Panels English text


(translation of the Dutch text on the panels)

Panel 2

As the Max Euwe Centrum has not been able to trace all sources of material exhibited here, it is prepared to settle any rights still unpaid.


Panel 3: Between Caïssa and Minerva

When in 1926 Euwe was awarded his doctorate in mathematics, it was said he would either get a professorship or become the chess world champion. In the end he achieved both. Sticking to one profession was not his cup of tea. He needed both mathematics and chess to turn in top performances. To Euwe chess and mathematics were both a passion and a goal in life.


Panel 4: Origins

Chess has its origins in India game of Chaturanga, which dates from the 5th century. It is a simulation of a battle with infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots, commanded by king and Grand Vizier. Round the 7th century Chaturanga found its way into Persia. After the Muslim conquest of Persia ‘shatrang’ found its way into the Islamic world as well. In the 8th century the Arabs introduced chess into Europe. In mediaeval times the church tried to forbid chess – in vain. Playing from artificial starting positions, so-called ‘Mansoeben’, increased the speed of the game.

1. original Indian position. 2. Persian description of chess. 3. Arabs introduce chess. 4. chess a demonic game?

Panel 5: A new form of chess

In order to speed up the matches the pawn’s double move and an early form of castling were introduced around the 13th century. In the 15th century the bishop was permitted to move diagonally. The Grand Vizier acquired a new name: queen, which became more powerful than the king. The symbolic battle between two armies had now disappeared. In the l6th century castling was introduced. In 1575 the first international chess tournament takes place at Philip II’s court, in Madrid. In the 18th century Philidor came up with a new rational approach of chess. From now on the masters started to determine the style of chess playing.

1. Theresia of Avila, patroness of chess players. 2. Chess was highly popular with the nobility. 3. Chess as a pastime, waiting for Charles V. 4. Philip II. 5. Philidor.

Panel 6: Master and style

In 1851, at Staunton’s initiative, a tournament for the world championship was organized in London. Anderssen wins this tournament, which ushered in the romantic chess period. Steinitz did not believe in this style of combinations with an abundance of sacrifices. His victory in 1866 heralded the beginning of the classical style of chess playing. In 1894 Steinitz lost his title to Lasker who continued his predecessor’s classical style. A style that eventually culminated in the games of Capablanca and … Euwe.

1. Match Staunton against Saint-Amant 1843 (bust). Left: La Bourdonnais, right: Philidor in café de la Régence, Paris. 2. Anderssen 3. Staunton 4. Steinitz 5. Lasker 6. Hastings 1895 7. Morphy


Panel 7 : The Dutch chess federation

The oldest chess piece, found in Leeuwarden, dates from the 13th century. In the Flemish chivalric novel ‘Walewijn’ (from 1350) ‘scaec’ is mentioned.

Philidor’s visit in 1745 brings about a revival of Dutch chess life. The first chess clubs are founded. Members of the Hague chess club ‘Discendo Discimus’ founded the Dutch Chess Federation in 1873. In 1874 the chess magazine ‘Sissa’, which had been founded as early as in 1847, was declared the official federation journal. The magazine acquired a new name ‘Schaakwereld’ by which it went through one year of publication only. In the following years the federation published only yearbooks. It would not be until 1893 that the federation founded her own ‘Tijdschrift van den Nederlandschen Schaakbond’ (Journal of the Dutch Chess Federation).

1. Walewijn and the flying chessboard. 2. Oldest chess piece from the Netherlands (copy). 3. playing chess in the year 1880, from left to right: Bird, Loman, Pinedo, standing: Mohr. 4. Sissa 1847-1874

Panel 8: Chess in the gentlemen’s clubs

In 1909 Olland and Speyer won the first official Dutch championship organized by the federation. After World War I international masters, such as Réti and Lasker visited our country. They were of the opinion that the Netherlands did not bring forth international masters because Dutch players drew their knowledge from books and did not attempt to fathom the art of chess through proper study of the game itself. Meanwhile, a true master was about the show up!

1. Amsterdam 1899. 2. Federation journal 1893. 3. Chess in the clubs 1911. 4. Van Lennep, chief editor of the journal. 5. Olland. 6. The Netherlands – England 1912.


