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Spielmann - Teichmann Match

Richard Teichmann5/6(+5 -1 =0)[games]
Rudolf Spielmann1/6(+1 -5 =0)[games] Chess Event Description
Spielmann - Teichmann (1914)

This was a match of six games played in the Café Kaiserhof, Leipzig (1) from Thursday 19th February to Friday 27th February, 1914. (2) Teichmann scored an emphatic victory in the strongly contested match, where all of the games were decisive. "The match at Leipzig between these masters ... has ended in a brilliant victory for Richard Teichmann, who has once more proved his quality by defeating his powerful antagonist by 5 games to 1, the contest being of six games." (3)

"TEICHMANN BEATS SPIELMANN. - A match between Teichmann and Spielmann, which was played at Leipzig, has ended in a decisive victory for Teichmann, who won five games and lost one. The games are of a high order, worthy the reputation of the two masters. In one or two Teichmann reproduced the form he displayed when he won the Karlsbad (1911) international tournament, and in these Spielmann could do not more than resist for about twenty moves. It has always been a surprise to the chess world that Teichmann has not taken part in more matches. His style of play is particularly adapted for individual contests, and one critic gave it as his opinion that he had as much chess in him as any other master." (4)

The two opponents had first met over the board in 1907. They had played 15 games, the last being at the 18th DSB Kongress (1912). Teichmann had won six games whilst Spielmann had only won two. In their last eight encounters, Spielmann had not won a game but had lost two. Teichmann's achievement in the present match can be seen in perspective by Spielmann's next tournament, Baden-bei-Wien (1914) (5th to 30th April), which he won ahead of a number of strong central European masters including Savielly Tartakower, Carl Schlechter and Richard Reti.


Café Kaiserhof, a prominent café in the centre of the city of Leipzig. It was a large establishment with a separate billiards room. (5)


Spielmann was one of the new generation of players who had emerged in the first decade of the twentieth century. These included Alexander Alekhine, Aron Nimzowitsch, Milan Vidmar, Efim Bogoljubov, Georg Rotlewi, Reti, and Tartakower. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was not of the 'hyper-modern' style. "Spielmann's style is so idiosyncratic that you cannot find its like with any other master. Through the simplest of means, he knows to bring about complications and to draw surprising advantages from them." (6) He had an aggressive and tactical style of play. He had achieved some solid (18th DSB Kongress (1912) and Stockholm (1912)) and some very good recent results. In early 1912, he had won the Abbazia (1912) gambit tournament. He had been second behind Akiba Rubinstein at the strong Bad Pistyan (1912) and San Sebastian (1912) tournaments. He had then won the Vienna Chess Club Jubilee Tournament (March 17 to April 7, 1913).


In 1911, Milan Vidmar commented on Teichmann’s strength: "The chess world's ruler Emanuel Lasker sees a new governor move in, in his most important province, where he was cradled himself. He was very worried about this part of his empire. Not too long ago, he had to crush an insubordinate Viceroy (Siegbert Tarrasch - e. d.). The new man is no longer a new man. A rare mishap has hidden a star of the first magnitude from the world of chess, a man who certainly is, after Dr. Lasker, the next greatest German master. He has settled himself comfortably in fifth place in almost every tournament ... Teichmann was never a dry player. He draws a lot, but when he actually plays there was always fire." (7)

Jose Raul Capablanca also held Teichmann in high regard, listing him in September 1914 with Lasker, Rubinstein, Schlechter, and himself as "the five strongest players in the world today". (8) He further wrote: "Richard Teichmann is a player who combines the qualities of both Lasker and Tarrasch. Like Lasker, Teichmann has Bohemian tendencies. He is an accomplished linguist; cannot extend himself to his best effort unless his whiskey and soda are at close call, and is clever at all games of cards and billiards. Work is no virtue with him, despite his massive bulk. As soon as his money is gone, he sets about to play chess." (9) A retrospective analysis by Chessmetrics agrees with Capablanca’s assessment. Teichmann was one of the top five players in the world for the period Karlsbad 1911 to the First World War 1914. (10)

In February 1914, Teichmann was 45 years old, giving 15 years advantage to his opponent. He had played sparingly over the previous two years, as this was his first taste of master play since the 18th DSB Kongress (1912). He would decline to play at Mannheim (1914) (July-August) at the last minute.

The progress of the match

1 2 3 4 5 6 Teichmann 1 0 1 1 1 1 5 Spielmann 0 1 0 0 0 0 1

Progressive score:

1 2 3 4 5 6 Teichmann 1 1 2 3 4 5 Spielmann 0 1 1 1 1 1

Teichmann was White in the odd-numbered games.

