Saturday, March 2

Havana tournament, Round 11: Marshall wins again, defeating Kupchik; Capablanca held to draw by Jaffe; Janowski falls to Chajes

Tourney leader and United States Champion Frank J. Marshall scored yet another victory in the eleventh round of the Havana international chess Masters' tournament, defeating Abraham Kupchik in 31 moves and increasing his margin over second-place competitor José R. Capablanca to one and one-half points after the latter was held to a draw by Charles Jaffe of New York.  David Janowski of Paris, who had stood equal with Capablanca entering the round, dropped to third position, two full points behind Marshall, following his defeat at the hands of Oscar Chajes.  In the day's other game, Rafael Blanco defeated Cuban compatriot Juan Corzo, throwing caution to the winds and scoring the point in a complex sacrificial attacking game.

Marshall, eschewing safe play in his new role as sole leader of the event, chose the Danish Gambit against Kupchik, but could derive no advantage therefrom.  Indeed, the second player, in possession of an extra pawn in a double Rook endgame, appeared at first glance to hold whatever winning chances there existed in the position.  Yet after Black's 28...Raa5? (28...Rga5 and 28...Rxd4+ were afterward suggested as sufficient to hold the game) Marshall produced another of his famous "swindles," his 29.Rdd8! creating a sudden mating attack from which Black could not escape unscathed.  Kupchik resigned at the 31st move; the final mating variation, incorporated into the game score below, is as pretty as it was unexpected.  With this victory Marshall has now won seven games running; i.e., one against each of the other competitors in the field, a singular achievement of which he can justifiably be proud:

Jaffe, in what had been anticipated as a "needle" match after certain comments made by Capablanca regarding the American's loss to Marshall, opened with the Queen's Gambit Declined and allowed his opponent to make no headway, deploying his forces soundly and exchanging pieces as opportunity arose.  The two combatants reached an equal Rook endgame at the 34th move and agreed to halve the point shortly thereafter, thus concluding a rather quiet encounter whose influence on the score table may well prove more significant than its inherent content:


Chajes, who scored a fine victory over Jaffe in the previous round, produced another masterful effort today against Janowski, who defended the Queen's Gambit Declined in rather risky fashion, creating a number of weak points in his position in the interest of gaining active play, a hope destined to go unfulfilled.  White's skillful and patient maneuvering deserves careful study, and reached fruition at last with the move 40.g4!, winning the Black Knight, and, very soon afterward, the game:


Blanco essayed the Center Game against Corzo, and the two countrymen produced a thrilling encounter, with White sacrificing piece after piece in the effort to checkmate the enemy King and Black defending coolly  in the face of ever-changing threats.  Corzo at last erred at the 31st move, his 31...Bg6 allowing the winning stroke 32.Nh7!, whereas 31...Qe1, preparing to offer Queen for Rook in reply to a discovered check by White's Knight, appears to have been the correct reply.  Beyond those brief remarks we dare not venture, the complexity of the game, the pressure of time, and, above all, our knowledge of our own analytical limitations all militating against further commentary on our part, except to commend this spirited battle to the attention of our readers:


Scores after 11 rounds: Marshall 9; Capablanca 7 1/2; Janowski 7; Kupchik 6; Chajes 4 1/2; Blanco, Jaffe 4; Corzo 2.

The 12th round will be played on March 3. 

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