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TOURNAMENT STANDINGS
AVRO Tournament

Paul Keres8.5/14(+3 -0 =11)[view games]
Reuben Fine8.5/14(+6 -3 =5)[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]
*

Chessgames.com 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 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 rigorous 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

The main source for this collection was A.V.R.O. 1938 Chess Tournament 'B.C.M.' Classic Reprint No.12. ISBN 900846 10 0.

References: (1) http://www.avro.nl/ , (2) Wikipedia article: AVRO 1938 chess tournament

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 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Keres wins on both on head-to-head and Neustadtl Sonneborn-Berger tiebreaks.

Didn't matter as Alekhine would play who he pleased anyway, and favored a match with Botvinnik that he would help him reconcile with Russia (by the end of the war he had run out of places to go).

Apr-17-15  Olavi: <Petrosianic: That's what led to him writing in the 70's, that he should have been declared co-Champion after Alekhine died>

Just for the record, Fine already made this claim in the first edition of The World's Great Chess Games, 1951. Of course he repeated it often.

Apr-17-15  Petrosianic: That's true, the claim wasn't new in the 70's. But it certainly was persistent. Not just a silly thing he said once and tried to forget.

If anyone should have just been declared champion without play after the death of Alekhine, it should have been Euwe. There is precedent in chess history for it. After Pillsbury died, it was eventually judged that the US Championship then reverted back to the last living person to have held it (Jackson Showalter).

Apr-17-15  Petrosianic: If it were up to me, after the war, Euwe would have been declared champion. Fine and Reshevsky would then play a match, as would Keres and Botvinnik. The winners play each other, and the winner of that plays Euwe for the title.
Apr-17-15  RookFile: Reshevsky mentioned in his book that Alekhine announced at the start of AVRO that he felt no obligation to play the winner of the tournament. The players then went and played the event. So, it would appear to be a rewriting of history on Fine's part to suggest he should have been co-champion upon Alekhine's death. AVRO was just another strong tournament.
Apr-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<Amarande> Mind you, as Fischer was to find out later, Soviet collusion (which analysis appears to support as actually having been likely) would likely have made it very difficult at best for him to have had a hope of qualifying for the challenger's seat>

Please provide or provide a link to this “analysis” of Soviet collusion which you think is “likely”. All I have ever been able to find are unsupported allegations by individuals who, under the circumstances, I don’t consider very credible.

Apr-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<RookFile> The mystery I have is why Fischer didn't play in 1973, slap Fine around, and earn a million.>

I guess it is for the same reasons that Fischer stopped playing chess after his match with Spassky in 1972, repeatedly turned down endorsement offers, and refused to play Karpov in 1975. But unfortunately only Fischer knows what those reasons were.

Apr-17-15  Petrosianic: <Please provide or provide a link to this “analysis” of Soviet collusion which you think is “likely”.>

That's a reference to a report put out several years back, which concluded mathematically that there was probably collusion somewhere or other in the first 5 Candidates Tournament simply because a non-Soviet never won one, and the report writer thought that the then-non-existent rating system predicted that one should have.

It's difficult to say when a Westerner might have won one, considering that the only winning scores by Westerners in Candidates tournaments were a +1 by Najdorf, a +1 by Fischer, and a +4 by Reshevsky. The conclusion was similar to the mathematician who proved that bees can't fly. It was like arguing "The Rating System predicted Wesley So would score 8 points in the US Championship, so if he scored less, then the reason why is [anything we want it to be].

But such a report really does exist. I don't remember who wrote it, and at this point, they'd probably prefer to remain anonymous anyway.

Apr-17-15  Howard: As far as who should have been declared world champion after Alekhine had died, Soltis tells an interesting story in Soviet Chess.

He states that a strong tournament was organized in Groningen in 1946 (shortly after Alekhine's passing) with the hope that if Euwe won, he might be declared "world champion by acclimation" (whatever that meant).

But the five Soviet players (Botvinnik, Smyslov, Kotov, and two others) who were invited, went to the tournament with "the unstated intention of stopping Euwe" from taking first place.

