Tuesday, July 16

Debrecen tournament, Round 5: Reti leads at halfway mark

Richard Reti retains the sole lead at the halfway point of the double-round Hungarian Championship tournament in Debrecen following a short draw in his fifth-round game against Lajos Asztalos.  Reti, with four points from five games, stands a full point ahead of both Asztalos and Gyula Breyer, who suffered defeat at the hands of Jeno Szekely.  In the day's final contest Zsigmond Barasz and Karoly Sterk shared the point after 24 moves of a Queen's Pawn Game.

Scores after 5 rounds:  Reti 4; Asztalos, Breyer 3; Barasz 2; Szekely, Sterk 1 1/2.

We present first the only decisive game of the round, the victory by Szekely over Breyer.  The latter, playing White in a Caro-Kann Defense, may fairly be said to have mishandled the opening, as by the 20th move he stood a pawn to the bad and faced a most threatening attack from Black's Queen, Rooks, and Bishop.  The contest soon thereafter reached a heavy-piece endgame in which Breyer succeeded in obtaining a strong counter-chance in the shape of his passed a-pawn, until an unfortunate blunder at the 35th move - 35.Rb7? instead of the superior 35.Qb8! - cost White his precious pawn and, in truth, the game after Szekely's 35...Rxa7.  Although Breyer carried on the struggle for a further 35 moves, the outcome no longer stood in doubt, and even White's small joke at the finish with 70.Ra8, hoping for a precipitate 70...Ra1+ from his opponent - the sort of swindle that occasionally comes off in rapid transit chess - would have proved insufficient, as in that case Black would still have enjoyed a winning position after 71.Rxa1 fxg3, as the reader may easily verify for himself.  Szekely thus recorded his first victory of the competition. 

In the games Reti-Asztalos and Barasz-Sterk the players seemed content to end the first half of the tourney in safety and in peace, with no real struggle occurring in either contest.  We present them nevertheless in the interest of completeness:

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