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US Open 1915, Excelsior = 16th Western Champ.
Compiled by Phony Benoni
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<16th Western Championship Excelsior, Minnesota
August 16-21, 1915>

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 1 Jackson Whipps Showalter X 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 9.0 2 Norman Tweed Whitaker 1 X 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 8.5 3 Herman H Hahlbohm 0 X 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 7.0 4 Helge Hokensen 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 6.0 5 Wilbur Lyttleton Moorman 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 1 5.5 6 Dare D Barkuloo 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 1 5.0 7 William Widmeyer 0 1 0 0 0 X 1 4.0 8 C H Erickson 0 0 0 0 0 X 1 1 1 4.0 9 Edward P Elliott 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 X 0 1 3.5 10 John W Fry 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 X 1 2.0 11 William Joseph Platten 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0.5

The 1915 Western Championship marked the end of an era. The tournament returned for the 10th and final time to its original home in Excelsior, Minnesota, but it wasn't the same. Most of the old crowd had faded away, and only a couple of the regulars showed up. The Western Chess Association was outgrowing its regional roots and beginning the process of becoming a national organization.

This transitional event also marked the regular appearance of major national chess figures in the Western. Previously, while most of the strongest regional players regularly participated, the only truly national figured had been Max Judd in 1903. This year, the tournament was won by former US Champion <Jackson Whipps Showalter>, ahead of a strong Eastern player in <Norman Tweed Whitaker>. The next year Edward Lasker would show up for the first time, and thereafter the Western was rarely without major figures on the American scene. The site of the tournament, particularly after the war was over, began to spread over a wider region, thus giving more players a chance to play in what was becoming a truly national event.

Showalter and Whitaker set a blistering pace, each winning their first seven games before Whitaker took the lead with a victory in their showdown. He followed this by a draw with third place finisher Hahlbohm, then in the last round took on William Widmeyer, a long time Western player who was near the bottom of the field. Whitaker had the advantage early, but Widmeyer fought back and ended up scoring a point for the Old Guard. Meanwhile Showalter had won out, which gave him the title by 1/2-point.

A little story about Showalter from the <American Chess Bulletin>, recounted by William R. Ellis of Wayne, Nebraska:

"Was particularly pleased to meet America's 'grand old man of chess,' J. W. Showalter, of Georgetown, Ky... Mr. Showalter is an exceptionally pleasing man to meet and others in the tournament spoke very highly of him as a genial antagonist. As he asked for a match and lit his pipe for the s'teenth time in his game with Mr. Elliott, the Western ex-champion of Minneapolis, someone asked him what it was he believed killed Pillsbury and he promptly replied, 'Too much smoking.'"

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Schedule

This is a bit uncertain. The "American Chess Bulletin" gives the dates as August 16-21, but the Christian Science Monitor (August 18) states explicitly that play began on Tuesday (August 17).

Either way, the tournament was played over six days, five of which had two rounds. It's not even certain which was the one-round day. Most of the New York papers indicate day one was the single round, but the "Chicago Tribune" seems to indicate two rounds the first day. For instance, the same day New York papers report on rounds 4&5, the Tribune reports on round 5&6.

However, the Tribune does give one crucial hint in its issue for August 21, with a report (bylined August 20th) reporting on the crucial Whitaker-Showaalter game from round 9. That indicates the game was played on the 20th. That fits in with the tournament starting on the 16th, and that will be used. However, I'll be glad to receive any definitive evidence to the contrary.

In this summary, an asterisk (*) following a game indicates it is available in the collection.

Round 1 (Monday, August 16): Showalter-Bye; Hahlbohm 1 Erickson; Widmeyer 0 Moorman; Fry 0 Whitaker*; Barkuloo 1 Platten; Elliott 1 Hokensen Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 18, 1915

Round 2 (Tuesday, August 17): Bye-Hokensen; Platten 0 Elliott; Whitaker 1 Barkuloo*; Moorman 1 Fry; Erickson 1/2 Widmeyer; Showalter 1 Hahlbohm* Source Daily Eagle, August 19, 1915

Round 3 (Tuesday, August 17): Hahlbohm-Bye; Widmeyer 0 Showalter*; Fry 0 Erickson; Barkuloo 1/2 Moorman*; Elliott 0 Whitaker*; Hokensen 1 Platten Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 19, 1915

Round 4 (Wednesday, August 18): Bye-Platten; Whitaker 1 Hokensen*; Moorman 1 Elliott; Erickson 0 Barkuloo*; Showalter 1 Fry*; Hahlbohm 1 Widmeyer* Source: New York Sun, August 20, 1915

Round 5 (Wednesday, August 18): Widmeyer-Bye; Fry 0 Hahlbohm; Barkuloo 0 Showalter; Elliott 0 Erickson; Hokensen 1 Moorman; Platten 0 Whitaker* New York Sun, August 20, 1915

Round 6 (Thursday, August 19): Bye-Whitaker; Moorman 1 Platten; Erickson 0 Hokensen; Showalter 1 Elliott*; Hahlbohm 1 Barkuloo*; Widmeyer 1 Fry ]Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 21, 1915]

Round 7(Thursday, August 19): Fry-Bye; Barkuloo 1/2 Widmeyer; Elliott 1 Hahlbohm; Hokensen 0 Showalter*; Platten 0 Erickson; Whitaker 1 Moorman* Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 21, 1915

