Last week Nigel posted on Suitable Chess Role Models and recommended Herman Pilnik as a player with a “nice classical style plus the good sense of get out of Germany in 1930.” Indeed, these are both points in his favor!
I would add a another possibility in Max Euwe, who even wrested the World Championship from Alekhine in 1935 and was probably in the World Top 20 for around 25 years. He had a solid, logical style that many of us could benefit from emulating, and wrote a number of books that are very suitable for the amateur chess improver. In addition, he had perhaps the greatest all-around chess career of all time, given that he was a Grandmaster, World Champion, leading chess author and President of the FIDE–all while living a pretty normal home life with a wife, children and a job as a math teacher! True, he didn’t have the good sense to get out of Holland before the Germans invaded in 1940, but given his personal circumstances we can hardly hold that against him.
Here is one of his most famous games, played against one of the best players in the world in the 1953 Candidates tournament. While perhaps not the most instructive for us amateurs, it’s a game some of the readers may not have seen, and if you went through life not knowing of it, that would be a shame…