Barmen 1905. Tartakower in Haupturnier 'B'.

Barmen 1905. Tartakower in Haupturnier 'B'.

Nov 25, 2017, 9:34 AM |

Well, I thought it was time that I posted something! In connection with some of my stuff elsewhere, Tartakower is a favorite of mine, who had a very long career, as well as being a fascinating personality, and outstanding chess writer. His '500 Master Games of Chess' was the first games anthology that I owned - I still have it, complete with the School Prize Day certificate stuck inside the front cover. 

The header picture is of him at Carlsbad in 1911.

I have decided to give Tartakower's games from his first venture into high level chess, at the great Barmen 1905 congress. He was 18 years old at the time, and, as you will see, played quite sharp chess!!

As opposed to 'Haupturnier 'A', this tournament was played on the traditional system of preliminary sections, followed by a final tournament of the highest finishers in the preliminaries.


He wrote, in his Best Games collection.

'It was in the modest Major B tournament aof the chess congress at Barmen, August, 1905, that my first international test was experienced. taking place at the same time as a tournament of officially recognised masters as well as two other major tournaments, this competition contained twenty-seven participants in three preliminary groups.

Sure of myself, I considered my task as a mere promenade, a 'walkover', and indeed I reached the final group of ten players with a score of almost 100% ( 71/2 points out of 8 games).

The Schenkein game is the first one in Tartakower's best Games'. He comments 'It was indeed the Viennese master Joachim Schenkein, who first introduced me to the chess clubs of the Austrian capital, and for this reason he thought he could thereby derive a kind of hierarchical superiority.

''The style of the young Tarta is like that of a Malay who runs amok'', Master Schenkein was wont to say; ''but if you show signs of resistance he must inevitably collapse.''

This forcast was too good to be true!'

At this point I shall add a photograph, just because I like it. A pair of young men with fine heads of hair, Tartakower and Spielmann, scanned from the Tournament Book of St. Petersburg, 1909.


And so onto the final.

'There too I led throughout the tournament, only to be caught at the very end by the Anglo-German master, G.Shories, whose perseverance had succeeded in accomplishing miracles in some adjourned games.'


The Schapiro game is the second one in Tartakower's book. 'It goes without saying that at this 'pseudo-heroic' period ( and also very much later!) I was uniquely interested in gambit moves - with Black as well as with White.'

A photograph of the St. Petersburg All Russian Amateur Tournament, on which I have posted elsewhere, has Gregory seated in the front row, 4th from the left.


A number of games from the final are missing from the Tournament Book, including Tartakower's games against Gutmayer -a name known to students of Reti!- Appun and Shories.

And so, like we saw with the other Haupturnier at Barmen, there was to be a 4 game play-off match for the master title.

'Although I had beaten him in our individual encounter (sic. the tournament book has it differently - Simaginfan) I had nothing against playing off a deciding match with him; in this, however, the tenacity of my rival proved to be superior.

[For many a long year I considered myself as frustrated in my efforts - amongst the causes for this being the fact that Shories, after he had lost the first game of the match, made me a proposition by which he was to'cede' me the title of master - an offer that I naturally rejected (since it was not to 'buy' but to 'conquer' the title of master that I had come to Barmen!), but this beyond doubt had an unfavourable influence on me in the subsequent course of the match! nevertheles, viewing the events from the historical perspective ( and therefore more objectively), I now deem that my play was not yet sufficiently mature to be crowned with complete success.]

Contrary to general expectation' one might say, if one did not know that, for the most part, this 'general expectation' is refuted by actual events. Indeed both journalists and public were deceived by the apparrent facility of my victories, and moreover one is always intrigued by the successes of a 'homo novus' of eighteen years of age!

He is reffering to a passage in the tournament book which comments that had he played the play-off match in the same style as the rest of his games in the tournament, he would have certainly won the match and the master title. The same passage also gives the gratitude of the commitee for the fact that Tartakower gladly annotated his own games for the Tournament Book. Clearly, even at such an early stage of his career, Tartakower was developing his great skills as an annotator! The bribery story is interesting in itself, and does not cast Shories in a very good light.

nullShories as given on page 486 of the Tournament Book. His life was an interesting one. Born in Germany, he moved to England at a young age, and played in a number of tournaments prior to WW1. Like very many Germans, he spent much of the war in internment, and then returned to Germany.

The games of the match. The Tournament Book suggests that had Tartakower played on in the third game he may have won that game, and with it the match and Master title - as it gives a number of variations, including a move 'missed by Tartakower', and in view of the above, Tartakower probably provided the notes to that game.

Tartakower at 18, as pictured in the Tournament book. Sadly only the two photographs given here are given from this tournament.