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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Walter B. Suesman

     I was unable to find much information on this interesting master from a bygone era. Suesman was born in 1918 and passed away in 1985.  He played in major U.S. Tournaments in the late 1930's and throughout the 1940's and 50's and several of his games were quoted in books and books on opening theory. He was a regular at the old Providence Chess Club in Providence, Rhode Island, and wrote a chess column for the Providence Journal for several decades.  Suesman also authored a book, Chess Games and Chess Problems: a collection of forty games and fifty problems.
     In addition to chess, he built beautiful scale model wooden replicas of steamships, yachts and sailing sloops. These wooden models were built to such exactitude that he even took bits of wooden match boxes to fabricate authentic looking planking on the ships' decks. Most of his ship models were donated to the Providence Public library.
     In 1938 the second U.S. Championship featured Fine and Reshevsky both of whom by this time were seasoned international players. Also playing was Isaac Kashdan, his European exploits were in the past, but he had a virtual monopoly on America's strong players. In 1938 Kashdan won the Manhattan Chess Club tournament and had crushed Albert Simonson 4-0 in a match. Thus, Fine, Reshevsky and Kashdan were the favorites of the 1938 U.S. championship. Organizers rented the Radio City Auditorium in the new Rockefeller Center complex of midtown Manhattan. Spectators included Emanuel Lasker, 65-year-old John Barry, 76-year-old Albert Hodges and Frank Marshall, newsreel cameramen, reporters a lot of chess fans. The finalists were 10 seeded players plus seven, including 19-year-old Suesman, who qualified from preliminary events that had been plagued with several withdrawals and forfeited games. Besides Suesman, Fred Reinfeld, Anthony Santasiere, and 20-year-old George Shainswit were newcomers in the field.
     The tournament was won by Reshevsky a half point ahead of Fine; Suesman did not do well, finishing in last (17th) place with a score of +1 -13 =2. However, he must have derived some satisfaction from his lone win which came against the fifth place finisher, Isaac Kashdan.
     Suesman’s also competed in the 6th U.S. Championship in 1946. Reshevsky dominated this event with 14 wins, 4 draws and no loses. He was followed by Kashdan with 13.5-4.5 and Anthony Santasiere with 13-5. Suesman tied for places 13-16 with Weaver Adams, Attillio DiCamillo and Sid Rothman, scoring +4 -9 =5.  Suesman had the satisfaction of drawing with Arnold Denker and defeating Al Horowitz, both of whom tied for places 5-6.
     In the following game against Stark, Suesman’s play between moves 23 to 25 was brilliant; he played the only moves that kept his advantage. Unfortunately, the play of both sides deteriorated from that point, possibly because of time pressure, and came to an abrupt end when Stark overlooked a one mover.

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