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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Margaret Gorman

     Over the Labor Day weekend (a US holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September) in 1921, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, some businessmen of the city organized a small beauty contest in which seven cities of the Northeast US participated and each city sent a “beauty maid” to represent the city in the contest. This contest took place September 7-8. 
     The winner was sixteen year-old Margaret Gorman, who represented Washington, D.C. Her prize was a golden mermaid statue and the title of Miss America. 
     Margaret Gorman (August 18, 1905 – October 1, 1995) was the first Miss America. She was a junior at Western High School in Washington, D.C. when her photo was entered into a popularity contest run by the Washington Herald and she was chosen as "Miss District of Columbia" in 1921 at age 16 on account of her athletic ability, past accomplishments, and outgoing personality. As a result, she was invited to join the Second Annual Atlantic City Pageant held on September 8, 1921, as an honored guest. 

     Once there she was invited to join a new event: the Inter-City Beauty Contest. She won the titles "Inter-City Beauty, Amateur" and "The Most Beautiful Bathing Girl in America" after competing in the Bather's Revue. She won the grand prize, the Golden Mermaid trophy and was crowned Miss America. Gorman later said she never cared to be Miss America and it wasn't her idea. She added, “I am so bored by it all. I really want to forget the whole thing." So she said, but I don't believe she meant it because she also competed in 1922, also in Atlantic City, where she was a crowd favorite, but finished runner up to Mary Katherine Campbell

     A few years later, Gorman married Victor Cahill and was happily married until he died in 1957. She lived all her life in Washington, D.C. where she became somewhat a socialite and enjoyed traveling. She died on October 1, 1995, age 90. 
     But, before the beauty contest there had been a chess tournament. Although Los Angeles, St. Paul, Memphis and even Toronto, Puerto Rico and even Cuba were heard from, it was decided to hold the Eighth American Chess Congress in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the Million Dollar Pier from July 6 to July 20, 1921. 
     Under the direction of the officers of the Good Companion Chess Problem Club provisions were made to cater to all classes of players. In addition to problem solving tournaments there was to be a banquet after the event. 
     During the solving tournament Charles Willing would be playing the Paul Morphy Waltz which had been composed by Morphy's niece, Mrs. Voitier of New Orleans. John F. Barry, president of the Boston Chess Club would be speaking and Walter Penn Shipley, president of the Franklin Chess Club, would be recounting his experiences during his visit to the home towns of Capablanca and other Latin American players and composers. Leonard B. Mayer would be giving a talk about chess in New York city and special guest was US Champion Frank Marshall. Problemist Alain C. White would also be in attendance and there would be speeches by other prominent officials. In addition, there would be discussions about forming a US Chess Association and affiliation with the International Chess Federation which was soon due to be formed. 
     The problem solving tournament consisted of 12 two-movers with a two hour time limit in which to solve them. In addition to trophies and book, prizes were $60, $36, $24 and $12 along with six honorable mentions and $6. Also, photographs that would appear in several chess magazines would be taken. 
     The various tournaments were: Open Masters (first prize not less that $100), First Class Amateur, Minor A, Minor B, Minor C, Women's, problem solving, problem composition and a simultaneous exhibition. 
     Among the recognized master who were expected to take part were Frank Marshall and Davis Janowsky and it was hoped that little Sammy Rzeschewski would participate. 
     In the area of problems a fellow named Charles Promislo (1898-1983) was said to have very nearly solved everything before him and he was called a second Sam Loyd. Promislo of Philadelphia was a problem wizard and member of the Good Companion Chess Club. His first problem was published in 1913. 
     In the problem solving competition he carried of first prize by solving 12 problems in 32 minutes to finish ahead of John F. Berry who took 47 minutes and I.S. Turover who took 58 minutes. 
     Born in Kiev, Russia on April 25, 1898, he and his mother came to the US when he was three years old. After graduating from from college as a pharmacist he owned a pharmacy in the Germantown area of Philadelphia. 
     The amateur tournament was won by Charles Norwood of Boston when he defeated J.H. Adams of Baltimore in a playoff after they both had skunked the other eight players and drew with each other. 
     In the main event Samuel Factor of Chicago started off with great promise by scoring 2.5 points in the first three rounds, but then he faded. Charles Jaffe was leading up to the 8th round despite having lost to Marshall in round 2. But then he lost to Stasch Mlotkowsk, Janowsky and Vladimir Sournin all in a row and was out of the running. 
     Another player off to a promising start was the relatively obscure M.D. Hago of New York who was undefeated until the sixth round. Frank Marshall, one of the favorites, lost to Janowsky in the 4th round and then to Norman T. Whitaker and Sydney Sharp in rounds 7 and 8 to finish with a disappointing plus 1 score.

1) David Janowsky 8.5 
2) Norman T. Whitaker 8.0 
3) Charles Jaffe 7.0 
4) M.D. Hago 6.5 
5-7) Samuel Factor, Frank Marshall and Vladimir Sournin 6.0 
8-9) Sydney Sharp and Isidor Turover 5.5 
10) Stasch Mlotkowski 5.0 
11-12) Captain John Harvey and Edward S. Jackson, Jr. 1.0 
    
     Captain John Harvey from Montreal, Quebec tied for 1st in the 1920 Canadian Championship and was Champion of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in 1913. During World War I, as a member of the Royal Air Force, he was shot down by the Germans and was a prisoner of war for 19 months.   In this event Capt. Harvey defeated Jackson in their individual game while Jackson scored his point by drawing with Sournin and Turover. 
     Janowsky's opponent in the following game is Sydney Thomas Sharp (June 17, 1885 – September 28, 1953). Sharp was Pennsylvania state champion 10 times: 1908, 1913, 1915, 1916, 1921, 1924, 1925, 1930, 1932 and 1937. He was a former president of the Mercantile Library Chess Association, former vice president of the Eastern Chess Federation and an officer of the Franklin Chess Club. He learned the game at age 15 from his father. The game is quite complicated and was a lot of fun to analyze. 
 

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