Savielly Tartakower

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Ksawery Tartakower.jpg
Savielly Tartakower
Association PolandPoland Poland (until 1939) France (after 1939)
Born February 21, 1887
Died February 5, 1956
title Grand Master (1950)
Best Elo rating 2719 (January 1921) ( Historic Elo rating )

Savielly Grigoriewitsch Tartakower (also Xavier Tartakower , Ksawery Tartakower ; born February 21, 1887 in Rostow-on-Don , Russian Empire , † February 5, 1956 in Paris ) was a Polish-French chess player and author .


Savielly Tartakower was born in Rostow on Don to an Austrian father and a Polish mother. The family originally belonging to Judaism converted to the Roman Catholic faith. Tartakower himself returned to the Jewish religion in later years. The parents, who had gained respect and wealth in Rostov, ran a shop in the city center. Tartakower had a brother (Arthur, * 1888, † 1914 in the First World War on Austria's side, he also played chess) and two sisters. The parents sent the two sons to Switzerland and Austria for training. In February 1911, the parents were murdered in a robbery in their home.

Tartakower attended high school in Geneva and in his hometown from 1899 to 1904 . After high school he studied from 1904 to 1909 law at the University of Vienna , where he also the doctor of law doctorate was. Until the outbreak of the First World War he was a candidate for a lawyer in Vienna. Tartakower took part in the First World War as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army .

After the First World War and the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy , Tartakower lost his Austrian citizenship and briefly received Ukrainian , which was soon replaced by Polish , although Tartakower, who was fluent in German, Russian and French, spoke no Polish. From 1924 he lived in France . During the Second World War he was a member of the Free French Armed Forces under the pseudonym G. Cartier and held the rank of lieutenant there. After the fall of France he was able to escape to England. After the Second World War he received French citizenship.

Chess career

Tartakower learned the game of chess in 1897 from his father. According to Tartakower, however, the "Schachteufel" grabbed him shortly after graduating from high school. He then began to devote himself to the game with great intensity. After completing his studies, he worked as a professional player.

Tartakower won numerous tournaments . In 1906, after winning the main tournament in Nuremberg, he was awarded the (informal) championship title. In 1920 he won together with Ernst Grünfeld in Vienna. 1926 in Bartfield (together with Hermanis Matisons ) and in 1927/28 the New Year's tournament in Hastings . In 1927 he won in Kecskemét and together with Aaron Nimzowitsch in Bad Niendorf and London (also shared with Nimzowitsch). In 1927/28 he repeated his previous year's triumph in Hastings. In 1928 there was a victory in Scarborough , in 1930 victories in Nice and Liège . For 1933, his second place behind world champion Alexander Alekhine in Paris is worth mentioning. In 1934 he was split 1-3. in Barcelona . After the Second World War he had his third success in Hastings (1945/46), also victories in Baarn 1947, Venice 1947, Beverwijk 1949 and Southsea 1950 (together with Arthur Bisguier ) Tartakower also won several competitions: in 1906 he defeated Paul Johner in Nuremberg 5-2 (+ 5, -2), 1913 Rudolf Spielmann in Vienna 6-3 (+5 = 2 −2), 1914 Richard Réti in Vienna 3.5-2.5 (+3 = 1 −2), then 1920 again with 4.5-1.5 (+ 3, = 3, also in Vienna) and in 1933 Andor Lilienthal with 7.5-4.5 (+ 3, = 9) in Paris.

Tartakower represented Poland at the Chess Olympiads in 1930 , 1931 , 1933 , 1935 , 1937 and 1939 , and in 1930 he was Olympic champion in Hamburg with the Polish team. He also achieved second place with the team in 1931 and 1939, and third place in 1935 and 1937; In the individual ranking he achieved the best result on the second board in 1931, and the third-best result on the first board in 1933 and 1935. He also took part in the Polish national championships in 1927, 1935 and 1937. He was Polish champion in his last two participations. After the end of the Second World War he played for the French national team at the Chess Olympiad in 1950 . In the same year the world chess federation FIDE awarded him the newly created grandmaster title in recognition of his successful chess career. In 1953 he won the French national championship in Paris . Tartakower played for the Paris club Caïssa and won the French team cup with this in 1953 and 1954.

