It was an era when the United States was king of teams capturing first place in the fourth International Team Tournament which was the forerunner of the Chess Olympiad. The American players dominated the field and represented many of the top players across America: Isaac Kashdan (70%), Frank Marshall (62%), Arthur Dake (60%), I. A. Horowitz (69%), and Herman Steiner (70%) scoring a team high of 48 of a possible 72 points. Second place was captured by Poland who headed up a strong field by Akiba Rubinstein (60%) with 47 points. Czechoslovakia captured third place with 46 points. It was the last time Rubinstein would sit at a chess board due to having been badly scarred from a bombing in the world war. Yet, he lived another 30 years to the age of 78.
Against the USA team, Rubinstein scored a full point against Kashdan with this short key game. White: Kashdan vs. Black: Rubinstein features a Queen’s Gambit.
l. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 Be7 6. e3 O-O 7. Qc2 h6 8. Bf4 c5!? Pursuing an aggressive posture. 9. c:d5 c:d4 10. e:d4 N:d5 11. N:d5 e:d5 12. a3 Probably played in hopes of avoiding Rubinstein’s great endgame skill by retaining pieces on the board. 12. …Re8 Thinking my square count again, he sets a clever trap. If now, 13. Bc7?, then 13. … Bd6+! 13. Be2 Nf6 14. Bc7 Bf5! 15. Q:f5 Q:c7 16. O-O Qb6 17.Rb1 Rac8 18. Qd3 a6 19. Nh4 Nc4 20. Nf5 Bf6 21. Rfd1 Rc4 22. Qf3 R/4c8 23. Qg4 Kf8 24. Bf3 g6! 25. Ne3 B:d4 26. N:d5 B:f2+ 27. Kf1 Qb5+ 28. Be2 Qc6 29. g3 Ba7 30. Qf4 Kg7 31. Rbc1 Qe6 32. Bg4 R:c1!! This leaves White with shock. 33. B:e6 R:d1+ 34. Ke2 Rd2+ White resigns.
Bled, 1931 saw another great tournament where world champion Alexander Alekhine smashed through 26 rounds without a defeat against the crème European chess. Six years before, Nimzovich had knocked over Sir George Thomas with this pawn sortie 6… f5 for which the world champion had likely teased Sir George to repeat with “try once with success; try it again!” While Sir George has slain many a dragon, here repeats contain a lot of fire and smoke.
This slam bang aggressive display aided in formulating my square count theory.
White: Alekhine vs. Black: Nimzovitch Opening: French Defense
l. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nge2!? d:e4 5. a3 B:c3+ 6. N:c3 f5?! Nimzovich used to exercise by standing on his head upside down to rush blood to his brain. I am not sure it is advisable during a chess battle. He repeats an earlier game which he won. Could he catch the world champion asleep, perhaps? Alekhine was in attack mode for which this white line was noted. A pawn is a pawn is a famous quote by GM Evans.
7. f3 e:f3 8. Q:f3 Ahh, that French wine is so good!
8. … Q:d4 Does he realize that pawn snatching opens up lines of attack ala square count?
9. Qg3! Nf6 10. Q:g7 Qe5+ 11. Be2 Rg8 12. Qh6 Rg6 13. Qh4 Bd7 14. Bg5 Bc6 15. O-O-O! Be4 16. Rhe1 Be4 17. Bh5 N:h5 18. Rd8+ Kf7 19. Q:h5 Black resigns.