6th Chess Olympiad: Warsaw 1935

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Basic data

6th Tournament of Nations (Chess Olympiad)
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 16th - 31st August 1935
City: Warsaw, Poland
Venue: Oficerskie Kasyno Garnizonowe
Head of Organizing Committee: Dr. Bronisław Nakoniecznikoff-Klukowski (POL)
Tournament Director: Mr. Dawid Przepiórka (POL)
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: 20
Players participating: 99
Games played: 760
Competition format: Four board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points; 3. Number of wins;
4. Direct match; 5. Berger; 6. Coin toss
Time control: 36 moves in 120 minutes, then 1 hour for each next 18 moves
Logo: WARSAW 1935
Downloadable game file: 35olm.zip
Other documents: Czech team in Warsaw by Jan Kalendovský [CZ]


Photos taken from: Mirosława Litmanowicz, VI Wszechświatowa Olimpiada Szachowa Warszawa 1935

Tournament review

The 6th Olympiad was scheduled to be held in Warsaw, the capital of the Republic of Poland as a sort of reward for Poland's ultimate performance at the first Olympiads. As much as 20 teams arrived including Lithuania, who were officially in the state of war with Poland and both sides had broken diplomatic relations at the time. The organizers contacted Moscow in the desire to have a Soviet team appear in the tournament, but the effort failed. The ebullient Polish player Dawid Przepiórka who had retired from his professional career short before the Olympiad took the major responsibility as a chairman of Organizing Committee. The playing hall as well as the hospitalities were very good according to the reports of the foreign players who came to Warsaw on that extremely hot and humid holiday time.

The Warsaw Olympiad was the first to witness such a strong breakthrough of young talents. Of the younger members Keres, Ståhlberg and Böök were prominent on first board, Bolbochan, Lilienthal and Frydman on board two, Eliskases at third, Trifunović, Dake, Danielsson and Szabó on bottom board. The following teams were recognized as the best teams in the pack. USA, the titleholders had Fine and Marshall at top boards. Czechoslovakia were led by Flohr, one of the strongest world players of 1930's and couple of decent background players. Sweden's trademark was again iron trio: Ståhlberg, Stoltz and Lundin. Apart from teams above, Poland, the home nation, were extremely strong as a mixture of experience (Tartakower) and youth (Najdorf). Yugoslavia had Vidmar sr registered at board one and promising newbies Pirc and Trifunowić listed under way. Teams expected to occasionally mess up were Hungary (Steiner, Lilienthal, Szabó), Austria (Grünfeld, Spielmann) and Latvia (Petrovs, Apšenieks). Least but not last France led by World Champion Alekhine must not be forgotten although limited skills of his team-mates made the probability of French team scoring well less likely.

Sweden took early lead hammering poor Romania by a clear 4-0 while USA earned valuable victory over Czechoslovakia on the first day of the games. Poland were unhappy to see their men barely halving vs Argentina, allegedly due to Najdorf's clock problems. Round 2 saw Hungary-Czechoslovakia top match which went on for a well-deserved 2-2. Fine's loss vs Gray lowered US' performance vs Argentina to a 2½-1½. Sweden fought hard to beat Great Britain. Alekhine beat Keres to seal France's win in one of most interesting games of the Olympiad. Day 3 saw US being humiliated by powerful Hungary who managed two wins at top boards and two draws to complete a splendid 3-1 win. Austria and Sweden retained joint lead after they had drawn Poland and Czechoslovakia respectively. USA seemed to be seriously plunged in depression as they lost another match on the next day as they were defeated by Sweden (Stoltz beat Marshall). Hungary lost to Argentina despite Lilienthal's win and Austria kept the pace with a 2½-1½ over Denmark. Estonia moved into third position beating Switzerland. Czechoslovakia won their very first match of the event (3-1 vs Italy) but still they were lying down in 12th tied with USA. A status quo survived day 5 with both leading teams scoring drawish 2-2. USA and Czechoslovakia made up for a lost ground demolishing Ireland and Italy to move into top ten. Sweden destroyed Argentina 3½-½ on day 7 to move into clear lead while Poland were in runner-up position after dropping just a half of a point vs Estonia. Austria, the early leaders lost sensationally to Finland. USA scored another nice win over Ireland but it could have been clear 4-0 hadn't only Fine lost to Reilly. France were missing Alekhine and that proved mortal for team's morale as they lost to Czechoslovakia.

