PAN-AMERICAN CHESS CONGRESS
HOLLYWOOD STAGES COLORFUL PAN-AMERICAN CHESS CONGRESS
Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood, the citadel of make-believe, became the first California city to hold a major chess event since the international tournament held at Pasadena in 1932. The Hollywood event quickly established itself as the outstanding American tournament of 1945 due to the united efforts of the California Chess Association, the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Athletic Club, and Mr. Chess of the Pacific Coast, Herman Steiner.
Chess-conscious movie stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, Charles Boyer, Basil Rathbone, Myrna Loy, Linda Darnell, Maureen O'Sullivan and many others were largely responsible for the phenomenal growth of Steiner's Hollywood Chess Group and inspiration for a chess congress in the film city. Steiner worked zealously for six months lining up players from North and South America. With the attractive prizes offered by the Los Angeles Times ($1000, $750, $500, $350, $200) his task was an easy one. Few tournaments can boast such a fund.
Early acceptances were received from the most of the sixteen masters from America and South America. Early acknowledgements were given by American masters Reubin Fine, I. A. Horowitz, Isaac Kashdan, Albert S. Pinkus, Edward Lasker, and Pfc. Herbert Seidman. Foreign players included Hector Rossetto and Jacobo Bolbachan of Argentina, Dr. Walter Cruz and J. Souza Mendes of Brazil, Julio Salas and Mariano Catillo of Chile, Alfredo Olivero of Uruguay, Major J. Araiza and Joquin Camarena of Mexico, Dr. Alfredo Broderman of Cuba, and Abe Yanofsky, Canada.
The fifteen rounds were scheduled to open July 28TH at 8 p.m. With rounds being played nightly at 7 p.m. Sunday rounds at 2 p.m. The event was to conclude August 11TH with special features of the festival slated for Sunday, August 12TH. All adjournments were scheduled for 10 a.m. each day. Unfortunately the original list of players did not attend. America was still at war in the Pacific and travel was difficult if not impossible. Pinkus and Lasker withdrew as they could not obtain reservations, Weaver Adams, a last-minute replacement, was delayed enroute and arrived three days late with Dr. Cruz of Brazil. Herman Pilnik, another replacement from Argentina, lost his plane reservation and proceeded by car. He crashed into an unlighted truck at night and woke up in a Yuma, Arizona hospital. He arrived in Hollywood three days late with his head swathed in bandages. Other players withdrew for various reasons.
Thus a rather hectic situation presented itself to the tournament committee. With only nine players on hand the event was started with possible entrants yet to arrive. Therefore for most of the two weeks allotted to play players were busy catching up on postponements. It was impossible to get an accurate estimate of the leaders until late in the tournament.
For a time Fine and Horowitz shared the lead as Reshevsky had several postponements. Eventually he caught up as he challenged Fine in the crucial IX round. Both players were in time trouble with Fine having the advantage most of the time. Had the latter been able to win he would have tied for first place. Reshevsky also had a poor game against Adams but salvaged a win as Adams made a mistake during the time pressures struggle. The rest of the field offered few problems to America's No. 1 grandmaster. The race for runner-up developed late in the tournament between Fine and Pilnik. The latter played remarkable chess in spite of his recent injuries. He made a game bid for second by defeating Kashdan in the last round but the Horowitz-Fine draw clinched second for the latter.
The other Latin-American players failed to live up to their past records. Only Rossetto, at 22 an experienced master, gave the leaders any real competition. Herbert Seidman found that his leave was shortened the last few days of the event and he had to forfeit to Kashdan, Steiner and Reshevsky. Steiner was handicapped by his various duties and was unable to devote undivided attention to many of his games.
There were five other tournaments in progress: In the Masters Reserve, H. Borochow of San Francisco chalked up 13.5-2.5 to edge the 17-man field. R. Solona (12-4) was second ahead of G. Grey and A. Weiss (10.5-5.5). In the Class A event, H. Carlsen scored 11.5-2.5 ahead of E. Moncalian 11-3 and 13 others. W. Fieg won the Class B tournament with 14.5-2.5 ahead of Dr. A. Kupka, 13.5-3.5. Eugene Levin won the Interscholastic Tournament, a double round robin, with 11-1. B. Erickson scored 8.5-3.5. In the Women's Tournament, Mrs. Mary Bain and Miss N. May Karff tied with 7-1 ahead of Mrs. Nancy Rocs and six others. A movie star, Mitzi Mayfair, played under her married name, Mrs. Charles Henderson.
Many movie stars attended the special events and the tournament games. A Living Chess Game was won by a team of Reshevsky, Fine, Horowitz, Steiner, Adams and Borochow. The defeated Pilnik, Rossetto, Cruz, Araiza and Camarena. The game was played with "living chess pieces" as Earl Carroll girls in white bathing suits were White pieces while Latin American beauties in formal gowns were the Black pieces. Bud Williams and Barbara Hale of RKO were the Black king and queen. P. Clagett and Rosanne Murray of MGM were the White king and queen. Linda Darnell announced the moves. A suggestion that each team keep the captured pieces was turned down by the tournament committee!
A gala dinner was attended by 150 chess fans who listened to Gregory Ratoff as toastmaster and participated in the distribution of prizes as conducted by Linda Darnell. Statuettes were awarded to the winners and medals to eight others in each group. Reshevsky was awarded the Marshall Memorial prize for his victory over Broderman. The first Brilliancy was won by Pilnik for his victory over Adams. Some recognition should have been given Kashdan and Araiza for their record 101 move game which ended in a draw after three sessions.
Herman Steiner and Hermann Helms, official tournament director, kept chess matters moving as well as could have been expected under the trying conditions brought on by the postponements. They were assisted by a special committee composed of Robert E. Paradise, Dudley Gordon, Melvin J. Royer, Jay Chernis, and Edwin Janns, Jr.
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