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Friday, April 8, 2016

Karel Treybal

     Treybal's name is long forgotten, but it shouldn't be. He was born on February 2, 1885 in Kotopeky, a village to the southwest of Prague in central Bohemia and by the early 1900s was one of the most prominent Czech masters. 
     By profession he was a lawyer and served as chairman (judge) of the district court in Velvary, a small village north of Prague. Although an amateur player Treybal participated in several major international tournaments. His older brother, František, was also a prominent Czech player. 
     For an amateur his results weren't bad: 1905 tied for third/fourth in the first Czech Championship. In 1907 tied for second/fourth in the second Czech Championship which was won by his brother. 1908- won the Prague B tournament. In 1909 he finished second, behind Oldrich Duras in the third Czech Championship and in 1921 he tied for first in the seventh Championship with Karel Hromádka and Ladislav Prokes. He also played for Czechoslovakia in three Chess Olympiads where he compiled a modest total score of +12 -8 =20. His greatest international success was sixth place with Nimzovich in 1923 at Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad) in which he defeated Alekhine.
     Treybal died during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. On May 30, 1941 he was arrested, imprisoned and charged with concealing weapons for use by resistance forces plus the illegal possession of a pistol. 
     A 1945 tribute to Treybal that appeared in the Czech chess magazine Sach stated that Treybal had been executed without trial and had "never occupied himself with politics". Ladislav Prokes verified that Treybal had been arrested on May 30, 1941 in his office and was escorted to the Pankrac prison in Prague and from there to prisons in Kladno and Terezin. Prokes also verified the charge but did not indicate as to whether or not they were true. He also testified that Treybal acted in a brave manner while in prison and offered whatever help he could to other prisoners. See the fascinating story Inside the Pankrac Prison HERE.
     Unfortunately for history, Treybal's death was not well documented and it is neither certain that he was guilty of the charges or that he received an actual trial at the hands of the Nazis. According to a report that ran in the New York Times on Oct. 3, 1941, the German occupation forces had, as of that date, executed nearly 1,000 people in Europe, in some cases shooting them by the carloads, in reprisal for a mounting violence in the occupied countries. 
This is the family Treybal left behind
     On Oct. 2nd German dispatches said 141 executions took place in Bohemia-Moravia during the week Treybal was shot. Along with Treybal (whose occupation was listed as a salesman), Josef Benes, manager of the Farmers’ Association at Raudnitz, Anton Kvarda, manager of the trades school at Rakonitz, Josef Smrkovsky, a business man and Manzel Svoboda, a former Czech Army lieutenant were all executed at the same time. Such executions were the Nazis answer to sabotage, espionage, armed resistance, murder, treason, arson, aiding the enemy, listening to the foreign radio, operating illegal markets, dynamiting and anyone accused of being a Communist.
     Treybal was known for his attacking style and you will enjoy this snappy little game which is worth taking the time to play over on an actual board and trying to visualize all the neat little tactical shots black has after white's 15th move. It's especially instructive to watch black's N as it has the opportunity to jump to f3 with a devastating check on several occasions.

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