SANDS: Going old school: Big chess milestones for 2014
By David R. Sands
The Washington Times
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

With the history of organized tournament play dating back to the mid-19th century, we’re hitting some pretty significant milestones in the history of the game this year.

It was 150 years ago that the great German master Louis Paulsen defeated compatriot Gustav Neumann in a 10-game match in Berlin. Paulsen, who spent four years in the United States as a businessman, is unfairly remembered for his defeat at the hands of a young Paul Morphy in the famous 1857 U.S. championship tournament, one of the first great triumphs of Morphy’s brief but amazing career.

But as Morphy withdrew from international play, Paulsen went on to become one of the strongest players of his era. He drew a match with former world champion Adolph Anderssen in 1862 and contributed a slew of ideas on opening theory, pawn structure and the importance of defense.

He had little trouble with Neumann, considered one of the top players of the day, winning by a score of 6½-3½. Today’s first game, a Berlin Defense actually played in Berlin, is a fine example of Paulsen’s defensive prowess, as Black fights off a promising attack with a well-timed counterpunch.

And it was exactly 100 years ago that one of the greatest tournaments of all time was held on the eve of World War I in St. Petersburg. The event is best remembered for world champion Emanuel Lasker’s stunning defeat of rising Cuban challenger Jose Raoul Capablanca in the finals to take first place, one of the most famous and replayed games of all time.

But the brilliancy prize for the tournament was an equally memorable pairing — the classical German theorist Siegbert Tarrasch defeating the stormy young “hypermodernist” Aron Nimzovich with a beautiful double-bishop sacrificial motif that, ironically, Lasker himself first made famous.

The win for the old-school Tarrasch over his theoretical nemesis must have been supremely satisfying.

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