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Salomon Flohr
Circa 1951.  

Number of games in database: 1,084
Years covered: 1927 to 1980
Overall record: +417 -146 =517 (62.5%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 4 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Orthodox Defense (80) 
    D51 D62 D55 D50 D59
 English (58) 
    A15 A13 A12 A18 A14
 Nimzo Indian (57) 
    E34 E33 E38 E32 E39
 Queen's Pawn Game (56) 
    D02 A46 E00 D05 A40
 King's Indian (33) 
    E94 E91 E60 E92 E67
 Slav (33) 
    D19 D15 D18 D16 D14
With the Black pieces:
 Caro-Kann (145) 
    B10 B17 B13 B18 B15
 Queen's Gambit Accepted (52) 
    D26 D22 D29 D25 D23
 Slav (42) 
    D15 D18 D10 D11 D17
 Grunfeld (30) 
    D96 D94 D81 D71 D85
 English, 1 c4 e5 (26) 
    A22 A28 A20 A27
 Sicilian (24) 
    B32 B43 B40 B28 B29
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Flohr vs Vidmar, 1936 1-0
   Flohr vs Capablanca, 1935 1/2-1/2
   R Domenech vs Flohr, 1935 0-1
   Flohr vs Botvinnik, 1933 1-0
   R Pitschak vs Flohr, 1934 0-1
   N Evseev vs Flohr, 1949 0-1
   Eliskases vs Flohr, 1937 0-1
   M Feigin vs Flohr, 1937 0-1
   Flohr vs Euwe, 1932 1-0
   Flohr vs S Landau, 1930 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Podebrady (1936)
   Bad Liebwerda (1934)
   Hastings 1931/32 (1931)
   Kemeri (1939)
   Leningrad / Moscow training (1939)
   Hamburg Olympiad (1930)
   Moscow (1935)
   Ukrainian Championship (1957)
   Bern (1932)
   Rogaska Slatina (1929)
   Kemeri (1937)
   Zurich (1934)
   Prague Olympiad (1931)
   Bled (1931)
   Warsaw Olympiad (1935)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   0ZeR0's Favorite Games Volume 38 by 0ZeR0
   0ZeR0's Favorite Games Volume 39 by 0ZeR0
   Bled 1931 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Bled 1931 by Benzol
   Moscow 1936 by suenteus po 147

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Salomon Flohr
Search Google for Salomon Flohr

(born Nov-21-1908, died Jul-18-1983, 74 years old) Russia

[what is this?]

Salomon Flohr was born in 1908 in Gorodenka, present day Ukraine.1 His parents were Jewish, had eight children and were very poor. He was orphaned during World War I after their parents were killed in a massacre, and they fled to the newly formed nation of Czechoslovakia, where he learned chess.6

He won several Czechoslovakian tournaments in the early 1930s, earning him something of a celebrity status in his country. Starting with the 1931/32 edition, he won or shared 1st at four consecutive Hastings Christmas Congresses.2 In 1932, he beat Mir Sultan Khan (+2 -1 =3 ) and drew Dr. Max Euwe (+3 -3 =10 ) in matches. One year later, he drew the Botvinnik - Flohr (1933) (+2 -2 =8). In 1939, he won the Leningrad/Moscow training (1939) tournament with 12/17, ahead of Samuel Reshevsky.

Following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Flohr - of Ukrainian Jewish origins - fled to the USSR and became a Soviet citizen. Flohr finished 4th in his debut in the 13th USSR Championship (1944). In 1950 he won the Tartu Semifinal of the 18th USSR Championship.3 Flohr resumed his chess career after the war, qualifying from the Saltsjöbaden Interzonal (1948) to play in the Budapest Candidates (1950), where he shared last place. FIDE awarded him the grandmaster title in 1950 and the international arbiter title in 1963.1 Eventually he retired from serious tournaments, but remained active as a chess journalist until his death in 1983.

In an interview with N. Borisov which was published in the famous Soviet chess magazine 64 (21/1970) Flohr harshly criticized his own approach to chess after the war.

