WESTERN CHESS CHRONICLE
Vol. I, No. 8, June, 1936
NORTH vs SOUTH TEAM MATCH
At four o'clock on the afternoon of May 30 began the trek of contingents from both camps preparatory to participation in the annual chessic war between Northern and Southern California's picked experts. Already the spacious lobby of the Anderson Hotel at San Luis Obispo had become the common meeting-ground for the fifty warriors who were to test their skill, each against the other, the next morning.
As each group arrived, they were warmly greeted by the genial C. J. Smith who had been appointed by Mayor Louis Sinsheimer to act as host and manager of arrangements for the affair. Mr. Smith, who is engaged at the Security-First National Bank, officiated as representative of the San Luis Obispo chess-players, and is himself one of the town's leading chess experts. He later was to act in the capacity of referee when the next day's play took place.
Though most cordial in his greeting of old friends and former opponents, each member of the gathering wore an air of restraint and conservatism. It was as though each had set himself to warily observe the conduct of the opposition, that he might detect some word or action which would guide him to a pre-war disclosure of "concealed weapons."
Throughout the evening the abstinence from "skittle" play was in graphic evidence. One would suspect that this obtained from choice. There was some play, of course. You simply can't keep the more enterprising from exercising their energies in that all-absorbing hobby, which dominates the addict's every thought.
There in one corner was the veteran, Dr. Sholtz, at combinational grips with the youthful Fisher, both from the Los Angeles Chess Club, and the character of their skittle play can best be described by mention of the fact that a respectful silence was maintained on the part of the dozen or more onlookers.
Then there was a second game going on between two youthful members of the San Francisco team, while in a third quarter of the lobby, a bell-boy had set up a card-table, that six chess players from both armies might engage in a boisterous battle of-will wonders never cease?-"Anagrams!" This to the accompaniment of much and boisterous hilarity, and to the eventual amusement of the entire group.
Conclaves were held by the respective captains of both teams, in which they exhorted their respective players to give the utmost for the cause. Tentative "first lists" were compiled and terms of play were agreed upon. Satisfied that all was in readiness for the next morning's struggle, and early hour retirement ensued.
Promptly at 9:30 Sunday morning this chess-minded assemblage convened in the small dining room of the hotel, with Mr. Smith as chairman.
He formally welcomed the players in behalf of Mayor Sinsheimer and the San Luis Obispo chess-players. He then gave the floor to Team Captain Christensen of San Francisco, who briefly expressed a hope that his team might break the tie that has existed for the past two years.
Team Captain Johnson of Hollywood the arose and , after congratulating Mr. Smith on the latter's tireless efforts and splendid results in arranging the match, expressed a like desire that Southern California would emerge victorious and thus "win three matches in one."
Upon resumption of the chair, Mr. Smith, to the amazed pleasure of all present, displayed a beautiful 14-inch gold trophy cup which, with the names of both teams engraved upon it, and a detachable gold band engraved with the winning team's name, would this year be awarded to the victor. The winner of the trophy will hold it until the other team has defeated it, or until it has won the match three times, when it becomes that team's permanent possession.
A lengthy exposition of the rules of play was given by Referee Smith, during which such items as the ruling on the decision of drawn games was explained. No two players could mutually decide upon a draw until after thirty moves had been made. It was Harry Borochow, California State Champion, who introduced this rule for the first time at last year's session of this match.
Just before sending both teams into play, Mr. Smith gave the terms of play as follows: Forty moves in the first two hours, and twenty moves per hour thereafter. Adjournment for dinner at two o'clock, and resumption of play at two-thirty. All unfinished games being played after the match result had been decided would be adjudicated.
And then the battle was on, with much display of enthusiasm and eagerness to draw first blood. Clarke, of San Francisco, on third board, was first in the twenty-five games to make his move, (White on odd boards had been awarded to San Francisco prior to the match. At this meeting Mr. Elliott, secretary of the Chess and Checker Club of Los Angeles, had introduced a resolution to alternate the color on odd boards between the two teams in future.) But it remained for LeRoy Johnson, Team Captain for the Southern group, to force the first resignation. His opponent, R. C. Guzman, lasted for seventeen moves against Johnson's choice of the Ruy Lopez.
Here is the picture at the finish-line:
The following tabulation gives a summary of team scores throughout the history of the match. It is noteworthy that the first match in 1926 was played on twelve boards. Also, the matches of the past two years (1934 and 1935) have resulted in ties:
Here's how they did it this year:
Board No. 1
Board No. 2
Board No. 4
Board No. 5
Board No. 6
Board No. 8
Scores of all the remaining games will be published in our next issue.
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