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Hastings 1948/1949
Compiled by WCC Editing Project
--*--

This was the fourth Hastings Christmas Congress since its post-war revival, and it looked to be one of the weaker editions.1 The previous year's Hastings champion Laszlo Szabo, the only grandmaster strength invitee, withdrew before the start of the tournament due to illness.2 The "Supplement to London and Midland Chess Bulletins" warned that the fabled Hastings Congress was in danger of becoming "just another chess tournament," because the organizers failed to supply a purse rich enough to attract any real stars. The city of Hastings managed to raise Ł250 to fund the event. The "Supplement" regarded this to be an inadequate sum. They pointed out that the publicity value to the city justified a more lucrative purse. They also criticized the organizers for failing to use their "personal influence" to woo foreign masters who might agree to play for a smaller prize.3

Nonetheless, the Premier section still featured an intriguing mix of foreign and local masters. Hungarian born Imre König had resided in England since 1938, and thus proved a convenient choice to replace Szabó at the last minute.3 His current form was anyone's guess. He hadn't competed since June 1946, when he lost both his games to Vasily Smyslov in the <USSR-Great Britain Radio Match>,4 but he had previously managed a respectable fourth place in the strong London B (1946) "victory tournament."5 The Ukrainian born French champion Nicolas Rossolimo6 had recently shared second with Pal Benko at <Bad Gastein 1948>, drawn a match with Savielly Tartakower, and beaten Israel Albert Horowitz in one of only two decisive games in the drawn <France-USA Radio Match 1948>.7 Dutchman Jan Muhring had shared second with Henri Grob and G.A. Thomas at <Hastings 1947/1948>, behind Szabó.8 The Estonian Paul Felix Schmidt had once been competitive with the likes of Klaus Junge and Paul Keres, but his post-war form was suspect. His only accomplishment in the past year had been to finish second at the minor <Leeuwarden 1948> tournament.9 New Zealand champion Bob Wade had warmed up for Hastings by finishing second at a pair of autumn Dutch tournaments, <Baarn Major Group 1948> and <Hertogenbosch 1948>.10

Of the local English hopes, G.A. Thomas and Baruch Wood looked to be the leading lights. Thomas had shared second in the previous Hastings Congress,8 and both had shared second in the 1948 <British Championship>, behind Reginald Joseph Broadbent. 11 Perennial Scottish champion William Fairhurst had finished fifth at <Hastings 1947/1948>,8 and most recently had drawn his game with Maurice Edward Goldstein in the <England-Australia Radio Match 1948>.12 Sir Theodore Henry Tylor had enjoyed some prominence before World War Two, but his recent form was sporadic. He had only played twice since 1946, scoring +0 -1 =1 vs Ludek Pachman in the <Midlands Counties-Czechoslovakia Match 1947>13; and +1 -1 =0 vs Chris Vlagsma in the <England-Netherlands Match 1948>.14 William Winser had the look of a rank outsider. He hadn't played since he finished sixth in the Premier Reserves B section of the previous year's Hastings Congress, three classes below the Premier tournament he now contested.8 His presence might help explain the astonishment of the "Supplement to London and Midland Chess Bulletins" that Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander had not been included: "We... must confess ourselves stupefied by the failure to invite Alexander, twice a prize-winner in this event, for he is still one of the greatest British masters..."3

On December 30 the Mayor of Hastings hosted a civic reception in the Town Hall. Mr. Neill Cooper-Key, the Conservative M.P. for Hastings, made chess history by delivering the opening address in Esperanto.15 Shortly after the ceremony, round one began in the seaside White Rock Pavilion.1

Photo: http://www.1066online.co.uk/hasting...

After four rounds Rossolimo led, with Wood, König and Schmidt a half point back. Round five featured a sparkling rook sacrifice by Rossolimo that won him the tournament brilliancy prize: Rossolimo vs W J Muhring, 1949. 16

29.Rg3xg7+!


click for larger view

After eight rounds, Rossolimo held sole first and needed only a draw to ensure victory. Consequently, in the final round he offered Wood a draw on move 6! Wood refused, and "played with praiseworthy enterprise..." getting "the better game from the opening...Thereafter it took all (Rossolimo's) skill to hold the game."-Rossolimo vs B H Wood, 1949 17 Nicolas Rossolimo had become champion of the 24th Hastings Christmas Congress, followed closely by König in second and Murhing in third. Wood and Fairhurst proved best of the Englishmen, finishing shared fourth. Thomas might have been expected to do better, but tailenders Winser and Tylor clearly played to recent form. H G Rhodes won the Premier Reserves Major section, and Alan Phillips won the Premier Reserves A Section.3