"The war severely affected my health and my nervous system. My way to think about chess needed a change. I have never had a particularly good knowledge of theory because in my youth other factors were more important. After the war young Soviet masters sprang up like mushrooms. They pushed not only me aside but also the other Western grandmasters. But the main reason for my failures after the war has to be sought elsewhere. Fighting for the chess throne requires a boundless will to work. Which I no longer had. No sweet without sweat! I was spoilt by my great successes before the war. My character was not strong enough. I stopped fighting, I basically did not care. A pity! As Steinitz used to say: chess is not for the faint-hearted but demands your all." 4

Reuben Fine believed that Flohr's insecurity and vulnerability had seriously affected his prospects:

"In the years from 1929 to 1933, when Alekhine was at his peak Flohr was universally recognised as his most serious challenger. Although he did poorly in individual games with Alekhine, his results were outstanding against the others … In 1929, when he was only 20, he won second prize behind Rubinstein at Rogasska Slatina. The he began a long string of tournament successes which placed him second only to Alekhine.

This period lasted until about 1935, when his style underwent a considerable change and his play fell off somewhat. He became increasingly cautious, avoiding complications and steering for the endgame as soon as possible…he became more and more a drawing master…the roots of his frantic emphasis on “safety first” are not hard to discover. In 1936, Czechoslovakia, his second homeland, was faced with a growing threat from Nazi Germany… (and) with his support endangered, Flohr found it impossible to concentrate on his own growth as a chess master." 5


1. Jeremy Gaige, "Chess Personalia- a Biobibliography" (McFarland 1987), p.122

2. Wikipedia article: Hastings International Chess Congress

3. [rusbase-1]

4. Quoted by Vlastimil Hort, in his article on Flohr -

5. Reuben Fine, “The World’s Greatest Chess Games” p. 166-167.

6. Wikipedia article: Salo Flohr

Last updated: 2019-09-25 20:03:10

 page 1 of 44; games 1-25 of 1,084  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Flohr vs B Thelen 0-1471927Kautsky mem 4thE12 Queen's Indian
2. Flohr vs A Poisl 1-0351927Kautsky mem 4thE12 Queen's Indian
3. Hromadka vs Flohr 0-1261927Kautsky mem 4thC07 French, Tarrasch
4. K Opocensky vs Flohr 0-1391927Kautsky mem 4thB32 Sicilian
5. Flohr vs F Lustig 1-0451928Kautsky mem 5thD52 Queen's Gambit Declined
6. Flohr vs Tartakower 1-0211928BerlinB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
7. K Opocensky vs Flohr 0-1521928Kautsky mem 5thD02 Queen's Pawn Game
8. Flohr vs J Dobias 0-1531928Kautsky mem 5thD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
9. Flohr vs E Richter 1-0411928Kautsky mem 5thE34 Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation
10. Flohr vs F Lustig 1-0361928PragueC77 Ruy Lopez
11. B Thelen vs Flohr 0-1371928Kautsky mem 5thA30 English, Symmetrical
12. Flohr vs B Thelen 1-0311928Prague EvonyC79 Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred
13. Flohr vs G Machate 1-0201928SumperkB23 Sicilian, Closed
14. L Prokes vs Flohr  1-0461928Prague EvonyA07 King's Indian Attack
15. J Dobias vs Flohr  0-1311929Kautsky mem 6thE22 Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann Variation
16. Flohr vs F Treybal 1-0411929Kautsky mem 6thD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
17. Flohr vs J Dobias  0-1391929Prague-chC77 Ruy Lopez
18. Flohr vs Z Vecsey 1-0211929Prague-chE00 Queen's Pawn Game
19. Flohr vs H Geiger 1-0291929Rogaska SlatinaD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. K Joanovic vs Flohr  ½-½571929Rogaska SlatinaE21 Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights
21. Flohr vs I Koenig 1-0411929Rogaska SlatinaA50 Queen's Pawn Game
22. Pirc vs Flohr  0-1521929Rogaska SlatinaE22 Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann Variation
23. Flohr vs L Singer  1-0341929Rogaska SlatinaD50 Queen's Gambit Declined
24. Flohr vs A Brinckmann 0-1361929Rogaska SlatinaA41 Queen's Pawn Game (with ...d6)
25. Rubinstein vs Flohr 1-0381929Rogaska SlatinaA80 Dutch
 page 1 of 44; games 1-25 of 1,084  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Flohr wins | Flohr loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
May-03-15  TheFocus: <Chess, like love, is infectious at any age> - Salo Flohr.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: In <The Reliable Past>, p162, Sosonko says:

