Chess Room Newsletter #1004 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #1004

Gens Una Sumus!



Newsletter #1004

January 29, 2022


Table of Contents

Chess is Life

by Abel Talamantez

I can't go a single week without noticing chess references in pop culture and/or sports. During this NFL playoff season, I've heard commentators in many different games refer to coaching decisions as a chess match as games get tight, where one mistake can cost you the game. It is also in movies and television shows, whether it is a chess board strategically placed in the background or chess being used to elevate the feeling of conflict between characters in a show. I've recently started watching The Flash on Netflix and there are chess references throughout the series. FM Paul Whitehead's recent columns show that week to week chess is everywhere in the news, and as chess players, we take notice right away. 

There is something about chess that transcends itself from just a game and into something more. Perhaps it is because chess is played everywhere in the world. I think because of this, it has an effect on someone introduced to the game where it becomes a lifelong activity that one cannot simply walk away from. People may not continually play chess, but it seems the curiosity never completely leaves, and even though it may be many years later, players always come back to it. 

But, if you are one of those players where chess becomes a passion, the grip is even tighter. Chess becomes more like a religion, a way of life, something that becomes part of you, and you must give in to it. I left the chess community and had another life after I turned 18, only to return to chess over 20 years later. When I came back, so many of the players I knew back then were still playing. I have personally seen players that have left the game and later returned. There is something about chess that gives us a sense of calm and belonging, a reset or respite from the chaos of the rest of the world, where the chaos of the chessboard brings us peace, perhaps because on the chessboard, we attempt to control the chaos, as we try to do in life. 

A group of Mechanics' regulars gather before the start of a TNM round in 2019, quite an impressive collection of characters at the club.

This brings me to the importance of the chess club, and the club as the central part of a chess community. We are incredibly lucky to have the Mechanics' Institute as a dedicated house for chess. It is world famous, and I have personally (though mostly pre-pandemic) welcomed people that have come from around the world just to visit the club, as well as many visitors from around the country. Online chess communities frequently recount stories of people and tournaments from the Mechanics' Institute, and that history is discussed and transmitted to others and has an existence of its own outside the walls of the club. The chess club serves as a hub, a symbol of that thing that binds history past and present as well as the people. When we held our online club match against the Marshall Chess Club in 2019, we had players bring their laptops to Mechanics' to play, as did the Marshall players. Though the games were played online, it was a very special experience having everyone come together live at the club.

The Mechanics' vs. Marshall online match was just one of the ways we brought community together for competition and camaraderie.

As this will be my last newsletter as your Chess Director, I want you thank the chess community for this incredible three-year ride. It has been exciting to see what we accomplished together, from international matches, grandmaster events, and the growing of scholastic classes and events. But not to be ignored is the club being open, for people to come in and engage with us in person and continue that feeling of being a part of a community. While the past few years have no doubt shown the importance and value of online communities, the in-person community of the chess club, that its members know the chess room is there and that the staff is there ready and waiting for them has an important significance, and I believe gives a reassuring feeling. Though chess may not be the center of everyone's lives, I'm sure it is always good to know the club is there, ready to continue its long history, to write new chapters that will be written about later, to represent a greatness and example for other clubs, to not aspire to just existing, but to creating. You think a gathering of chess players can't impact the world? Reportedly Karl Marx met Frederick Engels at the Cafe de la Regence in Paris in 1844, which was then considered the central gathering of world class players and intellectuals: Napolean, Benjamin Franklin, Rousseau, Voltaire, Paul Morphy, Adolf Anderssen and many others. 

Cafe de la Regence, Paris

The Mechanics' Institute is a special place, and we will continue not just to recount stories of its great past, but to continue to create new things to be written in the future. We will not rest on our laurels, and we will strive to be bold. I have full faith in not only the team at the Mechanics' Institute, but that the community will be right there to support them, as I will continue doing the same. I look forward to seeing everyone at the club, as either a player, tournament director, or spectator, and I will always be a Mechanics' Institute member. Chess is a part of my way of life, so the club is a part of me, as is the community. 

Thank you all!

Abel Talamantez

January 28, 2022

GM Andrew Hong Recipient of Mechanics' Institute Neil Falconer Award

We are excited to announce that GM Andrew Hong (17) is this year's recipient of the Neil Falconer Award, which is given to the highest rated player (by USCF rating) under the age of 18 residing in Northern California. He will receive a cash prize equal to his end of year USCF rating, which for him is $2603. He will be presented this award in person right before the start of the February Championship Quads on Saturday February 12th at 2:30pm. Congratulations to him, and we wish him continued success in his pursuits on and off the chessboard.

 2022 IM Walter Shipman TNM Round 4 Report

by Abel Talamantez

After four rounds, IM Elliott Winslow has regained a share of the lead in the top section, using his experience in the opening to gain a positional advantage early against rising scholastic player Luke Widjaja to get the win. He shares the lead with Edward Lewis, who drew with NM Mike Walder. It appears Lewis will get his long-awaited matchup with Winslow, who he has stated is the one player that seems to have his number. That looks to be an exciting board 1 matchup for next week. Jayden Xu is close behind at 3 points, but he probably should be at 3.5/4. He had a queen and pawns vs. rook and pawns against David Askin, and kudos to David for holding his position for the draw when many would have thought to resign. Both Walder and Xu are at 3 points. Players should be on the lookout for NM Yusheng Xia (2294), who is at 2 points and played his first round of this TNM, getting a win against Guy Argo. 

