Chess in 1945

 by Bill Wall


In 1945, the first annual USCF golden knights postal championship was won by Charles Rehberg.


In 1945, the Canadian Chess Federation changed its name to the Chess Federation of Canada.


In January 1945, Wolfgang Weil (1912-1945) died in combat in Croatia.  He was an Austrian chess master.


In January, 1945, Gisela Gresser played 32 players simultaneously.  She won 26, drew 2, and lost 4.  It was a record simultaneous play for a female at the time.


On January 8, 1945, Miyoko Watai was born in Tokyo, Japan.  She is a Woman International Master.  She married Bobby Fischer in August 2004.


On January 14, 1945, Arnold van der Hoek (1921-1945) was killed in an Allied bombardment in a labor camp at Watenstedt, suburb of Brunswick, Germany.  He was a Dutch chess master.


On January 15, 1945, Kornel Havasi (1892-1945) died in Bruck/Leitha (Austria). He had to work there as a forced laborer for the Nazis.  He was a Hungarian chess master.


On February 6, 1945, Miso Cebalo was born in Zagreb.  He was awarded the IM title in 1978 and the GM title in 1985. He won the 2009 World Senior Chess Championship.


On February 18, 1945, Jan Plachetka was born in Trencin, Czechoslovakia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1973 and the GM title in 1978.


On March 14, 1945, David Neil Lawrence Levy was born in London.  He won the Scottish Championship in 1968 and 1975 (=Stephen Swanson).  He was awarded the IM title in 1969


On March 21, 1945, William “Bill” E. Martz (1945-1983) was born in Detroit.  He won the US Junior Championship in 1965. He was awarded the IM title in 1975. In 1982 Martz was co-winner of the US Open.


On March 31, 1945, Jorge Alberto Rubinetti was born in Buenos Aires.  He was awarded the IM title in 1969.  He was Argentine champion in 1971-72 and 1982 (after a play-off), 1988 and 1991.


On April 1, 1945, Zoltan von Balla (1883-1945) died in Budapest in a traffic accident with a Soviet tank at the end of the Second World War.  He was a Hungarian chess master.  He was Hungarian champion in 1906 and 1911.


On April 16, 1945, Goran Antunac was born in Bari, Italy.  He won the youth championship of Zagreb in 1958 and 1962. He was Croatian Junior champion in 1962 and 1963. He also was Yugoslav Junior champion in 1963. He was awarded the title of International Master in 1975.


On April 17, 1945, Klaus Junge (1924-1945) was killed in action at the age of 21.  Klaus Junge, whose father had been a member of the Nazi Party since 1932, was an adherent of the National Socialist ideology. As a lieutenant, refusing to surrender, he died in combat against Allied troops on 17 April 1945 in the Battle of Welle on the Lüneburg Heath, close to Hamburg, Germany three weeks before World War II ended.  Klaus shared first place in the 1941 German Championship with Paul Felix Schmidt but lost the play-off.

 In 1942 at Prague he came 1st= (+7 =3 -1) with Alexander Alekhine.


In May, 1945, Heinz Nowarrawas (1897-1945) was possibly killed in an Allied bombardment in Berlin, Germany.  He was a German chess master.


On May 3, 1945, Arthur Joseph Wijnans (1920-1945) was killed during an allied bombardment at the Neuengamme concentration camp.  He was a Dutch chess master.


On May 15, 1945, Krzysztof Pytel was born in Chelm Lubelski, Poland. He was Polish champion in 1972 and 1973.  He was awarded the IM title in 1975.


On May 25, 1945, Pavlos Gesos was born in Aetomilitsa, Greece.  He was awarded the IM title in 1980.


On June 15, 1945, Jim Berry was born in Oklahoma.  In 2009, he was elected President of the United States Chess Federation (USCF). 


On June 25, 1945, Lazar Zalkind (1886-1945) died of a heart attack in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Khabarovsk Krai, located in the Russian Far East.  He was a Ukrainian chess problemist.


On June 28, 1945, Risto Nicevski (1945-1996) was born in Bitola, Macedonia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1975.


On July 2, 1945, Mikhail Botvinnik won the 14th USSR Championship in Moscow.


On July 21, 1945, Anthony Santasiere, age 40, won the 46th US Open in Peoria, Illinois.  He took 2nd place in 1944.  (source: The Bloomington Pantagraph, July 21, 1945)


On July 25, 1945, Slobodan Martinovic (1945-2015) was born in Belgrade, Yugoslav.  He was awarded the IM title in 1976 and the GM title in 1979.


In August, 1945, Cpl. Grady Colvin from Missouri, returned home with Adolf Hitler’s chess set.  He was with the 13th Armored Division that captured Berchtesgaden in May, 1945.  It was Hitler’s vacationing home.  (source: Neosho Missouri Daily News, Aug 17, 1945)


On August 12, 1945, the first Pan American Chess Championship, held in Hollywood, was won by Samuel Reshevsky.  It was also called the Western Hemisphere championship.  Marlene Dietrich, just returned from a 13-months overseas entertainment tour, was a spectator at the event.   Reshevsky won $1,000 ($13,000 in today’s currency).  He was supposed to play PFC Herbert Seidman in the final found, but the Army cancelled his leave. (source: Salem Daily Capital Journal, Aug 6, 1945, Ottawa Journal, Aug 11, 1945)


On August 18, 1945, Vojko Musil was born in Yugoslavia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1967.


On August 21, 1945, Lev Alburt was born in Orenburg, Russia.  He won the Ukrainian Championship in 1972, 1973 and 1974.  He was awarded the IM title in 1976 and the GM title in 1977.  He won the US championship in 1984, 1985, and 1990.  He won the US Open championship in 1987 and 1989.


On September 1, 1945, the first international sport of any kind since 1939, the USA-USSR short wave radio chess match, began.  Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia of New York made the opening move for the American team.  The USSR team won 15.5 - 4.5 on September 4.  (source: Lincoln Star, Aug 27, 1945 and The Oregon Statesman, Sep 5, 1945)


On September 9, 1945, Nino Kirov Ivanov (1945-2008) was born in Gorna Dzhumaya  (now Blagoevgred), Bulgaria.  He was awarded the IM title in 1971 and the GM title in 1975.  In 1978, he won the Bulgarian championship.


On September 26, 1945, Lev Gutman was born in Riga, Latvia.  he was Latvian champion in 1972.   He was awarded the IM title in 1980 and the GM title in 1986.


On October 10, 1945, Yuri Razuvayev (1945-2012) was born in Moscow.  He was awarded the IM title in 1973 and the GM title in 1976.


On October 14, 1945, Boris Baczynskyj (1945-2008) was born in Vienna.  He was a Ukrainian-American master.


On October 14, 1945, Gyozo Exner (1864-1945) died in Hungary.  He was a Hungarian chess master.


On October 20, 1945, Julius Dimer (1871-1945) died in Germany.  He was a German chess master.


In November, 1945, Paul Ellis won the US Amateur Championship in New York.


On December 21, 1945, Duncan Suttles was born in San Francisco.  He was British Columbia champion in 1966.  He was awarded the IM title in 1967 and the GM title in 1973.  He was Canadian champion in 1969.