Friday, May 21

Spielmann-Mieses match (final)

The match between Spielmann and Mieses is now concluded. After a drawn seventh game, the young Austrian master capped his overall victory with an excellent win in the eighth encounter. The final tally was 6 - 2, with 5 wins for Spielmann, one for Mieses, and two games drawn. While it is to be regretted that a veteran master of Mieses's caliber and experience proved unable to give a better account of himself, all credit is nevertheless due to Spielmann for his own excellent showing. Spielmann has risen quite quickly in the chess world of late, and, in our estimation, may well now claim to stand no more than a short step below the very greatest exponents of our game. Whether he will succeed in taking that last step and joining the ranks of the immortals is a question only time can answer. For the present, we are grateful to him for beautiful productions such as the game below, for which the winner has most graciously provided the annotations. In our opinion it is the finest win of the match:

Spielmann-Mieses, Match (8), Regensburg 1910 Queen's Gambit Declined
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.Nf3 c6 6.e3 Qa5 7.Nd2 Bb4 8.Qc2 dxc4 9.Bxf6 Nxf6 10.Nxc4 Qc7 11.Bd3 Bd7 12.a3 Bd6 (Quite bad. 12...Be7 had to be played.) 13.e4 e5 14.f4 (This threatens to win a piece, wherefore the reply is compulsory.) 14...exd4 15.e5 Bf8 (If 15...dxc3, 16.Nxd6+, and White has prevented Black's castling.) 16.exf6 dxc3 17.Qe2+ Kd8 18.O-O-O Qxf4+ 19.Kb1 Kc7 (If 19...Qxf6 20.Rhf1 Qe6 - to prevent Bf5 - 21.Ne5 and wins.) 20.Rhf1 Qg5 21.h4 Qc5 (If 21...Qxh4 22.Qe5+ Kc8 23.Bf5 wins.) 22.fxg7 Bxg7 23.Rxf7 Bd4 (Diagram) 24.Rxd7+ (A decisive sacrifice.) 24...Kxd7 25.Qg4+ Kc7 (If 25...Kd8, 26.Bc2 wins. Or 25...Ke7 26.Qe4+ Kf7 27.Rf1+ Bf6 28.Ne5+ wins the Queen or mates in a few moves.) 26.Qf4+ Be5 27.Nxe5 Raf8 28.Qh2 Qf2 29.Bc2 Rhg8 (If 29...Qf4 30.Rd7+ and now A.30...Kb8 31.Rd8+ followed by 32.Qxf4 and 33.Rxh8; or B.30...Kc8 31.Qh3 Kb8 32.Rxb7+ Kxb7 [32...Ka8 33.Rxa7+] 33.Qd7+ and mates; or C.30...Kb6 31.Nc4+ and wins as in the game.) 30.Rd7+ Kb6 31.Nc4+ Ka6 32.Qc7 Qf1+ 33.Ka2 Qxc4+ 34.b3 Qb5 35.a4 Qb6 36.Bd3+ Ka5 37.Qe5+ c5 38.Rxb7 Rxg2+ 39.Ka3 (If now 39...c2, then not 40.Qe1+ Qb4+41.Rxb4 c1=Q+ 42.Qxc1 cxb4 mate, but rather 40.Bxc2 Rxc2 41.Rxb6 axb6 42.Qe7 Ra8 43.Qb7 Ra6 44.Qc6 and wins.) 39...Rg4 40.Rxb6 axb6 41.Qc7 Black resigns 1-0. (Notes by Herr Spielmann)

Monday, May 17

Chess by wireless telegraph

We have received the extraordinary news that a game of chess was played recently via wireless telegraph between passengers on two ocean-going steamers, the König Friedrich August and the Principessa Mafalda. We had never thought to live to hear of such a thing. It is truly a testament to the widespread popularity of our pastime that each advance in the field of communications is almost immediately seized upon by chessplayers as yet another means to have a game. First land-based telegraph by wire, later transatlantic cable, and now wireless "radio" have all facilitated near-instantaneous encounters between players miles - and sometimes continents - apart. One can only imagine what the future holds in store.

We give the game score below for its historic value. That the players are not of master strength is of no moment. The circumstances under which it was played warrant its publication.

Passengers on the König Friedrich August (Messers. Gimenez, Ruiz, Clairian, Ocampo, and Seifert) - Passengers on the Princepessa Mafalda (Messers. Roca, Marco, Olivier, Sacerdoti, Osten, and de la Serna)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6 4.c3 Qf6 5.h3 h6 6.d3 Be7 7.Bd5 Bd7 8.b4 a6 9.Be3 Qg6 10.g4 Bf6 11.Qb3 Nge7 12.Nbd2 Nxd5 13.exd5 Ne7 14.Ne4 0-0 15.Ke2 (Diagram)
15...Qh7 16.Nxf6+ gxf6 17.Nh4 c6 18.c4 cxd5 19.cxd5 Rac8 20.a4 Ng6 21.Nf5 Bxf5 22.gxf5 Ne7 23.Rhg1+ Kh8 24.f4 Qxf5 25.Raf1 Ng6 26.fxe5 Qh5+ 27.Kd2 fxe5 28.Qd1 Qxd1+ 29.Kxd1 Nf4 (White retains some pressure notwithstanding the exchange of Queens. Black returns the extra pawn to alleviate it a bit.) 30.Bxf4 exf4 31.Rxf4 (Drawn upon Black's proposal.) 1/2 - 1/2 We understand that the increasing distance between the ships made further continuation of the game difficult.

