Thursday, October 31

Tartakower-Spielmann match: Tartakower now leads 2 1/2 - 1 1/2

We have received from Vienna the news that after the eighth game of their current match Dr. Saviely Tartakower leads Rudolf Spielmann by the score of 2 1/2 - 1 1/2 in the race to five points. We remind our readers that under the rules governing the contest the first four drawn games were agreed not to figure in the scoring, thus accounting for the discrepancy between the number of games played and the total points accumulated to date.

Reports from Vienna have been sporadic and less than complete, for which we once again express our regrets.  As some small consolation, we can inform our readers that we have made arrangements to receive the remaining games of the match from a different and, we believe, more reliable source, and so we expect that there will be no further lacunae in our coverage of this event.

Wednesday, October 30

Capablanca in Paris: Cuban defeats Aurbach in exhibition game

José R. Capablanca gained a full measure of revenge for his earlier defeat at the hands of Arnold Aurbach when he bested the French Master in an exhibition game played at the Café de la Régence on the 24th inst. Aurbach, who had taken the Cuban's measure in a privately-played game on the previous day, experienced firsthand the full force of Capablanca's renowned endgame prowess as the visitor made decisive use of his passed a-pawn in a Rook endgame. We understand that Capablanca hopes to contest similar exhibition games with other European Masters as he continues his travels, and we wish him every success in arranging these encounters and in upholding the banner of the New World against the finest players of the Old.  This is truly a bright period for chess in Europe, with both Capablanca and Dr. Lasker now in action on a regular basis as they tour the continent, and with - as the entire chess world so fervently hopes - their paths destined at last to cross in serious play at St. Petersburg next year.  

Herewith the Capablanca-Aurbach game.


Tuesday, October 29

World Champion on tour: Dr. Lasker in Munich; New endgame fortress discovered?

The latest reports on the travels of Dr. Lasker find the World Champion in Munich, where on the 23rd inst. he took on more than two dozen opponents in simultaneous play.  Accounts differ as to the precise number of men - 25 or 28 - ranged against the Champion, but all agree that the single player yielded just two draws and suffered only one loss, to Herr J. Bär.

It is that loss, the only game from the Munich exhibition to reach our hands, that we reproduce below.  We urge our readers not to overlook it, for the play from Black's surprising 26th move onward offers a wide variety of unusual and attractive tactical motifs.  Dr. Lasker's opponent, Herr Bär, is to be congratulated on his ability to maintain his bearings in the maelstrom that broke loose upon the board.  And indeed, at the very close of the contest it was the Champion himself who went astray, striving for a win that did not exist and in consequence suffering defeat.

The game merits attention for yet another reason as well.  In the final position - which is undoubtedly a winning one for White, who possesses Rook and g-pawn against Black's lone Knight - it seems that the first player must nevertheless proceed carefully in order to prevent his opponent from constructing a heretofore unknown drawing fortress, one in which the Black King and Knight collaborate to hold the balance against the vastly superior enemy forces.  The position in question, discovered by one of our younger clubmates, does not appear in the endgame manuals, and none of the veteran members of our group, endgame experts all, can recall ever having seen anything quite akin to it. We do not know when fate shall once again afford us the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Lasker, but it is our intention to bring this remarkable drawing idea to his notice.  Perhaps the Champion's fertile chess mind will discover a means of breaching the Black fortress.  If not, then perhaps at some later date he will find the opportunity to avail himself of it, and so rescue a dire situation.  Such a possibility is admittedly remote, but a lifetime in chess has taught us that in our little world remote possibilities arise with uncanny frequency.

First, the game itself:

We now turn to the final position, which, we stress, is with best play a winning one for White.  Nevertheless, our young clubmate, in seeking to determine the surest path to victory, stumbled by chance upon a remarkable drawing fortress.  We ask the reader to follow the analysis given below.

We shall be most eager to hear the opinion of Dr. Lasker with regard to this endgame.  If he confirms the soundness of the drawing fortress, we feel that his name should in some way be associated with it.

