|10 West 10th Street|
I doubt it was coincidence that I lived across the street from the club. My father and Dr. Vitanza were business partners with GM Reuben Fine. I think that's what got Dr. Vitanza involved in chess, and he very likely saw the building for sale (they would buy 10 West 10th Street) while visiting the club. I still have some pieces from the wooden set Dr. Vitanza gave me many decades ago. Dr. Vitanza helped increase my interest in chess, though I was taught by my mother, and I was also inspired by my great-uncle, Ben Ferstadt, who was from the town of Berestechko in the Ukraine.
|USWC Rachel Crotto|
|FM Asa Hoffmann|
|Marshall Chess Club|
|Dr. Milton Hanauer|
|GM William Lombardy|
|FWC Robert J. Fischer|
|IM Jay Bonin|
|WCGM Carlsen with GM Marshall|
|NTD Steve Immitt|
|Howard Prince (Right)|
Mr. Goldwater was sick with leukemia. Unfortunately most of the board members were afraid to come forward to take up the leadership of the club for fear of Mr. Goldwater, who everyone assumed would leave the club a great deal of money. Goldwater left the club no money at all, and I don't blame him. There was no one around to protect it and put it to good use.
Dr. Finkelstein became president pro-temp and then president. I don't know how that happened, but usually one president appoints the next president, just a new board members usually come on the board on the suggestion of other board members. Dr. Finkelstein and Dr. Hanauer were once co-principals and best friends, but it seemed to me that they were two very different men. Dr. Hanauer was one of the first pioneers of scholastic chess long before everyone was doing it.
I don't know much about Dr. Finkelstein's administrations. I wasn't there. I heard later that there was an untoward attempt to sell the building which was headed off at the last minute. Those who go far enough to the Haft administration know that there were three plaques that sat together on the mantle of the middle fireplace. One was Dr. Finkelstein, one was Alex Weber. I forget who the third was. I heard that Alex Weber was one of the great men who stopped the sale of the building. If it were not for him we would not have a club today. There would be no club for GM Magnus Carlsen to visit, for us to play in tournaments, or any of the good things that are happening these days.
Another person who was instrumental in saving the club was Peter Sepulveda. Peter was never president, but he brought many new people on to the board over a period of several decades. He had a great deal of influence other who the presidents would be. I believe he played a major role, not only in selecting Gary Sperling, but also in replacing him with Marianna Bellizzi. From what I've heard, Sperling reactivated the system of committees which traditionally ran the club, but he was too autocratic, and was replaced by Marianna Bellizzi, who was president for many years. When she got tired of being president, Peter helped bring in Leon Haft.
I had been at the Manhattan and rejoined the Marshall when Leon Haft hired my friend FM Ron Young as manager. Leon wasn't crazy about me. In fact Leon threw me out of the office a couple of times. While he never apologized for throwing me out of the office, many years later he found a letter I had written him, and when he saw me at the club he complemented me on it.
|IA Eric Schiller|
Note: I should add that few give Leon credit for using part of the mortgage to combine two of the upstairs apartment, thus ending rent stabilization in the building.
Haft was controversial for a number of reasons. During the Haft administration, the club failed to make its annual tax filings. The tax filings had been entrusted to Isadore Rothman, who was very sick with the cancer that eventually killed him. Rothman was given full blame. Jack Henry eventually talked the IRS into lowering or eliminating the fines. Leon left before his term was up, and with no active officers, Ron Young had to handle the club's business pretty much on his own. Steve helped out from time to time. Ed Kopieki was the night manager. Despite all of these problems, which most of the members didn't know about, the club was very active during Haft's time. There were internationals run Dr. Eric Schiller and Eric Moskow, MD. There was also a series of internationals that included Josh Waitzkin and some of his contemporaries, including GM Maurice Ashley. Bob Dunnigan was a very active volunteer through most of the Haft administration.
It wasn't until later when Howard Prince was president that GM Bill Lombardy encouraged me to run for the board again. Actually the year before Howard agreed to make me assistant treasurer. During that year, I not only learned how little money the club had, but also that membership was plummeting due to an ill-timed dues increase. The building actually wasn't doing that badly at the time even though some of the apartments were rent stabilized. In fact, we were putting money in the bank. The club had a very low budget due to the decline in membership, but I still remember those as good years.
After I became assistant treasurer and then treasurer, I saw that the club didn't and shouldn't get too much cash from tournaments. The best source of revenue is Resident memberships. I think the club had a tradition of not encouraging professional players, because the original idea was that GM Marshall would be the only chess professional there. Unfortunately the idea of not encouraging professional chessplayers went on for decades even after Marshall died. For many years in a row, the strong GM Andy Soltis won the club championship. Until he was outscored one year by then NM Brian Hulse. The idea of not encouraging professional players still lives on in the policy of not allowing titled players to vote.
|NM Peter Winston|