Rudolf Charousek

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Rudolf Charousek, 1890s

Rudolf Charousek (Hungarian: Charousek Rezső; September 19, 1873 in Klein Lometz, Bohemia – April 18, 1900 in Budapest) was a Czech born Hungarian chess player.[1] One of the top ten players in the world during the 1890s,[2][3] he had a short career, dying at the age of 26 from tuberculosis. Reuben Fine wrote of him "Playing over his early games is like reading Keats's poetry: you cannot help feeling a grievous, oppressive sense of loss, of promise unfulfilled".[4]

Charousek was born in Klein Lometz (modern Lomeček) near Prague, Bohemia. At the age of five weeks, his family moved to Debrecen, Hungary, where he became a naturalized Hungarian. They later moved to Miskolc where, at the age of 16, he learned to play chess. Studying law in Kassa, he is said to have copied out the voluminous Handbuch des Schachspiels by hand, unable to afford his own copy. Despite the lack of competition in Kassa, he soon became a strong player, and also qualified as a lawyer. In 1893 he entered a correspondence tournament organised by the Budapest newspaper Pesti Hirlap, in which he eventually shared first place with another up and coming Hungarian master, Geza Maroczy. He joined the Budapest chess club, where he frequently played with Maroczy and Gyula Makovetz, and convincingly defeated Gyozo Exner in a match.[5]

Notable games[edit]

This is Charousek's last round win over the World Champion in his international tournament debut:

Charousek-Lasker, Nuremberg 1896

King's Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 g5 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.h4 Bg7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Bc4 Bg4 10.d4 Nd7 11.Kf2 Bxf3 12.gxf3 O-O-O 13.hxg5 Qxg5 14.Ne2 Qe7 15.c3 Ne5 16.Qa4 Nxc4 17.Qxc4 Nf6 18.Bxf4 Nd7 19.Qa4 a6 20.Qa5 Nf8 21.Ng3 Ne6 22.Nf5 Qf8 23.Bg3 Rd7 24.Nxg7 Qxg7 25.Qe5 Qxe5 26.Bxe5 f6 27.Bxf6 Rf8 28.Rh6 Nf4 29.Ke3 Ng2+ 30.Kd2 Rdf7 31.e5 Nf4 32.Rah1 Rg8 33.c4 Ne6 34.Ke3 Nf8 35.d5 Rd7 36.e6 1-0[6]
Charousek - Wollner
a8 black rook
f8 black king
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black bishop
f7 white pawn
g7 black pawn
c6 black knight
d6 black pawn
h6 black pawn
c5 black bishop
c4 white bishop
f4 white bishop
g4 black knight
h4 black queen
c3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
e2 white queen
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
e1 white rook
f1 white rook
h1 white king
Position after 16. ...Nc6

Another of Charousek's games, which Grandmaster Andrew Soltis described as "one of the prettiest ever", was the basis for the story Last Round by Kester Svendsen,[7] which Soltis called "perhaps the finest chess short story".[8] Here is the game with punctuation marks by Soltis:

Charousek—Wollner, Kaschau 1893

Danish Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bc5 6.Nxc3 d6 7.O-O O-O 8.Ng5 h6 9.Nxf7! Rxf7 10.e5 Ng4!? 11.e6 Qh4! 12.exf7+ Kf8 13.Bf4 Nxf2 14.Qe2 Ng4+ 15.Kh1 Bd7 16.Rae1 Nc6    (diagram17.Qe8+!! Rxe8 18.fxe8(Q)+ Bxe8 19.Bxd6 mate.[9]

A variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined is named after him.[10]


  1. ^ Fred Skolnik; Michael Berenbaum (2007). Encyclopaedia Judaica: Blu-Cof. Granite Hill Publishers. p. 580. ISBN 978-0-02-865932-9.
  2. ^ Chessmetrics Player Profile: Rezsö Charousek
  3. ^ Edo Ratings, Charousek, R.
  4. ^ Reuben Fine, The World's Greatest Chess Games, p103, Courier Corporation, 1976, ISBN 0486245128
  5. ^ Philip W. Sergeant, Charousek's Games of Chess, G. Bell and Sons, London, 1919
  6. ^ Charousek-Lasker, Nuremberg 1896,
  7. ^ Last Round by Kester Svendsen
  8. ^ Andrew Soltis, "From Russia with Love", Chess Life, October 1993, p. 16.
  9. ^ Cahrousek-Wollner, Kaschau 1893,
  10. ^

External links[edit]