Max Euwe

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Machgielis ("Max") Euwe (Amsterdam, 20 May, 1901 – Amsterdam, 26 November, 1981) was a Dutch chess grandmaster and mathematician. He was world champion chess from 1935 to 1937. He was by far the best chess player of the Netherlands during a period of close to forty years. He was Dutch champion from 1921 until 1958, with interruptions in 1936, when he did not compete, and in 1954 when he lost out to Jan-Hein Donner.

Max Euwe served as President of FIDE, the World Chess Federation, from 1970 to 1978. Euwe was also a highly-regarded chess writer.

It is likely that Euwe was the weakest world champion ever, because in 1935 he won the championship from Alexander Alekhine by the very narrow margin of 15.5-14.5, during a time that Alekhine had a serious drinking problem. Two years later Euwe was defeated by Alekhine in a rematch, also played in The Netherlands, by the convincing margin of 15.5-9.5. In the world championship of 1948 Euwe ended last. This tournament was played partly in The Hague, and partly in Moscow and was won by Mikhail Botvinnik.

Euwe never became a professional chess player, he stayed an amateur all his life. He received a masters degree in mathematics at the University of Amsterdam in 1923 and then became highschool math teacher. In his spare time he prepared a dissertation and obtained a doctorate in mathematics in 1926 with supervisor the intuitionist L.E.J. Brouwer. His dissertation, entitled Differentiaalvarianten van twee covariante-vectorvelden met vier veranderlijken (Differential invariants of two covariant vector fields with four variables) was awarded the predicate Cum Laude (a predicate given in The Netherlands to the best 5 to 10 % of Ph.D theses). In 1929 he published a game-theoretical treatise about chess from an intuitionistic point of view entitled Mengentheoretische Betrachtungen über das Schachspiel (Set theoretic considerations of the game of chess).

In later years, after having stopped with competitive chess, Euwe worked in mathematics and informatics. In 1964 he became adjunct professor in the "methodology of the automatic information processing" at the Netherlands Economical Institute of Rotterdam and full professor in the same subject at the Catholic Economical Institute of Tilburg (now Erasmus University and Tilburg University, respectively).