Tuesday, April 15

Baden gambit tournament, Round 6: Spielmann defeats Johner to share lead with Reti; Tartakower tops Nyholm; Schlechter scores first win

The Black pieces carried the day by a 4-1 margin in the sixth round of the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden, with the games Paul Johner-Rudolf Spielmann, Gyula Breyer-Carl Schlechter, and Gustaf Nyholm-Dr. Saviely Tartakower all ending in favor of the second player. With the tourney now one-third complete, and despite today's adverse results, the White pieces have scored 7 victories vs. 6 for Black, a sign, perhaps, that the old gambit openings still retain their vitality and force.

Spielmann's win over erstwhile tournament leader Johner moved the Austrian Master into a tie for the lead with Richard Reti, who played to a draw vs. Hans Fahrni. Schlechter recorded his first victory in fine style, capping a powerful performance with a Queen sacrifice, while Dr. Tartakower, who had suffered defeats in the third and fourth rounds, now stands once again on an even score after taking the full point from Nyholm. The day's final contest between Karel Hromadka and Karel Opocensky was drawn.

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

We begin with the Johner-Spielmann clash, a hard-fought Evans Gambit Accepted. Johner advanced a pawn into the heart of the enemy position with 21.e6 and succeeded in reinforcing this intrepid scout via 25.Nf5 Nxf5 26.gxf5. Spielmann, however, soon eliminated both the supporting pawn on f5 and its forward companion on e6, so that Black stood three pawns to the good when White with 34.Rxe6 won two minor pieces for a Rook. A difficult battle still seemed likely, but the Swiss Master soon began to falter, first choosing 38.Qd2 in place of the superior 38.Qd6 and then blundering with 39.Re3?, which after 39...R8xe3 40.fxe3 Rg1+ allowed Black to force mate. With this defeat, his first of the tourney, Johner falls from the lead for the first time since play began.


Breyer-Schlechter, another Evens Gambit, saw Black after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 essay the surprising 6...b5, a move that we cannot recall having seen before. Breyer elected not to capture the venturesome pawn, a decision he may well have come to regret, as a glance at the position after Black's 24th move will suggest. Schlechter won the exchange and soon brought about a neat finish, sacrificing his Queen and leaving White powerless to prevent the advance of the Black a-pawn.


Nyholm-Tartakower, a Danish Gambit, featured an early exchange of Queens leading to an endgame in which White's two extra pawns on the King-side were balanced by Black's similar preponderance on the other wing. The contest remained in balance until White's 31st move, when Nyholm allowed Dr. Tartakower to exchange Knight for Bishop and so bring about a Rook endgame highly favorable to the second player. White resigned after Black's 39th move.


In Reti-Fahrni, a Scotch Gambit, White won a pawn after a lively series of captures and exchanges but soon thereafter agreed to a draw, apparently feeling that the activity of the Black pieces made any winning attempt unlikely to succeed.

The King's Gambit Declined between Hromadka and Opocensky was likewise drawn after Black's attempt to train his heavy pieces on the White King-side led to a series of exchanges and an equal game.

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