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US Open 1927 Kalamazoo = 28th Western Champ.
Compiled by Phony Benoni
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28th Western Championship! Kalamazoo, Michigan
August 25-September 5, 1927

In his <Brooklyn Daily Eagle> column of January 13, 1927, Hermann Helms wrote:

<"A national governing body, which henceforth will look after the interests of chess and its advancement on a large scale in this country, has resulted from the efforts of a number of enthusiasts in Chicago, after consultation with leading reprsentatives of the game in different parts of the country. Word comes from Chicago that the National Chess Federation of the United States of America has been organized there with 21 directors and that a charter under the laws of the State of Illinois has been applied for. For the first year the headquarters will be at 35 S. Dearborn at Chicago, Ill....

"It is planned to get the chess clubs of the country into line and to have them affiliate as "chapters", with individual memberships, which will be optional, at $1 a head....

"The Federation will encourage the organization of clubs, the development of players and the arrangment of annual meetings and tournaments for experts as well as amateurs.">

Helms noted another impetus toward formation of the national federation in his column for February 10, 1927:

"For lack of a national body at the time the entry list was closed on Jan. 1, this country will not be represented in the International Team Tournament to be held in London in connection with the congress of the British Chess Federation from July 18 to 30 of this year. Sixteen nations, including Great Britain, will figure in that competition, with the United States a conspicuous absentee."

The first President of the NCF, Maurice S. Kuhns, had been serving as President of the Western Chess Association, so there was obviously a connection between the two. For now, the WCA was content to be a division of the national organization, and organize its own annual tournament on a regional basis.

For 1927, the first annual Congress of the National Chess Federation and the 28th Western Championship were held together, meaning the Western was again reduced to a minor event. The Western stayed this way for a few years, but as the NCF become less active in the early 1930s a new generation of young masters from New York in search of competition began to play in the Western Championship. At that time, the WCA began to regain its former luster and reconsider whether to become a national organization

Both tournaments were held at the New Burdick Hotel in Kalamazoo, Michigan, about 125 miles due west of Detroit as the freeway lies. A special attraction was 15-year-old Samuel Reshevsky, restricting his appearances these days but still accounted a major threat.

Since few details and no games are available from the Western Championship itself, this collection will include a report and games from the NCF Congress.

1st National Chess Federation Congress

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 Norman Tweed Whitaker X 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 6.5 2 Abraham Kupchik X 1 1 1 1 6.0 3 Stasch Mlotkowski 0 X 0 1 1 1 1 5.0 4 Samuel Reshevsky 0 1 X 0 1 1 1 5.0 5 Herman Steiner 0 0 1 X 1 1 1 5.0 6 Lewis J Isaacs 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 3.5 7 Samuel D Factor 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 3.0 8 Marvin C Palmer 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1.5 9 Eugene J Roesch 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0.5

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Progressive scores

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 Norman Tweed Whitaker 0.0 0.5 0.5 1.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 5.5 6.5 2 Abraham Kupchik 0.0 0.5 1.0 2.0 3.0 3.5 4.0 5.0 6.0 3 Stasch Mlotkowski 1.0 2.0 2.5 2.5 2.5 3.5 4.0 4.0 5.0 4 Samuel Reshevsky 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.5 2.5 3.0 3.0 4.0 5.0 5 Herman Steiner 0.5 1.5 2.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 5.0 5.0 5.0 6 Lewis J Isaacs 0.5 1.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 3.5 3.5 7 Samuel D Factor 0.5 0.5 1.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.0 8 Marvin C Palmer 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.5 1.5 9 Eugene J Roesch 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.5 0.5

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The following round-by-round pairings is based on newspaper reports, especially those in the New York Times. Since there are not a reliable indication of color, a Berger table reconstruction has been prepared for that purpose. The are few facts available to substantiate this reconstruction, but it does match all the information known to me. An asterisk (*) indicates the game is in the collection.

