The day FIDE temporarily moved to Buenos Aires and Mr. Augusto De Muro was elected its President: Closer to the recognition by the world entity of a historical truth

By Sergio E. Negri & Juan S. Morgado

When we originally wrote in 2018 in Spanish an article (later revised and expanded) on a historical episode that was at the bottom of the chest of memories, pertaining to the day that FIDE decided to move its headquarters to Buenos Aires and elect Argentine Mr. Augusto de Muro as President of the world federative entity (as a result of the start of hostilities that gave rise to what will immediately be called World War II), of course we intended to reflect a forgotten factual truth.

But, additionally, we had the hope that institutionally it would be operated to recognize some facts that had fallen within the framework of what we call, somewhat bitterly, as the product of a “historical surgery”.

Immediately, we released the results of the investigations, supported by the files that we had, and other complementary elements, coming from local and international sources, in particular the previous studies of another Argentine historian, José Copié, all of which, peacefully and harmoniously, gave faithful testimony of circumstances that seem incontrovertible.

In addition, we reported the results of this new set-up of the situation to the President of the Argentine Chess Federation (FADA), Ing. Mario Petrucci who, unlike what happened (and quite inexplicably) with previous local negotiations, took the matter in his hands.

In fact, he put it to the consideration of FIDE-America and managed to admit both circumstances in that instance: that Buenos Aires within the framework of the Buenos Aires Tournament of Nations (TN) in 1939 had been designated as temporary headquarters of FIDE and that De Muro had been elected as its President, leaving outgoing Alexander Rueb as Honorary President.

The head of FADA, more recently, made a formal presentation to FIDE in the same vein. And, three years after that initial writing, we must share pleasant news: the world entity decided to open an investigation, giving participation to the historical and legal areas of the Agency. That is a cause for celebration that we are closer to the recognition of what was hiding under the carpet of history.

On purpose, meetings of specialists are already being held, of which we are a part, and to which we remain with a special predisposition to continue with the respective tasks, in such a way as to clear up any doubts and, we trust, they will finally accept, definitively, as It is true that, in its own way, it will shake the institutional history of FIDE.

So it will be: the Argentine De Muro will already have to be incorporated, so we believe, so it should be, in his gallery of Presidents; It will already be necessary to specify that Rueb’s mandate was until September 1939 and, again, as of 1946, when FIDE retakes control of the situation in Europe once the cruel war ended; It should already be noted that Buenos Aires, temporarily, in line with the closing of the 1939 Tournament of Nations, housed the headquarters of FIDE.

Time puts things in their place. We are confident and proud that, with our humble grain of sand, events are being conducted to recognize historical events that illuminate the truth, even though they have been hidden for too long in the context of a certain obscurantism.


Mr. Augusto Roberto De Muro, a distinguished journalist who in 1937 was elected president of the FADA, died in Buenos Aires on November 16, 1959. On his initiative, FIDE was asked to be the headquarters of TN 1939 in Buenos Aires. The request was granted, and the Argentine chess authorities took on the harsh and difficult task of the organization. The prize for all the efforts was the happy realization of the most important chess competition that was held in our capital, and one of the best in the world. The success was due in large part to de Muro’s commendable work. And this was recognized by all the delegates of the countries that attended Buenos Aires, because in the XVI FIDE Congress held simultaneously with the TN, De Muro was elected president of the world body, a decision that meant a tribute to Argentine chess. Revista Ajedrez pays tribute to the memory of those who knew how to give the best efforts in unforgettable moments, without petty calculations, for a noble cause.[1]

Obituary of Luis Palau, Revista Ajedrez (Magazine Ajedrez), December 1959, p. 426

The VI Assembly of the FADA was held on May 23, 1929. Augusto De Muro has been unanimously elected as the third president, replacing the resigning engineer Enrique Pujadas, who had already been honored and praised at a banquet held at the Ferrari restaurant. De Muro, who assumed with broad consensus for the period 1929/31, had great prestige as a journalist and athlete”.

Roberto Grau, La Nación, sábado 23 de mayo de 1929

“De Muro was an old member and leader of the Automóvil Club Argentino, where he had a brilliant performance as member of the Board of Directors. In addition to holding as Secretary in the National Roads Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Vialidad), De Muro became a prominent figure. It is very likely that “Blue Bird” was his pseudonym as a sports journalist for La Nación during the 1920s and 1930s. He participated in the ACA Board of Directors between 1923 and 1926. Also De Muro was General Secretary of that body from at least 1935 to 1943, becoming a prominent public figure”.

Automóviles, turismo y carreteras como problemas públicos. Los clubes de automovilistas y la configuración de las políticas turísticas y viales en la Argentina (1918-1943), Melina Piglia, 2009. Tesis presentada para la obtención del Doctorado en Historia de la Universidad de Buenos Aires

The governingbody of world chess will be reorganized

▓ All FIDE authorities expire by rule of its own statute, and in the need to retake the direction of world chess unanimously claimed, Dr. Rueb, active former president for several periods, has decided to summon the affiliated federations based on the previous list adhered until 1940.

The Swiss Federation is invitating to the XVII FIDE Congress going to meet in Winterthur. Already Don Augusto De Muro repeatedly expressed his wish that it was precisely Rueb, due to his constant action and his prestige, who would take such an initiative, reiterating it on the vacancy of the world title after the death of Alekhine. We recall that Mr. De Muro, then president of FADA, was elected president of FIDE by the Congress held in Buenos Aires, 1939, on the Tournament of Nations, a position that he decided to accept considering the world events, understanding that the FIDE headquarters could not be so far from the most important chess centers in the world. The end of the war and the situation of the FIDE authorities, whose mandates have expired, accentuated the urgency to resolve this state of affairs, among which the matter of the World Championship is of particular importance, which must naturally be directed and organized. by FIDE, as La Nación has repeatedly maintained.[1]

Mr. Iclicki said he consulted the FIDE Legal Advisor and Constitutional Commission Chairman Dr. Roberto Rivello who were of the opinion that the General Assembly (GA) can make such decisions against Statutes. The point is the 1939 General Assembly made a decision and the GA did not meet again to reverse the decision. Therefore there was another President elected for the wartime period.[2]

De Muro, already President of FIDE, at the awards ceremony at the 1939 Buenos Aires Tournament of Nations
[1] Carlos Portela, La Nación, July 12th 1946.
[2] FIDE Historical Committee 7 June 2021, 4pm (Swiss time) by Zoom, W. Iclicki.
Sources (in Spanish):
El día en que la FIDE se muda provisoriamente a Buenos Aires, en, en  y en
El día en que la FIDE se muda provisoriamente a Buenos Aires, addenda (postdata), en y en 

©ALS, 2021

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