Thursday, February 28

Fine finish

We present a game played in London on the 22nd inst. in a match over 50 boards between teams representing Middlesex and Essex, won by the former side, the score being 34 1/2 to 15 1/2.  We are informed that the player of the White pieces is "quite young," and a new member of the West London Chess Club.  The finish is very fine; a Queen sacrifice always pleases:


Wednesday, February 27

Havana tournament, Round 9: Capablanca, Marshall again victorious, remain tied for lead; will meet in next round.

The leaders of the Havana international chess Masters' tournament, José R. Capablanca and Frank J. Marshall, both scored victories in yesterday's ninth round, with the Cuban ace tallying his third win in succession and the United States Champion his fifth.  The two rivals thus continue to share first place, their margin over the nearest competitor, David Janowski of Paris, having now grown to a full point after the French representative could only draw his game against Charles Jaffe of New York.  Abraham Kupchik, currently in fourth position, regained some of the ground lost as a result of yesterday's defeat at the hands of Janowski by scoring a quick win over Cuban Champion Juan Corzo, and now trails the Frenchman by one point.  Interest in the tournament, already high at the outset, is increasing by the day as the hotly-contested race between the leaders continues, and with Capablanca and Marshall set to meet in the tenth round, there is speculation that even the spacious playing hall of the Ateneo de la Habana, the tournament venue, may prove inadequate to accommodate all who wish to attend.

Capablanca handled the Black pieces against his countryman Rafael Blanco, who bravely chose the Evans Gambit against his renowned opponent.  At his 12th turn White sacrificed a Bishop, initiating a sequence that ultimately left him with approximate material parity - Rook and pawn against Capablanca's two minor pieces - but bringing about a position in which the weakness of White''s pawns and the activity of the Black forces decided the struggle.  Blanco resigned at the 38th move, during the last ten of which he had stood a full Bishop in arrears:

Marshall sportingly admits that he has experienced rare good fortune in this event, with yesterday's game vs. Chajes furnishing yet another example thereof.  The United States Champion, as first player, gained no advantage whatsoever from a Queen's Gambit Declined, with the judgment of expert players on the scene tending rather to favor Black, owing to the weak, albeit passed, White d-pawn.  A brief flurry of excitement arose when Marshall succeeded in advancing that pawn to d5 in the face of superior enemy forces, but Chajes, unflustered, soon annexed the booty, reaching at the 30th move an endgame in which, by virtue of his material advantage, he could harbor every hope of winning.  But precisely then did fortune play its role, as Chajes at his 31st turn lost a Bishop to a simple "swindle" a mere two moves in length, after which his game was beyond salvation.  The good player, we have heard it said, is always lucky:


Jaffe vs. Janowski saw another Queen's Gambit Declined, in which the players reached a double Bishop endgame after 24 moves, with the second player seeming to hold slightly better prospects, but proving unable to increase whatever small advantage he might possess.  Indeed, it was instead Jaffe who appeared in the ascendancy during then latter stages of the contest, though again no genuine winning chances were to be found.  The two players agreed to a draw at the 68th move, an earlier offer of peace made by Janowski having been rejected by the New York Master:
Corzo selected the rare Ponziani Opening against Kupchik, who, if surprised by his opponent's choice, nevertheless soon obtained a fine game.  At his 12th turn White, according to Sr. Capablanca, ought to have preferred the retreat 12.Nf3, as after 12.Ne4 and the reply 12...f5, White is lost.  For those readers who, like ourselves, find it difficult at first glance to credit the notion that a position of such seemingly ordinary character can in fact already be hopeless, we have inserted in the game score a few variations adduced by our Herr Fritz; all lead to a loss for White, as indeed did the line chosen by Corzo:


Scores after 9 rounds: Marshall, Capablanca 7; Janowski 6; Kupchik 5; Jaffe 3 1/2; Blanco 3; Chajes 2 1/2; Corzo 2.

Today being a free day, the tenth round will be played tomorrow, when as noted the leaders, Marshall and Capablanca, will meet. 

