Wednesday, February 6

New York tournament, final round: Capablanca draws with Marshall, secures 1st prize; American Champion 2nd, Jaffe 3rd

The Second American National Tournament concluded yesterday, with José R. Capablanca of Havana securing the first prize by virtue of drawing his final-round contest with Frank Marshall of Brooklyn, the Cuban's nearest competitor.  Capablanca thus finishes the event with 11 points scored from 13 games, a total comprised of 10 wins (achieved consecutively in the first ten rounds of play), two draws, and one loss, to Charles Jaffe of New York, the third place finisher.  Marshall takes second place with 10 1/2 points, and can boast of being the only participant to remain undefeated throughout the contest, his score consisting of eight victories and five draws.  Jaffe, who had already assured himself of the third prize before yesterday's round, tallied 9 1/2 points.  The complete final standings appear later in this item.

Capablanca, who had seen his lead in the tournament reduced from two points to one-half point over the course of the previous two rounds, and who risked being overtaken by the American in the event of a loss, opted to avoid all possible danger, choosing as White the quiet Exchange Variation against Marshall's French Defense.  The resultant symmetrical and rather lifeless position was agreed drawn in only 18 moves, a result at once gratifying to the young Cuban's many supporters and disappointing to those spectators who had hoped to witness a full-scale chessboard battle.  For our part, while sharing in no little degree this latter sentiment, we can find no real fault in Capablanca's peaceful methods, feeling that over the course of this event he had already produced much fine chess to delight all aficionados, and was thus well-entitled to make certain of the laurels he had so richly earned.  Neither, do we feel, can any true blame be assigned to Marshall, as at the present level of Master technique in chess it is well-nigh impossible for a player with the Black pieces to defeat a strong opponent who seeks only to hold the balance with White.  We give the Capablanca-Marshall game, its importance for the final standings, if not its intrinsic merits, justifying its appearance here:

In other games, Jaffe, who stood to equal Marshall's score with a victory, was unexpectedly defeated by Zapoleon, the bottom man on the score table, who thereby registered his first win in the tourney.  Janowski, as Black in a Queen's Gambit Declined, easily took the full point from Tenenwurzel when the latter embarked on an incorrect combination of the sort often seen near the conclusion of long events, as fatigue and premature thoughts of repose begin to take their toll.  With this victory the Parisian representative brought his score to 9 points and assured for himself the fourth prize.

We regret that in the turmoil frequently attendant to the final round of a chess tournament we were unable to procure the scores of any of the other games played yesterday, and so must content ourselves with reporting the bare results:  Stapfer, who defeated Liebenstein, and Chajes, by virtue of a draw with Kupchik, both finished with 8 points, and so shared fifth and sixth places.  In addition, Morrison and Kline played to a draw, while Rubinstein defeated Whitaker, whose score of five wins, seven losses, and but a single draw, even if rather below our original prognostications, nevertheless gives ample evidence of fighting spirit.

The final standings:  1st Capablanca 11 pts.; 2nd Marshall 10 1/2 pts.; 3rd Jaffe 9 1/2 pts.; 4th Janowski 9 pts., 5th-6th Stapfer, Chajes 8 pts.; 7th Kupchik 6 1/2 pts.; 8th-9th Tenenwurzel, Whitaker 5 1/2 pts.; 10th-11th Rubinstein, Kline 4 1/2 pts.; 12th Morrison 4 pts.; 13th Liebenstein 2 1/2 pts.; 14th Zapoleon 2 pts.

In yesterday's entry we noted that Sr. Paredes, President of the Havana Chess Club, had invited the top six finishers in the just-completed event to participate in the coming tournament in the Cuban capital.  Stapfer, owing to the press of business engagements, has with great regret been compelled to decline that invitation; happily, an exchange of cables with the Havana club has established that Kupchik, the seventh place finisher, will be more than acceptable to the sponsors as a substitute.  Thus Capablanca, Marshall, Jaffe, Janowski, Chajes, and Kupchik will play, and are all scheduled to sail together from New York in just two days' time.  At the Havana tourney they will be joined by two Cuban players, one of whom, Sr. Juan Corzo, currently holds the crown as Champion of Cuba, a title for which, to our knowledge, Capablanca has not competed in quite some time.  The identity of the other Cuban player is as yet unknown to us; we shall publish it as soon as word arrives.

We hope to publish as well our thoughts on the New York event in our next entry.  


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