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Great Tournaments of the Past- New York 1924

  • GM dbojkov
  • | Feb 23, 2011
  • | 10258 views
  • | 42 comments

Nowadays chess sponsorship seems to be in crisis and many strong tournaments are being cancelled. However, some of those glorious events that put our sport in the spotlight will live forever. There are various reasons for this phenomenon: one of them is the rich character of the tournament battle, the glorious chess that the participants showed throughout the whole event which resulted in a variety of chess masterpieces, the motion that those events gave to the development of chess. Last, but not least, those tournaments were described in great mastery by great players.

New York 1924 small.jpgOne such marvelous event happened to be the New York tournament in 1924, which was covered in an excellent tournament book by future World Champion Alexander Alekhine.

In December 1923 the interest towards chess in the USA reached its peak thanks to the presence and remarkable achievements of Alexander Alekhine. The Russian player was not yet world champion but with his colourful and aggressive play entertained the whole chess world.

Organizing such an event was never an easy task, and in this case the participants had to travel for weeks to reach the USA from Europe by ships, as aircraft were still in development. Still, the tournament managed to attract almost all the best players of the time, including the reigning world champion Jose Raul Capablanca, his predecessor- Dr. Emanuel Lasker, Alekhine himself, and eight more top Grandmasters, who competed in a double round-robin event.

reti5smallish.jpgThe sensation of the first round was Capablanca’s defeat by Richard Reti (the World Champion had not lost a game since 1916 and was practically considered untouchable).

The Czech maestro for his part made one of his most colourful tournaments ever. He introduced the opening with a double fianchettoe, which still carries his name and gave impact to Hypermodernism in chess; he also won fifth place overall and claimed first prize for the most beautiful game:

 

 

Second best game prize went to American champion Frank Marshall for his effort against Efim Bogoljubow:

 

 

The third best game had important sporting meaning as it was played between the two top finishers:

 

Despite this win, the world champion could not catch up with the 56-year old Dr. Lasker. The former champion won 13 out of the 20 (!) games which he played to win the event outright- 16/20. Capablanca also lost only one game, but was far less productive- 14.5, while Alekhine confirmed his high status with a third place, scoring 12 points.

The tournament was more than well attended and the ticket income from the spectators was in excess of 3500 $- a huge sum for the time. There could have been even more had the venue been bigger.

The event was crowned by Alekhine’s deep annotations in a book that is still popular and well received by chess society. Chess was still very Classical, and Capablanca’s opening choice as Black against Eduard Lasker- 1.e4 g6 was called by Alekhine: “a joke.”

Comments


  • 3 years ago

    NM GargleBlaster

    Regarding Alekhine's opinion on Reti-Bogoljubov, we have Alekhine's own annotations:

    (After 19.Bh5)

    "The initial move in an exactly calculated, decisive manouver, the end of which will worthily crown White's model play."

    (After 25. Be8)

    "A sparkling conclusion! Black resigned, for, after 25...Bxc5+, he loses at least the Bishop. Rightfully, this game was awarded the first brilliancy prize."

    Perhaps Lobowolf might want to get out of bed next time.

  • 3 years ago

    markrex

    In the second puzzle, I definitely would have played: 32. Nxd5 winning the Queen

  • 4 years ago

    knightofcrashtest

    Innocent

  • 4 years ago

    LobowolfXXX

    Alekhine also didn't think much of Reti's winning first prize for the Bogoljubov game. Basically that it was a cute little 2-move finishing combination, but that's it. My recollection (sorry, ain't getting out of bed to look!) is that he thought the Marshall game should have won.
  • 4 years ago

    markysharky

    gone where the days of great players competing in one great, great tournament showing the inate beauty of chess...

  • 4 years ago

    marinas

    CoolgoodSmile

  • 4 years ago

    digitalproteus

    poor bogoljubov

  • 4 years ago

    drawdover

    Easy elegant style of play by Capa!

  • 4 years ago

    tarooq

    veeeeeeeery goooooooooooog buzels

  • 4 years ago

    king_warrior

    Capablanka shoul have won the first prize for the most beautiful game!! Did you all see that he sacrified his Knight and made 25 move combination??!!

  • 4 years ago

    GM dbojkov

    Lasker was a great tournament player, indeed.

  • 4 years ago

    mobidi

    Lasker was strongest player.

  • 4 years ago

    oldmangeorge

    great article

  • 4 years ago

    madpawn

    When I first saw the Reti Bogoljubow game I was amazed at the use of the bishop to interfere with the defence of the f8 square. It was like watching a conjurors trick in action.

  • 4 years ago

    LobowolfXXX

    Great, great book; great, great tournament.

  • 4 years ago

    sryiwannadraw

    good game thanks

  • 4 years ago

    AlexiShirov

    Alekhine proved in this tournament that he is gonna be the world champion soon , and he did :) .. his game with Capablanca for the world championship was supernatural ! .

  • 4 years ago

    Lawdoginator

    Alekhine's book was edited and updated and re-released by Soltis in 2008, IIRC. The analysis and opinions were not changed. 

  • 4 years ago

    GM dbojkov

    By saying first round, I meant first lap, appologies for the mistaken expression.

  • 4 years ago

    NM GargleBlaster

    Nice article, but (FWIW) Reti's famous win over Capablanca was not played in the first round.  In fact, the first round featured in some ways an even greater upset for Capa: he drew Janowski as White!

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