Round 1 (Thursday, August 25) Kupchik - bye; Whitaker 0 Palmer*; Mlotkowski 1 Roesch; Isaacs 1/2 Steiner; Factor 1/2 Reshevsky

Round 2 (Friday, August 26) Bye-Reshevsky; Steiner 1 Factor; Roesch 0 Isaacs; Palmer 0 Mlotkowski; Kupchik 1/2 Whitaker*

Round 3 (Saturday, August 27) Whitaker-Bye; Mlotkowski 1/2 Kupchik*; Isaacs 1 Palmer; Factor 1 Roesch; Reshevsky 0 Steiner*

Round 4 (Sunday, August 28) Bye-Steiner; Roesch 0 Reshevsky*; Palmer 0 Factor; Kupchik 1 Isaacs; Whitaker 1 Mlotkowski(*

Round 5 (Tuesday, August 30) Mlotkowski-Bye; Isaacs 0 Whitakerr*; Factor 0 Kupchik*; Reshevsky 1 Palmer*; Steiner 1 Roesch

Round 6 (Wednesday, August 31) Bye-Roesch; Palmer 0 Steiner; Kupchik 1/2 Reshevsky; Whitaker 1 Factor*; Mlotkowski 1 Isaacs*

Round 7 (Thursday, September 1) Isaacs-Bye; Factor 1/2 Mlotkowski; Reshevsky 0 Whitaker*; Steiner 1/2 lupchik; Roesch 1/2 Palmer

Round 8 (Saturday, September 3) Bye-Palmer; Kupchik 1 Roesch; Whitaker 1 Steiner*; Mlotkowski 0 Reshevsky; Isaacs 1 Factor

Round 9 (Sunday, September 4) Factor-Bye; Reshevsky 1 Isaacs; Steiner 0 Mlotkowski*; Roesch 0 Whitaker*; Palmer 0 Kupchik

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Western Championship

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 Albert Margolis X 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8.0 2 Charles F Elison X 1 1 1 1 1 1 7.5 3 Palmer Gunkel Keeney 0 X 1 1 1 1 1 1 7.0 4 Robert Scrivener 0 0 0 X 0 1 1 1 1 1 5.0 5 Andrew Hansen Palmi 0 1 X 0 0 1 1 4.5 6 Reuben Merritt Ballenger 0 0 0 0 1 X 1 1 4.0 7 F A Holloway 0 0 0 0 1 0 X 1 3.0 8 Bertram Claude Jenkines 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 3.0 9 E S Gilfillan 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 2.5 10 Robert Stanley Goerlich 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0.5

This report from the <Brooklyn Daily Eagle> fully explains the behind-the-scene action:

"Notwithstanding the fact that in the National Chess Federation this country now has a central governing body, the Western Chess Association of which M. S. Kuhns of Chicago, president of the federation, was the chief executive until he assumed his higher office, will continue in existence as a separate unit, albeit as a "chapter" of the natinal organization. This was decided at the business meeting held near the close of the first meeting of the natinal federation at Kalamazoo, Mich.

"The Western Association has a historic background of 28 years which some of the old members who had supported it through thick and thin did not want to be lost sight of through a mere amalgamation. Their wishes were fully met. Immediately afterward a motion to make the Western a chapter of the national was carried unanimously....

"It was also decided to work with and under the committee on rules and regulations of the national federation. According to present plans, it is intended to utilize the major and minor tournaments of the Western as agencies for the qualification of entries for the natinal masters tournament....

"Three very successful tournaments constituted the program at Kalamazoo, the winners being <N. T. Whitaker> of Washington in the major, <Albert Margolis> of Chicago in the Western Championship, and <Oscar A. Drake> of Kalamazoo in the minor. Whitaker started with a defeat by Marvin Palmer. Then he drew with A. Kupchik of New York, the second prize winner, and had his bye in the third round. From then on he won six games in succession and thereby nosed out Kupchik by half a point.

"Several times the victor has been near the top in Western Association meetings. At Detroit, in 1924, he was in a triple tie for second place, 2 1/2 points below Carlos Torre. He was absent from Cedar Point, Ohio, in 1925, and Chicago last year.

"Kupchik was the only one of the nine competitors who did not lose a game outright, but he drew four, which was only one too many. Hi strength, to some extent, was sapped by a series of long games during the early part of the meeting. Herman Steiner of New York surprised the talent and let until he lost his first game to Whitaker in the semi-final round. On the following day he lost to Stasch Mlotkowski, who thereby tied him and Samuel Reshevsky of Detroit for third place.

"Mlotkowski belonged high up in the list, but might well have done better. Reshevsky obtained more valuable experience. He will improve with the years.

