The AVRO tournament was a famous chess tournament held in the Netherlands in 1938, sponsored by the Dutch broadcasting company AVRO. The event was a double round-robin tournament between the eight strongest players in the world.
The tournament was presented as one to provide a challenger to World Champion Alexander Alekhine, though it had no official status. In any event, World War II dashed any hopes of a championship match for years to come. However, when FIDE organised its 1948 match tournament for the world title after Alekhine's death in 1946, it invited the six surviving AVRO participants (Capablanca had also died), except Flohr who was replaced by Vasily Smyslov.
The AVRO tournament was played from November 6 to November 27, 1938. The players travelled from one city to another in the following order:
|2||The Hague||Nov. 8|
|12||The Hague||Nov. 24|
|2||Reuben Fine||United States||0||½||1||½||1||0||1||0||1||1||½||½||1||½||8½|
|3||Mikhail Botvinnik||Soviet Union||½||½||0||½||½||0||1||½||1||½||½||1||½||½||7½|
|5||Samuel Reshevsky||United States||0||½||0||1||0||½||1||½||½||½||½||½||1||½||7|
|7||José Raúl Capablanca||Cuba||0||½||½||½||½||0||1||0||½||½||½||0||½||1||6|
The longest game was a 68-move win of Fine over Alekhine. The shortest game was a 19-move draw between Flohr and Fine. Of the 56 games played: White won seventeen, Black won seven, and thirty-two were drawn. The tiebreak method was the Sonneborn–Berger score.
The tournament was supposed to select a challenger to Alekhine's crown, but due to the advent of World War II, no match could be held. GM Larry Kaufman wrote in 2023 that Fine "was a clear favorite" had he played against Alekhine in 1939 or 1940, whereas for Keres "it's not so clear whether he would have defeated Alekhine in 1940" (as Keres' peak play was in the 1950s).
Capablanca's health Edit
Capablanca's play was satisfactory in the first half of the event (50%), but collapsed in the second half, when he lost three games. He had only lost 26 tournament games in 29 years. Hooper and Whyld say "he suffered a slight stroke". His wife Olga recalled that his high blood pressure nearly cost him his life: "A doctor screamed at me, 'How could you let him play?'" (at AVRO 1938). In a 1939 interview Capablanca attributed his performance to "very high blood pressure and related circulatory disorders". His doctor wrote that he had dangerously high blood pressure while he was treating him from 1940 until his death in 1942, and believed that it contributed to his death. The Cuban had been suffering from angina pectoris going into the tournament and it was the only tournament during his life wherein he lost more games than he won.
See also Edit
- AVRO tournament game collection on ChessGames.com. 
- "AVRO 1938, Round 14 - Live". Chess News. June 15, 2020.
- Kaufman, Larry (4 September 2023). "Accuracy, Ratings, and GOATs". Chess.com. Retrieved 7 September 2023.
- Hooper D. and Whyld K. 1992. The Oxford companion to chess. 2nd ed, Oxford University Press.
- Winter, Edward 1989. Capablanca. McFarland. p300/1.
- Capablanca Interviewed in 1939, Edward Winter, chesshistory.com
- Capablanca's Death, Edward Winter, chesshistory.com.
- Burgess, Graham; Emms, John; Nunn, Dr. John (2010). The Mammoth Book of the World's Greatest Chess Games. London: Constable & Robinson Ltd. p. 164. ISBN 978-1-84901-368-0.