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Vilnius All-Russian Masters Tournament

Akiba Rubinstein12/18(+9 -3 =6)[games]
Ossip Bernstein11.5/18(+9 -4 =5)[games]
Stefan Levitsky11/18(+7 -3 =8)[games]
Aron Nimzowitsch10.5/18(+6 -3 =9)[games]
Alexander Flamberg9/18(+5 -5 =8)[games]
Alexander Alekhine8.5/18(+7 -8 =3)[games]
Grigory Levenfish8.5/18(+5 -6 =7)[games]
Sergey von Freymann8/18(+5 -7 =6)[games]
Semion Alapin6/18(+3 -9 =6)[games]
Georg Salwe5/18(+2 -10 =6)[games]
Abram Rabinovich1.5/9(+0 -6 =3)[games]
* Chess Event Description
Vilnius All-Russian Masters (1912)

The All-Russian Masters tournament held in Vilnius (also Vilna or Vilno) from August 19-September 17, 1912 was the last of Akiba Rubinstein's string of consecutive tournament victories that year. (See also San Sebastian (1912), Bad Pistyan (1912) and 18th DSB Kongress (1912)). The entrants in this double round-robin event were: Semion Alapin, Alexander Alekhine, Ossip Bernstein, Alexander Flamberg, Grigory Levenfish, Stefan Levitsky, Aron Nimzowitsch, Abram Isaakovich Rabinovich, Akiba Rubinstein, Georg Salwe, and Sergey Nikolaevich von Freymann.

Rabinovich dropped out before the end of the first cycle, and the nine games he played did not count in the final results. As a result, each player received in effect four byes, which makes the course of the event difficult to track. In addition, about half of the 99 games played are not available. When a Rubinstein v. Alekhine game cannot be found, you have to be pessimistic about others showing up!

Given these caveats and emptors, it appears that Nimzowitsch took the early lead with 6.5/9 after the first cycle, followed by Bernstein, Flamberg, and Rubinstein on 5.5. However, Nimzowitsch started the second half with a famous loss to Alekhine in round 12 (featuring two noteworthy queen sacrifices that didn't happen), and never recovered his edge.

Rubinstein, who had lost two of his first three games, suffered another reversal at the hands of Freymann in round 13 and trailed Bernstein by a point. However, he promptly won his next four games to take a 1.5 point lead and coast home from there.

Vilna (Vilnius), Russian Empire (Lithuania), 19 August - 17 September 1912

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 Rubinstein XX == 1= =1 11 11 11 00 01 == 12.0 2 Bernstein == XX 1= 0= 11 00 0= 11 11 11 11.5 3 Levitsky 0= 0= XX =1 == 11 0= 1= =1 11 11.0 4 Nimzowitsch =0 1= =0 XX == =0 1= 1= =1 11 10.5 5 Flamberg 00 00 == == XX 1= 10 =1 1= 1= 9.0 6 Alekhine 00 11 00 =1 0= XX 11 0= 01 10 8.5 7 Levenfish 00 1= 1= 0= 01 00 XX =1 =1 == 8.5 8 Freymann 11 00 0= 0= =0 1= =0 XX =1 10 8.0 9 Alapin 10 00 =0 =0 0= 10 =0 =0 XX =1 6.0 10 Salwe == 00 00 00 0= 01 == 01 =0 XX 5.0

A fine result for Levitsky, a bad tournament for Alekhine, and whatever was Rubinstein thinking about when he played the bottom three finishers?

Since not all of the games are available, I am including a list of the round-by-round pairing. I have used the Gregorian calendar date, which was 13 days later than the Julian calendar used in Russia at the time. Games followed by an <*> are not in the database. Remember that all of Rabinovich's games were eventually cancelled.

