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May 2023

Juan Morgado and his opus magnum

Juan Sebastián Morgado - Ajedrez en la década infame 1933 - 1934 - frontcover
Juan Sebastián Morgado - Ajedrez en la década infame 1933 - 1934 - frontcover

by Bob van de Velde

For chess historians, bibliographers or collectors – in short for most members of our membership – Argentina is from their point of view a far away country that doesn’t show many unsuspected or exciting activities on their field of interest. That’s to say, at first Eurocentric sight this can seem so. However, here too, as is so often is the case, a first sight leads to a wrong view. Of course, we all know that the two events that probably had the most far-reaching consequences in the modern chess history, took place on Argentinian soil in the second quarter of the 20th century: the world championship match between Capablanca and Alekhine in 1927, and the 8th Chess Olympiad in 1939. The first event had a major impact on the participation in the top tournaments in the ‘30’s as Alekhine didn’t want to play his rival in a tournament; because of the outbreak of the 2nd World War during the tournament, the second event had an enormous effect on the organised chess world in almost every aspect.

Both events however have in common that the reporting mostly came from European hands – participants, administrators, journalists, eyewitnesses –, anyway, rarely observations and reflections were heard from Argentinian side, neither can we say that abundantly South-American sources were cited. But this situation drastically has changed since in 2012 our member Juan Sebastián Morgado has begun to publish his Complete history of Argentine chess.

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