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US Open 1935, Milwaukee = 36th ACF Congress
Compiled by Phony Benoni
--*--

<36th ACF Congress
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
July 22-August 1, 1935>

Given the success of the U.S. Olympiad squads, the National Chess Federation seemed to be doing a fine job of selecting and sanctioning those teams. However, outside of that, it wasn't doing much on the domestic scene, not having organized an NCF Championship since Bradley Beach 1928. Arpad Elo, in an interview with <Badger Chess> many years later, used the word <moribund>. He was entitled to do so, being a university professor. And, even more importantly, a large part of the solution.

At sometime during 1934 or 1935, the Western Chess Association changed its name to the <American Chess Federation>. I haven't found out exactly when. Hermann Helms, in his column of August 1, 1935 following a report on the Championship tournament, simply wrote:

"At the business meeting of the American Chess Federation, which has evidently succeeded the fine old Western Chess Association and should not be confused with the National Chess Federation, U.S.A....".

He almost seemed surprised, though I'm sure he knew all the facts but just didn't mention them. <Arpad Elo>, many years later, had some more extensive reminescences. The entire interview is available online at http://www.thechessmill.com/history..., and <Arlen Walker> deserves a lot of credit for maintaining such an interesting and informative site. This segment gives an insight into the nature of U.S. chess organization at the time:

<Badger Chess: "You were one of the moving forces behind the old American Chess Federation (ACF). Was that the forerunner to US Chess?"

Elo: "Yes, that ended in 1939 and it became the USCF, one of the two parent organizations, the other being the National Chess Federation (NCF), which was a moribund organization. It came to life only when the US needed to send a team to the Olympics. Between that there was no activity what so ever. So the American Chess Federation was formed to promote chess year around, and from year to year.

"The ACF was the outgrowth of the so-called Western Chess Association, which was just a group of fellows that annually got together at some summer resort and played a tournament! No organization at all. They used to meet at Excelsior Springs, Minnesota, which was a watering place of some kind, and that used to be the Western Chess Association.

"In 1935 we made a bid to have the second ACF tournament in Milwaukee and I was chairman of that committee. In 1934, I had gone down to Chicago to play in the first ACF tournament and when I saw the scale of the tournament, and the scale of the prize fund I thought, "Gee, we can do this better in Milwaukee," which we did. In 1935 we raised more money than the Chicago tournament had done the previous year. We had 1,300 some dollars for the prize fund, which if you think of it now it would be several ten thousand dollars. It was very hard work to raise $1,300 in 1935 during the depth of the Depression. Well, anyway, we managed to have this tournament in Milwaukee.

"Incidentally, that was the tournament where I played my "famous" game with Rueben Fine. He tried to annihilate me and made a mistake. I had a winning position with two united passed pawns on the sixth rank but with queens on the board and my king was exposed.

"Sunday morning, while I was playing this adjourned game with Fine, they were having the business meeting of the ACF and they wanted me in the meeting. The tournament director was coming around saying, "Hurry up gentlemen, the meeting is almost ready to start." I was expected to finish this adjourned game with Rueben Fine before the meeting! That's all I needed!

"Fine kept me unhinged, repeatedly putting me in check. In the meantime, the meeting had started and had gone on in my absence, and Sam Factor and a bunch of others decided that since I organized such a successful tournament, I would be the proper one to be president!

"Back at the chessboard, while I was trying to avoid all of the checks, I inadvertently repeated positions and immediately Fine called, "Tournament Director!" and he claimed the game a draw. Even though I drew with Fine, I am not proud of the circumstances, because it was a terribly sloppy game.

"When I finally arrived at the ACF meeting and discovered that I had been nominated for president, I protested, but then the people in the recreation department, Don Dyer and Ernie Aulfie, promised to help me in this venture to try to organize a national chess federation that was really active all the time.

"Our idea was to make a tournament book of that tournament and give it as a gift to members who would join the federation at one dollar apiece. The previous ACF president was George Barnes of Minneapolis, who was very active in Midwest chess, a very fine gentleman. So when we agreed on this mode of attack to get members involved in the Federation through the sale of a limp covered tournament book, I wrote to Barnes and asked him to send me the mailing list of the ACF so we could begin circulation. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he came back with his reply that I already had the mailing list: the names that appeared on the ACF letterhead! There were eleven names of directors of the so-called federation who were just regional players. They didn't have any membership at all!

