Sunday, July 25

Hamburg - Round 7

The chessboard battles have resumed here in Hamburg, with four decisive games among today’s offerings. Several of the Masters saw their promising positions slip away and their expectations of victory come to naught, a powerful reminder that chess at the highest level is a fight until the very last move.

Niemzowitsch and Teichmann contested a Scotch Four Knights' Game, reaching a level double Rook endgame in 23 moves, and agreeing to the draw seven moves later.

Kohnlein vs. Tartakower saw the second player win White's e-pawn early in a French Defense, and ultimately reap the full point deep into a Rook endgame, notwithstanding the prolonged and tenacious resistance of his opponent.

Duras vs. John was another French Defense, in which Duras steadily outplayed his opponent to establish a two-pawn advantage. John, to his credit, fought on manfully for several hours, and in the end secured the draw through perpetual check, still two pawns in arrears, in an endgame with Queen and Bishop vs. his opponent's Queen and Knight.

Spielmann played the 5.Qe2 variation of the Ruy Lopez against Alekhine (i.e., after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6) and looked to enjoy excellent winning prospects in the middlegame, especially in light of his opponent's time shortage. But Alekhine just managed to keep his head above water, conjuring tactical resource after tactical resource, and the game was agreed drawn on the 37th move. We give the concluding portion of this stirring contest 27...Nxe5 28.Qd5 Bxe3 29.Rxe3 Re6 30.Qa5 Rb6 31.Rae1 Rbb8 32.Qd5 Rd8 33.Qe4 Re8 34.Ba4 Re6 35.Qf4 f6 36.Qe4 Qc5 37.Kh1 Reb6 1/2-1/2 Spielmann could on more than one occasion have won a pawn, for example 32.Bxf7+ or 33.Qxe5 followed by 34.Bxf7+ and only then 35.Rxe5, but it is unlikely that the advantage to be gained thereby would have sufficed for victory, all the remaining pawns standing on the same side of the board. We would point out as well Alekhine's ingenious planned reply to the apparently strong 36.Bb3, viz., 36...Rxb3 37.Rxb3 Nf3+, and it will be seen that Black has extricated himself from his difficulties.

Schlechter and Dr. Tarrasch contested a closely-fought Three Knights' Game in which the Austrian sacrificed his Queen for Rook and Bishop, saddling his opponent with tripled pawns in the process. Schlechter played 24.Nxg6+ hxg6 (not 24...Bxg6? 25.Qxg5!) 25.Qxg5 fxg5 26.Rxf7. So difficult was the resulting position that there was disagreement among the Masters whether Schlechter's sacrifice was intended as a winning or drawing attempt. In the end, the players agreed the game drawn on the 49th move, Schlechter then holding Rook, Bishop, and pawn as compensation for his missing Queen.

Leonhardt dispatched Yates in 23 moves in a Ruy Lopez. Here Yates, already under pressure, erred with 19...Ne6?. Leonhardt might have concluded the game at one with 20.Bxe6, as on 20.Bc5+ 21.Be3 Bxe3+ 22.Qxe3 fxe6 23.Qh3, the e6-square, and with it Black's game, collapses. White chose another promising path, 20.Nhxf7 Nd4 21.Qh3 (Threatening 22.Qh6+ and 23.Rxf6) 21...Nh5? (Losing at once. 21...h5, frightful as it appears, offered the only slim hope.) 22.Ne6+ Nxe6 23.Bh6+ and Black resigned. After 23...Kg8 24.Bxe6 his situation is sorry indeed.

Speyer suffered perhaps the biggest disappointment of the round. The Dutch representative won a pawn in the opening of a Ruy Lopez vs. Marshall through some clever play, only to see his advantage dissipate move by move in the endgame. 11.Nd5 Rb8 (if 11...axb5? 12.Qxa8!) 12.Bxa6 Ra8 (12...bxa6 is mer by 13.Nxe7) 13.Nxe7 Bxe7 14.Qxc6+ bxc6 15.Bxc8 Rxc8. Here 16.a4 has been suggested, in order to make use as soon as possible of the extra passed pawn. Speyer instead chose to play on the King's side, but without success. 16.Rhg1 Ra8 17.a3 O-O 18.Bd4 g6 19.f4 Ra4 20.Rge1 Bh4 21.Re2 Re8 22.e5 c5 23.Be3 White is steadily giving ground. 23...dxe5 24.fxe5 Rxe5 25.Rd7 f5 26.Kd1 Rae4 27.Rdd2 g5 28.f4 gxf4 29.Bxf4 A blunder, though any player who has ever watched a good position gradually turn sour will understand Speyer's frame of mind by this point. 29.Bf2 had to be played, to answer 29...Bxf2 with 30.Rd8+ Kf7 31.Rxf2. 29...Rxf4 30.Rxe5 Rf1+ 31.Ke2 Re1+ 32.Kf3 Rxe5 and wins. Speyer in fact played on for several moves a piece behind before resigning, perhaps to accomodate himself to the thought of the promised point gone lost.

Dus-Chotimirsky won an excellent Queen's Gambit Declined vs. Forgacs, in which White sacrificed a Knight for an attack on the King's side. The Black monarch found himself compelled to flee across the entire board in search of shelter, but in vain. We would call the reader's attention to White's further sacrifices on moves 33 and 37; the latter, offering a full Rook, forces mate, Black's King then standing on a6.

Salwe had the bye.

Scores after Round 7: Schlechter* 5 1/2; Dus-Chotimirsky*, Niemzowitsch*, Duras* 4 1/2; Marshall 4; Salwe 3 1/2; Tartakower, Alekhine, Teichmann* Spielmann* 3 1/2; Forgacs, Leonhardt* 3; John, Kohnlein* 2 1/2; Speyer*, Dr. Tarrasch* 2; Yates 1/2.

Those players whose names are marked with an asterisk (*) have not yet had the bye, and thus have played an extra game.

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