Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Third American Chess Congress (1874), two Chicago Newspapers. (Part Two)

When the congress resumed on Monday, July 13th, Elder's withdrawal from the tournament was announced, so only three games were contested, on the sixth day of play. One these being the conclusion of the adjourned first game between Congdon and Judd. It was during this game that an incident occured  that threatened the troubled tournament with a bad end.

"During the game an altercation arose between the players, in which Mr. Judd showed a temper which is ill-becoming so skilled a disciple of chess. His conduct was so at variance with good breeding and gentlemanly conduct that Gen. Congdon threatens to withdraw from the tournament unless the congress reprimands the party from St. Louis. The exact nature of the unfortunate occurrence is not known, as every one of the other gentleman players disclaimed all knowledge of it. It is said, however, that this not the first time that Mr. Judd has displayed an ungovernable temper. He should study this characteristic of his temperament, and at once checkmate it by a bold determined effort." 
Chicago Times; July 14, 1874 p.3  

The Tribune in its coverage of the days doing of the congress makes no mention of the incident; only reporting Judd won the game. Meanwhile,  Hosmer won his first game with Perrin. They began their second game, which was left unfinished at end of days play, to resumed the next day.

Elder's withdrawal adversely affected Bock, who had hoped that Elder could win or at least draw a game against Mackenzie and/or Hosmer. Bock playing in ill health, now considered withdrawing from the tournament himself.

Both paper printed Bock's win over Perrin, from the fifth day of the congress.

As the tournament limped toward its conclusion, only two games were played on Tuesday, July 14th. The adjourned game between Hosmer and Perrin, which was won by Hosmer. Judd and Congdon played their second game, Judd  being the victor. Meanwhile, Frederick Bock considers his next step.

"...Mr. Bock remains undecided as to his course of action. If he should decline to continue the contest it is most probable that the first prize will be taken by the present champion of the United States, Capt. Mackenzie, of New York, and that H. Hosmer, of Chicago, will repeat triumph of 1871 and carry away second prize. The third prize will undoubtedly  be taken by Max Judd, of St. Louis...."
Chicago Daily Tribune; July 15, 1874 p.3

Neither newspaper offered coverage of the penultimate  day of the congress, so we will turn to the tournament book for coverage of the days events.

"On Wednesday, July 15th, Perrin lost one game to Judd, Bock two games to Mackenzie. Bock, who had been playing under many disadvantages, and unable from ill health to continue, resigned his game[s] with Hosmer...."
The Third American Chess Congress: Chicago 1874, p.22

The congress came to a close on Thursday, July 16th, last games were played, and later in the evening prizes were to be awarded. The results of the last games played, Congdon lost his two games to Hosmer, and resigned without contest his games with Mackenzie. Judd won the second game of his match with Perrin.

With the games done, there was now the matter of electing officers of for the, National Chess Association and the awarding of the prizes.

"The last meeting of the Congress was held yesterday evening in the chess-room of the Chicago Club, at which the first business was the election of officers for the ensuing year , which resulted as follows; James A. Congdon, of Philadelphia, President; W. W. Curran, Chicago, First Vice-President; D. M. Martinez, Texas, Second Vice-President; J. Roberts, Philadelphia, Secretary, J. G. Whiteman, Philadelphia, Treasure.
   On the motion of Gen. Congdon, it was then resolved that the next tournament be held in Philadelphia during the progress of the Centennial celebration.
   The Congress then on motion adjourned, and Mr. Curran, President of the Chicago Chess Club, took the chair, in order  to present the successful competitors the prizes which they had won. These consisted of the first prize of $225 to Capt. Mackenzie, and the second of $150 to Mr. Hosmer, the third prize of $75 have been given previously to Mr. Judd in order to enable him to reach home by an early train." 
Chicago Daily Tribune; July 17, 1874 p.3

So not even at the award ceremony were all the prize winners present, but even with illness, withdrawals and fits of temper, the congress came somewhat successful conclusion. We will give the last word, to the tournament book of the congress:

"Capt. McKenzie, on behalf of the visitors, tendered their acknowledgments of the many courtesies received during their visit, and the Congress adjourned sine die,"
The Third American Chess Congress: Chicago 1874  p,25

The Second, Third and Fourth American Chess Congress: Cleveland 1871, Chicago 1874, Philadelphia 1876..Edition Olms, Zurich, 1985.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Third American Chess Congress (1874), two Chicago Newspapers. (Part One)

