The 1941 Ventnor City Invitational took place on the Municipal Pier from July 5-13.
Of those initially invited, Jack Collins, Harry Morris and Olaf Uvestad couldn't accept and were replaced by Jacob Levin, Jeremiah Donovan and Ariel A.Mengarini. Levin, in fact had just gotten married in April and was planning a vacation from his law office when Richard Wayne telephoned him, asking him to participate. It was quite fortuitous since Levin won the event.
The "Brooklyn Daily Eagle," July 17, 1941 wrote:
[Gerald Phillips (lying on the gurney above) invented an electric chess clock. In 1940, for the first time ever, an electric clock (although they had been around in one form or another since at least 1914) was used exclusively in a tournament. This year, the clock was used for "five minute chess," a novelty for most players who were accustomed to 10 sec./move "rapid transit."
Levin's victory was a complete upset as he had been inactive for two years and when he played in the 1939 event at Ventnor City, his last previous tournament, he only came in 3rd-4th against a less strong field. His play is considered more solid than brilliant. Unlike most tournament players, Levin was said to never analyze his games or prepare for battle, relying completely on his natural abilities.
Reinfeld went through the tournament without a single loss but his 3 wins, 6 draws couldn't compare with Levin's 5 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss.
Like the obverse side of a coin compared to Levin, Albert Pinkus was showier but less consistent. As the Manhattan C.C. champion, Pinkus was favored to win and even made a spectacular start win 3 consecutive wins but his play deteriorated and he end up with 4 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses.
Santasiere had a bad start but came back strong only needing to win against Hanauer, who was playing badly, in the final round to tie for first place or even a draw to tie for second place. But weary from devoting to much energy to his adjourned games, Santasiere let it all slip from his hands.
The prize fund was considered exception at $415.
1st prize of $106, went to Levin in addition to custody of the "Press Union Trophy."
The $10 Brilliancy prize went to Pinkus for his game vs Durkin.
The Best Game prize was divided between Hanauer and Bernstein for their games vs. Santasiere and Mengarini respectively.
Weaver Adams and Ariel Mengarini split a unspecified "Special Prize" for playing the most thrilling game (against each other).
All players received $3.00 per point scored.
Albert Pinkus (1903-1984) was a rising chess star in the 1920s but his passion for exploration sent him to South America in search of new botanical and zoological specimens for six years. This hiatus didn't seem to dampen his chess skills. His articles on the two-Knights Defense was in part instrumental in Botvinnik ordering his team to avoid that opening during the USA-USSR Radio Match in 1945. Pinkus played Andor Lilienthal in that match and was one of only 3 American players not to lose against his Soviet opponent. Besides being a two-time Manhattan Club champion, Pinkus was also a New York State champion.
Ariel A. Mengarini (1919-1998), at the time of this event, was 21 year old medical student in his first major tournament, He was described as "a tall, oval-eyed young Italian-American with an engaging smile." Mengarini immigrated from Rome as a child and studied in Washington D.C. and New York City. He became a U.s citizen in 1942 and the U.S. Amateur Champion in 1943 (with a perfect 11-0 score). earning his medical degree in Psychiatry, he enlisted in the army during WWII as a captain in Army Medical Corps-Neuropsychiatrist where he received three campaign medals and the World War II Victory Medal.
Robert Durkin was originally from Wisconsin and learned chess from Arpad Elo, the Wisconsin champion and soon became one of Wisconcin's strongest players. After playing in the Ventnor City Invitational, he settle in New Jersey
"During the day Tournament Director Richard W. Wayne deems it a fitting think to introduce Durkin to Robert T. Durkin of Ventnor, whose name is one of those on Mayor Harold S. Hodson's championship trophy hanging in the solarium on the pier. They are not related. —Herman Helms, N.Y. "Sun," July 7, 1941.
Notice the tubular chairs in the above photo. Santasiere refused to sit in these "modern" chairs, insisting on an old-fashioned wooden one. Making up for being a "troublemaker," Tony presented Mayor Hodson with an original Santasiere oil painting.
