Back to School!

Labor Day has traditionally been the last day of summer vacation. It’s a time to go back to school and re-engage the brain.

 

Perhaps you already started school. But whether you did or not, it’s time to exercise more than a suntan. We have to get you ready for your daily quizzes, your tests, and your exams.

 

What better way start than a short, but not-so-easy chess quiz?

 

So……

 

Here it is! You can’t use the Internet, nor books, and no help from your friends. It is a quiz, after all!

 

(well…. ok – you can use friendly help.)

 

Answers and explanations available on PDF file, should you need them (and you will).

 

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Pub-Quizzes

 

ROB’S BASIC CHESS QUIZ

 

1) Where did the word, CHECKMATE, come from?

 

a) The Australians had morbid, slightly amusing, phrase that was most popular during WWII.  It was, “CHECK ON THE MATE PLEASE. HE’S DEAD”.

b) A term in which a sailing ship would briefly hit (or “checked”) another boat in order to board it, esp. in acts of piracy.

c) A Sanskrit phrase meaning “THE KING IS DEAD”.

d) An ancient Pharaoh’s curse.

 

 

2) Which chess piece is also the name of a GM?

(a) KING

(b) QUEEN

(c) ROOK

(d) KNIGHT

(e) SPRINGER

 

3) Who was not a World Chess Champion from the United States before Bobby Fischer?

(a) STEINITZ

(b) BERLINER

(c) LOMBARDY

(d) Trick Question! – Fischer was the first World Champion from the United States

(e) BELLE

 

 

4) Which word does not belong?

(a) CHECKMATE

(b) STALEMATE

(c) CASTLING

(d) RESIGNATION

(e) DRAW

 

5) Which word does not belong?

(a) KING

(b) QUEEN

(c) KNIGHT

(d) CASTLE

(e) PAWN

(f) ROOK

(g) RESIGN

(h) SACRIFICE

(i) ELO

 

 

6) Which word does not belong?

(a) PARIS

(b) MOSCOW

(c) VIENNA

(d) BERLIN

(e) BUDAPEST

 

7) A “RINGED PIECE” refers to:

 
(a) A pendant that hangs from the neck that is, or features, a chess piece.

(b) A piece of art created by Ringo Starr, who was inspired by Lennon’s chess set that featured two sets of white pieces to indicate harmony.

(c) A piece on the chessboard with a ring around it, indicating that this piece was to be the one to deliver the checkmate.

 

8) What is the definition of SCACCHIC?

(a) [n. the Computer World Champion for 1981.]

(b) [n. a famous correspondence player of the 1950’s who came up with a new move in the Two Knights Defence.]

(c) [adj. of or relating to chess.]

(d) [adj. referring to the queenside in chess.]

(e) [adj. referring to a dive into the ocean by leaping far off the side of a cliff.]

 

 

Answers below : 

Robs_Words_Quiz_Answers

 

Chess Computers in 1977

Before we start, I capitalize the name of chess playing computers to clarify who (or what?) is playing White or Black. Now let’s get to the main event.

 

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computerchess1

 

Chess computers, of course, had been in development for a couple of decades before 1977. But in that year, several notable events brought the chess computer to the public’s attention.

 

But let’s first mention that the International Computer Chess Association was established, which is important to this article, even if the public was not aware of it.

 

More worthy for public interest was the first microcomputer chess playing machines, CHESS CHALLENGER and BORIS, were created and sold to the general public. You could now buy a computer to play chess. Even better was the fact they were not too strong and existed more of a novelty than a challenge, making them easy prey to most players. Nevertheless, I heard many people brag how they “beat the computer”, or they were “better than a computer”. What they sometimes forget to mention they played the same opening repeatedly, until they got the result they wanted. Not exactly cheating, but not entirely honest either! (I must pause and smile here, as I the only reason I didn’t do such things was that I couldn’t afford these machines).

 

Also, in 1977, CHESS 4.6, a stronger machine than either CHESS CHALLENGER or BORIS, became the first chess computer to win a major chess tournament. That occurred at 84th Minnesota Open in February of 1977. It achieved an Expert USCF rating.

 

In August, SNEAKY PETE played in the U.S. Open. It was the first machine to do so, was promoted and gathered much attention, but its results were not impressive.

