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Friday, March 25, 2016

Pitschak Nicks Fischer for a Draw

     Not much is known about Fischer's opponent in this game, Rudolf Pitschak (5 August 1902 – 23 September 1988), a Czech–German master. He was born in the small town of Rumburk, Czechoslovakia.
     During the late 1920s and early 1930s Pitschak played in many European tournaments with success. His best results were in 1929 when he won in Venice with a score of 8.5 – 2.5. Carl Ahues finished second and Pitschak drew their individual game. 
     In 1929 he finished second behind Flohr at Kralicky. The same year he finished second at Munchengratz behind Bogoljubow. He finished second at Breslau in 1930. This event was part of the Silesian Chess Congress which was first held in 1922. In 1877 the Breslau Chess Association was founded and after World War I Germany had to cede a part of the Ostprovinzen, mainly Posen (Poznań). 
     In 1922 the new Silesian Chess Federation was founded and held a great number of congresses till 1939. Members of this federation and the German Chess Federation in Czechoslovakia played in each others championships. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Heinz Josef Foerder, being a Jew, lost his job, and moved to Riga, Latvia. In 1934 he emigrated to British Mandate of Palestine where he had changed his name to Yosef Porath. Foerder won the championship in 1930, 1931 (tied) and 1932 1930) 3rd-4th at Bílina 1930 1930) 
     After World War II, Pitschak played in the U.S. Open which was held in Cleveland, Ohio in 1957. The tournament was won by 13-year-old Bobby Fischer. I wrote about this tournament a few years ago because there was a big brouhaha about who actually won the event, Fischer or Bisguier: Hey, Art! Give back that trophy!
     In the '57 Open  Pitschak scored 7.5-4.5 and tied for places 24-31 with John W. Collins, Victor Guala, Lawrence Lipkin, James R. Schroeder, Bozidar Pehnec, Raymond Weinstein and Boris Garfinkel. 
   His score consisted of +4 -2 =6.  Losses were to Saul Wanetick (who tied for 8th-12th) and Lev Blonarovych (tied for 13th-23rd). In addition to his draw with Fischer, he drew with Walter Shipman (who tied for places 4-7) and Raymond Weinstein. His other games were against non-masters. 
    This game was played in August and Pitschak came within a hair of defeating Fischer. Not long after this game in the Rosenwald Memorial Tournament in New York City on October 17 Fischer defeated Donald Byrne in the famous “Game of the Century." 
     In the era before ratings it's hard to say with any certainty how strong players were but Chessmetrics puts Fischer's rating at the time of this game somewhere between 2500-2550. Chessmetrics also gives the following data on Pitschak. 

Best World Rank: #79 (on the February 1935 rating list with his highest ever rating of 2486)
Best Individual Performance: 2577 in Bad Liebenwerda, 1934, scoring 4.5/8 (56%) vs 2557-rated opposition.

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