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Bled Tournament

Alexander Alekhine20.5/26(+15 -0 =11)[games]
Efim Bogoljubov15/26(+12 -8 =6)[games]
Aron Nimzowitsch14/26(+8 -6 =12)[games]
Milan Vidmar13.5/26(+5 -4 =17)[games]
Isaac Kashdan13.5/26(+7 -6 =13)[games]
Salomon Flohr13.5/26(+8 -7 =11)[games]
Gosta Stoltz13.5/26(+8 -7 =11)[games]
Savielly Tartakower13/26(+6 -6 =14)[games]
Borislav Kostic12.5/26(+6 -7 =13)[games]
Rudolf Spielmann12.5/26(+5 -6 =15)[games]
Geza Maroczy12/26(+5 -7 =14)[games]
Edgar Colle10.5/26(+8 -13 =5)[games]
Lajos Asztalos9.5/26(+2 -9 =15)[games]
Vasja Pirc8.5/26(+2 -11 =13)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Bled (1931)

Milan Vidmar was the promoter of the major chess tournament that became Bled 1931. His idea was well received in both Ljubljana (his birthplace) and the nearby health resort of Bled. An organizing committee was set up and at the end of July 1931, this committee commissioned Hans Kmoch to conduct the negotiations with the competitors for a double round tournament to be held at Lake Bled.

Most of those players approached gave their agreement, but Max Euwe declined because of work commitments, Mir Sultan Khan was due to play in the British Championships and Akiba Rubinstein asked for a printed programme. This was sent to him and he was given until August 16th to either confirm or decline the invitation. When the deadline expired without any reply his place was offered to Gösta Stoltz. Stoltz immediately cabled his acceptance, but later that day a cable from Rubinstein arrived confirming his acceptance. The tournament committee ruled that the offer to Stoltz should stand and thus Rubinstein was forced to bow out.

The final list of fourteen players included not only Stoltz but also the World Champion Alexander Alekhine, Lajos Asztalos, Efim Bogoljubov, Milan Vidmar, Isaac Kashdan, Borislav Kostic, Geza Maroczy, Edgar Colle, Aron Nimzowitsch, Vasja Pirc, Savielly Tartakower, Salomon Flohr and Rudolf Spielmann.

The players stayed at the Grand Hotel Toplice. Most of the tournament took place there, except for round 19, which was held in Ljubljana. The first round took place in a large hall, but the spectators made such a disturbance that all the subsequent rounds were played in a smaller room in a much more controlled atmosphere. The tournament began on the 22nd of August with the opening banquet and the drawing of lots and ran until the 29th of September 1931.

The rate of play was 35 moves in 2½ hours. Play commenced daily at 9:00am until 2:00pm and then there was a break for a meal. At 4:30pm play was resumed for another two hours, with a control rate of 15 moves per hour.

Alexander Alekhine registered one of his greatest triumphs, outdistancing the rest of the field by 5½ points.

Bled, Yugoslavia (Slovenia), 23 August - 28 September 1931

01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 Pts 1 Alekhine ** 1½ 11 1½ ½½ 1½ 11 1½ 1½ ½½ 11 11 ½½ 11 20½ 2 Bogolyubov 0½ ** ½0 0½ 11 11 1½ 10 01 0½ 00 11 ½1 11 15 3 Nimzowitsch 00 ½1 ** ½1 00 11 0½ ½½ ½½ ½1 1½ 1½ 1½ 0½ 14 4 Vidmar 0½ 1½ ½0 ** ½½ ½0 ½½ ½½ 11 ½0 ½½ ½1 ½1 ½½ 13½ 5 Kashdan ½½ 00 11 ½½ ** 0½ 1½ 00 10 ½1 10 11 ½½ ½½ 13½ 6 Flohr 0½ 00 00 ½1 1½ ** ½0 1½ 1½ ½1 11 ½0 ½1 ½½ 13½ 7 Stoltz 00 0½ 1½ ½½ 0½ ½1 ** 11 ½½ ½1 ½1 00 01 1½ 13½ 8 Tartakover 0½ 01 ½½ ½½ 11 0½ 00 ** ½0 ½½ ½½ 11 ½½ ½1 13 9 Kostic 0½ 10 ½½ 00 01 0½ ½½ ½1 ** ½½ ½0 01 1½ 11 12½ 10 Spielmann ½½ 1½ ½0 ½1 ½0 ½0 ½0 ½½ ½½ ** 01 00 1½ 11 12½ 11 Maroczy 00 11 0½ ½½ 01 00 ½0 ½½ ½1 10 ** ½1 ½½ ½½ 12 12 Colle 00 00 0½ ½0 00 ½1 11 00 10 11 ½0 ** 0½ 11 10½ 13 Asztalos ½½ ½0 0½ ½0 ½½ ½0 10 ½½ 0½ 0½ ½½ 1½ ** 00 9½ 14 Pirc 00 00 1½ ½½ ½½ ½½ 0½ ½0 00 00 ½½ 00 11 ** 8½

Allocation of prizes:

1st Alekhine 30,000 dinars 2nd Bogolyubov 20,000 dinars 3rd Niemzowitsch 15,000 dinars =4th Vidmar 7,500 dinars =4th Kashdan 7,500 dinars =4th Flohr 7,500 dinars =4th Stoltz 7,500 dinars

The seven non-prizewinners received 250 dinars for each point scored.

