Friday, March 1

Havana tournament, Round 10: Marshall defeats Capablanca, claims lead; Cuban misplays superior position, falls to tie for 2nd-3rd with Janowski

Yesterday's tenth-round battle between the leaders of the Havana international chess Masters' tournament resulted in a dramatic victory for United States Champion Frank J. Marshall when Cuban national hero José R. Capablanca misplayed an advantageous position, overlooking first an excellent winning chance, and later committing a fatal error in an ill-advised attempt to force matters in a drawn endgame.  With this victory, his sixth in succession, Marshall assumes the lead in the tourney with 8 points, a full point ahead of both Capablanca and French maestro David Janowski, who equaled Capablanca's total of 7 by defeating Cuban Champion Juan Corzo.  In other games Abraham Kupchik maintained his fourth place standing with a victory over Rafael Blanco, while in a battle between American representatives Oscar Chajes defeated Charles Jaffe, gaining revenge for the defeat inflicted on him by the same opponent in the tourney's first tour.

Capablanca opened with his King's pawn vs. Marshall, who chose the Petroff Defense in reply.  Playing in his usual clear and powerful style, the Cuban obtained an excellent position, and by the 30th move it was obvious to all that White stood much better.  With 33.Re7, as pointed out afterward by Capablanca, White could have taken large strides toward victory; instead, the move 33.Be7 allowed Marshall the surprise rejoinder 33...Qd7!, retreating the Queen, which had only just emerged into play, and holding the position.  A subsequent exchange of major pieces brought about an equal Bishop endgame, with a draw widely expected, until Capablanca at his 45th turn erred with 45.d5+, allowing the Black King to enter his position, after which White's game soon became untenable.  Marshall's victory, while undoubtedly a disappointment to many in attendance, was sportingly greeted with warm applause by the Cuban spectators, and Sr. Capablanca has demonstrated equal sportsmanship in providing a few comments to the game:


Janowski, who is enjoying an excellent tournament, defeated Corzo in a French Defense, choosing as White the rare gambit line 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Be3 dxe4 4.Nd2 f5 5.f3.  The Frenchman later recovered his sacrificed pawn, and with 31.Re8 initiated a most powerful attack, notwithstanding the absence of Queens.  Aficionados familiar with the style of Janowski will note that, as so often in the past, his pair of Bishops once again did yeoman's work, as a glance at the final position will suffice to demonstrate:

Kupchik, playing White, experienced little difficulty in defeating Blanco in a Dutch Defense, surprising his opponent with the move 2.Bg5 and soon gaining the advantage.  With two pawns in hand by the 25th move, the endgame proved easy enough to win for the New York Master:

Chajes and Jaffe produced a fascinating struggle in a Ruy Lopez, the final phase in particular being of gripping interest, with each player in possession of a Rook and two Knights and White doing his all to prepare, and Black to prevent, the construction of a mating net.  We urge our readers not to deny themselves the pleasure of examining the score of this game, won by Chajes, Jaffe at last succumbing to the difficulties of the defense:


Scores after 10 rounds: Marshall 8; Capablanca, Janowski 7; Kupchik 6; Chajes, Jaffe 3 1/2; Blanco 3; Corzo 2.

The eleventh round will be played later today.


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