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Israel Zilber

Country Latvia
Soviet Union
United States
Born June 25, 1933
Riga, Latvia

Israel Zilber (June 25, 1933, Riga, Latvia) is a chess player who won the Latvian Chess Championship in 1958.

Latvia chess player

Zilber achieved excellent results during 1950-1973 period when he lived in Soviet Latvia. He played for Latvia in Soviet Team juniors chess championships in Leningrad in 1951 at first board (5,5 from 9).

He played in Latvian Chess Championship finals in:

He was Riga champion in 1962 and 1974, and "Daugava" champion in 1962 and won second place in 1965. In the Championship of USSR he reached semifinals in 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1962.

Zilber also played for Latvia in Soviet Team chess championships in 1953 (second place at seventh board: +4 -1 =2), 1955 (at fourth board: +2 -2 =5), 1958 (at first board: +1 -5 =1), 1960 (at fifth board: 2,5 from 7), 1962 (second place at fourth board: +4 -1 =3), and 1963 (at fourth board: 6 from 9).

He played in the Soviet Team chess cup for team "Daugava" at fifth board in 1961 (+0 -3 =3) and 1964 (+0 -1 =0).

USA chess player

After 1974, Zilber immigrated first to Israel and then to the United States. In 1979, he played in Hastings International Chess Congress but in 1980 Zilber won the Masters Open tournament in Biel and a year later he won Limoges tournament. Also his name can be found between the participants of Manchester Benedictine in 1980. However, his life was not very successful in the United States. Zilber would end up homeless on the streets of New York City through most of the 1980s and played in Washington Square Park. This story about the park was the setting for the 1993 film Searching for Bobby Fischer. Details of Zilber's life in the end are controversial - unconfirmed story that during one hard winter he froze to death. But in another version he is not listed in the Social Security Death Index.

Notable games