The 1924 and 1926 Meran Tournaments

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  • The 1924 and 1926 Meran Tournaments

    The 1924 and 1926 Meran Tournaments

    These are two chess tournaments, which took place in Italy. The results:

    Meran 1924 (February)

    1. Ernst Grunfeld 10.5/13
    2. Rudolf Spielmann 8.5/13
    3. Akiba Rubinstein 8.0/13
    4. Dawid Przepiorka 7.5/13
    5. Aleksej Selesnieff 7.5/13
    6. Alexander Takacs 7.0/13
    7. Edgard Colle 6.5/13
    8. Karel Opocensky 6.5/13
    9. Lajos Steiner 6.5/13
    10. Siegbert Tarrasch 6.0/13
    11. George Koltanowski 5.0/13
    12. Gyula Patay von Baj 4.5/13
    13. Stefano Rosselli del Turco 4.5/13
    14. Luigi Miliani 2.5/13

    Meran 1926 (December)

    1. Edgard Colle 9.0/13
    2. Esteban Canal 8.5/13
    3. Dawid Przepiorka 8.5/13
    4. Boris Kostic 8.0/13
    5. Frederick Dewhurst Yates 8.0/13
    6. Ernst Grunfeld 7.5/13
    7. Savielly Tartakower 7.5/13
    8. Stefano Rosselli del Turco 5.0/13
    9. Henry Grob 4.5/13
    10. Gyula Patay von Baj 4.5/13
    11. Antonio Sacconi 4.5/13
    12. Benno Alimonda de Mannentreu 4.0/13
    13. Remo Calapso 3.0/13

    It appears that no contemporary tournament book ever appeared for either congress. In our time, A.J. Gillam, The Chess Player, produced a 56-page booklet Meran 1924 in 1998 and the same in 51 pages on Meran 1926 in 1996. K. Whyld produced a limited edition of Meran Dec 1926 in 1954.

    Luca D’Ambrosio worked seven years on producing a tournament book covering the two events. His object was to rescue the games and theory from oblivion, to recall the golden age of chess at international spas and the South Tyrol chess scene, in particular.

    The book has just been published and the details can be found at

    It is a big book, 500 pages and weighs 2.2 kg. Only 330 copies have been printed. The cost is substantial – 78 euro and then there is the expense of getting it to Canada by registered airmail. One would not want to lose one’s copy on its way here.

    It is written in German with the official title being Die Internationalen Schachturniere zu Meran 1924 und 1926 by Luca D’Ambrosio.

    It has good group photos, caricatures, line drawings, documents, larger diagrams and every game he could find, annotated. It is a gorgeous book, interesting and an investment.
    Meran or Merano, is a town in South Tyrol, northern Italy. It has a mild climate and palm trees grow there. Several photos show the palms and add to the charm of the views.

    A glance at the names of the contestants will show how many are involved in opening theory: the Colle System, the Grunfeld Defense, Grob’s Angriff, the Tarrasch Defense, Rubinstein variations in the French and Nimzo-Indian. Of course, there is also the Meran Variation in the Semi-Slav. Although known earlier than 1924, it has taken its name from the game Grunfeld-Rubinstein from Meran 1924. There is a whole chapter on the variant and almost seven double-column pages devoted to the game itself, played on the 6th of February 1924, in the Third Round.

    Actually, a fairly large essay could be written about Meran and chess.

    You’ll recall that Korchnoi and Hubner played together in the final of the 1980 Candidates in Meran. In rather mysterious circumstances, Hubner resigned the match prematurely with Games 9 and 10 adjourned.

    Korchnoi once again earned the right to play Anatoly Karpov for the title. The match was held in Meran in 1981. The format was identical to the 1978 match the first player to achieve 6 wins (draws not counting) became world champion.

    Korchnoi’s wife and son were still in the Soviet Union. Korchnoi fought for their freedom and his continuing effort likely led to his dismal performance as Karpov swept to victory in what was dubbed the “Massacre in Merano.”

    Wikipedia says, “The first act of the musical CHESS also has a world chess championship match set in Meran, and features a song entitled "Merano", which includes the line, "rosy-cheeked Merano, flourishing to a fault".
    Two posters are reproduced in the book – one for Hubner-Kortschnoi Meran-Merano December 1980 and the other for Karpov-Kortschnoi for the World Chess Championship Meran-Merano, beginning Oct. 1, 1981.

    At the moment I cannot think of a nicer spot to have a vacation in than Meran.

    But perhaps this is the effect of viewing too many posters of castles and palm trees and chess tournaments!