Round 1 (Monday, August 19): Levenfish 0 Rubinstein, Freymann 0 Bernstein, Alapin 1/2 Levitsky, Rabinovich 1/2 Flamberg (cancelled), Alekhine 1/2 Nimzowitsch (Salwe bye)
Round 2 (Tuesday, August 20): Flamberg 1 Alekhine*, Levitsky 1 Rabinovich (cancelled), Bernstein 1 Alapin, Rubinstein 0 Freymann, Salwe 1/2 Levenfish* (Nimzowitsch bye)
Round 3 (Thursday, August 22): Freymann 1 Salwe, Alapin 1 Rubinstein, Alekhine 0 Levitsky, Rabinovich 1/2 Bernstein (cancelled)*, Nimzowitsch 1/2 Flamberg* (Levenfish bye)
Round 4 (Friday, August 23): Levitsky 1/2 Nimzowitsch, Bernstein 0 Alekhine, Rubinstein 1 Rabinovich (cancelled)*, Salwe 1/2 Alapin*, Levenfish 1/2 Freymann* (Flamberg bye)
Round 5 (Saturday, August 23): Alapin 1/2 Levenfish*, Rabinovich 1/2 Salwe (cancelled)*, Alekhine 0 Rubinstein, Nimmzovisch 1 Bernstein, Flamberg 1/2 Levitsky* (Freymann bye)
Round 6 (Tuesday, August 27): Bernstein 1 Flamberg, Rubinstein 1/2 Nimzowitsch*, Salwe 0 Alekhine, Levenfish 1 Rabinovich (cancelled), Freymann 1/2 Alapin (Levitsky bye)
Round 7 (Wednesday, August 28): Rabinovich 0 Freymann (cancelled), Alekhine 1 Levenfish, Nimzowitsch 1 Salwe, Flamberg 0 Rubinstein*, Levitsky 0 Bernstein (Alapin bye)
Round 8 (Thursday, August 29): Rubinstein 1 Levitsky, Salwe 0 Flamberg, Levenfish 0 Nimzowitsch, Freymann 1 Alekhine, Alapin 1 Rabinovich (cancelled)* (Bernstein bye)
Round 9 (Saturday, August 31): Alekhine 0 Alapin, Nimzowitsch 1 Freymann, Flamberg 1 Levenfish, Levitsky 1 Salwe, Bernstein 1/2 Rubinstein (Rabinovich bye--not cancelled)
Round 10 (Sunday, September 1): Salwe 0 Bernstein*, Levenfish 1 Levitsky*, Freymann 1/2 Flamberg*, Alapin 1/2 Nimzowitsch, Rabinovich 0 Alekhine (cancelled) (Rubinstein bye)
Round 11 (Monday, September 2): Flamberg 1 Alapin*, Levitsky 1 Von Freymann, Bernstein 0 Levenfish, Rubinstein 1/2 Salwe* (Alekhine, Nimzowitsch Bye)
Round 12 (Tuewday, September 3): Rubinstein 1 Levenfish, Bernstein 1 Freymann*, Levitzky 1 Alapin*, Nimzowitsch 0 Alekhine (Flamberg, Salwe bye)
Round 13 (Thursday, September 5): Alekhine 1/2 Flamberg*, Alapin 0 Bernstein*, Freymann 1 Rubinstein, Levenfish 1/2 Salwe*, (Levitzky, Nimzowitsch bye)
Round 14 (Friday, September 6): Salwe 1 Freymann*, Rubinstein 1 Alapin*, Levitsky 1 Alekhine*, Flamberg 1/2 Nimzowitsch* (Bernstein, Levenfish bye)
Round 15 (Saturday, September 7): Nimzowitsch 0 Levitsky*, Alekhine 1 Bernstein, Alapin 1 Salwe*, Freymann 0 Levenfish* (Flamberg, Rubinstein bye)
Round 16 (Monday, September 9): Levenfish 1 Alapin, Rubinstein 1 Alekhine*, Bernstein 1/2 Nimmzowitsch, Levitsky 1/2 Flamberg* (Salwe, Freymann bye)
Round 17 (Tuesday, September 10): Flamberg 0 Bernstein, Nimzowitsch 0 Rubinstein, Alekhine 0 Salwe*, Alapin 0 Freymann (Levenfish, Levitsky bye)
Round 18 (Thursday, September 12): Levenfish 0 Alekhiune, Salwe 0 Nimzowitsch*, Rubinstein 1 Flamberg*, Bernstein 1/2 Levitsky* (Alapin, Freymann bye)
Round 19 (Friday, September 13): Levitsky 1/2 Rubinstein, Flamberg 1/2 Salwe*, Nimzowitsch 1/2 Levenfish*, Alekhine 1/2 Freymann (Alapin, Bernstein bye)
Round 20 (Saturday, September 14): Alapin 0 Alekhine*, Freymann 1/2 Nimzowitsch*, Levenfish 1 Flamberg, Salwe 0 Levitsky*, Rubinstein 1/2 Bernstein (No bye this round; would have gone to Rabinovich)
Round 21 (Monday, September 16): Bernstein 1 Salwe*, Levitsky 1/2 Levenfish*, Flamberg 1 FReymann*, Nimzowitsch 1 Alapin* (Alekhine, Rubinstein bye)
Round 22 (Tuesday, September 17): Alapin 1/2 Flamberg*, Freymann 1/2 Levitsky*, Levenfish 1/2 Bernstein*, Salwe 1/2 Rubinstein* (Alekhine, Nimzowitsch Bye)

Many thanks to <The Focus> for supplying dates for the rounds and verifying the reconstruction, and to <Calli> for verifying much of the information. If you know of further information about or games from this tournament, please leave a note in my forum.

