A Philatelist’s Dream

Jewish Chess Masters on StampsJewish Chess Masters on Stamps
Berkovich and Divinsky

If your library or your community has a very (VERY) active stamp collecting society, this might be an acceptable choice for your library.  Even then, it is very obscure!  There’s nothing wrong with it and I’m not suggesting weeding it.  It’s just an odd choice for a library unless they buy every possible stamp-related item they can get a hold of.  The really interesting thing is that “Jews on postage stamps” is an actual subject heading, and there are all kinds of books about it on WorldCat.org.  There are also books about “Catholics on postage stamps” and

…wait for it…

“Beavers on postage stamps.”



  1. Okay, I could see “Jews on postage stamps.” Really. But Jewish chess masters? I’m actually amazed there are enough chess masters of any sort on postage stamps to merit an entire book.

    I’m so going to have to ILL a book on beaver stamps.

  2. Love it! The site is falling down funny. The best one is “stunt nematodes.” I picture little worms performing circus tricks: jumping out of burning buildings, crashing cars, dodging bullets…

  3. Hay, beavers are the national symbol of Canada. OF COURSE, there would be a category of beavers on postage stamps. Sheeesh.

  4. Glancing at the cover I think I’m seeing Kasparov, Steinitz, Botvinnik, and Spassky. The other stamp might be Tartokover? I’m not sure.

    Dudes, where is the greatest collection of chess books in the world? Moscow, you say? London? No. The Cleveland Public Library: http://www.cpl.org/010012/chess/

    Let’s hear it for Jewish Chess Masters on Stamps or wherever else they might turn up.

  5. Jewish chess masters on stamps is not as random a topic as it might first appear.

    Compared to their numbers in the general population, Jews have been disproportionately represented among the elite of the chess world. Since the title was made official in the 1800s, many World Chess Champions have been Jewish (or part Jewish): Steinitz, Lasker, Botvinnik, Smyslov (I’m pretty sure), Tal, Spassky, Fischer, Kasparov. In the Soviet Union, where Jews were oppressed (to say the least) and faced quotas in higher education, chess was a way for a Jew to excel and gain fame and status.

    So, for people who are interested in stamps, or chess, or Jewish history, this is a pretty nice book. I don’t think it’s part of a series, either, Alex, though that is a reasonable guess.

    Thanks, guys! P-K4!

  6. Nathan Divinksy, one of the authors of this book, is an interesting fellow. Professor of mathematics at UBC, chess master, and ex-husband of the only female Prime Minister Canada has ever had.

    He used to drive around with a bumper sticker that said “I slept with the PM”

  7. I am 43. I collect stamps and I just found out that I am a Jew. Now this book. My whole life is coming together now. Thank you webmaster!

  8. Just like sewing & cooking, this little hobby is making a comeback.

    Stamp collecting really seems to be more popular in Canada than the Lower 48. When I had a vaycay in Montreal recently, there was not only a stamp shop near the Holiday Inn where I was staying – the La Baie/Hudson Bay department store still had a pretty healthy section for my fellow collectors.

  9. Rmm, I love the Cleveland Public Library chess set collection, too. And the world’s smallest book. And the dollhouse. And the amazing twin marble staircases!

  10. I’m with PB…that’s exactly what I thought. I didn’t ‘get it” until I got to the line about beavers on stamps.

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