Semmering Baden 1937

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  • #16
    Semmering Baden 1937

    April 9, 2020

    Rounds Nine and Ten

    Round 10 (continued)

    Round 10, Sept. 22
    Fine, Reuben – Keres, Paul
    D83 Grunfeld, Grunfeld Gambit

    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 O-O 6.Qb3 c6 7.Nf3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Nbd7 9.O-O Nb6 10.Be2 Be6 11.Qc2 Nfd5 12.Bg3 Rc8 13.e4 Nc7 14.Rfd1 h6 15.Ne5 Qe8 16.a4 f6 17.Nd3 Nd7 18.a5 f5 19.exf5 gxf5 20.a6 bxa6 21.Nf4 Bf7 22.Bxa6 Rb8 23.Re1 Bxd4 24.Bd3 Bb3 25.Qe2 e5 26.Bc4+ Bxc4 27.Qxc4+ Qf7 28.Qxc6 exf4 29.Bh4 Ne5 30.Qd6 Qd7 31.Qxh6 Qg7 32.Qxg7+ Kxg7 33.Ne2 Bxb2 34.Rxa7 Rf7 35.Nxf4 Re8 36.Kf1 Ne6 37.Nxe6+ Rxe6 38.Rxf7+ Kxf7 39.Bg3 Kf6 40.f4 Ng4 41.Rxe6+ Kxe6 42.h3 1/2-1/2

    - This is a bizarre game from two of the best players in the world at the time! I guess Fine was desperate to catch up with Keres in the tournament, and perhaps Keres was too anxious to hold on to his lead.

    Fine seems to have built up a solid advantage out of the opening, but somehow lets it slip - the simple 24. Qxf5 (24...Rxb2?? 25. Bd3) looks much better than the text. Then 28. Qxc6?!? A wild attempt to complicate things and go for the win? It's pretty desperate though, and Keres surely had plenty of chances to finish White off from then on (30...Qg6! looks good, with the idea of 31. Qxc7 Nf3+).

    Round 10, Sept. 22
    Petrov, Vladimir – Flohr, Salo
    D12 QGD Slav

    1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Bd3 e6 6.Nc3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 Nbd7 8.O-O Bb4 9.Nd2 O-O 10.e4 dxc4 11.Qxc4 Qe7 12.a3 Ba5 13.f4 Bb6 14.e5 Nd5 15.Nf3 f6 16.Kh1 fxe5 17.fxe5 Qf7 18.Nxd5 cxd5 19.Qd3 Qf5 20.Qxf5 Rxf5 21.Be3 h6 22.Kg1 Kh7 23.g4 Rff8 24.Kf2 Rac8 25.Rac1 Rxc1 26.Rxc1 Nb8 27.Ke2 Nc6 28.b4 Kg8 29.Rf1 Rc8 30.Kd3 Rf8 31.Nd2 Rc8 32.Nf3 Rf8 1/2-1/2

    Round 10, Sept. 22
    Ragozin, Viacheslav – Reshevsky, Samuel
    D12 QGD Slav

    1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Bd3 e6 6.Nc3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.Qb3 Qe7 9.O-O O-O 10.a3 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Qc7 12.Ne5 Nbd7 13.Nxd7 Nxd7 14.f3 b5 15.Be2 e5 16.a4 Be6 17.Qd1 Rfd8 18.axb5 cxb5 19.Bxb5 Qxc3 20.Bd2 Qc7 21.Rc1 Qb6 22.Qa4 Rab8 23.Ba5 Qd6 24.Bc7 Qe7 25.d5 Nc5 26.Bxd8 Rxd8 27.Qa3 Rxd5 28.e4 Rd2 29.Qxc5 Qg5 30.Rf2 Rd8 31.f4 Qf6 32.Qxe5 Qe7 33.f5 Qa3 34.Qc7 Rc8 35.Qxc8+ 1-0

    - Black gets into trouble very early here. In order to prevent White from blockading the position, and gaining an advantage in space, Reshevsky opens the position himself with 14. ... b5, followed by 15. ... e5. The result, however, is that after the simplification on the queenside, White's pieces become active, while Black's are misplaced. After Ragozin's 22. Qa4, White must win at least a pawn. At this juncture, Black blunders gruesomely, but the position is already a win for White.

    - White plays 5. Bd3. I think many people would have banged out 5...Bxd3 before white could even hit his clock.

    Standings after Round Ten

    1 Keres 7.5
    2 Fine 6
    3-5 Capablanca, Flohr, Reshevsky 5
    6 Ragozin 4.5
    7-8 Eliskases, Petrov 3.5


    • #17
      Keres Ragozin (Rd9) That Nc3 later on became the star of the show. A pretty picture presents after move 37.


