22 June 2017

Sports Illustrated 'On the Cover'

On top of learning More About Thomas Emery, in that previous post I discovered that an influential American sports magazine was a source for in-depth feature articles about chess.

Here's a long article from Sports Illustrated about the first Armed Forces chess tournament.

Back to that old question, The Graffiti Wall - Is Chess a Sport? (December 2013), if SI thinks it's a sport, then the matter is settled. The magazine has even featured chess on its cover.


Left: 'U.S Chess Champion Lisa Lane'
Right: 'Bobby's Chessboard Mastery'

7 August 1961: QUEEN OF KNIGHTS AND PAWNS • 'Once tolerated as a good-looking girl who played chess, Lisa Lane is now a champion who wants the world title' • seven page article by Robert Cantwell

Lisa Lane is an ardent and optimistic girl who won the U.S. women's chess championship soon after she learned how to play chess and now expects whatever she is involved into work out as well. If Lisa hears of a tournament that may possibly be held at some time in the future she takes it for granted that she will play in it, she naturally believes that she will win, and from that it is only a logical step for her to buy a new dress in anticipation of her victory.

14 August 1972: HOW TO COOK A RUSSIAN GOOSE • 'First, catch a Russian -- and at long last Bobby Fischer apparently has, dominating Boris Spassky so completely that only a sharp reversal can keep the young American from becoming world champion' • four page article, also by Robert Cantwell

On summer evenings in Iceland the sun barely sinks below the horizon. There is a joke going around that Bobby Fischer demanded it set three hours earlier, but so far the Icelandic Chess Federation hasn't been able to arrange it. In any case, it is daylight most of the time, and the only real darkness in the land these days has been in the cavernous interior of Reykjavik's Exhibition Hall, where the World Championship Chess Match is going on, and possibly in the heart of Russia's Boris Spassky.

The last photo in the Lisa Lane piece looked familiar and I found it in an eBay post, Two American Champions (March 2016).

20 June 2017

More About Thomas Emery

While working on a recent post, Thomas Emery, I was disappointed that I found so little non-chess web material about the man. I continued to look and found details about his family in a book, 'Founders and Famous Families of Cincinnati' by Wendy Hart Beckman. This first passage (p.88-89) is about Emery's grandfather.

[Procter and Gamble, ca.1837] began by creating soaps and candles for Cincinnati's citizenry. Gamble made the soaps and candles, and Procter took care of administrative duties and marketing. He loaded the products up in their wheelbarrow and carted them around to the various stores to sell. Soon their business grew enough that they could move to a location on Western Row (now called Central Avenue), closer to the slaughterhouses.

They were not alone in taking advantage of the rich supply of pork fats, though. By the end of the decade, they were joined by Michael Werk from Alsace, Thomas Emery from England, and Andrew Jergens from Germany, all of whom started businesses using the abundant fats and oils of Porkopolis to make soaps and candles. Soon Cincinnati's soaps were sold throughout the state, thanks to a great extent to the canals.

Thomas Emery did not always enjoy success in his candlemaking. Born in England, he immigrated to the United States in 1832 with his wife and his son, Thomas Josephus Emery. Emery first tried his hand at selling real estate and then began dabbling in soaps and lard oil. His first attempts only landed him in bankruptcy, however. Soon enough, Thomas Emery found his niche: real estate and fatty acids.

The second passage (p.140) is about his uncle.

Thomas J. Emery married Mary Hopkins in 1866; Samuel Hannaford built their family home, the Edgecliffe, which overlooked the Ohio River. However, theirs was not to remain a happy family for long. They had two sons: Sheldon, born in 1867, and Albert, born in 1868. Albert died at the age of 16 as the result of a sledding accident, and Sheldon died at 23 from pneumonia while a student at Harvard. Thomas died in 1906, leaving his widow a lonely millionaire for 21 years. He left her his $20 million fortune with no directives as to how to spend it.

The last passage (p.141) is about his father.

