Tuesday, April 30

Warsaw triangular tournament, Round 4: Flamberg defeats Lowtzky with irresistible attack

Alexander Flamberg, playing White, defeated Moishe Lowtzky in the fourth round of the Warsaw triangular Masters' tournament, rebuffing his opponent's early attempt to seize the initiative and later deciding the game with an unanswerable attack of his own.  With this victory Flamberg reclaims the lead in the tourney, half a point ahead of Oldrich Duras of Prague, though the Czech Master retains a game in hand.

Lowtzky, who had apparently decided to conduct the struggle in fortissimo style, met Flamberg's first move of the King's pawn with 1...d5, the Center Counter Defense, opting for one of the sharpest variations of that debut, 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 e5.  Black's 7...Nd4 revealed his aggressive intentions, but ultimately proved premature, as the second player's entire plan of attack cost him precious time - five displacements of the Queen, along with two each of Bishop and Knight, all within the first eleven moves - and left his development in arrears.  Flamberg skilfully prevented the Black King from castling, and by the 20th move White's advantage was obvious, and his attack ready to begin.  In the subsequent play Flamberg allowed his opponent no opportunity to escape from the toils, concluding matters with the win of a piece.

The score now stands as follows: Flamberg 2, Duras 1 1/2, Lowtzky 1/2, with Flamberg and Lowtzky each having one game left to play, and Duras two.

To the game:

Monday, April 29

Warsaw triangular tournament, Round 3: Duras defeats Flamberg, assumes lead at halfway mark

Oldrich Duras, playing Black in a Ruy Lopez, defeated Alexander Flamberg in a sharp heavy-piece endgame to claim the lead at the halfway mark of the Warsaw triangular Masters' tournament.  The Czech Master conducted the game in vigorous style, sacrificing a pawn with 16...d5 to deprive White of his castling privilege and secure for himself control of the open e-file.  In fact, it would appear that Duras might have crowned his efforts far earlier had he chosen 22...Rxa1 instead of 22...Bd7, the former move leading to a pretty mating variation first pointed out by the 75-year old veteran Master Szymon Winawer, in attendance at the game.  As played, Duras, still a pawn in arrears, was required to extend himself to the full in order to maintain the initiative in the face of his opponent's determined counterplay.  By the 38th move each player was left with Queen and Rook, with each in possession of an advanced passed pawn on the d-file, a situation fraught with tension and mutual danger.  It has been said that skill in endgames with major pieces is one sure sign of a true Master, and we would encourage  our readers to study carefully the concluding ten moves of this struggle, as the means by which Duras, showing his class, decided matters in his favor are both instructive and highly entertaining.  We present the game below, with notes by the Polish player Belzitzman.

Scores after 3 rounds: Duras 1 1/2; Flamberg 1; Lowtzky 1/2.


Sunday, April 28

Warsaw triangular tournament, Round 2: Duras, Lowtzky play to draw in colorful struggle

Visiting Czech Master Oldrich Duras and current Warsaw resident Moishe Lowtzky played to a draw in the second round of the Warsaw triangular Masters' tournament, concluding peace after 36 moves in a game marked by heterogeneous material balances in both the actual play and the possible side variations.

Duras, playing White in a Queen's Gambit Declined, won his opponent's Queen for Rook and Bishop at the 15th move, although the resultant weakening of the Czech's position, combined with the increased activity of the Black forces, rendered most difficult any attempt to prove an advantage for the first player.  The visiting Master then seems to have committed an oversight at his 27th turn, playing 27.Qc4 and allowing the pretty 27...Rxd4, a retort enabling Black, as he likes, either to win the White Queen -- the path chosen in the game -- or, what would perhaps have been an even stronger course, to bring about a position with Rook and two minor pieces for White's Queen and pawn, and with Black enjoying considerable attacking chances against the exposed White King.  As played, Duras managed to hold the balance with 30.Rb1, a move leading to an even endgame after Lowtzky quite rightly avoided the temptation to opt for a variation in which his two Bishops would likely prove inferior to the Czech;s Rook and passed a-pawn.  The reader will find this descriptive commentary illustrated by the notes embedded in the game score below.

The current standings of this smallest of all tourneys (a two-player event being a match) are thus Flamberg 1; Duras and Lowtzky 1/2, with Flamberg and Duras, each having a game in hand, set to meet in the next round.