"Salo knew Czech quite well, but when he spoke in it it was immediately apparent that it was not his native language, and so more frequently [he and Vera Meisnerova] spoke in German, Flohr's strongest language."

Nov-21-16  TheFocus: Happy birthday, Salo Flohr!!
Feb-23-17  The Kings Domain: Solid positional player in the style of Capablanca. One wonders how he would have fared had the championship match against Alekhine pushed through.
May-31-17  nummerzwei: <A shortage of creative energy has always inhibited Flohr from crowning his career.>

Lodewijk Prins

Oct-28-17  zanzibar: No photograph of Flohr?!

Shame, <CG>, shame.


Jan-09-18  WorstPlayerEver: Interesting read:

Dec-20-18  Caissanist: From what I can tell, Flohr is rather overrated. His reputation is based largely on his results in the early to mid thirties, and seems to spring largely from the fact that there were no great players born between 1892 and 1911, uness you count Euwe, who did not hit his stride until 1934. Once the new generation of players only a few years younger than he emerged, Flohr was not a top player anymore. He never finished ahead of Euwe or Fine or Keres in a tournament, and only rarely came in ahead of Botvinnik or Reshevsky or Alekhine.

Given what Alekhine did to Euwe in 1937, one would have to think that he would have done the same to Flohr. Even though he was only 28 then, his best days were clearly behind him.

Dec-20-18  Dionysius1: May I ask here, what's with the "RIP" and "Happy Birthday" for people who died long ago? Is it an American thing to be so solicitous? Or (I hope I'm not too cynical) is it a way for Kibitzers to increase the number of their posts without actually contributing anything?

If it's the first, I can't understand it, but maybe people think they are being kind. It just seems sanctimonious to me!

If it's the latter it seems particularly meaningless, because no-one's going to think highly of a kibitzer purely for his high numbers, are they?

All told, it's just annoying, empty and maybe even disrespectful.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Dion: Or (I hope I'm not too cynical) is it a way for Kibitzers to increase the number of their posts without actually contributing anything? >


<All told, it's just annoying, empty and maybe even disrespectful.>


Dec-20-18  Caissanist: People come here to hang out. Sometimes those folks don't really have much to say, so they wind up saying stuff like that, it doesn't bother me. Certainly it's better than the people who don't have anything to say so they come here and troll, which I find much more annoying.
Dec-20-18  Dionysius1: Fair enough <Caisanist>. I hadn't thought of it like that. People maybe keeping their end up in a social environment. Doesn't seem bad that way -)
Dec-20-18  zanzibar: I approve of the jolly photo <CG> finally posted - gg.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I remember reading reminiscences of players from Flor's era. Some said, at his peak in the '30s, Flohr was more feared than Alekhine, Capa or any other player at that time. One player said "We called him Napoleon."

I like that.

Dec-20-18  Count Wedgemore: Yes, Salomon used to wipe the Flohr with his opponents in the 30s. But afterwards, his play deteriorated to the point where he became a really weak player, a "fish". So they started to call him Salmon Flohr.
Dec-20-18  zanzibar: As far as <Caissanist>'s claim that Flohr was overrated, well, it's a debatable claim - although it's clear his reign at the (very) top was fairly brief:

Of course Alekhine was such a dominate player (when he was dominant) that it's hard to put player up against him (though Euwe did represent himself pretty well now and again(!)).

