Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Why the Russians excel in chess..!!!

After months of negotiation with the authorities, aTalmudist from Odessa(city in the erstwhile Sovietnear the Black Sea for those unfamiliar with "TheOdessa Files") was granted permission to visitMoscow.He boarded the train and found an empty seat.
At the next stop a young man got on and sat nextto him. The scholar looked at the young man andthought:This fellow doesn't look like a peasant, and if heisn't a peasant he probably comes from thisdistrict.If he comes from this district, then he must beJewish because this is, after all, a Jewish district.On the other hand, if he is a Jew, where could he begoing? I'm the only Jew in our district who haspermission to travel to Moscow.
Ahh? But just outside Moscow there is a littlevillage called Samvet, and Jews don't need specialpermission to go there. But why would he be going to Samvet?He's probably going to visit one of the Jewishfamilies there, but how many Jewish families arethere in Samvet? Only two - the Bernsteins and theSteinbergs. The Bernsteins are a terrible family,and a nice looking fellow like him must be visiting the Steinbergs.
But whyis he going? The Steinbergs have only daughters, so maybe he's theirson-in-law.But if he is, then which daughter did he marry? Theysay that Sarah married a nice lawyer from Budapest,and Esther married a businessman from Zhitomer, soit must be Sarah's husband. Which means that his nameis Alexander Cohen, if I'm not mistaken. But if hecomes from Budapest, with all the anti-Semitism they have there, he musthave changed his name.
What's the Hungarian equivalent of Cohen? Kovacs.But if they allowed him to change his name, he must havesome special status. What could it be? A doctoratefrom the University.
At this point the scholar turns to the young man andsays, "How do you do, Dr. Kovacs?""Very well, thank you, sir." answered the startledpassenger. But how is it that you know my name?""Oh," replied the Talmudist, "it was obvious."