Saturday, November 30

Bologna tournament, Round 3: Rosselli wins again, takes lead with 3-0 score

Stefano Rosselli del Turco of Florence defeated Corrado Buono from the Black side of a Sicilian Defense to record his third victory in succession and assume the sole lead after three rounds of the Italia Scacchistica national tournament at Bologna.  Rosselli's chief rival, Milanese player Arturo Reggio, yielded his first draw of the tourney as second player in a Queen's Pawn Game vs. Alberto Batori and so fell one half-point behind the leader. The Black pieces dominated the day's proceedings, with the remaining contests Monteucci-Montessori, Belli-D'Amelio, and Ferraris-Benini each ending in victory for the sable forces. Giovanni Cenni, having the bye, was free to observe the play of his fellow competitors.

Standings after 3 rounds: Rosselli 3; Reggio 2 1/2; Benini 2; Batori, Montessori 1 1/2; Buono, Cenni*, D'Amelio*, Matteucci* 1; Ferraris 1/2; Belli 0.
Players marked with an asterisk * have already had the bye.

We present below the three game scores received from Bologna.

Rosselli gained an early superiority vs. Buono, with 8...Ba6 temporarily preventing his opponent from castling and 9...d5 establishing strong central influence.  The Florentine Master soon directed his forces against the opposing King-side and succeeded through continuous pressure in substantially weakening White's defenses in that sector.  Buono's 35.Qxd5, allowing the Black Queen's Rook to join the attack with gain of time, appears to have been an error, with 35.Kg2 suggested as a sturdier defensive try.  The White King, flushed out of its fragile shelter, soon came under the withering assault of Black's three heavy pieces, and Buono resigned at the 42nd move.


Batori vs. Reggio proved a rather quiet affair, with even the presence of opposite-side castling - White on the King-side, Black on the Queen's - failing to produce the hoped-for spirited battle.  A draw was agreed at the 32nd move in a position that to our eye still offered scope for further play.

The clash between Matteucci and Montessori, on the other hand, saw several violent reversals of fortune and finally came to a sudden end after a blunder by the former while in a winning position.  Early on Black overlooked the opportunity to gain the advantage with 16...Nxe5; White returned the favor at his 22nd turn, when 22.Rxf5 gxf5 23.b3 would have led to the win of two pieces for a Rook.  Matteucci's 27.Nd5 should have obliged his opponent to acquiesce in a draw by perpetual check after 27...Qxd5 28.Qg5+, but Montessori, striving for more, erred with 27...Rfe8? 28.Nf6+ Kf8, leaving White a choice of winning continuations, e.g. 29.Rc1, or 29.Qg5 (threatening 30.Nh7 mate), or 29.e6, threatening checkmate on f7 and preparing 30.Bc5+, as the White Queen now covers the c5 square.  The unfortunate Matteucci, however, hastily selected the immediate 29.Bc5+, apparently intending to answer 29...Qxc5 with 30.Nd7+ but failing to notice that the capture of the Bishop gave check to his own King.  White resigned immediately after 29...Qxc5+, an understandable decision under the circumstances, but one perhaps not objectively justified by the situation on the board. Our friend Herr Fritz, for example, has examined the position closely and believes that Matteucci could well have fought on; the variations included with the game score represent but a sampling of the many possible continuations adduced by that imaginative gentleman in support of his opinion. 

Friday, November 29

Capablanca in Poland: Successes continue

Each dispatch reporting on the European travels of José R. Capablanca brings news of fresh successes by the Cuban Master. We have now learned of two simultaneous exhibitions in Warsaw on the 24th and 25th inst. followed by another in Lodz on the 26th in which the young performer made the excellent combined score of 72 victories, 9 defeats, and 10 draws.  On the day after the Lodz event Capablanca contested an exhibition game in that city against a consulting team of six strong players led by veteran Master Georg Salwe and defeated his hydra-headed opposition in fine style.  We present that game below, and take the liberty of calling it a textbook example of positional play: White slowly but surely advances his pawn majority on the King-side while simultaneously maintaining control over the c5-square and so preventing his consulting opponents from making use of their own extra pawn on the opposite flank.  It is a game that any Master would be proud to call his own, though few Masters indeed can match the polished and fluid style of Capablanca.

