Monday, June 17

Chessboard adventure story from Germany

We present below a spirited contest between the German adepts von Hennig and Hallgarten, played on the 15th inst. at Hamburg in the Championship tournament of the Lower Elbe Chess Association.  We can recall few recent games featuring so many drastic and sudden changes of fortune.  Von Hennig as White loses - or perhaps sacrifices - his e-pawn in a Sicilian Defense, obtaining therefor a slight but likely insufficient initiative.  Hallgarten conducts the next phase of the struggle skilfully, making good progress in the center of the board, but with victory within his grasp the second player overlooks more than one opportunity to gain a decisive advantage: see, for example, his 28th and 32nd moves.  Von Hennig, granted this reprieve, essays a clever Knight sacrifice, and has a forced mate in three at his disposal after his opponent misplays the defense.

Yet the adventures are far from finished.  Von Hennig, through an inexplicable lapse, chooses a most unfortunate square for his King in reply to a desperate check by his opponent, thereby allowing Black to escape the noose.  The resultant double Rook endgame is exceedingly sharp, with White still seeking mate and Black relying on the strength of his passed e-pawn.  These conflicting designs clash spectacularly at the game's denouement, for just as von Hennig appears to have once again cornered the Black King, Hallgarten saves himself via a brilliant series of sacrifices, offering first one Rook (twice) and then the other, all with a view toward the victorious promotion of his passed pawn with check, a goal Black indeed achieves, deciding the contest in his favor with a mating attack of his own.  The game as a whole can well stand comparison with many a famous tale of adventure, and we commend it most heartily to the attention of our readers.


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