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THE HUMAN ELEMENT AT THE A, V, R* O. TOURNAMENT

By Paul Hugo Little

Undisturbed by the angry rumblings of European war, peaceful Holland will stage a master's tournament at Amsterdam in Nov-ember.

So far as chess is concerned, it will not be just another tournament. It will signify the most important meeting of grandmasters since the famous 1896 St. Petersburg tournament.

Three past and present world champions will compete: Alekhine, Euwe and Capablanca. The most ardently acclaimed young masters will be their rivals: Botwinnik, Keres, Reshev-sky, Fine and Flohr.

True, all of these except Keres met at Nottingham two years ago, and the fourth world champion, Lasker, played also. But Nottingham was a mixed masters' tourney, and hence may not be regarded as so significant.

At the A. V. R. O. tournament, there will not be a weak player. Each of the eight is a grandmaster, worthy of world championship play. The winner, if it is not Alekhine, will no doubt receive backing for a world title match after the Flohr—Alekhine encounter, which is scheduled for 1939.

But because the chess masters are human beings, not scientific machines, it is at least as interesting to study them as it is to study their chess careers.

It seems appropriate to begin with Dr. Alekhine. In the first place, he has regained his title as world champion after defeating Euwe. In the second place, he has made a chess comeback which cannot fail to delight every true chess enthusiast.

Alekhine's games have never been dull. Despite the modern tendency to short draws in masterplay, he has scorned the complacency of spirit which motivates the drawing master. His play emanates a surging, restless spirit—an emotional tension which seeks fulfillment in the mastery over obstacles. He is a fighter. His style is a combination of psychological belligerence and egoistic assurance. In this he is spiritually akin to Dr. Lasker, who believed that the urge to struggle, to fight was the true ethos of chess.

And this nervous tension reveals itself in the mannerisms of the man, in the tremendous concentration reflected in his face as he studies the board and his opponent, in the sharp, excitable movements of his body; in his habits of twisting a wisp of hair between his fingers, of

DR. ALEXANDER ALEKHINE The World Champion smoking almost ferociously, of pacing up and down like a caged tiger. If music could express the psyche of Alekhine, it would be the music of Tschaikowsky, to whose country he belongs.

And what of his chess? Cold figures prove that Alekhine has made a comeback. His play at Montevideo, Margate and Brighton reveals a dominance that was his during the San Remo period of his chess career. His opening play is certain, his middle game superb, and his end game a model of excellence. His games against Book, Golombek, and Thomas are as good, certainly, as any he played in Berne 1932 or London 1932. AleKhine has mastered his nerves, and in so doing has improved his mastery at chess.

Then Dr. Euwe, the pragmatist, the mathematician whose scientific analyses arc sometimes blended with the erratic but warmly human aspects of trial-and-error judgment. Euwe, the sympathetic, the amateur du beau who loves chess for its abstract beauty as much as for its qualities of mental and physical competition.

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