Tuesday, February 26

Havana tournament, Round 8: Leaders keep pace; Marshall, Capablanca remain level after victories; Janowski holds 3rd, defeats Kupchik

Tourney leaders José R. Capablanca of Cuba and United States Champion Frank J. Marshall remain tied for the lead after registering victories in yesterday's eighth round of the Havana international chess Masters' tournament, with Capablanca topping countryman Juan Corzo and Marshall scoring an easy win against New York's Charles Jaffe.  In other contests, David Janowski of Paris maintained his grip on third place, defeating his closest pursuer, Abraham Kupchik, while local ace Rafael Blanco scored his second victory of the competition, taking the full point from Oscar Chajes.  For the third round running all games finished decisively, a tribute to the fighting spirit that prevails among the Masters here assembled.

The Jaffe-Marshall encounter, a Queen's Pawn Game, came to an abrupt and unexpected end soon after the former, in an even position, blundered at the 20th move, his 20.Qxd5?? leading immediately to the loss of the Queen.  There the story ought to end, but in the interest of truth we feel compelled to report to our readers that certain suspicions have been raised in Havana, including by Sr. Capablanca himself, to the effect that Jaffe's loss in this game - as well as his failure to win from a most favorable position against the same opponent in the first round - was deliberate, and designed to aid Marshall in the race for first prize in the tourney.  This is a most serious allegation, bordering on a charge of fraud, and to our mind those making it are obliged in good conscience to proffer evidence, and not mere suspicion, of the offense, especially in a case such as this, where the object of the inculpation is an invited guest in a foreign land.  And let us state it boldly: a blunder is not evidence of collusion.  Indeed, Corzo, in the 5th round of the present event, and Blanco, in the 6th, committed similarly egregious errors against Marshall: surely they are not to be suspected of intentionally aiding the American in his struggle with Capablanca?  The intense mental strain of Master chess leads inevitably to occasional grievous oversights, as were seen, for example, in the recent New York tournament in the games - limiting ourselves only to contests involving those in the top half of the score table - Marshall vs. KupchikStapfer vs. Jaffe, and Janowski vs. Kupchik, not to mention perhaps the most notable blunder of the entire event, that committed by Capablanca himself in his 11th round battle against none other than Jaffe.  Whether that defeat, which ended the Cuban's prospects of making a perfect score in New York, has colored his perception of today's affair is a matter about which we prefer not to speculate.  We would observe only that Capablanca, in addition to the usual nerve-racking  tension attendant to participation in an international chess tournament, bears an additional burden in the present competition as the hope and cynosure of his countrymen, a heavy load even for his able shoulders, and one whose oppressive weight may well have led him, in a moment of fatigue and frustration, to utter certain animadversions that do no credit to himself and were surely best left unsaid.

To return to the games, Capablanca employed the Ruy Lopez against Corzo, who chose the Open Defense in reply.  White at his 12th move offered a pawn, which his opponent may well have done better to decline, as after its capture the first player soon obtained such a sizeable advantage in position that the young Maestro, as he himself told it afterwards, deliberately refrained from winning a full Rook, preferring instead to press on with the attack.  which he duly brought to a victorious conclusion at the 35th move:

Janowski, as first player in a Queen's Gambit  Declined, defeated Kupchik in fine style after the latter strayed from accepted paths in the opening.  White first built up a strong center, with his Knights in particular being exceptionally well-posted, and later sacrificed the exchange in order to gain complete control over the position.  A final methodical advance on the King-side left Black without an adequate defense, and Kupchik resigned at the 36th move.  Janowski has to date played some of the most interesting chess of the tournament, and yesterday's win can take a deserved place among his best artistic achievements:

Blanco chose the Dutch Defense against Chajes' Queen's Pawn opening, obtaining a superior position on the King-side after White's pawn advance on the opposite wing bore little fruit.  Black's steady pressure forced an error at the 32nd move when 32.Re4? was answered by the pretty 32...Nxg3+, shattering White's defenses and winning the exchange.  The remainder of the game was not without interest, however, and Blanco could have saved himself several anxious moments by first playing 41...Rh3+ before recapturing White's Knight, for the immediate recapture left the White King in a stalemate position and so allowed the first player to pursue the Black monarch for more than a dozen moves with his Rook, said Rook remaining immune from capture throughout the chase.  Blanco nevertheless discovered a path for his King that led at last to the breaking of the stalemate, at which point White resigned.  We have in the past heard the stratagem attempted by Chajes at the end of this contest called a "mad Rook," and readers who have never before witnessed such a thing are particularly invited to examine the score of the game.