The December 1977 issue of Chess Life and Review had this to say;

 

“Computers were everywhere during the U.S. Open. A major attraction for the entire tournament was SNEAKY PETE. The poor machine had to stick it out on Board 69 for the entire two weeks and was constantly surrounded and scrutinized by Class As and Experts. SNEAKY rated 1209, was so nervous he lost seven games in a row. And every back-rank mate was immortalized in the daily games bulletins.”

 

In 1977, Michael Stean, who earlier in the year earned the GM title, became the first Grandmaster to lose a computer program.

 

CHESS 4.6-GM Michael Stean
Blitz Game
London, 1977
1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Nc3 c5 4.dxc5 (This does not seem best. 4.d5!? is probably better.) 4…bxc5 5.Be3 d6 6.Bb5+ Nd7 7.Nf3 e6 8.O-O a6 9.Bxd7+ Qxd7 10.Qd3 Ne7 11.Rad1 Rd8 12.Qc4 Ng6 13.Rfe1 Be7 14.Qb3 Qc6 15.Kh1 O-O 16.Bg5 Ba8 17.Bxe7 Nxe7 18.a4 Rb8 19.Qa2 Rb4 20.b3 f5 21.Ng5 fxe4 22.Ncxe4 Rxf2 23.Rxd6 Qxd6 24.Nxd6 Rxg2 25.Nge4 Rg4 26.c4 Nf5 27.h3 Ng3+ 28.Kh2 Rxe4 29.Qf2 h6 30.Nxe4 Nxe4 31.Qf3 Rb8 32.Rxe4 Rf8 33.Qg4 Bxe4 34.Qxe6+ Kh8 35.Qxe4 Rf6 36.Qe5 Rb6 37.Qxc5 Rxb3 38.Qc8+ Kh7 39.Qxa6 1-0

 
But this was a blitz game. Chess computers still could not compete against World Champions, either current or past, in blitz games, or under tournament conditions.

 

Fischer (yes, that one!) play three games against a chess computer. The first one is the most well-known and perhaps his best effort.

 

Greenblatt was the name of the programmer. I do not know the name of his computer, or if it even had one, so I’ll just use his name.

 

Here are the three games Fischer was known to have played after his 1972 World Championship win.

 

GM Fischer-GREENBLATT
Cambridge, 1977
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Nf3 O-O 7.O-O [Fischer liked to experiment with the Bishop’s Gambit, probably as a result of publishing an article titled, The King’s Gambit is Busted, where he showed how Black should win after 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6. Here’s a game from his simul tour of 1964: GM Fischer-Nyman, Simul, Cicero, May 20 1964, 7.O-O Bxc3 8.dxc3 c6 9.Bc4 Qb6+ 10.Kh1 Nxe4 11.Qe1 Re8 12.Bxf4 Nd6 13.Bxd6 Rxe1 14.Raxe1 Bd7 15.Ng5 Na6 16.Rxf7 1-0.] 7…Nxd5 8.Nxd5 Bd6 9.d4 g5 10.Nxg5 Qxg5 11.e5 Bh3 12.Rf2 Bxe5 13.dxe5 c6

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14.Bxf4 +- Qg7 15.Nf6+ Kh8 16.Qh5 Rd8 17.Qxh3 Na6 18.Rf3 Qg6 19.Rc1 Kg7 20.Rg3 Rh8 21.Qh6mate 1-0

 

GREENBLATT-GM Fischer
Cambridge, 1977
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.Nc3 cxd4 [Black tried the original 4…b6 in GM Božidar Ivanović-Grigic, Vinkovic, 1982 and lost after the spectacular 5.dxc5! bxc5 6.Qd5 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 Qa5 8.Qxa8 Qxc3+ 9.Kd1! 1-0.] 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng8 9.f4 f6 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.Bc4 d5 12.Be2 Rb8 13.b3 Ng4 14.Bd4 e5 15.fxe5 O-O 16.Bxg4 Qh4+ 17.g3 Qxg4 18.Qxg4 Bxg4 19.Rf1 Rxf1+ 20.Kxf1 c5 21.Bf2 Bxe5 22.Be1 Rf8+ 23.Kg2 Rf3 24.h3 Rxc3 25.Bxc3 Bxc3 26.Rf1 Bf5 27.Rf2 h5 28.Re2 Kf7 29.Re3 Bd4 30.Rf3 Ke6 31.c3 Be5 32.Re3 d4 33.cxd4 cxd4 34.Re1 d3 35.h4 d2 36.Rd1 Bc3 37.Kf2 Bg4 38.Rh1 Bd4+ 39.Kg2 [Any player would automatically see that promoting the pawn would force White to part with his rook for bishop (winning the exchange and eventually win the game). Fischer, however, wants the rook for free.]
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39…Kd5! 40.a3 Ke4 41.Rf1 Kd3 42.Kh2 Ke2 43.Kg2 Bh3+ 44.Kxh3 Kxf1 45.b4 d1=Q 46.Kh2 Qe2+ 47.Kh3 Qg2mate 0-1

