Chess in 1942

 by Bill Wall


In 1942, the first British Correspondence championship was held.  It was won by  R. Bonham who was blind.


In 1942, Samuil Vainshtein (1894-1942) died of starvation during the siege of Leningrad.  He was a Russian chess master, organizer, publisher, and editor.


In 1942, Henryk Friedman (1903-1942) died in a German Nazi camp.  He was a Polish chess master.


In 1942, Simon Rubinstein (1910-1942) died in a Nazi concentration camp in 1942.  He was an Austrian chess master.


In 1942, chess master Peter Romanovsky somehow survived the siege of Leningrad, but his wife, their three daughters, and their housekeeper all died of hunger and sickness.


In 1942, Alexander Wagner (1868-1942) died in Eastern Galicia.  He was a Polish chess correspondence master and theoretician.


In 1942, Mona Karff won the US Women's chess championship.


In 1942, the first U.S. Speed Championship was held in New York.  It was won by Reuben Fine.


In 1942 Frank Marshall published My Fifty Years of Chess, ghosted by Fred Reinfeld.


In 1942, Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) was active in chess in Hollywood and he played chess with patients in Veterans hospitals. He was also playing correspondence chess with several GIs oversea


In 1942, Arturo Pomar (1931-   ) won the championship of the Balearic Islands at age 11.


In 1942, the first use of Swiss pairings (players play other players with the same score) occurred in the United States at the Texas championship.    


In January, 1942, Isaak Maisel won the Moscow Championship, followed by Petrov, Panov, and Alatortsev. There were 8 players. Maisel died a year later fighting against the Germans.


In January 1942, Jose Capablanca gave a series of chess lectures in Spanish and broadcasted to Latin American listeners.  Before the lectures, he had to go out and buy a chess set.  He had no chess set in his house.  He had to buy the chess set to prepare his lectures for the radio, which he had written in Spanish.   In Capablanca’s Last Chess Lectures, he wrote, “I received a great number of chess sets as gifts.  I especially remember a very handsome and rare set which I tried to hold on to, but which has gone with the others.  The result is that today (1942) I do not possess a single set.  My travels, my changes of residence, and my children did away with every single one.”


On January 3, 1942, Alex Dunne was born.  He is an American FIDE master and chess author. 


On January 29, 1942, Bjorn Brinck-Claussen was born in Copenhagen.  He was Nordic champion in 1963 and Danish champion in 1966, 1970 (after a play-off) and 1977.  He was awarded the IM title in 1986.


On February 17, 1942, Walter Penn Shipley (1860-1942) died in Philadelphia at the age of 81.  He was a well-known organizer and chess patron.  He wrote a chess column in the Philadelphia Inquirer.  He was a retired attorney.  (source: The Ottawa Journal, Feb 18, 1942)


On February 22, 1942, Keith Bevan Richardson was born in Nottingham, England.  He was awarded the IMC title in 1968 and the GMC title in 1975, he finished 3rd= in the World Correspondence Championships of 1975 and 1984.


On February 23, 1942, Reinhold Max Bluemich (1886-1942) died in Falkenberg, Germany at the age of 55.  He was a German chess master.   He participated in the 1928 Olympiad for the German National team with a result of +5 =4 -4.


In March, 1942, U. S. wartime mail regulations prevented mailing abroad any abbreviations, nicknames, and codes, including anything with chess notation.


On March 7, 1942, Sergey Belavenets (1910-1942) died in combat at Staraya, Russia at the age of 31.  He was killed in action in the battle of Novgorod.  He was joint Moscow Champion in 1932, 1937 with Vladimir Alatortsev and 1938 with Vasily Smyslov. He also was Russian Champion of 1934.   His best over the board result was 3rd in the 1939 USSR Championship.


