16 MAY 1987, Page 46


Vis viva

Raymond Keene

The fourth tournament to be scrutinised in my inquiry into the great tournaments of all time is New York 1927. Strange how these things go in cycles — I kicked off with two tournaments in St Petersburg and the next two candidates were both held in the Big Apple. Perhaps tremendous chess activity was a sign of the general vigour of these two communities at that time, though, curiously, both St Petersburg and New York were due for an imminent upheaval. The Russian Revolution fol- lowed closely on the second St Petersburg tournament, while the Wall Street crash discouraged subsequent NY chess activity for years to come.

The Elo average was around 2600, or perhaps slightly lower. Marshall was, by now, a veteran and his solitary victory proves that he was outclassed. Obvious absentees were Lasker, Rubinstein and Bogoljubov. There is some doubt as to whether New York 1927 was a tacit Candi- dates' tournament, with the winner (if not Capablanca, who was champion) or runner-up (should Capa win) being entit- led to a shot at the crown. In any case, Alekhine's result paved the way for his challenge, while anything less than second prize for the ambitious Russian might have frightened off his backers. Capablanca conceded many draws but still dominated the tournament and might have done even better had he truly exerted himself. This unwillingness to go into top gear was a weakness Alekhine exploited later in 1927 to wrest the crown from him. He nevertheless collected the brilliancy prize for a win of seemingly effortless elegance against Spielmann: Capablanca-Spielmann: Queen's Gambit De- clined.

1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 Nd7 4 Nc3 Ngf6 5 Bg5 Bb4 6 cxd5 exd5 7 Qa4 Bxc3 + 8 bxc3 0-0 9 e3 c5 10 Bd3 c4 11 Bc2 Qe7 12 0-0 a6 13 Rfel Qe6 14 Nd2 b5 15 Qa5 Ne4 16 Nxe4 dxe4 17 a4 Qd5 18 atb5 Qxg5 19 Bxe4 Rb8 20 bxa6 Rb5 21 Qc7 Nb6 22 a7 Bh3 Rebl Rxbl 24 Rxbl f5 25 Bf3 f4 26 exf4 Black resigns.

There have been five bids for this year's championship match between Kasparov and Karpov. Seattle (USA) and Sochi (USSR) both offered the minimum one million Swiss francs prize money, while Madrid was twice that. Surprisingly, Dubai's planned record-breaker (SF 21/4 New York Tournament 1927 1 2 3 4 5 6 Total 1 Capablanca xxxx 11/21/21/2 11/211/2 1/21/211/2 1/21/211/2 111/21 14 2 Alekhine 01/21/21/2 xxxx 1/2011/2 1/21/21/21/2 11/21/21 1/211/21 111/2 3 Nimzowitsch 01/201/2 1/2101/2 xxxx 1001/2 111/21/2 11/21/21 101/2 4 Vidmar V21/201/2 1/21/21/2V2 0111/2 xxxx 1/21/2v.21/2 1/2011/2 10 5 Spielmann 1/21/201/2 01/21/20 001/21/2 1/21/21/21/2 xxxx 1/21/211/2 8 6 Marshall 001/20 1/201/20 01/21/20 1/2101/2 1/21/201/2 xxxx 6 million) was topped by Seville's SF 2.8 million (around £1.17 million). It seems, however, that Madrid and Seattle may (paradoxically) be the front runners. Kas- parov will never agree to Dubai, while Seville may defer to Madrid as the nation's capital. Seattle's strength, despite the rela- tive smallness of its prize, is based on its connection with the Goodwill Games which aim to promote USA/USSR rela- tions. The decision will be taken by the end of the month, though Madrid organisers have already been to London picking up tips from our team which put together the first half of last year's match.

Meanwhile, Kasparov had turned in a remarkable performance in Zurich, a 51/- % destruction of last year's Swiss Olympic team in a simultaneous display. The result is barely credible and the games were of tremendous ferocity.

Kasparov-Wirthensohn: Nimzo-Indian Defence. 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 b6 5 Bd3 Bb7 6 f3 Nh5 7 Nh3 f5 8 Bd2 0-0 9 Qe2 c5 10 d5 Bxc3 11 Bxc3 exd5 12 0-0-0 Qe8 13 Rhgl dxc4 14 Bxc4-4- Kh8 15 g4 fxg4 16 Rxg4 Nf6 17 Rdgl Nxg4 18 Rxg4 Rf6 19 Bxf6 gxf6 20 RgS+ Qxg8 21 BxgS KxgS 22 Qc4+ Kf8 23 Qh4 Kg7 24 Nf4 Nc6 25 NhS+ Black resigns.

Kasparov also beat Huss, Trepp and Gobet, while drawing only with Hug; of course, Korchnoi (Switzerland's usual top board) did not play in the Olympics, in protest at Dubai's exclusion of Israel.

Kasparov has now challenged the Ger- man team to a similar match. While the Swiss team is full of international masters, the German squad is stocked with gran- masters and will prove a mouthful even for Kasparov.