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Savielly Tartakower

Number of games in database: 1,487
Years covered: 1905 to 1955
Overall record: +570 -271 =604 (60.3%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 42 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Queen's Pawn Game (80) 
    A46 A45 D02 D01 D05
 French Defense (63) 
    C00 C01 C11 C13 C15
 Sicilian (62) 
    B20 B30 B40 B21 B50
 French (40) 
    C00 C11 C13 C12 C10
 English (39) 
    A15 A18 A13 A16 A14
 Bird's Opening (38) 
    A03 A02
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (81) 
    B29 B40 B43 B41 B28
 Queen's Pawn Game (64) 
    A46 D02 A40 A50 D04
 Caro-Kann (58) 
    B15 B13 B10 B12 B18
 Dutch Defense (53) 
    A84 A90 A81 A95 A92
 Orthodox Defense (53) 
    D63 D57 D55 D58 D50
 French Defense (51) 
    C11 C01 C13 C10 C04
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Maroczy vs Tartakower, 1922 0-1
   Tartakower vs R Domenech, 1934 1-0
   Tartakower vs Schlechter, 1909 1-0
   Tartakower vs R Frentz, 1933 1-0
   M Lowcki vs Tartakower, 1937 0-1
   Tartakower vs Rubinstein, 1925 1-0
   Spielmann vs Tartakower, 1923 0-1
   P Johner vs Tartakower, 1928 0-1
   O Bernstein vs Tartakower, 1937 0-1
   Tartakower vs J Mieses, 1925 1-0

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Vienna (1923)
   Nice (1930)
   Hastings 1945/46 (1945)
   Baden-bei-Wien (1914)
   Vienna (1922)
   Buenos Aires (1931)
   Sitges (1934)
   Southsea (1949)
   London A (1946)
   Semmering (1926)
   Prague Olympiad (1931)
   Ostend-B (1907)
   Vienna (1908)
   Karlsbad (1911)
   Karlsbad (1907)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   0ZeR0's Favorite Games Volume 55 by 0ZeR0
   My Best Games of Chess, 1905-1954 by Tartakower by suenteus po 147
   My Best Games of Chess, 1905-1954 by Tartakower by Chessdreamer
   My Best Games of Chess (Tartakower) by Qindarka
   The t_t Players: The 1900s by fredthebear
   0ZeR0's Favorite Games Volume 54 by 0ZeR0
   sk.sen's favorite games .. by sk.sen
   LJ.Davison's favorite games by LJ.Davison
   Bled 1931 international tournament by cuendillar
   Bled 1931 by JoseTigranTalFischer
   Bled 1931 by Benzol

   Alekhine vs Rubinstein, 1912
   Rubinstein vs Spielmann, 1912
   Bogoljubov vs Rubinstein, 1920
   J Mieses vs Rubinstein, 1912
   Rubinstein vs O Bernstein, 1911

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(born Feb-21-1887, died Feb-05-1956, 68 years old) Russia

[what is this?]

Savielly Grigoriewitsch Tartakower was born in Russia and moved to Vienna at age 17. He became a doctor of law in 1909, but he never became a practicing lawyer(1). During World War I, he served in the Austro-Hungarian army. In 1918, after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I, he became a Polish citizen (although he did not speak Polish) and moved to Paris. He became a French citizen after World War II.

He won Vienna (1923), Hastings (1926/27), London (1927) (shared with Aron Nimzowitsch), Hastings (1927/28), Scarborough (1929) (shared with Harold Saunders), Liege (1930), and Hastings (1945/46). He also won the Polish championship twice (1935 and 1937) and the French championship at age 63, in 1950. In the 1930s Tartakower represented Poland in six chess olympiads, and France in 1950, winning three individual medals (gold in 1931 and bronze in 1933 and 1935), as well as five team medals (gold in 1930, two silver in 1931 and 1939, and two bronze in 1935 and 1937).

Tartakower is regarded as one of the founders of the Hypermodern School of Chess, alongside Richard Reti, Nimzowitsch, and the lesser-known Gyula Breyer. He wrote many books, including The Hypermodern Game of Chess, and Modern Chess Strategy. He has made many impressions on modern opening theory; his name is attached to variations in the Caro-Kann Defense, the French Defense, the Dutch Defense, the Scotch Game, the Sicilian Defense, the Queen's Gambit Declined, and the Torre Attack, and he created the Polish Opening, a.k.a. the Orangutan Opening, 1.b4. He is also one of the 27 original grandmasters that were appointed by FIDE in 1950.

During World War II, he served in the Free French Army under General Charles de Gaulle. His French colleagues found his name too difficult to pronounce, so he changed it to Lieutenant Dr. Georges Cartier.

