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Friday, September 1, 2017

A Simple Example of an Important Strategic Principle

1931 US team
    The 4th Tournament of Nations (aka the Chess Olympiad) was held in Prague from the 11th to the 26th of July in 1931; there were 19 nations and 93 players participating. Originally there were 22 teams scheduled, but three withdrew.

     The players' list was impressive: Alekhine, Gruenfeld, Kashdan, Marshall, Flohr, Vidmar, Bogoljubow, Stahlberg with only Euwe, Capablanca and Nimzovich missing. Poland, the previos winner, was a favorite even though their top player, Rubinstein, was already showing signs of mental illness. Other favorites were Austria and Yugoslavia which was lead by Vidmar. The US team, lead by Kashdan, had a mix of veterans and young players and so was dangerous. Germany was another top team. The Hungarians were also expected to a strong threat, but only Lajos Steiner played well and the rest of the team did poorly.
     In the final round six top teams played with each other. Poland and the USA competed for a Championship. Poland was one point behind but their tie-break record was superior so they needed a win to retain the title. In the end, the US won. They lost 3 matches in the early stage but they were simply the strongest as a team with all of the players scoring at least 60 percent. The Great Depression produced strong US teams that dominated the Olympiads, winning gold medals in Prague 1931, Folkestone 1933, Warsaw 1935 and Stockholm 1937. At Prague the US team was I.A. Horowitz, Frank Marshall, Isaac Kashdan, Arthur Dake and Herman Steiner.
     This game by two minor masters is simple, but instructive, because it illustrates an important strategic principle that Pawns must advance on the wing where they are supported by their own Bishop. A more famous example of this is the game Reti – Gruenfeld, Semmering, 1926.       
     Dr. Karel (Carlos) Skalica was born November 1, 1896 and died at the age of 83 December 10, 1979. He was Czech master who remained in Argentina following the outbreak of World War II. At the Prague Olympiad of 1931, he won the individual gold medal on the first reserve board with a score of +9 -2 =3. His opponent was Johannes Hermanus (Joop) Addicks, a Dutch master. Addicks (January 4, 1902-1961) as a member of the famous clock-making family in Amsterdam.

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