David Askin held a very difficult position down a queen for a rook against Jayden Xu. Paul Reed held a draw defending with king and knight vs. king and rook.

In the under 1800 section, Ashwin Vaidyanathan was the victor of the unbeatens, as he won against Sebby Suarez. Ashwin is the sole perfect score in the tournament at 4/4, with Romeo Barreyro right behind at 3.5. It was great to see some fighting chess in this section. The game between Paul Reed and JP Fairchild came down to king and rook for Fairchild vs. king and knight for Reed, and Fairchild pressing for the win. Although it is a theoretical draw, mistakes are made in this position by even very strong players. Kudos to Reed for holding the position, but it is always fun to see players try to navigate positions like this, both on offense and defense, similar to the Askin-Xu game discussed previously.

Matt Long and Richard Hack playing long into the night.

While we will continue to broadcast six boards of the TNM online, we are taking a hiatus on providing live commentary. You can watch the broadcast of round 4 by following this link: 

Here are some games from the round, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(1) Wang,Daniel Austi (1737) - Bambou,Christophe (2106) [D11]
2nd Shipman mem TNM: 1800+ San Francisco (4.5), 25.01.2022

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Bf5 5.Nf3 e6 6.0-0 h6 7.Qb3 Qb6 8.c5 Qxb3 9.axb3 Be7 10.b4


The battle begins here. We have a rather even endgame which is fairly locked up on the queenside. This is going to be a slow, strategic struggle. 10...0-0 11.Nc3 a6 12.Bf4 [12.b5 cxb5 13.Nxb5 Nc6=/+ is quite comfortable for Black] 12...Nbd7 13.h3 Ne4 14.Nxe4 Bxe4 15.Ne5?! Bxg2 16.Kxg2 Nxe5 17.Bxe5 More exchanges! It is still fairly even but Black has more possibilities on the kingside. 17...f6=/+ 18.Bf4 g5 19.Bd2 e5 20.Bc3 e4 21.f4?! Daniel takes his kingside space and gives Christophe the choice of a perfectly level game after 21...exf3+ 22 exf3 or a prettly locked up game with a slight advantage. 21...f5 Choosing the slight edge, but how to make progress? 22.Bd2 Rf7 23.e3 Raf8 24.Kh2 Bd8 25.b3 Bc7 26.Rf2 Kh7 27.Rg2 Rg8 28.Rag1 Rfg7 29.Kh1 Just waiting. What can Black do? 29...Rg6 30.Kh2 [30.h4 may be needed. It seems safe to sit and wait though doesn't it?] 30...h5! ready to break up White's pawn chain. 31.Kh1 R8g7 32.Kh2


32...h4!-/+ 33.Kh1 [33.g4 could be the best defense though 33...fxg4 34.hxg4 Re6 35.Kh3 gxf4 36.exf4 e3 37.f5 Re4 is also tough] 33...hxg3 34.Rxg3 gxf4 35.Rxg6 Rxg6 36.Rxg6


36...fxe3!-+ Christophe siezes the tactical opportunity to win the game. Black would be better but still needing a breakthrough after [36...Kxg6 37.exf4] 37.Rg2 exd2 38.Rxd2 f4 The two advanced black pawns on e4 and f4 make a powerful duo, especially with the help of the black bishop. 39.Kg2 Kg6! Bringing his majesty into the battle is the last thing needed. 40.Kf1 f3 41.Kf2 Kf5 42.Rd1 Kf4 43.Rg1


43...e3+ 44.Kf1 Ke4 45.h4 too slow 45...Kd3 46.b5 White resigned. Fine endgame play by Christophe. 0-1

(2) Ahrens,Richard (1091) - Nichol,David (982) [A06]
2nd Shipman mem TNM: Extra Games San Francisco (4.25), 25.01.2022

1.b3 d5 2.Bb2 Bf5 3.Nf3 e6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Be2 Richard has played Larsen's Opening. David has replied logically with a London System reversed. 5...c5 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Ne5 Bd6 8.Bb5 moving this bishop twice in the opening is breaking the rule of quick development, yet here it's not too bad with the plan of working on Black's soon to be doubled c-pawns [8.f4 would be the alternative] 8...Bxe5 [8...Qc7] 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 10.Bxe5 0-0 the game is about even here 11.Bb2 [11.d3] 11...a5 12.a4 Rb8 13.Ba3 Nd7 14.d4 Qb6


[14...Re8!=/+] 15.Bb2?! [15.dxc5! Nxc5?? 16.Qd4+- wins the exchange] 15...cxd4 16.Bxd4 c5 17.Bb2?! [17.Bc3] 17...Rfe8 18.Nd2 c4 19.Re1 [19.Bd4] 19...Nc5 20.Bd4 e5! 21.Bxc5 Qxc5 Black has clear advantage on the queenside. White spent too many moves moving the bishop that now just got traded. 22.e4 Be6 23.Qe2?!


