Friday, April 25

Baden gambit tournament, Round 13: Johner's string of victories ends with loss to Opocensky; Spielmann moves into tie for lead

Paul Johner saw his string of four consecutive victories come to an end with a hard-fought defeat at the hands of Karel Opocensky in the 13th round of the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden. The result came as a surprise to many observers, as Johner had displayed good form of late, while Opocensky had yet to win a game. Nevertheless, the young Czech displayed admirable mastery, safely navigating through a stormy sea of complications to take the point from his Swiss foe. Johner, the tourney's sole leader entering the day, thus remains on 8 1/2 points but still retains a share of first place alongside Rudolf Spielmann, who played to a short draw vs. Carl Schlechter. In joint 3rd-4th place with Schlechter, one half-point behind the leaders, is Richard Reti, who drew vs. Karel Hromadka. In the day's other games Guyla Breyer displayed excellent technique to defeat Dr. Saviely Tartakower in an endgame with two Rooks against his opponent's Queen, while Gustaf Nyholm, who shares the bottom position with Opocensky, recorded his second victory of the tourney, checkmating Hans Fahrni at the 38th move.

Scores after 13 rounds: Johner, Spielmann 8 1/2; Schlechter, Reti 8; Tartakower 7 1/2; Breyer 7; Hromadka 5; Fahrni 4 1/2; Nyholm, Opocensky 4.

Opocensky-Johner, a Falkbeer Counter-Gambit featuring the new move 6...Qd5, developed into an open fight from the early stages. White forced the displacement of Black's King via 11.Nd6+ and then with 16.d3 threatened to inaugurate a devastating attack through 17.Bxh6 and 18.Qxf7+. Johner responded by seeking to create complications on the e-file, but Opocensky, with an extra Rook in play, always seemed to hold the upper hand. The fall of the Black d-pawn at the 27th move signaled the imminent end of the struggle, as Johner's advanced Knight thereby lost a vital prop and could no longer receive adequate protection. White resigned at the 29th move.


Spielmann and Schlechter, who both appear to have been peaceably inclined, agreed to a draw after only 14 moves of another Falkbeer Counter-Gambit.

In Hromadka-Reti, a King's Gambit Accepted, Black followed his game vs. Rosselli from the 1912 Abbazia Gambit tournament until the 16th move. The players soon thereafter reached a heavy-piece endgame in which White's King-side threats forced Reti to give perpetual check.

Breyer defended well against the Evans Gambit of Tartakower, and by the 23rd move had achieved a position with two Rooks vs. his opponent's Queen. Dr. Tartakower at his 33rd turn eschewed the opportunity to eliminate Breyer's passed c-pawn, a decision the first player came to regret, as the later advance of that pawn decided the contest in favor of Black.

Fahrni-Nyholm, a Scotch Gambit, saw Black slowly mount an attack against the White King. Fahrni missed at least two opportunities to strengthen his play (28.Qxa5 and 29.Re2), after which the assault became overwhelming. Nyholm, who himself overlooked a quicker finish (30...Bxh3!) delivered mate at the 38th move.

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