Wednesday, July 31

Rice Chess Club tournament, Round 9: Duras, Black, Kupchik are winners

Although José Capablanca has already assured himself of top honors at the Rice Chess Club Summer Masters' Tournament, the race for second place remains hotly contested.  Yesterday's ninth round saw the three top aspirants to the runner-up position all score victories as Oldrich Duras defeated Jacques Grommer, Roy T. Black topped Jacob Bernstein, and Abraham Kupchik took the full point from Frank P. Beynon. The day's remaining contest, between Harold M. Phillips and Oscar Chajes, was adjourned. A number of competitors did not play: Edward Tenenwurzel and George Adair, paired against players long since withdrawn, found themselves idle, as did Albert Marder, whose scheduled game vs. Capablanca was played a few days ago. Capablanca, of course, has already completed his tournament program with a perfect score.

Duras vs. Grommer featured a rather unusual opening, 1.d4 c5 2.dxc5 e6 3.Nc3 Bxc5 4.Ne4 d5 5.Nxc5 Qa5+ 6.Bd2 Qxc5. The Czech Master skilfully parried his opponent's attempts to form an attack against the g2 square and, after pocketing a pawn at the 23rd move, brought the struggle to a successful conclusion in a colorful endgame, which we commend to the attention of our readers.

Black took the measure of Bernstein in a Ruy Lopez that, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d4, soon transposed to the "Open" Defense favored by Dr. Tarrasch. Bernstein must have strayed from the correct path early on, as the first player rapidly developed an overwhelming King-side attack.

Kupchik, playing Black in another Ruy Lopez, required only 22 moves to defeat Beynon, who, to our mind, gave up the struggle rather too early. The Black position is undoubtedly superior after 23.gxh3 Qxf3, but we in our time have seen successful resistance offered in far more dire straits.

Current standings:

13 points: Capablanca (13)
7 1/2 points: Black (9), Kupchik (10)
6 points: Duras (7), Tenenwurzel (10)
5 1/2 points: Marder (9)
5 points: Adair (9), Chajes (9)
4 1/2 points: Bernstein (10)
3 1/2 points: Beynon (9)
2 1/2 points: Phillips (8)
2 points: Grommer (9)
Withdrawn: Stapfer, Beihoff

The number in parentheses following a player's surname indicates the number of games he has played to date, including two forfeit victories over Stapfer and Beihoff. The adjourned games Grommer-Phillips and Phillips-Chajes are not included in the above table.

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