The games

Game 1. Teichmann chose the Four Knights opening and Spielmann played a favourite defence - Reti vs Spielmann, 1914. Spielmann sacrificed a pawn for the exchange, but misplayed and lost the initiative:

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Spielmann rejected 20...Bxg3 for the passive 20...Qd4 and resigned soon after in a position bereft of any prospects.

Game 2. This game was Spielmann's only win in the match. Playing Black in a Scotch Opening, he played accurately keeping a momentum and Teichmann never quite equalised. Teichmann was outmanoeuvred and sacrificed a Knight for two pawns, but then found the ending too difficult to hold over the board. This well-played win equalised the scores and it would have seemed that the chances for victory in this match were finely balanced.

Game 3. This game, which was the most published game of the match, was a disaster for Spielmann. Spielmann defended with the Sicilian Defence, which was not and would never be part of his regular repertoire, (11) and was crushed in 19 moves. Teichmann played actively and showed that he could combine with deadly effect:

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15.b4! cxb4 16.Nxd5! exd5 17.e6 f5 18.exd7+ Kxd7 19.Bxf5!!

Game 4. Spielmann as White gained the advantage in a Two Knight's defence. In a similar manner to Game 2, he built up an advantage by fastening onto Teichmann's weaknesses, in this case a doubled <e> pawn. Unfortunately, on the cusp of his second win, he miscalculated:

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After 34.Bxc4? instead of 34.Bxb6! he lost the exchange for a pawn, and could not hold the ending.

Game 5. Two games down with two games to play and with the Black pieces, Spielmann threw caution to the wind. He defended against the Ruy Lopez with a Delayed Schliemann variation previously used by Frank James Marshall (see Games Like Teichmann vs Spielmann, 1914). Spielmann had only played this early <f5> thrust twice before: Leonhardt vs Spielmann, 1908 and L Asztalos vs Spielmann, 1913. In both games, he had broken through his opponent's King-side. On this occasion, the quality of his opponent was higher. Teichmann sacrificed a piece for a sudden King-side attack:

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13.Bxd5. Winning the material back, Teichmann kept the pressure on and won with a neat combination to win Spielmann's Rook.

Game 6. Teichmann had won the match, but Spielmann had not given up. He had the White pieces and the chance to reduce the deficit to 4-2, but played too aggressively in the opening.

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Whilst 9.Nxd4 was equal, Spielmann tried to whip up complications with Nb5?! The idea was to force the Bishop away from protecting <Ne5> by <c3> and so winning the piece back. Instead, he was left with a prospect-less position in which his minor pieces had few good squares. Teichmann steered the game into a Rook and Pawns ending in which he was two good pawns up and won without encountering any significant problems.


(1) Café Kaiserhof (Leipzig) Barfussgässchen 15-Am Märchenbrunnen, see Leipzig had a thriving café culture, where its habitués were known as the "Kaffeesachsen" (Saxony's coffee-drinkers).
(2) Classical Chess Matches: 1907-1913 by Fred Wilson (Dover Publications), p. 225. The historical source of this book is The Year Book of Chess for 1914. Game 6 was played 26 February (Berliner Tageblatt, 27 February 1914).
(3) Linlithgowshire Gazette, Friday 20 March 1914, p. 7.
(4) Stirling Observer, Tuesday 17th March 1914, p. 8.
(6) Lasker in Pester Lloyd, 5th October 1913, p. 10. These remarks were in relation to Reti vs Spielmann, 1914.
(7) Milan Vidmar (in the tournament book Karlsbad 1911) quoted by Michael Negele in Genug des Stumpfsinns, Remis … Richard der Fünfte kam aus Altenburg,
(8) Capablanca in the Capablanca-Magazine, 30th September 1914, pp. 113-114.
(9) Capablanca in the Evening Post (New York), 22nd July 1916, p. 9.
(11) See

This text and original research by User: Chessical. I have used some German newspaper sources identified by User: Karpova. Proof reading and corrections by User: OhioChessFan. Game dates (19, 20, 22, 24, 25 and 26 February) are from Berliner Tageblatt.

 page 1 of 1; 6 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Teichmann vs Spielmann 1-0251914Spielmann - TeichmannC48 Four Knights
2. Spielmann vs Teichmann 1-0551914Spielmann - TeichmannC44 King's Pawn Game
3. Teichmann vs Spielmann 1-0191914Spielmann - TeichmannB46 Sicilian, Taimanov Variation
4. Spielmann vs Teichmann 0-1501914Spielmann - TeichmannC46 Three Knights
5. Teichmann vs Spielmann 1-0321914Spielmann - TeichmannC70 Ruy Lopez
6. Spielmann vs Teichmann 0-1401914Spielmann - TeichmannC25 Vienna
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

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