      • #18
        Keres had white in three consecutive rounds. Maybe it was a hard adjustment to have black afterwards.Regardless he survived (against Fine's opening pressure no less) but missed a great opportunity (with the remaining knight no less!)


        • #19
          Semmering Baden 1937

          April 10, 2020

          Rounds Eleven and Twelve

          Round Eleven

          Round 11, September 23
          Capablanca, Jose Raul – Reshevsky, Samuel
          A28 English, Four Knights, Capablanca variation

          1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.d3 Bb4 5.Bd2 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.g3 O-O 8.Bg2 Nb6 9.O-O h6 10.Re1 Qe7 11.a3 Bd6 12.Nb5 Be6 13.b4 a6 14.Nxd6 cxd6 15.e4 d5 16.exd5 Nxd5 17.Rc1 Qd6 18.Qc2 Rfe8 19.Qc5 Qxc5 20.Rxc5 f6 21.d4 Bf7 22.dxe5 fxe5 23.Ng5 hxg5 24.Bxd5 g4 25.Bxf7+ Kxf7 26.Re4 Rac8 27.Be3 b6 28.Rc3 Nd4 29.Rxc8 Rxc8 30.Kg2 b5 31.Rxe5 Nc2 32.Bc5 Rc6 33.a4 bxa4 34.Re2 Na1 35.Ra2 Nb3 36.Rxa4 a5 37.Ba7 Rc4 38.Rxa5 Nxa5 39.bxa5 Ra4 40.Bb6 Ke6 41.h3 Kf5 42.hxg4+ Kxg4 43.f3+ Kh5 44.Kh3 Kg6 45.g4 Kf7 46.Kh4 g6 47.Kg5 Rb4 48.Bc7 Rc4 49.Bd8 Rd4 50.Bb6 Rb4 51.f4 Rb5+ 1/2-1/2

          - This game was interesting. It looks like Reshevsky was on the knife's edge of defeat here, but saved himself with energetic defense.

          - For a player of Capa's calibre, this should have been a trivial endgame win. He really must have been out of form in this event.

          - I think he was. Only 5 years later, Capa would be dead from a hypertensive cerebral hemorrhage, and the pathology involved in these things do not just develop overnight. The now vulnerable Cuban chess machine at this point in his career was having lapses in concentration and had become more prone to superficial calculation and blunders, resulting in erratic tournament performances - a mixture of brilliant runs and strange collapses.

          - All very interesting, but did Capa actually miss a win in this game?

          - How about <26. Rc4> as a possible improvement? Then if 26...Nd4 27. Rc7+, or if 26...Rad8 27. Bc1. White wins a pawn, and I think Black's counterplay is less than in the game.

          - 26.Rc4 Nd4 27.Rc7+ Kf6 28.Kf1 (28.Rxb7 Nf3+) Nf3 29.Rd1 Re7 looks fine for Black.

          - You're right. Maybe 23. Ng5 was not as strong as it looks. How about 23. Nh4 Rad8 24. Nf5, maintaining the pressure?

          - Another interesting try is 33. Rg5 Nxa3 34. Rxg4 a5 35. Bd4, which looks strong at first glance.

          - Yes, 23.Nh4 seems to be a decent alternative to 23.Ng5.

          Round 11, September 23
          Fine, Reuben – Ragozin, Viacheslav
          E06 Catalan, Closed

          1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 c6 5.Qc2 Be7 6.Bg2 O-O 7.O-O b6 8.Ne5 Ba6 9.Rd1 Nfd7 10.cxd5 Nxe5 11.d6 Bf6 12.dxe5 Bxe5 13.Nc3 Nd7 14.Be3 Rc8 15.Rd2 Bc4 16.Ne4 Bd5 17.f4 f5 18.fxe5 fxe4 19.Qc3 Qe8 20.Rf1 Qh5 21.Bf4 g5 22.Be3 Rxf1+ 23.Bxf1 Rf8 24.Bg2 Qg4 25.b3 h5 26.Rd1 h4 27.Rf1 hxg3 28.Rxf8+ Kxf8 29.h3 Qxe2 30.Qd2 Qxd2 31.Bxd2 Nxe5 32.Bxg5 Ke8 33.Bf4 Nf7 34.Bxg3 Kd7 35.h4 Nxd6 36.h5 Nf5 37.Bf4 Ke7 38.Bh3 Nd4 39.Kf2 Kf6 40.Bb8 a6 1/2-1/2

          Round 11, September 23
          Flohr, Salo – Eliskases, Erich
          D53 QGD, Orthodox Defence

