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.     

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