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Klein’s Last Game (30.04.2016.)

Back in 2000, the Paignton Congress hosted the Golombek Memorial Tournament, celebrating the life of the great player and writer. In addition, there was a display of Golombek memorabilia donated by his friend, Gerry Walsh, who was acting as Arbiter for the main event. Among the items was an extraordinary letter, which read thus:

“10th July 1952.  Dear Mr. Golombek,  Do you really think you can escape responsibility for the article of A. H. Trott (in the Times). You are a Director of the magazine (BCM) and its Games Editor. Moreover, you saw my game with Euwe played, analysed it – without consulting me, of course, as you usually do – and wrote a report in the Times. This report concerning my game was false and deliberately misleading. It was your job to see that such a ghastly untruth was stopped… and insinuating on top of it that I did not play the second game because I was afraid. I assure you, I’ll make you pay for this insolence of yours and your associate intrigrants.

Yours truly, E. Klein.”

What on earth was it all that about?

Ernst Klein (1910-1990) was the British Champion at the time and had just played Bd. 1 in the 1st round of an Anglo-Dutch match against the former World Champion, securing a draw after Euwe lost the exchange. Several writers reported that Klein had been “very lucky”, and it was this perceived slight that so incensed him. In protest, he not only withdrew from playing the 2nd game but didn’t play again for over 20 years. Although an extreme reaction by Klein, he was known for his short fuse and acerbic tongue.

This was that controversial game.

White: M. Euwe. Black: E. L. Klein.

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.Nc3 c6 8.e4 Qc7 9.Re1 Rd8 10.h3 a6 11.Qc2 e5 12.Be3 exd4 13.Nxd4 Nc5 14.Rad1 Bd7 15.g4 Be8 16.Bf4 Nfd7 17.Bg3 Ne5 18.Nce2 Qa5 19.f4 Ned7 20.Kh1 Nf8 21.Rf1 b5 22.a3 Qb6 23.cxb5 axb5 24.Bh4 Rdc8 25.Be7 Nb7 26.f5 c5 27.f6!? cxd4 28.fxg7 Ne6 29.Qd2 Na5 (see diagram) White now played

What did Euwe (W) play next?

30.Nxd4? B. H. Wood, no great friend of Golombek, wrote in Chess Klein saw deeply into a complicated position. Even had Euwe not taken the pawn that lost him the exchange, playing, for instance,  30.Bf6 how is he to answer 30…Nc4?” du Mont in The Field suggested 30.Qh6 Nxg7 31.Bf6 Ne6 32.g5 Nb7 33.Rf4 with the unanswerable threat of 34. Qxh7+ Kxh7 35.Rh4+ Kg8 36.Rh8 mate, but this begs a lot of questions. Euwe himself pointed out that 30.Qh6! wins. e.g. 30…Nc4 31.Nf4! Nxf4 32.Rxf4 after which he could see nothing better for Black than 32…Ne3 33.g5! and if 33…Nxd1 34.Qxh7+ Kxh7 35.Rh4+ Kxg7 36.Bf6+ Kf8 37.Rh8#. The game itself then finished… 30…Qxd4 31.Qxd4 Nxd4 32.Rxd4 Nc6 33.Bf6 Nxd4 34.Bxd4 Ra4 35.Rd1 Rac4 36.Bc3 Rxc3 37.bxc3 Rxc3 38.e5 d5 39.Rxd5 Kxg7 40.Rd8 Bc6 41.Bxc6 Rxc6 42.Rd5 ½–½.

Last week’s 2-mover was solved by 1.Ph8=Q!