Wednesday, April 16

Baden gambit tournament, Round 7: Schlechter joins leading group with win vs. Nyholm; Spielmann, Reti play to draw

Carl Schlechter scored a quick victory over Gustaf Nyholm to move into a tie for the lead with Rudolf Spielmann and Richard Reti after 7 rounds of the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden. Schlechter, who has now won two games in succession after opening the tourney with a string of five draws, required only 21 moves to dispatch his Swedish opponent. In other contests, Gyula Breyer took advantage of an opening error by Karel Opocensky to record a victory, while the clash between co-leaders Spielmann and Reti resulted in a draw, with Spielmann defending well to hold an inferior Rook endgame. The games Hans Fahrni-Karel Hromadka and Dr. Saviely Tartakower-Paul Johner were likewise drawn, the latter after a colorful struggle lasting 119 moves.

Scores after 7 rounds: Schlechter, Spielmann, Reti 4 1/2; Johner, Hromadka 4; Tartakower, Fahrni 3 1/2; Breyer 3; Nyholm 2; Opocensky 1 1/2.

Schlechter cleverly exploited the exposed position of the Black Queen to defeat Nyholm in a Scotch Gambit, with the pawn advance 19.e5! marking the beginning of the end. The Austrian Master might have concluded matters even sooner had he played the same pawn advance at his 15th turn, as the reader will observe by consulting the notes.

Breyer, as second player in a Danish Gambit, seized the opportunity offered by Opocensky's erroneous 9.Nxe4? - 9.Qxe3 having deserved the preference - to emerge from the opening with a sound extra pawn. Black maintained the advantage throughout the remainder of the contest, with the victory coming in a Rook endgame.

Spielmann-Reti, a Bishop's Gambit, featured another Rook endgame, in which Spielmann successfully countered all his opponent's efforts to press for a win. 

The Evans Gambit between Tartakower and Johner proved a most lively struggle indeed, and we urge our readers not to allow its inordinate length to deter them from examining it. Black gained a pawn at the 36th move and, via some fine piece-play, succeeded in carrying this advantage into the endgame. Our colleague Georg Marco believes that Johner let victory slip through his fingers with the advance 54...b3? and suggests 54...h3 in its place as the winning move. Dr. Tartakower, by sacrificing his Knight for Black's dangerous pawns, succeeded in reaching an endgame of Rook vs. Rook and Bishop, which Johner tried in vain for nearly 50 moves to win. Even this phase of the contest did not lack piquancy, as Dr. Tartakower thrice - at the 108th, 113th, and 115th move - put his Rook en prise, secure in the knowledge that its capture would produce an immediate stalemate. The two players at last agreed to a draw at the 119th move.

The Scotch Gambit between Fahrni and Hromadka followed the course of the fourth-round contest between Schlechter and Spielmann until White's 13th turn, when Fahrni chose 13.Bg5 over Schlechter's 13.Nxd5. The first player appeared to gain some measure of advantage in the ensuing endgame, but the contest was nevertheless drawn by repetition of position at the 35th move.

Tuesday, April 15

Baden gambit tournament, Round 6: Spielmann defeats Johner to share lead with Reti; Tartakower tops Nyholm; Schlechter scores first win

The Black pieces carried the day by a 4-1 margin in the sixth round of the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden, with the games Paul Johner-Rudolf Spielmann, Gyula Breyer-Carl Schlechter, and Gustaf Nyholm-Dr. Saviely Tartakower all ending in favor of the second player. With the tourney now one-third complete, and despite today's adverse results, the White pieces have scored 7 victories vs. 6 for Black, a sign, perhaps, that the old gambit openings still retain their vitality and force.

Spielmann's win over erstwhile tournament leader Johner moved the Austrian Master into a tie for the lead with Richard Reti, who played to a draw vs. Hans Fahrni. Schlechter recorded his first victory in fine style, capping a powerful performance with a Queen sacrifice, while Dr. Tartakower, who had suffered defeats in the third and fourth rounds, now stands once again on an even score after taking the full point from Nyholm. The day's final contest between Karel Hromadka and Karel Opocensky was drawn.

Scores after 6 rounds: Spielmann, Reti 4; Johner, Schlechter, Hromadka 3 1/2; Tartakower, Fahrni 3; Breyer, Nyholm 2; Opocensky 1 1/2.

We begin with the Johner-Spielmann clash, a hard-fought Evans Gambit Accepted. Johner advanced a pawn into the heart of the enemy position with 21.e6 and succeeded in reinforcing this intrepid scout via 25.Nf5 Nxf5 26.gxf5. Spielmann, however, soon eliminated both the supporting pawn on f5 and its forward companion on e6, so that Black stood three pawns to the good when White with 34.Rxe6 won two minor pieces for a Rook. A difficult battle still seemed likely, but the Swiss Master soon began to falter, first choosing 38.Qd2 in place of the superior 38.Qd6 and then blundering with 39.Re3?, which after 39...R8xe3 40.fxe3 Rg1+ allowed Black to force mate. With this defeat, his first of the tourney, Johner falls from the lead for the first time since play began.


