Chess in 1941

 by Bill Wall


1941, the first USCF Open postal tourney won by Louis Persinger.


In 1941, Samuel Reshevsky defeated I.A.  Horowitz to retain his US Championship.


In 1941, Mona Karff (1914-1998) defeated Rivero to win the US women's championship.  She had won it in 1938.


In 1941, Jakub (Josek) Kolski (1899-1941) died of starvation in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He was a Polish chess master. 


In 1941, Izaak Towbin (1899-1941) died in the Warsaw Ghetto.  He was Polish chess master and organizer.


In 1941, Leon Kremer (1901-1941) died.  He was a Polish chess master.


In 1941, Josef Cukierman (1900-1941) committed suicide.  He was a Polish-born French chess master who won tournaments in Moscow, Poland, and France.


In 1941, Konstantin Vygodchikov (1892-1941) died in Belarus.  He won in the 3rd Belarusian Championship in 1926. 


In 1941, Isaak Appel (1905-1941) died.  He was a Polish chess master.


In 1941, there were just over 50 chess masters in the Soviet Union.


In 1941, there were 10,000 chess clubs with a total of 50,000 members.  (source: Burlington Daily Times News, Jan 10, 1941)


On January 11, 1941, Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) died of a kidney infection (uremic poisoning) in Manhattan at the age of 72. He had been a charity patient at Mount Sinai hospital. About the same time, his sister died in a Nazi gas chamber.  A condolence letter was sent to Martha Lasker by Albert Einstein, when Emanuel Lasker died.  He was the second official World Chess Champion, reigning for a record 27 years after he defeated the first World Champion, William Steinitz, in 1894. (source: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jan 12, 1941)


On January 13, 1941, Uri Avner (1941-2014) was born in Petach Tikva, Israel.  He was Grandmaster of Chess Composition and President of the WFCC (World Federation for Chess Composition).


On January 14, 1941, Oscar Carillo-Quinones was born in Lima, Peru.   He was the Peruvian national champion in 1961, 1964, 1965 and 1966.  He was awarded the IM title in 1964.


On January 21, 1941, Arthur Harris, age 65, had the honor of meeting and playing an exhibition match with I.A. Horowitz in Kansas City, Missouri.  Harris told friends at the Kansas City Chess Club that he was about to experience the greatest thrill of his life playing Horowitz.  Then he sat down at the chess table opposite Horowitz about to make his first move.  A moment later, Harris slumped across the table.  He had died of a heart attack from the excitement.  (source: Amarillo Daily News, Jan 22, 1941)


On February 23, 1941 a radio broadcast called “The Chess Club Murders” was aired.  A triple murder occurs at The Cranston Chess Club and The Shadow checkmates the killer.  The characters were played by Bill Johnstone and Marge Anderson.  (source: Harrisburg Telegraph, Mar 1, 1941)


On February 27, 1941, Franciscus Kuijpers was born in Breda, The Netherlands.  He was Dutch champion in 1963.  He was awarded the IM title in 1964.


In March 1941, the first radio match of any consequence was played between the chess clubs of Moscow and Leningrad.


On  March 18-23, 1941, six anti-Semitic articles appeared under Alexander Alekhine's name and published in the Pariser Zeitung (Paris Journal). He argued that there was a "Jewish" way of playing chess (cowardly and for money), and an "Aryan" way of playing chess (aggressive and brave). A part of these articles were published in the April, May, and June 1941 issues of the German chess magazine Deutsche Schachzeitung (DSZ). His first article on Jewish and Aryan chess appeared on March 21, 1941 in Deutsche Zeitung in den Niederlander (German News in the Netherlands).   Alekhine’s anti-Semitic articles were published in France, Holland, and Germany.


On March 19, 1941, Capablanca inaugurated the “Club de Ajedrez Capablanca” at Pinar del Rio, Cuba.


On March 27, 1941, Sarkis Bohosjan was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.  He was Bulgarian champion in 1972.  He was awarded the IM title in 1978.


In April 1941, Botvinnik won a tournament for the title of “Absolute Champion of the USSR.”  Botvinnik had persuaded Vladimir  Snegirov, head of the Soviet chess department, to promote this so-called ‘absolute championship’ of the USSR to show that Botvinnik was still the strongest player in the USSR.  The event was held in Leningrad and Moscow.  Botvinnik won with 9 wins, 9 draws, and 2 losses.  There were 6 players.


In April, 1941, he tried to go to America by traveling to Lisbon and applying for an American visa. But because the anti-Semitism from his articles showed in his published articles, the visa was not approved.


