Rubinstein In 1912. Refuting A Myth And Some Chess Art.

Rubinstein In 1912. Refuting A Myth And Some Chess Art.

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Afternoon everyone! Hope Thanksgiving was enjoyed by my friends in the USA as Much as England's dire effort against you guys in the World Cup! 

A recent fine post here  reminded me of something that I had been meaning to get round to posting for a while.

If you go to wikipedia and look up Rubinstein, one of the first things you will 'learn' is that he won 5 international tournaments in 1912. Utter tripe!!

A while ago I posted a comment on such demonstrably untrue 'good stories'.

It goes like this. Someone writes something which is true. A lazy writer tries to make it into a 'good story' by writing something which isn't true. another lazy writer just copies it. then it becomes 'everyone knows', etc. I presume that back at the time someone said that Rubinstein had won 5 tournaments in the space of 12 months, and so the process began.

So lets get to the tournaments which the immortal Rubinstein

Olimpiu Urcan on twitter

played in 1912.

A game to enjoy. I have tried to choose lesser known games and added my thoughts as I go along - regular readers will know what I do!!wink


Spielmann 1922. 3rd from right rear of picture.

Won a famous brilliancy against Rubinstein in that tournament - given in @kahns blog linked to above. This is their other game - a theoretical debate of the time.

Next was a really magnificent performance. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a little book of the tournament 40 years or so ago. He cruised home by miles.
I love this game. Breyer
Tarrasch and Breyer. berlin 1920.
is someone i have spent many hours on. He went his own way, and was - for me - one of the great chess thinkers. Rubinstein beats him with an incredibly deep and profound combination. A work of chess art.

The third tournament - despite a loss to another 'Polish' player - the neglected Lowski in , like his San Sebastian loss to Spielmann - a Dutch Defence, he did enough to share first with his long time rival Oldrich Duras.

As it was described at the time - a typical Rubinstein game, and one for the text books. He had been winning games like this since at least Barmen 1905.

W.S. 1906. pg 345. inc. Balla.

And the fourth one - no, whatever anyone tell you, it wasn't an 'International tournament'. It was one of the series of 'Russian All Masters' tournaments. At that time Rubinstein was - along with other players we now think of as Polish - classed as Russian.

Despite losing both games to a fascinating figure in his own right - maybe a blog there!!

Sergey von Freyman.

a strong finish took Rubinstein to first place ahead of a strong field.

This next game is one that I find rather wonderful! A while ago in the comments to one of my blogs I was asked why Rubinstein had such a reputation as possibly the greatest player of rook endgames of all time. I answered that it was because he won many Rook endgames where it seemed impossible to win. This one is amazing and also almost funny. His opponent

Levenfish. Wiener Schachzeitung 1911 page 304

was later to co-write the standard book on Rook endgames.

A bonus game - just to show that Rubinstein could also attack!!

O.K. so what was this mysterious 5th Tournament - Warsaw 1912?

Minev and Donaldson in their wonderful book 'Akiba Rubinstein. Uncrowned King' provide the answer.

 Sadly, only one game has been preserved, but it's an interesting one!

The loser was another interesting player in his own right.

Flamberg. As per Key.
Wiener schachzeitung. 1911. page 304.

That's all you get for this time! the lesson is - Don't believe what you read. Even if I write it. wink