Volume 10, Number 10, December 1942


Taken To Task


I am enjoying CHESS REVIEW with all its features tremendously. I sit patiently at my calendar marking off the days before its arrival by mail. I like the Game of the Month, the Problem Dept., Play the Masters (although my best score to date has only been 44). I even like the cozy chit-chat about club activities in the hinterlands. But since the last issue (November), I am sore and up in arms about the following:

Alekhine, whose character and personal traits I have heard discussed, has never emerged as an exemplar of "gentlemanliness," but I have nevertheless been willing to overlook his foibles because of his real genius at the game. But since his recent conversion to the "new order" and his active support of same, I have not been able to abide the very sound of his name.

I think CHESS REVIEW is to be taken to task for dignifying this Nazi by publishing his games, and in general for adopting this "above politics" attitude where he is concerned. Don't tell me that chess is above all such consideration, because you and I know otherwise. The game is only as great as its greatest exponents and to think that this man enjoys the title of champion, which was made possible for him by the very people he has turned against, is galling to say the least. Chess like art and culture of any kind, cannot flourish under fascism and any standard bearer for this abhorrent manifestation is the enemy of the game, no matter how great his prowess.

I say, let's keep him and his games out of CHESS REVIEW - and I'll go further than that. I say, declare the world championship vacant and let's give a decent, progressive representative of the democratic, anti-fascist United Nations a chance at it. I think you could do this by a round-robin letter to the world's chess centers, with the exception of those in the Axis countries. Whatever the method, it should be done.


Beverly Hills, Calif.

Movie Star Bromberg's criticism is not unexpected. Ordinarily, the political views of a chess master are his own concern. However, when the world's chess champion attempts to sow dissension among other masters, using typical Nazi technique, his views and utterances cannot be ignored. The weight of evidence is against Alekhine. Apparently he has been converted to the Nazi doctrines; but we must reiterate that all articles and news dispatches on this subject have emanated from Nazi-controlled sources and may be spurious. Even if genuine, we are not convinced that suppression of Alekhine's games is the proper treatment of the problem. Although his views are abhorrent to us, we believe the games of the world's champion should be recorded. Nor can we agree with the suggestion that the world title be declared vacant. The only way to beat Hitler is on the battlefield and the only way to defeat Alekhine is across the chess board.

In this, as in all other matters, we will be guided by the majority opinion of our readers. Their comments are invited. - Ed.

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