Monday, August 19

Australian Championship, Viner vs. Crakanthorp match: Viner wins three consecutive games

Defending Champion William S. Viner has surged ahead of Spencer Crakanthorp in their match for the Australian title, winning the third, fourth, and fifth games in succession after the first two contests had been drawn.  Viner thus leads by a tally of three wins to none in the race to seven victories.  We present the latest batch of games below.  Mr. Crakanthorp put up a spirited struggle, especially in the third and fourth contests, but the challenger has yet to demonstrate the form needed to topple the Champion.  Whether he will succeed in doing so, only time will tell.

Viner, playing White against Crakanthorp's French Defense, conducted the third game in a most aggressive style, sacrificing a pawn at the 9th move, offering a Knight at the 20th, and ceding Rook for Bishop at the 24th, all in furtherance of his attack.  Still, Crakanthorp defended well, and even entertained attacking notions of his own before beginning to flounder a bit with 31...Reg1, 32...Rc1, and 33...Rcg1?, the last a mistake costing the game, as it was imperative to prevent the White Queen's check on e5.  Viner allowed his opponent no chances in the following play, concluding matters at the 42nd move.


Crakanthorp opened with the Queen's pawn in the fourth game, which saw Viner adopt the Slav Defense in declining the Queen's Gambit.  White enjoyed at least an equal position until the 26th move when, perhaps feeling that his work on the Queen-side had been stymied, he began operations on the other flank, a process that served merely to grant the Black pieces access to White's position.  The challenger, again turning to the Queen-side, then sacrificed a Knight, gaining a fair degree of play in return, but Viner proved equal to the task, his 42...Rf5!, threatening mate in two via 43...Rh1+ and 44...Rf1, proving the decisive blow.


The fifth game, a Ruy Lopez, followed the lines of the first, with Viner being the first to vary, choosing 8.Qe2 in preference to his earlier 8.Nd2.  White won the advanced Black e-pawn and stood a pawn to the good when Black blundered with 15...Re6?, overlooking 16.Nd7, winning the exchange.  Viner then set about turning his material advantage to account, a process that may have required considerable effort had Black not committed the further oversight 27...Ke7?, losing at once to 28.f4.



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