Thursday, July 18

Rice Chess Club tournament: Tenenwurzel-Capablanca game protested; Cuban claims victory via time limit

A tourney that had already seen a last-minute replacement, two withdrawals, one player completing his games ahead of schedule, and one yet to begin, has now experienced its first protest after the contentious finish of last night's encounter between Edward Tenenwurzel and José Capablanca.  The game, advanced from the tenth round in accordance with Capablanca's desire to complete his playing schedule in four weeks' time, had by approximately 11:30 PM reached the 38th move, after four and one-half hours of play, when Tenenwurzel, claiming fatigue, requested that it be adjourned.  The playing session was due to conclude at midnight, and in such circumstances it is not unheard-of for a competitor, prior to sealing a move, to allow his clock to run until the hour set for the cessation of play, sacrificing thinking time in the interest of avoiding the commission of an error through weariness.  Complicating matters in this instance, however, was the fact that Capablanca had played the entire game at his usual brisk pace, and had consumed only one hour and 37 minutes for reflection, as against nearly three hours for Tenenwurzel.  Consequently, as the time control requires that a player complete 45 moves within three hours' time, Tenenwurzel by ceasing further play and allowing his clock to run until midnight would infringe that stipulation and, per the tourney rules, would risk losing the game by forfeit.  This he nevertheless chose to do, with Capablanca in turn claiming victory shortly after Tenenwurzel's clock passed the three-hour mark, the board position still remaining unchanged after Black's 38th move.  Tenenwurzel for his part has protested the result, his case to be decided by the referees Hermann Helms, Julius Finn, and Gustav H. Koehler.

To turn to the game itself, Tenenwurzel, as first player in a Queen's Gambit Declined, appears to have sacrificed a pawn in the opening.  (Whether this loss of a pawn was in fact intentional is a question we had hoped to pose at the conclusion of the evening's play, until the circumstances related above made any approach to the aggrieved Tenenwurzel seem ill-advised.)  By the 28th move the game had resolved itself into a double Bishop endgame with Capablanca still in possession of his extra pawn; over the following ten moves Black made good progress, advancing his majority of pawns on the King-side, although no clear-cut winning method was found by analysts on the scene.  And there the battle ended, as we have chronicled.  

We will refrain from including the Tenenwurzel-Capablanca result in the tourney totals until the decision of the committee of referees.  Thus we repeat the standings as given in our last entry:

Scores after 5 rounds:

7 points: Capablanca (7)
5 1/2 points: Marder (6)
5 points: Kupchik (5), Tenenwurzel (6)
4 points: Bernstein (7)
3 1/2 points: Black (4)
3 points: Chajes (5), Adair (6)
2 points: Duras (2), Phillips (4), Beynon, Grommer (6)
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 Phillips-Black, Black-Chajes, and Phillips-Kupchik are not included in the above table, nor is the protested Tenenwurzel-Capablanca contest.

Capablanca is scheduled to play yet another game today, vs. Black.  The sixth round, when Duras will at last enter the lists, is set for tomorrow.

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