Panel 9: Off to a good start

Machgielis Euwe was born the son of a primary school teacher in Amsterdam on the May 20 1901. At the age of four he learnt to play chess. He preferred however, to shoot marbles and play street football. Later his interest in chess increased and in 1911 he played his first tournament. At the age of sixteen he already played in the premier division and met foreign masters such as Lasker and Réti. Maroczy became his teacher and a good friend of his.

1. Euwe and Maroczy 1918. 2. Euwe jr. (right) . 3. Euwe sr. 4. Former Dutch high school 1918. 5. Weenink – Euwe.

Panel 10: Dutch champion

At the age of twenty Euwe won the Dutch championship. At that time he had been playing in major tournaments at home and abroad for two years. He had made an international name for himself by finishing fourth after Réti, Maroczy and Tartakower in Amsterdam in 1920.

Meanwhile he had graduated from high school, and had started studying mathematics at the University of Amsterdam. In 1922 he announced his intention to spend more time on his studies and less on chess.

1.Bromley 1920. 2.Göteborg 1920. 3.Tournament New York 1924, no Euwe yet. 4. D.D. – A.S.C. 1924. 5. Match Euwe – Colle, Zutphen 1924.



Start of the first game at the ‘Restaurant der Coöperatieve Keuken’, on the Zaadmarkt in Zutphen, Friday the 4th of April next , 7.30 P.M.

Further games will be played on the 5th of April from 10 A.M. – 2 P.M. (second game) and from 7.30 – 11.30 P.M. (third game), on the 6th of April from 10 A.M. — 2 P.M. (fourth game) and from 6 – 10 P.M. adjourned games, on the 7th of April from 7.30 – 11.30 A.M. (fifth game) and on the 8th of April from 6.30 — 10.30 P.M. (sixth game).

If Mr Colle can find the necessary time the match will probably be finished on the 10th, 12th, and 13th of April.

For strangers, members and participants in the guarantee fund admission is free of charge. For townsmen the admission fee is f 0,50, or f 1,- for the complete match.


The Board of the Amsterdam Chess federation at Amsterdam has great pleasure in offering to Mr Max Euwe at Amsterdam on behalf of aforesaid club a token of regardfor the splendid result achieved by him in the recently held great match at Göteborg in master group B.

This token of regard consists of a large wooden chess board and we hope that Mr Euwe with his great chess talent may display rnany a ‘tour de force’ on this board. Moreover we express the heartfelt wish that Mr Euwe will continue on his chosen path; may he reap great laurels many times to come.


Panel 11: Euwe PhD

After Euwe had obtained his doctoral degree in 1923 he gained a major victory at Hastings 1923/24. His studies, however, remained his first priority. In 1926 he obtained his PhD in Mathematics and Physics, which he considered a sufficient basis to marry Caro Bergman. The same year he acquired a job a teacher of mathematics at the municipal high school for girls (Meisjeslyceum) in Amsterdam.

1. Wedding photograph August 3 1926. 2. Teacher of mathematics. 3. Weston- super-Mare 1926, first place.

Panel 12: International master

At the end of 1926, early 1927 Euwe played a training match with Alekhine who was preparing himself for the world championship’s match against Capablanca. Only at the very end Euwe lost the match with a narrow 4½-5½. In 1928 Euwe won the world championship for amateurs at the FIDE-tournament in The Hague. In Bad Kissingen he finished third after Bogoljubow and Capablanca. From that moment onwards Euwe is acknowledged as one of the finest chess players in the world.

1. Euwe – Alekhine, Amsterdam 1927. 2. Bad Kissingen 1928. 3. Karlsbad 1929. 4. Karlsbad, Euwe – Spielmann 1929.

Panel 13: Postponement

In 1930 the Euwe family left for the Dutch East Indies for a simultaneous tour; to Euwe this signifies a milestone in his career. On Sumatra he became highly impressed by the Batak style of play. After this tour Euwe had intended to devote himself to mathematics again. The victory at Hastings (1930/31) postponed this decision. In 1932 Euwe played a match against Flohr which ended in a tie. That same year he finished second in Bern, together with Flohr, after Alekhine.

1. Hastings 1931. 2. Si Toemboek. 3. Jakarta. 4. Homage at VAS for the victory at Hastings 1931. 5. Bern. 6. Karlsbad 1932: Euwe – Flohr.

Panel 14: Cancellation?

