Chess in 1918: Rubinstein-Schlechter

Chess in 1918: Rubinstein-Schlechter

In his chess column in Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung (January 13 1918) Schlechter announced that he was to play a match against Rubinstein:

At the end of Januar Schlechter and Rubinstein will play a small match at Kerkaupalast in Berlin. The match will begin on January 19 [the first game was in fact played on the 21st. ed.]. 6 games will be played. Draws counts as half a point. The player with the most points will be declared winner and is awarded 1000 Marks, and the other player 600 Marks. In addition both masters will receive compensation for travel and accommodation.

The match was originally scheduled to be played December 1917, but postponed because Rubinstein “at the last moment demanded completely different conditions”.
(Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, December 1917, p. 282)

On his way to Berlin Schlechter made a stop in Prague and gave a simultaneous exhibition. He played 37 opponents, won 24, lost 4, and drew 9 games.

Carl Schlechter
Carl Schlechter.

Carl Schlechter – NN
Prague, January 16 1918
1. Nc3 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 d6 4. e4 Bg4 5. Bb5 Bxf3 6. gxf3 exd4 7. Qxd4 Qf6 8. Qe3 Nge7? 9. Nd5
And white won in a few moves.
(Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung, February 1918, p. 45)

Rubinstein also played a simul before the match. In Berlin on January 19 he won 24 games and only lost one. The exhibition took place at Kerkau-Palast, the same venue that hosted the match.

Akiba Rubinstein – W. Preisswerk
Berlin, January 19 1918
1. e4 e5 2. f4 Bc5 3. Nf3 d6 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. Bb5 Bg4 6. h3 Bxf3 7. Bxc6+ bxc6 8. Qxf3 Qh4+ 9. g3 Qe7 10. d3 Nf6 11. Bd2 Nd7 12. o-o-o o-o 13. f5 Rab8 14. Kb1 Bd4 15. g4 d5 16. b3 Qa3 17. g5 Nc5 18. Bc1

18… Nxb3 19. cxb3 Rxb3+ 20. axb3 Qxb3+ 21. Bb2 Bxc3 22. Rh2 Rb8 23. Rdd2 a5 24. Rc2 d4 25. g6 hxg6 26. fxg6 fxg6 27. Rhg2 a4 28. Rxg6 Bxb2 29. Rxg7+ Kh8 30. Rg8+ Qxg8 31. Qh5+ Qh7 32. Qxe5+ Qg7 33. Qxg7+ Kxg7 34. Rxb2 Rb5 35. Ka2 Rxb2+ 36. Kxb2 c5 37. Ka3 c4 38. Kxa4 cxd3 39. Kb3 c5 40. h4 c4+ 41. Kb2 c3+ 42. Kc1 d2+ 43. Kd1 Kf6 44. Ke2 Ke5 45. h5 Kxe4, white resigns.
(Source: The Reading Observer, May 18 1918)

Akiba Rubinstein.
Akiba Rubinstein.

The day before the match Jacques Mieses published a long piece in Berliner Tageblatt (January 20):

Despite the horrible fight for our existence that demands all the power of our nation, and which we have fought for 3½ years, there is an almost unabated interest in all intellectual fields in our fatherland. That is a phenomenon which we can be proud of. The fact that we can once more organize an interesting chess match in the nation’s capital, in this time of weapons clinking, is a joyful event. Not just from a chess point of view but also in general.

This time it is two foreign masters, C. Schlechter of Vienna and A. Rubinstein of Warsaw, who will wrestle each other in the Kerkau-Palast, the scene of so many exciting chess battles. Because of the present circumstances it has not been possible to properly measure the fighter’s strengths in a long decisive match. The masters will only play a series of six games, but with the well-founded reputation of the two matadors, even a short clash between the two can be categorized as a significant chess event.

The match mainly came about on the initiative of the well-known Berlin chess publisher and teacher B. Kagan, who also organized the Lasker-Tarrasch match in 1916. His name is sweet music especially to the ears of chess enthusiasts in the German and Austrian-Hungarian forces. Despite the war, B. Kagan has published a great number of stimulating chess books and made them available free of charge to chess friends at the front, in the field hospitals, and in the infirmaries. Thus he has greatly contributed to the spreading and popularity of the noble game and deserves the gratitude of so many soldiers. (…) The games between Rubinstein and Schlechter will undoubtedly be followed with excitement by many chess friends in uniform.

