Publisher: N V Lochemse Handels
280 pages with diagrams, tables, photographs and index. Royal Octavo (9 3/4" x 6 1/2") bound in original publisher's reddish brown cloth with gilt lettering to spine and front cover. Forewords by A De Roos and T Rutten. Preface by H J Van Steenis. (Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana: 5790) First edition.
In the winter of 1950 Lodewijk Prins, backed by a committee presided over by Hendrik Jan Van Steenis, organized an international chess tournament that was held at the stock exchange in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Invitations went out to all the strongest chess masters of the day, whether they reside in Europe, the Soviet Union, or the Americas.
The Soviet Chess Federation declined the invitations sent to their masters (they would refrain from entering international competitions until late 1952), as did Lazslo Szabo. Nevertheless, the eventual line-up was still one of the finest selections to be found of the best, active Western chess masters of the day. The field was notable also for the healthy mix of both early century chess mastery and post-war talent emerging for the next generation.
All of the best Dutch masters were present, including former world champion Max Euwe and the recent Hoogovens champion, 23 year old Jan Hein Donner. Another example of the generational split among the players was the presence of Savielly Tartakower, who had played against all the greats of the early 20th century, and his former pupil Miguel Najdorf who journeyed from Argentina to attend the event. Other notable participants both young and old were Samuel Reshevsky from the United States, Swedish champion Gideon Stahlberg, Yugoslavian players Svetozar Gligoric and Vasja Pirc, and Belgium's strongest master Alberic O'Kelly de Galway. All twenty players participated in the round robin event from November 11th to December 9th. G. van Harten served as wedstrijdleider (chief arbiter).
The event was a spectacular run for Najdorf, who won clear first undefeated with 15 points out of 19 rounds. He earned wins against half the field, further cementing his status as one of the best players in the world at the time (there had been controversy surrounding his absence from the 1948 world championship tournament). However, Najdorf only finished one point ahead of clear second place Reshevsky who also finished undefeated, scoring an impressive 9 wins in the process. Stahlberg also had 9 wins, but tragically could not share second place with Reshevsky by a measly half point (a half point he failed to win in his draw with Tartakower where the good doctor blundered a pawn in an opening experiment but then tenaciously defended).
Other masters who placed in the top standings were Pirc and Gligoric shared 4th and Euwe and Herman Pilnik shared 6th. The brilliancy prize of the tournament went to Nicolas Rossolimo from France in his sixth round win against Dutch player Theo Daniel Van Scheltinga. Rossolimo maneuvered for 55 moves in a Caro-Kann, achieving a won endgame with a pushed passed pawn and a temporary queen sac in the finale.
The tournament can be seen as a transitional gem, when the austere mastery of the pre-War years would soon give way (but not this year!) to the competitive talents of next generation and the Soviet Chess Machine of the 1950s.
Pages rippled, corners bumped else a very good copy.