Monday, April 7

Baden gambit tournament, Round 1: Reti, Johner are winners on first day

Richard Reti topped Gustaf Nyholm and Paul Johner defeated Gyula Breyer in the opening round of the gambit tournament at the Austrian spa resort of Baden. Reti, who opted for the King's Gambit, sacrificed his Queen at the 18th move and soon overran the Black position with his Rooks and minor pieces, emerging from the complications with an extra exchange and deciding matters in his favor with a sure hand in the endgame. Johner chose the Danish Gambit vs. Breyer and scored the full point after 48 moves of a contest that also featured an offer of White's Queen, a sacrifice that could not be accepted on pain of instant smothered mate. The White pieces thus took the round by a 3 1/2 - 1 1/2 score, as the day's other contests, Karel Hromadka-Carl Schlechter, Karel Opocensky-Dr. Saviely Tartakower, and Hans Fahrni-Rudolf Spielmann, were all drawn.

Scores after 1 round: Reti, Johner 1; Hromadka, Schlechter, Opocensky, Tartakower, Fahrni, Spielmann 1/2; Nyholm, Breyer 0.

Nyholm chose to accept Reti's offer of the gambit pawn - acceptance of gambits not being a requirement in the present tourney - and essayed Schallopp's 3...Nf6 after 1.e4.e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3. The first player eschewed the pawn thrust 4.e5 in favor of 4.Nc3 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxd5 Qxd5 7.d4, steering the contest into channels made popular at the Abbazia tournament of two years ago. Nyholm at his 15th turn sought to contest White's central influence via the temporary sacrifice of a piece, a material investment that he looked to recoup with 17...f5, only to meet with the surprising Queen sacrifice 18.Bd5 in reply. Whether this offer can fully withstand analytical scrutiny is a question we leave to others; as the game developed, all White's remaining forces soon joined in the attack on the Black monarch, with material gain and a winning endgame as the result.

The Johner-Breyer clash saw Black choose the unusual 4...Bb4 after 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4. White gained good play in return for his sacrificed pawn, and with 23.f4 the first player began to direct his attention toward the Black King. Breyer at his 34th turn offered the exchange via 34...Re5 in order to blunt the force of White's Bishop on the central diagonal; Johner's answering 35.Qh4! (35...Qxh4? 36.Nf7 mate) forced the Queens from the board and left White, as in the Reti-Nyholm encounter, with the advantage of the exchange in the endgame. Black resigned at the 48th move.

Schlechter answered the King's Gambit of Hromadka with Falkbeer's 2...d5. A rather even game resulted, with a number of exchanges, and peace was agreed at the 32nd move.

Opocensky offered the Danish Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3, which Tartakower declined via 3...d5. Queens were exchanged at the 14th move, and although White temporarily gained a pawn with 24.Rxg7, the first player never looked likely to win owing to the poor position of his King and the activity of the Black Rooks. The players agreed to share the point at the 33rd move.

Spielmann obtained a fine position as Black vs. Fahrni in the gambit line of the Giuoco Piano 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d4. The Austrian Master feels that he went astray at his 19th turn, when 19...Nxd5 would have been preferable to the chosen 19...Rfe8. As played, White succeeded in holding his rather tenuous position, and the game was drawn by repetition at the 42nd move.

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