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Monday, July 2, 2018

London 1922 and Buyer's Remorse

     We recently visited a nearby shopping plaza and dined at Texas de Brazil, an upscale Brazilian eatery featuring all-you-can-eat grilled meat carved table side by “gauchos” and a salad bar. 
     It's for meat lovers; if you are looking for anything else, there's not much to offer. Meats included herb marinated pork loin, picanha, garlic pichana, Brazilian sausage, leg of lamb, chicken breast wrapped in bacon, alcatra, lamb chops, filet mignon, filet mignon wrapped in bacon, Parmesan crusted pork loin, braised beef ribs, barbecued pork ribs, Parmesan drumettes and flank steak. Very good!
     You also get a dish of garlic mashed potatoes and some fried bananas. The bananas are meant to cleanse the palate between tasting different cuts of meat, but they were too sweet for my taste. Avoid the coffee, drinks and desserts which cost extra. The coffee is $6 a cup and the desserts $8. Not worth it and they caused the $44.99 per person bill to add up a lot! Generally, not a place you'd visit on a regular basis and don't go there unless it's your intention to gorge yourself. 
     From there we moseyed over to Barnes and Noble book store where I bought some "$5 special" spy novels and history books. I also made an impulse purchase when I spent $10 on the tournament book London 1922 by Geza Maroczy with a forward by Andy Soltis. Why, I don't know. 
     All the games are available for download and Soltis' forward is superfluous and contains nothing much of real interest. In fact, if you want a round by round account of the tournament you can read the British Chess Magazine's account HERE, starting on page 319 and running to page 342. Edward Winter's site also has an article on the tournament by Capablanca. 
     Playing over the games using an engine will also reveal that Maroczy's notes are, I don't know how else to say this, just plain bad...short and riddled with errors. All in all, the book is a hack job. You can download 68 games with Maroczy's crappy notes HERE.  
     As for the tournament itself, it was something else. Unfortunately Borislav Kostic and Frank Marshall had problems with obtaining traveling expenses and couldn't attend, but the lineup was formidable: Capablanca, Alekhine, Vidmar, Rubinstein, Bogoljubov, Reti, Tartakover, Maroczy, Yates, Atkins, Euwe, Znosko-Borovsky plus lesser luminaries Wahltuch, Morrison, Watson and Marotti. 
     A lot of the games will be found in the collections of several of the players; they were that good. The tournament was important because the new world champion, Capablanca, played in his first serious event since winning the title in 1921 and he scored an impressive 13.0-2.0. Alekhine was also undefeated but yielded too many draws. 
     It was at this tournament that Capa introduced the conditions challengers would have to meet to get a match that came to be known as the London Rules.
     What I like about this tournament was that it not only contained some of the biggest names of the time, but there was also enough players to serve as cannon fodder which allowed for some brilliant crushes! There were also very few draws. 
     Speaking of draws, in the penultimate round Capablanca and Rubinstein were paired against each other and a lot of spectators showed up expecting a titanic struggle. Instead they were left indignant when they witnessed a 13 move draw. 
Tartakower, a favorite player
    In the following game Tartakower makes some pretty sacrifices against Wahtuch who made the mistake of leaving his King in the center a tad too long. The game really isn't all that great, but it once against demonstrates the ease with which a GM can outplay a master. I have posted this anecdote before concerning this matter: I once witnessed GM Miguel Quinteros playing time handicap games at $20 a game against a local master. The master had 5 minutes on his clock while Quinteros had only one. In the 3-4 games I watched the master lost all of them. 

1) Capablanca 13.0 
2) Alekhine 11.5 
3) Vidmar 11.0 
4) Rubinstein 10.5 
5) Bogoljubov 9.0 
6-7) Reti and Tartakover 8.5 
8-9) Maroczy and Yates 8.0 
10) Atkins 6.0 
11) Euwe 5.5 
12-13) Znosko-Borovsky and Wahltuch 5.0 
14-15) Morrison and Watson 4.5 
16) Marotti 1.5 

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