Finally the decision was taken: Euwe will stop after the Dutch championship in 1933. It is his intention to obtain a professorship at the university. The same year Alekhine once again invites him for a match. If necessary, this time for the world title. Euwe put the letter aside – he had stopped, had he not? Consequently, at Christmas he did not leave for Hastings either, where Flohr, not Alekhine would finish first! Then in January 1934 Kmoch succeeded in persuading Euwe to accept the invitation after all. Euwe was back in the ring!


Panel 15: Final preparations

The start of intensive preparations! In Zürich 1934 Euwe won his game against Alekhine but finished second together with Flohr. Leningrad 1934 was not quite the success hoped for, but Hastings 1934/35 yielded a first place together with Flohr and Sir Thomas, before Capablanca. After this Euwe retired in order to prepare himself (mentally) for the world championship. On the 28th of May 1935 Euwe and Alekhine signed the contract. Nothing could stop the match anymore!

1. Signing the contract at the Carlton hotel. 2. First game. 3. and 4. Twenty-fourth game.

Panel 16: An exciting match

On the 2nd of October 1935 Alekhine makes his first move. In order to retain his title he had to score a minimum of 15 points out of 30 games. After 7 games Euwe was down 2 to 5., but subsequently fought back to 7½-7½. Again Euwe lagged behind 8½-10½, but then Euwe struck: 14-12! Alekhine recovered and came back to 15-14. The match was to be decided in the last game. On the 15th of December 1935, after a full five hours’ playing, Alekhine addresses the audience in German: ‘Es lebe Schachweltmeister Euwe!’.

1. Alekhine (r.) speaks. 2. Congratulations to Euwe. 3. Champion. 4. The youngest of his three daughters. 5. Euwe and his wife. 6. Celebration at the high school for girls, January 1936.


Panel 17: Alekhine underestimated

Alekhine insisted upon a return match. Meanwhile Euwe had a string of successful performances. In Nottingham and Amsterdam, keeping Alekhine behind him all the time. In spite of poor training Euwe finished first in Bad Nauheim, before Alekhine, after which he did not seem to take his preparations for the match so serious any longer. Alekhine gave up smoking and drinking and was determined to regain the title. On the 5th of October 1937 the match began. Initially it was an equal battle, 3—3, but then Alekhine took a lead and Euwe no longer managed to overtake him. On the 7th of December 1937 Alekhine reclaimed the title (15½—9½). Following the match, in 1938 Euwe played in Noordwijk and in the AVRO tournament, but with little success.

1. Nottingham 1936. 2. Amsterdam 1936. 3. Noordwijk 1938. 4. AVRO 1938. 5. First game.

WAR YEARS 1940 – 1945

Panel 18: Disrupted career

Things were going Euwe’s way again. At Hastings 1938/39 he finished second, Bournemouth yielded another first place. September 1 1939 world war II breaks out. Before the German invasion of the Netherlands Euwe played a match against Keres and a tournament in Budapest in honour of the 70-year-old Maroczy. In 1941 he played another match, against Bogoljubow in Karlsbad.

1. Amersfoort January ‘40. 2. Euwe – Wijnans. 3. Budapest ‘40. 4. Budapest Reti – Euwe. 5. Karlsbad Bogoljubow – Euwe.

Panel 19: Lifesaver

In 1940 Euwe exchanged his job as a teacher for that of a board member of Van Amerongen – a food business. He supported civilians and Dutch underground resistance versus the Germans by illegally supplying them with food. He also hid Jewish people in his house. The KNSB the royal Dutch chess federation is forced to drop the designation ‘koninklijk’ (=royal) with changed the name back to ‘NSB’ or rather NedScaBo. Jewish members were forced to withdraw. When in 1943 chairman Zittersteyn has gotten into trouble with the German authorities, Euwe agreed to be acting as chairman for the time being.

Chessplayers Landau, Wijnans, Van den Hoek and many others did not see the end of the war.

1. ‘The journal’ in wartime. 2. Euwe — Van den Hoek. 3. Landau.


Panel 20: Euwe professional

The Staunton tournament in Groningen was the first major tournament after the war. Euwe finishes second after Botvinnik. Due to Alekhine’s death FIDE was able to start and regulate the world champion title matches. At the end of 1946 Euwe was employed by the KNSB (Royal Dutch Chess Federation) in order to prepare himself thoroughly for the coming world championship and to popularize Dutch chess. In 1947 Euwe embarked on an exhausting tour through South America.