Sweden extended their lead to 1½ point after round 7 after a cold-blooded 4-0 vs Italy. Poland strengthened their second position beating Palestine 3-1. Yugoslavia and USA moved up into joint third. On the next day all of top teams scored tight 2-2 or 2½-1½'s and Sweden made a huge leap ahead wiping out Ireland 3½-½. Czechoslovakia drew Yugoslavia in top match of round 9 and Sweden extended their huge lead destroying France (only Alekhine managed lucky draw vs Ståhlberg to extricate French team from humiliating 0-4). Poland and USA won 3½-½ too, though. Hungary were lying in fourth after "Yugoslav style" 3-1 vs Latvia (the White won and the Black drew). Standings in the halfway were: Sweden (with virtually only four players in the squad!) 27½; Poland 24½; USA 24; Hungary 23. Day 10 saw Poland-Czechoslovakia who fought hard to end with four draws. USA narrowly beat Yugoslavia despite Fine's fourth loss. Sweden ran over Latvia by the minimal margin and Hungary sent Switzerland off with three wins and one draw. Mikėnas-Keres was another small hit of the day. Sweden retained the lead with an immense 3½ point gap over the chasing group of three (USA, Poland, Hungary) who had another two point advantage over the rest. The 11th round, played on August 24th proved somehow decisive in terms of gold medal hopes for the home nation as Poland lost to USA to bring a huge disappointment to the home crowd. Sweden firmly beat Switzerland and Czechoslovakia recovered nicely beating Denmark by 3½-½. Hungary defeated Yugoslavia 3-1 to win both games played with Black pieces. Finland and France were extremely happy to see their man winning 4-0 both to move up into tied 7th in case of the Finns. Next day brought Poland's valuable win over Hungary where Tartakower won the only game of the day. Iron Swedes lost the very first match of the Olympiad being beaten by Yugoslavia but they maintained safe lead anyway. USA won 3-1. Czechoslovakia tied vs Austria to stay in fifth position, far behind the top four and far ahead of the rest.

The next day was a two-round marathon (round 13th at 9am followed by a short break and then round 14th at 6pm). In the morning session Poland scored a thumping win over the leaders thanks to Najdorf who brought the winning point defeating Lundin. USA narrowly beat Austria and Czechoslovakia did not waist a chance smashing Finland with a clear 4-0. Hungary scored impressive 3½-½ over Denmark. Sweden retained the lead with some advantage over Hungary and USA and Poland fell down to 5th despite excellent win as they were overtaken by Czechoslovakia. Suddenly the race proved to be very close. The evening session was a hunt for points for Poland who murdered Italy with clear four wins as well as for USA (3½-½ over Finland). Sweden and Czechoslovakia kept the pace winning 3-1 both. Hungary lost some ground dropping clear two points vs Austria. With five rounds to go standings were: Sweden 39, USA 38, Czechoslovakia and Poland 37, Hungary 36½. On the next day Poland rose huge excitement of the crowd as they smashed Ireland 4-0 to produce second consecutive clear result and move into a joint lead shared with Sweden who barely halved vs Austria. USA who beat Lithuania by a minimal margin were just a fraction behind followed by Czechoslovakia. Of the leading teams Poland seemed to have somehow tougher opposition in the following rounds than Sweden and USA. On the next day USA ran over Estonia in a nice style (only Keres managed draw vs Fine) and Poland dropped 1½ point vs France (including Alekhine-Tartakower draw as an unsuccessful revenge for Folkestone debacle). Ståhlberg's loss against Böök let Sweden win only 2½-1½ vs Finland. All of top teams won easily their matches of round 17, most of them scoring 3-1 but not USA, who beat Palestine 3frac12;-½ extending their lead yet by another fraction of a point.

