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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

1940 Metropolitan Chess League Championship

    Started in 1923, at one time or another the Metropolitan Chess League was the stamping ground of nearly every American master.   Lineups for the clubs in these matches included a Who's Who of U.S. chess in the day: John W. Collins, Olaf T. Ulvestad, David Polland, Edward Lasker, Carl Pilnick, E.S. Jackson, Jr., Jack Soudakoff, Dr. Joseph Platz, Jack Moscowitz, Boris Blumin, Oscar Tenner, Arnold Denker, Albert Simonson, Isaac Kashdan, Abraham Kupchik, George Shainswit, Albert Pinkus, Milton Hanauer, Frank Marshall, Reuben Fine, Samuel Reshevsky, Anthony Santasiere, Matthew Green, K.O. Mott-Smith, Theodore Dunst and many others.
     In April 1940 the championship was decided in the last round when the Marshall and Manhattan clubs met. The Marshall club suffered from the absence of Edward Lasker who was on a business trip while Sidney Bernstein, Fred Reinfeld, Herbert Seidman and Olaf T. Ulvestad were all participating the the preliminaries for the U.S. Championship. The result was a lopsided defeat for Marshall, the defending champs, in their individual match. As a result of their victory in the match Manhattan regained the League Championship by a half point. The final team standings were: 1) Manhattan 2) Marshall 3) Bronx 4) Steinitz 5) Queens 6) West Side 7) City College 8) North Jersey 9) Empire City
     In the showdown Marshall led by a half point so Manhattan faced a must win situation to win in order to win the title while Marshall only need to draw. Manhattan won by a crushing margin. Of interest is the fact that on the Marshall club, the great players Marshall, Fine and Reshevsky were not on the top boards!

The final results with Manhattan players listed first were:
1) Denker drew with Hanauer
2) Simonson defeated Polland
3) Kashdan drew with Marshall
4) Moskowitz lost to Fine
5) Kupchik defeated Reshevsky
6) Nadell drew with Santasiere
7) Shainswit drew with Green
8) Platz defeated Kreymbirg
9) Pinkus defeated Smirka
10) Blumin lost to Mott-Smith
11) Willman defeated Hallman
12) L. Greene lost to Forsberg
13) Soudakoff drew with Collins
14) Tenner defeated Darby
15) Fuchs defeated Dunst
16) Halpern defeated E.B. Adams
17) Heitner defeated Battell
18) Dutka drew with Donovan
Total: Manhattan 12 - Marshall 6

     One of the more interesting games was K.O. Mott-Smith's win over Boris Blumin. Kenneth Mott-Smith (January 21, 1900 – February 13, 1983) was a graduate of Harvard Law School and is not to be confused with Geoffrey Mott-Smith who co-authored Point Count Chess with Horowitz. K.O. eventually ended up in Chicago where he was a member of the Evanston YMCA team in Chicago Industrial Chess League in the early 1960's.
     Boris Blumin (January 11, 1908) was a Canadian-American master who was born in Russia. He emigrated to Canada, where he won the Canadian Championship twice (1936 and 1937). His best results in U.S. was probably his 3rd place American Chess Federation Championship (later the U.S. Open Championship), Master Section 1938. Suffering from Alzheimers, he died at home in New Jersey on February 16, 1998.


  1. Enjoying your blog. Not sure if you take requests..... but I am interested in knowing more about the Euwe-Reti games that occurred in 1920 a four game match which two were double rook sacrifices by Reti to win the game. Was this an informal series of games ? Chess Lessons ? Inquiring Minds would like to know ! By my estimation, Euwe was around 21 years old. I am particularly fond of this games. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1041899: Thanks.

    Jim Takchess

  2. Always looking for ideas...it has been put on my To Do list.