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) http://www.avro.nl/, (2) Wikipedia article: AVRO 1938 chess tournament. 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.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
=1 Keres ** 1˝ ˝˝ ˝˝ ˝˝ 1˝ 1˝ ˝˝ 8˝
=1 Fine 0˝ ** 1˝ 11 10 10 ˝˝ 1˝ 8˝
3 Botvinnik ˝˝ 0˝ ** 1˝ ˝0 1˝ ˝1 ˝˝ 7˝
=4 Alekhine ˝˝ 00 0˝ ** 1˝ ˝˝ ˝1 ˝1 7
=4 Euwe ˝˝ 01 ˝1 0˝ ** 0˝ 01 1˝ 7
=4 Reshevsky 0˝ 01 0˝ ˝˝ 1˝ ** ˝˝ 1˝ 7
7 Capablanca 0˝ ˝˝ ˝0 ˝0 10 ˝˝ ** 1˝ 6
8 Flohr ˝˝ 0˝ ˝˝ ˝0 0˝ 0˝ 0˝ ** 4˝
Original collection: Game Collection: AVRO 1938, by User: Benzol.
| page 1 of 1; 17 games
|1. Fine vs Botvinnik
||1-0||31||1938||AVRO||C17 French, Winawer, Advance|
|2. Euwe vs Flohr
||1-0||32||1938||AVRO||E11 Bogo-Indian Defense|
|3. Alekhine vs Euwe
||1-0||41||1938||AVRO||D14 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation|
|4. Botvinnik vs Reshevsky
|5. Keres vs Reshevsky
||1-0||44||1938||AVRO||C79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred|
|6. Fine vs Flohr
||1-0||28||1938||AVRO||C17 French, Winawer, Advance|
|7. Keres vs Capablanca
||1-0||38||1938||AVRO||C09 French, Tarrasch, Open Variation, Main line|
|8. Botvinnik vs Alekhine
||1-0||51||1938||AVRO||D41 Queen's Gambit Declined, Semi-Tarrasch|
|9. Capablanca vs Euwe
||1-0||40||1938||AVRO||E34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation|
|10. Reshevsky vs Flohr
||1-0||44||1938||AVRO||D81 Grunfeld, Russian Variation|
|11. Capablanca vs Flohr
||1-0||37||1938||AVRO||D83 Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit|
|12. Alekhine vs Capablanca
||1-0||35||1938||AVRO||C05 French, Tarrasch|
|13. Alekhine vs Flohr
||1-0||42||1938||AVRO||C84 Ruy Lopez, Closed|
|14. Botvinnik vs Capablanca
||1-0||41||1938||AVRO||E40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3|
|15. Euwe vs Botvinnik
||1-0||34||1938||AVRO||D96 Grunfeld, Russian Variation|
|16. Fine vs Alekhine
||1-0||46||1938||AVRO||C72 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, 5.O-O|
|17. Euwe vs Capablanca
||1-0||39||1938||AVRO||E18 Queen's Indian, Old Main line, 7.Nc3|
| page 1 of 1; 17 games
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< Earlier Kibitzing · PAGE 12 OF 12 ·
|Jun-08-18|| ||ChessHigherCat: <beatgiant: <ChessHigherCat> <What makes you believe it was voluntary? Did the Germans not require it?> This was German-occupied Europe during WWII, one of the most brutal totalitarian regimes known to history. So, I think it's a pretty natural question.>|
Well, collaborators always have a choice, but when the choice comes down to maintaining the status quo with a cushy job as a radio announcer or else being shipped off to the concentration camp, few people are brave enough to go the martyrdom route. If, on the other hand, the choice is between broadcasting vile Nazi propaganda or merely losing one's job, there we have a clear-cut case of collaboration.
A less painful path of resistance would be to run off to England and try to join an insurgency movement, or at least broadcast anti-Nazi programs from abroad, but it may be too difficult to escape.
