Tuesday, July 27

Hamburg - Round 9

The tournament today passed the half-way mark, and for the first time Schlechter fell out of the lead. Duras assumed the top position at 6 1/2 points with a victory over Yates, while Schlechter, by drawing with Speyer, reached 6 points, a total now also matched by Niemzowitsch. It should be noted, however, that the Austrian Master has a game in hand over his two nearest rivals. With three such able contenders at the head of the pack, and Dus-Chotimirsky, Spielmann, and Marshall close behind, the race for the finish promises to be most dramatic.

Duras, as noted, scored the full point vs. Yates in a Closed Ruy Lopez featuring Anderssen's old move 5.d3. White developed strong pressure on the Queen's side which led first to a passed a-pawn, later to the win of the exchange, and finally to victory in an endgame with Queen and Rook vs. the Englishman's Queen and Knight. It must be said that Yates has shown exceptional tenacity and sportsmanship despite his run of poor results; he is a credit to the chess scene, and certainly a stronger player than his current score would indicate. We fully expect better, and richly well-deserved, results from him in the future.

Kohnlein and Salwe contested another Ruy Lopez for 71 moves, the last half of which featured a Bishop vs. Knight endgame with level pawns, ultimately drawn.

Tartakower essayed the Scandinavian Defense against Leonhardt, and chose the unusual gambit variation 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.Bb5+ c6. Black never seemed to possess quite enough compensation for his missing pawn, nor for the two pieces Tartakower later exchanged for one of Leonhardt's Rooks. In the diagrammed position Black erred with 18...Rae8, overlooking 19.Qc4+, when 19...Kh8 would be answered by 20.Nf7+, winning the exchange, as 20...Kg8 allows the so-called "smothered" mate after 21.Nh6++ Kh8 22.Qg8+ Rxg8 23.Nf7 mate. Tartakower elected to cede the exchange via a different route, 19...Ne6 20.Nd7 Qc7 21.Nxf8 Kxf8, remaining a full piece to the bad. All Black's subsequent desperate attempts to attack White's King proved fruitless, and Leonhardt scored the point on the 39th move.

Niemzowitsch and Alekhine played a Dutch Defense that resulted in a quiet draw after 30 moves.

Speyer and Schlechter likewise split the point on the 46th move in a Berlin Defense to the Ruy Lopez, with Schlechter ultimately giving perpetual check in a Queen endgame.

John, playing Black in a French Defense vs. Teichmann, achieved an excellent position with Queen and two Bishops against his opponent's Queen and two Knights. But Black mistimed the exchange of Queens and in the resulting endgame soon lost one pawn, and later a second, upon which he resigned at the 57th move.

We present two feature games today, finding ourselves unable to choose between them. First, Spielmann-Forgacs, an Evans Gambit Declined handled by White with brisk efficiency. We would point out one alternative line that arose in analysis after the game: on 21...f6 22.Rac1 Qxa3 23.Qf7+ Kh7 24.Rxc7 Qf8 25.Qh5+ Kg8 26.Rf7 (even stronger, it seems, than 26.e7) wins, the threat being 27.Qg6.

When two such tactical adepts as Dus-Chotimirsky and Marshall cross swords, sparks are sure to fly. This indeed was the case here today, beginning as early as the second move, when Marshall essayed the Albin Counter Gambit against his Russian opponent. (Let us note in passing our delight in seeing a wide variety of openings employed in today's round, which offered a Dutch Defense, a Scandinavian Defense, an Evans Gambit, and an Albin Counter Gambit. Such lines provide a welcome change from the usual run of Queen's Gambits and Four Knights' Games, and we applaud the Masters who have the courage to play them.) To return to the game in question, Marshall's 17...Ke6 represented an ingenious attempt to trap the White Queen after 18.fxe4 c6 19.Qb6 Ra6. But Dus-Chotimirsky had remarkably foreseen this possibility in advance, and trumped the American with 20.h4!, a move which threatens to win Black's Queen in turn, and in fact leaves Black, who stands at a terrible material deficit, entirely without resource. Two noteworthy lines are 20...f5 21.exf6 e.p. Kxf6 22.Qd8+! Qxd8 23.Bg5+, and 20...g6 21.Bh3+ f5, when White captures the f5-pawn not with his own pawn on e4, but rather en passant with its fellow on e5, viz., 22.exf6 e.p.+, clearing the diagonal and allowing 23.Bxc8 next move.

Dr. Tarrasch had the bye.

Scores after Round 9: Duras* 6 1/2; Schlechter, Niemzowitsch* 6; Dus-Chotimirsky*, Spielmann* 5 1/2; Marshall 5; Tartakower, Teichmann*, Leonhardt* 4 1/2; Salwe, Alekhine 4; Forgacs, Speyer* 3 1/2; Dr. Tarrasch, Kohnlein* 3; John 2 1/2; Yates 1/2. Tomorrow is another free day. Our next report will appear when the tournament resumes on the 29th inst.

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