<Sadly enough, forty-two days after Mengarini faced both Horowitz and Morton in Washington, DC, the latter two were in a car accident that took the life of Harold Morton and left Horowitz with serious injuries. Hermann Helms’ American Chess Bulletin for January-February 1940 gave a relatively detailed account of the tragedy. As the account is rarely remembered today, it is presented here in its entirety.
According to the Bulletin, “rarely have the sympathies of the chess playing community been aroused to such an extent as by the news that came out of Iowa, on February 17, that Israel A. Horowitz of Brooklyn, a member of the Manhattan Chess Club and U.S. internationalist, and Harold Morton, of
Providence, R.I., former New England champion, were the victims of a serious
car accident while crossing that state on the return journey after a tour of the south and far west. Morton, driving their car, was killed outright in a collision with a truck and Horowitz, suffering concussion of the brain and other injuries, was taken to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Carroll, Iowa.”
“The many friends of Horowitz, one of the four sons of Mr. and Mrs. Louis
Horowitz of Brooklyn, will be relieved to learn that the famous expert, whose
tall figure has become so familiar at important chess gatherings, is resting
comfortably at the hospital in Carroll and, with careful treatment, is showing
gradual improvement. His brother, Irving, is with him and sending home daily reports of his condition.”
“Horowitz, who acquired his skill at Brooklyn Boys High School and New
York University, was twice champion of the former American Chess Federation
and a member of three of the champion United States teams in the tournaments
of the International Chess Federation. He is on the seeded list for the congress to be held in New York during April” [As it happened, Horowitz had not recovered sufficiently to play at New York 1940 JSH].
“Morton, the latest partner of Horowitz in publishing the Chess Review, for which they were touring the country, was long the outstanding player in Providence, R.I., where he conducted a weekly chess column. Several times he held the New England championship. For the past year he had been residing in New York, to be closer to his new work. Aggressive and ambitious, Morton made friends easily and he and Horowitz seemed to harmonize well as a team.”
“According to the Des Moines Register, the accident happened on highway 30,
about seven miles west of Carroll, when a motor van, driven by Frank S.
Robbins of Denver, Colorado, collided with the car in which Horowitz and
Morton were traveling eastward.
Deputy Sheriff Arnold R. Witt of Carroll County said that Morton was thrown out of the car and was killed instantly. Horowitz was taken to St. Anthony’s Hospital, where he was able to give his name.”
“For several days thereafter, the utmost quiet was imposed but, under the best possible treatment and with constant attention, he responded favorably and made satisfactory, if gradual progress.”
“The pair were en route to Minneapolis when the accident cut short their trip.
Morton’s death is said to be the first traffic fatality of 1940 in Carroll County.”
So ended the life of Horowitz’s new partner and one of the strongest players in New England.>