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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

Friday, June 29, 2018

Revisiting Claude Bloodgood

     I recently read an interesting Murderpedia article on Claude Bloodgood. He has been described as both a nasty, scary guy, and also as gentle, even generous to others, depending on when you knew him. 
     In 1969, Bloodgood brutally killed his mother. He surprised her on the porch of her one-story home in the East Ocean View area of Nrofolk, Virginia, jumped her, beat her head in with a blunt object (some reports say he used a hammer, others say it was a screwdriver) then strangled her with his hands. Then, just to make sure she was dead, he then smothered her with a pillow. He then rolled her body inside a porch rug, drove 70 miles to New Kent County, and gently laid her corpse along a wooded road near West Point, Virginia, thoughtfully placing a pillow under her head. 
     At his trial in 1970, he spit in his lawyer's face in jail, threatened witnesses, lawyers and the judge. Of course he was convicted and sentenced to death, but his sentence was later reduced to life in prison. You can read the particulars on his death sentence appeal HERE and his denial of parole and minimum security status HERE and HERE
     When Bloodgood escaped prison in 1974 some of those he had threatened were scared. So scared that police offered round-the-clock protection to everyone he had threatened. 
     The former prosecutor who helped put Bloodgood away, Franklin A. Swartz, said, "He was an evil man...He forged his mother and father's checks. He stole. He was brutal to them. He abused them." 
     While in prison guards occasionally let him out to organize and play in tournaments. The one day in 1974 Bloodgood was being escorted by a prison guard to a tournament.  When they stopped by the guard's home, Bloodgood and another inmate who was also a convicted murderer overpowered the guard, cuffed him to a bed, stole his guns and fled to New York with their girlfriend. They were captured several weeks later. The resulting scandal brought down the state's prison bureaucracy. 
Powhatan Correctional Center

     Bloodgood was a pathological liar. He was born Klaus Frizzel Bluttgutt III on July 14, 1937, but claimed he was born in 1924 in order to make his story about being a Nazi spy during World War II believable. 
     He claimed to have played over 100 postal games with celebrities such as Humphrey Bogart, Charlie Chaplin, Gary Cooper, Marlene Dietrich, Albert Einstein, Clark Gable, Edward R. Murrow, and John Wayne. All fake, of course.
     Bloodgood was famous for pumping up his rating while in prison to the point that he was rated number two, at Elo 2700, in the US behind Gata Kamsky. It wasn't a case of fraud though. 
     At the time, players were complaining of rating deflation...everybody's rating was drifting downward. It was because there was such an influx of rapidly improving young players. The rating system was like a poker game where a player sits down at the table with no money and wins from those already in the game. In order to “fix” the problem, officials (who were not mathematicians) introduced bonus points, feedback points and fiddle points. You were awarded points just for entering a tournament and in some cases could even gain points with a minus score. Bloodgood warned the USCF what was happening and pumped up his rating by playing against fellow prisoners. The USCF hurled charges of rating fraud, erased his rating, kicked him out of the USCF and changed the system. In the process the chess program at the prison got destroyed.
     I also discovered an article published on page 36 in the August/September 1981 issue of Moves, the Magazine for War Games that bears Bloodgood's name.
     Bloodgood died in Powhatan Correctional Center of lung cancer on August 4, 2001. Attached is one of Bloodgood's legitimate OTB games from 1957. His real rating was probably 1900 to the low 2000's.    Murderpedia article

Thursday, June 28, 2018

That Was Weird

     This morning I did a post on the instructive game Fischer vs. Gadia from Mar del Plata, 1960 and after posting it, I checked it out and discovered that Blogger was no longer posting three columns; it was only posting one column with the two sidebars appearing at the bottom of the page. 
     After spending time off and on all day experimenting with various Blogger styles, etc. I finally discovered the problem...sort of. After deleting the post the three columns returned. Why, I have no idea. 
     In any case, I am not going to re-post the game, but instead refer you to GM Danny King's analysis of the game, which deals with N outposts, HERE. Another instructive game dealing with N outposts is Smyslov vs. Rudakowsky, USSR Championship 1945, which I did a post on HERE. Both games are instructive to play over.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Otto Blathy, an Extraordinary Man

