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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]
Alexander Alekhine7/14(+3 -3 =8)[view games]
Max Euwe7/14(+4 -4 =6)[view games]
Samuel Reshevsky7/14(+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 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 ** 1 1 1 8 2 Fine 0 ** 1 11 10 10 1 8 3 Botvinnik 0 ** 1 0 1 1 7 4 Alekhine 00 0 ** 1 1 1 7 5 Euwe 01 1 0 ** 0 01 1 7 6 Reshevsky 0 01 0 1 ** 1 7 7 Capablanca 0 0 0 10 ** 1 6 8 Flohr 0 0 0 0 0 ** 4

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) , (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 8 OF 8 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-24-15  A.T PhoneHome: Karpov's 1994 performance was also ten years after the first Kasparov-Karpov match. I think that Kasparov could've viewed that Linares tournament like "Yeah, this is the guy I played against in five WC matches. Tough fellow."

The fact that the guy who won in 1994 can be compared to Garry Kasparov himself. Small comfort to Kasparov of course, considering what he stated before the tournament. :P

Apr-24-15  Howard: What did Kasparov say before the tournament ?

Of course, that event had the infamous Polgar-Kasparov incident, as some may recall.

Apr-24-15  A.T PhoneHome: Well he said that the winner of this tournament can be held as the champion of tournament play.

With "the infamous Polgar-Kasparov incident" you must mean the J'adoube? :P

Apr-24-15  RookFile: Keres was probably at his prime during this event. However, Reshevsky and others thought that he would lose in a match to Alekhine. I have no idea, of course, just wish that such a match had somehow happened.
Apr-24-15  A.T PhoneHome: I think Alekhine may have been more willing to play against Keres than, say, Botvinnik. What is your take on that, <RookFile>?
Apr-24-15  Howard: My name ain't Rookfile, but I'll toss in my two cents worth if you don't mind or nothing.

To say that Keres was at his "prime" during AVRO 1938 is an exaggeration, in my view. He was the youngest competitor, at 22, and was probably rather lucky to tie for first place. His prime period probably wasn't until the 1950's.

Thus, Alekhine probably would have preferred him as an opponent, simply because Keres would have been less formidable than Botvinnik.

Apr-24-15  A.T PhoneHome: Your name is quite close and I appreciate any input!

And yes, he was still very young plus perhaps the fact that Botvinnik as opponent would possibly have stronger backing by Soviet government.

Keres indeed played really strong chess in the 50's; one can consider his Candidates performances for instance.

Apr-24-15  RookFile: There is some guy these days named Magnus who was doing pretty well when he was 22. You're right that Keres had a long an successful career, and was playing strong chess even 20+ years later.
Apr-24-15  A.T PhoneHome: I think that 1 vs. 1 match would've been great for Keres. Usually he competed in tournaments where Botvinnik was playing and I am not saying that Soviets wanted Keres to do badly, but Botvinnik may have been ideologically the better option.

There might've been more space for Keres in such match-up vs. Alekhine. Just my opinion though!

Apr-24-15  Lambda: The best aged tournament performance has got to be a 55 year old Lasker winning by a substantial margin over a field containing Capablanca and Alekhine at New York 1924.

The whole narrative of his fending off of Capablanca in tournaments is something I find particularly impressive; finds a way to overhaul him from well behind at St. Petersburg 1914, helped by a brilliant victory, and then finishes above him three more times in succession, even into his mid-60s!

Apr-24-15  A.T PhoneHome: Yeah, people can say all they want about Lasker but the fact he kept Capablanca in check so often in tournaments, not to mention how old he was when doing so, is perhaps unparalleled.

Because you know the awe with which they talk about the great Cuban. Tells something!

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <A.T: By the way, what is your favourite high score performance in top-flight chess? Mine is probably Karpov's 1994 triumph at Linares.>

Cannot say I have a favourite, or have given that any thought, really.

Linares was a wonderful triumph for Karpov and I was always amused by Eric Schiller's attempt, in his collection of Kasparov's games, to downplay the result by noting that most of Karpov's opponents faced him the day after having their turn with Kasparov--not that Schiller ever made any pretence of objectivity.

Apr-24-15  A.T PhoneHome: Trying to downplay Karpov's result in a collection of Kasparov's games. Now where have I heard that one before?

Anyways, there are many very strong single-player performances in the history of chess. I like to think that the most of us single out one of them as something truly special due to sentimental reasons.

Because there literally is no realistic reason for saying why one appeals more than the other.

Apr-24-15  Petrosianic: <The best aged tournament performance has got to be a 55 year old Lasker winning by a substantial margin over a field containing Capablanca and Alekhine at New York 1924>

Possibly, although two other candidates leap to mind:

1) Smyslov making it to the Candidates Final at age 63.

2) Lasker going undefeated at Moscow 1935, at age 66.

And maybe even Steinitz beating Tchigorin at age 55, oldest guy to win a world championship match

Apr-24-15  Karposian: I would also add Korchnoi who made it to the Candidates Matches in 1991 at the age of 60.
Apr-24-15  Karposian: <A.T: By the way, what is your favourite high score performance in top-flight chess? Mine is probably Karpov's 1994 triumph at Linares.>

If I can pitch in, my personal favorite goes way back. I'd pick Capablanca's triumph in New York 1927.

The quality of play was very high and boasted a stellar field.

It was a quadruple round-robin tournament with six players: Capablanca, Alekhine, Nimzowitsch, Vidmar, Spielmann and Marshall.

Capablanca played superbly throughout and won with a magnificent +8 score, a whopping 2 1/2 points ahead of Alekhine who finished second.

Apr-24-15  ughaibu: Capablanca's +8 at New York 1927 was a 70% performance, Lasker's +6 in the final at Saint Petersburg 1914 was an 87% performance. I think "+" scores are pretty meaningless, as they disregard the total number of games.

About AVRO 1938, the winners got just over 60%, compare that with the world championship 1948: 70%, candidates 1950: 67%, 1953: 64%, 1956: 66%, 1959: 71% and 1963: 67%.

Apr-25-15  A.T PhoneHome: <Karposian> Of course you can and you did! :P and I appreciate everything you guys have to say. Thanks for the input.
Apr-26-15  Everett: Petrosianic: <The best aged tournament performance has got to be a 55 year old Lasker winning by a substantial margin over a field containing Capablanca and Alekhine at New York 1924> <Possibly, although two other candidates leap to mind:

1) Smyslov making it to the Candidates Final at age 63.

2) Lasker going undefeated at Moscow 1935, at age 66.>

Says <tournament> performance, quite clearly. Not match.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: My favourite tournament performance is Kasparov's at Linares (1999).
Apr-27-15  A.T PhoneHome: Kasparov was, by his own admission, at his peak in 1999. 10.5/14 is a very strong feat against the field he was facing!
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Am I alone in thinking that Kasparov is a better politician than he is a chess player?
Apr-27-15  A.T PhoneHome: I don't affiliate myself with politics so can't really say. Anyways, what makes you conclude such (not saying you're dead-wrong, just interested)?

I guess his attitude as a player is one thing.

May-20-15  Everett: <Apr-27-15
member offramp: Am I alone in thinking that Kasparov is a better politician than he is a chess player?>

You are indeed alone! ;-)

May-20-15  RookFile: Lasker going 16 out of 20 at New York 1924. Forget about it, nothing else by a senior equals that in tournament play.
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