The Amateur Eye- 85 Years Ago 1931

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.




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