          1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 h6 6.Bh4 O-O 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Bd3 Be6 9.Nge2 Ne8 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Nf4 c6 12.h4 Nf6 13.Qb3 Rc8 14.O-O Ne8 15.Nxe6 fxe6 16.Ne2 Nd6 17.Nf4 Nd7 18.Qa3 e5 19.Ng6 Qf6 20.dxe5 Nxe5 21.Nxe5 Qxe5 22.Rac1 Rc7 23.Qc3 Qe6 24.Qd4 Re7 25.b4 a6 26.a4 Nf7 27.b5 axb5 28.axb5 Ne5 29.bxc6 bxc6 30.Rfd1 Nxd3 31.Qxd3 Ra4 32.g3 Re4 33.Qc3 d4 34.Qxc6 Qxc6 35.Rxc6 dxe3 36.fxe3 1/2-1/2

          Round 11, September 23
          Keres, Paul – Petrov, Vladimir
          A46 Queen’s Pawn, Torre Attack

          1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bg5 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Bd3 Be7 6.Nbd2 d6 7.O-O Nbd7 8.e4 e5 9.Re1 Ng4 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Nc4 O-O 12.Qd2 Rae8 13.h3 Ngf6 14.a4 a6 15.Qc3 g6 16.Ncd2 Rc8 17.Bc4 Nh5 18.Bd5 c6 19.Bc4 Nf4 20.Bf1 c5 21.dxe5 Nxe5 22.Nxe5 dxe5 23.Nc4 Rc6 24.g3 Nh5 25.Nxe5 Rd6 26.Nc4 Re6 27.e5 f6 28.exf6 Qxf6 29.Qxf6 Rexf6 30.Re2 a5 31.Bg2 Ba6 32.Bd5+ Kh8 33.Rae1 Rf5 34.Be6 R5f6 35.b3 Ng7 36.Bd5 Nf5 37.Re6 Nd4 38.Rxf6 Rxf6 39.Re8+ Kg7 40.Ne5 h5 41.Re7+ Kh8 42.Nf7+ Kg7 43.Ng5+ Kf8 44.Ra7 1-0

          - Black's bishop is under attack. Black will save bishop and in next move white knight will fork black rook by giving check on h7. Black loses rook

          - Black could try to move the rook and attack the bishop simultaneously with 44..Rd6 or ..Rf5, but this would fail to 45 Nh7+ Ke8 46 Rxa6, when 46..Rxd5 would lose the rook to 47 Nf6+.

          Round Twelve

          Round 12, September 24
          Eliskases, Erich – Keres, Paul
          D95 Grunfeld

          1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e3 Bg7 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Qb3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 Nbd7 8.O-O Nb6 9.Be2 Bf5 10.Bd2 Ne4 11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.Bc3 Qd5 13.Qxd5 Bxd5 14.Rfc1 Rfc8 15.Nd2 Na4 16.Bf3 Bxf3 17.Nxf3 c5 18.Rab1 b6 19.Bd2 cxd4 20.exd4 Rxc1+ 21.Bxc1 Rc8 22.Kf1 b5 23.Ke2 Rc2+ 24.Nd2 Bh6 25.Kd3 Rc7 26.Nb3 Bxc1 27.Nxc1 Nb6 28.Ne2 Nd5 29.a3 Kf8 30.g3 Ke8 31.Nc3 Nxc3 32.bxc3 a6 33.a4 Rb7 34.d5 e6 35.dxe6 fxe6 36.axb5 axb5 37.Ke4 Kf7 38.c4 b4 39.Kd4 Ke7 40.c5 g5 41.Kc4 Kd8 42.Rxb4 Rf7 43.Rb2 h5 44.Ra2 Kc8 45.Kb5 h4 46.Kb6 Rf3 47.gxh4 gxh4 48.Ra8+ Kd7 49.c6+ Ke7 50.Rh8 Rb3+ 51.Kc7 Rb2 52.Rh7+ Kf6 53.Kd8 Rd2+ 54.Rd7 Rxf2 55.c7 Kg5 56.c8=Q Rf8+ 57.Kc7 Rxc8+ 58.Kxc8 e5 59.Re7 1-0

          - Strange game. Black had a clear edge by about move 24, and a draw for the asking.

          - What's important here is that white king is much more active.

          - Up to this game Keres had an impressive <+6 score> only to suffer from fatigue and just get 0.5/3 points from the final 3 games.