Scores after 8 rounds: Marshall, Capablanca 6; Janowski 5 1/2; Kupchik 4; Blanco, Jaffe 3; Chajes 2 1/2; Corzo 2.

The ninth round is scheduled for today.

Monday, February 25

Havana tournament, Round 7: Marshall, Capablanca win, lead at halfway mark; Janowski 3rd after loss

David Janowski's tenure atop the score chart proved short-lived when he suffered defeat at the hands of United States Champion Frank Marshall in yesterday's seventh round of the Havana international chess Masters' tournament.  The French representative fell from first to third place, overtaken not only by Marshall but also by Cuba's José R. Capablanca, who regained the ground lost through his defeat by Janowski in the previous round by taking the full point from Kupchik in a long Rook endgame and so joining Marshall in the lead.  In other games, Jaffe defeated Blanco and Chajes topped Corzo, thereby completing a complete sweep for the White pieces in this, the concluding round of the first half of the tourney.  The eight competitors have now each faced every opponent once; the second tour, with colors reversed, will begin with the eighth round.

Janowski, full of fighting spirit, essayed the Albin Counter-Gambit against Marshall, and for a time seemed to  enjoy adequate positional compensation in return for his sacrificed pawn.  Yet the American then began little by little to assert himself, driving back the well-placed enemy pieces and launching a winning attack on the Queen-side, where the opposing King had taken residence.  Janowski, faced with the unavoidable loss of his Queen, resigned at the 31st move; subsequent analysis failed to pinpoint the precise moment when he had gone astray, with some experts faulting the thrust 16...d3, and others, including Sr. Capablanca, who had followed his rivals' battle with interest, suggesting 20...Rd4 as an improvement at Black's 20th turn:

Jaffe, as first player, chose the Staunton Gambit in reply to Blanco's Dutch Defense, regaining his sacrificed pawn at the 14th move and maintaining pressure on the opposing position notwithstanding the exchange of Queens.  After Blanco at his 20th turn overlooked an opportunity, again pointed out by Capablanca, to sacrifice a Bishop in return for 3 pawns and good play, the White forces soon infiltrated his game, and Jaffe experienced little trouble in bringing about an endgame in which his passed pawns could not be prevented from advancing:


Chajes and Corzo contested a Queen's Pawn Game marked by much maneuvering, a struggle whose first critical moment may well have occurred at the 25th move when the Cuban Champion recaptured on c4 with his d- rather than b-pawn.  This centrifugal reply, while procuring for Black a majority of pawns on the Queen-side, nevertheless opened new vistas for the White King's Bishop, and the second player later felt himself compelled to offer a Rook for that piece in order to blunt its activity.  Chajes, after accepting the offered exchange, soon broke through on the King-side, attaining victory at the 43rd move:


In the day's longest encounter Capablanca defeated Kupchik in a Four Knights' Opening, with the Cuban following the lines of his fourth round game with Jaffe until varying with 8.Nd3, a move which, after analysis, he considers superior to his earlier 8.d4.  The players reached an endgame with two Rooks and seven pawns per side after only 16 moves, with White holding whatever advantage, albeit slight, there existed in the position, owing to a greater command of space and the consequent ability to shift his attack from one side of the board to the other as he pleased.  Still, Kupchik defended stoutly, and, in the opinion of his opponent, possessed excellent drawing chances as late as the 53rd move, when an ill-advised capture of a pawn at last dashed his hopes and cleared White's path to victory.  We present the game, to which Sr. Capablanca has kindly added a few brief remarks:


Scores after 7 rounds:  Marshall, Capablanca 5; Janowski 4 1/2; Kupchik 4; Jaffe 3; Chajes 2 1/2; Corzo, Blanco 2.

The eighth round will be played today.     

Sunday, February 24

Alekhine-Levitsky match

This contest, scheduled to begin on the 28th inst. in St. Petersburg, will doubtless prove of great interest.  It brings together the winners of the All-Russian Amateur Tournaments of 1909 and 1911, under conditions most propitious for exciting play: the winner of the match to be the first to score seven wins; draws not to be reckoned in the score; and all games to begin with the moves 1.e4 e5, with the Four Knights' and Ruy Lopez openings being excluded.  Added interest is provided by the fact that Levitsky won both his games against Alekhine at last year's All-Russian tourney in Vilnius, a result the young Muscovite will surely look to avenge in the battles to come.

