Friday, July 12

Debrecen tournament, Round 3: Reti maintains lead with 3rd successive victory; Breyer, Asztalos also score

Richard Reti defeated Karoly Sterk to record his third victory in as many rounds at the Hungarian Championship tournament in Debrecen.  With this latest triumph Reti maintains his position alone atop the score table; the mercurial Master has by virtue of his excellent start already exceeded his total of two wins, over eleven games, achieved at the recent tourney in Budapest.  The day's other contests were likewise decisive, with Gyula Breyer downing Zsigmond Barasz and Lajos Asztalos besting Jeno Szekely.  Not a single draw has been played to date in this Championship event.

Scores after 3 rounds: Reti 3; Asztalos, Breyer 2; Barasz, Sterk 1; Szekely 0.

Reti opened with the King's pawn against Sterk, who chose the Caro-Kann Defense in reply.  The tourney leader handled the opening in a rather unconventional manner, eschewing piece development in favor of pawn advances over the initial eight moves (1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.g4 Bd7 5.f4 e6 6.h4 h5 7.g5 g6 8.f5), and soon thereafter bringing his King's Rook into play via the route Rh1-h2-d2.  Sterk, unflummoxed by his opponent's unusual maneuvers, appeared to stand well, and enjoyed the advantage of an extra pawn as the contest entered the endgame.  Here, however, Reti came to the fore, making good progress first on the Queen-side and afterward in the center, before finally bringing about an easily winning Rook endgame.  One cannot help but feel that Black somehow went astray as the game progressed; still, when facing an opponent in top form, as Reti now appears to be, such reversals of fortune are common indeed.


In Breyer vs. Barasz, a Queen's Gambit Declined, the first player following a number of exchanges obtained the advantage in a heavy-piece endgame.  White by means of the sham sacrifice 29.Qxa7 initiated a sequence that left him with an extra, passed a-pawn, which booty he soon exchanged for the Black g-pawn, thereby depriving the opposing King of a vital defensive bulwark.  The subsequent attack of the White Queen and Rook upon Black's weakened fortress quickly forced resignation.

In Szekely-Asztalos a Vienna Game transposed to a Falkbeer Counter Gambit.  The contest seemed approximately even, with White's extra pawn being balanced by the greater activity of the Black pieces, when Szekely at his 29th move essayed the capture 29.Qxd4?, losing a piece.  29.Qd3 was certainly good enough, and we can only speculate that the first player fell victim to a will-o'-the-wisp, perhaps seeking a non-existent win based on the weakness of Black's last rank.  Asztalos experienced little difficulty in securing the victory with the help of his extra piece.


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