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US Open 1934, Chicago = 35th ACF Congress
Compiled by Phony Benoni
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<35th ACF Congress
Chicago, Illinois
July 21-August 1, 1934>

Almost since its inception in 1927, the National Chess Federation of the U.S.A. had been pointing toward one great ambition: a major chess event in 1933 at Chicago as part of the Century of Progress Exhibition. When the time came, they staged a 32-board blindfold simul by Alekhine, some exhibitions of Living Chess, a chess museum, and a small intercollegiate tournament. All very nice, but you have to wonder if it was what people were expecting.

No doubt by sheer coincidence, the Western Chess Association decided to hold their 1934 championship in Chicago. At some point during the preparatory period, the American Chess Federation (ACF) was created and replaced the old WCA. Many sources state that the Western was still in existence at this time, but Arpad Elo, who was there and part of the process, stated many years later that the first ACF tournament was Chicago 1934; see http://www.thechessmill.com/history...

If one goal of the new organization was to increase the general popularity of chess among all levels of play, it succeeded: the tournament drew a record total of 32 players. Previously (for example, in 1906 and 1908) the practice with an overly large turnout was to divide the field into preliminary sections, from which the top finishers would advance to a championship final. Ideally, the best players be seeded into different preliminaries so that each section would be approximately equal in strength. This was simple in the Excelsior days, when most of the players were local and their approximate strength well known. But the 1934 event drew players from all over the country, making seeding more difficult due to unfamiliarity with a player's level of skill. In addition, <Arpad Elo> was playing rather than devising a rating system.

So local official <Kirk D. Holland> devised a system of setting up qualification sections which did not involve seeding as such. Here we go. Good luck.

Preliminary Round 1

The players were paired, more or less at random, and played a single game. Here are the results (actual colors are unknown):

Hahlbohm 1 Araiza Munoz; Eastman 1 Jensen; Margolis 1 Freeman; Dake 1 Jefferson; B. Ilsley 1 Lew; Hanauer 1 Barnes; Kashdan 1 Palmi; Engholm 1 Nash; Waggoner 1 Holland; Marks 1 Heyn; Reshevsky 1 Grigorieff; Elo* 1/2 Osher; Jackson 1 Ilsley; Woods 1 <Fine>; MacMurray 1 Belson; Denker 1 Rundell

Elo was counted as a winner following a coin flip. And, yes, Fine lost.

Preliminary Round 2a

The sixteen winners were played, with these results. (Again, in a drawn game a "winner"* was decided by coin flip.

MacMurray 1 B. Ilsley; Margolis 1 Engholm; Eastman 1 <Kashdan>; Dake 1 Jackson; Hahlbohm* 1/2 <Reshevsky>; Denker 1 Waggoner; Marks 1 Elo; Hanauer 1 Woods

The eight winners here were assigned to Qualifying Section A, from which four players advanced to the Championship final. The losers, including Kashdan and Reshevsky (after coin flip) were assigned to Qualifying Section B, which had three qualifiers.

Preliminary Round 2b

This paired the sixteen losers from Preliminary Round 1:

Friedman 1 Belson; Araiza Munoz 1 Rundell; Fine 1 Holland; Nash* 1/2 Jensen; Barnes* 1/2 Osher; Lew 1 Heyn; Grigorieff 1 R. Ilsley; Jefferson 1 Palmi

The winners advanced to Qualifying Section C, with two qualifiers for the final; the losers to Qualifying Section D, with one qualifier.

Qualifying Section A

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 Arthur William Dake X = = 1 1 = 1 1 5.5 2 Arnold Denker = X = = 1 = 1 1 5.0 3 Donald MacMurray = = X 1 = 0 1 1 4.5 4 George Eastman 0 = 0 X 0 1 1 1 3.5 5 Herman H Hahlbohm 0 0 = 1 X 1 0 = 3.0 6 Milton Loeb Hanauer = = 1 0 0 X 0 1 3.0 7 Albert Margolis 0 0 0 0 1 1 X 1 3.0 8 Landis Marks 0 0 0 0 = 0 0 X 0.5

George Eastman was probably a surprise qualifier, ahead of former champions Hahlbohm and Margolis. And now an interesting point arises.

Kashdan, Reshevsky, and Fine did not make it to the top qualifying section. Had they done so, it's likely that only one of the actual qualifiers from this section would have made the Championship Final, which hardly seems fair. Denker and Dake, in particular, were both worthy.

So the preliminary "failures" of Kashdan, Reshevsky and Fine worked well for the top players. They had easier paths to the final, and with a grueling schedule including two rounds on many days this was important. Plus, this way all the best New York players made it to the championship instead of some being relegated to Consolation sections.

Did Kashdan and Fine deliberately lose in the prelims? Was there collusion between the New York players for some to take a fall early to improve the chances of all? There is no proof of this that I know of, but this particular tournament system was not used again.

