Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Last American Chess Congress

The 9th American Chess Congress at Lake Hopatcong was also the last. A decade later, Frank Marshall retired as U.S. Champion and the first invitational U.S. Championship was played in 1936, won by Sammy Reshevsky. Here is a run-down on the other American Chess Congresses:

1st American Chess Congress
New York, October 6-November 10, 1857
Paul Morphy
-Played in a series of knock-out matches where draws did not count.
-Morphy defeated Paulsen in the final match-up.

2nd American Chess Congress
Cleveland, December 4-15, 1871
Captain George H. Mackenzie
-First U.S. championship tournament after Morphy's retirement.
-Draws didn't count and were replayed.

3rd American Chess Congress
Chicago, July 7-16, 1874
Captain George H. Mackenzie
-Time control of 15 moves per hour.
-$100 first prize and $450 total prizes.

4th American Chess Congress
Philadelphia August 17-31, 1876
James Mason
-Concurrent with the World Exhibition and American Centennial
-Not considered the American championship.
-First tournament in the U.S. to attract foreign players.

5th American Chess Congress
New York, January 6-26, 1880
Captain George H. Mackenzie and Grundy tied
-First to have a tie and a playoff for the title.

6th American Chess Congress
New York, March 15-May 17, 1889
Mikhail Tchigorin and Max Weiss tied
-One of the strongest tournaments ever held in the U.S.
-Played as a World Championship qualifier.
-Tournament book by Wilhelm Steinitz among the best ever written.

7th American Chess Congress
St. Louis, October 1904
Frank James Marshall
-Followed upon Marshall's stunning victory at Cambridge Springs.

8th American Chess Congress
Atlantic City, 1921
David Janowsky
-Recently documented by John S. Hilbert.
-Marked the decline of U.S. champ Marshall who finished tied 5th-7th.

9th American Chess Congress
Lake Hopatcong, August 1923
Frank James Marshall and Abraham Kupchik
-The last "chess congress."
-Followed Marshall's defense of his title in a match with Ed. Lasker.


Cree, Graeme, The U.S. Chess Championship (online)

Soltis, Andy and Gene H. McCormick, The U.S. Chess Championship, 1845-1985 (McFarland 1986)

Steinitz, Wilhelm. The 6th American Chess Congress (Georg Olms Editions 1982)

The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th American Chess Congress (Georg Olms Editions 1982)

Hilbert, J. S. in Quarterly for Chess History (Volume 5) and Essays in American Chess History(Caissa Editions 2002)

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