Friday, 25 November 2016

Salo Flohr: chess games collections

Salomon Mikhailovich Flohr (1908 -1983)

Salo Flohr was one of several "best players never to have become World chess champion". At his height in the 1930's he was almost certainly the second strongest player after Alekhine and was nominated by F.I.D.E. as the official challenger in 1937. Flohr never managed to beat Alekhine in an individual game but he did finish ahead of him in a tournament at Podebrady, Czechoslovakia in 1936. However, the War put paid to his championship ambitions and, despite his prominence, no collection of Flohr's games was published during his lifetime. This gap in chess literature was filled in 1985, around two years after his death, when three books were issued, two in English and one in Russian.

Salo Flohr: Master of Tactics, Master of Technique by Jimmy Adams, published by The Chess Player, Nottingham. 238 pages.

Salo Flohr's Best Games of Chess  by Gregory S. Donges, published by Thinkers Press, Davenport, Iowa. 105 pages.

Grossmeister Flor by V. D. Baturinsky, Moscow. 

Both English books are scarce and surprisingly expensive.  


Master of Tactics by Adams includes a comprehensive tournament and match record listing 149 events from 1927 to 1969. This is followed by a nine page biography and 100 games with a further 40 subsidiary games embedded within the text of the main games. The games are analysed in detail and usually include just one diagram. The notation is figurine algebraic. There are indexes of openings and opponents and the book is completed with a portrait of Flohr on the final page. 


Best Games by Donges also has just the one picture, and that is on the front cover. The tournament and match records in this book include a total of 119 events, 30 fewer than Master of Tactics, and the main omissions are four tournaments before 1929, five events during the war years and eleven events from the 1950's. However, there are also two tournaments and two matches listed in Best Games that are omitted from Master of Tactics

Best Games by Donges, back cover

The ten page introduction details Flohr's chess career and is more comprehensive than the coverage in  Adams' book although some sections are suspiciously similar. The brief review of Adams' book in The British Chess Magazine for June 1985, page 251, indicates that his was the first to appear.

The printing and layout of Best Games is far superior to that in Master of Tactics making the games and notes considerably easier to follow as will be seen from the following examples:


The Contents give details of the fifty games but there is no separate index of opponents. There is a Foreword, Afterword, Acknowledgments and a Bibliography.

Further photos of Flohr from Hundert Jahre Schachzweikämpfe and The British Chess Magazine:

                                      © Michael Clapham 2016

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