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Tournament: Insull Trophy, Chicago-London Cable Match • 6 out of 6 games
Venue: London / Chicago • Date: 6 November 1926Download PGN • Last Edited: Wednesday 2 March, 2022 6:22 PM

Insull Trophy, Chicago-London Cable Match, 6 November 1926

Bd London League 4-2 Chicago Opening London Teller
1b Reginald Pryce Michell 1-0 Edward Lasker QGD Ralph Eastman
2w Edward Guthlac Sergeant ½-½ Samuel D Factor Ruy Lopez William Henry Watts
3b Victor Buerger 1-0 Lewis J Isaacs Pirc/Modern Richard Clewin Griffith
4w William Winter 1-0 Herman H Hahlbohm QGD Ernest Busvine
5b Bruno Edgar Siegheim 0-1 Charles W Phillips Four Kts George Bowen Quennell
6w Maurice Edwards Goldstein ½-½ Orrin Frink, jnr QGD Harold Meek
    4-2 bds 1, 2, 3, 5 adjudicated

Results as recorded in PW Sergeant's A Century of Chess, p365 & BCM, Dec 1926, p717.

[BCM, December 1926, pps 717-720]

The preliminaries leading up to this event were reported in our October issue, p. 438. As was there foreshadowed, the two vacant places in the London team were filled by V. Buerger and M. E. Goldstein; and the six chosen players, with H. Saunders and W. Gooding as reserves, were in attendance at the ballroom of the former L.C.C. Hall, Spring Gardens, soon after 2-30 p.m. on Saturday, 6th November [1926]. The lists were then exchanged with Chicago, and the toss was made by the American umpire in London, Mr. H. A. H. Carson ; it gave Chicago the move at the odd-numbered boards. The Lord Mayor, Sir William Pryke, found himself unable to be present, and deputed Councillor Pakeman, C.B.E., to act on his behalf. Mr. Pakeman made the first move (1 P—K 4) on this side for E. G. Sergeant, and a flashlight photograph of the occurrence was taken for wireless transmission. Mayor Dever, of Chicago, is understood to have made the first move for Eduard Lasker, who despatched with the move a greeting to his old friends in London.

It will be seen that the London team had at the first two boards players who took part in some of the matches for the Newnes Trophy, whereas the Chicago team included no such players. On the other hand London was deprived of the services of Sir G. A. Thomas and F. D. Yates (now a Londoner), who were absent at the Ghent tournament (an event, be it said, fixed before this match was arranged); and in their places were introduced two of the young players who have made their mark recently. The tellers for the London players were Messrs. Ralph Eastman, W. H. Watts, R. C. Griffith, E. Busvine, G. B. Quennell, and H. Meek; and a small body of willing workers carried the moves from the boards to an anteroom, where the progress of each game was shewn upon a separate wall-board, the six wall-boards being kindly lent by the City of London Chess Club ; and the full score was recorded upon a card hanging by the side.

Play proceeded evenly from 3 to 7 p.m., by which time nearly twenty moves had been recorded at most of the boards The chief excitement was provided by Winter’s game, which early took a lively turn, due to his offering two Pawns for an attack which had con-desirable [sic - presumably 'considerable' is meant as 'undesirable' doesn't make sense - JS] promise. Siegheim had lost a Pawn by a surprise stroke of his opponent’s ; but the other games were of a solid character, and in two of them the London players had some superiority of position, when at 7 o’clock there was an adjournment for one hour. During this interval the team and officials were entertained to dinner most royally by Mr. Ralph Eastman at the Royal Automobile Club.

