Saturday, August 31

British Chess Federation Congress: Yates is new British Champion

From across the sea we learn that F.D. Yates has claimed the British Championship by winning the title tourney at the annual British Chess Federation Congress, held this year from August 11th - 23rd at Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.  Yates' success comes hard on the heels of his fine fourth-place finish at the Scheveningen tournament, which concluded only a few days before the inception of the Cheltenham event.  This Championship victory is the first for Yates, who nearly annexed the title two years ago, losing a play-off to H.E. Atkins at Glasgow.  The new Champion made the record score of 9 points from 11 games, followed by J. Mahood with 7 1/2, and, in third place, by the veteran J.H. Blackburne with 7, a most praiseworthy result for a man now in his seventy-second year.  Last year's winner R.C. Griffith was absent from this year's tourney, as was Atkins, winner of the Championship for seven years in succession from 1905-1911.

We have received a selection of games from the tourney and will share them with our readers over the coming days.  For the present, we append two by Yates, the new British Champion.

Final scores: F.D. Yates 9; J. Mahood 7 1/2; J.H. Blackburne 7; H. Saunders 6 1/2; W. Gibson, H. Jacobs 6; R.P. Michell 5; W.H. Gunston, D. Miller 4 1/2; R.H.V. Scott 4; H.B. Uber, F.E. Hamond 3


The following game was played in the final round and secured the title for Yates.


Thursday, August 29

Progressive Chess Club Quadrangular Masters' Tournament, Round 1: Duras defeats Marshall, Jaffe, Chajes play to draw

A strong double-round quadrangular masters' tournament, sponsored by the Progressive Chess Club, has now begun, the four competitors being Frank J. Marshall, Oldrich Duras, Charles Jaffe, and Oscar Chajes.  The first round took place on the 27th inst. at the Cafe Monopol, 145 Second Avenue, New York, which serves as the Progressive Club's headquarters.  Duras seized the early lead in the event by defeating Marshall, while Jaffe and Chajes played to a draw.  We present these two interesting struggles below.  Owing to the upcoming Labor Day holiday, the second round will not be played until the 4th prox.; succeeding rounds will be played every second day thereafter, with the tourney scheduled to conclude on the 12th of September.

Marshall, playing Black in a Queen's Gambit Declined, appeared rather out form against Duras, committing an oversight at the 11th move that allowed the Czech Master to win a pawn.  The American Champion then chose to yield his Queen for Rook and Bishop in the hope of gaining active play for his pieces, a hope denied by Duras' accurate technique.  Black resigned at the 31st move.


Jaffe vs. Chajes, another Queen's Gambit Declined, saw White win a pawn in the opening in a manner analogous to that of the Duras-Marshall encounter - namely, a capture by the Bishop on c7.  The struggle became quite heated soon thereafter when Chajes at the 15th move sacrificed a Knight to draw the White King into the open in the hope of delivering checkmate.  Although the danger for Jaffe seemed great, our intrepid analysts have so far been unable to discover a method by which Chajes might have closed the mating net.  We would nevertheless call to the reader's attention the beautiful drawing possibility 18...Qf4+, with the intention, should Black so choose, of giving perpetual check on f4 and e3 - the Queen is of course immune from capture owing to 19.Kxf4? Nh5 mate.  Jaffe soon returned his extra piece to bring about an exchange of Queens, and the resultant well-fought endgame, not without color in its own right, was at last agreed drawn at the 58th move.



Tuesday, August 27

Australian Championship, Viner vs. Crakanthorp match: Viner wins last three games running to retain title, 7-1

William Samuel Viner has successfully defended his Australian Championship title, defeating challenger Spencer Crakanthorp by the score of 7-1, with three games drawn.  Viner, who played at a consistently high level throughout the contest, took the final three games in succession to decide matters in his favor by a convincing margin. Still, the match featured several hard-fought encounters, and the final score may somewhat under-represent the strength of the loser, who battled till the end with honor and skill, and who perhaps lacks only the technique that experience will provide to round off his already excellent game.  We thank both players for their efforts, which have provided much instruction and enjoyment, and we in particular congratulate the Champion, who not only kept his crown but in the process produced, in the seventh game, a true masterpiece of chessboard art.

