History of the MI Chess Room

by IM John Donaldson

Before the Fire 1854-1906

Part One-The Early Years of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room

The Mechanics' Institute building houses the oldest chess club in the United States. It was organized in 1854 when San Francisco was a frontier community. The first meeting of the Mechanics' Institute was held on December 11, 1854 and The Institute was incorporated on April 24, 1855 and this is considered its founding date.

The early years of the Chess Room are not well documented but chess was played during the Gold Rush. The great Pierre Saint- Amant, one of the top players in the world in the 1840s, was French Consul in San Francisco from 1851-52. It appears he left the Bay Area before the founding of the Mechanics', so the honors for the first world class player to visit San Francisco go to Johann Zukertort who spent nearly a month in the City in July of 1884.

There are conflicting accounts of Zukertort's sojourn in San Francisco. The British Chess Magazine of 1884 (p.351) wrote the following about the world championship contender's tour of the United States:

..."From the Mormons' City he went to San Francisco, where he gave during July three blindfold exhibitions. On the first occasion he had seven opponents, defeating six and losing to one. The second time twelve declared war against him, but nine of them were vanquished, two only, Messrs. Redding and Welsh, being victorious, and the other game ending in a drawn battle. The third séance with eleven opponents was a complete triumph for the unseeing player, who defeated them all. His last contest at Frisco of which we have any account was a match of five games with Mr. Redding, , Mr. Zukertort backing himself at the odds of five to one every game, on the condition that his adversary took the first move in each game and played the Evans Gambit. The defending player proved successful in every partie, and thus won his bet."

A slightly different version of the visit to San Francisco is given in the October 1884 issue of The Chess Monthly, an English magazine edited by Zukertort and Leopold Hoffer:

"Zukertort arrived on the second of July in San Francisco, the centre and terminus of the western world. After a rest of a few days and a loyal observance of the fourth of July, the daily Chess contest began. Chess play is greatly cultivated in San Francisco and although the Golden City does not possess a Chess club, its amateurs have ample accommodation in a large hall of the Mechanics' Institute, also in a room at the Mercantile Library and at the Bohemian Club. Zukertort played at the Mechanics' Institute a great number of single games, even and at odds; the simultaneous contests were also held at the place, but the blindfold séance took place on the 8th at the Irving Hall, when the single player encountered twelve opponents, and after eight hours play won nine games, lost two and drew one. San Francisco, although up to now hardly known in Chess history, may boast of a very large number of fair players. The strongest of them is Mr. J. Redding, a young lawyer, who contested a little match on even terms, the condition being, Mr. Redding to have the first move and play five times the Evans Gambit, Zukertort to bet 25 to 5. The latter won five games, but especially in the first and second, it was a hard tussle. Next to Mr. Redding we must mention Mr. Heineman, who played a number of games with Staunton, Dr. Marshall, whose standard of play varies more than of any player we met, Mr. Jefferson, late champion of Tennessee, Mr. Selim Franklin, well known at the late Westminster Chess Club and at Simpson's Divan, and Mr. Critcher, a rising young player of great promise."

The two accounts leave one a little unclear as to exactly how many regular and blindfold simuls Zukertort actually gave in San Francisco during from July 2 to 25. The Chess Monthly has a footnote dealing with this issue: " Notwithstanding the different reports in American and English Chess columns and periodicals, Mr. Zukertort feels certain that he gave only one blindfold performance in San Francisco."

The following game has been preserved from Zukertort's 1884 visit. Two years later he lost a bitterly contested match for the World Championship with Wilhelm Steinitz and in 1888 he passed away at the age of 45.

Vienna Opening

Played at the Chess Room of the Mechanics' Institute, on July 21st, 1884

White: J.H. Zukertort Black: Selim Franklin

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 Nc6 4.fxe5 Nxe5 5.d4 Ng6 6.e5 Ng8 7.Nc3 d6 8.Bd3 dxe5 9.dxe5 Bc5 10.Bg5 Be7 11.Be3 Bg4 12.O-O Nxe5 13.Nxe5! Bxd1 14.Raxd1Bd6 15.Nxf7 Qe7 16.Bb5+ c6 17.Nxd6+ Qxd6 18.Rxd6 cxb5 19.Nxb5 Rc8 20.Bg5, and White won

Part Two - 1895 Cable Matches, San Francisco versus Victoria and Vancouver

In our ongoing look at the Mechanic's past we examine the cable matches the MI contested with two British Columbia cities in 1895. Many of you may be familiar with the pictures in the Chess Room showing a cable match in progess. That match was played against Los Angeles in the 1920s, not Vancouver or Victoria. A big thank you to Canadian chess historian Stephen Wright for permission to reprint the following article which appears on his website. Thanks also to Stephen Brandwein who dug up the San Francisco Chronicle articles at the SF Public Library.

A Tale of Three Cities: the 1895 Pacific Cable Matches

by Stephen Wright

San Francisco vs. Victoria The year was 1895.

The chess world was buzzing about the international cable match between the Manhattan Chess Club and a team in London, England, which took place on March 9. One interested observer was Mr. W. Christie, manager of the C.P.R. Telegraph Co. in Victoria, B.C. Deciding that this would be an excellent way to advertise his company, he offered the Victoria Chess Club free use of the telegraph for a match with San Francisco players. After negotiations an agreement was reached to play a two-game match, with a team of players in consultation on each board; the match subsequently took place on the night of 31 May - 1 June 1895.

The Players:

Foremost among the Victoria team were two Englishmen, Thomas H. Piper (1857-1938) and James R. Hunnex (1854-1938); their arrival from London in 1894 had led to an upswing in the fortunes of the Victoria Chess Club. Piper had once beaten the English champion Joseph Blackburne, and could fairly claim to be the strongest player on the West coast; in 1896 he defeated Joseph Babson, the former president of the Montr?al Chess Club, in a match by the score of 7-2. Hunnex played in a few events in 1895 but thereafter seems to have retired from competitive chess, although he was an honorary Vice-president of the B.C. Chess Federation in 1916. Three of the other Victoria players were from the same family: Peter J.A. Schwengers (1844?-1898) and his sons Conrad (1874-1954) and Bernhard (1880-1946). Peter Schwengers had emigrated to Victoria from Prussia in 1887, and had scored a victory over Louis Paulsen at Dusseldorf 1863. Neither of his sons had much impact on the chess world, but Bernhard later became Canadian singles tennis champion in 1911-1912. Originally from Sweden, Aaron Gonnason (1865-1938) was a prominent personage in Victoria chess circles for many years. He donated at least two trophies bearing his name, one for the Victoria city championship (which he himself won in 1922), the other for an intercity provincial team championship. And the last member of the team was English-born Dr. Griffith Hands (1837?-1924), a class 2 player at the Victoria club. The San Francisco players were all members of the Mechanics' Institute; the best known was sometime San Francisco and State champion Dr. Walter R. Lovegrove (1869-1956).


The San Franciscans regarded their city as the chess centre of the Pacific and assumed that the unknown Canadians would put up scant resistance. This over-confident view was expounded by the San Francisco Chronicle: "Lovegrove or Quiroga may strike terror into the heart of the north by some brilliant combination beyond the scope of the ordinary mortal, but within the reach of genius." By contrast, the Victorians were quietly confident in their English stars: "It is safe to predict that Victoria will not take second honors in the match, and though our American cousins are jubilant over an anticipated easy triumph, a surprise may be in store for them." One of the players remarked that "I'm not afraid of San Francisco, but of the man from New York," a reference to Wilhelm Steinitz and his recently published Modern Chess Instruction Part 2, accessible to the San Francisco players but apparently not yet available in Victoria - even a hundred years ago players were concerned about keeping up with the latest theory!

The games (all annotations first published in the Province newspaper).

International Telegraph Match
San Francisco (W.R. Lovegrove, A.S. Howe, V.Q. Quiroga) - Victoria (T.H. Piper, Dr. Hands, C. and B. Schwengers)

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Bxf6 Bxf6 6.e5 Be7 7.Qg4 O-O 8.Bd3 c5 9.Qh3 h6 10.Nf3
Better was 10.f4 followed by O-O-O.

10...Nc6 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.O-O
Against the spirit of the opening, which calls for O-O-O and a rapid advance of the King's pawns.

Closing an important diagonal and freeing Black's game.

13.a3 a6 14.b4
Objectionable on general principles, as it leaves the Queen's side weak.

14...Ba7 15.Rae1 Bd7 16.Re2 Rc8
Giving Black a clear superiority. Compare the previous note.

17.Nb1 b5
Paralysing White's Queen's side.

18.Kh1 Ne7 19.Ng1
Imitating his Grace of York, who "marched his army up a hill, then marched it down again."

A forcible reply to White's last move; the two bishops threaten to rake the board.

20.f4 d4 21.Qh4
A tacit confession of failure in the attack.

21...Nd5 22.Qxd8 Rfxd8 23.Nd2 Ne3
The most potent square the knight could occupy.

24.Rc1 g5
Which rudely shoves the White egg off the wall. Vain were now the efforts of "all the King's horses and all the King's men."

25.fxg5 hxg5 26.Nh3 g4
Tempting the White knight to enter the Cretan maze at g5, whence he would never emerge.

27.Nf4 Kf7 28.Nf1 Nd5 29.Nxd5 Bxd5 30.Kg1 Rc3 31.Ra1 Be4 32.a4 Bxd3 33.cxd3 Rd7 34.axb5 axb5 35.Ng3
Threatening Nxf5.

35...Ke7 36.Rea2 Bb8 37.Ne2 Rxd3 38.Nf4 Re3 39.Rd2 Bxe5 40.Nd3 Bd6 41.Ra6 e5 42.g3 e4
White gracefully resigned. The Bradford attack has, it is true,been played in first-class tournaments, but the continuation selected by White at their 10th move was decidely inferior; besides quod licet jovi, non licet bovi. 0-1

International Telegraph Match

Victoria (J.R. Hunnex, P. Schwengers, A. Gonnason - San Francisco (R. Kendrick, Dr. Marshall, G. Hallwegan, E. Yerworth

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6
If Black takes the offered pawn he cannot maintain it as in the King's gambit, e.g., 2...dxc4 3.e3 b5 4.a4 c6 5.axb5 cxb5 6.Qf3, winning a piece.

3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Nc6
This is a violation of the basic principle of the close game, which enjoins an advance of the c-pawn before playing the knight.

5.e3 Be7 6.Be2
We prefer 6.c5; if Black attempts to break the chain of pawns by 6...b6, White answers 7.Bb5 Bd7 8.Qa4 Nb8 9.c6 Bc8 10.Ne5, and White has a splendidly developed game. He should castle Kingside and attempt to break through on the Queenside.

6...b6 7.O-O
The last move of the Black allies gave White the chance to open a strong attack, herewith: 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Bb5 Bd7 9.Qa4 Nb8 10.Ne5 [The published score gives 10. Kt to Kt, which I assume is a misprint; 10.Ne5 seems more to the point - SW] Bxb5 11.Qxb5+, with a powerful attack.

7...O-O 8.b3 Bb7 9.Bb2 a6 10.Rc1 Rc8 11.Bd3 Bd6 12.cxd5 exd5 13.Bf5 Ra8 14.Ne2 Ne7 15.Bd3 Ne4 16.Bxe4
Two bishops are stronger than two knights or than bishop and knight, therefore we disapprove of this exchange and would advise 16.Nd2, and if 16...f5 17.f3 with the superior game; but if Black plays 16...Nf5 17.Nxe4 dxe4 18.Bb1 Qh4 19.Ng3 we like White's game.

16...dxe4 17.Nd2 Ng6 18.Nc4 f5 19.Nxd6 Qxd6 20.g3 Rad8 21.Qc2 Rd7 22.Rfd1 Rfd8 23.Nc3 Ne7 24.Qe2 Qh6 25.Rd2 Nc6 26.Rcd1 Kh8 27.a3 Rd6 28.Nb1 Ne7 29.Nc3 Nd5 30.Nxd5 Bxd5 31.Rc1 c6 32.Rc3 b5 33.Rc5 Qg5 34.Qd1 Rh6 35.Qc2 Qg4 36.f4
Black threatened 36...f4, f3 and Qh3; if however White plays 37.exf4, then 37...Qh3.

36...exf3 37.Rf2 Re6 38.Qc3 Rde8 39.Rxd5 cxd5 40.Rc2 f4 41.exf4 Re1+ 42.Kf2 R1e2+ 0-1
Piper cited the lack of adequate preparation time and the absence of several of Victoria's stronger players as reasons for the defeat on board 2, but no doubt a major factor was sheer fatigue; despite a theoretical time limit of ten minutes a move, the games started at 6:30 on a Friday evening and did not end until 6:44 and 7:15 respectively the following Saturday morning!