"Albert Margolis, by his consistent play and steadiness, well deserved to win the Western championship. He succeeded Leon Stolzenberg of Detroit, the winner last year at Chicago. Margolis won seven games and drew two. Up to the final round, in which he drew his third game, Charles Elison of Chicago was tied with Margolis. Dr. P. G. Keeney of Bellevue, Ky., was placed third and R. S. Scrivener of White Haven, Tenn., fourth.

"The chief honors in the Minor tournament were reserved for Kalamazoo, Drake going through without a loss. Meyer Zeligs of Cincinnati was second and Oscar Scotsman of Kalamazoo, third."

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Group picture from Kalamazoo 1927, including Albert C Margolis seated at the far left: http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/... (see #4782; reprinted by Edward Winter, from page 152 of the September-October 1927 American Chess Bulletin)

The Burdick Hotel, 30 years later: http://www.vanishedkalamazoo.com/ho...

(Not very exciting, but it was easier finding this picture than one of Albert Margolis.)

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Sources:

Americah Chess Bulletin, September/October 1927, p. 152-155.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 8, 1927, p.5

Chess Results 1921-1930 / Gino di Felice, p.168-169

Indianapolis News, September 2-3,1 927

New York Times, reports, August 26-September 6, 1927

Philadelphia Inquirer, 1927.09.25, Sect. B, p.21 /Supplied by User: MissScarlett [PI}

Shady side : the life and crimes of Norman Tweed Whitaker, chessmaster, by John Hilbert. Yorklyn, DE : Caissa Editions, 2000

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PREVIOUS: Game Collection: US Open 1926, Chicago = 27th Western Champ.

NEXT: Game Collection: US Open 1928, South Bend = 29th Western Champ.

SEE ALSO: Game Collection: US Open Tournament Index

1st NCF Congress, Round 1 (August 25) Shady Side, Game 134
N Whitaker vs M C Palmer, 1927
(B18) Caro-Kann, Classical, 36 moves, 0-1

1st NCF Congress, Round 1 (August 25): ChessBase
Factor vs Reshevsky, 1927
(E67) King's Indian, Fianchetto, 50 moves, 1/2-1/2

1st NCF Congress, Round 2 (August 26) Shady Side 135
Kupchik vs N Whitaker, 1927
(C26) Vienna, 73 moves, 1/2-1/2

1st NCF Congress, Round 3 (August 27): BDE, 1927.09.01
S Mlotkowski vs Kupchik, 1927
(B84) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 103 moves, 1/2-1/2

1st NCF Congress, Round 3 (August 27): BDE 1927.09.08
Reshevsky vs H Steiner, 1927 
(B05) Alekhine's Defense, Modern, 49 moves, 0-1

1st NCF Congress, Round 4 (August 28): BDE, 1927.09.08
E J Roesch vs Reshevsky, 1927
(A55) Old Indian, Main line, 55 moves, 0-1

1st NCF Congress, Round 4 (August 28): Shady Side 136
N Whitaker vs S Mlotkowski, 1927
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 35 moves, 1-0

1st NCF Congress, Round 5 (August 230): Shadyy Side 137
L Isaacs vs N Whitaker, 1927
(C41) Philidor Defense, 51 moves, 0-1

1st NCF Congress, Round 5 (August 30): BDE 1927.09.08
Factor vs Kupchik, 1927
(A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 69 moves, 0-1

1st NCF Congress, Round 5 (August 30): BDE, 1927.09.01
Reshevsky vs M C Palmer, 1927
(D45) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 19 moves, 1-0

1st NCF Congress, Round 6 (August 31): Shady Side 138
N Whitaker vs Factor, 1927
(B32) Sicilian, 73 moves, 1-0

1st NCF Congress: Round 6 (Wed. August 31): PI 1927.09/25
S Mlotkowski vs L Isaacs, 1927
(C51) Evans Gambit, 46 moves, 1-0

1st NCF Congress, Rou d 7 (September 1): BDE, 1927.09.15
Reshevsky vs N Whitaker, 1927 
(D52) Queen's Gambit Declined, 37 moves, 0-1

1st NCF Congress, Round 8 (September 3): Shady Side 140
N Whitaker vs H Steiner, 1927
(C01) French, Exchange, 36 moves, 1-0

1st NCF Congress, Round 9 (September 4): BDE, 1927.09.15
H Steiner vs S Mlotkowski, 1927
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 41 moves, 0-1

1st NCF Congress, Round 9 (September 4): Shady Side 141
E J Roesch vs N Whitaker, 1927
(A10) English, 47 moves, 0-1

16 games

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