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American Woman - Part V

American Woman - Part V

batgirl
Feb 15, 2017, 12:00 AM 10 Other


  Preface:
     An official U.S. Women's Chess Championship has existed for nearly 80 years.  The USCF lists 1937 as the first year.  There have been many strong and important women players over the early years but when Diane Savereide appeared and dominated the women's chess arena for almost a decade, women's chess stated taking monumental strides. 

     With this series of essays I hope to detail at the development of women's chess in the United States and memorialize the ladies who pioneered that initial progress between 1937 and 1975 when Savereide won her first championship.

|  Part I  |  Part II  Part III  |  Part IV  |  Part VI  | 


1965

      

The 1965 championship was once again staged at the Henry Hudson Hotel in New York. It was played from April 24 to May 8 and was sponsored by the Piatigorsky Foundation, Gisela Gresser (via the American Chess Foundation), Mrs. Mary Selensky and Louis Kellner who provided  $250 in prize money and a new trophy, the Lucille Kellner Memorial Trophy (see Part II) in honor of his sister who had died the previous September. The event, in fact, was advertised as the Lucille Kellner Memorial Tournament (as as the The Detroit City Tournament  - once again, see Part II).


Gisela Gresser..............................8-2
Jacqueline Piatigorsky..............7½-2½

Ruth Herstein...............................6-4
Mona May Karff...........................6-4
Kate Sillars....................................6-4

Dr. Helen Weissenstein............5½-4½
Zenaida Huber (later Wagner).. 4-6
Rachel Guinan..............................4-6
Anna Lisa Korhonem.................3-7
Mary Selensky..............................3-6
Mildred Morrell (Morris)..........2-7












Below is the damaged score in case anyone wants to fill in the missing pieces:





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The following game was awarded the "Best Game' prize by Pal Benko:

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     Anna-Lisa (Anna-Liisa) Korhonen hailed from Finland where she had been a lady champion in 1961 and 1962.   In March 1953, the "Suomen Shakki" (a Finnish chess journal published in Helsinki) reported the sensation Anna-Liisa caused in Sweden when she won an otherwise all male tournament at the Malmö chess club in September 1952.  
     Other than that,  her life remains somewhat of a mystery.


     Mrs. Rachel Guinan of the north Philadelphia community of Lafayette Hills also participated in the 1969 and 1972 U.S. Women's Championships.  In 1967 she won the women's title in the U.S. Amateur Championship in Philadelphia.
1967 U.S. Amateur Championship results



     Ruth Herstein played in the 1965 championship for the irst time, but it would be a decade before she participated again, playing in the 1975 and 1976 tournaments.  She also took part in 3 Women Olympiads (1974, 1976 and 1978).  In the 1970s at least, Herstein was a physics and science teacher at Jefferson High School in L.A.


1966
     The 1966 tournament was played at the Henry Hudson Hotel in New York City from  April 23 to May 11.
It was sponsored by the Piatigorsky Foundation and the American Chess Foundation.   Lisa Lane, who had retired from chess made a triumphant return as well as a last hurrah.  This was Gresser's 8th Championship title and the second for Lisa Lane, who had participated in only three championship tournaments .
The joint winners, Gisela Gresser and Lisa Lane both went undefeated.

Gisela Gresser.........................8½-1½
Lisa Lane...................................8½-1½
Eva Aronson.............................6-4
Kate Sillars................................5-5
Helen Weissenstein............. 5-5
Mabel Burlingame..................4½-5½
Mona May Karff......................4½-5½
Jackie Piatigorsky...................4-6
Zenaida "Cheric" Wagner...3½-6-5
Mildred Morrell (Morris).....3½-6½
Mary Bain..................................2-8



Co-Champions
Jacqueline Piatigorsky vs Mildred Morrell










     "Chess Review" gave this odd bit of information during its report of the tournament, managing to insinuate the validity of such a boycott while treating it with a certain disdain and levity:







1967


     Once again the Henry Hudson Hotel of NYC hosted the U.S. Women's Championship which took place from April 29 to May 5.   Robert Braine served as TD.  
     All the contestants had participated in a U.S. Women's Chess Championship before.