Original collection: Game Collection: Vilnius 1912 (All-Russian Masters), by User: Phony Benoni.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 50  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Alapin vs S Levitsky ½-½651912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC77 Ruy Lopez
2. S von Freymann vs O Bernstein 0-1301912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC55 Two Knights Defense
3. Levenfish vs Rubinstein 0-1471912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC45 Scotch Game
4. Alekhine vs Nimzowitsch  ½-½251912Vilnius All-Russian MastersA46 Queen's Pawn Game
5. A Rabinovich vs Flamberg  ½-½281912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC77 Ruy Lopez
6. S Levitsky vs A Rabinovich 1-0271912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC44 King's Pawn Game
7. Rubinstein vs S von Freymann 0-1381912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC12 French, McCutcheon
8. O Bernstein vs Alapin 1-0241912Vilnius All-Russian MastersD02 Queen's Pawn Game
9. Alekhine vs S Levitsky 0-1411912Vilnius All-Russian MastersA22 English
10. Alapin vs Rubinstein 1-0281912Vilnius All-Russian MastersB29 Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein
11. S von Freymann vs Salwe  1-0491912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC77 Ruy Lopez
12. S Levitsky vs Nimzowitsch  ½-½381912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC50 Giuoco Piano
13. O Bernstein vs Alekhine 0-1441912Vilnius All-Russian MastersD11 Queen's Gambit Declined Slav
14. Alekhine vs Rubinstein 0-1271912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC83 Ruy Lopez, Open
15. Nimzowitsch vs O Bernstein 1-0611912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC02 French, Advance
16. S von Freymann vs Alapin  ½-½341912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC11 French
17. Levenfish vs A Rabinovich  1-0361912Vilnius All-Russian MastersD25 Queen's Gambit Accepted
18. O Bernstein vs Flamberg 1-0501912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC49 Four Knights
19. Salwe vs Alekhine  0-1431912Vilnius All-Russian MastersA40 Queen's Pawn Game
20. S Levitsky vs O Bernstein 0-1581912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC50 Giuoco Piano
21. Nimzowitsch vs Salwe 1-0391912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC46 Three Knights
22. A Rabinovich vs S von Freymann  0-1421912Vilnius All-Russian MastersC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
23. Alekhine vs Levenfish 1-0261912Vilnius All-Russian MastersB40 Sicilian
24. Levenfish vs Nimzowitsch 0-1291912Vilnius All-Russian MastersB10 Caro-Kann
25. Salwe vs Flamberg 0-1291912Vilnius All-Russian MastersD02 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 50  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-28-13  JimNorCal: A fragmentary record for this tournament but some interesting chess. Thanks all for the big effort to put a "stake in the ground" for the existing information!
Oct-12-13  Karpova: Rubinstein - Nimzowitsch, round 6, August 14

Nimzowisch played the Dutch Defense. After a weak move by Black, Rubinstein could apply pressure to the c7-pawn. Yet, he made also an error and Nimzowitsch liberated his position at the cost of a pawn.

A R+N+3p vs R+B+2p endgame was reached and Black put up the toughest resistance. After 6 hours, the game was adjourned [Diagram]

click for larger view

Play was resumed on August 22. Rubinstein tried everything possible to win the game, but Nimzowitsch was at the top of his form and managed to draw. The game lasted 12 hours in total.

Source: John Donaldson and Nikolay Minev, "The Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein – Volume 1: Uncrowned King", 2nd edition, Milford, CT USA, 2006, pp. 284-285 (based on Nimzowitsch's report from the 'Rigaer Rundschau')

Nov-07-13  Karpova: Dr. Lasker was worried about Rubinstein due to the incredible stress he was going through - this was his 4th Major Tournament in one year:

Dr. Lasker: <Die Nachrichten aus Wilnia lassen erkennen, dass Rubinstein außer Form ist. Es ist sein viertes Turnier in diesem Jahr, und gegen eine solche Überlastung hält seine Konstitution nicht stand. Er ist todmüde, und ich fürchte, dass es längere Zeit dauern wird, bevor er wieder die wundervolle Frische und Kraft erlangen wird, die er zu Anfang des Jahres gezeigt hat. [...] Rubinstein wird seinem gequählten Gehirn nicht mehr abringen können, als dass er auf den dritten Platz rückt.>

Source: 'Pester Lloyd' of September 12, 1912 (from Michael Negele, page 21 of 'Karl' 3/2013).

