Chess Room Newsletter #1006 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #1006

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #1006

February 12, 2022


Table of Contents

The Falconer Award

by Dr. Judit Sztaray

As reported in previous issues, this year's Falconer award recipient is GM Andrew Hong. He was the highest-rated player under Age18 by his December 2021 rating. Andrew clinched the award just by a few rating points from GM Christopher Yoo, who crossed the 2600 at the end of December 2021 and took over by the February 2022 supplemental rating. Andrew has been active since June 2021 when the country restarted in-person tournaments. He attended a number of prestigious events, such as the National Open in Las Vegas, the World Open in Philadelphia, the 2021 US Junior Championship in Saint Louis, and the 2021 Northern California Invitationals Online, as well as three events organized by the Charlotte Chess Center. 

In 1999 Neil Falconer, then longtime Mechanics' Institute Trustee, established the Falconer Award at the Institute which awards a cash prize to the highest-rated junior player under Age 18 in Northern California.  

GM Hong joins a long list of now famous players:

2000 - 2002 Vinay Bhat
2003 Michael Pearson
2004 Nicholas Yap
2005 - 2006 Matthew Ho
2007 Nicholas Yap
2008 - 2009 Sam Shankland
2010 Steven Zierk
2011 - 2013 Daniel Naroditsky
2014 - 2015 Yian Liou
2016 - 2018 Cameron Wheeler
2019 Andrew Hong
2020 Christopher Yoo
2021 - no award was given out due to closures

I was extremely happy to be able to schedule a quick call with Andrew, who is such a wonderful and humble Grandmaster. It is my pleasure to have a chance to share a few interesting facts about him and his life. Andrew is a basketball fan, likes Mediterranean food, his favorite piece is the Knight, and his favorite chess player is GM Gary Kasparov. When asked how he got into the game, he shared "I was 7 years old when I first saw my brother playing chess. He brought home the chess set, and I started playing." He shared that while living in China for a year, he attended a chess club and that's where he was exposed to games of Grand Masters. He was especially fascinated by endgames, and how the club was teaching how to win endgames with interesting positions, like K&Q vs. K& pawn before promotion. "I was especially fascinated how this game can be won by moving the queen back and forth." I asked him what his best tournament was, to which he replied: "I would like to borrow Nepo's line: my best tournament is yet to come." His favorite tournament so far was the Charlotte tournament where he made his last GM norm. 
I asked him what he would say to his 7 years old self: "I'd say work harder because it takes less time when you are younger." What great advice! I also asked what message he would give to scholastic players who are thinking about pursuing their dream of becoming a titled player, he said he would suggest “to only pursue the game if you have a passion for it; tone down your expectations and let passion drive you.”

If you would like to meet Andrew, please come by to celebrate with us at the award ceremony on Saturday, February 12 at 2:30PM in the Chess Room on the 4th floor at Mechanics' Institute at 57 Post Street in downtown San Francisco.



2022 IM Walter Shipman TNM Round Six Report

by FM Paul Whitehead

[email protected]

By drawing in only 14 moves with Expert Christophe Bambou, International Master Elliott Winslow maintains a ½ - point lead over rising star Jayden Xu (who took a bye) with only one round left to play.  On board 2 Experts Lucas Lesniewski and Edward Lewis were both spoiling for a fight, but they also ended up splitting the point in a tough game.  Joining those two with 4 points are NM Yusheng Xia (will he be paired with Winslow in the final round?) and MI stalwart Kristian Clemens who outfoxed NM Michael Walder in a great game.


In the Under 1800 Section, Romeo Barreyro moved into a tie for 1st with Ashwin Vaidyanathan by defeating Nursultan Uzakbaev.  They both have 5 points, but right behind them are Stephen Parsons and Sebastian Suarez, who drew each other in a wild roller-coaster of a game.  They are joined at 4.5 by Matt Long, who I heard caught Thomas Gu in an opening trap… With Ashwin sitting out the final round, we are in for a photo-finish!


