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USA vs. USSR radio chess match 1945

The USA vs. USSR radio chess match 1945 was a chess match between the USA and the USSR that was conducted over the radio from September 1 to September 4, 1945. The ten leading masters of the United States played the ten leading masters of the Soviet Union (except for Paul Keres) for chess supremacy. The match was played by radio and was a two-game head-to-head match between the teams. The time control was 40 moves in 2½ hours and 16 moves per hour after that. Moves were transmitted using the Uedemann Code. It took an average of 5 minutes to transmit a move. The US team played at the Henry Hudson Hotel in New York. The Soviet team met at the Central Club of Art Masters in Moscow. The USSR team won the match 15½-4½.

This result was met with astonishment around the chess world, since the USA had won four straight Chess Olympiads from 1931 to 1937; however, the Soviet Union had not competed in those tournaments. The Soviet program for producing a new generation of chess masters, originated and supervised by Nikolai Krylenko from the early 1930s, clearly was paying dividends. From 1945 onwards, Soviet players would dominate international chess for most of the rest of the 20th century. The radio match proved a watershed and a changing of the guard in the chess world (Hooper & Whyld 1992:330).

Other radio matches took place around this time.

The matchups

The matchup and results are in this table. Scores are abbreviated "S" for a Soviet win, "A" for an American win and "d" for a drawn game.

USSR vs. USA radio match 1945
Board USSR Game 1 Game 2 USA Result (USSR-USA)
1 Mikhail Botvinnik S S Arnold Denker 2-0
2 Vasily Smyslov S S Samuel Reshevsky 2-0
3 Isaac Boleslavsky d S Reuben Fine 1½-½
4 Salo Flohr S A I.A. Horowitz 1-1
5 Alexander Kotov S S Isaac Kashdan 2-0
6 Igor Bondarevsky A d Herman Steiner ½-1½
7 Andor Lilienthal d d Albert Pinkus 1-1
8 Viacheslav Ragozin S S Herbert Seidman 2-0
9 Vladimir Makogonov S d Abraham Kupchik 1½-½
10 David Bronstein S S Anthony Santasiere 2-0

Nine of ten Americans and six of ten Soviets were Jewish.

Botvinnik later won the 1948 World Championship and was World Champion for 13 years. Smyslov and Reshevsky also played in the 1948 World Championship and Smyslov became World Champion in 1957. Fine was also invited to play, but he declined. Bronstein was the challenger for the World Championship in 1951. Boleslavsky tied for first in the 1950 Candidates tournament but lost the playoff match to Bronstein to decide the challenger for the 1951 World Championship

Reserve players

The following players were reservists in the U.S. team, to be called on, in the order given, if any of the primary team are unable to compete: Alexander Kevitz, Robert Willman, Jacob Levin, George Shainswit, Weaver W. Adams, Edward Lasker, Fred Reinfeld, Edward S. Jackson, Jr., Samuel Factor, and Martin C. Stark. The Soviet reserves were: Alexander Konstantinopolsky, Vitaly Chekhover, Iosif Rudakovsky, and Peter Romanovsky.

Other radio matches

The USSR also won these matches:

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