In the end, Botvinnik won narrowly over second-place Euwe.

If Euwe had won, who knows if he might have been declared world champion (again).

Apr-17-15  Howard: By the way, as far as why Fine was pretty much written off after AVRO, I don't know if his Jewish faith had anything to do with it, but one would have to believe that his decision to give up professional chess, around 1950, was certainly a factor.

Heck, he wasn't even 40 yet ! And--let's face it--his chess career was about as short as Fischer's was. But nearly as spectacular !

Apr-17-15  RookFile: In other words the soviets colluded at Groningen too. Just like them. :)
Apr-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <By the way, as far as why Fine was pretty much written off after AVRO, I don't know if his Jewish faith had anything to do with it, but one would have to believe that his decision to give up professional chess, around 1950, was certainly a factor.>

Yes, retiring from chess doesn't do much for one's rating. I'm inclined to the view that the small matter of WW2 played a role in interrupting his career.

Apr-17-15  Petrosianic: <By the way, as far as why Fine was pretty much written off after AVRO, I don't know if his Jewish faith had anything to do with it,>

That didn't happen, and it's not what Euwe said happened.

Apr-17-15  Petrosianic: <If Euwe had won, who knows if he might have been declared world champion (again).>

Actually, he WAS briefly. For about a half hour. The Soviets originally weren't going to show up to the FIDE meetings. At first they named Euwe Champion, but then when the Soviets arrived at the party, they scrapped it and started organizing the tournament that they'd really wanted.

Apr-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <(Soltis) states that a strong tournament was organized in Groningen in 1946 (shortly after Alekhine's passing) with the hope that if Euwe won, he might be declared "world champion by acclimation" (whatever that meant).>

Perhaps--if the spelling is correct--Euwe would then have triumphed due to acclimating better than his esteemed opponents.

If, on the other hand, the intended usage was 'acclamation', tough business indeed, given all those immense egos and whatnot.

Apr-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <But the five Soviet players (Botvinnik, Smyslov, Kotov, and two others) who were invited, went to the tournament with "the unstated intention of stopping Euwe" from taking first place.>

(Regarding Groningen 1946)If the intention was "unstated" then, on what basis, is the accusation being made?

Botvinnik was the favorite - finishing first 1/2 point ahead of Euwe was no upset. They both lost in the last round. If Euwe had managed to draw with Kotov he would have shared first.

PS: Kotov also defeated Botvinnik in the tournament.

These collusion allegations are always so irritating as there is never a shred of evidence supplied to back them up.

Apr-17-15  RookFile: You'll have to forgive Euwe if he didn't know at Groningen that Botvinnik was the favorite. Euwe had been world champ and at that time enjoyed a plus score over Botvinnik.
Apr-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <Petrosianic> I believe that the report you are referring to was titled "Did the Soviets Collude? A Statistical Analysis of Championship Chess 1940-64" by Charles Moul and John Nye, published in 2006. See http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers..... This link allows you to download the paper.

I haven't had time to do more than scan the paper, but I also found 2 other articles referencing the study, http://www.chess.com/blog/JamieDela..., and http://www.studlife.com/archives/Ne.... These 2 articles indicate that Moul and Nye analyzed over 30,000 games during that period and came up with the following conclusions:

1. The Soviets drew a bit more that they that the authors would have expected.

2. The Soviets drew more in world tournaments than in Soviet tournaments.

3. Draws between Soviet players came quicker than draws between a Soviet and a non-Soviet player.

4. The Soviets played better than they should have when playing against non-Soviet players.

Without studying the paper I can't quantify terms like "drawing a bit more", "draws coming quicker", and "playing better". Specifically, were the actual results statistically significant when compared to the expected results? I don't know. But I do know by my glancing at the paper that the authors did not seem to make any attempt to determine if the deviations from the expected values that they found were statistically significant or not.

