Manhattan Chess Club

In 1877 chess players met at the Cafe Logeling, 49 Bowery Street in lower Manhattan. Mr. Logeling was a chess enthusiast and eventually built a room in the back of the cafe for chess.

On November 24, 1877, it was decided to form a chess club. There was discussion to name it the Metropolitan, Morphy, or Manhattan Chess Club.

On December 1, 1877, 37 members showed up for the first meeting. The entrance fee was $1 per person and dues were $4 per year.

On October 2, 1879, the Constitution of the Manhattan Chess Club was adopted.

On May 7, 1883, the Manhattan Chess Club of the City of New York was incorporated in the State of New York.  Its board of directors included Leopold Hellwitz, George T. Green, Roscow Channing, Louis Cohn, L.D. Cohn, F.M. Teed, William M. De Visser, J.D. Peters, Charles Saulson, Isaac Rice, and Charles M. Harris.  An initiation fee was $10, and the annual dues were $16.

In 1883, Johannes Zukertort was made an honorary member.


In May 1884, the group moved to 22 East 17th Street.


In 1884, George T. Green was elected President of the Manhattan CC.  He served as President until 1887.


The club hosted the 1886 world championship (Steinitz-Zukertort) and the 1890-91 world chess championship (Steinitz-Gunsberg).


In May 1889, the club moved to 22 West 27th Street.


In 1890-91 Steinitz played Gunsberg in a world championship match at the Manhattan Chess Club. The President of the Manhattan Chess Club was Isaac Rice.


In May 1892, the club moved to 105 East 22nd Street in the United Charities Building.


In October-November 1892, Emanuel Lasker defeated the top 8 players of the Manhattan CC in a series of matches.  He defeated Hanham, D. Baird, J. Baird, Ryan, and  Isaacson, all 3-0.  He also defeated Simonson, Hodges, and Delmar.


In 1894, the President of the Manhattan CC was A. Foster Higgins.  There were 124 members.


In 1894 Steinitz and Lasker met at the Manhattan Chess Club to negotiate thier proposed world championship chess match. The club hosted the first 8 games of the Lasker-Steinitz world championship match.


In 1895, Emanuel Lasker joined the Manhattan Chess Club. In 1895, the first cable match was played between the Manhattan Chess Club and the British Chess Club.


In 1899, William Steinitz resigned as an honorary member from the Manhattan Chess Club.


In 1901, members of the Manhattan Chess Club defeated the Franklin Chess Club of Philadelphia.


In 1903, Julius Finn won the Manhattan CC Rice Gambit tournament.


In 1903, Aristidez Martinez was the President of the Manhattan CC.


In 1905, the Manhattan CC defeated the Berlin CC in a cable match, with the score of 4-2.  The trophy was an autograph portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt.


From 1905 to 1910 the Club was located at the Carnegie Hall Building on 56th Street.


In 1905 Jose Capablanca joined the Manhattan Chess Club and beat its champion.


From 1910 to 1923 the Club was located at the Sherman Square Hotel, then to Beacon Hotel.


In 1905, Capablanca, at the age of 17, visited the Manhattan Chess Club and beat its champion.


In 1908, Otto Roething won the Manhattan CC rapid knockout tournament, knocking out Jose Capablanca on a coin toss.


In 1909, the Manhattan CC organized a chess match between Frank Marshall and Jose Capablanca.  Capablanca won with 8 wins, 1 loss, and 14 draws.


In October-November 1918, the Manhattan CC sponsored an international chess tournament.  It was held at the club’s parlor in the Sherman Square Hotel.  Five countries were represented including the United States, Cuba, Canada, France, and Serbia.  The event was won by Capablanca.


The club organized the New York international tournaments of 1924 (won by Emanuel Lasker) and 1927 (won by Jose Capablanca).


During the Depression, the Club moved to a basement on Broadway and 73rd Street.


In the 1930s, Harold Phillips was President of the Manhattan CC.


In 1932 to 1941, the Club was located at the Alamac Hotel.


In 1934, the Manhattan CC won the Metropolitan Chess League.


In 1938, women were finally allowed to join the club.


In 1941 to 1956 the Club was located at 100 Central Park South. Maurice Wertheim helped move the chess club to better quarters.


On March 7, 1942, Capablanca suffered a stroke at the Manhattan Chess Club while analyzing a chess game. He died the next day at the age of 53.


In 1945, the Manhattan CC was the site of the American team in the USA vs USSR radio match.  The USSR won 11 out of 20.