Although our live commentary and broadcast on Twitch is on hiatus, you can still follow the DGT action on the Internet:

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 W24 (b) W6 (w) D2 (b) W13 (w) W5 (b) D4 (w)   5.0
2 Jayden Xu 15918365 1765 W8 (w) W12 (b) D1 (w) D7 (b) W11 (w) H---   4.5
3 Yusheng Xia 13471910 2294 H--- F16 H--- W15 (b) W12 (w) W13 (b)   4.0
4 Christophe Bambou 12734479 2106 D16 (w) L11 (b) W18 (w) W22 (b) W14 (w) D1 (b)   4.0
5 Edward Lewis 12601629 2017 W21 (w) W20 (b) W14 (w) D11 (b) L1 (w) D8 (b)   4.0
6 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1934 W19 (w) L1 (b) W10 (w) D14 (b) D13 (w) W11 (b) H--- 4.0
7 David Askin 13776967 2035 W18 (w) L14 (b) W17 (w) D2 (w) H--- D9 (b)   3.5
8 Lucas Lesniewski 17039584 2025 L2 (b) W23 (w) L13 (b) W18 (w) W19 (b) D5 (w)   3.5
9 Jim Ratliff 11163831 1719 H--- H--- H--- D19 (w) W16 (b) D7 (w)   3.5
10 Joshua Lamstein 15487526 1605 L14 (w) X25 L6 (b) W24 (w) H--- W15 (b)   3.5
11 Michael Walder 10345120 2085 D13 (b) W4 (w) W16 (b) D5 (w) L2 (b) L6 (w)   3.0
12 William Gray 13217831 1971 W23 (b) L2 (w) D19 (b) D16 (w) L3 (b) W14 (b)   3.0
13 Luke Widjaja 16010621 1792 D11 (w) W15 (b) W8 (w) L1 (b) D6 (b) L3 (w)   3.0
14 Kayven Riese 12572270 1906 W10 (b) W7 (w) L5 (b) D6 (w) L4 (b) L12 (w)   2.5
15 Guy Argo 12517167 1856 H--- L13 (w) W21 (b) L3 (w) W23 (b) L10 (w)   2.5
16 Ranen Lardent 12614986 1827 D4 (b) X3 L11 (w) D12 (b) L9 (w) D19 (b)   2.5
17 Abel Talamantez 12465386 1804 H--- H--- L7 (b) H--- U--- B---   2.5
18 Adam Mercado 16571026 1774 L7 (b) D24 (w) L4 (b) L8 (b) B--- W23 (w)   2.5
19 Joel Carron 16600505 1671 L6 (b) B--- D12 (w) D9 (b) L8 (w) D16 (w)   2.5
20 James J Mahooti 12621393 1867 W25 (w) L5 (w) H--- H--- U--- U---   2.0
21 Glenn Kaplan 12680193 1740 L5 (b) H--- L15 (w) H--- X22 U---   2.0
22 Daniel Austi Wang 15361305 1737 H--- H--- H--- L4 (w) F21 U---   1.5
23 Charles Faulkner 12559529 1720 L12 (w) L8 (b) D24 (b) B--- L15 (w) L18 (b)   1.5
24 Fredrick Dutter 12343420 1900 L1 (w) D18 (b) D23 (w) L10 (b) U--- U---   1.0
25 Gaziz Makhanov 16828914 1917 L20 (b) F10 U--- U--- 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 Romeo Barreyro 17018168 1631 W21 (w) D7 (b) W3 (w) W12 (b) D2 (w) W9 (b)   5.0
2 Ashwin Vaidyanathan 30205719 1444 W11 (w) W12 (b) W14 (w) W4 (w) D1 (b) H--- H--- 5.0
