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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A Clever Tactic By Fred

    A few years ago (sometime in the late 1960s) I visited Dr. Albert Buschke's chess book store in Manhattan. In 1938 Albrecht Buschke, emigrated to the United States from Germany and brought a collection of chess books with him. His great knowledge of the subject enabled him to become the country's foremost used chess book dealers. One of the couple of books I picked up was a tattered and cheaply produced book on the 1951 Zonal tournament; it cost $6.00.
    One of the things I like about tournament books is that you get to see games that never make it into print for various reasons...the players weren't “name” players or the games weren't spectacular enough to make it into print, or maybe it was just that nobody played over them and so they were never noticed. These games also show chess as it's really played by journeyman masters down in the trenches. This game certainly wasn't spectacular until you see Fred's surprising 16th move. Skold played the opening rather passively and the result was a somewhat cramped position, but when he delayed castling one move too long, that was all it took to find himself in a lost position.
     Marianske Lazne (aka Marienbad) is a spa town in the Karlovy Vary Region of the Czech Republic. The town, surrounded by green mountains, is a mosaic of parks and noble houses. Most of its buildings come from the town's Golden Era in the second half of the 19th century, when many celebrities and top European rulers came to enjoy the curative carbon dioxide springs. The Zonal Tournament was held there in 1951 with the exception of the two last rounds which were played in Prague. 
     The tournament was won by Ludek Pachman with the impressive undefeated score of 13-3. Together with Szabo, Barcza and Stoltz he qualified for the following year's Interzonal at Stockholm. Jan Foltys and Pal Benko were tied for the final qualification spot at Stockholm. Foltys had the better tie breaks, but there was a possibility of a play-off match taking place. However, it appears that the idea was discarded and Foltys was awarded the spot. Unfortunately, he died of leukemia on March 11, 1952 before the Interzonal started.
     Benko was next in line, but he could not play because he was otherwise occupied; he was in prison for trying to defect to the West. Gideon Stahlberg ended up getting the place vacated by first Foltys then Benko.

1) Ludek Pachman 13.0
2) Laszlo Szabo 12.0
3-4) Gideon Barcza and Gosta Stoltz 10.5
5-6) Jan Foltys and Pal Benko 10.0
7-8) Jaroslav Sajtar and Josef Lokvenc 8.5
9-10) Olaf Barda and Andrzej Pytlakowski 7.5
11) Sad Zaglul Basjuni 7.0
12) Kristian Skold 6.0
13-14) Alexander Tsvetkov and Ion Balanel 5.5
15) Aatos Fred 5.0
16) Wolfgang Heidenfeld 4.5
17) Eigil Pedersen 4.5

     Jalo Aatos Fred (April 1, 1917 – April 10, 2003, 85 years old) was born in Pori, Finland. He was Finnish champion in 1947 and 1955 (after a play-off). From the late 1940s to the early 1960s, he was one of the leading chess players in Finland. He won two gold medals in the Finnish chess championships (1947, 1955), silver (1961) and 3 bronzes (1951, 1953, 1960). Fred represented the Finnish team at the World Chess Olympiad, which participated 7 times (1952-1964). In his last chess Olympiad in 1964, he won the bronze medal on his individual board.
     Kristian Skold (September 26, 1911 - May-15-1988, 76 years old) was born in Stockholm. He was Swedish champion in 1949, 1950, 1959 and 1963.

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