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Carl Schlechter vs Heinrich Wolf
15th DSB Kongress (Nuremberg) (1906), Nuremberg GER, rd 11, Aug-04
Slav Defense: Alekhine Variation (D15)  ·  1/2-1/2


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Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <Peligroso Patzer> Oh yes, I recall the Janowski vs Gruenfeld, 1925 game. That puzzle spurred a big debate about stalemate (some people argued that stalemate should be considered a win).
Aug-08-06  statisticsman: Of course!!! I was too busy racking my brain for a victory, not seeing that the goal was not to lose. Beautiful forced stalemate.
Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Spent a few minutes looking for Black's win, then saw the stalemate. I enjoyed the irony of the "drawing master" becoming the victim.

I once read somewhere that Schlechter's drawing reputation is undeserved. Can any of you shed light on this?

Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: To start an answer to my own question. Perhaps the ratio of draws to wins is a good measure. Schlechter in the Chessgames database: 368 draws, 265 wins, ratio 1.25. Wolf, his opponent: 1.18.

Rubinstein, 0,71. Capablanca, 0.75. Lasker 0.44

By comparison to his more illustrious contemporaries, Schlechter is very drawish.

But then Kramnik comes in at 1.53, Leko at 2.06. What to make of this?

Topalov 483 draws, 393 wins, ratio is 1.22 almost identical to Schlechter's.

Kasparov? 0.97.

[I suppose I should submit this query to the Schlechter page for continuation of this thread. Will do so.]

Aug-08-06  THE pawn: Kind of obvious.
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Stalemate trap!! ooooooooooooooo

Missed it,darn! I thought it was a magic setup where white couldn't win in position that looked impossible not to.

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <gawain> Interesting. I would propose, however, that it may be unfair to compare drawing ratios of masters across generations, because of changes in the quality of chess being played.

Better, perhaps, is to compute a 'drawing index', or ratio of ratios, computed by taking the <drawing ratio of player X> divided by the <average drawing ratio of the contemporaries of player X>.

You might find that Schlecter's 'drawing index' is similar to Leko's -- because the average drawing ratio is higher today that it was in Schecter's day. Of course, coming up with the average drawing ratio of a player's contemporaries is tricky.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <Phony Benoni: "With Schlechter, I make a draw when I want to, not when he wants to!"--H. Wolf> LOL

For those who may not be familair with the allusion behind your "phony quote", the note to Black's 31st move in the following game provides the reference:

H Wolf vs Rubinstein, 1907

Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: Here is another puzzle.:-)

White to move:

click for larger view

The solution see at W Wittmann vs A Rodriguez, 1980

Aug-08-06  dr.roho: <honza cervenka> um i thought rd2 would be white's final chance to survive because if he doesnt than it will be mate next move. than i looked at the game and i found this is the final position. white resigned. what is the answer to this? And what does your name mean?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Peligroso Patzer: <dr.roho:> The drawing resource that White missed is analyzed in comments to the referened game ( W Wittmann vs A Rodriguez, 1980 ) previously posted by <Honza Cervenka> on Aug-06-04.
Aug-08-06  cuendillar: That one was a little trickier: 1.Rxb3+ Kxa2 2.Ra3+ (Kxa3 3.Qd3+) stalemates, does it not?
Aug-08-06  sataranj: this is the first time i have come accross a draw problem in chessgames and quite inevitably missed it...
Aug-08-06  dakgootje: Yes simple puzzle, if you didnt see the move at first glace you could also have looked at around all moves, which werent too many in this case, and looked at all of them whether they would do something.
Aug-08-06  Fezzik: The old advice:

When everything else is impossible, the only solution left, however improbable, must be true

works here.

It's a shame Schlechter missed this tactic. It makes this game feel a bit like one of many blitz games found on the internet.

Aug-09-06  BabySealClub: Wow! There is finally a beautiful draw for the puzzle. Bravo!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <cuendillar: That one was a little trickier: 1.Rxb3+ Kxa2 2.Ra3+ (Kxa3 3.Qd3+) stalemates, does it not?> Yes, it is right solution. 60.Rxb3+ Kxa2 61.Ra3+! (Also 61.Rf3 with idea 61...Qxf3 62.Qa4+ Kb2 63.Qa3+! = is possible but 61.Ra3+ is more forcible and accurate way to draw.) 61...Kb2 (If 61...Kxa3, then 62.Qd3+ Qxd3 stalemate as <cuendillar> has written.) 62.Qb5+ Kxa3 (This time it is forced as 62...Kc1? 63.Ra1+ Kd2 64.Qxa5+ turns the table in favour of White.) 63.Qd3+ Qxd3 stalemate. This continuation is really quite tricky. Not only that IM Wittmann did not see it over the board when resigned as well as GM Rodriguez who allowed it by his last move (59...b3; instead of that 59...Rc3 would have won the game "regularly" in a few moves) and did not notice it even when he analyzed the game and commented it for the Chess Informant where the last move of black got even an exclamation mark(!). So you can feel yourself quite well if you missed it and much better if you have found the right solution.
Aug-09-06  capanegra: <Honza> I read in a book written by Averbakh that in the game Taimanov vs Geller, 1951 happened the same thing. In the post mortem, none of both players did find the stalemate, and the game was analyzed in a Soviet chess magazine also overlooking the hidden combination. Finally, a kibitzer wrote to the magazine claiming that the analysis was a bunch of errors.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Honza Cervenka: <capanegra> Even super GMs are only mortal humans and mortal humans are erroneous beings.:-)