     Otto Titusz Blathy (August 11, 1860 – September 26, 1939) was a Hungarian electrical engineer who was the co-inventor of the modern electric transformer, the tension regulator, the AC watt-hour meter, motor capacitor for the single-phase AC electric motor, the turbo generator and the high-efficiency turbo generator. 
     Born in Tata, Blathy was educated in Hungary and Vienna. He received his diploma of mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Vienna in 1882. Between 1881 and 1883 he worked at the machinery workshop of the Hungarian Railways. He began working at the Ganz factory as a mechanical engineer in 1883 and his activities tied him to the factory for the remainder of his life. 
     A remarkably talented man, Blathy quickly recognized problems and his intellect was characterized by an exceptionally long memory as well as a command of languages. 
     He was the first to outline the practical application of Ohm's law of magnetism. Attracted by the successes of Karoly Zipernowsky, he joined his team on 1 July 1883. 
     Blathy admitted he had learned nothing about electro-technics at the university, so he started to learn about the theory himself. Using the Maxwell equations he invented a practical approach of sizing magnetic coils. 
First high efficiency transformer
     His most important invention was the transformer, developed jointly with Zipernowsky and Deri in 1885. On Blathy's recommendation, the transformers were produced with a closed iron core. Their joint effort resulted in one of the most important electronic inventions of that period. He had more than one hundred patents, mostly relating to electric machinery. 
     From 1887 he experimented with alternating current generators connected in parallel, an arrangement which was implemented one year later at an Italian power station. It was a worldwide sensational event that he connected a thermal plant with a hydroelectric power station for the first time. 
     In 1889 he designed the kilowatt hour meter named after him. Many similar devices had been known, but only Blathy's proved reliable and in 1912, he even improved on his original model. The kilowatt hour meters used today operate on the same principle as his original invention. 
     Among other distinctions, Blathy was an honorary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences from 1927, held honorary PhD degrees from the Technical Universities of Budapest and Vienna. 
     Blathy's contributions were important because the development of the electrical industry was hindered by the fact that the dynamo could only supply electricity trouble-free only over short distances; over longer distances a large portion of electric energy got "lost" through overheated cables. Blathy was the first to investigate the heat dissipation problems of electric motors, and at that time the connection between current density and heat was determined. Electrical engineers of the period were aware that cheap transmission of electricity could only be achieved by increasing the voltage, but experiments with direct current constantly ended in failure. 
     Between 1884 and 1885 three of them, working at the Ganz factory, developed a new current distribution system based on the use of a transformer. Based on their invention, it became possible to provide economical and cheap lighting for industry and households. Even the name "transformer" was created by Blathy. He also invented the electric meter which was first introduced to the market in 1889. 
     Besides his scientific work, Bláthy is well known as an author of chess problems. He specialized in the field known as long-movers and grotesque problems. Grotesque problems feature a particularly unlikely initial position, especially one in which white has a very small number of pieces against a much larger number of black pieces; they are generally intended to be humorous. Most famous is probably his 292 move problem although it should be noted that the position is not legal. You can read about this problem HERE and HERE. Here is a problem he composed and placed on Christmas cards he sent out in 1938.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Salzburg and 1943 in Review

     On March 12, 1938, Austria was annexed to the Third Reich and ceased to exist as an independent country and there was an immediate undertaking to strip Jewish citizens of any assets they possessed. In 1938 the Nazis renamed Austria "Ostmark" until 1942, when it was again renamed and called Alpine and Danubian Gaue. 
     Though Austrians made up only 8 percent of the population of the Third Reich, some of the most prominent Nazis were native Austrians: Adolf Hitler, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Franz Stangl, and Odilo Globocnik. Over 13 percent of the SS and 40 percent of the staff at the Nazi extermination camps were Austrians. Vienna fell in April 1945, during the Soviet Vienna Offensive, just before the total collapse of the Third Reich. 
     The top wold news stories in 1943 were Churchill and Roosevelt held the Casablanca Conference and Italian dictator Mussolini was deposed and placed under arrest in July.  
     In 1943 in the United States the top songs were “Comin’ in on a Wing and a Prayer” by the Song Spinners and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Bing Crosby.
     World War II was beginning to turn in America’s favor as the Japanese and German expansion in the Pacific and Africa were stopped, then thrown back through such costly victories at Tarawa in the Pacific and defeat of the Afrika Corps in North Africa, followed by the Allied invasion of Sicily - then Italy. Millions were eligible for the draft and women were holding men’s jobs.

