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Rudolf Spielmann
Number of games in database: 1,205
Years covered: 1903 to 1941
Overall record: +482 -314 =409 (57.0%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

Repertoire Explorer
Most played openings
C29 Vienna Gambit (42 games)
D02 Queen's Pawn Game (30 games)
C01 French, Exchange (30 games)
C14 French, Classical (28 games)
C77 Ruy Lopez (26 games)
C11 French (24 games)
D51 Queen's Gambit Declined (22 games)
D32 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch (21 games)
C28 Vienna Game (21 games)
C30 King's Gambit Declined (19 games)

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(born May-05-1883, died Aug-20-1942, 59 years old) Austria

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Rudolf Spielmann was born in Vienna, Austria. Nordic Champion in 1919 and German Champion in 1927, his notable tournament achievements included 3rd= at St. Petersburg 1909, 1st at the Abbazia King's Gambit tournament 1912, 2nd at San Sebastian 1912, 1st at Baden bei Wien 1914, 1st at Stockholm 1919, 1st= at Teplitz-Schonau 1922, 1st at Semmering 1926, Game Collection: Semmering 1926 0,5 point ahead of Alexander Alekhine 3rd at Berlin 1928 and 2nd at Carlsbad 1929. In matches he scored victories over Aron Nimzowitsch in 1908, Richard Reti in 1910 and 1921, Savielly Tartakower in 1910 and 1921, Gideon Stahlberg in 1930, Vasja Pirc in 1931 and Efim Bogoljubov in 1932, but lost three consecutive matches to Erich Eliskases for the Austrian Title.

Friendly, pleasant and sensitive as a person his chess persona contrasted greatly. He loved complex positions and combinations which would give flight to his imagination and in the age of Hypermodernism he seemed to belong to an earlier more romantic time.

Being Jewish, he fled Nazi Germany and in 1939 went to Sweden. According to his close relatives (cited on p. 86 of Michael Ehn, Rudolf Spielmann, Koblenz, Germany, 1996) he locked himself in his room and was later found starved to death. Another version is that he suffered from a 'Parkinson's disease'-like illness, which became worse rapidly, at the end. He was admitted to the Asö hospital, where he died. Official cause of death was 'Hypertonie und Cardiosclerosis' (ibid. p. 91).

His book 'The Art of Sacrifice' remains a classic. Spielmann is known as 'The Last Romantic'.

Wikipedia article: Rudolf Spielmann

 page 1 of 49; games 1-25 of 1,205  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Wagner vs Spielmann 0-1261903BerlinD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
2. Spielmann vs M Elyashiv 1-0291903MunichC39 King's Gambit Accepted
3. Spielmann vs Koehnlein 1-0391904MunichC29 Vienna Gambit
4. Spielmann vs P Kaegbein 1-0371904Coburg-AC39 King's Gambit Accepted
5. Spielmann vs Moewig 1-0401904Coburg-AC29 Vienna Gambit
6. Spielmann vs O Bernstein ½-½281904BerlinC39 King's Gambit Accepted
7. E Cohn vs Spielmann 1-0291904Coburg-AC80 Ruy Lopez, Open
8. Spielmann vs Vidmar  0-1391904DSB-14.Kongress Hauptturnier AC14 French, Classical
9. M Lange vs Spielmann 0-1391904DSB-14.Kongress Hauptturnier AD63 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
10. Spielmann vs Duras 0-1481904Coburg-AC29 Vienna Gambit
11. Spielmann vs Leonhardt 0-1321905HamburgC39 King's Gambit Accepted
12. Spielmann vs Nimzowitsch 1-0191905MatchB15 Caro-Kann
13. Spielmann vs Nimzowitsch 1-0421905MatchC45 Scotch Game
14. Nimzowitsch vs Spielmann ½-½361905MatchC45 Scotch Game
15. Spielmann vs J W te Kolste  1-0291905ScheveningenC29 Vienna Gambit
16. Spielmann vs B Leussen 0-1421905ScheveningenB72 Sicilian, Dragon
17. Leonhardt vs Spielmann 1-0321905ScheveningenC01 French, Exchange
18. Loman vs Spielmann 0-1351905ScheveningenC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
19. Spielmann vs Marshall 0-1351905ScheveningenC42 Petrov Defense
20. G Oskam vs Spielmann  1-0411905ScheveningenC44 King's Pawn Game
21. Spielmann vs Reggio  1-0241905ScheveningenC30 King's Gambit Declined
22. G Schories vs Spielmann 0-1251905ScheveningenC82 Ruy Lopez, Open
23. Spielmann vs Swiderski ½-½681905ScheveningenC25 Vienna
24. D Bleijkmans vs Spielmann  0-1651905ScheveningenD60 Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense
25. C Trimborn vs Spielmann 0-1201905ScheveningenC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
 page 1 of 49; games 1-25 of 1,205  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Spielmann wins | Spielmann loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Jan-08-14  Karpova: After the latest medical examination, Spielmann was drafted. But prior to reporting for duty, he gave a 14-board Simul in the Vienna Chess Club on Tuesday, the 26th. He scored +11 -2 =1, losing to Dr. Klein and Dr. Chieger.

