Sunday, August 1

Hamburg - Round 12

Today the Masters, perhaps fatigued from their exertions of yesterday, were not seen at their best. Two games were drawn practically without a fight, while a few others were marred by blunders. In the remainder, technique, rather than imagination, reigned as the watchword. The thrilling Rook endgame contested by Marshall and Duras stands as a happy exception to the foregoing critique.

Poor Yates suffered defeat again, this time as White in a French Defense vs. John. The English Master lost a pawn through an ill-supported King's side advance, and later blundered in the endgame, simplifying his opponent's task. Only a man of strong character can continue to fight, as Yates does, in the face of such a string of reverses.

Forgacs vs. Teichmann featured the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez. The two players reached a completely lifeless endgame with Bishops of opposite colors in only 23 moves, and agreed to the draw at the end of the first session at move 30.

In Salwe vs. Spielmann, another Queen's Gambit Declined with Dr. Tarrasch's ...c5 defense, White stood satisfactorily before weakening his position through an unnecessary advance. Salwe played 37.h4, and after 37...Nc6, faced the prospect of 38.Qd2 Nxd4 39.exd4 Qf6 followed by 40...Re4, when Black is gaining ground. But the cure Salwe chose may well have been worse than the disease: 38.Rxc6 bxc6 39.Qb6 Rb7 40.Qxa6 Rxb3 41.Rxc6 Qe4, when Black was again gaining ground, and enjoyed a material advantage as well. The game concluded 42.h5 Rxe3 43.Bxe3 Qxe3+ 44.Kh2 Qxf4+ 45.g3 Qd2+ 46.Kh3 Re1 47.Rxh6+ Qxh6 0-1

Speyer rather badly misplayed the White side of an Open Ruy Lopez vs. Kohnlein and resigned on move 30 in a position in which he found himself two full exchanges to the bad.

Tarrasch defeated Alekhine, who used the old Master's defense to the Queen's Gambit Declined against its greatest proponent. White won a pawn in an endgame with Queens and Bishops of opposite color, and gradually guided his two passed Queen's side pawns to victory.

Tartakower and Niemzowitsch succeeded in exchanging all the pieces in 28 moves, and signed the treaty of peace in a symmetrical pawn endgame two moves later.

Schlechter, playing White, achieved a superior position against Leonhardt in a Four Knights' Game, and held the whip hand throughout. Leonhardt did not succeed in restoring material equality by capturing White's advanced e-pawn until it was already too late; the pawn endgame was lost for him by that point. Whether he might have defended better at an earlier stage has been the subject of discussion here. 27...Bd8 has been suggested as a drawing chance for Black; so, too, has 31...d5. The latter move would at the very least render White's task in the pawn endgame more difficult, as the pawn barrier created by Black's d- and e-pawns would hinder the advance of White's King. In that case White would be ill-advised simply to advance his King's side pawns, as the passed pawn thereby created would be captured by Black's King straightaway, White's own King in the interim being unable to make inroads into the Black position, viz., 31...d5 32.h4 Ke7 33.g4 Kxe6, when 34.h5 is simply bad. After 31...d5, then, White, in order to make progress, would find himself compelled to advance his King on the King's side, a procedure requiring some delicacy and precision, Black then being capable of producing a passed pawn of his own via ...e4. To give an illustrative variation, 31...d5 32.Kf3 Ke7 33.Kg4 Kxe6 34.Kg5 c5 35.h4. To our mind White still stands to win, but pawn endgames are often notoriously complex, and the result here, as so often in analogous situations, may well hinge on a single tempo. We present the game in full:

It is rare that we offer a drawn game as our feature battle of the day, but the Marshall vs. Duras encounter, we feel, deserves special recognition. We would highlight both the fine play by Marshall between moves 13 and 23, by which the American appeared to gain a large advantage, and the equally fine and resourceful defense by Duras, in particular the move 26...Rc2, when 27.Rxh6+ is answered by 27...Ke5, and the f2-pawn falls. The concluding portion of the game, which saw each player advancing his passed pawns in a Rook endgame, was most enthralling, and we commend it to the attention of all our readers, and most especially to the keen eye of those who delight in the analysis of the complex possibilities such a situation presents. Here now the game:

Dus-Chotimirsky had the bye.

Scores after Round 12: Schlechter 9; Niemzowitsch* 8 1/2; Duras* 8; Spielmann* 7 1/2; Marshall 7; Teichmann* 6 1/2; Dus-Chotimirsky, Dr. Tarrasch, Leonhardt* 6; Alekhine 5 1/2; Forgacs, Tartakower 5; Salwe 4 1/2; Kohnlein 4; Speyer, John 3 1/2; 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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