BOBCH #3: Colle vs. Röthemeyer (1922)

By now, there are several thousands of games on this site. How is one supposed to find games that are interesting? The answer is that one is not. One can, from now, look at the Best Of Belgian Chess History posts to find some of the more interesting ones. One can even make suggestions to the webmaster. One is very lucky, indeed.

The scene:

Every year, the German chess federation organises its chess congress. The main tournament is the German championship, of course, but there are – or at least were – a whole bunch of minor tournament. In 1922, one of these minor tournaments was a guest tournament for foreigners residing in Germany. One of the participants was a young Belgian, probably a member of the allied forces occupying German land. His name was Edgard Colle.

The protagonists:

White: Edgard Colle, 25 years old

Colle was the first Belgian chess player of international renown. According to, he reached the world’s 14th place in 1930, which is the highest place ever by a Belgian (if we discount Ukrainian-Soviet-Belgo-Turkish grandmaster Gurevich). He earned a great deal of fame and respect for his sharp attacking games, many of which have become rightfully famous, and for the Colle system, which is still very popular with amateurs all over the world. Of course, all this was still in the future in 1922. Then, Colle was just a local maestro. Sure, he had won the Belgian championship, but that’s not exactly the most prestigious of all titles.

Black: Röthemeyer, ? years old

The name Röthemeyer means nothing to me – or to google for that matter: searching for chess and Röthemeyer turns up a book about a certain Carl Röthemeyer who was a prisoner of war during the first world war. He send a postcard to his brother Herbert mentioning chess, but that’s hardly proof than any of them was our man. The one thing I do know is that Röthemeyer was living in Cologne when this game was played.

Why did I pick this game?

Because it should be an absolute classic. Black doesn’t drop a piece or anything like that, he just plays too passively – and Colle profits brilliantly. Strangely, neither Reinfeld’s nor Euwe’s collection of Colle’s games  include this little gem. (The same holds for Harvey’s book, but that only collects Colle’s games in the Colle opening.)

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