3 Stephen Parsons 16566932 1629 W16 (b) W5 (w) L1 (b) W6 (w) W13 (b) D4 (w)   4.5
4 Sebastian Suarez 16875347 1565 W27 (w) W20 (b) W9 (w) L2 (b) W8 (w) D3 (b)   4.5
5 Matt Long 13377410 1519 W30 (w) L3 (b) W27 (b) D15 (w) W17 (b) W10 (w)   4.5
6 Yorgos Tsolias 17266862 1512 H--- H--- X22 L3 (b) X26 W13 (w)   4.0
7 Paul Reed 13373197 1474 W23 (b) D1 (w) L13 (b) D16 (w) W25 (b) W17 (w)   4.0
8 Anton Maliev 30250562 1429 H--- X10 W15 (b) D13 (w) L4 (b) W12 (b)   4.0
9 Nursultan Uzakbaev 17137317 1521 X22 W29 (w) L4 (b) W11 (b) H--- L1 (w)   3.5
10 Thomas Gu 17005685 958 H--- F8 W23 (b) W21 (b) W14 (w) L5 (b)   3.5
11 Ambrogino Giusti 30223021 unr. L2 (b) X26 X20 L9 (w) D19 (b) W25 (w)   3.5
12 Adam Ginzberg 30268083 1576 W17 (b) L2 (w) W25 (b) L1 (w) W16 (b) L8 (w)   3.0
13 Dean Guo 30257083 1554 W18 (b) H--- W7 (w) D8 (b) L3 (w) L6 (b)   3.0
14 Albert Starr 12844781 1522 W28 (w) X25 L2 (b) L17 (w) L10 (b) W27 (w)   3.0
15 Richard Hack 12796129 1500 W26 (b) H--- L8 (w) D5 (b) L18 (w) W28 (b)   3.0
16 Jp Fairchild 30150098 1229 L3 (w) W30 (b) H--- D7 (b) L12 (w) W19 (w)   3.0
17 Benjamin Anderson 30235937 1172 L12 (w) X31 W24 (b) W14 (b) L5 (w) L7 (b)   3.0
18 Pratyush Hule 16317000 1104 L13 (w) H--- H--- X--- W15 (b) U---   3.0
19 David R Olson 13913131 1400 L29 (b) L22 (w) X32 W27 (b) D11 (w) L16 (b)   2.5
20 Simone Pagan Griso 17322263 1329 W32 (b) L4 (w) F11 H--- L23 (w) W31 (b)   2.5
21 Deandre Stallworth 30255378 1294 L1 (b) D23 (w) W29 (b) L10 (w) W24 (b) U---   2.5
22 Prasanna Chandramouli 30279272 1002 F9 W19 (b) F6 L25 (w) W31 (w) D24 (b)   2.5
23 David Nichol 12934283 982 L7 (w) D21 (b) L10 (w) X32 W20 (b) U---   2.5
24 Nick Casares Jr 10424364 1600 L25 (w) W28 (b) L17 (w) D31 (b) L21 (w) D22 (w)   2.0
25 Vittorio Banfi 30308530 1227 W24 (b) F14 L12 (w) W22 (b) L7 (w) L11 (b)   2.0
26 Timothy Bayaraa 15616166 1149 L15 (w) F11 W28 (b) W29 (w) F6 U---   2.0
27 Danny Cao 16939797 1142 L4 (b) X32 L5 (w) L19 (w) X32 L14 (b) H--- 2.0
28 Richard Ahrens 16953298 1091 L14 (b) L24 (w) L26 (w) B--- W29 (b) L15 (w)   2.0
29 Matthew Grange 30403587 unr. W19 (w) L9 (b) L21 (w) L26 (b) L28 (w) B---   2.0
30 Eli Chanoff 12898987 993 L5 (b) L16 (w) B--- U--- U--- U---   1.0
31 Christian Brickhouse 30261226 452 U--- F17 H--- D24 (w) L22 (b) L20 (w)   1.0
32 Marcus Casaes 30290420 unr. L20 (w) F27 F19 F23 F27 U---   0.0


