Moore on Ladies' Chess


Jean Moore,  a very lovely young lady at the time,  was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Moore of Muscatine, Iowa.  She later married Harold Grau and won the American Chess Federation Women's Championship in 1937, playing as Jean Grau,  by defeating Rosemarie Fisher of Milwaulkee (the Wisconsin state women's champion) in a tournament (now called the U.S. Women's Open) held at the Congress Hotel in Chicago.


Congress Hotel, Chicago

Mrs. Grau planned on attending the 1938 U.S. Women's Championship tournament at the Marshall Club in New York but was unable to make the long trip.  Instead, before the tournament commenced, she suggested a match between the winner of the National tournament and herself at some mid-way point.  Mrs. Mona May Karff,  the eventual winner,  was amenable but unfortunately nothing ever seems to have become of the idea.

At the "Century of Progress" exposition (the Chicago World's Fair) in 1933,  17 year old Jean,  walking about with her parents,  passed by a chess exhibition being given by Alexander Alekhine.  Alekhine was scheduled to play a 32 board blindfold simul.  It so happened that two contestants failed to appear, so Jean and her brother George volunteered to stand in for them.  Jean managed to draw her game with Alekhine.

According to Mrs. Grau,  "Then I began to realize that I might be able to make something of my chess. Since father taught me to play when I was 14,  I had been playing with the family,  but that was my first experience in competition."


In 1935 she won the class-A division of the trans-Mississipi tournament at Davenport playing against 6 men. In 1936,  she captured the midwest chess championship for women played at the Oak Park Y.M.C.A.


Alexander Alekhine - Mrs. Jean Grau




  • 9 years ago


    Hi batgirl,  any knowledge of her families involvement in chess.  Seems this young lady knew a little more than what could be learned playing the average family of chess players (of course I have no idea beyond my own family but maybe you know what I mean).
  • 9 years ago


    Thank you
  • 9 years ago


    "No problem where she had born, if deserted us."


    Géza Maróczy didn't seem to feel the same way. During much of his time in New York, he was Mary Bain's house-guest.


  • 9 years ago


    "Very well played indeed, esp. for a 14 y.o"


    Miss Moore learned to play at age 14.  She was born on September 16, 1915. She played the game vs Alekhine in mid 1933, when she was 17.


    Jean Moore Grau died just 3 months ago at age 92.

  • 9 years ago


    Good post, shedding light upon the history of chess, showing the involvement of women in chess. I certainly see a dispairty between information upon womens involvement in chess, so it is refereshing to see such posts!

        Also the game against Alekhine was quite masterful. It appears as black is going to be able to overwhelm whites position! Very well played indeed, esp. for a 14 y.o. with no formal introduction to chess.

    Thx for the post! Keep up the great work!

  • 9 years ago


    Alekhine offered a draw and Miss Moore accepted.
  • 9 years ago


    What happened after move 21?
  • 9 years ago


    great post
  • 9 years ago



    Of special interest to you -


    "Mrs. Grau planned on attending the 1938 U.S. Women's Championship tournament... but was unable to make the long trip"


    That tournament was won by Mona May Karff, but second place went to Mary Bain. Mary Bain had come in second the previous year in the same tournament (which was not yet considered for the U.S. Champion title), losing to the beautiful Adele Rivero.  The winner of that 1937 tournament was to represent America in the Women's World Championship in Stockholm. Rivero was unable to go, so Mary Bain went instead. She managed to score 5th place (only ½  point below Sonia Graf). Unlike all the other contestants, she had no coach.   On her way home she stayed over in Helsingfors (Helsinki) where she gave a 15 board simul against strong men players. She won 5, lost 6 and drew 4. But she was suffering "stage-fright" so badly that when she was asked for her autograph, she forgot how to sign her own name!


    Returning home, she gave another simul against 10 strong men players - this time winning 8, losing 1 and drawing 1 - and another against 8 strong women players, winning all.


    She finally won the U.S.Women's Chess Championship in 1951.


    Mary Bain was born in Hungary.

  • 9 years ago


    As always, great post.
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