Dake, Arthur

  • Last updated on 4/24/15, 9:49 AM.

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Arthur W. Dake (1910-2000) became a bridge toll collector, then a highway auto controller, and finally an automobile inspector for the state of Oregon after serving in the merchant marines when he was 16.  He learned how to play chess at age 17 at a sea-side cafe.  He played in his first chess tournament, the New York State Championship, in 1930.  He took 3rd place, behind Santasiere and Lessing.  In his next tournament, he won the Marshall Chess Club Championship.  He and Humphrey Bogart used to make a living hustling chess at Coney Island.  In three chess Olympiads, he won 27 games and only lost four games, winning a gold medal and the best result of any individual player at Warsaw 1935.  He was given the International Master title in 1954.  He received the honorary Grandmaster title in 1986 in recognition of his results in the 1930s.  He was the oldest competitive chess grandmaster in history. 


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #1


    What seaside cafe was it?

  • 6 weeks ago · Quote · #2


    I'm Arthur Dake's biographer and would like to correct a few mistakes in this entry.  Arthur learned to play chess at age 17 at the Portland YMCA.  He did not know Humphrey Bogart.  Instead he made a living playing chess at Coney Island with Kennth Grover an accomplished checker player.  His first tournament was in May 1930, the Junior Masters Tournament at the Rice Chess Club where he finished first ahead of Denker, Fine, Horowitz and Reinfeld.  His main occupation for the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles was administering driving tests.

    Check my article about Arthur Dake that was featured in the Jan-Feb 2013 issue of 1859 Oregon Magazine at: 


    Casey Bush

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