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American Chess Congress

The first American Chess Congress, organized by Daniel Fiske and held in New York, was won by Paul Morphy in 1857. The top 16 American players were invited (Allison, Calthrop, Fiske, Fuller, Kennicott, Knott, Lichtenhein, Marache, Mead, Meek, Morphy, Paulsen, Perrin, Raphael, Stanley, and Thompson).  First prize was $300.  Morphy refused any money, but accepted a silver service consisting of a pitcher, four goblets, and a tray.  Morphy’s prize was given to him by Oliver Wendell Holmes.  The second American Chess Congress was held in Cleveland in 1871 and won by George Mackenzie (1st place was $100 – or $1,500 in today’s currency).   There were nine players (Mackenzie, Hosmer, Elder, Judd, Ware, Smith, Harding, Johnston, and Houghton).  The entry fee was $10 ($150 today).  The third American Chess Congress was held in Chicago in 1874 and won by Mackenzie.  There were eight players (Mackenzie, Hosmer, Judd, Bock, Elder, Perrin, Congdon, and Kennicott) and they had to pay a $20 entry fee.  1st place prize was $225.  The fourth American Chess Congress (called the American Centennial Championship) was held in 1876 in Philadelphia and won by James Mason.  There were 9 players (Mason, Judd, Davidson, Bird, Elson, Roberts, Ware, Barbour, and Martinez).  The entry fee was $20.  1st place was $300.  The fifth American Chess Congress was held in 1880 in New York and won by Mackenzie (on tiebreak over Grundy).  There were 10 players.  The sixth American Chess Congress was held in 1889 in New York, and won by Chigorin and Weiss.  The seventh American Chess Congress was held in 1904 in St, Louis, and won by Frank Marshall.

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