Chess in 1937

 by Bill Wall


 In 1937, George Koltanowski (1903-2000) played 34 opponents simultaneously without sight of board in Edinburgh, Scotland. He won 24 games and drew 10 games. The exhibition lasted 13 1/2 hours.


In 1937, Adele Rivero won the first U.S. Women’s chess championship.


In 1937, the Palestine chess championship results were announced on the radio.  It may be the first radio broadcast about chess in Israel or Palestine. 


In January 1937, Alexander Alekhine won the 17th Hastings tournament for 1936-37. He won 15 sterling pounds for his effort, His wife, Grace, won 3rd prize in the Third Class tournament at Hastings, winning 1 pound.


On January 3, 1937, Andrzej Sydor (1937-   ) was born in Lublin, Poland.  In 1970, he was awarded the IM title.


On January 25, 1937, Jerzy Kostro (1937-   ) was born in Moczydla, Poland.  He was Polish champion in 1966 and 1970.  He was awarded the IM title in 1968.


On January 30, 1937, Boris Spassky (1937- ) was born in Leningrad.  He was the youngest USSR first category player at 10, the youngest candidate master at 13, the youngest master at 15, and then, the world's youngest grandmaster.  He was World Junior Champion in 1955.  He was World Champion in 1969-72.  He was awarded the  title in IM 1953.  He was awarded the GM title in 1955.


In February, 1937, Nazi police arrested 13 chess players in Danzig because they talked forbidden Socialistic policies between chess moves at a chess club.  (source: Harlington Valley Morning Star, Feb 13, 1937)


On February 7, 1937, Helder Camara (1937-   ) was born in Fortaleza, Brazil.  He was Brazilian champion in 1963 and 1968. He was awarded the IM title in 1972.


On February 8, 1937, Aivars Gipslis (1937-2000) was born in Riga.  He was champion of Latvia in 1955, 1956, 1957, 1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, and 1966.  He became an International Master in 1963 and a grandmaster in 1967.


On March 5, 1937, Dragoljub Minic (1937- 2005) was born in Titograd (now Podgorica), Yugoslavia.  He was Yugoslav champion in 1962 (=Aleksandar Matanovic) and awarded the IM title in 1964. In 1991 he was awarded the honorary GM title.


On March 7, 1937, Georgi Tringov (1937-2000) was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.  He was Bulgarian champion in 1963, 1981 and 1985.  He was awarded the IM title in 1962 and the GM title in 1963.


On March 7, 1937, Christiaan Gerrit (Kick) Langeweg (1937- ) was born in Der Helder, Netherlands.  He was awarded the IM title in 1962.


On March 11, 1937, Milan Vukcevich (1937-2003) was born in Belgrade.  He was awarded the IM title in 1967 and the GM title in 1975.  In 1988 he became the first American in history to earn the title of FIDE Grandmaster of Chess Composition.


On March 22, 1937, Edmar Mednis (1937-2002) was born in Riga, Latvia.  He was awarded the GM title in 1980.


On March 23, 1937, Vladimir Liberzon (1937-1996) was born in Moscow.  He was awarded the IM title in 1963 and GM title in 1965.  He won the championship of Israel in 1964.


On April 4, 1937, Lajos Portisch (1937-  ) was born in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary.  In Hungarian Chess Championships, he either shared the title or won it outright a total of eight times (1958, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1965, 1971, 1975, and 1981).   He was awarded the GM title in 1961.  He holds the record for most career victories in the Chess Olympiads – 121.  He participated in a record 20 Olympiads from 1956 to 2000.


On May 14, 1937,  Grigory Levenfish (1889-1961) won the 10th USSR Championship in Tbilisi.


On May 16, 1937, Anthony Saidy was born in Los Angeles.  In 1959, he was awarded the IM title. 


On May 30, 1937, Herman Steiner (1905-1955) was on his way back to Hollywood from the annual North-South chess match when he hit a car head-on. Steiner's passenger was Dr. Robert B. Griffith (1876-1937), who played Board 2 for the South (Steiner played Board 1). Griffith died in the car crash and the driver in the other car was critically injured. Dr. Griffith was a medical doctor for the Hollywood film industry. He was the physician for Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin.


On July 4, 1937, Armando Acevedo Milan was born in Mexico. He is a FIDE master and former champion of Mexico. He represented Mexico in the 1966 and 1970 Chess Olympiads. He was the first Mexican FIDE master.


On July 14, 1937, Claude Frizzel Bloodgood (1937-2001) was born in La Paz, Mexico.  He was a controversial American chess player.  He was an active chess player, chess organizer and rating statistician for the Virginia State Chess Federation in the 1960s.  He was sentenced to die in Virginia after he murdered his mother in 1969.  The sentence was commuted to life in prison.  While in prison, he played chess almost every day.  He played thousands of correspondence games (free postage for those on Death Row) and thousands of games with his fellow inmates.   At one point, he had 1,200 postal games going at the same time.  In 1973, he played in the Virginia State Championship wearing manacles.  In 1974, he received a furlough to play in a chess tournament outside the prison.  He escaped, but was captured a few days later.  That ended furloughs for chess players.   In 1996, his USCF chess rating rose to 2702, making him the second highest rated player in the country.  He was also the 3rd most active chess player in the nation, with over 1,700 games to his credit.  His rating was due to the closed pool ratings inflation, as he won almost every rated game he played against other prisoners, many rated as masters due to their provisional rating.


In August, 1937, the 7th Chess Olympiad was held in Stockholm. The USA team (Reshevsky, Fine, Kashdan, Marshall, and Horowitz) took 1st place for the fourth time (winning in 1931, 1933, and 1935).  The USA team had 6 points (winning 15 and drawing 3) more than 2nd place Hungary.  Poland took 3rd place.  (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Aug 17, 1937)


In August, 1937, the Western Chess Association (US Open) was held in Chicago.   David Polland took 1st.


On August 27, 1937, Helga Axt was born in Bad Ems, Germany.  She was German women’s champion in 1957 (Lindau), 1958 (Gießen) and 1961 (Wennigsen am Deister).  She was awarded the WIM title in 1961.


On September 14, 1937, Anton den Ouden was born in the Netherlands.  He earned the IMC title in 1971 and the GMC title in 1980.


On October 6, 1937, Darko Gliksman was born in Slavonski Brod, Yugoslavia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1970.


On October 17, 1937, Svein Johannessen (1937-2007) was born in Norway.  He was Nordic champion in 1959 and won the Norwegian Championship in 1959, 1962, 1970 and 1973. He won the Scandinavian Championship in 1960. He was awarded the IM title in 1961.


On November 7, 1937, Alik Zilberberg (1937-   ) was born in the Ukraine.  He earned the GMC title in 1994.


On December 2, 1937, Enver Bukic was born in Banja Luka, Yugoslavia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1964 and the GM title in 1976


On December 4, 1937, William James Lombardy was born in the Bronx.  He won the World Junior Championship in 1957 with a perfect 11-0 score.  He was awarded the IM title in 1957.  He was awarded the GM title in 1960.


On December 16, 1937, Alexander Alekhine defeated Max Euwe to regain the World Chess Championship.  Alekhine did what no other world champion before him had been able to do - he regained the world championship in a return match. He won 10 games, drew 11, and lost 4.


On December 25, 1937, Volodia Vaisman was born in Balti, Romania.  He was awarded the IM title in 1975.


On December 25, 1937, Rodolfo Tan Cardoso (1937-2013) was born in Anda, Philippines.  He was World Junior Champion in 1957.  He was awarded the IM title in 1957.  He was Philippine Champion in 1958 and 1963.