Thursday, April 17

Baden gambit tournament, Round 8: Spielmann defeats Hromadka to take sole lead; Breyer tops Nyholm; Other games drawn

Rudolf Spielmann defeated Karel Hromadka to claim the sole lead after eight rounds of the international Masters' gambit tournament at the Austrian spa resort of Baden, near Vienna. Spielmann, with 5 1/2 points, stands one half-point ahead of Carl Schlechter and Richard Reti, each of whom drew his game in the eighth round, the former in only 19 moves vs. Paul Johner and the latter after mishandling a position with a full extra piece vs. Dr. Saviely Tartakower. Hungarian Master Gyula Breyer scored the day's other decisive result when Gustaf Nyholm blundered in a delicate pawn ending, while Karel Opocensky and Hans Fahrni played to a draw. With the tourney nearing the halfway mark only two players, Opocensky and Nyholm, find themselves with a minus score; their eight remaining colleagues all currently stand on an even score or better. 

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

Spielmann defeated Hromadka with relative ease from the Black side of a Bishop's Gambit, accepting his opponent's piece sacrifice on the 20th move and soon beginning an attack of his own, an effort crowned by the counter-offer 27...Bxd5! Hromadka resigned after Black's 31st move.


Breyer-Nyholm, an Evans Gambit Declined, remained in balance through its first 40 moves, at which point a most intriguing pawn endgame had come about on the board. Nyholm soon committed a decisive error, choosing the losing 43...Kc4? in place of the drawing 43...Ke4. We have incorporated some rather extensive notes to the endgame into the game score, the results of a deep analysis of the position by several of the stronger members of our club.

Reti, we feel, must be deeply dissatisfied by the result of his game vs. Dr. Tartakower, as after winning a full piece through some clever play in the early middlegame he then went badly astray, first unnecessarily returning the piece in the face of Tartakower's tenacious counterplay and later obtaining only a draw from a Rook endgame in which at one time he stood three pawns to the good. Failure to win this game has, for the moment at least, cost the young Master a share of the lead.


Johner vs. Schlechter, a Scotch Gambit drawn in 19 moves, was nevertheless of some interest for connoisseurs of the openings, as Johner's most natural 8.Re1 appears to be a new move; our files contain examples of 8.h3 (Dr. Tarrasch), 8.Be3 (Spielmann), 8.Bf4 (Leonhardt) and 8.Nde2 (Levitsky) all having previously been played.

Opocensky vs. Fahrni, a Danish Gambit, saw Black gain a pawn in a Rook endgame but fail to win. Our friend Prof. Malinov informs us that the final position, with White's King and two connected passed pawns battling the Black King and Rook, is indeed drawn; the good professor has provided a most interesting variation to substantiate his claim.

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