At 8 o’clock play was resumed and proceeded evenly until midnight. Michell soon after resuming, broke through his opponent’s King’s side and won a couple of Pawns with exchange of Queens. Sergeant’s game remained all through a position struggle, keenly fought. Buerger sacrificed a piece for two Pawns, to break up a block on the King’s wing, and at the cessation of play stood to recover the piece. Winter’s game was again, however, the chief centre of attraction; he was thought to have missed under time pressure more than one opportunity of either winning outright or obtaining a winning ending; but he continued to press his attack, and the changing phases of this game were keenly discussed in the anteroom by knots of spectators. Siegheim’s opponent pressed heavily the advantage obtained earlier, and it became evident that this game was the least favourable to London of the whole six. Goldstein found himself in the middle twenties with an even position, but one which he could only maintain at equality by repeating certain moves with the Queen if the opponent persisted in attacking that piece; as the state of the other games did not necessitate risks being run to equalise chances he accepted the draw; and this proved the only game finished up to the call of time at midnight. A message was sent suggesting that London had wins on boards 1 and 4, but no reply was received. A cablegram has since been received resigning board 4. It is, however, certain London win on board 1 and lose on board 5. There is a probable draw on board 2, and it is the position on board 3 which is the critical one. On material our player would lose, but we believe it can be proved that the attack wins. The position is as follows: Black to play, and it is suggested 38.., RxKt; 39 RxR, Kt—R 5 ; 40 R—R2, PxKt; 41 RxP, KtxP; 42 Q—B2, KtxR; 43 QxKt, B—Kt 5 ; 44 K—Kt 2 (if R—B 7, R—K Kt 1 (wins), R—QB1! wins for Black, but Sir G. A. Thomas suggests 41 Q—Q1 and it is difficult to prove any advantage to Black. Perhaps 38.., Q R—K Kt 1 is better. In any case, the adjudicator has adifficult task; the Chicago players anticipate a draw.

The telephonic and cabling arrangements made by the Western Union Telegraphic Company gave complete satisfaction. The code devised by Mr. M. S. Kuhns, Chairman of the Hamilton Chess Circle of Chicago, also worked with perfect smoothness ; no hitch of any sort occurred in describing the moves despatched or decoding those received. Its use must have diminished very materially the expense of cabling the moves; and after this experience it can be recommended confidently to clubs proposing to play matches by telegraph. More progress with the games was undoubtedly made in the eight hours than was usual on the first day of the old series of matches (terminating in 1911); but what proportion of this quickened tempo must be attributed to the diminished number of boards (ten in the old series) and what to telegraphic improvements only an expert could determine. Still however, the rate of play anticipated in our October notice (an average of forty moves in the eight hours) was by no means reached, only two of the games being in the neighbourhood of that number ; and probably it would have occupied a third sitting of two or three hours to take the games to a point at which the majority were finished, and the remainder susceptible of agreement there and then.

Amongst the spectators were to be seen Major Sir R. W. Barnett, M.P., president of the London Chess League, the Hon. F. G. Hamilton-Russell, many prominent London amateurs, Mrs. Arthur Rawson and most of the London lady chessplayers who compete for the B.C.F. ladies’ championship, Messrs. W. Winter, senr., from Hampshire, and G. W. Powell from Gloucestershire, and Major Donald M. Liddell, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, formerly a member of the Manhattan Chess Club. The attendance as a whole was, however, frankly disappointing; in spite of the large increase in the number of players since 1911 it hardly reached the level attained in the last years of the old series of cable matches. Some allowance must doubtless be made for the fact that it was an afternoon and evening of settled rain; nevertheless the committee of the London Chess League was entitled to expect from its constituents better support than was given. The presentation of a trophy, with right of challenge given to any city club on the losing side of the water, makes it evident that this is only the first of a new series of such matches; but the London League can only play its part in such a series if properly supported by its constituent clubs. The hall, with two anterooms, a tea room, and a not too highly raised gallery, would have accommodated with ease more than double the number present on this occasion.

Thanks are due to Dr. A. E. West, who acted as the London umpire in Chicago; and to Messrs. Jaques & Son for the loan without charge of twelve chessboards and sets for the players and tellers, and six timing clocks. But above all, for the admirable arrangements made on this side no praise can be too great for Mr. G. R. Hardcastle, hon. secretary of the London Chess League, a born organiser whom no detail escapes, and whose assiduity and courtesy are never wearied.

Many cable matches may yet be played in this new series ; it can safely be said that Mr. Hardcastle’s arrangements will be the model which secretaries of any other organisation on this side taking up the challenge will aim at emulating. [name of writer not given - JS]

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Date Notes
12 Feb 2020 Initial upload.