Translation: The news from Vilnius reveal that Rubinstein is out of form. It's his fourth tournament in this year, and his constitution doesn't withstand such overwork. He is tired to death and I fear that it will take longer time until he regains the wonderful freshness and energy, that he showed at the beginning of the year. [...] Rubinstein won't wrest more from his tortured brain than reaching third place.

A week later, Dr. Lasker in the 'Pester Llloyd' wrote that <Als er rettungslos zurückgedrängt schien, raffte er, trotz seiner augenscheinlichen Ermüdung, alle Kraft zusammen, gewann eine Partie nach der anderen und stellte sich unwiderstehlich an die Spitze.> (When he seemed hopelessly pushed back, he gathered, despite his obvious fatigue, all of his energy, won one game after another and pulled irresistibly ahead.). Yet, Dr. Lasker was still demanding that Rubinstein should get rest. Michael Negele noted that Rubinstein's fatigue had already become visible during 18th DSB Kongress (1912) (Breslau).

Source is pages 21-22 of 'Karl' 3/2013.

And indeed, Rubinstein took a rest - see Akiba Rubinstein.

This is illustrates the great strain of playing four Major Tournaments in one year - and Rubinstein won them all, nonetheless!

Jan-05-14  Karpova: The International Main Tournament, Vilnius 1912

1. Hromadka 15.0
2. Bogoljubov 14.5
3. Rausch von Traubenberg 14.0
4-5. List 12.0
4-5. J Rabinowitsch 12.0
6. Barton 11.5
7. Estrin 11.0
8-10. Hartmann 10.5
8-10. Langleben 10.5
8-10. Selesnew 10.5
11. Oehrn 10.0
12. Platz 9.5
13. Globus 9.0
14-15. Garkuljak 8.5
14-15. Ssurnin 8.5
16. Faworski 8.0
17. Eljaschew 5.5
18. G Rabinowitsch 4.0
19. Wait 3.5
20. Baron Ungern-Sternberg 2.0

Hromadka scored +12 -1 =6, Bogoljubov +14 -4 =1 (beating Hromadka), but even more combative was Rausch von Traubenberg with +14 -5 =0.

Source: Page 129 of the February-May 1914 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Apr-23-15  hemy: Rigasche Zeitung Nr.174 28.07.1912,
Editor - C.Behting

"Wilna. Am Meisterturnier werden teil-
nehmen: Alapin (München), Alechin
(Petersburg), Dr. Bernstein (Moskau),
Gregory (Reval). E. A. Snossko-Borowski (Petersburg), Löwenfisch (Petersburg). Lewitski (Perm), Niemzowitsch (Riga), Rabinovitsch (Wilna), Rubinstein (Warschau), v.Freymann (Petersburg) und Janowski (Paris).

— Zum Wilnaer Amateurturnier find
folgende Spieler zugelassen worden:
Langleben, Hartmann, Rabinowitsch (Wilna),
Globus, Halpern, Baron Rausch von Traubenberg,
Eljaschoff. Garkülok, Estrin, Wait (Rlga),
Rabinowitsch (Petersburg),
Platz, Seleznew, Faworski, Surnin, Bogoljubow,
List, Baron Ungern-Sternberg,
Debru (Dorpat) und Barton."

From the list of the players registered for tournament, published in Rigasche Zeitung, did not played Bernhard Gregory from Reval (Tallinn) and Debru from Doprat (Tartu). The name of Vladimir Surnin (Sournin) was misspelled in tournament table published in Wiener Schachzeitung (Ssurnin)

Dec-08-16  zanzibar: Here's a link to EDOchess's page for this tournament:

Rubinstein is basically at his peak, and outstrips all the competition in rating.

Then comes Nimzowitsch, Bernstein and the ascendant Alekhine. The first two are also basically peaking, while Alekhine has yet to reach his stride.

(By the time Alekhine and Rubinstein next meet, in St. Petersburg (1914), they've reversed roles, ratings-wise).

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < (By the time Alekhine and Rubinstein next meet, in St. Petersburg (1914), they've reversed roles, ratings-wise).>

Rubinstein didn’t play a single official game of chess between Vilnius and St. Petersburg. Seems like there’s got to be a story there.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: I’ m guessing part of that story has to do with Rubinstein using much time in 1913 to negotiate a WC match with Lasker.
Feb-21-22  nok: It's Vilna, not Vilnius.

Can this site get something right?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: From the heading: < The All-Russian Masters tournament held in Vilnius (also Vilna or Vilno) from August 19-September 17, 1912 >

Why not try to contribute instesd of criticising the work of those who do?