Annotated games by GM Nick de Firmian

(1) Winslow,Elliott (2251) - Bambou,Christophe (2106) [B01]
MI 2nd Shipman mem TNM: 1800+ San Francisco (6.1), 08.02.2022

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bd2 Just one of a few moves, but preferred by Negi. The veiled attack could be fruitful. [5.Nf3 is the "old" move, depending what you mean by old.; 5.Bc4 is more modern, if only so that on 5...Bg4 White has 6.f3 (or 6.Nge2; as well as 6.Nf3) ; Oh, and 5.Bd3 was the main move -- in the 1880s.] 5...Bg4!? Bambou has played this a few times. 6.f3 Bd7!? Black has a sophisticated plan. [6...Bf5 7.Bc4 Qb6 8.g4 Bg6 9.Qe2 Nc6 10.Bb5 0-0-0 11.Bxc6 Qxc6 12.0-0-0 e6 13.Nh3 1-0 (33) So,W (2772)-Xiong,J (2687) INT 2021] 7.f4!? Negi's novelty, although it doesn't seem to have caught on like many of his other Grandmaster Preparation ideas. Alas, this move was the end of White's preparation. It helps, when you're studying an opponent who plays a sharp and analyzed line, to remember which line it is! [7.Bc4 Qb6 8.Nge2 e6 has been seen dozens of times, with pretty good results, although 9.Be3!? could still be a problem.] 7...Qb6!?N Never played, not that much has been! [Negi analyzes the less directed 7...e6; as well as back to 7...Bg4; while 7...a6!? 8.Nf3 Qb6 just transposes, to one of Negi's lines, and, briefly, our game.] 8.Nf3 a6 9.Bc4 [9.Bd3 e6! Further control of c5; (More Negi: 9...Nc6? 10.Na4! Qa7 (so that's the point of ...a6! 11.c3 and there's no fork on b5.) 10.Qe2 Nc6! 11.0-0-0 a) 11.Qf2 Nb4; b) Note 11.Na4 Qa7 12.Be3!? (12.c3 Nxd4! and a4 is unprotected) 12...Nd5!; c) 11.d5!? Nb4 12.Ne5!? looks to be +/= (some slight advantage) after all.; 11...Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 "unclear" is the final mention.] 9...Nc6

[9...e6? 10.Qe2+/- (Negi again) 10...Nc6 11.d5] 10.d5N [10.Na4! Qa7 11.Nc5 is in fact the path forward. But it's a jungle of complications! 11...-- a) 11...Nxd4?! 12.Nxd7 Nxd7 13.Bc3! Nxf3+ (13...Nb5 is in fact better, although 14.Bxf7+ Kxf7 15.Qxd7 Qe3+ 16.Kf1 Qxf4 17.Be5 Qc4+ 18.Ke1 is pretty bleak for Black, with neither rook likely to join the battle for a while.) 14.Qxf3 is the sort of gambit you see so often in the Scandinavian and many openings; Black hangs on to a "healthy" pawn but is lost. 14...e6 can be met by 15.0-0-0 (or 15.f5+- right away) 15...0-0-0 16.f5+-; b) Here Negi really goes to town, analyzing 11...Bg4 12.c3 e6 13.Nd3!; c) and also 11...Bf5!? 12.Ne5 e6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Qf3; ; Here's a game, which follows the analysis for quite a few moves: 10.Na4 Qa7 11.Nc5 Bf5 12.Ne5 e6 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Qf3 Qb6 15.b4 a5 16.a4 Nd5 17.c3 axb4 18.Bxd5 exd5 19.Qe2+ Kd8 20.cxb4 Bxc5 21.dxc5 Qa6 22.Qxa6 Rxa6 23.Kf2 Kc8 24.Bc3 1/2-1/2 (24) Eastlake,P (2336)-Milde,L (2355) ICCF email 2020] 10...Nd4 11.Nxd4 Qxd4 Negi one last time: "unclear" 12.Qe2?! [12.Bb3 is the last try for any advantage, or maybe that's for no *dis*advantage: 12...Ne4! 13.Nxe4 Qxe4+ 14.Qe2 Qxe2+ 15.Kxe2 0-0-0 16.Rae1!? is, basically, even.] 12...Bg4 13.Qd3 Qxd3 14.Bxd3 and White offered a timely draw. If anyone is better it's Black. 1/2-1/2

(2) Lesniewski,Lucas (2025) - Lewis,Edward (2017) [A43]
MI 2nd Shipman mem TNM: 1800+ San Francisco (6.2), 08.02.2022

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be2 c5 6.d5 [6.dxc5 Qa5 7.0-0 Should be a small edge to White. ] 6...0-0 7.0-0 Na6 8.h3 Rb8 9.a4 Nc7 10.Bf4

