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Savielly Tartakower vs Akiba Rubinstein
Rotterdam (1931), Rotterdam NED, rd 2, Dec-??
Spanish Game: Closed Variations. Worrall Attack Delayed castling line (C86)  ·  1-0



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Given 22 times; par: 17 [what's this?]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-05-05  Bisontin: Why does Rubinstein resign ?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: I believe that it was a loss on time.
Jun-05-05  WMD: Donaldson and Minev: 'This is very strange...One possible explanation is that an old fashioned time control of perhaps 16 moves an hour was used...Our guess is that some non-chess factor was at work.'
Jun-05-05  Bisontin: Thank you, Chessical. I don't see another reason.
Jun-05-05  cuendillar: But if he lost on time, how come he played the last move?
Jun-05-05  paladin at large: Rubinstein may have said he could not continue and left the hall. His shyness had been steadily worsening over the years, and in the last stages he would leave the table after making a move to be away from spectators, only returning to the table when he could muster the courage. This match was shortly before he dropped out of tournament play forever.
Jun-05-05  WMD: <sound of violins>
Apr-22-07  vonKrolock: I know about a Game lost because of a nasal hemorrhage of the loser, due to excessive exposition to equatorial sun - well, the appeal comité of the Tournament refused to postpone the Game...
Nov-04-07  talisman: well akiba comes back to beat tartakower in round 5. i've never seen a reason for this resignation.
Apr-01-10  suenteus po 147: <Why does Rubinstein resign ?> From Tartakower's book on the tournament:

'In all of my days and all of my games I have seen just about every style of resignation one might imagine including those wholly unimaginable. I have also won in what could be called a complete catalogue of methods. I beat Lasker once when he claimed "sickness of the sea," a convenient excuse to win a bet made over the game. I once defeated Alekhine by helping ourselves to the organizer's wine cellar before our game (in all fairness I was pickled as well, but it was still an unfair advantage having learned to play drunk in the military), and I even beat the Dutch amateur Euwe once in Budapest by turning the board around before the start of the round and having him play with the sun in his eyes. Poor fellow suffered the first and only true case of "chess blindness" on record. However, the strangest win I've ever had to pencil into my notes happened during the second round here in Dutch Rotterdam against Rubinstein, a fellow more deserving of the chess crown of the world than any other opponent I have met that did not yet win it (though Euwe is a close second these days). It is a common knowledge that all players who lose chess games suffer some type of illness, whether it be a sniffle, a hiccough, or even chills in the hands and necks and therefore cannot play as healthy masters do who can be bothered to win their games, and no exception has been made in the case of Rubinstein, who some claim suffer ailments of psychology rather than the humours. If this is true, than perhaps I am to blame, though as the reader will quickly see, he has his own share in the weighing of the scales as I do.

I had lost to Colle in the first round (indigestion from lunch), and was determined to make a better showing even though my next opponent was Rubinstein, co-leader in the standings and undoubtedly the strongest participant amongst the four of us. Those who delight in reading Lasker and resuscitating the notion that he plays men and not chess (terribly misguided as men do not respond to instruction as inanimate chess pieces always do), will be pleased to read that I decided to play a trick on Rubinstein. As I related in my book on the tournament held in Belgium a year earlier, there was another second round game in which Rubinstein lost miserably to British master George Alan Thomas over an affair of proper hygiene. I decided to use Thomas's opening system from that game to rattle Rubinstein like a viper's tail. All went according to plan and when Rubinstein realized what I was up to he huffed and glared at me. I cleared my nose for effect, and then varied with 8.QRP-QR4. After several minutes Rubinstein huffed again and stood from the table to take a stroll around the playing hall. I took the opportunity to converse with my fellow standings compatriot, Salo Landau, and smoked a cigarette. Upon my return to the board, Rubinstein was reseated with his hands folded together as if in prayer, staring at the position. He had not yet moved. ...'

