I was checking offbeat defenses to 1.d4 and was looking at the Symmetrical Defense (1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5), also known as the Austrian Defense. It was analyzed as far back as 1604 but was studied by the Austrian players Hans Haberditz, Hans Muller and Ernst Gruenfeld. Today most theoreticians think White’s advantage is too great and the best Black has is a draw. Of course it can transpose into the Tarrasch variation if White wants.White usually plays 3.cxd5 when it is not advisable for Black to play 3...Qxd5 because White gets a big lead in development. Instead, Black should play 3...Nf6 intending to recapture on d5 with his knight. White should be able to maintain the advantage with either 4.Nf3 or 4.e4 though.
One of the games I came across was this amusing Spielmann debacle. Rudolf Spielmann (5 May 1883, Vienna – 20 August 1942, Stockholm) is well known.
His opponent is lesser known. Hans Fahrni (1 October 1874, Prague– 28 May 1939, Ostermundigen) was a Swiss master. In 1892 he was joint Swiss chess champion. His best results were: 1909, first ahead of Tartakower, Alapin and Spielmann in a Munich quadrangular tournament and first place in 1911 at San Remo.
He played several matches. In 1907, he lost to Spielmann (+3 –5 =2); in 1908, he drew with Alekhine (+1 –1 =1) in Munich. In 1908, he won against Salwe (+3 –1 =1) in Prague. In 1910, he lost to Spielmann (+3 –4 =4) in Munich. In 1912, he won against von Bardeleben. In 1914, he drew with Leonhardt (+1 –1 =0). In 1916, he drew with Selesnev (+2 –2 =2) in Tiberg. In 1917, he lost to Teichmann (+0 –2 =2) in Zurich.
In 1916 he began suffering from psychosis…a generic term for a mental state often described as involving a "loss of contact with reality.” He was hospitalized but after his release, he had a relapse.
In this game Spielmann plays a horrible continuation and Fahrni mops up the floor with him.