Chess grandmaster Alik Gershon takes Guinness record for simultaneous chess games from arch-foe after marathon 19-hour match against 520 players. ‘I’m tired but insanely satisfied,’ he tells Ynet
A Guinness representative confirmed the new record.
Alik Gershon, 30, won 86% of the games he played against amateurs in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. He needed to win at least 80% to seal the record, which previously stood at 500 simultaneous games.
The tournament began under the blazing midday sun on Thursday with Gershon shaking hands with every single player as he walked along rows of tables lined with chess boards. It ended at 7 am Friday, with Gershon scoring 454 victories, 58 ties and 11 defeats.
Training for the event, which continued through the night, was purely physical and included a lot of jogging and swimming, the former Israeli champion said.
“There are a lot of kilometers to walk and you have to stay focused,” he said, noting that his Iranian rival Morteza Mahjoob walked 40 kilometers (25 miles) to secure his record.
Mahjoob set the current record in August 2009 in a feat which took him 18 hours and with less than five seconds for each move.
Gershon did not let his fatigue affect the game and expressed great satisfaction after winning the tournament, which was initiated by the Jewish Agency to mark the 20th anniversary of immigration from the Soviet Union.
“First of all I feel tired, but I’m insanely satisfied,” he told Ynet on Friday morning. “Breaking a record and vanquishing the Iranians is a wonderful feeling.”
“Hopefully all our wars against Iran will be on the chess board,” said a smiling Gershon. “For such wars, I am prepared.”
In the real world of geo-politics, Iran and Israel are arch-enemies.
Along with the United States and other powers, Israel accuses Iran of using its nuclear energy program to hide efforts to produce an atomic bomb, a charge Tehran vehemently denies.
And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is notorious for his oft-repeated denials of the Nazi Holocaust and for saying that the Jewish state will one day be wiped off the map.
Tourism Minister Misezhnikov extends formal invitation to 33 rescued men, their spouses to be hosted for all-expenses-paid trip to various Christian sites in Holy Land this Christmas
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov has extended a formal invitation to all 33 recently rescued Chilean miners and their spouses to be hosted for an all-expenses-paid trip to various Christian holy sites in Israel this Christmas.
“The bravery and strength of spirit of the rescued miners was an inspiration to people across the world,” said Haim Gutin, Israel Commissioner for Tourism, North and South America.
“It would be an honor for us to have the miners visit Israel during a time of year when we will welcome thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world.”
Approximately 58% of the 2.7 million travelers who visited Israel in 2009 – Israel’s second best year for tourism – were Christian.
Race for the Cure in capital will be first of its kind event to be held in Israel in bid to promote early detection of breast cancer
The “Victory of Life” Israel Race for the Cure, to be held next Thursday, October 28, in Jerusalem, will be the highlight of the organization’s launch events in Israel, with thousands of Israelis joining a march in support of the battle against breast cancer.
The event, which will be the first of it kind to be held in Israel, will bring to Jerusalem people from all over the country in the aims of promoting education on early detection of breast cancer.
The race will begin in Sacher Park and go through the heart of downtown Jerusalem before ending at Gai Ben Hinom. This event will influence local advocacy for breast cancer awareness while empowering men and women in Israel who are stricken by breast cancer.
Komen races for the cure take place in cities and sites worldwide. The race in Jerusalem will be launched by internationally renowned fashion designer Dorin Frankfurt, who has agreed to volunteer as the event’s honorary chairperson.
The Municipality of Jerusalem and the Hadassah World Zionist Organization are partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure in this coming year’s projects. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is the official host of the organization’s launching events in Israel.
To this day, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has invested nearly $1.5 billion globally in research, education, screening, treatment and awareness programs particularly geared to low income communities where the need for outreach and education are greater.
Udi Manber named internet giant’s VP of Search Products, user experience. Manber tells Yedioth Ahronoth about field’s challenges, why he welcomes competition
Google’s primary operation, the search engine, is being transferred into Israeli hands: In a redistribution of authority within the internet giant, VP of Engineering Udi Manber has been named VP of search product, which will see him in charge of search products and the user experience departments.
Only days ago Microsoft and Facebook unveiled a partnership that could rival Google’s personalized search capabilities, as the latter announced that its search engine, Bing, will soon display personalized results drawn from the social network. But Manber said Google is not worried.
“The more sources of information we have, the better the search results,” he told Yedioth Ahronoth in his first interview since his appointment for the position. “We know how to receive information from many sources and combine them. Facebook is another source of information. We know that information from social networks is important, and we’re working on it.”
Manber also appears unfazed by the Yahoo-Microsoft Search Alliance, another deal announced earlier this year in an attempt to counter Google: “I prefer having as many competitors as possible,” he said. “Now, without Yahoo there is one less competitor. Bing is a successful competitor, and we are happy to compete with it.”
He sees the search field as a challenge: “Approximately a third of all daily search entries are new, ones we haven’t come across in the past,” he said. “We need to know how to help you find an answer even though we don’t have previous experience. It’s hard to understand how difficult search is.”
New developments are popping up in constantly to fill what the search field is lacking, though, and Manber sees some of them as surprising.
“There are things today that I wouldn’t have thought possible a decade ago, like voice search,” he said. “It is possible to speak on the phone and instantly get search results. It seems to me like science fiction.”
Manber grew up in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, and skipped a grade in high school, when his talents in mathematics were discovered. One of his neighbors was singer Yehuda Poliker. “He taught me to play the guitar, and later I played with him,” Manber said.
Manber earned a Bachelor’s of Mathematics from the Israel Institute of Technology in 1975, and went on to finish his Master’s in 1978. In the early ’80s he earned a second Master’s degree and later a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Washington, and has been living the US ever since.
Manber was developing search tools for the internet as far back as 1992, before the first browser was even launched. He served as a professor the University of Arizona, and in 1998 he became the head scientist at Yahoo. In 2002 he joined Amazon, and later became the CEO of A9, a search engine that Amazon was developing. He joined Google in 2006.
Manber’s new position will see him succeed Marissa Mayer, one of Google’s best-known executives, who has been with the company since its inception. Mayer has been made vice president of Geographic and Local Services.
“He is a very through man, who always pays attention to the small details,” said a former colleague who refused to have his name published. “In my opinion, his appointment is a change for the better. Mayer wanted the search interface to stay minimalistic, but with the competition from Facebook and Microsoft’s Bing it’s impossible to keep the same interface.”