|Mueller, the chess player|
It's the chess player who is the subject of this post. According to a post in Edward Winter's site, besides chess, Mueller was a master of fencing, skiing and lawn tennis and also published works on graphology, microscopy and Hindu philosophy, but I was unable to find more information on any of his accomplishments in those areas.
Mueller (December 1, 1896, Vienna – February 28, 1971, Vienna) was an Austrian master (both over the board and correspondence), theoretician and author of books. He was one of the best players in Austria until the end of the Second World War. He was also an opening theorist and authored books on Alekhine and Botvinnik. Awarded the IM title in 1950, his career began in the 1920s and lasted until 1970.
Mueller's father was a military Kapellmeister (leader or conductor of an orchestra or choir) who was wounded in World War I and returned home to find little left. Hans was forced to abandon his studies in mechanical engineering in order to earn a living and worked various jobs which included laborer, banker, chess instructor, language, music, tennis and skiing. Once he managed to establish himself he was able to pursue his other interests: graphology (handwriting analysis), gardening, meteorology, fish farming and sports.
His chess career started in 1921 when he won his first tournament in Vienna and in 1922 he won the Austrian championship. Most of his successes came in the 1930s, mostly in Austrian tournaments, but he also had some good results in international events.
Mueller also represented Austria at the Olympiads in 1928, 1930, 1933, 1935, 1936 and 1950. He was also successful in correspondence chess. In 1932-33 he won the first unofficial World Correspondence Championship which was conducted by the forerunner of the ICCF. He represented the Austrian national team at the first Fernschach Olympiad of the IFSB in the years 1937-39 and scored with 4.5-0.5 on third board in the final round.
After the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in March 1938, Austrian chess was reorganized and affiliated with the Greater German Chess Federation (GSB) and during that time Mueller was one of the best players in Austria until the end of the Second World War.
During the Nazi years many Jewish Austrian players (the "Aryan" paragraph of the GSB forbade them from playing) and non-chess players faced an uncertain future or managed to escape. In 1939, in Aachen, Mueller, a non-Jew, was awarded the newly created title "Reichsschachmeister" after winning the first Official Championship Tournament of the National Socialist organization Kraft durch Freude.
During the occupation Mueller won the Vienna City Championship, which included Ernst Gruenfeld, in 1938, 1939 and 1941. He also participated in the German Championships in 1939, 1941, 1942 and 1943. In 1942 he finished second behind Ludwig Rellstab.
After the end of the Second World War, Viennese players no longer occupied places of prominence as the old timers were no longer able to keep up with a new generation players. That included Mueller whose results began to slip in the late 1940s and 1950s.
His active tournament career came to an end in the mid-1950s and he began writing instructional chess books which enjoyed great popularity. However, in 1954 he did win San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy. Until the late 1960s he participated in team events and Vienna City Championships where his best result was was third in 1964.
For decades, Mueller was a leading chess columnist in various Austrian daily newspapers, wrote articles for numerous chess magazines and was also a respected trainer and chess teacher.
Mueller's opponent in this game did what many of us do. When we analyze we make assumptions: I play here, he plays there. Then I capture and he retakes, etc.
What often happens is that amateurs calculate moves where they assume their opponent will make moves that fall in line with their plans. Masters on the other hand look for ways their opponent can upset their plans.
Those “ifs” and “thens” are our assumptions, but if we are assuming wrong, we are likely to have an accident when the opponent throws a monkey wrench (as Andrew Soltis called them) into our plans. That's exactly what happened to white in this game when he played 21.Qc7??
He most likely assumed that his opponent would take the Q and white would recapture with a R on the 7th which is almost always a good thing. These accidents happen because we never stop to ask, “What other useful move does he have?”
When we realize we've made a false assumption, assuming it doesn't lead to immediate disaster as in this game, there's also a psychological factor...we start second guessing ourselves. Instead of forgetting the past and making a new evaluation of the situation we keep reliving it. I remember reading a note by Rossolimo in which he explained his poor play because he suddenly realized his situation was critical. Instead of reassessing the new situation, he spent his time inveighing against his previous play.
These false assumptions frequently involve captures; we assume they are obligatory. Take the following position from Yusupov vs. Short played in Barcelona, 1989.
|White to move|
Yusapov's strategy has been to attack the P on d5 and he now assumed it was now time to take it which is made possible because of black's unguarded R on e8 and so he played 31.Rxd5??
Yusupov's assumption was that black had to take the R with 31...Rxd5, then he could play 32.Qxe8 Qxb3 33.Qe7 and his strategy has successfully resulted in a tactical sequence that wins the d-Pawn. Likewise, if black plays 31.Bxd5 32.Qxd7 also picks up material. It was a bad assumption. Short didn't recapture; he played 31...Red8 which wins a piece and white had to resign.