Pasadena 1932 International Chess Tournament

by Bob Sherwood, Dale Brandreth

Dale Brandreth, Robert Sherwood

Reviewer: John Donaldson
Caissa Editions
118 pages (hardback)

Cambridge Springs 1904, New York 1924, Dallas 1957 and the two Piatigorsky Cups of 1963 and 1966 are long remembered as important tournaments in American chess history. The events are not just tied together by their strength and the international players who participated, but also remembered by the books and bulletins devoted to them. In the case of New York 1924 and the two Piatigorsky Cups, these were major works.

One other very important American international, Pasadena 1932, featured World Champion Alexander Alekhine, Isaac Kashdan and the young American stars Reuben Fine, Sammy Reshevsky and Arthur Dake. Until a few months ago this tournament, the first big event on the West Coast, only had a small bulletin devoted to it featuring a selection of 25 unannotated games. The publication of Pasadena 1932 International Chess Tournament by Robert Sherwood, Dale Brandreth and Bruce Monson fills a major gap.

One of the roadblocks behind publishing a book on Pasadena 1932 was the lack of a complete bulletin for the event. Today, when games are available in real time, it’s hard to imagine that Dale Brandreth spent over three decades trying to find missing games from Pasadena. In the end the authors managed to find 54 out of the 66 played which are presented with detailed notes and copious diagrams. These are supplemented by contemporary accounts of the event and photos.

Bruce Monson, one of the great American chess detectives, has also unearthed the fascinating story of Lavieve Hines, a strong female player who won the women’s event at Pasadena after being coached by Alekhine, and shortly after retired. Monson also tell the tragic story of Clif Sherwood who preceded Herman Steiner as chess columnist of the Los Angeles Times before killing the young French girl Gabrielle Andrieux and then taking his own life.

Like all Caissa Edition books, Pasadena 1932 is very nicely produced. A hardback, it’s printed on acid-free paper with red covers and gilt lettering in a first printing of 1000 copies.

Highly Recommended