On April 21, 1941, Raymond Weinstein was born in Brooklyn.  He was an American chess master.  He was awarded the IM title in 1961.  In 1964, he attacked International Master Johan Barendregt (1924-1982) while in the Netherlands.  Soon after the incident, he was deported back to the United States.  There, he was detained in a half-way house, then arrested for murder after he killed his 83-year old roommate with a razor after an argument.  Weinstein was judged mentally ill and was confined to the Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center on Ward’s Island for the mentally ill.


On April 25, 1941, Fricis (Franz) Apsenieks died of tuberculosis in Riga, Latvia at the age of 47.  He won the Latvian championship in 1926, 1927, and 1934, and played in seven Chess Olympiads.


In May, 1941, Capablanca moved to New York from Cuba.  Capablanca came to the USA to interest the U.S. Chess Federation in sponsoring a world championship title match between him and Alekhine to be played in America.  An attempt was then made to bring Alekhine to New York, but he was unable to obtain passports.


On May 2, 1941, Ignatz von Popiel (1863-1941) died in Poland at the age of 77.  He was a Polish-Ukrainian chess master.


On May 3, 1941, Nona Gaprindashvili was born in Zugdidi, Georgia.  She became the Women's World Champion in 1962 and remained Women's World Champion for 16 years, until 1978. She was USSR Women's champion in 1964, 1973-74, 1981 (jointly) and 1983. In 1995 & 2009, she won the World Senior Women Chess Championship. She also holds the following titles; WIM awarded 1961, WGM awarded 1976, IM awarded 1962 and GM awarded in 1980.  She was the first female grandmaster of chess.


In June, 1941, Dr. Ante Pavelic (1889-1959), leader of the new Croat kingdom, presented Adolf Hitler the chessboard and set of Frederick the Great.  It had been in the Croat National Museum at Zagreb.  (source:  Arizona Independent Republic, June 7, 1941)


On June 16, 1941, Tonu Oim was born  in Tallinn, Estonia.  He was awarded the IMC title in 1976 and the GMC title in 1981.  He is the only man to have won the World Correspondence Chess Title twice, in 1983 and 1999.


On June 22, 1941, Nazi Germany launched a massive surprise attack against the Soviet Union.  This broke up the 13th Soviet Championship preliminaries, which was being held at Rostov-on-Don.  The Russian chess magazines 64 and Shakhmaty v SSSR were shut down.  Chess columns in many newspapers and magazines disappeared.  The Chairman of the USSR Chess Federation and most of the staff joined volunteer battalions and went off to the front.


In July, 1941, the Soviet government prohibited the mailing abroad of chess games and chess symbols.  The new regulations were designed to prevent transmission abroad of any economic, military, or political information.  (source: The Ottawa Journal, July 8, 1941)


On July 12, 1941, Charles Jaffe (1879-1941) died in New York at the age of 62.  He was a chess master and chess writer.  He died in a cheap furnished room in New York’s East side.  He died alone and did not have a single cent to his name.  A few chess enthusiasts provided funds for his funeral.  (source: The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle, July 25, 1941)


On July 13, 1941, Ilmar Raud (1913-1941) died in Buenos Aires at the age of 28.  He was Estonian Champion in 1934 and 1938-39.  In June 1941 Raud was found wandering in the streets of Buenos Aires and was arrested by the police.  A fight occurred while he was in jail, and he was later sent to a lunatic asylum, where he died, most likely of starvation.


On July 19, 1941, Pauli Perkonoja was born in Tampere, Finland.  He was the first International Solving Grandmaster in 1982.  He also won it in 1986, 1992, and 1995.


On July 25, 1941, the 42nd US Open, held in St Louis, was won by Reuben Fine.  Herman Steiner took 2nd.  (source:  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 26, 1941)


In August, 1941, Aron Zabludowski (1909-1941) was killed with other Jews by the Nazis in a burning synagogue in the Ukraine.


On August 2, 1941, Yacov (Jacob) Murey was born in Moscow.  He was awarded the GM title in 1987.


On August 11, 1941, Alla Kushnir (1941-2013) was born in Moscow.  She was Women's World Championship Challenger in 1965, 1969 and 1972.  She was USSR Women's Champion in 1970 (winning the play-off against Maaja Ranniku).  She was awarded the WIM title in 1962 and the WGM title in 1976.


