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Havana Tournament

Frank Marshall10.5/14(+8 -1 =5)[games]
Jose Raul Capablanca10/14(+8 -2 =4)[games]
David Janowski9/14(+7 -3 =4)[games]
Abraham Kupchik6.5/14(+5 -6 =3)[games]
Oscar Chajes6.5/14(+5 -6 =3)[games]
Charles Jaffe5.5/14(+3 -6 =5)[games]
Rafael Blanco Estera5/14(+4 -8 =2)[games]
Juan Corzo3/14(+1 -9 =4)[games] Chess Event Description
Havana (1913)

All of the players except Blanco and Corzo came straight from the American National (1913) to Havana. Capablanca was regarded as the clear favorite not only because of his impressive results, but also as the hometown hero expected to make a triumphant return. Fate was to deny him the expected win.

Jaffe placed third behind Capablanca and Marshall in the American National (1913) just prior to the tournament, winning his game with Capablanca (Capablanca vs C Jaffe, 1913). Jaffe's major contribution to the Havana tournament was his gross blunder in C Jaffe vs Marshall, 1913. Capablanca took this as evidence that Jaffe came to Havana just to help Marshall win. Capablanca never played in another event with Jaffe, and it is thought Capablanca exerted pressure to have Jaffe excluded from events where Capablanca might play.

Havana quickly turned into a three-player race for first, but the eventual outcome would only be decided in the last round. Round 1 saw Capablanca score the only win of the round with a game awarded the first brilliancy prize (J Corzo vs Capablanca, 1913). Marshall began slowly, drawing his first four games, three of them against the bottom half of the field. By Round 4, Capablanca was 1.5 points ahead of Marshall, and one point ahead of Janowski. In Round 6, Janowski scored his only career win against Capablanca (Janowski vs Capablanca, 1913), taking the lead by a half point until he lost to Marshall in Round 7. By the end of Round 9, Marshall and Capablanca were still tied for the lead and Janowski had slipped to a full point behind the leaders. The Round 10 game between Marshall and Capablanca (Capablanca vs Marshall, 1913) turned out to be the pivotal game of the tournament, although first was still in question through the final round. In Round 11, Capablanca could only obtain a draw against Jaffe. Janowski lost to Chajes, which eliminated him from the race for first. Marshall drew with Corzo in Round 12, keeping Capablanca's hopes alive. Capablanca beat Janowski in Round 13, staying within striking distance of Marshall. Janowski did his part in Round 14, by beating Marshall in his second crucial game of the tournament (Janowski vs Marshall, 1913). All Capablanca needed for an equal first with Marshall was to win his final game with Kupchik, but he only achieved a draw (Kupchik vs Capablanca, 1913), and his last chance to catch Marshall was lost.

Ma Ca Ja Ch Ku Ja Bl Co 1 Marshall XX 1= 01 =1 =1 1= 11 =1 10½ 2 Capablanca 0= XX 10 1= 1= 1= 11 11 10 3 Janowsky 10 01 XX 01 1= == 11 1= 9 4 Chajes =0 0= 10 XX 10 10 0= 11 6½ 5 Kupchik =0 0= 0= 01 XX 10 01 11 6½ 6 Jaffe 0= 0= == 01 01 XX 01 =0 5½ 7 Blanco 00 00 00 1= 10 10 XX =1 5 8 Corzo =0 00 0= 00 00 =1 =0 XX 3

Edward Winter has an article on Corzo ( which includes a group photo from Havana 1913 (

Original Collection: Game Collection: Havana 1913, by User: crawfb5.