 

GREENBLATT-GM Fischer
Cambridge, 1977
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Be3 O-O 9.Qd3 Be6 10.O-O Nbd7 11.Nd5 Rc8 12.Nxe7+ Qxe7 13.f3 d5 14.Nd2 Qb4 15.Nb3 dxe4 16.Qd1 Nd5 17.Ba7 b6 18.c3 Qe7 19.fxe4 Ne3 20.Qd3 Nxf1 21.Qxa6 Ne3 22.Bxb6 Qg5 23.g3 Ra8 24.Ba7 h5 25.Qb7 h4 26.Kf2 hxg3+ 27.hxg3 f5 28.exf5 Rxf5+ 29.Ke1 Raf8 30.Kd2 Nc4+ 31.Kc2 Qg6 32.Qe4 Nd6 33.Qc6 Rf2+ 34.Kd1 Bg4 35.Bxf2 Qd3+ 36.Kc1 Bxe2 37.Nd2 Rxf2 38.Qxd7 Rf1+ 39.Nxf1 Qd1mate 0-1

 

 

It would take another two decades for chess computers to score a win against World Champion.

I Beat A 2812!

Yes, this is true.

 

And this is the story.

 

In order to gain an established rating, you must play events obviously. During the time you start playing tournament games and your rating more or stabilizes, you are issued a provisional rating. This rating can wildly swing as you win and lose games.

 

In 1988 my correspondence rating was settling into a stable one. My opponent’s rating was still in wild flux before he and I started our game.

 

And this is the game.

 

A.I.-Escalante
corres. 1990
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5 (This is the Wilkes-Barre Variation, an extremely tactical and popular opening in the 1980s.  It was my favorite opening at this time as well. And it also seems to have been a favorite of my opponent as he made book move almost to the end of the game. Kenneth Williams’s pamphlet, The Real American Wilkes-Barre, published in 1979, was probably the reason for its popularity.) 5.Nxf7 (An alternate move is 5.Bxf7+. But if tactical is your M.O., then you can’t beat 5.Nxf7 for the pins, forks, checks, and sacrifices.) 5…Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Ke3!? [7.Kg1 is another move. But boldly (or maybe even recklessly) moving one’s king to the center in this variation is stronger than it appears (IMHO) as Black doesn’t have too many pieces developed and White is ahead materially.]

7…Qh4

[Black has the choice of the text move and 7…Qe7. I chose 7…Qh4 as I felt the queen was more active on this square.

Remember I mentioned this was popular opening back in the 1980s? Here two very strong players trying out 7…Qe7!? Notes are from NIC Yearbook #4.

Van de Loo-Hesslin
Netherlands, 1985
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5 5.Nxf7 Bxf2+ 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Ke3 Qe7 8.c3 Nd4 9.Kxe4 Qh4+ 10.Ke3 Qf4+ 11.Kd3 d5 12.Bxd5 Bf5+ 13.Kc4 b5+ 14.Kc5 Qh4 15.Nxe5 O-O-O 16.c4 Rxd5+ 17.cxd5 Rd8 18.Nc3 Nc6 19.Qa4!! Qe7+ (19…bxa4 20.Nc6 -/+) 20.Kxb5 Qxe5 21.Qc4?! (21.Qa6+!? Kb8 22.Qc6 Bd7) 21…Nd4+ 22.Ka4 Bd7+ 23.Ka5?! (Ka3!?) 23…Nc6+ 24.Ka6? (Ka4) 24…Nb8+ 25.Kxa7 (unclear) c6? (Qd6! -+) 26.Nb5! (with the idea of Kb6, Na7#) 26…Bf5 27.d4 Rd7+ 28.Ka8 (Kb6!) 27…Qe7 29.dxc6 Be4 30.d5 Bxd5 31.Qxd5 Rxd5 32.Na7+ Kd8 33.Kxb8?! (33.Bf4 with the idea of c7) 33…Qc7+? [33…Qe5 34.Kb7 (34.Ka8? Kc6!) Rb5 35.Nxb5 Qxb5=] 34.Ka8 Ra5 (Ke8!?) 35.Bg5+!! Rxg5 (35…Ke8 36.Rae1 Kf7 37.Re7+ -+) 36.Rad1+ Ke8 37.Rhe1+ Kf8 38.Rd7 Qxh2 39.Ree7 Qxg2 40.Rb7 Rc5 41.c7 Qg4 42.Rf7+! Ke8 43.b4 Rc2 44.a4 h5 45.a5 h4 46.b5 h3 47.Nc6! h2 48.Rxg7!! 1-0 Back to the game!]

