Thursday, July 24

Mannheim tournament, Round 4: Spielmann wins again, leads with 4-0; Alekhine, Vidmar, Reti keep pace with victories

Rudolf Spielmann maintained his leading position at the Mannheim international Masters' tournament with a fourth-round victory over Hans Fahrni. Spielmann, who sports a perfect 4-0 score, stands one half-point ahead of Alexander Alekhine and Dr. Milan Vidmar, likewise winners on the day, Alekhine over Gyula Breyer and Vidmar vs. Walter John. In fourth place with 2 1/2 points comes Richard Reti, who bested Dr. Saviely Tartakower. The leading quartet of Spielmann, Alekhine, Vidmar, and Reti are at present the only players in the 18-man field who can boast of a positive score, and have as a group accounted for 12 of the 22 wins recorded to date.

In other contests Efim Bogoljubow and Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch each registered his first victory of the event, the former vs. Ehrhardt Post and the latter at the expense of Oldrich Duras. The games Janowski-Carls, Flamberg-Krüger, and Mieses-Marshall were drawn.

The White pieces again heavily outscored the Black by five victories to one, and now lead the race between the colors by 17 wins to 5.


Fahrni-Spielmann 0-1
Alekhine-Breyer 1-0
Vidmar-John 1-0
Reti-Tartakower 1-0
Bogoljubow-Post 1-0
Tarrasch-Duras 1-0
Janowski-Carls ½-½
Flamberg-Krüger ½-½
Mieses-Marshall  ½-½

Scores after 4 founds: Spielmann 4; Alekhine, Dr. Vidmar 3 1/2; Reti 2 1/2; Breyer, Bogoljubow, John, Carls, Duras, Marshall, Tartakower, Krüger 2; Tarrasch, Janowski,  Mieses 1 1/2; Fahrni, Post 1/2.

Today's dispatch from Mannheim contained the scores of all nine games played, and we present them below, beginning with the victories by the leaders.

Spielmann chose Bird's Defense 3...Nd4 vs. the Ruy Lopez of Fahrni. The Swiss Master held his own against the tournament leader until the 34th move, when he opted for the tempting but incorrect Knight sacrifice 34.Nxd4?, overlooking Black's clever counter 34...Qxd4 35.Re1 Nc4!, which enabled Spielmann to maintain his extra piece. White resigned at the 44th move.

Alekhine and Breyer, the tourney's youngest participants, engaged in a most lively, if uneven, struggle. The Russian ace, directing his fire as usual against the enemy King, uncharacteristically missed a relatively simple win with 23.g7+, after which Breyer appeared to have consolidated his position. But then Alekhine with 30.Rxf4 and 32.Nxb5 rekindled the attack at the cost of a full Rook, emerging from the head-spinning complications ten moves later with an extra pawn and a winning endgame. Whether White's play is capable of fully withstanding analytical scrutiny is a question we leave to others; in play over the board, the difficulties for the defense proved insurmountable.

Vidmar and John exchanged blows in a Queen's Gambit Declined in which the latter employed the 2...c6, or Slav, Defense. Over time White's blows  proved the heavier, and Vidmar succeeded in gaining two pawns while continuing to pose threats to the opposing King. Shortly before the denouement, an imprecision by Vidmar presented John with an excellent opportunity to muddy the waters via 46...Nf3+, a resource, however, of which the Swiss player did not avail himself. On the following move Black erred, allowing Vidmar to initiate a winning attack with 48.Nc6+. All in all a full-bodied struggle.


Reti developed a strong attack against Tartakower's Sicilian Defense, shattering the Black King's position with 22.Bxf6 and winning a full piece by the 29th move. One might have expected the battle to end soon thereafter, but Tartakower fought on doggedly, offering stern resistance in an endgame of Queen vs. Queen and Bishop. Reti, though, was not to be denied, and scored the game to his credit at the 66th move, delivering checkmate in a finish worthy of a composed study.


Bogoljubow took advantage of a blunder by Post at the 20th move to score his first win.

Dr. Tarrasch likewise recorded his first victory, displaying first-rate technique to defeat Duras in a Rook endgame.

Janowski vs. Carls, a Caro-Kann Defense, reached a double Rook endgame at the 27th move and was drawn two dozen moves later, with neither side ever seeming likely to win.

Krüger as Black in a Queen's Gambit Declined gained the advantage vs. Flamberg with some enterprising play, and might have enjoyed winning chances had he continued in the same vein at the 35th move with 35...fxe6 36.fxg6 Qc5 37.gxh7+ Kh8; as played, the game ended in a draw after White's 38th turn.

Mieses and Marshall, both aficionados of open, lively chess, played a bright little game that ended in a draw by perpetual check at the 24th move with Black the exchange and a pawn in arrears. 

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