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US Open 1923, San Francisco = 24th Western Champ
Compiled by Phony Benoni
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<24th Western Championship San Francisco, California
July 30-August 6, 1923>

Nineteen years after young Stasch Mlotkowski came to St. Louis to win the Western Open, the Western Open came to him in San Francisco. He showed it made no difference, tying for first with perpetual contender Norman T. Whitaker as defending champion Samuel Factor came in third.

This most western of the Western Opens was missing Edward Lasker and many other big names who were committed to play in the Ninth American Congress at Lake Hopatcong, which began only two days after the Western ended.

Some ghoulish trivia: the tournament was played in the rooms of the Mechanic Library, just across the street from the Palace Hotel where President Warren Harding died on the evening of August 2nd. Crowds gathered outside the hotel, but I have found no indication that the tournament was disrupted in any way.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 1 Stasch Mlotkowski X 0 1 = = 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 9.0 2 Norman Tweed Whitaker 1 X 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 9.0 3 Samuel D Factor 0 1 X 1 = 0 1 1 1 = 1 1 8.0 4 Adolf Jay Fink = 0 0 X 0 1 1 = 1 1 1 1 7.0 5 Elmer Walker Gruer = 0 = 1 X 0 = 0 1 1 1 1 6.5 6 Walter R Lovegrove 0 1 1 0 1 X = 0 1 = = 1 6.5 7 Francis Morton Currier 0 0 0 0 = = X 1 1 1 1 1 6.0 8 Gerald E K Branch 0 0 0 = 1 1 0 X = = 1 1 5.5 9 Arthur William Ryder 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 = X 1 = 1 3.0 10 Donald Henry Mugridge 0 0 = 0 0 = 0 = 0 X = = 2.5 11 George S G Patterson 0 0 0 0 0 = 0 0 = = X 0 1.5 12 Arthur Mordecai Feldman 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 = 1 X 1.5

A report from the <Brooklyn Daily Eagle>:

TIE FOR WESTERN TITLE

"For the first time in the history of the Western Chess Association, the annual meeting was held in San Francisco, at the rooms of the Mechanics Institute Chess Club, July 28 to Aug. 4. Twelve entered the championship tournament and, after 11 rounds of eventful play and with a finish that was fittingly exciting, Stasch Mlotkowski of Los Angeles, title holder in 1904, and Norman T. Whitaker of Washington, D. C., emerged as leaders on an equal footing. Both made scores of 9-2 and divided the first and second prizes of a total value of $300. The report has it that they were requested by the management to play on in order to determine the actual winner of the tournament, and the right to the title, but that both declined to do so. Samuel Factor of Chicago, the winner at Louisville last year, was placed third at a score of 8-3, winning a prize of $75. A. J. Fink of San Francisco, with 7-4, captured the fourth prize of $50. Two other San Francisco players, E. W. Gruer and Dr. W. R. Lovegrove, scored 5 1/2-4 1/2 each and divided the fifth prize of $25.

"The outstanding points in the cross-play were the following: Mlotkowski lost to Whitaker and drew with Gruer and Fink; Whitaker lost to Factor and drew with Dr. Lovegrove, Factor lost to Mlotkowski and Dr. Lovegrove, and Dr. Lovegrove drew against Gruer and Mugridge, the boy player of the Pacific Coast.

"Although Whitaker has participated for a number of years, the tournament is not supposed to be open to players of the East. This time the bars were let down in favor of F. M. Currier of Washington, D. C., who came through with a score of 5-5."> (BDE, 8/16/1923)

Reports in the <San Francisco Chronicle> (August 5 and August 7) indicated that the tournament actually ran from July 30 to August 6.

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Sources:

American Chess Bulletin, September/October 1923, p. 155.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 16, 1923> (BDE)

Chess Results 1921-1930 / Gino di Felice, p.62.

San Francisco Chronicle, various reports (SFC)

Shady side : the life and crimes of Norman Tweed Whitaker, chessmaster, by John Hilbert. Yorklyn, DE : Caissa Editions, 2000. SS

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NEXT: Game Collection: US Open 1924, Detroit = 25th Western Champ.

SEE ALSO: Game Collection: US Open Tournament Index

Round and date unknown
G S G Patterson vs S Mlotkowski, 1923
(C26) Vienna, 28 moves, 0-1

Round 1 (Monday, July 30): SF Chronicle,1923,08.05
G Branch vs A M Feldman, 1923
(B15) Caro-Kann, 20 moves, 1-0

Round 1 (Monday, July 30): SF Chronicle, 1923.08.05
A J Fink vs F M Currier, 1923
(C80) Ruy Lopez, Open, 33 moves, 1-0

Round 1 (Monday, July 30): SF Chronicl 7/31; SS #121
W Lovegrove vs N Whitaker, 1923
(C62) Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense, 43 moves, 1-0

Round 2 (Tuesday, July 31)
G S G Patterson vs A W Ryder, 1923
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 51 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 2 (Tuesday, July 31): Wash Post 10/7' SS #124
N Whitaker vs S Mlotkowski, 1923
(D12) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 66 moves, 1-0

Rpimd 3 )Wednesday, August 1): BCM 1923:463
G Branch vs N Whitaker, 1923
(D51) Queen's Gambit Declined, 57 moves, 0-1

Rpimd 4 (Wednesday, August 1)
Factor vs F M Currier, 1923 
(C41) Philidor Defense, 17 moves, 1-0

Round 4 (Wednesday, August 1): SF Chronicle, 1923.09.30
S Mlotkowski vs A W Ryder, 1923 
(B03) Alekhine's Defense, 41 moves, 1-0

Round 6 (Friday, August 3): Wash Post 10/21; SS #125
N Whitaker vs A M Feldman, 1923
(B15) Caro-Kann, 39 moves, 1-0

Round 7 (Saturday, August 4): SF Chronicle 8/12;; ACB 1924:203
Factor vs N Whitaker, 1923
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 41 moves, 1-0

Round 9 (Sunday, August 5)
G Branch vs E Gruer, 1923 
(C30) King's Gambit Declined, 12 moves, 1-0

Round 11 (Monday, August 6): SF Chronicle, 1923.08.19
Factor vs W Lovegrove, 1923
(C62) Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense, 28 moves, 0-1

13 games

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