          Round 12, September 24
          Reshevsky, Samuel – Flohr, Salo
          D18 QGD Slav, Dutch variation

          1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 dxc4 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Nbd7 8.Qe2 Bb4 9.O-O Ne4 10.Nxe4 Bxe4 11.Rd1 O-O 12.Bd3 Bxd3 13.Qxd3 Qa5 14.Bd2 Bxd2 15.Nxd2 Rfd8 16.Nc4 Qc7 17.Qc3 Nb6 18.Ne5 Nd7 19.Nxd7 Rxd7 20.Rac1 1/2-1/2

          Round 12, September 24
          Ragozin, Viacheslav – Capablanca, Jose Raul
          D18 QGD Slav, Dutch variation

          1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Bb4 8.O-O O-O 9.Qb3 Qe7 10.Ne5 c5 11.Na2 Ba5 12.Qb5 b6 13.f3 cxd4 14.e4 Bg6 15.Bg5 a6 16.Qb3 Qc5 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Nd3 Qd6 19.Qd1 Rc8 20.b3 Nd7 21.Qe2 Nc5 22.Nxc5 Qxc5 23.Bd3 f5 24.Rab1 fxe4 25.fxe4 Bc3 26.b4 Qe5 27.Nc1 a5 28.bxa5 Bxa5 29.Rb5 Rc5 30.Qf3 Rxb5 31.axb5 Bd2 32.Ne2 Be3+ 33.Kh1 Ra3 34.Rd1 h5 35.h3 Rxd3 36.Rxd3 Bxe4 37.Rxe3 dxe3 38.Qf1 Qxb5 39.Qf4 Bxg2+ 40.Kxg2 Qxe2+ 0-1

          - On a hunch, I wondered why not 40. Kxg2. In fact, it turns out that Crafty prefers this to 40.Kh2. In fact, it MUCH prefers 39...Qxe2 to 39...Bxg2. Why did Capa play this, and why did Ragozin respond like that?

          - Why Ragozin played 40. Kh2 (if he did so) I don't know. But on the previous move I think that Capablanca played 39. ... Bxg2+ (instead of Qxe2) to eliminate pieces like in 40. Kxg2 Qxe2+ 41. Kg3 Qf2+ 42. Qxf2 fxf2 which is a much clearer win (at least for a human)

          - There had been 10 games with the Slav in the Alekhine-Euwe return match earlier in 1937 so it may have been in fashion then. 10 Ne5..c5 11 Na2..Ba5 led to an easy equality for black; the combination of Qb3 and Na2 does not look promising. Perhaps 10 a5 was an alternative. The complications starting with 12 Qb5 backfired as the queen was more poorly placed than the black bishop on a5. 13 dxc..a6 would have been good for black. 20 b3 created a hole at c3 which Capablanca exploited; 20 Rc1 would have been preferable. If 35 Ng3..Ra2 36 Nf1..Rf2 37 Qh3..Bxe4 is decisive for black.

          - Masterly planning and execution.

          - Beautiful play from Capa - great use of the bishops.

          - Ragozin's philosophy of pawn sacrifices to attain the initiative is stopped in its tracks; Ragozin unfortunately sacrifices a centre pawn against the "wrong" man. Capablanca makes full use of his pawn on d4 that acts as a "bone in the throat of White's position". Then Capa with computer like precision transforms the endgame into a won one.

          Round 12, September 24
          Petrov, Vladimir – Fine, Reuben
          E02 Catalan, open

          1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Qa4+ Nbd7 6.Bg2 a6 7.Nc3 Bd6 8.O-O O-O 9.Qxc4 b5 10.Qd3 Bb7 11.Rd1 Qe7 12.Ne5 Bxg2 13.Nxd7 Qxd7 14.Kxg2 b4 15.Nb1 Rfd8 16.Nd2 e5 17.Ne4 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 exd4 19.Rxd4 Qb5 20.Qf3 Be5 21.Re4 Bf6 22.a4 1/2-1/2

          Standings after Round Twelve

          1 Keres 8.5
          2 Fine 7
          3 Capablanca 6.5
          4-5 Flohr, Reshevsky 6
          6-7 Eliskases, Ragozin 5
          8 Petrov 4


          • #20
            Semmering Baden 1937

            April 11, 2020

            Rounds Thirteen and Fourteen

            Round Thirteen

            Round 13, September 26
            Flohr, Salo – Capablanca, Jose Raul
            D28 QGA, Classical

            1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.O-O a6 7.Qe2 Nc6 8.Rd1 Qc7 9.Nc3 Be7 10.a3 b5 11.Ba2 b4 12.Na4 cxd4 13.exd4 Bd7 14.axb4 Nxb4 15.Nc3 Bb5 16.Qe5 Qb7 17.Bb3 Nd3 18.Qg3 Nxc1 19.Raxc1 Bd7 20.Bc4 Rc8 21.b3 O-O 22.Ne5 Bb5 23.Qd3 Bxc4 24.bxc4 Rfd8 25.Qe2 Qa7 26.c5 Nd5 27.Nxd5 Rxd5 28.Ra1 a5 29.Qb5 Bxc5 30.dxc5 Rxe5 31.Rxa5 1/2-1/2