We present the final three games below.

In the ninth game Crakanthorp, playing the Slav Defense against Viner's Queen's Gambit, obtained a strong position, establishing a protected passed pawn on c3 early in the contest.  Subsequent complications saw White exchange his Queen for both Black Rooks, a transaction that left Viner with a powerful weapon of his own in the form of a passed a-pawn.  The game remained in relative balance until Black's 32...Qxg2, which appears to be the losing error, based perhaps on a miscalculation.  White's Rook immediately invaded the Black position, capturing the Bishop that prevented the White a-pawn from reaching the queening square, and leaving Black in search of a draw via perpetual check, a goal that could not be attained.  Crakanthorp resigned at the 42nd move, the White King having found refuge from Black's Queen checks.


The unfortunate tenth game presents an sad example of the sort of tragedy that from time to time befalls all players, especially those who find the score going heavily against them.  Crakanthorp adopted the Vienna Gambit, and the contest had scarce begun when at the eighth move the challenger, immersed in his own plans, committed an oversight that cost him his Queen for a minor piece and compelled immediate resignation.


In the final game Viner, playing White, overcame his opponent in a French Defense, infiltrating the Black position along the open c-file and easily winning the endgame.


Monday, August 26

Scheveningen tournament, Final Round: Janowski defeats Alekhine in wild game; Final standings Alekhine 1st; Janowski 2nd; Dr. Olland 3rd

Tourney leaders Alexander Alekhine and David Janowski, with their final placings secure and honor alone at stake, delighted the onlookers by producing a wild, topsy-turvy melee of a game in the final round of the International Masters' Tournament at Scheveningen.  Janowski at last prevailed, gaining the moral satisfaction of inflicting the only defeat of the tourney on Alekhine, who nevertheless captured first place overall in the event, one half-point ahead of the veteran Frenchman.  Third prize was taken by Dr. A.G. Olland, victor over Gyula Breyer in an important last-round encounter.  England's F.D. Yates, loser of three of his previous five games, recovered from a 12th-round defeat to take a short, sharp contrest from Fritz Englund, thereby claiming the fourth prize.  Fifth position fell to Edward Lasker, who bested Klaas Geus on the final day, while Breyer shared 6th and 7th places with Willem te Kolsté, who concluded his playing schedule in style by checkmating Abraham Speijer.  Jacques Mieses took the full point from Willem Schelfhout in the day's remaining encounter, and Rudolf Loman, having the bye, gained credit for a victory without play.  The reader will find the complete final standings below.

As mentioned in our previous entry, this success is quite possibly the greatest of Alekhine's brief career, and we can only express the hope that the organizers of the grand St. Petersburg tournament mooted for next year will find a place in the lists for their young countryman.  We should very much like to see the fiery Alekhine, with his extraordinary gift for combinative play, cross swords once again with other young stalwarts of the chess world, and we look forward in excitement and anticipation to his prospective encounters with our New World genius Capablanca, currently en route to Europe in the service of the Cuban diplomatic corps.  The young Russian would likewise find his mettle strongly tested by members of the old guard, foremost among whom stands Dr. Lasker, the Champion, whose participation the St. Petersburg committee is striving mightily to secure.  A talent such as Alekhine's invites encouragement and deserves the opportunity to develop to the full.

As for Janowski, he gave what in most circumstances would have been a winning performance, scoring 11 points from 13 games and producing much fine chess along the way.  The French Master, at 45, is hardly a spent force.  In the course of the current year he has performed well at New York, Havana and Scheveningen, and has inflicted defeats on MarshallCapablanca, and Alekhine, three Masters who we daresay rank among the first dozen in the world, and who are Janowski's juniors by approximately 10, 20, and 25 years respectively.  Surely this old campaigner has more battles yet to win.

Dr. Olland, in third place, did credit both to himself and to his native land, making the best score by a Dutch player and finishing ahead of several of the foreign invitees.  He drew with Janowski and won his game against Ed. Lasker, one of his closest pursuers on score chart, and deservedly earned his prize.