We are most pleased to announce that we will present the games of this match, with brief comments by Alekhine, within a day or two of each being played.  For this extraordinary possibility we are indebted to the special kindness of an anonymous benefactor, a true friend of chess possessing knowledge of the Russian language, who has made special arrangements to receive all pertinent information by cable and to translate it for the benefit of our readers.  We cannot thank him enough.  Russia boasts a long and storied chess tradition, yet much of what takes place there, and much of what is written, often remains unknown to aficionados in other lands, the Cyrillic alphabet and the inherent complexity of the Russian tongue making chess publications in that language well-nigh incomprehensible to all but a lucky few.  A man willing to sacrifice his time and toil in the difficult work of translation, all in order to share freely the riches of Russian chess with the English-speaking world, is a man deserving of the gratitude of every chess player, and we are certain that we speak for all our readers when we express our heartiest thanks and say, Well done, sir!

We append three games as samples of the play of the antagonists in the coming struggle, among them one of the victories scored by Levitsky over Alekhine in last year's Vilnius event.


Saturday, February 23

Havana tournament, Round 6: Janowski defeats Capablanca, takes sole lead; Marshall, Kupchik, Corzo tally victories

The course of the Havana international chess Masters' tournament took a most unexpected turn in yesterday's sixth round when veteran campaigner David Janowski of Paris inflicted a convincing defeat upon tourney leader José R. Capablanca, discomfiting the young Cuban's many admirers and supplanting him atop the score table as the event nears the halfway mark.  All other games likewise finished decisively, with Marshall defeating Blanco, Kupchik scoring against Chajes, and current Cuban Champion Corzo registering his first win in artistic style vs. Jaffe.

Janowski, as first player in a Queen's Pawn Game, displayed his finest form in besting his powerful opponent, displacing the Black King in the opening and later compelling Capablanca to station that piece on the rather exposed f6 square in an attempt to hold his threatened position.  The French representative, by means of some well-executed maneuvers with his Queen, masterfully exploited the weaknesses in Black's game, gaining first one pawn, then a second, at last bringing about a Knight endgame in which the Cuban's formidable defensive prowess could only delay, but not deny, the inevitable result.  With this victory Janowski assumes the lead in the tournament, a fair reward for the fighting chess he has displayed thus far:

Blanco,who chose the Four Knights' Game against United States Champion Marshall, seemed from the outset to strive only for the draw, readily exchanging pieces and creating no threats whatsoever against the opposing position.  Alas, as so often occurs in such circumstances, the player who seeks the draw finds a loss, and it was just this fate that befell Blanco, who lost first a pawn at the 24th move and then the game after a terrible oversight at the 33rd:

Kupchik and Chajes contested a remarkably eventful and vicissitudinous game, with the chessboard mayhem first breaking out when the latter, as second player in a Ruy Lopez, sacrificed a Bishop against White's castled position at the 13th move.  This speculative offer, most untypical of the steady Chajes, and perhaps better suited for a skittles or rapid transit encounter, soon proved ineffective, as White easily warded off the enemy attack and subsequently began to gain ground on his own.  Indeed, as pointed out by Sr. Capablanca, had Kupchik at his 26th turn advanced his a-pawn, preparing the deadly threat of 27.Ba4+, the battle might well have ended at once.  Kupchik's choice, 26.Qxe5, which appeared strong at first glance, in fact allowed Chajes to regain his lost piece with the surprise stroke 26...g3!, whereupon there followed a skirmish leading to a position in which Black, in possession of an extra pawn, held excellent winning chances.  Still, the reversals of fortune were not yet at an end, as Chajes, after having made good progress toward victory, began at the 45th move to play unaccountably weakly, first abandoning an open file with his Rook and two moves later blundering fatally with 47...h4??  After Kupchik's 48.Rf5+, Chajes, faced with the loss of his Rook after 48...Kd6 49.Ne8+, or checkmate after 48...Kxe4 49.Bc2, found himself compelled to resign.  Kupchik thus joins Marshall and Capablanca in joint 2nd-4th places with 4 points, one-half point shy of Janowski:

Cuban aficionados dispirited by the defeat of Capablanca could take solace from Corzo's fine victory over Jaffe, a Giuoco Piano in which their incumbent national Champion at last demonstrated his full strength, securing his first full point of the tourney and crowning a worthy effort with an attractive Queen sacrifice at the 29th move.  That Jaffe, whose position might well have justified immediate resignation, chose to play on, only to stumble into an unforced checkmate four moves later, is powerful evidence of the lingering after-effects of a surprise blow like the one landed by Corzo on his unsuspecting opponent:

Scores after 6 rounds: Janowski 4 1/2; Capablanca, Marshall, Kupchik 4; Jaffe, Blanco, Corzo 2, Chajes 1 1/2.

Today being a free day, the tourney will resume tomorrow, the 24th.    

Friday, February 22

Havana tournament, Round 5: Marshall, Janowski, Kupchik are victors; Capablanca retains lead

The fifth round of the Havana international chess Masters' tournament produced three decisive games, with David Janowski and Abraham Kupchik registering victories and United States Champion Frank J. Marshall convincingly defeating his Cuban counterpart Juan Corzo in only 17 moves.  Nevertheless, tourney leader José R. Capablanca, despite being  held to a draw by Oscar Chajes, still retains his position atop the scoring table, with a half-point margin over Janowski and a full point over Marshall and Kupchik.

Blanco and Janowski contested a Sicilian Defense which soon reached the endgame, the Queens being exchanged as early as the 8th move.  Janowski battled his opponent's two Knights with his cherished pair of Bishops, pieces for which he has long expressed a pronounced predilection.  The French representative appeared to enjoy a slight advantage through most of the encounter, and at last compelled his opponent's resignation at the 54th move after a difficult struggle:

Jaffe chose the Ruy Lopez against Kupchik and, by virtue of multiple displacements of his Bishop and Queen, netted a pawn in the opening, a decision that soon proved unwise, as the acquisition of the booty cost so much precious time that the second player, vigorously exploiting the chances offered him, had established a virtually winning position by the 20th move.  Soon thereafter a Knight endgame arose with Kupchik in possession of two sound extra pawns, and of whose outcome there could be no doubt.  Jaffe fought on to the bitter end, but in our opinion could well have spared himself at least a dozen moves at the finish, and the reader who glances at the final position may decide for himself whether the proper moment to resign had long since passed:


Marshall's game against Corzo, a battle of national Champions, proved a far more one-sided affair than expected, with the Cuban ace, as Black in a Queen's Gambit Declined, falling victim to a pretty bit of combinative play at the 15th move and then, obviously taken aback, blundering away his Queen two moves later:


Finally, Capablanca, playing Black in a Queen's Pawn Game, found it difficult to make headway against Chajes, despite holding the whip hand, if only lightly, through much of the contest.  The Cuban afterward was most complimentary of his opponent's defense, and demonstrated a trap avoided by Chajes whereby White appears to reach a winning pawn endgame, only to find the tables turned after a surprise rejoinder by Black.  The reader will find this most interesting variation added to the game score below:


Scores after 5 rounds: Capablanca 4; Janowski 3 1/2; Marshall, Kupchik 3; Jaffe, Blanco Chajes 1 1/2; Corzo 1.

The sixth round will be played today.      


Thursday, February 21

Havana tournament, Round 4: Capablanca defeats Jaffe; Janowski assumes 2nd place with marathon victory over Chajes

José R. Capablanca scored a most satisfying victory over Charles Jaffe in the fourth round of the Havana international chess Masters' tournament, thereby maintaining his position at the head of the tournament table and gaining a measure of revenge for the defeat inflicted on the Cuban ace by the same opponent in the recent New York event.  David Janowski of Paris now stands alone in second place after likewise adding a full point to his score, at the expense of Oscar Chajes, in a game lasting more than 100 moves. The contest between Abraham Kupchik and United States Champion Frank Marshall, and that between Cuban representatives Juan Corzo and Rafael Blanco, were drawn.