San Francisco vs. Vancouver

The San Francisco players were eager for a rematch at the earliest opportunity, but this was not possible for the Victorians due to the holiday season. Into the breach stepped Vancouver, where the original match had been followed with great interest. Not to be outdone by their Island neighbours, players from Vancouver arranged to play a similar match with San Francisco, which took place on the night of 14-15 June 1895. Unfortunately the Vancouver players were considerably weaker than their Victoria counterparts; this, coupled with the fact that the San Francisco players were unlikely to underestimate their opposition a second time, led to easy victory for the Americans in both games.

International Telegraph Match
San Francisco (R. Kendrick, J.D. Redding, Franklin) - Vancouver (Hoffer, Crickmay, Hooper, Dr. Bell-Irving)

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.O-O O-O 7.b3 b6 8.Bg5 Be7 9.Re1 Nbd7 10.Bb5 Re8 11.Bc6 Rb8 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Rxe8+ Qxe8 14.Nc3 Bb7 15.Bxb7 Rxb7 16.Nxd5 Bd8 17.Qd3 c6 18.Re1 Qf8 19.Qa6 Rb8 20.Qxa7 cxd5 21. Qxd7 Bf6 22.Qxd5 h6 23.a4 Qb4 24.Qe4 Rd8 25.Rd1 Kf8 26.h3 Re8 27.Qh7 Qc3 28.d5 Be5 29.d6 Bxd6 30.Rxd6 Qc7 31.Rd1 f6 32.Nh4 1-0

As Piper wrote in the Province: "We do not think the game calls for notes. The student cannot fail to be struck with the very superior skill of the White practitioners."

International Telegraph Match

Vancouver (Keith, M. Smith, Proctor, Grant) - San Francisco (W.R. Lovegove, A.S. Howe, V.Q. Quiroga"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.O-O d6 6.c3 Bg4 7.Be2
Cook's Synopsis gives 7.Qb3 Bxf3 8.Bxf7+ Kf8 9.Bxg8 Rxg8 10.gxf3 g5 11.Qd5 Qd7 12.b4 Bb6 13.Bb2 d3 and Black is considered to have the better game.

7...dxc3 8.Nxc3 Nge7 9.Ng5 Bxe2 10.Nxe2 h6 11.Nf3 O-O 12.b3 f5 13.Ng3

Why not Bb2 and Qd3, and develop the Queen rook, whose fate reminds us of "dejected Marianne's at the moated grange."

13...fxe4 14.Nxe4 Bb6 15.Ng3 Qd7 16.h3 Rf7 17.a3 Raf8 18.Kh2 Ng6 19.Ra2 Nf4 20.Bxf4 Rxf4 21.Re2 Nd4 22.Nxd4 Bxd4 23.f3 Qf7 24.Rfe1 Be5 25.Re4 c6 26.Rxe5 dxe5 27.Rxe5 Re8 28.Re4 Rfxe4 29.Nxe4 Qc7+ 30.Kh1 Rd8 31.Qc2 Qd7 32.Qc4+ Qd5 33.Qb4 b6 34.Qe7 Qd7 35.Qh4 Qd1+ 36.Kh2 Rf8 37.Qe7 Qxb3 38.Qxa7 c5 39.Qa6 Rd8 40.Qa7 Qe6 41.Qa4 Qe5+ 42.Kh1 b5 43.Qc2 c4 44.Qc1 Kh8 45.Kg1 Rd3 0-1
Jubilant at their victory, the San Franciscans wanted more than ever to rectify their initial setback, and sent a belligerent telegram to Victoria: "You ought never to let it remain a tie. Either be the Star Club or else surrender. Lovegrove says he would like to have another whack at Piper, but will have to wait till Victoria has trained up for the Stars of the West." Piper responded in tongue in cheek fashion: "Stars of the West is good, and we 'pale our ineffectual fire.' We acknowledge ourselves to be but, as it were, a rushlight burning dimly in the presence of a luminary emitting an utterly dazzling and overpowering effulgence." Eventually arrangements were made for a rematch on three boards to be played 1 November 1895, but at the last minute San Francisco found the date unacceptable and the match was postponed indefinitely. Regrettably, as far as I can tell the rematch never did take place.

Part Three - Early Club Champions

The best record of early club championships is Guthrie McClain's account in the July 1981 issue of Chess Life which we reprint here. McClain credits a manuscript by Dr. H.J. Ralston, co-founder of the California Chess Reporter, as his primary source. The first mention of a local championship is in The Argonaut column The Chess Player, a tournament at the Mechanics' Institute in 1885 won by J. Waldstein, with N.J. Manson 2nd and Fritz Peipers 3rd. A second tournament in 1885 was won by H. Heinemann, who won eight straight games and ended it right there.
Local tournaments continued, but records are practically non-existant since the closing of The Chess Player in 1888 - until 1920, when a San Francisco Chronicle column began. At that time the strongest players, and frequent club champions, were Elmer W. Gruer of Oakland and Adolph J. Fink, both of them also California champions on several occasions.

Local Champions

By the 1890s, there were regular club championships at the Mechanics' Institute. Gold medals were awarded to the winners. A list of club champions appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle of November 1905.

1896 May
1896 Oct.
Walter R. Lovegrove
George Thompson
Walter S. Franklin
Oscar Samuels
Oscar Samuels
Walter R. Lovegrove
J.J. Dolan
Valentine Huber
Hobart K. Eels
Nathaniel J. Manson
Wallace E. Nevill
Arthur B. Stamer

The following article which appeared in the San Francisco Call of April 28, 1896, can be added to the original work by Ralston and McClain and was uncovered by Sibylle Zemitis.


Walter S. Franklin Carries Off the First Prize Gold Medal - Close of the Big Tourney - G. Thompson Succeeds in Securing Second Place After an Exciting Contest

The handicap tournament which has been in progress for some time at the Mechanics' Institute was concluded yesterday. There were thirty-two contestants divided into four classes as follows:
First class scratch - H.O. Chase, Thomas D. Condon, F.H. Curtis, J.M. Durkin, S. Epstein, W.S. Franklin, J. Hirsch, Thomas Martin, E.L. McClure, E. Nevill, Richard Ott, Oscar Samuels, Rudolf Stein, G.R. Thompson.
Second class, at odds of pawn and move - Fred Burnett, JR. Chicton, E.A. Cutting, H. Epstein, R.J. Harding, A. Schuman, C.W. Spalding, George Walker.
Third class, at odds of pawn and two moves - J. Boxall, R.F. McLeod, John Newman, Charles Muller, C. Thomas, J.M. Torres.
Fourth class, at odds of knight - George Burnett, I. Denton, C.L. Miel, A.D. Reynolds.
Dr. Benjamin Marshall, the nestor and patron of chess on the Pacific Coast, and Messrs. H. Hyneman, D. L. Lyons, Joseph Sullivan and Joseph Waldstein acted as judges, and Richard Ott as secretary. The tournament has been conducted under the rules as given in Steinitz's Modern Chess Instructor.
Time limit: Twenty moves per hour. Winners of first two games in each round to remain, losers to drop out entirely. Draws not to count. Following were the results:
Winners of first round - Messrs. Boxall, Chase, Chilton, Condon, Cutting, Denton. H. Epstein, Franklin, McCluire, McLeod, Ott, Samuels, Stein and Thompson.
Winners of second round - Messrs. Boxall, Condon, Denton, Franklin, McClure, McLeod, Ott and Thompson.
Winners of third round - Messrs. Denton, Franklin and Thompson.
Winners of fourth round - Messrs. Franklin and Thompson.
Winner of fifth and final round - Walter S. Franklin, who consequently obtained first prize, a gold medal, and G.R. Thompson, second prize, a silver medal.
The contest has been an exciting one throughout, and when it finally settled down to between Franklin and Thompson the incidents occurring in the chessroom during the past week will long be remembered. C.R. Thompson has an international reputation, while Walter Franklin is not yet 18 years of age, and two years ago knew nothing about the game.
Walter Franklin is the son of Joseph Franklin, the well-known merchant on Battery Street. He was born in this City, attended the public schools, and is now a student of Cooper's Medical College. The moves were taught him by his father and by Oscar Samuels, another of the youthful champions of the Mechanics' Institute.

Franklin-Thompson [C11]
San Francisco (MI Championship) 1896

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.dxc5 Nxc5 7.b4 Ncd7 8.a3 Qh4+ 9.g3 Qd8 10.Bg2 f6 11.exf6 Nxf6 12.Nf3 Qb6 13.Qe2 Nc6 14.Bb2 Be7 15.Na4 Qc7 16.c4 0-0 17.Ng5 Kh8 18.0-0 Re8 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Rac1 Bxg5 21.cxd5 Nd4 22.Qe4 Qd7 23.Nc5 Qxd5 24.Qd3 Nf3+ 25.Rxf3 Bf6 26.Qxd5 exd5 27.Rd3 b6 28.Bxd5 Bf5 29.Bxa8 Bxd3 30.Nxd3 Rxa8 31.Ne5 Kg8 32.Kf2 Re8 33.Re1 Bxe5 34.fxe5 Kf7 35.Kf3 Ke6 36.Ke4 Rc8 37.Rd1 Rc4+ 38.Rd4 Rc2 39.Rd6+ Ke7 40.Kd5 Rxh2 41.Kc6 g5 42.Rd7+ Ke6 43.Rxa7 Kxe5 44.Kxb6 Kf5 45.Rc7 Kg4 46.Rc3 h5 47.a4 Rg2 48.a5 Rxg3 49.Rxg3+ Kxg3 50.a6 h4 51.a7 g4 52.a8Q h3 53.Kc5 Kh2 54.Qa2+ Kh1 55.Qb1+ Kg2 56.Qc2+ Kf3 57.Qd1+ Kg3 58.Qe1+ Kf3 59.Qf1+ Kg3 60.Qg1+ Kf3 61.b5 g3 62.b6 h2 63.Qh1+ Kg4 64.Qg2 1-0

Mechanics' Institute Club Championship 1898

The Mechanics' Institute, San Francisco, chess tournament was finished in November. Dr. Lovegrove and Mr. Chilton tied for first and second places , and will play a deciding game. The scores in full read:

1-2. Chilton 11 ½ -½
1-2. Lovegrove 11 ½ -½
3. Samuels 8-4
4. Ott 7 ½ -4 ½
5-6. Neville 6 ½ -5 ½
5-6. Eppinger 6 ½ -5 ½
7. Durkin 5-7
8. Torres 4 ½ -7 ½
9. Denton 4-8
10-11.Spaulding 3-9
10-11.Mitchell 3-9
12. Cutting 2-10
13. Fairweather ... -12 *

* Fairweather's score is given as shown with nothing in the win column, but player's scores for numbers 1-12 come out even.

American Chess Magazine December 1898

Seattle vs. San Francisco May 1899

The following article was discovered by Chess Director Donaldson during a visit to the J.G. White Collection in Cleveland. It features several prominent names including Dr. Lovegrove, one of the top San Francisco players for several decades, and W.A. Dickey. The latter is the subject of a monograph by MI member Robert Moore entitled W.A. Dickey: Alaska's First Champion. Dickey is perhaps best known for rediscovering, naming and estimating within 300 feet the height of Mt. McKinley, the highest mountain in North America.

"A match by telegraph was played in May between the leaders of chess of San Francisco and Seattle, which proved a most interesting contest.
Seven games were played, with the result that San Francisco won three games, drew three and lost one. J. M. Babson was the fortunate Seattleite to have a victory fall on his shoulders. He played a very brilliant game. The result of the match was not as disappointing to Seattle as figures would indicate. San Francisco is supposed to be much stronger in chess.

Table No. 1 - J. M. Babson, Seattle, defeated W. J. Manson. San Francisco, in a King's Gambit Declined . Manson resigned on the fifty-first move. Babson's attack was very brilliant and sustained throughout the entire play.
Table No. 2 - C. B. Bagley, Seattle, played a draw with Rodney Kendrick of San Francisco, who is well known on Puget Sound. The game was a Queen's Gambit Declined.
Table No. 3 - A. M. Cadien, Seattle, was defeated by Oscar Samuels, San Francisco in a Ruy Lopez opening. Mr. Cadien resigned on the fifty-eighth move.
Table No. 4 - W. A. Dickey, Seattle, was defeated by W. R. Lovegrove, San Francisco, in a Ruy Lopez game.
Table No. 5 - Frank Steele, Seattle, and A. J. Kuh, San Francisco, played a draw in a Sicilian Defense. Steele had much the better of the ending.
Table No. 6 - J. W. Fitts, George Linder and Dr. C. W. Baldwin in consultation against Marshall, Cowdrey and Dolan of San Francisco, in consultation. The Seattle contingent resigned. The game was called a French Defense.
Table No. 7 - R. W. Barto, A. C. King and E. Lerch, Seattle, played a draw with Yerworth, Lyons and Mitchell, San Francisco. The game was a Queen's Gambit Declined."