Sunday, May 16

Spielmann-Mieses match (cont'd)

Word has reached us that Spielmann has won the 4th, 5th, and 6th games of the match vs. Mieses. The Austrian has now scored 4 games running, and, with a lead of 4 1/2 - 1 1/2, has assured himself of overall victory in the 8-game contest. This represents a noteworthy triumph for the rising young master, from whom much may be expected in the years to come. Our understanding is that, despite the early decision, the 7th and 8th games of the match will nevertheless be played, and we shall report on them as news arrives.

We give below the moves of the sixth game, in which Mieses may have missed a most unusual opportunity.

Spielmann-Mieses, Match (6), Regensburg 1910 Sicilian Defense
1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. Bg5 Be7 7. Ndb5 O-O 8. Nd6 Nxe4 (This move involves the sacrifice of the Knight for 3 pawns. But see Black's 15th move.) 9. Bxe7 Nxc3 10. Bxd8 Nxd1 11. Bg5 Nxb2 12. a4 (Apparently ensuring that the N does not escape.) 11...Nb4 13. Kd2 Nd5 14. Ra2 h6 15. Be3 (Diagram)
Here, it seems, Black, who at the moment enjoys a surplus of two pawns, could play the remarkable 15...Nd1, with the idea 16.Bd4 e5 17.Bxe5 Nxf2, or 16.Kxd1 Nc3+ 17.Kd2 Nxa2. A possible continuation then runs 18.c3 b6 19.Bc4 Nxc3 20.Kxc3, when Black's material advantage - Rook and 3 pawns for 2 minor pieces - may well compensate him for his cramped position. For this line we are indebted, as so often, to the sharp tactical eye of Herr Fritz. As played, Black obtains 3 pawns for the piece, but remains bound hand and foot, and never appears close to equality.) 15...Nxe3 16. fxe3 Nxa4 17. Rxa4 a6 18. Bd3 Rb8 19. Rc4 Rd8 20. Rf1 f6 21. Rb1 b5 22. Rc7 Kf8 23. c4 Ra8 24. Be4 Rb8 25. c5 Ke7 26. Kc3 f5 27. Bf3 g5 28. h3 Rf8 29. Rd1 b4+ 30. Kb3 Rd8 31. c6 a5 32. Nxc8+ Rbxc8 33. Rdxd7+ Rxd7 34. Rxd7+ Ke8 35. Rh7 Kd8 36. Rxh6 e5 37. e4 f4 38. Bg4 Rc7 39. Bd7 Ra7 40. Ka4 Kc7 41. Bf5 Ra8 42. Kb5 Black resigns 1-0

Saturday, May 15

St. Petersburg 1909 tournament book

Dr. Lasker has most graciously favored us with an advance view of the page proofs of the forthcoming English edition of his book on last year's St. Petersburg tournament. The World Champion sets a high standard for himself at the outset: the Preface begins, "This is a book in which analysis is accurate." The Champion continues, "The games in this book show the working of the mind of the master, and the commentary has been intended to guide the thought of him who plays over these games so that he may perceive weakness and merit. Notes have been made solely for that purpose. The glossary was meant to be both necessary and sufficient. Nowhere will it be found lacking in supplying explanation needed, but it has no superfluities."

The St. Petersburg tournament, it will be recalled, featured an all-out race between Dr. Lasker and Rubinstein, who ultimately shared the 1st and 2nd places with 14 1/2 points from 19 games, a full 3 1/2 points ahead of Duras and Spielmann, who divided the 3rd and 4th prizes. Other prizewinners included Dr. Bernstein, Teichmann, Dr. Perlis, Cohn, Salwe, and Schlechter. The strength of the event may be gauged from the fact that masters such as Mieses, Tartakower, Burn, and Vidmar fell outside the prize list. Dr. Lasker has annotated all 175 games played with noteworthy insight and objectivity: he is frequently critical of his own play even in games where he emerged victorious.

If we may be permitted one slight quibble, it is to be regretted that space was not found for any games from the concurrent Russian national tournament, won by young Alekhine of Moscow, who thereby gained entrance into the ranks of the masters. We understand, however, that Alekhine hopes to participate at this summer's Hamburg Congress, in which case the wider chess world may well soon be able to examine specimens of his play.

The publication of a collection of games played by so many of the leading lights of our noble pastime, all glossed by the Champion himself, is a momentous event. We are certain that all true lovers of first-class chess will wish to procure a copy for themselves.

