Monday, August 2

Hamburg - Round 13

Today's round saw a fine endgame win by young Alekhine, four draws, and three games marked by sudden blunders. We can only speculate that the prolonged strain of the tournament, combined with the summer heat, has begun to affect the Masters. We shall deal first with the startling errors.

Duras essayed the Ruy Lopez vs. Salwe, who chose the Steinitz Defense. In the diagrammed position White may perhaps stand somewhat better, but Salwe's move cost him the game at once: 27...Re3? 28.Qxe3 Taking the Queen allows mate. 28...Nxe6 30.Rxf5 Duras perhaps cannot believe his good fortune. 30.Nxf5 was even stronger. The text, of course, suffices. 30...gxf5 31.dxe6 and Black resigned.

In Dus-Chotimirsky vs. Speyer, a Dutch Defense, the end came equally quickly. Again White is for choice, and again Black dramatically lightens his opponent's task: 27...Ne4? 28.Bg1 (28.Bc1 was ever stronger, cf. the next note.) 28...b3+ 29.Kb1 (For here with 29...Nd2+ 30.Rxd2 Bb4 Black would lose two pieces for a Rook, rather than a clear piece. This possibility would not exist had White played 28.Bc1. Nevertheless, Black does not avail himself of it.) 29...Rad8 30.Rxe4 Bb4 31.Rxd8 Rxd8 32.Bxb3 and Speyer resigned. 1-0

Let us turn to Niemzowitsch vs. Marshall, a Queen's Gambit in which the situation at the critical moment was analogous to that of the games above: White stood rather well, and Black collapsed. Marshall sealed his own doom with 29...Kc8?, as after 30.Bd6 he loses a piece, e.g. 30...Rb3 31.Bxb4 Rxb4 32.Rxd5, when the pin by White's Bishop prevents the recapture 32...exd5. Seeing this, alas too late, Marshall resigned immediately at the 30th move.

We feel compelled to note that errors of this sort are far from typical for the Masters concerned, and that shortage of time played a role in each case.

John and Forgacs quietly shared the point after 27 moves of a Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense.

Dr. Tarrasch, as Black, again chose his preferred Open Defense to the Ruy Lopez vs. Kohnlein. The players entered an endgame with equal pawns, Kohnlein possessing Bishop and Knight; Tarrasch two Bishops. Neither player seemed close to a win at any point, and a draw was agreed at move 51.

Spielmann chose the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez vs. Schlechter, and, in a rather blocked position, succeeded in maintaining the balance with two Knights against his opponent's two Bishops, Rooks also being present on the board. The draw was agreed at move 31.

Teichmann and Tartakower played a Three Knights' Game, agreed drawn in 34 moves in a position in which we cannot help but wonder whether Black, in possession of a sound extra pawn, might not have made further efforts to win. We offer the position for the consideration of our readers.

In our featured game, Alekhine in a Queen's Gambit Declined defeated Yates, who seems destined to occupy the bottom place in this event. The young Russian very much enjoyed demonstrating the possible variation 21...g6 22.Rxh7! Qxe6 (23...Kxh7 allows a winning attack) 23.Qh4 Qe4+ 24.Qxe4 Qxe4 25.Rdh1 and wins. Perhaps even more noteworthy is White's filigree play in the endgame. Alekhine's move 40.Re5 was judged by some of the onlookers to cost White the win, viz., 40...Rxe5 41.fxe5 Ke7, when 42.Kd4 is answered by 42...Ke6, and 42.Kb4 by 42...Ke6 43.Kxb5 Kxe5, with a likely draw after both sides queen their pawns. Nevertheless, White's 43.Kd3! put the situation a clear light. The subsequent dance of the two Kings is both beautiful and instructive, and we commend its study to our readers, who will perhaps better appreciate the delicacy of the position by noting that should White, on his 45th move, play the apparently natural 45.Kf3, he would in fact lose the game after 45...Kxe5. Only Alekhine's 45.Kf2! enabled the young Master to garner a very well-earned full point. To the game:

Leonhardt had the bye.

Scores after Round 13: Schlechter, Niemzowitsch* 9 1/2; Duras* 9; Spielmann* 8; Marshall, Dus-Chotimirsky, Teichmann* 7; Dr. Tarrasch, Alekhine 6 1/2; Leonhardt 6; Forgacs, Tartakower 5 1/2; Salwe, Kohnlein 4 1/2; John 4; Speyer 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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