Saturday, April 27

Warsaw triangular tournament, Round 1: Flamberg defeats Lowtzky

Alexander Flamberg, playing Black in a Queen's Gambit Declined, employed the 3...c5 defense favored by Dr. Tarrasch to defeat Moishe Lowtzky in the first round of the Warsaw triangular Masters' tournament.  The game seemed quite level and likely headed for a draw when Flamberg at his 21st turn sacrificed a pawn, obtaining in return vigorous activity for his pieces.  Lowtzky, under pressure, erred 10 moves later, choosing an ill-advised pawn capture that soon cost him the exchange.  Nevertheless, a win for Black was far from a certainty, and the game later resolved itself into a position of Rook and Bishop against Bishop and Knight, with each side in possession of but a single pawn.  Flamberg, using his Rook to good advantage, confined the White King first to the h-file and later to the back rank, but victory appeared still rather far off when White, after his 65th move, chose to resign in a position still admitting of much resistance, thereby leaving us to wonder whether the game score or perhaps our own powers of analysis might be incomplete.  We present the game as received for the inspection of our readers.



Friday, April 26

Warsaw triangular tournament announced: Duras, Flamberg, Lowtzky to compete

We have learned that the Warsaw Chess Club, taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by the visit of Oldrich Duras to that city, will host a three-man tournament in which the visiting Czech Master will compete alongside Alexander Flamberg, native of Warsaw, and Moishe Lowtzky of Kiev, of late resident in the Polish metropolis.  Each competitor will play two games against each of the others; the nature of the event of course requires that only one game will be played per day, with one player having the bye in each round.

Flamberg and Lowtzky (whose surname we have also seen rendered as Lowcki) are perhaps less well-known to our readers than some of their contemporaries, but both are players of notable strength.  The former, born in 1880, has been Champion of Warsaw and has acquitted himself quite well in the All-Russian Championships, taking second place behind Levitsky in 1911; the latter (b. 1881) participated in last year's events at Breslau and Pistyan, collecting victories over such players as Spielmann, Rubinstein, and Duras.  Both Flamberg and Lowtzky also took part in the King's Gambit tourney in Abbazia, 1912, scoring, respectively, 10 1/2 and 11 points from 21 games played.  We have appended a pair of games by each player to serve as examples of their skill.  Then, in justice to Duras, who is certainly in less need of an introduction to our readers, we have added a sampling of his recent victories as well.

Games from the Warsaw triangular tourney will appear in this space as they come to hand.

Thursday, April 25

Correspondence chess: Prodigies of attack and defense

We have recently received a large selection of games played by correspondence, and plan to share the best of them with our readers as space and time permit.  Correspondence chess is often of very high quality, with the possibility of thorough analysis largely eliminating obvious blunders and often allowing players of lesser strength to produce finished efforts that would do credit to any world-class Master.  

We present today two games of similar pedigree.  Each was played in an international tourney organized by the Schweizerische Schachzeitung, each features the so-called Open Defense (5...Nxe4) to the Ruy Lopez, and in each Black obtains a most threatening attack against the White King's castled position.  But there the similarities end, for in the first game the Black attack, by virtue of a series of sacrifices, breaks through to victory, while in the latter contest the first player succeeds through cool defense in surviving the enemy onslaught and ultimately decides the game in his own favor by the narrowest of margins.

Herewith our first offering, with notes based on those by the Swiss Master Voellmy:

And now for our second game, no less worthy than the first, with notes based on those by the winner:

Wednesday, April 24

St. Petersburg quadrangular tournament, Final Round: Alekhine wins, Levenfish draws to share 1st place

Alexander Alekhine, playing Black in a Ruy Lopez, defeated Eugene Znosko-Borovsky in the final round to claim a share of first prize in the Masters' Quadrangular tourney at St. Petersburg.  Alekhine's victory left him with 2 points scored from three games and brought him into a tie with Grigory Levenfish, the tournament leader at the beginning of the round, who drew his game with visiting Czech Master Oldrich Duras.  Znosko-Borovsky and Duras shared third and fourth places, each with one point.  The final placing of the the latter will doubtless be a disappointment to him, but, we daresay, only a small one, as the tourney was of brief duration and, in any case, such results are, at least on occasion, well-nigh inevitable in the tiring life of a peripatetic chess Master.  Duras, we understand, has already left St. Petersburg en route to engagements in Riga and Warsaw.

