The Top 10 Chess Games Of The 1930s (And 80+ Honorable Mentions)

The Top 10 Chess Games Of The 1930s (And 80+ Honorable Mentions)

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The 1930s were a chess decade in transition. At the decade's outset, Alekhine and Capablanca were clearly considered the two strongest players in the world, and there was a justified clamor for a rematch after their 1927 World Chess Championship match. This match proved not to be as Alekhine insisted that Capablanca meet the same financial terms that Alekhine had to meet in 1927 to play Capablanca. Perhaps in the roaring twenties, these terms were easier to meet than in the years of the Great Depression.

Demonstrating some inconsistency, Alekhine did play two World Championship matches against Efim Bogoljubow in 1929 and 1934, and Alekhine ultimately lost his title to the Dutchman, Max Euwe, in a dramatic 1935 match, but he regained it in a rematch in 1937.

By the end of the 1930s, Alekhine's and Capablanca's and even the aging Lasker's star [who played well in the midst of the decade - even in his 60s] had clearly waned, and this was nowhere more evident than in the AVRO super-tournament of 1938 - a tournament ostensibly intended to select a challenger to Alekhine, and a tournament with eight of the very best players in the world. Victories by Reuben Fine (on tiebreak) and Paul Keres, and a third place finish for Mikhail Botvinnik, heralded the coming generation, the clash between the Soviet chess superpower, and the US, and the declining powers of the greats of the prior generation.

AVRO Chess Tournament 1938
The AVRO 1938 field - Botvinnik, Reshevsky, Fine, Landau (not a participant, missing is Capablanca), Euwe, Alekhine, Flohr, and Keres. Photo: #7356

The 1930s can generally be seen as a strong chess decade with much great chess and great players. Perhaps there weren't quite as many fine games, fine tournaments, and fine world championships as in the 1920s, but there was much great chess to enjoy in the 1930s prior to the coming universal cataclysm that was World War II.

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See also: Top 10 of the 1940s, Top 10 of the 1950s, Top 10 of the 1960s, Top 10 of the 1970s, Top 10 of the 1980s, Top 10 of the 1990s, Top 10 of the 2000s, and Top 10 of the 2010s

Top 10 Games of the 1930s

#1: Tylkowski vs. Wojchiehowski, 1931

#2: Euwe vs. Alekhine, 1935

#3: Botvinnik vs. Capablanca, 1938

#4: Keres vs. Dyckhoff, 1935

#5: Korchmar vs. Poliak, 1937

#6: Lilienthal vs. Capablanca, 1935

#7: Botvinnik vs. Flohr, 1933

#8: Alekhine vs. Lasker, 1934

#9: Euwe vs. Lasker, 1934

#10: Parr vs. Wheatcroft, 1938

Honorable Mentions