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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Pistyan 1922

    Bad Pistyan, a health resort, was noted for its hot mineral springs and was a favorite of many well known European celebrities. One of the landmarks was a young man breaking his crutch in half, supposedly because after visiting the springs, he didn't need it.
     The tournament place was held at the Grand Hotel Royal which was situated in the spa gardens and was played according to the usual tournament rules, but with a new time control introduced by the TD, Dr. Vécsey: 25 moves per hour then 15 moves per hour. This was slower than usual because modern masters were introducing a lot of new moves in the openings and so more thinking time was needed. 
    The organizers had hoped the “new” hypermodern players would strut their stuff, but were disappointed when from the beginning the tournament was dominated three attacking players, Alekhine, Bogolyubow and Spielmann! They set a furious pace and dominated the event. 
     Bad Pistyan was the first major chess tournament after World War One and signaled a revival of chess life in Europe. In the same year major tournaments were played in London, Hastings, Vienna and Teplice. In Bad Pistyan Spielmann showed that he was, after the war, one of the the best players in the world, which he confirmed in the next few years by numerous good results. 
    Gyula Breyer died of heart failure at the age of 28 in November 1921 and shortly before his death he had written to his friend Dr Zoltan Vecsey, then Secretary of the Kosice Chess Club, suggesting that a strong international tournament should be arranged in Pistyan. The idea was that this tournament would continue the tradition started in 1912 when the town had hosted a strong international tournament. The Kosice Chess Club decided to honor Breyer's memory by designating the event as the Gyula Breyer Memorial Tournament. The first tournament took was won by Akiba Rubinstein ahead of Rudolf Spielmann and Frank Marshall.
Alekhine playing Marco
Niniteen players accepted. Oldrich Duras, Emanuel Lasker, Aron Nimzowitsch and Richard Teichmann did not reply. Akiba Rubinstein accepted, but had to withdraw before the tournament began because of stomach problems. The world champion, Capablanca, was missing for unknown reasons while Géza Maróczy, Milan Vidmar and Jacques Mieses said they lacked the time. There were two tournaments: the main event designated the "A" tournament and a long forgotten "B" tournament with twelve players. The final result was still in doubt until the last round. At the end of the penultimate round Alekhine and Bogoljubov were tied with 14 points. In the final round Alekhine could only manage to draw with Reti while Bogoljubow defeated Euwe, winning the tournament. 

     Bogoljubow lost only one game, to Tartakower. Alekhine, who greatly enhanced his reputation in this event, lost only one game, also to Tartakower and drew with Bogoljubov and Spielmann. The only undefeated player was Spielmann; considering his risky style, that is rather surprising. The fourth place finisher, Gruenfeld, lost to Bogoljubow, Spielmann, Alekhine and Reti. Three special brilliancy prizes were awarded and one of the most instructive games was the one given below. 

Bad Pistyan, Czechoslovakia, 7-28 April 1922 
1) Bogoljubow 15.0 
2-3) Spielmann 14.5 
2-3) Alekhine 14.5 
4) Grünfeld 11.0 
5) Réti 10.5 
6-7) Sämisch 9.5 
6-7) Wolf 9.5 
8) Tartakower 9.0 
9-11) Tarrasch 8.5 
9-11) Euwe 8.5 
9-11) Johner 8.5 
12-13) von Balla 8.0 
12-13) Treybal 8.0 
14-15) Selezniev 7.0 
14-15) Hromadka 7.0 
16-17) Prokes 6.0 
16-17) Przepiorka 6.0 
18) Marco 5.5 
19) Opocensky 4.5

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