Mary Emery died in 1927 at the age of 83. Tom and Mary Emery had no heirs; younger brother John was still a bachelor in his 60s, so he married a 22-year-old woman and had five children to pass on the family name and philanthropic tradition. That tradition was carried on in John J. Emery Jr., who also enjoyed success in the hotel business, building the 48-story Carew Tower (Cincinnati's tallest building at the time), the Netherland Plaza, and the Terrace Plaza hotels. He also founded Cincinnati Country Day School and held leadership roles with the Boy Scouts of America and the Cincinnati Art Museum. Meanwhile, his sister Audrey showed herself for having a flair for fashion and flings. She was voted one of the ten most beautiful women in America and married into Russian nobility not once, but twice, including the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, the cousin of Nicholas, Russia's last czar.

The family relatioships are shown in a family tree from Cincinnati Magazine, December 1988 (p.76).


THOMAS EMERY and wife, KEZIA BROWN.
(Born 1798 in Bedford, England; arrived in America in early 1830s; died 1857)

Chess benefactor Thomas (1896-1975) is shown farthest to the right on the second row. Two of his siblings have found their way into Wikipedia:-

His son, not shown in the family tree, died in 2004: John Joseph Emery.

John Joseph Emery, 73, died Nov. 27, 2004, in Bar Harbor. He was born March 11, 1931, in Biarritz, France, the son of Thomas and Constance (Thomas) Emery. His family came to the United States in 1940, because of the war, where they resided in Oyster Bay, Long Island. [...] His grandfather, John J. Emery, built "The Turrets", an historic cottage in Bar Harbor, in which the family lived, it is now owned by the College of the Atlantic, of which John was a big supporter.'

Since this is a chess blog and there's nothing yet about chess in this post, I'll add a few Thomas Emery chess stories that I encountered during my investigations. First here's a long article from Sports Illustrated about the first Armed Forces chess tournament.

1960-06-06: Revival of an old Army game • 'In the annals of American sport it would be difficult to find any event so completely overshadowed as was the first annual armed forces chess tournament in Washington a fortnight ago. About the time the 12 contestants had adjusted themselves to playing in the air-conditioned basement of the USO building on Lafayette Square, the U-2-summit affair exploded, and the entire city was awash with excitement.'

Next here's a New York Times article about another event Emery sponsored.

1973-11-04: Lyman and Chess are back on TV • 'Introduced by the Gillette sports song, Shelby Lyman, the chess teacher, returned to the air yesterday, providing move-by-move analysis on Channel 13 of the first in four-game match between the champions of the Marshall and Manhattan Chess Clubs. [...] The match is being financed by a $25,000 grant from Thomas Emery and the American Chess Foundation. Emery, a long-time chess patron, subsidized José Raul Capablanca, the Cuban who was world champion from 1921 to 1927, The foundation underwrites the United States Chess Championship and the Armed Forces Chess Championship.'

Finally, here's a story about the disposition of Emery's bequest to the Armed Forces tournament.

Honor the Intent by Don Schultz • 'The Cramer Awards for Excellence in Chess Journalism are not the only victim of the Chess-in-the-Schools new policy. An example is the income from over a million dollars of Thomas Emery donations. Emery was a close friend of many of our finest players, including Frank Marshall and Al Horowitz. He helped support master chess. He also was a member of the Marine Corps during World War I and as a result had an enduring interest in armed forces chess. He sponsored the first Armed Forces Championship in 1960, and continued to sponsor it during his lifetime. He had every expectation that income from his donations would continue to be used for master and armed forces chess promotions. But it is not. All of it is now being used for the Chess-in-the Schools New York City inner city school programs.'

Back to my first Thomas Emery post, will I find as luch about the other chess patrons mentioned there?

19 June 2017

Site Stats and Images

In a recent post, Site Stats and Adsense, I used the server log on my personal domain to look at the relative popularity of my web pages. Similar techniques can be used for images. I did this a few years ago in Photos of February (March 2015):-

One thing I've always wanted to do -- but never found the time -- is to analyze the popularity of the various images stored on the site.

