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City of Berlin vs City of Riga
1st Riga v. Berlin match (1906) (correspondence), Correspondence, rd 1, Oct-??
Spanish Game: Open. Riga Variation (C80)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Jun-18-05  aw1988: Now THIS is an interesting game.
Dec-27-05  trumbull0042: Both cities have Ruy Lopez variations named after them. Now THAT's interesting.
Jun-19-06  blingice: Yeah, the Ruy Lopez is pretty explosive in this game, I must agree.
Jun-19-06  CapablancaFan: It just simply dosen't matter that white has an extra piece, black's pawns storm sweeps everything off the board.
Premium Chessgames Member
  waddayaplay: according to the PGN:

[WhiteElo "2194"]
[BlackElo "2473"]

strange, isn't it?

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Apparently misdated here, since Tarrasch writes about it in his book on the 1908 chess championship. Does anyone know when this game was played? Anybody notable on either team?
Apr-06-08  Calli: 1907, I think.
Apr-06-08  whiteshark: The UltraCorr database dated this game <1906>, which may mark the begin of the game.
Apr-06-08  whiteshark: Maybe one player of the Riga team was <Niemzowitsch>, who played this variation (identical to 13...Kxd8) at the end of 1906:

Przepiorka,Dawid - Nimzowitsch,Aaron [C80]
Munich Munich (9.3), 22.11.1906
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.d4 exd4 7.Re1 d5 8.Nxd4 Bd6 9.Nxc6 Bxh2+ 10.Kf1 Qh4 11.Rxe4+ dxe4 12.Qd8+ Qxd8 13.Nxd8+ Kxd8 14.g3 Bh3+ 15.Ke2 Bg4+ 16.Ke3 f5 17.Nd2 h5 18.Nf1 h4 19.Nxh2 hxg3 20.Nxg4 g2 21.Ke2 Rh1 22.Bg5+ Kc8 23.Ne3 Rxa1 24.Nxg2 Rg1 0–1

Apr-06-08  Calli: Joel Benjamin also gives 1906

Best guess is: start 1906, end 1907

Most likely responsible for the variation are the Behting brothers and Paul Kerkovius, seen (just barely!) here

Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <Calli> <whiteshark> Thank you, gentlemen.

<Calli>, have you ever considered volunteering to clean up the database? Maybe you could split the job with <sneaky pete>.

Apr-06-08  whatthefat: Strange that White rejects numerous repetition opportunities in the endgame.
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: <waddayaplay: according to the PGN: [WhiteElo "2194"]
[BlackElo "2473"]

strange, isn't it?>

Yeah, no way Berlin's rating can be that low.

Jun-13-08  Whitehat1963: Serious fighting chess! Bravo!
Dec-21-08  thebribri8: How do the two cities have ratings?
Jan-14-09  thebribri8: Maybe it's just my computer.
Jan-19-09  WhiteRook48: It's not just your computer. The cities really have ratings. Weird.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: As for the date of the game, it looks like 1906-1908 is right:

This is from a collection of correspondence games by the Riga Chess Club, with annotations by the members, published by the American Chess Bulletin in 1916. The first note gives some historical background, and attributes the variaion to Professor Dr. P. Bohl of Riga. They mention that it was used frequently by Club members in the 1890s.

Premium Chessgames Member
  stoy: See the game Capablanca vs Ed. Lasker, New York, 1915 for the way to play white here: 1-0.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <stoy> Capablanca vs Ed Lasker, 1915
Premium Chessgames Member
  Pawn and Two: Edward Lasker reviewed this game in his book, "Chess Strategy". Later in his book, "Chess Secrets", Lasker states that he was he member of the Berlin team for this game. He gives the dates for this correspondence game, as Oct. 1906 to April 1908.

In "Carl Schlechter! - Life and Times of the Austrian Chess Wizard", by W. Goldman, the review of the Vienna 1908 tournament states that Maroczy fell victim to a prepared variation by Berger in the 12th round (April 7th - 1908). The variation Maroczy was not prepared for was a line in the Riga Variation, Maroczy vs J N Berger, 1908. As a result of this loss, there was a three way tie for first at Vienna 1908, with Duras, Maroczy, and Schlechter all tied with 14 points.

In "Chess Secrets" Lasker explained that he played this variation against Capablanca in 1915, in the hope that his knowledge of this variation would enable him to surprise Capablanca, as team Riga had surprised team Berlin in the 1906-08 game. Unfortunately for Lasker, Capablanca was either prepared for this variation, or was able to find a better continuation at the board.

Sep-14-13  Tiggler: Imagine fellow kibitzers, please, how this game was played. Correspondence chess between two cities nearly 1000km apart. The mail probably took 2-3 days. How long did each team have to respond? I don't think we know, but since this 54 move game apparently was completed in less than two years, it cannot have been more than another 2 days.

So how did the teams confer among themselves? It can only have been at heated meetings in coffeehouses and/or beer kellers. Imagine the debates and arguments! It must have been wonderful to be even a kibitzer back then.

My theory about why black won? The beer was stronger in Berlin.

Sep-14-13  thomastonk: This game has been played by telegraph(!) from October 1906 until April 1908.

Source: "Riga Match and Correspondence Games", New York 1916, p 19 (the book from <Phony Benoni>'s post of Oct-31-09, but not everyone is privileged to read it online).

Sep-14-13  Tiggler: <thomastonk> Thank you for that fascinating information. Maybe the cafes and cellars were alive with talk about the next move for several days. I still believe that the moves were decided in face-to-face confrontations of the respective team members. In our World team games some complain about incivility in the discussions. Regrettably, we do not get to throw beer over each other.
Premium Chessgames Member


According to Gedimins Salmins "Korespondence Sahs Latvija 1877-1944" (Liepaja 2005), p.143

It was Piers Bohl who came up with the <6...exd4> idea:

"Partijā Berlin - Riga Ruy Lopez t.s. atklātajā variantā 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 Rigas šahisti pārsteidza savus partnerus ar jauninājumu 6...exd4. "Teorētisks jaunums, kuru atradis prof. P. Bols, Riga, un kurš toreiz šacha pasaulē izsauca lielu ievēribu."


"In the Berlin - Riga game, Riga's chess players surprised their opponents with the novelty 6...exd4 in the open version of the the Ruy Lopez 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4. The theoretical novelty was found by Prof. P. Bols, Riga, and at that time it created a great deal of excitement in the chess world."

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