Capablanca, as he did in their New York encounter, chose the Four Knights' Opening against Jaffe, the second player deviating from that earlier game at his 6th move, this time capturing White's Bishop with the b- rather than the d-pawn.  This continuation, while judged eminently playable, does leave the Black a-pawn isolated from its fellows, and it was against that pawn that the Cuban later directed his forces, at last accomplishing its capture at the 26th move.  Jaffe's subsequent attempts to gain counterplay proved unavailing, and led in the end to his Rook becoming ensnared behind enemy lines, a predicament that ultimately cost the New York Master the exchange, after which there was of course no saving the game:

Janowski, the oldest competitor in the field, has to date spent by far the most time at the board, playing games of 62, 53, 71, and now 108 moves.  That the fatigue naturally attendant to a succession of such lengthy battles might take its toll on the veteran Master as the tourney progresses is a genuine concern; for the present, however, none can gainsay his admirable fighting spirit.  The Janowski-Chajes battle, another Four Knights' Opening, may be cited as a fine example of that rare species of game that grows ever more interesting as it progresses, and we urge our readers not to let its length dissuade them from playing it through, for they will find therein a stirring race between passed pawns; a Black pawn allowed to Queen unhindered; a battle between Queen and Rook on one side against two Rooks and two pawns on the other, won in the end by the weaker party; an opportunity lost to administer a perpetual check by means of a Rook sacrifice; and, finally, an under-promotion to a Knight as the only winning - and, indeed, the only saving - move.  The man who cares not for such riches cares not for chess:

Corzo, the Cuban Champion, looked poised to claim his first full point of the event, having outplayed his countryman Blanco in a Vienna Gambit to reach an endgame in which the White Knight proved far superior to Black's Bishop.  Yet with victory within his grasp Corzo faltered, exchanging minor pieces to bring about a position with only Kings and pawns remaining on the board, whose outcome he had sadly miscalculated.  Sr. Capablanca was the first to demonstrate the correct winning method as soon as the draw was agreed:

In the day's final pairing, Kupchik and Marshall carefully contested a Four Knights' Game, the two players maneuvering for several hours in an endgame with two Rooks and one Knight per side, with each possessing in addition six pawns, before agreeing to a draw on the 62nd move.  As this was by far the quietest encounter of the day - a rarity for Marshall! -  in which no pawns were advanced during the final 20 moves, and no material captured during the final 30, we feel justified in refraining from publishing the game score.

Scores after 4 rounds: Capablanca 3 1/2; Janowski 2 1/2; Marshall, Kupchik, Jaffe, Blanco 2; Corzo, Chajes 1.

The fifth round will be played today. 

Tuesday, February 19

Havana tournament, Round 3: Capablanca, Marshall play to draw; Jaffe, Blanco are victors

The third round of the Havana international chess Masters' tournament witnessed the first clash between tourney favorites when United States Champion Frank J. Marshall and José R. Capablanca of Cuba played to a draw in 36 moves.  In other games, Blanco and Jaffe each registered his first victory of the event, the former defeating Kupchik and the latter Chajes.  Meanwhile, Cuban Champion Corzo opened his scoring account after two successive defeats, drawing a long and hard-fought game with Janowski.

Marshall chose a Queen's Pawn opening against his Cuban rival, who responded with a somewhat irregular defense.  The consensus of expert opinion tended to favor the American's chances early on, but after a short skirmish around the 20th move the position seemed level.  Sr. Capablanca later expressed the opinion that he may have missed an opportunity to seize the advantage with a Knight sacrifice at his 25th turn, citing a variation that the reader will find incorporated into the game score below.  That moment having passed, the game proceeded to a peaceful conclusion after further careful play by both sides:

Blanco essayed the Scotch Game against Kupchik and obtained a favorable position out of the opening.  By the 19th move White stood in possession of an extra pawn, booty he soon returned in order to establish a powerful passed pawn on the Queen's Rook file, a pawn whose advance in the endgame, aided by a well-placed Rook and a Bishop in control of the Queening square, quickly brought about the decision:

Jaffe and Chajes contested a Queen's Gambit Declined featuring much thrust and parry on all sectors of the board.  We draw the reader's attention in particular to the passage at arms between the 35th and 41st moves, from which White emerged with an extra pawn in the endgame, an advantage ultimately sufficient for victory despite the stout resistance of his adversary:

