Milan Vidmar. Some Games and Writings.
On a small post a couple of weeks ago, I was asked why I like Vidmar so much.My answer was:-
Firstly, he was an amateur at the time when chess was becoming truly professional as we would understand it today. Within that context, as Reti pointed out, he was consistently sucessful, which is interesting in itself, and a significant achievement. As an aside, i think it was Nimzovich or Tartakower who commented that he was regarded as a monster in blitz chess. There is no doubt that he was a huge talent, who despite his good results, could have achieved more if he had not dedicated himself to his other career - in which he was very highly regarded and much published. Capablanca is said to have commented that if Vidmar had devoted himself to chess, then he would have been a real threat to the world title. As you will have worked out from my posts on Atkins and Michell, I have an empathy with such players. (Well, my own chess had to take 2nd place to the need to pay the bills, so perhaps that is natural) In the U.S kashdan would be an example, amongst many others. As a man, I have never found anything but good comments about him!! In the ego driven world of top level chess, that is always something that I note. The chessbase article comments on his friendship with Nimzovich, who was regarded as a difficult character.
Chess wise, he was, as I say, an amateur in a world that was becoming professional. He had a flair, like players of today who have grown up with computers, for unusual tactical ideas. The 'Alfred Hitchcock Game', against Euwe, is a famous example, but there are many others I could give. Alekhine, who deferred to few in that regard, viewed him as an exceptionally dangerous tactician, against whom he always took special care.
As you will see from the games in this article, he was a fighter, who loved the battle. Again, in reference to why I have an affinity with him, he would stand and fight with anyone, despite the fact that he had little time to prepare in the opening struggle - his opening play is often very simplistic - and lack of form and practice. His games are full of unexpected ideas, and the joy of the struggle.
His chess writings sparkle!! Sadly, they are only available in German, and because of his story telling approach, are hard work to translate.
As a side note, I was once on good terms with Tim Harding, who's work I have a high regard for. In his collection of the 100 best correspondence games of all time he includes one by Vidmar, and had considered a second, despite the fact that Vidmar only played in one cc event to my knowledge. 2 candidates for the 100 best ever, from a guy who played just one event!?!?
I have eventually managed to get round to putting something together on him. Hopefully it may enthuse others, or at least show that Vidmar is a player worth spending some time on.
There is a mass of material about him on the internet, both from the chess perspective, and regarding his engineering work, so I will not waste time with any kind of biography, etc.
In selecting some games, I sat don with a few books, noting down which games I personally found particularly interesting. Hmm, The list was around 60 games by the time i had reached the half way point of his 50 year career!! Thought I'd better stop, and start editing the list down a bit. For that reason, there are only a few games from his later career.
As to his writings, I have done translations, or, at least, partial translations, of his notes to three games as given in 'Goldene Schachzeiten'. Hopefully they will show why I love the book so much.
As always, comments, corrections, criticism etc are welcome.
Augustin Neumann. Wiener Schachzeitung. 1906.
The following game is extensively annotated in 'Goldene Schachzeiten'. Perhaps when time permits, I will add the material. As I mentioned, Vidmar's writings are difficult for me to translate properly.
Another game deeply annotated in 'G.S.', I find it incredibly complicated - Lasker devoted a lot of time to it in the tournament book. Vidmar tells how, knowing Bernstein's love of spectacular moves, he managed to induce him to make the capture on f7.
I love the finish to the next game!
The notes to the next game are in the 'Vidmar - Breyer' post.
In 'G.S.' Vidmar gives a chapter on his struggles with Bogolubov.
In the next game, vidmar finds an idea that many years later escaped the tactical vision of a certain Garry kasparov.
In the Semmering Tournament there were eight brilliancy prizes on offer. this game didn't win one, but Vidmar's commentry is certainly worth a 'Best Notes' prize!!
There are plenty of nice Vidmar stories about Nimzovich. In this one he relates how Rosenthal came up to him before the game and said, 'Today you have to play against Nimzovich'. 'No', replied Vidmar, 'Today Nimzovich has to play against me!!'
At the end of the following game, in the tournament book, alekhine makes the rather gleeful comment, 'A most humiliating defeat!' The game was instrumental in Alekhine finishing second in the tournament, and going on to become World Champion.
Vidmar's notes to the following game are the source of various comments about Bogolubov's legendary optimism at the chess board.
Vidmar's most famous combination - once referred to as being like something out of a Hitchcock film.
The next two games are the first Vidmar games, apart from the Rubinstein one given above, that I really studied seriously. Having bought the tournament book to look at Alekhine, Rubinstein, Nimzovich, etc, I discovered Vidmar!
Finally a photograph from Goldene Schachzeiten, just because I like it, and Vidmar clearly did too.