Hermanis Matisons, a great Latvian master

Hermanis Matisons, a great Latvian master

introuble2
introuble2
|
41

The recent Chess Olympiad at Batumi made me search a little the origins of this event. I didn't know that the first try took place at the Summer Olympics of 1924 in Paris! There I've discovered Hermanis Matisons [or Hermann Mattison], a great Latvian chess master and composer.

Index

_

Hermanis Matisons

next    up

Matisons was born on 28 Dec 1894 and died cause of tuberculosis on 16 Nov 1932, at Riga Latvia. Little info I've found about his life. In 1910 he was forced to stop school cause of his father's death. And he took part in WW1 at 1916 where he was injured severely. No wife or children are mentioned [main source: latvian wiki].

null[left sketch found in Jaunākās Ziņas of 21.07.1924]

As a chess player, Matisons won the first Latvian chess championship at 1924 and the first unofficial chess olympiad in Paris at the same year. He took part in the tournaments of Debrecen 1925 [not good], Budapest 1926 [1st Fide Masters within 2nd unofficial chess olympiad], Bartfeld 1926 [1st place shared with Tartakower], Haag 1928 [2nd official chess olympiad], Carlsbad 1929 and Hague 1931 [4th official chess olympiad]. [source: WSZ 1933, 10].

Among his victims Rubinstein, Alekhine, Tartakower, Grunfeld, Vidmar, Colle.

Rudolf Spielmann has written that Matisons' chessplay style was lively and aggressive, with good theoretical basis and in every way unique. ["... und wirkte stets erfrischend durch seinen lebhaften, angriffsfreudigen Stil, der überdies auf guten theoretischen Grundlagen ruhte und in jeder Hinsicht voll Eigenart war. ~ WSZ 1934, 115]. While as a endgame study composer was admired!

A quote of his that maybe brings some light to his personality is the following:

"Chess is a small but independent republic." [=Schach ist eine kleine, aber selbständige Republik in WSZ 1934, 320/2]. Probably he had experienced in a good way the Latvian parliamentary era [1920-1934].

_

1st unofficial Chess Olympiad within 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris

next    up

Within 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris an international chess tournament was held between 10-21 Jul 1924 with the wish to be repeated in every Olympic games. This, as well known, didn't happen, probably cause of the difficulty to separate professional and amateur chess players, that the Olympic Games Committee had set as precondition. Meaning that Matisons, at least in 1924, was considered an amateur chess player. President of the arbiters' commission was Alexander Alekhine.

null

photo found in web.archive here

Nine groups of six, of which the winners would participate in a final group. It was a Latvian triumph. Matisons won first place while latvian Apscheneek second. Euwe took 4th place, winning the first but losing by the second. These results were shaped on the last 9th round where Matisons managed to gain a draw against Colle.

Here's a game against Argentinian Luis Palau. A beautiful tactic.

_

After the tournament was ended and on 20 Jul 1924, 8:00 pm, the tournament players united in a congress and decided the constitution of une fédération internationale d'échecs [FIDE].

null

Some relative excerpts of french press

Budapest 1926

next    up

First FIDE masters tournament within the 2nd unofficial chess olympiad. Matisons did good scoring 7½/15 [results from WSZ], winning the first Grunfeld, Rubinstein [only first moves had survived], Tartakower.

Here's a great I think game against Grunfeld, found in olimpbase. It was played on the last 15th round and if Rubinstein had won in his against Nagy game, Akiba would have won the tournament.

_

null

Left detail of the family photo of Carlsbad 1929, right sketch found in here

_

Bartfeld 1926

next    up

Matisons shared first place with Tartakower. Here's a game against Serbian Boris Koctic found in WSZ 1926, 243 with comments by Becker. Results from WSZ.

_

Carlsbad 1929

next    up

Matisons was invited in the great 4th Carlsbad 1929 chess tournament. There he had a really good performance, finishing at 10th place with 10½/21 [results from WSZ]. Akiba Rubinstein took his revenge in a game that was included in Rubinstein's 100 masterpieces by Kmoch.

Here's a beautiful mating tactic against Edgard Colle.

_

Prague 1931

next    up

Matisons' last big event was the 4th official chess olympiad in Prague 1931. There he had won the first Alekhine. [results from WSZ]

null

A photo found in Jaunākās Ziņas of 20.07.1931, saying that somewhere here is Matisons [?]. Same can be found in WSZ 1931, 241

Here's a nice endgame tactic vs Vidmar.

_

And here's a great pawn endgame against Rubinstein. I think that this game deserves to be analyzed real better.

_

Hermanis the endgame composer

next    up

Matisons composed some great endgame studies and was known for this at his time. At least 60 have been published in later books. After his death, in Nov 1932, in the french Le Temps were published 8 articles [at least these are that I've found] by Andre Cheron representing some Matisons' endgame studies. Comparing them with the ones that are represented in websites, such as arvesschwalbegilles-jobinwebduif, here're four that didn't match.

_
_
_
_

null

found in Winter's CN 6675

_

A side note: my useless thought of the day

next    up

The Paris 1924 tournament within the Summer Olympic Games and the following independent organization of the Chess Olympiads, cause of the difficulty of separation between professional and amateur chess players [check this too], made me think some resemblance between chess & boxing. But I' m sure that I'm not the first.

Enki Bilal, a beloved comic creator, has introduced this idea in his Froid Équateur back in 1992, where a chess boxing championship was held.

null

Details from the comic book Froid Équateur

What I didn't know is that this idea came to reality. Chess boxing!!

Little appendix: some excerpts from Atpūta

     up

After some contributions at comments [big thank you for this] I've tracked Matisons' articles in the Latvian magazine Atputa [or Atputha], where he was writing the chess column from 08.04.1927 till his death in Nov 1932.

null

His first in Atpūta nr 127.08-04-1927

null

In Atpūta nr 422..02.12.1932 his death was announced and a tournament was organized to honor him....


Submit your own blogs for "Blog of the Month"!