8.g3 Nxg3 9.hxg3 Qd4+ 10.Kf3 d5!

[Black has the option of 10…O-O, letting his rook into play. However, again IMHO, the text move is stronger as it allows Black’s c8-bishop to come into play AND lay claim to the center.

Oleksenko-Malksirits, corres., 1984, continued with 11.Rh4!? e2+ 12.Kg2 d5 13.Rf4 dxc4 14.Qf1 Rxf7 15.Rxf7 Bg4 16.Nc3 Ne5 17.Qf2! Bf3+ 18.Rxf3 exf3+ 19.Kg1 Qd7 20.d4 cxd3 21.Bf4 Ng6 22.Qxf3 dxc2 23.Rc1 Nxf4 24.Qxf4 Rf8 25.Qc4+ Kh8 26.Rxc2 c6 27.Qc5 Rf5 28.Rf2+ 1-0]

11.Be2

[All this studying for correspondence can pay off. Here is another game by the author.

Escalante-Tym Belanger, US Amateur Team Ch., Feb., 20 2006, 11.Rh4 e4+ 12.Kg2 Rf8 13.Bxd5 Qxd5 14.Qh5 Qxh5 15.Rxh5 Rxf7 16.Rxh7 Nd4 17.Na3 Bg4 -/+ 18.Rh8+ Rf8 19.Rxf8+ Kxf8 20.c3 Bf3+ 21.Kf2 Nf5 22.d3 Rd8 23.dxe4 Bxe4 24.Bg5? (>24.Bf4 c6 25.Nc4) 24…Rd3 25.Bf4 Rf3+ 26.Ke2 Nxg3+ 27.Bxg3 Rxg3 28.Rf1+ Ke7 29.Kd2 Rd3+?! (>29…Rg2+ 30.Ke3 Bc6 31.Nc4? Bb5) 30.Ke2 Rg3 31.Kd2 g5 32.Re1 Kf6 33.Rxe4 Kf5 34.Re2 Kf4 35.Nb5 Kf3 36.Nd4+ Kg4 37.Rf2 Kh3 38.Ke2 Rg4 39.a4 Re4+ 40.Kd3 Re1 41.Rf3+ Kg2 42.Rf7! +- (White wins with a windmill.) 42…g4 43.Rxc7 Kf2 44.Rf7+ Kg1 45.Rxb7 Rf1 46.Rg7 g3 47.Rxg3+ Kh1 48.Rg7 Rb1 49.b4 Rd1+ 50.Kc2 Rf1 51.Rxa7 Rf2+ 52.Kd3 Rf8 53.Rg7 Rf3+ 54.Kc4 (Of course not Nxf3, stalemate!) 54…Rf8 55.b5 Rc8+ 56.Kb4 Rf8 57.a5 Rf3 (Another attempt at stalemate.) 58.a6 Rf2 59.c4 Rf1 60.a7 Ra1 61.b6 Rb1+ 62.Kc5 Ra1 63.b7 Rxa7 64.b8=Q Rc7+ (Yet another try at stalemate; the third of the game. 65.Qxc7 is a draw, so…) 65.Rxc7 1-0]

11…O-O (11…Bxe2 Bg4 12.Kg2 Qe4 13.Bf3! +-) 12.Rf1? (Kg2! – K. Williams)

2019_07_25

12…Bh3!! 0-1 (This is stronger than 12…Qe4+ 13.Kf2 Rxf7+ and either 14.Ke1 or 14.Kg1 and the White king lives. But after 12…Bh3!!, White has a choice between …Rxf7# or losing a massive amount of material with 13.Bd3 Rxf7+ 14.Ke2 Bg4+ 15.Ke1 Rxf1+ 16.Kxf1 Bxd1.)

