Saturday, July 6

Rice Chess Club tournament, Round 2: All games decisive; Kupchik, Marder join Capablanca in lead

The second round of the Rice Chess Club Summer Masters' tournament, like the first, produced five decisive games, the winners on this day being Messrs. Black, Adair, Bernstein, Kupchik, and Marder, with the last two named now joining Capablanca atop the score table with 2 points.  Capablanca himself sat idle during this round owing to the recent withdrawal of Stapfer, his scheduled opponent.  Tenenwurzel, slated to face the Czech Duras, who is presently en route from Europe, also found himself without a playing partner.

We present below four games from the day's play; only the Phillips-Bernstein encounter, won by the latter, is lacking.  At the conclusion of this entry we also provide, as always, the current tourney standings, although in doing so we feel compelled to expand on a point raised in this space a few days ago - namely, that with Duras yet to arrive and with Capablanca playing four games a week while others play only two, gauging the relative standing of the competitors becomes a most difficult matter indeed.  The withdrawal of Stapfer has only compounded this problem.  As of this writing, for example, Beihoff and Beynon lead Chajes and Duras by half a point, yet Beihoff has played three games, Beynon two, Chajes one (his first-round win over Stapfer having been annulled), and Duras none.  Whose chances are superior?  We scarcely dare venture a guess.  Disparities of this sort are unfortunately only likely to increase in the coming days and weeks, and so, as an aid to our readers, we have included in the score table below not only the total points accumulated to date by each competitor, but also, in parentheses, the number of games he has played.  We hope that the somewhat cluttered nature of the presentation will be excused in light of the additional information thereby provided.

To the games:  Beynon, as first player in a French Defense, suffered a most vexing defeat against Black.  The Canadian representative gained a large advantage by means of a pretty Knight sacrifice at his 21st move, but thereafter found himself unable to land a finishing blow.  The threat posed by the Black passed pawns on the Queen-side loomed ever larger as the struggle progressed, with their advance ultimately costing White first a Rook and then the game.

Marder opened with the Ruy Lopez vs. Beihoff, who chose the 3...Nd4 defense favored by the late English Master Bird.  Black seems to have misplayed this demanding line, as White quickly developed a powerful attack on the King-side.  Indeed, after 18.Nf4 we see no means of escape for the second player.

Kupchik, playing Black, overcame Grommer in a Vienna Game.  The New York Master developed a strong initiative that endured even after the exchange of Queens, at which point Grommer thought it best to sacrifice the exchange as a means of easing his difficulties.  Kupchik, however, was not to be denied, his two Rooks prevailing against Grommer's Rook and Knight in the endgame.


Chajes, who, as noted yesterday, felt most keenly the loss of a point fairly gained occasioned by the withdrawal of Stapfer, seemed quite out of form against Adair, and succumbed in a long endgame whose outcome had been a foregone conclusion for many moves.


Scores after 2 rounds:

2 points: Capablanca (2), Kupchik (2), Marder (2)
1 point:   Black (1), Tenenwurzel (1) Adair (2), Bernstein (2)
1/2 point: Beynon (2), Beihoff (3)
0 points: Grommer (2), Phillips (2), Chajes (1), Duras (0)

The number in parentheses following a player's surname indicates the number of games he has played to date.        

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