SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
TODAY’S TRAINING SESSION!
“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”
Chess Olympiad held in conjunction with 8th Summer Olympic Games
Date: 12th – 20th July 1924
City: Paris, France
Venue: Majestic Hotel
Head of Organizing Committee: Mr. Pierre Vincent (FRA)
Tournament Director: Dr. Alexander Alekhine (FRA)
Teams participating: 18 (each team incl. max. 4 players)
Players participating: 54 (2 players withdrew before the end)
Games to be played: 347
Games actually played: ≤343 (no less than 4 games were set as defaults)
The Hamilton Russell Cup went to the winner, Czechoslovakia
”The first Team Chess Tournament had been held by coinciding the Games of the 8th Summer Olympics in Paris, 1924. The core of the organizing committee were the Frenchmen Pierre Vincent and Alexander Alekhine.
Group photo outside the Majestic Hotel. Alekhine can be seen in the first row, middle, right next to the only female participant (Mrs.E.Holloway, of Britain).
Although officially this was not part of Olympic games and the winners were not given official Olympic medals, the rules of the Olympiads applied, among them a ban on professionals imposed by IOC at the very beginning of the Olympic movement.
However the Chess Olympic Games, as the tournament was referred to as in the past, is not recognized as official Chess Olympiad not only because it was not organized by FIDE (established parallell to the event) but first of all because of a format. 55 players representing 18 countries arrived to Paris. They were decided to be split into 9 preliminary groups of 5, a winner of each qualifying into the Championship Final while the rest joined 8-round Swiss consolation tournament. The Dutchman Van Linschooten honourably withdrew from the competition to make the splitting smoother. The final team order was decided on the basis of the total points obtained by each nation’s players in the two heats (the preliminaries and the finals).
The luxurious Majestic Hotel was one of the best in Paris. All of the games were played there.
It must be stressed that the overall team results are highly disputable, since the majority of the nations taking part were represented by fewer than four players; moreover players from the same country competed against each other in the course of the event. The winner of the individual tournament earned the title of the “Amateur World Champion”.
World’s top players unfortunately did not appear in Paris. There were some decent players – like Euwe, Colle or Hasasi – in the field, but nothing more. The preliminary stage did not bring much surprises. Vajda (Hungary) kicked out master of Belgium Koltanowski from the final, Schulz (Czechoslovakia) was wiped out by the Spaniard Golmayo. Apšenieks from Latvia and Tschepurnoff from Finland were the only two to have qualified with 5 consecutive wins. Golmayo and Palau (Argentina) qualified thanks to superior Berger in favour of Schulz and Romi (Italy), respectively. Hungary and Latvia had two players in the Championship final, Belgium, Netherlands, Finland, Spain and Argentina had one. Czechoslovakia, France and Poland were big losers of the preliminaries, since no one from these nations went through.
Colle and Matisons playing. Matisons would be proclaimed ”World Amateur Champion”
As the finals began, Golmayo kicked off with impressive pace earning 2½ points out of 3, ahead of Colle and Havasi, 2 each. Euwe (who a. o. beat Matisons) and Tschepurnoff set the pace in the middle stage of the race. Colle, Tschepurnoff and Euwe were in the lead after 6th round, 3½ points each (Colle yet to have a rest day), ahead of Matisons and Golmayo – 3. Unfortunately Euwe and Tschepurnoff’s finish was awful and they were thrown down the table, as well as Golmayo. Both Latvians went on the top of the group because of their impressive final spurt. Colle might have levelled on points with both Latvians had he only beaten Matisons in the very last round, but he barely drew. Hermanis Matisons, the young Latvian master was proclained the “World Amateur Champion” and received gold medal, his team-mate Apšenieks, the runner-up, and Colle who finished third were awarded with the silver-plated medals and the rest of the finalists received bronze medals.
Golmayo, Vajda, Tschepurnoff, Apsenieks, Euwe, Colle, Matisons, Palau
Finalists of Paris 1924 (Havasi is missing)
The Czech Hromádka won the consolation cup comfortably ahead of his team-mate Schulz and Voellmy for Switzerland. Behting (Bētiņš) of Latvia played very well in the final phase but he had to recover from his poor preliminary play. Romi, who missed the final by the fraction struggled in the final section and Malmberg of Finland drew all of his 8 games of the final stage. The winner was awarded same medal as the Championship Final participants.
One of Marcel Duchamp’s scoresheets from the 1924 Olympiad. He was a competitor!
