New York 1924, Round 9: Capablanca convinces, Lasker is lucky

by Johannes Fischer
5/13/2020 – With four draws and a loss World Champion José Raúl Capablanca started badly into the tournament in New York, but he now seems to be back in shape, and in round 9 he defeated Efim Bogoljubov with a fine positional performance. But sole leader remains Emanuel Lasker, who allowed himself a couple of bad moves against Frank Marshall but still managed to escape with a draw. Meanwhile, Richard Reti showed the advantages of "hypermodern" chess. | Photo: José Raúl Capablanca (Archive)

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New York 1924: Round 9

Richard Reti is one of the leading representatives of the so-called "Hypermoderns". The term "hypermodern" is an ironic allusion to the theories about the "right" way of playing chess, which Dr. Tarrasch postulated in 1912 in his book Die moderne Schachpartie (The Modern Game of Chess) which has not yet been translated into English.

This book provoked heated discussions between Aron Nimzowitsch as a representative of the hypermoderns and Dr. Tarrasch. One of the points they debated was the right central strategy. Broadly speaking, Dr. Tarrasch advocated to occupy the center with pawns, while Nimzowitsch pointed out that it often has advantages to control the center with pieces. And in his game against David Janowsky Reti showed how effective such a strategy can be.


Seemingly unconcerned by all discussions about the advantages and disadvantages of modern or hypermodern chess World Champion Capablanca cultivates a rather classical positional style. At first sight his play seems to be unspectacular, but he again and again succeeds in outplaying even the best players in the world with seemingly simple moves. His game against Efim Bogolyubov is a vivid example.


Emanuel Lasker is often said - or accused - to be outrageously lucky. In fact, Lasker conspicuously often manages to defend bad positions successfully or to even win them in the end. But no matter how good and tenacious a defender Lasker might be, it is still a miracle that he managed to get away with a draw against Frank Marshall in round 9.


After this lucky escape Lasker still remains the only unbeaten player in the field.

Savielly Tartakower and Alexander Alekhine drew but played an interesting game. In a major piece endgame Tartakower sacrificed material to put Alekhine under pressure, but this pressure was not big enough to make Alekhine falter.


The game between the English master Frederick Yates and Geza Maroczy from Hungary also brought a number of interesting tactical twists. However, these complications turned out to be for Black and Maroczy scored his second win in the tournament, while Yates remains at the bottom of the table.


At the top of the table is still Emanuel Lasker with 6 points from 8 games. He is followed by Alekhine and Capablanca, who both have 5½ points. However, Capablanca did not yet have the bye and has played one more game than Lasker and Alekhine.

Results of round 9

D. Janowsky 0-1 R. Reti
E. Bogoljubow 0-1 J. R. Capablanca
F. Marshall ½-½ Em. Lasker
F. Yates 0-1 G. Maroczy
S. Tartakower ½-½ A. Alekhine

Bye: Edward Lasker

Standings after round 9

Rk. Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Pts.
1 Emanuel Lasker   1 ½   ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½   6.0
2 Alexander Alekhine 0   ½ 1 ½ 1 ½   1   1 5.5
3 Jose Raul Capablanca ½ ½   0 1 ½   1 ½ ½ 1 5.5
4 Richard Reti   0 1     ½ ½ 0 1 1 1 5.0
5 Saviely Tartakower ½ ½ 0     ½ ½ 1   ½ 1 4.5
6 Geza Maroczy 0 0 ½ ½ ½   1 0   ½ 1 4.0
7 Frank James Marshall ½ ½   ½ ½ 0   0 1   ½ 3.5
8 Efim Bogoljubow 0   0 1 0 1 1   0 ½   3.5
9 Dawid Markelowicz Janowski 0 0 ½ 0     0 1   1 ½ 3.0
10 Edward Lasker ½   ½ 0 ½ ½   ½ 0   0 2.5
11 Frederick Dewhurst Yates   0 0 0 0 0 ½   ½ 1   2.0





Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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