Thursday, May 1

Baden gambit tournament, Round 15: Spielmann now 1½ points clear of field after win vs. Johner

Rudolf Spielmann defeated Paul Johner in a 15th-round clash of contenders for top honors at the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden. Spielmann's victory extended his lead in the event to 1½ points as Richard Reti, in second place entering the day's play, fell in 25 moves to Hans Fahrni. For Johner, sole leader of the tourney after 12 rounds, this latest setback marked his third consecutive defeat and dropped him into a tie for 5th-6th places with Gyula Breyer, almost certainly ending his hopes for first prize. In other games, Breyer shared the point with Carl Schlechter, while Dr. Saviely Tartakower won a miniature from Gustaf Nyholm, forcing the Swedish Master's resignation at the 14th move. In the day's final contest Karel Hromadka bested Karel Opocensky, trapping his opponent's Queen at the 23rd move.

Scores after 15 rounds:  Spielmann 10 1/2; Tartakower, Schlechter, Reti 9; Johner, Breyer 8 1/2; Fahrni 6 1/2; Hromadka 6; Opocensky, Nyholm 4.

Spielmann and Johner engaged in a hard battle in a Falkbeer Counter-Gambit, with the game leaving known paths as early as Black's fourth move. A glance at the position after 23...f4 would seem to indicate an advantage for the second player owing to his threatening position on the King-side, but Spielmann immediately set about to demonstrate that Black had over-extended himself. White soon won a pawn, although the Black e-pawn reached the e2-square rank and required Spielmann's constant attention in the subsequent play. Veteran endgame aficionados at our club feel that Johner went astray at his 45th move, when with 45...Rb7 he voluntarily retreated his Rook from its active position and ceded the e-pawn to his opponent; maintaining the Rook on the seventh rank and bringing the Black King into the game represented a better course, say these sages. As played, Spielmann soon brought about the decision through the advance of his c-pawn.

Fahrni vs. Reti followed the course of the drawn 5th-round contest Fahrni-Johner until Black's 12th move, with Reti preferring the recapture 12...Kxe7 to the earlier 12...Nxe7. The position of his King in the center of the board soon led to difficulties for the second player, whose 14...f6?, depriving the Bishop of its natural defending pawn, appears to have been the decisive error. Fahrni attacked the pinned Bishop with relentless vigor, winning a piece and the game at the 25th move.

Dr. Tartakower with 8.a4 eschewed the usual 8.dxe5 and introduced a new idea in the Evans Gambit vs. Nyholm. Black continued 8...a6 9.dxe5 Bb6, allowing White to demonstrate the point of his plan: 10.a5 Nxa5 11.Rxa5 Bxa5 12.exd6. Here Black erred with 12...b5?, after which the game ended quickly; 12...cxd6 deserved consideration, and would have put Tartakower's new variation to a much sterner test.

Hromadka on the Black side of a King's Gambit Accepted defended well against Opocensky, who failed to breach the opposing position. This contest, too, came to a quick end when Opocensky with 23.Rfe1? allowed Hromadka to trap the White Queen via 23...Bh5.

Schlechter vs. Breyer, a Scotch Gambit transposing to the Giuoco Piano, followed the course of a 1908 encounter between Mieses and Spielmann until White's 15.Ne4. A series of exchanges led to an equal double Rook endgame, agreed drawn at the 29th move.

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