The match begins tomorrow, January 21. To predict the mutual chances of the matadors is a delicate matter. Both have performed excellently in tournaments as well as matches and they are completely evenly matched. Famously, Schlechter is the only player who has drawn a match against World Champion Lasker. In a match as short as the present, luck could play a role which must not be underestimated as the first couple of games could decide the end result. So even if surprises could very well be possible, they would not be surprises to chess connoisseurs.

 

Was Rubinstein a traitor?

World War 1 was still raging. Rubinstein (Russia) and Schlechter (Austria-Hungary) were citizens of countries at war with each other, and Rubinstein participated in an event on enemy soil. Did that make Rubinstein a traitor? Some in the British press thought so:

Mr Yates notes in “Yorks. W. Post” that Rubinstein seems to have thrown in his lot definitely with his country’s enemies, and is now engaged in a match with Schlechter at Vienna [in a later column this was corrected to Berlin. Ed.]. – If so, we can chalk Mr Rubinstein off as a poor creature, and certainly can’t congratulate him on his move from the frying pan into the fire! Russia is in the melting pot, but the Ramshackle Show is practically in “Blazes.”

(Source: Falkirk Herald March 20 1918)

Rubinstein lived in Warsaw which had been occupied by German troops since 1915. He was a Russian citizen, but lived in a Poland that hungered after independence. At the time of the match an armistice between Russia and the Central Powers (mainly Germany and Austria-Hungary) had been in place for a month, and peace negotiations were under way. A peace treaty was signed on March 3. Poland gained independence after the end of WW1 in November 1918, and Rubinstein automatically gained Polish citizenship.

The games

Game 1

Carl Schlechter – Akiba Rubinstein
Berlin, January 21 1918
Notes by Carl Schlechter
Additional notes by Jacques Mieses
1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. d3
White wanted to bring about the well-known variation 4… Bb4 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Bxc3+! 7. bxc3 Qxf6 8. Ne2 (as in the game Schlechter-Leonhardt, Bad Pistyan 1912). However, Rubinstein remembered his game against Mieses in the 1908 Vienna tournament and avoided the danger with 4… Bc5.
4… Bc5 5. Be3
White could transpose to the so-called “Giuoco Piano” with 5. Nf3. 5. Bg5 came into consideration.
5… Bb6
The opening of the f-file with 5… Bxe3 would be advantageous for white. White would continue with Qf3, Nge2 followed by 0-0 and attain very strong play.
6. Qd2 d6 7. Nge2 Be6 8. Bxe6
White could of course just as well have played 8. Bb3 or 8. Bd5. The text move releases the tension too soon.
8… fxe6 9. Bxb6
This exchange is the natural follow-up to the 8th move.
9… axb6 10. 0-0 0-0 11. f4

11… d5!
Mieses: White’s opening doesn’t give black any problems. Black completely equalizes with the text move.
12. exd5
White could bring about complications with 12. fxe5 Nxe5 13. Qg5 Qd6!, but that would only be favorable for black.
Mieses: 12. fxe5 Nxe5 13. Qg5 was also to be considered but black has the strong reply 13… Qd6. Then white can’t play 14. Nb5 because of 14… Qc5+, and if 14. d4 then 14… Nf7 15. Qe3 e5 after which the game peters out. [At the end of this line black had an even better move, 15… Qxh2+! winning a pawn. ed.]
12… exd5 13. fxe5 Nxe5 14. Nd4 Qd7 15. Rae1 Rae8 16. Qg5

The position is very dangerous for black. Rubinstein thought for a long time and found the best move.
16… Nc6!
The best. 16… Ng6 would be bad because of 17. h4. If 16… Qg4 then 17. Qxg4 Nexg4 18. Ne6 Rf7 19. h3. After 16… Nf7 17. Qf5! black would be under pressure.
17. Ncb5 Nxd4 18. Nxd4 Rxe1 19. Rxe1 Re8 20. Re5 h6 21. Qe3 Rxe5 22. Qxe5 Qe8 23. Qxe8+ Nxe8 24. Ne6 Kf7 Draw.
Of course, white doesn’t play 25. Nd8+ followed by Nxb7 because the knight would be lost, but rather 25. Nf4.