Qualifying Section B

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 Samuel Reshevsky X 1 = 1 1 1 1 1 6.5 2 Isaac Kashdan 0 X 1 1 1 1 1 1 6.0 3 N G Engholm = 0 X 1 1 1 1 1 5.5 4 Henry M Woods 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 1 4.0 5 Arpad Elo 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 3.0 6 W Waggoner 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 2.0 7 M C Jackson 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 1.0 8 B Ilsley 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0.0

Almost a perfect section, Engholm's draw with Reshevsky being the only break in the pattern.

Qualifying Section C

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 Reuben Fine X 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 6.0 2 Jose Joaquin Araiza Munoz 1 X 1 = 0 1 1 1 5.5 3 Vladimir Grigorieff 0 0 X 1 1 1 1 1 5.0 4 Bradford B Jefferson 0 = 0 X 1 1 1 1 4.5 5 George Samuel Barnes 0 1 0 0 X 0 1 = 2.5 6 Sol R Friedman 0 0 0 0 1 X = 0 1.5 7 Edmund Nash 0 0 0 0 0 = X 1 1.5 8 Harry Lew 0 0 0 0 = 1 0 X 1.5

With Fine a certain qualifier, the race was on for second place with the Mexican champion prevailing. Edmund Nash is a link to myself, since he beat me at Columbus 1977. I'm in good company. He once beat Fischer too.

Qualifying Section D

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 John Harold Belson X = 1 1 1 0 1 1 5.5 2 Bjarne Jensen = X 1 1 = = = 1 5.0 3 Fred J Rundell 0 0 X 1 = 1 = 1 4.0 4 W Heyn 0 0 0 X 1 = 1 1 3.5 5 Andrew Hansen Palmi 0 = = 0 X 1 1 = 3.5 6 R Ilsley 1 = 0 = 0 X = = 3.0 7 Seymour Osher 0 = = 0 0 = X 1 2.5 8 Kirk D Holland 0 0 0 0 = = 0 X 1.0

Belson, who would win the Canadian championship later in the year, was a legitimate qualifier for the Final.

Championship Final

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 Reuben Fine X = 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7.5 2 Samuel Reshevsky = X 1 = 1 = 1 1 1 1 7.5 3 Arthur William Dake 1 0 X = 1 = 1 1 1 = 6.5 4 Arnold Denker 0 = = X 0 1 1 = 1 1 5.5 5 George Eastman 0 0 0 1 X = 1 1 = = 4.5 6 Isaac Kashdan 0 = = 0 = X 1 1 = = 4.5 7 Donald MacMurray 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 3.0 8 Jose Joaquin Araiza Munoz 0 0 0 = 0 0 0 X 1 1 2.5 9 John Harold Belson 0 0 0 0 = = 0 0 X 1 2.0 10 N G Engholm 0 0 = 0 = = 0 0 0 X 1.5

Fine tied Edward Lasker's record of three straight championships, though this time Reshevsky was able to share first. And perhaps Eastman wasn't such a surprise qualifier after all.

Consolation Tournament

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 Milton Loeb Hanauer X = = = = 1 1 1 1 1 7.0 2 Herman H Hahlbohm = X = 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 6.0 3 Bjarne Jensen = = X 1 = 1 = 0 1 1 6.0 4 Fred J Rundell = 1 0 X 0 1 = 1 1 1 6.0 5 Sol R Friedman = 0 = 1 X = = 1 0 1 5.0 6 Arpad Elo 0 0 0 0 = X 1 1 = 1 4.0 7 Harry M Woods 0 1 = = = 0 X 0 = 1 4.0 8 Bradford B Jefferson 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 X 1 0 3.0 9 Andrew Hansen Palmi 0 0 0 0 1 = = 0 X 1 3.0 10 W Waggoner 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 X 1.0

Interesting that two former Western champions, Hahlbohm and Jefferson, were relegated to the Consolation section--and that neither won it! The new generation had definitely outstripped the old.

Class A:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 Seymour Osher X = 1 1 1 1 1 1 6.5 2 Harry Lew = X = = 1 1 1 1 5.5 3 R Ilsley 0 = X 0 1 1 1 1 4.5 4 W Heyn 0 = 1 X 0 1 1 = 4.0 5 B Ilsley 0 0 0 1 X 0 1 1 3.0 6 Kirk D Holland 0 0 0 0 1 X 0 1 2.0 7 M C Jackson 0 0 0 0 0 1 X = 1.5 8 Edmund Nash 0 0 0 = 0 0 = X 1.0

Holland's result might have been thought by some as just retribution for coming up with the qualification system. Afterward, the Western would stick to the old system of seeded preliminaries of equal strength with an equal number of qualifying spots in each. Ironically, at least in the United States this old system would later become identified with Kirk D. Holland instead of his 1934 experiment with unseeded preliminaries. Good things happen when you're a chess politician.

-----
<Sources>:

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 19, 1934.

Chess Results 1931-1935 / Gino di Felice, p.222-224.

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

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<PREVIOUS>: Game Collection: US Open 1933, Detroit = 34th Western Champ.

