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1944 US championship
Compiled by crawfb5
--*--

-- under construction --

We are missing many of the games.

Held at the Park Central Hotel in New York, 17 Apr - 7 May 1944. The director was L. Walter Stephens.

Reshevsky was unable to play because of preparations for his CPA exams. Kashdan decided not to play at the last minute on the advice of his doctor (Chess Review, Mar 1944, p. 3) or because he thought the schedule, with only one day for adjournments in the first eight rounds, was too strenuous (NY Times, 16 Apr 1944). Di Camillo was the reserve player admitted as a replacement. Fine was able to secure a leave of absence from his job at the last minute. The seeded players were Denker, Fine, Horowitz, Isaacs, Pinkus, and Steiner. Adams and Shainswit were added to replace Reshevsky and Kashdan. The remaining players were selected from qualifying events. Chernev, Gladstone, and Rothman quailified out of Section A. Almgren, Neidich, and Stromberg qualified out of Section B. Altman, Persinger, and Weinstock qualified out of Section C. With neither Reshevsky nor Kashdan participating, it was Fine's best chance at winning the US championship, but it was not to be. Denker caught fire, and by winning against Fine, took the championship over Fine by a full point.

THE PLAYERS

Arnold Denker -- After Denker won the 1944 US championship, he successfully defended his title in 1946 in a match with Herman Steiner. Later in life he became very active in chess organization in the US and the <Denker Tournament of High School Champions> is named in his honor.

Reuben Fine -- Fine was a world-class player that never won the US championship. His best international result would be equal first with Paul Keres at AVRO 1938. He was invited to the world championship tournament organized in 1948 to pick a successor to Alexander Alekhine, who died while holding the title. Fine decided not to play. He was involved in his graduate work in psychology and only played competitive chess for a few more years after earning his degree. Fine played on three US Olympiad teams, winning three team and one individual gold medal and one individual silver medal (http://www.olimpbase.org/players/rn...).

Israel Albert Horowitz -- Horowitz was long-time editor of <Chess Review>, chess editor of the <New York Times> for many years, author of a number of chess books, and a fixture in US tournaments, particularly those in the northeast. He won the US Open in 1936, 1938, and 1943. Horowitz played on four US Olympiad teams, winning three team and two individual gold medals (http://www.olimpbase.org/players/sw...).

Herman Steiner -- Steiner was long-time chess editor for the <Los Angeles Times>. He founded a chess club attended by various celebrity chessplayers. Steiner was the only US player to have a plus score in the 1945 USSR-USA radio match (Game Collection: 1945. USSR vs USA (Radio match)). Steiner won the 1948 US championship ahead of Kashdan. Steiner played on four US Olympiad teams, winning one team gold medal, and one team and one individual silver medals (http://www.olimpbase.org/players/53...).

Albert Pinkus -- Pinkus was Manhattan Chess club champion twice, and NY state champion once. Pinkus played in the 1945 USA v USSR radio match. He played in five US championships.

George Shainswit -- Shainswit played in five US championships and was a member of the 1950 US Olympiad team (http://www.olimpbase.org/players/b7...).

Benjamin Altman -- Altman played in two US championships.

Weaver Warren Adams -- Although a strong US master of his day, Adams is most remembered for his controversial ideas about White's opening advantage. He won the 1946 US Open and played in five US championships.

Sven Elias Almgren -- Almgren played in two US championships.

Attilio Di Camillo -- Di Camillo had just won the championship tournament from one of the two Pennsylvania organizations claiming rights to award it. He played in two US championships.

Solomon Weinstock -- Weinstock

Neidich played in one US championship.

Aaron Rothman -- Rothman played in two US championships.

Stromberg played in one US championship.

Irving Chernev -- Chernev is best known today for his various chess books. He was very active in the New York area and played in two US championships.

David Gladstone -- Gladstone played in one US championship.

Louis Persinger -- Best known as an infulential violin teacher at Juilliard for many years (http://www.juilliard.edu/library/pd...), Persinger played in one US championship.

