Arturo Pomar Salamanca (1931-2016), also called the “Mozart of chess,” was a Spanish chess player. He became the first person to receive the title of grandmaster. Arthuro Pomar was the national champion 7 times. Hailed as a chess prodigy, he was a disciple of World Champion Alexander Alekhine.
Pomar was born there on 1 September 1931. He learned to play chess when he was only three years old. At the age of 11, he won the championship of the Balearic Islands. Like José Capablanca and Samuel Reshevsky before him, he was a natural talent.
In 1944 Pomar started living in Madrid. He became instantly famous when, in a game played in Gijón that lasted eight hours. He managed to hold a draw against the reigning world champion, Alexander Alekhine. In the endgame, he was even winning.
Pomar did become very strong. In 1945, he tied for fourth/fifth in Madrid, took fourth in Gijón , and shared third place in Almeria.
In 1946, at 14, he won his first Spanish Championship — six more national titles followed. General Franco received him and he appeared in newspapers, on the radio, and in newsreel projected in theaters before movies.
In 1962, at 18, he became a grandmaster. In the same year, he held Bobby Fischer to a draw as Black at the Stockholm Interzonal. This game lasted nine hours.
His talent was then evident. Tournament victories include Santa Fe 1949, Paris 1949 , New Orleans 1954 , Gijon 1955, Santander 1958, Madrid 1959, Madrid zonal 1960 , Torremolinos 1961, Malaga 1964, Palma de Mallorca 1965 , Malaga 1971 and Alicante 1975. He came second behind Mikhail Botvinnik at Amsterdam 1966 (IBM tournament) and second behind Mikhail Tal at Palma de Mallorca.
Pomar’s best classification, dated from 1967 when he appeared in the FIDE rating list. The child prodigy ranked 40th globally with 2530 Elo points. He played 12 Olympiads between 1958 and 1980 and, in most cases, led the Spanish team. His best record was in Leipzig 1960, where he won the individual bronze medal for scoring 8.5/12 on board two.
Later years and death
In 1977 Pomar retired from active play. He wrote five books about chess. In April 2000, Arthuro donated his trophies to the Museum of Sports in Mallorca. At the Calvia Olympiad in 2004, he received a gold medal from the organizing committee.
Pomar died in Barcelona on 26 May 2016, at the age of 84. In 2009, Antonia Lopez Manzano and Joan Segura Vila published his biography: Arturo Pomar: una vida dedicada al ajedrez. His wife Carmen Perez, with whom he had seven children, died in 2001.
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