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Friday, April 27, 2018

Minnie Makes A Mistake

      The other day while preparing the post on Folke Ekstrom I was looking through some of the history of the tournaments at Hastings and noticed that the 20th Hastings Chess Congress which was held from December 28, 1939 to January 4, 1940 was comprised of only eight British players. 
     World War II had begun a few months before and many European players were stranded in Buenos Aires after the Olympiad or else were unavailable. Even this congress had most of the strongest players missing. The finish was 1-Parr (6.0), 2-Ritson-Morry (5.5), 3-Golombek (5.0), 4-5-Kirk and Thomas (3.0), 6-7- Winser and Schenk (2.0) and 8- Mackenzie (1.5).
     Nowhere could I find information on any of the side events, but I did come across entertaining game Fenny Heemskerk vs. Minnie Musgrave given below. I have posted on Heemskerk before, but who was Minnie Musgrave? 
     Finding any information on the 1938 British Ladies Champion turned out to be quite difficult as little is known about her personal life. It appears her career lasted about 30 years and she is known to have played at Hastings in January 1919, when she was one of 21 players to take part in a simultaneous against Blackburne; she lost. 
     Then she shows up in 1924 when she played way down on board 47 for Sussex against Kent. From 1924 to 1927 she played for the Susses team on the lower boards, but by 1928 she started moving up. When she first started playing for the Hastings Chess Club it was also on the lower boards, but she soon moved up to board 10. 
     In 1925 she played a match against one of the strongest British lady players, losing 3.5 to 1.5 against Mrs. Agnes Stevenson. Poor Mrs. Stevenson died on 20 August 1935, when she was on her way to Warsaw to help the English players in the world ladies’ world championship. Mrs. Stevenson arrived at Posen by plane from Berlin on Tuesday, the 20th and went through customs. While hurrying back to the plane, she walked into the propeller which struck her on the head and killed her instantaneously. Her widower, Rufus Stevenson, married Vera Menchik a couple of years later. 
    During the 1920s Miss Musgrave played for the Hastings in club in team competition and her name appears in 1927 and 1928, when Hastings won the trophy. By the late 1930s Miss Musgrave's career peaked when she won the British Ladies' Championship at Brighton, mostly because Vera Menchik was playing in the men's event. 
     From the early 1930s she had been on the Hastings' club committee representing ladies' chess and after winning the championship was then named an honorary vice president of the Hastings club. At sometime during the 1930s she was married to British player Arthur Winser. 
     After the outbreak of World War II Miss Musgrave continued to be an active member of the Hastings Chess Club and in 1941, one of her games was published in the American Chess Bulletin
     It's not certain, but later during the war she appears to have moved away from Hastings. Refer to the post on Folke Ekstrom for the conditions in Hastings during the war. Her named popped up in a couple of newspapers in late 1946 where it was reported that she wanted to return to Hastings, but had been detained in Wales by work commitments. 
     By 1947 she was back to playing for the Sussex and Hastings club where she was the strongest lady player in Hastings. She also won the Sussex Ladies' Championship in 1951 and 1952 and shared the title in 1953 or 1954. After 1956, she seems to have disappeared from the chess scene. 
     She died at the end of 1968 at the age 88. 

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