Less than three years after the "Great Chicago Fire", which devastated a large part of the city, the Chicago Chess club decided to take  upon itself the task of hosting the Third American Chess Congress. A brief notice in the Chicago Tribune of May 9,noted  that at a meeting the prior evening the club resolved:

"That the Chicago club cordially favors the holding of a Chess Congress in Chicago during the coming summer and pledges a welcome to all visitors who may attend and its best efforts to render the meeting a success."
(Chicago Daily Tribune: 9 May 1874)

It was proposed to hold the Congress during the month of July, beginning the 7th and ending on the 20th or shortly thereafter, it was also hoped for that  a minor tournament and a problem tournament would be held in conjunction with the grand tournament.

The first meeting of the Congress took place on the afternoon of July 6th at 114 East Madison street, the Tribune reporting that day that;  "Nothing serious, however will be done until to-morrow, this afternoon being devoted to appointing committees, choosing partners and making other necessary arrangements."

The eight contestants were:
George Henry Mackenzie
Henry Hosmer 
Max Judd
Frederick Perrin
Frederick Bock
Frederick Elder
James Congdon
Hiram Kennicott

On July 7th, the Tribune continued its coverage, with a brief history of the two previous congresses, a listing of the players, the prizes, and the pairing for the next day, the first day of over the board combat. Mackenzie would face Judd, Hosmer would face Kennicott, it would be Bock against Elder, and Perrin against Congdon. The games would start at 9am and continue til 6pm, with a "suitable" break for dinner.

The Chicago Times began its coverage ,on July 8th, of the  first day of play of the tournament , reporting that:

"The Chicago Chess club, recognizing the pressing want of American chess and fully sensible of the fact that the holding of a great national meeting is the first and chief step to be taken to supply that want, have undertaken the management of a congress, which was successfully inaugurated yesterday evening, at their club rooms.... The number of first class players in attendance is not however, so great as was anticipated. The committee were confident that at least the players enter the list, but there are but eight present. The most prominent absent one is Galbaith[sic] of Mississippi."

"There were eight games indulged in yesterday, two of which are yet pending. Under the rules each player has to play two games with every contestant, consequently there will be in all 56 games before the congress is concluded.The games won yesterday were; Capt. Mackenzie of New York one from Max Judd, St. Louis; Hosmer of Chicago, two from Kennicott, of Dunston; Congdon of Philadelphia, one from Perrin, of New York, and Fred Bock, of Chicago, one from Elder, of Detroit. Capt. Mackenzie and Max Judd played one drawn game, which, but for an unfortunate oversight, would have resulted in favor of the western boy. Messrs. Congdon and Perrin have a game now pending, as have Messrs. Bock and Elder."

Both the Tribune and Times published Mackenzie's win with black over Judd. The Tribune in its coverage adding that;

" The games played thus far throw very little light on the result of the tournament, though it is conceded that Capt. Mackenzie will, doubtless, win the the first prize."
Chicago Daily Tribune; July 8, 1874 p.3

 The second day of play, seem to have drawn a larger crowd of on-lookers, then on the first day, as the Times reported in its July 9th issue, " times considerable excitement prevailed. Among the visitors were many of the better class of citizens, some of whom are chess-players of no mean skill."

As for the games themselves, Capt. Mackenzie won his two games with Kennicott. Bock and Elder resumed their adjourned game from the previous day, which resulted in a draw. Bock then played Congdon in the first game of their match, which also ended in a draw. Meantime Elder and Perrin contested their match each winning a game with the white pieces. Judd with black won his game with Hosmer. As the Times reported:

"This was a hard fought battle, the players being engaged no less than seven and a half hours. It was a stubbornly contested from beginning to end, but with his 57th move, the St. Louis gentleman so placed his pieces that the president of the Chicago club found himself checkmated."
Chicago Times; July 9, 1974 p.5

Despite the report of the Times, the Hosmer - Judd game did not end in a checkmate, but with Hosmer resigning after Judd's 56th move, the tournament book also has the game lasting 9 hours. The Times in its coverage printed the score of the drawn  Bock - Elder game.