On August 29, 1941, Gideon Stahlberg (1908-1967) played 400 games simultaneously in Buenos Aires.  He won 364 wins, 14 draws, 22 losses.  He played 40 at a time, and then a new opponent replaced an opponent who lost.


On September 3, 1941, Alexander Ilyin-Genevsky (1894-1941) died during the siege of Leningrad by the Germans. He was on a barge on Lake Ladoga, east of Leningrad, trying to escape the city, when a German aircraft bombed the barge. He was the only one killed on the barge, which was displaying Red Cross flags.  He was only 46.  During World War I, he suffered from shell-shock and had to learn how to play chess for the second time.  During the Russian Civil War in 1918, his wife shot herself.  His second wife, uninjured on the barge, was so overcome with despair that she killed herself a few days aster Alexander died. Some sources say that he was arrested by the Soviet secret police during the purges and died in prison in 1941.


In September 1941, Alekhine tied for 2nd-3rd at Munich. The event was won by Stoltz.  The event was attended by leaders from the Nazi Party, the State Government, and the Wehrmacht.  The reception was attended by Josef Goebbels and Dr. Hans Frank (1900-1946).


On September 6, 1941, Larry Remlinger was born in Pasadena, California.  In 1953 and 1954 Larry Remlinger won the Dittman Trophy for the top chess player 15 or under in the U.S. Junior Championship. In 1955, he took 2nd place in the U.S. Junior Championship, held in Lincoln, Nebraska.


On September 7, 1941, Herman Steiner played against 400 players on 100 boards in Hollywood. He won 83, drew 11, and lots 6 in 9 hours and 20 minutes. The event helped raise money for the British War Relief.


On September 10, 1941, Rosendo Balinas (1941-1998) was born in Manila.  He won the Philippine Open Championship six times and played for the Philippines Olympiad team from 1964-76.  He earned the IM title in 1975 and the GM title in 1976.


On September 27, 1941, Juan Corzo y Principe (1873-1941) died in Havana at the age of 68.  He was Cuban champion in 1902.


On October 2, 1941, Karel Treybal  (1885-1941) was executed in Prague.  He was 56 years old.  He was one of the strongest Czech players of his period   During Nazi occupation Czechoslovakia (Bohemia-Moravia) in 1941, he was charged with illegal possession of a firearm (a pistol), condemned to death, and executed (shot) the same day.


On October 3, 1941, Frederick Hamilton-Russell (1867-1941) died in Cleobury North, England.  He was President of the British Chess Federation.


On October 3, 1941, Victor Palciauskas was born in Kaunas, USSR.  He was awarded the IMC title in 1978 and the GMC title in 1983, he won the 1984-90 cycle of the World Correspondence Championship.


On October 21, 1941, Abe Yanofsky of Winnipeg won the Canadian championship at age 17.  He was 2 ½ points ahead of the 2nd place finisher. (source: The Gallup Independent, Oct 24, 1941)


On October 26, 1941, Virtaly Zaltsman was born in Dnepropetrovsk, USSR. He was awarded the IM title in 1978.


On November 6, 1941, Capablanca gave his last simultaneous exhibition at the Marshall Chess Club in New York.  He won 19, lost 2, and drew 1.


In November, 1941, Viktor Korchnoi's father was killed in battle east of Leningrad. He was part of a volunteer defense unit.  Korchnoi survived the siege of Leningrad.


On December 13, 1941, Bessel Kok was born in Hilversum.  He is a Dutch businessman and chess organizer.  He was the Chairman of the World Chess Grandmaster Association (GMA) from 1985 to 1991.


On December 23, 1941, Robin Ault *1941-1994) was born in Elizabeth, NJ.  He was the first person to win the U.S. Junior Championship three times in a row (1959, 1960, 1961). He won the 1959 US Junior Championship (in Omaha, Nebraska) on tiebreak over Gilbert Ramirez. He was invited to the 1959-60 U.S. Championship, but lost all 11 games. He won the 1961 US Junior Championship (in Dayton, Ohio) on tiebreak over Bernard Zuckerman.


On December 29, 1941, Vsevolod Rauzer (1908-1941) died in Leningrad at the age of 33.  He was Ukrainian champion in 1927 and joint champion in 1933.


On December 29, 1941, Boris Koyalovich (1867-1941) died during the siege of Leningrad.  He was a Russian mathematician and chess master.


On December 30, 1941, Bruno Parma was born in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia.  He was Slovenian champion in 1959 and 1961.  He was World Junior Champion in 1961.  He was awarded the IM title in 1961 and the GM title in 1963