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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Arturo Pomar


Pomar was born September 1, 1931 in Palma de Mallorca and first came into international attention when, at the age of 13, he drew a game with world champion Alexander Alekhine at the Gijon international tournament in 1944.

Pomar vs. Alekhine

Of course by that time Alekhine was not the player that he had been, but still finished first:
1-Alekhine (7.5) 2-Antonio Medina (6.5) 3-V. Gonzalez 4-A.Rico (4.5) 5-Pomar (4) 6-7-M.Mampel and Areil Bonet (2.5) 8-L.Gallego

Pomar had won the championship of the Balearic Islands at the age of 11 and became a pupil of Alekhine. When he played his draw with Alekhine at Gijon he was the youngest player ever to draw with a reigning world champion. The game was a back and forth affair in which Pomar outplayed Alekhine in the ending but inexact play allowed Alekhine to draw. Alekhine had been recruited by Franco during WWII to tutor Pomar and during the war years Pomar had the opportunity to play Alekhine several times but always lost.

Pomar won the championship of Spain 7 times and represented his country in 12 Olympiads, but his best results were probably the international tournament in 1960 where tied for first with Portisch, Gligoric, and Donner.  In Torremolinos, 1961 he shared first with Gligoric. And at Palma de Mallorca 1966 where he finished second behind Tal.

In 1946 he played his first major tournament outside of Spain when he participated in London. There he lost to Tartakower, Steiner and Golombek, drew against Ossip Bernstein and defeated Lodewijk Prins. Pomar played in the 1954 US Open held in New Orleans sharing first place with Larry Evans but taking second on tie-breaks.

In the Stockholm Interzonal 1962 (won by Fischer) Pomar finished tied for 11-12 out of 23.  Actually not too bad considering he had no second and no support from his federation.  As a result, unlike the other players, he had to analyze his own adjourned games.  Despite this handicap, Pomar was among the leaders in the first five rounds but staying there proved too much.

Pomar made his living working for the Spanish postal service which led that churlish turd, Bobby Fischer, to say that no matter how well Pomar played that he would have to go back to selling stamps, calling him "the poor Spanish postman".

After Stockholm Pomar his play became less ambitious and in 1965 he suffered a nervous breakdown and a second one during the 1967 Dundee event from which he never fully recovered. He had been ranked in the top 50 in the world from 1959-1965.

Pomar was mostly a positional player but, like all GMs, he could mount a tactical attack if the position called for it. He was also a superb endgame player but had a very limited opening repertoire.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and the Grandmaster title in 1962.

In this game he defeats US master Hugh Meyers who was known for his self-published opening booklets in which he analyzed various offbeat openings and gambits.  I believe Meyers was representing Andorra in this Olympiad. For my article on the Budapest, click HERE, HERE and HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Myers played first board of Dominican Republic. Andorran first player was Jose Jiménez; Spain and Andorra played in different qualifying groups ( 3 and 7 respectively ).