Sunday, July 28

Debrecen tournament, final round: Asztalos defeats Reti to claim Hungarian Championship

Lajos Asztalos defeated Richard Reti in a final-round battle between tournament co-leaders to claim the Hungarian Championship at Debrecen with a score of 7 points from 10 games.  With the loss Reti, who had held at least a share of the top position since the opening round, fell to a tie for 2nd and 3rd places with Karoly Sterk, each with 6 points.  Sterk made an excellent recovery after a poor first half of the event, scoring 4 1/2 points from his final five games, the lone draw coming against Asztalos, the new Champion.  Gyula Breyer took 4th place with 5 1/2 points, followed by Zsigmond Barasz with 4 and Jeno Szekely, who lost five games running in the second tour, with 1 1/2.

The final round saw three decisive games, in keeping with the fighting spirit of the tournament, in which only 9 of 30 games ended peacefully.  No competitor went without a victory, and none escaped loss.  We offer our general congratulations to this group of spirited fighters and we felicitate in particular Hungarian Champion Asztalos on his fine achievement.

Final standings: Asztalos 7; Reti, Sterk 6; Breyer 5 1/2; Barasz 4 1/2; Szekely 1 1/2

To the games: The deciding Asztalos-Reti encounter, a Giuoco Piano, seemed rather balanced, with perhaps a slight advantage for White, until Reti attempted to initiate King-side action with 26...h5? 27.gxh5 Rxh5? (27...g5 was the last hope), a plan that may well have been based on an oversight, as after 28.Qxg6+ the Black position collapsed.

Breyer defeated Szekely prettily, surprising his opponent twice in the space of half-a-dozen moves, first via 13.h3 Bxh3!, winning a pawn, and then with the Queen sacrifice 18...Qxf5!, which decided the game.

In the tourney's final contest, Sterk-Barasz, the unusual opening 1.d4 d6 soon transposed to a Philidor Defense after 2.e4 Nd7 3.Nf3 e5 4.Bc4, whereupon Barasz played the known error 4...Be7?, losing a pawn to 5.dxe5 Nxe5 (5...dxe5 6.Qd5) 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Qh5.  Though the second player put up an excellent fight thereafter, the lost pawn told in the end.


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