By Sergio E. Negri & Juan S. Morgado
We are in the extremely conflictive year 1939. Germany, which the previous year had annexed Austria, already invades Czechoslovakia in March. Taking as a favorable signal the Treaty that Ribbentrop and Molotov signed in Moscow in August (on behalf of Hitler and Stalin), which ensured that there would be no reciprocal aggression, German forces will invade Warsaw very shortly afterwards, exactly on September 1, beginning the ominous World War II.
Europe will become the main, though not the only, field of a conflict that will acquire unprecedented proportions, from which a climate of terror and horror will arise, from which the Holocaust will be one of its main expressions, dramatically altering the conditions of life of millions of people and implying, a geopolitical transformation of vast dimensions that will end up redesigning the world map.
Chess will have to retreat, like any cultural activity, in the framework of such an unfavorable context. It should not be surprising then, that FIDE, a world organization that had been founded in 1924, felt threatened in its operation, and then moved its headquarters from the Netherlands to the more neutral Switzerland in search of a peace that no location in the Old World (“old” but not wise) could assure.