 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 56  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. R B Estera vs O Chajes ½-½531913HavanaC44 King's Pawn Game
2. J Corzo vs Capablanca 0-1371913HavanaA53 Old Indian
3. Marshall vs C Jaffe ½-½291913HavanaD51 Queen's Gambit Declined
4. Kupchik vs Janowski ½-½621913HavanaD26 Queen's Gambit Accepted
5. O Chajes vs Marshall  ½-½631913HavanaD04 Queen's Pawn Game
6. Janowski vs C Jaffe ½-½531913HavanaC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
7. Capablanca vs R B Estera 1-0331913HavanaC10 French
8. Kupchik vs J Corzo 1-0311913HavanaD44 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
9. J Corzo vs Janowski ½-½741913HavanaC53 Giuoco Piano
10. C Jaffe vs O Chajes  1-0781913HavanaD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
11. Marshall vs Capablanca ½-½361913HavanaA46 Queen's Pawn Game
12. R B Estera vs Kupchik 1-0301913HavanaC45 Scotch Game
13. Kupchik vs Marshall  ½-½621913HavanaC49 Four Knights
14. Capablanca vs C Jaffe 1-0491913HavanaC49 Four Knights
15. Janowski vs O Chajes 1-01081913HavanaC49 Four Knights
16. J Corzo vs R B Estera ½-½441913HavanaC29 Vienna Gambit
17. Marshall vs J Corzo 1-0171913HavanaD34 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch
18. O Chajes vs Capablanca  ½-½421913HavanaA46 Queen's Pawn Game
19. C Jaffe vs Kupchik  0-1611913HavanaC74 Ruy Lopez, Modern Steinitz Defense
20. R B Estera vs Janowski  0-1541913HavanaB23 Sicilian, Closed
21. Kupchik vs O Chajes 1-0481913HavanaC84 Ruy Lopez, Closed
22. R B Estera vs Marshall 0-1331913HavanaC48 Four Knights
23. Janowski vs Capablanca 1-0501913HavanaA46 Queen's Pawn Game
24. J Corzo vs C Jaffe 1-0331913HavanaC27 Vienna Game
25. Marshall vs Janowski 1-0311913HavanaD09 Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit, 5.g3
 page 1 of 3; games 1-25 of 56  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-02-15  qkxwsm: Typo in the crosstable: Corzo and Blanco are both reported to have 1 win and 1 draw against each other.
Feb-07-16  TheFocus: "In reply to the invitation extended to him to take part, Dr. Lasker, in a letter to the management, stated that at least two obstacles would have to be overcome before he could play, one a personal one, and the other purely financial. To begin with, the world champion positively refuses to take part in any tournament in which Jose R. Capablanca is also a competitor, unless the Cuban champion first makes a public retraction of the letter he wrote to him in the course of the negotiations for the world's championship match. In that letter, Capablanca, through his attorney, made some reference to an "obvious unfairness" in one of the conditions laid down by Dr. Lasker.

In the matter of the financial consideration, Dr. Lasker, in addition to his chances of first prize, which will amount to $1,500, had been offered a guaranteed fee of generous proportions, entirely aside from the fare and living expenses for himself and wife, amounting in total to about $2,500. This, Dr. Lasker maintains, is not a sufficiently attractive offer to induce him to abandon the literary work at present engaging his attention. He suggests, on the other hand, that New York get into line and raise another sum of $10,000, duplicating the amount Havana will contribute. In that case, he says, the first half of the tournament might be played in this city and the second in Cuba," - <American Chess Bulletin>, May 1913, pg. 97.

Jan-19-17  zanzibar: From the google books entry, comes this google translation:

<Jose Raul Capablanca was a Cuban chess player, world chess champion from 1921 to 1927. In 1913 he played in Havana and finished second behind Frank Marshall, having lost one of the games against the American after having an advantageous position. Reuben Fine stated that Capablanca had demanded the mayor to evict all the spectators so that they did not see him in the bad state of mind while he lost. This story has circulated in books and on the Net; Nevertheless, the book of Edward G. Winter (see here) documents that the history of Fine has no ground. It shows instead that the 600 spectators present, who naturally supported his compatriot, gave Marshall a strong ovation. Marshall's notes corroborate this version: When I heard the screaming crowd I thought they were going to lynch him, so he asked for a security escort to take him to his hotel quickly. Then they told him what had really happened. To Habana 1913, by Jose Raul Capablanca. This is the only book of the tournament, he wrote. It was originally published in Spanish in 1913 in Havana. Edward Winter translated into English, and appeared as a reprint British Chess Magazine, Quarterly N 18, in 1976. ">

and also

Capablanca himself authored the tournament book.

Funny, I see a couple of familiar names listed in the bibliographic section: Larry Crawford and Sam Sloan.

It looks like the tournament book gives the bracket dates - Feb 15 to Mar 6, 1913. The intro above might add this info to make it a little nicer.

I think the games are all dated, but I didn't look too deeply.

I saw somebody asking about the time controls... but without any meaningful answer. I wonder if perhaps some helpful person might have access to BCM - British Chess Magazine, Quarterly N 18, in 1976 or Capablanca's tb to convey the tournament conditions.

(Are there any left helpful sorts left out there anymore?)

Anyways, I'll keep looking a little.

The bit about Marshall fearing for his life makes for a bit of fun color - but it's not to be taken too seriously. A comment seems the right place for it (hint, hint).

Jan-19-17  zanzibar: According to Sanchez, this was the only tb authored by Capablanca - that tidbit should probably be mentioned in the intro above.

From p176 comes the prizes:

($500, $375, $200, $125, $50)

"Generale Freye de Andrade, mayor of Havana, opened the contest on Feb 15, ... first intl tn beyond the borders of the US ... "

Staffer only non-accept for invite, place taken by Kupchik "promising young player of Russian origin".

About 1200 spectators, 1st rnd, 5th floor of Plaza Hotel. Thereafter ~800 attended each day.

p178 - Capa won brillancy prz against Corzo, awarded by newspaper La Disusion.

p179 talks about some controversy, for Jaffe blundered his queen against Marshall (R8), which some claim was deliberate to deny Capa 1st. But Capa could have won his last round game again Kupchik, and instead made two conseq blunders to get a losing position by move 39.

Note Sachez give Capa quote about it (properly) with citation.