An interesting dilemma occurred for TD Wayne when, in the game Hanauer vs. Adams, after quickly playing 1. Nf3 Nc6 2. d4 d5 3. e3, Adams turned his chair sideways and started out into space... for 42 minutes. Wayne didn't know what to do and was about to remind Adams that he was in the middle of a game when Adams suddenly turned and played 3....g6. Adams won the game in 79 moves :
"Most Thrilling Game" prize :
The following two games shared the "Best Played Game" prize
Hanauer won this tournament in 1939 and 1940, but this game was his only win in 1941:
The 1942 Ventnor City Invitational took place from June 20th - June 28th
The U.S. declared war on Japan on Dec. 11 and on Germany on Dec. 11, 1941. Many of the Ventnor City tournaments participants such as Hebert Seidman, George Shainswit, Olaf Ulvestad, Ariel Mengarini, Jeremiah Donovan and Milton Hanauer enlisted at some point. But in 1942, it was still business as usual in Ventnor City.
The winner of this year's event was a Canadian, 18 year old (Daniel) Abe Yanofsky. Yanofsky, in fact, was the Canadian Champion, a title he earned at age 16. Yanofsky arrived in Ventnor City on the heels of a tour of Canada in which he had given 25 simultaneous exhibitions totaling up 406 wins, 8 losses and 26 draws. He had also been on the Canadian team, at age 14, for the ill-fated Olympiad in Buenos Aires in 1939.
Jacob (Jake) Moscowitz was an architect and a talented amateur watercolorist as well as a member of the Manhattan Chess Club. A curious anecdote from this tournament involves a small local boy, nicknamed "Donald Duck," who took a fancy to Moscowitz and followed him everywhere, actually making him late for his first game - which he lost on time. The boy ambushed him the second day, again making him late and again Moscowitz lost on time. From then on Moscowitz took a circumlocutory route to avoid the boy - and lost no more games on time. (Moscowitz claimed he was only able to disengage himself from the boy that first day by telling him he was on his way to meet the "bogeyman." When he came out to go home, the boy was waiting and asked if the bogeyman had beaten his up. Moscowitz replied "yes.")
Louis R. Chauvenet, class of '41, had been a Harvard chess team star. Lliving in Charlottesville, Va., won the "Southern Chess Association" championship in Atlanta in 1941. Chauvenet was born in 1920 and died in Winston-Salen, N.C. in 2003.
Walter Bradford Suesman (1918-1984) was from Providence, Rhode Island and became R.I. champion in 1960 and was a two-time New England champion. He pubished 2 books: "Chess Games and Chess Problems" in 1980 and "64 Chess Problems for Chess Players" in 1983
George Shainswit (1918-1997) was a strong amateur who never quite made too big a splash. His best results were two ties for first: Ventnor City, 1943 and the Manhattan C.C. Championship, 1950. But he participated in chess events throughout his entire life, playing in U.S. Championships and even an Olympiad (1950 - 58.3%).
1st prize brought Yanofsky $106. 2nd prize, earned by the 1941 champion, Jacob Levin, was $22 and a $50 Defense Bond. Sidney Bernstein, Jacob Moscowitz, Albert Pinkus and George Shainswit, all from the Manhattan C.C., shared the unspecified 3rd prize (totaling the amount of 3rd and 4th prize combined).
There were 3 "Best Game" awards. the first award, $10, went to Yanofsky for his game against Pinkus. An unspecified 2nd "Best Game" award went to Levin for his game against Moscowitz, while the 3rd, also
unspecified, "Best Game" award was shared by Shainshit and Berstein for their games vs. Levy and Chauvenet respectively.
Albert Pinkus won the unspecified 1st Brilliancy Prize for his game with Shainswit. Jacob Levy ironically wonthe unspecified 2nd Brilliancy Prize for his game with Pinkus and Chauvenet won an also unspecified 3rd Brilliancy Prize for his game with Suesman.
N. May Kaff, shown in the above photo, as U.S. Women;s Champion, was invited to play. While she declined that invitation, she did give a 13 board simul, winning 4, losing 4 and drawing 5 games.
1st Best Game Prize
2nd Best Game Prize
3rd (shared) Best Game Prize
3rd (shared) Best Game Prize
1st Brilliancy Prize
2nd Brilliancy Prize
3rd Brilliancy Prize
Part I Part III