Israel wins (chess) war with Iran

By Jennifer Lipman, October 22, 2010
Grandmaster Alik Gershon concentrates on the games

Grandmaster Alik Gershon concentrates on the games

An Israeli chess player has set a new world record for playing the highest number of games at one time. The title was previously held by an Iranian player.

Grandmaster Alik Gershon, who emigrated to Israel from the Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union, took the title after playing 523 games simultaneously in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.

Mr Gershon, 30, won most of those matches – losing just 11 and drawing 58 of them.

The challenge was organised with the help of the Jewish Agency and the Israel Chess Federation. Mr Gershon began playing on Thursday evening, finally breaking the record this morning.

Guinness World records observers were present at the event and have confirmed that Mr Gershon is the new record-holder.

His feat has eclipsed that of Iranian grandmaster Morteza Mahjoob. Mr Mahjoob played 500 games at the same time in 2009 – winning 397 of them.

Mr Gershon joked: "Hopefully this is the only war we are going to have with this enemy.”

In May 2009, Canadian Jewish pianist Chilly Gonzales set a world record for the longest solo performance.

Last updated: 3:51pm, October 22 2010