1935 World Chess Championship Max Euwe (Netherlands) vs. Alexander Alekhine (France) Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Gouda, Gravenhage, Groningen, Baarn, Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Zeist, Ermelo, Zandvoort; The Netherlands October 3 - December 16, 1935 Conditions: Best of 30 Games AND 6 wins. Alekhine retains title in the event of a 15-15 tie.
Result: Max Euwe becomes the 5th World Champion.
The_Netherlands,_1935 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Score Euwe 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ 0 1 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 15½ Alekhine 1 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 0 1 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½ 14½
How did the match with Alehkine come about?
Before Alekhine's 1927 World Championship match with Capablanca, I had played Alekhine a training match. It was a ten-game match in Amsterdam and the score was 5½-4½ in his favor. But to play a match with him for the championship was not my idea at all. I didn't dare to consider the possibility. At that time most masters looked upon Alekhine as a chess god. I thought I would have no chance against him, and neither did anyone else. But Alekhine approached me and asked whether I would play a ten-game match with him on board a ship to Indonesia. The match would be for the title. I told him I didn't think I could raise the money for it, that nobody would take the idea seriously. We continued negotiating, and finally we agreed on ten thousand guilders [about $3,300 at then-current exchange rates] as Alekhine's fee. The Dutch people became enthusiastic and found sponsors. An Euwe Committee was set up to meet expenses and Alekhine's fee. In addition to my summer vacation, I took an extra three months to prepare. Hans Kmoch was my second even then. During that period, 1933-1936, he was living in my house and the Committee paid him a salary. He was the only one who was optimistic about the outcome of the match, because he had been studying Alekhine's games, even those played at Hastings in 1934, which had just ended. He thought that Alekhine's play was not convincing, even though he had won at Hastings. Kmoch said there was a lot of luck involved, and the time for me to play a match with Alekhine was now or never.
But first Alekhine had to play his second match with Bogolubov. Of course Alekhine would have to win the match to be able to play me for the title, and we put that in the contract. Bogolubov didn't like that at all. Actually, that match, just like the first one against Bogolubov, was cat-and-mouse play for Alekhine. And Alekhine thought he would have just as easy a time against me. Alekhine needed money, which is why he wanted to play these matches. He was a big spender.
Just before our match we played in a strong tournament in Zurich, which Alekhine won, but I beat him. I finished second, with 12 out of 15, after losing to Lasker in the first round. In analyzing the games, we came to the conclusion that Alekhine's superiority over other masters was his opening knowledge. If he could not get the initiative or some advantage in the opening, he was willing to enter complications to try to muddy the water. So I went to Vienna for a few months to study Becker's files on the openings, which were the most complete and up to date at that time. Besides Kmoch, who was an expert in the openings, I also had Maroczy's help, mostly in the endgame.
The match was a close fight. Even after the 24th game the standing was 12-12 (the match was for thirty games). But then I won two games in succession, while Alekhine could only win one more. Of course it was stupid for me to give him a draw in the last game, since I had a won game. But the draw was enough for me to win the World Title.
I have heard many rumors that Alekhine was drinking heavily during the match and was behaving strangely sometimes. Can you comment?
I don't think he was drinking more then than he usually did. Of course he could drink as much as he wanted: at his hotel it was all free. The owner of the Carlton Hotel, where he stayed, was a member of the Euwe Committee, but it was a natural courtesy to the illustrious guest that he should not be asked to pay for his drinks. I think it helps to drink a little, but not in the long run. I regretted not having drunk at all during the second match with Alekhine. Actually, Alekhine's walk was not steady because he did not see well, but did not like to wear glasses. So many people thought he was drunk because of the way he walked.
Once he asked me an hour before a game to postpone it, but according to the rules this was possible only after a doctor's examination - which Alekhine did not want to take. He eventually decided to play, but under protest. He lost that game, and he decided not to protest after all. On another occasion, I could have protested about something, but I chose not to. According to the rules, White had to seal the 41st move, regardless of the time on the clocks. Alekhine thought for a long time about his 41st move, and seeing that I could go wrong if I did not reply correctly, he played his 41st move on the board instead of sealing it. The tournament committee was confused about what to do. I did not protest but sealed my reply. It was the right move and the game ended in a draw. I was amused to read the reports in the press, which was of course partial to me, that Alekhine had illegally made two moves in succession.