Gisela Gresser......................8-2
Mona May Karff..................7-3
Mary Selensky.....................6-4
Dr. Helen Weissenstein....5½-4½
Eva Aronson.........................5-5
Mary Bain...............................5-5
Zenaida Wagner..................5-5
Mildred Morrell (Morris)..4½-5½
Mabel Burlingame..............3½-6½
Sara Kaufman.......................3-7
Lina Grumette......................2½-7½








Edith Weart presenting Giela Greasser with the Edith Weart Trophy



     Here is the list of the top 25 women chess players in 1967.  We've seen every one of the first 21 in U.S. Women's Championship tournaments so far except for  Eclesia Cestone and Greta Olsson.  Cestone would never participate, but Olsson would in 1969, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978 and 1979.

     Rachel Guinan won the 1967 U.S. Women's Amateur title (with Zenaida Huber Wagner coming in second).

     The game below, between Eclesia Cestone, a very active N.J. player in the 1960s, and Zenaida Wagner was played in the New York Women's Championship tournament.



1965


     While not really within the scope of these essays, the U.S. Amateur competition - for which a women's title was first given in 1955 - helped qualify a number of ladies for chance to participate in the U.S. Women's Championship. Below are the winners of the women amateur title from 1955-1975:

U.S. Women's Amateur
1955 - Kathryn Slater
1956 - Kathryn Slater
1957 - Rosalie De Serrano
1958 - Greta Fuchs
1959- Lisa Lane
1960 - Greta Fuchs
1961 - Greta Fuchs
1962 - Adele Goddard
1963 - Cecelia Rock
1964 - Zenaida H. Wagner
1965 - Eclesia Cestone
1966 - Zenaida H. Wagner
1967 - Rachel Guinan
1968 - Greta Olsson
1969 - Greta Olsson
1970 - Helen Warren
1971 - Adele Goddard
1973 - Adele Goddard
1973 - Eleanor Terry
1974 - Norma Shaw
1975 - Christine Hendrickson



     The following game was played between Rachael Guinan and A. Kahn in the 1967 U.S. Amateur tournament:




1969


     Played from June 15 to June 29 at the Hotel McAlpin, NYC, this year's championship was sponsored by the Piatigorsky Foundation, the American Chess Foundation and the Women's Chess Fund.

Gisela Gresser........7½-1½
Mona May Karff ...6½-2½
Marilyn Koput........6-3
Mary Bain................5½-3-5
Rachel Guinan........4½-4½
Eva Aronson............4-5
Dorothy Teasley.....3½-5½
Mary Selelnsky........3-6
Greta Olsson............2½-6-5
Kathryn Slater..........2-7







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     Greta Phyllis (Purcell) Olsson was born in Los Angeles in 1929.  Greta, who later changed her name to Hedvig, receiver a B.A. in English from UCLA in 1951.  She learned chess from her boyfrined in 1963 and in 1969 won the Women's Amateur title.  She participated in 6 U.S. Women Championships: 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978 and 1979.
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     Marilyn Koput   aka Marilyn Braun, aka Marilyn Simmons, of Milwaukee, graduated from Washington High School in 1966 and played in the U.S. Women's Championship in 1969, 1972 (sharing the title with Eva Aronson), 1975 and 1976.
    The earliest notice of Dorothy Teasley, aka Dolly Teasley, was in 1958 when he won the U.S. Girls Championship which qualified her to play in the 1959 U.S. Women's Championship.  She was 17 at the time and from Orlando Florida.  She didn't play in the women's championship until 1969 and then again in 1976, 1981 an 1987.  She also played in the Women's Olympiad in 1978 and 1988. In spite of her rather sporadic participation in these strong events, she was one of the higher rated U.S. women players in the 1970s and today is among the higher rated senior women players.  Susan Stergold told me that with Rachel Crotto on bd.1, Dolly Teasley on bd. 2,  Sterngold on bd. 3 and Ginny D'Amico (now Mrs. Asa Hoffmann) on bd.4, they formed what they called "The Vera Menchik Brigade" for the U.S. Amateur Team Championship. Virginia Hoffmann, on her NYC Chess History blog, maintains they even had t-shirts made up.

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