Chess in 1943

 by Bill Wall


In 1943, the US Amateur championship was won by A. Mengarini.


In 1943, Herman Steiner won the California Open State Championship with the score of 17-0. Dr. Salo Finkelstein took 2nd place.


In 1943, the FBI prevented Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) from playing postal chess, thinking that the chess notation were secret codes.


In 1943, the US Chess Federation recognized Hermann Helms as Dean of American Chess.


In 1943, Henryk Pogoriely (1908-1943) was murdered by the Nazis in Pawiak prison, Warsaw.  He was a Polish chess master.


In 1943, Abram Rabinovich (1878-1943) starved to death in Moscow.  He was a Lithuanian-Russian chess master.


In 1943, Alexander Romanovsky (1880-1943) died in Russia.  He was a Lithuanian-Russian chess master.


In 1943, Emmanuel Sapira (1900-1943) died.  He was a Romanian-born Belgian chess master.


In 1943, Mirko Broeder (1911-1943) died at the hands of the Nazis.  He was a Hungarian-Serbian chess master.


In 1943, Vasily Osipovich Smyslov (1881-1953) died in Russia.  He was a Russian chess master and the father of Vasily Vasilievich Smyslov.

In 1943, Mikhail Barulin (1897-1943) died in a Russian prison.  In November, 1941, Barulin, executive secretary of the Central Composition Committee and the first Soviet Master of Sport of Chess Composition, was arrested.  He refused to sign a confession or denounce other chess problemists.  He had written as a defense of compositions that they should be an art in themselves and not dependant upon practical play.  Mikhail Botvinnik wrote a response from the official stance:  "If comrade Barulin thinks that his problem activity is absolutely autonomous and self-sufficing that's bad not for the mass chess movement and not for composition which will develop jointly with actual play; so much the worse for comrade Barulin and for similar composers, who are good for nothing. Theory of art for art's sake is resolutely condemned in the USSR, and our composers are well aware of it."

In 1943, the movie Above Suspicion was made, starring Joan Crawford, Fred MacMurray, and Basil Rathbone.  The plot involves a doctor who collects chess pieces.  There was $50,000 worth of rare chess pieces used in the move.  Special guards were hired by MGM to guard the chess pieces.  The chess pieces were on loan from museums and were the finesest available.  One set alone was valued at $5,000, carved from ivory and took three generations of one family to complete.  Each piece took more than a year to make (32 pieces).  During the movies, Fred MacMurray and Basil Rathbone took up chess, and they played many chess games between scenes of the movie.  (source: Canonsburg Daily News, Jan 18, 1943)

In January 1943, Mikhail Botvinnik personally appealed to defense minister Vyacheslav Molotov to have him exempted from war work for three days a week so that he could study chess.  

On February 8, 1943, the Swedish Chess Federation withdrew from the European Chess Federation after several local chess clubs protested Nazi predominance (source:  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb 8, 1943)


On February 9, 1943, Gunnar Gundersen (1882-1943) died in Melbourne, Australia.  He was an Australian chess master.


On February 16, 1943, Abram Szprio (1912-1943) died at Auschwitz.  He was a Polish chess master.


On February 17, 1943, Leon Monosson (1892-1943) died at Auschwitz.  He was a Belarusian-French chess master.  He was Paris champion in 1935.


On February 25, 1943, Asa Hoffman was born in New York City.  In 1962, he won the New York City Junior Championship.  He is a FIDE master.


On March 3, 1943, Robert James Fischer (1943-2008) was born in Chicago.  At 14, he won the US Championship (1957/58), making him the youngest U.S. Champion ever.  At 15, he the youngest grandmaster ever - a record that stood until Judit Polgar broke it in 1991. He won the US Championship all eight times he played, in each case by at least a point. In the US Championship (1963/64) he achieved the only perfect score (11-0) in the history of the tournament.  He was world chess champion from 1972 to 1975.