Source: Page 272 of the September-November 1914 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Jan-10-14  Karpova: For future reference: Two long reports on the Vienna Chess Club Jubilee Tournament (March 17 to April 7, 1913) on

Pages 26-27 of the January-February 1913 'Wiener Schachzeitung'


Pages 89-92 of the March-April 1913 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

with round numbers, etc... More on it later, but here is the final crosstable of the double round robin tournament:

1. Spielmann 11.0
2. Tartakower 10.5
3. Reti 9.5
4. Schlechter 8.0
5. Perlis 6.5
6. Löwy 6.0
7. Schenkein 2.5
8. Kaufmann 2.0

A very strong tournament, yet Spielmann scored +9 -1 =4. Dr. Tartakower scored +8 -1 =5, Reti +6 -1 =7 and Schlechter +3 -1 =10.

One game between Schenkein and Dr. Kaufmann was not played and counted as a draw.

Jan-10-14  Karpova: More on the Jubilee Tournament from my post above (sources are the two articles mentioned there).

On March 1, 1913, the founding day of the Vienna Chess Club had its 25th anniversary and this was the reason for the Master Tournament to commence on March 17.

The lots were drawn: 1) Leopold Löwy, 2) Carl Schlechter, 3) Joachim Schenkein, 4) Richard Reti, 5) Dr. Julius Perlis, 6) Dr. Savielly Tartakower, 7) Dr. Arthur Kaufmann, 8) Rudolf Spielmann.

The prizes, under utilisation of the money from the returns of the <Leopold Trebitsch-Stiftung> also, were 1000, 700, 500, 400, 300 and 200 <Kronen>.

Games are played on every day of the week, except for Thursdays where adjourned games are resumed. Play begins at 1000 and lasts until 1400, and from 1630 to 2030.

In case of a future tournament page, here are the round dates (from both articles):

Round 1: 1913.03.17
Round 2: 1913.03.18
Round 3: 1913.03.19
Round 4: 1913.03.21
Round 5: 1913.03.22
Round 6: 1913.03.25
Round 7: 1913.03.26
Round 8: 1913.03.28
Round 9: 1913.03.29
Round 10: 1913.03.31
Round 11: 1913.04.01
Round 12: 1913.04.02
Round 13: 1913.04.04
Round 14: 1913.04.05


At the end of the 6th round paragraph is written, that the playing start time was changed to 1600 (playing time 1600 to 2000) and adjourned games had to be resumed the next day from 1000 to 1400. So it seems that the morning playing time was abolished and the morning only used for adjourned games.

Thursday, 1913.03.27, resumption of adjourned games (Reti beat Spielmann, Dr. Perlis beat Schenkein). Thereby, the 1st leg of the tournament ended.

1913.04.03, resumption of adjourned games (Reti beat Dr. Kaufmann, Löwy drew Dr. Perlis, Dr. Kaufmann drew Dr. Tartakower).

On Monday, 1913.04.07, the last round adjourned games were finished.

Schlechter's result is explained by his editing of Bilguer's handbook, while Dr. Kaufmann hadn't played serious, competitive chess for 18 years. Spielmann received 1000 Kronen, the <Leopold Trebitsch-Preis>.

Jan-11-14  Karpova: Spielmann was a guest of the <Societa Scacchistica Triestina> in Trieste on Whit Sunday 1913 and played a 21-board Simul against 20 opponents. He scored +13 -4 =4. He lost to G Bezeg, Dr. E Tomicin and two times to G Traubner. He drew G Scoipnich, G Adamich, F Machnich and A Riedl.

Source: Page 203 of the July 1913 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: ♔ Quote of the Day ♔

< "Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine." >


Jan-30-14  Karpova: The quote <Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine.> is not from Spielmann.

The mistake stems from page 107 of Chernev’s 'The Bright Side of Chess', where two unattributed quotes are followed by a quote from Spielmann.

I cite Edward Winter: <It is evident from other parts of this chapter of Chernev’s that when he gave, for instance, two unattributed quotations followed by an attributed one it was only the last of these that he intended to ascribe to the writer named.> C.N. 3160 in

In this case, it looks like this:

<Play the opening like a book, the middle game like a magician, and the endgame like a machine.>

<From Anderssen I learned the art of making combinations; from Tarrasch I learned how advantageously to avoid making them.>


Chernev only attributes the latter quote to Spielmann.