The consulting team consisted of Salwe, Aronson, Goldfarb, Gottesdiener, Hirszbajn, and Rosenbaum.

Wednesday, November 27

Bologna tournament, Round 2: Reggio, Rosselli tied for lead at 2-0

Arturo Reggio and Stefano Rosselli del Turco share the lead with perfect 2-0 scores after the second round of the Italian national tournament at Bologna.  Reggio maintained his place atop the score table by besting Pietro Belli in a hard-fought French Defense, while Rosselli as first player in a Vienna Gambit weathered an early piece sacrifice by his opponent to defeat Alberto Batori.  In other games Giuseppe Benini topped Corrado Buono, Giovanni Cenni took the full point from Camillo D'Amelio, and Gastone Montessori and Efrem Ferraris played the tourney's first draw. Opening-round winner Guido Matteucci had the bye.

Scores after 2 rounds:  Rosselli, Reggio 2; Batori, Benini, Buono, Cenni, Matteucci* 1; Montessori, Ferraris 1/2; D'Amelio*, Belli 0.
Players marked with an asterisk * have already had the bye.

Two games from the second round have reached us, they being the victories by the tourney's current leaders.  In the first, Belli as Black adopts the French Defense against Reggio and seems at first to obtain a most promising position; the move 23...Rc6?, however, allowing the advance of White's central pawns after 24.Bxe4 dxe4 25.d5, definitely spoils Black's chances.


Batori ventured the surprising 9...Nxd4 vs. Rosselli, initially gaining three pawns for the piece but finding the development of his forces somewhat in arrears.  Black's later efforts to profit from the position of the wayward White Rook on b7 proved insufficient, and Rosselli, still in possession of his extra piece, scored the game to his credit at the 35th move.

Tuesday, November 26

Bologna tournament, Round 1: Favorites win; all games decisive

The opening round of the Italian national tournament at Bologna, held under the auspices of the publication L'Italia Scacchistica, offered uncompromising play, with all five games finishing decisively. Tourney favorites Arturo Reggio and Stefano Rosselli del Turco each duly recorded a victory, the former besting Giovanni Cenni, himself tipped for high honors, and the latter scoring against Ferrara's Pietro Belli.  In the day's other contests Guido Matteucci of Pisa checkmated the Genovese Efrem Ferraris, Corrado Buono defeated Gastone Montessori, and Alberto Batori of Viareggio topped the Florentine Giuseppe Benini. Camillo D'Amelio was free by virtue of having the bye.

We have received three games from Bologna, the victories by Reggio, Rosselli, and Matteucci, which the reader will find presented below.

Standings after Round 1:  Reggio, Rosselli, Matteucci, Buono, Batori 1; Cenni, Belli, Ferraris, Montessori, Benini, D'Amelio* 0.
Players marked with an asterisk * have already had the bye.

Cenni sacrificed a Bishop for three pawns vs. Reggio, perhaps hoping to advance his central pawn mass, but soon succumbed to the attack of his opponent's heavy pieces.

Rosselli punished some rather indifferent opening play by Belli to earn the win with the Black pieces.

Matteucci sacrificed a Knight against Ferraris and scored the game to his credit when his opponent mismanaged the defense. 31.Qc1?? would appear to be White's final error, with either 31.Kb1 or 31.Qb2 being preferable.


Monday, November 25

Bologna tournament

In Italy the 2nd National Tournament, sponsored by the periodical L'Italia Scacchistica, has begun in Bologna, and we hourly await results from the opening round.  Among the competitors we note the names of most of the elite Italian players, including Stefano Rosselli del Turco and Arturo Reggio, two veterans of international play, the former having participated at San Remo in 1911 and Abbazia last year, while the latter, among other events, battled the world's best at three tournaments in Monte Carlo from 1901 to 1903.  In addition, all but one of the participants from last December's Viareggio tourney are present in Bologna, they being, in addition to the aforementioned Rosselli, Batori, winner of the Viareggio contest, Cenni, Benini, and Matteucci.  The signori Buono, Belli, d'Amelio, Montessori, and Ferraris comprise the remainder of the 11-man Bologna field.

