Chess in 1940

 by Bill Wall


In 1940. Adele Rivero won the  U.S. women's chess championship.


In 1940, the USSR organized its first correspondence chess championship.


The French chess magazine La Stratégie ceased publication after 73 years. It had been established in Paris in 1867.


In 1940, the California School for the Blind defeated the California School for the Deaf.


On January 17, 1940, Dawid Przepiórka, Stanisław Kohn, Moishe Lowtzky, Achilles Frydman, Abkin, Młynek, Zahorski and many others were arrested at the Kwieciński Chess Café in Warsaw, and imprisoned.


In February, 1940, Alexander Alekhine returned to France to enlist in the army as a non-commissioned officer.   Owing to his knowledge of foreign languages, he was soon transferred to intelligence work and became an interpreter (he was a Lieutenant-Interpreter in the French Army).


On February 8, 1940, Boris Kogan (1940-1993) was born in Bobruisk, USSR.  He was Soviet Junior Champion in 1956 and 1957.  He was awarded the IM title in 1981. He won the Championship of Georgia, USA 9 times.


On February 17, 1940, the several times New England chess champion, Harold Morton (1906-1940), died in Iowa after a car wreck.  His passenger, Al Horowitz (1907-1973), was seriously injured.  They were travelling together giving tandem simultaneous chess exhibitions across the country.  Morton was driving on the return trip from the west back to an exhibition in Minneapolis when he collided with a truck.  Morton was killed instantly and Horowitz suffered a concussion and chest injuries.  (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb 22, 1940)


In March, 1940, Arnold Denker won the Manhattan Chess Club championship for the second year in a row.  (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 7, 1940)


On April 2, 1940, Peicho Peev (1940-2007) was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.  He won the Bulgarian Championship in 1967 (after a play-off) and was a member of the Bulgarian team that finished third at the Lugano 1968 Olympiad.  He was awarded the IM title in 1973


On April 9, 1940, John Finan Barry (1873-1940) died in West Roxbury, Massachusetts at the age of 66.  He was a strong amateur chess player. 


In April, 1940, Dawid Przepiorka (1880-1940) was executed in a Nazi concentration camp at Palmiry.  He was 59 year old.  He was Polish champion in 1926.  During the Second World War, he was present at a forbidden meeting of the Warsaw Chess Circle. The German occupiers arrested everyone there and the Jews, including Przepiorka, were sent to concentration camps and executed.  The other chess masters that were also executed included Achilles Frydman, Stanislav Kohn, and Moishe Lowtzky.


On May 5, 1940, Carlos Bielecki was born in Argentina.  He won the World Junior Championship in 1959 and was awarded the IM title that year.


On May 4, 1940, Willi Schlage (1888-1940) died in Berlin at the age of 51.  He was a German chess master and trainer.


On May 19, 1940,  Samuel Reshevsky won the 3rd US Championship, held in New York.  This was his 3rd consecutive title.


On June 2, 1940, Istvan Csom was born in Satoraljaujhely, Hungary.  He was Hungarian champion in 1972 and 1973 (jointly).  He was awarded the IM title in 1967 and the GM title in 1973.


On June 7, 1940,  Liudmila Belavenets was born in Moscow.  She was USSR Women's Champion in 1975.  She was awarded the WIM title in 1977, the LIMC, the IMC titles in 1979, and the LGMC title in 1997.  She was the fourth ICCF Women's World Champion in correspondence chess (1984–1992).


On July 4, 1940, Sammi Fajarowicz (1908-1940) died of tuberculosis in Leipzig at the age of 32.  He was a German chess master.


On July 8, 1940, Davide Marotti (1881-1940) died in Naples, Italy at the age of 59.  In 1921, Marotti won the first Italian Chess Championship in Viareggio


In August, 1940, the US Open was held in Dallas.  Reuben Fine took 1st place. (source: Corpus Christi Times, Aug 28, 1940)


On August 2, 1940, Adrian Hollis (1940-2013) was born in Bristol, England.  He was British Correspondence Chess Champion in 1966 (jointly), 1967, and 1971.  He was awarded the GM in Correspondence (GMC) title in 1976. 


On August 8, 1940, Dragutin Sahovic (1940-2005) was born in Kraljevo, Yugoslavia.  He was awarded the GM title in 1978.


On August 15, 1940, Carlos Enrique Cuartas Bedoya (1940-2011) was born in Colombia.  He won the Colombia chess championship in 1965, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1975, 1976 and 1983.  He was awarded the IM title in 1975.


On September 23, 1940, the National Chess Centre, located in the Cavendish Square building on Oxford Street, was burnt down in London during The German Blitzkreig, which began on September 7, 1940 and lasted until May 21m 1941.  The Chess Centre had opened in September, 1939, with 360 members and expanded to over 700 members, despite wartime blackouts and rationing.  The Centre was managed by world women’s champion Vera Menchik.  It advertised “Large and well-appointed Air Raid Shelter on the premises.”  The British Chess Federation headquarters, the London Chess League, and the County Chess Association were wiped out completely when the National Chess Center was bombed.  All the valuable chess paraphernalia, and extensive chess library, and the City of London Club’s chess trophies were all destroyed.  (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Oct 31, 1940)


On September 24, 1940, Renato Naranja was born in Manila.  He was Philippine Champion in 1965 and 3rd= with Rosendo Carrean Balinas Jr in 1974. He also played on the Philippine Olympiad teams of 1960, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1974.  He was awarded the IM title in 1969.


On September 26, 1940, Vladimir Savon (1940-2005) was born in Chernigov, Ukraine.  He was USSR champion in 1971.  He was awarded the IM title in 1967 and the GM title in 1973.


On October 3, 1940, Igor Bondarevsky and Andor Lilienthal tie for 1st at Moscow in the 12th USSR Ch.  They were followed by Smyslov, Keres, Boleslavsky, Botvinnik, Veresov, Dubinin, and V. MakogonovBotvinnik shared 5th place.  He attributed his poor showing to the unaccustomed difficulty of concentrating in a party-like atmosphere filled with noise and tobacco smoke.


On October 7, 1940, Liu Wenzhe (1940-2011) was born in Harbin, China.  In 1965, he was the first Chinese player to defeat a grandmaster.  He was awarded the IM title in 1980.


On October 8, 1940, Svend Hamann was born in Copenhagen.  He was awarded the IM title in 1965.  He was Danish champion in 1972.


On November 10, 1940,  Miodrag Todorcevic was born in Belgrade.  He won the French Championship in 1975.  He was awarded the IM title in 1977 and the GM title in 1989.


On November 30, 1940, Wilhelm Hilse (1878-1940) died in Bremen, Germany at the age of 62.  He was a German chess master. 


On December 19, 1940, Jusefs Petkevich was born in Latvia.  In 2002, he won the 12th World Senior Chess Championship.  He was awarded the IM title in 1980 and the GM title in 2002.


In December 1940, Alekhine was giving chess exhibitions in Paris for the German Army and Winter Relief.