Rudolf Spielmann. Three games. Chosen Just Because I Like Them!!

Rudolf Spielmann. Three games. Chosen Just Because I Like Them!!

simaginfan
simaginfan
Mar 4, 2018, 8:34 AM |
12

As those of you have been through my post will realise, I have, at one time or another studied pretty much everyone from Abu Bhakr-Muhammed bin-as Suli ( other spellings are available!) to Magnus Carlsen. Whilst I would not claim to be an  expert on any particular player or era, there are three periods in chess history that hold a particular fascination for me. Put simply, the period 1862-1873, 1904-1914, and the emergence of the 'Soviet Powerhouse'.

I have recently had reason to  go over some of the games of Spielmann, who was one of the incredible group who emerged and had success during the 1904-1914 period.

He is not as neglected as some from that group - possibly because he wrote a  book called 'Richtig Opfern!' featuring some of his most spectacular games. It has been translated into English as 'The Art of Sacrifice in Chess', and is one that everyone should own. There have been other books on him too. Michael Ehn's work 'Rudolf Spielmann. Portrait eines Schachmeisters in Texten und Partien', is a fabulous work, although a working knowledge of German is needed to appreciate it. The cartoon you will find below is from that book.

Like many, his full strength as a chess player is not really appreciated, in my opinion. Without doing a 30,000 word psychology dissertation, people like boxes. It makes life easier than having to work things out!! For various reasons Spielmann gets put into a box labelled with words like gambit, combination, risky, etc. There is the idea that anyone in that box is unable to compete with those in the box labelled 'fully rounded'. Whatever the right and wrong of that particular viewpoint, in Spielmann's case it is a false view. In my opinion. Other opinions are available!!

Against Capablanca, his famous brilliancy prize loss at New York 1927 notwithstanding, he scored 50%. His two wins were both fully deserved. He totally outplayed the great Cuban World Champion in both games that he won. In 1930 - at San Remo, and 1931, at Bled, Alekhine quite simply smashed everybody. He was a true great at the height of his game, and in the absence of Capablanca in those tournaments, no one could get remotely close to him. Despite having been through a period earlier where he had found Alekhine a particularly difficult opponent, Spielmann drew all three of their games against him in those two tournaments. Against Lasker his score was a creditable minus one, his loss coming in a real battle at Moscow in 1925. He was one of the few players who was able to wipe Rubinstein off the board - he did it more than once.

So that's my viewpoint!! Now I am going to contradict all of that by posting three games played in the most romantic of romantic styles!! Just because I like them!!

The first game is one that I know from a book by one of my favorite writers, Tartakower. It is 'Moderne SchachStrategie. Bernsteins Schach-und Lebens Laufbahn.' 

It was played in Berlin, in a 'Club Tournament'. Whilst today we would dismiss such events as very minor affairs, back in those times they were very serious events indeed. Chess was developed in the clubs of the time, and the very best players in the world learned their trade, so to speak, in the clubs of Berlin, Vienna, Havana, New York, London, Philidelphia, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Budapest, etc. It was not unusual to see pairings such as this one - Bernstein was the better known of the two players at that point - between players of great repute in these tournaments.

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The young Ossip Bernstein. The chapter on him in Denker's 'The Bobby Fischer I Knew and Other Stories' is worth buying the book for in itself!

The second Spielmann game that really sticks in my mind is this next one. Before I managed to get my hands on a copy of Richtig Opfern, I only knew it from the Yearbook series that I mention in my post on the Lasker - Janowsky 1909 match, which had Hoffer's usual level of notes!! So, as a not particularly strong player, I had to try to work it out for myself. The Yearbook, however, does include the following introduction to the match.

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 Spielmann and Mieses - I have a small post that involves him in the pipeline! -  as they were post-war, in 1922.

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It is from this group photo.

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 And so on to the third Spielmann game that was stuck in my head when I decided to do this little post. I first saw it in Wiener Schachzeitung whilst looking for something else! The name of Spielmann's opponent was already known to me from a game he lost to Effim Geller, and my researches into Barcza and Szabo. Looking a bit closer, it turned out that he was a very good player in his own right. The wonderful  Hungarian series of books - four in all -  'Magyar Schachtortonnet' ,contains a number of his games.

Erno Gereben, as in the  article on him in wikipedia. ( I have other photos of him, but am too lazy to scan them!!)

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After the famous New York 1927 event, Spielmann's strength seems to have declined quite quickly, perhaps due to lack of motivation - it is difficult to say -  but he was still capable of really beautiful chess. For wont of time, I can not transcribe all of Spielmann's notes to this game - go buy the book!!

The cartoon mentioned above - as you will see from my avatar, I love cartoons! 

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