            Round 13, September 26
            Keres, Paul – Reshevsky, Samuel
            D29 QGA, Classical

            1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.O-O a6 7.Qe2 b5 8.Bb3 Bb7 9.Rd1 Nbd7 10.a4 b4 11.Nbd2 Qc7 12.Nc4 Be7 13.Nfe5 O-O 14.Bd2 Rac8 15.Rac1 Rfd8 16.a5 Bd5 17.Nxd7 Nxd7 18.e4 Bxc4 19.Bxc4 Qxa5 20.Ra1 Qc7 21.dxc5 a5 22.Be3 Nxc5 23.Bxc5 Bxc5 24.b3 Bd4 25.Rac1 a4 26.bxa4 b3 27.g3 b2 28.Rc2 Bxf2+ 29.Kg2 Bd4 30.Bb3 Bc3 31.Rf1 Qb7 32.Ba2 Rd4 33.Rf3 Rxa4 34.Bb1 Rxe4 35.Qd3 Rd4 36.Qe3 Rdc4 37.Kh3 Bd4 38.Qd3 Rxc2 39.Bxc2 Rxc2 40.Qxd4 Rc8 41.Rd3 h6 0-1

            Position after Black’s 25…..a4


            - The decisive mistake in this game is 16. a5, after which the a-pawn must eventually fall. But at move 15, White's options are surprisingly limited: in this position, he has few real attacking opportunities.

            - 39. rxc2 is just gorgeous

            - 10..b4 is not mentioned in either book that I have on the QGA. It looks too committal particularly with white's queen knight still on b1. Reshevsky makes no comment about 13 Nfe5 but this move seems to make it more difficult for white to play e4 and e5. Reshevsky notes that perhaps 15 a5 at once is more logical while the pawn is still protected by the queens rook. Keres's blunder 21 dxc? led to the loss of a pawn. Reshevsky again makes no comment regarding 28 Rc2 but this appears to be another blunder as after 28 Rb1 Reshevsky's shot 26..Bxc2+ would not have been possible. If 34 Rfxc3..Rxc3 35 Rxc3..Rxa2 36 Qc2..b1(Q) 37 Rc8+..Qxc8 and wins. This game was not one of Keres better efforts.

            - Reshevsky: Semmering, 1937, was an attempt to recapture the glories of the great Semmering tournament of 1926. A sobering feature was the presence of Rudolph Spielmann, winner of the 1926 event, as tournament director. The eight players who were selected to play in this tournament may well have wondered what they would be doing eleven years from then, when their successes as grandmasters had faded!

            - Reshevsky: 21. dxc5?

            An astonishingly careless blunder for a master like Keres. The proper course was 21. Bxa6 Ra8 22. Be3 with equal chances.

            - Reshevsky: 21..... a5

            Winning a pawn, as the c5 pawn falls at once.

            - Reshevsky: 23. Bxc5

            Relying upon the resulting Bishops of opposite colors, but, as we will see, this proves to be a vain hope.

            - Wonderful play from Reshevsky in the middlegame. A perfect demonstration of Botvinnik's axiom that in opposite-colour bishop middlegames, the player with the attack is a piece ahead. 25...a4! is the key move of the game, returning the extra material to secure a huge initiative.

            Round 13, September 26
            Petrov, Vladimir – Ragozin, Viacheslav
            A00 Dunst (Sleipner/Heinrichsen/Baltic) Opening