Monday, October 28

Ed. Lasker-H.G. Cole match: Cole leads 2-0 after winning 4th game

Mr. Harold G. Cole defeated Herr Edward Lasker in the fourth game of their match to take a 2-0 lead in terms of decisive results. With this latest triumph Mr. Cole now stands but one win away from overall victory in the contest, whose winner will be the first man to defeat his opponent three times.  Herr Lasker, on the other hand, faces the formidable task of scoring three consecutive victories without defeat if he is to achieve success.

In the fourth game Herr Lasker, playing White, selected the Four Knights' Opening, to which Mr. Cole replied with the 4...Nd4 defense.  Queens were exchanged before the tenth move, after which Mr. Cole attempted to make good use of his two Bishops in the endgame, a goal toward whose attainment he was assisted by some rather haphazard play on the part of his opponent, who in the space of half a dozen moves played his Rook from the e1 square to e2, d2, d1, and, finally, back to e1 again.  At the 29th move Black won a pawn, which Herr Lasker immediately made efforts to regain. These efforts, however, proved ill-timed, for the struggle came to a sudden end following White's 32.Rdxc2?, a blunder costing a piece after 32...Bb3, as 33.Rb2 is met by 33...Rxb4.

We append the game score.


Sunday, October 27

Capablanca in Paris: Visitor gives simultaneous exhibition, loses free game to Aurbach

We are happy to report that following his sojourn in London José R. Capablanca has now arrived safely in Paris. The Cuban ace is reported as having given an exhibition of simultaneous play in the French capital on the 18th inst., scoring 24 wins and two draws, with but a single loss.  No games from that performance have come to hand, but we are happy to offer to our readers the score of an informal game played by Capablanca against French Master Arnold Aurbach on the 23rd inst.  Our understanding is that the following encounter took place while the two players were guests of that well-respected patron of French chess, M. Léonard Tauber. Their joint efforts undoubtedly delighted their host, for the contest is of absorbing interest, and M. Aurbach is to be congratulated on his victory over his formidable adversary.



Saturday, October 26

World Champion on tour: Dr. Lasker in Mainz and Nuremburg

Dr. Lasker continued his European chess tour with an appearance in Mainz on the 20th inst. and another in Nuremburg on the following day.  Faced with 25 opponents on each occasion, the World Champion made an excellent score, suffering only one loss and conceding two draws at the Mainz performance, while recording 23 victories against two defeats at Nuremburg.  We offer below two games, one a short win by Dr. Lasker and the other a loss.  We are in general not averse to publishing the occasional win over a Master from simultaneous play, provided that the contest in question possesses some intrinsic merit of its own.  Such is certainly the case with the second game given below, for Herr Sieber defeats the Champion with one of Dr. Lasker's own weapons - the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez - and the game as a whole represents a model example of White's use of his King-side pawn majority to achieve victory.

Friday, October 25

Capablanca in London: Cuban sacrifices Queen in victory over Ed. Lasker

We present a remarkable game played on the occasion of a small simultaneous exhibition given by José R. Capablanca on the 17th inst. at London's Divan Café.  The Cuban ace required less than an hour to make a clean score against seven opponents, among whom was Herr Edward Lasker, himself already a veteran of international Master play and winner of fifth prize at the Scheveningen tournament a few months ago.  That such a player would consent to take a board against the lone performer says much for the high regard in which Capablanca is held by the chess community.

The course of the game, meanwhile, demonstrates the Cuban's genius and at the same time offers a rare example of his fallibility. Capablanca with the White pieces adopted the Ruy Lopez, against which Herr Lasker selected a variation that he has used to achieve two draws against Mr. H.G. Cole in their ongoing match. At his 12th turn Capablanca followed a different path from that taken by Mr. Cole, playing 12.dxe5 in preference to the latter's 12.Bxe4.  The key moment of the contest came at the 14th move when Capablanca unexpectedly sacrificed his Queen, producing a most complicated situation fraught with peril for both parties. Herr Lasker soon thereafter thought it best to return his surplus material in an attempt to reach the safety of a balanced endgame. We leave it to players far stronger than ourselves to judge the wisdom of these decisions.  But we do venture to state that the pawn endgame at the close of the contest, itself worthy of careful study, was - as is understandable, given the circumstances - misplayed by both combatants.  Capablanca's 39.f5? appears to let victory slip away against Black's best defense, while Lasker's 40...Ke5?? turns a drawn position into a loss.  40...Ke6 was required instead, as will be seen from the variations given in the notes.  Still, the final position following 41.h6 is most attractive: after 41...f4 42.g6! Kf6 43.gxh7, the White pawn cannot be stopped.

