Tuesday, July 9

Debrecen tournament, Round 2: All games again decisive; Reti alone in lead

Richard Reti defeated Zsigmond Barasz in a battle of opening-round winners to assume the sole lead after two rounds of the Hungarian Championship tournament at Debrecen.  This excellent beginning may herald a welcome return to form for Reti, who fared rather poorly at the recent Budapest event.  In other games, Gyula Breyer topped Lajos Asztalos and Karoly Sterk took the full point from Jeno Szekely.  For the second day running all three games were decisive.

Reti, playing Black, met the Ruy Lopez of Barasz with the rare Cozio Defense, 3...Nge7.  At the 20th move the contest reached an endgame in which White's Rooks and Knights faced the Black Rooks and Bishops, a situation that obtained for only half a dozen moves, as Barasz at his 26th turn chose the unfortunate 26.Nd3?, allowing his opponent to win both White Knights in return for a Rook.  Reti's pair of Bishops and active remaining Rook demonstrated their superiority in the sequel, which saw Barasz resign at the 42nd move.


Breyer opted for the 2...c6 defense to the Queen's Gambit of Asztalos and soon began active operations on the King-side, the move 13...g5 providing vivid evidence of the second player's aggressive intentions.  Asztalos played to win the Black a-pawn with 21.Qe1 and 22.Nxa5, a maneuver that allowed his opponent to draw the White Queen away from the scene of battle via an exchange sacrifice.  The conclusion is attractive, with Black's 27...f2, preparing to bring the hitherto dormant Bishop to the long diagonal, posing unanswerable threats.


In Sterk-Szekely, another Ruy Lopez, Black seemed to enjoy good endgame prospects in view of the weak White c-pawn, which looked destined to fall, but Sterk, through clever play, never allowed his opponent the opportunity to effect its capture with advantage.  The White c-pawn was at last exchanged, indirectly, for the Black one, whereupon Szekely immediately blundered with 43...Be6, losing a piece.


Scores after 2 rounds: Reti 2; Breyer, Sterk, Barasz, Asztalos 1; Szekely 0.

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