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Friday, June 30, 2017

Edith Lucie Weart

Weart in 1967
     Edith Weart was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on April 19, 1897.  She died in January 1977 at age 79.
     She attended Oberlin (Ohio) College and after graduating in 1918 with a degree in chemistry she lived in Canton, Ohio.
     The American Mercury of May 1929 published an article she wrote and contained a brief bio: "Edit Lucie Weart was born in Jersey City and is a graduate of Oberlin. She specialized in chemistry and was engaged in laboratory work for a number of years. She is now secretary to two dermatologists, and devotes her spare time to medical editing." 
     By 1931 she was working as assistant to the advertising manager of Mead, Johnson and Co., a pharmaceutical house that supplied baby diet products. She wrote extensively on health related topics, writing books and publishing articles in numerous periodicals. Her books on health topics were geared toward children and included titles such as The Story of Your Skin, The Story of Your Bones, The Story of Your Respiratory System and many others. In 1948 she also wrote one chess book, also geared toward children, titled The Royal Game: Chess for Young People
     She learned to play chess in 1924 and 10 years later Frank Marshall's wife, Carrie, organized a women's chess tournament in New York City that in a few years evolved into the US Women's Championship. Weart was one of ladies considered strong enough to participate. After the tournament, Harriet Broughton, writing for Chess Review said, "Evidence of the serious attitude they have lies in Miss Edith Weart's statement that games bore her, but she likes chess: She says that for ten years the only competition she was able to get was from friends she herself had taught to play; and she taught them all the Evans gambit! Moreover, she used this opening consistently playing white in the tournament. She ended with six wins and five losses." 
     In this first event Weart tied for 5th out out of 12 with a 6-5 score. Two years later in 1936 she tied for second with Mary Bain behind Adele Rivero. In 1937 she was a columnist for Chess Review and only finished 9th out 10. In the 1938 U.S.Women's championship Weart finished 4th behind Karff, Bain and Rivero. Shortly after that tournament she played in the US Open. 
     While returning from the Open in Boston, Mary Bain, Mrs. Raphael McCready and Weart were in a car accident when their car skidded on slippery pavement and crashed into a pole. McCready suffered minor injuries and Bain fractured a vertebra which required her to be in a cast for eight months, bedridden for much of that time. Weart was pinned under the car and sustained a fracture to her shoulder. 
     The 1938 event was Weart's last though she did serve as assistant TD in 1946 and 1948 and served on the US Women's Championship committee 1951. After 1938, her reports for Chess Review also appeared less and less frequently. It was then she began writing her many children's books and, also, authored newspaper articles on chess aimed at children. 
     She had begun spending time on weekly visits to bed-ridden children in the cardiac ward of the Bellevue Hospital, where she was known as The Toy Lady, teaching them chess. The children especially treasured the red and white Bellevue Chess Club button they were given after they mastered the fundamentals. 
     The following 1936 game played for the women's championship of the Marshall Chess club is typical of the problems we amateurs often face. We get a good, even winning position as white does here, then don't know what to do with it! The games in this tournament were, as Herman Helms pointed out, not always sound, replete with complications and frequent surprises and he gave this game as an example.

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