Istvan Csom and Leo Forgacs. Some Games by Two Neglected Hungarian Grandmasters.

Istvan Csom and Leo Forgacs. Some Games by Two Neglected Hungarian Grandmasters.


Happy weekend everyone.

There is a strange thing that happens when you do what I do.

I study chess players - their games, style, approach to chess, and how they fit in to the chess of their time.

As I have said before, buying a 'Best Games Of' book is one thing. Surprisingly enough, great players at their best play great chess!! Who would have guessed, eh! To understand the player properly, you have too go rather deeper.

Look at all of his/her games and also at what was going on in the chess World that they lived in.

So, you start doing that, and then names crop up, and games played by those names that you have not seen before get your attention. Soon you have this huge mental database of players and their games in your head.

In my post on Engels I tell one story where that happened.

Often in studying a player you get a mental file of players from a particular country. I have many of those in my rather dodgy memory. One such file is players from Hungary - I have studied a lot of famous Hungarian players!!

My friend @minsco is exactly what you want when you write posts on this site. He makes comments that are both polite - I will not tolerate rudeness for the sake of it - and thoughtful. Like me he is interested in the history of chess in Hungary. In my recent post on Ivanchuk  he talked about Istvan Csom,

and I promised to post a couple of games.

I hate to break promises, so here it is. I have added another Hungarian Grandmaster to the post whist I have had the time - Leo Forgacs

- and will come to him first. 

I have decided to give 4 games by each player - two linked by a theme, and the two that irst came into my head!

Leo Forgacs - also known by his birth name of Fleischmann - had a short career at the start of the 20th century. At the age of 21 he won the German mater title in the Hauppturnier 'B' at Hanover in 1902.

I have a phrase of my own invention - 'The Barmen Generation', about the group of players who emerged at the monster of a congress at Barmen in 1905. The standard photograph ( above ) of Forgacs - referred to there  as Fleischmann - is from page 287 of the tournament book. he won the 'Masters B' tournament ahead of a host of names, like Nimzovich and Spielmann. It was to be the peak of his career. 

Two games against the Young Nimzovich, in the same opening line - one of which is from the Barmen Tournament.

Forgacs seems to have played a lot of off-hand games with the great Geza Maroczy early in his career.

This game - one that he lost - is a favorite of mine. Maroczy's King maneuvers are are true delight!

And finally Forgacs' most famous game. It won the 2nd Brilliancy prize at the Chigorin Memorial - St. Petersburg 1909.

He is not in the group photograph of the event, but page 165 of the tournament book has this photograph from his game with Rubinstein. Back right is Julius Sosnitsky, who figures in my last post.

For anyone interested in Forgacs, there is a nice little book on him.

 And on to Istvan Csom.

He was Hungarian champion twice in the early 1970s which, given the likes of Szabo, Barcza and Portisch being around, tells you that he was a pretty formidable player.

He was also  in the strong Hungarian nation team for the Olympiads - photo courtesy of one of kamalakanta's posts, of the 1978 team.

As @minsco notes, he had a quiet positional style. The first two games illustrate that, as well as an unusual opening idea - Be2 in symetrical King's Pawn openings - which stems from Blackburne, I think.

Apart from the opening and the general similarities with the preceeding game, the next one is interesting on other levels as well.

Denker, on pages 132 - 134 of his book ' The Bobby Fischer i Knew, and Other stories', says this about Reshevsky.

''Sammy handled Knights like David Janowski shifted Bishops, or Geza Maoczy played Queen-and-pawn endgames. He could out-calculate even Alexander Alekhine in the Byzantine intricacies of Knight maneuvers......Sammy's facility with Knights was no mystery. Indeed, it was an expression of his greatest chess strength - the ability to calculate tactics like an adding machine''.

Portisch and Csom.

Rather than say too much about Csom, I will point you in the direction of a fascinating short interview


To end, a game for the text books.