Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Karff, Marmorosh, and the two Menchiks

Menchik - Graf, Stockholm 1937. Source: Davar 5.9.1937
Moshe Roytman notifies me that I was wrong to say the Palestinian chess establishment ignored Karff's participation in Stockholm 1937. On 20.8.1937 Marmorosh, in his Davar chess column, reports she had won two games (one over the Austrian women's champion, Salome Reischer); and on 27.8.1937 that she finished the tournament in fifth place (sic -- actually joint 6-7th; Marmorosh forgot Milda Lauberte of Latvia who was joint 3rd).

In the the next column, on 5.9.1937,  Marmorosh once again returns to the tournament -- this time presents a brilliancy by Vera Menchik in her victory over Sonja Graf. Menchik sacrificed a rook and a queen to win instantly. in a game that is, for some reason, not found in the "standard" online or computer databases. Correction: a chess friend from Munich noted the game was played in Semmering (and not in the Stockholm tournament, as I wrote). This is my, not Marmorosh's, mistake: Marmorosh himself notes explicitly that the game was played in Semmeing, which I have overlooked. What's more Indeed, the game is indeed found in databases, for example in That said, I still think Edward Winter's quote below is justified...

Yet more reason to look at, as Edward Winter says, the "treasures found in old magazines". Can you find the win?

The tournament is notable for two other (at least) points: first, Vera Menchik's clean score (+14 =0 -0) which, despite the relatively weak opposition, is quite an achievement in a serious tournament. Second, Menchik's sister Olga Menchik also took part, doing quite respectfully -- 6.5 / 14.

Solution to Menchik's combination (Marmorosh's punctuation and annotations; highlight to view):

1). Rd7! Qxd7 (1. Qxh5? Qxh2+! followed by Bxg5)
2). Qxh5!! gxh5
3). Bh7# (1-0)

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