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Old October 30th 05, 06:06 PM
Taylor Kingston
 
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Default The Absolutely 100% True Cross My Heart and Hope to Die True Story about the death of JFK

Sam Sloan wrote:
However, I can easily defend my statement that when Whitaker got out
of Alcatraz Prison he was once again one of the top chess players in
the United States.
Whitaker got out in 1947.


False. Whitaker was released from Alcatraz in very late December 1936
or very early January 1937. In Hilbert's biography, I see no mention of
Whitaker serving prison time in 1947. He was convicted of sending
morphine through the US mail in 1944. For that crime he was imprisoned
in the Federal Corrections Institution at Milan, Michigan -- not in
Alcatraz. He was released from Milan in March 1946.

The reason I remember this is that there was
a very important letter to the editor in Chess Life a few years ago.
The letter writer was one of the organizers to the 1947 US Open in
Corpus Cristi, Texas. He wrote that while the tournament was being
organized word was received from the President of the USCF that
Whitaker had just gotten out of Alcatraz and he was in the process of
driving his car from San Francisco to Corpus Christi, Texas to play in
the US Open Chess Championship. The president of the USCF instructed
the organizers of the US Open that this man was a criminal and
therefore he should not be allowed to play.

However, the organizers held a meeting and decided that if this man
has served 14 years on Alcatraz Island, then he has paid his debt to
society and therefore he should be allowed to play chess.


Your memory is clearly at odds with the facts.

I am 100% certain that this was about the US Open in Corpus Cristi,
which was held in 1947


Hilbert says the 1947 US Open was in Fort Worth.

In 1947, Larry Evans was only 15 years old and Whitaker, who was rated
2420 by Elo, was still probably better.


Nonsense. 2420 was Whitaker's estimated *peak* Elo. His peak period
was somewhere around 1921-1930. By 1947 he was in definite decline. On
the first USCF rating list, his Elo was 2245, not even NM strength (the
master threshold was then 2300); by 1951 he fell to 2180. The Evans of
that time would have cleaned his clock.

Even in 1960, a rating of 2420
was enough to put a player in the top 12 in the US and get him into
the US Closed Championship. In 1947, with the exception of Reshevsky,
Fine, Denker, Kashdan, Kupchik and Horowitz and perhaps one or two
others I doubt there was anybody better than Whitaker.


Then he must have gone downhill *awfully* fast, since in August 1948
he finished 16th out of 20 in the US Championship, behind Steiner,
Kashdan, Kramer, Ulvestad, Hesse, Rubinow, Shainswit, Adams, Evans,
Shipman, Sandrin, Santasiere, Poschel, Platz, and Heitner.

Another question is in about 1906 Whitaker played two matches with
Jackson Showalter, who was US Champion at the time. Showalter won.


Sam, when you get something wrong, you really go whole hog. Whitaker
did play two matches with Showalter, but in 1916 (S won 6-1) and 1918
(W won 5-2).

Were these matches for the US Championship? Does anybody know?


The US title was not at stake in either, Marshall having won the
title in 1909.

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