Ståhlberg came to fame when he won matches against star players Rudolf Spielmann and Aron Nimzowitsch in 1933 and 1934 respectively, and came third (after Alekhine) in Dresden 1936, and second (after Fine) in Stockholm 1937. In 1938 he drew a match against Keres.
Following the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires 1939, he stayed in Argentina until 1948, where he won many tournaments, some of them in competition with Miguel Najdorf: Mar del Plata 1941 (ahead of Najdorf and Eliskases), Buenos Aires 1941 (tied with Najdorf), Buenos Aires 1947 (ahead of Najdorf, Eliskases and Euwe).
His best results after returning to Europe were: the Interzonal of Saltsjöbaden 1948 (6th, becoming a Candidate), the Candidates tournament of Budapest 1950 (7th), Amsterdam 1950 (3rd), Budapest 1952 (3rd), the Interzonal of Saltsjöbaden 1952 (5th, again becoming a Candidate)
Ståhlberg umpired in the five World Championships between 1957 and 1963.
In 1967 he travelled to Leningrad to take part in an international tournament but died before playing his first game. He was buried in Gothenburg.
Ståhlberg published more than ten chess books (some of them originally in Spanish):
- Schack och schackmästare, 1937 (Chess and Chess Masters, 1955)
- El gambito de dama, 1942 (Queen's gambit)
- Partidas clásicas de Capablanca (La perfección en ajedrez), 1943 (with Paulino Alles Monasterio) (Classic games of Capablanca, perfection in chess)
- I kamp med världseliten, 1958 (In battle against the world elite)
- Strövtåg i schackvärlden (Excursions in the world of chess, 1965)
- Tal-Botvinnik II match, 1969
- Modern spelöppningsteori i schack
- Svenska schackmästare
- Passengers of the Piriápolis
- El gambito de dama, Gedeón Stahlberg, Buenos Aires 1957, page 5
- Gideon Ståhlberg player profile and games at Chessgames.com
- OlimpBase – Ståhlberg played in 13 Olympiads
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