"Well anyway, the upshot of this is that eventually we got mailing lists through a crossing effort. We wrote to several people and they sent us names of people and so on and we circulated our plan. We had a thousand books printed, but we only managed to get rid of about three hundred of them. That gives you an idea of the enthusiasm of chess players toward any sort of organization. So we started with just over three hundred members or so. In the meantime, the poor printer who printed the book out with great expectations of selling all the books, had to wait two years before we could pay off our debt.

"I was president of the ACF for its second and third years. The ACF lasted until 1939, when it merged into the new USCF. I was a charter member of the directorate which means that I was just one of the guys who signed the application to the state of Illinois under which the charter of the USCF was given. So I really had no hand in the negotiations between the two. By that time, I no longer held any office in ACF. I kept the presidency until 1937 when Kirk Holland took over, but I had no official capacity in ACF. The Negotiations on the ACF side where mainly conducted by the Chicago group including Kirk Holland, Albert Wagner, and Louis J. Isaacs, a group of Chicago players who saw the deficiencies of the old federation and tried to correct it.

"Chess players splinter into groups and cliques. The NCF as it existed for all those years was nothing more than a group of Hamilton group club members in Chicago. I think it was an exclusive lawyer's club or businessman's club, and some of them were chess players. So they formed the NCF. It was as though half a dozen of us would say, "Now lets create a continental chess federation. We'll call ourselves that and incorporate and what are we going to do? Well, whenever we feel like it we'll promote some chess activity." Casual. Some of them, the real chess players, realized that this was nothing. In the meantime, Mr. Kuhns, who was the president it seemed for perpetuity, contented himself with playing the role of Mr. Chess when it came time to send a team to the Olympics. And when that was over, that was it until the next Olympics when they would tap a group of rich people for funding.

"The USCF was a merger between the ACF and the NCF with the intention of expanding the membership to include all chess players, not just the members of an exclusive club. Not a country club but a city club. The Hamilton Club people were actually glad that they no longer had the responsibility. Maybe they missed it, but since it only meant a layout of money for them, I don't think they really cared. Maybe Mr. Kuhn's ego was a little bruised. He never was active in the USCF after that.">

So it sounds like the old conflict: should chess organizations exist to support the masters or promote the game among the masses? They still haven't solved that one.

-----

After all that, I suppose something about the tournament itself is in order.

Thirty players showed up, and were assigned to three preliminary sections of ten players each. The top twelve players were seeded evenly between the three sections, with the rest distributed by lot. The intention was for the top three finishers to advance to the Championship Final, but ties for third place were not broken so that 11 players in all reached the final, nine of them being original seeds.

The three major favorites, Reuben Fine, Arthur Dake, and Isaac Kashdan all went through the tournament undefeated. Fine took his fourth straight title basically by drawing one fewer game than Dake in the final, though as Elo recounts he had some good fortune on his side.

Preliminary A

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 Reuben Fine X 1 1 1 1 1 1 7.5 2 William Allen Ruth X 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 7.0 3 Samuel D Factor X 0 1 1 1 1 1 6.5 4 Harold Morton 0 0 1 X 1 1 1 1 1 6.5 5 A N Towsen 0 1 0 0 X 1 1 1 1 5.5 6 Burton O Dahlstrom 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 4.0 7 Clarence Kraszewski 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 3.5 8 Redpath Drummond 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 2.0 9 Edmund Nash 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1.5 10 Steve Kreznar 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1.0

<Preliminary B>

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 Isaac Kashdan X 1 1 1 1 1 1 7.5 2 John Harold Belson X 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 7.0 3 Anthony Santasiere 0 X 1 1 0 1 1 5.5 4 Barnie Frank Winkelman 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 1 5.0 5 Horace Kent 0 1 0 0 X 1 0 1 0 1 4.0 6 Mark Surgies 0 0 X 1 0 1 4.0 7 Kirk D Holland 0 0 1 0 1 0 X 1 4.0 8 Henry M Woods 0 0 0 0 1 X 1 3.5 9 Fred Rathmann 0 0 1 0 X 0 3.0 10 Raymond Ratke 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 1.5

<Preliminary C>

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 Arthur William Dake X 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8.5 2 Fredrick Chevalier 0 X 1 0 1 1 1 1 6.0 3 Arpad Elo 0 X 0 1 1 1 1 1 6.0 4 Albert C Simonson 0 0 1 X 1 1 1 0 1 1 6.0 5 Charles F Elison 0 0 X 1 1 1 1 5.5 6 George Eastman 1 0 0 0 X 0 1 1 1 4.5 7 Theodore Barron 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 1 1 3.5 8 Byron B Price 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 X 1 2.5 9 Norman Schaefer 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 1.5 10 F Koller 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1.0