Apr-01-10  suenteus po 147: [continued]

'..."This is wrong," he said. "Your move is poor. The Queen's Bishop pawn is the correct move." "Well," I said, "I prefer better than a draw these days." At this Rubinstein huffed again and resumed thinking. After pinning my knight I moved the queen's bishop pawn after all and he huffed again, reasserting his glare. "You are mocking me," he said. "Akiba," I rejoined, "you wound me. Are we not friends? Your advice was sound, I took it. No mockery of your character was intended." He grumbled, but seemed to accept this and finally replied. We played a few more moves until finally I played 11.KR-Q1 and Rubinstein huffed for what would be the third time. "You say you don't want a draw, yet there is the line to nothing but," he said. He meant a game from Alekhine's match with Euwe five years earlier, in which the two had drawn. I returned that Alekhine has missed a win but five years of study had clarified the error and I was confident in my anaylsis. Rubinstein suvery the board, no doubt playing over the game via our pieces conceptually, when he must have spotted the improvement himself. He then proceeded to attempt another huff, but he choked on this gruff exhalation of air and it came out strangled and pathetic, remarkably communicating what he no doubt felt in that moment. He excused himself and paced outside, gathering air for no doubt a new succession of huffing upon his return. I was startled when an hour passed and he had not yet returned. I sought him outside, as time was growing short, and found him seated at a nearby bench staring up at formation of clouds in the distance.

"Akiba," I said, "hadn't you somewhere else you need to be?" He looked at me and said, "What would you play in my position?" I could scarcely believe it. What an ingenious idea! Of course! Ask your opponent what he would do in your situation if he were to find himself there! Why hadn't I thought of it? I was about to answer enthusiastically when Rubinstein interrupted and added, "it's only fair you tell me, after all. I gave you the queen's bishop pawn move." Now this was true, but in what rational universe did this count as requiring balancing of the cosmic scales of justice? I knew the move as well as he, and played it more for a lark than on his actual suggestion. Nevertheless I let this pass uncommented upon and said, "You must first castle and then defend, withdraw to the eighth rank and regroup. Any attack conducted prematurely on my part would surely fail against proper resistance." "Oh," said Rubinstein. "You wouldn't resign?" Now this was fantastic! He had expected I would resign against myself rather than play out an position analyzed as poor. And in his suggestive state, why had I again missed an opportunity to seize history in the making? But no, that would have been poor sportsmanship, so I informed him that it was folly to resign against one's self and that he must needs play on. He nodded and returned with me to the board. ...'

Apr-01-10  suenteus po 147: [concluded]

'...As we continued, I noticed my opponent had actually taken my advice, but muttered to himself along the way, as if arguing with an unseen consultant to the game. After retreating his knight to the back rank Rubinstein looked up at me in that moment and I must have been smiling (I recall thinking how much easier this diversion of ours would be if we could just tell our opponents what to play rather than actually meticulously studying and struggling with them) for he furiously slammed his hand upon his clock and rose to leave. I stopped him and asked what was the matter.

"This is a trick!" he said. His voice was such a timbre that both Landau and Colle looked up briefly from their game before resuming. I escorted my opponent outside. "You knew I should resign and yet cajoled me to play on anyway. You are a fiend!" "Akiba, please," I said, "let's speak as friends. You asked what I suggested and I spoke honestly. The game is far from decided." "Exactly," my opponent countered, "this is all a ploy to make me look ridiculous! Everyone is watching and when they see me stumble into a game I should have resigned earlier I will be laughed at. There will be cartoons in the paper!" This last statement rattled me somehow, and I felt heartstricken at having entered into such territory with my colleague, so I took his arm and sat him down on the bench we occupied earlier. "Akiba, if this is how I felt I would resign without question. Visit the opera, regain your composure for tomorrow. You are above this. My most honorable apologies." "Yes, yes," he said. "You are right. It is over." And with that I won the game! Imagine winning a game because you told your opponent to resign! So simple and so obvious, and yet I had never heard of it until that day.

To add briefly, Rubinstein did defeat me in the fifth round. I was feeling particularly healthy that day so I asked Akiba afterwards how he had managed it. He grinned and replied that he had cabled Alekhine in Paris to ask for assistance in our rematch. I had to tip my hat to Rubinstein on his ingenuity. A world champion makes a better advisor than one's own opponent.'

Apr-01-10  whatthefat: <suenteus po 147>


Apr-01-10  Jim Bartle: What a story!
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: Like Tal, Tartakower could coax a grin even out of a defeated opponent.
Apr-02-10  Boomie: <To add briefly, Rubinstein did defeat me in the fifth round.>

Unfortunately, this game is not in the CG database. Maybe somebody could upload it.

Apr-02-10  suenteus po 147: <Boomie> Rubinstein vs Tartakower, 1931
Apr-28-12  Karpova: <cuendillar: But if he lost on time, how come he played the last move?>

Most likely, Akiva executed the move when the flag fell and they still counted it but he lost the game anyway. In their other encounter (see <suenteus po 147>'s post above), Savielly lost on time and executed the last move also (though under less spectacular circumstances in a lost endgame).

<suenteus po 147> Do you think that everyone realizes that these are fictional stories?

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