American Chess Magazine, July 1899

After the Fire

Part One - The Rebuilding

The 1906 earthquake destroyed the Mechanics' Institute, but it didn't take long for chess activity to spring up. The Mechanics' Institute erected a temporary building at Grove and Polk Streets, where it had bought a block of land in 1881 on which now stands the Civic Auditorium. The Institute's Office opened on May 23, 1906, construction was begun on June 4th, and after many trials of delayed materials and a scarcity of construction workers, the new building opened its doors in August, about four months after the fire.
During May, in response to the requests of many members, a chess room was provided in the building. By July 1910, the new nine-story building at 57 Post Street was completed which means the following account from the San Francisco Chronicle of January 12, 1909, was about an event held at the temporary facility. Incidentally the Chess Room was housed on the 3rd floor of 57 Post Street until it was moved to its present location in 1923 when the Library needed room to expand.
Dr. Henry Epsteen Wins Big Chess Tournament - Only Gold Medal Winners to Compete -
Games at Mechanics'-Mercantile Library Arouse Great Interest

Dr. Henry Epsteen of this city is the winner of the gold medal in the chess tournament held under the management of the Mechanics'-Mercantile Library. Dr. Epsteen won 14 of his games, lost 1 and 1 resulted in a draw. M.Farragut was the winner of the silver medal and G. Legler the bronze medal. Arrangements for a tournament in which only winners of gold medals of previous tournaments will be permitted to compete are being made by the Mechanics'-Mercantile Library. Such a tournament would arouse the interest of all chess players on the Pacific coast as several of the most brilliant chess players in the United States can be found in San Francisco.

The final score of the 17 contestants follows:

Dr. Epsteen +14-1=1
M. Farragut +12-3=1
G. Legler +12-4=1
Rosenblat +12-4=0
Simon +11-5=0
Fink +10-4=2
Ford +10-6=0
Palmer +9-7=0
Sternberg +8-9=0
Harding +7-9=0
Bergman +7-9=0
Spaulding +6-10=0
Dr. Seager +6-9=1
Suttin +4-12=0
Bamberger +1-15=0
Rawling +1-15=0

The MI recently acquired a reprint of the 1909 American Chess Bulletin which provided the following information.
"The Mechanics' Institute Chess and Checker Club of San Francisco, which flourished before the earthquake, has been reorganized, with J. J. Dolan as president, J. L. Jaunet as secretary and treasurer, and Messrs. A. B. Stamer, L. A. Rosenblatt, H. Jones and Dr. G. Gere as other members of the executive committee. The annual tournament for the gold medal was duly revived, and in a field of eighteen players, Dr. Henry Epstein proved the winner, with A. Ferragut and Dr. Legler, second and third respectively. The brilliancy prize was won by Lawrence A. Rosenblatt for his game against Dr. Sternberg, on the award of Dr. W. R. Lovegrove".

ACB 1909, p 138

Telegraph Match - San Francisco versus Portland October 12, 1921

Earlier Newsletters covered San Francisco's matches by telegraph against Vancouver and Victoria from the 1890s, as well as touching upon the LA-SF rivalry which lasted from 1913-1925, before transforming into the annual face to face Northern California-Southern California battles. These were not the only long distance competitions held at the MI which also faced Chicago, Portland and Seattle.

The following account from the American Chess Bulletin (Page 192, November 1921) covers a victory over a northern neighbor with a rich chess tradition.

San Francisco 9½ - Portland 2½

The team of the Mechanics' Institute Chess, representing San Francisco, earned another splendid victory in the intercity match by telegraph with Portland, Oregon, on October 12, wining to the tune of 9½ - 2½ . It was considered the strongest side that had ever played for the Golden Gate and the Oregonians knew they had been in a real fight when all was over. Portland did have the consolation of the following victory over the well-known problem composer A.J. Fink.

A.J. Fink - O. Goldman
French Winawer [C15]
San Francisco-Portland (Telegraph Match) 1921

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd3 c5 5.a3 cxd4 6.axb4 dxc3 7.bxc3 dxe4 8.Bxe4 Qxd1+ 9.Kxd1 Nf6 10.Bf3 0-0 11.Be3 Rd8+ 12.Kc1 a6 13.Kb2 e5 14.Bb6 Re8 15.Rd1 e4 16.Be2 Be6 17.h4 Nbd7 18.Bd4 Rac8 19.Nh3 Bc4 20.Rhe1 Bxe2 21.Rxe2 h6 22.Nf4 Ne5 23.f3 Nc4+ 24.Kb3 exf3 25.Rxe8+ Nxe8 26.Nd5 Kf8 27.Bc5+ Ned6 28.gxf3 Ke8 29.Rd4 b5 30.Nf4 Nf5 31.Rd5 Nxh4 32.Nh5 f6 33.Nxg7+ Kf7 34.Rd7+ Kg6 35.f4 Rc6 36.Ne8 Nf5 37.Bd4 h5 38.Bxf6 Rxf6 39.Nxf6 Kxf6 40.Ra7 h4 41.Rxa6+ Nfd6 42.Ra8 Kf5 43.Ka2 Kxf4 44.Kb1 Ne4 45.Kc1 h3 46.Kd1 h2 0-1

The California Chess Reporter Obituary. A.J.Fink (1890-1956)

A.J.Fink was born on July 19, 1890 and died on December 15, 1956, at the age of 66 in San Francisco. An internationally-known problem composer, Fink had more than a thousand problems published during his lifetime and won on the order of one hundred prizes. His first problem was published in 1908; and between that date and 1922 he published more than 300 problems, of which approximately 40 were prize-winners. Fink was one of the top over-the-board chessplayers at the Mechanics' Institute until his recent illness. During the last three or four years he was necessarily inactive because of the effects of a cerebral hemorrage. He was a Life Master of the United States Chess Federation. He first won the Master title in the Chicago Masters' Tournament of 1922; the requirements was to score 40% against a strong field which included Frank Marshall, Isaac Kashdan, Edward Lasker and Carlos Torre. Fink scored 42%. Fink won the California State Championship three times (1922, 1928,1929) and was a co-champion once (1945, with Herman Steiner). Twice he was second to S.Mlotkowski, who then was residing in Los Angeles. In 1923 when the Western Chess Association tournament was played in San Francisco, Fink was fourth behind Mlotkowski, N.T.Whitaker (the two tied for first) and S.Factor of Chicago, but ahead of other Californians. In 1925 Fink was second with a score of 6.5-1.5, behind Mlotkowski, who won the title with 7.5-.5. In 1926 Fink tied with Elmer W.Gruer of Oakland but lost the play-off; in 1928 he tied with Henry Gross of San Francisco and won the play-off. Fink was invited to the international tournament at Pasadena, 1932, where finished last, but with the creditable score of 3-8 against Alexander Alekhine, Isaac Kashdan, Arthur Dake, Sammy Reshevsky, Herman Steiner, Harry Borochow, J.Bernstein, Samuel Factor, Reuben Fine, Fred Reinfeld and J.J. Araiza. Adolph was a collector of stray bits af analytical chess positions. There was nothing he liked better than to find a missed opportunity in someone's published game, and we wish we possessed a tenth of the remarkable collection of problem-like moves he presented almost daily to his fellow-members of the Mechanics' Institute, for they would make a book. He also was available for consultation on anybody's post-mortem - in which he delighted in defending so-called "lost positions" and reviving attacks which had supposedly gone astray. An endgame wizard as most problemists are, Fink served as adjudication expert for all Northern California team matches and tournaments for many years. "Send it to Fink" was the way to settle the argument - in Sacramento and San Luis Obispo as well as in San Francisco. He never required payment and, as far as we know, he never made a mistake in his decisions. Fink was kind to the California Chess Reporter. When we started out we were repeatedly balked in our search for chess diagram type. Fink quietly waylaid us one day in the Mechanics' Institute, a small but heavy box held out in his hand. "I heard you were looking for chess characters," he said, "here is a set you can have." He had saved the type from the days when he was problem editor of E.J.Clarke's chess column in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Visits by World Champions to the MI

This past century the MI has hosted many World Champions including Lasker (1902 and 1926), Capablanca (1916), Alekhine (1924 and 1929), Euwe (1947!?), Fischer (1964), Smyslov (1976), Petrosian (1978), Spassky (??) and Karpov (1999). The MI Chess Room is currently working on a project to preserve it's history. Any games, recollections or photos from simuls by World Champions at the MI would be most appreciated. Does anyone know the exact year that Euwe visited? Spassky was a guest at the Paul Masson tournament in the late 1970s/early 80s. Did he ever actually visit the MI? On March 20, 1976 Former World Champion Vassily Smyslov faced strong opposition when he visited the MI immediately after the 1976 Lone Pine tournament. Facing 30 boards, he scored won 18, lost 3 (Victor Baja, Randy Fong, and Jay Whitehead - all teenagers at the time!), and drew 9 (Russell Bartoli, Gary Berry, Mike Dyslin, Pam Ford, Barry Kraft, Charles Moore, Rodney Phillips, Peter Stevens, and Ted Zwerdling) in an exhibition lasting 4 hours. Can anyone add to this?

Jose Raul Capablanca

We continue our look at visits by world champions to the Mechanics'. Thanks to Steve Brandwein for digging into the Chess Room's past. "Capablanca At The Golden Gate By E.J. Clarke When Jose R. Capablanca stepped off the Shasta Limited at Oakland on Monday evening, April 10, and boarded the ferry for the city by the Golden Gate, he made history personally, as it was his first visit to the Golden Gate. It may have been a matter of clairvoyant knowledge that he was soon to make chess history in San Francisco, but of course, that was hidden from the sight of the normal-visioned committee of chess players from the Mechanics'Institute who met the world famous Cuban and escorted him across the bay and to his hotel in San Francisco. The following evening the youthful master made his bow at the Institute, when he faced thirty-two opponents, among whom were the best players of the bay cities (and, of course, some who just moved the pieces around with their hands). When Capablanca vanquished his final opponent shortly after midnight, the score stood: Capablanca, won 29, drawn 3. Messrs. Hallwegen, Chilton and Fink were the three who saved the Institute from a whitewash. Chilton, perhaps, had a win, but he thought any old thing would do. It didn't and the Cuban got away with a draw. Wednesday afternoon Capablanca and Dr. Lovegrove sat down to an exhibition game, the latter offered his favorite Ruy Lopez, with which he defeated World Champion Lasker several years ago. But he skill of the Pan-American champion was too much for the local expert, and the latter resigned after forty-eight moves. In the evening Capablanca showed his skill at ten-second chess, playing two games apiece with the following and winning every game: Messrs. Stamer, Fink, W.Smith, De Long, Professor Ryder, Hallwegen and Gruer. Thus he played fourteen games in forty-five minutes, an average of about game in three minutes, not counting delay in putting in a fresh opponent. This was probably Capablanca's most impressive exhibition, and providing the liveliest entertainment for the spectators. It was a matter of observation that the master never faltered, never was at a loss for a plausible continuation, and never, so far as could be noticed, made a move solely because of call of time. His play apparently was the result of a plan and possessed coherence and objectivity. Neither were the Institute players on wholly unfamiliar ground, as the lightening game is quite a favorite here. A.B. Stamer defeated Marshall at five-second chess on the occasion of his last visit to the coast. At the conclusion of play the international master played against two teams in consultation at thirty moves an hour. Thus, Capablanca in reality made his moves at the rate of sixty moves an hour. At board No.1, E.J. Clarke, A.J. Fink and Bernardo Smith had charge of the White pieces, assisted by Dr. Haber, Judge De Long, W. Smith and others. Capablanca defended with the French and turned it into a McCutcheon. The allies resigned on their thirty-eighth move. At Board No. 2, the master was pitted against Club Champion E.W. Gruer, B. Forsberg, the young Finnish expert, recently from the Czar's domain, where he was secretary of the Abo Chess Club, Professor A.W. Ryder, a former Harvard University star, now at the University of California, and several other lesser stars also threw the weight of their advice in the White side of the balance, all, however, to no purpose, as Capablanca forced their surrender in thirty seven moves of a Queen's Pawn opening. That concluded Capablanca's engagement in San Francisco. Thus he played all told, 49 games, winning 46, while 3 were drawn. Except for the charm of Capablanca's personality, his entire lack of the "swelled head," and his gentlemanly, courteous bearing, it would have been a far more bitter pill for the Institute players to swallow. During the history of the Mechanics' Institute it has entertained Zukertort, Lasker, Pillsbury, Marshall and several lesser lights of the chess world, but never before has a master been able to get away without the loss of several games during blindfold, simultaneous exhibitions or rapid chess. American Chess Bulletin, May-June 1916"

