Bits & Pieces; old photos and detective work
Setting the record straight
I was recently thumbing thru Munninghoff’s excellent biography (2005) of Max Euwe and came across the above photo on page 257. The caption states Beverwijk 1950. Euwe’s daughter Fietie makes the first move in the game Euwe-Hugot.
Something did not seem quite right. Isn’t that Canada’s legendary Abe Yanofsky sitting down opposite Max Euwe?
Doing a bit of research, I quickly established that Claude Hugot (the French champion) did indeed participate in the 1950 Beverwijk tournament, but that he himself had the White pieces against Euwe. So clearly the photo was not between Euwe and Hugot. Furthermore, Yanofsky did not play in the 1950 tournament.
I then checked to see how many times Yanofsky had the Black pieces against Euwe: 3 times, Groningen 1946, Beverwijk 1952 and Munich ol 1958. It is unlikely that Euwe’s daughter Fietie would have been involved in any aspect of the 1958 Olympiad, so that means the photo was very likely from either Groningen 1946 or Beverwijk 1952.
Digging deeper, I found (from my own extensive photo archives that have grown since I first started this blog in 2009) a photo of Yanofsky playing Euwe in the Groningen tournament:
So that leaves the Beverwijk 1952 by elimination, and finally I came across THIS and so it is clear that the photo is from the Beverwijk tournament of 1952.
The official record of the games shows that Abe Yanofsky was paired (with Black) against Max Euwe in the first round, and so this very likely explains Fietie making the traditional first move of the tournament.
A bit more about Abe Yanofsky…
Since the above article (The Commonwealth’s 1st Grandmaster) was written I have been able to add to my knowledge of Abe’s life in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
Last year the Swedish historian and author Henrik Malm Lindberg contacted me with respect to a book that he is working on and he wanted to know if I could provide him with some information about a question he had concerning Yanofsky’s participation in the 1948 Interzonal at Saltsjöbaden, Sweden.
I contacted several people in Winnipeg who might be able to help and soon Cecile Rosner, a very well known journalist, producer and chess organizer, looked into Yanofsky’s personal archives:
On Feb. 27, 1948, Yanofsky left for Europe by ship from New York. He headed to The Hague to cover the world championship tournament for US and Canadian publications (He was one of two reporters to write about it in the April 1948 edition of Chess Review). Other media reports indicated that he was planning to attend medical school at the University of Glasgow, and was planning on being in Europe for five years.
After The Hague, he entered the Carlsbad-Marienbad tournament which he describes briefly in Chess the Hard Way (finished tied for eighth). This ended in early July and 11 days later he entered the Saltsjobaden Interzonal, which ran till mid-August. A reference in the Toronto Telegram said he was considering “resuming” his medical studies at Edinburgh as opposed to Glasgow, or alternatively he might return to Winnipeg. He did indeed return to Winnipeg and enrolled in law school in September 1948.
So Yanofsky was in Europe continuously from February to August, 1948. He did not make a special trip for the Interzonal. My best guess is that he financed his way to Europe through arrangements to write for some different publications, including Chess Review. He had done this in the past, for instance filing special articles to the Winnipeg Free Press on the Groningen event in 1946. Of course I don’t know this for certain, and I have to say that until I checked on this I had not realized he was actually enrolled in a medical school in Scotland (if indeed he ever attended — there are still a few mysteries in Abe’s life). I know for a fact that when he received the invitation to Groningen 1946, he consulted with both CFC and Manitoba Chess Association to seek financial support, but I am not sure of the details of what happened.
I was also surprised to learn that Abe Yanovsky had actually considered medicine as a career. He never mentioned it to me — or to Cecile for that matter – but Abe was a young man at the time and was no doubt considering all of his options.
As an aside, Abe graduated in law from the University of Manitoba in 1951 and then spent the following two years in Oxford (England) pursuing his studies in law.
Some 1950-ish Chess Humor