Czechoslovakia missed the individual final and thanks to that they outplayed easily their weak consolation cup opposition winning the team classification a point ahead of favoured Hungary, who earned another one point advantage over Switzerland. Latvia had only three players in the squad and their 4th position must be considered immense success, since two of them won individual tournament and the last one brought as much as 8 points in overall. France, the hosts, were down in 7th place shared with Poland, who sent their third suit to Paris. Belgium were hoping for more but not with poor Jonet in the squad. As we have already mentioned Holland were deprived of one man, and because of that they were down in 11th.
On July 20th, the last day of the games, 15 delegates from all over the World signed the proclamation act of the International Chess Federation (originally known as Fédération Internationale des Échecs in French) and elected Dr. Alexander Rueb of Holland the first FIDE president. Latin motto Gens una sumus (“we are one family”) became official and well-recognized watchword of the chess unity. Below is the historic list of 15 founders of FIDE: Abonyi (Hungary), Grau (Argentina), Gudju (Romania), Marusi (Italy), Nicolet (Switzerland), Ovadija (Yugoslavia), Penalver y Zamora (Spain), Rawlins (Great Britain), Rueb (Netherlands), Skalička (Czechoslovakia), Smith (Canada), Towbin (Poland), Tschepurnoff (Finland), Vincent (France), Weltjens (Belgium).
SOME HISTORY CONCERNING THE MAJESTIC HOTEL
This building is a big part of world history
The legendary Majestic Hotel was not always a hotel, nor would it remain one after the Second World War. Before 1907 (when the Hotel first opened) it was known as the Palacio de Castilla , official residence of Spain’s exiled-Queen Isabel II for 36 years before her death in 1904.
Artist’s impression cerca 1910
Isabel II de Borbon abdicated in favour of her son Alfonso XII in 1868 during one of Spain’s most turbulent periods. She exiled herself for the rest of her life in the Palacio de Castilla in Paris. This residence became the cultural and political centre for exiled-Spain, becoming the meeting place of intellectuals, ministers of governments and artists. Isabel II died in the royal residence on the 9th of April 1904.
Artist’s impression of Isabel II abdicating power in one of the grand salons of the Palacio de Castilla in Paris.
Soon after Isabel’s death the estate was sold and converted into a luxury hotel, called Hotel Majestic, opening in 1907. This hotel soon became one of the most famous hotels, if not the most famous, in Paris.
It would become the subject of novels and political intrigue. Rich and famous individuals would meet, dine and party at the hotel. Secret societies and powerful companies and , of course –spies–would converge and conspire to change the world.
”On May 18, 1922, Proust, Joyce, Picasso, Diaghilev and Stravinsky ate together for the first and last time.
It is irresistibly like the dinner party game. You know the one, where you trawl history to come up with the ultimate guest list. At the Majestic Hotel in Paris on May 18, 1922, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Sergei Diaghilev and Igor Stravinsky ate together for the first and last time.
Diaghilev was the host, his hair shining and perfumed with almond blossom. He knew Picasso because the latter had designed stage sets for the Ballets Russes since 1917, and married one of his ballerinas. He knew Stravinsky better, having commissioned his three early ballets, but Stravinsky was tense that night as Le Renard had just opened and he was nervous about critical reaction. Joyce arrived late because he had no evening clothes, then got drunk to cover his nerves.”
When the Germans occupied Paris, the Majestic Hotel became an obvious choice for the German high command (especially the Gestapo) to operate from. The hotel became known as ”the vatican of the occupation”.The Gestapo had a special bunker built right next to the Hotel, where each officer was allowed to deposit just one suitcase… incase they had to leave in a hurry! When the allies took back Paris, the Hotel served as a sort of make-shift prison for German officers, until a more permanent location could be found.
Date: August 26, 1944. High ranking German officers seized by Free French troops which liberated their country’s capital are lodged in the Hotel Majestic, headquarters for the Wehrmacht in the days of the Nazi occupation. Paris, France. NARA FILE #: 111-SC-193010 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1293. ID: HD-SN-99-02952After the war the hotel business ceased, and instead the Majestic became the centre for UNESCO and other important international conferences.
A meeting of UNESCO in the late 1940’s at the old Hotel Majestic.In the early 1970’s the Paris Peace Accords were worked out at the old Hotel Majestic
. A Nobel Peace Prize was awarded as a result, but only Kissinger accepted his half of the award: the accords were just a sham.
13-6-73 Paris Peace Accords . (L) SVN deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Luu Vien, (R) VC representatives led by Gen, Ng V Hieu, Foreground NVN, le Duc Tho, Background by Sec of state henry kissingerFinally, in 2007 French President Jacques Chirac authorized the selling of the famous property. I do not know who now owns the site.