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Thursday, September 28, 2017

1921 Ohio Championship

Downtown Cleveland in 1921
    Twenty players gathered at the City Club of Cleveland from February 22-28, 1921. On October 27, 1912, The City Club of Cleveland was formed and incorporated by five men: H. Melvin Roberts, Walter L. Flory, Edward M. Baker, John A. Alburn, and Mayo Fesler. In May 1913, the City Club established its first home above Weber's restaurant, just off Public Square on the south side of Superior Avenue and City Hall, before moving into the City Club Building in 1983. Since 1912, the Club has served as one of the country's oldest, non-partisan, and continuously operating free speech forum and has hosted speakers such as Babe Ruth, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Shirley MacLaine, Eliot Ness, Rosa Parks, Robert F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, among thousands of others.

     The competitors in the knockout affair were I. Spero, E.E. Stearns, E.W. Christian, W.J. Huske, W.R. Mott, W.S. Kupfer, J.J. Hoornstra, L.W. Emery, E.N. Moore, E. Seaver, F.W. Ballard, W.L. Hughes, M.A. Goldsmith, J.B. Clough, G. King, A.D. Hillyar, D.L. Ordway and G.W. Hanna.
     In the semi-fianls Sterns defeated Huske 2-0 and Spero defeated Christian 2-1. The final match for the championship between Spero, the reigning Cleveland city champion, and Strearns was close. Their first game was a 78 move draw. Spero won the second in 74 moves while Stearns took the third game in 73 moves. The following game was the final game in the match for the state championship.
     Dr. Elliott E. Stearns, a Yale graduate, was born October 7, 1891 and died at the age of 77 on June 23, 1969. For many years Stearns was a prominent players from Cleveland. Stearns lost to Capablanca in a Cleveland exhibition in February 1922, but later that year had won a game against him in another. On a later occasion he lost another game to Capa.
     Irving Spero was born in Poland June 15, 1892, but I was unable to determine when he arrived in the US. At some point he moved to California because his name turns up in accounts of events at the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club in San Francisco as early as 1930. He was strong enough that in 1934 he gave a 10-board simultaneous exhibition at the Hollywood Chess Club and scored 9 wins and 1 loss. He died at the age of 63 on August 17, 1955.

1 comment:

  1. Stearns was the Ohio Champion in 1916 and 1917; Spero was the Ohio Champion in 1921, 1922, and 1926. The format to determine the state champion prior to 1945 was a series of matches.

    Stearns was the Ohio Champion once again in 1948, scoring 5.5 in a 6-round Swiss event in Columbus (32 players). He claimed the longest span of years between titles, a record later eclipsed by Jim Schroeder, who won in 1950 and 1985.