[23.exd5 Bxd5 24.Nxc4 Bxc4 25.bxc4 Qxc4 26.h3 Is very nice for Black though White has only the one real weakeness on c2] 23...c3! 24.exd5? In trouble Richard makes a miscalculation. [24.Nf3! f6 (or 24...d4 25.Ng5 h6 26.Nxe6 Rxe6) 25.exd5 Bxd5 is better for Black but White is still well in the game] 24...cxd2 25.dxe6 dxe1Q+ 26.Rxe1 Rxe6


The tactics are over and Black is a whole rook up. David converts cleanly. 27.h3 h6 28.Kh1 Rc6 29.Qxe5 Qxe5 30.Rxe5 Rxc2 31.Rxa5 Rxb3 32.Ra8+ Kh7 33.f3 Rbb2 0-1

(3) Winslow,Elliott (2251) - Widjaja,Luke (1792) [C84]
2nd Shipman mem TNM: 1800+ San Francisco (4.2), 25.01.2022

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 [5...Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 (7...0-0 8.c3 (8.a4) 8...d5!?) 8.c3 0-0 9.h3] 6.Bb3 Be7?!


[This is a slightly unusual move order. Black could also try 6...Bb7 or; 6...Bc5] 7.d4! The veteran tries to mix it up quickly, right in the early opening. [7.Re1] 7...d6 [7...exd4 8.e5 is an edge for White] 8.c3 Bg4 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 exd4 11.Qg3!


Something from before Luke's parents were born! A favorite of Nezhmetdinov and Tal (and Velimirovic!), this gambit is not so easy to meet. 11...Kf8?! The problem with this is, now White has "permanent compensation." The handicap of not castling proved to eventually come to the fore. [11...0-0 12.Bh6 Ne8 13.Bd5 Qd7 14.Qg4! Qxg4 15.hxg4 gxh6 16.Bxc6 dxc3 17.Nxc3 Rb8 In the databasse: 4-0. Two Nezhmetdinov wins from sixty years ago (!) against Tringov and Shamkovich, another game from that era Gligoric vs. Rosetto, and a very recent Vesselovsky-Berezjuk from last August (!).; 11...g6 might be best.; 11...Qd7?! was Spassky's try, but 12.Qxg7 0-0-0 13.Qxf7 Kb7 (13...d5 14.exd5 Nxd5 15.Re1 Rhf8 16.Qxd5+- is best, and now it's White up a pawn.14.Be6! Qe8 15.cxd4? (15.Nd2+-; 15.Bh6!+-) 15...Nxd4+/= 16.Nc3 Rf8 17.Qxe8 Rdxe8 18.Bg4 Nxg4 19.hxg4 b4 and, still objectively worse, Spassky went on to win anyway: 0-1 (48) Pietzsch,W-Spassky,B Havana 1962] 12.Re1 Everything has been played here, mostly successfully. 12...dxc3 [12...Rb8 13.Nd2 h6 14.Nf3 dxc3 15.bxc3 1-0 (40) Persitz,R-Domnitz,Z Israel 1965. Again, not the latest!] 13.Nxc3 Nd4 14.Bd1 h5 15.Qd3 Ne6 16.Be3 c5 17.a4 c4 18.Qc2 Qa5? [Black has to try 18...b4! 19.Nd5 Nxd5 20.exd5 Nc5 but White regains the pawn with 21.Qxc4 while the problem with Black's king remains.] 19.Bf3!


The two threats (axb5 and e5) give White a decisive edge. 19...bxa4 20.e5 Rb8 21.exf6 Bxf6 22.Rxa4 The game has turned into a rout. Winslow finishes mercilessly. 22...Qe5 23.Rxc4 Ng5 24.Bd5 Qe7 25.f4 Nxh3+ 26.gxh3 Bh4 27.Bf2 Qf6 28.Ne4 Qg6+ 29.Kf1!


Luke gave up. 29....Bxf2 30 Rc8+ is too much fun for White. 1-0

(4) Walder,Michael (2085) - Lewis,Edward (2017) [B06]
2nd Shipman mem TNM: 1800+ San Francisco (4.1), 25.01.2022

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 Ed has been faithful to the Modern Defense for quite a while now. But being a one-opening opponent is a red flag for a preparation master like Mike. 4.Be3 The Flexible System. White keeps a lot of other options with this universal move. 4...Nd7 5.Qd2 c6 6.0-0-0 This might be an error; Black has still directed all his time to the queenside, so maybe it's back to the center and kingside. Also, Black doesn't have ...Bg4 any more. So maybe the plan, favored by Negi in his groundbreaking Grandmaster Preparation series, Nf3 and e4-e5 looking to bust through the middle. [A recent 2600-game went 6.Nf3 h6?! but White was too lenient later and it eventually cost him. 7.h3 a6 8.a4 e6 9.a5 Ne7 10.Bd3 g5!? Computers say "+-" but Black slithered out (hippopotamus? slither?) 0-1 (35) Jumabayev,R (2658)-Onischuk,V (2622) Riga 2021] 6...Qa5 7.Kb1 b5 8.f3 [8.Bd3!?] 8...Nb6 9.Bd3 Rb8 Black's play is obvious: ...Nc4, encourage Bxc4 and ...bxc4, and mate down the b-file. 10.Nce2 The exchange of queens would certainly cut down Black's attack, while White's space and central advantage would still matter. And Ne2-c1 may be necessary in the future. [Another game had 10.g4; And another: 10.h4] 10...Qa6 Of course Black keeps the queens on.