The score of the Judd - Hosmer contest follows;

"Yesterday was the third day of the American Chess Congress, and from the heavy showers of the previous night the temperatures was found much pleasanter than on the first days, when the heat was extreme oppressive."
Chicago Daily Tribune; July 10, 1874 p.3 

Though, the third day was troubled by illness and the absence of Kennicott.. Mackenzie won both his games against Perrin. " In both contests the captain made a quick sharp fight, and almost before Mr. Perrin had got well settled in his chair he had lost the game."(a)

Hosmer and Judd played their second game, Hosmer with the black pieces winning. Bock won his game with Congdon in unusual circumstances. Elder who was to face Kennicott, but Kennicott being absent, Edler had to remain idle.

" The absence of Mr. Kennicott, of Dunston was greatly felt, and it is feared sickness kept him from the city. Early in the forenoon Mr. Bock and Gen. Congdon commenced a game; but the sudden sickness of the former necessitated its temporary postponement, after a few opening moves had been made. Later in the day, Mr. Bock felt better and resumed the contest, which he finally won, after a hard fought and skillfully conducted battle. Under the circumstances  [it] was a most creditable victory."
 Chicago Times; July 10, 1874 p.3

Both papers published the score of  the second Perrin - Congdon game.

" Yesterday the fourth day of the third American Chess Congress, and the events which characterized it were most certainly among the most interesting of the meeting thus far. The attendance was very large, and the room, was continually crowded with an eager and excited throng of gentleman, all canvassing the situations of the games, and frequently making far more noise than was at all agreeable to the players"
Chicago Daily Tribune: July 11, 1874 p.5

Though, not everyone in the city  found the ongoing Congress quite so interesting, as a short piece in the same day's Tribune on page six, makes clear.

"The excitement in the city this month is a Chess Congress. The fact is eloquent. It tells more forcibly than words can of the dull devil which has entered into and possessed the world of amusements."

 As for the games, themselves, Kennicott again failed to make an appearance, it was feared, he would withdraw from the congress.The game between, Bock and Judd , after five and a half hours of play, ended in a draw. Edler won the his first game with Gen. Congdon, they then commenced  their second game, which was at the end of the day's play, the result was still pending. Perrin with the nonappearance  of Kennicott had the bye. But, the what proved to be highlight of the day's play, were the two games to be played between Capt. Mackenzie and the "Chicago gentleman", Henry Hosmer.

"Several fine games were played in the tournament, the first one between Capt. Mackenzie of New York, champion of America, and Mr. Hosmer of this city being a most remarkable one. They had a hard fight of it for four hours, and the final result was in favor of the Chicago gentleman. It was by all odds the best game thus far played in the tournament."
Chicago Times; July 11, 1874 p.4 

 The Chicago Times printed the score of this game, the Chicago Tribune printed the score of their second game in which Capt. Mackenzie was the winner.

" The second game between these two gentlemen resulted in favor of the captain. Mr. Hosmer was quite tired out when the contest commenced , and it is no wonder that he made a slip, lost a piece he should of retained, and was finally compelled to resign."

Chicago Times; July 11, 1874 p.4

The Tribune began its report of the fifth day of the congress proceedings, with the news of the official withdrawal of Kennicott from the tournament.

 "Mr. Kennicott came into town and owning to the pressure of other business engagements he announced his withdrawal from the tournament. this action on his part made quite a change in the score, as the games heretofore won of him by Messrs. Mackenzie and Hosmer do not count for them, but are canceled, as Mr. Kennicott is considered out of the best players."
Chicago Daily Tribune: July 12, 1874 p.13 

 The days play began with resumption of Bock - Judd second game. Judd won after an unsound sacrifice by Bock. And then about noon,  Bock faced Perrin, Bock winning both games in short order. Congdon and Judd began the match but at the end of the day's play their first game was left unfinished, to resumed at a later date. Earlier in the day, Congdon and Elder finished their second game, which ended in Elders favor. Elder was then to face Capt. Mackenzie, but then, illness intervened. 

"During the day Mr. Elder of Detroit received news of the sudden illness of his wife. This unfitted him for play, and the game between him and Capt. Mackenzie was postponed till Monday." 
Chicago Times: July 12, 1874 p. 7 

Both newspapers printed Elder's win over Perrin, from the second day of the congress.

With the withdrawal of Kennicott, and the change of scores brought about by his withdrawal,  Frederick Bock found himself on top of leader board, though he had yet to play both Mackenzie and Hosmer.

The twelfth being a Sunday, it was an idle day for the Congress, play would resume early Monday morning.

