Monday, January 28

New York tournament, Round 6: Capablanca wins again, increases lead over Jaffe

J.R. Capablanca of Havana scored yet another victory in the 6th round of the Second American National Tournament, handily defeating Solomon Rubinstein and lengthening his winning skein to half-a-dozen games. Capablanca's triumph increased his lead over the second place contender, Charles Jaffe of New York, to a full point, as the latter drew his game with Frank Marshall, the American Champion.

Rubinstein, playing White, became the latest to fall victim to the inexorable Cuban's prowess, losing the exchange early on and conceding defeat by the 31st move, at which time he stood a full Rook in arrears.  We present the score of the game:

The Marshall-Jaffe encounter, a meeting of two hopefuls for high honors, saw a carefully played Queen's Gambit Declined resolve itself into a Rook endgame in which neither player ever seemed likely to score the full point, and a draw was agreed at the 52nd move.  Jaffe now stands one point behind the leader, while Marshall trails the Cuban ace by two, a deficit that may well prove impossible to overcome in the seven rounds that remain to be played.

In Janowski-Liebenstein, a Ruy Lopez, the second player held his own against his more famous opponent through the first 30 moves, thus giving evidence that his level of playing strength belies his current standing in the tourney, in which he has yet to register a score.  Sadly, tragedy then struck in the following position:
Position after 30.Rd1-d6
Rubinstein here played 30...Nh5?, a move that loses to 31.Qg4, attacking the Knight, threatening an incursion by the Rook on d7, and preventing the return 31...Nf6 owing to 32.Rxf6.  Black resigned soon thereafter.

Tenenwurzel essayed the Exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez against Kupchik, and the resulting rather quiet game was drawn in 46.moves.

Morrison of Canada registered his first victory at the expense of Zapoleon, whose rather uncertain handling of the defense in a Queen's Pawn Game allowed the first player a decisive attack.  We give the conclusion of the game:
Position after 22.Qh4xg5
Black here played 22...Kg7, only to return with the King  immediately afterward: 23.Ng3 Kg8.  On the further 24.Nh5 Qe7 25.Qh6 Black resigned, as the threatened checkmate on g7 cannot be parried by 25...Qf8, owing to 26.Nf6+, nor can it be warded off by 25...f6 or 25...f5, when 26.Rxe6 comes in reply.  We leave to our readers to determine whether Black availed of stronger defensive resources at his 22nd or 23rd move.

In Chajes-Kline, White chose the Center Game, an opening already adopted, and not without success, by Kupchik in this tournament.  Chajes sacrificed the exchange in the interest of furthering his attack on the King-side, a plan that soon reached fruition when Kline overlooked a Queen sacrifice leading to checkmate:
Position after 19...Rf8-d8
The game continued with 20.g5 Ne8 21.Rh1 Rxd3?, an attempt to return the exchange that loses at once.  Onlookers suggested 21...Bb4 or 21...h6 as alternatives; in the latter case Black answers 22.gxh6 with 22...Nh4.  Now White gave mate: 22.Qxh7+ Kf8 23.Qh8+ Nxh8 24.Rxh8 mate.

Whitaker, as White in a French Defense, played energetically against Stapfer, sacrificing a pawn and gaining fair attacking chances in return.  But the first player then unfortunately embarked on an unsound combination, leading to his defeat:
Position after 22...bxc6
Here Whitaker chose 23.Rd8+ Kh7 24.Ng5+ Kg6 25.Nxe6, whereupon Black's 25...c2! left the first player without an adequate reply.  The universal opinion of the analysts present was that White ought to have begun instead with the capture 23.bxc3, when after 23...Qxc3 the game continuation (24.Rd8+ Kh7 25.Ng5+ Kg6 26.Nxe6) would have offered him an equal position, if not a winning one.  We are inclined to believe that the young Master simply forgot to capture Black's c-pawn before moving his own forces into attacking positions.  In any case, the oversight proved fatal, as after 25...c2 26.Nxc5 c1=Q+ 27.Qd1 Qxc5 Black stood in possession of an extra piece, and White soon resigned.

Scores after 6 rounds: Capablanca 6; Jaffe 5; Janowski, Chajes 4 1/2; Marshall 4; Kupchik, Tenenwurzel, Stapfer 3 1/2; Whitaker 2 1/2; Kline 2; Morrison 1 1/2; Rubinstein 1; Zapoleon 1/2; Liebenstein 0.

The seventh round will be played later today.     

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