Tuesday, February 2, 2016
1955 Chess Life...all 12 issues
I discovered this fascinating download of all 12 issues of Chess Life magazine consisting of 204 pages in pdf format at Simard Artizan Farm. The magazine can be downloaded from the site HERE. Be aware that it will take some time to download the entire package as it's 509,465 kb, but it's worth it!
In those days, if my memory is correct, it was printed on newsprint and came out every two weeks. Each issue was chocked full of local news, national and international news, games plus the regular columns. Personally, I like this format far better than the slick monthly they put out today.
The Spring 1955 rating list (page 68) listed Masters Emeritus the following players: Jacob Bernstein, Roy T. Black, Adolph Fink, Herman Hahlbohm, Hermann Helms, Lewis J. Isaacs, Charles S. Jacobs, Abraham Kupchik, Edward Lasker, W.R. Lovegrove, Frank Perkins, Harold M. Phillips, William Ruth, Morris Shapiro and I.S. Turover,
Grandmaster (over 2700) – Samuel Reshevsky (2766)
Senior Masters (2500-2699) – Arthur Bisguier (2587), Donald Byrne (2587), Robert Byrne (2621), Larry Evans (2629) and Herman Steiner (2507)
There were 36 masters (2300-2499). Some of the best known names were: Hans Berliner (2300), Arthur Dake (2400), I.A. Horowitz (2394), William Lombardy (2302), Edmar Mednis (2350) and Nicholas Rossolimo (2462) and Norman T. Whitaker (2313).
Whitaker deserves special mention because there was a note stating he was included because his rating was earned prior to his expulsion from the USCF and adding that his name would not appear on any future rating lists.
What Nefarious Norman did to warrant such an action was not specified, but I suspect it involved the cantankerous and difficult to deal with Dickensian character Montgomery Major who was the editor at the time. His fights during the middle 1950s included an ongoing heated and uncompromising battle with Whitaker.
Major was strong willed and opinionated and had a knack for making enemies as well as friends. For the first ten years Chess Life was largely his creation, but during his last few years with the newspaper his job was always in jeopardy.
Major’s associations with chess were mostly of an organizational nature, rather than as a player for such organizations as the Chicago City Chess League, the Illinois State Chess Association, one of the organizing directors of the American Chess Federation (a fore-runner of the U.S. Chess Federation) and the Correspondence Chess League of America where he managed to alienate a lot of people before being forced out. In addition to being the editor of Chess Life he also wrote columns under pseudonyms like “William Rojam,” which is Major spelled backwards.
In the January 5, 1956 issue he wrote a column slamming everybody who was trying influence policy decisions for the magazine in what he called a conspiracy to gag Chess Life and their “futile and clandestine attempt to replace the Editor with someone more subservient to their mandates.” Major was forced to resign at the end of 1956 because USCF members were sick of him and the bickering and infighting he was causing.