His best historical rating was 2719 in January 1921. A little later, in March 1921, he temporarily occupied third place on the subsequently calculated world rankings.

Chess journalism and writing

Tartakower was a successful chess writer . His main work is Die hypermoderne Schachpartie (published in 1924). He has worked as a journalist for numerous newspapers and chess journals around the world.

His witty aphorisms related to chess became very well known and referred to as Tartakowerisms , for example:

  • "The threat is always stronger than the execution."
  • "It is always better to sacrifice your opponent's stones."
  • "The mistakes are there to be made."
  • "The penultimate mistake wins."

Characteristic by contemporaries

The chess grandmaster and psychologist Reuben Fine characterized him as a “man of broad cultural education, masterful linguist, poet, bright head, philosopher and amusing entertainer”. The chess master and journalist Hans Kmoch wrote in his necrology about Tartakower: “Tartakower died, but his fame will never be: his books will always proclaim it. These books, besides their chess-specific value, are documents of a truly warm-hearted person; because nothing but appreciation and deep sympathy is given to the players. He was a real lover of chess and loved to encourage all those who played the game. ”In the 1920s, Tartakower, along with masters like Aaron Nimzowitsch and Richard Réti, was part of the so-called hypermodern school .

Contributions to chess theory

Numerous variants in different openings are named after Tartakower :

  • The best known is the Tartakower variant in the Queen's Gambit , which is rejected after moves 1. d2 – d4 d7 – d5 2. c2 – c4 e7 – e6 3. Nb1 – c3 Ng8 – f6 4. Bc1 – g5 Bf8 – e7 5. e2 E3 0-0 6. g1-f3 h7-h6 7. Bg5-h4 b7-b6 created and Tartakower in London in 1922 against José Raúl Capablanca was introduced
  • In the Caro-Kann defense the sequence of moves 1. e2 – e4 c7 – c6 2. d2 – d4 d7 – d5 3. Nb1 – c3 d5xe4 4. Nb3xe4 Ng8 – f6 5. Ne4xf6 + e7xf6
  • In the French defense the variant 1. e2 – e4 e7 – e6 2. d2 – d4 d7 – d5 3. Nb1 – c3 Ng8 – f6 4. Bc1 – g5 Bf8 – e7 5. e4 – e5 Nf6 – e4 (from Tartakower for the first time 1907 applied in Vienna against Rudolf Spielmann )
  • In the Alekhine defense the line 1. e2 – e4 Ng8 – f6 2. e4 – e5 Nf6 – d5 3. d2 – d4 d7 – d6 4. c2 – c4 Nd5 – b6 5. f2 – f4 d6xe5 6. f4xe5 Nb8– c6 7. Bc1-e3 Lc8-f5 8. Nb1-c3 e7-e6 9. Ng1-f3 Qd8-d7

The name of the now widely ramified Indian Defense complex goes back to Tartakower. “Up to now he distinguished between an Old Indian and a New Indian opening style, depending on Black in the second move with d6 or. e6 ”, wrote the Neue Wiener Schach-Zeitung in 1923. The Catalan opening also owes its name to him. Because at the chess tournament in Barcelona in 1929, the organizers of this tournament asked him to create an opening that should be named after their region of Catalonia . Tartakower himself is not described as the actual author of this opening. However, it was his particular merit that he systematically investigated this style of play and made it socially acceptable.


  a b c d e f G H  
8th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess kdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg 8th
7th Chess pdt45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess pdt45.svg 7th
6th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 6th
5 Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess plt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess qdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg 5
4th Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess plt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess pdt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 4th
3 Chess plt45.svg Chess plt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess plt45.svg Chess bdt45.svg Chess ndt45.svg Chess --t45.svg 3
2 Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess qlt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 2
1 Chess --t45.svg Chess nlt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess rlt45.svg Chess klt45.svg Chess --t45.svg Chess --t45.svg 1
  a b c d e f G H  
End position after 35 ... Ng3 +

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The following game won Tartakower with the black stones in the well-filled tournament at Teplitz-Schönau in 1922 against Géza Maróczy .

