Arturo Pomar

by Bill Wall


Arturo Pomar-Salamanca was born in Palma de Mallorca, Spain on September 1, 1931.† He was a child prodigy, learning the game at age 4, and pupil of Alexander Alekhine during World War II (Francoís regime in Spain paid Alekhine to train Pomar).†


Pomar played in the Spanish championship at the age of 11.† He took part only as a late substitute.


He was the champion of the Balearic Islands at age 11.†


He played in his first international tournament at Madrid in 1943.†


In October 1943, at age 12, he took 11th place in Madrid.† Paul Keres won the event.


He drew a game with Alekhine at Gijon in July, 1944 (Alekhine played a Danish Gambit, and the game was drawn in 33 moves).†† Pomar was only 12, and he became the youngest player ever to draw a reigning world chess champion at a normal time control.† His record still stands today.† Pomar took 5th at Gijon.† Alekhine won the event.


Pomar became a master at age 13.


In 1945, he took 4th-5th in Madrid.† The event was won by Alekhine.† He then took 4th at Gijon and 3rd at Almeria.


In 1945, a book was published called Pomar.† Mis Cincuenta Partidas Con Maestros (Pomar, My 50 Games with Masters).† Pomar was only 14 at the time.† The authorship was ascribed to Pomar, but the author was Manuel de Agustin.


In January 1946, Pomar, age 14, shared 6th place at London, won by Herman Steiner.† He then defeated Jacques Mieses in a short match, winning one game and drawing one game.


Pomarís picture appeared on the cover of the March 1946 Chess Review.† Pomar was making a thousand pesetas ($110) for every chess exhibition he gave.



Pomar won the Spanish championship 7 times (1946, 1950, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1962, and 1966).


Pomar played 12 times for Spain in the Chess Olympiads from 1958 to 1980.† He won the individual bronze medal at Leipzig in 1960.


In 1950, he was awarded the International Master title.


In 1952, Pomar gave chess exhibitions throughout Cuba, the United States, and Canada.


In 1954, he tied for 1st with Larry Evans at the U.S. Open in New Orleans, scoring 9.5-2.5.† Each won $700 and Evans took the title on tie-break.


In 1960 he shared first place at Madrid, a zonal event.


In 1961 he shared first place at Torremolinos.† He took first place at Malaga 1964 and 1971.


He became Spainís first grandmaster in 1962.


In April 1962, he tied for 11th-12th in the Interzonal at Stockholm (won by Bobby Fischer).† Pomar wasnít supported by Francisco Francoís regime.† He did not receive any financial aid when he travelled and played in the Stockholm Interzonal.† He paid all of his expenses from his own pocket.† He was a mailman and had little earnings and no second to help analyze.


In October 1963, Pomar took 4th place in the Zone 1 tournament, held at enschede, the Netherlands.† Gligoric took 1st place.


He had a nervous breakdown in 1965, which affected his chess play.† He had another nervous breakdown at the Grandmaster tournament in Dundee in 1967 and never fully recovered.


His current rating is 2345, but he has not played in any tournament since 1992.† He was ranked in the top 50 in the world from 1959 to 1965.


He and his wife, Carmen, worked in a post office in a village in Spain, near Barcelona.


Pomar Ė Gallegos, Gijon 1944

1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 Nf6 5.Nf3 b6 6.a3 Bxc3 7.Bxc3 Bb7 8.e3 O-O 9.Bd3 d6 10.d5 exd5 11.Bxf5 Qe7 12.Ng5 h6 13.Be6+ Kh8 14.h4 Ne4 15.Qh5 Nd7 16.Qxh6 mate† 1-0