The penultimate round virtually solved the problem of the gold medals as USA stepping from one win to another destroyed Romania 4-0. Poland beat Switzerland 4-0 as well to move into second position because Sweden dropped a clear point vs Estonia as Keres stunningly beat Ståhlberg at board 1. Hungary's 3½-½ vs Palestine apparently proved too little to dream about reaching the medal zone. With last round to go standings were: USA 51½; Poland 50½; Sweden 49½; Hungary 48. In the last round USA easily sealed their first place with a modest 2½-1½ over Great Britain. Poland took some risk to lose to Yugoslavia and fell down to third passed by Sweden who beat Palestine 3-1. Hungary's excellent final spurt was enough only for fourth position. Czechoslovakia finished in 5th way ahead of Yugoslavia and Austria.

USA's third consecutive win was mainly credited by Arthur Dake (15½/18) perhaps because he was a Pole in origin (Artur Darkowski) and felt well at his father's soil (moreover, he refused to play Poland to miss the only round of the Olympiad). This was enough to make up what Fine has dropped at top board in a definitely not very fine performance from his side. Kupchik went on throughout the whole event undefeated too. Sweden came second having virtually only 4 men in the team and their board 4 man Danielsson scored excellent 15/19. Poland, the hosts, won another Olympic medal (was that ample reward for missed gold, though?) and they only conceded five games and two match-loses. Still it proved too little to finish better than third. Hungary only came 4th, far behind the medal zone and their top board Steiner lost as much as 4 games. Another brilliant performance by Flohr, Czechoslovak board #1 was enough only for 5th position. Among Yugoslav players routine proved superior to youth: Vidmar sr +3 and Pirc -1. Yugoslavia came 6th but with no less than clear 8 points behind the winners. Alekhine led France once again and finished undefeated with 7 wins and 10 draws, although he was not as successful as before. Experts took this as a sign that the champion was not in top form for his impending WCh match with Euwe. Because of absence of Dutch team no comparison could be done. France came only 10th as a final result since as usual the gap between no. 1 and the rest was more than huge. Estonia's newly shining star Keres scored decent 12½/19 but with 5 loses vs Alekhine, Tartakower and Flohr among others. Ireland came last with sole drawn match vs Finland and 18 match loses. Reilly's great win over Fine was the only consolation for them.

Best board results

1st Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Flohr, Salomon CSR 13 17 76.5
2. Alekhine, Alexander FRA 12 17 70.6
3. Ståhlberg, Gideon SWE 11½ 17 67.6
3. Tartakower, Ksawery POL 11½ 17 67.6

2nd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Lilienthal, Andor HUN 15 19 78.9
2. Frydman, Paulin POL 11½ 16 71.9
3. Stoltz, Gösta SWE 12 19 63.2
3. Bolbochán, Jacobo ARG 12 19 63.2

3rd Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Eliskases, Erich AUT 15 19 78.9
2. Havasi, Kornél HUN 8 11 72.7
3. Kupchik, Abraham USA 10 14 71.4

4th Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Dake, Arthur William USA 15½ 18 86.1
2. Danielsson, Gösta SWE 15 19 78.9
3. Trifunović, Petar YUG 12½ 16 78.1

1st Reserve Board
no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Horowitz, Israel Albert USA 12 15 80.0
2. Pelikán, Jiří CSR 10½ 15 70.0
3. Luckis, Markas LTU 11 16 68.8

Best game prizes

Best game prize:
Eliskases, Erich (AUT) - Muffang, André (FRA) 1 - 0

Best ending prize:
Frydman, Paulin (POL) - Stoltz, Gösta (SWE) ½ - ½

Interesting games

Absolutely stunning attack and it was all over after just 13 moves!
Böök, Eero (FIN) - Andersen, Erik (DEN) 1 - 0

White usually defends French d4 pawn. Keres was not afraid of getting rid of it.
Keres, Paul (EST) - Ståhlberg, Gideon (SWE) 1 - 0