Corzo vs. Janowski, a Giuoco Piano, saw clever play on the King-side, during which each player sacrificed the exchange in turn, this tussle leading at last to a Rook endgame in which the French representative, holding an extra pawn, might have been expected to prevail.  Janowski, however, proved unable to overcome the determined defense of his adversary, as Corzo succeeded in reducing the game to a position of Queen and lone pawn against Queen, reaching safety therein by administering a perpetual check.  The Cuban Champion thus tallied his first half-point of the tournament, a harbinger, we are certain, of much more to come:

Scores after 3 rounds: Capablanca 2 1/2; Jaffe 2; Marshall, Janowski, Blanco, Kupchik 1 1/2; Chajes 1; Corzo 1/2.

The fourth round is scheduled for today, with the two leaders, Capablanca and Jaffe, set to meet, the other pairings being Corzo-Blanco, Janowski-Chajes, and Kupchik-Marshall.

Monday, February 18

Havana tournament, Round 2: Capablanca, Kupchik are victors; Cuban wins fine game

Yesterday's second round of the international chess Masters' tournament in Havana saw a brace of decisive games, with Capablanca and Kupchik taking the laurels, the former topping Blanco in a pretty encounter, and the latter dispatching Corzo with unexpected ease.

Blanco essayed the French Defense against his more famous compatriot, whose rarely-seen move 7.Ne5 may have thrown the second player a bit off his stride, as Black soon lost a move with his Bishop, thereby allowing Capablanca to develop strong pressure against the opposing King-side.  Black's defensive thrust 12...f5, while warding off the danger of immediate checkmate, left a vulnerable pawn on e6, a weakness exploited by White with consummate mastery during the subsequent play.  We present the game, to which Sr. Capablanca has again provided brief comments, and we call the reader's attention in particular to the fine move 25.Be2, a quiet retreat with the simple yet deadly intention of bringing this piece to the d5 square.  Capablanca's artistry in positional play is most rare in one so young, and diligent students of the game would do well to examine closely this, his latest masterpiece:

Kupchik, as first player in a Queen's Gambit Declined, developed strong pressure against the castled position of Corzo, who appears to have mismanaged the defense, the Queen sortie 10...Qa5 in particular being open to criticism.  White won a pawn, then a second, and stood to increase his material advantage even further when Black laid down his arms at the 31st move:

Janowski and Jaffe produced a fascinating struggle in which the French representative, in possession of an extra pawn and with fine attacking chances at his disposal, appeared to enjoy a considerable advantage in a Ruy Lopez, but nevertheless found himself unable to break the American's resistance.  At his 39th and 40th moves Janowski sacrificed both Rooks in order to unleash a torrent of checks against the Black King, yet even this inspired attempt proved unable to tip the balance in his favor, and the game was drawn by perpetual check at the 53rd move:

Chajes and Marshall contested a Queen's Pawn Game in which the United States Champion endeavored for many moves to turn to account his extra pawn in a Rook endgame before at last conceding the draw.  We present the first 63 moves of the game and express out regret that the full score has not reached us as we go to press.

Scores after 2 rounds: Capablanca 2; Kupchik 1 1/2; Marshall, Janowski, Chajes, Jaffe 1; Blanco 1/2; Corzo 0.

The third round will be played later today.


Saturday, February 16

Havana tournament, Round 1: Capablanca defeats Corzo brilliantly; other games drawn

The international chess tournament in Havana began auspiciously yesterday with a brilliant victory by tourney favorite José R. Capablanca, a native of that city now resident in New York, who defeated Cuban Champion Juan Corzo in a coruscating game.  Capablanca, whose success is both hoped for and expected by his many supporters, thus assumes the early lead in the event, the other three games having been drawn.

