Members · Prefs · Laboratory · Collections · Openings · Endgames · Sacrifices · History · Search Kibitzing · Kibitzer's Café · Chessforums · Tournament Index · Players · Kibitzing

There are 2 clues unsolved right now on the Holiday Contest Clues Page!   [Official Contest Rules]

5th American Chess Congress Tournament

George Henry Mackenzie13.5/18(+11 -2 =5)[games]
James Glover Grundy13.5/18(+11 -2 =5)[games]
Charles Moehle13/18(+11 -3 =4)[games]
Alexander G Sellman12.5/18(+10 -3 =5)[games]
Max Judd11/18(+9 -5 =4)[games]
Eugene Delmar9.5/18(+8 -7 =3)[games]
John S Ryan5.5/18(+5 -12 =1)[games]
Preston Ware5.5/18(+4 -11 =3)[games]
James Adams Congdon3.5/18(+2 -13 =3)[games]
Albert Cohnfeld2.5/18(+2 -15 =1)[games]
* Chess Event Description
5th American Chess Congress (1880)

The 5th American Chess Congress was held at the Manhattan Chess Club in New York City, the United States from January 6th to the 31st, 1880. Ten American chess masters and players participated in the nine double rounds of the main event. The participants included two-time US Chess Congress winner George Henry Mackenzie, 4th American Chess Congress (1876) runner-up Max Judd, the previous Congress participants James Congdon and Preston Ware, as well as Albert Cohnfeld, Eugene Delmar, James Grundy, Charles Moehle, John Ryan and Alexander Sellman. Each of the players gained entrance to the masters tournament via a $20 entry fee. Games began at 1 pm each day with a break for dinner between 5 and 7 pm, whereby the games resumed until 11 pm. Games were adjourned if the players could not reach a conclusion by midnight. The time control for the tournament was 15 moves an hour, with unspent time being carried over to the next time control. Sundays were reserved for rest days.

Manhattan Chess Club, New York, 6-31 January 1880

=1st Mackenzie ** 0 10 1 11 11 11 1 11 13 =1st Grundy 1 ** 10 1 11 1 01 11 11 13 3rd Moehle 01 ** 0 1 10 11 11 11 11 13 4th Sellman 01 1 ** 10 1 11 0 11 11 12 5th Judd 0 0 0 01 ** 1 11 11 01 11 11 6th Delmar 00 00 01 0 0 ** 11 11 1 11 9 =7th Ryan 00 0 00 00 00 00 ** 11 01 11 5 =7th Ware 00 10 00 1 00 00 00 ** 1 1 5 9th Congdon 0 00 00 00 10 0 01 0 ** 00 3 10th Cohnfeld 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 0 11 ** 2

Playoff match:

1st Mackenzie 1 1 2 2nd Grundy 0 0 0

The final of the event saw a tie for first between Mackenzie and Grundy. The rules stipulated in the event of a tie that a playoff match would follow with the grand prize going to the first player to win two games. Mackenzie defeated Grundy handily and claimed the prize of $500 and a gold medal to commemorate his victory. Grundy received $300 for second place, while Moehle received $200 for third, Sellman $100 for fourth, and Judd $50 for fifth. It was Mackenzie's third and final US Congress victory and cemented his legacy as one of the strongest chess players living and playing in the United States in the 19th century.

The reputation of the Congress was shattered by an allegation of cheating. It was alleged that the Grundy and Preston Ware Jr. had fixed their game. Preston provided written testimony to the tournament committee that his final round opponent, Grundy, offered him $20 if he agreed to play for a draw so guaranteeing Grundy the second place prize money. Ware agreed, but complained that Grundy had instead beaten him and so tied for first. (1)

"A meeting of the Chess Association of the United States was held last evening at No. 60 East Fourteenth-street, to receive the report of the committee appointed to investigate charges of collusion against Messrs. Grundy and Ware, two of the contestants in the late chess tournament held in this City ... Mr Grundy ... denied the allegations made by Ware, and he said there was a conspiracy against him, in which one of the prominent members of the congress committee was implicated. The committee reported believed the charges to be true ..." (2)

The account of the Congress by Charles A Gilberg provides many more details. His book was reprinted as The Fifth American Chess Congress New York 1880. Edition Olms, Zurich 1986. 555 pp. ISBN 3-283-00090-5.


(1) and
(2) New York Times, 8th March 1880, p.3.

