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.

Bibliography

Cree, Graeme, The U.S. Chess Championship (online)
http://members.aol.com/graemecree/chesschamps/us/

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)
https://www.schachversand.de/detail/buecher/1068.html

Hilbert, J. S. in Quarterly for Chess History (Volume 5) and Essays in American Chess History(Caissa Editions 2002)
http://uscfsales.com/item.asp?cID=33&PID=221