|2nd Chess Olympiad: The Hague 1928|
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|2nd Tournament of Nations (Chess Olympiad)
(see all-time tournament summary)
|Date:||21st July - 6th August 1928|
|City:||The Hague, The Netherlands|
|Venue:||perhaps Binnenhof (Dutch parliament)|
|Chief Arbiter:||Mr. Hartogensis (NL)|
|Competition format:||Four board round robin.|
|Final order decided by:||1. Game points; 2. Match points
Many sources erroneously give the following placing: 5. DEN 6. CSR 7. SUI ... 9. NED 10. GER ... 11. BEL 12. FRA 13. SWE. Thanks to Richard Forster for clearing this up.
|Time control:||20 moves in 60 minutes, then unknown|
|Downloadable game file:||28olm.zip - team event
28olmi.zip - Amateur World Championship
The Hague event was held concurrently with the Games of the 9th Summer Olympiad. As FIDE congress in 1927 bowed under the tension of British delegates and decided to allow only amateurs to take part most world top players ignored the competition, weakening its strength and prestige. The definition of the amateur status was left to the national federations and different countries took different decisions. This was fertile background for the conflict that broke out between the British and the US Chess Federations. The Americans were already tough on the Britons since their application for London 1927 was declined due to formal reasons. The BCF authorities suspected the Americans of sending to Hague the players who were actually professionals. As a protest, the British team withdrew from the competition. The 5th FIDE congress scheduled in Hague during the Olympiad cancelled unfortunate ban on the professionals and everyone was allowed to play, but it was too late. Many teams sent their reserves and some youngsters.
Same as in 1924 there was an individual competition, called the Amateur World Championship, and team tourney, this time held as a separate event. Unlike in 1924 both events were split and no results from individual tournament counted for overall team score. Each team was allowed to put one representative in the A.W.Ch. and anyone but Belgium and Denmark did that. Most teams lent their top players in the event but it was not a rule. Steiner, Euwe and Matisons were considered the favourites and Carls, Treybal and Przepiórka had decent chances as well. The tournament brought many sensational results. Euwe was in clear lead in halfway stage scoring incredible 7½/8. Treybal was in runner-up place a full point behind the leader. Matisons, Carls and surprisingly Golmayo had 5½ points each. Steiner lost his first 6 games and played awkward role of the red lantern with a pathetic 1/8. But it was no one else than the Polish master Przepiórka who turned the highest gear on and beat Euwe in round 10. The latter, suffering small crisis failed to win a single game until round 12. After 11 rounds the young Dutchman was still in the lead, but the margin diminished: Euwe 8½, Przepiórka and Carls 8, Matisons 7½, Golmayo 7. Treybal lost two games in a row and dropped out the the leading group forever. In round 12 Euwe beat Matisons in a good style and found himself on a clear way to a win. Przepiórka continued his impressive rally and easily took second place a full point ahead of Matisons who finished third thus failing to defend his title of the "World Amateur Champion" won in Paris, 1924. Famous Norman Whitaker, US player, a master-class chess player and a grandmaster-class embezzler who spent most of his life in prison won four last games and the final spurt let him climb up to the 4th place shared with Golmayo, the Spaniard and Treybal from Czechoslovakia. Carls' poor finish threw him down to 7th place. Steiner recovered a bit but his 12th place was still a joke. W. Henneberger for Switzerland started with decent 2½/4 but then lost virtually all the games and came last way back the rest.
Unfortunately the team event was not that much interesting because of bizarre regulations on amateur status. Few well-know players took part. Kasdan, Ståhlberg or Petrovs were long before their prime at that time. Maróczy was absent but still the Hungarians were the favourites. Olympic newbies, USA and Poland seemed strong enough too. The Czechs started well and were in the lead for a couple of days. Denmark, who lacked a reserve player again kept the pace despite a 1-3 loss vs Czechoslovakia. Poland were down the middle of the pack as they lost three matches on a row to Austria, Hungary and surprisingly Switzerland. USA were not very aggressive at the start though they managed to beat Hungary in round 2. The titleholders faced the leaders in round 7 being 3 points behind the Czechs. The Hungarians won the match but with nearest of margins. Poland made up for lost ground and easily beat USA winning on top three boards. Denmark lost many points in favour of Romania and Holland. Round 10 was decisive as the Hungarians demolished the Dutchmen giving away a single draw and the Czechoslovaks sensationally lost 1-3 to the pallid Germans, who deprived of their top players like Tarrasch and Mieses were struggling in penultimate place.
The Hungarians had very easy finish and won convincingly. A few firm wins pulled them way ahead the rest. Same might be told about USA and Poland, who indeed easily took the lead of the chasing group. Denmark, Czechoslovakia and Austria, on the contrary, were yet to face couple of strong teams. Czechoslovakia lost 1-3 both to Latvia and Poland and were levelled by the latter yet three round before the end. Switzerland unexpectedly appeared in the leading group but they were yet to get a bye in the last round. The Swiss however beat Hungary in the penultimate round while the Americans bruised brave Danes and secured themselves the runner-up position. Austria and Poland were in shared 3rd place. Since Poland were able to defeat Romania and Austria only drew with the Germans it was Poland who took the bronze medals. Czechoslovakia, Switzerland and Denmark stayed in joint 5th place long way behind the top four.
Hungarians won another trophy but this time Maróczy was missing and there was no clear leader. The strength of the Hungarian team was that they had no weak points. Young Kashdan scored noteworthy 10/13 and lead USA to a convincing 2nd place and experienced Regedziński proved very strong point of the Polish side. Norman-Hansen, the winner of the best individual prize a year ago was a big disappointment as he scored only 40% and Denmark failed to fight for medals. Given that Poland and USA were absent in 1927 one might take it that Denmark's performance was no much worse since they only lost to Hungarians like in London and the only other team ranked higher in the final table was Austria. Germany did poorly, especially in the first part of the tourney although Wagner did not lose any game out of 16 (+3 =13). Sweden were much disappointing and so were the Latvians. Individual prizes went to Kasdan, Muffang and Regedziński, respectively.
No board order was applied and only top 6 individual results were awarded with a prize.
This was the only Olympiad considered to be "official" event that had direct connection with non-chess Summer Olympiad Games held at the same time in Amsterdam. This was also the only Olympiad when unfortunate ban on professionals was holding.
Milton Hanauer's infamous record, a mere 3/9 (33%) is the worst ever individual performance of any member of the medal winning team.
Frenchmen Drezga scored a perfect 2/2 record and for many years has been sole player to have an all-time 100% record since he never appeared at the Olympiads again. Nice achievement, given the fact that he has been completely unknown player and we don't even know his first name...
Argentina's #4 Carlos Maderna played so badly in the beginning of the event (0/4) that the team captain decided to sacrifice him on higher boards (the rules allowed that at the time) to give a relief to other members of the team. Amazingly he converted into iron-chest pit bull and scored 5½/7 beating a.o. Apšenieks, Makarczyk, Koltanowski and Ståhlberg.