Thursday, May 8

Baden gambit tournament, Final (18th) Round: Spielmann takes 1st with win; Tartakower 2nd, Schlechter 3rd

Rudolf Spielmann has won the international Masters' gambit tournament at the Austrian spa resort of Baden, near Vienna. Spielmann defeated Karel Opocensky from the Black side of a Danish Gambit in the final round to finish with 12 1/2 points from 18 games, a full point clear of Dr. Saviely Tartakower, who was held to a draw in his own last-round contest vs. Karel Hromadka. Taking third place with 11 points was Carl Schlechter, whose total comprised 4 victories and 14 draws, the last of which came in the final round vs. Richard Reti and made Schlechter the only competitor to finish the event undefeated. Fourth place fell to Gyula Breyer, winner over Hans Fahrni on the final day. Breyer displayed great fighting spirit throughout the tournament, with his 10 1/2 points resulting from 9 wins, 6 losses, and only 3 draws, the fewest of any man in the field. The Hungarian Master can take additional satisfaction from his results against the top two finishers, having scored a win and a draw vs. Spielmann and two wins vs. Tartakower. The day's final contest saw Paul Johner and Gustaf Nyholm play to a draw after a wild struggle. 

The tournament demonstrated that the gambit openings still retain at least some of their old force, as White scored 24 victories to Black's 28, with 38 games drawn. The Danish and Evans Gambits Accepted fared particularly poorly from the point of view of the first player, each accounting for one victory, five defeats, and one draw, while the King's Gambit Declined on this occasion did not show itself to be a sturdy defense, with Black scoring no wins, five losses, and one lone draw.

Reti won two of the tournament's three special prizes, both at the expense of Nyholm, with his first-round victory over the Swedish Master adjudged the tourney's most brilliant game and his tenth-round triumph over the same opponent taking the award offered by well-known chess author Ludwig Collijn of Stockholm for the most beautiful "Scandinavian" Game played in the event. The prize for the best Scotch Gambit, generously donated by American Consul Albert Hallgarten, whose name has graced our pages on more than one occasion, fell to Fahrni for his win over Opocensky in the penultimate round. Viennese Masters Hugo Fähndrich and Dr. Arthur Kaufmann made up the prize committee.   

Final standings:  Spielmann 12 1/2; Tartakower 11 1/2; Schlechter 11; Breyer 10 1/2; Reti, Johner 9 1/2; Fahrni, Hromadka 8; Opocensky 5; Nyholm 4 1/2.

Spielmann, as in his 16th-round game vs. Reti, opted for the 3...Qe7 defense to the Danish Gambit vs. Opocensky. White obtained no discernible compensation for his sacrificed pawn, perhaps an unavoidable consequence of a procedure such as 4.Bd3 and 8.Bxe2. Black, in contrast, enjoyed good play for his pieces throughout the contest, and made excellent use of his passed d-pawn. Spielmann began the final assault with 24...Bxf3, intending to meet 25.Qxd4 with the striking 25...Qh3! White resigned at the 30th move, having no good defense to Black's threatened mating attack.

Tartakower, as Black vs. Hromadka, followed his own 16th-round game vs. Johner until the 9th move, on this occasion preferring 9...Nxe4 to 9...Qe7. White responded well, with the sequence 11.Bg5 f6 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Bxd5 making a particularly favorable impression. Hromadka might have set his opponent serious problems with 18.Ng3, as the notes included with the game score will make clear; as played, White held his own and never seemed in danger, with the game ending at last in a draw in a much-simplified Rook ending at the 51st move.

Reti and Schlechter quickly arrived at an even endgame in a Danish Gambit and agreed to share the point after reaching the first time limit.

Breyer as first player gained an early advantage vs. Fahrni in a Scotch Gambit and for a time stood three pawns to the good. White returned some of his surplus material in the ensuing endgame but always remained securely at the helm, at last achieving victory at the 46th move.

The day's final game did credit to both participants, as Johner and Nyholm, two players with every reason to desire a quick end to the tourney - the former having fallen in the space of a few rounds from first place to the middle of the score table, the latter the tourney's bottom marker - gave their all in a splendid struggle that begin at a simmer but grew to a boil shortly after the 30th move. We urge the reader to peruse this last offering, if only to take delight in the dance of the pieces that thereafter ensued. This, in our view, is the way chess Masters ought to fight - to the end, with strength, imagination, and a true love for the struggle itself - and we conclude our coverage of the Baden gambit tournament by saluting Messrs. Johner and Nyholm with a hearty Hurrah!

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