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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Eighth American Chess Congress 1921

      The Eighth American Chess Congress was held on the Young’s Million Dollar Pier from July 6 to 20, 1921 and included both OTB play and problem composing and solving.  As the American Cherss Bulletin stated, the congress did not bring to light another Paul Morphy but did develop another Sam Loyd in the person of Charles Promislo of Philadelphis who won just about everything.  Mrs. Natalie Nixdorf of New York City prevailed over two other ladies by winning both of her games and thereby capturing the Ladies Championship.
       This congress was important because it was here that it was decided a constitution for the United States Chess Association should be drafted and Walter Penn Shipley, John F. Berry and Herman Helms were elected to prepare and submit a new draft of the constitution.
       Before the start of the tournament Shipley gave an account of his recent trip to South America where he visited the western coast and Buenos Aires with a stop in Havana on his return where he met Capablanca.  As part of the opening festivities Vladimir Sournin rendered several operatic selections and Edward Torsch and John F. Berry, on behalf of the Baltimore Chess Association and the Boston Chess Club respectiveley, brought gold medals for presentation to Samuel Reshevsky (then spelled Rzeschewski) in recognition of his performances in those cities.  Reshevsky wasn’t there because he was on tour. The evening ended with Frank Janet speaking on “The Good Companions,” which was about the importance of chess in the philosophy of life.
       As for the main tournament, it was a great disapponitment for US players when the Champion, Frank Marshall failed to capture first place in the Masters Section.  It was won by the 53 year old veteran, David Janowsky of France.  Prior to the start of the tournament Janowsky had spent 10 days at the country estate of chess enthusiast in Eatontown, New Jersey, and former president of the Rice Chess Club.
      Players were welcomed by TD Herman Helms at 2:00 pm on July 6th and from then on until July 20, they played chess.  Samuel Factor of Chicago started off with great promise and after three rounds had 2.5.   M.D. Hago of New York City also did exceptionally well in the opening rounds and went undefeated until round 6. Marshall received his first setback in round four when he lost to Janowsky and suffered subsequent losses to Norman T. Whitaker of Washington DC in round 7 and Sydney T. Sharp of Philadelphia in round 8.
       Charles Jaffe, after losing to Marshall in the second round, was leading after seven rounds with a score of 6-1, but then he lost to Stash Mlotkowski of Los Angeles, Janowsky and Vladimir Sournin of Washington DC and former champion of the District of Columbia which destroyed his hopes of capturing a prize.
        Janowsky lost only one game, to Norman T. Whitaker in round 3, but was lucky to escape defeat in round 7 when E. S. Jackson of Philadelphias let him off the hook.  He was still a half point behind Jaffe when they met in round 9.  After his victory over Jaffe, Janowsky held the lead to the end.
       Prizes: Janowsky $500, Whitaker $300 Jaffe $200 Hago $100 and Factor, Marshall and Sournin split $50.  Janowsky’s prize money was about the equaivalent of $6360 today. 


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