Wednesday, August 4

Hamburg - Round 15

The Masters lavished us with a banquet of fighting and fascinating chess today. Seven of the eight games were decisive, and Schlechter, by defeating Niemzowitsch, reclaimed the lead from the idle Duras. As many as half a dozen of the contests are worthy to stand as feature games; we have chosen two, and provided, as our limited skill permits, commentary on the others.

Spielmann defeated Speyer in a Vienna Game, breaking through his opponent's position in a most efficient manner. Here White played 19.e5 fxe5 20.f6, intending, if 20...Rxf6, to continue 21.Rxf6 gxf6 22.Qg6+ Kf8 23.Rf1 Re6 24.Bf5 and wins, as, if the threatened Black Rook moves, 25.Qxh6+ leads to a winning attack, as the reader can easily verify for himself. Speyer chose 20...Re6, but after 21.f7+ Kh8 22.Qf5 e4 23.Qxe6 exd3 24.Rad1, Black resigned, further resistance being hopeless.

The game between Alekhine and Tartakower, a Dutch Defense, saw the first player cleverly win a pawn with 21.Nd5+ Ke8 22.Nxc7+ Ke7 23.Nd5+, the Knight remaining invulnerable owing to the threat of Rae1+. Later, in a Knight endgame, Alekhine sacrificed his Knight, as compensation for which he obtained three extra pawns. Tartakower ultimately found himself compelled to return the Knight to prevent one of Alekhine's pawns from becoming a Queen; the net result of these transactions was to leave White a pawn to the good in a winning pawn endgame, which he rapidly brought to a successful close.

Teichmann vs. Salwe, a Ruy Lopez with the Steinitz Defense, offered a most intriguing passage of play beginning with White's 22nd move. Teichmann played 22.e5 Qxf2+ 23.Kh1 d5 (23...Ra2 has been suggested as superior) 24.Rf1, when to many eyes it seemed that Black must resign. Salwe, however, replied 24...c4, a move underscoring the fact that at present the White Queen is committed to protecting both White Rooks. After 25.bxc4 dxc4 26.Qxc4 Salwe did not yield to the temptation of 26...Qxe3 27.Qxe6+ Kg7 28.Qe7+, when White regains the Rook with a winning attack, but rather played the best move available to him 26...Ra1. Still, after 27.Rxa1 Qxe3 28.Qxe6+, Teichmann had won a pawn, and all Salwe's efforts to offer resistance proved fruitless. The finish was of interest. Here Black played 37...Qxg3+ 38.Kxg3 Nh5+ 39.Kg4 Nxf6+ 40.exf6 Rd8, but resigned after 41.Re7+ Kh8 42.Kf4 Rd2 43.Ke3 Rd8 44.f7. 1-0

Marshall, on the Black side of a Petroff Defense, convincingly defeated John. The American surprised the onlookers with the piece sacrifice 16...Bxd4 17.Bxd4 Rxf4, seriously compromising the security of the White King's residence. After 18.Bc3 d4 19.Bd2 Ne5 20.Qg3 Nf3+ 21.Kg2 Rf6, John, facing the threat 22...Rg6, and seeing that 22.Kh1 would be met by 22...Qd5, chose to surrender his Queen via 22.Qxf3 Rxf3 23.Kxf3. He obtained three pieces in return, but the undeveloped state of White's forces, exacerbated by the cramping effect of the Black d-pawn, made White's defeat inevitable. The game concluded 23...Qd5+ 24.Kg3 Rf8 25.f3 Qe5+ 26.Kf2 Qh2+ 27.Ke1 Qxh3 28.f4 e5 29.Na3 exf4 30.Kf2 Qh2+ 31.Ke1 d3 0-1.

In Leonhardt vs. Kohnlein, a Ruy Lopez, Open Defense, White temporarily sacrificed two pawns in the opening, and succeeded in regaining one. As compensation for his material deficit he obtained a passed pawn on a6, whose advance, however, was greatly hindered by the fact that the board remained full of pieces. Kohnlein, through judicious exchanges and the temporary return of his surplus pawn, surrounded and captured the advanced White foot soldier, thus re-establishing a material advantage for Black, and bringing about a Rook and Bishop endgame, which he ably conducted to victory on the 60th move.

Yates, as White in a Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense, vs. Forgacs, added to his score for the second day running, this time in the amount of half a point. The game was drawn after 38 moves in a Rook endgame in which White remained with two pawns to Black's one, a nominal advantage of no real value, all the pawns standing on the same side of the board.

We now come to the two feature games of the day. The veteran Tarrasch, playing his favorite defense on the Black side of a Queen's Gambit Declined vs. Dus-Chotimirsky, on this occasion proved himself more than a match for his fiery young antagonist in the handling of a complicated position. We would in particular call the reader's attention to the advance of the Black c- and d-pawns beginning with 18...c5, when 19.bxc5 would be answered by 19...Qe5, attacking two White pieces, the Rook on b2 and the Knight on g5. After a further 20.Rxb8 Rxb8, Black would threaten 21...Qa1+ with a winning attack. The possibility of ...Qe5 recurs over the succeeding moves, and indeed underlies the successful advance of Black's pawns. The consensus of opinion at this moment, so soon after the termination of the game, is that 27.f4 offered the last opportunity for White to mount a successful defense; we will leave the examination of that possibility to the more analytically inclined among our friend readers.

Niemzowitsch vs.Schlechter, a game destined to play a significant role in the allocation of the top prizes, was a closely-fought conflict with a sudden end. White essayed the English Opening, developing both his Bishops in fianchetto, a most rare sight indeed. He nevertheless obtained quite a good position out of the opening, so much so that Schlechter opted to sacrifice the exchange at his 15th turn with 15...c5. In return the Austrian Master could boast of a solid position and excellent play on the light squares near White's King. Niemzowitsch to our mind did well to consolidate his King's field, during which time Schlechter, through an advance on the other flank, began to create counter-chances for himself. White's 27.b4 has been indicated as an error, and indeed Black's operations could be seen to accelerate over the subsequent moves, leading to the creation of a dangerous passed pawn on c3. The end came abruptly when Niemzowitsch, in an attempt to blunt the long light-squared diagonal, advanced 42.e4? After 42...Qb6+, White's reply 43.Kg2 was forced, as the only legal alternative, 43.Ke1, is answered by the snap mate 43...Qg1. But after 43.Kg2 Qb2 Niemzowitsch resigned, there being no way to prevent the advance of the Black c-pawn. A tragic end for Niemzowitsch, who now stands a full point behind Schlechter and half a point behind Duras. Moreover, the Master from Riga has the bye tomorrow and so, with only one game left to play, cannot win the tournament outright, and has almost certainly lost all hope even of sharing the first prize. We present the game:

Duras had the bye.

Scores after Round 15: Schlechter 10 1/2; Duras 10; Niemzowitsch* 9 1/2; Spielmann, Teichmann* 9; Marshall 8; Dr. Tarrasch, Alekhine 7 1/2; Dus-Chotimirsky, Forgacs 7; Kohnlein 6 1/2; Tartakower, Leonhardt 6; Salwe 5 1/2; John, Speyer 4 1/2; Yates 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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