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US Open 1926, Chicago = 27th Western Champ.
Compiled by Phony Benoni
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<27th Western Championship Chicago, Illinois
August 21-September 2, 1926>

Throughout its first quarter century, the Western Chess Association had officially restricted its annual championship to "Western" players. The definition of "Western" was always quite broad; originally it had meant the US and Canada west of Pennsylvania, then evolved into most anybody except New Yorkers. In 1925, all such restrictions removed and the WCA welcomed its first players and champions from New York as it made plans to become a fully national organization.

Originally, the plan was to be an association of individual members as outlined by a letter sent out by WCA Secretary Samuel D Factor and published in the <Brooklyn Daily Eagle> of October 22, 1925:

<"Dear Sir:

"For the past 26 years, the Western Chess Association has been a leading factor in maintaining and increasing a lively interest in chess throughout the West and Middle West.

"Its annual tournaments, where the championship of the association is decided, have invariably brought out an exceptionally high class of players.

"At the 26th annual meeting, held at Cedar Point, Ohio, Sept. 3, 1925, it was unanimously voted to increase the field and scope of the association by making it a national organization in place of a sectional.

"The Western Chess Association has therefore reorganized as a national institution with membership open to all chess players in the United States and Canada.

"It is the duty of every chess player to give to this organization both his moral and finanical support.

"Dues are $1 per year.

"As a member of the Western Chess Association, you will be entitled to vote, either in person or by proxy, on all questions pertaining to the policy of the association, and in addition you will receive each year the Western Chess Association Year Book, which will contain scores of the games played in the championship tournaments.

"Our slogan is 10,000 members.

"This can be reached if you and your friends, chess players, will fill out enclosed applications and mail in now.

"Fraternally yours,

"SAMUEL D. FACTOR, Secretary/Treasurer">

However, this must have proved unwieldy, since by the time of the 1926 Western Championship a new proposal was on the table. This would establish the "National Chess Association of the U. S. A.", which was to take over governance on the national level. The Western Chess Association was to remain a "division" of the larger organization, continuing its programs on a regional basis. In addition, administrative layers to the NCA by involving local clubs or "chapters" and establishing the office of "Regional Vice President" to represent the national association on a local basis.

Obviously, the WCA would remain an important part of the national federation, as its President, Maurice Kuhns of Chicago, was also organizing the larger group. What soon became The National Chess Federation would endure, but eventually did little more than strictly national duties such as selecting teams for the Olympiad. The Western Chess Association operated on a smaller scope until the early 1930s, when a new generation of young masters began coming to the Western Championship in search of competition and the WCA began thinking nationally again.

For this year, however, the Western Chess Association was able to host an important Masters Tournament in addition to the Western Championship, both held at the Hotel LaSalle in Chicago from August 21-September 2, 1926. More information about the Masters Tournament can be found at http://www.chessgames.com/perl/ches....

The turnout for the Western Championship was of course considerably weakened, but included a number of faithful attendees and a future star in Herman Steiner. Twenty-two players signed up for the Western Championship. They were divided into two sections, with the top three qualifying for the final.

With information from the <New York Times> and the <Chicago Daily News> (via "The Chess Reader" blog), it has been possible to construct tentative round-by-round pairings. These fit the available facts, but are by no means absolutely guaranteed.

Western Championship Preliminary, Section A

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 1 Herman Steiner X 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 9.5 2 Leon Stolzenberg X 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8.0 3 Herman H Hahlbohm 0 X 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 7.0 4 Irving Spero 0 1 X 1 0 1 1 1 1 7.0 5 Paul L Bowers 0 0 1 0 X 1 0 1 1 1 1 6.0 6 Charles F Elison 0 0 0 1 0 X 1 1 1 1 1 6.0 7 John L Brandner 0 0 0 1 0 X 0 1 1 1 4.5 8 Joseph Daniels 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 1 1 1 4.0 9 Bertram Claude Jenkines 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 1.5 10 Byron B Price 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 1.5 11 John Paul Stoner 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0.0

Steiner dominated the section, but the race for the final two qualifying spots was close all the way. Eventually Stollzenberg drew away. Hahlbohm and Spero tied for third after a last round draw, and both were admitted to the final. Elison lost his chance with a final round loss to Bowers. Stoner withdrew after three rounds.