11.c3N Enough flexibility already! White might be intending to keep his light bishop... [11.g4; 11.h4] 11...Nc4 [11...Be6 12.b3 Nc4 13.Qc1!?] 12.Bxc4 bxc4 Whatever else is going on, Black's play on the half-open b-file gives him excellent chances. 13.h4


[13.g4!?] 13...Nf6 [13...h5! Black could still hold White back for another move. Probably Ed was thinking to get his other rook ready to go queenside.] 14.Bh6 It's been a long time coming, and finally White shows some aggression. 14...Bxh6! [14...0-0 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.h5 is the stock attack -- although Black has a unique opportunity to combine attack and defense with 16...Rb5!?] 15.Qxh6 d5 [Here also, quite annoying for White would be 15...Rb5!? Black could flick in ...Rh5 if and when he wants to castle (not that he has to).] 16.Ng3! Covering h5 and f5 [16.e5? Bf5+ 17.Ka1 Rb5! (threatening ...Qxa2+!) 18.Nc1 (18.a3 Kd7!! here as well18...Kd7!! with awful threats involving ...Rxb2 or ...Qa3 (not to mention just doubling first).] 16...Rb6?! [16...Rb5 is still the better rook lift.; Then there's 16...dxe4 17.fxe4 c5! sets up 18.Nf3 Ng4 19.Qg7 Qf6 with no disadvantage at all.] 17.N1e2 [17.e5 Nh5! 18.N1e2 (18.Nxh5?? Bf5+ is again Game Over18...Be6 19.Ka1 Nxg3 20.Nxg3 Kd7 requires 21.Qc1 to defend, just.] 17...Be6 18.Nf4 Qa3 19.Rd2


19...Kd7!? /?! Black is playing to win. [19...Qxc3 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.Ne2 Qa5 22.e5 Nd7 picks off a pawn but still leaves the kingside and king unresolved. Curiously the computer makes it the infamous "0.00".] 20.Ka1! Now White pushes Black back a bit. 20...Qa5 21.Nxe6 fxe6 22.e5 [22.Qf4!?+/= is hard to understand.] 22...Ne8?!


[Black is okay after 22...Ra6 23.a3 Rb8 (or 23...Ne8) 23.h5?! [23.Ne2 is a balance of attack and defense, favoring White.] 23...g5? [23...Ra6! 24.a3 Nc7! 25.Rc2 Rb8 26.hxg6? (26.Qd2! but Black's attack is still on.26...Rb3!-+ is devastation.] 24.Qxg5? [24.Ne2! remembers to defend, while Black's pawns still hang.] 24...Nc7? [24...Ra6 25.a3 Nc7 White has to bring back everything to defend 26.Rc2 Nb5 27.Qc1 but Black still has more fuel to add to the fire: 27...Rg8 28.Nf1 c5! 29.dxc5 d4!=/+] 25.Ne2!+- White avoids a2-a3 and is ready for g2-g4 as well. 25...Rhb8


26.Qh6? [26.Qe3 Ra6 27.Nc1 Rb3 goes nowhere, and so: 28.g4!] 26...Ra6 27.Nc1 Nb5 28.Qe3 Rab6! Black wisely now takes the repetition. 29.Ne2 Ra6 30.Nc1 Rab6 Attack and defense. What a precarious business! The players missed some opportunities, but on the whole held up well. 1/2-1/2


SwissSys Standings. 2nd Shipman Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon: 1800+

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total
1 Elliott Winslow 10363365 2251 W22 (b) W7 (w) D4 (b) W9 (w)       3.5
2 Edward Lewis 12601629 2017 W23 (w) W13 (b) W8 (w) D3 (b)       3.5
3 Michael Walder 10345120 2085 D9 (b) W5 (w) W14 (b) D2 (w)       3.0
4 Jayden Xu 15918365 1765 W11 (w) W12 (b) D1 (w) D6 (b)   H---   3.0
5 Christophe Bambou 12734479 2106 D14 (w) L3 (b) W24 (w) W20 (b)       2.5
6 David Askin 13776967 2035 W24 (w) L8 (b) W19 (w) D4 (w) H---     2.5
7 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1934 W16 (w) L1 (b) W17 (w) D8 (b)     H--- 2.5
8 Kayven Riese 12572270 1906 W17 (b) W6 (w) L2 (b) D7 (w)       2.5
9 Luke Widjaja 16010621 1792 D3 (w) W18 (b) W11 (w) L1 (b)       2.5
10 Yusheng Xia 13471910 2294 H--- F14 H--- W18 (b)       2.0
11 Lucas Lesniewski 17039584 2025 L4 (b) W21 (w) L9 (b) W24 (w)       2.0
12 William Gray 13217831 1971 W21 (b) L4 (w) D16 (b) D14 (w)       2.0
13 James J Mahooti 12621393 1867 W25 (w) L2 (w) H--- H---       2.0
14 Ranen Lardent 12614986 1827 D5 (b) X10 L3 (w) D12 (b)       2.0
15 Jim Ratliff 11163831 1719 H--- H--- H--- D16 (w)       2.0
16 Joel Carron 16600505 1671 L7 (b) B--- D12 (w) D15 (b)       2.0
17 Joshua Lamstein 15487526 1605 L8 (w) X25 L7 (b) W22 (w)       2.0
18 Guy Argo 12517167 1856 H--- L9 (w) W23 (b) L10 (w)       1.5
19 Abel Talamantez 12465386 1804 H--- H--- L6 (b) H---       1.5
20 Daniel Austi Wang 15361305 1737 H--- H--- H--- L5 (w)       1.5
21 Charles Faulkner 12559529 1720 L12 (w) L11 (b) D22 (b) B---       1.5
22 Fredrick Dutter 12343420 1900 L1 (w) D24 (b) D21 (w) L17 (b)       1.0
23 Glenn Kaplan 12680193 1740 L2 (b) H--- L18 (w) H---       1.0
24 Adam Mercado 16571026 1774 L6 (b) D22 (w) L5 (b) L11 (b)       0.5
25 Gaziz Makhanov 16828914 1917 L13 (b) F17 U--- U---       0.0