I don't want to repeat that exercise here, other than to mention the most popular photo for May 2017:-


The Match That Never Was (September 2012)

The log can also be used to follow the progress of a new post by tracking its corresponding image. Let's take, for example, my first post from May 2017 that used an image -- May 1967 'On the Cover'. -- and follow the progress of that image from the moment of its creation. (Because it's the information provided by the link which is most important here, I'll give the URL of the referring page without converting it to a link.)

The first call of a new image is always from its directory. This is because I check the image after uploading it, in case it was somehow damaged in the process (it happens). I then copy the full URL and add it to my new post.

  • http://www.mark-weeks.com/cfaa/

The next call of the new image is by the mechanism that distributes it to social media. For this CFAA blog, I see five accesses by dlvr.it, where a short URL expands to the full URL of the new post plus the parameters utm_source=dlvr.it & utm_medium=facebook.

  • http://dlvr.it/P2yc0M

After this the new image starts to be displayed on a single page for the new post or on the home page of the blog, where the most recent post appears first.

  • http://chessforallages.blogspot.com/2017/05/may-1967-on-cover.html
  • http://chessforallages.blogspot.com/

Some time later, the image is called from various content aggregators. Here's one that appears regularly...

  • http://newsblur.com/site/1749928/chess-for-all-ages

...and here's another that appears to be worth exploring:-

  • http://www.rightrelevance.com/search/articles?query=chess%20player

After more posts have been added to the blog, the original post starts to show up on pages of 'Older Posts'.

  • http://chessforallages.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2017-05-04T17:39:00%2B02:00&max-results=7

Since I also use my m-w.com domain to store images for my other blogs, the same process applies to them. Here's the most popular image on my World Chess Championship blog for the month of May.


Che Guevara at the Havana Zonal (January 2014)

And here's the most popular image on my Chess960 (FRC) blog for the same period.


Finding Top ICC Chess960 Players (November 2013)

That last chess960 image, as simple as it is, was just as popular as the top CFAA images, even though the C960 blog gets about 10% of the traffic that CFAA gets. Why this popularity? My server log only tells me that nearly all of the access were from Google. For example, the first access of the month was from

  • https://www.google.com.ph/

That's pretty much normal for an investigation into site statistics. An answered question nearly always leads to new questions.

18 June 2017

The Chess Remedy?

Ever since I started this series on 'The Sociology of Chess', it seems that whenever I work up a short list for Video Friday (last seen in Kasparov Talks at Google), there's at least one clip that delves into some aspect related to sociology. This latest one starts,

The youth of this generation, particularly those in the inner cities, are suffering from a failing educational system and high amounts of addiction. Politicians, social activists, and various charity organizations have been working to stop this epidemic for [many] years. What if I told you that the answer was simple? What if I told you that the answer was chess?


Caleb Varghese: Chess - A Social and Educational Remedy (16:21) • 'Published on Jun 16, 2017'

This might not be the best presentation I've seen on the 'Chess in Schools' topic and it might contain some questionable facts, but it covers more territory than most such presentations do. Here is a list of the slides used:-

  • Originally played by warrior class and aristocracy
  • 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu
  • Strategy and tactics
  • Understanding reactions to every action
  • Chess solution to addiction?
  • A village in India
  • Playing chess improves critical thinking skills
  • Magnus Carlsen plays blindfold simul against 10 Harvard lawyers ('highest ranked chess players in the world'?)
  • Chess makes you smart
  • Extracurricular activities supplement academic studies
  • Chess evens the playing field
  • Chess promotes discipline
  • Get chess in schools
  • It's your move

For more about the context of the presentation, see English 10P Talks Reveal a Wide Range of Student Interests and Passions! (thewheatleyway.org; Old Westbury, Long Island, New York; 1 June 2017).