The two young Masters Yates and Lasker showed much promise, and with a bit more steadiness may well rise among the world's elite.  Yates inflicted the only defeat on Janowski, while Lasker, in beating Englund, produced a gem that will adorn the anthologies many years hence. 

Tied for 6th and 7th places we find te Kolsté and Breyer; the former performing perhaps a bit better than expected, the latter a bit worse.  Mieses' 8th place finish was also rather disappointing, although the veteran, with only 1 1/2 points to his credit through 7 rounds, did quicken his pace near the finish.  For the others, there will always be another day and another tournament in which to shine.

Final standings:  Alekhine 11 1/2; Janowski 11; Olland 9; F.D. Yates 8 1/2; Ed. Lasker 8; Breyer, te Kolsté 7 1/2; Mieses 6; Englund, Geus 5 1/2; Loman 5; Speijer 4; Schelfhout 2; van Foreest 0.

Turning to the games, the Janowski-Alekhine encounter almost beggars understanding.  The wily French representative outplayed his young opponent in the opening, winning Alekhine's Queen for two Knights as early as the 18th move.  Nevertheless, in the following play Alekhine, by finding strong squares for his Knights and advancing his Queen-side pawns, appears to attained a winning position of his own; our Herr Fritz, who likes nothing so much as a tactical melee, insists that 31...Bb4 would have been decisive for Black.  But then the tables turned yet again, and Janowski, making excellent use of his Queen to attack the exposed Black King, forced Alekhine's resignation at the 49th move. Behold:


Dr. Olland handled the French Defense in masterly fashion against Breyer, warding off his opponent's attacking attempts and deciding matters in a well-conducted endgame.

Englund essayed the Max Lange Attack against Yates.  A very sharp struggle developed, in which White's 15.Nxf6 appears to be the losing move, with 15.Nxc5 deserving preference.  But we leave the definitive judgment to the specialists in this debut.

Edward Lasker outplayed Geus from the Black side of a Ruy Lopez.  We suspect that when White began the skirmish with 18.e5, he had overlooked Black's fine 21...Ba4.

Te Kolsté developed an overwhelming attack against Speijer in a Ruy Lopez, concluding the game with a pretty checkmate while a Rook and Knight in arrears.

Last but not least, Mieses demonstrated a bit of his accustomed flair vs. Schelfhout, winning the White Queen with a sudden mating attack.

Sunday, August 25

Scheveningen tournament, Round 12: Alekhine wins tourney with round to spare; Janowski sure of 2nd place; Olland now leads race for 3rd

Alexander Alekhine defeated Gyula Breyer to assure himself of first place in the Scheveningen International Masters' Tournament with one round left to be played.  The young Master thus adds this success, arguably his most impressive to date, to his victory last year at Stockholm and his first place finish at the All-Russian Amateur Tournament of 1909.  Alekhine's win over Breyer raised his score to 11 1/2 points from twelve games, with a ninth-round draw against F.D. Yates so far the only minor blot on an otherwise perfect record.  David Janowski, Alekhine's closest pursuer, kept pace with the leader by topping Abraham Speijer, but the French veteran, who trails Alekhine by 1 1/2 points, has no hope of overtaking him with only a single game remaining.  Thus, the much-awaited last-round encounter between Janowski and Alekhine has become something of an anti-climax, all the more so as Janowski has already secured clear second place in the tourney.  Let us nevertheless hope that the two Masters will approach their meeting in a fighting mood.

The competition for third place remains heated.  Dr. A.G. Olland, after defeating Willem Schelfhout, now holds that position with 8 points.  With his victory Dr. Olland leap-frogged both Breyer and Yates, each still with 7 1/2, the latter after losing a difficult game to J.W. te Kolsté.  Edward Lasker, another prize contender, increased his total to 7 points, sacrificing his Queen to bring off a beautiful snap checkmate against Fritz Englind in a game we have given pride of place below.  The day's final contest, between Rudolf Loman and Klaas Geus, resulted to a draw.  Jacques Mieses gained a free point through the bye arising from the withdrawal of Arnold van Foreest.

