Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (36)

by ChessBase
2/1/2010 – The Editor of Chess Notes discusses a quintet of positions submitted by readers. The common theme is that in each case it has so far proved impossible to find the full game-score. Can further details about the games be discovered? Even if not, readers will certainly enjoy some entertaining and instructive play from a cast which includes Ehlvest, Nimzowitsch, Pachman, Simagin and Soultanbéieff.

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Chess Explorations (36)

By Edward Winter

White to move

In C.N. 5604 Javier Asturiano Molina (Murcia, Spain) asked about an early Nimzowitsch game with a spectacular finish (1 Be8), which the master published on pages 32-33 of his booklet Kak ya stal grosmeysterom (Leningrad, 1929):

The heading states that the game was played in Nuremberg in 1904 and that Black was ‘Hoffer’. We know of nothing to suggest that Leopold Hoffer was meant. When the position was given on page 62 of Heft 11 of the Baltische Schachblätter, 1908, Black was identified as ‘H. Hofer’, and the game was dated 1907:

In C.N. 5610 Hans-Georg Kleinhenz (Munich, Germany) wrote:

‘I have found the ending in two 1905 sources (Deutsches Wochenschach, 15 January, page 24, and L. Bachmann’s Schachjahrbuch für 1905, I. Teil, pages 90-91), so the date “1907” given in the Baltische Schachblätter is definitely wrong. Deutsches Wochenschach stated that the game was played “kürzlich in Nürnberg”, while Bachmann dated it as “Ende 1904 zu Nürnberg”. In both cases Black was named as “H. Hofer”. Additional analysis was published in the “Briefwechsel” on page 47 of the 29 January 1905 issue of Deutsches Wochenschach, showing that Black would have won after 2...gxf6 (instead of 2...gxh6) 3 Ng4 Qxf2.

Neither source gave the complete game.’

Aron Nimzowitsch

Siegfried Hornecker (Heidenheim, Germany) asked in C.N. 5746 whether it was possible to unearth the full score of the game Simagin v Bronstein, Moscow championship, 1947. The famous conclusion was:

1…h4 2 Qxd6 Qg2+ 3 Kb3 h3 4 Qd7+ Kg8 5 f5 h2

6 Bg5 h1(Q) 7 Qe8+ Kg7 8 Qg6+ Kf8 9 Qxf6+ Kg8 10 Qd8+ Kg7 11 Qe7+ Kg8 12 Qe8+ Resigns.

In no source, including books by and about Simagin, have we seen the complete game. As mentioned in C.N. 5760, Jurgen Stigter (Amsterdam) provided pages 156-158 of the 6/1947 issue of Shakhmaty v SSSR, which included a crosstable of the Moscow, 1947 match-tournament and the moves of a draw between Simagin and Bronstein. Regarding the game being sought, however, only the conclusion was published, with Simagin’s notes.

The front cover of the 1981 monograph on Vladimir Simagin by S.B. Voronkov

Another enquiry from a reader, Efstratios Grivas (Athens), was presented in C.N. 6050. He asked whether the full score is available of a game between L. Pachman and K. Hromádka which reached this position:

White to move

See, for example, pages 196-197 of Pachman’s Chess endings for the practical player (London, 1983), which stated that the position occurred ‘just before the adjournment of a game that was important to me. It was played in the Championships of Prague in 1944’. Instead of the manoeuvre 1 Ne1, 2 Nf3 and 3 Nh4+, Pachman chose 1 Nxc5, to which he appended two question marks. The game was then agreed drawn, at his proposal.

We have not found the complete game in any contemporary source, including the 1944 volume of the Prague-based magazine Šach.

Lodewijk Prins v Victor Soultanbéieff at Hastings, 1949-50 (Premier Reserves) was the game mentioned by Tony Foley (Passage West, Ireland) in C.N. 6258. Soultanbéieff gave only the conclusion on pages 169-170 of Le maître de l’attaque (Paris, 1974):

34...Qf6 35 Ng3 Nxg3+ 36 Rxg3 Ne2 37 Rdg1 Rf1 38 b4 Qf4 39 R3g2

39...Qf2 40 Qc8+ Kg7 41 Qc5 Rxg1+ 42 Rxg1 Qf3+ 43 Rg2 Qf1+ 44 Rg1 Ng3+ 45 hxg3 Qh3 mate.

An illustration from page xviii of Internationaal Schaaktournooi Zaanstreek 1946 by W.A.T. Schelfhout and C. Kottnauer (Amsterdam, 1946):

The above comes from page 186 of Chess Curiosities by Tim Krabbé (London, 1985), and in C.N. 6463 Claus van de Vlierd (Oldenburg, Germany) asked whether the full game-score is available.

The various databases break off the Kholmov v Ehlvest game in this position, after 40...b5:

See also pages 916-917 of the October 1996 issue of EG, which states that the score only as far as move 42 was given in the 1/1984 issue of Shakhmatny byulleten.

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All ChessBase articles by Edward Winter

Edward Winter is the editor of Chess Notes, which was founded in January 1982 as "a forum for aficionados to discuss all matters relating to the Royal Pastime". Since then, over 6,450 items have been published, and the series has resulted in four books by Winter: Chess Explorations (1996), Kings, Commoners and Knaves (1999), A Chess Omnibus (2003) and Chess Facts and Fables (2006). He is also the author of a monograph on Capablanca (1989).

Chess Notes is well known for its historical research, and anyone browsing in its archives will find a wealth of unknown games, accounts of historical mysteries, quotes and quips, and other material of every kind imaginable. Correspondents from around the world contribute items, and they include not only "ordinary readers" but also some eminent historians – and, indeed, some eminent masters. Chess Notes is located at the Chess History Center. Signed copies of Edward Winter's publications are currently available.

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