16 June 2017

Kasparov Talks at Google

The short list for this edition of Video Friday was eventually further shortened to two Kasparov clips. The first was a MasterClass trailer. If you have a Facebook account and if you have ever shown any interest in chess, you have probably been presented this clip more times than you can count on your fingers and toes. If not, it's here: Garry Kasparov Teaches Chess | Official Trailer (youtube.com; MasterClass). The second Kasparov clip on the short list was more interesting.


Garry Kasparov: "Deep Thinking" | Talks at Google (38:50) • 'Garry Kasparov and DeepMind’s CEO Demis Hassabis discuss Garry’s new book, his match with Deep Blue and his thoughts on the future of AI in the world of chess.'

At the beginning of the video, moderator Hassabis mentions his review of GM Kasparov's most recent book, 'Deep Thinking', where I think he means Artificial Intelligence: Chess match of the century (nature.com). Kasparov replies,

Thank you very much for your review and also for all the protection against all the tech guys who criticized me for not being an expert.

Does that mean the book is not for tech people? I'll come back to that question when I get the chance to read the book. One of the comments to the clip informs,

Demis Hassabis was once the second strongest under-14 chess player in the world (Elo 2300), behind Judit Polgar.

As for 'Talks at Google', I featured another episode a few years back in a Video Friday post titled Computer Chess 'Comedy' (July 2013), about the movie 'Computer Chess'. GM Kasparov appeared in an earlier Google talk, Garry Kasparov | Talks at Google (youtube.com; 'Uploaded on Nov 18, 2010'), when he was invited because of his own article on Diego Rasskin-Gutman's 'Chess Metaphors' in the New York Times Review of Books.

15 June 2017

Fischer and Chess Review 'On the Cover'

Earlier this month, in June 1967 'On the Cover', I asked the question

Chess Review: how many times through the years was Fischer featured?

This led to two posts where I didn't answer the question...

...but now I can give a partial answer: 15 times through the beginning of 1964.

Those 15 covers include the 12 shown above plus three marked with an asterix ('*') in the following list:-

  • 1956-01: *; see 'Bobby's First "On the Cover"'
  • 1956-12: 'Game of the Century'; 3rd Rosenwald
  • 1957-04: 'Meeting of Extremes'; match with Euwe
  • 1958-02: 'Youngest Champion'; U.S. Championship & qualification to interzonal
  • 1958-05: 'CBS had a secret'; Garry Moore and 'I've Got a Secret'; see also The Best Fischer Clip Ever (February 2008)
  • 1959-02: * (same photo as 1958-02); 'Champion Again!'; 5th Rosenwald & U.S. Championship
  • 1959-03: *; 'Composite View of U.S. Championship', (incl. same photo as 1958-02)
  • 1960-02: 'Anti-Climax'; U.S. Championship (Rosenwald Trophy), 3rd straight win
  • 1960-12: 'The USA Team'; World Team Championship, 1960 Leipzig (NB: word 'Olympiad' not used)
  • 1961-02: 'Fourth Straight Year'; the accompanying article explained, 'Known officially as the Lessing J. Rosenwald Tournament for the U.S. Chess Championship and Frank J. Marshall Trophy, 1960-1961'
  • 1962-04: 'Fischer Forges Forward'; 1962 Stockholm Interzonal
  • 1962-05: 'Fischer Lauded at the Marshall Chess Club'; winner of 1962 Stockholm Interzonal; also shown are Caroline Marshall and John W. Collins
  • 1963-02: 'Champ Fifth Time'
  • 1963-10: 'U.S. Champion Splurges in Swisses'; Western Open & N.Y. State Open
  • 1964-02: 'Study in Concentration'; U.S. Championship (+11-0=0)

With March 1964 'On the Cover' (March 2014), I started a monthly look at the covers from 50 years ago of both Chess Life and Chess Review (CR). Fischer on a subsequent CR cover was first documented in July 1965 'On the Cover' (July 2015). The 'On the Cover' series has two more years to run, after which I'll make a final tally of Fischer CR covers.

13 June 2017

Thomas Emery

One of my first posts this year, January 1967 'On the Cover', demanded a follow-up:-

'Thomas Emery Trophy', 'Thomas Emery Awards dinner' -- who was Thomas Emery and what was his connection to the American Chess Foundation?

