Thursday, January 16

St. Petersburg All-Russian tournament, Round 6: Alekhine surges into lead with 5th consecutive win, defeating Levitsky in 17 moves; Niemzowitsch, Bogoljubow, Levenfish half-point behind

Alexander Alekhine defeated his erstwhile match opponent Stepan Levitsky in crushing style to record his fifth consecutive victory and claim sole leadership of the St. Petersburg All-Russian Masters' tournament with 5 points to his credit after six rounds of play. With this latest success Alekhine becomes already the fourth player - following Peter Evtifeev, Andrey Smorodsky, and Grigory Levenfish - to stand alone atop the score table, a sure indication of the hard-fought nature of the current contest, whose ultimate winner will be accorded an invitation to compete in the great international Masters' tournament set to begin in this same city in April. Close on the heels of the new leader come a trio of pursuers, each with 4 1/2 points: Aron Niemzowitsch, winner on the day over Alexander Evensohn in an intense and complicated struggle, along with Efim Bogoljubow and Grigory Levenfish, the former victor over the latter in a Ruy Lopez, a defeat that dropped Levenfish from first place. Full results and standings are given below.

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

Standings after 6 rounds:  Alekhine 5; Niemzowitsch, Bogoljubow, Levenfish 4 1/2; Flamberg, Smorodsky 4; Lowtzky, Alapin, Evensohn 3 1/2; Salwe 3; Taubenhaus, Levitsky, Evtifeev, Znosko-Borovsky, v. Freymann 2 1/2; Gregory, Eljaschoff, Lebedev 1/2.

Alekhine, whose attacking prowess is well-known, swept Levitsky off the board in only 17 moves from the White side of a Petroff Defense. The young Muscovite's 9.c5 appears to be a new move, and practitioners of this defense will surely need to develop a better counter to it than that essayed by Levitsky here.

Niemzowitsch, whose own combinational powers are considerable, displayed an extraordinary will to win vs. Evensohn, sacrificing a pawn for attacking chances and later running great risks - e.g., allowing White to double Rooks on the seventh rank in the endgame - all in the uncompromising quest for victory, a goal the Latvian Master at last achieved, though perhaps not without some assistance from his opponent. In Evensohn's defense, it must be stated that to face such a fiercely determined adversary can be a most exhausting and nerve-wracking experience.

The final game from the sixth round to reach us is a rather uneventful draw between Flamberg and Taubenhaus in which the first player succeeded in winning a pawn but proved unable to make use of his advantage owing to the presence of opposite-color Bishops.



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