Chess in 1930

 by Bill Wall


On January 4, 1930, the 10th Christmas Congress ended. The Premier Section was won by Jose Capablanca (6.5), followed by Vidmar (5.5), and Yates (5). The Premier Reserves section was won by George Koltanowski and Tylor.

From January 16 to February 4, 1930, an international chess tournament was held in San Remo, Italy. The winner was Alexander Alekhine, scoring 14 out of 15 (+13=2), followed by Nimzowitsch and Rubinstein (10.5), Bogoljubow (9.5), and Yates (9).

On January 23, 1930, Hugh Myers (1930-2008) was born in Decatur, Illinois.  He was a chess player, author, theoretician and magazine editor.  He won or tied for first in the state chess championships of Illinois (1951), Wisconsin (1955), Missouri (1962), and Iowa (1983), as well as the USCF Region VIII (Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Nebraska) championship (1983). He played first board for the Dominican Republic in the 1968 and 1976 Chess Olympiads.


On February 4, 1930, Alexander Alekhine won at San Remo (+13-0=2).  The tournament was played at the Municipal casino.  (source: The Montana Standard, Feb 5, 1930)


On February 3, 1930, Bela Soos (1930-2007) was born in Targu Mures, Romania.  He was awarded the IM title in 1967.


On February 13, 1930, Boris de Greiff (1930-2011) was born in Medillin, Colombia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1957.  He was Colombian National Champion in 1958.


In 1930, a radio match was played between a chess club in Los Angeles (headed by Herman Steiner) and a chess club in Rosario, Argentina.  It was the first time an international radio match was contested between teams of four players.  Two amateur radio stations, owned by T. E. La Croix of Long Beach and Dr. Adolfo Elias of Rosario, were used for the communication.


In April, 1930, chess was banned in Harbin, China as too dangerous and “against the public welfare.”  Manchurian Chinese police raided cafes to stop anyone from playing chess.  Players protested they were not gambling or playing for money.  The Chinese police responded, “No matter.  Such games are dangerous.”  (source: Edwardsville, Illinois Intelligencer, Apr 24, 1930)


On May 2, 1930, Isidor Gunsberg (1854-1930) died in London.  He was German champion in 1885.  In 1890, he challenged William Steinitz for the world championship, but lost (+4 -6 =9).  He was an early operator of Mephisto and was paid well.  Later, he listed his occupation as tobacconist and professional chess player.  He had a dealership arrangement with cigar makers and supplied cigars to chess clubs and chess rooms.  Gunsberg himself did not smoke.  In 1891, he listed his occupation as chessplayer and journalist.  In 1901, he listed his occupation as author and journalist.


On May 16, 1930, Åke (Bror) Backlund was born in Vaasa, Finland. In 1980, he was awarded the International Master in Correspondence (IMC) title.


On May 23, 1930 Aleksander Matanovic (1930-  ) was born in Belgrade.  He won the Yugoslav Championship in 1962 (=Dragoljub Minic), 1969 and 1978.  He was awarded the IM title in 1951 and the GM title in 1955


In June, 1930, John D.  Chambers (1842-1930) died in Cardiff, Wales at the age of 88.  He was one of the founders of the Scottish Chess Association in 1884.


On June 12, 1930, Donald Byrne (1930-1976) was born in New York City.  he was US Open Champion in 1953.  He was awarded the IM title in 1962.


From July 13-27, 1930, the 3rd Tournament of Nations (chess Olympiad) was held in Hamburg, Germany. It was organized by the German Chess Federation to celebrate the centenary of the Hamburg Chess Club. The gold medal was won by the Poland team (Rubinstein, Tartakower, Przepiorka, Frydman). The silver medal went to Hungary. The bronze medal went to Germany. There were 18 teams that participated.  The USA team took 6th place.  Alekhine scored his first 100% score when he won all 9 games as board one for France.   Capablanca was there as a spectator, but Alekhine and Capablanca avoided each other.  (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 31, 1930)


In July, 1930, the 2nd Women’s World Chess Championship took place during the 3rd Chess Olympiad in Hamburg. Vera Menchik defended her title with 6 wins, 1 loss, and 1 draw.


On July 16, 1930, Horst Rittner (1930- ) was born in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland).  He was German Correspondence Champion in 1956, he became a GMC in 1961. He won the 6th World Correspondence Championship in 1968-71.  He edited the German magazine Schach.


On July 22, 1930, Nikolai Krogius (1930- ) was born in Saratov, USSR.   He was awarded the IM title in 1963 and the GM title in 1964.


On August 17, 1930, Leo Forgacs (nee Fleishmann) died in Berettyoujfalu, Hungary at the age of 48.  In 1907, he won the Hungarian championship.


On August 31, 1930, Harry Borochow of Los Angeles won the 9th California State Chess Championship, held at the Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco.


On September 13, 1930, Kenneth Ray Smith (1930-1999) was born in Olney, Texas.  He was a FIDE master and the owner of Chess Digest.  He wrote nine books on the opening that bears his name, the Smith-Morra Gambit.


From October 6-11, 1930, the 31st Western Chess Association (US Open) was held in Chicago.   Norman Whitaker and Samuel Factor tied for 1st.


On October 17, 1930, Venka Asenova (1930-1986) was born in Bulgaria.  She was Bulgarian women’s champion in 1953, 1956, 1960-1963, 1965, 1966 and 1969. She became a WIM in 1965 and an Honorary WGM in 1986.


On October 24, 1930, Eugenio German (1930-2001) was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  He was Brazilian Champion in 1951 and 1972.  He was the first Brazilian player to be awarded the IM title which he received in 1952. 


On October 25, 1930. Karoly Honfi (1930-1996) was born in Budapest.  He was awarded the IM title in 1962.


On December 21, 1930, Wolfgang Pietzsch (1930-1996) was born in Wittgendorf, Germany.  He was champion of the Russian zone of occupation in 1949 and champion of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1960, 1962 and 1967. He was awarded the GM title in 1965.


On December 29, 1930, Alexander Alekhine nearly escaped death from asphyxia or burning.  He fell asleep with a cigarette in his mouth at a hotel in Esseg, Yugoslavia.  The lighted cigarette dropped from his mouth and set the bed linen on fire.  Alekhine awoke and tried to reach the door in his hotel, but fell to the floor unconscious.  Hotel clerks responded to the fire and entered the room just in time to rescue Alekhine and to extinguish the fire.  (source: The Winnipeg Tribune, Dec 29, 1930)