Members · Prefs · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

AVRO Tournament

Reuben Fine8.5/14(+6 -3 =5)[view games]
Paul Keres8.5/14(+3 -0 =11)[view games]
Mikhail Botvinnik7.5/14(+3 -2 =9)[view games]
Max Euwe7/14(+4 -4 =6)[view games]
Samuel Reshevsky7/14(+3 -3 =8)[view games]
Alexander Alekhine7/14(+3 -3 =8)[view games]
Jose Raul Capablanca6/14(+2 -4 =8)[view games]
Salomon Flohr4.5/14(+0 -5 =9)[view games] Historical Chess Event
AVRO (1938)
In November 1938 a Dutch radio company AVRO (1) organized and sponsored what was up to that time the strongest tournament (2) ever held. AVRO (Algemeene Vereeniging voor Radio Omroep - literally the General Association for Radio Broadcasting) brought together the World Champion and every one of his major challengers. It ran from the 6th of November to the 27th of November 1938 with the players based in Amsterdam and each successive round played in a different Dutch town.

This tournament schedule proved to be tough for the older competitors and Capablanca and Alekhine did not fare as well as might have been expected. In the end Keres and Fine finished in joint first place with Keres declared the winner as a result of a better tie-break score.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pts 1. Keres ** 1½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 1½ 1½ ½½ 8½ 2. Fine 0½ ** 1½ 11 10 10 ½½ 1½ 8½ 3. Botvinnik ½½ 0½ ** 1½ ½0 1½ ½1 ½½ 7½ 4. Alekhine ½½ 00 0½ ** 1½ ½½ ½1 ½1 7 5. Euwe ½½ 01 ½1 0½ ** 0½ 01 1½ 7 6. Reshevsky 0½ 01 0½ ½½ 1½ ** ½½ 1½ 7 7. Capablanca 0½ ½½ ½0 ½0 10 ½½ ** 1½ 6 8. Flohr ½½ 0½ ½½ ½0 0½ 0½ 0½ ** 4½

References: (1) , (2)

Original Collection : Game Collection: AVRO 1938, by User: Benzol

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 56  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Alekhine vs Reshevsky ½-½60 1938 AVROE20 Nimzo-Indian
2. Flohr vs Capablanca ½-½41 1938 AVROD19 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
3. Fine vs Botvinnik 1-031 1938 AVROC17 French, Winawer, Advance
4. Euwe vs Keres  ½-½40 1938 AVROE00 Queen's Pawn Game
5. Capablanca vs Alekhine ½-½48 1938 AVROE17 Queen's Indian
6. Reshevsky vs Fine 0-137 1938 AVROE10 Queen's Pawn Game
7. Keres vs Botvinnik  ½-½26 1938 AVROE17 Queen's Indian
8. Euwe vs Flohr 1-032 1938 AVROE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
9. Alekhine vs Euwe 1-041 1938 AVROD14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation
10. Flohr vs Keres  ½-½23 1938 AVROE12 Queen's Indian
11. Botvinnik vs Reshevsky 1-037 1938 AVROA25 English
12. Fine vs Capablanca ½-½44 1938 AVROC17 French, Winawer, Advance
13. Keres vs Reshevsky 1-044 1938 AVROC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
14. Capablanca vs Botvinnik ½-½26 1938 AVROD93 Grunfeld, with Bf4 & e3
15. Flohr vs Alekhine  ½-½23 1938 AVROE15 Queen's Indian
16. Euwe vs Fine 0-144 1938 AVROD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. Botvinnik vs Euwe  ½-½41 1938 AVROA13 English
18. Fine vs Flohr 1-028 1938 AVROC17 French, Winawer, Advance
19. Reshevsky vs Capablanca ½-½56 1938 AVROE37 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
20. Alekhine vs Keres ½-½42 1938 AVROE58 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 8...Bxc3
21. Euwe vs Reshevsky 0-156 1938 AVROD70 Neo-Grunfeld Defense
22. Keres vs Capablanca 1-038 1938 AVROC09 French, Tarrasch, Open Variation, Main line
23. Flohr vs Botvinnik ½-½42 1938 AVROD84 Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit Accepted
24. Alekhine vs Fine 0-168 1938 AVROC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
25. Capablanca vs Euwe 1-040 1938 AVROE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 56  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Mar-11-13  Olavi: And the Panhans hotel the tournament by that name, on the Semmering.
Mar-12-13  IndigoViolet: Any sensible replies?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I've been trying to think of an earlier tournament named after a corporate sponsor, but nothing comes to mind. Individuals and clubs, yes, but even tournaments sponsored by spas and casinos are generally known by geographic names.
Mar-12-13  Olavi: Probably not, if only major international ones are eligible. Is there a tournament named after an individual before the Kaiser-Jubiläum of 1898?
Mar-12-13  Olavi: And then there is one. Amsterdam (1936) was called the Arbeiderspers tournament. It was and is a publisher. Indeed many earlier Dutch tournaments have acronyms attached to them, but they are probably clubs etc.
Mar-12-13  IndigoViolet: <And then there is one.>

Forgive me, but the image of ten Maurice Ashleys flashed before my eyes.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: < It is little wonder that the oldest participant, the fifty-year-old Capablanca, finished in last but one place. Nothing remotely similar ever happened in his career>

To me it doesn't look all that different from his result at Semmering/Baden (1937), where he also finished behind Keres and Fine, tied with Reshevsky and half a point ahead of Flohr.

