Bad Nauheim 1935.

Bad Nauheim 1935.


Afternoon everyone. Blitzing this out in an afternoon, so apologies for the fact that it is not as I could have made it - real lifein present circumstances has to come ahead of my enjoying myself!!

SO! In the comments to my last look at forgotten events, the name of Erik Andersen  - left of header picture - came up. 

That instantly reminded me of one of my favourite forgotten tournaments - Bad Nauheim 1935. What an absolute cracker of a tournament that was!! 

The German chess authorities organized some tournaments over 1935-1936 to prepare their players for the big showpiece  event they had planned, the Munich 1936 team tournament. This was one of the first of those events. By accident or design, they invited 10 players with different styles and strengths, and, a lesson to all tournament organizers - that produced a wonderful tournament.

We saw outright attacking players - Engels, Stoltz and Richter, positional players - Eliskases and the afore mentioned Andersen - players with an 'all-round' style in Boguljubov - although on a steep decline, still in the top 5 in the world, and the Ahues - and two players with very original thoughts on the game - particularly in the area of the openings, in Grob and Opocensky. 

The result was a tournament with an incredible percentage of interesting games! Of the 45 played, I have limited my choice to about a third of them - the rest can be found on - I would recommend going there for the rest.

Andersen played a decisive role in the final result, which I give here with scans from my copy of a rare tournament bulletin.

His win against Engels - in the last round, and failure to beat the favourite, Bogoljubov, from a favourable position, were a decisive factor in the final result.

I have touched on this event in my huge work on Ludwig Engels. If you have lots of time to spare, go take a look - a fascinating story.  

So lets get to the chess and some pictures!

Stoltz was at one time - even though into his 30's by then ( the world has changed!!) considered to be a real emerging talent. Ultra-sharp style, he played two matches with the young Salo Flohr, with whom he was considered pretty much an equal. Flohr went on to become the official challenger for the World Title, whilst Stoltz went somewhat backwards. A player worth spending time looking at.

He started quickly, winning his first two games in his attacking style. In round one, Engels played poorly to lose to him, - his 25th move is just bad!

but his second round game was just fine chess.

While that was happening, the emerging Ludwig Engels managed to take Eliskases out of his normal quiet approach and win a fascinating second round game.

Round 3 saw an upset - the new player on the block utterly smashed the man who had played for the world title the year before, as part of his run of 4 wins in a row.

meanwhile, the second favourite was on the wrong end of a theoretical debate against the fascinating player Kurt Richter. I have looked at this side-line in one of my articles on Vidmar - Eliskases fails to adapt to it, and is swept away by Richter's attack - White's 17th move is particularly pretty.

And the early leader fell to Eric Andersen, who just outplayed him - signs of things to come!

Round 5 saw a fascinating match-up. Engels, on a roll at this time, against Karel Opocensky.

Oposcensky was a huge figure in the development of chess opening idea - if you have ever played the Najdorf Sicilian or the Benoni/Benko gambit, then you are following in his footsteps! Lots of great pictures of him can be found, but I like this one - look at the opening position on the board! Euwe - Opocensky, Badel 1969.

via Douglas Griffin on twitter, with thanks.

Meanwhile Bogoljubov was on the ropes against Andersen, but managed to survive.

Lots of nice pictures of Bogoljubov to be found - here's one from tartajubov.blogspot.

In round 6 this next game was in played, with Eliskases - who had started slowly - moving into contention for the lead. His opponent - Henri Grob - took part in a lot of these German tournaments - without great success.

Grob. 1960.

He was known for his love of playing unusual openings. Here he not only tries the Evan's Gambit, but a line of it that had been considered poor for 40 years or so. It is a fascinating game on many levels.

(In the next round, however, he played Engels, and won a game that was to cost the latter dearly! Curiously enough, the scenario was to be repeated a year later in another tournament! )

Meanwhile a player we haven't mentioned yet - Ludwig Rodl - who had shortly before won the German Master title - was playing his best game of the tournament.

And the favourite won a big game, when his opponent missed a triack.

Stoltz was getting his tournament back on track, winning a nice attacking game in round seven.

Stoltz. Unknown source.

Round 8 saw a truly wonderful game - the loser liked it so much that he included it in his own 'Best Games' collection. I still haven't unscrewed my bookcases from the wall trying to find that particular book, but hopefully it will turn up eventually.

So much great chess in this tournament!
Engels at the Munich 'Olympiad' 1936. various sources.

Meanwhile Opocensky were debating a new opening idea - the so called 'Swedish Variation' of the Tarrasch Defence. No time to do notes, but it's a wonderful battle!

So onto the final round - all to play for! ( See the above progressive score table) This is where Erik Andersen

Chess Pie 1927.

comes into the story in a big way. Engels was a player who's nerves failed him at times, and needing a win to be certain of at least first prize - in fact Bogoljubov only drew, so a draw would have been good enough - they failed here.

Another fascinating last round game was this one - 'only a draw' !

Try doing your own analysis of that one without an engine! Should keep you quiet for a week!

'We'll Meet Again'. Dresden 1936. With Eliskases and Richter.

And finally a nice picture of the joint second prize winner.

Eliskases - Peter Clarke. 1958 Olympiad.

Well, I hope you found time to look at some of the games here. Just goes to show - having all the big names does not always make a great tournament!