From ‘100 Years of Chess in Canada’ by D.A. Yanofsky, 1967
Israel Joseph Dreman
Born in Winnipeg in 1910. “Joe ” Dreman learned to play chess while a youngster and received his chess training at the Winnipeg Jewish Chess Club. Though he has won the Manitoba Championship three times and the Club championship several times, he has strangely enough, never competed for the National title. Though very successful in business and preoccupied with business affairs he has never let his interest flag in the game, and even today ranks among the best in Winnipeg, if not in Canada.
From the January 1992 issue of Exclam ! (Official Publication of the Manitoba Chess Association)
Interview by Albert Boxer:
Bom in Winnipeg in 1910, Joe Dreman is a chess legend in Manitoba as a dean, patron, and champion of Manitoba chess.
His achievements as a player of chess is impressive, with three Manitoba Championships (1935, 1936, and one other year), four City Championships (1944, 1946, 1947, and 1950), and two Winnipeg Jewish Chess Championships (1935 and 1936) to his credit. Abe Yanofsky broke the string of Winnipeg Jewish Chess Championships in 1937, which is certainly no disgrace. [Ed: We were unable to discover the year of Mr. Dreman’s third Manitoba Championship in time for this issue’s printing].
As an example of his ability as a player, here is a game between Joe Dreman and Len Moser, an expert player. The game was from Abe Yanofsky’s “One hundred years of chess in Canada”:
I interviewed Joe Dreman in his home in mid-December, and it was with great pleasure that he related some of his experiences with chess. His study reflects the chess player-three sets in view and chess trophies along the wall. There is a chess set on a table in his business office, as well. I will let Joe take over the interview now:
“I learned to play chess very late in life. I was eighteen years old and I taught myself the game from an article I read in the ‘Book of Knowledge’ 1 was short of money at the time, so I made a chess board and men from cardboard. This was in 1928.
“I was inspired to do this when I read a headline in the Winnipeg Free Press, which stated Building Burns, Players refuse to leave’. The fire was in the People’s Book Store on Main St., then the home of the Winnipeg Jewish Chess Club. ‘This is the game for me’, I thought, and I joined the club that same year.”
“The game has been very good to me, and I learned much that helped me in life and business. The greatest the game has taught me is this: your position is never so that you cannot lose; your game is never so bad that you cannot fight back, recover, and win. This saved me from two of the greatest mistakes in life, business, and chess: overconfidence and despair.
Joe is very proud, and rightly so, of his record as a chess organizer and patron. Here are a few highlights of his accomplishments, in a list too long to cover in this brief article:
Joe started the series of Minnesota vs. Manitoba chess matches in 1935. Before the string was broken, these became the longest continuous series of matches in International chess history. Happily, the match began again this year.
Abe Yanofsky’s talent was fostered by Joe. Here is a delicious story: Joe Dreman and Canon Roy were determined to see that Abe would go to the Buenos Aires Olympiad of 1939 in style. They raised the money in one dollar donations from all over Manitoba. The catch was, that no one was allowed to donate more than one dollar! Fifteen hundred dollars was raised in this way, a fortune in those days. The story of Abe’s achievement in Buenos Aires, at fourteen years of age, is history.
In the early 1930’s, flying into the teeth of the Great Depression, Joe brought to Winnipeg a series of Grandmasters, helping to enrich the city’s chess life. The list reads like a role of honor:
Alexander Alekhine, 1932, then the World Chess Champion;
Israel Kashdan, 1933, the ‘little Capablanca’;
I. G. Horowitz, 1937 and 1939;
Reuben Fine, 1940 and 1941;
George Koltanowski, 1938, the World Blindfold Chess Champion.
After World War Il, Samuel Reshevsky came to Winnipeg twice, adding to the distinguished list.
Joe told me, “The camaraderie of chess, the people you meet, are among my fondest memories.”
Joe has been the chairman of Financial Committees, including the Finance Chairman for the 1967 Grandmaster Tournament, and has donated moneys generously, both openly and anonymously, for sixty years.
When I told Mrs. Rae Dreman that Joe will be featured on the cover of EXCLAM! and in the magazine, Rae said, “I am proud of him.”
We here at EXCLAM! and all members of the Manitoba Chess Association are proud of him, too.
