3rd Clare Benedict Chess Cup: Lenzerheide 1956

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Basic data

3rd Clare Benedict Chess Cup
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 14th - 18th March 1956
City: Lenzerheide, Switzerland
Venue: N/A
Tournament Director: N/A
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: 6
Players participating: 24 (incl. 2 GMs and 12 IMs)
Games played: 60
Competition format: Four board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points
Time control: N/A
Downloadable game file: 56cbc.zip

Tournament review

The third international team tournament for the Clare Benedict Cup took place at Lenzerheide in Switzerland from March 14th to 18th. Although of recent vintage the event is becoming very popular.

The six countries competing were Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, and England, one less than last year when Belgium also participated. From England's point of view it is to be regretted that Belgium, who finished bottom last year should be so unsporting(!) as to vacate that position for the British contingent. It was quite clear that Germany had come prepared to relieve Holland, 1954 and 1955 winners, of this distinction, and the combination of Unzicker, Darga (who recently played at Hastings) Schmid and Niephaus was formidable.

The Dutch, though not quite so terrifying in all round strength, would obviously provide the only real opposition.

It was generally a neck and neck struggle between them, though Italy were well placed until the final two rounds when they suffered heavily at the hands of the mighty.

England fought hard, and were rewarded with some success, as both Fuller and Harris scored a win and learned much of the vigours of international chess. Yet something was lacking. Fuller built up winning positions on at least two occasions, only to see them slip from his grasp. He must play more steadily, and avoid time shortage.

It is evident that physical fitness and stamina play a large part in the ultimate success or failure of a team.

There may have been some smiles at the Germans determined "early to bed, early to rise", but their final position demands considerable reflection from their less happy brethren.

W. Heidenfeld, South Africa's leading player, turned up at the hotel. His return to Europe has a dual object; to act in an official capacity at the World Championship Candidates' tournament at Amsterdam, and secondly to take part in the British Championship Congress at Blackpool in August. (Will he follow in the footsteps of Wade and Yanofsky!) As most of the other teams had brought along a reserve in case of illness etc. Heidenfeld was enrolled on behalf of England. Happily (or unfortunately!) he was not called upon to play.

Round 1: Holland slaughtered Austria, only Euwe causing anxiety. He had to defend well after a too-optimistic opening. Germany's "star" team just scraped through. Kupper beat Schmid in fine style. Unzicker tried for hours to win a "book" draw. Rook and two pawns v Rook and one Pawn on the same side. In answer to good humoured criticism he replied "No, I do not play to win, I just like to play!"

England were unlucky. Golombek and Wade played steady draws. Fuller built up a fine position but to make 17 moves in a couple of minutes proved too much. Harris came out of the opening with a big advantage, but one hasty move gave it all away.

Round 2: Germany v Holland became reminiscent of that fantastic affair where three Russians v three Argentinians played into an identical position. Euwe and V. Scheltinga, both on the black side of a Ruy Lopez sprung the same innovation, sacrificing a pawn for a lead in development and a space advantage. Unzicker against Euwe tried to hold the pawn, and was only able to draw by extremely accurate play. Schmid waited for more than half an hour(!) before deciding upon another system which handed back the pawn, but obtained a fine game. He won!

Italy now shared the lead with Holland. Their strength lies in the combination of enterprise (Paoli) and solidity (Szabados).

Golombek defended a difficult position well. Blau must have despaired of breaking through by manoeuvering for he began to sacrifice pawns, which Golombek "ate up", and himself initiated the "final attack." Wade's ending against Johner was analysed by all and sundry and is of theoretic interest in showing how such a problem should be tackled. Fuller sacrificed a couple of pawns to get a strong attack but in the heat of battle blundered away his queen. Harris should have taken a draw. He became thereafter more and more cramped and finally had to shed a pawn, which Bhend ground home.

Round 3: Euwe played beautiful chess to force a win out of the advantage of the bishop pair and pressure against a backward pawn.

Harris won by accepting a pawn offer and successfully "running the gauntlet", but the Dutchman helped considerably by taking nearly 40 minutes over one move.

Round 4: Wade was involved in an "incident". When the opportunity to take a draw by repetition presented itself Lokvenc consulted his non-playing captain who in turn instructed Robatsch to analyse the position. His decision—play on! Lokvenc did, and won. This procedure is quite contrary to F.I.D.E. rules, but the tournament controller Crisovan declined to interfere and Golombek, as England's captain, sportingly declined to pursue the matter. Fuller saved England with a win as convincing as it was protracted. Dorn eventually resigned at 1 a.m.! Darga won again, and is confirming the impression of great things to come. Unzicker notched up his first full point - he will have to play less passively against Keres.

Euwe only got a pawn out of his attack but patience and fine end game play proved it enough. Van Scheltinga was quite unrecognisable. He does not seem happy in quiet positions, and Kupper's choice of the Ruy Lopez exchange variation (4.Bxc6) proved a shrewd piece of psychology.

The game between Schmid and Paoli was strictly for the gallery.

Round 5: Holland made a grand effort to pull it off. Euwe made mincemeat of Nestler, and Paoli dropped his first full

Den Berg and Szabados battled grimly before crying peace.

Germany went one better. Golombek's Caro-Kann was drastically dealt with. Wade sacrificed pawns to get at Darga's king, but the German took everything and held on. Fuller fought desperately and denied Schmid for hours, but began to tire. As this round took place in the morning he had been able to snatch only a few hours, sleep. Harris played again the line he had adopted against Van Den Berg, but Niephaus had been "swotting", and the draw came quickly.

England suffered a double blow. Had Switzerland fulfilled their early promise against Austria then the B.C.F. contingent would have escaped the wooden spoon. IF Blau with three pawns to the good hadn't put his queen en prise. IF Johner, with one pawn up, hadn't tried to win a brilliancy prize.

Final Totals: Western Germany 14, Holland 13½; Italy 9; Switzerland 9; Austria 8; England 6½.

/ Written by G. F. Harris, Chess, April 28th, 1956; get scans here: PAGE 1 & 2, PAGE 3 & 4 /

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Tournament review by Harry Golombek (BCM, April 1956):
PAGE 1 | PAGE 2 | PAGE 3 | PAGE 4 | PAGE 5 | PAGE 6

Best board results

bd name code pts gms %
1. GM Euwe, Machgielis NED 4 5 80.0
2. Darga, Klaus GER 4 5 80.0
3. IM Kupper, Josef SUI 4 5 80.0
=4. Van den Berg, Carel NED 3 5 60.0
=4. Niephaus, Walter GER 3 5 60.0

Interesting games