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Monday, February 12, 2024

The (Forgotten) Tampa Quad of 1917

Once upon a time, in February of 1917, a quadrangular tournament of, to use the American Chess Bulletin’s description, “of usual interest” was held in Tampa, Florida. The reason for the unusual interest was that Jackson W. Showalter, of Georgetown, Kentucky, who was the former United States champion was one of the competitors. 
    In spite of the term “unusual interest” being used by the American Chess Bulletin the magazine’s coverage was scant with only the standings and one game given. The games were contested on the cool and commodious roof garden of the Tampa Chess Club. 
    The tournament was won by Wilbur L. Moorman (January 9, 1859 – September 7, 19294, 75 years old) of Lynchburg, Virginia. He was a former Virginia state chess and checkers champion. 

    Moorman was a Lynchburg, Virginia tobacconist and one of the largest owners of real estate in that area. He came from a prominent family that was part of the Quaker community that originally settled in Lynchburg. He died while going over chess puzzles. 
  The favorite, Jackson W. Showalter (February 5, 1859 – February 5, 1935, 76 years old) held the US Championship on several occasions from the 1890s to 1909. 
    He was a regular participant in major international events from 1893 to 1904, scoring wins over World Champions Wilhelm Steinitz and Emanuel Lasker among other notables. However, in this tournament he was in poor form. 
 Judge Stephen Fitz-James Trub (June 28, 1857 – February 28, 1928m 70 years old) was for several years an attorney in Louisville, Kentucky. He died in a hospital in Fort Myers, Florida. 
     Trabue was born in Kentucky and attended the University of Virginia. For the last 20 years he lived in Florida, where he served as a judge in Charlotte county (located on Florida’s west coast between Sarasota and Fort Meyers). He started off well in this tournament, but fell off after the first lap.
    Nothing is known of Nestor Hernandez except that he was a a Cuban living in Tampa, Florida. 

A game that I liked (Fritz 17)

[Event "Quadrangular, Tampa, Florida"] [Site "?"] [Date "1917.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Wilbur L. Moorman"] [Black "Jackson W. Showalter"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D09"] [Annotator "Stockfish 16"] [PlyCount "41"] [EventDate "1917.??.??"] {D09: Albin Counter Gambit} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e5 {A rare response to the Queen's Gambit. In exchange for the sacrificed P black has a central wedge at d4 and gets some chances for an attack. Often white will try to return the P at an opportune moment to gain a positional advantage.} 3. dxe5 {The only other repkly worth considering is 3.e3} (3. e3 dxc4 4. Bxc4 exd4 5. exd4 Nf6 6. Nf3 { etc/}) 3... d4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. g3 Be6 6. Nbd2 Qd7 7. Bg2 Bb4 (7... f6 8. exf6 Nxf6 9. O-O Bh3 10. Nb3 O-O-O {White is slightly better. Gligoric,S (2575) -Ljubojevic,L (2615) Ljubljana 1975}) 8. O-O h6 {Rather pointless as Ng5 is not a threat. The problem is that black's position is already difficult and it's hard to suggest a really good plan.} (8... Nge7 9. Ne4 Ng6 10. Qc2 Bf5 11. Rd1 Ngxe5 12. Nxe5 Nxe5 13. c5 O-O-O {White is winning. Dworakowska,J (2316) -Grigoryan,M (2037) Heraklion GRE 2007}) (8... Bxd2 {seems best, but after} 9. Bxd2 Bxc4 10. Ng5 Bd5 11. Bh3 Qe7 12. Rc1 {White is better. Note that the r-Pawn is immune...} Nxe5 (12... Qxe5 13. Bf4 Qf6 14. e4 Be6 15. Bxe6 fxe6 16. Qb3 {White is winning.}) 13. e4 dxe3 14. Bxe3 c6 15. Re1 h6 16. Bd4 {is decisive.}) 9. Qb3 Rb8 {Black intends Q-side play with ...b5, but the plan turns out to be a very bad idea. More to the point was 9...Nge7 with the intention of ...O-O. Black's K in the center is going to be the main source of his problems.} 10. Rd1 b5 11. Nxd4 {Logical, but wrong.} (11. Ne4 {maintains a significant advantage after} bxc4 12. Qc2 Be7 (12... Nge7 13. a3 Ba5 14. Nc5 Qd5 15. Nxe6 fxe6 16. Nh4 {White's advantage should prove decisive.}) 13. a3 Rb5 14. Nc3 Rb8 15. Be3 Bc5 16. Na4 d3 17. exd3 Bxe3 18. fxe3 Nge7 19. Nc5 { with what should amount to a winning position.}) 11... Nxd4 12. Qxb4 Nxe2+ $2 ( 12... Nc2 {looks inviting, but after} 13. Qc5 Ne7 (13... Nxa1 14. Bc6) 14. Rb1 bxc4 15. b3 cxb3 16. axb3 Nd4 17. Bb2 Nxe2+ 18. Kh1 O-O 19. Nf1 Qe8 20. Rd2 { The stranded N is lost.}) (12... Ne7 {and Black has nothing to worry.} 13. Be4 Nxe2+ 14. Kh1 Bxc4 {with equal chances.}) 13. Kh1 Ne7 14. b3 a5 {An attempt to deflect the Q.} (14... O-O 15. Ba3 Nc6 16. Qc5 {White's advantage should prove decisive.}) 15. Qxa5 O-O (15... Nc6 {Black's attempts to snag the wayward Q fall short.} 16. Qa6 Nb4 17. Qa7 O-O (17... Nc6 18. Qc5) 18. Ba3 Nc6 19. Qe3 { The W has gotten away and the N is doomed.}) 16. Bb2 Nc6 17. Qa3 {Aiming for Qc5.} b4 18. Qa4 Ncd4 19. Qxd7 Bxd7 20. Bxd4 Nxd4 21. Ne4 {Black resigned. Material loss cannot be avoided.} (21. Ne4 Nc2 (21... c5 22. Nxc5) 22. Rac1 Bg4 23. f3) 1-0

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