(a) Chicago Times; July 10, 1874 p.3

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New McFarland catalog 2014-2015

I received the latest chess catalog from McFarland the other day in the mail, which as always promises much for the lover of chess history.

First off, there is a new biography of Capablanca, due out in the next couple months. And as previously posted on this blog, there is biography of Vera Menchik due out as well. W. H. K. Pollack is to be the subject of a biography from McFarland from the pen of Olimpiu M. Urcan, and John S. Hilbert  to be released later this year.

Set to be released in 2015 are new biographies of Ignaz Kolisch, and Samuel Lipschutz. I am heartened to see that most of these new releases are to be released in library binding, with only the Menchik biography to be released in softcover.

The latest chess catalog can be downloaded here.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Five more games from the twenty- seventh Western Chess Association Congress

I thought I might recover a few more games from the 27th Western Chess Association tournament, as I continue to go through the microfilm files of the Chicago Daily News. And I indeed did find five more games, from various rounds of the tournament.

 Described in the Chicago Daily News as "an exceptionally well played game with a nice ending." The first game recovered is between Orrin Frink Jr, and John Winter. Played in section B of the preliminary tournament of the Western Tournament.

The next game is from eighth round of the preliminary tournament in section B,  between R. Ballenger and L. H. Wight, the notes are by the American champion Frank J. Marshall.

Played in seventh round between John L. Brandner, of Chicago and Paul L. Bowers of Pittsburgh, in section A of the preliminary tournament of the Western Tournament.

Played in section B of the preliminary tournament of the Western Tournament.

  "William Widmeyer of South Dakota played the white side against Charles W. Phillips of Illinois who maneuvered the black spaces."
(Chicago Daily News: 22 October 1926)

Charles W. Phillips was the well known correspondence chess player, who be the subject of his own post in the future. Phillips was not only a over the board and correspondence player but also a problemist  of some note and I hope present some of his problems.

   "The following game was played in the fifth round of the western open championship tournament, which closed at the LaSalle hotel recently.
   Harry [sic] Steiner of New York City handled the white side against Irving Spero of Cleveland."
(Chicago Daily News: 11 October 1926)

There may be yet more games to recover.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Twenty-seventh Western Chess Association Tournament.

The twenty-seventh Western Chess Association Tournament took place in the Red room of Chicago's LaSalle Hotel, from August 21 to September 2, 1926. The Western tournament was held in conjunction with a Masters tournament in which a international group of players competed for $1,800 in prizes, but for the purposes of this post we'll leave the Masters tournament for an another day.

In the Western tournament twenty-two players would  compete,they were divided into A and B sections, with the  top qualifiers from the two sections, would then meet in a final,  for the title of Western Chess Association champion.

Section A - Irving Spero, Cleveland; Paul L. Bowers, Pittsburgh; John Paul Stoner, Goulds, Fla.; Joseph Daniels, Kansas City; Herman Steiner, New York; John L. Brandner, Chicago; Leon Stolzenberg, Detroit; Byron B. Price, Ripon Wis.; B. C. Jenkins, Logansport, Ind.; Charles Elison, Chicago; and Hermann Hahlbohm, Chicago. (Stoner would withdraw after three rounds).

Section B -Elias Gordon, Chicago; R. Ballenger, Kalamazoo, Mich.; John T. Beckner, Louisville, Ky.; Albert Margolis, Chicago; John N. Buck, Bramwell, W. Va.; Orrin Frink Jr., New York; L. H. Wight, Kansas City, Mo.; Robert S. Scrivener, Memphis; John Winter, Detroit; William Widmeyer, Rolla, N. D.; Charles W. Phillips, Chicago.

Before the commencement of the tournaments, the Western Chess Association elected new officers, electing an all Chicago slate of officers. Maurice S. Kuhns, chairman of the chess section of the Hamilton club was elected president; W. E. Sparrow, chairman of the chess section of the City club was elected vice-president; A. J. Quigley, president of the Chicago Chess and Checker club was elected secretary; Samuel D. Factor, ex-Western Chess Association champion, was named financial secretary-treasurer.

(Chicago Daily News; 21 August 1926)

Unfortunately, the Chicago Tribune no longer had a chess column, but thanks to chess column of Chicago Daily News we have some the games from the Western tournament, naturally most of the press coverage was devoted to the Masters tournament, in which among others; Frank Marshall, Carlos Torre, Geza Marcozy, and Edward Lasker competed.