            1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 d4 3.Nce2 e5 4.Ng3 Be6 5.d3 Nc6 6.a3 g6 7.f4 exf4 8.Bxf4 Bd6 9.Qd2 Qe7 10.Nf3 O-O-O 11.Ng5 h5 12.Nxe6 Qxe6 13.Be2 Bc5 14.O-O f6 15.b4 Bd6 16.Rfc1 Nge7 17.Bxd6 Qxd6 18.b5 Ne5 19.Qb4 h4 20.Nf1 g5 21.Nd2 N7g6 22.Qxd6 Rxd6 23.g3 Kd8 24.Kg2 Ne7 25.c4 dxc3 26.Rxc3 f5 27.Rac1 hxg3 28.hxg3 Rdh6 29.Nf1 c6 30.d4 Nd7 31.bxc6 bxc6 32.e5 f4 33.Bf3 c5 34.dxc5 Nxe5 35.Re1 N7c6 36.Bxc6 Nxc6 37.Rd3+ Kc7 38.Rd5 Rg8 39.Red1 Rg7 40.Nh2 Re6 41.Ng4 fxg3 42.Kxg3 Ne7 43.Re5 Rxe5 44.Nxe5 Nf5+ 45.Kf3 Re7 46.Rd5 Nh4+ 47.Kg3 Nf5+ 48.Kf3 Nh6 49.Kg3 Ng8 50.Ng4 Rg7 51.Rd6 Ne7 52.Ne3 Rf7 53.Kg4 Rf4+ 54.Kxg5 Re4 55.Ng4 Nc6 56.Rd5 Rd4 57.Nf6 Rxd5+ 58.Nxd5+ Kb7 59.Kf5 Nd8 60.Ne7 Nc6 61.Nd5 Nd8 62.Nb4 a5 63.Nd3 Kc6 64.Ke5 Kb5 65.Kd6 a4 66.Kd5 Nc6 67.Nb2 Ne7+ 68.Ke6 Nc8 69.Kd7 Na7 70.Kd6 Nc8+ 71.Kc7 Na7 72.Kd6 Nc8+ 1/2-1/2

            Position after White’s 60.Ne7


            Round 13, September 26
            Fine, Reuben – Eliskases, Erich
            B55 Sicilian, Prins variation

            1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.f3 e5 6.Nb5 a6 7.N5c3 Be6 8.Nd5 Nxd5 9.exd5 Bf5 10.Bd3 Bg6 11.O-O Be7 12.c4 Nd7 13.Nc3 O-O 14.Be3 Bg5 15.Bxg5 Qxg5 16.Bxg6 Qxg6 17.Qd2 Rac8 18.b3 f5 19.f4 e4 20.Ne2 Nc5 21.Rac1 Rfe8 22.Rc3 Qf6 23.Qd4 1/2-1/2

            Round Fourteen

            Round 14, September 27
            Capablanca, Jose Raul – Keres, Paul
            D18 QGD Slav, Dutch variation

            1.c4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Nbd7 8.Qe2 Bb4 9.O-O Ne4 10.Nxe4 Bxe4 11.Bd3 Nc5 12.Bxe4 Nxe4 13.Qc2 Qd5 14.Ne5 O-O 15.f3 Nc5 16.Nc4 b5 17.axb5 cxb5 18.Bd2 Bxd2 19.Nxd2 Na4 20.Rfe1 h6 21.b3 Nb6 1/2-1/2

            - The game that clinched Semmering-Baden 1937 for Keres, signifying his emergence as a top world player.

            - This was a really cool game. Tons of in-between moves.

            - The remarkable thing is that had Keres lost this game, he would have scored 0/3 in the last three rounds, yet still have taken outright first in this super tournament.

            Round 14, September 27
            Eliskases, Erich – Petrov, Vladimir
            A90 Dutch-Indian, Alekhine variation

            1.d4 e6 2.c4 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Be7 6.Bc3 O-O 7.Nd2 d5 8.Ngf3 Ne4 9.O-O Bf6 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Ne5 Nd7 12.Qb3 Be7 13.Rad1 c6 14.Nxd7 Qxd7 15.f3 exf3 16.Rxf3 Qc7 17.e4 Qb6 18.Qa4 Bf6 19.c5 Qc7 20.Qc4 Kh8 21.Re1 Bd7 22.Bh3 Rad8 23.Kg2 g6 24.exf5 exf5 25.d5 cxd5 26.Bxf6+ Rxf6 27.Qd4 Rf8 28.Re7 Qd8 29.Rfe3 Kg8 30.Kg1 R6f7 31.Rxf7 Rxf7 32.Bg2 Bc6 33.b4 a6 34.a4 Qf6 35.Qxf6 Rxf6 36.Re7 Rf7 37.Rxf7 Kxf7 38.b5 axb5 39.axb5 Bxb5 40.Bxd5+ Kf6 41.Bxb7 Ke5 42.Kf2 g5 1/2-1/2

            Round 14, September 27
            Ragozin, Viacheslav – Flohr, Salo
            B10 Caro-Kann, Two Knights variation