Sources:
Deutsche Schachzeitung February 1918 pp. 28-29
Tidskrift för Schack January-February 1918 pp. 13-14

Kerkau-Palast in Berlin, the playing venue.

Game 2

Akiba Rubinstein – Carl Schlechter
Berlin, January 22 1918
Notes by Carl Schlechter
Additional notes by Jacques Mieses, John Donaldson & Nikolay Minev, and I. M. Brown
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 Nbd7 4. e4 e5 5. Nge2
The knight is much better placed here than on f3.
5… g6 6. g3 Bg7 7. Bg2 exd4
This exchange seems to be necessary, otherwise white closes the position with d4-d5 giving black a cramped game.
8. Nxd4 0-0 9. 0-0 Nc5
Maybe 9… Ne5 was better in order to continue with Bd7 and Nc6.
10. h3
This move was probably not necessary. 10. f3 could be played at once.
Mieses: Preparing Be3.
10… Re8 11. f3 Bd7 12. Be3 a6
Preparing the break b7-b5. There is no other obvious plan for black.
Mieses: Black dare not keep passive because of the threat Nd5 followed by f4. An attack on the queenside is his only chance.
13. Qd2 Ne6 14. Kh2

14… b5 15. cxb5 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 axb5 17. a3 Rb8 18. f4 Be6
Very dangerous, as the bishop is exposed to the attack of the white f-pawn. Very much to be considered was 18… b4 and best play would be 19. axb4 Rxb4 20. e5! dxe5 21. Bxe5!. If 21. fxe5 Nh5! threatening Rxd4 and white would be in a very difficult position.
Mieses: 18… Bc8 would be better than the text move.
19. Nd5! c6 20. Nxf6+ Bxf6

21. f5
A very strong move which gives white the advantage. 21. Bxf6 Qxf6 22. Qxd6 Qxb2 23. Qxc6 Rbc8 gives black good attacking chances.
21… gxf5
Forced. After 21… Bg5 22. fxe6! white would win easily and brilliantly. If 21… Bc4 then simply 22. fxg6.
22. exf5 Bc4 23. Rfe1! Re5
The best. After 23… Rxe1 24. Rxe1 nothing can save black, for example 24… Bg5 25. Re8+! Qxe8 26. Qxg5+ Kf8 27. Bg7+ Kg8 28. Bh6+ followed by Qg7#.
Mieses: The exchange sacrifice is forced because after 23… Bxd4 24. Qxd4 white threatens both Bxc6 and f6, rendering black’s position untenable.
24. Bxe5 Bxe5 25. Bxc6 Qf6

26. Rxe5
White was in time trouble here and had to look for a clear and convenient continuation. 26. Rab1 was probably better and if 26… d5 then 27. b3.
Mieses: Rubinstein was not forced to give back the exchange but could very well have kept the material advantage with 26. Rab1. However, he was in time trouble and after 26. Rab1 d5 the passed d-pawn could have given him difficulties. Psychologically, the exchange sacrifice can be explained in this way.
Brown: Not forced, for 26. Rab1 Ba2 27. Rbc1 sufficed.
Donaldson & Minev: We think that after 26. Rab1 Kh8! (intending 27… Rg8, if 27. Rg1 d5!), Black has strong counterplay and good compensation for the exchange. [Donaldson & Minev seems to have missed the tactic 26. Rab1 Kh8 27. b3! and after 27… Bc3 28. Qe3 Bxe1 29. bxc4 Bc3 30. cxb5 the two passed pawns should win. Ed.]
26… dxe5 27. Be4 Rd8 28. Qe3 Rd4 29. Re1
Mieses: Better was probably 29. Rg1 followed by Rg2.
29… Qd8 30. f6
Otherwise f7-f6 and black is safe.
30… Qxf6 31. Bg2 Rd3 Draw
Possible was 32. Qxe5 Qxe5 33. Rxe5 Rd2 34. Kg1 Rxb2 35. Re3 with equality.
Mieses: 31… e4 would have increased black’s chances.