The Corzo-Capablanca encounter displayed both players to best advantage, and revealed each as unafraid to sacrifice material in the interest of gaining the attack.  Capablanca, playing Black in a Queen's Pawn Game, left a Rook to be taken as early as the tenth move, an offer his opponent wisely declined.  Corzo for his part later sacrificed a Knight, only to see Capablanca immediately offer his other Rook in return.  And so blow alternated with counter-blow until, at his 27th turn, Capablanca outdid all previous strategems by leaving his Queen en prise, secure in the advantage in position he would obtain should that piece be captured.  Corzo, perhaps taken by surprise, erred in reply, after which the scales of battle soon tipped irretrievably toward the side of his opponent.  Though the tourney has scarce begun, Capablanca's fine effort already ranks as a strong favorite to capture the brilliancy prize.  We invite our readers to examine the game, to which Sr. Capablanca has graciously added a few brief comments.

In other games, Kupchik and Janowski played to a draw in a Queen's Gambit Accepted, with the latter striving in vain for many moves to demonstrate an advantage in an endgame of Rooks and opposite-colored Bishops.

Blanco, playing White in a Scotch Game vs. Chajes, soon won the exchange.  Later, though, in the face of his opponent's determined counterplay - at one point Black enjoyed an advantage of no less than four pawns for the lost exchange - the first player found himself compelled to struggle for the draw, which he achieved at the 53rd move:

Finally, United States Champion Frank Marshall and Charles Jaffe of New York played what at first glance appeared a relatively quiet Queen's Gambit Declined, agreed drawn after 29 moves.  Post-game analysis,  however, demonstrated that Jaffe had missed not one but two chances for advantage: 21...Qh2!, with the threat 22...Bd3, would have been very strong, while at the 25th move either 25...Qa2 or 25...Nd5 (e.g., 26.Rh4 f5 27.Nd2 Qf6) might well have given Black the victory:

Scores after 1 round: Capablanca 1; Kupchik, Janowski, Blanco, Chajes, Marshall, Jaffe 1/2; Corzo 0.

The second round will be played tomorrow, the 17th.     

Thursday, February 14


We present a remarkable game played recently at a tournament of the Liverpool Chess Club.  Seldom have we seen such a melee on the chessboard, and the diagram below, depicting the position after White's 20th move, should provide ample evidence of the wild nature of the preceding play.

Our club's resident maestro of tactics, Herr Fritz, has kindly provided us with a few observations on the game, which the reader will find incorporated into the score below.

Wednesday, February 13

Queen sacrifice

We present a sparkling game won by Herr Edward Lasker in the preliminary round of the ongoing City of London Chess Club Championship tournament.  The sacrifice of the Black Queen bears a strong similarity to  Marshall's coup 12...Qxf3 vs. Janowski in their third match game of last year, and we daresay that both Marshall and Lasker drew their inspiration from Morphy, whose well-known scintillating brilliancy against Paulsen more than half a century ago continues to draw new aficionados to our royal game.

Tuesday, February 12

Havana tournament: Blanco final participant

We are reliably informed that one of the leading Cuban players, Sr. Rafael Blanco Estera, will compete in the forthcoming Havana tourney, thus rounding out the eight-man field.  Already entered in the lists are Cuban Champion Juan Corzo y Principe, as well as the six invited Masters from the recent New York event (Capablanca, Marshall, Janowski, Jaffe, Chajes, and Kupchik), whose arrival by steamship is expected imminently in the island capital.

We avail ourselves of the opportunity provided by the above announcement to introduce to our readers the two native contenders who have joined the field. 

Juan Corzo, whose acquaintance we had the pleasure of making during a past visit to Cuba, has long enjoyed a deserved reputation as one of the strongest players on the island.  Indeed, it was Corzo against whom the prodigy Capablanca first tested his steel in a serious contest some dozen years ago, the youngster prevailing in a friendly match by the odd game, the strength of the foe adding lustre to the brilliance of his precocious achievement.  Corzo possesses a lively, attacking style, and, in his 40th year, retains his full powers, as evinced by his victory in the most recent Championship of the Havana Chess Club.  We present two of his games, one a brilliancy from several years ago and the other a victory from last year's Havana club tourney vs. Blanco, about whom more below.

Rafael Blanco (b. 1885), well-known among his countrymen as a caricaturist, displays equal talent at the chessboard.  The Havana tourney will furnish him with the opportunity to try his mettle against Masters of renown, and we should not be surprised to see him snatch more than a few points from his illustrious opponents.  There follow two of his games from the most recent Havana Club Championship: a victory over Portela and a hard-fought drawn battle with Corzo.