Breyer-Schlechter, another Evens Gambit, saw Black after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 essay the surprising 6...b5, a move that we cannot recall having seen before. Breyer elected not to capture the venturesome pawn, a decision he may well have come to regret, as a glance at the position after Black's 24th move will suggest. Schlechter won the exchange and soon brought about a neat finish, sacrificing his Queen and leaving White powerless to prevent the advance of the Black a-pawn.


Nyholm-Tartakower, a Danish Gambit, featured an early exchange of Queens leading to an endgame in which White's two extra pawns on the King-side were balanced by Black's similar preponderance on the other wing. The contest remained in balance until White's 31st move, when Nyholm allowed Dr. Tartakower to exchange Knight for Bishop and so bring about a Rook endgame highly favorable to the second player. White resigned after Black's 39th move.


In Reti-Fahrni, a Scotch Gambit, White won a pawn after a lively series of captures and exchanges but soon thereafter agreed to a draw, apparently feeling that the activity of the Black pieces made any winning attempt unlikely to succeed.

The King's Gambit Declined between Hromadka and Opocensky was likewise drawn after Black's attempt to train his heavy pieces on the White King-side led to a series of exchanges and an equal game.

Sunday, April 13

Baden gambit tournament, Round 5: Reti defeats Opocensky, joins Johner in lead; Hromadka tops Breyer

Richard Reti successfully warded off the attacking efforts of Karel Opocensky to record a victory in the fifth round of the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden. Reti, with a score of 3 1/2 points from 5 games, now shares first place with Paul Johner, who played to a draw vs. Hans Fahrni. The games Rudolf Spielmann-Gustaf Nyholm and Dr. Saviely Tartakower-Carl Schlechter were likewise drawn, while Karel Hromadka topped Gyula Breyer in fine style to move to within a half-point of the lead. Hromadka's victory marked his first decisive result of the tourney, leaving Schlechter as the only man to have drawn all his games to date.

Scores after 5 rounds: Reti, Johner 3 1/2; Hromadka, Spielmann 3; Schlechter, Fahrni 2 1/2; Breyer, Nyholm, Tartakower 2; Opocensky 1.

The Opocensky-Reti contest, a Danish Gambit, represented a triumph of defense. Black accepted the gambit pawn and withstood all efforts by his opponent to mount an attack. Reti, who for a dozen moves faced the threat of immediate checkmate on the g7-square, won a second pawn at his 30th turn and a third eight moves later; Opocensky resigned when faced with an unavoidable exchange of Queens.

Hromadka played excellent chess to defeat Breyer from the White side of a King's Gambit Declined. By the 10th move Black had exchanged his pair of Bishops for the opposing Knights. A period of preparatory maneuvering then followed, with Hromadka carefully arranging his forces for the decisive advance, which at last commenced with 25.e5! In the ensuing skirmish White gained material superiority, after which his Bishops easily overmatched the Black Knights in the endgame.

In Spielmann-Nyholm, an Evans Gambit Declined, White pressed hard in the endgame and appeared close to gaining an advantage. A clever temporary exchange sacrifice (34...Rexd5!) by the Swedish Master, however, allowed Black to main the balance, and the game was agreed drawn at the 48th move.

Tartakower-Schlechter, another Evans Gambit Declined, saw White emerge from a series of mass exchanges with a sound extra pawn. Unfortunately for the first player, all the remaining pawns were located on the same side of the board, so that Dr. Tartakower proved unable to force the win, although he persisted for nearly forty moves in his attempts to do so.

In Fahrni-Johner, a Scotch Gambit, Queens were exchanged at the 14th move and an even endgame was agreed drawn at the 34th.

New Zealand Championship: Final selection of games

We present a final selection of games from the New Zealand Championship. This year's tourney did not produce quite so many rollicking struggles as that of a year ago, but the following contest, between Mr. Kelling and Mr. Barnes, two of the top finishers in the tournament, features most lively play indeed.

In the next contest Mr. Dodds with 41...Re3 lays a pretty endgame trap for Mr. Hicks, who unsuspectingly allows himself to be ensnared therein.

The tournament, like all tournaments, featured its share of blunders. Here Mr. Severne, a pawn to the good after 50 moves of difficult battle vs. last year's Champion Mr. Grierson, undoes all his earlier efforts with one ill-chosen move.

And here Mr. James thinks to win a piece via 19...Qxc4, the Queen being immune from capture owing to a back-rank checkmate. His opponent Mr. Moore, however, immediately demonstrates the flaw in this thinking.

We close with an ever-popular item: a mating attack. Mr. Severne here makes amends for his earlier blunder vs. Mr. Grierson by sacrificing a Rook to force checkmate in a heavy-piece endgame.