Alekhine was very superstitious. He had a Siamese cat, and sometimes before a game he would put the cat on the chessboard to smell it. He could not play with the cat in his lap, so he wore a sweater with the cat's picture on it. These things did not disturb me in the first match in 1935. Either Alekhine was not normal or the rest of us are not normal. Anyway, the fact that such a great player as Alekhine needed little tricks like that gave me encouragement.
I assume you were happy about the outcome of the match, becoming World Champion. Did it bring you any material gain, such as endorsing a product or some other commercial venture?
Of course I was very happy. And like the public, I was very surprised. I became very popular in Holland. There was an Euwe cigar. But I don't smoke, so I gave a box to my father. There was also an Euwe tulip of yellow and red. But that was all - no fee whatsoever.
What was the main reason for your loss of the return match two years later?
First of all, I had underestimated Alekhine. In the two years between matches I played in three tournaments with Alekhine and finished ahead of him in each. I felt that I was stronger, and I am still convinced today that I was stronger. I expected to win the second match, just as the public did. I tried to prove my superiority right at the beginning, and when things didn't turn out that way, I tried too hard to force matters. The American Grandmaster Fine was my second then, but during the match he became ill and had to have an appendix operation. Flohr helped me too sometimes - unofficially - just because he hated Alekhine.
If I lose a game it does not affect me too much. I sleep just as well. The trouble was that I had played too much chess then, and that did affect me.
# White - Black Locale Date ECO Result 1 Alekhine - Euwe Amsterdam 10-03-1935 D17 1-0 2 Euwe - Alekhine Amsterdam 10-06-1935 D81 1-0 3 Alekhine - Euwe Amsterdam 10-08-1935 C15 1-0 4 Euwe - Alekhine Amsterdam 10-10-1935 D81 0-1 5 Alekhine - Euwe Delft 10-12-1935 C15 ½-½ 6 Euwe - Alekhine Rotterdam 10-15-1935 D12 ½-½ 7 Alekhine - Euwe Utrecht 10-17-1935 C15 1-0 8 Euwe - Alekhine Amsterdam 10-20-1935 D45 1-0 9 Alekhine - Euwe Amsterdam 10-22-1935 C15 1-0 10 Euwe - Alekhine Gouda 10-24-1935 D45 1-0 11 Alekhine - Euwe Gravenhage 10-27-1935 D12 ½-½ 12 Euwe - Alekhine Amsterdam 10-29-1935 D97 1-0 13 Alekhine - Euwe Amsterdam 11-01-1935 C83 ½-½ 14 Euwe - Alekhine Groningen 11-02-1935 D82 1-0 15 Alekhine - Euwe Baarn 11-05-1935 D17 ½-½ 16 Euwe - Alekhine Hertogenbosch 11-07-1935 D12 0-1 17 Alekhine - Euwe Eindhoven 11-09-1935 D04 ½-½ 18 Euwe - Alekhine Amsterdam 11-12-1935 A20 ½-½ 19 Alekhine - Euwe Zeist 11-14-1935 D16 1-0 20 Euwe - Alekhine Amsterdam 11-16-1935 D17 1-0 21 Alekhine - Euwe Ermelo 11-19-1935 D17 0-1 22 Euwe - Alekhine Gravenhage 11-24-1935 E33 ½-½ 23 Alekhine - Euwe Amsterdam 11-26-1935 D15 ½-½ 24 Euwe - Alekhine Delft 11-28-1935 A84 ½-½ 25 Alekhine - Euwe Amsterdam 12-01-1935 D52 0-1 26 Euwe - Alekhine Zandvoort 12-03-1935 A84 1-0 27 Alekhine - Euwe Gravenhage 12-06-1935 C27 1-0 28 Euwe - Alekhine Amsterdam 12-08-1935 D66 ½-½ 29 Alekhine - Euwe Amsterdam 12-12-1935 B03 ½-½ 30 Euwe - Alekhine Amsterdam 12-15-1935 D21 ½-½