Sunday, January 20

New York tournament, Round 1: Capablanca, Kupchik, and Stapfer victors on opening day

The Second American National Tournament began yesterday at the Manhattan Chess Club, and the opening round produced its fair share of interesting chess.  Capablanca, playing White, made quick work of Liebenstein, who adopted the defense 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Bc5 4.Nxe5 Bxf2+ 5.Kxf2 Nxe5 6.d4 Nc6, a line that labors under a rather dubious reputation.  White soon castled by hand and commenced an attack on the King-side, a plan against which Black seemed unable to find a suitable counter, as the reader may observe:

Kupchik vs. Zapoleon soon developed along the lines of a Queen's Gambit Declined, with the second player essaying the ...c5 defense favored by Dr. Tarrasch.  Black must have mishandled the position at some point, as by the 31st move Kupchik stood in possession of two extra pawns, and easily won the endgame.

Rubinstein-Stapfer saw Black defend with 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.e4 e5, a line, as we recall, adopted on occasion by Chigorin.  Black, making good use of the half-open g-line, gradually developed an attack on the King-side, which was crowned with success by his fine 30th move:

Position after 30.Rd3
Here Stapfer played 30...Rg3!, delighting the spectators and leaving White without resource.  The concluding moves were 31.Qd1 f3 32.Qc1 Rag8 33.fxg3 Bxg3 34.Qc3+ Rg7, and White resigned, mate being unavoidable.

Morrison-Chajes saw a quiet Queen's Pawn Game lead to a a Bishop endgame in which neither side could boast of any advantage, and a draw was duly agreed.  Likewise drawn was the Tenenwurzel-Jaffe encounter, another Queen's Pawn Game in which White secured an extra pawn in a Rook and Knight endgame, but felt that he could make no further progress owing to the activity of the Black pieces.

In Whitaker-Kline, a Ruy Lopez, Black seems to have missed an excellent chance to win, as pointed out by
Position after 37.g3
Herr Fritz, one of the spectators in attendance.  Instead of 37...Bd8, as chosen by Kline, the capture 37...Rxc3! appears decisive, as on 38.Qxc3 Black could play 38...Qa1+, followed by 39...Bxb4 whether White replies 39.Kg2, 39.Ne1, or 39.Bb1.  The game continued 38.Rb1 Bb6 39.Rd1 Ra2 (39...Nxb4 appears stronger) 40.Kg2 Qe7 41.Rc1 Kf8 42.Rd1 Ke8 43.Rc1 Kd7 44.Rb1 Kc7 45.Rc1, whereupon a draw was agreed in a position in which we feel Black might perhaps have striven for more.    

We come finally to the battle between two of the prospective favorites, Janowski and Marshall, who contested a Petroff, a defense upon which Marshall had relied during the recent match between these long-time friendly rivals.  In the present case a number of early exchanges somewhat disappointed the onlookers, who had naturally hoped for a full-blooded struggle, but the resultant endgame was not without interest.  To our eye Janowski at one point had rather the better of things, though the game ultimately ended in a draw.  We give the score below for the perusal of our readers; note that in the final position White has at his disposal the move 37.Ka1!, after which he can administer perpetual check to his adversary should Black reply 37...Rdxb2.

The scores after one round:  Capablanca, Kupchik, Stapfer 1; Janowski, Marshall, Morrison, Chajes, Tenenwurzel, Jaffe, Whitaker, Kline, 1/2; Liebenstein, Zapoleon, Rubinstein 0.

Today is an off day; the tournament will resume with Round 2 on the 21st, and our report shall speedily follow.

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