Machgielis (Max) Euwe was the fifth World Champion.
Euwe was born in Watergraafsmeer in Amsterdam. His mother, Elizabeth van der Meer, taught him the moves when he was four. He was a student of mathematics at Amsterdam University where he graduated with honours in 1923, gaining his doctorate in 1926, after which he taught mathematics in Rotterdam and later in Amsterdam.
Euwe won 102 tournaments during his career, squeezing them - and his other tournaments - into the little spare time he had during a busy professional career as a teacher, mathematician and lecturer, and while raising a family. His first international foray was in the Hastings Victory tournament after WW1 in the summer of 1919 where he placed 4th. He won the Dutch National Championship on five consecutive occasions in 1921, 1924, 1926, 1929 and 1933, and then on six more consecutive occasions in 1938, 1939, 1942, 1947, 1948 and 1952. His 12th win was in 1955; these 12 wins of the Dutch Championship is still a record, three wins ahead of the next most prolific winner, Jan Timman. Euwe was a regular competitor in the Hastings tournament, winning it three times in 1923-24, 1930-31, 1934-35. In 1928 he became the Second World Amateur Champion after Hermanis Karlovich Mattison (Paris 1924). Other important results occurred when he won Wiesbaden 1925, placed 2nd behind Alexander Alekhine at Berne 1932, 2nd behind Alekhine (whom he beat) at Zurich 1934, 2nd at Zandvoort 1936 behind Reuben Fine, 3rd at Nottingham 1936 half a point behind Mikhail Botvinnik and Jose Raul Capablanca but ahead of Alekhine, =1st at Amsterdam 1936 with Fine, 1st at Bad Nauheim-Stuttgart-Garmisch 1937, ahead of Alekhine, =4th with Alekhine and Samuel Reshevsky at AVRO 1938, 1st at Amsterdam-Hilversum-The Hague in 1939, and 1st at Budapest in 1940. After the Second World War, he came 1st in London in 1946 and had his best tournament result, second behind Botvinnik at Groningen in 1946, a result which contributed to his receiving an invitation to play in the FIDE World Championship Tournament (1948).
Soon after Euwe won the Dutch Championship for the first time in 1921, he played and drew a short match with Geza Maroczy with 2 wins, 8 draws, and 2 losses. He played and lost what amounted to a short training match with Alekhine in 1926-7, a few months before the Capablanca - Alekhine World Championship Match (1927), by +2 =5 -3. In 1928 Euwe defeated Edgar Colle in a match with 5 wins and 1 draw. A few days later he played Efim Bogoljubov in a match and lost, scoring 2 wins, 5 draws, and 3 losses. After winning Hastings 1930-1 ahead of Capablanca, he played Capablanca in a match, but lost with 8 draws and 2 losses. Soon after his good result in Berne 1932, he drew a match with Salomon Flohr with 3 wins, 10 draws, and 3 losses. Later in 1932, he won a training match with Rudolf Spielmann in 1932, with 2 wins and 2 draws, but lost another training match with Spielmann in 1935. He played a match with Paul Keres in The Netherlands in 1939-40, losing 6½-7½ (+5 =3 -6). In 1941 Euwe traveled to Carlsbad and defeated Bogoljubov in a match with 5 wins, 3 draws, and 2 losses. He drew a match in 1949 with Vasja Pirc (+2, =6, -2) Euwe - Pirc (1949).
In 1957, Euwe played a short informal match against 14-year-old future world champion Robert James Fischer, winning one game and drawing the other. His lifetime score against Fischer was one win, one loss, and one draw.