SwissSys Standings. 2nd Shipman Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon: u1800

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total
1 Ashwin Vaidyanathan 30205719 1444 W21 (w) W11 (b) W12 (w) W4 (w)   H--- H--- 4.0
2 Romeo Barreyro 17018168 1631 W23 (w) D15 (b) W3 (w) W11 (b)       3.5
3 Stephen Parsons 16566932 1629 W17 (b) W9 (w) L2 (b) W13 (w)       3.0
4 Sebastian Suarez 16875347 1565 W26 (w) W25 (b) W6 (w) L1 (b)       3.0
5 Dean Guo 30257083 1554 W20 (b) H--- W15 (w) D7 (b)       3.0
6 Nursultan Uzakbaev 17137317 1521 X28 W31 (w) L4 (b) W21 (b)       3.0
7 Anton Maliev 30250562 1429 H--- X10 W14 (b) D5 (w)       3.0
8 Benjamin Anderson 30235937 1172 L11 (w) X30 W22 (b) W12 (b)       3.0
9 Matt Long 13377410 1519 W29 (w) L3 (b) W26 (b) D14 (w)       2.5
10 Thomas Gu 17005685 958 H--- F7 W24 (b) W23 (b)       2.5
11 Adam Ginzberg 30268083 1576 W8 (b) L1 (w) W18 (b) L2 (w)       2.0
12 Albert Starr 12844781 1522 W27 (w) X18 L1 (b) L8 (w)       2.0
13 Yorgos Tsolias 17266862 1512 H--- H--- X28 L3 (b)       2.0
14 Richard Hack 12796129 1500 W19 (b) H--- L7 (w) D9 (b)       2.0
15 Paul Reed 13373197 1474 W24 (b) D2 (w) L5 (b) D17 (w)       2.0
16 David R Olson 13913131 1400 L31 (b) L28 (w) X32 W26 (b)       2.0
17 Jp Fairchild 30150098 1229 L3 (w) W29 (b) H--- D15 (b)       2.0
18 Vittorio Banfi 30308530 1227 W22 (b) F12 L11 (w) W28 (b)       2.0
19 Timothy Bayaraa 15616166 1149 L14 (w) F21 W27 (b) W31 (w)       2.0
20 Pratyush Hule 16317000 1104 L5 (w) H--- H--- X25       2.0
21 Ambrogino Giusti 30223021 unr. L1 (b) X19 X25 L6 (w)       2.0
22 Nick Casares Jr 10424364 1600 L18 (w) W27 (b) L8 (w) D30 (b)       1.5
23 Deandre Stallworth 30255378 1294 L2 (b) D24 (w) W31 (b) L10 (w)       1.5
24 David Nichol 12934283 982 L15 (w) D23 (b) L10 (w) X32       1.5
25 Simone Pagan Griso 17322263 1329 W32 (b) L4 (w) F21 F20       1.0
26 Danny Cao 16939797 1142 L4 (b) X32 L9 (w) L16 (w)   H--- H--- 1.0
27 Richard Ahrens 16953298 1091 L12 (b) L22 (w) L19 (w) B---       1.0
28 Prasanna Chandramouli 30279272 1002 F6 W16 (b) F13 L18 (w)       1.0
29 Eli Chanoff 12898987 993 L9 (b) L17 (w) B--- U---       1.0
30 Christian Brickhouse 30261226 452 U--- F8 H--- D22 (w)       1.0
31 Matthew Grange 30403587 unr. W16 (w) L6 (b) L23 (w) L19 (b)       1.0
32 Marcus Casaes 30290420 unr. L25 (w) F26 F16 F24       0.0

SwissSys Standings. 2nd Shipman Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon: Extra Games Shipman