1. Netherlands right after the war (ruins of Venlo). 2. Staunton. 3. Havana.

Panel 21: World champion for two hours

At the FIDE conference in 1947, after many problems and with the Russian delegation absent, it was decided to offer the world title to Euwe again. Two hours after this decision the Russians turned up all the same. Subsequently it was decided that Euwe, Keres, Smyslov, Reshevsky, Botvinnik and Fine would be allowed to compete for the title in 1948. This tournament ended in a disappointment for Euwe: he finished last, Botvinnik came first. He had worn himself out in South America. Nevertheless he went on a tour through the USA at the end of 1948, which he broke off due to exhaustion at the start of 1949.

On the lst of September 1949, after a tour through the Balkan, Euwe’s contract with the KNSB came to an end.

1. FIDE in Wintherthur. 2. O’Kelly – Euwe 1947. 3. Title fight in The Hague and 4. Moscow. 5. Detroit. 6. Trouble with the car in the Balkan.

Panel 22: End of an era

Euwe, who has done very well in Berlin and Dubrovnik in 1950, proved still to be one of the finest chessplayers at the candidates’ tournament in Zürich 1953. Near the end, however, fatigue struck: he finished fourteenth. As far as Euwe was concerned this marked the end of the great tournaments. At the Dutch championship in 1954 he had to concede the title to Donner who had become stronger in the 1950’s. In a private match in 1955 he beat Donner 7-3, but the Euwe chess era has come to an end.

1. FIDE Paris 1950. 2. Berlin. 3. Dubrovnik. 4. Zürich: Euwe – Smyslow. 5. The title goes to Donner.


Panel 23: Professor

Euwe had returned to teach at the high school for girls at the end of 1949. When in 1956 he became a scientific consultant at a computer firm, this meant the start of a whole new life for him. He taught programming and efficient computer usage. Three years later he became managing director of the ‘Studie Centrum Automatische Dataverwerking’ (Study Centre for Automated Data Processing). In 1964 he accepted a professorship in methodology of automated data processing, in Tilburg and Rotterdam.

1. Instructor in computer science.

Panel 24: FIDE chairman

In 1970 Euwe was elected chairman of FIDE. Due to Rueb Euwe had been involved in the founding of FIDE in 1924. Rueb had been the first to involve FIDE in the organizing of a world championship match: since 1946 FIDE had been handling the championship. FIDE has certainly benefited from Euwe’s chairmanship. For example, it was thanks to Euwe that the 1972 Fischer-Spasski match could take place after all. As chairman he travelled all over the world to promote chess. In 1978 he passed the gavel to Olafsson.

1. Design FIDE symbol (presented on the occasion of Euwe’s 75th birthday). 2. Fischer – Spasski.


In remembrance of Prof. dr. Max Euwe

The VSB Chess tournament was the follow-up of the Euwe Memorials held in 1976 and 1979: four players’ double rounded tournaments. It became an annual tribute to the greatest chess player the Netherlands had ever known. The first VSB tournament in 1987 saw Jan Timman pay full credit to his predecessor Max Euwe by claiming shared first prize with Karpov. Timman was to participate every following year. The VSB Chess tournament became a fixed item on the chess agenda and boasted a formidable reputation. At the fifth anniversary tournament in 1991 a ten players tournament, the absolute world top was represented, including Karpov, Kasparov and, of course, Timman as well. Alas, the tradition came to an end in 1996.

Panel 26: Great merits

During his FIDE chairmanship Euwe celebrated his 75th birthday. Beside the many presents and tributes he was offered the “Euwe ring” for his highly valuable contributions to Dutch chess. On his 80th birthday Euwe still participated in the Dutch championship correspondence chess and intended to compete in the subsequent world championship. On the 26th of November 1981 the Netherlands’ first, and so far only, world chess champion passed away.

1. Bakker (secretary general FIDE) congratulates Euwe. 2. Karpov presents Euwe with a samovar. 4. Euwe at home, 80 years old. 5. Sport heroes of yesteryear: Euwe, Blankers-Koen, Spaak, Geesink, Mol.


Panel 27: Standard works

Euwe finances his first tournaments abroad by writing chess columns for dailies. In 1923 he is made chief editor of the federation journal and in ‘28 he writes his first book: ‘Practische schaaklessen’ (Practical lessons in chess) . After this Euwe was to bring another 125 chess publications to his name, about eighty of which were translated into different languages. Many of them constitute standard works in the literature of chess. In the field of mathematics, too, various publications from his hand saw the light of day.