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.


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