Friday, January 25

New York tournament, Round 4: Seven decisive games; Capablanca maintains lead

Yesterday, as in the second round, all seven games finished decisively, leaving the total number of draws at a mere six through four rounds of play.  Capablanca scored his fourth point running, thereby maintaining his narrow lead over Chajes and Jaffe, each of whom also registered a victory.  Marshall and Janowski likewise kept pace, the latter recovering  nicely from his defeat at Capablanca's hands in the previous round.

Our obligation to speak the truth compels us to note that several of the games finished not only decisively, but also suddenly, as terrible blunders, usually rare at this level of skill, once again dominated the day.  A case in point was furnished by the game Janowski-Kupchik, a Ruy Lopez in which the following position was reached after White's 28th move:

Position after 28.Qf2xc5
Kupchik here played 28...Bxf3??, and resigned after 29.Rxh6+, this marking the second time in four rounds that he has lost his Queen to a discovered attack with check.  In Kupchik's partial defense it should be noted that in the diagrammed position Janowski already looked to have the game well in hand, so that Black's oversight may have merely hastened the inevitable.

Tennenwurzel-Rubinstein, a Queen's Pawn Game, came to an equally sudden end.
Position after 42.Ng3-f1
In this position Black essayed the capture 42...Nxb2. After the reply 43.Rxb2, the spectators had just begun to examine the consequences of 43...Bxf1 44.Kd4 e5+ 45.Kc5 Bd3, when Rubinstein, apparently laboring under a terrible miscalculation, instead chose 43...Bc4??, and resigned after 44.Nd2 a3 45.Rxb3.

Chajes opened against Stapfer by advancing his Queen's pawn, only to see the game soon transpose into a Philidor Defense after 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.e4 e5.  The two players contested a long Rook endgame in which Black seemed for many moves to enjoy a slight advantage, yet tragedy struck the second player soon after he had at last won a pawn:
Position after 54.Kc4
Here the game continued 54...Rb8 55.d5 Kg7 56.d6 Kf6??, a natural enough move that, in the opinion of the Masters,  nevertheless stands as the decisive error, 56...b3 having been far preferable.  After the further 57.Kd5 b3 58.d7 Ke7 59.Kc6, White was clearly winning, and Black resigned after 59...f6 60.Kc7 b2 61.Rxb2.  

Marshall, in a Danish Gambit, made short work of Liebenstein, who has yet to score, and Capablanca, playing Black, easily defeated Morrison in a Queen's Pawn Game when the first player found his Bishop trapped behind enemy lines.  

Whitaker took the full point from Zapoleon in a French Defense when the latter lost a full piece through an ill-considered move:
Position after 27.Qe5
Here 27...Bf7 lost immediately to 28.Rf3, attacking the pinned Knight a second time.  After the further 28...Bg8 29.Rxf6 Rxf6 30.Qxb8 (it was this capture that Zapoleon had overlooked), Black resigned.

Finally, Jaffe overcame Kline in a Ponziani, though the latter may well have missed a most remarkable winning move in 14...Nb8!, a possibility called to our attention by our clubmate Herr Fritz.  To our mind, the retreat of Black's Knight to its original square as a means of exploiting the  opposing Queen's capture of the b-pawn is an idea worthy of a World Champion.  We give the game here:

Scores after 4 rounds: Capablanca 4; Jaffe, Chajes 3 1/2; Marshall, Tenenwurzel 3; Janowski 2 1/2; Stapfer, Kupchik 2; Whitaker 1 1/2; Rubinstein, Kline 1; Morrison, Zapoleon 1/2; Liebenstein 0.

The fifth round is scheduled for this afternoon.  

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