Chess in 1927

 by Bill Wall


In 1927, the artist Marcel Duchamp (1887-1978) married his first wife, Lydie, and went on their honeymoon.  One night, she glued all of his chess pieces to the chess board because he spent his honeymoon week studying chess.  They were divorced 3 months later.


In 1927, the International Correspondence Chess Association was founded by FIDE.  It was replaced in 1946 by the International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF).


In January, 1927, Efim Bogoljubov (1889-1952) was officially banned and excommunicated from the USSR.  Because he “exhibited the typically bourgeois vice of putting his pocket book above has principles,” Bogoljubov, who was chess champion of the Soviet Union, was excommunicated by the chess section of the All-Union Soviet of Physical Culture.  The chess section declared he was no longer chess champion.  He was also no longer a member of the Soviet chess organization.  He was expelled when he expressed the desire to give up his Soviet citizenship in order to be able to attend a tournament in Merano, Italy.  He was unable to go because the Italian authorities refused to recognize his Soviet passport.  Bogoljubov wrote to the Soviet chess organization declaring that in view of the difficulties of moving about Europe with a Soviet passport, he was thinking of assuming the citizenship of another country. (source: The Bridgeport Telegram, Jan 27, 1927)


In January, 1927, the National Chess Federation of the United States of America was formed in Chicago.  Its president was Maurice Kuhns.  (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan 13, 1927)


On January 15, 1927, David (Dawid) Janowski (1868-1927) died of tuberculosis in Hyeres, France at the age of 58.  He was a leading Polish chess master and subsequent French citizen. (source: The Wilkes-Barre Record, Jan 20, 1927)


On February 21, 1927, Anne Sunnucks (1927- ) was born in England.   She won the British Women’s Chess Championship in 1957, 1958, and 1964.  She was awarded the Woman International Master title in 1954.


On February 22, 1923, Florencio Campomanes (1923-2010) was born in Manila.  He was FIDE president from 1982 to 1995.


On March 14, 1927, Max Weis (1857-1927) died in Vienna at the age of 69 in Austria.  He was an Austrian chess master who quit chess for a banking career.


On March 17, 1927, Alberto Giustolisi (1927-1990) was born in Rome.  He was Italian champion in 1961, 1964 and 1966.  He was awarded the IM title in 1962.


On March 23, 1927, Jose Capablanca won the New York International.  First prize was $2,000 ($27,000 in today’s currency).  Alexander Alekhine took 2nd and $1,500.  It was in New York that Capablanca, Alekhine, and the Argentine organizers finally reached an agreement about the world championship match.  The winner would be the first person with six wins, draws not counting.


On March 23, 1927, Mato Damjanovic (1927-2011) was born in Djeletovci, Yugoslavia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1962 and the GM title in 1964.


In May 1927, a 12,000 mile wireless radio match was played between the London House of Commons and the Australian Parliamentarians in Canberra, Australia.  The match ended in a draw.  The Duke of York made the opening move in Canberra and Prime Minister Baldwin made the first move in London.


On May 13, 1927, Rudolf Maric (1927-1990) was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1964.


In July, 1927, the first chess Olympiad was held in London.  Hungary took 1st.  There were 16 teams.


On July 6, 1927, Johannes (Jan) Hein Donner (1927-1988) was born in The Hague, Netherlands.  He was Dutch champion in 1954, 1957, and 1958.  He was awarded the GM title in 1959.


In August, 1927, the Western Chess Association (US Open) was held in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Margolis took 1st place.


On August 2, 1927, Andreas Dueckstein (1927-  ) was born in Budapest.   he was Austrian champion in 1954, 1956 and 1977.  He was awarded the IM title in 1956.


In August, 1927, Rudolf Smirka won the New York State championship, held in Rome, New York.  He had won in previously in 1923.  (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug 11, 1927)


In August, 1927, the first women's world championship was held London.  It was won by 21-year-old Vera Menchik.  (source: Appleton Post-Crescent, Aug 29, 1927)


On August 30, 1927, Giorgio Porreca (1927-1988) was born in Naples.  He won the Italian Championship in 1950 (after a play-off) and 1956.  He was awarded the IM title in 1957 and IMC title in 1975.


In September, 1927, Norman Whitaker won the first National Chess Federation chess tournament in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  (source:  Decatur Evening Herald, Sep 5, 1927)


On September 16, 1927, the world chess championship began in Buenos Aires.  The Argentine Chess Club (Club Argentino de Ajedrez) of Buenos Aires put up $10,000 (40,000 pesos).   $4,800 was to go to the winner, $3,200 was to go to the loser, and $2,000 was for Capablanca’s appearance fee.


On October 9, 1927, Jeremy Gaige (1927-2011) was born in New York City.  He was an American chess archivist and journalist.


In October, 1927, Feodor Bohatirchuk and Pyotr Romanovksy tied for 1st in the 5th Soviet (first USSR championship) championship, held in Moscow. They were followed by Duz-Khotimirsky, Model, Botvinnik, V. Makogonov, Nenarokov, Grigoriev, and Ilyin-Genevsky. There were 21 players in the event.


On November 29, 1927, Alexander Alekhine defeated Jose Capablanca in Buenos Aires for the world chess championship after 73 days.  Alekhine won 6, lost 3, and drew 25 games.  32 out of 34 games began with the same opening, the Orthodox Defense of the Queen’s Gambit Declined.  All the games in Buenos Aires took place behind closed doors. There were no spectators or photographs.  After the final game, Alekhine was carried through the streets of Buenos Aires by a crowd of 10,000 chess fanatics. (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Dec 4, 1927)


In December 1927, Dr. Joseph Eljas, President of the Reval, Estonia Chess Club, was invited to a chess tournament in Leningrad.  As soon as he entered Russia, he was arrested by the Cheka.  The Cheka, claiming his notebooks, filled with chess problems, were a secret cipher.  He was charged for spying for a foreign power.