Apr 8, 2010, 6:30 PM |

Caution:  This article contains a Queen sacrifice that would make Paul Morphy blanche.    

In nosing throught the 1921 issues of the American Chess Bulletin, I came across a name that caught my attention, Donald Henry Mugridge.
Mugridge was a very strong American chess player whose career spanned many decades, but whose name never seemed to attract much  attention. At different times he was the Harvard Chess Club champion, the Washington, D.C. champion, the Washington Chess Divan  champion, the Massachusetts State champion, the chess columninst for the Washington Star.
Mudridge was born in 1905 and earned his first bit of chess distinction in 1921 at age 16 when he beat and drew little Sammy Rzeschewski in  back to back simuls:
American Chess Bulletin, 1921
    On Monday, June 27, 1921, starting at 11 PM, he played 20 people at the Athletic Club in Los Angeles. He won 14 and drew 6. There were over 300 spectators, including Charlie Chapman and 5 year old Jackie Coogan.  Reshevsky drew Harry Borochow, Frank Garbutt, F. W. Grabill, J. H. Keyes, Donald H. Mugridge (age 16), and J. F. Woodbury. He defeated Carl Bergman, William Conklin, W. M. Duncan, Edward Everett, Dr. R. B. Griffith, G. H. Grinnell, J. G. Hamilton, Harry Linder, R. L. Peeler, F. Pelouze, H. T. Rudisill, Clif Sherwood, E. W. Vanbanan, and L. W. Watson.
   After the exhibition, 9 year old Sammy Reshevsky and 5 year old Jackie Coogan posed for a snap-shot with boxing gloves. Soon after,  Coogan punched Reshevsky in the eye.
   On June 28, 1921, he played 12 people at Hamburger's Department Store (later the May Company) in Los Angeles, winning 10, drawing 1 (to  L. A. Rosenblatt) and losing 1 (to Donald Mugridge). Reshevsky beat A. L. Burnett, Frederick Fielding, C. W. Foote, S. Ginsburg, S. Haiken, I.  M. Hollingsworth, L. W. Palmer, A. Schloz, S. Weissenberg, and J. Weisstein.

preserved at Chess Dryad, additional information on the above 2 simuls.
April 20, 1959
Borochow on Reshevsky
   In response to our January 5 suggestion that readers might like to hear of the chess accomplishments and games of some of our elder statesmen, we received several letters nominating Harry Borochow as the worthy subject of an article in CHESS LIFE. Our newest Master Emeritus has furnished a wealth of material for this purpose, and the Borochow article will appear in an early issue. Two of the items which he  submitted tie in so well with the Reshevsky saga that they have been extracted from the Borochow material, and they are presented here.
   In 1921 I was referee at Samuel Reshevsky's exhibition at Hamburger Department Store (now the May Co.), in Los Angeles, when Sammy, age 9, was playing 12 simultaneously. He won 9, drew 2, and when he resigned to Donald Mugridge, age 16, he burst out crying, sobbing to  me, "I wouldn't mind if I lost to an older man, but to a little boy..."
   Just prior to the above incident, Sammy had played 20 simultaneously at the L.A. Athletic Club, his manager having announced at 11:00 p.m.  that he would play until 12, when Dr. Griffith and I were to adjudicate the unfinished games. About 11:15 Sammy came to my board, where I had  an apparent win, whispered to his manager, who then announced adjudication would begin now. Draws were awarded to Don Mugridge, E. W.  Grabill and Carl J. Bergman. I claimed a win which Dr. Griffith was ready to concede, and I awarded Dr. Griffith the win, to which Sammy  objected, saying, "We will play that game out," to which Griffith, a Knight ahead for two Pawns, with a good position, agreed. The 9-year-old  then studied my game for about 15 minutes and demonstrated a forced draw, to which I had to agree. The game below shows the ability of  Sammy at the tender age of 9, considering the 20 best players of Los Angeles were all out at this occasion (with the exception of Stasch  Mlotkowski). The play-off of the game occurred in the presence of Charles Chaplin, 5-year-old Jackie Coogan, and myself as referee. Sammy  and Jackie posed for a snap-shot with boxing gloves, whereupon Jackie punched Sammy in the eye, not to his liking, so he pouted a bit, then  went on with the game. I guess Jackie was a bit too husky for Sammy to cope with, but he could have slaughtered him over the chess board.  Sammy was ready to make the move against Dr. Griffith, but I explained, that having gone clockwise, he had passed Dr. Griffith two boards  before he came to my board, hence it was the Doctor's move. Sammy, undoubtedly thinking it was his move, stuck to his guns, whereupon the  Doctor agreed, and lo and behold, Sammy won in a few more moves!
   The boys at the Washington Chess Divan will undoubtedly get a big kick out of the Mugridge incident, as did your editor, if, like him, they are  unable to imagine Uncle Don as ever having been "a little boy."

Here are two notices I could find from the Harvard Crimson, 1930:
Friday, February 07, 1930
     The Chess Club will play the first of a series of important matches when it opens the second round of the Metropolitan Chess League against the strong Wells Memorial Institute, at the Union tonight.
     Though held to a draw in a match with the visitors last fall, Harvard has since been undefeated, winning all League games and the H. Y. P.  tournament at New York. The following men will probably play for the University this evening: D. J. Bronstein 2G. D. H. Mugridge 2G. W. A.  Robinson '31, Alexander Saron '31, M. C. Stark '33. H. W. Wiley '33.

Thursday, October 09, 1930
     At the opening meeting of the Harvard Chess Club in the Union tomorrow night at 7.30 o'clock D. H. Mugridge 3G will give a simultaneous  exhibition, it was announced yesterday. All students interested are invited to attend and bring their boards and men.
   The club has scheduled meets with Army, Dartmouth, Yale, and Princeton for the coming year. These matches will take place on the Friday  before the football game with the respective colleges. An intercollegiate meet with Yale and Princeton is to be played in New York this winter.  Each team will have more than one player in these matches, while individual tournaments will take place during the Easter vacation with Yale  and Princeton to determine the intercollegiate champions. Last year the championship was won by M. C. Stark '33.
   Officers of the club for the year have been announced. They are: W. A. Robinson '31, president; M. C. Stark '33, treasurer: Alexander Saron  '31, vice president and Ordway Southard '33 secretary.

Irving Chernev gave us this phenomenal 1932 game in his book, 1000 Best Short Games of Chess. This is the cautionary game alluded to above.



from the The Washington Post  by Willard H. Mutchler,  April 5, 1936 -
Donald H. Mugridge and Vladimir Sourin, both of whom have previously twice held the title of chess champion of the District, finished their  hectic struggle for premier honors in the current titular tourney with their goal still unattained Mugridge, the only player to complete this schedule  without losing a game, ended with a score of 7 1/2 to 1 1/2, having draws against Sournin, M.C. Stark, present champion and S. Naidrl.  (M.C. Stark, if you remember from above had been the president and 1929 champion of the Harvard Chess Club).

from Blindfold Chess: History, Psychology, Techniques, Champions, World Records by Eliot Hearst, John Knott   2008
   On Aug. 30, 1944, at the Washington Chess Divan, Fine played 10 consecutive blindfold games against opponents at 10-seconds-a-move.   The opposition included Hans Berlinger, then a schoolboy, but later to become a world correspondence chess champion.  Fine beat Berlinger  and scored +9=1, drawing against Donald H. Mugridge, the Divan's speed champion.

Donald Henry Mugridge died in 1964.