Cassell report in ACB April 1913 would be nice to have, and is mentioned. Again, Sachez shows how to do a proper block quote.

TB is mentioned on p180.

Sanchez goes on to mention that soon thereafter, in June, Capa gets a diplomatic post nod in a letter from the Havana mayor - an important event for Capa, and therefore for chess.


Jan-19-17  zanzibar: Jaffe's Chess Primer (NY 1937) p5 has something to say on the matter, but I only have a snippet to view.
Jan-19-17  zanzibar: Hmmm... in <The Unknown Capablanca By David Hooper, Dale A. Brandreth> p55

is this

<Both Jaffe and Chajes, two of the leading players of the USA, felt aggrieved that they had not been selected to play in the Havana tn of 1913. To settle the question Capa offered to play a match of 3 games against each of them. ... Jaffe finished the m, but Chajes chickened out after one game>

The thing is, Jaffe did apparently get an invite to Havana 1913. I thought Hooper was pretty solid, what's going on?

Jan-19-17  zanzibar: Please note that I've used abbrevs in several quotes above (e.g. tn = tournament)

I try to be very accurate, but if some biographers can just add words to make up quotes, I can omit a letter or two here or there.

Jan-19-17  Retireborn: <z> The Chajes/Jaffe matches were played in October/November 1912, so there was time for a change of heart about inviting them to the February 1913 tournament.

Edward Winter's Capablanca book doesn't address how or why these matches came to be played, but it does make clear that Capa disliked Jaffe in particular ("helping" Marshall, complaining about the heat in Havana.)

Jan-19-17  zanzibar: <Retireborn> well, I'm sure the contemporaneous sources might shed some light on the matter.

(This is a period in time where the sources are just barely coming online, and so I generally don't have good access to the needed tools, unfortunately).

It's funny that "to settle the question" Chajes could drop out of his match, and still be at Havana.

Here's a snippet I could view from Winter's book about the matter (p48):

<" ... Mr. Capablanca stated to the press that since Jaffe had come to Cuba for the sole purpose of helping Marshall win, he would never again play in a tournament where Jaffe was entered as a contestant. It is certainly deplorable that Messrs. Cassel and Helms, the American chess correspondents, not only believed these charges but also aided Capablanca by successfully keeping Jaffe out of all those American Tournaments in which they had influence.">

I wish I knew the source of the quote Winter is citing.

Aside - and note how easy it is to convey the information about what Capablanca is purported to say, without having to make up a fictitious quote about the matter.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <The thing is, Jaffe did apparently get an invite to Havana 1913. I thought Hooper was pretty solid, what's going on?>

This tournament isn't the one that was being proposed back in October 1912. That was meant to be a dual New York-Havana congress, whose main organiser was our old friend, Frederick Dana Rosebault. Following the collapse of those plans in December 1912, separate events were separately organised in New York (American National (1913)) and Havana.

As to whether Capa's matches in October were intended to decide whether Chajes or Jaffe would play in New York/Havana, the claim is news to me, and I very much doubt it. It's true that Rosebault was behind organising these mini-matches but surely they were training matches meant for Capa's benefit - he hadn't played serious chess for many months. Why not just require Chajes and Jaffe to play a match? If Capa easily beat both of them, what would it prove?

Jan-19-17  Retireborn: <z> Capa's remarks about Jaffe are from the tournament book, which he wrote. Your quote from page 48 is from the biography on page 5 of "Jaffe's Chess Primer" (New York 1937), according to Winter (who disapproves of that book in one of his C.N.s:-)

I don't think "the question" was really about their right to play in the tournament. You can see a post here from <TheFocus> mentioning how Dr Lasker refused his invitation - that may have opened up one place.

I do recommend Winters's Capa book very strongly. It's a bit pricey now, unfortunately.

Jan-19-17  zanzibar: Thanks <Retireborn>/<MissS>. I have a bit of rereading to catch back up on these matters it seems.

Do either of you gentlemen(?) have opinions on Sanchez's book?

(Is it Sanchez' or Sanchez's?)


Jan-19-17  Retireborn: <z> Sorry, I have never even seen that book. These McFarland books are supposed to be good though, aren't they?

My instinct would be to write Sanchez's.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <zanzibar:...(Is it Sanchez' or Sanchez's?)>

<Rétireborn> is, as ever, correct. It is Sanchez's. The film Bridget Jones's Diary is a good paradigm. But I normally say the phrase in my head and whatever sounds best I write exactly that.

"I am going to see Charles Dickens's house..."

There may seem to be a difficulty with foreign names that end in S but that S is not pronounced, for example Alexandre Dumas.

The surname is pronounced as Doomar. So what about going to <his house>? In my head I pronounce this as <Alexandre doomarz house" which on paper can only be spelt one way: <Alexandre Dumas's house>: the first S is not pronounced.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Deep folly to have Chajes and Jaffe in the same tournament.

Their opponents are going to sit opposite them and say, "I thought I played you yesterday."

"No, that was the other one," says either Chajes or Jaffe.

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