     Millions were eligible for the draft and women were holding men’s jobs. Copper was too valuable to use to make pennies, so it was the year of the steel penny. There was rent control and rationing which by now included canned goods, meat, fat, cheese, and shoes. Meat was rationed at 28 ounces per person per week and the government ordered minimum forty-eight hour work weeks at key defense industry plants. 

     Income tax! It had been tried during the Civil War, but only achieved constitutional legality with the passage of the 16th Amendment in 1913. Lower income people did not have to pay income tax at that time. However, World War II was costing an unimaginable amount of money and Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Treasury, advocated a pay-as-you-go format on more people so that money would constantly flow into the government coffers. So, on July 1, 1943, Congress passed the Current Tax Payment Act, placing a withholding tax on wages and salaries in order to allow workers to stay current with their tax liabilities and to provide continuous funding for the war effort. The withholding rate was 19 per cent on an annual income of $2000 (near $45,000 today) with up to 80 per cent on incomes over $200,000 (almost $3 million today). 
     Also in 1943 the Pentagon was completed and was the largest office building in the world. The Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882 and 1902 are repealed and opened the door for the immigration and naturalization of Chinese. In sports the New York Yankees routed the St. Louis Cardinals four games to one in the world series. The classic radio program Amos 'n' Andy was canceled after 15 years and more than 4,000 consecutive shows. In medicine Dr. Selman Waksman discoverd streptomycin and coined the term antibiotic. Doctors begin to use the pap test to detect cervical cancer. 
     In chess, Bobby Fischer was born on March 9, 1943. Also born in 1943 were Luben Spassov, Bernard Zuckerman, Włodzimierz Schmidt, Tim Krabbe, Gennadi Sosonko, Orestes Rodriguez Vargas, Helmut Pfleger, Lubomir Kavalek, Mark Tseitlin, Ricardo Calvo and Peter Lee, 1965 British Champion. 
     A whole bunch of players died, including Abram Rabinovich who starved to death in Moscow, Stasch Mlotkowski, a prominent US master who died in Gloucester City, New Jersey and Vladimirs Petrovs. Sources say he died as a political prisoner in a Soviet labor camp in Kotlas, Russia. When asked whatever happened to Petrovs, I heard Edmar Mednis' terse reply, “The Russians shot him.” Salo Landau died in a Nazi concentration camp in Graditz, Silesia (then Germany, now Poland) and Heinrich Wolf, an Austrian master, was murdered by the Nazis. 
     Mar del Plata was won by Miguel Najdorf followed by Gideon Stahlberg, Paul Michel, Hector Rossetto, Herman Pilnik. Alekhine finished ahead of Keres in Prague, Rio de Janeiro was won by Erich Eliskases and in Lviv, Ukraine a tournament was won by Stepan Popel and Myroslav Turiansky both of whom would eventually end up living in the United States where they became prominent masters in the Midwest. 
     A tournament in Zlin (Czechoslovakia) was won by Cenek Kottnauer followed by Jan Foltys, Ludek Pachman, Frantisek Zíta, Jaroslav Šajtar and others. Ventnor City won by Anthony Santasiere and George Shainswit. Syracuse, New York was the venue for the 44th US Open which was won by I.A. Horowitz ahead of Anthony Santasiere. 
     Paul Keres won at Madrid and There was also a small tournament in Salzburg. I posted on the tournament at Salzburg in 1942 HERE, but there was a second, and lesser known tournament, held in Salzburg the following year. The first tournament (a double round event) was dominated by Alekhine when he finished a one and a half points ahead of Keres, followed by Paul Schmidt, Klaus Junge, Bogoljubov and Stoltz. 
     For the 1943 tournament Gosta Stoltz had gone back to Sweden and Klaus Junge was tending to his military duties; they were replaced by the Czech player Jan Foltys and German the champion Ludwig Rellstab. 
     The tournament was held in Salzburg June 9-18, 1943. 