The basis for the effectiveness of collusion, like Fischer claimed, was that having quick draws allowed the Soviets to preserve their strength and use it to increase their chances of defeating the non-Soviet players. And the authors claim to have found that the likelihood of a Soviet victory tripled corresponding to the increase in draws. “Our conclusion is that they are being helped by the draws,” said Nye. “If you plug collusion in, you go from a 24 percent chance [of winning] to a 76 percent chance.”

Again, without studying the paper I can't either agree or disagree with this conclusion, or how they arrived at the expected 24% chance of a Soviet player winning the tournament without collusion to a 76% chance with collusion. They apparently determined the expected chance based on the players' ratings using the Chessmetrics system since FIDE ratings based on the Elo system did not become official until 1970, after the range of years covered by the paper.

I'll look at the paper more closely and see if I come to similar conclusions that the authors did. If anyone else would like to take a look at the article I would be very interested in finding out whether they agree with the authors or not.

Apr-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  AylerKupp: <<RookFile> In other words the soviets colluded at Groningen too. Just like them. :)>

Since when does an "unstated intention of stopping Euwe" constitute proof of collusion?

Don't get me wrong, I am under no illusion that the Soviets were not capable of collusion, it's just that there's never been any proof that they did. And I don't think that it would have taken much collusion, if any, for Botvinnik, probably the strongest player in the world at that time, to come up ½ point ahead of Euwe in the tournament.

So let's look at the results. Botvinnik beat Smyslov and Boleslavsky, and lost to Kotov. If the Soviets were colluding, why was Kotov allowed to defeat Botvinnik? A draw would have given Botvinnik a little more of a victory margin, winning by ½ point seems like cutting it a little bit close. I know that the argument will be that if Botvinnik had won by a greater margin while beating all the Soviet players then it would have been more evident that collusion was taking place, but Kotov defeated Botvinnik in the 14th round and with 4 rounds remaining Euwe had a 1-point lead over Botvinnik, but Botvinnik gained the lead with 3 consecutive wins against 3 non-Soviet players. And it was Kotov's defeat of Euwe in the last round that allowed Botvinnik to win the tournament. Euwe supposedly had an even position in that game but he blundered and lost, possibly as a result of being fatigued from having to spend all that energy defeating the Soviet players. But Botvinnik also lost in the last round to Najdorf, so I guess that conserving all that energy in his games against the other Soviet players (2 wins, 1 loss) did not help the 10-year younger Botvinnik.

BTW, here is what I think is a good summary of Groningen 1946: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gronin....

Apr-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Since this tournament keeps getting mentioned here's a link for the info Groningen (1946)
Apr-17-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Thanks for analysis.

This one I find a little amusing:

<4. The Soviets played better than they should have when playing against non-Soviet players.>

Apr-18-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <After Move 6 of Keres vs Reshevsky, 1938>

Arbiter [stepping up to the board, stopping the clocks]: Grandmaster Keres?

Keres [with immense trepidation]: Ja? I mean Da?

Arbiter: I am afraid I am forfeiting you for trying too hard against a westerner.

Keres [under his breath]: Bah! Reshevsky a westerner LOL!

Apr-18-15  ughaibu: RookFile: You wrote "if they had used the tie break system used in the 2013 Candidates, Fine would have been declared the AVRO 1938 winner." And Devere replied "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." To which you said "You're quite right devere.... thanks." But Devere's claim doesn't contradict yours!

That the 2013 tie-break would have selected Fine at AVRO, (if it would) doesn't imply anything about who the AVRO tie-break would have selected in 2013. Devere's reply was a non sequitur.

Apr-18-15  Olavi: <"Incorrect. Keres prevailed at AVRO because he had a +1 -0 =1 score against Fine,>

Incorrect, according to Keres in his 100 Games. The Sonneborn-Berger was used, and he explicitly states that it was known beforehand.

Apr-18-15  Olavi: <AylerKupp> Another case in point is Zürich candidates 1953, when Kotov beat Smyslov towards the end, giving Reshevsky a real chance of winning the tournament (they were even after that).
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