Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Mid-South Open / The First One

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Hunter Weaks of Memphis won the Mid-South tourney which was played in Memphis over the Thanksgiving weekend.  This tournament is expected to become an annual event.  Mr. Weaks scored five points (draws with Veveris and Scrivener) in this six round Swiss event.  Also five points obtained by Troy Miller of Natchez, Miss, (1 loss to Weaks) good for second after tie breaking.  Two players scored  4 ½ points, Gunars Vereris of Bolivar, Tenn. took third and Bob Scirvener was 4th.  Five players had four points each and placed in this order: 5th Peter Lahde, 6th Steve Balsai (Hot Springs, Ark.), 7th John Poole (Jackson, Miss.), 8th Rappaport and 9th Albert Bowen (Nashville).

This tournament was well organized and directed by Joe Spiegel, Clif Lipman, and Bill Wiseman (all of Memphis).

The event attracted 31 players (same as the Tenn. Open) of which 17 are members of one or the other Memphis chess clubs. (Quite a record I might add, The TCN editor). Twelve players came from other states, and only two from other parts of Tennessee, they being from Nashville.

Some $135 dollars were awarded in prizes.  In addition special prizes were given in forms of chess books, USCF pins, and a chess board.

Here are the scores of the top twelve players in this event.

Unfortunately a complete listing of all participants did not become available in time for this issue.

 1. Hunter Weaks --- Memphis, Tenn.- 5-1
 2. Troy Miller--------- Natchez, Miss.--- 5-1
 3. Gunars Veveris--- Bolivar, Tenn.--- 4 ½-½
 4. Robert Scrivener- Nesbit, Miss.----- 4 ½-½
 5. Peter Lahde------- Nashville, Tenn-- 4-2
 6. Steve Balsai------- Hot Springs, Ark.-4-2
 7. John Poole--------- Jackson, Miss.--- 4-2
 8. Morton Rappaport-Wynn, Ark.------- 4-2
 9. Albert Bowen------ Nashville, Tenn.- 4-2
10. Bill Wiseman ----- Memphis, Tenn. - 3 ½- 2 ½
11. L. Priddy-----------=============-3 ½- 2 ½
12. D. Sims-------------=============-3 ½- 2 ½
13. James Wright----- Millington, Tenn-- 3 ½- 2 ½

The complete crosstable from Vol. 16 No. 1 January 20, 1961 Chess Life:

The Mid-South Open / The Second One
Important Events Before the Second Mid-South Open

Tennessee Open
September 2, 3, 4, 1961

This TCN newsletter reported 34 chess players took part in the TN Open.  Robert Coveyou came in first with 5½ points and Hunter Weaks placed 2nd with 5 points.  Whitaker, N.T., Washington, D.C., Hartleb, Glenn, Washington, D.C., & Stevens, Chas., Baltimore, Md. shown as forfeiting their first round and then in the second round having withdrawn. 

Glenn Hartleb Killed in Car Accident

We are very sorry to have to report the death of Glenn Hartleb of Washington, D.C. who was on his way to the Tennessee Open.  With him in the car, and planning to play in the Tennessee Open, were Norman T. Whitaker of Washington, D.C. and Charles Stevens, Baltimore, Md., both of whom were seriously injured and hospitalized in Russelville, Ark.

Chess Life October 1961 Pg. 283

Glenn Hartleb Killed

USCF Member Glenn Hartleb of Washington, D.C., was killed in an auto accident in Russelville, Arkansas returning from the U.S. Open at San Francisco and en-route to the Tennessee Open at Nashville, last month.  Originally from Erie, Pa., he resided in Washington, D.C., where he was employed as an accountant.

Glenn was a former USCF Membership Secretary--in the days when there were no salaries paid but plenty of hard work to perform.  He competed in every U.S. Open Championship since Pittsburgh, 1946. . . One of his "trademarks" was his greeting to every player: "Master!" whether the player was actually a Master of just another woodpusher.  He himself maintained a high Expert's rating . . . very close to Master's title but never quite made it.  Calculating his rating from his past two performances, the U.S. Team Championship and the U.S. Open, the USCF Rating Statistician has informed us of a sadly ironic occurrence.  Hartleb's rating jumped to 2196 from his performance at Raleigh and his 7½-4½ at San Francisco gave him exactly what he needed to earn the magic number of 2200.  After all these years Glenn is a Master but he'll never know it.

2nd Annual Mid-South Open at Memphis

This event, sponsored by the Memphis Chess Club, will be held at the King Cotton Hotel, 69 Jefferson, Memphis, Tenn. on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of Nov. 1961.  It will be a  6-round Swiss System tournament, open to all, and results will be rated by USCF.  The schedule is as follows:

Registration Nov. 24th - 8:00 A.M.
Rounds 1 & 2 Nov. 24th
Rounds 3 & 4 Nov. 25th
Rounds 5 & 6 Nov. 26th
Prizes Awarded Nov. 26th - about 6:00 P.M.
Entry Fee is $6.00 to all plus $5.00 USCF dues for those who are not members.
There will also be a Reserve section for players to the same fees and regulations as the "A" section.
Prizes are as follows: 1st a trophy plus $60, 2nd a trophy plus $35, and 3rd a trophy plus $20. For the Reserve section there will be trophies for each placing 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.  There will be many special prizes in both sections.

