American Chess Bulletin (Vol. 29, No. 6) July-August 1932
THE CALIFORNIA CHESS CONGRESS
"Favorites" once more came into their own when, after a fortnight's keen and almost unbroken struggle, the international tournament of the California Chess Congress, opened on August 15, was brought to a conclusion at the Hotel Maryland in Pasadena, Cal., on August 28, with Dr. Alexander Alekhine of Paris as the victor and Isaac I. Kashdan of New York as winner of the second Prize. Since his amazing triumph over the cream of European chess talent in the tournament at Bled in Czechoslovakia, last year, when he led the field by 5.5 points, every prize the world champion has reached out for has fallen into his lap: London, Berne and Pasadena. Neither at Bled nor London did he lose a game. Defeated he was, once each, at Berne and Pasadena, but victory came his way just the same.
Making a dash from Paris to Pasadena, Dr. Alekhine arrived in good time to be present at the formal opening of the first congress of that importance ever held on the Pacific coast. His participation, due to the enterprise of the wide-awake members of the committee, lent the gathering a significance, of course, which it could not otherwise have had. In which connection the fighting spirit of the champion and his burning zeal to be forever achieving is deserving of mention.
The final ranking of Kashdan was no surprise. It took him some time to attain his rightful place, but in the end he fought his way through the bunch of youngsters that challenged him for a spell. Kashdan lived up to the high reputation he has gained since his entry into the international field. The aforesaid youngsters had their day and some made the most of the glorious opportunity made possible by the sacrifices of a few; others did not.
While Paris and New York carried off the Lion's share of the honors and the material rewards that go along, our brothers in the West have every reason to congratulate themselves upon the showing of their representatives. Arthur W. Dake of Portland, Oregon, as well known in the East as in the West and something of a globe-trotter, more than justified his invitation to the fray. This he enjoyed to the limit to the end that he shared the third and fourth prizes with Samuel Reshevsky of Chicago and Herman Steiner of New York. Added to that, Dake was the only one who could win a game from Dr. Alekhine. The fact that this happened the day after the champion, in the ninth round, had placed himself safely beyond pursuit did not in the least mar the joy of the performance. Such a feat is bound to live in chess history. For one with the bright mind of a Reshevsky the one-time "child marvel" labored prodigiously. Five-hour sessions did not suffice to prevent adjournments in his first eight games!
Starting with a defeat, Herman Steiner played through the next five rounds, winning three and drawing two, but his finish was not so good. Similarly did Reshevsky wearied no doubt by extra sessions, lost ground toward the end. Harry Borochow of Los Angeles, who obtained his early training in the East, displayed consistent form and made a 50 per cent score.
Three New Yorkers, Jacob Bernstein, Rueben Fine and Fred Reinfeld, tied with Samuel Factor of Chicago for seventh place. Bernstein, who has been State champion four times, required time in which to find himself. This he finally did but lost three games in doing so. Thereafter, in eight rounds, he did not lose again.
In contrast to that record Factor dropped three points in succession at the last and spoiled a promising chance of being placed very high. Reuben Fine, the new Western champion who outranked Reshevsky at Minneapolis, did not come up to expectations, but made his presence felt, nevertheless. The same applies to Fred Reinfeld, who began with a rush and also made a strong finish.
Capt. J.J. Araiza, whose European experience made him a contender to be reckoned with, was not at his best, even though he gave Dr. Alekhine a bit of a fright. His showing in the last three rounds, including a defeat of Dake, was wholly satisfactory.
A.J. Fink of San Francisco, noted problem composer, brought up the rear. He gathered 1.5 points in the semi-final and final rounds, which was as much as came his way in the first nine. The thought that he was in strong company will comfort him.
The Chess Reporter, in its "International Chess Congress Number," issued after eights rounds had been played, contains two group photographs. The first shows a lineup of the players with Dr. Alekhine seated in the foreground; the second, the executives and honor guests, "dolled up to face the Pasadena Star News and Post camera." The party included Henry MacMahon, secretary; chairman E.O. Nay of Pasadena officialdom; Col. Carlos W. Huntington of Governor Rolph's staff; G.S. Patterson, president of the congress committee; and Alex V. Taylor, tournament director.
"Among the pleasant daytime recreation features," says The Reporter, "have been the Huntington Library and Pasadena sightseeing, a Wednesday party at the Breakfast Club, and Joseph Lippman's delightful afternoon reception and luncheon, August 22, at the Santa Monica canyon's rim. The Congress opened August 15 with a noon 'spead' and speeches at the Maryland, and the Alekhine-Kashdan-Dake Goodyear airship 'chess ride'."
The chess ride, it appears, consisted of a hasty game aloft between Kashdan and Dake, which resulted in a draw, the moves being broadcasted by Dr. Alekhine with appropriate comments. Nothing slow about our friends beyond the Rockies! As some one has casually remarked: It's California.
The Reporter, which speaks of "that well-forged robot of safety, the Colle system." Further says: "We liken our congress to a camp meeting, an encampment, a convention or even a teachers' institute. Sometimes the thought flashes across our more or less moronic processes that Dr. Alekhine's the Professor and the eleven other masters are his pupils. It hit us with especial force to-night when the Doctor demonstrated the folly of Fink's fantasy re Ponziani and defeated him in 14 moves! 'Believed beforehand that I was getting him into a strange variation,' said our colleague ruefully, 'but he knew more about the Ponziani than anybody'."
The Rev. H.E. Olman, Omaha, Nebr., won the minor tournament with a score of 8.5-1.5. In the women's class Miss Levieve Hines of Beverly Hills, made a score of 7-0 and was awarded first prize. The Mexicans won the team trophy by defeating California, 8.5-7.5.
Under the caption of "Chess Takes to the Air," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch commented upon Pasadena's novel "stunt" as follows: The managers of the Olympic games succeeded in making them the biggest, most glamorous and most thrilling of all the world's sport competitions. Any subsequent contest held in California for many moons thereafter must be pallid and intensely productive of ennui by comparison, it would seem. Particularly an International Chess Congress. But California is California. The State that harbors Hiram Johnson and Hollywood, William Gibbs McAdoo and Mabel Willebrandt, Aimee McPherson Hutton and the Southern California football team, could not possibly exhaust all its exploitive ingenuity on a mere world's greatest Olympics. So the first chess match was dramatized in true West Coast fashion. The Pacific champion and vAmerica's foremost masterv may have ruminated long over their pieces, but they rode aboard a blimp, grandly cruising high above the convention hotel. A move-by-move account of the engagement was flashed to earth by radio, and a huge chess board on the hotel wall showed the plays in magnified splendor. It was a bet the Olympic promoters overlooked, for they kept their competitors prosaically on or near the ground, or in the waters adjacent thereto. We shudder to think what a strain on weak hearts a baseball world series would be if embroidered in the artistic style of the Golden State.
Tour of Dr. Alekhine
After his latest success at Pasadena, Dr. Alexander Alekhine is enjoying a well-earned rest at Los Angeles and is planning to recross the American continent which, following his arrival from Europe, he covered in such great haste in order to be present in time for the opening of the California congress. A visit to Mexico is among the possibilities. He will then be ready for the trip which will place him within reach of such clubs as may desire his services for the purpose of exhibition play. Leaving the South-West the latter part of September, the champion will travel by easy stages in the general direction of New York, where he is due to arrive about October 10. For the return journey he will leave not later than November 1. These dates are subject to change in accordance with the itinerary to be drawn up. Clubs wishing to engage Dr. Alekhine can do so through the AMERICAN CHESS BULLETIN. Where necessary, because of time limitations, correspondence can be carried on by means of airmail or telegraph.
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