Wednesday, April 23

Baden gambit tournament, Round 12: Johner tops Hromadka to take sole lead

Paul Johner defeated Karel Hromadka to record his fourth consecutive victory and assume sole leadership after 12 rounds of the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden. Johner moved to the top of the score table when Rudolf Spielmann, co-leader after the previous round, was held to a draw by Dr. Saviely Tartakower. In other games Richard Reti bested Gyula Breyer from the Black side of an Evans Gambit, while Carl Schlechter played to a draw vs. Hans Fahrni. The day's final contest saw Gustaf Nyholm and Karel Opocensky, the two players at the bottom of the tourney standings, rapidly exchange almost all pieces and conclude peace in 25 moves.

With the tourney now two-thirds complete, Johner, a former Swiss co-Champion, has resumed the position he held after the fourth round. Should he succeed in maintaining that place until the end, the result would, in our view, represent the greatest success of his career. But much chess remains to be played.   

Scores after 12 rounds: Johner 8 1/2; Spielmann 8; Schlechter, Tartakower, Reti 7 1/2; Breyer 6; Hromadka, Fahrni 4 1/2; Nyholm, Opocensky 3.

The game Johner vs. Hromadka, an Evans Gambit Declined, followed the fifth-round meeting between Dr. Tartakower and Schlechter until White's 17 move, with the Swiss Master playing 17.Rb5 in place of the earlier 17.h3. Johner infiltrated the opposing Queen-side and appeared to possess good winning chances when Hromadka brought the contest to an abrupt end with the blunder 30...Kg7?, losing immediately to 31.Nd6.

Dr. Tartakower, playing White, won a pawn vs. Spielmann in a Scotch Gambit. With 29.b5 and 30.Nc6 the first player entered a complex double Rook endgame that saw his material and positional advantage dissipate. 30.Ne2 may have been a better try; as played, the game was agreed drawn at the 45th move. 

Breyer, as White in an Evans Gambit, played a move unknown to us, 7.Qa4. The new idea did not demonstrate its worth in the present encounter, as White proved unable to mount an attack, and Reti, through sensible moves and timely pawn captures, soon enjoyed an overwhelming position. Black stood four pawns to the good when White resigned at the 36th move.

Schlechter developed light pressure vs. Fahrni in a Scotch Gambit, but proved unable to profit from the weakness of the Black d-pawn. In the final position Fahrni's Knight on f7 shows itself an excellent defender of the Black position.


Nyholm and Opocensky each added a half-point to his score with a quiet draw.


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