The soldier made one step and shouted loudly: "Hei Jews, who can play chess ; come to me " There came 6 persons and among them was Mayer.
The new chief of the concentration camp, capitan Dingoff was waiting behind the chessboard. "Hei, distrophic, who van play chess will have a chance. Who wins from me, will be transfered to barraque nr. 1 to prolong his life".

They played one after another and Mayer was the last. The first five prisoners did not give strong resistance, they lost rather quickly. Angry, tortured with trembling hands they could hardly move the pieces on the chessboard. The capitan won the first 5 games one after the other without hiding his sadistic satisfaction. He could see how the eyes of the prisoners were full of despair and cold drops of transpiration appeared on their faces. Then came Mayers turn.

They played the Sicilian debut and soon the capitan came in a difficult situation and he lost the game. He was furious and cried : "I spit on my promising that I send you to the first barraque. I could send you with the other five to barraque nr. 3. But I would like to teach you how you must play in that variant !"

Mayer was send in barraque nr. 1, but after 2 weeks het was transfered again to barrack nr. 3. All those days in his mind he was playing all kind of variants of the Sicilian debut.
Before the formation of the group prisoners to their last journey, Mayer was again taken to capitan Dingoff. They started playing. Dingoff offered one knight to take so that he Mayer could get the impression that he could win. But Mayer did not accept that for he felt that it was a trap. And the capitan lost again and he again swore that next time he will win !.
Mayer appeared the third time in barraque nr. 1 but the next meeting with the capitan did not take place, for he escaped the concentration camp with some friends.

*********

There is no doubt, the man opposite of him was Dingoff. The same fingers as pincers taking the pieces , the damned Nazi recognised him also. What he must do: go to a special organisation to inform who is Lange in reality. From another side, many Nazi's are free and it is difficult to believe that administration does not know who is in reality this Mr. Lange. Mayer , agitated after remembering that story, made a strong attack. He made a strange move with his castle and his black knight jumped in the camp of his enemy and white inevetably met checkmate.

But Lange tried to prolong time and then Mayer asked him: "How long can you think; you lost !". "Why are so worried, do you need urgent money to pay your bill for supper", laughed Dingoff.
"Bill" asked Mayer, "your bill ,Obersturmbahnfuhrer Dingoff, you will pay in full and you can't hide your face behing dark glasses".
When Mayer was leaving the bar, he left behind him oppresive agitation with the public. In the bar was no longer joking or laughing.


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