This position should also be a little better for White with the extra space. Yet Black has played for dynamic chances to get an imbalanced game. 10...h6?! A slow move, giving White another tempo to play for the center. 11.Nd2 [11.Qd2 g5 12.Bh2] 11...e5 12.Be3 g5 Stopping f2-f4, however White can play on the queenside too. 13.Nc4 Nce8 14.a5 Bd7 15.Ra3 Kh8 16.Rb3 [16.Qb1 b6 17.axb6 axb6 18.b4 is a big queenside initiative] 16...b5 17.axb6 axb6 18.Na3 Ng8 19.Bg4 Nc7 20.Bxd7 Qxd7 21.Qg4 f5 Edward starts to fight back. The middle game holds chances for Black while the endgame would be white square torture. 22.exf5 Nf6 23.Qc4 Qxf5 24.Nab5 Nce8 25.Qe2 h5 26.Na7 Nc7 27.Nc6 Rbe8 28.Rxb6?! Better to hold the center with 28. Rfd1 28...g4 [28...Ncxd5! 29.b4] 29.hxg4 hxg4 30.Qc4 [30.Na5 Ncxd5 31.Nxd5 Nxd5 32.Rxd6 Nxe3 33.Qxe3] 30...Qxc2 31.Rb7?! [31.b3!] 31...Ncxd5! Turning the game from White's favor to Black's! The white knight on c3 cannot do its job of protecting the d5 pawn when it is pinned. 32.Bg5 Nxc3 33.bxc3 Qg6 34.Be3 d5 35.Qxc5 g3! 36.fxg3

36...d4?! [36...Ng4! puts White in difficulties due to the mating threats 37.Rxf8+ Rxf8 38.Rb4 Ra8 forces 39.Rxg4 Qxg4 with a big edge to Black] 37.cxd4 Ng4 38.Rxf8+ Rxf8

39.Nxe5! Nxe5?! [39...Qe4 40.Nxg4 Qxb7 41.Qh5+ Kg8 42.Nh6+ Bxh6 43.Qxh6 is a little better for White] 40.dxe5 Qxg3 41.Rb4 [41.Bf2! Qxe5 42.Rxg7! Qa1+! 43.Kh2 Qxg7 44.Bd4 Rf6 45.Bxf6 Qxf6 is a pawn up queen ending] 41...Ra8 42.Qd4 Bxe5 43.Qh4+ Qxh4 44.Rxh4+ This pawn up ending is just a draw 44...Kg7 45.Kf2 Ra2+ 46.Kf3 Ra3 47.Re4 Bf6 48.Kg4 Ra8 1/2-1/2

(3) Widjaja,Luke (1792) - Xia,Yusheng (2294) [C00]
MI 2nd Shipman mem TNM: 1800+ San Francisco (6.3), 08.02.2022

1.e4 e6 2.b3 An unusual reply to the French Defense! Luke wants to avoid theory, though Black easily equalitzes in the center. 2...d5 3.Bb2 dxe4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Qe2

White gets the pawn back unless Black tries 5...Nc6 [5...Qd4 6.f3 exf3 7.Nxf3 with good play for the pawn.] 6.Nxe4 Be7 7.0-0-0 0-0 8.Nf3 a5! Fine use of the a-pawn to soften up white's king position a bit. 9.a4 Nb4 10.d4 b6 11.c3 [11.Nxf6+] 11...Nbd5 12.c4?! White is left with a hole on b4 after this. 12...Nb4 13.Nxf6+ Bxf6 14.Qe4 Rb8 15.h4 Bb7 16.Qe3 c6 17.Kb1

17...Ba6 [Black had the opportunity for a very promising pawn sacrifice - 17...b5! 18.cxb5 cxb5 19.Bxb5 Qd5] 18.Ng5?! [18.g4] 18...b5 19.Bd3 Nxd3 20.Qxd3 g6 21.Ne4? allowing Black to follow his plan [21.cxb5 cxb5 22.Ne4 was ok] 21...bxc4! Now White is on the run on the queenside 22.bxc4 Rb4 23.h5 This doesn't help. Black is too fast on the other side 23...Bxc4 24.Qe3 Bg7 25.hxg6

25...Qb6! other moves win also, but this is the fastest 26.gxh7+ Kh8 27.Rd2 Rb8 28.Qc3

