The remarkable run of consecutive victories achieved by José R. Capablanca of Havana came to an abrupt end yesterday at the Second American National Tournament when the Cuban ace suffered defeat at the hands of Charles Jaffe of New York, with a single ill-considered move leading to Capablanca's swift and unforeseen downfall. Two other top contenders, Frank Marshall, the American Champion, and David Janowski, representative of France, also tallied victories, with the result that the race for first prize, which Capablanca not long ago looked certain to win, has suddenly assumed an air of unpredictability, with Marshall in particular standing but a single point behind the leader, with two rounds yet to be played, and with the two Masters scheduled to face each other in the final round in two days' time. The chess gods may yet favor us with a thrilling finish.
Capablanca vs. Jaffe saw the Cuban, by sacrificing a pawn, obtain a fine position from a Four Knights' Game, and had White chosen the simple recapture 28.Bxf4, the general consensus is that he would have stood quite well indeed, Black's weak pawns and pinned Knight making White's restoration of material equality a certainty. Yet Capablanca, seeking to extract more from the position that was his just due, replied 28.Bb2, completely overlooking after 28...Rg8 29.Qxf4 the winning blow 29...Nh3!, a coup that leaves White without resource, 30.Qxh6 being answered by 30...Nf2 mate and White otherwise finding himself unable to cope with threats to f4, f2, and g1. With this victory Jaffe moves to within one-and-one-half points of the leader, and the New Yorker may perhaps now regret even more keenly the missed opportunities of the previous rounds, when from promising positions against two of the lagging contenders he could score but a draw and a loss. We give the game:
Marshall, as second player in a Queen's Pawn Game, defeated Tenenwurzel, who seems to have attempted to play in the dashing attacking style of his more famous opponent, and who thereby swiftly came to grief. The bow of Odysseus is not for every man:
Janowski essayed the Queen's Gambit Declined against Kline and won a fine game, with White's moves 25.e6 and 38.Bd3 deserving special notice. After the latter move White would of course reply to 38...Rxd4, capturing the Queen, with 39.Rxc8+ Ka7 40.Nc6+, winning Black's Queen in turn and gaining material in the process. The Frenchman seems to be coming into form just as the tournament approaches its close:
In other games Whitaker defeated Morrison, Chajes topped Rubinstein, and Liebenstein, registering his first win of the tournament, took the full point from Zapoleon. We note that in all three games just mentioned the winner handled the Black pieces. Kupchik and Stapfer played to a draw.
Scores after 11 rounds: Capablanca 10; Marshall 9; Jaffe 8 1/2; Janowski 7 1/2; Chajes 7; Stapfer, Kupchik 6; Tenenwurzel 5 1/2; Whitaker 4 1/2; Kline 4; Rubinstein 3 1/2; Morrison 3; Liebenstein 1 1/2; Zapoleon 1.
Today being a free day, the twelfth round will be played tomorrow.
**As we go to press word has just reached us of an invitation from Havana for the top finishers in the present tourney to compete in a tournament there, scheduled to begin in mid-month. Look for more details in our next entry.