To the game:

Thursday, October 24

Ed. Lasker-H.G. Cole match: Third game drawn; Cole still leads 1-0

The third game of the match between Herr Edward Lasker and Mr. H.G. Cole ended in a quiet draw after 33 moves.  Herr Lasker, playing Black against the Ruy Lopez of Mr. Cole, adopted the same variation that he had used in the first encounter, a line involving the sacrifice of the exchange.  Mr. Cole was the first to vary his play from that earlier contest, on this occasion choosing 18.Nd2 in preference to 18.Bf4, but the new try proved no more successful for winning purposes than the old one, and Herr Lasker was soon able to construct a defensive bulwark that the White Rooks could not hope to breach.  The drawn result leaves the score at 1-0 in favor of Mr. Cole; the victor in the match will be the first man to win three games.

As we go to press we have received word of a game won against Herr Lasker in this variation by José R. Capablanca, who employed a Queen sacrifice on the way to victory.  We shall publish that contest in our next installment.

Herewith the third game of the Ed. Lasker-Cole match:

Wednesday, October 23

Tartakower-Spielmann match: Tartakower wins fifth game

We have received from Vienna the score of the fifth game of the ongoing Tartakower-Spielmann match, a Giuoco Piano won by Dr. Tartakower as White in 59 moves.  Of the fourth game we have heard nothing whatsoever, and thus offer apologies to our readers for the unavoidable discontinuity in our reporting of the contest.  We shall continue our so-far fruitless efforts to learn more anent the missing game in question.

For much of the fifth game Spielmann as second player seemed to enjoy at least equal chances, and by the 35th move Black had secured an advanced, passed c-pawn as the result of a general Queen-side advance. Yet Dr. Tartakower, by infiltrating the opposing position with his Queen, succeeded in securing counter-play sufficient to render ineffective any effort by Spielmann to turn his passed pawn to account.  White's 45.Bxd5! led to a general exchange that saw the Black c-pawn disappear from the board and left the first player not only one pawn to the good, but in possession of two connected passed pawns of his own.  Spielmann thereupon directed his remaining forces against the White King, which, though at first sight vulnerable, nevertheless proved amply defended against all Black's attempts at attack.  Spielmann resigned at the 59th move, unable to prevent the victorious advance of the White pawns.

We append the score of the fifth game below.

Tuesday, October 22

Ed. Lasker-H.G. Cole match: Cole wins second game to take 1-0 lead

Mr. Harold G. Cole displayed excellent endgame technique to defeat Herr Edward Lasker in the second game of their match at London.  With this victory Mr. Cole assumes a 1-0 lead in the contest, whose winner will be the first to take three decisive games from his opponent.  

Mr. Cole, playing Black, defended against Herr Lasker's Queen's Pawn opening with a plan incorporating elements of the Queen's Gambit Declined and Dutch Defense, the opening moves being 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 c6 4.e3 f5.  In the middlegame much of the struggle centered on the King-side, as Herr Lasker endeavored to develop an attack against the Black monarch, sacrificing a pawn for that purpose at the 21st move.  Mr. Cole, however, repelled White's aggressive thrusts, and by the 35th move an endgame had been reached with Black still a pawn to the good and, moreover, in possession of connected passed d- and e-pawns.  It was the advance of one of these central infantrymen that decided the contest, for Mr. Cole, by sacrificing first the exchange and later a Bishop, succeeded in promoting his e-pawn to a new Queen and forcing resignation soon thereafter.  We reproduce the game below, and commend it to the attention of our readers.



Monday, October 21

World Champion on tour: More games from Krefeld exhibition by Dr. Lasker

We offer a further three games from the simultaneous exhibition given by the World Champion, Dr. Lasker, at Krefeld on the 16th inst.  To judge from the games below, as well as those presented in our earlier entry, the Doctor appears to have been in sprightly form during the exhibition, and we express anew our great pleasure at seeing him in action once again.

In one report from Krefeld we have seen the surname of Dr. Lasker's opponent in the following game given as Lenzerk rather than Lenzer.

