Thursday, August 15

Australian Championship, Viner vs. Crakanthorp match: First two games drawn

We have received the scores of the first two games of the match for the Championship of Australia between Mr. Viner, holder of the title, and Mr. Crakanthorp, the challenger.  In the first contest Mr. Crakanthorp, playing Black in the Ruy Lopez, sacrificed a piece at the 13th move for seemingly inadequate compensation.  Nevertheless, in the ensuing play Mr. Crakanthorp succeeded in creating sufficient threats through the advance of his King-side pawns that Mr. Viner thought it best to return some of his surplus material in order to reduce the danger.  An endgame of Bishop and Knight vs. Rook, with equal pawns, was reached at the 35th move, with Black's far-advanced h-pawn constituting his principal strength.  That pawn reached the penultimate square, but no farther, Mr. Viner having arranged his pieces so as to prevent its promotion, and the game was later agreed drawn in a position in which neither side could hope to make progress.  All in all, an engaging struggle.

In the second contest, Mr. Crakanthorp as White employed the Vienna Opening, with the game soon transposing into a position from the King's Gambit Declined.  After 25 moves the situation on the board saw each player in possession of all his heavy pieces along with one Bishop, the Bishops commanding squares of opposite color.  The two men then engaged in feints and maneuvers for some twenty moves, each seeking an opportunity to unleash his forces upon the opposing King.  Mr. Crakanthorp during this phase of the contest seems to have missed more than one chance to gain the advantage, as the reader will find indicated in the notes below.  Queens were exchanged at the 47th move, and, the resulting endgame being quite equal, the game was agreed drawn a dozen moves afterward.

The winner of the contest will be the first to score seven wins.  To judge from the evidence so far available, the two players are well-matched, and a hard-fought struggle lies ahead.

We present the first two games of the match:

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