Saturday, December 06, 2008

More Time traveling: Landing in New York 1924

As I exit the time machine set for spring time in 1924, New York is bustling about with anticipation for the Yankees with Babe Ruth in the Roster. But the activity that really is getting some media attention is the International Tournament happening at the Almanac Hotel organized only two months prior, following a visit from Alekhine on New Years eve.

Mr. Harry Latz of the Alamac Hotel was hoping to consider hosting a match of the then World champion, Jose Capablanca and Alekhine for World championship. The discussion with a few representatives from the Manhattan chess club felt they might find more financial support hosting an international tournament. The cost was estimated to be $10,000.

Mr. Latz put up $2500 as a seed to promote this event. Others soon followed with subscriptions ranging from $1 to $500 ( from the Manhattan Chess Club) to support the event. The Boston Chess Club paid $39 and the Providence Chess Club provided $25.

With Venue in place, invitations, passports and steamer tickets were sent out to the European masters. Emanuel Lasker tried to travel from Finland, but his ferry stuck in the ice. The 56-years-old Emanuel left the boat and walked many miles to a railway station. He arrived timely in Hamburg to board the SS Cleveland with Alexander Alekhine, Efim Bogoljubow, Géza Maróczy, Richard Réti, Savielly Tartakower and Frederick Yates. They arrived in New York and met up with Jose Capablanca, Frank Marshall, David Janowski and Edward Lasker in New York. Rubinstein and Nimzovitch could not make the event.

No one under 30 was entered in this event. Some speculate that WWI may have slowed the growth of new blood entering international tournaments.

The time limit was 30 moves in 2 hours and 15 moves per hour thereafter. Prizes were 1st: $1500, 2nd: $1000; 3rd $750 ; 4th $500; 5th $250. Consolation money to none prize winners were paid at the rate of $25/win and $12.50 /draw.

A “rapid transit” tournament was held at the Manhattan Chess Club where 7 of the masters joined the amateurs while the premier event was going on.

Jose Capablanca was the favored one to win. Emanuel Lasker was 56 at this event and still had enough kick in him to take out the new champion. After all, he was world champion for 27 years between 1894 and 1918. David Janowski, from France, was another carry over from the Hastings 1895, was also pushing 56 at this event. Jose Capablanca commented that Janowski was devastating with a bishop pair but weak in the endgame. I will explore this personality more and his games in the next post.

Editor's note: Corrected spelling of the Hotel to Alamac 1-13-2009


transformation said...

totally beautifully writen. thank you. warmly, dk

wang said...

Sweet, this should be good, looking forward to reading this series of posts.

From the patzer said...

Can hardly wait for the next post of this serie

es_trick said...

Indeed entertaining!

Blue Devil Knight said...


Howard Goldowsky said...


Congrats on going 2-0 at the club this month, so far. Keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

The NYC hotel where the 1924 tournament was held was not called the "Almanac" as your blog spells it, it was called the Alamac Hotel. It was owned by my great-grandmother, Allah Latz, and my great uncle, Harry Latz. The name is a combination of Allah and her then-deceased husband, Mack. They had two other Alamac Hotels at that time, one in Atlantic City, and one at Lake Hopatcong, where I think another chess tournament was held.

BlunderProne said...

Adele Cerrelli,

Thank you for stopping by. My appologies for the misspelling as this was a gross oversight with too much confidence left to a Spell checker. I didn't mean to dishonor you family in anyway. I appreciate the further insight in the origin of the name of your family's hotel.

I made the corrections in this Post.