Sources:
Deutsche Schachzeitung February 1918 pp. 29-30
Tidskrift för Schack January-February 1918 pp. 14-15
British Chess Magazine April 1918 pp. 118-119
Donaldson & Minev: The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein p. 312

The only known photo from the match. Rubinstein is seated on the left, and Schlechter on the right.
The only known photo from the match. Rubinstein is seated on the left, Schlechter on the right.

Game 3

Carl Schlechter – Akiba Rubinstein
Berlin, January 23 1918
Notes by Carl Schlechter
Additional notes by Jacques Mieses
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. Qe2
An ineffective continuation. The best way of playing is 5. 0-0.
Mieses: This variation is seldomly played. It is considered to give black an easy defense.
5… b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. a4 Rb8 8. axb5 axb5 9. d3
9. Nc3 0-0 is more common. But even that gives no more than equality.
9… 0-0 10. 0-0 d6 11. Be3 Bg4 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Qxf3 Nd4 14. Bxd4 Bxd4
It would seem that a dreary drawish position has arisen, however, the play becomes quite lively now.
15. Nc3
Better than 15. c3, after which it will not be so easy to develop the knight.

15… g6
The World Champion [Emanuel Lasker. Ed.] recommends 15… Bxc3 followed by Nd7 or Ra8. Maybe Rubinstein avoided this continuation because he wanted to keep the opposite-colored bishops.
16. Nd1 Nh5 17. c3 Bc5 18. Ne3 b4 19. Bc4 bxc3 20. bxc3 Qg5 21. Rfd1!
Black doesn’t pay nearly enough attention to the attack in the centre. He should play for a draw with 21… Qf4.
21… Nf4?
Mieses: Not good, as the continuation shows. 21… Rb2 would have been better.
22. d4

22… exd4?
Now black loses a piece. The bishop had to go to b6 immediately.
Mieses: A mistake which costs a piece. After 22… Bb6 23. dxe5 dxe5 24. Rd7 white only has a small positional advantage.
23. cxd4 Bb6
If 23… d5 then 24. dxc5 dxc4 25. h4.
24. h4!
A move that is certainly easy to overlook.
24… Qxh4
Mieses: If 24… Qf6 then 25. Ng4.
25. g3 Qf6
Best. Black gets two pawns for the piece, though he must exchange queens. If 25… Nh3+ then 26. Kg2 Qh6 27. Ng4.
26. Qxf4 Bxd4 27. Qxf6 Bxf6 28. Ra7 Bd8 29. Rda1 Rb4 30. Bd5 Rb2 31. Rc1 h5 32. Rc2 Rb1+ 33. Kg2 Kg7

34. Ba2
White chooses a very sharp line. Clearer and safer was 34. Nc4-a5-c6.
34… Re1 35. Nd5 Rxe4 36. Nxc7 Re7 37. Rc6 Rh8 38. Nb5 Rxa7 39. Nxa7 h4 40. Rxd6
If 40. g4, to avoid further pawn exchanges, then 40… h3+ followed by Bg5 is dangerous for white.
40… hxg3 41. fxg3 Re8 42. Bc4 f5 43. Nc6 Bf6 44. Nd4 Re4 45. Ne6+ Kh6 46. Nf4 Kg7
Of course, after 46… Rxc4 47. Rxf6 white has an easily won game.
47. Rc6 Re1 48. Rc7+
Mieses: The simplest was probably 48. Be2 with the threat of Bh5.
48… Kh6 49. Bg8 Rb1
Mieses: Rubinstein defends himself as well as possible, but in vain.
50. Rc6
The continuation 50. Rh7+ Kg5 51. Nh3+ Kg4 52. Bd5 would be useless. 52… Rb2+ would follow and black’s king escapes the mating net.
50… Kg7 51. Bd5
51. Bh7 was faster.
51… Rd1

52. Re6!
Now white is on the right path. The continuation is clear and forcing.
Mieses: White wants to play the bishop to e8 to attack the g-pawn.
52… Rd4 53. Bc6! Rd2+ 54. Kh3 Rd1 55. Be8! Rh1+ 56. Kg2 Rh6 57. Rb6
Mieses: Black is in a fatal zugzwang.
57… Be5 58. Nxg6 Bf6 59. Nf4 black resigns.