Still, while <Caissanist> mentions Flohr tournament failings - there is the obvious omission of a major victory or two - i.e. <Hastings (1935)>, when he bested Alekhine:

<Hastings 1933-34 – clear first ahead of Alekhine (!!) and others. This was the first time Alekhine failed to come in first since he won the World Championship title.>

And this when Alekhine was near his peak, a few years before Flohr was at his. (See also Podebrady (1936))

Let's play devil advocate, and also quote this:

<When one considers that Flohr had drawn matches with two of Alekhine’s main rivals (Euwe and Botvinnik), and come ahead of both Alekhine and Capablanca in tournaments, the mystery appears to be even stranger.>


There are several major tournaments where he placed just as well as Euwe. And I don't think it exactly fair to compare him to Keres, as those two mostly met after the German business in Czechoslovakia had weighed into his psyche.

But, to correct a point-of-fact, Flohr did best Keres in at least one tournament:

Kemeri (1937)

and tied him in this one:

Parnu (1937)

Dec-21-18  Caissanist: <zanzibar>--thanks for the link to the excellent Silman article, and for pointing out the Kemeri tournament (Flohr also came ahead of Fine there). I don't think it's any great mystery what happened though. Flohr's drawn matches against Botvinnik and Euwe came before either of those players reached their prime, and he never defeated either one again. Players like Botvinnik and Euwe don't seem to have had Flohr's natural gift for chess, but they approached the game systematically and rigorously, always looking for improvements and learning from their defeats. So it makes sense that Flohr was able to hold his own against them when he was in his twenties, but was unable to continuously improve after that point the way that most other leading GMs of the day did.
Dec-22-18  chesshistoryinterest: Flohr also came ahead of Keres at Leningrad-Moscow 1939 and the 1948 USSR Championship.
Feb-05-19  hemy: In 1934, from May 26 to July 4 Salo Flohr visited Palestine (Eretz Israel).

Hebrew-language daily newspaper "Davar", May 25, 1934, p. 5:

"Salo Flohr will arrive tomorrow to Eretz Israel. Master Salo Flohr will arrive to port of Jaffa on Saturday morning with passenger ship "Vienna". On Tuesday he will play against Marmorosh 'Live Chess' on stadium and with a musical ensemble. On Saturday June 2 he will play against 100 players in 'Ohel Shem' ('Tent of Moses') facility." (Moshe Marmorosh - chess column editor of Davar).

English-language daily newspaper "The Palestine Post", May 28, 1934, p. 5:

The well - known Czechoslovakian Chess Champion, Mr. S. Flohr arrived in Tel Aviv on Saturday (May 26, 1934). He will play at public performances in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. His first appearance will be at the Levant Fair Stadium on Tuesday night where he will play A Living Chess Match under flood fights. He will also play simultaneously against 100 opponents on Saturday night, June 2, at the Ohel Shem.

"Davar", May 31, 1934, p. 5:

"Chess players, get ready!
Today at 8 p.m. in the premises of 'Yarid Hamizrach' ('Eastern festivities') will be held simultaneous exhibition of master Salo Flohr against 100 chess players.

Spectacular event of 'Live Chess' was held yesterday on the stadium. Salo Flor defeated Marmorosh."

"The Palestine Post", June 4, 1934, p. 5:

"Tel Aviv, a simultaneous chess game was played at the Ohel Shem Hall. this week against 75 picked amateurs by Salo Flohr, the champion, who is visiting Palestine. The result of the games was that Mr. Flohr lost to five opponents, drew with nine, and beat the remaining sixty-one. The tournament lasted from 9 p.m. until 4.30 a.m. the following morning. Mr. Flohr will meet 100 strong players in a match at Maccabee Hall, Jerusalem, tonight, at 8 o'clock."

"The Palestine Post", June 13, 1934, p. 5:

"The chess master, Mr. Salo Flohr will meet fifty players, against whom he will play simultaneously, tonight at the Palatin Cafe, Tel Aviv. The champion has already matched himself against 156 players in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, winning 131 games, losing 12, and drawing 13."

"The Palestine Post", June 22, 1934, p. 5:

"Mr. Salo Flohr, chess champion, will pit his skill against 6O Palestine enthusiasts at a simultaneous tournament to be held in the Cafe "Zamir" in Allenby Street, Tel Aviv on Sunday evening, June 24 at 8.30 p.m."

