Rudolf Spielmann - Master of the Sacrifice

Rudolf Spielmann - Master of the Sacrifice

billwall
billwall
May 4, 2008, 12:00 AM |
23 | Chess Players

 

Rudolf Spielmann was born in Vienna on May 5, 1883.  He was a Viennese professional chess player who spent most of his adult life in Germany.  He played over 100 tournaments and 55 matches in his career.  He earned the nickname “The Last Knight of the King’s Gambit” for winning tournaments that began with the King’s Gambit.  During World War I, he served in the Austrian army as an officer.  When the war ended, he became a professional chessplayer.  He had a reputation of being one of the world’s best masters of attack.  In the 1920s, he was one of the top 10 players in the world.  In 1935, he published The Art of Sacrifice. Reuben Fine once said of Spielmann, “Spielmann’s main concern in life, apart from chess, was to accumulate enough money to buy limitless quantities of beer!”  As a Jew, he fled Nazi Germany and spent the last three years in Sweden.  His brother was arrested by the SS and died in a concentration camp in 1941.  A sister also died in a concentration camp, while another sister survived, but became mentally ill and committed suicide in 1964.  Rudolf died on August 22, 1942 (some sources say August 20) in Stockholm at the age of 59.  He had locked himself in a room.  When the neighbors finally called the police a week later, they found Spielmann’s body.  The medical report states that he suffered a heart attack, but he probably starved to death.  He had been saving all his money to buy a ticket and a passport to England or America.  His gravestone says (translated) “A fugitive without rest, struck hard by fate.”  His historical Elo rating was 2560.

 

In the following game, Spielmann defeated Baldur Hoenlinger (1905-1990) with a knight and queen sacrifice.  Hoenliner was an Austrian chess master and a native of Vienna.  He played first board for Austria in the 2nd Chess Olympiad at The Hague in 1928.  After World War II, he lived in West Germany giving simultaneous exhibitions.  In 1948, he established a World Simultaneous Record on 213 boards, winning 187, drawing 13, and losing 13.  In 1952, he played 257 boards, winning 220 games.

 


 


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