Chess in 1949

 by Bill Wall


In 1949, Eileen Tranmer (1910-1983) scored a perfect 11-0 score to win the British Ladies' Chess Championship.


In 1949, when Zsa Zsa Gabor (born in 1917) married the actor George Sanders (1906-1972), her third husband, they played chess “incessantly” on their honeymoon. George wrote in his autobiography that the two played chess nearly every night on their honeymoon.

In 1949, John Wayne starred in The Fighting Kentuckian.  Between takes, John Wayne would play chess with his stand-in.  In 1949, John Wayne starred in Sands of Iwo Jima.  He spent time with the younger actors, running lines with them and playing chess with them. 

In 1949, Larry Evans won the Marshall Club Ch.


In 1949, Jim Cross of Glendale tied with Arthur Bisguier and Larry Evans in the 4th annual U.S. Junior Championship, held in Fort Worth, Texas. Earl Pruner of San Francisco took 4th place.


In 1949, Claude Shannon presented a paper on programming a computer to play chess.


In 1949, Alexander Rueb, President of FIDE for 25 years, retired.  Folke Rogard became the next FIDE President.


In 1949, the first USSR correspondence chess championship tournament was held.  It was won in 1951 by Konstantinopolsky.


In 1949, the International Committee on Silent Chess was formed in Copenhagen.


In 1949, Reuben Fine won the New York International.


In 1949, the Israeli Chess Federation was founded.


In January, 1949, John Purdy won the Australian chess championship.


In January, 1949, James Durran, age 67, second officer of the S.S. Tahsis in the Pacific Ocean, suffered a heart attack during a chess game and died. (source: Long Beach Independent, Jan 8, 1949)


On January 5, 1949, Lutz Espig was born in Greiz, Germany.  He was East German champion in 1969, 1971 and 1988 (= Thomas Paehtz Sr).  He was awarded the IM title in 1972 and the GM title in 1983.


On January 8, 1949, Nicholas Rossolimo won Hastings 1948/49.  During the tournament, a chess player, exasperated at losing a piece, snapped his jaws together so hard that he broke his upper dental plate.  He asked for his game to be adjourned while he hurried off to a dentist for repairs.  (source: Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 3, 1949)


On January 8, 1949, George Botterill was born in Yorkshire, England.  He was British champion in 1974.  He was awarded the IM title in 1978.


On January 10, 1949, Walter Shawn Browne (1949-2015) was born in Sydney, Australia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1969 and the GM title in 1970.  He won US Championship in 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, and 1983.  He also won numerous open tournaments, including two U.S. Opens, seven American Opens, and eleven National Opens, and the 1991 Canadian Open.


On February 1, 1949, Lawrence Day was born in Kitchener, Ontario.  He was awarded the IM title in 1972.  He was Canadian champion in 1991.


On March 5, 1949, Anatoly Vaiser was born in  Alma Ata, Kazakhstan.  He was awarded the IM title in 1982 and the GM title in 1985. H won the World Senior’s Championship in 2010 and 2013.


On March 12, 1949, Yuri Balashov was born in Shadrinsk, Russia.  He was Moscow champion in 1970.  He was awarded the IM title in 1970 and the GM title 1973.


On April 10, 1949, Vereslov Didishko was born in Minsk.  He was awarded the IM title in 1982.


On April 27, 1949, Gennady Timoshenko was born in Chelyabink, Russia.  He was awarded the IM title in 1976 and the GM title in 1980.


In May, 1949, Southern California defeated Northern California by the score of 26.5 to 24.5. The event was held in Atascadero.


On May 2, 1949, Vladimir Raicevic was born in Yugoslavia.  He was awarded the  IM title in 1975 and the  GM title in 1976.


On May 21, 1949, Dumitru Ghizdavu was born in Bucharest.  He was awarded the IM title in 1972.


On June 10, 1949, Simon Webb (1949-2005) was born in London.  In 1966 he won the British Under-Eighteen Championship.  He was awarded the IM title in 1977 and became a GMC in 1983.


In July, 1949, the first FIDE Grandmaster list appeared with 17 people named as Grandmasters.


On July 3, 1949, Viktor Kupreichik was born in Belarus.  He was champion of Belarus in 1972 and 2003.  He was awarded the GM title in 1980.


On July 24, 1949, Alburt Sandrin, age 27, won the US Open, held in Omaha.  He scored 10-2.  First place was $500. (source: Nebraska State Journal, July 24, 1949)


On July 25, 1949, Mihai-Viorel Ghinda was born in Bucharest.  He was Romanian champion in 1976, 1978, 1982 and 1983.  He was awarded the IM title in 1977.


On August 21, 1949, Arthur John Mackenzie died at Hastings at the age of 78.  He was Scottish Champion in 1908, 1909 and 1913.


On August 28, 1949, Kevin O'Connell was born in Ireland.  He is a FIDE master, an International Arbiter and a FIDE Senior Trainer. He is also an chess author of note.


In September, 1949, Harry Golombek won the British Championship.  This was the first British Championship to use the Swiss system.


On September 3, 1949, the California Chess Federation was officially formed.


On September 14, 1949, Mikhail Zlotnikov was born in Odessa.  He was awarded the IM title in 1980.


On September 29, 1949,Evgeny Ermenkov was born in Sofia.  He was Bulgarian Champion in 1973, 1975 (after a play-off), 1976, 1979 (after a play-off) and 1984 (jointly).  He was awarded the IM title in 1974 and the GM title in 1977.


On October 13, 1949, Nana Alexandria was born in Poti, Georgia.  She was USSR Women's Champion in 1966, 1968 (jointly) and 1969.  She was awarded the WIM title in 1966 and the WGM title in 1976.  She was Women's World Championship Challenger twice, in 1975 and 1981.


On November 10, 1949, Vladimir Antonov was born in Pernik, Bulgaria.  He was awarded the IM title in 1980.


On November 20, 1949, David Bronstein and Vasily Smyslov tied in 17th USSR Championship.


On November 23, 1949, Roman Hernandez was born in Santiago, Cuba.  He was awarded the IM title in 1975 and the GM title in 1978.  He was Cuban champion in 1981-82.


In December, 1949, George Koltanowski played 271 games in 12 hours, winning 251, losing 3 (to Les Talcott, Andy Buschine, and Robert Willson), and drawing 17. He faced 37 players at a time. The event was sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle (The Chronicle Chess Festival). There were over 2,000 spectators.