Women in Chess - 1937
A dear friend of mine sent me scans from some of the 1937 issues of Chess Review containing articles from Edith Lucie Weart's women's chess column . The selected excerpts follow the first U. S. Women's Championship, the winner of which would qualify to play in the World Championship tournament in Sweden.
|Women in Chess
by Edith Lucie Weart
Last and not least. a word about the open women's tournament for custody of the Hazel Allen trophy, sponsored each year by the Marshall Chess Club of New York, As we go to press, the finals of this tournament are getting under way. Of the ten women who played in the preliminaries, four qualified for the finals: Miss Adele Raettig of Hoboken, N.J with a score of 8-1; Mrs. Wm. Davey of New York City and Mrs. Elsie Rogosin of Roselle, N. J., with scores of 7-2; and Miss Elizabeth Wray of New York City, score 6-3. These four will face stiff opposition in the finals when they meet the six women who were exempt from the preliminary rounds this year due to having qualified for the finals last year. These six are: Mrs. Adele Rivero of New York City, (Champion), Mrs. Mary Bain of Astoria, N. Y., Mrs. Raphael McCready of Hackensack, N. J., Mrs. William Slater of Doylestown, Pa, Miss Helen White of New York City, and Miss Edith L. Weart of Jackson Heights, N. Y. We will have more news of this tournament at a later date. It looks like a close contest.
For the first time in many years an American woman is playing in this tournament, competing for the title of Woman Chess Champion of the World, a title now held by Miss Vera Menchik. The representative for the United States is Mrs. Mary Bain of New York, who finished second to Miss Adele Rivero in the women's tournament this spring at the Marshall Chess Club in New York. It is to be regretted that Mrs. Rivero was unable to go to Stockholm this year. There has been considerable speculation as to the showing Mrs.Bain will make on this, her first appearance in the international arena. We are sure Mrs. Bain will do us credit, though it is certainly too much to expect that she should displace Miss Menchik from the honors she has held so long. We shall report the outcome in our next issue.
Stockholm- There were twenty-six entries in the women's tournament at Stockholm, cheering evidence that women everywhere are taking an increasing interest in the most fascinating of games. Under the Monrad system used in this tournament (not entirely successful, we understand) each woman had but fourteen opponents. As was generally expected, Miss Vera Menchik retained her title of Woman Chess Champion of the World, with a clean score of fourteen wins. The surprise of the tournament was Miss Benini's out-placing Miss Sonia Graf. It will be remembered that in the Semmering tournament of 1936 (in which Miss Menchik did not play) Miss Benini finished in second place, two and one-half points behind Miss Graf. Our American representative, Mrs. Mary Bain, of the Marshall Chess Club of New York City, made a very creditable showing in this, her first venture in the international arena, finishing in fifth place, only one-half point below Miss Graf.
EUROPEAN IMPRESSIONS OF MRS. BAIN
"It was a most wonderful experience," said Mrs. Mary Bain of the Marshall Chess Club in describing her trip to Stockholm, where she represented the United States in the tournament held to determine the Woman Chess Champion of the World. "Everything was very well arranged and the accommodations were very good. It was a most successful tournament," We were interested in her impressions of the leading players. Miss Menchik, she said, is a very friendly person, charming to her. Miss Clarice Benini, of Italy, who placed second, is an attractive, tall, dark young woman. Miss Sonia Graf dresses mannishly and walks, hands in 'Pockets, with a masculine stride. Miss May Karff (who played for Palestine) is, we are surprised to learn, a former Bostonian. incidentally, she has returned to this country! But the find of the tournament, Mrs. Bain told us, was Miss Milda Lauberte of Latvia. Now an eighteen years old, this small, blond, very calm young woman is held to have great promise. indeed, Mrs. Bain predicts that she is the future woman champion.We had been told that at Warsaw the women contestants were more interested in having a good time than in playing chess, but Mrs. Bain said this was certainly not true at Stockholm. The women, she said, all took their games very seriously; indeed, were often under a severe nervous strain. '"I was the most calm person there," she said, but admits that when she began forging to the top she felt the strain, herself. 'The weakness of all the girls is that they have no experience," she told us. One thing which impresses Mrs. Bain particularly is the fact that most of the European women are under the instruction of some chess master. She was asked who was her coach. "No one," she answered. "Well, then, who is teaching Mrs. Rivero?" "So far as I know, no one," she replied again. They couldn't understand it. How could a woman progress unless she was being tutored? Self-instruction was all very well, but-! It was suggested that some chess organization here in America finance lessons for a group of half a dozen of the leading American women players. A good idea!
Mrs. Bain was not very well pleased with her standing. When she entered the tournament, it was with no expectation of placing well; she played because the experience would, she thought, be of great value. But when she commenced to win her games, to take a higher and higher place in the standings, when she had a chance for second place and missed it by losing her final game, she felt that she should have done better than she did. During the summer Mrs. Bain had the opportunity of giving several simultaneous exhibitions, the most interesting (and the most strenuous) of which was held at Helsingfors [i.e. Helsinki], where she played against fifteen strong men players. She told us that she suffered so from stage fright before the exhibition that when she was asked to autograph the score sheets (a prize was to be given for the best game played against her) she forgot how to sign her name! Considering the strength of the players and her inexperience at this type of play, she did quite well, winning five, losing six and drawing four.
Returning to America on the Slatendam, she gave a simultaneous exhibition against ten men. She won eight games, lost one and drew one. This exhibition was so successful that she was asked to give a talk on chess, As a token of appreciation the Holland America line presented her with a silver cup. Back in the United States once more she opened the season of the Women's Chess Club of New York with simultaneous play against eight women, all of whom she defeated.
Surely a successful summer!-E. L. W,