Wednesday, April 16

Baden gambit tournament, Round 7: Schlechter joins leading group with win vs. Nyholm; Spielmann, Reti play to draw

Carl Schlechter scored a quick victory over Gustaf Nyholm to move into a tie for the lead with Rudolf Spielmann and Richard Reti after 7 rounds of the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden. Schlechter, who has now won two games in succession after opening the tourney with a string of five draws, required only 21 moves to dispatch his Swedish opponent. In other contests, Gyula Breyer took advantage of an opening error by Karel Opocensky to record a victory, while the clash between co-leaders Spielmann and Reti resulted in a draw, with Spielmann defending well to hold an inferior Rook endgame. The games Hans Fahrni-Karel Hromadka and Dr. Saviely Tartakower-Paul Johner were likewise drawn, the latter after a colorful struggle lasting 119 moves.

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

Schlechter cleverly exploited the exposed position of the Black Queen to defeat Nyholm in a Scotch Gambit, with the pawn advance 19.e5! marking the beginning of the end. The Austrian Master might have concluded matters even sooner had he played the same pawn advance at his 15th turn, as the reader will observe by consulting the notes.

Breyer, as second player in a Danish Gambit, seized the opportunity offered by Opocensky's erroneous 9.Nxe4? - 9.Qxe3 having deserved the preference - to emerge from the opening with a sound extra pawn. Black maintained the advantage throughout the remainder of the contest, with the victory coming in a Rook endgame.

Spielmann-Reti, a Bishop's Gambit, featured another Rook endgame, in which Spielmann successfully countered all his opponent's efforts to press for a win. 

The Evans Gambit between Tartakower and Johner proved a most lively struggle indeed, and we urge our readers not to allow its inordinate length to deter them from examining it. Black gained a pawn at the 36th move and, via some fine piece-play, succeeded in carrying this advantage into the endgame. Our colleague Georg Marco believes that Johner let victory slip through his fingers with the advance 54...b3? and suggests 54...h3 in its place as the winning move. Dr. Tartakower, by sacrificing his Knight for Black's dangerous pawns, succeeded in reaching an endgame of Rook vs. Rook and Bishop, which Johner tried in vain for nearly 50 moves to win. Even this phase of the contest did not lack piquancy, as Dr. Tartakower thrice - at the 108th, 113th, and 115th move - put his Rook en prise, secure in the knowledge that its capture would produce an immediate stalemate. The two players at last agreed to a draw at the 119th move.

The Scotch Gambit between Fahrni and Hromadka followed the course of the fourth-round contest between Schlechter and Spielmann until White's 13th turn, when Fahrni chose 13.Bg5 over Schlechter's 13.Nxd5. The first player appeared to gain some measure of advantage in the ensuing endgame, but the contest was nevertheless drawn by repetition of position at the 35th move.

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