On March 22, 1943, Liuben Spassov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria.  He was awarded the GM title in 1976.  In 2005, he won the World Seniors Championship.


On March 27, 1943, Arne Vinje-Gulbrandsen (1943-2011) was born in Moss, Norway.  He was Norwegian champion in 1965 and 1968.  He was awarded the IM title in 1981.


On March 28, 1943, Karlis Betins (1867-1943) died in Riga, Latvia.  He was a Latvian  chess  master and composer of studies.


On March 31, 1943, Bernard Zuckerman was born in Brooklyn.  He competed in 7 US championships.  He was awarded the IM title in 1970.


In April 1943, Alekhine won at Prague with a score of 17 out of 19 and undefeated.


On April 10, 1943, Wlodimierz Schmidt was born in  Poznan, Poland.  He has been Polish champion in 1971, 1974, 1975, 1981 (jointly) and 1988.  He was awarded the IM title in 1968 and the GM title in 1976.


On April 13, 1943, Tim Krabbé was born in Amsterdam.  He is a Dutch journalist and maintains a good chess website.


On April 14, 1943, Ivan Nemet (1943-2007) was born in Sombor, Yugoslavia.  He was Yugoslav champion in 1979.  In 1990 he won the Swiss Championship.  He was awarded the IM title in 1976 and the GM title in 1978.


On April 19, 1943, Bela Toth was born in Budapest.    He was Italian champion in 1975, 1976, 1981, 1982 and 1984.  He was awarded the IM title in 1974 and the IMC title in 1978.  He was awarded the GMC title in 2004.


On April 24, 1943, Walter Frere (1874-1943) died in New York at the age of 69.  He was one of the top amateur chess players in New York City.  His father, Thomas Frere, helped organize the First American Chess Congress of 1857, won by Paul Morphy.  Walter Frere was a member of both the Brooklyn and Marshall Chess Clubs, and was a correspondent for the American Chess Monthly.  He was a former registrar in the New York office of the Equitable Life Assurance Society.  (source:  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 23, 1943)


On May 13, 1943, Adrian Garcia Conde (1886-1943) died in London.  He was a Mexican-British chess master.


On May 15, 1943, Mario Campos-Lopez was born in Mexico.  He won the Mexican championship several times.  He was awarded the IM title in 1975.


On May 18, 1943, Gennady Sosonko was born in Troitsk, USSR.  He won the Dutch Championship in 1973 and 1978 (=Jan Timman).  He was awarded the IM title in 1974 and the GM title in 1976. 


On July 4, 1943, Orestes Rodriguez-Vargas was born in Lima, Peru.  He has won the Peruvian championship 5 times (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972).  He was awarded the GM title in 1977.


On August 6, 1943, Helmut Pfleger was born in Teplice-Sanov, Czechoslovakia.  He was West German Champion in 1965.  He was awarded the IM title in 1965 and the GM title in 1975.


On August 9, 1943, Lubomir Kavalek was born in Prague.  He was Czech Champion in 1962 and 1968.  He was US Champion in 1972 (with Reshevsky and Robert Byrne), 1973 (co-winner with John Grefe), and 1978.  He was awarded both the IM and GM titles in 1965.  He was the chess columnist for the Washington Post for 23 years, until that paper discontinued its chess column in January 2010.  He now writes for the Huffington Post.


On August 16, 1943, Stasch Mlotkowski (1881-1943) died in Gloucester City, NJ at the age of 62.  He was an American chess master.  In 1923 tied for 1st with Norman Tweed Whitaker in the 24th Western Chess Association championship, held in San Francisco. He won the 3rd California State Championship title for being the top Californian in the Western Chess Association tournament.