 

correspondence_AI_1

Chess in Another Game

Not only do I enjoy chess, but most board games in general (but to a lesser extent, of course).

 

One of these games is Dixit, a party game in which players try to guess which your card by is using a clue that you provided. Similar to Apples to Apples or Card Against Humanity (an adult version of Apples to Apples).

 

You can’t make your clue too easy, else everyone will solve it and you get no points. And if you make your clue too difficult and no one solves it, then again you get no points. Best strategy is having one or two people solve it and you earn three points.

 

So, what does this have to do with chess? Glad you asked! Two of the cards have chess themes in their image. See below.

Dixit_1_A

Dixit_2_A

 

Let’s take the first image. I’ve played this card before, in fact twice. The first time I gave the clue, it was “Berlin, Italian, French, Swiss”. All of these are chess openings, of which one person got it. I’m proud of that clue!

 

Another time I used the clue, “Peace”, as it referred to the dove. But since the clue was spoken, it also referred to “Piece”, as something one would expect to be on a chessboard. I didn’t do as well on that image.

 

The second image is harder to find a clue that doesn’t give it immediately away. Maybe “Bobby and Lisa”, a reference to strongest female and male American players of the 1960’s. Or perhaps, “What does Alice in Wonderland and One Night in Bangkok have in common?” (they both feature chess).

 

Here I digress. If the reader wishes to use chess themes found in a movie, he (or she!) may want to watch this YouTube video, https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=chess+movie#id=2&vid=998433ab7997d2e286c6412590eef4e3&action=click

 

A few pet peeves here. One is the five-minute game of Sherlock Holmes.  Players at that time did not play five- minute games; the chess clocks could not handle the rapid oscillations of fast moving players. Players would instead use a set time of 5 seconds per move, called out by an independent arbitrator. In “Searching for Bobby Fischer”, the clocks are set for five minutes, not two minutes. The chess sets used in the movies tend not to be the sets preferred by most players – too hard to determine pieces and/or the pieces are too fragile to grab and gather them, esp. in speed chess. And finally, most of the movies use Descriptive Notation (DN), such as “Queen takes Knight”, instead of more common, and easier to use, Algebraic Notation (AN). Only Harry Potter gets it right!  

 

But back to the original post!

 

Readers! Do you have any suggestions for these two cards? Would love to hear your opinion!

First Official U.S. Women’s Chess Champion?

I play chess on chess.com. And I’ve read many articles by the members. Some are good, some are bad, and most of them are either interesting, funny, or informative.

 

And some are incredibly researched.

 

“Batgirl”, who is the probably the best in research, gave me permission to repost this article.

 

Originally posted in chess.com on Nov. 28 2016

 

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If you look on Wikipedia, or for that matter on almost any website that mentions it, including the official USCF website and the site of the US Chess Trust,  You will notice that all these places honor Adele Rivero as the first official U.S. Women’s Chess Champion for having won the first tournament organized for that purpose in 1937.

 

Inconceivably, perhaps, all these places are perhaps completely wrong.

 

Contemporary sources indicate that the first official U.S. Women’s Chess Champion was Mona May Karff who won the first tournament designed to establish such a title in 1938.  Adele Rivero would not become an official U.S. Women’s Champion until 1940.

 

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Adele Rivero playing Mona May Karff (a.k.a. N. May Karff) in 1942

 

 

In 1904 and Carrie Kraus received an unexpected Christmas present. She met the man of her dreams. The New Year brought her a new name – Mrs. Frank James Marshall when, on January 5th, she married the man who a year later would be the premier chess player of the United States. It was perfect union. Caroline or Carrie as she was usually called, was pragmatic; Frank was a dreamer.  In 1915 Frank Marshall founded the Marshall Chess Divan which seven years later would be incorporated as the Marshall Chess Club. The Club found itself in various sites over the years but in 1931 it reached its permanent home in a magnificent old brownstone located at 23 West 10th Street, N.Y. By this time, Marshall had retired from international chess and was close to hanging up his U. S. chess champion crown which he had worn since 1909.

