Mr. Harry Latz of the Almanac 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.