Italy, which gave the world such early chess giants as Leonardo da Cutri, Polerio, and Greco, has in our time failed to bring forth a Master of the very first rank.  Nevertheless, representatives of that fair land are, when at their best, capable of producing chess of the highest order, as may be seen from the small sample of prior games by some of the Bologna entrants reproduced below.

Here Rosselli defeats Reti via an attractive attacking finish:

Next, Reggio scores a most convincing victory over Mason, offering his Queen along the way.

Reggio here defeats Marshall in a hard-fought and fluctuating struggle:

Finally, we present a victory over Reggio by fellow Bologna competitor Giuseppe Benini achieved at the Rome tourney of two years ago.  The game as a whole is well worthy of notice; we find the concluding combination beginning with White's 30th move particularly attractive.

Saturday, November 23

More games from the Barcelona tournament

We conclude our coverage of the Barcelona tournament with the following selection of games.  Here tournament winner Max Albin scores a quick victory over Sr. Miró:

Next, Barcelona Champion Puig demonstrates the use of superior development to carry out a decisive attack:

Señor Ardévol, who took seventh place, was awarded a special prize for his victories over Albin and Sivilla, which we reproduce below.  We urge our readers not to let the latter of these games pass unnoticed, as sometimes occurs with lengthy battles, for its finish is highly interesting:

Friday, November 22

The next World Champion

Mention in the previous entry of last year's Breslau tournament turned our thoughts to Rubinstein, co-winner of that event alongside Duras.  Followers of the goings-on in the chess world need hardly be reminded that 1912 marked the apex of Rubinstein's career to date, with the Polish Master claiming first prize at San Sebastian, Pistyan, and Vilna in addition to his shared top honors at Breslau.  In 1913, to our knowledge, Rubinstein has played no serious chess at all, but efforts continue to arrange a Championship contest between him and Dr. Lasker - the two Masters have met to discuss the conditions of play, and our friends at the American Chess Bulletin are currently collecting subscriptions for a book of the proposed match, which volume may be reserved for a minimum contribution of five dollars.

Rubinstein would be a most worthy challenger indeed.   To our mind his past achievements entitle him to pride of place among all pretenders to the throne, and on the basis of last year's results he might even be considered by some a slight favorite to topple Dr. Lasker and become the next World Champion.  Should their mooted match fail of realization, however, or should the Champion fend off the challenge of Rubinstein and retain the crown, there then remains the question of who else among the world's elite might one day capture the title.  Spielmann scored two signal successes this year at Vienna and Budapest, but his recent heavy match loss to Dr. Tartakower certainly represents a serious blow to his Championship hopes. Marshall took first prize at Havana, though we doubt that the American Champion is eager for another title bout with Dr. Lasker after his experience of six years ago.  Three other members of the "old guard," Dr. Tarrasch, Janowski, and Schlechter, have each already fought for the crown; the first two have almost certainly set aside their Championship ambitions, while the third, although in our opinion morally entitled to a rematch on the basis of his drawn contest with Dr. Lasker in 1910, seems not to have pressed his claims in that direction.  A rising player like Alekhine, winner of this summer's Scheveningen tournament, is surely still too young and too unseasoned to fight for world supremacy.

And then there is Capablanca.  Of course, relations between the Cuban ace and the World Champion have soured as a result of hard feelings arising from the former's abortive challenge of two years ago.  That two such fine men should harbor mutual rancor is a pity for the chess world, especially as Capablanca can rightly consider himself a most logical challenger for the Championship.  A Lasker-Capablanca match would represent a fascinating clash of generations between a Champion who first fought for the title nearly twenty years ago and a former child prodigy now grown into a Master of rare gifts, a young man brimming with calm self-assurance and blessed with both a fluid style and a level of endgame expertise that far belies his years.  Such battles between youth and experience always arouse interest, and indeed represent the natural order of things.  This was true half a century ago when the young Morphy issued his challenge to the veteran Staunton; it was true two decades ago when Lasker braved Steinitz; it will be true when - as we are certain will one day occur - Capablanca battles Lasker.  And, if chess endures, we suspect it will still be true a hundred years into the future.       

Thursday, November 21

Capablanca in Berlin: Young wizard defeats Teichmann in 2nd match game for 2-0 victory

He came, he saw, and he conquered: José R. Capablanca yesterday defeated Richard Teichmann in the second game of their exhibition match at the Café Kerkau to record a 2-0 victory in the series, the same score he had posted against Jacques Mieses in a similar contest concluded only a few days ago.  Such was the power of Capablanca's play in Berlin that neither of the two experienced campaigners mustered to face the Cuban visitor could manage even a single draw against him.