NEXT: Game Collection: US Open 1935, Milwaukee = 36th ACF Congress

SEE ALSO: Game Collection: US Open Index Collection

Preliminary Round 1 (Saturday, July 21)
Reshevsky vs V Grigorieff, 1934 
(D46) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 28 moves, 1-0

Preliminary Round 1 (Saturday, July 21)
A Palmi vs Kashdan, 1934
(C48) Four Knights, 26 moves, 0-1

Qualifying Section B
Reshevsky vs Kashdan, 1934
(D48) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran, 69 moves, 1-0

Qualifying Section B
Kashdan vs B Illsley, 1934
(C45) Scotch Game, 26 moves, 1-0

Qualifying Section B
H M Woods vs Kashdan, 1934
(C77) Ruy Lopez, 38 moves, 0-1

Qualifying Section B
Kashdan vs M C Jackson, 1934
(B58) Sicilian, 21 moves, 1-0

Championship Final
Denker vs Kashdan, 1934 
(D18) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch, 42 moves, 1-0

Championship Final
Reshevsky vs Denker, 1934 
(E47) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3, 55 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championshp Final, Round 5 (Monday, July 30)
Dake vs Fine, 1934 
(C68) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, 66 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 3 (Saturday, July 28)
Kashdan vs Fine, 1934
(A90) Dutch, 57 moves, 0-1

Denker vs F Rundell, 1934
(D05) Queen's Pawn Game, 23 moves, 1-0

J Araiza Munoz vs V Grigorieff, 1934
(A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 45 moves, 1-0

N G Engholm vs J Araiza Munoz, 1934
(A04) Reti Opening, 28 moves, 0-1

Reshevsky vs Dake, 1934
(D62) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox, Rubinstein Attack, 32 moves, 1-0

Championship Final
J Belson vs Kashdan, 1934
(D52) Queen's Gambit Declined, 73 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championship Final
Kashdan vs Dake, 1934
(E80) King's Indian, Samisch Variation, 35 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championship Final
Kashdan vs J Araiza Munoz, 1934
(D43) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 45 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 7
D MacMurray vs Kashdan, 1934 
(B12) Caro-Kann Defense, 41 moves, 0-1

Championship Final, Round 8
G Eastman vs Kashdan, 1934
(C86) Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack, 70 moves, 1/2-1/2

Championship Final, Round 9
N G Engholm vs Kashdan, 1934
(D05) Queen's Pawn Game, 44 moves, 1/2-1/2

Preliminary, Round 1 (Saturday, July 21)
Fine vs H M Woods, 1934
(D55) Queen's Gambit Declined, 29 moves, 0-1

Preliminary, Round 2 (Sunday, July 22)
Fine vs K Holland, 1934
(A13) English, 23 moves, 1-0

Qualifying Section C, Round 1 (Sunday, July 22)
Fine vs V Grigorieff, 1934
(E24) Nimzo-Indian, Samisch, 44 moves, 1-0

Qualifying Section C, Round 2 (Monday, July 23)
E Nash vs Fine, 1934
(B80) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 37 moves, 0-1

Qualifying Section C, Round 3 (Monday, July 23)
Fine vs B Jefferson, 1934
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 23 moves, 1-0

Qualifying Section C, Round 4 (Tuesday, July 24)
G S Barnes vs Fine, 1934
(D52) Queen's Gambit Declined, 40 moves, 0-1

Qualifying Section C, Round 5 (Wednesday, July 25)
Fine vs H Lew, 1934
(B32) Sicilian, 21 moves, 1-0

Qualifying Section C, Round 6 (Wednesday, July 25)
S R Friedman vs Fine, 1934 
(A81) Dutch, 33 moves, 0-1

Qualifying Section C, Round 7 (Thursday, July 26)
Fine vs J Araiza Munoz, 1934
(A18) English, Mikenas-Carls, 36 moves, 0-1

Championship Final, Round 1 (Friday, July 27)
Fine vs J Araiza Munoz, 1934
(E24) Nimzo-Indian, Samisch, 43 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 2 (Friday, July 27)
Fine vs Denker, 1934 
(B40) Sicilian, 17 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 4 (Sunday, July 29)
J Belson vs Fine, 1934
(E34) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation, 17 moves, 0-1

Championship Final, Round 6 (Monday, July 30)
G Eastman vs Fine, 1934
(C13) French, 28 moves, 0-1

Championship Final, Round 7 (Tuesday, July 31)
Fine vs N G Engholm, 1934
(A21) English, 30 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 8 (Tuesday, July 31)
Fine vs D MacMurray, 1934
(D05) Queen's Pawn Game, 30 moves, 1-0

Championship Final, Round 9 (Wednesday, August 1)
Fine vs Reshevsky, 1934
(E22) Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann Variation, 20 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 4
Reshevsky vs G Eastman, 1934
(E17) Queen's Indian, 48 moves, 1-0

Round 6
J Belson vs Reshevsky, 1934
(C46) Three Knights, 23 moves, 0-1

Round 8
N G Engholm vs Reshevsky, 1934
(E14) Queen's Indian, 23 moves, 0-1

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