Feb-21-22  nok: This is a contribution. I also submit puns, so thank you.

S Dushyant vs Z Harari, 2018 (kibitz #17)

Anyway Vilna should be in the title and <also Vilnius> in the footnote.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: User: Phony Benoni who may be the most revered poster here, has invested 1000s of hours researching and double checking information on tournaments and bios on this site. I guess he made a deliberate decission to use the name generally known today, and still put other forms in.

I find that commendable and you think it worthy of scorn.

I guess we are just very different.

Game Collection: Vilnius 1912 (All-Russian Masters)

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Diademas: I’ m guessing part of that story has to do with Rubinstein using much time in 1913 to negotiate a WC match with Lasker.>

C'mon, it's a chess match, not a SALT treaty. I suppose he couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time, either. He also spent a few months of 1913 at a health resort in Germany, see his bio on this site. I suspect he was having a bit of a mental struggle.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: I’m not quallified to say anything reasonable about what demons Rubinstein were fighting at the time. Later developments sure gives you a point.

It’s worth noticing that Lasker didn’t play in 1913 either, except some simuls.

Feb-21-22  nok: <I guess we are just very different.>

If you feel fine w/ a site that can't follow its own guidelines and people are insulted daily, then yeah.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: Let’s stick to the point at hand <nok>

There sure are enough legitimate issues to point out at with this site. The contributions of vololntairs like <Phony Benoni> are not among them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Pretty sure Phony Benoni has never insulted anyone. He's made extraordinary contributions here, though.

<t’s worth noticing that Lasker didn’t play in 1913 either, except some simuls.>

Right you are, and he didn't play in 1912 or 1911, either! But that was Lasker. You can go to the Edochess link that <zanzibar> posted for this tournament, and click on Rubinstein to get a list of his tournaments and matches. Going a year and a half without playing (this tournament ended in September 1912; St. Petersburg started in April 1914) was quite a departure for him.

Feb-21-22  nok: <There sure are enough legitimate issues to point out at with this site. The contributions of vololntairs like <Phony Benoni> are not among them.>

That's why my annoyance wasn't directed at him. If you're looking for haughtiness and gatekeeping, better see how newcomers like Caisso are treated by the CG priests.

Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <keypusher....Rubinstein didn’t play a single official game of chess between Vilnius and St. Petersburg. Seems like there’s got to be a story there.>

The thought had never occurred to me, but one would imagine Rubinstein was worn out after his herculean labours of 1912.

<Pretty sure Phony Benoni has never insulted anyone....>

If I ever spotted such a post, I would flag the admins, cos there would be no doubt an impostor was at work.

<....He's made extraordinary contributions here, though....>

I'll sign that.

As to Lasker: he often went stretches with little or no serious play--too many other things occupied him. The breaks he took from the game made Fischer's absences from play in the 1960s look like week-long vacations, for all the posting which has surrounded the latter.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I'm probably not the person to settle these questions, since the only language I know outside of English is American. But I do read that "Vilnius" is the form used in Lithuania. As far as I'm concerned, that settles the question. Just don't ask about transliteration.

And I don't know the details of Rubinstein's inactivity in 1913. Maybe there just weren't any tournaments that attracted him. Maybe he just wanted a break after his transcendent performances in 1912. I do know that negotiating with Lasker was no walk in the park. It would have involved a lot of fund-raising, which would have taken time away from study and play. Remember, it took Capablanca over a decade to get his match.

And I appreciate the appreciations. This has been a pleasure, not wor.

Many normal people -- and chess players as well -- give me the Doggie Head Tilt when I tell them how I spend my time. They even ask if something like this is worth getting out of bed in the morning. And I tell them this:

"Every moninging when I awaken, I know that on that day I am going see things I have never seen before. I am going to learn things I have never known before. And I am going to be able to share my joy in these discoveries with like-minded people from around the world.

"And if that's not enough to get me out of bed ... well, there's always my bladder."

Feb-22-22  nok: <But I do read that "Vilnius" is the form used in Lithuania.>

In 2022? Yeah.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: <<Phony Benoni>: "And if that's not enough to get me out of bed ... well, there's always my bladder.">

I actually read this at 3 o’clock this night after getting up for bathroom service.

Feb-22-22  Z truth 000000001: <phony> gets humorously philosophical at the end of his post above - but it's quoted material.

Which makes me wonder about the source...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Diademas: < nok: <But I do read that "Vilnius" is the form used in Lithuania.>

In 2022? Yeah.>

And in 1912, and long before that. Vilna being the Russian and English term at the time.

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