We provide a crosstable of the event; one curiosity to note is that all three of Alekhine's games finished decisively, while the remaining games in the tourney were all drawn:

                                 L       A      Z       D           Total
Levenfish             x       1       =       =               2
Alekhine               0       x       1       1               2
Znosko-B.            =       0       x       =              1
Duras                     =       0       =       x              1

Alekhine, who is much to be feared when in possession of the initiative, chose as Black a defense sometimes favored by Marshall, 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.d4 Bg4, and seemed as early as the 15th move to dictate the course of the play.  The young Master's pressure on the Queen-side was crowned by the fine move 33...c4, allowing the Black pieces entry into the opposing position.  The reader should also note the forceful and imaginative concluding stroke 43...h5, which poses unanswerable threats.

Levenfish, as second player in a Queen's Gambit Declined, defended ably against Duras, sacrificing a pawn in return for strong pressure on the Czech's position.  Even the - admittedly short-lived - possession of two Bishops against Black's two Knights failed to secure a White advantage.  Levenfish at his 40th turn at last reclaimed the sacrificed pawn, and a draw was agreed in an equal Rook endgame 7 moves later.

Tuesday, April 23

St. Petersburg quadrangular tournament, Round 2: Levenfish defeats Alekhine; Znosko-Borovsky, Duras play to draw

Grigory Levenfish, taking quick advantage of his opponent's inexact play, defeated  Alexander Alekhine in only 21 mores in the second round of the Masters' quadrangular tournament at St. Petersburg, thus supplanting Alekhine atop the score table.  The day's other encounter, between Eugene Znosko-Borovsky and Oldrich Duras, resulted in a well-contested draw at the 50th move, leaving the standings as follows: Levenfish 1 1/2; Alekhine, Znosko-Borovsky 1; and Duras, whose visit to St. Petersburg provided the impetus for this tourney, 1/2.  The final round will see the pairings Duras-Levenfish and Znosko-Borovsky- Alekhine. 

Levenfish, as White in a Queen's Pawn Game, on the third move developed his dark-square Bishop to the rather unusual f4 square, and it was this piece, later safely entrenched on h2, from which position it controlled important squares in the Black King's field, that was to play such a vital role in the winning attack after Alekhine's 15...Bh6?  We present the game, along with a few illustrative variations:


Znosko-Borovsky, as first player, chose the Four Knights' Opening against Duras, the game taking on a maneuvering character as the two players each sought to establish a strategic superiority.  The treaty of peace was ultimately signed at the 50th move with Black a pawn to the good, but unable to ward off his opponent's threats to his King without allowing a repetition of position.


Monday, April 22

St. Petersburg quadrangular tournament, Round 1

Oldrich Duras recently completed a week's engagement at the St. Petersburg Chess Club, during which time, in addition to the usual exhibitions and lectures, the presence of one of the world's foremost players led the club to arrange a quadrangular tournament in which the visiting Czech Master crossed swords with the local players Alekhine, Levenfish, and Znosko-Borovsky.  Our understanding is that Alekhine and Levenfish shared first place in the event, the games of whose first round have come to hand, with others expected shortly.

Here Alekhine records a powerful victory over the visitor, who had conducted a difficult simultaneous exhibition on the previous day.  Notes to this and the following game by Alekhine.

In the round's other game, Levenfish and Znosko-Borovsky played to a short draw:

Sunday, April 21

Match games from the Netherlands

Dr. A.G. Olland of Utrecht, former Champion of the Netherlands, has seen a busy month of chess activity, finishing first ex aequo in the Utrecht championship alongside A.E. van Foreest, with whom he contested a playoff match, and disputing another short contest against Dr. J.F.S. Esser.  That these chessboard duels ended in favor of Dr. Olland's opponents is certainly no discredit to him, as van Foreest is himself a former national Champion and Dr. Esser a veteran of short matches against such giants as Marshall and Janowski.

We first present two games from the Utrecht championship playoff match between Olland and van Foreest, won by the latter with the score of two wins to one, with one game drawn.  Here Dr. Olland opens the match with a victory, gradually turning Black's flank on the King-side in a French Defense.


Next, van Foreest answers in kind, likewise scoring a victory as first player in a French Defense in what we believe was the deciding game of the contest:

In our final offering of the day, yet another French Defense, Dr. Esser, playing Black, registers an attractive victory over his compatriot en route to capturing their short series by the clean score of three victories to none.   Black's sacrifice of the exchange deserves attention, and the pawn endgame, in which the second player's separated passed pawns defeat the central mass of his adversary, will well reward careful study.