Jose Capablanca - A.J. Fink
San Francisco (simul) 1916
Queen's Gambit [D07]
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 Nf6 6.e3 a6 7.Rc1 0-0 8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Na5 10.Bd3 c5 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.0-0 Nc6 13.Ne4 Be7 14.Qc2 Nb4 15.Nxf6 gxf6 16.Bxh7 Kg7 17.Qb1 f5 18.Rfd1 Qe8 19.Bxf5 exf5 20.Nd4 Nd5 21.Nxf5+ Bxf5 22.Qxf5 Nxf4 23.Qxf4 Rh8 24.Rc7 Rd8 25.Rxd8 Qxd8 26.Qg4 Bg5 27.Rxb7 Rh4 28.Qf3 Be7 29.b3 Rh6 30.g3 Qd6 31.h4 Rf6 32.Qg4+ Rg6 33.Qf4 Qd1 34.Kg2 Bxh4 35.Qf3 Qxf3 36.Kxf3 Bf6 37.Rb6 Bc3 38.Rxg6 Kxg6 39.Kg4 Kf6 40.f4 Ke6 41.e4 f6 42.Kf3 a5 43.Ke3 Be1 44.g4 Kd6 45.g5 fxg5 46.fxg5 Ke5 47.g6 1/2-1/2

Jose Capablanca - G. Hallwegen
San Francisco (simul) 1916
Irregular [C00]
1.e4 e6 2.d4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Bd3 Ne7 5.Bg5 d6 6.Qd2 Nd7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Bh6 Nf6 9.Bxg7 Kxg7 10.Nc3 Nc6 11.e5 Nd7 12.Qf4 d5 13.Ne2 Ne7 14.Ng3 c6 15.Qg5 Ng8 16.Qg4 Qe7 17.Ng5 Re8 18.f4 Nf8 19.f5 exf5 20.Bxf5 Nh6 21.Qh4 Bxf5 22.Nxf5 Nxf5 23.Qf4 Ne6 24.Nxe6 Qxe6 25.Rf3 h5 26.Raf1 Qe7 27.h3 Rf8 28.g4 hxg4 29.hxg4 Nh6 30.Kg2 Qe6 31.Qf6 Kg8 32.Rg3 Nxg4 33.Qxe6 fxe6 34.Rxg4 Kg7 35.Rh1 Rh8 36.Rxh8 Rxh8 37.b4 Rf8 1/2-1/2

Emanuel Lasker

World Champion Emanuel Lasker visited the Mechanics' on two occasions. In 1902 he gave a small simul and lost a well-known game for stakes against the strong San Francisco amateur Dr. Walter Romaine Lovegrove.

Walter R. Lovegrove - Emanuel Lasker San Francisco (Stakes Games) 1902
Ruy Lopez Open Variation [C82]
( Notes by IM Imre Konig )

1.e4 In meeting over the board the greatest tactician of all time, Dr. Lovegrove holds his own -- even after having drifted into an inferior position. 1...e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Qe2 Nxd2 12.Bxd2 f6 13.Rad1 With the threat of 14 exf6 Bxf6 15 Bg5 Qf7 16 Rxe6. 13... Nxe5 14.Nxe5 fxe5 15.Qxe5 Qd6 16.Qxd6 Bxd6 17.Rfe1 Kf7 On 17...Rae8 18. Rxe6 Rxe6 19.Bxd5 wins. Black could have met the threats with 17...Bf7, but with 18.Bg5 White would have obtained the initiative. With the text, a typical Lasker move, Black gets the upper hand. 18.Be3 c6 19.Bc2 Rae8 20.a4 Bg4 21.f3 Bd7 Not 21...Rxe3 22.Rxe3 Bc5 23.Rd4 Bxd4 24.cxd4, for then Black's pawn majority would be immobile. 22.Kf2 Re7 23.axb5 axb5 24.Bg5 Rxe1 25.Rxe1 b4 26.Bd2 Rb8 27.Bc1 Be7 With the threat of ...Bf6. White's position looks hopeless. If 28.Bxh7, then 28...Bf6 would follow. However White finds a saving manuever. 28.Bf4 Ra8 29.Be5 Bf6 30.Bxf6 Kxf6 31.Ke3 Ra2 32.cxb4 Rxb2 33.Bxh7! The point of ther combination initiated with the 28th move. The locked-in Bishop will be a dangerous prisoner. 33...g6 34.h4 Rxb4 35.g4 Kg7 36.Kf2 Rb7 37.Re7+ Kf6 38.Re1 Bc8 39.Re8 Bxg4 40.Bxg6 Showing excellent judgment, White allows Black two united passed pawns rather than choosing the variation 40.fxg4 Rxh7 41.Rc8 Rxh4 42.Rxc6+ Kg5 which would have caused him more difficulties. 40... Bd7 41.Rg8 Be6 42.Re8 c5 43.h5 c4 44.h6 Kxg6 45.Rxe6+ Kf5 46.Re8 Rh7 47.Ke3 Rxh6 48.Kd4 Rd6 49.Rf8+ Kg5 50.Ke5 d4?! Black should have been satisfied with a draw. The text-move loses in all variations, but Dr. Lasker can scarcely be blamed for not seeing the problem-like ending which now ensues. 51.Kxd6 d3 52.Ke5 d2 53.Rg8+ Kh4 If 53...Kh5 54.Kf5 Kh6 55.Kf6 Kf7 56.Rg7+ Kh8 ( 57...Kh6 58.Rg2) 57.Rd7 f3=20 58.Kg6 wins. 54.Kf4 Kh3 55.Rd8 c3 56.Ke3 1-0

California Chess Reporter , August 1956, pages 11-12. Lasker scored eight wins, one draw and two losses in his 11 board simul.

Emanuel Lasker - N. Manson Scotch [C45] San Francisco (simul) 1902 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Nxd4 Qh4 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Nf3 Qxe4+ 7.Be2 Nf6 8.0-0 Bxc3 9.bxc3 0-0 10.Bd3 Qg4 11.h3 Qh5 12.Rb1 a6 13.Bg5 d6 14.Re1 Ne5 15.Bxf6 gxf6 16.Be2 Qh6 17.Rb4 Kh8 18.Qc1 Qxc1 19.Rxc1 Rg8 20.Kf1 b5 21.Rf4 Kg7=20 22.Nd4 Be6 23.Re4 Bxa2 24.f4 Bd5 25.Re3 Nc4 26.Re7 Bxg2+! Lasker overlooked this shot that clinches the win for Manson . Does anyone know anything about Manson? 27.Kf2 c5 28.Ne6+ Kh8 29.Rxf7 Bd5 30.Bg4 Rxg4 31.hxg4 Bxe6 32.Rxf6 Bxg4 33.Rh1 h5 34.Kg3 Kg7 0-1 Lasker's second visit came 24 years later, after he had relinquished the crown to Capablanca. On March 22, 1926 J.F. Smyth of Oakland was the only winner against Dr. Lasker at the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club, where play stopped at 12:30 am. The judges adjudicated a win on the 48th move. Draws conceded by Dr. Lasker were credited to W.P. Barlow, H.J. Ralston, and Arthur Feldman. Adjudicated draws went to A.J. Fink and E.W. Gruer, both former state champions; E.O. Fawcett, Hugo Legler and H.O. Sjoberg. The adjudicators were Bernardo Smith, captain of the M.C.C. team, and L.B. Zapoleon, formerly of Washington D.C. American Chess Bulletin, page 51, 1926 The Mechanics' is trying to preserve its chess history and the Newsletter will be printing some of the results. If you have any information (games, photos, anecdotes, newspaper clippings, etc.) pertaining to visits by Vassily Smyslov and Tigran Petrosian to the M.I. please contact John Donaldson.

Alexander Alekhine 1924 and 1929

Alexander Alekhine visited the Mechanics' Institute twice. His first trip to San Francisco came in 1924, a few years before he was to become world champion. Statistics published in the American Chess Bulletin have Alekhine giving a simul on February 27, scoring 23 wins, 4 losses and 5 draws on 32 boards. No games seem to have surfaced from this exhibition, but A.A. chose to include the following exhibition game in his book, On the Road to the World Championship.
W. Lovegrove and E.W. Gruer - A. Alekhine
San Francisco (exhibition game) 1924
Ruy Lopez [C78] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Bc5 6.c3 Ba7 7.d4 Nxe4 8.d5 Ne7 9.Bc2 f5 10.Nxe5 d6 11.Nf3 0-0 12.c4 Ng6 13.Nbd2 Nf6! 14.Nb3 Ne5 15.Nbd4 Ne4 16.b3 Qf6! 17.Bb2 Nxf3+ 18.gxf3 Ng5 19.f4 Bxd4! 20.Bxd4 Qxd4 21.fxg5 Qf4 22.Kh1 b5! 23.Qd3 bxc4 24.bxc4 a5! 25.a4 Ba6 26.Bb3 Rab8 27.Rac1 Rfe8 28.Rg1 Re4 29.Qg3 g6! 30.Rc3 Qd2 31.c5 f4 32.Qf3 Re1! 33.h4 Be2! 34.Qh3 Rxg1+ 35.Kxg1 Qe1+ 36.Kh2 Re8! 37.cxd6 cxd6 38.Bc4 Bxc4 0-1 Alekhine returned to the M.I. in the spring of 1929 as World Champion and his activities were well-documented by M.I. member E.J. Clarke in the San Francisco Chronicle. The clock simul on three boards went reasonably well, but A.A. received very rough treatment by club members in the simul. The exhibition held on May 11 was in fact one of the worst A.A. ever suffered, scoring 27 wins, 8 draws and 8 losses - barely over 70 percent! Not only that, Alekhine didn't race through the exhibition as it ran from 8:30 pm to 2:30 am. Clarke poses the question to Chronicle readers, "Was Alekhine off his game or is it true, as rumored, that we have an unusually strong group of chess players in San Francisco and the Bay Cities." Guthrie McClain in his account of the M.I.'s history in Chess Life in 1981 mentions the legendary hospitality of the Institute. What does he mean by "hospitality?" Legend has it that right before the simul A.A. was treated to an excellent meal with plenty of spirits.

Max Euwe

Continuing our series on World Champions at the MI we move from Alexander Alekhine to Max Euwe. The information on Dr. Euwe's visit is incomplete, but we hope to rectify this at a later date with the assistance of MI Trustee Neil Falconer who drew with the Dutch World Champion. Here is what we have so far. Max Euwe: 1949 (!?) maybe 1947 January 22, 1949 +16, -3, =3 On January 22, at 8pm, Dr. Euwe was the guest of the Mechanics Institute Chess Club. It was a real gala affair. It took Euwe four hours to finish the show and over 200 spectators watch the battle which ensued during that time. He won 16, lost three (to Herbert Dashel, 17year old San Francisco high school boy; Robert T. Konkel, Richmond, and Paul Wolf, San Francisco) and drew three ) Charles Bagby, San Francisco; Neil T. Falconer, Berkeley; and Charles Svalberg, Russian Chess Club.

Max Euwe - Robert Konkel
San Francisco Simul 1949
Ruy Lopez C 90
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 Na5 9.Bc2 c5 10.d4 Qc7 11.Nbd2 0-0 12.Nf1 Bd7
Since White has omitted h3, Black might want to consider 12...Bg4. 13.dxe5 dxe5 14.Ne3 Rad8 15.Nd5 Qd6 16.Nxe7+ Qxe7 17.Bg5 Nc4 18.Rb1?
18.b3 and 18.Bc1 are both superior to the text . 18...h6 19.Bc1 b4 20.Bb3 Na5 21.Bd2 Bc6 22.Qc2 c4! 23.Ba4 b3! 24.axb3 cxb3 25.Bxb3 Bxe4 26.Rxe4 Nxe4 27.Bxf7+ Qxf7 28.Qxe4 Rxd2 29.Nxd2 Qxf2+ 30.Kh1 Qxd2 31.Qxe5 Qxb2 0-1

Source: California Chess News ???

