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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Defending Is Harder Than Attacking

     There have been some famous tournaments held st Carlsbad: 1907, 1911, 1923 and 1929. The 1907 event was important because it featured a number of younger players facing off against a strong group of more established Masters. The time control was 30 moves in two hours, followed by 15 moves per hour and there was a provision that forbade agreed draws before move 45 without the permission of the tournament director. 
     Going into the last round Rubinstein was leading by a whole point ahead of Maroczy which meant he only need a draw to clinch first. There's a story, most likely apocryphal, that before the game Wolf promised Maroczy he'd help him win first place by beating Rubinstein. However, after about 10 moves it was clear Wolf would take a draw, but Rubinstein quickly built up a crushing attack. When the winning continuation became obvious, Rubinstein forced a draw, explaining, "Against Wolf I draw when I want to, not when he wants to!" Georg Marco wrote a book on the tournament and claimed Rubinstein simply missed the win and all he needed was a draw anyway. 
     As for Maroczy, he was in second a full point behind Rubinstein and had white against Janowsky whom he defeated in a nice game that featured Bs of opposite colors. Leonhardt was in third a full point behind Maroczy who was closely pursued by Nimzovich and Schlechter who were a half point behind him. Schlechter beat Tartakower when the latter completely misplayed the ending. 

Final standings: 
1) Rubinstein 15.0 
2) Maroczy 14.5 
3) Leonhardt 13.5 
4-5) Nimzovich and Schlechter 12.5 
6) Vidmar 12.0 
7-8) Teichmann and Duras 11.5 
9) Salwe 11.0 
10) Wolf 10.5 
11-12) Marshall and Dus-Chotimirsky 10.0 
13) Spielmann 9.5 
14) Tartakower 9.0 
15) Janowski 8.5 
16-18) Berger, Chigorin and Mieses 7.5 
19) Olland 6.5 
20) Cohn 5.0 
21) Johner 4.5 

     In his book The Art of Sacrifice in Chess, Spielmann gives his game against Janowski as an example of what he called a vacating sacrifice and explained,” the object of a vacating sacrifice is to clear a certain square for a certain piece.” In this case the vacating sacrifice was his 19.d6 which vacated d5 for a N which supported his R on e7. 
     In order to justify his play he gave some pretty superficial analysis and made some misleading statements. That was common before chess engines made us all GMs as long as we're armed with out laptops. As usual, none of that really matters; he was teaching concepts. Additionally, it proves the point that it's a lot harder to defend than attack. Very often when you're attacking, if you make a mistake the consequences are likely to be less severe than if you are defending. Besides that, the game is a lot of fun to play over! 

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