<Championship Final>

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 1 Reuben Fine X 1 1 1 1 1 1 8.0 2 Arthur William Dake X 1 1 1 1 1 7.5 3 Isaac Kashdan X 1 1 1 6.5 4 Fredrick Chevalier 0 X 0 1 1 1 5.5 5 Samuel D Factor 0 X 1 1 5.5 6 Albert C Simonson 0 1 0 X 1 1 5.5 7 Anthony Santasiere 0 0 X 1 1 5.0 8 Harold Morton 0 0 X 0 1 4.0 9 John Harold Belson 0 0 0 0 X 3.0 10 Arpad Elo 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 0 2.5 11 William Allen Ruth 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 2.0

<Consolation Tournament>

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 Charles F Elison X 1 1 1 1 6.5 2 Horace Kent 0 X 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 6.5 3 Barnie Frank Winkelman 0 X 0 1 1 1 1 1 6.0 4 Clarence Kraszewski 0 0 1 X 1 0 1 0 1 1 5.0 5 Burton O Dahlstrom 1 0 0 X 1 1 0 4.5 6 H W Woods 0 0 0 1 X 0 1 1 1 4.5 7 Mark Surgies 0 0 0 1 X 1 4.0 8 A N Townsen 0 1 0 X 0 1 4.0 9 Kirk D Holland 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 1 3.0 10 Theodore Barron 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 X 1.0

<Class A>

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 Steve Kreznar X 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 6.0 2 F Rathman 1 X 1 0 1 4.5 3 Edmund Nash 0 X 0 1 1 1 4.0 4 Redpath Drummond 0 0 1 X 0 1 1 3.5 5 Norman Schaefer 0 X 1 3.5 6 F Koller 0 0 1 X 3.0 7 Byron B Price 0 1 0 0 0 X 1 2.5 8 Raymond Ratke 0 0 0 0 0 X 1.0

-----
<Sources>

"ACF Chess Congress 1935",
http://www.thechessmill.com/history...

American Chess Bulletin July/August 1935, p. 104-110.,

Chess Results 1931-1935 / Gino di Felice, p. 315-316.

Chess Review, 1935, p. 224-226.

"Interview with Arpad Elo", http://www.thechessmill.com/history...

Reuben Fine : a comprehensive record of an American Chess Career, 1929-1951 / Aidan Woodger. Jefferson, NC : McFarland, 2004.

-----

PREVIOUS: Game Collection: US Open 1934, Chicago = 35th ACF Congress

NEXT: Game Collection: US Open 1936, Philadelphia = 37th ACF Congress

SEE ALSO: Game Collection: US Open Index Collection

Preliminary A, Round 2 (Monday, July 22)
Fine vs A N Towsen, 1935
(D57) Queen's Gambit Declined, Lasker Defense, 37 moves, 1-0

Preliminary A, Round 7 (Wednesday, July 24)
Factor vs Fine, 1935
(C54) Giuoco Piano, 31 moves, 1/2-1/2

Preliminary A, Round 8 (Thursday, July 25)
W A Ruth vs Fine, 1935
(D45) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 20 moves, 1/2-1/2

Preliminary B
J Belson vs Santasiere, 1935 
(A44) Old Benoni Defense, 41 moves, 1-0

Preliminary B
Santasiere vs R Ratke, 1935
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 31 moves, 1-0

Preliminary B
M Surgies vs Kashdan, 1935
(D05) Queen's Pawn Game, 21 moves, 0-1

Preliminary B
B Winkelman vs Kashdan, 1935
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 40 moves, 0-1

Preliminary B
Kashdan vs H G Kent, 1935
(C41) Philidor Defense, 34 moves, 1-0

Preliminary B
Kashdan vs K Holland, 1935
(C17) French, Winawer, Advance, 46 moves, 1-0

Preliminary B
R Ratke vs Kashdan, 1935
(A13) English, 30 moves, 0-1

Preliminary C
B Price vs A Simonson, 1935
(A52) Budapest Gambit, 27 moves, 1-0

Preliminary C
A Simonson vs Dake, 1935 
(A04) Reti Opening, 36 moves, 0-1

Preliminary C
C Elison vs Dake, 1935
(E44) Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation, 5.Ne2, 36 moves, 0-1

Championship Final, Round 1 (Friday, July 26)
J Belson vs Fine, 1935
(A18) English, Mikenas-Carls, 29 moves, 0-1

