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. 

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