Round 1 (Saturday, August 21): Spero-Bye; Bowers 1 Hahlbohm; Stoner 0 Elison; Daniels 1 Jenkines; Steiner 1 Price; Brandner 0 Stolzenberg

Round 2 ((Sunday, August 22): Bye-Stolzenberg; Price 0 Brandner; Jenkines 0 Steiner; Elison 1 Daniels; Hahlbohm 1 Stoner; Spero 1 Bowers

Round 3 (Monday, August 23): Bowers-Bye; Stoner 0 Spero; Daniels 0 Hahlbohm; Steiner 1 Elison; Brandner 1 Jenkines; Stolzenberg 1 Price

Round 4 (Monday, August 23): Bye-Price; Jenkines 0 Stolzenberg; Elison 1 Brandner; Hahlbohm 0 Steiner; Spero 1 Daniels; Bowers 1 Stoner

Round 5 (Tuesday, August 24): Stoner-Bye; Daniels 0 Bowers; Steiner 1 Spero; Brandner 0 Hahlbohm; Stolzenberg 1 Elison; Price 1/2 Jenkines

Round 6: Bye-Jenkines; Elison 1 Price; Hahlbohm 1/2 Stolzenberg; Spero 1/2 Brandner; Bowers 0 Steiner; Stoner 0 Daniels

Round 7: Daniels-Bye; Steiner 1 Stoner; Brandner 1 Bowers; Stolzenberg 0 Spero; Price 0 Hahlbohm; Jenkines 0 Elison

Round 8: Bye-Elison; Hahlbohm 1 Jenkines; Spero 1 Price; Bowers 0 Stolzenberg; Stoner 0 Brandner; Daniels 0 Steiner

Round 9: Steiner-Bye; Brandner 0 Daniels; Stolzenberg 1 Stoner; Price 0 Bowers; Jenkines 0 Spero; Elison 0 Hahlbohm

Round 10 (Friday, August 27): Bye-Hahlbohm; Spero 0 Elison; Bowers 1 Jenkines; Stoner 0 Price; Daniels 0 Stolzenberg; Steiner 1 Brandner

Round 11: Brandner-Bye; Stolzenberg 1/2 Steiner; Price 0 Daniels; Jenkines 1 Stoner; Elison 0 Bowers; Hahlbohm 1/2 Spero

Western Championship Preliminary, Section B

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 1 John Taliaferro Beckner X 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 8.5 2 Albert Margolis 0 X 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8.0 3 Orrin Frink 0 X 1 1 1 1 1 1 7.5 4 Robert Scrivener 0 X 1 1 1 1 6.5 5 Elias Gordon 1 0 X 1 0 0 0 1 1 5.0 6 Charles W Phillips 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 0 1 1 4.5 7 John Winter 0 0 0 0 1 0 X 1 1 1 4.5 8 John N Buck 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 X 1 1 1 4.0 9 William Widmeyer 0 0 1 1 0 X 0 4.0 10 Reuben Merritt Ballenger 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 1.5 11 Leverett Harris Wight 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 X 1.0

the top three kept their distance from the rest, all clinching a spot in the Final with one round to go. Scrivener was generally within a point or so, but could never make up the difference. A special mention for <William Widmeyer> from Rolla, ND, who set a new record by playing in the 14th Western Championship, dating back to 1902. He finished strong with an undefeated 3.5 points in his last five games. Overall, his dedication is shown by the fact that he only once managed to achieve a plus score.

Round 1 (Saturday, August 21) : Gordon-Bye; Ballenger 0 Phillips; Beckner 1 Widmeyer; Margolis 1 Winter; Buck 0 Scrivener; Frink 1 Wight

Round 2 (Sunday, August 22): Bye-Wight; Scrivener 0 Frink; Winter 1 Buck; Widmeyer 0 Margolis; Phillips 0 Beckner; Gordon 1 Ballenger

Round 3 (Monday, August 23): Ballenger-Bye; Beckner 0 Gordon; Margolis 1 Phillips; Buck 1 Widmeyer; Frink 1 Winter*; Wight 0 Scrivener*

Round 4 (Round 4 (Monday, August 23): Bye-Scrivener; Winter 1 Wight; Widmeyer 1/2 Frink; Phillips 1 Buck; Gordon 0 Margolis; Ballenger 0 Beckner

Round 5 (Tuesday, August 24); Beckner-Bye; Margolis 1 Ballenger; Buck 1 Gordon; Frink 1 Phillips; Wight 1 Widmeyer; Scrivener 1 Winter

Round 6 (Wednesday, August 25): Bye-Winter; Widmeyer 1/2 Scrivener; Phillips 1 Wight*; Gordon 1/2 Frink; Ballenger 0 Buck; Beckner 1 Margolis*

Round 7: Margolis-Bye; Buck 0 Beckner; Frink 1 Ballenger; Wight 0 Gordon; Scrivener 1/2 Phillips; Winter 1 Widmeyer

Round 8: Bye-Widmeyer; Phillips 1 -Winter; Gordon 1/2 Scrivener; Ballenger 1 Wight*; Beckner 1 Frink; Margolis 1 Buck

Round 9: Buck-Bye; Frink 1/2 Margolis; Wight 0 Beckner; Scrivener 1 Ballenger; Winter 1 Gordon; Widmeyer 1 Phillips*

Round 10 (Friday, August 27): Bye-Phillips; Gordon 0 Widmeyer; Ballenger 0 Winter; Beckner 1/2 Scrivener; Margolis 1 Wight; Buck 0 Frink

Round 11: Frink-Bye; Wight 0 Buck; Scrivener 1/2 Margolis; \Winter 0 Beckner; Widmeyer 1/2 Ballenger; Phillips 0 Gordon

Western Championship - Final

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 Leon Stolzenberg X 1 1 1 1 5.0 2 Herman Steiner 0 X 1 1 1 1 4.5 3 Albert Margolis 0 0 X 1 1 3.0 4 Herman H Hahlbohm X 0 2.5 5 Irving Spero 0 0 0 1 X 1 2.5 6 John Taliaferro Beckner 0 0 X 2.0 7 Orrin Frink 0 0 0 X 1.5

Stolzenberg's third-round win over Steiner proved too much of a lead to overcome in a slow-paced tournament where nobody else was able to score over 50%.

Round 1 (Sunday, August 28): Beckner-Bye; Hahlbohm 1/2 Margolis; Spero 0 Stolzenberg; Frink 0 Steiner

Round 2 (Monday, August 30): Bye-Steiner; Stolzenberg 1 Frink; Margolis 1 Spero; Beckner 1/2 Hahlbohm

Round 3 (Monday, August 30): Hahlbohm-Bye; Spero 1/2 Beckner; Frink 1/2 Margolis; Steiner 0 Stolzenberg*

Round 4 (Tuesday, August 31): Bye-Stolzenberg; Margolis 0 Steiner; Beckner 1/2 Frink; Hahlbohm 0 Spero

Round 5 (Tuesday, August 31): Spero-Bye; Frink 1/2 Hahlbohm; Steiner 1 Beckner; Stolzenberg 1 Margolis

Round 6 (Wednesday, Septeb mer 1): Bye-Margolis; Beckner 1/2 Stolzenberg; Hahlbohm 1/2 Steiner; Spero 1 Frink

Round 7 (Thursday, September 2): Frink-Bye; Steiner 1 Spero; Stolzenberg 1/2 Hahlbohm; Margolis 1 Beckner

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Brilliancy Prizes

1st:C W Phillips vs L H Wight, 1926

2nd: H Steiner vs C Elison, 1926

-----

Sources

American Chess Bulletin, September/October 1926, p. 109-112.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 3, 1926; July 29, 1926; October 22, 1925; September 16, 1926 CDN

A Chess Reader, Blog, September 24, 2014; August 11 2014. http://chessreader.blogspot.com/ link valid as of 11/20/2014 Reader

Chess Results 1921-1930 / Gino di Felice, p. 136-138.

Chicago Daily News, scattered reports, August 26-October 11, 1926, referenced in "A Chess Reader" blog (CDN)

New York Times, Daily reports, August 22-September 3, 1926

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PREVIOUS: Game Collection: US Open 1925, Cedar Point = 26th Western Champ.

NEXT: Game Collection: US Open 1927 Kalamazoo = 28th Western Champ.

SEE ALSO: Game Collection: US Open Tournament Index

Prelim A, Round.3 (August 23): CDN 1926.09.29; BDE, 1926:10:21
H Steiner vs C Elison, 1926 
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 41 moves, 1-0

Prelim A, Round 5 (August 24): CDN 1926.10.11/Reader)
H Steiner vs I Spero, 1926
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 37 moves, 1-0

Prelim A, Round 7: CDN 1926.12.20/Reader
John L Brandner vs Paul L Bowers, 1926
(C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 49 moves, 1-0

Prelim A, Round 10 (August 27): CDN 1926.08.28 (Reader)
H Steiner vs John L Brandner, 1926
(D06) Queen's Gambit Declined, 13 moves, 1-0

Prelim B, Rounrd 3 (August 23): CDN 10/06 [9...Bc5+ 10.Nd4 Bxd4
L H Wight vs R Scrivener, 1926 
(A52) Budapest Gambit, 9 moves, 0-1

Prelim B, Round.3 (August 23): CDN 1926.10.06 (Reader)
O Frink vs J Winter, 1926
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 54 moves, 1-0

Prelim B, Round 6 (August 25): 8CDN, 8/27; BDE, 10/21
C W Phillips vs L H Wight, 1926 
(D03) Torre Attack (Tartakower Variation), 33 moves, 1-0

Prelim B, Rounrd 6 (August 25): CDN 1926.09.01 (Reader)
J T Beckner vs A Margolis, 1926
(C11) French, 29 moves, 1-0

Relim B, Round 8: CDN 1926.10.08 (Reader)
R M Ballenger vs L H Wight, 1926
(C44) King's Pawn Game, 37 moves, 1-0

Prelim B, Round 9: CDN 1926.10.22 (Reader)
W Widmeyer vs C W Phillips, 1926
(D94) Grunfeld, 52 moves, 1-0

Championship, Round 3 (August 30): CDN 926.08.31/ (Reader)
H Steiner vs L Stolzenberg, 1926
(A84) Dutch, 28 moves, 0-1

11 games

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