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Sunday, November 6, 2011

There is Nothing New Under the Sun

The fifth American Chess Congress (a double round event) was held in New York on January 6–26, 1880 and won by Mackenzie (he beat Grundy in a tiebreak match, 2–0).
Player
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Total
1
George H. Mackenzie
xx
10
½½
½1
11
11
11
11
13½
2
James Grundy
xx
½½
10
11
01
11
11
13½
3
Charles Moehle
01
½½
xx
10
11
11
11
11
13
4
Alexander Sellman
½½
01
xx
10
11
11
11
12½
5
Max Judd
½0
01
xx
½1
11
11
01
11
11
6
Eugene Delmar
00
00
01
½0
xx
11
11
½1
11
7
John Ryan
00
00
00
00
00
xx
11
01
11
8
Preston Ware
00
10
00
00
00
00
xx
½1
9
James A. Congdon
½0
00
00
00
10
½0
01
xx
00
10
Albert Cohnfeld
00
00
00
00
00
00
00
11
xx

The fight for first place turned out to be a close race and in the final round James Grundy was paired against Preston Ware.  According to Ware the following incident took place:
“I was walking down the Bowery with Mr. Grundy on Sunday, January 25th;  he remarked to me that he was poor and really needed the second prize;  that I had, in beating him, knocked him out of first prize;  that Mohle and Judd were well off and it would not make any difference to me if I played easily in our next game so as to give him second prize; and that he would be willing to give a consideration for it.  I said: “I suppose you mean for us to play for a draw.’  He said” ‘Yes.’ And I agreed to do it and $20 was agreed upon as the consideration.  We agreed to play on very slowly until the other games were terminated and to move back and forth to prolong the game.  At the adjournment I evidently had the best of the game, and he said at our lunch that he would delay coming in until about 8 o’clock, but that should start his clock, as he had plenty of time to spare.   But, instead, he came in soon after 7 o’clock, and when we began to play I moved back and forward as agreed, and after I had done so, perhaps three or four times, I observed he was making desperate efforts to win, and finally did so, perpetrating an infamous fraud upon me.”
The tournament book summed up the case as follows.  “Mr. Ware’s allegation, which implicated himself as particeps criminis in the undignified transaction, and consequently assumed the character of State’s evidence confession…was opposed by firm denial; and the case resolved itself into a question of veracity between two individuals, one of whom freely acknowledged a guilty participation in wrong doings which he charged upon the other, but which the defendant pronounced as a complete fabrication.  In the absence of any corroborative testimony on support of the charges adduced, the committee could not feel warranted in inflicting any penalty upon Mr. Grundy, who was given the benefit of a technical doubt, and a verdict of ‘not proven’ was entered by adoption of a resolution thet, ‘the charges were not sustained to the satisfaction of the committee.’”
My guess is that Ware didn’t get his $20 either.

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