Wednesday, March 31, 2021

032921 LCCC Night of Chess a Sucess; And Meet Erich Eliskases

LCCC met again at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton, MI. It was another nice round of over the board chess and great conversation, with 8 players in attendance.

We were graced with the presence of a past member of our club that has moved to the east side of the state and cannot make the commute anymore. He is none other than Jason Morris, an Expert and writer for the Michigan Chess Magazine.

Jason played some games with us and reviewed some grandmaster games with our members. Thanks Jason!

Erich Eliskases (picture on left) is another great chess player you never heard of. He is the only man to represent 3 different countries in the Chess Olympiads (thru no fault of his own – more on that later). He also had tournament victories over the likes of Max Euwe, Jose Capablanca and …..drumroll…Bobby Fischer! His record against all three was (3-3), (2-2) and (1-1) respectively. Impressive.

Born in Innsbruck, Austria in 1913 Erich learned to play chess completely by chance at the age of twelve. And at the age of nineteen, he won a ten-game match against World Championship contender Rudolf Speilmann 5.5 to 4.5, losing the final meaningless game. Eliskases had already won the match winning games 2, 7 and 9 (odd numbered games with Black).

There were discussions of the young Erich to play Alexander Alekhine for the World Chess Championship, but political issues soon got in the way. Go figure. Eliskases did represent Austria in the Chess Olympiads during the early 1930’s.

Young Erich Eliskases saw what was happening in Europe and left for South America in 1939. He did play for Germany in the 1939 Buenos Aires Chess Olympiad. When World War II broke out, Erich decided to stay put.

Erich moved back and forth between Brazil and Argentina, finally becoming a naturalized Argentine citizen and representing his new country in the Chess Olympiads of 1952, 1958, 1960 and 1964. He made his living as a chess instructor.

Eliskases was a strong correspondence player and an endgame wizard. His defeat of Capablanca was in an endgame – and Capablanca is regarded as the best endgame player of all the greats!

Erich Eliskases died in Cordoba, Argentina in 1997 at the age of 83.

Here is game #7 of his match with Rudolf Speilmann, Litz, Austria, January, 1932.

White: Speilmann – Black: Eliskases, Queen’s Gambit Declined; Semi-Slav without Nf6 (D31)

1.     d4          d5

2.     Nf3          e6

3.     c4          c6

4.     Nc3        dxc4

5.     e4          b5

6.     e5          Bb7

7.     Be2        Ne7

8.     Ne4        Nd5

9.     O-O        Nd7

10.  Nfg5       Be7

11.  f4?          g6?!

White’s 11th move is the last “book” move but both Igor3000 (-1) and Stockfish12 (-1.9) say this move is a real stinker. Correct was 11. b3, putting pressure on Black’s queen-side pawns. Black’s reply shows why f4 was playable in those days. Black weakens his king-side (and we assume his castling side) for no reason. Castling was best here (-.6). But as we will see, Black never needs to.

Noted chess author and annotator Fred Reinfeld said, “Spielmann is playing the opening in an aggressive fashion attempting to get an attack at all costs. The manner in which his young opponent defends himself is highly instructive.”

            12, f5 ?!         ………

As was Speilmann’s lifelong chess weakness…..this is too aggressive too soon. Remember pawn advances cannot be retreated if incorrect. 12. Rf3 was best. (-.9).

12.  …….          exf5

13.  e6             fxe6

14.  Nxe6        Qb6

15.  a4?           ........

Fred Reinfeld said of White's #15 move; “This desperate move is the beginning of an extremely ingenious combination……which is defeated by a still finer counter-combination.”

The chess engines see all and have White lost at (-2.6) and suggests instead for White 15. Rxf5, c5 16. Ng7+, Kd8 17. Rf2, cxd4 18. Qxd4 and still losing (-1) but still playable.  Eliskases sees that a4 is wrong also.

       15. ......          fxe4

       16.  a5            Qa6

       17.  Qc2 ?       N7f6 ?  (!)

Another blunder by White (-3.75).  17. Ng7+ was needed. But Black ‘blunders’ back - sort of.

It is interesting here – in this position - to note that this is the type if situation where chess cheats get caught.

Fred Reinfeld was considered one of the very best chess annotators back in the days before chess engines. He gave 17… N7f7 an exclamation point! He states, “The alternative 17. …..c5 would lead to all sorts of complications, whereas the text move forces White’s hand.” 

The only problem is Fred, is that c5 is the real best and crushing move. The computers can wander thru the analysis maze faster and with no emotional strain or drain.

In other words, Eliskases made the ‘human’ move to victory by not muddying the waters (- 1.7) Computers have no such fear at a million moves per second analysis.

18.  Rxf6?        Bxf6

19.  Qxe4         Kf7 !

Reinfeld exclaims, “A remarkable position! Black must lose the Queen, and yet has a won game!” (-3.4) Your humble scribe agrees. The type of position only GMs are not afraid to play.

20.  Nc5          Rae8

21.  Qf3           Rxe2!

22.  Nxa6        Re1+

23.  Kf2          Rhe8!

(-4.5) Reinfeld: “This turns out to be even more powerful than 23. …..Rxc1 24. Rxc1, Bxa6.” (-1.3)

24.  Nc5          Bc8

25.  b4            Kg8

Reinfeld: “This makes the hostile c-pawn very strong, but how else is White able to free his bishop?” (-7.4)

26.  Bb2          R1e3

27.  Qd1          c3

28.  Bc1          c2

29.  Qxc2        Re2+

30.  Qxe2        Bxd4+

31.  Be3          Rxe3

32.  Qf1          Ra3+

White resigns

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