This famous game is one of Keres' trademarks. A real masterpiece of attack.
Keres, Paul (EST) - Winter, William (ENG) 1 - 0

A confirmation of a rule that two small advantages
(an extra pawn and Queenside pressure) convert into a win.
Flohr, Salomon (CSR) - Stoltz, Gösta (SWE) 1 - 0

I bet Steiner was shocked once he saw that killing spite-move!
Tartakower, Ksawery (POL) - Steiner, Lajos (HUN) 1 - 0

Nice win by Reilly, Ireland's most valuable achievement from Warsaw.
Reilly, Brian Patrick (IRL) - Fine, Reuben (USA) 1 - 0

Black recklessly let the h-file be opened
and blocked the centre losing counterchances.
Spielmann, Rudolf (AUT) - Pirc, Vasja (YUG) 1 - 0

This is sort of play all of us understand and consider simple.
Yet sooo powerful! May we all follow Frydman...
Frydman, Paulin (POL) - Thomas, George Alan (ENG) 1 - 0

Najdorf set up the pressure first and then finally Black exploded with a Bishop strike.
Monticelli, Mario (ITA) - Najdorf, Mieczysław (POL) 0 - 1

Some claim that Bishops work better than Knights in conjunction with a Queen.
This game supplies countervailing proofs.
Pirc, Vasja (YUG) - Lilienthal, Andor (HUN) 0 - 1

Very cute trick based on breakthrough threat.
Eliskases, Erich (AUT) - Pleci, Isaías (ARG) 0 - 1

All of white pieces were maximally mobilized.
A classical example of utmost tactical skills.
Danielsson, Gösta (SWE) - Maderna, Carlos (ARG) 1 - 0

The shortest decisive game of the Olympiad.
De Burca, Austin (IRL) - Réthy, Pál (HUN) 0 - 1

White took all advantage of "good" Bishop in this very subtle ending.
Horowitz, Israel Albert (USA) - Trifunović, Petar (YUG) 1 - 0

An unexpected Rook sacrifice forced quick ending.
Treybal, Karel (CSR) - Solin, Ilmari (FIN) 1 - 0


Alekhine's beloved pet, a Persian cat named "Chess" came with the World Champion to assist his appearance at the Warsaw Olympiad. Alekhine's wife looked after the cat while Alekhine focused on playing. One day the cat, usually leashed with a ribbon, disappeared. Alekhine was crushed and could not concentrate on chess. The hospitable Poles posted up the news on the radio and in the press. It quickly proved that a vagrant cat was caught by a news-boy at the corner of the street and the boy looking for easy money sold the beautiful animal to the passer-by, Mr. Graczyk. Once hearing the messages on the radio Graczyk felt honoured to give the cat back to Alekhine. Of course he got his money back, as the World Champion was very pleased to reimburse the price of the cat (20 zlotys = circa $5).


Facing forthcoming World Championship match Alekhine felt his form being not the best at the moment. He then turned to Warsaw astrologers to ask about his horoscope. It revealed some unfavourable omens and the champion cancelled a scheduled appearance in Naples.


Arthur Dake (Darkowski) who scored so well at the Warsaw Olympiad sailed back to America as he met Ms. Helen Gierwatowski at the ship. She had Polish ancestors as well and she was just visiting her forefather's land. He immediately fell in love, proposed and married her soon upon their arrival in New York. Their marriage witnesses were Marshall and Horowitz, members of the winning Olympic team. They have been married for almost 60 years until Helen's death in 1994, in case any of you had doubts whether this was too hasty move!


The wide range of occupations was represented by 99 members of 20 teams who arrived to Warsaw: 22 professional chess players, 14 private business employees, 11 civil servants, 11 university students, 8 merchants, 7 journalists, 6 high school teachers, 4 engineers, 3 university professors, 2 factory owners, 2 landlords, 1 judge, 1 doctor, 1 bank manager, 1 writer, 1 painter, 1 musician, 1 farmer and 1 gardener.