            1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ exf6 6.d4 Bd6 7.Bd3 O-O 8.O-O Bg4 9.h3 Bh5 10.Be3 Nd7 11.Re1 Re8 12.g4 Bg6 13.Bxg6 hxg6 14.Qd3 Nf8 15.c4 Qc7 16.Re2 Ne6 17.Rae1 Red8 18.Qe4 Qa5 19.a3 f5 20.gxf5 Qxf5 21.Qxf5 gxf5 22.Rd1 Be7 23.d5 cxd5 24.cxd5 Bf6 25.Red2 Nf8 26.Bd4 Nh7 27.Be5 Ng5 28.Nxg5 Bxe5 29.Nf3 Bd6 30.Rc2 g6 31.Nd4 a6 32.Rd3 Rac8 33.b4 Rxc2 34.Nxc2 Kf8 35.Nd4 Ke7 36.Kg2 Kd7 37.Nb3 Rc8 38.Na5 Rc7 39.Nb3 Rc2 40.Nd4 Rc4 41.Nf3 Rc2 42.Nd4 Ra2 43.h4 Be5 44.Nb3 b6 45.Nd2 Rc2 46.Nf3 Bf6 47.h5 gxh5 48.Nd4 Bxd4 49.Rxd4 Rc3 50.a4 Kd6 51.Rh4 Kxd5 52.Rxh5 Ra3 53.Rh6 b5 54.axb5 axb5 55.Rf6 Kc4 56.Rxf5 Kxb4 57.Rxf7 Rd3 58.f3 Kc3 59.Rc7+ Kb3 60.Kg3 b4 61.Kg4 Ka2 62.f4 b3 63.Ra7+ Kb1 64.f5 b2 65.Rb7 Kc2 66.Rxb2+ Kxb2 67.f6 Kc3 68.f7 Rd8 69.Kf5 1/2-1/2

            Position after White’s 53.Rh6


            Round 14, September 27
            Reshevsky, Samuel – Fine, Reuben
            D28 QGA, Classical

            1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.O-O a6 7.Qe2 Nc6 8.a4 Be7 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.Nc3 O-O 11.h3 Rd8 12.d5 exd5 13.Bxd5 Nb4 14.e4 Nfxd5 15.exd5 Bf5 16.Bf4 Qxf4 17.Qxe7 b6 18.a5 Re8 19.Qh4 Qxh4 20.Nxh4 Bc2 21.Rd2 bxa5 22.Rxa5 Rac8 23.Na2 g6 24.Nxb4 cxb4 25.Rxa6 Re1+ 26.Kh2 b3 27.Nf3 Rb1 28.d6 Rd8 29.d7 Bf5 30.Nd4 Rc1 31.Nxf5 gxf5 32.Rad6 f4 33.h4 Kg7 34.g3 fxg3+ 35.fxg3 Rc2 36.Kg2 Kf8 37.Kf3 Ke7 38.Rxc2 bxc2 39.Rc6 Rxd7 40.Rxc2 Rd3+ 41.Kf4 Rb3 42.Rg2 Kf6 43.g4 Rb4+ 44.Ke3 h5 45.gxh5 Rxh4 46.Kd3 Rxh5 47.Kc4 Ke5 48.b4 Kd6 49.Rf2 f5 50.Kb5 f4+ 51.Ka6 Ke5 52.b5 Ke4 53.b6 f3 54.Rc2 Rh6 55.Ka7 Ke3 56.b7 Rh7 57.Ka8 Rxb7 1/2-1/2

            - Fine missed the move 17...Bxh3 winning a pawn although after 18. Ne2 Qg4 19. Ng3 Nxd5 20. Qxb7 black's only slightly better. See Valeinis - Sakai 2004

            Final Standings

            1 Keres 9
            2 Fine 8
            3-4 Capablanca, Reshevsky 7.5
            5 Flohr 7
            6-7 Eliskases, Ragozin 6
            8 Petrov 5


            • #21
              Semmering Baden 1937

              April 11, 2020

              From a letter to Fred Reinfeld of the Chess Review, November 1937, p.255

              The Semmering Tournament

              By Dr. J. Hannak

              A Great Victory for Keres

              After a struggle of three week’s duration, this tournament, the last great tourney of the year, is now over. On the whole it was a disappointment. Through a veritable berserk-roar of ballyhoo, it was puffed up into the greatest even of all times and peoples. And withal this “World Tourney” was so permeated with shabby miserliness that – perhaps the first instance in modern tournament play – no per game honorarium was provided for the non-prize-winners.

              Only through the energy of the “Chief Tournament Director” (Dr. Euwe) and the generosity of the Nottingham patron Mr. Derbyshire (who was staying at Semmering), was it possible to scrape together a small fund for the non-prize winners. Indeed, the poor millionaire Zimdin, who financed the tournament, could not even see his way to indulging in the luxury of providing the “Grand Tournament of the Candidates for the World Championship” with new time-clocks. Just out of sheer stinginess, the masters were compelled to play with clocks from before the Flood; every day these clocks would stop going just at the most critical time pressure crises, resulting in repeated conflicts of the players with the committee.

