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Salomon Flohr
Circa 1951.  
Number of games in database: 975
Years covered: 1927 to 1980

Overall record: +376 -129 =467 (62.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 3 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Orthodox Defense (76) 
    D51 D55 D62 D50 D59
 Nimzo Indian (56) 
    E34 E33 E38 E32 E39
 Queen's Pawn Game (50) 
    D02 A46 E00 D05 A40
 English (48) 
    A15 A13 A18 A14 A16
 King's Indian (31) 
    E94 E60 E91 E92 E67
 Slav (29) 
    D19 D15 D14 D18 D16
With the Black pieces:
 Caro-Kann (124) 
    B10 B13 B17 B15 B18
 Queen's Gambit Accepted (50) 
    D26 D22 D25 D29 D27
 Slav (39) 
    D15 D18 D11 D10 D19
 Grunfeld (29) 
    D96 D81 D94 D85 D71
 English, 1 c4 e5 (23) 
    A22 A28 A20 A27
 Ruy Lopez (21) 
    C77 C92 C71 C84 C76
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Flohr vs Vidmar, 1936 1-0
   Flohr vs Botvinnik, 1933 1-0
   N Evseev vs Flohr, 1949 0-1
   Flohr vs Capablanca, 1935 1/2-1/2
   Feigin vs Flohr, 1937 0-1
   R Domenech vs Flohr, 1935 0-1
   Flohr vs S Landau, 1930 1-0
   R Pitschak vs Flohr, 1934 0-1
   E Eliskases vs Flohr, 1937 0-1
   Botvinnik vs Flohr, 1933 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Podebrady (1936)
   Hastings 1933/34 (1933)
   Leningrad/Moscow training (1939)
   Moscow (1935)
   Margate (1936)
   Hastings 1935/36 (1935)
   London (1932)
   Bournemouth (1939)
   Berne (1932)
   Zurich (1934)
   Kemeri (1937)
   USSR Championship (1944)
   Bled (1931)
   Nottingham (1936)
   USSR Championship (1947)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Bled 1931 by Benzol
   Bled 1931 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Moscow 1936 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Bled 1931 international tournament part 2 by cuendillar
   Moscow 1936 by suenteus po 147

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(born Nov-21-1908, died Jul-18-1983, 74 years old) Russia

[what is this?]

Salomon Flohr was born in 1908 in Gorodenka, present day Ukraine.1 His parents were jewish, had eight children and were very poor. He was orphaned during World War I after their parents were killed in a massacre, and they fled to the newly formed nation of Czechoslovakia, where he learned chess.6

He won several Czechoslovakian tournaments in the early 1930s, earning him something of a celebrity status in his country. Starting with the 1931/32 edition, he won or shared 1st at four consecutive Hastings Christmas Congresses.2 In 1932, he beat Mir Sultan Khan (+2 -1 =3 ) and drew Dr. Max Euwe (+3 -3 =10 ) in matches. One year later, he drew the Botvinnik - Flohr (1933) (+2 -2 =8). In 1939, he won the Leningrad/Moscow training (1939) tournament with 12/17, ahead of Samuel Reshevsky.

Following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Flohr - of Ukrainian Jewish origins - fled to the USSR and became a Soviet citizen. Flohr finished 4th in his debut in the 13th USSR Championship (1944). In 1950 he won the Tartu Semifinal of the 18th USSR Championship.3 Flohr resumed his chess career after the war, qualifying from the Saltsjöbaden Interzonal (1948) to play in the Budapest Candidates (1950), where he shared last place. FIDE awarded him the grandmaster title in 1950 and the international arbiter title in 1963.1 Eventually he retired from serious tournaments, but remained active as a chess journalist until his death in 1983.

In an interview with N. Borisov which was published in the famous Soviet chess magazine 64 (21/1970) Flohr harshly criticized his own approach to chess after the war.

