Saturday, April 19

Baden gambit tournament, Round 10: Five decisive games; Leaders all win

The second half of the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden began in combative style, as for the first time all five games finished decisively, with the players at the head of the score table - Rudolf Spielmann, Carl Schlechter, Richard Reti, Paul Johner, and Dr. Saviely Tartakower - all scoring victories. The relative position of those in the top and bottom halves of the field thus remained unchanged, although the distance between the two groups grew wider. Only time will tell whether yesterday's results presage a more bellicose atmosphere in the days to come, as through the tourney's first nine rounds more than half the games - 24 of 45 - had ended peacefully, a ratio that we believe the organizers of a gambit event like the present contest would very much wish to see reduced.

Scores after 10 rounds:  Spielmann 7 1/2; Schlechter, Reti, Johner 6 1/2; Tartakower 6; Breyer 5; Fahrni, Hromadka 4; Nyholm, Opocensky 2.

Spielmann-Fahrni, a King's Gambit Accepted, saw the Austrian attacking ace seek to train his fire on the Black King. Fahrni at the 29th move overlooked the strong 29...Qe2, a double attack that might have given the game a different turn. As matters developed, Spielmann gained a powerful passed b-pawn, which decided the day in the end.

In Schlechter-Hromadka, a Scotch Gambit, White profited greatly from the weakness of the Black Queen-side. The sudden collapse of Hromadka's position over the last half-dozen moves was striking.

In Nyholm-Reti, a Danish Gambit, White varied at the 7th move from his sixth round loss vs. Dr. Tartakower, this time choosing 7.Nf3 over the earlier 7.Bxf7+. The new attempt proved equally unsuccessful, however, as Reti soon enjoyed both the superior position and a material advantage. White erred with 22.Qxb2? and resigned two moves thereafter, faced with further material loss. Reti, who had played four consecutive draws, thus repeated his first-round triumph over the same opponent and recorded his third victory overall; he, like Spielmann and Schlechter, has yet to suffer defeat. 

Breyer-Johner, a Falkbeer Counter-Gambit, saw White opt for the rare 1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 c6 4.Qf3. White's 23.Nf3? allowed Black to invade with the powerful 23...Rd3! Johner subsequently overlooked some opportunities to decide the contest more quickly, but scored the point nonetheless in a Rook endgame.

Opocensky, the only competitor yet to win a game, continues to fight hard despite numerous setbacks. He battled Dr. Tartakower from the Black side of a long and intriguing King Gambit Declined, striving manfully to hold the balance with two Knights against his opponent's pair of Bishops. But Tartakower at last prevailed, and Opocensky resigned at the 68th move with checkmate in view.

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