Hastings, England 30 Dec 1948 - 8 Jan 194918

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts. 1 Rossolimo * ˝ 1 ˝ 1 ˝ ˝ ˝ 1 1 6˝ 2 König ˝ * ˝ 0 1 ˝ 1 1 ˝ 1 6 3 Muhring 0 ˝ * ˝ 0 1 1 1 ˝ 1 5˝ =4 Wood ˝ 1 ˝ * 1 0 0 ˝ ˝ 1 5 =4 Fairhurst 0 0 1 0 * ˝ 1 1 1 ˝ 5 5 Schmidt ˝ ˝ 0 1 ˝ * ˝ ˝ ˝ ˝ 4˝ 6 Thomas ˝ 0 0 1 0 ˝ * ˝ ˝ 1 4 7 Wade ˝ 0 0 ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ * 1 ˝ 3˝ 8 Winser 0 ˝ ˝ ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ 0 * ˝ 3 9 Tylor 0 0 0 0 ˝ ˝ 0 ˝ ˝ * 2

Harry Golombek was fulsome in his praise for Rossolimo's brilliancy prize game, explaining that "He tried a system of his own in the Giuoco Piano against Muhring and the Dutch Master wrongly allowed him to open up the game. By a neat little combination he won a pawn and then finished off his opponent by a brilliantly conducted kingside attack, culminating in a rook sacrifice."19 He later added that all of Rossolimo's wins were "marked by a most pleasing and natural brilliance."20 Muhring only found out he had won the 3rd prize after he had already returned to the Netherlands.21 He and his last round opponent Paul Felix Schmidt had planned to play <Hoogovens 1948> in Beverwijk, which began the same day as the Hastings Congress finished. Consequently, they played their "last round" game on Sunday, January 2, the same day they also played their regularly scheduled round three games.22 As it turned out, Muhring did not actually play at Beverwijk, but Schmidt did.23

FIDE began awarding titles in 1950. By 1951 it had awarded the International Master title to all of the <Hastings 1948/1949> participants except Wood, Winser and Tylor. Rossolimo was the only contestant to subsequently garner the FIDE Grandmaster title, which he received in 1953.24

Notes

1 Britbase-"Hastings Premier PGN Downloads" http://www.saund.co.uk/britbase/has...

2 "Times" 31 Dec 1948, p.6

3 "Supplement to London and Midland Chess Bulletins" (Feb 1949). In Harry Golombek and William Ritson-Morry, "Hastings Chess Tournament 1948-49" (En Passant Chess Publications 1st Edition 1949), pp.1-3

4 Di Felice, "Chess Results 1941-1946" (McFarland 2008), p.266

5 Di Felice, "Chess Results 1947-1950" (McFarland 2008), p.315

6 Di Felice, "1947-1950" p.163

7 Di Felice, "1947-1950" pp.105,106,199

8 Di Felice, "1947-1950" p.95

9 Di Felice, "1947-1950" p.148

10 Di Felice, "1947-1950" pp.105,141

11 Di Felice, "1947-1950" p.150

12 Di Felice, 1"947-1950" p.206

13 Di Felice, "1947-1950" p.89

14 Di Felice, "1947-1950" p.209

15 "Evening Telegraph" (30 Dec 1948), p.1; "Hastings and St Leonards Observer" (1 Jan 1949), p.1

16 "The Games (with Annotations and Comments by Harry Golombek and William Ritson-Morry) ". In Harry Golombek and William Ritson-Morry, "Hastings Chess Tournament 1948-49" (En Passant Chess Publications 1st Edition 1949), pp.18-19

17 "The Games (with Annotations and Comments by Harry Golombek and William Ritson-Morry) " p.30

18 Di Felice, 1947-1950 p.214; "Times" 31 Dec 1948 - 10 Jan 1949

19 "Times" (5 Jan 1949), p.2

20 "Times" (10 Jan 1949), p.6

21 "Tijdschrift" (Feb 1949)

22 "The Games (with Annotations and Comments by Harry Golombek andWilliam Ritson-Morry), " p.28

23 Di Felice, "1947-1950" p.233

24 Jeremy Gaige, "Chess Personalia" (McFarland 1987), pp.113,221,293,362,424,454; "Tidskrift för Schack" (July 1950), p.208

Original collection Game Collection: Hastings 1948/49 by User: suenteus po 147; Game dates and research by User: Paint My Dragon and User: Tabanus; Introduction written and sourced by User: WCC Editing Project

Further reading Game Collection: Hastings 1948/1949 ARCHIVE

Round One- Dec 30
W Fairhurst vs Rossolimo, 1948
(E46) Nimzo-Indian, 27 moves, 0-1

Round One- Dec 30
P F Schmidt vs Tylor, 1948
(C84) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round One- Dec 30
Wade vs I Koenig, 1948
(C86) Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack, 54 moves, 0-1