1-2) Alekhine and Keres 7.5-2.5 (both undefeated) 
3) Paul Schmidt 4.5-5.5 
4) Ewfim Bogoljubov 4.0-6.0 
5) Jan Foltys 3.5-6.5 
6) Ludwig Rellstab 3.0-7.0 

     In the following game Keres shows Bogoljubow the dangers inherent in leaving your King in the center. By the way, Chess24 has an excellent article on Keres during the war years. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Chess for Android

     AI Factory is the developer of many board game implementations for Android, including Chess, Go, Checkers, etc. and their ChessFree is one of the two chess programs I have installed on my Kindle. 
     The other one is DroidFish with the Stockfish engine. DroidFish is one of the strongest free programs available for android devises. Advantages of DroidFish (besides having the Stockfish engine) are the ability to setup a position and to run a computer analysis.  It has various playing modes: you can play against a computer, two people, engine vs. engine play and adjustable playing strength.  You can also load/save/annotate pgn games, use external opening books and do position analysis.  It has a wide variety of colors and themes and it offers book hints.  With a comprehensive settings menu and multiple engine support, it's more or less a serious program...not what you want to play against while while sitting around a hotel room, in the airport, etc. as I was last week.  For that you want Chess Free because it plays a challenging game and it's strength is probably somewhere under 1800. 

     At 5 minutes per game, I lost most of the time, but after bumping up the time limit to 10 minutes per game I was able to win most of the games. 
     The app includes a chess tutor, clocks, 12 playing levels and various features such as game preview and analysis. It is one of the most downloaded chess program on Android. 
     One thing I like about Chess Free is the 2 meg opening book which gives it a pretty wide variety of opening play and it goes to a decent depth. 
     It runs on the Treebeard engine by Jeff Rollason and Didzis Cirulis. According to the authors the engine has a complex Swapping Off Material Analyzer (SOMA) of the whole board, considers pins and ties to defend against captures, forks and even mate threats, guided by a probability-based tree search...whatever all that means. 
     I saved the games and downloaded them to my laptop and here is one of the more interesting games. When things got tactical both sides displayed a lack of tactical ability which is why this engine is probably a good one for those of us who are rating challenged to play against! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hastings 1954/55

1954 Miss England
     The Hastings Christmas Congress of 1954/5 had 152 players from 16 nations which was held at the Sun Lounge, St. Leonard's from December 29 to January 8. 
     The sections were the Premier, Premier Reserves (8 sections), Majors (4 sections), Second Class (2 sections) and Third Class. Robert Wade was the TD.
     The Major Section of the Premier Reserves was important because the winner received an invitation to the Premier event the following year. This year it was won by Istvan Bilek of Hungary. Bilek (August 11, 1932 – March 20, 2010) was to become a an IM in 1958 and a GM in 1962. He won the Hungarian championship in 1963, 1965, and 1970 and he played in interzonals in 1962 and 1964. Bilek played on the Hungarian team in nine Chess Olympiads (1958 through 1974). 
English ladies at a milk bar in 1954

