Tuesday, July 20

Hamburg - Round 3

Today the Masters offered the public a feast of interesting and fighting chess. Eight of the nine games saw a decisive result, one more than in the first two rounds combined. The highlight of the round was Marshall’s defeat of Tarrasch with the help of a new move in the Max Lange Attack. This, we believe, represents the first full point the American Champion has wrested from the Doctor since their match of five years ago. We shall have more to say about that game at the close of our summary of the round.

Alekhine scored his first victory, as Black in a French Defense vs. Speyer. The Russian developed a Queen’s side initiative that continued, notwithstanding the exchange of Queens, well into a Rook endgame, which he brought to a successful conclusion with a sure hand.

Salwe defeated Tartakower in a fine game featuring some artful play. Tartakower defended against Salwe’s Queen’s Pawn opening with the defense often favored by the late Chigorin: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7. White gradually advanced on the King’s side, and in this position
answered 27…bxc4 with 28.f6!, shattering the Black King’s apparently secure fortress. The reader will derive much pleasure by working out the attractive variations that refute Black’s plausible replies: in many lines, the move Nh5, with or without check, is deadly. Tartakower could find nothing better than 28…c3 29.Bxc3 g6 30.fxe7 Bxe7, after which Salwe duly turned his extra piece to account.

Forgacs, playing Black in a Petroff Defense vs. Schlechter, allowed himself the luxury of capturing the Austrian’s loose a-pawn with his Queen, and soon found the lady trapped. Schlechter subsequently scored the point without undue exertion.

Jacob vs. Yates was an odd game. The English representative, as second player in a Queen’s Gambit, lost one exchange through an oversight, and then sacrificed another in the search for counterplay. After Black’s 25th move, the following position arose:
Here Jacob elected to return some of his material surplus in order to simplify the position via 26.Rxe5 Nxe5 27.Qg3 Qxg3 28.hxg3 b4 29.Nd5 Nd3, but after 30.Ne7+? (30.e4 was indicated by some of the Masters as a superior alternative) 30..Kg7, he discovered to his horror that 31.Nxf5+ gxf5 32.Rxf5 was unplayable, as 32…c3 would cost White his Rook in order to prevent the Black pawn from reaching the last rank. Jacob hastened to recall his Knight and enlist it in the defensive effort, but to no avail. Black’s Queen’s side pawns proved too threatening, and after 31.Nc6 Be4 32.Nd4 Nxb2 33.a3 b3 34.Rc1 Na4 35.Rxc4 b2, Yates recorded his first win.

Spielmann vs. Duras produced the only draw of the round, a Ruy Lopez marked by careful maneuvers and a drawn Rook endgame.

Kohnlein vs. John, a French Defense, was a tragedy for the first player, who conducted a fine sacrificial attack only to miss a forced mate on more than one occasion and then, in the end, to blunder horribly into mate himself.
Here Kohnlein played 24.Rxf6 gxf6 25.Qd5+ Kg7 26.Qb7+(26.Qd7+ forces mate in 5, but the move played spoils nothing yet) 26…Kg8 27.Bxf6 (Over-refinement. 27.Qxa8+ again leads to mate: 27…Nf8 28.Qd5+, etc. But White is still winning even now.) 27…Rh7 (There is, however, no longer an imminent mate.) 28.Qxa8+ Nf8 29.Qd5+ Rf7 30.g3 Qg6 31.Bc3 Qc2 (32.Bd4 or 32.Qd4 would now suffice. Kohnlein’s move shocked both the spectators and his opponent.) 32.Re7?? Qxf2+ and White resigned. In only three rounds, John has already lived through enough adventures for a full tournament. He survived a two-pawn deficit in the endgame vs. Jacob; he made a gift of half a point to Speyer in a position with but a King and lone pawn on each side; and he somehow escaped a forced mate vs. Kohnlein and mated his opponent’s King instead. Our noble pastime is not a game for timid souls.

Leonhardt vs. Niemzowitsch featured a Caro-Kann Defense in which the Master from Latvia won a delicate Bishop ending. It appears that Leonhardt missed a chance to draw.
40.Be1 now seems to hold, viz., 40…Bxe1 41.Kxe1 Kd5 42.Kd2 Ke4 43.g5 and draws. Instead Leonhardt played 40.Kg2, and was forced to concede after 40…Kd5 41.g5 fxg5 42.fxg5 Ke4 43.g6 Bf6 44.Kf2 Bg7 45.Ke1 b6 46.Kd1 Kd4 47.Kc1 Kc4 48.Kb1 b5 49.Be1 b4 50.Bd2 b3 51.Bc1 Kd5 52.Bd2 Ke4 53.Bg5 b2.

Dus-Chotimirsky played a well-known line of the Queen’s Gambit vs. Teichmann, but a moment’s inattention cost him the game.
The Russian player chose 17.Nd4?, an oversight that lost two pieces for a Rook after 17…Rxc3 18.Qxc3 Ne4. White resigned eight moves later.

Marshall vs. Tarrasch: In our time many of the openings have been so thoroughly analyzed that rare indeed are the instances when one Master can surprise another with a move that overturns the evaluation of a well-known variation. Yet Marshall accomplished that feat today. His 15.Bh6!, a move never before seen in the venerable Max Lange Attack, has now tipped the scales in that line in White’s favor, and, for the present at least, the onus rests on those who play the variation as Black to strengthen the defense. The game naturally attracted much interest, and there has already been some discussion among the Masters regarding possible improvements in Black’s play. In particular, 16…Be7 and 16…d2 have been suggested as superior alternatives to 16...Bd6, while 21…d2 may well have been better than Tarrasch’s 21…Rde8. We shall leave the analysis of such complex possibilities to keener minds than ours, and limit ourselves to presenting this freshly-produced work of art for the enjoyment of our readers.

Scores after Round 3: Schlechter 3; Salwe 2 ½; Teichmann, Niemzowitsch 2, Speyer, Leonhardt, Tartakower, Duras, Spielmann, John, Marshall, Alekhine 1 ½; Forgacs, Yates, Jacob, Dus-Chotimirsky, Kohnlein 1; Dr. Tarrasch ½. It is sad to see the Doctor at the bottom of the list, but there are many rounds yet to be played.

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