Frank Marshall at the Mechanics' Institute (1913 and 1915)

The MI has a long tradition of hosting famous players from around the world. MI Chess Room staff member Steve Brandwein recently unearthed two visits by the American Champion Frank Marshall not too long after the Institute opened its new quarters. San Francisco had no regular chess column until the 1920s, but the Call, Chronicle and Examiner did write up special events. Often the details in local papers didn't quite tally with the accounts rendered in the American Chess Bulletin, the only national chess magazine at the time.

"Brilliant Play of Chess Master Champion Marshall Meets Thirty-one Players at Once

"Playing up to his great reputation for brilliance and combinations, Frank J. Marshall, champion chess player of America, met 31 players in a simultaneous exhibition at the Mechanics' Institute Tuesday Night. A count of boards at the conclusion of play showed that the visiting master had won 25, lost 1, while five games were drawn. The performance was witnessed by a large gallery, who filled the large library room of the Institute. Unfortunately, a lack of boards and pieces prevented a record number of simultaneous games for this city. Marshall fully lived up to his reputation, and time and again evoked the unstinted praise of the spectators as he evolved a brilliant mating combination or else cleverly frustrated a well laid plan for his destruction. A feature of the exhibition was the participation of a 9 year old devotee of Caissa, Miss Marie Silvius, at board No. 20, who secured a well played draw. Bernardo Smith, a member of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club, was the single player to defeat the master. Those drawing beside Miss Silvius were George Hallwegen, A.J. Fink, E.J. Clarke and Mr. Haring. Marshall will repeat his performance on Thursday evening at the Mechanics' Institute, when every effort will be made to surpass the record of 57 boards simultaneously, which Marshall recently played at Pittsburgh, PA. Players desiring to meet the champion are requested by the committee to bring their own boards and men."
San Francisco Examiner July 8, 1913

Marshall in the Far West

Under the caption of "Veni, Vidi, Vici - Marshall," the San Francisco Call, in its issue of July 6, prints the following account of the United States champion's doings while at the Golden Gate:
"Frank J. Marshall is no longer a stranger to San Francisco chess players. If perchance he should return to the coast next year he will be greeted by friends who, previous to his four-day visit as the guest of the Mechanics' Institute, were of necessity his admirers only.
The American champion arrived here last Tuesday morning. Although somewhat fatigued by the railroad journey from Portland, Marshall gave a brilliant exhibition of his skill at simultaneous play at the Institute Tuesday evening, when he met by a strong field of thirty-one players. The master won 25, 6 were drawn and B. Smith alone succeeded in vanquishing the visitor. The performance attracted about 300 spectators.
Wednesday afternoon Marshall played two exhibition games simultaneously against Professor A.W. Ryder and E.W. Gruer in consultation at board No. 1, wile at board 2 he was opposed by A.B. Stamer and A.J. Fink. The allies at board No. 1, defending against Marshall's pet Danish attack, held the expert
to a well-played forty-move draw. Messrs. Stamer and Fink, with the white pieces, were met by Marshall's favorite Petroff. This game was also declared drawn, although the master had probably a winning advantage.
Thursday evening Marshall repeated his simultaneous peformance, playing against thirty-eight opponents, winning 27, with 5 drawn and 6 lost.
Friday the visitor entertained with some rapid transit chess at five and ten seconds per move. A.B. Stamer succeeded in putting one over on the champion during the five-second seance.

American Chess Bulletin 1913, page 177

Marshall visits MI February 27 and 28, 1915

"Quite the best showing was made against Marshall at San Francisco, where no less than eight "nicked" his escutcheon, so the report goes, to the tune of a win apiece. There were also four drawn games. The winners were Dr. W.R. Lovegrove, Dr. Henry Epsteen, R.C. Stephenson, S.C. Chandler, J. Drouillard, F.Sternberg, B. Smith and F.C. de Long. The drawn games were scored by F.W. Huber, G. Branch, A. Epsteen and E.W. Gruer and E.J. Clarke in consultation. Marshall also gave a "private" performance against fifteen opponents, making a score of 13 wins and 2 losses. An exhibition game between Marshall and Dr. W. R. Lovegrove, at twenty games an hour, at the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club, resulted in a draw after a great battle lasting 81 moves. A similar game with E.W. Gruer, the new club champion, at twenty-five moves an hour, was scored by Gruer in consequence of Marshall's capturing a "hot" pawn. Taken altogether, the Golden Gate gave the champion a warm reception. A trip to the Exposition grounds was not the least interesting portion of the programme." American Chess Bulletin 1915, page 75

Marshall,F - Lovegrove,W [C51]
Simultaneous San Francisco, 27.02.1915
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.0-0 d6 6.b4 Bxb4 7.c3 Bc5 8.cxd4 Bb6 9.Nc3 Na5 10.Bd3 Ne7 11.Bb2 Ng6 12.Nd5 f6 13.h4 Bg4 14.Qa4+ Qd7 15.Nxb6 axb6 16.Bb5 c6 17.Be2 b5 18.Qc2 Nf4 19.e5 Nxe2+ 20.Qxe2 fxe5 21.dxe5 0-0 22.exd6 Bxf3 23.gxf3 Rae8 24.Qd3 Nc4 25.Bc3 Re6 26.Rad1 Rg6+ 27.Kh2 Rf4 28.Qxg6 Rxh4+ 29.Kg1 hxg6 30.Rd4 Rxd4 0-1

Marshall ,F - Gruer and Clarke [C44]
Consultation Game San Francisco, 27.02.1915
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.0-0 d6 6.b4 Bb6 7.a4 a6 8.a5 Ba7 9.b5 axb5 10.Bxb5 Bg4 11.a6 Qc8 12.c3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Nge7 14.e5 0-0 15.exd6 cxd6 16.Bf4 Bc5 17.axb7 Qxb7 18.Rxa8 Qxa8 19.Qg3 Rd8 20.h4 Ng6 21.Bg5 f6 22.h5 fxg5 23.hxg6 h6 24.Re1 Ne5 25.cxd4 Bxd4 26.Nd2 Rf8 27.Re2 Nxg6 28.Qxd6 Nf4 29.Re4 Bc3 30.Bc6 Qd8 31.Qxd8 Rxd8 32.Nc4 Bd4 33.Ne3 Bxe3 34.Rxe3 h5 35.g3 Nh3+ 36.Kg2 g4 37.Re8+ Rxe8 38.Bxe8 h4 ½-½

Lovegrove,W - Marshall,F [C43]
Exhibition Game San Francisco, 28.02.1915
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 exd4 4.e5 Ne4 5.Qxd4 d5 6.exd6 Nxd6 7.Bg5 f6 8.Bf4 Nc6 9.Qd2 Bg4 10.Nc3 Qe7+ 11.Be2 0-0-0 12.Qe3 Nf5 13.Qxe7 Bxe7 14.0-0 g5 15.Bc1 Rhe8 16.h3 Bxf3 17.Bxf3 Nfd4 18.Bxc6 bxc6 19.Rb1 Nxc2 20.Ne4 Rd4 21.f3 f5 22.Nxg5 Bc5 23.Kh1 Re2 24.f4 Rf2 25.Rg1 Rd3 26.Ne6 Bb6 27.b4 Rg3 28.Rb2 a5 29.bxa5 Ba7 30.Rd1 Rg8 31.a6 Rfxg2 32.Rd8+ Rxd8 33.Kxg2 Rg8+ 34.Kf3 Ne1+ 35.Ke2 Ng2 36.Kd3 Rg3+ 37.Kc4 Ne3+ 38.Bxe3 Rxe3 39.Nc5 Ra3 40.Re2 Bxc5 41.Kxc5 Rxa6 42.Re7 Rxa2 43.Rxh7 Ra4 44.Kxc6 Rc4+ 45.Kd5 Rxf4 46.Ke5 Rf1 47.h4 Kb7 48.h5 f4 49.Ke4 f3 50.h6 Kc6 51.Rf7 Re1+ 52.Kd3 Rh1 53.Rf6+ Kd5 54.Ke3 c5 55.Rxf3 Rxh6 56.Kd3 Rh4 57.Rf5+ Kc6 58.Kc3 Kb5 59.Rf3 Ra4 60.Kb2 Rb4+ 61.Kc3 Ra4 62.Kb2 Ra7 63.Rf8 Kb4 64.Rb8+ Kc4 65.Rb3 Rg7 66.Rh3 Rg2+ 67.Kc1 Kb4 68.Rh8 c4 69.Rh3 Ra2 70.Kb1 Re2 71.Kc1 Rf2 72.Rg3 Rh2 73.Rf3 Kc5 74.Rg3 Ra2 75.Rh3 Kb4 76.Kb1 Rg2 77.Rf3 c3 78.Rf8 Rd2 79.Kc1 Rd5 80.Kc2 Rd2+ 81.Kc1 ½-½

Kostic at the MI

The Serbian Grandmaster Boris Kostic (1887-1963) was one of the greatest travelers in chess history, circling the globe in the days before the beginning of commercial aviation. Among the places he visited was the Mechanics' Institute in August of 1915. The American Chess Bulletin from 1915 (page 195) writes about Kostic's exploits.

"Boris Kostics and his Movements"

Boris Kostic, of Budapest, proposes to become thoroughly acquainted with chess players of the United States and especially so in the far West, where he has been since the middle of July. After leaving Chicago, early in the month, he traveled by way of St. Louis, Kansas City, Topeka, Lincoln, Omaha, Denver, Colorado Springs to California, where he stopped in turn at San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. Wishing to visit the Yellowstone Park, the Hungarian master invested in a special tour, which took him first northerly by way of Portland, Seattle and Vancouver to Spokane, Butte and Yellowstone Park, and from there back to San Francisco by way of Salt Lake City. He made another protracted stay at the Golden Gate and in addition to giving his usual exhibitions, he met, among others, such strong players as Dr. Lovegrove, S. Mlotkowski, N.T. Whitaker, S. Rubinstein and G. Hallwegen. All went down to defeat before the powerful play of the visitor, whose extraordinary brilliancies have captivated chess lovers wherever he went. Kostic was so well pleased with San Francisco that he prolonged his sojourn there far beyond the time originally intended. Consequently, points in the South which had been notified of his coming were disappointed at his nonappearance. His itinerary will take him though portions of Texas to New Orleans, after which he will come North again by way of Lafayette, Nashville, Memphis, Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, and then proceed to Milwaukee, Madison, St. Paul and Minneapolis before returning to Chicago. His continental tour will be concluded with visits to Saginaw, Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia."

Reshevsky at the Mechanic's Institute

The Mechanics' Institute has a long tradition of hosting Grandmasters dating back to the 1880s. Early Newsletters looked at visits by the World Champions. More recently we covered the period 1910-1919 when Frank Marshall and Bora Kostic came to the MI. Now we move to the 1920s and one of the best publicized chess events in Bay Area chess history, the visit by boy wonder Sammy Reshevsky. Different sources give different birth dates for Sammy, some list 1909 and others 1911, but in either case he was no more than 11 when he arrived in Oakland by train on June 17, 1921, and took the ferry over to San Francisco. On June 21 he gave the first of two exhibitions at the Emporium's assembly room, scoring eleven wins and one draw 2 hours and 35 minutes. The second event was held on June 23 at the Hotel St. Francis' Italian room, with Reshevsky taking only one hour to down ten players.
Reshevsky's only draw was with Arthur Stamer, one of the top players at the MI and a future Chess Room Director. An annual tournament is held each June by the Mechanics' to honor Stamer's memory.

