Friday, April 11

Baden gambit tournament, Round 3: Spielmann tops Tartakower to join Reti, Johner in lead

Rudolf Spielmann defeated Dr. Saviely Tartakower to join Richard Reti and Paul Johner atop the score table after three rounds of the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden. Spielmann as first player in a King's Gambit Declined outplayed his adversary in the endgame, probing weaknesses on Black's Queen-side before deciding matters via a decisive pawn advance on the opposite flank. With this victory, his first of the tourney, the Austrian Master increased his score to 2 points and replaced Dr. Tartakower as a member of the event's leading trio.

In the day's other encounters Gustaf Nyholm took advantage of a rather poor opening choice by Karel Opocensky to record his own initial victory of the tournament, while the games Hromadka-Johner, Fahrni-Schlechter, and Reti-Breyer, interesting struggles all, were drawn.

Standings after 3 rounds:  Spielmann, Reti, Johner 2; Tartakower, Hromadka, Schlechter, Nyholm 1 1/2; Fahrni, Breyer, Opocensky 1.

The Spielmann-Tartakower clash followed known lines until the 9th move, when White chose 9.Qe2 in place of 9.f5, as played by Spielmann himself vs. Niemzowitsch at Barmen nine years ago. Dr. Tartakower elected to sacrifice his e-pawn, regaining the lost material a few moves later through the capture of the White b-pawn. The struggle then shifted to the Queen-side, where after the exchange of Queens at the 24th move Black found himself in difficulties owing to White's strongly placed Knights and his own shattered formation of pawns on that wing. With 35.e5! Spielmann commenced the final assault, the e-pawn next capturing on f6 and then advancing victoriously to f7, one step from the queening square. Dr. Tartakower resigned at the 39th move when faced with catastrophic material loss.


Only Opocensky can explain why in the Scotch Gambit he chose the variation 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.Ng5 Nh6 6.Nxf7 Nxf7 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxc5 d6, a line known since the days of Morphy to offer White few prospects of success. Nyholm developed his forces speedily, and with a timely exchange sacrifice severely weakened the White King-side. The Black Knight took up a powerful post on f3, and White was soon reduced to helplessness as the enemy forces advanced in the endgame.

Hromadka and Johner engaged in a sharp struggle in a Falkbeer Counter Gambit, which saw the second player capture White's entire complement of three Queen-side pawns but lose his Knight in return. An error by Hromadka at the 28th move allowed Johner to regain a pawn; the two opponents, apparently surfeited with adventures for the day, agreed to a draw two moves thereafter.


Schlechter, on the Black side of a Scotch Gambit, gained a pawn vs. Fahrni and tried for a long time to force the win in a Rook endgame, but without success. A well-calculated Rook exchange allowed Fahrni to achieve a draw in a King and pawn endgame while still a pawn in arrears.

Reti vs. Breyer featured another Rook endgame. Reti offered Göring's gambit 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3, which was declined by Breyer via 4...d5. By the 25th move White enjoyed an advantage of two pawns, one of which Black soon regained through the active working of his Rooks. Nevertheless, in our opinion the position after Reti's 32nd move, with the White Rook well-placed behind a sound extra passed a-pawn, should offer excellent winning chances, but Reti proved unable to score the full point. We leave the further examination of this endgame to the analysts. 

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