Chess in 1906

By Bill Wall


In 1906, the first national correspondence association, the British Correspondence Chess Association (BCCA), was formed.


In 1906, William Sonneborn (1843-1906) died in London, England.  He helped created a scoring system for breaking ties in chess tournaments.  He was a bank officer.


On January 10, 1906, Harold Morton (1906-1940) was born in Providence, Rhode Island.  He was several times New England chess champion.  He was a participant in the 1936 and 1938 US Championship tournaments.


On February 23, 1906, John Harold Belson (Belczinsky) (1905-1947) was born in Helsinki, Finland.  He was the Canadian chess champion in 1934 and 1946.  He won the Toronto championship 7 times.


On January 31, 1906, Reginald Walter Bonham (1906-1984) was born in St. Neots, Cambridgeshire, England.  After founding the International Braille Chess Association (IBCA) in 1951, he became the Blind World Chess Champion in 1958 and the Correspondence Blind World Champion in 1957, 1959, 1961, 1964 (jointly) and 1966.  He was also British Correspondence Champion in 1943, 1947 (jointly) and 1951 (jointly).


On February 8, 1906, Gisela Kahn Gresser (1906-2000) was born in Detroit, Michigan.  She learned chess in 1939 at the age of 33.  FIDE awarded her the Woman International Master title in 1950. She played in five Women's Candidates' tournaments (for the Women's World Chess Championship) and three Women's Chess Olympiads. She won the U.S. Women's Championship nine times: in 1944 (scoring 8-0), 1948 (with Mona May Karff), 1955 (with Nancy Roos), 1957 (with Sonja Graf-Stevenson), 1962, 1965, 1966 (with Lisa Lane), 1967, and 1969 (at age 63). In 1963, with a rating of 2211, she became the first woman in the United States to achieve the title of National Master.


On February 16, 1906, Vera Francevna Menchik (Mensikova) Stevenson (1906-1944) was born in to English and Czech parents in Moscow.  She was Women's World Champion from 1927 until 1944, when a German air raid destroyed her London residence, killing her, her mother and her sister.


On March 27, 1906, Cecil John Seddon Purdy (1906-1979) was born in Port Said, Egypt.  He was awarded the IM title in 1951 and the GM in Correspondence title in 1953 he won the 1st World Correspondence Chess Championship (1950 - 1953). He won the New Zealand Championship twice in 1924-25 and 1935-36.   He was Australian Champion on four occasions, 1934-35, 1936-37 (after a play-off), 1948-49 and 1951. He was also Australian Correspondence Champion in 1940 and 1948.


On April 18, 1906, the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club was destroyed by the San Francisco earthquake and fire.


On April 24, 1906, Arthur Dunkelblum (1906-1979) was born in Podgorze, Cracow, Poland.   He was a Jewish Belgian chess master.   He was Belgian champion in 1935 and 1949, and was awarded the IM title in 1957. He played for Belgium in 11 Olympiads: 1928, 1933, 1937, 1950, 1954, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1966 and 1968.


On April 23m 1906, Jiri (Jorge) Pelikan (1906-1984) was born in Austria-Hungary.  He was a Czech–Argentine chess master. He played for the Czech Olympiad teams of 1935, 1937 and 1939.  He was awarded the IM title in 1965.


On May 9, 1906, the first American Women's Chess Congress was held in New York.  It was won by Mrs. Charles P. Frey.


On May 7, 1906, Max Judd (1851-1906) died of a heart attack at the Monticello Hotel in St. Louis at the age of 55.  He was an American wholesale cloak manufacturer and chess master.  He was appointed United States Consul-General to Austria by President Grover Cleveland.  In 1891-92 he played Jackson Showalter for the US championship, but lost.  In 1903 he won the Western Chess Congress (US Open) in Chicago.  (source: St Louis Dispatch)


On June 17, 1906, Harry Nelson Pillsbury (1872-1906) died in Philadelphia at the age of 34.  He was suffering from syphilis.  He was the winner at Hasting 1895 and was famous for his blindfold chess play, playing as many as 20 games at once.


On June 28, 1906, Emanuel Lasker won the 19th NY state chess championship, held in Trenton Falls.


On July 12, 1907, Carl Schlechter won at Ostend, followed by Maroczy, Rubinstein, Nernstein, Burn, Teichmann, Marshall, and Janowski.


On August 3, 1906, Reginald Joseph Broadbent (1906-1988) was born in Durban, South Africa.  He was British champion in 1948 and 1950.


On August 12, 1906, Frank Marshall won the 15th German Chess Federation Ch, held in Nuremberg, followed by Duras, Fleischmann, Schlechter, and Chigorin.


On August 27, 1906,  Zoltan Balla won the first Hungarian Ch, held in Gyor.


On September 1, 1906, George Wolbrech won the 7th Western Chess Association (US Open) in Chicago.


In September, 1906, Jose Capablanca entered Columbia University to study chemical engineering and perhaps play professional baseball.  Capablanca was soon selected as shortstop for the Columbia University freshman team, and later played second base, where he was varsity team captain.  


On September 20, 1906, Philip Stuart Milner-Barry (1906-1995) was born in Hendon, London, England.  He worked for the British Civil Service and was a coce breaker during World War II.  He was later under-secretary of Treasury.  He placed 2nd at Hastings 1953, played on four English Olympic squads from 1937 to 1956, and was chess correspondent for The Times.


On October 12, 1906, Nils Johan Folke Ekström (1906-2000) was born in Lund, Sweden.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950 and the International Master in Correspondence (IMC) title in 1971. He was Swedish Champion in 1947 and 1948, and Swedish Correspondence Champion in 1941, 1964 and 1971.


On November 1, 1906, Vasily Nikolayevich Panov(1906-1973)  was born in Kozelsk, Russia.  He won the Moscow championship in 1929.  He was awarded the IM title in 1950.


In November 1906, Capablanca had just joined the Columbia University chess club.  Capablanca played board 1 and defeated other top boards at other chess clubs around New York, including the Brooklyn Chess Club, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.


In 1906, George Salwe (1862-1920) won the All-Russia Championship in St. Petersburg.


In December 1906, Nicolai Jasnogrodsky (1859-1914), a chess master, was arrested for swindling 10 citizens of Bay City, Michigan out of $10,000 to marry a rich rabbi’s daughter.

In December 1906, Capablanca came ahead of Emanuel Lasker in a rapid-transit (20 seconds a move) knock-out tournament at the Manhattan Chess Club in New York with 32 players.  Capablanca and Lasker met in the final round in which Capablanca won.  He had just turned 18.  Hermann Helms said that Capablanca was the best impromptu player of the day bar none.  In December 1906, Capablanca played board 1 for Columbia University, which helped win the intercollegiate championship between Columbia, Princeton, Yale, and Harvard.

On December 15, 1906, Frank Marshall was traveling by train in Louisiana, giving simultaneous chess exhibitions.  On his way to another chess event, his train collided with a freight train in Donaldsonville, Louisiana.  Marshall survived, badly bruised, with cuts on his hand and a sprained ankle.


On December 26, 1906, Jacobo Bolbochan (1906-1984) was born in Buenos Aires.  He was Argentine champion in 1931 and 1932, and awarded the IM title in 1965. He played in three Olympiads; Warsaw 1935, Stockholm 1937 and Buenos Aires 1939.


In 1906, the Yale vs. Princeton chess match was held at the residence of Isaac Rice in New Jersey.  Jose Capablanca was the adjudicator.