Sources:
Deutsche Schachzeitung February 1918 pp. 31-32
Tidskrift för Schack January-February 1918 pp. 15-16

Game 4

Akiba Rubinstein – Carl Schlechter
Berlin, January 26 1918
Notes by Carl Schlechter
Additional notes by Jacques Mieses, Hans Kmoch, Walter Penn Shipley and Fritz Englund
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6
Mieses: This defense has recently been abandoned as inferior, and it is strange that Schlechter would play it on such an occasion.
4. Nc3 dxc4
Mieses: 4… Ne4 is surely better.
5. e3 Bg4
Shipley: Black with his last two moves has adopted an unusual defense to the Queen’s Pawn Opening. He obtains a fair game, but failed to continue the defense with his usual ability, becoming somewhat indifferent in his play in the middle game.
6. Bxc4
Already threatening 7. Ne5 and 7. Bxf7+.
6… e6 7. 0-0 Nbd7 8. h3 Bxf3
Kmoch: 8… Bh5 was preferable. But even then black’s position would not be good as white’s center is too strong.
9. Qxf3 Be7 10. Rd1 0-0 11. e4 Re8
“White now has a strong centre and uses it impetuously” – says the World Champion in the “B. Z.” [Berliner Tageszeitung. Ed.]
12. Bf4 Nf8
Mieses: This is a mistake as white’s reply shows. Black hardly had anything better than 12… b5 followed by Qb6, but then he had to abandon sound positional play.
Kmoch: White certainly has the superior position, by reason of his two bishops. Nevertheless it is amazing how quickly Rubinstein annihilates the opposing army.

13. d5!
This breakthrough decides the issue in white’s favor.
13… exd5 14. exd5 Qb6
Kmoch: If 14… cxd5 black loses the b-pawn to say the least: 15. Nxd5 Nxd5 16. Bxd5 Qb6 17. Bxb7 Rad8 18. Bd5 and now 18… Qxb2 is refuted by 19. Bxf7+ Kxf7 20. Be5+.
15. d6! Bd8 16. g4
Threatens g5 and if need be Bxf7+.
Mieses: Clever. Even the obvious 16. Na4 would have led to a winning position for white.
Kmoch: Threatening 17. g5 N6d7 18. Bxf7+ and Be3+. If black plays 16… Qxb2 there would follow 17. g5 Nd5 (17… N6d7 18. Bxf7+) 18. Nxd5 cxd5 19. Bxd5 and no less than four terrible threats impend. 20. Bc1; 20. Be5; 20. Bxf7+, and 20. Bxb7 followed by d7.
16… Ne6
Mieses: Black had nothing better.

17. d7!
The start of a pretty and well-calculated combination.
17… Re7
Kmoch: With 17… Rf8 18. Bd6 Nxd7 black might have put up a better fight.
18. Bd6 Rxd7 19. Bxe6 fxe6 20. g5 Rxd6
If the knight moves then of course 21. Qf8#. That is the point of the combination initiated with 17. d7.
Kmoch: If 20… Qxb2 then 21. Rab1 followed by exf6.
21. Rxd6 Qc5
Englund: If 21… Bc7 then 22. Rxe6 Ne8 23. Nd5 threatening 24. Ne7+ and 25.Qf8#.
22. Rxd8+ Rxd8 23. gxf6 Qg5+ 24. Qg4
Mieses: The simplest would be 24. Kh1 Qxf6 25. Qxf6 gxf6 26. Rd1 and the endgame is hopeless for black.
24… Qxf6
Or 24… Qxg4+ 25. hxg4 gxf6 26. Rd1 and white wins easily.
25. Re1 e5 26. Qg3 Re8 27. Ne4 Qe7

28. Rd1
A very strong move. But 28. Ng5 also came into consideration. As an example look at this exciting variation: 28. Ng5 h6 29. Qb3+ Kh8 30. Rxe5! Qd7 31. Qd3! and white wins.
28… Rf8 29. Rd6 Kh8 30. Qg4 Rd8 31. Re6
Mieses: Even 31. Ng5 Rxd6 32. Qc8+ Rd8 33. Qxd8+ Qxd8 34. Nf7+ is possible.
31… Qb4 32. Qg5 Qe1+ 33. Kh2 Rf8 34. Re7 Black resigns
If 34… Rxf2+ then 35. Nxf2 Qxf2+ 36. Qg2 Qf4+ 37. Kh1 Qc1+ 38. Qg1 and white wins.