The June 1957 issue of Chess Review (CR) carried a two page feature 'Thomas Emery: Amateur Extraordinary' by T.A. Dunst. It started,

An amateur chess player who stands off U.S. champions, assorted grandmasters, ex-world champions and the like, is certainly a rara avis. That distinction belongs to genial Thomas Emery of New 'York, who, at 62, is a man of many interests, including world travel, the study of medicine and delving into the mysterious topography of the chessboard.

When Frank Marshall in 1942 wrote My Fifty Years of Chess, summing up an international chess career and 27 years possession of the United States chess championship, the book contained a great deal more of Thomas Emery than the preface which he supplied; for the friendship between the two men was of the Damon - Pythias variety, and they spent endless hours in philosophizing and in analyzing openings, endings and middle-game intrigue.

Half about Emery's life, half about Emery's approach to chess, the article focused on his three major interests: his military career, his medical career, and his chess.


Thomas Emery, Chess Review, June 1957, p.177

Of his military career,

Emery, a native New Yorker, stems from ancestry which is about 80 per cent English. He attended tutoring school in England, where the brother of a schoolmate named Buffer became a member of the British chess team in 1910. Young Emery threw himself into chess about this time and, within a year, was taking the team player's measure.

Soon after the United States entered World War I, Emery found himself in the Officers' Training Camp at Plattsburg. Scoring 98 per cent in his studies, he was called to Washington to be commissioned a captain at the age of 21 in the Quartermaster Corps. [...] Emery turned down the captain, and enlisted in the U.S. Marines, in which organization he served with distinction. Because of his knowledge of French. he acted as interpreter. He was wounded in 1918 and later recommended for bravery. He was honorably discharged in August of 1919.

Of his medical career,

It was during World War II that Emery pursued intensive medical studies, an interest which has never flagged and which is second only to his enthusiasm for chess. He has lectured on hematology at the North Country Community Hospital in Glen Cove and, in 1943, was appointed Senior First Aid Instructor for the whole of Long Island. In this connection. Emery takes justifiable pride in the knowledge that many of his students continued in the field of nursing and medicine. Perhaps, there is a hereditary influence in all this. for Emery's grandfather. Brig.-Gen. Charles Tripler Alexander, was a surgeon under Custer and a chief-surgeon under Sherman.

A few years after CR's 1957 article, the cover of the May 1960 issue of Chess Review featured a photo of the 'Thomas Emery Armed Forces Chess Trophy'. Inside the magazine announced,

On the occasion of the first tournament for the Thomas Emery Armed Forces Chess Awards, scheduled to be held in Washington, D.C. from May 15th to May 21st, the American Chess Foundation salutes:
The Selected Finalists: [12 players named]
Mr. Thomas Emery, distinguished American, internationally-famous chess player and generous patron of the Awards.
The Department of Defense.
The United Service Organizations (U.S.O.) and its affiliated agencies.
The NAVY TIMES for its Special Award.
Mr. I.S. Turover for his Special Award.
-and-
Colonel John D. Matheson, Chairman of the ACF-USCF Joint Committee for Armed Forces Chess, for his magnificent direction of the project, together with those associated with him on the Committee: Col. E.B. Ely; Thomas Emery; Dr. Eliot Hearst; Sgt. Bob Karch ; I.S. Turover and Sidney Wallach.

For more about the series of tournaments, see Wikipedia's United States Armed Forces Chess. Emery is mentioned only once, in passing. The 1957 CR article included three scores of games by Emery: draws with Bisguier and Euwe, and a win against Menchik. It also mentioned three amateur chess players who made their names in other fields.

This brief sketch of an amateur who plays chess in the tradition of Henry T. Buckle, the historian, Moritz Rosenthal, the pianist, and Charles Schwab, the steel king, would not be complete without a word about his wife, Constance. [...]

Does this mean more follow-up posts ahead?