Maróczy-Tartakower 0-1
Teplitz-Schönau, October 5, 1922
Dutch Defense , A84
1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. a3 Be7 5. e3 0–0 6. Bd3 d5 7. Nf3 c6 8. 0–0 Ne4 9. Qc2 Bd6 10. b3 Nd7 11. Bb2 Rf6 12. Rfe1 Th6 13.g3 Qf6 14. Bf1 g5 15.Rad1 g4 16.Nxe4 fxe4 17.Nd2 Rxh2 18.Kxh2 Qxf2 + 19.Kh1 Nf6 20.Re2 Qxg3 21.Nb1 Nh5 22.Qd2 Bd7 23.Rf2 Qh4 + 24.Kg1 Bg3 25. Bc3 Bxf2 + 26. Qxf2 g3 27. Qg2 Rf8 28. Be1 Rxf1 + 29. Kxf1 e5 30. Kg1 Bg4 31. Bxg3 Nxg3 32. Re1 Nf5 33. Qf2 Qg5 34. dxe5 Bf3 + 35. Kf1 Ng3 + 0: 1


  • On the tree of chess knowledge . B. Kagan, Berlin 1921.
  • The face of the Russian revolution . Renaissance-Verlag, Vienna 1923.
  • Indian . B. Kagan, Berlin 1924.
  • The opening of the future (the Zukertort-Réti system in the latest lighting) . Verlag der Wiener Schachzeitung , Vienna 1924.
  • The ultra-modern game of chess . Publisher of the Wiener Schachzeitung, Vienna 1924 ( digitized version ).
  • That unleashed chess . Publishing house of "Magyar Sakkvilág", Kecskemét 1926.
  • Wave for chess strategy . de Gruyter, Berlin 1927.
  • The neo-romantic chess . B. Kagan, Berlin 1928.
  • The big international chess championship in Bad Kissingen from 11th - 25th August 1928 . O. Levin, Bad Kissingen 1928.
  • Chess methodology . Siedentop & Co., Berlin 1928.
  • Modern chess strategy . Ad. Kramer, Breslau 1930.
  • Leading masters . Publisher of the Wiener Schachzeitung, Vienna 1932.
  • New chess stars. (The "Leading Master" second part) . Publisher of the Wiener Schachzeitung, Vienna 1935.
  • Tartakower's brilliant games 1905–1930 . de Gruyter, Berlin 1956 (French original title: Tartakover vous parle )


  • Helmut Wieteck: The cunning Dr. Savielly G. Tartakower on the 25th anniversary of his death . Schach-Echo 1981, Issue 5, pp. 76 and 77 (annotated games).

Individual evidence

  1. Савелий Дудаков: Игра и жизнь Савелия Тартаковера [Saweli Dudakow: Spiel und Leben von Savielly Tartakower] (from the Russian)
  2. Сергей ВОРОНКОВ: Тайна смерти родителей Тартаковера Sergei Voronkov: The Secret of the Death of the Parents of Tartakovers (from Russian)
  3. Ibid.
  4. ^ Hans Kmoch: Dr. SG Tartakower. In: Chess Review. April 1956, p. 123 ff.
  5. Tartakower / Cartier (CN 4331)
  6. ^ Hans Kmoch: Dr. SG Tartakower. In: Chess Review. April 1956, p. 123 ff.
  7. Savielly Tartakower: The Myth of the Brilliancy Price. In: Chess Review. March 1951, p. 73.
  8. Savielly Tartakower: From my Chess Memoirs. In: Chess Review. September 1951, p. 272.
  9. a b Xavier Tartakower's results at the Chess Olympiads on (English)
  10. Reports on the French team cup on (French)
  11. "... Tartakower was a student of law and literature before the First World War. He was a man of broad cultural attainement, a master linguist, a poet, a wit, a philosopher, and a most delightful conversationalist. "In: Reuben Fine: The World's greatest chess games. Courier Cover, 1983, p. 141.
  12. ^ Hans Kmoch: Dr. SG Tartakower. In: Chess Review. April 1956, p. 125. (translated from English)
  13. Neue Wiener Schach-Zeitung, No. 2/1923, p. 37 ( online ).

Web links

Commons : Savielly Tartakower  - Collection of Images