Friday, September 13

Progressive Chess Club Quadrangular Masters' Tournament, Final Round: Marshall defeats Jaffe to claim 1st prize; Duras falls to Chajes

United States Champion Frank J. Marshall defeated Charles Jaffe in the final round of the Progressive Chess Club Quadrangular Masters' Tournament to capture first prize with a 5-1 score. Marshall, who dropped his opening-round contest to Oldrich Duras of Prague, scored his last five games in succession to claim top honors in the event.  Duras, co-leader with Marshall entering the final day, overreached himself in a desperate attempt to keep pace with the American Master and suffered an unnecessary defeat at the hands of Oscar Chajes.  The Czech nevertheless earned second prize with a score of 4 points, well clear of Chajes' 2 1/2 and Jaffe's 1/2.  A fighting spirit prevailed throughout, and we note that the first-round clash between Jaffe and Chajes produced the tournament's only drawn game.

Marshall as Black defended actively against Jaffe's Queen's Gambit, with the game soon transposing into a variation of the ...c5 line favored by Dr. Tarrasch.  The American Champion began to make his superiority felt in the middlegame, bringing his forces to bear against the White King and pocketing a pawn at the 29th move.  Jaffe's attempts to save himself came to naught, and he resigned after Marshall's 45...Ng3+, which forced the win of White's Queen.

Duras, as Black vs. Chajes in a Queen's Gambit Declined, made every effort to win, sacrificing a pawn at the 24th move to bring about a sharp position in which each player possessed an advanced passed pawn on the Queen-side.  Our analysts believe that the Czech might have assured himself of victory and a share of first prize had he chosen 34...Rcd8! in preference to 34...Rb8.  As played, the struggle soon resolved itself into an equal heavy-piece endgame, and under other circumstances a draw would almost certainly have been the result.  But the Czech, with second prize already his even in the event of a loss and with the opportunity to equal the score of the already-victorious Marshall should he win, elected to force matters, first sacrificing a pawn with 39...Rf1 and shortly thereafter fatally weakening his position via 42...f6.  The reckoning was not long in coming, as Chajes soon flushed the Black King into the open and scored the game to his credit at the 54th move.

So ended the tournament.  Aficionados of top-class chess will, however, be happy to learn that the tireless Duras has been engaged to contest a three-game series vs. Abraham Kupchik, to begin on the 17th inst. at the Progressive Club, as well as a five-game series vs. Marshall, set to commence at the Manhattan Chess Club on the 28th.  We shall of course be there.     


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