Alexander Flamberg defeated Alexander Evensohn in the 16th round of the St. Petersburg All-Russian Masters' tournament to assume sole leadership of the event with one round yet to be played. Flamberg's victory carried him past Alexander Alekhine, undisputed tourney leader since the close of the 10th round, when the latter was forced to lower his colors after a sharp struggle vs. Efim Bogoljubow. The Warsaw-born Flamberg, who has not occupied first place since the tourney's opening round, now stands but one game away from the greatest triumph of his career, with both the Russian national Championship and an invitation to April's grand St. Petersburg international tournament tantalizingly within reach. Flamberg can crown his success with a victory as Black over Eugene Znosko-Borovsky in the final round; any lesser result, however, will give hope to both Alekhine and Aron Niemzowitsch, winner on the day over Peter Evtifeev, each of whom stands just one half-point behind the new leader. Alekhine in his final game will handle the Black pieces vs. veteran Semyon Alapin, while Niemzowitsch will play White vs. Grigory Levenfish. With so much at stake, high drama may well ensue.
We present below the full list of results from the penultimate round, as well as the current tourney standings:
Flamberg 1-0 Evensohn
Alekhine 0-1 Bogoljubow
Evtifeev 0-1 Niemzowitsch
Lowtzky 1-0 Alapin
Levenfish 0-1 Smorodsky
Eljaschoff 0-1 Znosko-Borovsky
Salwe 0-1 Gregory
Levitsky 1-0 v. Freymann
Taubenhaus 0-1 Lebedev
Standings after 16 rounds: Flamberg 13; Alekhine, Niemzowitsch 12 1/2; Lowtzky 11, Levenfish 10 1/2; Znosko-Borovsky, Smorodsky 9; Alapin, Bogoljubow 8 1/2; Salwe, Evensohn 8; von Freymann 7; Levitsky 6 1/2; Taubenhaus 6; Lebedev 4 1/2; Evtifeev, Eljaschoff 3 1/2; Gregory 2 1/2
Today's offerings will prove a delight to aficionados of the open game, as all four contests below begin with the mutual two-square advance of the King's pawn. We of course give pride of place to Flamberg, the new tourney leader, who as first player in a Ruy Lopez overcame the Steinitz Defense of Evensohn, a result that might well have been reversed had Black at his 29th turn selected 29...gxh5 in preference to 29...Bc6+.
Alekhine, too, opted for the Ruy Lopez, to which Bogoljubow replied with the classical defense 3...Bc5. The young Muscovite received a genuine shock at the 21st move when Black answered 21.Qg5 with 21...Rxf2!, having in mind the beautiful "epaulette" finish 22.Qxf4 Rxg2 mate.
Levenfish fell from fourth place to fifth, behind Lowtzky, when he suffered defeat at the hands of Smorodsky, who handled the pawn endgame in a masterful manner. Students of the game will find much of benefit therein.
Levitsky topped von Freymann after a hearty struggle, with Black's 39...Kf7? proving the decisive error.