Monday, September 9

Progressive Chess Club Quadrangular Masters' Tournament, Round 4: Marshall defeats Duras to claim share of lead; Chajes tops Jaffe

United States Champion Frank J. Marshall defeated Prague's Oldrich Duras in a marathon 81-move battle to put a halt to the Czech's run of victories and claim a share of the lead after four rounds of the Progressive Chess Club Quadrangular Masters' Tournament.  Marshall, who overlooked a clear winning stroke at the 23rd move, at last drove home his advantage after a hard-fought struggle of 10 hours' duration, with well over one hundred spectators still in attendance at the moment of Duras' resignation.  With this victory Marshall gains a full measure of revenge for the defeat inflicted on him by the Bohemian Master in the tourney's opening round and joins Duras atop the score table with a 3-1 mark.  In the day's other encounter Oscar Chajes bested Charles Jaffe after 52 moves of a French Defense, an intriguing game in its own right, but one fated to lie somewhat in the shadow of the Marshall-Duras clash.  After four rounds of play the scores are Marshall and Duras with 3 points each, Chajes with 1 1/2, and Jaffe, whose total rather under-represents the quality of his play to date, with 1/2.  The fifth round will take place on September 10th.

Marshall adopted his beloved Danish Gambit 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 vs. Duras, with the Czech opting for the continuation 3...d5 in preference to the capture of the offered pawns.  Duras subsequently consumed a great deal of time in the opening, thinking for 48 minutes at the fifth move, 12 at the sixth, and a further 25 at his eighth turn.  In spite of this prodigious cogitation Black nevertheless fell into an inferior game, and Marshall might have decided matters at once had he spotted the fine interference move 23.Bd6!  As played, the American Champion brought about an endgame of Rook and Bishop vs. Rook and Knight, with White enjoying the advantage of an extra pawn; the game later reached a Rook ending with two surplus pawns for Marshall, who at last secured the victory in the wee hours of the morning.  As an example of the fatigue and loss of concentration attendant to such a lengthy struggle, a condition that can afflict both players and spectators alike, we would point out that, if the score as received is correct, Marshall at his 68th turn missed the winning 68.Rh6+, apparently under the mistaken impression that 68...Kf5 69.Rxb6 would produce a stalemate, when of course the Black King still has the e4-square at his disposal.  We understand that this variation, complete with the verdict of stalemate, has already appeared in print in one of our sister publications, the Tribune.  Such cases of mass hallucination are not uncommon in our world of chess.


Chajes opened with the King's pawn vs. Jaffe, who chose the French Defense in reply.  The players castled on opposite wings, with a lively struggle then ensuing.  Jaffe at his 24th move sacrificed the exchange, for which he gained two pawns as compensation.  In the following play Chajes sought to bring his heavy pieces to bear against the Black King, returning the exchange at the 39th move in order to bring about a Queen and Rook endgame in which White despite his minus pawn enjoyed dangerous attacking chances.  A single misstep by Jaffe (41...Ka4?) sufficed to allow Chajes to win Queen for Rook, with Black tendering his resignation soon thereafter.



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