Tartakower was a prolific writer. In addition to chess books, he also wrote a screenplay and a collection of poems. He worked for more than 30 chess magazines in multiple countries and his newspaper correspondence appeared in 11 languages.(1)

Tartakower is also remembered for his sense of humor and his speaking ability. One of his most famous maxims is "The winner of a game is the one who has made the next to last blunder".

Wikipedia article: Savielly Tartakower

(1) "Café Central and the Life and Times of Savielly Tartakower (1887-1956)" by Genna Sosonko. New In Chess 2010, No.6, pp 38-45.

Last updated: 2019-07-11 14:36:30

 page 1 of 60; games 1-25 of 1,488  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Tartakower vs Vidmar 1-0291905ViennaB32 Sicilian
2. Tartakower vs J Schenkein  1-0281905Barmen Main B, GERC58 Two Knights
3. H Appunn vs Tartakower 0-1311905Barmen Main B, GERB01 Scandinavian
4. P Fiebig vs Tartakower ½-½601905Barmen Main B, GERB27 Sicilian
5. B Gregory vs Tartakower 0-1641905Barmen Main B, GERD45 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
6. D Hoelken vs Tartakower 0-1301905Barmen Main B, GERA80 Dutch
7. B Yankovich vs Tartakower  ½-½491905Barmen Main B, GERA03 Bird's Opening
8. H M Schaefer vs Tartakower 0-1291905Barmen Main B, GERA84 Dutch
9. D M Schapiro vs Tartakower 0-1231905Barmen Main B, GERC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
10. G Schories vs Tartakower 0-1501905Barmen Main B, GERC63 Ruy Lopez, Schliemann Defense
11. G Schories vs Tartakower ½-½531905Barmen Main B, GERB01 Scandinavian
12. Tartakower vs Creyghton  1-0421905Barmen Main B, GERC50 Giuoco Piano
13. Tartakower vs W Haertel 1-0261905Barmen Main B, GERC50 Giuoco Piano
14. Tartakower vs A Keller 1-0261905Barmen Main B, GERB43 Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3
15. Tartakower vs J Schenkein 1-0321905Barmen Main B, GERB20 Sicilian
16. Tartakower vs O Schewe 1-0331905Barmen Main B, GERC24 Bishop's Opening
17. Tartakower vs G Schories 0-1301905Barmen Main B, GERD00 Queen's Pawn Game
18. Tartakower vs O Wegemund  1-0491905Barmen Main B, GERB45 Sicilian, Taimanov
19. Tartakower vs G Schories 0-1341905Barmen Main B, GERC24 Bishop's Opening
20. Tartakower vs P Johner 1-0301906DSB-15.Kongress mB01 Scandinavian
21. Tartakower vs P Johner 1-0291906DSB-15.Kongress mC11 French
22. Tartakower vs Z Barasz  ½-½361906DSB-15.Kongress-BD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
23. G Mayer vs Tartakower 0-1261906DSB-15.Kongress-BC25 Vienna
24. J Krejcik vs Tartakower ½-½3319062nd Neumann TrophyC46 Three Knights
25. Tartakower vs Vidmar 1-0231907Trebitsch MemorialC12 French, McCutcheon
 page 1 of 60; games 1-25 of 1,488  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Tartakower wins | Tartakower loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 15 OF 15 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jan-28-17  Pyrandus: Le Juif génial?
Oct-27-17  posoo: now DIS man thinks dat he is SO CLEAVER but I BELEVE dat he is not all dat da mombulas SAY SO

da old posoo is a KING when it coms to da quotes, I SHOULD HAVE A CHESPAGES.

Feb-21-18  schnarre: ...Tartakower was a big influence on me when I was getting started.
Feb-21-18  gars: A great player, a great teacher and a great wit.
Aug-04-18  Jean Defuse: ...

<'Airplane game'>

The following miniature was played by Tartakower on a blindfold simul above the clouds:

[Event "Blindfold Display"]
[Site "Airplane (Budapest-Barcelona)"]
[Date "1929.??.??"]
[White "Tartakower, Savielly"]
[Black "Ratkan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C01"]
[PlyCount "23"]

1. e4 d6 2. d4 e6 3. f4 Bd7 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c3 Nh6 6. Bd3 f6 7. O-O Na5 8. e5 g5 9. fxg5 fxg5 10. Nxg5 Be7 11. Qh5+ Nf7 12. Qxf7# 1-0


<Does anyone have further information about this event?>


Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: <Does anyone have further information about this event?>

I was Black, but was always too embarrassed to admit it.

Aug-04-18  ChessHigherCat: <gars: A great player, a great teacher and a great wit.>

Who's a grey twit?

Aug-04-18  john barleycorn: Tartakower would have sold his grandmother for a witty quote. but since he did not have too many grandma's most of his "witticisms" are stilted.