Thursday, May 13

Spielmann-Mieses match (cont'd)

Spielmann has evened his match with Mieses by winning the third game. Mieses essayed the Scotch Game, but derived no noticeable advantage therefrom. Spielmann sacrificed a Bishop on his 18th move and inaugurated a strong and lasting attack against White's uncastled King. This onslaught brought victory after the first player overlooked a defensive resource (28.Nd1) on his 28th turn.

Mieses-Spielmann, Match (3), Regensburg 1910 Scotch Game
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 Bb6 6.Bc4 d6 7.Nc3 Nf6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Bg5 O-O 10.Qf3 Be6 11.Bd3 (11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.Qxf6 gxf6 and only then 13.Bd3 deserved serious consideration.) 11...Bd4 12.Qg3 Rb8 13.Nd1 Nh5 (We find this unexpected sally, which leads to the exchange of White's dark-squared Bishop, an amusing tit-for-tat reply to Mieses' 12...Na5 in the previous game.) 14.Qh4 Bf6 15.Bxf6 Nxf6 16.f4 c5 17.c4 d5 Black plays most energetically, with the aim of forcing open the center even at the cost of a piece. (diagram)

18.exd5 (18.cxd5 would meet with the same reply. But 18.e5 Ne4 19.Qxd8 Rfxd8 was possible, forgoing the material advantage but likewise avoiding the danger.) 18...Bxd5 (A vigorous conception.) 19.cxd5 Qxd5 20.Qg3 Rfe8+ 21.Be2 Rbd8 (Black now threatens both 22...Qd2+ and 22...Rxe2+ 23.Kxe2 Qc4+ 23.Ke1 Re8+.) 22.Nc3 Qd2+ 23.Kf1 Nd5 24.Re1 Nxf4 25.Qf2 Rd4 26.g3 (26.Rd1 can be met with advantage by either the spectacular 26...Qxe2+ or the straightforward 26...Qxb2.) 26...Nh3 27.Qf5 Qxb2 (diagram)

28.Qxh3 (28.Nd1 was superior. If then, for example, 28...Qd2 29.Qxh3 Rde4 30.Nf2 -- not 30.Qg2 Rxe2 -- 30...Rxe2 31.Rxe2 Qxe2+ 32.Kg2 h5, and Black, enjoying approximate material equality, disposes of several promising plans, viz.: a) the continuation of the attack with ...Re6 and (should the White Queen seek active play elsewhere) with ...h4 as well; b) the advance of the passed c-pawn; and c) the capture of yet another White pawn on a2. This evaluation stems from Spielmann himself, who does seem to possess a fine knack for sacrificial play. After the move chosen by Mieses, the game finished quickly. 28...Qxc3 29.Qf5 Rde4 30.Qf2 Qd2 (With the threat of ...R4e6 followed by ...Rf6, which is in fact unanswerable.) 31.Rg1 R4e6 32.Rg2 Rf6 33.Bf3 Rxe1+ White resigns. 0-1 We expect to receive more news of this match presently.

Monday, May 10

Spielmann-Mieses match

Spielmann and Mieses are presently engaged in an 8-game match in Regensburg, having begun play on the 6th inst. The clash between two players of such lively style promises to produce games of more than usual interest. Reports available to us indicate that the first encounter, a Scotch Game with Mieses having the move, was drawn. In the second game, played on May 7th, Mieses scored the full point in fine style as follows:

Spielmann-Mieses, Match (2), Regensburg 1910 Sicilian Defense
1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. g3 d5 4. exd5 exd5 5. d4 cxd4 6. Qxd4 Nf6 7. Bg5 Be7 8. Bg2 Nc6 9. Qa4 O-O 10. Nge2 d4 11. O-O-O Bd7 (Apparently leaving the d-pawn to be taken. But Mieses, as ever, is full of invention.) 12. Nxd4 Na5 (diagram)
(Remarkably, this move seems to win the exchange. The White Queen has no safe square, and on 13.Ndb5, White must reckon with the consequences of 13...a6.) 13. Nf5 Bxa4 14. Rxd8 Bxd8 15. Nxa4 Ng4 16. Bd2 (16.Bf4 may have been better) 16...Nc4 17. Bb4 Nxf2 18. Rf1 (If 18.Bxf8 Bg5+ 19.Kb1 Nxh1 20.Bc5 - to prevent the Knight's escape - 20...Re8 wins) 18...Bg5+ 19. Kb1 Rfd8 20. b3 Nd2+ 21. Bxd2 Rxd2 22. Bxb7 Re8 23. Nc3 Re5 24. Nd4 Rxd4 25. Rxf2 Re1+ White resigns. 0-1. The dance of the pieces over the last dozen moves is exactly what one would expect from two masters of tactics. We look forward with interest to the remaining games.

New beginning

After a long period of desuetude this forum is again active. May it remain so!