Wednesday, August 21

Scheveningen tournament, Round 10: Alekhine, Janowski well ahead of field

After 10 of 13 scheduled rounds, the Scheveningen International Masters' tournament has become a two-man race, with Alexander Alekhine of Russia and David Janowski of France far outstripping all other competitors.  The young Russian, with 9 1/2 points scored from 10 games, holds a narrow half-point lead over Janowski, with 9, while England's F.D. Yates and Hungary's Gyula Breyer, the next nearest pursuers, lag a further 2 1/2 points behind, each with 6 1/2.  As only three rounds remain to be played, either Alekhine or Janowski is certain to win the event, especially since the luck of the draw has ordained that the two rivals will meet in the final round, with Janowski playing White.  A true "showdown" is quite possible.

In tenth round play, Alekhine endured some difficult moments en route to defeating Willem Schelfhout, while Janowski took the full point from Edward Lasker in a Rook endgame.  Yates, who not long ago was proceeding at a breakneck pace, lost for the second time in three games, dropping a long Rook endgame to Abraham Speijer.  The Englishman nevertheless held on to a share of third place, joined by Breyer, who received a free point owing to the withdrawal of A.E. van Foreest.  Elsewhere, Dr. A.G. Olland scored a victory at the expense of Klaas Geus, while J.W. te Kolsté recovered from three straight defeats to top Rudolf Loman.  In the day's final encounter, Fritz Englund "swindled" a draw from a lost position against Jacques Mieses.

Current scores: Alekhine 9 1/2; Janowski 9; Yates, Breyer 6 1/2; Ed. Lasker, Olland 6; Englund 5 1/2; te Kolsté, Geus 4 1/2; Speijer 4; Mieses 3 1/2; Loman 2 1/2; Schelfhout 2; van Foreest 0.

Alekhine outplayed Schelfhout in a Vienna Game, and stood two pawns to the good after only 18 moves.  In the sequel, however, the young Master experienced considerable difficulty in converting his advantage, and allowed his opponent a great deal of counter-play.  Schelfhout even succeeded in winning a piece, but found himself in an endgame in which only Alekhine enjoyed winning chances, thanks to the strength of his passed Queen-side pawns.  Whether the Dutch Master might have held the draw with better play is a question that will only be answered by extensive analysis; as matters went, Alekhine scored the game at the 54th move.


Janowski, playing Black in a Four Knights' Game, overcame Edward Lasker in a double Rook ending, once again displaying the sort of high-class endgame expertise that he is generally not reputed to possess.

Yates vs. Speijer, a Ruy Lopez, saw the second player achieve victory in another double Rook endgame in which the Englishman seemed continually on the verge of attaining equality. We present the score as received from Scheveningen; we are quite certain, however, that Black's final move must have been the winning 66...Rg3 as opposed to 66...Kg3, as reported, since in the latter case White draws immediately via 67.Rxh3+.

Olland, playing White, easily bested Geus in a Ruy Lopez (Open Defense), taking advantage of the weakness of Black's rank to win two pawns.

As in the case of the Yates-Speijer game, we present the score of the Loman-te Kolsté encounter in the form in which it reached us.  We surmise that White may have overstepped the time limit, as in the final position resignation simply does not come into consideration.

Mieses, who benefited from much good fortune in the previous round against te Kolsté, was reminded of a truth that we are certain he knows very well: the chess gods giveth, and the chess gods taketh away.  The veteran once again adopted the Center Game and cleverly won a piece vs. Englund.  (If 19...Bf5 20.Qe3, attacking e7 and a7.)  But with victory within his grasp Mieses erred with 35.Qxg7? (35.Rxd7 was amply sufficient for the win), only to be shocked by the reply 35...Qxe1!, forcing a draw by perpetual check.

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