The second-oldest club in the United States is celebrating its centenary with a series of events this fall, including commemorating its past champions — some of whom were the best players in the world.
Chess clubs have suffered because of the growth of the Internet. Online servers have largely replaced one of the major functions of clubs — to serve as a meeting place to find other people to play. As membership declined for clubs in recent years, many of them folded, including the cross-town rival of the Marshall — the Manhattan Chess Club. But, partly because the Marshall owns its historic building in Manhattan, the Marshall has managed to survive and even thrive. The club is the second-oldest in the United States (behind San Francisco’s Mechanics Institute, which began in 1854). This year, it is celebrating its centenary, including by commemorating its past champions, some of whom have been among the game’s greats. Here are some of them.
Frank Marshall won the championship of his own club in 1937 and 1938, just after his 27-year reign as United States Champion (1909 to 1936) ended.
Larry Evans, who won the United States Championship five times, and was also the long-time second of Bobby Fischer, won the club's championship three times from 1947 to 1950.
Two years before Bill Lombardy won the World Junior Championship with a perfect score (the only person to ever do so), Lombardy was co-champion of the Marshall with Frank S. Howard.
Andy Soltis is Mr. Marshall, at least based on the number of times he claimed the club's title. From 1967 to 1988, Soltis won the championship nine times.
Roman Dzindzichashvili, a noted theoretician with an original and creative style, won the Marshall Championship in 1991.
John Federowicz was co-champion with Gennadi Sagalchik in 1992.
Joshua Waitzkin, whose early life was the subject of the film "Searching for Bobby Fischer," won the Marshall title in 1995 and 1996.
Jaan Ehlvest, who peaked at No. 5 in the world in 1991, won the club's championship four times in five years -- 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007.
Zviad Izoria won the Marshall Championship in 2008 -- three years after he won the HB Global Challenge, which was, until the Millionaire Open debuted last year, the open tournament with the biggest prize fund in history.
Gata Kamsky, who played for the FIDE World Championship in 1996, reached a career peak of No.4 in the world in 1995. Between 1997 and 2004, he was "semi-retired," until he unexpectedly entered a tournament at the club. He won the World Cup in 2007.