Argentina, world power
Chess: national pride of yesteryear
In August 1939, on the eve of the Second World War, the Chess Tournament of the Nations was held in Buenos Aires, with the participation of the best players in the world. Before the end of the tournament, the war began, which motivated a good number of select representatives of the science game to stay in Buenos Aires; some temporarily, others until the end of the contest and a third group definitely, adopting several of them the Argentine citizenship.
They contributed greatly to improving the quality of chess in the country, promoting interest and the study of tactics and strategies. It was a unique opportunity, non-repeatable, that made it possible for Argentina to become a leading chess power during the 1940s and 1950s, demonstrating it in most major tournaments.
The decisive contribution of Miguel Najdorf from Poland, Erck Eliskases from Germany, Gideon Stahlberg from Sweden, Hernan Pilnik from Germany, together with the locals Oscar Panno, world youth champion in 1953, Julio Bolbochan, Raul Sanguinetti and others, made it possible to integrate a group of remarkable strength that catapulted chess to the forefront.
The European players actively participated in the local tournaments in Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata, prioritizing their level. The possibility of constantly having to face first-class opponents forced the locals to study and analyse the games in depth.
The result was that Argentina was ranked among the top 3 in international competitions, along with Russia and Yugoslavia. The newspapers "La Prensa", "La Nación", "El Mundo", "Leoplán" magazine and "Clarín" newspaper published the games that took place in the Argentine and international championships, which were very helpful in the analysis processes.
The 1940s and 1950s marked the consolidation of the best Argentine chess of all times, a true national pride.