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total
1 Abel Talamantez 12465386 1804 W12 (b) L4 (b) U--- W15 (b)       2.0
2 Ranen Lardent 12614986 1827 U--- W10 (w) U--- U---       1.0
3 Daniel Austi Wang 15361305 1737 U--- U--- W13 (b) U---       1.0
4 Joshua Lamstein 15487526 1605 U--- W1 (w) U--- U---       1.0
5 Yorgos Tsolias 17266862 1512 U--- U--- W17 (b) U---       1.0
6 Anton Maliev 30250562 1429 U--- W11 (w) U--- U---       1.0
7 Benjamin Anderson 30235937 1172 U--- W14 (b) U--- U---       1.0
8 David Nichol 12934283 982 U--- U--- U--- W16 (b)       1.0
9 Judit Sztaray 14708926 723 U--- W17 (b) U--- U---       1.0
10 Joel Carron 16600505 1671 U--- L2 (b) U--- U---       0.0
11 Albert Starr 12844781 1522 U--- L6 (b) U--- U---       0.0
12 Nursultan Uzakbaev 17137317 1521 L1 (w) U--- U--- U---       0.0
13 Ashwin Vaidyanathan 30205719 1444 U--- U--- L3 (w) U---   H--- H--- 0.0
14 Danny Cao 16939797 1142 U--- L7 (w) U--- U---   H--- H--- 0.0
15 Pratyush Hule 16317000 1104 U--- U--- U--- L1 (w)       0.0
16 Richard Ahrens 16953298 1091 U--- U--- U--- L8 (w)       0.0
17 Ambrogino Giusti 30223021 unr. U--- L9 (w) L5 (w) U---       0.0


January 2022 Championship Quads Report

We were at limited capacity for the January 2022 Championship Quads with 40 players. We had strong competition and balance across the 40 players making the quads a premier event for players of all skill levels, with three rated games in one short afternoon. Register early for the February Championship Quads by clicking HERE. There will be a special event prior to the start of the quads at 3pm on this day, as we will have the presentation of the 2021 Mechanics' Institute Neil Falconer Award at 2:30pm. Come early for this very special event!

Here are the results of the January Championship Quads, thanks to all the players for participating!

Final Standings of the 2022 January Mechanics' Monthly Quads

SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Championship Quads - January 2022: Quad1
# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 Ethan Boldi   15088362 2116 W2 (w) L3 (b) W4 (b) 2.0 30.00
2 Nathan Yan   16430495 2057 L1 (b) W4 (w) W3 (w) 2.0 30.00
3 Abhishek Mallela   12888811 2117 L4 (b) W1 (w) L2 (b) 1.0  
4 Patrick Liu   16667410 2042 W3 (w) L2 (b) L1 (w) 1.0  
SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Championship Quads - January 2022: Quad2
# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 Xuli Dai   15931956 1998 W3 (w) W4 (b) D2 (w) 2.5 60.00
2 Aiden Liu   16850092 1983 W4 (w) D3 (b) D1 (b) 2.0  
3 Alan Finkelstein   14958842 2035 L1 (b) D2 (w) W4 (w) 1.5  
4 Lucas Lesniewski   17039584 2025 L2 (b) L1 (w) L3 (b) 0.0  
SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Championship Quads - January 2022: Quad3
# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 Daniel Wang   15361305 1737 W4 (w) W3 (b) W2 (w) 3.0 60.00
2 Alexander Su   12857329 1793 W3 (w) W4 (b) L1 (b) 2.0  
3 Nicholas Boldi   15088356 1883 L2 (b) L1 (w) D4 (b) 0.5  
4 Mikhail Molodyk   13573825 1877 L1 (b) L2 (w) D3 (w) 0.5  
SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Championship Quads - January 2022: Quad4
# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 Michael Hsu   14949587 1355 W3 (w) W2 (b) W4 (w) 3.0 60.00
2 Vikrant Ganesan   16786952 1712 W4 (b) L1 (w) W3 (b) 2.0  
3 Arjun Sankar   14542170 1558 L1 (b) W4 (w) L2 (w) 1.0  
4 Nick Casares Jr   10424364 1600 L2 (w) L3 (b) L1 (b) 0.0  
SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Championship Quads - January 2022: Quad5
# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 Christopher Dessert   15048166 1553 W2 (b) D3 (w) W4 (w) 2.5 60.00
2 Caleb Koch   30201773 1547 L1 (w) W4 (b) W3 (b) 2.0  
3 Ramu Ganesan   12954008 1548 D4 (w) D1 (b) L2 (w) 1.0  
4 Albert Starr   12844781 1522 D3 (b) L2 (w) L1 (b) 0.5  
SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Championship Quads - January 2022: Quad6
# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 Anvitha Penagalapati   16315087 1481 L2 (b) W3 (w) W4 (b) 2.0 20.00
2 Ruyi Hu   16659933 1474 W1 (w) W4 (b) L3 (b) 2.0 20.00
3 Anton Maliev   30250562 1429 W4 (w) L1 (b) W2 (w) 2.0 20.00
4 Andew Ballantyne   17079795 1457 L3 (b) L2 (w) L1 (w) 0.0  
SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Championship Quads - January 2022: Quad7
# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 Zee Chin   16965808 1288 W2 (w) W3 (b) W4 (b) 3.0 60.00
2 Anthony Gautille   16019993 1298 L1 (b) W4 (w) W3 (b) 2.0  
3 Tobiah Rex   30164211 1340 D4 (b) L1 (w) L2 (w) 0.5  
4 Jayden Lee   30137668 1198 D3 (w) L2 (b) L1 (w) 0.5  
SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Championship Quads - January 2022: Quad8
# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 Swaminathan Sankar   14080777 1189 W4 (w) L2 (b) W3 (w) 2.0 20.00
2 Brian Wei   13978693 960 L3 (b) W1 (w) W4 (w) 2.0 20.00
3 Thomas Gu   17005685 958 W2 (w) W4 (b) L1 (b) 2.0 20.00
4 Matthew Ma   30022553 1010 L1 (b) L3 (w) L2 (b) 0.0  
SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Championship Quads - January 2022: Quad9
# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 Ethan Ma   30021432 836 W3 (w) W2 (b) W4 (w) 3.0 60.00
2 Eliott Leblond   30332894 830 W4 (b) L1 (w) W3 (w) 2.0  
3 Christopher Michael   14860761 unr. L1 (b) W4 (w) L2 (b) 1.0  
4 Yinuo Hu   17219612 803 L2 (w) L3 (b) L1 (b) 0.0  
SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Championship Quads - January 2022: Quad10
# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 Andrey Sinitsin   30428264 unr. W2 (w) W3 (b) W4 (b) 3.0 60.00
2 Austin Bourdier   30032406 unr. L1 (b) W4 (w) W3 (w) 2.0  
3 Frank Wang   13252255 725 W4 (b) L1 (w) L2 (b) 1.0  
4 Raphael Mostov   15930377 791 L3 (w) L2 (b) L1 (w) 0.0  


