Landau vs Cortlever, Amsterdam 1941

Landau vs Cortlever, Amsterdam 1941


My very first intention was to make a post with Salo Landau's last games during WW2. Some really beautiful were played until he was caught by the nazis in Sep 1942. But as I was searching and studying some of these games, I've found a great one, I think, against Nicolaas Cortlever, played in Amsterdam in Apr 1941, during an Easter Tournament. It was a Noteboom-Abrahams variation game, with a not so popular move. It made me study some of this opening....

Some personal notes on the Noteboom-Abrahams opening

In order to understand this game, I had to study a little this opening, as I didn't know anything [if you are familiar with this variation, press this to skip it].

Concerning the origin of this variation, I've found that the critical black's move 4... dxc4 had been played for decades, while the next moves could be found and in some games before Noteboom tried them [like William Winter's]. But maybe the variation name is after the one who played it systematically & mostly successfully as black for the first time. He was Daniel Noteboom, a Dutch talented chess player that was lost early at the age of 22, in Jan 1932, just after competing in the reserve group of Hastings 1931/32.

Daniel Noteboom found in

The first game I've found [and probably truly the first] that was won by black, having the same setup with the main line of the variation on the 11th move, was Voisin vs Noteboom, 0-1, Hamburg ol 1930. William Winter won, with the same variation, a game just a few days later in the same event against Gauffin. I've found a game with an alternate setup in the same olympiad, won by Noteboom against Romanian Henry Taubmann [presented in the end of this post as not found in databases]. Noteboom tried it also successfully and in the next chess olympiad in Prague 1931 vs Picurena. While he lost one against Landau in May 1931 within a rematch between them. In the press of the time was underlined that Landau won against a variation that had given to Noteboom the second beauty prize [=schoonheidsprijs, probably brilliancy meant, ed.28.02.2019] in Hamburg 1930 [Algemeen Handelsblad 04.05.1931]

Noteboom & Landau in Nieuwe Apeldoornsche courant 09.04.1931

Generally this 4... dxc4 move was really tempting in my eyes, ruining the safe pawn pyramid of the semi-slav for an advantage. And as I was studying it, mainly through played games, I realized that this variation has been worked out in a really satisfying depth. Here're some basic study and notes I've done on this.


This 13... Be4 of the line, that Cortlever chose to play against Landau isn't a popular move and has been criticized in a way. So let's see if can be considered playable.


I don't know but it doesn't seem to me that bad...

Salo Landau vs Nicolaas Cortlever, ½-½, Amsterdam 1941

Nicolaas Cortlever in schaaksite and Salo Landau in Algemeen Handelsblad 21.01.1939, both 1939 ca

This game was played around 15 of April 1941 in Amsterdam within an Easter V.A.S. tournament. In the first rank group Landau, Wijnans, Cortlever and Koomen were playing, while the first two tied at first place [Het volk 15.04.1941]. It's the first game I've found where this 13... Be4 was tried.


The game in De courant Het nieuws van den dag 19.04.1941

As appendix Henry Taubmann vs Daniel Noteboom, 0-1, Hamburg ol 1931

A beautiful game, an example of 6. Ne5 white's move in an alternate variation.


the game in Algemeen Handelsblad 27.07.1930