THE CROSSTABLE

D F H S P S A A A D W I N R S C G P Denker X 1 1 = 1 = = 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 15.5 Fine 0 X = 1 = 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 = 1 1 1 1 1 14.5 Horowitz 0 = X 0 = 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 14 Steiner = 0 1 X = = 1 1 1 1 = 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 14 Pinkus 0 = = = X = 1 1 1 = 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13.5 Shainswit = 0 0 = = X 1 = 0 1 = = 1 1 1 = 1 1 10.5 Altman = 0 0 0 0 0 X = 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 9 Adams 0 0 0 0 0 = = X 1 0 1 1 = 0 1 = 1 1 8 Almgren 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 X 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 8 Di Camillo 0 0 0 0 = 0 0 1 1 X = = = 0 0 1 1 1 7 Weinstock 0 0 0 = 0 = 1 0 1 = X 0 0 = 1 0 1 1 7 Isaacs 0 0 0 0 0 = 0 0 0 = 1 X 1 = 0 1 1 1 6.5 Neidich 0 = 0 0 0 0 0 = 1 = 1 0 X 0 1 1 = = 6.5 Rothman 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 = = 1 X 1 = 0 1 6.5 Stromberg 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 X 1 1 1 5 Chernev 0 0 0 0 0 = 0 = 0 0 1 0 0 = 0 X 1 1 4.5 Gladstone 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 = 1 0 0 X 1 2.5 Persinger 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 = 0 0 0 0 X 0.5

THE RACE

ROUND 1

Fine drew with Pinkus and Adams drew with Neidich. The remaining seven games were decisive. Denker, Horowitz, Steiner, Altman, Di Camillo, Isaacs, and Rothman beat Weinstock, Shainswit, Chernev, Persinger, Almgren, Gladstone, and Stromberg, respectively.

ROUND 2

Denker won against Stromberg, Horowitz beat Gladstone, and Altman won against Chernev for a three-way tie for first. Fine beat Adams, Neidich won against Almgren, while Isaacs drew with Rothman and Steiner drew with Pinkus, for a five-way tie for fourth between Fine, Steiner, Neidich, Isaacs, and Rothman.

ROUND 3

Denker beat Isaacs, Horowitz won against Rothman, Steiner beat Altman, and Pinkus won against Adams. Denker and Horowitz were tied for first with 3, followed by Fine and Steiner at 2.5. Pinkus, Shainswit, Altman, and Di Camillo were at 2.

ROUND 4

In an early key game, Denker won against Horowitz when Horowitz made a weak move which cost him a probable draw. Fine beat Shainswit and Pinkus won against Altman. Steiner drew with Weinstock. Denker was now alone in first with a perfect score. Fine was a half point behind in second. Horowitz, Steiner, and Pinkus were tied for third, a half point behind Fine.

ROUND 5

Denker beat Di Camillo, Fine won against Gladstone, Horowitz beat Persinger, Steiner won against Stromberg, and Pinkus beat Almgren. Denker led with 5, Fine followed with 4.5, and Horowitz, Steiner, and Pinkus remained in range at 4.

ROUND 6

Denker won against Neidich, Fine beat Rothman, Horowitz won against Chernev, Steiner beat Isaacs, and Pinkus won against Weinstock. Again, the standings did not change: Denker at 6, Fine at 5.5, and Horowitz, Steiner, and Pinkus at 5.

ROUND 7

In Round 7 the frontrunners began to play each other. In the pivotal game of the tournament, Denker beat Fine. Steiner won against Horowitz, while Pinkus could only draw with Shainswit. At the bottom of the field, Persinger scored his only draw this round with Neidich. He would lose his other 16 games. Denker now had a full point lead at 7, with Steiner in second at 6, Fine and Pinkus tied for third with 5.5, and Horowitz at 5.

ROUND 8

Denker won against Adams, Fine beat Persinger, Steiner won against Di Camillo, Horowitz beat Altman, and Pinkus won by forfeit against Stromberg. Standings remained steady, with Denker at 8, Steiner at 7, Fine and Pinkus at 6.5, and Horowitz at 6.