The final round's pairings are as follows: Janowski-Alekhine, Breyer-Olland, Englund-Yates, Geus-Ed. Lasker, te Kolsté-Speijer, and Schelfhout-Mieses.  Loman will have the bye, and so has completed his playing schedule.

Current scores: Alekhine 11 1/2; Janowski 10; Olland 8; Yates, Breyer 7 1/2; Ed. Lasker 7; te Kolsté 6 1/2; Englund, Geus 5 1/2; Mieses 5; Loman, Speijer 4; Schelfhout 2; van Foreest 0.

Knowing the predilection of many of our readers for quick and sparkling victories, we begin with the Queen sacrifice by Edward Lasker vs. Englund.  Seldom have we seen the chessboard crime of laggard development so neatly and attractively punished.  Young or inexperienced players would do well to examine closely the checkmating pattern.

Alekhine, playing White in a Queen's Gambit Declined, scored a rather easy victory over Breyer, who felt compelled to cede a piece at the 22nd move in order to ward off a looming attack.

Janowski, as second player in a Queen's Pawn Game, outplayed Speijer, who seems to have overlooked the clever 23...gxh3!

Yates appeared for a time to have a shade the better of things against te Kolsté's French Defense, but the English Master gradually let the game slip away.  47.Kg1 Bh2+ cost him the exchange, and in the subsequent play White never succeeded in advancing his passed Queen-side pawns.


Dr. Olland surprised Schelfhout with the blow 20.Bxg7! to score a quick victory in a Four Knights' Game.

Finally, Loman and Geus played a quiet Vienna Game, exchanging many pieces and agreeing to a draw at the 27th move.

Saturday, August 24

Australian Championship, Viner vs. Crakanthorp match: Crakanthorp wins 6th game; Viner takes 7th with Queen sacrifice; 8th game drawn

Challenger Spencer Crakanthorp scored his first victory by taking the sixth game from titleholder William S. Viner in their match for the Championship of Australia.  Crakanthorp's win reduced his deficit to 3-1 in the race to seven victories, but Viner immediately struck back in the following contest, unleashing a smashing attack that included a brilliant Queen sacrifice.  The eighth game was drawn, leaving the score at 4-1 in favor of the Champion, with three draws.  We present the latest installment of games below.

Crakanthorp selected the Vienna Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.d4 to open the sixth contest, to which Viner respond with 3...d5.  An early exchange of Queens did not preclude an interesting fight, and the game ultimately reached a Rook endgame that saw Crakanthorp, who had held the advantage through much of the course of play, in possession of passed a- and h-pawns, as opposed to the passed d-pawn of Viner.  By the 53rd move all three pawns stood but one step from the queening square, with the denouement coming at last when Crakanthorp sacrificed his Rook for Viner's pawn, thereby assuring the promotion of one of his own.


Viner immediately gained a full measure of revenge in the seventh contest, adopting the Center Game and offering a pawn at the 8th move in the interest of rapid development for his pieces.  This was but a foretaste of the Champion's coming sacrificial play, for at his 15th turn he placed a Knight en prise on g5, subject to capture by Black's h6-pawn.  When Crakanthorp declined the offered sacrifice, Viner two moves thereafter put his Bishop on the same g5 square, where it remained in jeopardy until the challenger at last removed it with his pawn at the 20st move, a decision he soon had cause to regret, as the Champion made quick use of the newly-opened h-file with the Queen sacrifice 23.Qh8+!, the opening blow of an annihilating attack. Viner might have ended matters sooner with 26.Nf6+, which wins a full Rook or leads to mate, but as played the outcome was never in doubt, and Crakanthorp resigned at the 33rd move.  This was easily the best game of the match to date.


In the eighth game Viner abandoned 1...e5 and opted for the Center Counter Game against Crakanthorp's opening move of the King's pawn.  The Champion achieved a perfectly satisfactory position and seemed to possess winning chances, first in an endgame of Rook and Knight against Crakanthorp's Rook and Bishop, and then in the pure Rook endgame that followed.  But Viner never quite found the proper moment to capture the weak White b-pawn, and the game was agreed drawn at the 39th move, with White clearly out of all possible danger.