Original collection: Game Collection: New York 1880, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 33  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. C Moehle vs J S Ryan 1-05618805th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
2. Sellman vs E Delmar 1-04918805th American Chess CongressC77 Ruy Lopez
3. Mackenzie vs A Cohnfeld  1-04518805th American Chess CongressC41 Philidor Defense
4. Sellman vs J A Congdon 1-06718805th American Chess CongressB01 Scandinavian
5. J Grundy vs Mackenzie  1-04618805th American Chess CongressC77 Ruy Lopez
6. C Moehle vs A Cohnfeld  1-05218805th American Chess CongressC29 Vienna Gambit
7. M Judd vs P Ware 1-05718805th American Chess CongressB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
8. E Delmar vs J S Ryan  1-05318805th American Chess CongressA02 Bird's Opening
9. Sellman vs C Moehle  1-05018805th American Chess CongressB40 Sicilian
10. M Judd vs A Cohnfeld  1-05518805th American Chess CongressC44 King's Pawn Game
11. Mackenzie vs P Ware  1-05818805th American Chess CongressB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
12. J Grundy vs E Delmar 1-010718805th American Chess CongressB44 Sicilian
13. E Delmar vs A Cohnfeld  1-02518805th American Chess CongressC41 Philidor Defense
14. J Grundy vs J A Congdon 1-04218805th American Chess CongressB01 Scandinavian
15. M Judd vs J S Ryan  1-03818805th American Chess CongressC00 French Defense
16. C Moehle vs P Ware 1-02418805th American Chess CongressB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
17. J S Ryan vs A Cohnfeld  1-04618805th American Chess CongressC00 French Defense
18. M Judd vs E Delmar  1-05618805th American Chess CongressC45 Scotch Game
19. Sellman vs M Judd  1-04118805th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
20. E Delmar vs J A Congdon 1-06718805th American Chess CongressB01 Scandinavian
21. J Grundy vs A Cohnfeld  1-03018805th American Chess CongressC41 Philidor Defense
22. M Judd vs Sellman 1-05418805th American Chess CongressC11 French
23. J S Ryan vs P Ware  1-05618805th American Chess CongressB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
24. J Grundy vs Sellman  1-06518805th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
25. Mackenzie vs J S Ryan 1-03418805th American Chess CongressC00 French Defense
 page 1 of 2; games 1-25 of 33  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

TIP: You can make the above ads go away by registering a free account!

Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: No mention of the Ware--Grundy controversy?! Hmmm...

Actually, there's not been any commentary whatsoever about this tournament. Let's kick off with this quote from Soltis' <Chess Lists> p61

~<The 5th American Chess, held in NY in 1880, was a weak tournament and produced both a poor tournament book and an atrocious series of games. It is forgotten except for an incident in the final round...>

Soltis, master of understatement.

Actually, this incident is a little infamous, but not isolated. In the interest of fair play, Soltis also comments on Anderssen--Szen from <London (1851)>, a story I was unfamiliar with, plus a few others.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: The Gilberg tb is available online:

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: PS- That link should probably find its way into the intro.
NOTE: You need to pick a username and password to post a reply. Getting your account takes less than a minute, totally anonymous, and 100% free--plus, it entitles you to features otherwise unavailable. Pick your username now and join the chessgames community!
If you already have an account, you should login now.
Please observe our posting guidelines:
  1. No obscene, racist, sexist, or profane language.
  2. No spamming, advertising, or duplicating posts.
  3. No personal attacks against other members.
  4. Nothing in violation of United States law.
  5. No posting personal information of members.
Blow the Whistle See something that violates our rules? Blow the whistle and inform an administrator.

NOTE: Keep all discussion on the topic of this page. This forum is for this specific tournament and nothing else. If you want to discuss chess in general, or this site, you might try the Kibitzer's Café.
Messages posted by Chessgames members do not necessarily represent the views of, its employees, or sponsors.
Spot an error? Please suggest your correction and help us eliminate database mistakes!

home | about | login | logout | F.A.Q. | your profile | preferences | Premium Membership | Kibitzer's Café | Biographer's Bistro | new kibitzing | chessforums | Tournament Index | Player Directory | Notable Games | World Chess Championships | Opening Explorer | Guess the Move | Game Collections | ChessBookie Game | Chessgames Challenge | Store | privacy notice | contact us
Copyright 2001-2018, Chessgames Services LLC