Tony's Teasers

Tony is back and ready to challenge you to solve this problem: white to move and mate in 3

Mechanics' Institute Events Schedule

Don't Miss our Exciting Upcoming Events!!

The Mechanics' Institute will continue to hold regular and online events. Here is our upcoming schedule for players:

IM Walter Shipman Tuesday Night Marathon. January 4 - February 15, 2022, 6:30PM FIDE Rated. 7SS G/120;d5:

Henry Gross Memorial Championship. February 5, 2022, 10AM USCF Rated. 4SS G/45;d5:

Mechanics' Institute January Championship Quads. February 12, 2022, 3PM USCF Rated. 3RR G/30;d5:

Scholastic Chess Bulletin

The scholastic news is covered in a dedicated publication:
Mechanics' Institute Scholastic Chess Bulletin

Fresh New 
Scholastic Chess Bulletin #8 is out!

In this issue:

  •  2021 National K-12 Grades Championships

  • Monthly Scholastic In-Person Tournament - 2021 December Report

  • Enrichment Highlight: Hoover Elementary

  • December Chess Camps

  • Understanding Tournaments: Colors

  • Upcoming Tournament Schedule

  • Tournament Results & Featured Games analyzed by GM Nick de Firmian

Please click the following LINK to read our latest edition.
Interested in reading the past issues? Click here to see the list of all issues.

All of us at Mechanics' Institute would like to thank you for your support of our scholastic chess programming.

FM Paul Whitehead

[email protected]

Before we move on to the weird and the wonderful, here’s the update on GM Magnus Carlsen’s push to 2900: it’s going as slow as molasses.  Despite leading Tata Steel Masters with an impressive “plus-four” against the world’s elite, he has only managed to gain one rating point.  At this pace he might get to 2900 in 20 years.  Just saying.


This article from The Atlantic goes against the grain, declaring that Russian President Vladimir Putin is decidedly not the chess master he appears to be:


A famous chess puzzle has (maybe) been solved after only 150 years:


There’s an art gallery in Delaware showcasing some rare chess sets, including “The Propaganda Set” depicting workers versus capitalists:


The European Court of Human Rights has weighed in on a case involving Serbia, and fair compensation for participants at the Blind Chess Olympics:


The state of U.S. Chess and the title of World Champion gets an airing out here:


The World Chess Federation declares 2022 the Year of the Woman in Chess:


Not strictly news, but I had never seen this incredibly large (and beautiful) chess set designed by students at Lithuania University in Vilnius:


It never ends… The New York Post has Biden volunteering as a pawn in Putin’s chess game:


Visiting San Diego County?  There’s a new chess meet-up at the Bushfire Kitchen in Del Mar:


Chess is being played at a library in Bridgeport, West Virginia:


And chess is being played at a community center in Albany, New York:


A chess group for mothers and daughters is opening in the town of Harlow, England:


Finally, a chess master from Boston tries to find his Queen on a blind date:


Chess is indeed everywhere.



GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Abel's Games              

Our dear chess director is leaving, and we are forced to say au revoir. No chess player actually leaves the Mechanics’ Institute for good. They become part of the chess playing family and are always remembered and welcomed back. Certainly, Abel will become part of the lore of the club. He guided us through the pandemic by quickly adapting to online events and blended traditional in person tournaments with cyber chess to give our members the most possible opportunities to play. So, he will be back – there is no alternative.

