Rich As A King

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Chess by Stephen Dann


Chess
by Stephen Dann

The announcement that Daytona-based Halifax Media will purchase this newspaper on June 1 greeted readers a few days ago. It's the fourth ownership since this column began 39 years ago in a similar format on the then "new" hobby page. The lasting interest in chess is due to its being a game, a fascinating hobby, a sport (amateur or professional) for all ages and a learning tool constantly used throughout the world.

This writer began endorsing chess as a volunteer all the way back in 1969, when as a college freshman at Northeastern University in Boston the idea of a chess magazine to promote the Massachusetts Chess Association was not only embraced by the then MSCA, but the eight-page newsletter was printed and mailed (with then 6-cent stamps) to 1,000 chess enthusiasts. This story appeared in the recent spring issue of Chess Horizons, viewable at www.masschess.org.

What makes Chess Horizons special to the 200-plus life members of MACA is that after the first issue, there were hundreds more under dozens of editors and dedicated volunteer staff members, particularly George Mirijanian of Fitchburg, and Mark Donlan of Cape Cod, who both had record stints of about eight years, and who both won great national honors from the Chess Journalists of America (www.chessjournalism.org), not to mention the editors in between.

The U.S. Championship in St. Louis might have recrowned the same champions again this year after a fierce battle, with both the men and women ending in a three-way tie with quick games as a tiebreak. See the results, photos and games of 22 top American players at www.uschess.org.

The 83rd Massachusetts Open continues in Marlboro today and tomorrow, including a Grades K-3 scholastic section today and a Grades K-6 one tomorrow morning.

Also tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., the annual MACA membership will meet at the host Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel, in Marlboro.

Contrast this with the 1933 event in Boston that was contested on weeknights and among the 15 participants, there were about 20 non-played games, with Donald Mugridge finishing at 12.5-1.5, even though Harold Morton won all of his 10 games, but missing four opponents. This was also the first event of George S. Sturgis, who won one game, but would go on to not only found MACA, but in 1939 become the federating and founding USCF president, serving until his passing in 1944.

See all the winners on the vintage Mass. Open trophy, donated by George Guertin of Worcester in 1979, on display this weekend in Marlboro. Selected crosstables from the 1930s from Harlow Daly's ledger scrapbooks that defined his 75-year career that covered three quarters of the 20th century in New England, will also be on display.