In 1935 Alexander Alekhine selected him as his opponent for the World title, the last time in which a challenger was selected until Garry Kasparov selected Vladimir Kramnik to challenge him for the Kasparov - Kramnik World Championship Match (2000). The match was held in Amsterdam, The Hague, Delft, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Gouda, Groningen, Baarn, 's-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Zeist, Ermelo, and Zandvoort, and played in 23 different venues. Euwe won the match (+9 =13 -8) on 15 December 1935 to become the fifth World Champion. This was also the first world championship match in which the players had seconds to help them with analysis during adjournments. In 1937 he lost the Euwe - Alekhine World Championship Rematch (1937) (+4 =11 -10). Their lifetime tally was +28 -20 =38 in favour of Alekhine. After Alekhine's death in 1946, Euwe was invited to contest the 1948 World Championship Match Tournament, and although he came last in that event, he continued to play in the world championship cycle until the Zurich Candidates of 1953.
He played top board for The Netherlands in seven Olympiads between 1927 to 1962, scoring 10½/15 at London 1927, 9½/13 at Stockholm 1937 to win bronze, 8/12 at Dubrovnik 1950, 7½/13 at Amsterdam 1954, 8½/11 at Munich 1958 to win silver medal (aged 57), 6½/16 at Leipzig 1960, and 4/7 in his last Olympiad at Varna in 1962. His Olympiad aggregate was 54½/87 for 62.6 per cent.
Legacy and testimonials
While he was World Champion, Euwe handed FIDE the power to organise the World Championship, apart from the return match with Alekhine that had already been agreed upon.
In 1957, while visiting the United States to study computer technology, he played two unofficial chess games in New York against Bobby Fischer, winning one and drawing the second. A couple of years later, he became director of The Netherlands Automatic Data Processing Research Centre in 1959 and from 1961 to 1963, chairman of a committee set up by Euratom to examine the feasibility of programming computers to play chess. In 1964, he was appointed to a chair in an automatic information processing in Rotterdam University and, following that, at Tilburg University. He retired as professor at Tilburg in 1971. A fuller description of his non-chess career can be found at Max Euwe, courtesy of <achieve>.
From 1970-1978 he was a peripatetic President of FIDE, visiting more than 100 countries at his own expense, promoting chess world wide and helping add over 30 new member countries to FIDE. During his terms as FIDE President, he exercised immense diligence and effort to ensure the Match of the Century, the Fischer - Spassky World Championship Match (1972) occurred. While he was successful in that endeavour, similarly Herculean efforts to enable the Karpov - Fischer World Championship Match (1975) eventually foundered.
Euwe wrote over 70 chess books, including <The Road to Chess Mastery>, <Judgement and Planning in Chess>, <The Logical Approach to Chess>, and <Strategy and Tactics in Chess Play>. Many of his books are still in print, enabling several generations of good Dutch players to develop their games from reading his works. His bibliography can be gleaned from the following links at http://www.openisbn.com/author/Max_... ((English); and http://www.maxeuwe.nl/opauteur.html (Dutch).
He died in 1981, age 80. The Max Euwe Plein (square) (near the Leidseplein) in Amsterdam has a large chess set and statue, where the 'Max Euwe Stichting' is located in a former jailhouse. It has a Max Euwe museum and a large collection of chess books. Euwe’s granddaughter, Esmé Lammers, has written a children's book called Lang Leve de Koningin (Long live the Queen), which is a fairytale about a young girl who learns to play chess and at the same time finds her father. Lammers filmed the story in 1995 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113598/.)
• "Strategy requires thought; tactics requires observation." - Max Euwe
• "Does the general public, do even our friends the critics realize that Euwe virtually never made an unsound combination? He may, of course, occasionally fail to take account of an opponent's combination, but when he has the initiative in a tactical operation his calculation is impeccable." – Alexander Alekhine
• "He is logic personified, a genius of law and order. One would hardly call him an attacking player, yet he strides confidently into some extraordinarily complex variations." – Hans Kmoch
• "There's something wrong with that man. He's too normal." – Bobby Fischer
(1) Wikipedia article: 2nd Chess Olympiad; (2) Wikipedia article: Hastings International Chess Congress; (3) http://members.tripod.com/HSK_Chess... (4) http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.a...
Wikipedia article: Max Euwe