On March 8, 1942, Jose Capablanca died in Manhattan at the age of 53.  He collapsed at the Manhattan Chess Club the day before.  Capablanca was watching a three-way chess game being played by Alfred Link, Sidney Kenton, and Charles Saxton.  Capablanca suddenly felt ill and then collapsed in a coma.  He never regained consciousness. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he died the next morning from "a cerebral haemorrhage provoked by hypertension".  Emanuel Lasker had died in the same hospital the year before. Capablanca's body was given a public funeral in Havana's Colón Cemetery a week later, with President Batista taking personal charge of the funeral arrangements. He was the third World Champion, reigning from 1921 until 1927.  At the time of his death, Capablanca was  the commercial attaché of the Cuban Embassy. (source: The Harrisburg Evening News, March 9, 1942)


On March 26, 1942, Vladimir Kovacevic was born in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia.  He was awarded the GM title in 1976.


On March 27, 1942, Vladimir Alterman, born in Russia and later moved to Israel.  He was awarded the IM title in 1994.


On April 1, 1942, Ilse Guggenberger (née de Caro)  was born in Colombia.  She was the Colombian Women's Chess Champion in 1965, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, and 1984.   She was awarded the WIM title in 1977.


On April 6, 1942, Shimon Kagan was born in Tel Aviv.  He was Israeli champion in 1967 and 1970.  He was awarded the IM title in 1969


On April 18, 1942, Karl Leonid Kubbel  (1891-1942) died of starvation in the siege of Leningrad at the age of 51.  He was a chess problem composer.


On April 19, 1942, Michael Valvo (1942-2004) was born in Albany, New York.  In 1963 he won the U.S. Intercollegiate Championship.  He was awarded the IM title in 1980.   He won the state of New Jersey championship in 1986.


On April 23, 1942, Ilya Rabinovich (1891-1942) died from malnutrition after the siege of Leningrad.  He was evacuated from Leningrad, but died of malnutrition in a hospital in Perm, Russia.  He was a few weeks from his 51st birthday. He was a Russian chess master.  He won the Leningrad Championship in 1920, 1925 (joint), 1928 and 1940-41.  He was joint USSR Champion in 1934.


On April 29, 1942, Anatol Tschepurnoff (1871-1942) died in Helsinki at the age of 70.  Her was a Russian-Finnish chess master.


On May 6, 1942, Edward Formanek was born in Chicago.  He was awarded the IM title in 1977.


On May 7, 1942,  Giam Choo Kwee was born in Singapore.  He was awarded the IM title in 1976.


On May 12, 1942, Dragoljub Velimirovic (1942-2014) was born in Valjevo, Yugoslavia.  He was Yugoslav champion in 1970, 1975, and 1997.  He was awarded the IM title in 1971.  He was awarded the GM title in 1973. 


On May 18, 1942, Josef Augustin was born in Kyjov, Czechoslovakia.  He was Czechoslovak champion in 1965.  He was awarded the IM title in 1976.


On May 21, 1942, Larry Parr (1942-2011) was born in Bothell, Washington.  He was editor of Chess Life magazine from 1985 to 1988.


On June 5, 1942, Istvan Abonyi (1886-1942) died in Budapest, Hungary at the age of 55.   He was a Hungarian master.  In 1912, he played the Abonyi Gambit (1.Nf3 d5 2.e4) for the first time. In 1922, he published analysis on the Budapest Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.e4 Nxd5 5.f4 Nec6) in Deutsches Wochenschach. He was one of the 15 founders of FIDE in 1924. For many years, he was president of the Hungarian Chess Federation. He edited the Hungarian chess magazine Magyar Sakkvilag (Hungarian Chessworld). He was president of the Correspondence Chess Federation between 1935 and 1939.


On June 17, 1942, Dusan Rajkovic was born in Krusevac, Yugoslavia.  He was Yugoslav champion in 1983.  He was awarded the IM title in 1974 and the GM title in 1977.


On June 18, 1942, Alexander Alekhine won at Salzburg, Austria.


On July 8, 1942, Emil Zinner (1909-1942) died in the Majdanek, Poland concentration camp at the age of 32.  He was a Jewish-Czech chess master.