ROUND 9

Denker beat Almgren, Fine won against Chernev, Steiner beat Neidich, Horowitz won against Weinstock, and Pinkus beat Weinstock. Denker was still on course with a perfect 9, followed by Steiner with 8, Fine and Pinkus with 7.5, and Horowitz with 7.

ROUND 10

Denker gave up his first draw in Round 10 against Shainswit. Fine beat Steiner in an important game to pick up a half point on Denker and go ahead of Steiner. Pinkus won against Isaacs, while Horowitz beat Stromberg. Denker lead with 9.5, followed by Fine and Pinkus at 8.5, and Horowitz and Steiner at 8.

ROUND 11

Denker beat Gladstone, Fine won against Altman, Horowitz beat Isaacs, Steiner won against Adams, and Pinkus beat Rothman. The standings remained unchanged with Denker at 10.5, Fine and Pinkus at 9.5, and Horowitz and Steiner at 9.

ROUND 12

Denker won against Rothman, Fine beat Weinstock, and Steiner won against Almgren. Horowitz and Pinkus drew, which dropped both an additional half point off the pace. Denker led with 11.5, Fine was second with 10.5, Steiner and Pinkus third with 10, and Horowitz at 9.5.

ROUND 13

Denker beat Pinkus, Fine won against Stromberg, and Horowitz beat Di Camillo. Steiner drew with Shainswit, so Steiner slipped a half point in the race. Denker was in first with 12.5, Fine second with 11.5, Horowitz and Steiner tied for third at 10.5, and Pinkus at 10.

ROUND 14

Denker won against Persinger, Fine beat Isaacs, Horowitz won against Neidich, and Steiner beat Gladstone. Pinkus drew with Di Camillo. The standings were then: Denker 13.5, Fine 12.5, Horowitz and Steiner 11.5, and Pinkus 10.5.

ROUND 15

Denker beat Chernev, Steiner won against Rothman, and Pinkus beat Persinger. In an key result, Fine and Horowitz drew, probably costing Fine his last realistic chance of catching Denker. Denker now led by a point and a half with 14.5. Fine was second at 13, Steiner third with 12.5, Horowitz fourth with 12, and Pinkus fifth at 11.5.

ROUND 16

All Denker needed to win the tournament was to score one point out of the final two games. In Round 16, he drew with Steiner. Fine won against Di Camillo, and Horowitz beat Adams. Denker had a full point lead at 15, Fine was second at 14, Horowitz and Steiner were tied for third at 13.

ROUND 17

In the final round, Denker only needed to avoid losing in order to win the tournament, so he played a quick, short draw with Altman. Today such a game is commonplace and it is assumed a player needing only a draw will accept a short one if his opponent is agreeable. However the <Chess Review> coverage of the time was critical of Denker. <"...the agreed draw between Denker and Altman was a highly unsatisfactory conclusion...It is regrettable that Denker's splendid showing and courageous fight for the title should have been marred by this unfortunate conclusion to the deciding game."> With Fine no longer having a chance to tie for first, he took a draw with Neidich. Horowitz won against Almgren, Steiner beat Persinger. Denker finished first with 15.5, Fine was second with 14.5, and Horowitz and Steiner tied for third with 14.

Round 1 -- 15 Apr 1944
Chernev vs H Steiner, 1944
(A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 27 moves, 0-1

Round 1 -- 15 Apr 1944
Fine vs Pinkus, 1944
(E01) Catalan, Closed, 60 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 1 -- 15 Apr 1944
Shainswit vs I A Horowitz, 1944
(D49) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran, 39 moves, 0-1

Round 2 -- 16 Apr 1944
Fine vs W Adams, 1944
(D08) Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit, 26 moves, 1-0

Round 2 -- 16 Apr 1944
A Di Camillo vs Shainswit, 1944
(D29) Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical, 47 moves, 0-1

