Carl Schlechter - Some Games Chosen Just Because I Like Them. Part One.

Carl Schlechter - Some Games Chosen Just Because I Like Them. Part One.


Evening Everyone. A few days ago my friend @RoaringPawn threw an 'oblique',  as he put it, suggestion my way that it might be nice for 'someone' to do a post on the great Carl Schlechter.

It is in the comments here   with thanks for allowing me to post the link.

So, time being lacking - had to watch the cricket at the weekend - I have decided to throw two quick posts together.

As with my earlier Charousek stuff it will be half a dozen games in each, chosen just because they 'rang a bell' when I leafed through Goldman's wonderful book on Schlechter,

Editing down the game choices I decided to show that there was rather more to Carl Schlechter's chess than the 'Drawing Master' appellation suggests. Readers of my last article will know how much I hate it when writers dismiss great players with a single, usually incorrect and unfair, label.

Actually, Schlechter did play out a lot of draws in his matches - go look up the results of his matches with Marco, Tarrasch and Lasker, for example, but you could say the same about many players from across the history of chess.

I have seen articles praising the most recent challenger for the World Championship for his virtuosity in that most dull and drawish of openings, the Petroff Defence, without him being described as 'Drawing Master'!!

On that subject, as it applies to Schlechter, I will quickly quote the following, sourced from the above book, and then get on with my real thing of giving you some nice chess to look at.

Gunsberg, speaking of Schlechter's play at Ostend in 1906, which he won, had this to say.

''The safe style of conducting his games which he adopted led to drawn games in too large a number of cases, and I must plead guilty to conferring on him in the early part of his career the title of ''Drawing Master''. At Ostend, however, he displayed combinative powers and imaginative enterprise of the highest order.''

Many players start out playing sharp tactical games, and then, as age and experience take over, become more quiet  and positional in their approach. Schlechter - like Rubinstein - went the opposite way, in my opinion. 

On to the chess. I don't usually pay too much attention to the off-hand games of the great players, but I will include two here from very early in Schlechter's career.

The first one, against this man - 

was actually quite important in his career, as it influenced the organizers of the great tournament at Hastings in 1895 to invite him to that event.

With all the games, the notes are my own, and done in haste 'by hand', so all corrections are genuinely welcomed.

The next game is a piece of off-hand insanity, against someone who was a fascinating figure outside of chess. Do some of your own research by looking for this book - 'Joy Of Discovery, The: Great Encounters Along The Way'  with the name Thirring. 

The game is great fun!!

Whilst writing an earlier post, I spent a lot of time with my head in the book of the Vienna 1898 tournament,

so two games from that event came into my head at once.

And one against Jackson Whipps Showalter, right of picture here in his match against Samuel (?) Lipschutz .

An interesting photograph of Schlechter playing a blindfold exhibition from 'Das Interessante Blatt', 22/12/1898 ( The archives of that journal can be found online) Blindfold play seems to have been something that Schlechter experimented with - perhaps one day I will do an article on his blindfold match with Mieses.

I have used part of it for the header picture - hence the poor quality there

The next game is one of the first Schlechter games that I studied. It is not spectacular, but to see a great player like Janowski squashed in such humiliating style makes it a memorable game for me.
A game against the man responsible for the 'Drawing Master' tag.
A Wiener Schachzeitung image from 1914. ( W.S. is also available online - a fantastic resource!)
By that time Gunsberg played very rarely due to  his family situation, and was a shadow of the player who rose to challenge for the  World Championship a dozen or so years before. The game was the hardest of my selections here to annotate, so feel free to add any suggestions!!
And to finish, a second game against Amos Burn. Like Gunsberg, he was a little past his best by the  time the game was played, but still a seriously strong player. Hopefully the notes tell the story.