It was a positive and upbeat time when most Americans
still believed in their economic, religious, political,
and legal institutions despite signs of stress. The
public had been partly shielded from the scandals of
Warren G. Harding's presidency by his sudden death in
office, and they very quickly adopted his successor
Calvin Coolidge as their own. Coolidge would be re-elected
by a landslide just as the second round of the Dimock
tournament began on November 4, defeating the now forgotten
John W. Davis (the Democrat's compromise candidate).
In New York politics, the popular incumbent Alfred E.
Smith defeated Theodore Roosevelt (the son of the late
president, who refused the addition of "Jr."
to his name) for the governorship of the state. Smith
would run unsuccessfully for president four years later.
By November 7, the day after Torre defeated Marshall
in their second game, the stock market had hit a five
year high with a record 2.3 million traded shares, inaugurating
one of the greatest stock market booms of all time.
was the Jazz Age, the Roaring Twenties, and the height
of Prohibition. It was the period of hope and promise
that would be depicted in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The
Great Gatsby (published the following year).
Street scenes show life in
New York City
in 1924, a period of
great prosperity and optimism.
period saw the clash between a nostalgic dogmatism and a progressive
embrace of science and new ideas. In the art world, this meant
the rise of modern art opposed by the protectors of classical
aesthetics. In science, the advance of Darwinism opposed by
creationism (played out in the Scopes trial of 1925). And
in the world of chess, this conflict would be symbolized by
the classical principles of players like Lasker, Capablanca,
and Marshall against the rising success of the new generation,
which included Alekhine and Reti, whose hypermodern approach
to the game seemed to violate longheld principles. In The
New York International Tournament, these five players
would finish in the top spots of the tournament. By the following
year, at Baden-Baden
1925 (won by Alekhine), Moscow
1925 (won by Bogoljubow), and Marienbad
1925 (won by Nimzovich), the younger players would come
into their own and the hypermodern period would be fully under
way. In a sense, 1924 was a liminal moment, halfway between
1921 defeat of Lasker for the World Championship and his
to Alekhine in 1927. Siegbert Tarrasch's The Game of
Chess (with its embrace of the classical principles set
forth by Steinitz) was soon to be replaced by Aron Nimzovich's
My System as the Bible for the new generation of players.
against the backdrop of the coming changes in the game and
in the world, the Dimock Theme Tournament's 19th Century opening
might seem rather nostalgic, harkening back to a more romantic
period when swashbuckling tactics and speculative sacrifices
were the order of the day. If the tournament was conceived
out of nostalgia, however, it nonetheless helped to bring
these old fashioned openings into the present day of careful,
scientific analysis. That it featured a contest between Frank
Marshall, who was, according to Max Euwe,"one of the
leaders of a group of tacticians who remained faithful to
the chess of the 19th Century -- the golden age of combination,"
and the young Carlos Torre, whose name would become associated
with hypermodern openings like the Two Knights Tango and the
Torre Attack, seems therefore especially fitting. The Dimock
Theme Tournament brought together the old and the young, so
that this romantic opening could be revised for the modern
to Online Resources about the 1920s
more information on the history of the 1920s, visit some of
the following links:
Chess in 1924 by Edward Winter
An excellent survey of everything that was going on in the chess world at the time of this event.
Cultural History, 1920-1929
A useful guide to research on the 1920s, with references
to books and useful facts about the period.
Biography of America: The Twenties
A web site to support the television documentary.
Timeline of American Literature and Events, 1920-1924
A great chronology of literary highlights with links to
Harding's successor is much better remembered, and even
has a large web site devoted to his life and leadership.
History -- The Roaring 20s
Excellent coverage of the economic growth during this period.
From the Internet Movie Database.
Films Depicting the 1920s
Scott Fitzgerald Centennary
A site developed by the University of South Carolina to
celebrate Fitzgerald's 100th birthday.
Scott Fitzgerald's Tales of the Jazz Age (1922)
Great collection of Fitzgerald's stories about the 1920s
from the MSU Libraries.
Homework.com's site devoted to Fitzgerald's novel, includes
The text of Fitzgerald's 1925 novel.
Great Gatsby Website
A page devoted to the novel.
Life of Henry Ford
A biography of the important automobile maker and tycoon
the Henry Ford Museum.
Leopold & Loeb by Marilyn Bardsley
The 20s were ironically a period of both great social restriciton
(including Prohibition) and incredible lawlessness. The
story of Leopold and Loeb's unmotivated kidnapping and murder
of Bobby Franks is perhaps the best remembered example of
the threat of lawlessness that the 20s confronted. The sentence
for the crime was handed down in the late summer of 1924
and was likely still the subject of conversation at the
time the Dimock Tournament began in the Fall.
Lawless Decade, by Paul Sann
With prohibition came a rise in crime and law enforcement
during the 1920s, which this web site documents.
The online Picasso Project.
Teapot Dome Scandal
The Teapot Dome was probably the most significant political
scandal of the early 20th century and could have brought
an end to Warren G. Harding's presidency if he had not died
Not the easiest site to navigate, but one full of interesting
information and images about the automobiles, music, and
social life (including Prohibition) of the twenties.
Trial Home Page
Great web site devoted to the legal aspects of the "Monkey
Trial" case, where the question of whether Darwin or
the Bible should dominate school biology curriculum was
Scopes "Monkey Trial"
A site devoted to the "media circus" around this
A site devoted to the days before sound in films.
Films of the 1920s
A great timeline with commentary and images that covers
the studios and their films. Worth the visit for anyone
interested in the social history of the period.
A useful historical timeline from Ad Access.