"The war severely affected my health and my nervous system. My way to think about chess needed a change. I have never had a particularly good knowledge of theory because in my youth other factors were more important. After the war young Soviet masters sprang up like mushrooms. They pushed not only me aside but also the other Western grandmasters. But the main reason for my failures after the war has to be sought elsewhere. Fighting for the chess throne requires a boundless will to work. Which I no longer had. No sweet without sweat! I was spoilt by my great successes before the war. My character was not strong enough. I stopped fighting, I basically did not care. A pity! As Steinitz used to say: chess is not for the faint-hearted but demands your all." 4

Reuben Fine believed that Flohr's insecurity and vulnerability had seriously affected his prospects:

"In the years from 1929 to 1933, when Alekhine was at his peak Flohr was universally recognised as his most serious challenger. Although he did poorly in individual games with Alekhine, his results were outstanding against the others … In 1929, when he was only 20, he won second prize behind Rubinstein at Rogasska Slatina. The he began a long string of tournament successes which placed him second only to Alekhine.

This period lasted until about 1935, when his style underwent a considerable change and his play fell off somewhat. He became increasingly cautious, avoiding complications and steering for the endgame as soon as possible…he became more and more a drawing master…the roots of his frantic emphasis on “safety first” are not hard to discover. In 1936, Czechoslovakia, his second homeland, was faced with a growing threat from Nazi Germany… (and) with his support endangered, Flohr found it impossible to concentrate on his own growth as a chess master." 5


1. Jeremy Gaige, "Chess Personalia- a Biobibliography" (McFarland 1987), p.122

2. Wikipedia article: Hastings International Chess Congress

3. [rusbase-1]

4. Quoted by Vlastimil Hort, in his article on Flohr -

5. Reuben Fine, “The World’s Greatest Chess Games” p. 166-167.

6. Wikipedia article: Salo Flohr

Last updated: 2018-07-20 14:22:09

 page 1 of 39; games 1-25 of 975  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Hromadka vs Flohr 0-1261927Kautsky mem 4thC07 French, Tarrasch
2. Flohr vs B Thelen 0-1471927Kautsky mem 4thE12 Queen's Indian
3. Flohr vs A Poisl 1-0351927Kautsky mem 4thE12 Queen's Indian
4. Opocensky vs Flohr 0-1391927Kautsky mem 4thB32 Sicilian
5. B Thelen vs Flohr 0-1371928Kautsky mem 5thA30 English, Symmetrical
6. Flohr vs Tartakower 1-0211928BerlinB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
7. Flohr vs F Lustig 1-0361928PragueC77 Ruy Lopez
8. Opocensky vs Flohr 0-1521928Kautsky mem 5thD02 Queen's Pawn Game
9. Flohr vs G Machate 1-0201928SumperkB23 Sicilian, Closed
10. Flohr vs E Richter 1-0411928Kautsky mem 5thE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
11. Flohr vs F Lustig 1-0451928Kautsky mem 5thD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Flohr vs B Thelen 1-0311928Prague EvonyC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
13. Flohr vs J Dobias  0-1531928Kautsky mem 5thD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
14. Prokes vs Flohr  1-0461928Prague EvonyA07 King's Indian Attack
15. J Dobias vs Flohr  0-1311929Kautsky mem 6thE22 Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann Variation
16. Flohr vs F Treybal 1-0411929Kautsky mem 6thD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. Flohr vs J Dobias  0-1391929Prague-chC77 Ruy Lopez
18. Flohr vs Z Vecsey  1-0211929Prague-chE00 Queen's Pawn Game
19. Flohr vs H Geiger 1-0291929Rogaska SlatinaD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. Flohr vs E Canal  1-0661929Rogaska SlatinaC77 Ruy Lopez
21. Flohr vs A Brinckmann 0-1361929Rogaska SlatinaA41 Queen's Pawn Game (with ...d6)
22. Pirc vs Flohr  0-1521929Rogaska SlatinaE22 Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann Variation
23. Flohr vs I Koenig 1-0411929Rogaska SlatinaA50 Queen's Pawn Game
24. Flohr vs Saemisch 1-0251929Rogaska SlatinaE00 Queen's Pawn Game
25. Rubinstein vs Flohr 1-0381929Rogaska SlatinaA80 Dutch
 page 1 of 39; games 1-25 of 975  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Flohr wins | Flohr loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 6 OF 6 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Sep-29-13  Karpova: His brother also played chess, see my post Karjakin (11th Kautsky Memorial 1934).