(wow, almost <morfishine> like post hahaha. unintentionally)

Nov-12-18  posoo: now DIS man is EXTREAMLY handsum. I am SO GLAD dat they added in a new picture with his VERY ROUND HEAD. most apealing!

It is inarguable dat da old posoo is a very attractive person.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Telemus: Tartakower gave a speech on the Jewish poet Bialik: (right column, lower half).

For more information on the peot, please see

Feb-18-19  JimNorCal: Is anyone aware of the nature of his service in the Free French during WWII? Did he see combat or did he have a desk job and so on ...
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

" This guy was one of the first to play the type of Sicilian that would later be called the Najdorf variation."

from wiki -

"In 1939, the outbreak of World War II found him in Buenos Aires, where he was playing the 8th Chess Olympiad, representing Poland on a team which included Miguel Najdorf, who always referred to Tartakower as "my teacher".

Tartakower took on the name of lieutenant Cartier in WWII (which thanks to the BCM was the worst kept secret of the war) lots more here.


Feb-18-19  JimNorCal: Well. If true, this is startling:
"We still seek substantiation of the claim that Tartakower was several times ‘dropped by parachute behind enemy lines on secret missions’ (see page 331 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves)."

From Sally's link.

Mar-03-19  Jambow: Grandmaster at chess and wit that excels beyond that.
Jul-26-20  Jean Defuse: ...

<FROM MY CHESS MEMOIRS by Dr. Savielly G. Tartakower>

3. Endgame Secrets:

These miraculous examples of last minute salvation remind me of a miraculous ending, never previously published, that turned up in a skittles game played by Dr. Alekhine and myself at the Palais Royal Chess Club in Paris on July 23, 1925.

[Event "Palais Royal CC"]
[Site "Paris"]
[Date "1925.07.23"]
[White "Tartakower, Savielly G"]
[Black "Alekhine, Alexander A"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "

click for larger view


1... Ra5+ 2. Ke6 Rh5 3. d5 Rxh4 4. d6 Rxh3 5. d7 Rd3 6. Ke7 h5 7. d8=Q Rxd8 8. Kxd8 h4 9. Ke7 h3 10. Kf6 h2 11. Ke7 Kc3 12. Rh1 Kd3 13. Kd8 Ke3 14. Ke7 Kf3 15. Rc1 Ke3 16. Rh1 1/2-1/2

Source: Chess Review 11.1951, p. 329


Aug-09-20  Helios727: So was Tartakower of Austrian decent, or did he have Polish ancestry that caused him to move to Poland as an adult? Or was he living on land that was granted to the renewed Poland nation at the end of WW1 ?
Aug-09-20  Retireborn: Hooper & Whyld describe him as a Jew of Austrian and Polish parentage, and he was awarded Polish nationality after WWI. I don't think he ever moved to or lived in Poland.

He moved to Paris in 1924 and subsequently acquired French nationality.

Mar-03-21  YoungEd: How many players as strong as Tartakower have Bird's Opening listed amongst their "Most Played Openings?" Not many, I'll bet!
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Ray Keene said, at Savielly Tartakower (kibitz #41) <ray keene: probably tartakower's finest ever result came at jurata 1937-but this event has been widely overlooked.>

And it is worth reading the post by <WMD> at Savielly Tartakower (kibitz #50).

Whether whatever happened, the venue was spectacular. It is on a freakish peninsula, like a starved and drowned Florida, but in a good way. Like Chesil Beach, or Krynica Morska, Jurata is heavenly.

Nov-15-21  Albertan: Tartakower’s Art:

Nov-15-21  Cibator: I've scrolled right through the 15 (to date) pages of comment, and not found a single reference to one of Tartakower's less endearing characteristics, namely that he had a gambling problem. Golombek dealt with this in some depth in a BBC radio talk, subsequently reprinted in "Chess Treasury Of The Air". It would explain the straitened circumstances that Donner found him in a few years before his death, and no doubt the fact that that unhappy event came to him at a relatively early age.
Feb-24-22  Albertan: Remembering the unforgettable-Savielly Tartakower (21 February 1887-4 February 1956):

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Headline: <TWITTER TAKEOVER>.
Jul-19-23  generror: You guys probably know all about it, but one of the recent post by Edward Winter has the original source of many Tartakowerisms, from the 1922 Teplitz-Schönau tournament book (CN #11929 "Castling"):

Fortunately (for me), it's in German :) But my love for Tartakower's subversive wisdom making this the chessic equivalent to Ambrose Bierce's <Devil's Dictionary>, coupled with an utterly meaningless and empty life (still better to try to deal with neurotypicals) may well drive me to translate this gem into Englisch. Stäj tjuned.

Jul-19-23  generror: Here's a nice one: "<Capablanca> proved to his fierce rivals in London that you can be the first despite being the best."
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