Monday, July 8

Debrecen tournament, Round 1: Three decisive games; Reti, Asztalos, Barasz are victors on opening day

The Hungarian Championship tournament is under way in Debrecen, with six Masters entered in the contest for the title.  Richard Reti, Lajos Asztalos, Zsigmond Barasz, Jeno Szekely, Gyula Breyer, and Karoly Sterk will play a double round-robin event, every competitor facing each of his opponents twice.  The opening round of the tourney gave evidence of excellent fighting spirit, as all three games finished decisively, the winners being the first three players named above.  We provide a brief summary of the day's encounters, along with the game scores.

Reti overcame Breyer in a sharp French Defense, sacrificing a Rook at the 24th move to inaugurate a decisive attack.  But matters might well have turned out otherwise.  Several of our club members have been examining the consequences of 22...Qe5!, which appears to win for Black.  The threat is 23...Qa1 mate, and none of White's plausible replies seems to avail; the mating variation after 23.Qh6 Rxc2+!, which the reader will find in the notes to the game,  is most attractive indeed.


In Sterk-Asztalos, a Queen's Gambit Declined, White won a pawn by means of 25.Bxh7+ (the second appearance of this venerable offer for that purpose on the day, the first coming in the Reti-Breyer encounter), but soon thereafter experienced difficulty in the effort to protect or extricate his intrepid Bishop.  The capture 29.Qxd5, gaining a second pawn but allowing that Bishop to be taken, proved insufficient; 29.Nxd5, say our analysts, offered better chances.

Szekely-Barasz began as a Queen's Gambit Declined but soon transposed into a Dutch Defense after 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 f5.  Queens were exchanged at the 20th move, leaving a rather heavy and cluttered position with four pawns on the e-file and with Black, who stood better prepared to advance in the center, appearing to possess whatever advantage might exist.  The retreat 37.Bc1? cost White his e5-pawn and, soon thereafter, the game.


Scores after the first round:  Reti, Asztalos, Barasz 1; Breyer, Sterk, Szekely 0.

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