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Alfred Kreymborg vs Oscar Chajes
"Chess Reclaims a Devotee" (game of the day Jul-14-2006)
New York Masters (1911), New York, NY USA, rd 2, Jan-23
Sicilian Defense: Dragon. Classical Variation (B73)  ·  0-1

ANALYSIS [x]

FEN COPIED

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Kibitzer's Corner
Jul-14-06  THE pawn: it really looked like a modern game.
Jul-14-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  An Englishman: Good Evening: <cg>, please explain the title of the game. I'm baffled.
Jul-14-06  Confuse: i believe the comment at the beginning of the game explains it <An Englishman>

impressive victory here, oscar likes the queens, just like his "famous" (?) victory over capablanca before his(capablanca's) long period of undeaftedness.

Jul-14-06  dakgootje: Found 27. Bxf8 quite suprising, as i had expected Qxf8, but this is probably much better
Jul-14-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: The essay referred to was published in "The Fireside Book of Chess", edited by Irving chernev and Fred Reinfeld. Kreymborg wrote that he was winning the game when he accidentally transposed moves near the end of a long combination, losing outright.

As a result, he played poorly in the rest of the tournament and gave up chess for a successful literary career. The rest of the essay tells how chess eventually reclaimed him--but only as a casual player, not a serious one.

Kreymborg does not say exactly where the blunder was, but it might have been 29.e7. Replace that with 29.Rxc8 Qxc8 30.e7, and White wins.

Jul-14-06  psmith: The crucial mistake was 29. e7. White would win after 29. Rxc8 Qxc8 30. Bc5 and the e-pawn can only be stopped at the expense of the Queen. (Fritz helped me with this.)
Jul-14-06  psmith: <Phony Benoni> Your message appeared while I was composing mine. But 30. e7 also wins but less immediately than 30. Bc5.
Jul-14-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <psmith> True, 30.Bc5 is better than 30.e7, but I assumed that Kreymborg had the latter in mind since he mentioned transposing moves.
Jul-14-06  Bobwhoosta: Wow, a long build-up to a combinative position by white shatters with one false move, followed by a nice technical phase by black. I agree with the first comment, the flavor of a modern game. I especially like seeing the dragon played in 1911. Thanks cg!
Jul-14-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: Yes, thanks for adding this, cg.com! Nice to see one of these old chess stories turn out to be true.
Jul-14-06
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Black will mate quickly or will win the rook.

Interesting game:white loses two queens to capture and the remaining queen on the board is black's. Instead of trying for a second queen,black pauses to mate:

52 ♔h2 ♕e2+ 53 ♔g3(or h3) ♕g2+ 54 ♔h4 ♕g4#
or 52 ♔h2 ♕e2+ 53 ♔g1 ♕f2#

Apr-20-08  Banoboy: The opening is very modern. This could have been an "immortal" game had Kreymborg's plan not backfired.
Dec-08-08  WhiteRook48: Wow... amazing ... enjoying.
Dec-09-08  savagerules: Talk about fate! If Kreymborg didn't botch this game, most likely this game would have been published throughout the world, he probably wouldn't have quit chess, may have become the next Pillsbury and people would be playing over his games today instead of nobody reading his obsolete poetry.
Aug-05-12
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caissanist: <Chess Reclaims a Devotee> is now available online: http://www.unz.org/Pub/AmMercury-19... .
Jan-05-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  Kapmigs: In the story Kreymborg narrated--

< Nor did I sit down. Exultantly, I made the move leaning over the table and then sat down. And then—• to my frozen horror—I saw I had made, not my seventeenth, but my eighteenth move! I had transposed the moves and blundered outright!>

The blunder, however, was not on his 17th or 18th move but on his 29th--29.e7? He should have played 29. Rxc8 first and after 29....Qxc8; 30.e7 Qe8; 31.Rd1 he has a won game

Jan-05-18
Premium Chessgames Member
  keypusher: < Kapmigs: In the story Kreymborg narrated-- < Nor did I sit down. Exultantly, I made the move leaning over the table and then sat down. And then—• to my frozen horror—I saw I had made, not my seventeenth, but my eighteenth move! I had transposed the moves and blundered outright!>

The blunder, however, was not on his 17th or 18th move but on his 29th--29.e7? He should have played 29. Rxc8 first and after 29....Qxc8; 30.e7 Qe8; 31.Rd1 he has a won game>

He's not referring to the number of moves in the game, he's referring to the number of moves in the combination. Presumably he was writing from memory, because the combination isn't eighteen moves long. Maybe in his mind it started with 17.b4 (which would make it 12 or so moves), but even at move 23 Black can play ...fxe6 and he has a bad position, but he isn't lost.

In a way "Chess Reclaims a Devotee" is a bad title for the game -- in fact this game made Kreymbourg give up serious chess. But it's wonderful that cg.com was able to tie Kreymbourg's essay, which I read so many years ago, to a genuine game. Thanks also to the kibitzer who posted a link to the original essay (and to unz.org for putting the American Mercury online).

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