 

The American chess scene itself was in a state of flux and confusion. FIDE had established itself tenuously as the worldwide governing body of chess in 1924. Unlike the Soviet Union, the United States recognized FIDE, but America itself had no single, unified chess federation. Both the American Chess Federation (ACF), which could trace its roots back to 1900, and the National Chess Federation (NCF), established in 1927, claimed to speak for the American chess players. While much of the problem would be solved when they unified as the United States Chess Federation (USCF) in 1939, the intervening years would be marked by the contention between these two bodies.  


The Western Chess Association had held tournaments, called the Western  Championships, each year since 1900. Then in 1934, it changed its name to the ACF. The Western Championships evolved into what today is called the U. S. Open. The “Chess Review” magazine, founded by Israel Albert (Al) Horowitz and Isaac Kashdan in 1933, was the “Official Organ of the American Chess Federation.”  When Frank Marshall retired from U.S. chess competition in 1936, he organized an invitational tournament specifically to determine the next U. S. chess champion. This tournament was sponsored by the NCF with the Marshall Club providing the trophy.

 


The Marshall Club, whose members were the wealthy, the influential and the elite, was, like most chess venues, a Men’s Club. But fortunately Caroline Marshall took an active interest in the club. One of her agendas was the establishment, not just of organized women’s chess, but of a women’s championship.  Starting in 1934 with the first women’s tournament of this period held in the Marshall Club, the goal of a U. S. Women’s championship was reached in 1938.

 

The first tournament, held in 1934, was won by Marjorie Seaman who breezed through with a perfect 11-0 score. Adele Rivero came in second with a 9-2 score. The 1935 tournament planned in the Fall had to be  postponed until Spring of the following year.   Adele Rivero won that 1936 tournament with a 5-0 score.

 

 

The first two tournaments were sponsored solely by the Marshall Chess Club, but the 1937 tournament was to be held under the auspices of the National Chess Federation itself with the intention of legitimizing it as a national championship.

 


In 1936 the plans for the 1937 Marshall Club women’s tournament included hopes that the winner would be the officially recognized leading woman player in the U. S. and that, as such, would be sent to participate as America’s representative  to the International Ladies Tournament in Stockholm, basically the women’s world championship, that summer.  Those dreams were only partially realized.

 


According to the preeminent women’s chess chronicler of that time, Edith Weart, after Adele won the 1937 tournament,  “As the tournament this year was sponsored by the National Chess Federation, Mrs. Rivero now holds the title of woman champion of that organization.” You may notice there is absolutely no mention of “U.S.  Women’s Chess Champion.”   In fact, the following year, Edith Weart wrote:  “Feminine chess takes a step forward with the announcement by the National Chess Federation that a tournament will be held in connection with the regular U. S. Championship tournament to determine the U. S. Woman Chess Champion.” This clearly indicated that the 1938 tournament, which was eventually won by Mona May Karff, was the first “title tournament.”

 

Also, Adele Rivero, the winner of the 1937 tournament didn’t go to Stockholm.  Mary Bain, who came in second, went in her place. The event was, of course, won by Vera Menchik.


The preliminaries for the 1938 tournament were to be held in March. In the February 1938 issue of “Chess Review”, Ms. Weart wrote: “Added interest is attached to the preliminaries, because they serve as a qualifying tourney not only for the Marshall C. C. Tournament, but, as well for the U. S. Women’s Championship.” Again, this makes obvious the fact that 1938 was to be the first year the tournament would be played for the national title.

 


The question remains about what happened to the plan to make the winner of the 1937 tournament the U.S. Women’s Chess Champion.  It seems that the right of the National Chess Federation’s right to determine the U.S. Women’s Chess Champion wasn’t fully accepted and, for that reason, the winner of the 1937 ACF title was invited to participate.

 


The winner of the 1937 ACF tournament was Jean Moore Grau of Muscatine, Ohio. Mrs. Grau had the unusual distinction of having drawn against Alekhine in a blindfold simul when she was 17.   Grau proved unable or unwilling to make the arduous journey east  but proposed that she would like to meet the NCF winner someplace midway for a match to determine the best female player in the U.S.  This was agreeable especially since then the title would be the result of a consolidated effort. This match, however, never materialized and the invitation, even unaccepted, to participate in the 1938 tournament seemed to satisfy both organizations enough to declare that the winner of that tournament would be the U.S. Women’s Chess Champion.

 

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