Chess in 1939

by Bill Wall


In January 1939, Laszlo Szabo won the 1938/39 Hastings International Chess Congress.


On January 7, 1939, Ivan Radulov was born in Burgas, Bulgaria.  He was a four-time Bulgarian champion and was awarded the grandmaster title in 1972.

On January 13, 1939, Andrzej Adamski was born in Warsaw.  He was awarded the International Master title in 1980.

On January 29, 1939, Hans-Joachim Hecht was born in Luckenwalde, Brandenburg, Germany.  He won the German championship twice.  He was awarded the GM title in 1973.

An international tournament was held at Margate from April 12 to April 21, 1939.  The event was won by Paul Keres, ahead of Jose Capablanca and Salo Flohr.

The 11th USSR Chess Championship was held in Leningrad from April 15 to May 16, 1939.  Mikhail Botvinnik won the event, followed by Alexander Kotov and Sergey Belavenets.

From July 17-29, 1939, the American Chess Federation (ACF) championship (U.S. Open) was held in New York.  The event was won by Reuben Fine, followed by Samuel Reshevsky and I.A. Horowitz.

In 1939, the 8th Chess Olympiad (known at the time as the Hamilton-Russell Cup) was organized by FIDE and comprised of an open tournament and the 7th Women’s World Chess Championship.  The team event took place between August 21 and September 19, 1939 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Germany won the gold medal, Poland silver, and Estonia bronze.  Vera Menchik-Stevenson won the Women’s World Championship.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II.  Great Britain dropped out of the Chess Olympiad and its players returned to England.

On December 27, 1939, the American Chess Federation and the National Chess Federation formed the United States Chess Federation (USCF).