Sources:
Deutsche Schachzeitung February 1918 pp. 32-33
Tidskrift för Schack January-February 1918 pp. 16-17
Kmoch: Rubinstein Chess Masterpieces pp. 90-92
The Philadelphia Inquirer June 2 1918

Schlechter wrote in Deutsche Schachzeitung, February 1918 pp. 25-26:

The score after the 4th game was: Rubinstein +1, Schlechter +1, and 2 draws. Thus the match was shrunken to two games. This increased the tension of both players and indeed, the two remaining games were the worst of the match. The 5th game was, just like the third, decided by a big blunder.

Game 5

Carl Schlechter – Akiba Rubinstein
Berlin, January 27 1918
Notes by Carl Schlechter
Additional notes by Jacques Mieses, Gunnar Gundersen, Evgeny Pigusov, Herman Helms, and The Washington Post (the name of the chess editor is not known)
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. Nc3 f6
Mieses: Considered to be a good nowadays.
Gundersen: We do not care for this move. It was first brought into prominence by Schlechter in his game with Lasker in the London tourney of 1899 – an uneventful draw.
6. d4 exd4 7. Qxd4
Gundersen: In the above-mentioned game Lasker played 7. Nxd4, departing from his usual style of getting queens off the board as soon as possible.
7… Qxd4 8. Nxd4 Bd6 9. Be3
The comment by the World Champion in the “B. Z.” that white developed this bishop too soon is hard to understand. Eventually all the pieces have to be developed and the bishop is excellently placed on e3.
9… Ne7
Gundersen: We prefer 9. 0-0-0 as played by Alekhine against Lasker in the Petrograd tourney of 1914. A most interesting game ensued, Lasker winning after 90 moves.
10. 0-0 Bd7 11. Rad1 c5 12. Nde2 Ng6 13. Nd5
The Washington Post: Rather better would have been 13. Rd2, followed by doubling of the rooks, which should be exchanged early so that neither side may gain control of the open file.
13… 0-0-0

White is arguably a little better in this position. The correct continuation was 14. c4, but instead came a huge blunder.
Mieses: The best move. Furthermore, it contains a trap which Schlechter falls into.
14. Nb6+??
Pigusov: Better was 14. Ng3 followed by Nf5.
The Washington Post: Again, doubling of the rooks would have been in order.
14… cxb6 15. Rxd6 Bb5
Pigusov: Black is winning.
16. Rxd8+ Rxd8 17. Nc3
Mieses: If 17. Re1 then of course 17… Bxe2.
17… Bxf1 18. Kxf1
Gundersen: White has now a losing game. It is instructive to notice carefully how Rubinstein makes his four pawns to three on the queen side tell.
18… Kc7 19. Ke2 Kc6 20. Nb1 b5 21. Nd2 Ne5 22. Nf1 Nc4 23. Bc1 a5 24. Ne3 Nxe3 25. Bxe3 a4 26. f3 b4 27. Bd2 Kb5 28. Be3 Kc4 29. Bd2 b3 30. cxb3+ axb3 31. a3 b5 32. g4 Ra8
Mieses: Threatening Rxa3.
33. Bc1 b4 34. axb4 Ra1 35. b5

Mieses: A lovely jest and Rubinstein plays along. The game now ends with a little fireworks.
Gundersen: At first sight this looks as if were black to capture the bishop the pawn would advance safely to queen.
35… Rxc1
Pigusov: 35… Kxb5 also wins.
36. b6 Rc2+ 37. Kd1
Mieses: If 37. Ke3 then 37… Rc3+! followed by Rd3 and Rd8.
37… Rxb2
[Some sources claims the game ended here, but most sources including Schlechter himself in Deutsche Schachzeitung, gives one more move. Ed.]
38. b7 Rxh2 White resigns
Mieses: If 39. b8=Q then 39… b2 and white only has a check on g8.
Helms: A curious ending, cleverly worked out by Rubinstein. If white now queens his pawn, then 39… b2, and the black rook cannot be captured, because black queens in turn and, on the following move, wins his opponent’s queen. If the rook is not taken, then there is no way to meet the threat of 40… b1=Q, followed by Rh1+, after which black’s passed pawn would win easily. Neither would 40. Qg8+ open a way of escape to white.

