Wednesday, January 20, 2010

(260) Murray Chandler and Zygmunt Frankel: unpublicised exceptional lives

On January 19th 2010 I mentioned to my wife that the story of my contemporary, Murray Chandler, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_Chandler sounded like it was worth making into a film.
The previous month a chap called Edwards had told me that on his 16th birthday Chandler´s parents had found a note pinned to his bedroom door informing them that he had taken a flight from his New Zealand home to London where he would be pursuing the life of a chess professional. Edwards added that he had wanted to go on his 15th birthday but jibbed when he realised that he would have to attend school in the UK.
At 21 Chandler bought his first house in London, at 23 he acquired the Grandmaster title and at 25 had purchased a large garden flat in Earls Court.
Then in 2006 he had returned to New Zealand.

Fiona disparaged his life and said that there were many such instances of people striking out on their own and making it. She cited her late friend and fan, Ziggy Frankel. http://www.zygmuntfrankel.com/ In his unpublished autobiography (she possessed a copy of the manuscript) he describes his escape from Nazi persecution and exile in Siberia. But he had gone on from that to have a very successful career and also, she assured me, had a genuine joie de vivre.
Two days later she mentioned him again, this time in the context of successfully moving on from the past. She said that she had gleaned some facts about him from their two meetings on her visits to Israel and thought that by then he was retired but had been in arms design. She was unsure.
So later that day she googled him. One of the hits thrown up was for another man of the same name - http://www.chessgames.com/player/zygmunt_frankel.html

This guy was, like Chandler, a noted chessplayer from Wellington, New Zealand. Chandler later told me that he had met him a couple of times.
It says he was born in Krakow in 1921 and then went on to Siberia. It seems highly probable then that he was exiled by the same Russians that drove Fiona´s friend and thousands of other Polish Jews there.
Also, although towards the end of his unpublished autobiography Ziggy mentions a similarly exiled cousin of the same name born in 1928 he also early on mentions his father as stemming not from the Lvov where he grew up but from Ustrzyki Dolne, a town only 100 miles or so from Krakow. http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?sourceid=navclient&rlz=1T4SKPB_enES213ES213&q=ustrzyki+dolne&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=Gmina+Ustrzyki+Dolne,+Poland&gl=uk&ei=fytaS8SdA4OQjAeBqNipAg&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CAsQ8gEwAA
I would therefore have thought a direct family link with the Zygmunt Frankel of Wellington to be very plausible.