Sunday, July 14

Debrecen tournament, Round 4: Reti, with draw, retains lead; Breyer 2nd

Richard Reti remains the leader after four rounds of the Hungarian Championship tournament at Debrecen despite being held to a draw by tailender Jeno Szekely in a long and hard-fought struggle.  Reti, with 3 1/2 points from four games, enjoys a half-point advantage over Gyula Breyer, who defeated Karoly Sterk.  The day's final game between Lajos Asztalos and Zsigmond Barasz was, like the Szekely-Reti encounter, also drawn, these being the first contests in the entire tourney to end peacefully.  At present each of the six competitors occupies a unique place on the score table, with no ties in the standings, as follows:

Scores after 4 rounds: Reti 3 1/2; Breyer 3; Asztalos 2 1/2; Barasz 1 1/2; Sterk 1; Szekely 1/2.

Szekely-Reti, a Queen's Pawn Game, began 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 and developed into a well-contested struggle through all its phases, with neither player appearing to gain a decisive advantage at any point.  Szekely's 46.Rxe7+ led to an endgame featuring the heterogeneous material balance of Rook and two pawns against two Knights, but left the chances nonetheless in relative equilibrium.  In the final position Black must submit to a repetition of position of else risk losing his c-pawn, and thus the draw was agreed.


Breyer, playing Black vs. Sterk, selected the defense 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d5, a rare guest in Master tournaments.  The second player developed significant pressure against the White King-side, aided in no small measure by the strength of the advanced Black e-pawn, which stood protected in the heart of the enemy position.  Sterk at last felt compelled to sacrifice a Bishop for this powerful pawn, after which the result of the game was never in doubt. White's blunder at his 31st move only hastened the end.


Asztalos and Barasz contested a long Ruy Lopez characterized over its first 40 moves by much heavy maneuvering and over its last 10 by lively play.  The concluding skirmish curiously left the same material balance as in the Szekely-Reti encounter, two Knights vs. Rook and two pawns, and there matters stood when the draw was agreed.

We would call our readers' attention to what we believe to be an error in the score of the Asztalos-Barasz clash as sent from Debrecen, in which Black's 37th move was given as 37...Qe8.  We feel that 37...Qe7 must be correct, and offer our reasoning in support of this conclusion in the notes included below.


No comments: