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5th American Chess Congress Tournament

George Henry Mackenzie13.5/18(+11 -2 =5)[games]
James Glover Grundy13.5/18(+11 -2 =5)[games]
Charles Moehle13/18(+11 -3 =4)[games]
Alexander Sellman12.5/18(+10 -3 =5)[games]
Max Judd11/18(+9 -5 =4)[games]
Eugene Delmar9.5/18(+8 -7 =3)[games]
John S Ryan5.5/18(+5 -12 =1)[games]
Preston Ware5.5/18(+4 -11 =3)[games]
James Congdon3.5/18(+2 -13 =3)[games]
Albert Cohnfeld2.5/18(+2 -15 =1)[games]
* Chess Event Description
5th American Chess Congress (1880)

Manhattan Chess Club, New York, NY USA; 6 January 1880—31 January 1880

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score Place/Prizes ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— 1 Mackenzie •• 0½ 10 ½½ ½1 11 11 11 1½ 11 13½* 1st $500 2 Grundy 1½ •• ½½ 10 1½ 11 1½ 01 11 11 13½ 2nd $300 3 Moehle 01 ½½ •• 0½ 1½ 10 11 11 11 11 13 3rd $200 4 Sellman ½½ 01 1½ •• 10 1½ 11 0½ 11 11 12½ 4th $100 5 Judd ½0 0½ 0½ 01 •• ½1 11 11 01 11 11 5th $50 6 Delmar 00 00 01 0½ ½0 •• 11 11 ½1 11 9½ 7 Ryan 00 0½ 00 00 00 00 •• 11 01 11 5½ 8 Ware 00 10 00 1½ 00 00 00 •• ½1 1½ 5½ 9 Congdon ½0 00 00 00 10 ½0 01 0½ •• 00 3½ 10 Cohnfeld 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 0½ 11 •• 2½ ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— * Mackenzie defeated Grundy in a play-off for first place. Format: Double round-robin.

The 5th American Chess Congress was held at the Manhattan Chess Club in New York City, the United States from January 6th to the 31st, 1880. Ten American chess masters and players participated in the nine double rounds of the main event. The participants included two-time US Chess Congress winner George Henry Mackenzie, 4th American Chess Congress (1876) runner-up Max Judd, the previous Congress participants James Congdon and Preston Ware, as well as Albert Cohnfeld, Eugene Delmar, James Grundy, Charles Moehle, John Ryan and Alexander Sellman. Each of the players gained entrance to the masters tournament via a $20 entry fee. Games began at 1 pm each day with a break for dinner between 5 and 7 pm, whereby the games resumed until 11 pm. Games were adjourned if the players could not reach a conclusion by midnight. The time control for the tournament was 15 moves an hour, with unspent time being carried over to the next time control. Sundays were reserved for rest days.

Playoff match:

1 2 Wins ————————————————————— Mackenzie 1 1 2 Grundy 0 0 0 ————————————————————— Format: First player to score two wins is the victor.

The final of the event saw a tie for first between Mackenzie and Grundy. The rules stipulated in the event of a tie that a playoff match would follow with the grand prize going to the first player to win two games. Mackenzie defeated Grundy handily and claimed the prize of $500 and a gold medal to commemorate his victory. Grundy received $300 for second place, while Moehle received $200 for third, Sellman $100 for fourth, and Judd $50 for fifth. It was Mackenzie's third and final US Congress victory and cemented his legacy as one of the strongest chess players living and playing in the United States in the 19th century.

The reputation of the Congress was shattered by an allegation of cheating. It was alleged that the Grundy and Preston Ware Jr. had fixed their game. Preston provided written testimony to the tournament committee that his final round opponent, Grundy, offered him $20 if he agreed to play for a draw so guaranteeing Grundy the second place prize money. Ware agreed, but complained that Grundy had instead beaten him and so tied for first. (1)

"A meeting of the Chess Association of the United States was held last evening at No. 60 East Fourteenth-street, to receive the report of the committee appointed to investigate charges of collusion against Messrs. Grundy and Ware, two of the contestants in the late chess tournament held in this City ... Mr Grundy ... denied the allegations made by Ware, and he said there was a conspiracy against him, in which one of the prominent members of the congress committee was implicated. The committee reported believed the charges to be true ..." (2)

The account of the Congress by Charles A Gilberg provides many more details. His book was reprinted as The Fifth American Chess Congress New York 1880. Edition Olms, Zurich 1986. 555 pp. ISBN 3-283-00090-5.

(1) and
(2) New York Times, 8th March 1880, p.3.

Original collection: Game Collection: New York 1880, by User: suenteus po 147.

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 92  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. J Grundy vs M Judd ½-½9518805th American Chess CongressC77 Ruy Lopez
2. C Moehle vs J S Ryan 1-05618805th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
3. A Sellman vs E Delmar 1-04918805th American Chess CongressC77 Ruy Lopez
4. P Ware vs J Congdon ½-½7918805th American Chess CongressA00 Uncommon Opening
5. A Cohnfeld vs Mackenzie 0-12918805th American Chess CongressD00 Queen's Pawn Game
6. J Congdon vs P Ware 0-16018805th American Chess CongressB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
7. E Delmar vs A Sellman  ½-½6618805th American Chess CongressC13 French
8. M Judd vs J Grundy 0-14018805th American Chess CongressC45 Scotch Game
9. Mackenzie vs A Cohnfeld 1-04518805th American Chess CongressC41 Philidor Defense
10. J S Ryan vs C Moehle  0-15018805th American Chess CongressA84 Dutch
11. P Ware vs M Judd 0-17118805th American Chess CongressA80 Dutch
12. A Sellman vs J Congdon 1-06718805th American Chess CongressB01 Scandinavian
13. J Grundy vs Mackenzie 1-04618805th American Chess CongressC77 Ruy Lopez
14. J S Ryan vs E Delmar  0-14518805th American Chess CongressC42 Petrov Defense
15. C Moehle vs A Cohnfeld  1-05218805th American Chess CongressC29 Vienna Gambit
16. E Delmar vs J S Ryan  1-05318805th American Chess CongressA02 Bird's Opening
17. Mackenzie vs J Grundy ½-½3718805th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
18. M Judd vs P Ware 1-05718805th American Chess CongressB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
19. J Congdon vs A Sellman  0-12518805th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
20. A Cohnfeld vs C Moehle  0-16318805th American Chess CongressA80 Dutch
21. E Delmar vs J Grundy  0-17018805th American Chess CongressC01 French, Exchange
22. A Sellman vs C Moehle  1-05018805th American Chess CongressB40 Sicilian
23. Mackenzie vs P Ware 1-05818805th American Chess CongressB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
24. M Judd vs A Cohnfeld  1-05518805th American Chess CongressC44 King's Pawn Game
25. J Congdon vs J S Ryan  0-13918805th American Chess CongressC77 Ruy Lopez
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 92  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2)  

Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-30-16  zanzibar: No mention of the Ware--Grundy controversy?! Hmmm...

Actually, there's not been any commentary whatsoever about this tournament. Let's kick off with this quote from Soltis' <Chess Lists> p61

~<The 5th American Chess, held in NY in 1880, was a weak tournament and produced both a poor tournament book and an atrocious series of games. It is forgotten except for an incident in the final round...>

Soltis, master of understatement.

Actually, this incident is a little infamous, but not isolated. In the interest of fair play, Soltis also comments on Anderssen--Szen from <London (1851)>, a story I was unfamiliar with, plus a few others.

Mar-30-16  zanzibar: The Gilberg tb is available online:

Mar-30-16  zanzibar: PS- That link should probably find its way into the intro.

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