The schedule for the Western tournament was a grueling one, on most days two rounds were played ( play commencing at 1p.m. and 7p.m.) and on those days when just one round was played, any adjourned games needed to completed as there were no free days during the tournament.

   "The results of the first two rounds are: Steiner beat Price and Jenkins, Daniels beat Jenkins, Brandner beat Price, Stolzenberg beat Brandner, Hahlbohn beat Stoner, Gordon beat Ballenger, Beckner beat Widmeyer, Margolis beat Winter, Frink beat Wight, Phillips beat Ballenger and Scrivener and Elison drew byes."
(Chicago Daily News:  23 August 1926)

On the third day of play Robert Scrivener, the Memphis player defeated L.H. Wight of Kansas City, Mo. in just ten moves.

   " In the western open two rounds were contested yesterday, the afternoon session resulting in victories for the first-named players, Spero - Stoner; Hahlbohm - Daniels; Steiner - Elison; Brandner - Jenkins; Stolzenberg - Price; Margolis - Phillips; Buck - Widmeyer; Scrivener -  Wight.
   In the night session the winners were Stolzenberg, Elison, Steiner, Spero, Bowers, Winter, Margolis and Beckner, who scored on Jenkins, Brandner, Hahlbohm, Daniels, Stoner, Wight, Gordon and Ballenger respectively."
(Chicago Daily News; 24 August 1926)

The results of the fifth round were Bowers beat Daniels, Hahlbolm beat Brandner, Margolis beat Ballenger, Wight beat Widmeyer, Stolzenberg beat Elison and Steiner beat Spero,  The game between Scrivener and Winter was adjourned at midnight.

   "In the Western open yesterday Bowers beat Jenkins, Stoner forfeited to Price, Stolzenberg beat Daniels, Steiner beat Brandner, Winter beat Ballenger, Beckner and Scrivener drew, Margolis beat Wight, Fring [sic] beat Buck."
(Chicago Daily News; 28 August 1926)

Herman Steiner who beats J.L Brandner in the game below, would end up with the best score of all the competitors of both sections of the preliminary tournament.


From the two sections seven players qualified for the finals, from section A; Herman Steiner ( 9 1/2 points), Leon Stolzenberg (8 pts), Hermann Hahlbohm and Irving Spero (both 7 pts.); and from section B the qualifying players were John T. Beckner (8 1/2 pts.), Albert Margolis (8 pts.)and Orrin Frinck Jr.(7 1/2 pts.).

In what proved to be the decisive game of the tournament Leon Stolzenberg with the black pieces bested Herman Steiner.

Leon Stolzenberg
circa 1957
Photo Michigan Chess: December 1974

  "Leon Stolzenberg who is ... playing under the colors of the Detroit Chess club, took a commanding lead in the open section when he defeated Herman Steiner of New York city in a brilliant game, sacrificing his queen."
( Chicago Daily News; 31 August 1926)

   "Leon Stolzenberg of Detroit won the western championship tournament by drawing his final game with H. Hahlbohm of Chicago. Stolzenberg succeeds [Abraham] Kupchik, titleholder for the past year. Herman Steiner, New York, won second prize and Albert C. Margolis, Chicago, third."
(Chicago Daily News; 3 September 1926)

In time both Steiner and Margolis would become Western Association Champions, in the case of Margolis it would happen at the very next western congress, held in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Jeremy Gaige
 Chess Tournament Crosstables- 1921 - 30 

   " Frank J. Marshall, the United States champion, to whom were submitted the games entered for the two special brilliancy prizes in the recent tournament for the championship of the Western Chess Association at Chicago has announced is award, according to Samuel D. Factor, secretary of the Western Chess Association. Charles W. Phillips of Chicago is the winner of the first: known as the Kalamazoo brilliancy prize and consisting of $25 in gold pieces presented by amateurs Kalamazoo Mich. this was for the game from L. H. White [sic] of Kansas City Mo.
    Herman Steiner of New York, or winning his game from Charles F. Elison of Chicago was declared the winner of the second prize of $10 offered by R. S. Goerlich of Bethlehem Pa.."
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle: 14 October 1926)

For more information on Leon Stolzenberg go to following link here and here. I hope to come across more games from this tournament, as I continue my research of Chicago Chess history.