Sources:
Deutsche Schachzeitung March 1918 pp. 49-50
Tidskrift för Schack January-February 1918 p. 17
American Chess Bulletin May-June 1918 p. 128
The Australasian May 25 1918
The Philadelphia Inquirer May 26 1918
The Washington Post June 6 1918
Glatman: Akiba Rubinstein’s Chess Academy p. 114

Game 6

Akiba Rubinstein – Carl Schlechter
Berlin, January 29 1918
Notes by Carl Schlechter
Additional notes by Jacques Mieses
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Nbd7 5. Bg5 c6 6. e3 Qa5 7. Qb3?

A serious mistake which black could refute as follows: 7… Ne4! 8. Bh4 g5! 9. Bg3 h5! 10. h4 Nxg3 11. fxg3 g4 12. Ng1 Bh6! 13. Kf2 Nb6! with a completely superior position. However, black overlooked the winning opportunity on the king side and chose a continuation that only led to equality. [In this line the computer, in this case Stockfish 8, prefers 12. Ng5 and claims equality. Apparently there is no way to trap the knight with f7-f6 before the rest of white’s forces come to the rescue. Ed.]
7… Ne4! 8. Bh4 Bb4?
Mieses: 8… g5 doesn’t give black anything; 9. Bg3 h5 10. h4! g4 11. Ng1 Bd6 12. Nge2 etc.
9. Rc1 Nb6 10. Bd3 dxc4 11. Bxc4 Qa4
Mieses: 11… Na4 could not be recommended because of 12. O-O Naxc3 13. bxc3 Nxc3 (or 13… Bxc3) 14. a3! and white wins a piece. Or 12… Bxc3 13. bxc3 Naxc3 (if 13… Nexc3 then 14. Qa3!) 14. Bd3 with advantage for white. 11… Nd5, however, would be a good continuation for black.
12. Bd3 Qxb3 13. axb3
And the game was drawn after a prolonged endgame.
13… Nf6 14. Ke2 Nbd5 15. Ne5 Be7 16. Ra1 Nb4 17. Bb1 b6 18. Rc1 Bb7 19. f3 Nfd5 20. Bxe7 Kxe7 21. Nd3 Rhc8 22. Nxd5+ Nxd5

23. b4 g6 24. Bc2 f6 25. Bb3 Rd8 26. Ra3
Mieses: The tempting 26. b5 is refuted by 26… Rd6.
26… a6 27. Ba4 Rac8 28. e4 Nc7

29. Bxc6 Bxc6 30. Rxc6 Nb5 31. Rxc8 Rxc8 32. Rxa6 Nxd4+ 33. Ke3
Mieses: If the king moves to the first rank, then Rc2 follows with some chances for black.
33… Nc2+ 34. Kd2 Nd4 35. Ke3 Nc2+ 36. Kd2 Nd4 Draw

Sources:
Deutsche Schachzeitung March 1918 p. 50
Tidskrift för Schack January-February 1918 p. 18

Schlechter was not happy about the quality of play. He wrote:

With the outstanding class of both grandmasters one could expect noteworthy performances. Unfortunately these expectations were not met, the play was weak, very weak. We believe that six games are too few. Every single game can decisively influence the outcome of the match and that paralyzes the players. Even the six games between Lasker and Tarrasch in the autumn of 1917 [1916. Ed.] were hardly grandmasterly performances.

(Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung February 1918 p. 25)

It is not known where Rubinstein went after the match, but he probably returned to his home in Warsaw. He and Schlechter would meet again less than 3 months later in Berlin to play a small 4-player tournament.

Schlechter stayed on in Berlin and gave a simultaneous exhibition on Januar 31. He won 19 games and drew 1. On his way back to Vienna he visited Aussig (now Ústí nad Labem) and played 5 games simultaneously against consulting players. He won 4 and drew against the team of Thierfelder and Dörfler. He would visit Aussig twice more that year in connection with his travels to Berlin.

(Source: Deutsche Schachzeitung July 1918 p. 166)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *