More Brilliancy Prize Chess Tactics
Can you solve these award-winning chess tactics?

More Brilliancy Prize Chess Tactics

| 26 | Tactics

Everyone loves crazy tactics, and when all the games were brilliancy prizes it makes it even more fun.

Imagine: If you solve it you can say, “I could have won that brilliancy prize!”

Or, perhaps not. The tactics didn’t fall from a tree. The players had to build the position from move one onwards until the board explodes into tactical retribution.


Fedor Duz-Khotimirsky (his name was often transliterated as Dus Chotimirsky. Born 1879, died 1965). He was a strong player, tying a match against Frank Marshall (two wins, two losses, two draws) and winning games against Rubinstein, Emanuel Lasker, Alekhine, Mieses, Janowski, Nimzowitsch, Spielmann, Tartakower, Kotov, etc.

Mikhail Chigorin (born in Russia in 1850, died 1908) was one of the last great romantic players. Nowadays top players have to learn the game very young, but Chigorin learned the rules of the game at 16, ignored the game after that, and only fell in love with chess at the age of 24. He played two world championship matches against Steinitz, but lost both though the second match was very close.


Paul Saladin Leonhardt (born 1877, died 1934 of a heart attack). One of my favorite names in chess, Leonhardt was a vicious attacker and dragged down many famous players: Duras, Mieses, Blackburne, Tarrasch, Chigorin, Marshall, Spielmann, Janowski, Rubinstein, Bernstein, Tartakower, Maroczy, Nimzowitsch, Burn, Reti, etc.

Emil Schallopp (born 1843, died 1919). A German player, he was a good writer and he played in many tournaments. He didn’t have great results, but his best was second place behind Amos Burn in Nottingham 1886.


Frederic Lazard (born 1883, died 1948), a Frenchman, who was a chess master, he represented France in the first unofficial chess olympiad at Paris in 1924. He was a journalist and a chess problemist.

Amedee Gibaud (born 1885, died 1957) was also a French player, also played in the first unofficial chess olympiad at Paris in 1924, and won the French chess championship four times.


Georg Rotlewi (born 1889, died in 1920) was born in Poland and fell in love with chess. In his teens he played in several tournaments, starting out poorly but improving bit by bit (he even beat Akiba Rubinstein). By 1909 he was ready to to show his stuff, sharing first place at Lodz, second at the All Russian Amateur tournament (Alekhine was first), came in second in Cologne 1911 and another second place in Munich 1911 ahead of Spielmann.

When he came in fourth at Karlsbad 1911 it was clear he was the next best thing (Karlsbad was filled with top quality players: Teichmann first, Rubinstein and Schlechter tied for 2nd-3rd, Rotlewi fourth, Marshall and Nimzowitsch tied for 5th-6th, Vidmar seventh, Leonhardt, Tartakower, Duras, and Alekhine 8th-11th, Spielmann 12th, etc. The kid was the talk of the town and it was clear that he had a wonderful career ahead of him. And then, it all stopped! He had acquired some sort of nervous disorder, he was hospitalized, and then he was put into a sanatorium. His bad luck continued when, in 1920, he got tuberculosis and died at the age of 31.

Efim Bogoljubov (born 1889, died 1952), in his prime, was a powerful player who could beat anyone at any time. He won two matches (both ended with a 5 1/2 vs. 4 1/2 score) against Max Euwe in 1928 and 1929 (Euwe finally won a match in 1941). He also played two world championship matches against Alekhine, both won by Alekhine.

Bogoljubov was sure that he was the world’s best player, and in some tournaments he seemed to prove it (for example, Moscow 1925 against Emanuel Lasker and Capablanca), and other times he would fall apart. His best quote is: “When I am White I win because I am White. When I am Black I win because I am Bogoljubov.”



Oldrich Duras (born 1882, died 1957) was a powerhouse Czech master who won many strong tournaments and had plus scores against many of the top players. For example: Plus-2, minus-1, 11 draws against Schlechter. Plus-3, minus-2, three draws against Nimzowitsch. Even scores against Tarrasch and Maroczy. And his score against Frank Marshall was minus-8, plus-7, 5 draws.

When FIDE finally gave out grandmaster titles in 1950, Duras was one of the first that got it (his many past achievements made it a no-brainer).

Rudolf Spielmann (born 1883, died 1942) was one of the last romantic players, only changing his style (from caveman to positional skills) in the late 1920s. He was also one of the rare players who had an equal score against Capablanca: two wins, two losses, eight draws. He also was a very good writer, and his book The Art of Sacrifice in Chess is still recognized as a classic.

If you want to know more about Spielmann, my article “Rudolf Spielmann, The Lethal Gentleman” can be found here.



Dawid Janowski (born 1868 in Poland, died 1927) was one crazy dude! He hated the endgame but was a monster if he got an attacking position. He also coveted the bishop pair, and chess fans would call the bishop pair the “two Jans” in his honor. Janowski was very emotional and sometime said things that he shouldn’t have.

Chess was pretty much his life, with the addition of gambling. Sadly, much of his money vanished on the roulette wheel. Like so many people in those days, he died from tuberculosis. Nevertheless, he lived a grand life, battling (and beating!) Tarrasch, Steinitz, Chigorin, Marshall, Rubinstein, Emanuel Lasker, Capablanca, and just about everyone else.

Oscar Chajes (born 1873 in what is now Ukraine, died 1928) emigrated to the United States in 1904. He wasn’t a world beater, but he was strong enough to knock out the best if the gods happened to be on his side. The biggest chess highlight of his life was his victory over Capablanca in New York 1916. Capa hadn’t lost a game for eight years, but Chajes took him down! He also won games from Janowski, Reti, Nimzowitsch, Kashdan, Spielmann, and others.


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