In July, 1942, Reuben Fine won the first U.S. rapid-transit chess championship, held in Manhattan.  (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 9, 1942)


On July 9, 1942, Julio Balparda (1900-1942) died in Montevideo, Uraguay.  He was an Uruguayan chess master.  He won the Uruguayan Chess Championship three times (1929, 1934, and 1936).


In August, 1942, Alexey Troitzky (1866-1942) died of starvation during the siege of Leningrad.  He was founder of the modern study composition.  He is considered to have been one of the greatest composers of chess endgame studies.  He worked as a forester in Siberia.


On August 16, 1942, Leon Rosen (1869-1942) died in New York.  He was an American chess master. 


On August 19, 1942, Milan Vukic was born in Sanski Most, Yugoslavia.  He won the Yugoslav Championship in 1970, 1971, 1974 and 1994.  He was awarded the GM title in 1975.


On August 20, 1942, Rudolf Spielmann (1883-1942) died in Stockholm at the age of 59.  He was Nordic Champion in 1919 and German Champion in 1927.  One source says he starved to death.  Another source says he died in a hospital suffering from Parkinson’s disease.


On August 21, 1942, Vladimir Sournin (1875-1942) died in Baltimore at the age of 67.  He was a Russian-American chess master.  He was the Washington D.C. champion in 1932 and 1933, and 1938.


On August 29, 1942,  Coenraad Zuidema was born in Surakarta, Java.  IM 1964.  He was European Junior Champion in 1962-63.  He was Dutch Champion in 1972 (he tied for 1st but lost in the playoffs in 1965 and 1973).  He was awarded the IM title in 1964.


On August 30, 1942, Herman Steiner and Abe Yanofsky, age 18, tied for 1st in the 43rd US Open, held in Dallas.  (source: The Gallup Independent, Aug 31, 1942)


In September-October, 1942, the US championship was held in New York.   Samuel Reshevsky (1911-1992) won the playoff against Isaac Kashdan.  Arnold Denker (1914-2005) lost the US championship due to a stupid mistake by the tournament director.  Arnold Denker beat Samuel Reshevsky on time in the US chess championship.  While spectators watched, the tournament director, Walter Stephens (1883-1948), mistakenly declared that Denker’s time had expired.  Stephens, behind the chess clock, flipped the clock over to look at the time.  He was looking at the clock backwards and declared that Denker’s flag fell on his clock rather than Reshevsky’s clock.  He refused to acknowledge his mistake and change his decision, which ultimately gave Reshevsky the title.


On September 3, 1942, Leon Schwartzmann (1887-1942) died in the Auschwitz concentration camp.  He was a Polish-French chess master.


On September 26, 1942, Alekhine won the first European Individual Chess Championship, held in Munich.


On November 11, 1942, William Goichberg was born in New York City.  He is a FIDE master and former president of the United States Chess Federation (USCF).  He is a major organizer of chess events in the USA.


On November 17, 1942, Nikolai Ryumin (1908-1942) died of tuberculosis in Omsk, Siberia at the age of 34.  He was Moscow Champion three times in 1931, 1933, and 1934.


On November 27, 1942, Vlastimil, Jansa was born in Prague.  He was Czechoslovak Champion in 1964, 1974 and 1984. He was awarded the IM title in 1965 and the GM title in 1974.


In December, 1942, Sergey Lebedev (1868-1942) died in Russia.  He was a Russian chess master.


In December 1942, Alekhine tied for 1st with Junge at Prague.  The tournament was sponsored by Germany’s Nazi Youth Association.


In late December 1942, Alekhine fell ill and nearly died from scarlet fever at Prague. He was treated at the same hospital that Richard Reti died in 1929 from scarlet fever. Alekhine claimed that as soon as he was out of the hospital, he was obliged to take part in various German exhibitions and tournaments; otherwise his ration cards would be withdrawn.