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Saturday, June 30, 2018

A Game From the 8th American Congress and a Bunch of Other Stuff

Vladimir Sournin
     The American Chess Congress was a series of chess tournaments held in the United States, a predecessor to the current US Championship. It had nine editions, the first played in 1857 and the last in 1923. I posted on this event in detail a few years back, but recently came across the following interesting game between Stasch Mlotkowski and Samuel Factor from that event. 
     Factor (September 22, 1883 - January 11, 1949, Chicago) was born in Lodz, Poland and during World War I was one of the strongest players in the city. In 1920 he emigrated to Holland and from there to the United States. 
     Towards the end of 1919, he drew a mini-match with Richard Reti in Rotterdam in which they both scored one win. In March 1920, he tied for 2nd-3rd with Abraham Speijer, behind Akiba Rubinstein, in Rotterdam. 
     By 1921 he had emigrated to the United States and settled in Chicago. During his lifetime he was a prominent player in the Midwest. In 1928, Factor represented USA at third board (+4 –2 =5) in the 2nd Chess Olympiad in The Hague. 
     Factor was also an organizer who helped in the development of the original Western Chess Association, was one of the organizers of the National Chess Federation and later of the American Chess Federation. 
     Factor was a nephew of Max Factor; his father Daniel was a brother of Max. Maksymilian Faktorowicz (September 15, 1872 – August 30, 1938) was a Polish-Jewish businessman, entrepreneur and inventor who founded the cosmetics giant Max Factor and Company which largely developed the modern cosmetics industry. He is also known for doing makeovers for Hollywood stars and giving them their signature looks; Jean Harlow's platinum hair, Clara Bow's bob, Lucille Ball's false lashes and red curls, and Joan Crawford's overdrawn lips.  Clara Bow has an interesting history in Hollywood.
Clara Bow

     Max's mother died in 1874 and his father, a grocer, rabbi or textile mill worker (depending upon the source), could not afford a formal education for his four children, so by the age of eight Max was working as an assistant to a dentist and pharmacist. At the age of nine he was apprenticed to a wig maker and cosmetician in Łodz. That enabled him to gain a position at a leading hairstylist and cosmetics creator in Berlin. 
     By the age of fourteen, he was working for a Moscow wig maker and cosmetician to the Imperial Russian Grand Opera. He completed his compulsory service in the Imperial Russian Army from the age of 18 to 22 where he served in the Hospital Corps. After discharge, he opened his own shop selling hand-made rouges, creams, fragrances, and wigs. 
     He became well-known when a traveling theatrical troupe wore Factor's cosmetics to perform for Russian nobility who appointed him the official cosmetics expert for the royal family and the Imperial Russian Grand Opera. Having such a position had it disadvantages...he was closely watched. 
     He eventually married and had three children, but by 1904 there was increasing anti-Jewish persecution developing in Poland, so he and his wife decided to follow his brother and uncle to America. But, he couldn't just pack up and leave. With the assistance of a friend he arranged to take a rest cure at Karlovy Vary. After meeting up with his family they traveled in the steerage class on board the S.S. Moltke III and were processed at Ellis Island on February 25, 1904; he had $400 in his possession. That's actually a little over $10,000 purchasing power in today's dollars. He became a United States citizen in 1916.
     In 1902 Factor made a new start in St. Louis, Missouri. He sold his rouges and creams at the 1904 World's Fair, operating under the newly re-spelled name Max Factor. Unfortunately, his partner in the venture stole all of his stock and the profits. With assistance from his brother and uncle, Factor recovered and opened a barber's shop. 
     On March 17, 1906, his wife collapsed and died from a brain hemorrhage leaving him with now four children. He quickly remarried and had another child, but the marriage was short lived and ended in a prolonged court battle, as result of which Factor obtained custody of all of his children. On January 21, 1908, Factor married his neighbor Jennie Cook and the family moved to Los Angeles where he established a shop that provided made-to-order wigs and theatrical makeup to the film industry. 
     Founding Max Factor and Company in 1909, he soon became the West Coast distributor of two leading theatrical make-up manufacturers. He began experimenting with various compounds in an effort to develop a suitable make-up for the new film medium. By 1914 he had perfected the first cosmetic specifically created for motion picture use—a thinner greasepaint in cream form, packaged in a jar, and created in 12 precisely-graduated shades. Thus, Factor became the authority on cosmetics for film making and movie stars were eager to sample the flexible greasepaint, while producers sought Factor's human hair wigs. He allowed the wigs to be rented to the producers of old Westerns on the condition that his sons were given parts. The boys would watch the expensive wigs. 
     He began marketing cosmetics to the public during the 1920s. His selling point was that every girl could look like a movie star by using his cosmetics. At the start Factor personally applied his products to actors and actresses and developed a reputation for being able to customize makeup to present them in the best possible light on screen. Virtually all of the major movie actresses were regular customers and his name appeared on many movie credits, and Factor appeared in some cameos. 
     In 1938 Factor was traveling in Europe on business with his son when during a stopover in Paris he received a note demanding money in exchange for his life. An attempt was made by the police using a decoy to capture the extortionist but no one turned up at the agreed drop-off point to collect the money. Factor was so shaken by the threat that on the advice of a local doctor he returned to America, took to his bed. Factor died at the age of 65 in Beverly Hills in August of 1938. 
     Max Factor had six children. Amit Kochavi, an Israeli entrepreneur, is Max Factor's great-great-grandson. Andrew Luster is his great-grandson and heir to the Max Factor cosmetics fortune. In 2003 he was convicted of multiple sexual assaults using the date-rape drug GHB to render his victims unconscious. He was caught by a bounty hunter.  Max's half-brother John (October 8, 1892 – January 22, 1984) was a Prohibition-era gangster and con artist affiliated with the Chicago Mob. You can read all about them HERE
     The congress was won by Janowski who suffered one defeat at the hands of Whitaker, but Whitaker lost three games: Jaffe, Sournin and Turover. Marshall played poorly, losing to Janowski, Whitaker and Sharp. He drew with Hago, Factor, Turover and Mlotkowski. 
     When this tournament was played Marshall was in his forties and was semi-retired. He played not at all in 1919 and in 1920, at the age of 43, he played in a small tournament in Atlantic City, which he won. Mostly his play was limited to games in the Metropolitan Chess League where he met poor competition. 
     It wasn't until 1923 when Marshall, who had been US champ for 14 years, met serious competition when Edward Lasker challenged him to a match for the championship. Marshall barely managed to win by a score of 9.5-8.5. See my post How Edward Lasker Almost Won the US Championship
     Looking at the crosstable, you're probably dying to know who Vladimir Sournin was; I know I was! You can read about him HERE

1) David Janowski 8.5 
2) Norman T. Whitaker 8.0 
3) Charles Jaffe 7.0 
4) Martin D. Hago 6.5 
5-7) Samuel Factor, Frank Marshall and Vladimir Sournin 6.0 
8-9) Sydney T. Sharp and Isador S. Turover 5.5 
10) Stasch Mlotkowski 5.0 
11-12) J. B. Harvey and E.S,Jackson 1.0
 

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