The main source for this collection was the Bled 1931 International Chess Tournament book published by Caissa Editions. ISBN 939433-03-6.

Original collection Game Collection: Bled 1931, by User: Benzol.

 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 182  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. G Stoltz vs Alekhine 0-1401931BledC71 Ruy Lopez
2. L Asztalos vs Kashdan ½-½511931BledC49 Four Knights
3. Colle vs Flohr  ½-½581931BledA46 Queen's Pawn Game
4. Kostic vs Spielmann ½-½561931BledA12 English with b3
5. Nimzowitsch vs Pirc 0-1281931BledA12 English with b3
6. Tartakower vs Maroczy  ½-½271931BledD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
7. Vidmar vs Bogoljubov 1-0861931BledD48 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran
8. Alekhine vs Tartakower 1-0611931BledB10 Caro-Kann
9. Bogoljubov vs Colle 1-0341931BledE48 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3 d5
10. Flohr vs Nimzowitsch 0-1641931BledE33 Nimzo-Indian, Classical
11. Kashdan vs Vidmar  ½-½381931BledD31 Queen's Gambit Declined
12. Kostic vs G Stoltz  ½-½841931BledA14 English
13. Maroczy vs L Asztalos  ½-½181931BledC49 Four Knights
14. Spielmann vs Pirc 1-0421931BledD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
15. L Asztalos vs Alekhine ½-½521931BledC11 French
16. Colle vs Kashdan 0-1491931BledD04 Queen's Pawn Game
17. Nimzowitsch vs Bogoljubov ½-½211931BledC11 French
18. Pirc vs Flohr  ½-½141931BledD15 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
19. G Stoltz vs Spielmann  ½-½361931BledA84 Dutch
20. Tartakower vs Kostic  ½-½201931BledC42 Petrov Defense
21. Vidmar vs Maroczy  ½-½191931BledD69 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, Classical,
22. Bogoljubov vs Pirc 1-0401931BledD18 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch
23. Kashdan vs Nimzowitsch 1-0451931BledA09 Reti Opening
24. Kostic vs L Asztalos 1-0391931BledD01 Richter-Veresov Attack
25. Maroczy vs Colle  ½-½381931BledB02 Alekhine's Defense
 page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 182  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-29-12  Mrs. Alekhine: Contemporary Report:

<"This tournament yielded the victory for Alexander Alekhine which seemed inevitable from a very early stage. The World Champion, moreover won by a margin of 5½ points over his nearest rival, which is a record in a contest of such importance. The nearest parallel we can find is Dr Lasker's achievement in the London tournament of 1899 when he scored 22½, 4½ ahead of Janowski, Maroczy and Pillsbury who all tied on 18 points. It is indeed a great <<<triumph>>> for the champion, and was accomplished with consummate ease. He did not lose a game (Lasker in 1899 lost one, a famous game, to Blackburne), and of his eleven draws, eight occurred in the second half of the tournament, when he could afford to save himself too much exertion. He had some narrow escapes, notably in the first game with Asztalos, when he was lucky to draw; and in the second game with Kashdan he had to struggle for 74 moves to gain a half-point.>

-British Chess Magazine 1931, p499

Draw with <Asztalos>: L Asztalos vs Alekhine, 1931

Draw with <Kashdan>: Alekhine vs Kashdan, 1931

Dec-30-12  wordfunph: Bled 1931 1st Round as detailed in Chess Monthly 2003 #03:

The playing area was covered in a cloud of tobacco smoke. The behaviour of some of the spectators was highly familiar. During play, one of the 'amateurs' came up to Bogoljubow with the words "Give me a light!"

Aug-08-13  jerseybob: wordfunph:When I smell cigar smoke I think of chess and the good ole Franklin Mercantile in Philly.
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Why was Round 19 held in Ljubljana?

Nimzowitsch said of Alekhine's performance - "He is playing with us as though with children".

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Surprisingly the bio of Akiba Rubinstein omits his involvement with this tournament. I wonder why?
Jul-27-15  offramp: <Benzol: Surprisingly the bio of Akiba Rubinstein omits his involvement with this tournament. I wonder why?> Probably because he didn't play in it.
Jul-27-15  Howard: Rubinstein was on the brink of retirement by the time this event took place.

However, I have both volumes that Donaldson and Minev did on him---let me look that up this evening.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: I wonder if anybody actually reads the introductions to these tournament pages. Hmmm...
Jul-28-15  offramp: I know that Rubinstein is mentioned in the intro - tangentially.

