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Berlin Grandmasters Tournament

Emanuel Lasker4.5/6(+3 -0 =3)[games]
Akiba Rubinstein4/6(+2 -0 =4)[games]
Carl Schlechter2/6(+0 -2 =4)[games]
Siegbert Tarrasch1.5/6(+0 -3 =3)[games] Chess Event Description
Berlin Grandmasters (1918)

In 1918, toward the end of the Great War, Bernhard Kagan organized several chess events in the city of Berlin, Germany. Among these events was a Großmeister-Turnier held in the Kerkau-Palast from September 28th to October 11th. Four famous, top players participated in the double round robin tournament, including the world champion Emanuel Lasker, former world crown challenger Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch, potential world challenger Akiba Rubinstein, and former world crown challenger Carl Schlechter. Lasker had managed well during the course of the war and was in fine shape for the event. Rubinstein had journeyed to Berlin earlier in the spring and had improved his form over the year. As to the other players, Dr. Tarrasch had suffered tragedies, losing three of his sons to the war, and Schlechter arrived for the event obviously sick and malnourished. These facts can be said to outline the course of the tournament, with Lasker triumphing and both he and Rubinstein going undefeated, while Schlechter and Tarrasch had terrible results, especially in the second half, each losing to Lasker. Lasker was awarded the grand prize of 1200 marks for his win, while the remaining prize purse was divided among the final three with Rubinstein being awarded 1000 marks, Schlechter 900 marks, and Tarrasch 700 marks. The final tragedy of the tournament was that it proved to be Schlechter's last elite competition with the best in the world. The great gentleman chess master, who had been the only challenger ever to draw Lasker in a match, died two months later on December 27th, 1918.

The final standings and crosstable:

1 Lasker ** ½½ ½1 11 4½ 2 Rubinstein ½½ ** 1½ ½1 4 3 Schlechter ½0 0½ ** ½½ 2 4 Tarrasch 00 ½0 ½½ ** 1½

Original collection: Game Collection: Berlin 1918, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 1; 12 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Lasker vs Rubinstein ½-½561918Berlin GrandmastersC78 Ruy Lopez
2. Tarrasch vs Schlechter ½-½301918Berlin GrandmastersC78 Ruy Lopez
3. Lasker vs Tarrasch 1-0561918Berlin GrandmastersD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
4. Schlechter vs Lasker ½-½571918Berlin GrandmastersC28 Vienna Game
5. Rubinstein vs Schlechter 1-0491918Berlin GrandmastersA54 Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3
6. Tarrasch vs Rubinstein  ½-½301918Berlin GrandmastersC54 Giuoco Piano
7. Schlechter vs Rubinstein ½-½571918Berlin GrandmastersC28 Vienna Game
8. Rubinstein vs Lasker ½-½501918Berlin GrandmastersD33 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
9. Schlechter vs Tarrasch  ½-½521918Berlin GrandmastersC26 Vienna
10. Tarrasch vs Lasker 0-1521918Berlin GrandmastersC50 Giuoco Piano
11. Rubinstein vs Tarrasch 1-0511918Berlin GrandmastersA43 Old Benoni
12. Lasker vs Schlechter 1-0541918Berlin GrandmastersD30 Queen's Gambit Declined
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: The British (in France in 1918) look forward to arriving in Berlin. From Blackadder Goes Forth:

<<George>: Well, but this time I'm absolutely positive we'll break through! It's ice cream in Berlin in 15 days.>


<<Melchett>: Excellent! Well then. See you all in Berlin for coffee and cakes.>


<<George>: Well, this is splendid, comradely news! Together, we'll fight for king and country, and be sucking sausages in Berlin by teatime.

<Edmund>: Yes, I hope their cafés are well stocked; everyone seems determined to eat out the moment they arrive.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <offramp> Well, to be fair, they <did> break through in 1918.
Jun-01-14  visayanbraindoctor: Another super GM pre-WW2 tournament. With a limited number of participants in a double round robin, it resembles a Bilbao super GM tournament.
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: This tournament had many games of 50+ moves.
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: The prices here... is that in gold or paper marks? Considering the inflation Germany underwent between 1914 and 1923, the difference was quite substantial by 1918 (around 3 times I guess - the rate was 2 paper marks for 1 gold mark at the beginning of 1918 and 4 for 1 at its end, according to Wikipedia).
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: Prizes*
Dec-14-16  Nosnibor: Herewith a quote by Kmoch on the game between Rubinstein and Schlechter After Schlechter`s 20th move "Half famished Schlechter-what a great contestant he was ! He stands confined and senses the highly dangerous attack of the White King Knight Pawn. Hence he resolves upon the spirited sacrifice of a Pawn, which even at White`s best play,offers far better drawing chances than a passive defense"
Mar-21-18  RookFile: A tournament called Berlin Grandmasters. How interesting. Some folks want to imagine that the grandmaster title was created much later. That would be news to the players in this tournament.
Mar-21-18  TheFocus: Helps to know there was also Berlin Four Masters (1918).
Premium Chessgames Member
  alexmagnus: <A tournament called Berlin Grandmasters. How interesting. Some folks want to imagine that the grandmaster title was created much later. That would be news to the players in this tournament.>

The <official> grandmaster title was created in 1950, but the <inofficial> grandmaster title circulated since the 19th century. A grandmaster was anyone who ever won an international tournament.

Mar-14-21  Stolzenberg: <Dec-14-16 alexmagnus: The prizes here ... is that in gold or paper marks?> There were no 2 currencies, instead there was only one, the mark. So the prizes here were paid with paper money. The word "gold mark" was never the official name of the currency. Instead it was sometimes used unofficially in order to remind of the old times before the war, when the mark was partly covered by gold at the issuing banks. At Berlin in october 1918 for example, 1 kg of beef cost 5 marks, so everybody can compare the prizes with the price level of today. The mark collapsed in november 1923 due to inflation.
Mar-14-21  Stolzenberg: <1 kg of beef cost 5 marks> This was of course a black market price.

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