The Gentleman of Chess

The Gentleman of Chess‎

GM Julio_Becerra
34 | Chess Players

Karl Schlechter (1874-1918) was born into extreme poverty in Vienna, Austria. He learned to play chess at the age of 13 and very quickly become one of the strongest players in Vienna and one of the strong masters of the late 19th century.

In the chess tournament at Hastings 1895, at the age of 21 he was the youngest of the 22 participants and although he finished 9th, he scored a win against Harry Pillsbury, the eventual winner of the tournament!

His style of play gave top priority to safety and suppression of counter play during the middle game. He believed that with such consolidated positions, attacks could be prepared and ultimately consummated. Due to his tendency to agree to draws frequently, he used to be called the "Master of Draw." Although this could lead my dear readers to conclude that Schlechter was a boring or timorous competitor, he was often a very brilliant player!

He acquired immortality by allowing Emanuel Lasker to retain the World Championship in the 1910 match. In order to be the chess champion of the world, all he had to do was draw the final game, but inexplicably Schlechter decided to go for a win! By the way, in My Great Predecessors I, Kasparov explain that he needed to win for 2 points!

Karl Schlechter was a modest man and was well-liked both as a person and as an adversary. He was a typical example of a gentleman chess player of old, offering courteous draws to opponents who felt ill. If his opponent arrived late for a game, Schlechter would inconspicuously subtract an equal amount of time from his own clock.

He died of tuberculosis in Budapest, Hungary on December 27, 1918.

Let us see (in the form of a quiz) several shining productions from “The Gentleman of Chess!”





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