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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

US Champ Leaves for Moscow

S.S. Paris
     Back on October 17, 1925, which was a Saturday, Frank Marshall, then the US Champion, was the last of three players from the Western Hemisphere to depart for the international tournament in Moscow that was due to begin on November 5 when he set sail aboard the S.S. Paris of the French Line. For the interesting history of this ship see the Wikipedia article HERE
     Members of Marshall's family and of the Marshall Chess Club were on hand at the pier to bid him farewell. Upon landing, he was to proceed to Paris and obtain his Russian passport from the Plenipotentiary Mission which represented the USSR in Paris. From there, by way of Berlin and Warsaw, he would go to Moscow. 
     In the letter which accompanied his invitation, the chairman of the tournament committee had stated that Marshall was one of the most desired masters they hoped would attend. US players were happy to see Marshall accept his invitation because this tournament promised to be one of the strongest ever. 
     As for Marshal, he had shown that he had regained his pre-World War One form when he finished fourth at New York 1924 then shared fifth and sixth with Tartakower at Baden-Baden, 1925 and then shared third and fourth places with Carlos Torre at Marienbad, also in 1925. 
     Torre preceded Marshall to Moscow a few days earlier having sailed on the S.S. Lithuania for Danzig while Capablanca had left on Wednesday morning on the S.S. Mauretania. It was expected that between the three of them a large share of the prize fund would be brought back to the Western Hemisphere. 
     The tournament was organized by Nikolai Krylenko and was the world's first state-sponsored chess tournament.
     Krylenko (May 2, 1885 – July 29, 1938) was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet politician who served in a variety of posts in the Soviet legal system, rising to become People's Commissar for Justice and Prosecutor General of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. 
     He was an exponent of the socialist legal theory that said political considerations, rather than criminal guilt or innocence, should guide the application of punishment. Although a participant in the Show Trials and political repression of the late 1920s and early 1930s, Krylenko was ultimately arrested himself during the Great Purge. Following interrogation and torture by the NKVD, Krylenko confessed to extensive involvement in wrecking and anti-Soviet agitation. He was sentenced to death by the Military Collegium of the Soviet Supreme Court in a trial lasting 20 minutes and executed immediately afterward.
     There were eleven foreign players and ten Soviet masters. World champion Capablanca and his predecessor Emanuel Lasker both participated and a race between them was expected, but Bogoljubow won a sensational victory. 
     The tournament aroused great interest among the Soviet citizens as hundreds of spectators followed the games in Hotel Metropol and ten of thousands watched demonstration boards downtown. Bogoljubow's win was regarded as a Soviet victory, but shortly after this in 1926 he left the Soviet Union and became a German citizen. Later Bogoljubow and Alekhine were called "renegades" in the USSR. Bogoljubov would never participate in another Soviet event. 
     The film Chess Fever used a number of scenes from the tournament, and even featured Capablanca. Watch Youtube video on this tournament HERE.

1) Bogoljubov 15.5 2) Lasker 14 3) Capablanca 13.5 4) Marshall 12.5 5-6) Tartakower and Torre 12 7-8) Reti and Romanovsky 11.5 9-10) Grünfeld and Ilyn-Zhenevsky 10.5 11) Bohatirchuk 10 12-14) Verlinsky, Spielmann and Rubinstein 9.5 15) Levenfish 9 16) Rabinovich 8.5 17) Yates 7 18-19) Saemisch and Gotthilf 6.5 20) Dus Chotimirsky 6 21) Zubarev 4.5

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