Ruy Lopez [C87]
S. Reshevsky - A. Stamer
San Francisco (simul) June 21,1921

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 d6 6.c3 Be7 7.Re1 0-0 8.d4 b5 9.Bc2 h6 10.h3 Nh7 11.Nbd2 Bg5 12.Nf1 Bxc1 13.Rxc1 Qf6 14.Ng3 Ng5 15.Re3 Ne7 16.dxe5 dxe5 17.Qf1 Ng6 18.Nh5 Nxf3+ 19.Rxf3 Qg5 20.Ng3 Be6 21.Nf5 Nf4 22.Kh2 Bxf5 23.exf5 Rad8 24.Rd1 Rxd1 25.Bxd1 e4 26.Re3 Qxf5 27.Bc2 Re8 28.f3 Nd3 29.Qe2 Nc1 30.Rxe4 Rxe4 31.Qxe4 Qxe4 32.fxe4 Nxa2 33.Kg3 a5 34.Kf4 b4 35.c4 Nc1 36.Ke3 b3 37.Kd2 bxc2 38.Kxc1 Kf8 39.Kxc2 Ke7 40.c5 Ke6 41.Kc3 Ke5 42.Kd3 h5 43.g3 f6 44.Ke3 c6 45.Kd3 h4 46.gxh4 Kf4 47.b3 Kf3 48.Kd4 Kf4 49.Kd3 Kg3 50.Kd4 Kxh3 51.e5 fxe5+ 52.Kxe5 Kxh4 53.Kd6 g5 54.Kxc6 g4 55.Kb5 g3 56.c6 g2 57.c7 g1Q 58.c8Q Qe1 59.Qd8+ Kg4 60.Qxa5 Qe8+ ½-½

Italian Game [C55]
S. Reshevsky - W. Tevis
San Francisco (simul) June 21,1921
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 d6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Bb5 0-0 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.Nc3 h6 11.Be3 Bg4 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Nh7 14.Qe2 Kh8 15.Rad1 f6 16.f4 d5 17.e5 f5 18.Qf3 Qe7 19.Ne2 Rf7 20.Kh1 Raf8 21.g4 fxg4 22.hxg4 Ng5 23.Qg2 Ne4 24.Nc3 Nxc3 25.bxc3 g6 26.Qh2 Rh7 27.f5 gxf5 28.gxf5 Ba5 29.e6 Qd6 30.Bf4 Qe7 31.Be5+ Kg8 32.Rg1+ 1-0

Thirty-five years later Reshevsky gave a clock exhibition (45/2) at the MI scoring 5 wins, one loss and one draw against a field made up of Experts and Masters. Reshevsky's opponent in the following game, former US Senior Open Champion Neil Falconer, had this to say about his famous opponent. "He was one of the smallest men I have ever seen - but he was all steel wire and blazing tenacity: one of the toughest tenacious chess players of all time."

Sicilian [B56]
N. Falconer - Reshevsky,S
San Francisco (clock simul) February 11, 1956
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.h3 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.Be2 0-0 9.Bg5 Be6 10.Qd2 Qb6 11.0-0 Rfd8 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 Ne7 15.c4 Ng6 16.Bd3 Nf4 17.Bc2 Rac8 18.Rac1 g6 19.b3 a5 20.g3 Nh5 21.Kg2 a4 22.Ng5 axb3 23.axb3 Ra8 24.Ra1 Rxa1 25.Rxa1 e4 26.Re1 e3! 0-1

The following game, from a different Reshevsky clock simul, was played against the well known bridge and chess master Roy Hoppe.

English [A24]
R. Hoppe - S. Reshevsky
San Francisco (clock simul) 1961
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 e5 7.d3 Nbd7 8.Rb1 a5 9.a3 Re8 10.b4 axb4 11.axb4 Nf8 12.Nd2 Ne6 13.b5 Nc5 14.Nde4 Nfxe4 15.Nxe4 Ne6 16.Nc3 f5 17.Nd5 Bd7 18.e3 c6 19.bxc6 bxc6 20.Nb4 Qc7 21.Bd2 Ra3 22.Ra1 Rea8 23.Rxa3 Rxa3 24.Qc1 Ra7 25.Qc2 h5 26.Rb1 Kh7 27.Rb2 e4 28.Ra2 exd3 29.Nxd3 c5 30.Rxa7 Qxa7 31.Bc3 Qa4 32.Qxa4 Bxa4 33.Bxg7 Kxg7 34.Kf1 Be8 35.Ke2 Kf6 36.f4 g5 37.fxg5+ Kxg5 38.Nf4 Bf7 39.Bd5 Nd8 40.Bxf7 Nxf7 41.e4 fxe4 42.Ke3 Ne5 43.Kxe4 Nxc4 44.Kd5 Nd2 45.Kxd6 c4 46.Kc5 c3 47.Kb4 c2 48.Ne2

San Francisco - Los Angeles Telegraph Matches

Earlier issues dealt with San Francisco's matches with Vancouver and Victoria in the 1890s. Now we start to take a look at the famous series with Los Angeles that started in 1913 and ran into the mid-1920s when it metamorphisized into the face to face North-South matches with the advent of the automobile. Those of you who have visited the MI Chess Room may recognize some of the names of the players in the 1915 event from some of the photographs that are displayed in the Chess Room.

San Francisco, 9 1/2; Los Angeles, 5 1/2, September 1915

Labor Day was utilized by the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club of San Francisco and the Los Angeles Chess and Checker Club for the purpose of holding another telegraphic match, which, after the adjudication of three unfinished games, ended in favor of San Francisco by 9 1/2 to 5 1/2, thereby reversing the result of the last encounter between these two clubs. E. W. Gruer acted as team captain for San Francisco, while E.R. Perry performed a like office for Los Angeles. The match went off smoothly, except for complaint from both sides concerning the slowness to which certain of the players were prone. There was no timing system and play went on under an agreement to keep the games "speeded up" within fifteen or twenty moves an hour. This proved unsatisfactory. Such a match cannot be expeditiously handled without the aid of timing clocks, which have always been called into use in telegraphic matches in the East and in the cable matches. Clocks having been installed, it remains only to a point efficient referees or umpires, who will conscientiously watch these clocks and see to it that they are set promptly in motion the moment moves received over the wire have been made on the boards. Los Angeles found the increase in the size of the teams to fifteen boards too much of a handicap, for, at the last seven boards, San Francisco won outright no less than six games. The struggle on the first eight boards was by Los Angeles. Boris Kostic, present during the match, was invited to act as referee, but declined. Professor Levy, of the University of California, represented Los Angeles at San Francisco. It is probable that the next match will again be played on ten boards. The summary of the match is appended:


San Francisco
1. Gruer 1/2
2. Rubinstein* 1/2
3. Hallwegen 0
4. Fink* 1/2
5. Clarke 1/2
6. Nevill 1/2
7. B. Smith 1/2
8. Drouillard* 1/2
9. Stamer 1
10. W. Smith 1
11. Dickinson 1
12. Haber 1
13. Stephenson 1
14. Bergman 1
15. Ford 0

Los Angeles
Mlotkowski 1/2
W.S.Waterman 1/2
Perry 1
Woodward 1/2
C.W.Waterman 1/2
Peterson 1/2
L'Hommede 1/2
Lewis 1/2
Greer 0
Geldert 0
Anderson 0
Moore 0
Burnett 0
McAnslor 0
McMurray 1

Total 9 1/2

Total 5 1/2

*Unfinished and subsequently declared drawn. Mechanics' Institute had the white pieces on the odd-numbered boards.

Source: The American Chess Bulletin 1915

The 1930's

Everyone remembers the excellent results that George Koltanowski achieved while playing in Europe in the early 1930s, but if you ask most players about his chess career in the United States they think of him as a world champion blindfold player, a fantastic promoter, tournament director and journalist. Few know that he did play for a while after his move to the Bay Area. I.A. Horowitz's Chess Review recounts Kolti's activities in 1939.

Bagby- Koltanowski Match

Charles Bagby played a two game match with George Koltanowski prior to the latter's participation in the California Championship. The result was a 1-1 tie. Charles Bagby - George Koltanowski [D95]
San Francisco 9/11/1939

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.e3 0-0 6.Qb3 e6 7.Be2 Nc6 8.cxd5 exd5 9.0-0 Ne7 10.Rd1 c6 11.Bd2 Nf5 12.Rac1 Nd6 13.Ne5 Nd7 14.Nxd7 Bxd7 15.Na4 Re8 16.Bb4 Bc8 17.Nc5 Bf8 18.a4 Ne4 19.Nxe4 Bxb4 20.Qxb4 Rxe4 21.Bf3 Re7 22.Qc5 Be6 23.b4 a6 24.Ra1 a5 25.Rdb1 axb4 26.a5 Bf5 27.Rxb4 Bd3 28.Rb6 Ra6 29.g3 Rd7 30.Bg2 Qa8 31.Qc3 Bb5 32.Bf1 Bxf1 33.Kxf1 Rxb6 34.axb6 Qc8 35.Ra7 f5 36.Qc5 Kf7 37.Qa5 Qe8 38.Ra8 Rd8 39.Rxd8 Qxd8 40.Qa7 Qc8 41.Qa5 ½-½

1939 California State Championship

Philip Wolliston, 19-year-old Los Angeles youth, scored a smashing victory in his conquest of the California State Championship tournament which concluded November 23rd. Losing only one of his eight games, he outranked a field which included Harry Borochow, state titlist since 1930. Herman Steiner of the 1931 American international team, and George Koltanowski, better known for his exploits san voir.
Wolliston, youngest competitor in the field of nine, and the youngest state champion ever to win El Dorado's crown, has made an auspicious entry in this, his first important tournament. 1. Wolliston 7-1
2-3. Borochow and Steiner 6
4. Koltanowski 4 ½
5. Kovacs 4
6. Fink 3
7. Patterson 2 ½
8. Bazad 2
9. Gibbs 0

Phillip Wolliston spent his high school years in Seattle before relocating to Los Angeles. He is featured in game 80 of Reshevsky's Best Games of Chess (Reshevsky on Chess) , a losing effort from the 1940 US Championship. He is not listed in Gaige's Chess Personalia. Does anyone know what happened to him?

The 1939 Bagby-Fink Match

A.J. Fink was one of the strongest players in California in the 1920s and 1930s, winning the state championship and playing in the famous Pasadena 1932 tournament. By the late 1930s his supremacy at the MI was being challenged by Charles Bagby and a match was arranged which proved to be inconclusive
The May 1939 issue of Chess Review reports that two of the MI players, Charles Bagby and A.J. Fink, drew a ten game match 5-5. Neither player was ever ahead by more than a game and Fink won the last to force the tie.
Here is one of the games from the match: Charles Bagby - A.J. Fink

Queen's Gambit D57
San Francisco 4.26.1939
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Be7 5.Nc3 d5 6.Bg5 0-0 7.e3 h6 8.Bh4 Ne4 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.cxd5 Nxc3 11.bxc3 exd5 12.Qb3 c6 13.Bd3 Nd7 14.0-0 Re8 15.c4 dxc4 16.Bxc4 Nb6 17.Bd3 Be6 18.Qb2 Bd5 19.a4 Nc4 20.Qc2 Bxf3 21.gxf3 Nd6 22.Kh1 Qf6 23.Be2 Nf5 24.Rab1 Re7 25.Rg1 Rae8 26.Rg4 Nh4 27.Rbg1 g6 28.f4 Qf5 29.Qxf5 Nxf5 30.Bd3 Kh7 31.h4 Ng7 32.h5 Nxh5 33.f5 gxf5 34.Bxf5+ Kh8 35.Rh4 Ng7 36.Rxh6+ Kg8 37.Bd3 Rd7 38.Rh7 f6 39.Rh6 1-0

A portrait of Bagby greets you as you walk into the MI and a photo of Fink (with Capablanca) is located in the director's office.

Ernest J. Clarke of San Francisco (1877-1948)

As part of our ongoing look at Bay Area Chess history we feature this obituary of MI Chess Room stalwart E.J. Clarke. His column in the San Francisco Chronicle in the 1920s is an invaluable source of information for MI Chess Room activities during this period.
"In the death of Ernest J. Clarke of San Francisco on December 16, at the age of 71, chess circles on the West Coast suffered an irreparable loss. He had been ill about six weeks. Several years ago he had retired from business, but later resumed work as linotype operator for the San Francisco Call-Bulletin, with which he was connected altogether 31 years. Earlier, he had been with the San Francisco Chronicle, for which he also conducted a weekly chess column.
In this connection it is of interest to mention that he preceded Dr. Emanuel Lasker as chess editor of the New York Evening Post. The latter took over about the time when, late in 1904, he started Lasker's Chess Magazine, in the conduct of which the world champion enjoyed the advice and cooperation of the newspaperman.
At that time, Mr. Clarke was living in Brooklyn and was a close associate of Frank J. Marshall, also a Brooklyn resident at that time. Associated with Mr. Clarke in the conduct of the Chronicle chess department was A. J. Fink, noted Californian expert and problem composer.
Born in Rochester, NY, November 17, 1877, Mr. Clarke moved to San Francisco in 1908. There he joined the Mechanics Institute Chess club and in the course of time became one of its most valued members, in fact, he was regarded as one of the greatest and most dependable leaders in its activities.
In addition to being a chess editor and organizer, he was recognized as on of the strongest players on the Coast. He was Pacific Coast champion from 1911 to 1913 and, in the first California State championship tournament of 1928, he shared third and fourth prizes with Harry Borochow, below E. W. Gruer, who made a clean score, and S. Mlotkowski. He was fond of classical music and a student of Shakespeare and French literature.
During 1901, Mr. Clark married Hattie Hutchinson of New York. Their children, who survive, are Mrs. Erwin Berndt of San Francisco; Lincoln of Woodside, Calif.; and Walter, of San Francisco. He remarried in 1934 to Mrs. Celia Jolly of Kentucky. Three sisters are living in Oakland and one brother, in San Jose."
(The Bulletin is indebted for most of this information to Mr. Carl J. Bergman of San Francisco).
American Chess Bulletin 1948

Arthur Dake visits the Mechanics' Institute in 1937

The late Portland Grandmaster Arthur Dake had a long association with the Mechanics' Institute stretching from his participation in a simul against Alekhine in 1929 to his attendance at an IM norm event named in his honor in 1999. During this 70(!) year relationship he gave several exhibitions at the MI. The American Chess Bulletin of 1937 reports that in June of that year he gave a 24 board simul at the MI scoring 18 wins, 2 losses and 4 draws. The winners were Carroll Capps and H.R. Durham with Wallace Smith, C.Woskoff, N. Preo and S. Ruys drawing. The ACB notes that this was considered to have been one of the most successful occasions at the club in several years. The following day Dake beat the team of Carl Bergman and Ernest Clarke in an exhibition game.