28...Bd3+! 29.Qxd3 Rxb2+ 30.Ka1 Rxd2 0-1



Recap of the 21st Gross Memorial Championship

21st Henry Gross Memorial Championship was held on Saturday, February 5th, with 63 players participating across two sections.
The 1800+ section was dominated by the young expert players: two way tie for first place went to Austin Mei and Pranav Satish, with scoring 3.5 out of 4.0. We had a four-way tie for third place with scoring 3.0 out of 4.0, Nathan Fong, Patrick Liu, Aiden Liu and Advay Bansal. Special congratulations to Pranav Satish and Rohan Rarajam, who broke the 2000 rating during this tournament! 
James Bowen claimed the first place in the under1800 section with a perfect score of 4/4, crossing the 1800 rating. Sole second place went to Sebby Suarez, who broke the 1600 rating with his weekend performance. He is now officially qualified to play up to the 1800+ section! Six players tied for third place with 3.0 out of 4.0 points, among them notable mention an unrated player, Clarke Vandenhoven, who landed at 1680 USCF with his first ever USCF-rated tournament performance. 
Full results along with the PGN files of the Top 6 boards:
Congratulations to the winners and our wholehearted gratitude for your continued support of our club and chess community.
Please welcome two of the games from the tournament annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(4) Mei,Austin (2233) - Boldi,Nicholas (1931) [C00]
21st Henry Gross Memorial Championship San Francisco, CA, United Sta (1.2)

1.e4 e6 2.Qe2!? Avoiding the main lines of the French to get out of mainsteam theory. 2...d5?! [2...c5] 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nc3 So the Black queen is driven back and White has chances for an opening edge. 4...Qd8 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.d4 Be7 7.Bg5 0-0 8.0-0-0 White has an edge from the opening with better development. 8...b6?!

9.Qd2?! [9.Bxf6! Bxf6 10.Qe4 c6 11.Bd3 g6 12.h4 Bb7 13.h5 Nd7 14.Kb1 Qe7 15.hxg6 hxg6 16.Qf4 gives White good attacking chances] 9...Bb7 10.Bd3 Nc6 11.a3 a6 12.h4 b5 13.Ne4 Still White has his edge of a little more central space and mobility. 13...Nd5 [13...Nxe4] 14.Nc5 Bc8 15.Bxe7 Qxe7 16.Be4 Rb8 17.Bxd5 exd5 18.Rde1 Qd6 19.Ne5 Nxe5 20.Rxe5 f6 21.Re3 Bd7 22.Rhe1 Rbe8 White is very solid with a fine knight on c5. Black is under pressure. 23.g3 Rxe3 24.Rxe3 Re8?! Trading all the rooks makes the white knight clearly better than the black bishop. 25.Rxe8+ Bxe8 26.Qe1 [26.Qa5] 26...Bf7?!

[26...Bd7 holds all the black pawns] 27.Qa5! Qe7 28.b3 Making an escapre rout for the White king. White gains the a-pawn with good winning chances. 28...Bh5?! [28...h6] 29.Qxa6 Qe1+ 30.Kb2 Now its very difficult for Black. 30...h6 is best but with best play Black should lose anyway. 30...Qxf2?

31.Qe6+! Now it's mate in two. Our Tony would be pleased. 31...Bf7 32.Qc8+ Be8 33.Qxe8# 1-0

(5) Sankar,Arjun (1578) - Brown,James (1795) [C45]
21st Henry Gross Memorial Championship San Francisco, CA, United Sta (4.5)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 Qf6 6.c3 Classic Scotch Game. Arjun doesn't fall for 6. Nxc6? Bxe3 6...Nxd4?!

7.Bxd4?! [White could have gotten a classic pawn center with 7.cxd4 Bb4+ 8.Nc3] 7...Bxd4 8.Qxd4 Qxd4 9.cxd4 Now White has the classic center, but it is less important with the queens and bishops traded. Here there is more room for the black pieces to maneuver. 9...d6 10.Nc3 c6 11.Be2 Nf6 12.0-0 0-0 13.Bf3 Re8 14.Rfe1 Bg4 15.Bxg4 Nxg4 16.f3 Nf6 White has just a small edge with the nice pawn center. With few pieces on the board it is only a slight worry. 17.Re2 d5 18.Rae1 Allowing exchanges cedes equality. White would still be for choice after [18.e5] 18...dxe4 19.Nxe4 Nxe4 20.Rxe4 Kf8 21.Kf2 Rxe4 22.Rxe4 Re8

23.Rxe8+?! The immediate trade leaves White with an isolated pawn. The game should still be a draw, but it is Black who has the better chances. 23...Kxe8 24.Ke3 Ke7 25.g3 Ke6 26.h3 Kd5 27.Kd3 g5 28.b3 a5 29.a3 f5 30.Ke3 b5 31.Kd3 b4

32.a4? [32.axb4 axb4 33.f4 gxf4 34.gxf4 is just a drawn king and pawn ending. Now Black can win] 32...f4! 33.gxf4 gxf4 34.Ke2 losing the pawn, but White is in zugszwang anyway after 34. h4 h5 34...Kxd4 35.Kd2 c5 36.h4 h5 White resigns. Nice endgame play by James. 0-1



Meet Our Club Players #1

DeAndre Stallworth

We are starting a new column in which we are profiling our club players. In this inaugural piece we would like to introduce DeAndre Stallworth during Black History Month. Please welcome his introduction and say hello to him next time you see him in the club!