              Spielmann carried the whole burden of really running the tournament, and had to spend many hours every day in preliminary work weeks before the tourney actually got under way. A man of his eminence (who, incidentally, won the great Semmering Tournament of 1926!), received for all this work 150 schillings (about $35.00!!). Just write down that sum and repeat it out loud! And in addition those who were in charge of the Tournament treated him like a lackey. One day he had someone prepare a bulletin showing the progressive scores of the players, and submitted a bill for 5 schillings (a little over $1.00). Because of this unheard of expenditure, the management threatened his immediate discharge and demanded that he pay the bill himself. And incidentally, a fund of 5000 schillings was supposed to have been provided to cover administrative outlays of this type. It would be interesting to know just what this fund was expended for! Furthermore, the masters were decidedly dissatisfied with the accommodations provided for them. In short, this “sensational tournament” created plenty of discontent.

              Just as there were three Tournament Directors and a “chief” Tournament Director, so there were eight favorites and one “chief favorite – Capablanca. The tournament was postponed for three weeks only on his special account, mountains of cablegrams and airmail letters were exchanged with him, and the sum thus expended would have sufficed to reward the non-prize-winners very liberally. Capablanca himself was not responsible for all this fol-de-rol and he was doubtless disgusted with the accompanying beating on the advertising tom-tom. But those who staged the tournament were so unlucky that the “chief” favorite was not in the mood to satisfy them, badly in need as they were of a sensation. He was indisposed for play to a perhaps greater extent than ever before, and not for a single moment could he be seriously considered as a possible winner of the first prize, once the tournament had started. The “chief” favorite also ran…

              Instead, the victory was achieved by the only one of the Grand Masters who had not received a retainer: Keres! The Semmering people had threatened to omit Keres from the list, if he had the temerity to request a retainer – that’s what they thought of him! And then they had to look on helplessly while this lad romped away with the first prize; and, worse yet, he was the only one literally the only one, who put some life into the tournament. Capablanca played badly, Flohr played wretchedly. But Reshevsky, too, showed his real ability only in a few games. Not only were the masters fatigued from the numerous exacting struggles of this year; they were also disgusted. The most solid chess was played by Fine, who produced draws in drove; but they were bitterly hard-fought games. He was the only one to avoid defeat.

              The Semmering people were voluble in reproaches to the masters who had received retainers; the only answer one can give them is that the masters would have been pretty stupid to play for still less than they actually received. These gentry must be taught that the art of the chess master should be awarded at least a fraction of the honorarium received by a boxer, a tennis star or an operetta diva. It is also by no means true that the non-prize winners would have received more if the Grand Masters had no received retainers. It is the moth-eaten excuse which theatrical producers always use when they assure us that they would pay their extras and chorus girls ore if only they did not have to pay such exorbitant amounts to the stars. WE know this song and we know who composed it. If anything the Grand Masters requested too little rather than too much in the way of a retainer..

              Despite all these ugly accompanying phenomena of the tournament, it ranges only slightly behind the World Championship Match, the Stockholm Team Tourney and the Kemeri Tournament. Even though this year’s Semmering Tournament does not bear comparison with its glorious predecessor (1926), it is nevertheless one of the great events of chess history.

              (Translated by F.R.)

              Comment by Fred Reinfeld: Having played over all the Semmering games, it is my personal reaction that Dr. Hannak does an injustice here to Fine, Reshevsky, Ragozin, Eliskases and Petrov. But that is a matter of opinion.

              In his letter to me, Dr. Hannak had the following to say about the first-prize winner:

              “Keres tired badly in the closing rounds, but he merited his success. He never cares who his opponent is; he plays exactly the same way against Capablanca as against a third-rater! He likes to play chess in the same way that a kitten likes to play with a ball of wool. The other masters sighed happily at the conclusion of a game, but Keres would have liked to start a new one right then and there.

              This keen pleasure he takes in chess accounts for his wonderful showing, but it also explains why he had some anxious moments toward the end. In the 12th round he had a clearly drawn position against Eliskases and the half point would have assured him the first prize two full rounds before the close! But (like the kitten) he continued to play out of sheer sportiveness and eventually…lost. In the following round he lost to Reshevsky, and so he had some anxious moments in the last round, when he had to be certain of a draw against Capablanca to gain the first prize. He is a charming boy and his victory was very popular; even his colleagues, the other masters like him! Would it not be possible to invite him to the U.S.A.?

              There are rumours that the Semmering people will arrange a four-master tournament at Christmas with Euwe, Alekhine, Capablanca and Keres, with Fine as alternate – but they are only rumours."