Round 8 (Friday, August 20): Bye-Moorman; Erickson 0 Whitaker*; Showalter 1 Platten; Hahlbohm 1 Hokensen; Widmeyer 1/2 Elliott; Fry 0 Barkuloo Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 22, 1915

Round 9 (Friday, August 20): Barkuloo-Bye; Elliott 0 Fry; Hokensen 1 Widmeyer; Platten- 0 Hahlbohm; Whitaker 1 Showalter*; Moorman 1/2 Erickson Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 22, 1915

Round 10 (Saturday, August 21): Bye-Erickson; Showalter 1 Moorman; Hahlbohm 1/2 Whitaker*; Widmeyer 1/2 Platten; Fry 0 Hokensen; Barkuloo 1 E lliott

Round 11 (Saturday,A ugust 21): Elliott-Bye; Hokensen 1 Barkuloo*; Platten 0 Fry; Whitaker 0 Widmeyer*; Moorman 1/2 Hahlbohm; Erickson 0 Showalter

The cited sources always list the winner's name first, hence do not indicate colors. There was supplied by a reconstruction using the Berger pairing table, which match the known pairings and the color of all games found.

The exact pairings for rounds 10 and 11 have not ben found, only information about the games involving Showalter and Whitaker. A statement in the "American Chess Bulletin" (September/October 1915, p. 171) indicates that Fry departed early and forfeited his <"last game"> to Hokensen. However, it can shown from published information (apart from the reconstruction) that their game was scheduled for round 10, and Fry's win over Platten scheduled for round 11. It is possible that Fry and Platten played their scheduled game early (for example, in the morning of August 21 before Fry left), but I have no definite information on the matter.

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THANKS: Miss Scarlett, for tracking down a couple of Whitaker games.

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Sources

American Chess Bulletin, September/October 1915, p. 170-179. ACB

Chess Results 1901-1920 / Gino di Felice, p. 223.

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

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PREVIOUS: Game Collection: US Open 1914, Memphis = 15th Western Champ.

NEXT: Game Collection: US Open 1916, Chicago = 17th Western Champ.

SEE ALSO: Game Collection: US Open Tournament Index

Round 1 (Monday, August 16): Hilbert #54
J W Fry vs N Whitaker, 1915
(C27) Vienna Game, 30 moves, 0-1

Round 2 (Tuesday, August 17): ACB, 1915:175
N Whitaker vs D D Barkuloo, 1915
(C29) Vienna Gambit, 52 moves, 1-0

Round 2 (Tuesday, August 17): Washington Post, 1915.09.19
Showalter vs H H Hahlbohm, 1915
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 35 moves, 1-0

Round 3 (Tuesday, August 17): ACB, 1915:172
W Widmeyer vs Showalter, 1915 
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 72 moves, 0-1

Round 3 (Tuesday, August 17): ACB, 1915:173
D D Barkuloo vs W Moorman, 1915
(B12) Caro-Kann Defense, 36 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 3 (Tuesday, August 17): ACB, 1915:176
E P Elliott vs N Whitaker, 1915
(C47) Four Knights, 35 moves, 0-1

Round 4 (Wendesday, August 18): ACB, 1915:178
N Whitaker vs H Hokensen, 1915 
(C87) Ruy Lopez, 42 moves, 1-0

Round 4 (Wednesday, August 18): ACB, 1915:178
C H Erickson vs D D Barkuloo, 1915 
(B45) Sicilian, Taimanov, 32 moves, 0-1

Round 4 (Wednesday, August 18): ACB, 1915:174
Showalter vs J W Fry, 1915 
(C44) King's Pawn Game, 38 moves, 1-0

Round 4 (Wednesday, August 18): BDE, 1915:09.16
H H Hahlbohm vs W Widmeyer, 1915 
(D43) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 15 moves, 1-0

Round 5 (Wednesday, August 18): ACB 1915:175
W J Platten vs N Whitaker, 1915
(D60) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 28 moves, 0-1

Round 6 (Thursday, August 19): ACB, 1915:178
Showalter vs E P Elliott, 1915 
(A85) Dutch, with c4 & Nc3, 63 moves, 1-0

Round 6 (Thursday, August 19): ACB, 1915:177
H H Hahlbohm vs D D Barkuloo, 1915
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 62 moves, 1-0

Round 7 (Thursday, August 19): ACB, 1915:172
H Hokensen vs Showalter, 1915 
(C87) Ruy Lopez, 56 moves, 0-1

Round 7 (Thursday, August 19): ACB, 1915:173
N Whitaker vs W Moorman, 1915
(C14) French, Classical, 42 moves, 1-0

Round 8 (Satruday, August 21): Evening Star, 1915.09.12
C H Erickson vs N Whitaker, 1915
(B01) Scandinavian, 55 moves, 0-1

Round 9 (Friday, August 20): ACB, 1915:173
N Whitaker vs Showalter, 1915 
(C79) Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred, 26 moves, 1-0

Round 10 (Saturday, August 21): Washington Post, 1915.09.26
Showalter vs W Moorman, 1915
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 27 moves, 1-0

Round 10 (Saturday, August 21): Evening Star, 1915.02.912
H H Hahlbohm vs N Whitaker, 1915
(D60) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 71 moves, 1/2-1/2

Round 11 (Saturday, August 21): ACB, 1915:176
H Hokensen vs D D Barkuloo, 1915
(C79) Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred, 62 moves, 1-0

Round 11 (Saturday, August 21): ACB, 1915:174
N Whitaker vs W Widmeyer, 1915 
(C11) French, 38 moves, 0-1

21 games

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