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.

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