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Rivero

I'd written a bit about Adele Rivero a while back.  Not too long ago, a chessgames.com member, myschkin, transcribed the following article on Adele Rivero that helps fill out the rather scant picture we have of her. I wanted to preserve the article here.


She had worked as a secretary for General Motors and was featured in an article in the corporate magazine (News and Views Magazine GMAC GEIC MIC, 1937):

Women's Chess Champion

General Motors discovers in its Midst the Foremost Feminine Exponent of the Greatest Game in the World

Three and a half years ago she entertained a royal hatred for an equally royal game. The game was chess and the young lady's name — Adele Rivero . Today she's the women's chess champion of the United States, not to overlook, the incidental fact that, since 1929, she has been a member of the General Motors family in New York, part of the time with GMAC Home Office. She is blonde, slight and attractive. There's something very mild about her that is quickly offset by the determined directness of her gaze. It seems to have begun, if you don't mind, with Friend Husband. He himself has always been a great chess player. He used to sit around evenings at home moving those ancient little men about with various friends who were as devoted to the game as he. It bored his lady considerably. She didn't know one piece from another and didn't care. It left the evening for her pretty much of a blank wall. Faced with the unpromising alternatives of learning chess or the boredom of sitting around alone, she decided to drop her antagonism to the game by finding out how to play it, chiefly to keep peace in the family. Her husband introduced her to a few of the conventions. Then her own natural gift of concentration began to lay the patterns and images before her. She began to acquire ideas, to inject a sort of creative interest into the endless possibilities of the play, and finally she found herself completely and hopelessly fascinated by it. Gradually she acquired skill and sufficient knowledge to make real competition for her husband, her progress reaching a quite glorious climax when, after nine hours of rather heartbreak play, she became the first women's chess champion of the United States in defeating Mrs. Mary Bain of Los Angeles. "It told on me terribly," she said the other day sitting here at the desk while Ralph Crawley, the illustrator, did the little sketch of her that you see on this page. "I lost fifteen pounds during the period of tournament play. "What factor above all else appeals to you most about chess?" we wanted to know. "I think it's because the element of chance is not involved at all. The only thing that counts in chess is ability, and that's what I like about it." "Do you feel that women can become as good chess players as men?" "Well, at present women are not as good as men. I think it is possible that they might be. In Russia, which is the world's leader in chess, there are many strong women players. Hut on the whole, I still believe that the quality of men's minds is superior to that of women's. I don't mean by that that every man is a budding genius, and I realize that a lot of women will be horrified when I make a statement that is liable to blow up even further the already over-stuffed male ego." We began to gather together a few biographical facts about the new chess champion. She was born in Antwerp in 1908, went to school in Belgium and France. Her parents were Flemish. As a child she had no use for dolls; nor did she care particularly for children. This was due. she thinks, largely to the fact that she had little opportunity to play, because of illness and the family necessity of keeping on the move during the war. "I was rather introspective," she said, "curious about everything and always analytical. I felt that there was a lot of adventure in life and I was always looking for it. I remember that once, when I was quite small, I decided to fly by means of will power alone. I took the jump as the take-off. Which turned out quite disastrously.'' Even as a very small child, her considerations were sober and quite mature. Oddly enough, she had absolutely no sense of fear. When she was seven years old, she refused to be taken down into the cellar during the bombardment of Antwerp. "They couldn't get me to go down," she said. "I said to them, with a child's determination. 'If I die, I'm going to die in bed.'" Only now, at twenty-nine, is she acquiring the rudiments of fear — inspired not long ago by the sight of a burglar entering an apartment.  . . .

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    hamnchiz

    My  wife and her brother were both good chess players when i was still courting her then.  She stopped playing when we got married.  Now after 28 yrs with two kids now on their own and both average chess players, my wife promises we'll play a lot again when we both retire, if and when that day/those days come.  I am counting on her promise.

    Very interesting and heartwarming story for all chess lovers.  Thanks "Batgirl!"

  • 3 years ago

    Lawdoginator

    Very inspirational! 

  • 3 years ago

    bagpuss56

    Really interesting, thanks

  • 3 years ago

    dashkee94

    Great to see you posting again.  There was a bit of a gap between blogs; I was beginning to get concerned.  

    I had never heard of Adele Rivero before this, and it's good to hear about someone who learned chess at an adult age who became a champion.  Too bad it's not as easy for the rest of us.  Thanks!

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