Btw, I have found this pretty stalemate combo by chance when I was playing throught this game and reached the final position. I was then absolutely convinced that white is simply finished and I began to demonstrate it to myself on my chessboard. I made 60.Rd2 Qh1+ 61.Rh2 Qxh2# at first. Then I returned those two moves, did (still seeing nothing) a "vindicatory" check 60.Rxb3+ forcing 60...Kxa2 and thought: yea, it's over, only such an absurdity like 61.Rf3 can prevent immediate Qh1# or Qg2# now as 61.Qb7 allows 61...Qg4# and black will simply take the Rook threatening the mate once again..... oh, but, wait a minute! Is not 61.Rf3 Qxf3 62.Qa4+ Kb1 63.Qa1+ Kxa1 a stalemate? Hmmm, it is and 62...Kb2 63.Qa3+ forking black King and Queen forces KxQ or QxQ with the same result. And of course, 62...Qa3 leads nowhere as the Rook on c2 is en prise with check! Only then I started to analyze the position thoroughly trying to refute 61.Rf3 (unsuccessfully) and also searching for another eventual defence based on this stalemate theme which I have found quite quickly then....:-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: <YouRang>, thanks for the comment. <Better, perhaps, is to compute a 'drawing index', or ratio of ratios, computed by taking the drawing ratio of player X divided by the average drawing ratio of the contemporaries of player X>. That would be more informative, since it is evident that high-level chess now yields many more draws than it once did.

Do you think that modern chess is more drawish because the players are stronger and therefore make fewer errors that are exploitable for victory? Or is something else going on?

If because the players are stronger then perhaps we should expect drawing ratios to be lower in modern open tournaments than they are in modern grandmaster tournaments. Is this so? Or are we simply getting more draws at all levels than we did in the old days?

Aug-09-06  euripides: <gawain> the technical level of modern chess is certainly much higher, simply because there is so much more experience to draw on. But also, there are far more people playing chess and therefore larger numbers at each level. The technical gap between no.1 and no. 100 now is probably much smaller than it was a hundred years ago.

Three other factors are (a) numbers are distorted for some players by the inclusion of simultaneous displays (b) the top tournaments include fewer weaker players than they did 30 years ago, when it was normal for several weaker players from the host country to be included (c) there are probably more short no-contest draws now than in the past, though I haven't seen evidence on this.

Premium Chessgames Member
  YouRang: <gawain><Do you think that modern chess is more drawish because the players are stronger and therefore make fewer errors that are exploitable for victory? Or is something else going on?>

I think drawing rates are rising, mostly due to stronger and more closely matched opponents.

In fact, yesterday, I was going to try to make a rough estimate of the 'average drawing rate' in Schlechter's day. To get a sample of Schlechter's contemporaries, I went to his page (Carl Schlechter) to see who he played against, and compute their drawing ratios, and then compute their average (draws / (wins+losses)).

Naturally, I wasn't about to look at ALL his opponents. Instead, I thought I'd pick some of his more notable opponents on his 1st page (early in his career), and some notable opponents on his last page (late in his career).

What I found (unexpectedly) was that the drawing rates of his of his early opponents were quite lower than those of his later opponents:

Early opponents (1894-1896):
Chigorin 21%
Lasker 31%
Janowski 25%
Tarrash 41%
Blackburne 30%
Pillsbury 52%
Steinitz 19%
<Avg: 31.3>

Later opponents (1912-1918):
Marshall 49%
Reti 43%
Rubenstein 51%
Tartakower 69%
Vidmar 76%
<Avg: 57.6>

Obviously, this result could be flawed (incomplete data base - perhaps fewer draws are recorded for earlier opponents), or my sample might be too small (it could just be a coincidence).

But given that I wasn't trying to prove that draw rates were increasing, and I was just picking notable names without having pre-knowledge of their draw rates, I thought this result was compelling. :-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  gawain: Thanks <Euripides> and <YouRang>. The figures from <YouRang> are interesting.

So even the masters of the early-to-mid 20th century might have been wishing for the "good old days" when there were fewer draws!

Jan-09-09  WhiteRook48: this is one of Wolf's brilliant saves!
Mar-30-11  sfm: "Why don't he resign? What, a totally senseless move, 54.-,Re3?!" LOL!
After 55.Kf1 I think Wolf would have thrown the towel. He was a fighter, and here it was rewarded.
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