It seemed interesting to show a couple of excellent games where Abel was a player rather than a director. His love for the game developed by enjoying the complex struggle of tournament chess, as so many of us do at the Tuesday Night Marathon. Abel (and Judit) will often stretch their tournament director’s duty by playing someone whose opponent didn’t show up and who was looking forward to a game. This is very thoughtful, but it’s hard to play your best chess when also directing. Below though we have a couple of games from when Abel was an up-and-coming tournament player. These games show real talent! Hope you enjoy them.

(1) Talamantez,Abel (1652) - Bidwell,John (2253) [B03]
Santa Clara , 1988

1.e4 Nf6 Bidwell probably didn't know that Alekhine's Defense is Abel's opening as Black, so he really knows what to do! 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.f4 dxe5 6.fxe5 Nc6 7.Be3 Bf5 8.Nc3 e6 9.Nf3 Bb4 I've always thought this move is a little suspicious and prefer 9...Be7 or 9...Bg4. 10.Bd3 Bg4 11.a3! Bxc3+ [11...Be7 is to be considered] 12.bxc3 Now White has a solid center and and opening edge. 12...Qd7 13.0-0 Na5?! attacking the c4 pawn yet it puts the black knight on a poor rim square 14.Qe2 c5 15.Rad1 keeping a big edge, though the strange looking 15. dxc5 would also be very good 15...Qa4?!

Bidwell consistantly attacks the c4 pawn. The trouble for Black is that White is completely developed, mobilized and centralized. Abel uses these pluses very well here. 16.h3! Bh5 17.g4 Bg6 18.Bxg6 hxg6 19.Ng5!
19...0-0 Black is in big trouble no matter what due to the attack on f7. Bidwell plays the most natural defense of f7, but there is extreme danger to the black king with the two black knights and queen far away on the queenside. 20.Qf2 Naxc4?!
This doesn't work, but there is really no good defense anyway. Abel finishes it off now. 21.Qh4 Rfd8 22.Qh7+ It's mate in two 1-0


(2) Jirasek,Ladia R (2198) - Talamantez,Abel (1960) [C55]
Melikset Khachiyan Milpitas (3), 19.07.2015

Abel modestly includes this loss in his best game collection. Both players play at master level for a long time. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 This simple bishop move is less common than 4...Bc5 yet it gets a solid position for Black. 5.0-0 0-0 6.c3 d6 7.Bb3 Na5 8.Bc2 c5 9.Nbd2 Nc6 10.Re1 b5

The positon looks much like a Ruy Lopez. Black has queenside play and chances are even. 11.Nf1 Rb8 12.h3 b4 13.c4!? keeping the center locked up 13...Ne8 14.Ba4 Bd7 15.Bxc6 The black knight can jump into d4, so it's fine for White to trade the bishop for it here. 15...Bxc6 16.g4?! This leaves some holes on the kingside. It does gain space though the negatives outweight the positives. 16...Bd7 17.Ng3 g6 18.Bh6 Ng7 19.Kh2 Re8 20.Bxg7 This bishop for knight trade is not as good as the last one. Black takes more control of the dark squares. 20...Kxg7 21.Rg1 [21.b3] 21...Bg5 [21...Rh8!?] 22.Nxg5 Qxg5 23.Qf3 Qf4?! going into an even ending [23...Qd2! 24.Qe2 Qf4 keeps the edge] 24.Qxf4 exf4 25.Ne2 g5 26.Kg2 f6 27.Rgb1 a5 28.a3 b3!? keeping a lockup up on the queenside 29.Nc3 a4 30.Kf3?!
30...h5! a nice move to put pressure on the kingside 31.Rh1 [31.gxh5 Rh8 is nice for Black] 31...Rh8 32.Rae1 Rh6! 33.Kg2 clever defense by Ladia. 33...hxg4 34.hxg4 Rxh1 35.Rxh1 Bxg4 36.Nxa4 pawns stay even 36...Be2 37.f3 Rh8?! not good [37...Bxd3 38.Rd1 Bxc4 39.Rxd6 Bf7 is a little better for Black] 38.Re1?! [38.Rxh8! Kxh8 39.Nb6! and running the a-pawn would give Black real troubles] 38...Bxd3 39.Rd1 Bxc4 40.Rxd6 Re8 41.Nxc5 f5 42.Rd4 Bf7 43.Rd3 [43.exf5 Re2+ 44.Kf1 Rxb2] 43...fxe4 [43...g4!?] 44.Nxe4 g4 45.Rd7

45...Rxe4? after a great heavy weight battle Abel goes wrong [45...g3! 46.Nd6 Re2+ 47.Kf1 Rxb2 48.Rxf7+ Kg6 49.Rxf4 Rf2+ 50.Kg1 b2 51.Rb4 Rc2 52.Ne4 Rc1+ 53.Kg2 b1Q 54.Rxb1 Rxb1 is a drawn position] 46.fxe4 Kf6 47.Rxf7+! Kxf7 48.a4 Ke6 49.a5 Kd7 50.a6 Kc6 51.e5 A great battle against a future IM. It was close and could have gone either way before the end. 1-0

Solution to Tony's Teaser

1. Qe7!! Kxf5 2. Kf3 f6 3. Qc5#

If 1...Kg3 2. Qg5 Kh2 3. Qg2#

If 1...f6 2. Qh7 Kg3 3. Qh3#

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