"The Palestine Post", July 3, 1934, p. 6:


Tel Aviv, July1. - The Czechoslovakian chess master, Salo Flohr gave two exhibitions of simultaneous chess playing here last week. On Wednesday (June 27, 1934) at the Cafe 'Zamir' he engaged 35 opponents at the same time and defeated 29, drawing with four and losing to two.

Last night (June 30, 1934) he played for some six hours against 11 men, winning nine games, drawing with Winz and being beaten by Dobkin. For this match two men came from Jerusalem - Mr. Mohilever and Mr. Lucovich.

Mr. Flohr is sailing for Zurich on Wednesday (July 4, 1934) where he will play important international matches."

"Davar", July 13, 1934, p. 9:
"On Saturday (June 30, 1934), in cafe 'Cidon' was held simultaneous exhibition of master Salo Flohr against 11 strong players: Czerniak, Dobkin, Winz, Mohilever, Blass, and others. After 4.5 hours of fight Flohr won 9, lost 1 (against Dobkin) and made a draw with Wintz."

Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: Hello, <hemy>! Your contribution reminded me to a page I visited some years ago: http://jewishchesshistory.blogspot....
Feb-06-19  hemy: Hi <Telemus>, I familiar with Avital Pilpel's "Jewish chess history" website and also was in touch with him during my research (together with Alan McGowan) and work on biography of Israel Rabinovich-Barav.

I decided to make a research about the visit of Salo Flohr in Palestine using contemporary newspapers "Davar" and "The Palestine Post" after receiving from Dr. Ami Barav (father of Israel Rabinovich-Barav) the picture of the postcard with inscription and signature of Salo Flohr. It was given to Nahum Labounsky, treasurer of the Eretz Israel Chess association in the 1930s. Nahum Labounsky was a cousin of Israel Rabinovich-Barav.

The pictures of this postcard (after small restoration work) are in my dropbox:

Avital Pilpel also received the pictures from Dr. Ami Barav.

Jan-22-20  Jean Defuse: ...

<The unknown Tournament - Gothenburg 1939>

Following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1939, Flohr and his family fled, first to Sweden, and then to Moscow with the help of his friend Botvinnik.

While in Sweden, he tied for first place at Gothenburg (October 2 to 15, 1939) with Rudolf Spielmann with 10 points out of 11.

[Event "Tournament"]
[Site "Gothenburg"]
[Date "1939.10.03"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Flohr, Salomon Mihailovich"]
[Black "Spielmann, Rudolf"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D60"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e3 O-O 6. Nf3 Ne4 7. Bxe7 Qxe7 8. Qc2 Nxc3 9. Qxc3 c6 10. Bd3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 b6 12. O-O Nd7 13. Qd3 c5 14. Bb5 Bb7 15. Qe2 cxd4 16. Nxd4 Rac8 17. Rac1 Nb8 18. Rfd1 Qg5 19. f4 Qf6 20. Qd2 g6 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. Rc1 Qd8 23. Rxc8 Qxc8 24. h3 Qc5 25. Be2 Nc6 26. Nb3 Qe7 27. Bf3 Nd8 28. Nd4 Bxf3 29. Nxf3 Nc6 30. a3 a5 31. Qc3 Qd6 32. Ng5 Qd5 33. Qf6 Qf5 34. Qc3 Qd5 35. Qf6 Qf5 1/2-1/2



Sep-05-22  Granny O Doul: "Flohr is sealing" was a best team name finalist at the 1980 US Amateur Team, but, along with "John, Paul, and the two bishops" lost to the "Cataclysmic Cavaliers of the 64 Squares". I thought that was worse than anything that ever happened at the Oscars or Grammys.
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: At one amateur team competition a group had the name <Ehlvest Has Left the Building>. (Jaan Ehlvest). The players had all done their best to look like the King. That's Elvis, not the King on the chessboard...
Mar-30-23  The Automaton: (Poletayev - Flohr, Moscú 1951.)
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