     The US also had a representative, John A. Hudson (February 8, 1930 - October 9, 2012 due to complications from a stroke). Hudson grew up on the family farm in Clearfield County in western Pennsylvania where his father, a career naval officer, had retired. 
     Hudson attended South Philadelphia High School where he was an exceptionally gifted student and graduated early. While in high school he played the cello and began a life-long love of classical music. He went on to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Botany. 
     In 1951, following the outbreak of the Korean War, he enlisted in the Air Force, stayed in and retired after twenty years of service. During his Air Force days he was a navigator in the Air Rescue Service, and later in the Strategic Air Command as a B-47 navigator-bombardier. He was also a navigation-training instructor and served as the editor of The Navigator magazine. He retired from the Air Force in 1971, with the rank of Major. Hudson was stationed in many places during his Air Force career and continued to travel extensively after he left the service; his favorite places included England, Scotland and Key West, Fla., where he lived for several years. 
     By his twenties, he was ranked a National Master and had won several state and national tournaments. In 1956, he won the U.S. Amateur Championship (Bobby Fischer, making an early appearance on the national stage at age 13, placed 12th). Among other victories, he was Armed Forces Champion in 1960 (tied with Arthur Feuerstein), 1961 and 1970, and won the California State Open in 1965. He also served as an officer with the USCF. 
     Hudson was also a self-taught carpenter and electrician who frequently did home repairs and improvements for friends. He was also an avid reader who never met a book store he didn't like. 
     After retirement, his life-long love of literature and learning led him back to school to pursue a graduate degree in English literature at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also enjoyed the movies, especially Peter Sellers films, and he had an encyclopedic knowledge of movie trivia. 
     He spent his last days living in a hospice in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands, an archipelago that is part of the state of Washington and Vancouver Island, British Columbia. 
     At Hastings, Hudson finished tied for 7th-8th with Soultanbeieff of Belgium, scoring +2 4 =3. The game between D. Andric of Yugoslavia and Raaphy Persitz of Israel went to 147 moves before Andric prevailed. Both players tied for second with scores of 6.5-2.5. 
1954 British World Cup Soccer Team
     The Premier Reserves “A” was won by M. Vasiljevic of Yugoslavia. The US was also represented in that section by Arthur Spiller who was a long time California master and State Champion. Spiller scored +3 -5 =1 to tie for 7th-8th with J.W. McLeod of Scotland. 
     The Premier Reserves “ B” Section was won by Edith Keller, German Women's Champion with an impressive 7-1 score while the Premier Reserves “C” Section was won by Holland's Dr. G. Brokerhof with a score of 6.5-1.5. 
That's not Bobby Fischer; it's Roger Bannister
     Another American was Rhys W. Hays (May 16, 1926 – February 13, 1976, 49 years old) who was to become a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin tied for first with B. Goulding-Brown and G. Booth, both of England, with a score of 6-2 in the Premier Reserves Afternoon Section. In this section there was also an 88-year old player named D. Fawcett who finished fifth. 
Elvis did OK
     A simul was given by Soviet GM Viacheslav Ragozin who accompanied the Soviet players and prominent visitors were Sir George Thomas, Harry Golombek, and Heinrich Fraenkel (897 – 1986). 
     Fraenkel may not be familiar to chess players, but he was an author and Hollywood writer most notable for his biographies of Nazi war criminals published in the 1960s and 1970s. 
     Born in Lissa, Poland (then Province of Posen, Germany), into a Jewish family, emigrated from Nazi Germany and lived in Britain. Writing under the name Assiac, he wrote a popular chess column in the New Statesman for more than 400 issues and his book, The Delights of Chess, illustrated his enthusiasm for chess. 
     There was an ugly incident at this tournament. A London scandal sheet, the Daily Express, published an article condemning Keres and Smyslov for being unfriendly, particularly to the American players. Keres, especially, was singled out as being aloof and avoiding contact with everybody. 
     The Soviet delegation wrote an angry letter of protest, but some of the players in the premier event did not offer their endorsement because they felt it went too far in the other direction even though it was generally agreed that the Russian players were, in fact, quite friendly. 
     Paul Keres had not, as reported, acted uncharacteristically. He was sick and had to spend the first two days in bed with the flu. That resulted in his having to play two postponed games on an off day, Sunday, January 2nd. It didn't seem to affect his play as he drew (of course) with Smyslov and defeated Unzicker, who was suffering from a tooth ache during most of the tournament. 
     By round 5 Smyslov and Keres were leading with 4-1 scores. Smyslov had lost the return match for the world championship in May of 1954, but since then had played four major events, including the Amsterdam Olympiad, without losing a single game. 

     In round 6 Keres suffered a disaster against the unheralded Andrija Fuderer, who sacrificed his Queen to score a brilliant win. Keres fought back to share the lead again after round eight, with one game to go. Both Soviet players won their final round games to share first place. 
     The 7th place finish of British Champion C.H.O'D. Alexander was a disappointment because the previous year at Hastings he was undefeated and had shared first with David Bronstein. In that event, Alexander, as black, played the Dutch Defense and defeated Bronstein in 120 moves. 

