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Thursday, December 8, 2011

New York International 1948

Reuben Fine won the 1948 international tournament in New York. Although he had declined to participate in the world championship tournament earlier in the year and would retire from chess in a few years, in this tournament he showed he was still a very strong player.

The event took place at the Manhattan Chess Club from December 23rd, 1948 to January 2nd, 1949 and oddly enough, did not take days off for either Christmas or New Year's Day. The tournament was spontaneously organized by the Manhattan Chess Club when it was discovered that Fine, Gideon Stahlberg, Max Euwe, and Miguel Najdorf would all be in New York in December of 1948. They quickly organized the event and managed to raise $5800 in prize money.

Because of his schedule Stahlberg could not manage to play and Samuel Reshevsky was not interested in playing. Herman Pilnik found out about the tournament from Najdorf and notified the organizers that he would play if invited.

The players were given $250 for expenses and the prize money was: 1st place-$1000, 2nd place-$750, 3rd place-$500, and 4th place-$250.

Two of the favorites met in the first round when Fine defeated Euwe.  Euwe made a risky P-sacrifice in the early middlegame, but when Fine didn’t follow up correctly an even Q and double R ending ensued. Eventually, after the exchange on a pair of R’s, a Q&R ending was reached and Euwe mistakenly traded Q’s into a lost R ending.

First place was decided in round 7 when Fine defeated Najdorf. Najdorf played his variation of the Sicilian and the following position was reached. Najdorf took the c-Pawn evidently believing his R would control the c-file giving him a satisfactory game. As it turned out White traded his a1R for Black’s c8R then slid his other R over to the c-file and it was all over.

1 comment:

  1. Reuben Fine, probably one of the top three players in the world just before the war, somehow managed to fall into the memory hole and become a kind of forgotten man. In Kasparov's "My Great Predecessors," you could almost feel Gary's surprise when he realized how strong Fine had been at his peak