We close with one of the three draws allowed by the Champion.  Herr Schwan battles his mighty opponent blow-for-blow to share the point.

Sunday, October 20

Tartakower-Spielmann match: Third game drawn after sharp fight

From Vienna comes word that the third game of the Tartakower-Spielmann match, like the two that preceded it, was drawn.  Thus, under the special rules governing the contest, which stipulate that the first four drawn games will not be counted, scoring has yet to begin and the two players remain tied at 0-0 in their race to five points.  Chess aficionados who strain to see the virtue of these unusual match rules can take solace from the fact that by the conclusion of the fifth game at the very latest at least one of the players will have begun to add to his total.

The nugatory effect of these early draws on the score has not prevented the two masters from producing interesting chess, and the third contest, a Petroff's Three Knights' Game, was distinguished by a sharp struggle in which Tartakower as White and Spielmann as Black attempted to carry out simultaneous King-side attacks.  Spielmann appears to have missed an excellent opportunity for victory at the 26th move when 26...R8h4! in place of the chosen 26...Nc4+ would have severely taxed Tartakower's defensive prowess.  As played, a series of exchanges soon followed, and peace was agreed in an endgame offering few prospects to either side.  We reproduce the game score below.


Saturday, October 19

Ed. Lasker-H.G. Cole match: Opening game drawn after 60 moves

The name of Herr Edward Lasker has appeared often in these pages during the current year as that busy young Master strives to establish himself in London chess circles and on the international stage.  We have now learned of a match between Herr Lasker and Mr. Harold G. Cole, second-place finisher behind Mr. George Thomas in the most recent City of London Chess Club Championship.  The match is likely to be a short one, with victory going to the first man to tally three wins.  The score of the opening game, a hard-fought draw in 60 moves, is presented below.  Herr Lasker as second player in a Ruy Lopez adopted a fashionable variation involving the sacrifice of the exchange for a pawn, trusting that the two Bishops and solid position Black obtains thereby would provide adequate compensation for his small material deficit.  In the present encounter this proved to be the case, although one suspects that White's play may well have been susceptible of improvement at certain points along the way.  


Friday, October 18

World Champion on tour: Dr. Lasker gives simultaneous exhibition in Krefeld

Dr. Emanuel Lasker, the World Champion, has begun a continental chess tour that will see him travel throughout Germany and into other lands as well, with Vienna, Innsbruck, and Prague joining Munich, Berlin, and Nuremburg on his itinerary.  The Champion opened his tour on the 16th inst. in Krefeld, where in simultaneous play against 26 opponents he lost but one game and conceded only three draws.  We are most pleased to present a selection of games from this performance, all the more so as examples of Dr. Lasker's chess have been in very short supply of late - we do not believe that we have seen a single game by the Champion, neither from serious play nor skittles, since his sojourn in France at the close of last year.

Appended are three games from the Krefeld exhibition.  We plan to present another batch soon, and will of course endeavor to procure others from subsequent performances as the Doctor continues his tour.

We have on more than one occasion seen the Champion graciously accede to a request by one or more of his simultaneous opponents to handle the White pieces.  Such may well have been the case here.

We will publish more games from the Krefeld exhibition in a few days' time.

Thursday, October 17

Tartakower-Spielmann match: Second game is a draw

We have received the score of the second game of the Tartakower-Spielmann match, and must confess ourselves somewhat befuddled thereby.  The dispatch we have to hand reports that this contest, like the first, resulted in a draw, but what troubles us is the fact that Dr. Tartakower is shown as having played the White pieces for the second time in succession.  In normal circumstances we would simply credit this anomaly to a clerical error and reverse the names of the players before publishing the game; in the present instance, however, the unusual regulations under which the match is being played, as noted in our earlier entry - namely, that the first four drawn contests are agreed not to count toward the final score - lead us to believe that such a thing is not entirely outside the realm of possibility.  Though we rather suspect that Spielmann had the move in the game herewith appended, we have chosen to present the score exactly as we received it from Vienna, while calling attention to the uncertainty as to the allocation of colors.

The game saw a French Defense reach a balanced Rook and Knight endgame, after which a draw was agreed at the 38th move.  There is thus no official score yet in the match, nor has either player made progress toward the five points required for victory.