Avital Pilpel
Haifa, Israel
My Hobbies and Interests


 As noted on my home page, my interest in rational decision making and belief change naturally led me to interest in irrational decision making and belief change.

I sometimes comment on the Quatloos! blog of financial scams. Some skeptical web sites I visit -- investigating all sorts of irrational beliefs and behaviors, from astrology to zombies, are Free Inquiry magazine, Skeptic magazine, Richard Dawkins' web site, and the JREF

Recently, I have been - very occasionally - commenting about irrationality as I see in the "wider world", in the popular press in Israel. These include my blog in the Times of Israel, and -- for example -- "On the Process of Becoming Stupid", published Nov. 2012 in Yediot Aharonot , or A Logicial Reads the Papers and The Distorting Mirror in "Ha'Mar'ah" [The Mirror], an Israeli political blog. The last three articles are in Hebrew.


I am an amateur chess player and chess historian, specializing in the history of chess in Israel and Mandatory Palestine. Please visit my memorial site for Israel Barav and / my blog 

I am currently writing (in my spare time) a book about the subject, covering the period from the 19th century to 1964 (the Tel Aviv chess olympiad). If you have any relevant material, I would be very glad if you contact me. Shahar Gindi (the link is to his facebook profile) is my co-author. An article based on the outline of the book is here (in Hebrew).

A "side effect" of this hobby is finding interesting biographical material on Jewish chess peronalities, as seen for example in my article about Moshe Czerniak in the last issue (literally) of the Israeli Chess Federation's magazine (in Hebrew; large file), or my article "When did Rubinstein Learn Chess?" (published, in Polish translation, w/T. Lissowski's help).

I have also recently fulfilled a small dream: I have always been a fan of Lewis Carroll's work, and now the Carrollinian, the magazine of the Lewis Carroll Society, took an article where I notice something that, to the best of my knowledge, nobody had noticed before about the chess game in the Through the Looking Glass -- despite a century of research. It is of such small triumphs that historical research is made -- I'm certainly not in it for the money... 

For more information about chess in Israel, visit the Israeli Chess Federation's website (in Hebrew). For more about general chess history, visit Edward Winter's Chess Notes.


My library currently contains ca. 5000 books. Most of them are in philosophy (of course), history, and mathematics, with a large section of classical and other fiction.

The largest book store on the internet is, of course, Amazon. If you are interested in rare and/or out-of-print Hebrew-language books, the best place is Itamar's Bookstore
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