In 1947, the Manhattan CC lost to the Club of La Plata in Argentina in a radio chess match by the score of 3.5 to 6.5. The Manhattan CC team included Reshevsky, Kashdan, Denker, Horowitz, Kevitz, Pinkus, Pavey, Kramer, Shainswit, and Donald Byrne. Only Reshevsky was able to win. .


Maurice Wertheim (1886-1950) was president of the Manhattan Chess Club in the 1940s. He was an American investment banker and philanthropist. He was the father of American historian Barbara Tuchman.


In the late 1940s and early 1950s. Sidney F. Kenton was the club's director of activities. Junior members were not welcomed under Kenton's tenure. He did, however, allow Robert and Donald Byrne join the club.


In 1948, Arthur Bisquier won the Manhattan Chess Club championship at the age of 18, the youngest player up to that time. He won 7 and drew 2 games. Also in 1948, George Kramer, age 18, won the Manhattan CC Masters Tourney.


In 1951, the Manhattan CC hosted the Wertheim Memorial, won by Reshevsky.


In the 1950s Maurice Kasper, a wealthy New York textile manufacturer, was the president of the Manhattan Chess Club. He later became an officer of the American Chess Foundation. Morris Steinberg was the vice president of the Manhattan Chess Club.


In 1952, William Lombardy joined the Manhattan CC.


Gisela Kahn Gresser (1906-2000) was a regular at the Manhattan CC, always taking lessons from Hans Kmoch. She won the U.S. women's championship 9 times and was the first woman to become a U.S. master. She died in 2000 at the age of 94.


In June 1955, Bobby Fischer joined the Manahttan Chess Club. He soon won the 'C' section, then the 'B' section.


In 1956 the Club moved to the Hotel Woodrow.


In April 1956, Bobby Fischer won the Manhattan Chess Club 'A' Reserve championship.


In 1956, Fischer won the Manhattan Chess Club Rapid Transit with the score of 10 out of 10.


In the 1950s and 1960s the Club's secretary by Hans Kmoch and the club was located in the Henry Hudson Hotel on West 59th St.


In 1969, the Manhattan Chess Club, with Bobby Fischer playing board 1, defeated the Marshall Chess Club 8 to 4.


In 1971, the Club moved from the Henry Hudson Hotel to East 60th St off Fifth Avenue.


In 1971, Bobby Fischer won the Manhattan Chess Club 5-minute championship.


In 1973, there were over 400 members of the Manhattan Chess Club.


In 1974, the Club moved to 155 E. 55th St.


In 1976, the Club sponsored the first New York International since 1951.  The winners were Norman Weinstein, Anatoly Lein, and Leonid Shamkovich.


In 1984, the club moved to Carnegie Hall at West 57th Street and 7th, 10th floor.


The Club later moved to 353 West 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue on "Restaurant Row." Traditionally, the club was supported by the patronage of Wall Street executives. When they passed away, the American Chess Foundation, which owns the building, fell into the hands of non-chessplayers. They ordered the Manhattan Chess Club to move.


In 1985, Josh Waitzkin joined the Manhattan Chess Club.


In 1992, the Club and the American Chess Foundation purchased a building at 353 W. 46th St.


In 2001, the Club moved to the New Yorker Hotel, Suite 1521, 481 8th Avenue. It was open on weekdays from 6 pm to midnight and on weekends from 11am to 11pm.


On February 1, 2002, the Manhattan Chess Club closed. It existed for 124 years, the second-oldest chess club in the United States (next to the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club in San Francisco). Its last president was Jeff Kossak.



1879  not known

1880  not known

1881  Frank Melville Teed (1856-1929)

1882  not known

1883  Dr. Gustave Simonson (1864-1935)

1884  John S. Ryan (1849-1914)

1885  Eugene Delmar (1841-1909)

1886  John S. Ryan

1887  Samuel (Simon) Lipschuetz (1863-1905)

1888  David Graham Baird (1854-1913)

1889  Samuel Lipschuetz

1890  D. G. Baird

1891  D. G. Baird

1892  James Moore Hanham (1840-1923)

1893  Albert Beauregard Hodges (1861-1944)

1894  not known

1895  D. G. Baird

1896  Louis Schmidt, Jr. (1855-1938)

1897  not known

1898  D.G. Baird and Gustave H. Koehler

1898-1899  Albert B. Hodges

1899  James Hanham

1900  Samuel Lipschuetz

1900-1901  Frank J. Marshall (1877-1944)