San Francisco-East Bay Match 1949

From the May 1949 California Chess News, a short-lived predecessor of the California Chess Reporter, put out by George Koltanowski.

Mechanics' Institute
by Clark Jonas

The Chess Committee of the Mechanics' Institute recently planned an Open tournament that should be started when you receive this issue. The Open Tournament will be followed by the Major Club Championship. In order to keep activity in the Mechanics' this will be followed by a Queen's Gambit Accepted Tournament (This way one may "brush up" on the accepted gambit which is not often played). On the 12th of March, fifty-two players from the Bay Area gathered at the Mechanics' Chess Club for their periodic chess match. Full score follows:

San Francisco East Bay
Bagby 1 Barlow 0
Fink 1 Capps 0
Donnelly 1/2 - Branch 1/2
Pafnutieff 0 - Konkel 1/2
Svalberg 0- Falconer 1
Gross 1/2 - Preo 1/2
Ralston 1/2 - Ruys 1/2
Pruner 1/2 - McClain 1/2
Boyette 1/2 - Meyer 1/2
Dudley 1/2 - Sedlack 1/2
Wolf 0 - Stamer 1
Pedersen 1 Christensen 0
Jonas 0 Wilson 1
Maxwell 0 Ledgerwood 1
Kondrashoff 0 Austin 1
Abella 0 Bean 1
Rothe 0 Lynch 1
Russell 0 Neilson 1
Leeds 1 Hiatt 0
Keil 1/2 - Cuneo 1/2
Shinkin 0 - Trenbarth 1
Harrison 0 - Freeman 1
Bendit 1 - Gonzalez 0
Radaikin 0 - McCarthy 1
Carlson 0 - Willows 1
Stevens 1 - Fredgren
9 1/2 - 16 1/2

Games from 1913

The noted chess book collector and data base maven Andy Ansel of Walnut Creek passes on three games from the Mechanics' past which were preserved in the pages of the American Chess Bulletin.

Stamer,A - Fink,A
San Francisco Mechanics Prize Winner, 1913
1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.0-0 d6 6.b4 Bb6 7.a4 Nxb4 8.c3 Nc6 9.cxd4 Bg4 10.Qb3 Na5 11.Bxf7+ Kf8 12.Qa2 Bxf3 13.Bxg8 Rxg8 14.gxf3 Bxd4 15.Bb2 Qg5+ 16.Kh1 Nc6 17.Qb3 Qf6 18.Qxb7 Rb8 19.Qxc6 Qxf3+ 20.Kg1 Rxb2 0-1
ACB 1913, page 252

Fink,A - Hallwegen,G
San Francisco Mechanics Prize Winner, 1913
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 h6 5.Be3 Bb4+ 6.Nc3 d6 7.0-0 Bxc3 8.bxc3 0-0 9.Rb1 Ne7 10.Nd2 Ng4 11.Qf3 Ng6 12.h3 Nf6 13.Qg3 Kh7 14.Qf3 c6 15.Bb3 Qd7 16.Qe2 Nf4 17.Bxf4 exf4 18.Nc4 b5 19.Nd2 Re8 20.Rfe1 g6 21.Qf3 Nh5 22.g4 fxg3 23.fxg3 Qxh3 24.Qxf7+ Ng7 25.Re2 Bg4 26.Re3 Re5 27.Rf1 a5 28.a3 a4 29.Ba2 Rae8 30.Qf6 Rh5 31.Kf2 Rf5+ 0-1

ACB 1913, page 252.

Clark,E - Hallwegen,G
San Francisco Mechanics Prize Winner, 1913
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.e3 c6 7.Rc1 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Nd5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Ne2 a6 12.e4 N5f6 13.e5 Nd5 14.Bd3 f5 15.Qd2 h6 16.g3 Qf7 17.Nh4 Ne7 18.Ng2 Re8 19.Nef4 Nf8 20.Ne3 g5 21.Nfg2 b5 22.Be2 Bb7 23.f4 g4 24.Rfd1 Nd7 25.Nh4 h5 26.Bf1 Nb6 27.Bg2 Rac8 28.Rc5 Red8 29.b3 Nbd5 30.Bxd5 Nxd5 31.Nxd5 Rxd5 32.Rxd5 cxd5 33.Rc1 Qd7 34.Ng2 Kf7 35.Ne1 Rc6 36.Nd3 Qc7 37.Rxc6 Qxc6 38.Nc5 Bc8 39.h3 Ke7 40.hxg4 hxg4 41.Qh2 Kd8 42.Qh4+ Kc7 43.Qe7+ Kb6 44.b4 Qc7 45.Qf8 Ka7 46.Qd6 Qb6 47.Kf2 a5 48.a3 axb4 49.axb4 Qb8 50.Qd8 Ka8 51.Qa5+ Qa7 52.Ke3 Qxa5 53.bxa5 Kb8 54.Kd3 b4 55.Kc2 Kc7 56.Kb3 Kc6 57.Kxb4 and wins. 1-0
ACB 1913, page 252.

The 1930 MI Championship

Andy Ansel has dug up two games from the 1930 Mechanics' Institute Championship which first appeared in The Gambit, a St.Louis based magazine which ran for about ten years in the 1920s and 30s.

Bagby - Lamb
1930 MI Championship
1.d4 e5 2.dxe5 Nc6 3.Nf3 Qe7 4.Nc3 Nxe5 5.e4 c6 6.Be2 Nf6 7.O-O Nxf3+ 8.Bxf3 Qe5 9.Be3 Bc5 10.Bxc5 Qxc5 11.e5 Ng8 12.Ne4 Qe7 13.Nd6+ Kd8 14.Qd4 Nh6 15.Rad1 f6 16.Rfe1 Nf7 17.Nxf7+ Qxf7 18.e6 1-0

Lamb - Tippin
1930 MI Championship
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 d5 5.exd5 exd5 6.d4 Nf6 7.Bg5 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Be7 9.Bb5 Qd6 10.Qd2 O-O 11.Bf4 Qd7 12.O-O Bb4 13.Nde2 a6 14.Bxc6 bxc6 15.a3 Bc5 16.Ng3 Re8 17.h3 Ba7 18.Rfe1 Bb7 19.Be5 Re6 20.Nf5 Ne4 21.Nxe4 Rxe5 22.Nf6+ gxf6 23.Rxe5 Kh8 24.Qh6 1-0

News From 1946

"Playing in the strongest championship field mustered in the last few years by the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club of San Francisco, Carroll Capps walked off with first prize by scoring 10-2. He was closely followed by V. Pafnutieff 9 1/2 - 2 1/2 and A.J. Fink 9-3."
Chess Review, August-September 1946, p.12

"In the following tournament report we see MI Trustee Neil Falconer near the top of the standings in the 1946 California State Championship. A.J. Fink won, this time scoring 8 1/2 - 3 1/2 in a good field. Other leading scores were: V. Pafnutieff 7 1/2; N. Falconer 7 and R. Konkel 6."
Chess Review December 1946

MI - Log Cabin Match

E. Forry Laucks unquestionably qualified as one of the great characters of American chess in the 1930s through 1960s. The founder of the Log Cabin Chess Club based in West Orange, New Jersey, Laucks loved to barnstorm around the world. The Log Cabin traveled to such far flung places as Cuba (With a young Bobby Fischer) and Alaska. During these trips members remembered the golden rule: Don't let Forry drive! An animated conversationalist, Laucks was known to look his listener in the back seat in the eye while driving down the road. This resulted in a few nicks and scrapes, but Forry was ready to handle the situation. If his car was undrivable, he would simply leave it by the roadside, flag a ride and go into town and buy a new one. It didn't hurt that Lauck's father had left him a sizable inheritance. The initial "E" undoubtedly stood for eccentric.
The summer of 1955, after the US Open in Long Beach, the Log Cabin hit the road and traveled all the way up to Alaska. Along the way, they played a match with the Mechanics' Institute.

Log Cabin


J. Sherwin 1/2 T. Miller 0 E. Heefner 0 V. Pupols 0 L. Coplin 1/2 R. Houghton 0 F. Laucks 0

W. Addison 1/2 J. Schmitt 1 N. Falconer 1 C. Capps 1 E. Pruner 1/2 R. Currie 1 C. Bagby 1

Total 1      6

Ranking Systems Appear

We tend to think of Chess Life and USCF ratings as having been around forever but in fact both only go back around 50 years or so. Chess Life started as a newspaper in 1946 and didn't adopt a magazine format until around 1960. The rating system started in the early 1950s, but was so slow, that many area around the country developed there own regional rankings. Some of these hung around for a long time with Northwest
Ratings only disappearing in the 1980s!
Here are the top Bay Area players as of May 1, 1951, on the Northern California Chess Ratings system.
International Master George Koltanowski
National Master A.J. Fink
Masters: Charles Bagby, Leslie Boyette, Carroll Capps, Neil Falconer, J.B. Gee, Henry Gross, Wade Hendricks, W.G. McClain, Vladimir "Walter" Pafnutieff, Earl Pruner and H.J. Ralston

Veteran Master

71-year-old National Master Eugene Levin of San Jose has been an active Bay Area player for many years, but he first developed as a chess player in the Los Angeles. An article by Jim Cross in the January 1950 issue of George Koltanowski's short-lived Chess Digest tells the story.
At the age of nineteen Eugene Levin is already one of the strongest players in the Southland area. He has a swashbuckling style of play, preferring wide-open positions which provide a full range for his first-class ability with combinations. Often reviving "worn-out" opening lines, with surprising success, Eugene has terminated many a game with a sharp, well-calculated tactical onslaught.
Having learned the game at the age of six from his father, Jacob Levin, he didn't start studying the game seriously until 1944. His first tournament victory came in '45 when he won first prize in the Scholastic Division of the famous Pan American Tournament. In 1946 he won the State Junior Championship and a trip to Chicago where he competed in the National Junior Championship and added another trophy to his shelf by winning first prize in the Consolation Division. Right after that he traveled to Pittsburgh along with Herman Steiner and myself to play in the US Open Tournament where he played excellent chess against some of the strongest players in the country. Eugene was a member of the victorious Metropolitan Team Champions in 1948, the Hollywood Chess Group, and still plays one of the top boards in all of their matches. At present he is President and Club Champion of the UCLA Chess Club where he has done much to further the cause of chess by promoting matches with other school and local clubs.


The following appreciation was written by Dr. "Bip" Ralston who was instrumental in helping to get the California Chess Reporter started.

