Aron Niemzowitsch defeated Semyon Alapin to claim a share of the lead through 9 rounds of the St. Petersburg All-Russian Masters' tournament after Alexander Alekhine, former sole front-runner of the event, was held to a draw by Andrey Smorodsky. Niemzowitsch and Alekhine, each with 7 1/2 points from 9 games, will meet in the next (10th) round in a clash certain to attract the attention of a wide audience. Close behind the two leaders in sole third position stands Alexander Flamberg, who topped Peter Evtifeev to raise his total to 7 points, a full point ahead of Moishe Lowtzky in fourth place. The day's full results were as follows:
Niemzowitsch 1-0 Alapin
Smorodsky ½-½ Alekhine
Evtifeev 0-1 Flamberg
Salwe ½-½ Lowtzky
Levenfish 1-0 Eljaschoff
Lebedev 1-0 Evensohn
v. Freymann 1-0 Bogoljubow
Gregory 0-1 Znosko-Borovsky
Levitsky 1-0 Taubenhaus
Standings after 9 rounds: Niemzowitsch, Alekhine 7 1/2; Flamberg 7; Lowtzky 6; Evensohn, Smorodsky, Levenfish 5 1/2; Bogoljubow, Alapin 5; Salwe, Levitsky, Znosko-Borovsky 4 1/2; von Freymann 3 1/2; Evtifeev 3; Taubenhaus, Lebedev 2 1/2; Eljaschoff 1; Gregory 1/2.
Niemzowitsch scored a convincing victory over Alapin, eschewing his usual 3.e5 vs. the French Defense in favor of 3.Nc3 and deciding matters through the advance of a powerful pair of passed pawns on the Queen-side. We have seen two versions of the game score; in the second, the order of Black's 6th and 7th moves, as well as that of his 16th and 17th (and, therefore, White's 17th and 18th), is reversed.
Flamberg dispatched Evtifeev from the Black side of Dr. Tarrasch's 3...c5 defense to the Queen's Gambit, a result that may well have been different had White played 22.Bxb4.
von Freymann took the full point from Bogoljubow in only 22 moves, the game beginning with the unusual gambit 1.f4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.e4.
Levenfish bested Eljaschoff in a Knight vs. Bishop endgame.
Gregory, let it be said to his credit, attempted to play enterprising chess despite his heavily negative score. In the end, however, Znosko-Borovsky only added to the woes of the tourney's bottom marker, breaking through on the King-side with 43...f3 and scoring the win a dozen moves thereafter.