The John Keats of Chess

The John Keats of Chess‎

GM Julio_Becerra
37 | Amazing Games

Rudolf Charousek (September 19, 1873, Prague – April 18, 1900, Budapest) was a Hungarian chess player. He had a tragically short career, and he was once called  by Reuben Fine the John Keats of chess.  A brilliant player and a tremendous talent, Charousek flourished for a relatively short time before being cut off while still young.

He learned to play chess in his early teenage years, and his international debut came at the Nuremberg Tournament of 1896, securing a place in the field after Amos Burn withdrew.  He was 12th out of 19 players, ahead of Marco, Albin, Winawer and he defeated Janowski, Blackburne and the eventual tournament winner,  Emanuel Lasker, along the way.  Later that year Charousek shared first place with Chigorin at Budapest and then took clear first place in the Berlin tournament of 1897 ahead of 19 masters.  The following year he was second at Köln, ahead of Steinitz, Schlechter and 12 other masters.

Charousek had a nervous tempermant and could not handle the psychological and nervous tension of match play, leading to defeat in 1896 at Budapest by Maroczy and Chigorin.

Charousek excited the chess world with a string of impressive and brilliant performances in the period 1896-98, and quickly became regarded as a likely world title challenger. He was one of a few players who had a plus record against Emanuel Lasker, having defeated the world champion (in a King's Gambit!).  Rarely was Lasker manhandled in such fashion and the game itself electrified the Austro-Hungarian Empire! Lasker was so impressed that he said "I shall have to play a championship match with this man someday." This did not happen, however, due to the Charousek’s health. In the spring of 1898 he contracted tuberculosis. While a brief remission brought hope, his condition soon worsened, and by April 1900 he was dead at age 26.

Charousek frequently played gambits: the King's, Scotch, Evan's, and the Danish but he transitioned from a romantic style to the positional game of the Modern School of chess. His early death prevented his becoming one of the best players of chess history!

Please enjoy some beautiful creations of this not very well-known, but brilliant player.


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