1901  Frank Marshall

1903  J.M. Hanham, Jacob Halper, Harold Phillips (1874-1967)

1904  D.G. Baird

1905  Gustave Koehler

1905-1906  Albert W. Fox (1881-1964)

1907  Paul F. Johner (1887-1938)

1908  Albert Pulvermacher

1909  Manuel Ayala, Otto Roething (1865-1915), Leon Rosen (1869-1942)

1909-1910  Frank J. Marshall

1911  Jacob Rosenthal (1881-1954)

1912  Magnus Smith (1869-1934)

1913  Magnus Smith

1913-1914  Abraham Kupchik (1892-1970)

1915  Abraham Kupchik

1916  Abraham Kupchik

1917  Abraham Kupchik

1918  Jose Capablanca (1888-1942)

1918-1919  Abraham Kupchik

1919-1920  Abraham Kupchik, Oscar Chajes (1873-1928)

1920-1921  Dawid Janowski (1868-1927) in play-off over Roy T. Black (1888-1962)

1921-1922  Morris A. Schapiro (1903-1996)

1922-1923  Morris A. Schapiro

1923-1924  Oscar Chajes

1924-1925  Abraham Kupchik

1925-1926  Abraham Kupchik

1926-1927  Geza Maroczy (1870-1951)

1927-1928  Abraham Kupchik

1928-1929  Alexander Kevitz (1902-1981)

1929-1930  Isaac Kashdan (1905-1985)

1931  Isaac Kashdan

1932-1933  A. Kevitz on tiebreak over Robert Willman (1908-1977).

1933-1934  Robert Willman

1934-1935  A. Kevitz after playoff with Isaac Kashdan

1935  Abraham Kupchik on play-off against Isaac Kashdan

1936  Alexander Kevitz on tiebreak over Albert C. Simonson (1914-1965)

1937  Isaac Kashdan after playoff with Albert C. Simonson

1938  Isaac Kashdan

1939  Jack Moskowitz (1912-2004)

1940  Arnold Denker (1914-1978)

1941  Albert S. Pinkus (1903-1984)

1942  Fred Reinfeld (1910-1964) and Sidney N. Bernstein (1911-1992) tie

1943  not known

1944  Arnold Denker after playoff with Willman

1945  Albert Pinkus

1946  Alexander Kevitz

1947  Alexander Kevitz (another source says Arnold Denker)

1948  Arthur B. Bisguier (1929- )

1949  Arthur B. Bisguier

1950  Arnold Denker, George Shainswit (1918-1997).

1950-1951  Arnold Denker

1951-1952  George Kramer (1929- )

1952-1953  Max Pavey (1918-1957)

1954  Arnold Denker

1954-1955  Alexander Kevitz and James Sherwin (1933- )

1955-1956  Max Pavey

1956-1957  Abe Turner (1924-1962)

1957-1958  Arthur B. Bisguier

1958-1959  Arthur B. Bisguier

1959-1960  Pal C. Benko (1928- )

1961  Pal C. Benko

1961-1962  Paul Brandts

1963  Bernard Zuckerman

1964  Bernard Zuckerman

1965  Pal C. Benko

1966  Pal C. Benko

1967  Pal C. Benko

1967-1968  Arthur B. Bisguier

1968-1969  Arthur B. Bisguier

1969  Arthur Bisguier

1969-1970  Arnold Denker

1971  Arthur Feurstein

1972  Walter Shipman

1973  George Kramer

1974  Alexander Kevitz, George Kramer, Walter Shipman

1975  Neil McKelvie

1976  Milorad Boskovic

1977  Alexander Kevitz

1978  Joel Benjamin

1979  Jorge Massana, Neil McKelvie

1980  Jeffrey Kastner

1981  John Fedorowicz

1982  Joel Benjamin, Vitaly Zaltsman

1983  Joel Benjamin

1984  Walter Shipman

1985  Walter Shipman

1986  Jonathan Schroer

1987  Ronald M. Young, Bernard Zuckerman

1988  Mark Ginsburg

1989  Michael Rohde

1990  Mark Ginsburg

1991  Kamran Shirazi and Zaltsman win the 114th annual Manhattan CC Ch.

1992  Joel Benjamin

1993  Jay Bonin

1994  Jay Bonin, Walter Shipman

1995  Walter Shipman

1996  John Fedorowicz, Alexander Wojtkiewiez

1997  Jay Bonin

1998  Joel Benjamin

1999  Joel Benjamin (wins for the 6th time)

2001  Leonid Yudasin