TCN November-December 1961 pg. 1

Mid-South Open Won by John Ragan

John Ragan, of East St. Louis, Ill, took with a clean sweep the strong Mid-South Open held . . . at Memphis.  The event attracted 27 players, including a master, two master emeritus, and two experts.  In addition 9 players participated in the amateur division.

Behind John Ragan, tied for second and third with 4 ½ out of 6 were Richard Long of Nashville and Ed Middleton of Memphis.  This tie could not be broken by any of the three tie breaking systems applied.  Fourth was Norman T. Whitaker of Washington, D.C. also with 4 ½.  Fifth through seventh places were taken by John Hurt of Memphis, James Wright of Millington, Tenn., and Louis Stephens of E. Alton, Ill.  Hunter Weaks of Memphis, last year's winner, only scored 3 ½ points for 9th place behind Morton Rappaport of Wynne, Ark. who also had 3 ½.  Also Uncle Bob Scrivener had the same score to take 10th place. 

Bob O'Bannon of Memphis won the Amateur division with 5 ½ points.  An indication of the strength of the Open event is given by the fact that Troy Miller of Natchez, Miss. could only win one game and had to settle for last place.  Last year he tied for first with Weaks in this event and took second only after tie breaking.  On the brighter side, Norman Whitaker was able to play in the tourney after being involved in a serious car accident, although he had to play from the Shrine Hospital in Memphis.

For the tourney record from this event see this link:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Peabody Hotel and Memphis Chess

The Peabody Hotel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was for the Memphis Chess Club a great playing site in the 1970's.  The 4,256 square foot Venetian Room the club used held a very large tournament and you could enjoy the seating in the lobby while watching the Peabody ducks between rounds.  For current information, go to the Peabody's web site:

Tennessee Chess News Volume 16, No. 1 January 1974

Tournament Calendar

January 19-20, 1974

HUNTER WEAKS MEMORIAL OPEN--Sheraton Peabody Hotel, Memphis.  5-SS, 50/2, EF $15. TCA membership required for Tennessee Residents. Prizes $$ 200, 100, 50 A40 B35, C30, D25, E20, Unrated 15: trophies to top 3, top A,B,C,D,E, & Unrated. Limit to one prize per winner.  Reg. 8-9 AM 1/19. Rounds 9-2-7, 8-1.  ENT: Frank Hemphill, ____Aubra, Memphis TN 38111

Tennessee Chess News Volume 16. No. 2 March 1974

James Wright Wins Hunter Weaks Memorial

Beating out Master Elliot Winslow (St. Louis) on tie-break, James Wright (Memphis) won the Hunter Weaks Memorial with a perfect 5-0 score.  Seven players scored 4-1 in this order after tie-break: 3rd John Hurt (Memphis), 4th Mahlon Smith (Memphis), 5th Ed Middleton (Memphis), 6th Mike Webb (Memphis), 7th Jack Smith (Memphis, 8th Gary Pylant (Memphis) and 9th Peter Shirley of Forrest City, Ark.  The event attracted 59 players.  The Tourney was directed by Frank Hemphill, assisted by Gary Pylant, Morris Middleton, and Jim Little.  Other prize winners were:  Class A - John Hurt; B - Gary Pylant, C - Mike Webb, D - David Myers, E - Michael Bock, Unrated - David Abel.  (For final results for all entries go to this link:

Blog editor:  My first USCF rated tournament was this 1974 Hunter Weaks Memorial, and I was entry number 59.  I won my first round game and lost the next four afterward.  It is still a fond memory.

Tennessee Chess News Volume 16. No. 2 March 1974

Book Reviews

Selected Games of Hunter Weaks - published by the Memphis Chess Club.  The first book ever published on chess in Tennessee.  A fine tribute to a great player who had a vital influence on chess, not just in Memphis, but also in Tennessee, and the South in general.  The biographical sketch is well written by players of the Memphis club.  It gives insight in Hunter as the player and also as an individual in other interests, such as classical music and Shakespeare.  The fine selection of games are accompanied by excellent annotation, sometimes even with Hunter's own ideas and analysis.  It includes simultaneous exhibitions against U.S. Grandmasters Bobby Fischer and Samuel Reshevsky, and Yugoslav Grandmaster Trifunovic.  Also, you will find several games he played in postal chess in which he excelled and also in blindfold chess.  In addition there are games against other Memphis players such as B.B. Jefferson and Uncle Bob Scrivener who gained national prominence in their prime. (review by Peter Lahde)

(Note:  An online version is of the book is available at the Memphis Chess Club's Archive link:

Sunday, February 27, 2011

1973 Walter Browne Simultaneous

1973 Tennessee Chess News July Volume 15 Number 4

Walter Browne Gives Simultaneous In Memphis
(Location Raleigh Springs Mall)

On May 5, 1973 Grandmaster Walter Browne took on 27 players of the Memphis Chess Club and made the fantastic score of 26 wins and one loss.  The only Memphis player to win was Chris McDade.

Mr. Christopher McDade has given permission to publish his thoughts about the match with Grandmaster Walter Browne which are posted below:   
(Click "Read more" below.)