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 confirming his acceptance also arrived from Rubinstein. 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 2˝ 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 by out distancing the rest of the field by a whopping 5˝ points.
Bled, Yugoslavia (Slovenia), 23 August - 28 September 1931
Allocation of prizes:
1 Alekhine ** 1˝ 11 1˝ ˝˝ 1˝ 11 1˝ 1˝ ˝˝ 11 11 ˝˝ 11 20˝
2 Bogolyubov 0˝ ** ˝0 0˝ 11 11 1˝ 10 01 0˝ 00 11 ˝1 11 15
3 Nimzowitsch 00 ˝1 ** ˝1 00 11 0˝ ˝˝ ˝˝ ˝1 1˝ 1˝ 1˝ 0˝ 14
4 Vidmar 0˝ 1˝ ˝0 ** ˝˝ ˝0 ˝˝ ˝˝ 11 ˝0 ˝˝ ˝1 ˝1 ˝˝ 13˝
5 Kashdan ˝˝ 00 11 ˝˝ ** 0˝ 1˝ 00 10 ˝1 10 11 ˝˝ ˝˝ 13˝
6 Flohr 0˝ 00 00 ˝1 1˝ ** ˝0 1˝ 1˝ ˝1 11 ˝0 ˝1 ˝˝ 13˝
7 Stoltz 00 0˝ 1˝ ˝˝ 0˝ ˝1 ** 11 ˝˝ ˝1 ˝1 00 01 1˝ 13˝
8 Tartakover 0˝ 01 ˝˝ ˝˝ 11 0˝ 00 ** ˝0 ˝˝ ˝˝ 11 ˝˝ ˝1 13
9 Kostic 0˝ 10 ˝˝ 00 01 0˝ ˝˝ ˝1 ** ˝˝ ˝0 01 1˝ 11 12˝
10 Spielmann ˝˝ 1˝ ˝0 ˝1 ˝0 ˝0 ˝0 ˝˝ ˝˝ ** 01 00 1˝ 11 12˝
11 Maroczy 00 11 0˝ ˝˝ 01 00 ˝0 ˝˝ ˝1 10 ** ˝1 ˝˝ ˝˝ 12
12 Colle 00 00 0˝ ˝0 00 ˝1 11 00 10 11 ˝0 ** 0˝ 11 10˝
13 Asztalos ˝˝ ˝0 0˝ ˝0 ˝˝ ˝0 10 ˝˝ 0˝ 0˝ ˝˝ 1˝ ** 00 9˝
14 Pirc 00 00 1˝ ˝˝ ˝˝ ˝˝ 0˝ ˝0 00 00 ˝˝ 00 11 ** 8˝
The seven non-prizewinners received 250 dinars for each point scored.
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 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
| page 1 of 8; games 1-25 of 182
|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 5˝ 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 22˝, 4˝ 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.|
|Sep-29-13|| ||GrahamClayton: Why was Round 19 held in Ljubljana?
Nimzowitsch said of Alekhine's performance - "He is playing with us as though with children".
|Aug-30-14|| ||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.
|Jul-27-15|| ||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."
|Jul-28-15|| ||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.>
|Jul-29-15|| ||Benzol: <thomastonk> Many thanks. You've answered <OhioChessFan>'s query very well with that quote.|
|Aug-06-15|| ||OhioChessFan: All I can think is, "Poor Kmoch".|
|Dec-30-15|| ||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?|
|Mar-19-19|| ||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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