3rd Chess Olympiad: Hamburg 1930

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Basic data

3rd Tournament of Nations (Chess Olympiad)
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 13th - 27th July 1930
City: Hamburg, Germany
Venue: Provinzialloge von Niedersachsen
Head of Organizing Committee: Mr. Walter Robinow (GER)
Tournament Director: Mr. Julius Drimer (GER)
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: 18
Players participating: 88
Games played: 612 (incl. 7 forfeits)
Competition format: Four board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points (perhaps)
Time control: 40 moves in 120 minutes, then unknown
Downloadable game file: 30olm.zip
Special thanks to Detlef Döll for preparing the game file.


Photos provided by Jan Kalendovský (1-3) and Alejandro Melchor (4)

Tournament review

The 3rd Tourney of Nations was organized by the German Chess Federation to celebrate the centenary of the Hamburg Chess Club. Walter Robinow was the head organizer of the event. Luckily for the kibitzers and the quality of the games the ban on professionals was lifted. Most of the 18 participating teams were represented by their top national players. Former World Champion Capablanca was absent but Cuba, his home nation, would have been the tail-enders even with him on top board since they had no other good players. Nimzowitsch was missing from Denmark's top board and Holland was weakened by Euwe’s non-participation. The rest of the top players were in attendance. France brought World Champion Alekhine on top board but nevertheless they did not appear to be favourites. Poland led by Akiba Rubinstein was given the best chances. Although he was almost 20 years past his prime, he played with flying colours and gave one of the most memorable performances ever seen at the Olympiads. Tartakower also played for the Polish team although he was not Polish, had never lived in Poland, and did not even speak Polish. The rest of their team were master-class players as well.

Who else? Certainly the Hungarians, again lead by Maróczy, were very strong. Germany led by Ahues and Sämisch aspired for top spots. Flohr was top board of the Czechoslovak team but he did not have enough support from his team-mates. The American team with Kashdan and Marshall on top boards was also considered strong enough to earn a medal.

The shock was to come at the very beginning: Rubinstein's easy win over Maróczy was followed by Poland's incredible rout of the hapless Hungarians who recovered amazingly quickly in the following rounds. Poland dropped some points and was caught by the chase group. Romania was the sensational leader after round 4, but they were ahead of the pack by the narrowest of margins and their toughest matches were yet to come. Indeed, they came back down to earth quickly after they lost decisively to Poland and Lithuania. Hungary pushed on steadily and soon got into the lead group which comprised some six teams taking turns being in the lead. USA lost to Hungary 1-3 in round 7 and was brought down to 4th place while Holland went on a winning streak showing a surprising burst of form. Poland was in the lead at the halfway mark with 23 points, slightly ahead of Holland. Germany was in the bronze medal position with 21 points, a point ahead of USA followed by Hungary and the rest. Round 9 brought the next shift of the lead as Holland beat Poland thanks to Noteboom who defeated Frydman in the decisive game of the match. Germany outscored Latvia and drew level with Poland, a half point behind the leaders.

The pressure was apparently too much for the Dutch players who lost sensationally to the Lithuanian underdogs in the next round of the competition. Hungary seized the lead despite their early disaster. In round 11 USA and Czechoslovakia overran the poor Scandinavian teams with perfect scores and took the lead. The above-mentioned teams together with Poland and Hungary were all clustered within a half point of each other. The next round did not change the standings much. The summit match between Poland and Czechoslovakia might have proven to be decisive for the final results. Poland had a very easy finish in sight and a win would have meant the final stretch would have been a formality. But they lost, and Hungary only drew with Germany. Austria, who was way behind the leading four teams, demolished the USA winning all their games! The Austrians surprisingly found themselves in the runner-up position and they only had to play Germany apart from some lesser teams. They appeared to be favourites to win the Olympiad, but not this time... In the next round they lost a full 2 points against the weaker Romanians and were surpassed by Hungary and Poland who beat Iceland and Spain respectively, both by 4-0. In the 15th round Czechoslovakia lost badly to Latvia, and Austria once again failed to win a match, and then it became clear that only Poland and Hungary were competing for the highest title. Both scored 4 points in the penultimate round and Hungary thereby kept their ½ point advantage but had yet to face the strong Dutch team and Poland had an easy prospect against Finland. The Hungarians took the necessary risks but it proved ineffective, as usual. They lost their most important match and Poland easily beat Finland 3½-½. Poland was triumphant, Hungary took 2nd place, and Germany's good finish assured them bronze medals.

