Monday, January 13

St. Petersburg All-Russian tournament, Round 4: Levenfish, with victory, joins Smorodsky in lead; Alekhine, Bogoljubow trail by half-point

The fourth round of the St. Petersburg All-Russian Masters' tournament produced a slew of hard-fought games, with several contests extending beyond 60 moves in length. In a battle between players at the top and bottom of the score table, third-round leader Andrey Smorodsky retained a share of first place despite seeing his string of three consecutive victories come to an end with a draw against Sergey Lebedev, who thereby recorded his first half-point of the tournament. Joining Smorodsky in the lead with 3 1/2 points was Grigory Levenfish, who bested Alexander Evensohn through subtle endgame play.  Other winners on the day included Alexander Alekhine and Efim Bogoljubow, each scoring his third successive victory following an opening-round defeat, and Aron Niemzowitsch, now well recovered from a rather uneven start, who moved to within a point of the lead by topping Bernhard Gregory.

Fourth round results:

Evensohn  0-1  Levenfish
Alekhine  1-0  Taubenhaus
Bogoljubow  1-0  Levitsky
Gregory  0-1  Niemzowitsch
Lowtzky ½-½  v. Freymann
Eljaschoff  0-1  Flamberg
Lebedev  ½-½  Smorodsky
Alapin  0-1  Salwe
Znosko-Borovsky  1-0  Evtifeev

Scores after 4 rounds: Levenfish, Smorodsky 3 1/2; Alekhine, Bogoljubow 3; Lowtzky, Evensohn, A. Flamberg, A. Niemzowitsch 2 1/2; Alapin, Salwe, Levitsky, Znosko-Borovsky, Evtifeev 2; Taubenhaus 1; v. Freymann, Eljaschoff, Lebedev, Gregory 1/2.

We have six games to present today, most of considerable length, and in consequence we suggest that the reader examine the offerings below in circumstances where comfort and leisure will permit him fully to appreciate their worth, which is considerable.

We begin with the game that allowed Levenfish to claim a share of the lead.  Black accepts the pawn sacrifice offered by White at the 18th move and maintains his resultant material advantage until well into the endgame. White's 61.Kxg5 - at last restoring the pawn count to parity - may in fact represent the losing error, with 61.Ke4 having been suggested as a better defense. The pawn endgame at the close merits attention.

Niemzowitsch, as second player in a Queen's Pawn Game vs. Gregory, won two Bishops for a Rook and gradually brought his superiority to bear.

Flamberg scored a relatively quick victory over Eljaschoff, aided by his opponent's oversights at the 27th and 31st moves.

Salwe overcame Alapin in a maneuvering struggle, winning a piece in the endgame through the advance of his passed b-pawn.

von Freymann seemed poised to record his first victory of the tournament after some inspired chess had left him a full piece to the good after 30 moves vs. Lowtzky.  Uncertain play in the sequel, however, let the advantage slip, and allowed Lowtzky to escape with a draw in an opposite-color Bishop endgame.

Znosko-Borovsky won a delicate pawn endgame from Evtifeev. White's final move 58.c3, forcing the Black King to relinquish its attack on a5 or the Black pawn its control over b6, makes a most pleasing impression.


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