The first of a series of strong year-end invitational tournaments sponsored in part by Lessing J. Rosenwald of Sears Roebuck Co. One goal was to provide young US masters strong competition at home, with the long-term aim of improving US performance in international events. The absence of any US team at the 1954 International Team Tournament in Amsterdam no doubt played a role in bringing this series about. The initial plan was to have the Rosenwald Trophy rotate each year until a player had won it three times. The fourth Rosenwald tournament would double as the US championship and would be Robert James Fischer 's first entry into a US championship and also his first of his eight US championships.
Rounds 1-5 were held at the Manhattan Chess Club 19-23 Dec 1954 and were directed by Hans Kmoch. Rounds 6-10 were held at the Marshall Chess Club 26 Dec 1954 - 2 Jan 1955 and were directed by Israel Albert Horowitz.
Reuben Fine was originally invited, but declined. Robert Eugene Byrne was also invited, but decided against playing because of his graduate studies. James Sherwin, the US speed champion at the time, was selected as Byrne's replacement.
Samuel Reshevsky dominated US championship tournaments from its inception in 1936 until Fischer took over in 1957, with Reshevsky winning every championship he entered, with the exception of the 1951 event, which was won by Evans. Reshevsky played on eight US Olympiad teams from 1937-1974, winning one individual bronze and one gold and one bronze team medal (http://www.olimpbase.org/players/mg...). With both Isaac Kashdan and Reuben Fine retired from active play and Fischer yet to emerge as a force, Reshevsky was clearly the dominant player in US chess at the time.
Larry Melvyn Evans won the Marshall Chess Club championship at age 15, played in his first US championship at age 16, and his first Olympiad at 18. He would play for the US team in eight Olympiads from 1950-1976 (http://www.olimpbase.org/players/a4...). Evans had already won a US championship in 1951 ahead of Reshevsky. Evans served as second to Fischer for the candidate matches leading up to the 1972 World Championship match with Boris Spassky, but William James Lombardy replaced Evans for the Spassky match. Evans is best remembered for his columns and books.
Arthur Bisguier won the US Championship in 1954. Bisguier would play for the US team in five Olympiads (http://www.olimpbase.org/players/yy...), but is known more for his results in major domestic tournaments than for international events.
Donald Byrne won the 1953 US Open and played for the US team in three Olympiads, winning one individual silver and one individual bronze medal (http://www.olimpbase.org/players/uo...). Byrne would lose to a young Fischer in the so-called "Game of the Century" (D Byrne vs Fischer, 1956) in the third Rosenwald tournament.
James T Sherwin was NY state champion in 1951 and won the US speed championship several times. He would play in a number of US championships, usually finishing around third or fourth.
George Mortimer Kramer played in a number of US championships and was a reserve for the US team at the 1950 Olympiad, winning an individual bronze medal (http://www.olimpbase.org/players/rb...).
Reshevsky jumped out to a comfortable lead in the first half of the tournament with 4½-½. Evans and Sherwin were tied for second at 3-2. Despite losing to Bisguier in Round 8, Reshevsky was able to hold his lead and win the tournament by scoring 3-2 in the second half, as Evans was only able to gain a half point with 3½-1½. Sherwin lost every game in the second half, so faded from contention. Bisguier was able to finish third on the strength of an impressive 4½-½ in the second half.
New York, 19 Dec 1954 - 2 Jan 1955
Original collection: Game Collection: 1954-55 first Rosenwald tournament, by User: crawfb5.
Re Ev Bi By Sh Kr
1 Reshevsky XX 1= 10 == 11 11 7½
2 Evans 0= XX == 01 11 11 6½
3 Bisguier 01 == XX 01 01 11 6
4 Byrne == 10 10 XX 01 01 5
5 Sherwin 00 00 10 10 XX 10 3
6 Kramer 00 00 00 10 01 XX 2