Chess tournaments Chess strategy Computer chess Chess players FIDE Chess variants Chess rules and history

Povilas Vaitonis

Povilas (Paul) Vaitonis (15 August 1911, in Užpaliai, Lithuania - 23 April 1983, in Hamilton, Canada) was a Lithuanian-Canadian International Master of chess. He was a five-time Lithuanian champion, and was twice Canadian champion. Vaitonis was inducted into the Canadian Chess Hall of Fame on July 9, 2011 in Toronto.


Povilas Vaitonis played for Lithuania in four official and one unofficial Chess Olympiads.

His total for Lithuania in Olympiads was (+36 -29 =18).

Vaitonis played three matches against Vladas Mikėnas. In 1934, he lost a match (2 : 6). In 1937, he lost a match (4,5 : 5,5). In 1938, he lost a match (3 : 9).

Vaitonis may have been the first player to use what is now called the Benko Gambit (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5) in its most common move order, in a game against Thorvaldsson at the 1936 unofficial Olympiad at Munich.

Vaitonis became the Lithuanian Champion in 1934, 1937, 1938, 1942, and 1944. In July 1943, he took 4th place, behind Birmanas, Romanas Arlauskas, and Leonardas Abramavičius, at the 12th Lithuanian Championship in Vilnius. He left Lithuania just before the advancing Soviet forces arrived, to avoid deportation to Siberia or any other persecutions the Soviet occupation (e.g., those of Vladimirs Petrovs). Joining the westward exodus in 1944/45, he -- along with many other Baltic players, e.g. Arlauskas, Dreibergs, Endzelins, Jursevskis, Mednis, Ozols, Sarapu, Tautvaišas, Zemgalis, etc. -- moved to the West.

In 1948, he emigrated to Canada and settled in Hamilton, Ontario. He wrote a weekly chess column in The Hamilton Spectator 1953-1955. In 1949, he took 5th place at Canadian Championship in Arvida, Quebec. In 1951 and in 1957, he won Canadian Championships in Vancouver. In September-October 1952, he took 19th place at the 2nd Interzonal in Stockholm. In 1953, he took 3rd place in Canadian Championship in Winnipeg.

Paul Vaitonis played for Canada in two Olympiads. In September 1954, he played at third board at the 11th Chess Olympiad in Amsterdam (+6 -3 =5). In September/October 1958, he played at third board at the 13th Chess Olympiad in Munich (+4 -5 =5). His total for Canada in Olympiads was (+10 -8 =10).

In 1952, he was awarded the International Master title by FIDE. In the 1960s he continued playing in the Canadian Championships and on teams (Lithuanian Chess Club, McMaster).

Vaitonis was inducted into the Canadian Chess Hall of Fame on July 9, 2011 in Toronto.

Notable chess games