On August 24, 1943, Israel A. Horowitz won the 44th US Open, held in Syracuse, New York. (source:  Troy Times Record, Aug 25, 1943)


On August 26, 1943, Vladimir Petrov (Vladimirs Petrovs) (1907-1943) died at Kotlas, Russia at the age of 34.  He was a Latvian chess master.  He won the Latvian championship in 1935.  In August, 1942, he was arrested on basis of a denunciation.  He was accused of making disparaging remarks about the falling standard of living in Soviet-ruled Latvia, where he was from.  He was sentenced to 10 years under Article 58 (treason), but died shortly after arriving at a labor camp.  He died of pneumonia at the Kotlas Gulag.


On September 23, 1943, Mark Tseitlin was born in Leningrad.  He was Leningrad champion in 1970, 1975, 1976 and 1978.  He was awarded the IM title in 1978 and the GM title in 1997.  He won the European Senior Championship in 2004-5 and 2008, and the 13th European Individual Senior Championship in 2013.


On September 26, 1943, Jose Antonio Gutierrez Castillo was born in Columbia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1972.


On September 29, 1943, Karl Berndtsson (1892-1943) died on Gothenburg, Sweden.  He was a Swedish chess master.


On October 12, 1943, Peter Ostemeyer was born in Barwalde, Germany.  He was West German champion in 1974.  He was awarded the IM title in 1981.


In October 1943, Alekhine was invited to Madrid by the Spanish Chess Federation. He arrived too late (October 15, 1943)  to take part in the Madrid International Tournament staged by the European Federation, which was played on October 4-20, 1943. A Nazi broadcast claimed that Alekhine went to Madrid to take part in the tournament, but was confined to a sanitarium shortly after his arrival.  There were reports that Alekhine had been showing signs of a mental disorder.  Alekhine did play in the "International Speed Game Tournament" that was held in Madrid on October 22.


On October 17, 1943, Walter Cunningham (1943-2010) was born in Los Angeles.  He was a Life Master and the youngest master in the U.S. in the late 1950s. In 1961, he tied for 1st place in the Southern California Chess Championship.


On October 17, 1943, Jan Kotrc (1862-1943) died in Vlachovo Brezi, Czechoslovakia.  He was a Czech chess master, chess publisher and chess problem composer.


On October 22, 1943, Ricardo Calvo-Minguez (1943-2002) was born in Alicante, Spain.  He was a medical doctor, a chess historian, author and reporter, as well as a strong chess player.  He was awarded the IM title in 1973.


On October 31, 1943,  Katarina Blagojevic, (ne Jovanovic) was born in Belgrade.  She was Yugoslav women's champion in 1961, 1972 and 1974.  She was awarded the WIM title in 1964 and the WGM title in 1986


On October 31, 1943, Srdjan Marangunic was born in Zagreb.  He was awarded the IM title in 1971.  He was Yugoslav champion in 1977 (=Ljubomir Ljubojevic).


On November 11, 1943, Jan Adamski was born in Warsaw, Poland.  He was Polish champion in 1982 (after a play-off). He represented Poland in the 1968, 1970, 1974, and 1978 Chess Olympiads. He was awarded the International Master (IM) title in 1976.


On November 18, 1943, Touw Hian Bwee was born in Pekalongan, Java.  He was awarded the GM in Composition in 1984.


On November 21, 1943, Peter Nicholas Lee was born in London.  He won the British championship in 1965. 


On December 1, 1943, Bertus Enklaar (1943-1996) was born in Amsterdam.  He was awarded the IM title in 1973,


In December, 1943, Heinrich Wolf (1875-1943) died at the age of 68.  He was an Austrian chess master. 


In December, 1943, Edward (Eduard) Gerstenfeld died in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.  He was a Polish chess master.  He was shot to death by the Nazis.


In December, 1943, Botvinnik was transferred to Moscow and won the Moscow Championship.  He was followed by Smyslov, Alatortsev, Lisitsyn, Udovich, Averbakh, Mikenas, Simagin, and Tolush. There were 17 players. Smyslov got the title of Moscow Champion becuase Botvinnik lived in Leningrad.