Poland truly deserved the victory, led by the fantastic Rubinstein who scored 15/17 and Tartakower with a not much worse performance. Hungary achieved a good percentage performance but it proved too little. Havasi played, as usual, virtually every game with the White pieces and perhaps this helped him to score a noteworthy 12/14 (3rd best individual result). Old Maróczy lacked a bit of strength this time, however. Germany did well, with no exceptions. Had they not lost to USA by ½-3½, it would have probably ended up even better for them. Nineteen-year old Eliskases' star shone with full brilliance. Young Flohr won 14 games and held a record for many years, but the rest of his country’s team disappointed. The USA team did decently. Veteran F.J. Marshall and youngster Kashdan played very well, but this proved insufficient. Holland beat all three medallists but played exceptionally bad against lower ranked teams; perhaps something with their psyche did not work properly. Exotic Pakistani Sultan Khan played on top board for the British team and performed fairly well.

The games were very fiercely contested. Nine teams were in the lead over the course of the event and most times saw no clear single leader, but instead a leading group. Each team lost at least two matches. The games were organised beyond reproach and the standard of the games was very high. The FIDE Congress debating in parallel decided that starting in 1931 fixed board orders should be adopted. The new rules established in Hamburg laid the foundations for future improvements and amendments to the Olympiad regulations.

Update 15th March, 2021. Re-edited and corrected by Philip Jurgens, Ottawa. We are very thankful for his support.

Best board results

no. name flag code pts gms %
1. Rubinstein, Akiba POL 15 17 88.2
2. Flohr, Salomon CSR 14½ 17 85.3
3. Kashdan, Isaac USA 14 17 82.4
4. Marshall, Frank James USA 12½ 17 73.5
5. Lundin, Erik SWE 12 17 70.6
5. Tartakower, Ksawery POL 12 16 75.0

The individual ratings were solely based on number of points scored. No board order was applied and only top 3 individual results were awarded with a prize.

Best game prizes

1st best game prize:
Ståhlberg, Gideon (SWE) - Alekhine, Alexander (FRA) 0 - 1

Shared 2nd best game prize:
Richter, Kurt (GER) - Abramavičius, Leonardas (LTU) 1 - 0

Shared 2nd best game prize:
Voisin, A. (FRA) - Noteboom, Daniël (NED) 0 - 1


Best ending prize:
Kashdan, Isaac (USA) - Flohr, Salomon (CSR) 1 - 0

Interesting games

White fought truly hard but this time it proved not enough.
Olsen, Åge (DEN) - Rubinstein, Akiba (POL) 0 - 1

Sensational but well-earned win of Dutch master.
Flohr, Salomon (CSR) - Noteboom, Daniël (NED) 0 - 1

Great Akiba seizes all the chances and defeats his exotic rival.
Rubinstein, Akiba (POL) - Sultan Khan, Mir (ENG) 1 - 0

Poland's impressive start was followed by this prestigious win.
Rubinstein, Akiba (POL) - Maróczy, Géza (HUN) 1 - 0

Very subtle and virulent Kashdan's strategy.
Ståhlberg, Gideon (SWE) - Kashdan, Isaac (USA) 0 - 1

The shortest game of the Olympiad.
Yates, Frederick (ENG) - Marin y Llovet, Valentín (ESP) 1 - 0

Tartakower's only defeat.
Tartakower, Ksawery (POL) - Petrovs, Vladimirs (LAT) 0 - 1

Petrovs beaten in a miniature!
Marshall, Frank James (USA) - Petrovs, Vladimirs (LAT) 1 - 0

Drawish opening line quickly lost by white.
Golmayo de la Torriente, Manuel (ESP) - Makarczyk, Kazimierz (POL) 0 - 1

Mate threats vs passed pawn.
Winter, William (ENG) - Steiner, Endre (HUN) 1 - 0

Sämisch swerves perfectly.
Stoltz, Gösta (SWE) - Sämisch, Friedrich (GER) 0 - 1

Surprisingly White wins the bishop ending.
Lokvenc, Josef (AUT) - Feigins, Movsas (LAT) 1 - 0

Perfect positional play by White.
Flohr, Salomon (CSR) - Yates, Frederick (ENG) 1 - 0

Famous Olympic blunder. Black was winning but overlooked simple mate in 2!
Marshall, Frank James (USA) - Treybal, Karel (CSR) 1 - 0

Never put off castling, this can't wait.
Feigins, Movsas (LAT) - Þorvaldsson, Einar (ISL) 1 - 0

Alekhine close to disaster.
Alekhine, Alexander (FRA) - Baratz, Abraham (ROM) 1 - 0


Flohr's record of 14 wins was best pre-war performance of that sort.


Havasi once again played most games with White pieces (13/14). His team-mate Endre Steiner played 12 out of 14 with Black with very good result (68%).


Every player scored at least one half of a point.


Alekhine and Abramavičius for Lithuania were the only two not to score a single draw.