From the obituary in the Winnipeg Free Press, August 4, 2000:
ISRAEL JOSEPH DREMAN On Monday night, July 31, 2000 at the St. Boniface Hospital, Joe Dreman passed away in the quiet and noble manner in which he lived his life. Recently having celebrated his 90th birthday, surrounded by loving family and cherished friends, he embraced his final days with few regrets and the comfort of a life that he regarded as full and resplendent with rich and wonderful memories. Joe is survived by his beloved Rae, his wife of 65 years and his three children, of whom he was so proud; sons, David (Holly) and Solly (Orly), and his daughter Sherrill (Dane Hershberg) as well as his grandchildren, Tyler, Erin, Evan, Dalit, Galia, Orna, Ditto and Meredith; also two great-grandsons, Yonaton and Yuval. He was predeceased by his brothers, Samuel, Harry, Victor, Simon and Abe and sisters, Edith and Rose.
Joe’s chosen field, futures trading in commodities, was never a chore but always an adventure he pursued with passion. His career in the grain trade spanned sixty years starting as a runner on the trading floor in 1928 to eventually, in the 1940s becoming a partner in The Northwest Commission and then the sole owner. The company was renamed Dreman & Co. in 1958. He was honoured by the Exchange in 1993, for his long term contributions. He was President of the Brokers Association for much of the 1960s and 1970s, in addition to having served on various Exchange committees. He was proud to be the first Jewish member of the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange and he was also a member of the Investment Dealers Association. His career was rewarded with considerable financial success but the true measure of Joe Dreman, the businessman, was the high esteem in which he was held, by his colleagues in the investment and general business community. This was evidenced by his being the recipient of the Hebrew University-Manitoba Excellence Award for Excellence in Business in 1998. His judgement was respected, his word never questioned and his friendship greatly valued. He was known as a man of honour and he personified integrity.
Joe enjoyed great success as a chess player having been a repeated winner of the Manitoba Chess Championship. He was a great supporter of the development of young players and of the game, in general. Many owe their success to his nurturing and encouragement. Joe was a past president of the Glendale Golf & Country Club, and a long serving board member of the YMHA and the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue. He was a devoted philanthropist who supported worthwhile charities in a selfless manner. His attachment to Israel was steadfast and he gave generously of his time and energies, visiting over 50 times and lending his financial support to the development of a state, dear to his heart. On a more personal level, Joe never refused a request for his help and it was always given in a respectful manner with great sensitivity to the preservation of the dignity of others. His family was continually surprised by the incidents that people would relate of how Joe was instrumental in their lives, for deeds for which he never took credit. Mostly Joe will be remembered as a family man. Nothing was more important to him than the closeness of family. He applauded and revelled in their successes and suffered all their misfortunes, as his own. He was a constant source of support, counsel and occasional advice. His love was unconditional. He cherished his wife, loved and respected his sons and absolutely adored his daughter. His son-in-law and daughters-in-law, to him were his own children and were treated as such. His grandchildren were his never ending joy and he considered them the great dividends of his good fortune. Joe’s friends were numerous, loyal and devoted. Joe’s life was rich and full and for that he was truly grateful. He leaves this world a better place for his presence. He will be missed but his memory will live on in the hearts of the many people whose lives he touched and in those of a loving family, who survive him.
Joe’s funeral was conducted at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue on Wednesday, August 2. Active pallbearers were Tyler Hershberg, Evan Hershberg, Earl Rosenbloom, David Cohen, Nelson Zagalsky, Charles Wiener and Marilyn Resnick. Serving as honorary pallbearers were Rabbi Louis Berkal, Harold Buchwald C.M. Q.C. L.L.D., Brownie Freedman, Dr. Richard Hershberg, George T. Richardson O.M., Honorable James A. Richardson, and Sally Schulman. The family wishes to thank Dr. Neil Lerner and the nursing staff of 5B, St. Boniface Hospital, for their compassionate care. A fund has been established to honour the life of Joe Dreman at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba (477-7525).As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on August 04, 2000
From Winnipeg Tribune archival material:
Joe Dreman first won the Manitoba Championship in 1935.
He repeated in 1936.
He also won the Jewish Club Championship in 1937