Chess in 1917

By Bill Wall


In 1917, Emanuel Lasker wrote Common Sense in Chess.


In 1917, Alekhine was an investigator in Moscow for Centrorosysk, a government agency that located relatives who had disappeared during the Russian Revolution and Civil War.


In 1917, at the age of 5, Sammy Reshevsky (1911-1992), known as Schmulke Rzeszewski, learned how to play chess from his father, a good amateur player.


On January 19, 1917, Walter Gledhill (1854-1917) died in Harrogate, England of heart failure at the age of 62.  1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Qg4, the Gledhill Attack in the French, was named after him.


In January 1917, Jose Capablanca went to Cuba and did not return to the United States for 17 months.  He gave many chess exhibitions and lectures while in Cuba.  He said he used that time to study the chess openings for the first time.


On March 9, 1917, Frank Marshall played 144 local players, including one woman and five children, in a simultaneous exhibition in Buffalo, New York, in two sessions, half the games in the afternoon and the other half in the evening.  He won 131, lost 1, and drew 12. (source: Wilkes-Barre Evening News, Mar 10, 1917)


On March 17, 1917, James Alexander Porterfield Rynd (1846-1917) died in Dublin, Ireland at the age of 70.  He won the Irish chess championship in 1865 and 1892.


On March 19, 1917, Laszlo Szabo (1917-1998) was born in Budapest.  He won the Hungarian chess championship 9 times (1935, 1937, 1939, 1946, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1959, and 1967/68).  He was awarded the Grandmaster (GM) title in 1950.


On May 29, 1917, Theodore “Ted” Bullockus (1917-2008) was born in New York City.  He was an International Correspondence Chess Federation (ICCF) International Arbiter.


On May 29, 1917, Harry Fowler Lee (1855-1917) died in Chicago at the age of 62.  He was a prominent figure in Chicago chess circles during the early twentieth century. In the Western Open he finished 2nd in 1908 and 3rd on two other occasions. Lee was editor of the chess column in the Chicago Tribune from 1912-1917, and also served as a tournament referee, president, and secretary of the Western Chess Association.  He was a court reporter for over 40 years.  His obituary says that death was brought on by overwork.  (source: Detroit Free Press, May 30, 1917)


On June 24, 1917, César Boutteville (1917-2015) was born in Thin-Hao, Indonesia.  He was a French-Vietnamese chess master.  He was a six-time winner of both the French Chess Championship (1945, 1950, 1954, 1955, 1959, and 1967) and the Paris City Chess Championship (1944, 1945, 1946, 1952, 1961, and 1972)


On June 11, 1917, Romanas Arlauskas (1917-2009) was born in Kuanas, Lithuania.  In 1943, he won the Lithuanian championship. In the late 1940s, he moved to Australia, and won the Australian championship in 1949. He finished 3rd in the 4th World Correspondence Championship (1962-1965). He was awarded the title of Grandmaster of Correspondence Chess (GMC) in 1965.


On July 8, 1917, Walter Arpad Foldeak (1917-2004) was born in Szob, Hungary.  In 1964, he was awarded the International Judge in Compositions (IJC) title.  He authored a book on endgames and on the chess Olympiads.


On July 15, 1917 Juan Carlos Gonzalez de Vega (1917- ) was born in Havana.  He was Cuban champion in 1942, 1943, 1951 and 1952. He won the US Speed Championship of 1946.


On July 16, 1917, Vincenz Hruby (1856-1917) died in Trieste, Austria (now Italy) at the age of 60.    In 1882, he won the Vienna Chess Club championship.


On July 17, 1917, Arturo Reggio (1863-1917) died in Milan, Italy at the age of 54.  He was an Italian chess master.  He was (unofficial) Italian champion in 1900, 1901, 1905, 1913 and 1916.


On July 20, 1917, Luis Augusto Sanchez Montenegro (1917-1981) was born in Colombia..  He was a Colombian chess master.  He was six-times Colombian Champion (1938, 1947, 1948, 1954, 1958, and 1962).  He was awarded the Internationals Master (IM) title in 1951.


On August 16, 1917, Oscar Chajes won the New York State chess championship, held in Rochester.  At the same time, the New York Chess Association created a fund for the purchase of chess sets for U.S. soldiers.  (source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Aug 17, 1917)


On August 25, 1917, the 18th Western Chess Association (US Open) was held in Lexington, Kentucky.  Edward Lasker took 1st place.


On August 25, 1817, William Cook (1850-1917) died in Bristol, England.  In the 1880s, he wrote Synopsis of the Chess Openings


In October 1917, after the Bolshevik revolution, chess was officially discouraged in Russia as a "decadent bourgeois pastime." Virtually all organized chess activities and chess clubs ended in Russia.


On October 17, 1917, Jim Hurt (1917-1991) was born.  He was the founder and director of the LERA (Lockheed Employees Recreation Association) Chess Club in Sunnyvale for over 35 years.   He organized one of the longest running (1966-2000) and popular SF South Bay tournaments, the LERA Class Tournament. He was also Rating Administrator (1967) and Tournament Director (1968) of the Chess Friends of Northern California. In 1969 and 1970 he was Editor of Chess in Action.


On November 14, 1917, Stig Lundholm (1917-2009) was born in Luleå, Sweden.  He was a Swedish chess master.  He was Swedish Champion in 1944 and Swedish Correspondence Champion in 1948.  He was awarded the IMC title in 1983.


On November 24, 1917, Haije Kramer (1917-2004) was born in the Netherlands.  He was a Dutch chess master and theoretician.  He was awarded the International Master title in 1954 and the International Correspondence Chess Grandmaster title in 1984.