As to the postwar trials, the old radio channels only remained in business for a year before being taken over by the official Nazi channel, so the ones that lost their jobs and were replaced by official propagandists after a year probably aren't very high on the list of collaborators. On the other hand, if they chose to remain on the Nazi channel after one year, were members of the Dutch fascist party (NSB) and even spiced up their propaganda speeches with incitement to murder and mayhem, that would be a clear-cut case of collaboration, too.
I don't know about whether the postwar trials were held or not but the older Dutch members might recall. You could also look that up yourself.
|Jun-08-18|| ||WorstPlayerEver: <beatgigant>
In comparison to jews, the Dutch were treated with silk gloves by the Germans.
My grandfather was a smuggler during the war and I am quite sure the Germans simply could have him shot any time, but they just let him.
During the war the Dutch also committed sabotage on German material all over the country. Hitler's road project were delayed for instance.
After the war lots of nazis kept their job, because the Dutch needed 'office people.' For instance, a third of the judges were not replaced afaik.. (I would have to do some research to back that up though).
PS I also don't understand the '1-0' thing. Silliness though.
|Jun-08-18|| ||WorstPlayerEver: PPS
These people 'got way with it', because after each war people have a strong tendency to go 'back to normal.' Quite obvious that they also needed a lot of 'qualified' employees.
|Jun-08-18|| ||sneaky pete: For our Dutch kibitzers, here is a radio program from 1988 dealing with the purification of Dutch broadcasters during the German occupation and Willem Vogt in particular:
If you don't want to listen to the entire program, the last 10 or 12 minutes should be enough. It was a farce, but not at all funny, and a shame and a disgrace.
Maybe someone else here will feel inspired to write a summary in English. I don't.
|Jun-08-18|| ||ChessHigherCat: <sneaky pete> Nice goose! Is this the same kind?: https://www.google.com/search?newwi...|
At first I tried to search "Dutch Goose" but there's a restaurant with that name in Menlo Park, so I just got pages and pages of advertisements!
As to the link, once I figured out how to get past the cookie monster on the cookies page, I clicked the video and got some kind of recording of a torture chamber where people were being forced to swallow burning hot mashed potatoes! Just kidding, that's how Dutch always sounds to me, my listening comprehension is horrible! If I ever improve I'll go back to it.
|Jun-08-18|| ||sneaky pete: <CHC> No, the goose is of the Florida Two Month variety. It feeds on alligators, Life Masters and bananas.|
The link is to a radio program. Radio is something like video, but without moving pictures. Some of what you hear comes from recordings (on glass 78 rpm records) of actual radio programs from the early 1940s. You can also hear collaborating technicians testify that, as an act of resistance, they did their best to make the propaganda programs sound as bad as they could. Obviously they succeeded.
|Jun-08-18|| ||ChessHigherCat: <sneaky pete>: A bananaphagic goose, that's pretty scary! And I don't understand how you can play video games on the radio, but it must be one of those lost secrets of the Ancients.|
This is a pretty good book about an American undercover agent in WWII who has a racist radio show but the real purpose is to give signals to the underground depending on his phrasing. Unfortunately, nobody believes him after the war and the US government won't back up his story:
You can choose the Kindle format for $7.99, the paperback for $4.05 or the hardback for $199.99, it's up to you :-)
|Sep-13-18|| ||An Englishman: Good Evening: Four World Champions out of eight total players--and none of them finished first. The current title holder went +0 -2 =2 against the top two. Now *that* was a tournament.|
|Sep-13-18|| ||newzild: Dubious to call this the strongest tournament ever held.|
The weakest player at St Petersburg 1895/6, for example, was ranked #5 in the world by Chessmetrics.
|Sep-13-18|| ||Lambda: There are many different credible answers to "what was the strongest chess tournament ever held?" depending on what you mean by "strongest", how you compare between eras etc. But this is definitely one of them.|
|Sep-13-18|| ||JimNorCal: <newzild> makes a good point. If you go by world ranking, StP1895 was enormously strong. |
But I wonder what the (estimated/calculated) ELOs were. Maybe that is the basis for claiming AVROs strength.
