Menchik-Spielmann, Carlsbad 1929

Feb 6, 2016, 8:59 PM |

Spielmann's 2nd-place finish at Carlsbad 1929 — tied with Capablanca, half-point behind Nimzovich — was one of Spielmann's most successful tournaments.

In Masters of the Chessboard, Reti cites Morphy as Spielmann's model, and likens Spielmann to Capablanca in that they were both child prodigies (who managed to get good anyway, Reti quipped). Capablanca thought Spielmann was like Nimzovich, except for Spielmann's clinging to the Romantic way while Nimzovich led the Hypermoderns. 

Spielmann had in common with Morphy an inclination toward unclear tactics. Morphy's detractors say the American's career would've been much lessened if his opponents could wade through the complexities. Spielmann's opponents sometimes could — those losses depressed Spielmann into his following games; that character flaw kept him out of the elite during the 1920s (though since I share it, it endears him to me).

At Carlsbad 1929, Spielmann invited women's world champion Vera Menchik to mix it up at move 10. She obliged, resulting in some fascinating tactics.