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Friday, April 6, 2018

A Rubinstein Masterpiece

     In the book The World's Greatest Chess Games by Burgess, Nunn and Emms they assigned scores to great games of the past and this masterpiece by Rubinstein scored 13 points out of 15 making it one of the top scoring games. 
     The game has probably been annotated hundreds of times and is quite familiar, but if you haven't seen it before, or even if you have, playing over it is always enjoyable. 
     We tend to think of symmetrical positions as drawing and boorish, but this game shows that in symmetrical positions a single tempo can be decisive and tactically it shows the power of the two Bs attacking the King. 
     The game was played in Lodz, Poland and TWGCGs lists the date as being 1907/8, but I was unable to find any information on the tournament in which it was played. The site 365chess lists four events in Lodz for 1907, but the games are incomplete: 

1) 8 games 12 rounds. Players: Rubinstein, Daniuszewski, Mund, Rotlewi, Kuczynski, Duz-Chotimirsky, Ivanovich and Przepiorka. In The Soviet School of Chess by Kotov and Yudovich no mention is made of Duz-Chotimirsky in Lodz. 
2) 2 games, 3 players. Daniuszewski, Rubinstein and Goldfarb 
3) 4 ganes, presumably from a match between Rubinstein and Salwe 
4) This game 

     Garry Kasparov described the game as Rubinstein's truly immortal game and his most famous creation. According to the Latvian newspaper in German Duna Zeitung the game was played in round 6 on December 26th 1907, Gregorian calendar (December 13th 1907 by Julian calendar). 
    Chessmetrics shows that in December of 1907, the 25-year old Rubinstein was ranked number 3 in the world with an assigned rating of 2769 while Rotlewi does not appear on the list until 1911. 
     Georg Rotlewi (1889 – 1920) was a Polish master and in this tournament 1906 he tied for 5-6th. In 1907, he finished third behind Rubinstein and Dawid Daniuszewski in a Quadrangular in Lodz, took 2nd, behind Heilmann, in Ostend and finished 6th in Lodz, the 5th Russian Chess Championship. 
     He finished 4th in the Prague 1908 Hauptturnier preliminary, tied for 1st with Daniuszewski at Lodz 1909, and took 2nd, behind Alekhine, at Saint Petersburg 1909 in the All-Russian Amateur tournament. He played two matches against Gersz Salwe, losing in 1909 (+5 –8 =5) and winning in 1910 (+3 –1 =6). A nervous disorder forced him to give up serious chess and he died in 1920 at the age of 31. According to Chessmetrics, Rotlewi reached his peak in 1912 with a rating of 2678, placing him number 12 in the world. 
     Today Lodz, a former industrial center, is the third-largest city in Poland and is located approximately 84 miles SW of Warsaw. In 1815, Lodz became part of the Russian-controlled Congress of Poland. In 1905 the city went into open revolution and over 300 workers and protesters were killed when the Tsarist police force regained control of the city. 
     Shortly after the outbreak of WWI, in 1915 the city come under German occupation and at the end of the war Poland became independent. During the post-war worldwide influenza epidemic the city lost over 40 percent of its population. 
     In 1939 World War II began when Nazi Germany launched an attack on Poland.  Lodz held out until September 8 and was then annexed into the Reich in November of the same year. The city was "liberated" on January 18, 1945 by the Red Army. The pre-war population had been decimated with an estimated 300,000 Jews and 120,000 Poles murdered during the six years of Nazi occupation.

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