Oldrich Duras. Some Chess and Pictures. Part One.

Oldrich Duras. Some Chess and Pictures. Part One.

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Both of my regular readers will know that I am a big fan of what I call 'The Barmen Generation. For those of you who don't know, there was a monster event back in Barmen, Germany, back in 1905. Four important tournaments, with a host of young players who went on to earn big reputations, and produce some legendary chess.

You can read about one of those tournaments here:-  

Joint winner of that event, earning the Master title in the process,  was  this young man - Oldrich Duras. I believe the picture was taken at that event, but can't verify it. 5

His career was quite short - just 10 years. He joined the army during the First World War, and afterwards the combination of marriage and career meant that he stopped playing in big events. He did, however carry on contributing to the chess world both as a journalist and as a composer -   he composed both endgame studies and problems.

Playing wise, he was similar to Winawer who I wrote on just recently. No openings expert, but a very dangerous tactician and fine endgame player. For a couple of years he was a potential World Title challenger.

Usual format for these little articles - six games including a fun one - and some pictures, but instead of one game I will give an endgame study. 

So, Enjoy the chess, and the chance to look at a player who is often overlooked among the stars of 'The Barmen Generation'.

First the study - Published in 1903, before he entered the international stage as a player. Hopefully you will be able to solve it from the diagram. 

Yep, a nice idea - 'reciprocal stalemate'. Cool isn't it.

O.K., my favourite game of his from that Barmen event was against this man

Janos Gajdos. Interesting guy! He had at least three goes at winning the master title ( losing a well known game to Alekhine in the process), and took part in the first Hungarian National Tournament.

Eventually he became known for his journalistic efforts, as the first editor of Magyar Sakkvilag.

The game is a remarkable one.

A nice picture of Gajdos with someone who I would class as one of the Barmen Generartion, although he didn't take part in that tournament.

Gajdos. Reti. Szekesfehervar. 1907. W.S. 1907. page 404.

The full picture of the first image, while I am here.

The next year Dusas played a game that seems to have caught the critics imagination - everyone published it and annotated it. I personally find it interesting because of the opening as much as anything else. ( The notes will clarify that!) His opponent was Richard Tiechmann, pictured here the next year, with a young Spielmann, no. 4 and Horatio Caro, of Caro Kann fame, but a fascinating figure in his own right, no. 6.

Berlin 1907. W.S. 1907. page 409.

Well, the previous picture gives us Spielmann.

W.S. 1907 page 10.

The next game won Duras a brilliancy prize. Like so many Duras games, it is quite out of the ordinary run of things. A tight-rope walk, with both players attacking on the same side of the board.

The next game is one that I am glad that I included! I had chosen it as the 'fun game' for Part One - even though it was played in a serious tournament. 

Some time ago I wrote an article that has received rather more attention than it deserved. You can find it here:-   

If you haven't seen it, go take a look, and in particular dig through the huge amount that is in the comments for some amazing stuff - particularly the contributions of the inestimable @Spektrowski  whose contributions to my articles so often put the original article to shame.

While you are there, go dig through the material in his own posts - incredible stuff.

Anyway!! The article was about a forgotten amateur - Joel Fridlizius, and mentions that despite searching long and hard, I had only come up with one picture of him. Well, researching the next game, I came up with the following picture in the archives of Tiddskrift for Schack.

It is of the tournament that the game is from, and given in the Nov. 1909. issue, which has been recently archived fully.

I used it for the header picture, where l-r of pic you have Vidmar, Leonhardt, Sjoberg and Duras.

Nice picture! However, the lucky find was a second picture of Fridlizius.  Centre of picture here - behind Vidmar in the group picture.

O.K., now that I have had my bit of chess researcher excitement, ( we are a dull lot!  ) I had better post the game!!  

So, the last game for this part. I like to include an endgame in my articles - it is actually nice to see that many of my readers enjoy them - despite's idea that a game can only be 'great' if it contains a sacrifice.

(!! Yep, that's me in the bad books again - best not include a picture of someone with a beer or a cigarette in their hand, for fear of being muted/deleted, or scolded like a child, by the politically over-correct, and over zealous personal - agendarites again!!!!)

Duras didn't do so well against Alekhine - three losses come to mind - but he did come out on top in  their first meeting. It was Alekhine's first big international event.

Hamburg 1910. W.S. 1910. 348

Not a great picture, so here is how Alekhine looked the next year!

The game was the hardest one to annotate here, and I am still not at the bottom of it all. One thing to bear in mind is that the time limit - I think - was 30 moves in two hours, then 15 moves per hour.

Thanks for joining me. Back with Part Two when it is done, with some more.

Hope you enjoyed a quick look at Oldrich Duras and are inspired to take a look at his chess legacy.

Take care guys - let's all be here for the next part. 

Duras in 1911.