1-2) Smyslov and Keres 7.0-2.0 
3-5) Fuderer, Pachman and Szabo 5.5-3.5 
6) Unzicker 5.0-4.0 
7) Alexander 4.5-4.5 
8) Donner 2.5-6.5 
9) Fairhurst 1.5-7.5 
10) Phillips 1.0-8.0 

     In the following game Pachman ends the game with an obvious, but, pleasing Q-sac against Fairhurst.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Kate Finn

     Catherine "Kate" Belinda Finn (born December 16, 1864 (?) in Cork, died March 8, 1932 in London) was the first British Women's Chess Champion in 1904 and defended her title in 1905. 
     She was the only daughter of Eugene Finn, MD and his wife Belinda. After the death of her father she lived together with her mother, who died in 1906, in well-off conditions in the London district of Kensington, an upscale area with stately Victorian buildings and embassies. 
     Later, she lived with a younger woman, Eileen Florence Hodson Moriarty (1880-1945). She learned the game of chess from her mother, who often accompanied her to tournaments. 
     Kate Finn was a founding member of the Ladies' Chess Club, which was launched in January 1895 in London. In the following months, the club members played several friendly matches against other clubs. Four members participated in a women's tournament organized during the Chess tournament at Hastings in 1895. It was won by Lady Edith Thomas, Finn finished fourth. 
     In 1897, Finn took part in the first international women's tournament, held in London and won by Mary Rudge. There were 32 entries for the tournament, from which 20 participants were selected. After eight rounds Finn's score was 3.5-4.5 and she withdrew owing to warm weather and the tight schedule of 19 rounds in 11 days was too exhausting for her. 
     In June 1900, Finn won the B tournament at the Annual Congress of the Kent Chess Association, in which four men and two women participated; she scored 4-1. In a simultaneous exhibition of 25 boards given by Isidor Gunsberg in December 1902, Finn was the only participant to defeat the master. 
     In 1903, Wiener Schachzeitung printed one of her games from a tournament in Plymouth which she lost to Wilfred Palmer in only 10 moves. This prompted the following remark by the editor: "This rapid defeat is likely to mislead some psychologists to regard the game as a valuable contribution to the popular chapter "Inferiority of Female Intelligence." On the other hand, it must be noted that Miss Finn is well acquainted with the intricacies of chess and has excelled on many previous occasions." 
     At the 1904 British Championship in Hastings she scored 10.5 -0.5 points and finished three points ahead of the runner-up. She received a cash prize of £ 10 and a gold medal. As a result, she was featured in an article in the British Chess Magazine which was the most comprehensive report to date about a female chess player in the magazine (see page 400). 
      In 1905 she defended her title with an undefeated score of 9.5-1.5. She skipped the 1906 tournament because of a serious illness of her mother. 
     In the women's tournament as part of the international tournament in Ostend 1907 she tied for first place with Grace Curling and apparently won a later tiebreak match with one win and two draws. 
     In 1911, Finn won another international women's tournament, organized by Theodor von Scheve in San Remo. The first prize was 1.000 francs. The games are not known. 
1) Kate Finn 7.0 
2) Selma Cotton 6.0 
3) Mrs J.D. Rentoul 5.0 
4) A. Smith-Cunninghame 
5) Mrs Charlotte Tiedge 
6) Mrs Pillans J. Stevenson 
7) Countess Maria Fossati 
8) Countess d’Arlay 

     In later years, her eyesight diminished and her overall health deteriorated. However, she played in team competitions for the Imperial Chess Club in the London League until 1931. Only a small handful of her games have survived. 
     For years she played top board for the original Ladies Chess Club, which then played in the “A” Division of the London League. Here she held her own with the leading London players. Latter, she joined the Imperial Chess Club where she was a regular. She did defeat Sir George Thomas in a tournament game in 1906. 
     One of her last known appearances was in a match played on board the Union Castle passenger liner Llangibby Castle moored in Royal Albert Dock in London in 1930. Mir Sultan Khan played on top board. 
     According to Edo historical ratings her highest rating was 2095 in 1905. Finn died of bronchial pneumonia on March 8, 1932. Her roommate was Eileen Florence Hodson Moriarty (1880-1945, Wales) and her estate was valued at £6000, a tidy sum in those days. This is the equivalent of about £300,000 today (about $395,000 in US dollars). 
     The following game was one of the only two of her games that I was able to locate. It was played in the 1905 Ladies' Championship and appeared in the Manchester Guardian. Her opponent's name was not given, perhaps to save embarrassment.