Yesterday's game was a positional masterpiece, with Capablanca handling the Queen's Gambit to perfection.  At his 9th turn the young Master introduced what appears to be a new move, 9.Bb5, in place of the usual 9.Bd3 or the recently-popular 9.Qa4, as played with success by Duras against both Marshall and v. Balla at Breslau last year.  Teichmann's 13...Nxc5 left the German veteran with an isolated d-pawn, a circumstance of which Capablanca soon took advantage, as first one and then the second White Knight occupied the d4 square.  By the 23rd move Teichmann, faced with a most uncomfortable pin on his own Knight, chose to sacrifice a pawn in the hope of freeing his game and challenging the well-placed opposing steed.  This indeed came to pass, but Capablanca via clear and forceful play continued to improve his position, which contained such latent strength that even the presence on the board of Bishops of opposite color failed to provide Black with realistic drawing prospects.  After 31.Kf2 Teichmann sought to forestall the arrival of White's King on the d4-square by sacrificing a second pawn, a desperate expedient that nevertheless could not alter the outcome of the contest.  Black resigned after 38.Bg7, there being no adequate defense against White's plan of bringing his King to g5, followed by the advance of his King-side pawns.

The next stops for Capablanca on his European tour are said to be Warsaw and Lodz, from where we will provide information as it is received.


Wednesday, November 20

Capablanca in Berlin: Cuban defeats Mieses again, takes match 2-0

José R. Capablanca recovered from an inferior position to defeat Jacques Mieses in the second and final game of their exhibition match at the Café Kerkau in Berlin, thereby deciding the contest in his favor by the score of 2-0. The veteran Mieses, holding the advantage of the move, chose the Center Game 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4, an opening that has served him well during his career. With 8.Qg3 Mieses sacrificed a pawn, gaining in return free play for his pieces.  A most fascinating skirmish, to which we commend the reader's attention, took place between the 12th and 18th moves, the conclusion of which saw the German Master in possession of an extra exchange, against which Capablanca still maintained his surplus pawn.  At his 22nd turn Mieses eschewed the opportunity to exchange Queens and enter a superior endgame, a decision he later had cause to regret, as White's attempts to mount a King-side attack slowly ground to a halt, while the Black advance on the opposite wing began to gather ever more force.  With 41...c3 Capablanca at last shattered the enemy defenses; Mieses' resignation came three moves later.

Capablanca, who celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday, November 19, will today face Richard Teichmann in the second game of their two-game match, with the Cuban holding a 1-0 lead by virtue of his victory in the opening game a few days ago.

We present below the second game between Mieses and Capablanca.

Tuesday, November 19

Capablanca celebrates 25th birthday

We note that today is the 25th birthday of José R. Capablanca, and therefore we take this opportunity, on behalf of ourselves and our readers, to wish our young friend a most felicitous celebration of the day.  The Cuban maestro, currently testing his strength against many of Europe's best players on his continental tour, has accomplished a great deal in his first quarter-century of life, and will doubtless achieve even more in the years to come.  We recall when Dr. Lasker, then an ambitious young Master, observed his own 25th birthday here in America almost exactly 20 years ago; Lasker has since grown into a Champion of towering strength, and Capablanca now bids fair to do the same.  May he develop his remarkable talent to the full, and so continue to enrich and adorn the chess world with brilliant examples of his unique artistry for many years to come.   

Games from the Barcelona tournament: Bishop sacrifices

We present below a selection of games from the tournament book of the Barcelona Championship.  In looking over the volume we were struck by the number of instances in which a White Bishop was sacrificed on the f7 or h7 square, and we have chosen to devote today's entry to that theme.  For example:  


Next, Max Albin, the tournament winner, carries out the ancient Bxh7+ sacrifice against Sr. Sivilla:

Second place finisher and new Barcelona Champion Dr. Puig also defeated Sr. Sivilla via the stroke Bxh7+. 

Here a final and rather drastic example of the same theme.

In a subsequent entry we will present a further selection of games from this event, including some of a rather more substantial nature.