On p. 349 of the November 1935 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung', <M. Flohr> is among the participants of the XIIth Kautsky Memorial. This would mean, that J Dobias vs Flohr, 1935 for example was not played by Salomon.

Oct-01-13  Karpova: In order to raise money for the Czechoslovakian team to travel to Folkestone*, Flohr gave Simuls in Czechoslovakia in 1933 with the result +504 -18 =78

Source: P. 188 of the June 1933 'Neue Wiener Schachzeitung'


Oct-09-13  Everett: His match with Botvinnik Botvinnik-Flohr Match (1933) is a strange omission from his bio.
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Everett>: At a glance, that is by no means the only pertinent item found wanting.
Oct-09-13  TheFocus: <In 1938 he was invited to the AVRO tournament in Holland, which was intended to <select a challenger> for World Champion Alexander Alekhine, but finished last.>

This old chestnut needs to be deleted as it has been disproven.

No mention is made of his winning the Czechoslovakian championships of 1933 and 1936, or his excellent results in the Olympiads.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Flohr was the Staunton of the inter-war period.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <offramp: Flohr was the Staunton of the inter-war period.>

I don't see it. Though short, he was not nasty or brutish.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Just in his technical playing style.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: R.I.P. GM Salomon Flohr.
Nov-21-13  talisman: talk about a hard childhood and overcoming!!! ...R.I.P. forever.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: In my mind Reuben Fine and Salomon Flohr go hand-in-glove as forgotten men in world chess.

They were both potential world champions in the 1930s and 1940s, but now thier games lie forgotten and disregarded, rotting away in a corner of chess history we all want to forget. The Pewter Age of chess where technique was sole dictator; technique used to take the game to the safe haven of for white and = for black as soon as possible; a time when 1.e4 was considered scandalously old-fashioned and bishops could have been welded on to KN2 and QN2.

Thankfully a generation of modern thinkers such as Geller, Tal, Fischer and Larsen came along to shake up the old chess world.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Gypsy: <Everett: ... Botvinnik-Flohr Match (1933) is a strange omission from his bio. >


Aug-05-14  Conrad93: Can someone put a picture up?

Wikipedia already has a good photo of him:

Nov-21-14  grasser: Well with the WC going on, good luck getting any Birthday wishes Salomon Flohr. Oh how soon we forget. One day Carlsen and Anand will be a distant memory too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I have it on good authority he doesn't much care about the missing birthday wishes, and likewise doesn't need any more RIP wishes.
Nov-21-14  ketchuplover: May he RIP forever
Nov-21-14  Petrosianic: How will you know whether he does or not?
Nov-26-14  Yopo: For practical players,
art is just a
exception to the canon rules.

But you can not get away from the art .
just as one can not escape the second teeth.

Until Flohr could not to escape.
Flohr vs Rellstab, 1931

May-03-15  TheFocus: <Chess, like love, is infectious at any age> - Salo Flohr.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: In <The Reliable Past>, p162, Sosonko says:

"Salo knew Czech quite well, but when he spoke in it it was immediately apparent that it was not his native language, and so more frequently [he and Vera Meisnerova] spoke in German, Flohr's strongest language."

Nov-21-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Salo Flohr!!
Feb-23-17  The Kings Domain: Solid positional player in the style of Capablanca. One wonders how he would have fared had the championship match against Alekhine pushed through.
May-31-17  nummerzwei: <A shortage of creative energy has always inhibited Flohr from crowning his career.>

Lodewijk Prins

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: No photograph of Flohr?!

Shame, <CG>, shame.


Jan-09-18  WorstPlayerEver: Interesting read:

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