|Sep-13-18|| ||Joseph Blackcape: According to Chessmetrics the 8 players at AVRO were rated the top 8 players in the world with Botvinnik being #1 (2763) and Euwe #8 (2716). So if you go by estimated rating no possibility for it being any stronger.|
Link for reference: http://www.chessmetrics.com/cm/CM2/...
|Sep-13-18|| ||JimNorCal: StP 1895/6 had 4 of the top 5 with, if I am reading it correctly, these imputed ratings:|
|Sep-13-18|| ||Howard: Some sources go by players' peak ratings when it comes to gauging tournament strength--not necessarily their ratings at the time of the event.|
Capablanca's peak rating was estimated to be 2720, if I remember right. But was he playing at that level in 1938? Hardly likely !
|Sep-17-18|| ||newzild: Yes, St Petersburg was stronger both by average Chessmetrics rating (helped by Lasker's stratospheric rating of 2842) and also by average world ranking.|
|Sep-17-18|| ||Olavi: If any of the eight players in AVRO was replaced by any other player in the world, the tournament would have been weaker. If Tarrasch would have replaced anybody else than Lasker in St Petersburg, I don't think you can say the same.|
|Sep-18-18|| ||keypusher: Chessmetrics ratings are supposed to be comparable across generations but they aren’t, really. So I wouldn’t put much stock in a ratings comparison. If you treat ranking as a proxy for strength then obviously a tournament with four of the top five is going to be stronger than a tournament with the top 8, but as Olavi points out you can’t make AVRO stronger (except by eliminating the bottom half of the field), while you can strengthen St. Petersburg by adding Tarrasch (who was invited, incidentally).|
Not sure how relevant this is, but I think if you could invite 1895 Steinitz and Chigorin to play at AVRO they’d get their clocks cleaned. 1895 Lasker could hold his own, just as 1935-36 Lasker could against many of the AVRO contestants. I’m not sure about Pillsbury.
|Sep-18-18|| ||Howard: Like that expression---"get their clocks cleaned" !|
Another drawback of Chessmetrics ratings is that the mere existence of the rating system frequently has an effect on how professionals play. But no rating system existed before 1970, or at least not by FIDE.
|Sep-18-18|| ||Howard: Oh, I couldn't agree more with Keypusher. Ratings reflect RELATIVE strength, not absolute.|
There's a difference !
|Sep-18-18|| ||RookFile: Elo's rating system was around in the early 1960's. It just wasn't adopted by FIDE until later.|
|Sep-19-18|| ||Howard: Exactly!|
|Sep-20-18|| ||newzild: Well, how to compare tournament strengths across generations, then?
Do we automatically assume that a tournament with the top 6 players today is stronger than a tournament with the top 6 players in the 1990s?
Were Flohr and an aging Capablanca stronger than Chigorin and Pillsbury?|
|Sep-20-18|| ||beatgiant: <newzild>
<Well, how to compare tournament strengths across generations, then?>
Wikipedia has a nice article on historical chess strength comparisons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compa...
|Sep-20-18|| ||Lambda: <Well, how to compare tournament strengths across generations, then?>|
With difficulty. The trouble is, if you ask "is this player from X era stronger than this player from Y era", it isn't even clear what you're enquiring about. You might think it's something like "if a time traveller was to pick them both up from these points in their career and had then play each other in their time machine, who would come out better?" but this means you're allowing for statements like "a player who lives in an era where it's known white's queen's bishop should go to f4 or g5 in the QGD is stronger, all else being equal, than someone who lives in an era where it's thought b2 is best" which is a bit silly, really. It's like comparing Federer and Laver in tennis by going "well, Federer has a better racket..."
|Sep-20-18|| ||newzild: <Lambda> Yes, I agree. I cannot think of any method better than Chessmetrics, which is at least based on an algorithm.|
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