Round One- Dec 30
W A Winser vs G A Thomas, 1948
(D50) Queen's Gambit Declined, 66 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round One- Dec 30
B H Wood vs W J Muhring, 1948
(D56) Queen's Gambit Declined, 22 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Two- Dec 31
I Koenig vs P F Schmidt, 1948
(A12) English with b3, 32 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Two- Dec 31
W J Muhring vs W Fairhurst, 1948 
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 34 moves, 0-1

Round Two- Dec 31
Rossolimo vs W A Winser, 1948 
(B11) Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4, 35 moves, 1-0

Round Two- Dec 31
G A Thomas vs Wade, 1948 
(C81) Ruy Lopez, Open, Howell Attack, 43 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Two- Dec 31
Tylor vs B H Wood, 1948
(A08) King's Indian Attack, 36 moves, 0-1

Round Three- Jan 2
W Fairhurst vs Tylor, 1949 
(E60) King's Indian Defense, 56 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Three- Jan 2
G A Thomas vs Rossolimo, 1949
(B18) Caro-Kann, Classical, 25 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Three- Jan 2
Wade vs P F Schmidt, 1949
(C28) Vienna Game, 25 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Three- Jan 2
W A Winser vs W J Muhring, 1949
(D54) Queen's Gambit Declined, Anti-Neo-Orthodox Variation, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Three- Jan 2
B H Wood vs I Koenig, 1949
(E32) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 35 moves, 1-0

Round Four- Jan 3
I Koenig vs W Fairhurst, 1949 
(C74) Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, 51 moves, 1-0

Round Four- Jan 3
W J Muhring vs G A Thomas, 1949
(D50) Queen's Gambit Declined, 36 moves, 1-0

Round Four- Jan 3
Rossolimo vs Wade, 1949
(A06) Reti Opening, 29 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Four- Jan 3
P F Schmidt vs B H Wood, 1949
(B71) Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation, 48 moves, 1-0

Round Four- Jan 3
Tylor vs W A Winser, 1949
(D23) Queen's Gambit Accepted, 36 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Five- Jan 4
W Fairhurst vs P F Schmidt, 1949
(E73) King's Indian, 27 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Five- Jan 4
Rossolimo vs W J Muhring, 1949 
(C53) Giuoco Piano, 35 moves, 1-0

Round Five- Jan 4
G A Thomas vs Tylor, 1949
(C86) Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack, 39 moves, 1-0

Round Five- Jan 4
Wade vs B H Wood, 1949 
(C12) French, McCutcheon, 53 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Five- Jan 4
W A Winser vs I Koenig, 1949
(E26) Nimzo-Indian, Samisch, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Six- Jan 5
I Koenig vs G A Thomas, 1949
(D50) Queen's Gambit Declined, 63 moves, 1-0

Round Six- Jan 5
W J Muhring vs Wade, 1949
(D14) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Exchange Variation, 30 moves, 1-0

Round Six- Jan 5
P F Schmidt vs W A Winser, 1949
(B11) Caro-Kann, Two Knights, 3...Bg4, 22 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Six- Jan 5
Tylor vs Rossolimo, 1949
(A53) Old Indian, 62 moves, 0-1

Round Six- Jan 5
B H Wood vs W Fairhurst, 1949
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 55 moves, 1-0

Round Seven- Jan 6
W J Muhring vs Tylor, 1949
(E72) King's Indian, 30 moves, 1-0

Round Seven- Jan 6
Rossolimo vs I Koenig, 1949
(C54) Giuoco Piano, 20 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Seven- Jan 6
G A Thomas vs P F Schmidt, 1949
(C86) Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack, 32 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Seven- Jan 6
Wade vs W Fairhurst, 1949
(C28) Vienna Game, 94 moves, 0-1

Round Seven- Jan 6
W A Winser vs B H Wood, 1949
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Eight W.A. Winser p.27 Jan 7
W Fairhurst vs W A Winser, 1949
(A28) English, 32 moves, 1-0

Round Eight- Jan 7
I Koenig vs W J Muhring, 1949
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 24 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Eight- Jan 7
P F Schmidt vs Rossolimo, 1949
(C84) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 26 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Eight- Jan 7
Tylor vs Wade, 1949
(A06) Reti Opening, 37 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Eight- Jan 7
B H Wood vs G A Thomas, 1949 
(D55) Queen's Gambit Declined, 35 moves, 0-1

Round Nine- Jan 2
W J Muhring vs P F Schmidt, 1949
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 34 moves, 1-0

Round Nine- Jan 8
Rossolimo vs B H Wood, 1949
(B31) Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation, 38 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round Nine- Jan 8
G A Thomas vs W Fairhurst, 1949
(C73) Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense, 31 moves, 0-1

Round Nine- Jan 8
Tylor vs I Koenig, 1949 
(E07) Catalan, Closed, 40 moves, 0-1

Round Nine- Jan 8
W A Winser vs Wade, 1949
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 31 moves, 0-1

45 games

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