Monday, September 16

B.B. Jefferson wins Western Championship

The flood of important chess events over the summer months necessarily delayed our coverage of certain items of interest, a situation we expect to redress during the coming days and weeks. To that end, we begin with the 14th annual Western Championship, an 18-man round-robin tourney held this year from August 18th - 24th at Chicago's Kenwood Chess Club and won by Mr. Bradford B. Jefferson of Memphis with the fine score of 13 1/2 points from 17 games.  Sharing 2nd and 3rd places with 13 points were Mr. Edward Elliott of Minneapolis, winner of last year's Western Championship, and J.S. Morrison of Toronto, fresh from his victory in the Canadian Championship at Winnipeg.  Chicago ace C.W. Phillips, himself a former Western Champion, claimed 4th place with a score of 12 1/2.  We have received a sizable selection of high-class games from this event and plan to share them with our readers in several installments.  The level of play exhibited by the competitors is particularly praiseworthy in view of the fact that the schedule required the playing of two and three games a day at a time limit of 20 moves per hour, surely an exhausting pace.  Mr. Jefferson will have the opportunity to defend his title on home ground in 1914, as our sources tell us that next year's event has been awarded to Memphis.

Final scores:  B.B. Jefferson 13 1/2; E.P. Elliott, J.S. Morrison 13; C.W. Phillips 12 1/2; R.S. Scrivener, E. Michelsen 11; George Gessner 10 1/2; H. Hahlbohm 10; J. Winter 9 1/2; J. Friedlander, J.T. Beckner 9; J. Daniels 7 1/2; S.K. Shapiro 6; W. Widmeyer 5; A.E. Crew 4 1/2; W.G. Hime 3; C. Ellis, M. Palmer 2 1/2.

We begin with the game that can well be said to have decided the title, a tremendous tussle between the old and new Champions.  Mr. Elliott and Mr. Jefferson fought long and hard for many moves in a fluctuating struggle that saw the former at last stand on the verge of victory in an endgame of Rook and two pawns against Rook.  But an unnecessary check with 77.Rc8+, followed by the advance of the wrong pawn via 78.h6+, denied Mr. Elliott his triumph: either 77.g6 or 78.Rc7+ and 79.g6 would have sufficed for the win.  Mr. Jefferson's final saving maneuver merits notice: with the Black King in a stalemate position, the Rook can check at will, immune to capture.  The half-point saved here earned Mr. Jefferson the Western crown.

If the Elliott-Jefferson battle was the most dramatic of the tournament, the following was widely considered the most scintillating.  In it, Mr. Beckner sacrifices his Queen and carries out a successful attack against the Black King's position with his remaining pieces when Mr. Hahlbohm somewhat misplays the defense.

We conclude with two victories by Mr. Jefferson, the new Western Champion.  Here he overcomes Mr. Gessner with relative ease in a Ruy Lopez.

Mr. Palmer, too, found the new Champion's strength too much to bear:

Look for more games from this strong tourney to appear soon.


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