Saturday, May 3

Baden gambit tournament, Round 16: Spielmann maintains lead with victory; Tartakower defeats Johner; Schlechter, Opocensky also win

Rudolf Spielmann leads the international Masters' gambit tournament at Baden by 1 1/2 points with two rounds yet to be played. Spielmann scored a relatively easy victory over his 16th-round opponent Richard Reti from the Black side of a Danish Gambit, thereby eliminating Reti from the race for first prize. Other victors on the day were the two competitors currently tied for 2nd-3rd place, Dr. Saviely Tartkower and Carl Schlechter, the former in a sharp attacking game vs. Paul Johner and the latter after a most fortunate escape against Gustaf Nyholm. Karel Opocensky likewise added a point to his total, producing one of his better efforts of the tournament to defeat Gyula Breyer, while Karel Hromadka and Hans Fahrni shared the point after an interesting endgame struggle.

Scores after 16 rounds:  Spielmann 11 1/2; Tartakower, Schlechter 10; Reti 9; Johner, Breyer 8 1/2; Fahrni 7; Hromadka 6 1/2; Opocensky 5; Nyholm 4.

Reti-Spielmann featured a rare line of the Danish Gambit, 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 Qe7 4.Qe2. On the further 4...Nf6 5.Nd2 d5 6.e5 Spielmann's 6...d3! led to a position in which Black, with an extra pawn and easy piece development, stood clearly for choice. Spielmann conducted the next phase of the contest with vigor, and after 16...b5 it became apparent that White's position was on the verge of collapse. Black won the exchange at the 19th move, concluding matters with masterly technique.

Johner-Tartakower, a Scotch Gambit, saw the two players attack strongly on opposite wings. Johner's 19.Rxa7?, allowing 19...Qxh3, was necessarily based on a miscalculation, as White, with no means of defending the threatened checkmate on g2 at his disposal, thereby committed himself to an all-or-nothing assault. This Johner began with the Rook sacrifice 20.Ra8+, but the White attack proved short-lived, and Johner resigned at the 25th move, a Rook and minor piece in arrears and still under the threat of mate. The unfortunate Johner, who won four games in succession from the 9th through 12th rounds to take the lead in the tournament, has now completely undone that prior good work with four consecutive defeats and finds himself in the middle of the score table sharing 5th-6th places with Breyer.

Schlechter, as Black in another Danish Gambit, stood on the precipice of defeat vs. Nyholm. The Swedish Master handled the White pieces splendidly to reach a winning position at the 24th move, only then to err with 24.Rcc7? when 24.Rxf7! would have brought victory and, quite possibly, the brilliancy prize. Our friend Herr Fritz, who brightens with an almost electric glow of pleasure when analyzing an attack against the King, has added a few illustrative variations to the game score.

Opocensky bested Breyer from the Black side of a Bishop's Gambit, directing his fire against the White King from the early stages and slowly building a crushing attack that brought him the point in 38 moves.

Hromadka-Fahrni, the third Danish Gambit of the day, featured a most fascinating endgame in which the threats posed by White's small band of advancing troops were countered by the strength of Black's passed b-pawn. The contest will richly reward analysis; we have given a selection of variations at one critical moment in order to demonstrate the manifold possibilities arising therefrom. We also call the reader's attention to the drawing procedure adopted by Black over the final half-dozen moves, a most ingenious method of salvation indeed.


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