Round 2 -- 16 Apr 1944
B Stromberg vs Denker, 1944
(A13) English, 50 moves, 0-1

Round 3 -- 17 Apr 1944
I Rothman vs I A Horowitz, 1944 
(C83) Ruy Lopez, Open, 30 moves, 0-1

Round 3 -- 17 Apr 1944
S E Almgren vs Fine, 1944
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 34 moves, 0-1

Round 3 -- 17 Apr 1944
W Adams vs Pinkus, 1944
(C28) Vienna Game, 40 moves, 0-1

Round 3 -- 17 Apr 1944
H Steiner vs B Altman, 1944
(A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 33 moves, 1-0

Round 4 -- 18 Apr 1944
Fine vs Shainswit, 1944 
(D17) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 42 moves, 1-0

Round 4 -- 18 Apr 1944
I A Horowitz vs Denker, 1944
(A13) English, 41 moves, 0-1

Round 4 -- 18 Apr 1944
Pinkus vs B Altman, 1944
(C89) Ruy Lopez, Marshall, 41 moves, 1-0

Round 4 -- 18 Apr 1944
W Adams vs S E Almgren, 1944
(C13) French, 56 moves, 1-0

Round 5 -- 20 Apr 1944
Denker vs A Di Camillo, 1944
(A10) English, 74 moves, 1-0

Round 5 -- 20 Apr 1944
D Gladstone vs Fine, 1944
(B29) Sicilian, Nimzovich-Rubinstein, 30 moves, 0-1

Round 6 -- 21 Apr 1944
Fine vs A Rothman, 1944 
(A08) King's Indian Attack, 15 moves, 1-0

Round 6 -- 21 Apr 1944
I A Horowitz vs Chernev, 1944 
(B83) Sicilian, 35 moves, 1-0

Round 6 -- 21 Apr 1944
W Adams vs D Gladstone, 1944
(C14) French, Classical, 33 moves, 1-0

Round 7 -- 22 Apr 1944
Denker vs Fine, 1944 
(E43) Nimzo-Indian, Fischer Variation, 25 moves, 1-0

Round 8 -- 23 Apr 1944
W Adams vs Denker, 1944
(B70) Sicilian, Dragon Variation, 67 moves, 0-1

Round 9 -- 23 Apr 1944
Denker vs S E Almgren, 1944
(A15) English, 41 moves, 1-0

Round 9 -- 23 Apr 1944
B Altman vs A Di Camillo, 1944
(C42) Petrov Defense, 32 moves, 1-0

Round 10 -- 27 Apr 1944
Fine vs H Steiner, 1944
(A97) Dutch, Ilyin-Genevsky, 37 moves, 1-0

Round 12 -- 30 Apr 1944
Fine vs S Weinstock, 1944
(C15) French, Winawer, 41 moves, 1-0

Round 12 -- 30 Apr 1944
Shainswit vs Chernev, 1944 
(E47) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 O-O 5.Bd3, 32 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 12 -- 30 Apr 1944
A Rothman vs Denker, 1944 
(B50) Sicilian, 21 moves, 0-1

Round 12 -- 30 Apr 1944
Pinkus vs I A Horowitz, 1944
(E46) Nimzo-Indian, 77 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 13 -- 1 May 1944
Denker vs Pinkus, 1944
(E49) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Botvinnik System, 55 moves, 1-0

Round 13 -- 1 May 1944
S Weinstock vs W Adams, 1944
(A28) English, 19 moves, 0-1

Round 13 -- 1 May 1944
Chernev vs D Gladstone, 1944
(A04) Reti Opening, 35 moves, 1-0

Round 14 -- 3 May 1944
D Gladstone vs H Steiner, 1944
(C26) Vienna, 21 moves, 0-1

Round 15 -- 4 May 1944
Chernev vs Denker, 1944
(E10) Queen's Pawn Game, 38 moves, 0-1

Round 15 -- 4 May 1944
I A Horowitz vs Fine, 1944
(C71) Ruy Lopez, 59 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 17 -- 7 May 1944
B Altman vs Denker, 1944
(B74) Sicilian, Dragon, Classical, 14 moves, 1/2-1/2

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