Jun-20-13  RookFile: Well, if they had used the tie break system used in the 2013 Candidates, Fine would have been declared the AVRO 1938 winner.
Jun-20-13  Feldgrau: But they didn't, so he wasn't.
Jun-20-13  brankat: If they had not had the idiotic tie-break system in 2013 Candidates, we would have seen tie-break match: Carlsen- Kramnik,
Jun-20-13  RookFile: And I'm not sure what would been wrong with that. Carlsen vs. Kramnik match? I think chess would have been the winner.
Jun-20-13  brankat: Exactly so. The two were co-winners. IMO only the match would have been a fair solution.
Jun-20-13  RookFile: Fine vs. Keres match would have been pretty good too.
Jun-21-13  RookFile: By the way, before somebody brings it up, I'm well aware that Alekhine announced at the start of AVRO that he felt no obligation to play the winner of the tournament.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Alyekhin did have a discussion with Botvinnik about a match for the WCC at the AVRO tournament. Botvinnik took Flohr along with him as a witness.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <solskytz: Somebody just had to invent a game, to give some use to these mysterious ratings - and thus chess was born>

The four major American sports were all thought up for the same reason:

Premium Chessgames Member
  WCC Editing Project: <Benzol>

<Benzol: Alyekhin did have a discussion with Botvinnik about a match for the WCC at the AVRO tournament. Botvinnik took Flohr along with him as a witness.>

Here is <Botvinnik's> recollection of that discussion:

<"At the end of the tournament <<<[AVRO 1938]>>> I approached Alekhine and asked him to grant me an audience. He caught on quickly, a look of joy flashed over his face. He realised that playing a match for the world championship with a Soviet player was the simplest, and possibly the only, way to reconcile himself with his native land...

I invited Flohr to come with me (I needed an authoritative witness-- wasn't Alekhine connected with White Russian emigres? Care was essential.) But Alekhine had been well disposed towards me since the Nottingham tournament. The chess player in him felt my admiration for him, and this disarmed him....

Over a cup of tea... the conditions were quickly agreed... Alekhine was ready to play in any country (except Holland!) and the question of venue was up to me. The prize fund was to be 10,000 dollars...

We agreed that I should send a formal challenge to an address he gave in South America... If there was a positive decision and that if everything was agreed the announcement of the match would be made in Moscow. Before then everything was to be strictly secret.

We had a firm handshake and then parted, never to see each other again.">

-Mikhail Botvinnik "Achieving the Aim"
Bernard Cafferty, transl.
(Pergamon 1981), pp. 70-71

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Surely the most disappointing super-tournament in history.

Flohr, Fine zzz Reshevsky zzzzz Zzz ... /SNORES/.

Feb-22-14  devere: <RookFile: Well, if they had used the tie break system used in the 2013 Candidates, Fine would have been declared the AVRO 1938 winner.>

Incorrect. Keres prevailed at AVRO because he had a +1 -0 =1 score against Fine, and the same would have been the case at the 2013 Candidates Tournament.

Premium Chessgames Member
  HaydenB: To paraphrase an old saying: Fine was Fine but Botvinnik was not yet Botnvinnik.
Mar-20-14  RookFile: You're quite right devere.... thanks.
Apr-10-14  Olavi: It's fascinating how shallow a knowledge of chess history some people have. In Kasparov's OMGP II, Keres's victory in this tournament is described as "... practically without any dubious positions." In Euwe vs Keres, 1938 ; Capablanca vs Keres, 1938 ; Alekhine vs Keres, 1938 Keres is thought to have been demonstrably lost, and he wrote as much himself in 100 games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: "<Mikhail Botvinnik>, the founder of the Soviet school of chess and the first Soviet world champion, was an ideological Communist, although an idiosyncratic one. From his youth, he set himself the goal of bringing the world championship title to his country.

And as is well known from Communist theory and practice, the ends justify the means. Thus, while it was <Grigory Levenfish>, the chess champion of the USSR, <who was invited to attend the AVRO chess tournament in the Netherlands in 1938> – one of the most celebrated tournaments at which the world’s eight top chess players competed to determine a challenger for the world champion – it was Mikhail Botvinnik, not Levenfish, who actually ended up going to this tournament (the Soviet government did not trust Levenfish and was afraid to allow him to leave the country)."

from the foreword (by Gulko) of <The KGB Plays Chess - The Soviet Secret Police and the Fight for the World Chess Crown> by Boris Gulko, Viktor Kortschnoi et al.

Is there another source which could confirm that Levenfish was originally invited?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: I don't think he was invited. No news, but I'll post it anyway:

"Viktor Korchnoi later claimed it was "a well-known fact" that Botvinnik wrote the Central Committee to say that Levenfish, who grew up under Nicholas II, should not represent the Soviet Union in such a prestigious event."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Stonehenge: Botvinnik was already registered in April:

Jump to page #    (enter # from 1 to 3)
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 3 OF 3 ·  Later Kibitzing>
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other users.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.

NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific tournament and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | advertising | contact us
Copyright 2001-2015, Chessgames Services LLC
Web design & database development by 20/20 Technologies