Dr. W.R. Lovegrove by Dr. H.J. Ralston

Dr. Walter Romaine Lovegrove, emeritus master of the United States, died in San Francisco on July 18, 1956, He was 86 years old.
For over 60 years Dr. Lovegrove was one of San Francisco's leading players. Born October 24, 1869, he learned the game of chess at the age of 16 by studying the article on chess in the Encyclopedia Britannica. During the period 1886-1890 he strengthened his game by playing at the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club in San Francisco, finally becoming so strong that in one tournament he gave odds to all the other contestants, yet still won the tournament.
Dr. Lovegrove was the winner of the final Pillsbury National Correspondence Tournament. In 1891 he won a match from Joseph Redding, who claimed the championship of the Pacific Coast, by a score of 7-1. Max Judd, who was prominent in national chess circles, visited San Francisco about the same time, and Dr. Lovegrove won six out of seven games in casual play. The American champion, J.W. Showalter, also visited San Francisco, and although he had the edge over Dr. Lovegrove in casual play, lost no less than 12 games to him out of about 30 played.
In 1893 Dr. Lovegrove visited Los Angeles, where he met and conquered Simon Lipshutz by a score of 3 1/2 - 1/2. The American Championship was in a rather foggy state in those days, but technically, the present writer believes, Lipshutz was still the champion, by virtue of his decisive win over Showalter, in their match of 1892. However, one must admit that Dr. Lovegrove's victory over Lipshutz must be weighed with caution because of the very uncertain nature of the champion's health. Lipshutz was a chronic sufferer from tuberculosis, which caused his premature death at the age of 42.
Dr. Lovegrove beat Van Vliet in London, 1912, in the only game played; he beat Taubenhaus in Paris in the same year, 10-1. In Vienna, 1922, playing as usual for a dollar a game, he won one and lost one to Dr. Tartakover - who said he did not care to play Lovegrove any more because he couldn't make a living that way. In 1902 he played Dr. Emanuel Lasker a stake game in San Francisco; the champion of the world tried to win a drawn game, and lost. Again in 1904, an exhibition game was won by Dr. Lovegrove against the American Champion, Harry Pillsbury. Pillsbury grabbed a pawn, allowing Dr. Lovegrove to obtain a crushing kingside attack."

California Chess Reporter 1956

Lasker at the MI (December 1902)

Many Newsletters ago, World Champion Emmanuel Lasker's December 1902 visit to the MI, including his famous lost to Dr. Lovegrove, were written up. The impression was that Lasker was just in town for a few days. Now, indefatigable researcher Steve Brandwein has unearthed a great deal more about Lasker's visit, which in fact lasted almost two weeks. The pages of the San Francisco Chronicle report that during Lasker's stay he was a regular at the MI (then located a few feet east at 31 Post and only a three story building), but also gave simuls at the Western Addition Chess, Checker and Whist Club and the SF Whist and Chess Club. The fruits of Steve's research will appear in the next few Newsletters.

Lasker's Blindfold Simul at the MI (December 27)

Champion Lasker yesterday afternoon at the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club, played five blindfold chess games, winning four and losing one. The players who opposed him were T.D. Black, Dr. B. Marshall, Harvey Dana, Richard Ott and J.J. Dolan. The game the champion lost was won by Dr. B. Marshall, the well-known local player. In his game with Dolan, Dr. Lasker, after the twenty-third move, announced mate in four moves.

Considering that he does not claim to be a great blindfold player this remarkable man nevertheless gave a splendid exhibition, and demonstrated to a large crowd that he is a genius.

Friday night (December 26) last Champion Lasker in a simultaneous exhibition at the Western Addition Chess, Checker and Whist Club, faced the largest number and the strongest combination of chess players since opening up his engagement here. He had twenty-two-players arrayed against him and after the smoke of battle had cleared away he had defeated sixteen, drawn four and lost two. George Halwegan and I. Schonfeld won from the champion and Dr. W.R. Lovegrove, Oscar Samuels, E.V. Gage and Dr. Franklin drew. Halwegan, who has been away from the city for some time, showed that he can still put up a good game. Schoenfeld, the other player to win from Lasker, is a member of the Western Addition Chess Club, and formerly played on the University of California chess team.

The following are the players who took part against Lasker : C.W. Moores, Dr. W.R. Lovegrove, E.V. Gage, L.S. Schoenfeld, D.C. deLong, M.Ettinger, G.R. Thompson, G.P. Woodward, Dr. B. Marshall, Dr. J.D. McKee, Oscar Samuels, Dr. W.S. Franklin, Mr. Winter, E.E. Perley, L. Woodworth, N.J. Manson, M.J. Kuhl, J. Firebaugh, L.S. Adams, Gilbert Griffith and George Halwegan. A large crowd watched the contest which lasted until after midnight.

Lasker,E - Schoenfeld,L [D35]
Simul San Francisco, 26.12.1902
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 Nc6 5.f4 Bb4 6.Bd3 h6 7.Nf3 Ne7 8.0-0 Bxc3 9.bxc3 c6 10.Ba3 Nf5 11.Qe2 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Ne4 13.Qd3 Ned6 14.Bb3 Nb5 15.Bb2 0-0 16.Bc2 Nbd6 17.g4 b5 18.gxf5 exf5 19.Ba3 Re8 20.Ne5 Ne4 21.Qe2 Be6 22.Bxe4 fxe4 23.f5 Qg5+ 24.Qg2 Qxe3+ 25.Kh1 Bd5 26.Rae1 Qxc3 27.Ng4 Qxa3 28.Nf6+ Kh8 29.Rg1 Rg8 30.Nxd5 cxd5 31.Rgf1 Rac8 32.Rf4 Rc1 33.Qf1 Rgc8 34.Kg2 R8c2+ 35.Rf2 Rxf2+ 36.Qxf2 Rxe1 37.Qxe1 Qf3+ 38.Kg1 e3 39.Qh4 e2 0-1

Chess in San Francisco in 1888

San Francisco, May 21, 1888

By G.H. D. Gossip

Sir: On the 18th of last month I left Sydney, per steamship "Alameda,", reaching this city on the 12th, where I first set foot on my native soil after an absence of over forty years, and I have played here more games of chess in a week than I contested during the last six months in Sydney. There are two leading Chess resorts here, viz: the Mercantile Library and the Mechanics' Institute (in Post Street), which have large and commodious rooms for the accommodation of chess players - twice as large as any chess club or chess room in Australia. In fact nearly everything here is on a grander, more civilized and cosmopolitan scale than in Great Britain, although the streets of Adelaide and Melbourne are wider than those of San Francisco. The last named chess resort (MI) is crowded with chessplayers every afternoon, both rooms being open daily, Sundays included. I met here M. Montgomery - a French amateur - with whom I had the pleasure of playing in days gone by at the Cafe de la Regence, more than twenty years ago. Mr. Piper, one of the Vizayanagaram Tourney prizewinners, formerly of Greenwich and Sydney, is also here.

... Of five games played over the board played over the board on even terms between Messrs. Zukertort and Redding, the former won 3 and lost 2, and Mr. Redding also defeated him in his blindfold exhibition. Besides being a strong chess player and an enthusiast, Mr. Redding is also a splendid billiard player (the best, I believe, in "Frisco") and an accomplished musician. The other strong players here are Dr. Marshall, who won 2 out of 5 games of Baron Heydebrand Von Der Lasa, lately and Mr. Heinemann. Of 28 games I have played here I have won 19, drawn 2 and lost 7. I was fortunate enough to win a considerable majority of games of Dr. Marshall, and to make even games with Dr. Heinemann, but have been so far worsted by Mr. Redding, having lost five and only won three games of him. Curiously enough, although there are many more chess players in San Francisco than in Sydney or Melbourne, there is not a single chess column in any San Francisco newspaper. Formerly there was one in the "Argonaut" but it has long since been discontinued. A tournament, however, among the leading players, is to be started this week.

The International Chess Magazine June 1888, page 170-171

Redding, J - Gossip, G [C47]
San Francisco, 1888

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.exd5 cxd5 9.0-0 Bxc3 10.bxc3 0-0 11.Bg5 h6 12.Bh4 Qd6 13.Re1 Bd7 14.Bg3 Qc5 15.Qd2 Rfe8 16.h3 Re6 17.Be5 Rae8 18.Bd4 Qa3 19.Rxe6 Rxe6 20.Qf4 Ne8 21.Qf5 Nf6 22.Bxf6 gxf6 23.Qh7+ Kf8 24.Qxh6+ Ke7 25.Qd2 Qb2 26.Rd1 Qxa2 27.c4 a5 28.Bf5 Re5 29.Bxd7 Kxd7 30.cxd5 Kd6 31.Qf4 Ke7 32.c4 Qb3 33.Qd2 Qa3 34.Qd4 Kd6 35.Ra1 Qb4 36.Kf1 a4 37.f4 The International Chess Magazine August 1888, page 251. 1-0

Redding, J - Gossip, G [C55]
San Francisco, 1888

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Bc4 Nxe4 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Nxe4 d5 7.Neg5+ Kg8 8.d4 h6 9.Nh3 Bxh3 10.gxh3 exd4 11.Nxd4 Qd7 12.Nxc6 Re8+ 13.Be3 bxc6 14.Qf3 Bc5 15.0-0 Bxe3 16.fxe3 Qe6 17.Rae1 Kh7 18.Qf5+ Qxf5 19.Rxf5 Re7 20.c3 Rhe8 21.Kf2 Re4 22.Rf7 R4e7 23.Rxe7 Rxe7 24.Rg1 Re4 25.Rg4 g5 26.Kf3 Re8 27.Ra4 Rf8+ 28.Ke2 Rb8 29.b3 Rb7 30.Ra6 c5 31.Rc6 c4 32.b4 a5 33.a3 axb4 34.axb4 Ra7 35.e4 dxe4 36.Rxc4 Ra2+ 37.Ke3 Rxh2 38.Rxc7+ Kg6 39.Kxe4 Rxh3 40.b5 Rh1 41.b6 Rb1 42.Rc6+ Kg7 43.c4 h5 44.c5 g4 45.Rc7+ Kg6 46.b7 g3 47.Rc6+ Kg7 48.Rc7+ [48.Rb6] 48...Kg6 49.Kf3 Rb3+ 50.Kg2 Kg5 51.c6 h4 52.Rg7+ Kf4 53.Kh3 Rb1 54.Rf7+ The International Chess Magazine, July 1888, page 217-18. 1-0

MI Chess History Mystery

The two giants of early Mechanics History, NMs Walter Lovegrove and A.J. Fink, must have played many times, but surprisingly enough not a single game between the two players is to be found in the comprehensive Cal Chess database (www.chessdryad.com), which has recently been edited by Sam Sloan.
The following game appears in George Koltanowski's Chess Chats without a date. This book was published in 1950, but the game would appear to have been played much earlier as Lovegrove, who died in 1956 (the same year as Fink), played little the last few decades of his life. Can anybody pin down a date for this game?

Lovegrove - Fink
San Francisco ???
1.d4 f5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.e3 b6 7.Bd3 Bb7 8.Rc1 Kh8 9.Bf4 Nh5 10.0-0 Nxf4 11.exf4 g5 12.fxg5 Bxg5 13.Nxg5 Qxg5 14.f3 Nc6 15.f4 Qf6 16.d5 Ne7 17.Be2 Rg8 18.Kh1 Rg7 19.Bf3 Rag8 20.Ne2 exd5 21.cxd5 Nxd5 22.Bxd5 Rxg2 23.Bxg2 Rxg2 0-1

MI member Frank Ruys submits the following game played in a simul against Grandmaster-to-be Arthur Dake. Frank, who was a 16-year-old, just starting his chess career when this game was played, notes that Dake could have won early and that he (F.R.) had chances to win later on.

Dake - Ruys
San Francisco (simul) 1937
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bf4 a6 8.Nxd6+ Bxd6 9.Bxd6 Bd7 10.e5 Ng8 11.Qg4 g6 12.Ne4 Qa5+ 13.c3 Nxe5 14.Qg5
14.Qf4 Nc6 15.Bc7 Qd5 16.Nd6+ wins- Ruys.
14...Nc6 15.Nf6+ Nxf6 16.Qxf6 Rg8 17.Be2 Qd5 18.Rd1 Qf5 19.Qxf5 gxf5 20.Bf3 0-0-0 21.0-0 e5 22.Bd5 Rg7 23.Rfe1 f6 24.f4 e4 25.Rd2 Re8 26.Re3 Nd8 27.c4 Bc6 28.Bb4 Ne6 29.Bd6 Nc7 30.Bxc7 Kxc7 31.Bxc6 bxc6 32.Rg3 Rxg3 33.hxg3 Rd8
33...e3! 34.Re2 Kd6 35.b4 (35.Kf1 Kc5 36.Re1 a5 37.b3 Kb4 38.Rc1 Ka3 39.Rc2 Rg8) 35...c5 36.a3 Re4 winning - Ruys.
34.Rxd8 Kxd8 35.Kf2 Ke7 36.Ke3 h5 37.c5 a5 38.Kd4 Ke6 39.Kc4 Ke7 40.a3 Kd7 41.Kd4 Ke6 42.a4 e3 43.Kxe3 Kd5 44.Kd3 Kxc5 45.Kc3 Kd5 46.Kd3 Kc5 ½-½

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