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Manhattan Chess Club

  • Last updated on 7/31/07, 11:12 PM.

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Founded on November 24, 1877 at the Café Logeling in New York City.   Dues were $4 a year.  On December 7, 1877 the members voted for the name of the chess club to be the Manhattan Chess Club (the other choices were Morphy Chess Club and Metropolitan Chess Club).  Its first tournament was held on January 7, 1878.  In 1882, world champion (1866-1894) William Steinitz joined the Manhattan Chess Club.  The Manhattan Chess Club hosted the world championship in 1886 (Steinitz-Zukertort) and 1889 (Steinitz-Gunsberg).  In 1894 the club hosted the first 8 games of the Lasker-Steinitz World Championship Match.  After the match, Lasker joined the Manhattan Chess Club.  In 1901 Frank Marshall won the Manhattan Chess Club Championship.  In 1909 Jose Capablanca joined the Manhattan Chess Club.  Women were not allowed to join the club until 1938.  In 1942, Capablanca fell from a stroke while watching a game at the Club and died the next day.  In 1955 Bobby Fischer joined the Manhattan Chess Club.  In 1973 there were over 400 members in the Manhattan Chess Club.  From 1877 to 2002, it was the oldest chess club in America in continuous existence.  It was once located at Carnegie Hall.  The Manhattan Chess Club was evicted from a building owned by the American Chess Foundation.  The club closed in January, 2002.  Winners have included Benjamin (the youngest at 14), Benko, Bisguier, Bonin, Denker, Hanham, Hodges, Janowski, Kashdan, Kastner, Kevitz (7 times), Kupchik, Maroczy, Marshall, McKelvie, Phillips, Reinfeld, Sherwin, Zaltsman, and Zuckerman


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #1


    Why did it close? Seems like such a loss for the chess community!
  • 7 years ago · Quote · #2


    Some of this information is inaccurate. I have a copy of a 21 July 1895 article from the New-York Daily Tribune on the Metropolitan Chess Club. Additionally, I have an original letter signed by my great-great-grandfather on Metropolitan Chess Club letterhead, dated August 2nd, 1897. He signed it as Otto Drescher, Pres. In that letter, he is soliciting the participation of club members in a dinner honoring Steinitz at the Central Opera House, which was the home of the chess club at that time.

  • 5 years ago · Quote · #3


    I played one of my first tournaments at the Manhattan Chess Club when it was located at the Henry Hudson Hotel back in the 1969-1970 era. The tournament was run by Milton Hanauer. My first Chess Team Wade JHS 117 Bx. finished 2nd in the City behind I believe Wagner JHS of Manhattan...

    Ernie Johnson

  • 4 years ago · Quote · #4


    To answer ACltfelter's question on how it came to close, I think the person sponsoring the club financially passed away, his children/heirs didn't share his chess enthusiasm, and there was nopone to take his place.

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