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Thursday, July 25, 2013

1948 US Championship

7th US Championship; 1948
August 10 - 31
South Fallsburg, NY

 1. Steiner     x ½ 1 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1  15 - 4
 2. Kashdan     ½ x ½ ½ 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1  14½- 4½
 3. Kramer      0 ½ x 0 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1  13 - 6
 4. Ulvestad    1 ½ 1 x 1 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 1  13 - 6
 5. Hesse       0 0 1 0 x 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 1 1 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1  12 - 7
 6. Rubinow     0 1 0 0 0 x ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1  12 - 7
 7. Shainswit   ½ 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ x 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 1  12 - 7
 8. Adams       0 1 0 1 1 0 0 x 1 1 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1  11½- 7½
 9. Evans       0 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 x ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1  11½- 7½
10. Shipman     ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 ½ 0 ½ x ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 1  11½- 7½
11. Sandrin     ½ 0 0 1 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½ x ½ 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1  10½- 8½
12. Santasiere  ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 0 0 ½ x 1 ½ 1 1 ½ 1 1 1  10½- 8½
13. Poschel     0 0 0 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 x ½ 1 0 1 ½ 1 1   8 -11
14. Platz       0 ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 0 0 1 ½ ½ x 1 ½ ½ 1 0 0   7½-11½
15. Heitner     0 0 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 1 0 0 0 x 0 1 0 1 1   7 -12
16. Whitaker    ½ 0 0 ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 ½ 1 x 1 ½ 0 1   6 -13
17. Howard      0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 0 0 x 0 1 1   5½-13½
18. Almgren     0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 ½ 1 x 1 0   4 -15
19. Suraci      0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 x 1   3 -16
20. Janes       0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 x   2 -17

      The 1948 U.S. Championship held in South Fallsburg, New York, was an interesting event. It had one of the best prize funds to date even though the USCF was on the verge of bankruptcy. It was played under excellent conditions in a resort town that was isolated from spectators and the U.S. chess scene. It had a large (20 players), but weak field. Reuben fine a few weeks earlier had turned down his invitation to the world championship match and excused himself from this tournament because he was working towards a degree in psychology. Samuel Reshevsky was willing to play if he received a guaranteed fee. This was no surprise because he had been paid a fee in some of the previous tournaments. But for this tournament the organizers had put all the money into the prizes. They had also saved money by moving the event out of New York City and, also, made other budget cuts so, no fee for Reshevsky. Reshevsky announced he would not play and, acting like a snot, demanded his name taken off all advanced publicity concerning the tournament. The USCF then invited Olaf Ulvestad of Seattle as a last-minute replacement for Reshevsky and scheduled the first round. 
      But then the day before the tournament started Reshevsky announced he was willing to play without getting his fee. What were the organizers to do? They wanted Reshevsky to play, but Ulvestad was already in South Fallsburg; they couldn’t just tell him to go home. At the same time they would have had to find an extra hotel room for Reshevsky and make arrangements for an extra day or two with the over twenty hotels where the players and organizers were booked. Plus, they would have to convince the players to revise their schedules to accommodate Reshevsky. The organizers did the right thing and told Reshevsky to go pound salt.
      That left Isaac Kashdan as the favorite because not only were Fine and Reshevsky not playing, but neither were Denker, Dake, or Horowitz, and Kashdan was the only GM in the rather weak field.
      Kashdan started out well with an 8-1 score with Steiner right behind him at 7-2. Steiner, who had had some difficulty qualifying from the regional event held in Los Angeles, had justified Ulvestad's inclusion in the tournament by losing to him in the fifth round. Most everybody thought Steiner was a good, strong master but not talented enough to rate as one of the best in the U.S. Earlier in the year he had played a match with Fine and had gotten thumped 5-1.
      But in the tenth round Kashdan lost to Sol Rubinow. Rubinow, at the time was a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and later become better known as a bridge champion and well known in the field of biomathematics; he a dangerous, aggressive player. Rubinow’s win over Kashdan left Kashdan, Ulvestad and Steiner tied for first followed closely by George Kramer and another promising young player named Larry Evans.
      Steiner had been born in Austria-Hungary and had for many years competed with the best New York players but had long since left New York and had become a ‘chess celebrity’ Hollywood.
      Going into the last round, Steiner and Kashdan were tied at 14-4 while Kramer was at 12.5. Kramer had to play Kashdan in the last round while Steiner faced a minor master named Franklin S. Howard. However, Steiner was soon in trouble against Howard, but to his good fortune, Howard got nervous, played poorly and lost in 65 moves. The young George Kramer forced a perpetual against Kashdan leaving Steiner the new U.S. Champion.
      See my post on Dr. Platz HERE. I once lost a game to Dr. Paul Poschel whom I think was a college professor at the University of Michigan. I remember him as being very pleasant and having encouraging words about my play. Hermann Hesse was a strong master from Bethlehem, Pa. He finished 2nd in the U.S. Open in 1950 and he won an event limited to state champions in Yankton, South Dakota in 1958.

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