Feb-05-14  thomastonk: ♔ Quote of the Day ♔

<The beauty of a game of chess is usually assessed[, and not without good reason,] according to the sacrifices it contains.> Spielmann, "The Art of Sacrifice in Chess"

More then 10 years before Réti wrote in his "Die neuen Ideen im Schachspiel": <Der Laie bewundert im Schach am meisten die Opferkombination.> (The layman admires in chess the sacrifices most.)

And a few lines later: <Man versteht nun, daß dem Laien und dem Kenner nicht dasselbe als schön erscheinen kann.> (Now it is understood that the layman and the expert don't admire the same thing.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  kingscrusher: I recommend his book "The art of Sacrifice" which is available via even Kindle download. Got it this morning, and his commentary is really eloquent and interesting.
Mar-14-14  Karpova: Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Berlin, October 2:

<Spielmanns Stil ist von einer Eigenart, die man bei keinem anderen Meister wiederfindet. Mit einfachsten Mitteln weiß er Verwicklungen herbeizuführen und aus ihnen überraschende Vorteile zu ziehen.>

(Spielmann's style is of a pecularity, you cannot find in any other master. With simplest means he knows to bring about complications and to draw surprising advantages from them.)

Source: 'Pester Lloyd', 1913.10.05, p. 10

Apr-12-14  Karpova: Overview of Spielmann's matches against the young masters of the Vienna Chess Club in Winter 1910, all won by Spielmann.

He faced Dr. Tartakower first (November 2 to 9), winning 3.5-2.5.

Soon afterwards, he beat Reti 4.5-0.5.

Finally, he beat Dr. Perlis 3.0-2.0.

Source: 'Wiener Schachzeitung', December 1910, p. 419

Apr-15-14  waustad: I was looking at a satellite photo of the Haus des Schachsports in Wien, which is at Rudolf Spielmann Platz, if I recall correctly, though it isn't listed as such yet on the google map. It appears to be about 30m x 20m, which made me wonder about facilities for spectators. Any pictures I've seen are of players and organizers, or else David Shengelia who is always photographed at chess events in Wien. For the 3rd instance of the Vienna Chess Ladies at that venue the notice in included "Kiebitze sind willkommen," so there must be some space for spectators.
Jul-14-14  Nosnibor: Spielmann won the Stockholm Tournament of 1919 but the following little game which he lost is very interesting and should be uploaded to the database. d4White: A.Olsen Black R.Spielmann,Max Lange Attack 1e4,e5.2Nf3,Nc6.3Bc4,Nc6.4d4,exd4.50-0,Bc5.6e5,d- 5.7exf6,dxc4.8Re1+Be6.9Ng5,g6.10Nd2,Qd5.11Nde4,0-
d3+ Kc6.26Bxf8,Rxf8.27Rxd8,Rxd8.28Re8,Black Resigns 1-0(Source Chess of To-day by Alfred Emery published 1924.)
Sep-17-14  ljfyffe: That would be Anton Olson - Rudolf Spielmann.
Nov-19-14  kamagong24: one of my favorite players Rudolf Spielmann!
Premium Chessgames Member
  andrewjsacks: It is an interesting phenomenon, the mild-mannered man with the slashing attacking style. Also, heading Santa's reindeer team in fog can be dangerous. Spielmann was indeed courageous!
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <Karpova: Long article with many puzzles by Jeremy Silman <Rudolf Spielmann, the Lethal Gentleman!>, October 15, 2013:

You have done an excellent service to readers of this site by posting the link to that fine article by Jeremy Silman.

JS doesn't say it in the article, but in another book that he co-wrote with Serewan he stated of Spielmann that his main goal in life was to acquire enough money to buy unlimited quantities of beer!

Feb-25-15  Mating Net: What a sharp dresser. I love the outfit Mr. Spielmann.

An inspiration for ZZ Top, no doubt.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Calli: Yes, even Spielmann once had hair:
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <We cannot resist the fascination of sacrifice, since a passion for sacrifices is part of a chessplayer's nature> - Rudolf Spielmann
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <A good sacrifice is one that is not necessarily sound but leaves your opponent dazed and confused> - Rudolph Spielmann
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <In the opening a master should play like a book, in the mid-game he should play like a magician, in the ending he should play like a machine> - Rudolph Spielmann.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Spielmann is, in fact, the hardest-working of all the masters, continually searching out the flaws in his game and striving to eliminate them> - Aron Nimzowitsch.
Premium Chessgames Member
  whiteshark: Quote of the Day

"Lasker's style was like clear limpid water--with a dash of poison in it!"

-- Spielmann

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: I second <thegoodanarchist> in his praise for the Spielmann article by Silman (and <Karpova> for posting it). there are dozens of puzzles, and they are not easy!

Here is the link again:

Nov-21-18  blackburne: Spielmann took refuge in Sweden during World War II. Chess helped him move forward. Article in spanish with tournaments, simultaneous, games and photos of Spielmann in Sweden:

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