Chess Olympiad 1939
27 teams with 133 players took part, with the United States , who were considered favorites, canceled for financial reasons. Some US players had made demands such as the payment of travel expenses for wives, which neither the American Chess Federation nor the Argentine hosts could meet. The European players traveled across the Atlantic for three weeks on the Belgian ship “ Piriapolis ”. Bulgaria was the only debutant from Europe to take part for the first time. In addition, ten teams from the American continent made their Olympic debut.
In Buenos Aires a total of 1012 games were scheduled (four per match), 928 of which were played and 24 were decided without a fight because of the outbreak of war. The number of board points should be decisive for victory. In the event of a tie, the team points should be taken into account. The reflection period is still unknown today.
The most prominent players included ex-world champion José Raúl Capablanca , who plays for Cuba, and world -champion Alexander Alekhine, who plays for France . Max Euwe , who had lost his world title two years earlier, did not take part.
A preliminary round was held from 23 to 31 August. The teams were divided into four groups, of which the four best teams should advance to final group A, the rest should play out final group B among themselves, which was officially known as the Copa Argentina . On September 1st, when the final began, World War II broke out, which is why some players no longer wanted to participate. Although many teams initially wanted to cancel the Olympics, the organization managed to persuade them to complete the remaining rounds. Due to the politically motivated failure of three English players, the English team, which was qualified for final group A, ended participation and left early. Three players on this team, Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander , Harry Golombek and Philip Stuart Milner-Barry , took on vital tasks in deciphering the German key machine Enigma after their return to Bletchley Park . Six competitions, including Germany against Poland, were not played, but rated 2-2 without a fight. The German team management initially refused to agree to a tie without a fight against the Palestine team. It was only when the Jewish players announced that they did not want to compete and that the Germans would de facto win the tournament that delegation leader Albert Becker agreed to agree. In order to avoid a distortion of competition, the Argentine team, which was still playing for the tournament victory at the time, also agreed a draw against Palestine. Alexander Alekhine did not appear in the competitions against Poland and Argentina to express his protest against the Germans.
In the end, the German team won just ahead of Poland - this was the only German victory in a chess Olympiad and the last German victory in an international team tournament until winning the European Championship in 2011.
In the bulletins, a silver cup was awarded for the best game. It could not be researched whether this was awarded. For the only time, the prizes for individual services were awarded without taking the preliminary rounds into account.
|1||German Empire||Erich Eliskases , Paul Michel , Ludwig Engels , Albert Becker , Heinrich Reinhardt|
|2||Poland||Savielly Tartakower , Mieczysław Najdorf , Paulin Frydman , Teodor Regedziński , Franciszek Sulik|
|3||Estonia||Paul Keres , Ilmar Raud , Paul Felix Schmidt , Gunnar Friedemann , Johannes Türn|
The first four of each preliminary round qualified for the A final, the remaining teams for the B final.
- Preliminary group 1
|2||Bohemia and Moravia||2||●||2½||3½||3||4th||3½||18½||11||5||1||0|
- Preliminary group 2
- Preliminary group 3
- Preliminary group 4
Final group A as a cross table
|6th||Bohemia and Moravia||CSR||1||2||1||2½||½||●||3½||3½||2½||2||3||2||2½||3½||2½||32||20th||8th||3||3|
- Germany's encounters against Poland, France and Palestine were rated 2-2 without a game. Likewise, the games of the team from Bohemia and Moravia against Poland and France and the duel Argentina - Palestine were rated 2-2.
- England had qualified for the A-final, but did not appear because of the outbreak of war.
- The table adopted by olimpbase gives one team point too many for each team. Maybe a point was included here for the failed game against England.
Final group B as a cross table
Consequences for the chess world
After the Chess Olympiad, many players did not want to return to Europe, which was now at war. The Argentine government offered them that they could support chess in Argentina and stay there for it. The entire German team as well as many other players (including Miguel Najdorf , Paulino Frydman , Gideon Ståhlberg , Moshe Czerniak , Jorge Pelikan ) accepted the offer. This led to a chess boom in Argentina that later won five medals at Chess Olympiads.
The return home of the returning players to Europe took place on September 28th on the ship "Copacabana".
Poland never returned to its old strength due to the emigration of its top players Najdorf, Frydman and Tartakower , who played for France in the future. After the war, largely unaffected by the Olympics, the decades of Soviet dominance of the chess world began.
Due to the war, the next Chess Olympiad did not take place until 1950.
Women's World Championship
At the same time, the tournament for the women's chess world championship took place in Buenos Aires , won by defending champion Vera Menchik (England) ahead of Sonja Graf (stateless, formerly Germany) and Berna Carrasco (Chile). The other German player Frieda Rinder came in fourth. A total of twenty women took part in the world championship. Again, several players did not return to Europe.
- Justin Corfield: Pawns in a Greater Game. The Buenos Aires Chess Olympiad August - September 1939 . Gentext Publications, Lara, Victoria 2015. ISBN 978-1-876586-24-9 .
- Ariel Magnus : The Chess Players of Buenos Aires . Novel. German by Silke Kleemann. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Cologne 2018, ISBN 978-3-462-05005-9 . (Novel with real and fictional references to the Olympics and Women's World Cup in 1939)
- Frank Große: The History of the Chess Olympiad. Part 3: Before the Second World War (1931-1939)
- Information about the 8th Chess Olympiad at olimpbase.org (English)
- Images of all teams from the daily La Nación