It's like a story boring people tell:

"I nearly got invited to the Queen's tea party but when the invite turned up it was too late to reply."

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Benzol> do you know exactly what day Stoltz accepted and Rubinstein belatedly accepted only to be rejected? I think that would add an interesting point to the narrative.

I did a little grammatical housekeeping, but noticed a substantial point I think deserves attention. To say that Rubinstein was "forced to bow out" is a little bit misleading, since he was never in, in the first place. I accept that may be splitting a semantical hair, but it was very noticeable in my reading.

Jul-28-15  thomastonk: <Ohio> The main source mentioned in the introduction ("Bled 1931 International Chess Tournament book published by Caissa Editions. ISBN 939433-03-6") has a main author: Hans Kmoch. Kmoch wrote the original manuscript in German, which seems to be unpublished. A Russian translation was published by S.O. Weistein and A.A. Smirnov in 1934. This work was translated by Jimmy Adams, some extra articles and analyses were added, and the book appeared in 1987.

Kmoch wrote a chapter "The organisation of the tournament", and I quote from it.

<Several weeks before the Prague Chess Olympiad, I received an offer to take on the mangement of the tournament. Invitations to its particpants had already been distributed earlier by the tournament committee. At the beginning of the preliminary organisational work, only three places remaind unfilled; however the committee gave me rather more names of candidates for these.

I conducted negotiations with them, mainly by word of mouth, during the Prague Olympiad. Regrettably, Euwe declined [in a letter to me] because of lack of time. Sultan Khan also declined from participating, since the Bled tournament clashed with the British championship at Worcester. Rubinstein, not satisfied with the ordinary letter of invitation, wanted to receive the printed programme of the tournament and also required time for reflection. Tartakower, not long before having returned from South Africa, accepted the invitation at once. Before leaving Prague, I had received the agreement of the following persons: Alekhine, Asztalos, Bogoljubov, Vidmar, Kashdan, Kostich, Maroczy, Nimzovitch, Pirc, Tartakower, Flohr and Spielmann. One place continued to be provisionally allocated to Rubinstein, for the other, the candidates were Colle, Lajos Steiner and Stoltz. The choice between them, I had to leave to the tournament committee, and I was all the more willing to do this in that I did not want to offend one of my friends. On parting with Rubinstein in Prague, I gave him advance notice that I would send him a new invitation from Bled, but with this it would be necessary to fix a definite date for him to reply. When I arrived in Bled on the 10th August, I learned that Rubinstein had exchanged letters with Vidmar, who, in a very friendly way, had tried to persuade him to accept, whilst pointing out that he must give his final reply within a week, otherwise the committee would be forced to interpret this further hesitation as a refusal. This was necessary in order to have sufficient time available to find replacement. Meanwhile the burgomaster of Bled expessed the wish that the 14th place be given to Colle, as a representative of Belgium. For the second candidate, he put forward the Swede, Stoltz, with L.Steiner only third, since Hungary was already represented by grandmaster Maroczy. The fact of the matter is that to organise a tournament, where the ten places allocated to foreigners were for distribution amongst the representatives of ten different countries, required definite decisions. Thus, six days before the opening of the tournament, on the 16th August, the date of reply for Rubinstein expired. The next candidate, Stoltz, needed three days for travel from Sweden. No time could be lost. Therefore, on the 16th August at 11.30 in the evening, I sent an invitation by telegraph to Stoltz, and on the following morning received an affirmative reply from him. On the same day, in the evening, arrived a telegram from Rubinstein, expressing his agreement! In the circumstances, there was nothing left but to reply to him by telegraph that he was too late. Everyone, including of course myself, was very upset by this incident, which was the subject of keen discussion both before and also during the tournament. However, I had no right to act otherwise, if I did not want seriously violate the programme of the tournament. At the end of the tournament, it turned out that the invitation of the young Swedish master was a fortunate occurence, since he achieved an outstanding result.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: <thomastonk> Many thanks. You've answered <OhioChessFan>'s query very well with that quote.


Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: All I can think is, "Poor Kmoch".
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: In my earlier, tournament, life I would play the Pirc Defense against 1.e4.

Imagine my consternation to see Vasja Pirc finish last, behind a more relative unknown named Asztalos.

Consternation gave way to relief when I saw that V. Pirc dominated L. Asztalos by the score of 2 - 0.

May-18-16  offramp: Only two players managed a level score with Alekhine. Geeky Kashdan and tailender Aszolotolz.
Jan-21-17  ughaibu: What about Spielmann?
Nov-08-17  andrewjsacks: Never forget that Capablanca and Lasker were not here.
Mar-19-19  Allanur: Was Capablanca invited? or Not? What about Lasker?
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Lasker was then what was thought to be in retirement; however, the coming of the Nazi regime put paid to his hopes for a quiet life.

Capablanca and Alekhine never played while the latter reigned, his first time round. It was only at Nottingham 1936--when Euwe had taken the crown--that they met, then at AVRO two years later.

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