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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fine vs. Dake Match

Dake, Kashdan, Marshall, Horowitz and Steiner (1931)
     In 1933 Reuben Fine defeated Arthur Dake +4−2=3 in a match held in New York City at the Marshall Chess Club and the Manhattan Chess Club. I didn't know that. 
     In 1933 there was a question of supremacy that had been hanging in the balance for some time and in the Summer of 1933 the issue was settled. The rivalry existing between Reuben Fine and Arthur Dake, both members of the victorious U.S. team at Folkestone, culminated when friends and admirers of these two promising young players arranged a ten game match. Fine prevailed by scoring +4 -2 =3. 
     At the 1933 Folkestone Olympics the U.S. team, consisting of Isaac Kashdan, Frank Marshall, Reuben Fine, Arthur Dake and Albert C. Simonson, dominated and they scored a brilliant victory. Samuel Reshevsky wasn't on the team because he had given up most competitive chess for seven years from 1924 to 1931 to complete his secondary education and at the time was attending the University of Chicago. He graduated in 1934 with a degree in accounting. 
     Isaac Kashdan's heyday was between 1928 and 1934 when he and Salo Flohr were widely regarded as contenders for Alekhine's crown. From 1928 Kashdan had been regarded as the best player in the U.S., but Frank Marshall, who was in the twilight of his career, was attached to his U.S. championship title and in spite of Kahdan's bargaining and haggling, refused to give him a shot at the title. Marshall voluntarily surrendered his title in 1936, but by then Fine and Reshevsky had surpassed Kashdan. 
     Albert "Buddy" Simonson was one of the strongest American players of the 1930s, but he had a limited playing career and was by no means in the same league as the others. Arthur Dake's first tournament was the 1930 New York State Championship in which he finished third. The Great Depression years saw unparalleled U.S. dominance of world chess competition. But during the depression Dake and his wife had moved back to Portland, Oregon where he had a career with the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles for more than 30 years. Dake played little serious competitive chess for 37 years dating from the 1938 U.S. Championship until he unexpectedly showed up to play in Lone Pine in 1975. 
     Regarding the Fine vs. Dake match, Fine's backers expected the City College star who had captured the Marshall Chess Club championship, the Western Association championship and first prize in the trial candidate's tournament for places on the Folkstone team to win. Dake, who was a dangerous opponent in tournament play, did not have the steadiness for such a match. Over a year before he had rushed through a brief two-game match with Fine, whom he had offered draw odds (!), and had gotten away with it; Fine had lost both games. But that "match" hadn't been taken seriously. 
     Subsequently Dake took on I.A. Horowitz in a match which was won by Horowitz +4 -0 =4. As accomplished as Fine and Horowitz were, it was considered that Dake was not greatly inferior to them. Hermann Helms thought that all Dake needed was a mentor.  In the match Dake started well and after five games was leading by a score of 3-2, but after that his play fell apart.

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