Championship Final, Round 2 (Saturday, July 27)
Fine vs W A Ruth, 1935
(A27) English, Three Knights System, 30 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 3 (Saturday, July 27)
A Elo vs Fine, 1935 
(C01) French, Exchange, 58 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championship Final, Round 4 (Sunday, July 28)
Fine vs F Chevalier, 1935
(E23) Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann, 23 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 5 (Sunday, July 28)
Fine vs A Simonson, 1935
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 32 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 6 (Monday, July 29)
Fine vs Factor, 1935
(E23) Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann, 56 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 7 (Tuesday, July 29)
Fine vs Santasiere, 1935
(A44) Old Benoni Defense, 52 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 8 (Tuesday, July 30)
Kashdan vs Fine, 1935
(C84) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 20 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championship Final. Round 10 (Wednesday, July 31)
Dake vs Fine, 1935
(C42) Petrov Defense, 21 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championship Final
H Morton vs Santasiere, 1935
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 40 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championshp Final
A Simonson vs F Chevalier, 1935
(A14) English, 57 moves, 1-0

Championship Final
Santasiere vs Dake, 1935
(E38) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 4...c5, 58 moves, 0-1

Championship Final
Santasiere vs W A Ruth, 1935
(A21) English, 52 moves, 1-0

Championship Final
F Chevalier vs Kashdan, 1935
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 41 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championship Final
Dake vs Kashdan, 1935
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 34 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championship Final
Kashdan vs Santasiere, 1935
(D92) Grunfeld, 5.Bf4, 40 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championship Final
W A Ruth vs Kashdan, 1935 
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 51 moves, 0-1

Championship FInal
A Simonson vs Kashdan, 1935
(D85) Grunfeld, 60 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championship Final
Kashdan vs A Elo, 1935
(D49) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran, 24 moves, 1-0

Championship Final
Kashdan vs J Belson, 1935
(A29) English, Four Knights, Kingside Fianchetto, 34 moves, 1-0

Championship Final
Factor vs Kashdan, 1935
(C54) Giuoco Piano, 25 moves, 1/2-1/2

Consolation Tournament
A N Towsen vs H G Kent, 1935 
(A82) Dutch, Staunton Gambit, 36 moves, 0-1

A Elo vs A Simonson, 1935
(C11) French, 37 moves, 0-1

Dake vs H Morton, 1935
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 49 moves, 1-0

Dake vs A Elo, 1935
(A09) Reti Opening, 53 moves, 1-0

J Belson vs F Chevalier, 1935
(E11) Bogo-Indian Defense, 19 moves, 0-1

A N Towsen vs H Morton, 1935
(D95) Grunfeld, 24 moves, 0-1

J Belson vs A Simonson, 1935
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 30 moves, 1/2-1/2

Dake vs J Belson, 1935
(A12) English with b3, 51 moves, 1-0

A Elo vs Santasiere, 1935
(B29) Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein, 52 moves, 0-1

Factor vs H Morton, 1935
(D93) Grunfeld, with Bf4 & e3, 21 moves, 1-0

W A Ruth vs Dake, 1935
(B40) Sicilian, 31 moves, 0-1

W A Ruth vs A Elo, 1935
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 30 moves, 1-0

W A Ruth vs H Morton, 1935
(C00) French Defense, 45 moves, 0-1

A Simonson vs Dake, 1935
(D45) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 33 moves, 1/2-1/2

A Simonson vs Factor, 1935
(C37) King's Gambit Accepted, 31 moves, 0-1

A Simonson vs W A Ruth, 1935
(A06) Reti Opening, 49 moves, 1-0

Preliminary A, Round 1 (Sunday, July 21)
E Nash vs Fine, 1935
(B84) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 25 moves, 0-1

Preliminary A, Round 3 (Monday, July 22)
S Kreznar vs Fine, 1935 
(B50) Sicilian, 49 moves, 0-1

Preliminary A, Round 4 (Tuesday, July 23)
Fine vs R Drummond, 1935
(D70) Neo-Grunfeld Defense, 27 moves, 1-0

Preliminary A, Round 5 (Tuesday, July 23)
H Morton vs Fine, 1935
(C01) French, Exchange, 20 moves, 0-1

Preliminary A, Round 6 (Wednesday, July 24)
Fine vs C Kraszewski, 1935
(B03) Alekhine's Defense, 18 moves, 1-0

Preliminary A, Round 9 (Thursday, July 25)
Fine vs B Dahlstrom, 1935 
(C68) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, 31 moves, 1/2-1/2

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