My name's DeAndre Stallworth, I am 26 years old and I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. 
I first learned the game of chess my Junior year in HS (pretty late for some) after leaving a lifelong venture with basketball. I was introduced to the game through my English and Science Teachers at the time, who were also the chess team coaches. I would hang out with them and a few friends during lunch and they were kind enough to encourage me to play and teach me the game. My Junior to Senior year "summer" was dedicated to chess and I was able to come back as a Senior and play 2nd board on our Varsity Team. Some very fond memories. I stopped playing the game completely for about 6 years, and picked up the game when I moved to Oakland circa October 2019.
My favorite piece would probably be the Knight. But I must admit, I have a certain love for the pawn though. I admire the way the Knight is unique, it has a cool personality.
My favorite player(s) would have to be Alexander Alekhine, I really love his collection of best games. Petrosian, Karpov,  Yasser (of course) and IM Kassa Korley are all very enjoyable to either study / watch.
I first heard of the MI through word of mouth from another chess player at a small Oakland chess get together where we played for fun. They mentioned that there was a marathon on Tuesdays and I thought it would be a great idea to check it out. Grateful for that.
I think that club's for chess should be kept alive and invested in because it brings a community together. There's no denying that chess can be very hard, and with anything that is 1v1 it can be humbling. But more importantly, it can be a huge support for mental health, a great way to reinforce analytical thinking and effective problem-solving for the youth, it allows for creativity and growth and brings many people with potentially remarkably different upbringings together. And of course, it is very very fun. Thank you so much for keeping MI going, I believe we need it more now than we have ever before.



Tony's Teasers

Mate-in-3 with white to move.



Mechanics' Institute Chess Events Schedule
February - March 2022 


Mechanics' Institute February Championship Quads -- FULL
February 12, 2022, 3PM USCF Rated. 3RR G/30;d5
Next Tuesday Night Marathon:
Falconer Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon, 

March 1 - April 122022, 6:30PM FIDE Rated. 7SS G/120;d5


FM Paul Whitehead's Column

Chess is Everywhere
[email protected]

No sooner had World Champion GM Magnus Carlsen gained a precious 3.1 rating points from Tata Steel Masters, when he turned around and lost it all – and then some – by drawing IM Geir Ostmoe in the Norwegian League a week later:
Yury Averbakh is the World’s Oldest Grandmaster, and then some – he just turned 100!
Made with 11 pounds of 14 karat yellow and white gold and selling for a cool million dollars, here’s your chance to buy a one-of-a-kind chess set from Windsor Jewelers:
WGM Sabina Foisor explains that the life of a chess professional is not completely glamourous:
Like to mix and mash up your games?  Try out some 3D printed Pokemon chess sets:
Are you a CEO that’s looking to improve your biz?  Try holding a workplace chess tournament:
Is Russian President Vladimir Putin a chess master or not?  The debate rages on:
The love of chess runs deep in this family from the Philippines:
An article that asks if chess should become an Olympic sport: 
This article posits that Vladimir Putin is actually using judo, not chess:
The low-down on the top earners in chess right now:
Chess thrives in the London Borough of Islington:
Play chess at a library in Madison, Wisconsin:
Finally, Marilyn Vos Savant answers a chess question in her popular syndicated column, Ask Marilyn:
Chess. It’s everywhere.


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

FIDE Grand Prix – The Return of Nakamura 

There are many things that we have missed in the last two years of the pandemic, but chess games and tournaments are not usually on everyone’s list. That’s because the chess world (and certainly the Mechanics’ Institute) adapted quickly to the new circumstances and introduced high-quality online tournaments. Then organizers figured out how to hold in person tournaments safely, and life seemed normal to chess players.
The one notable player to have not played any classical tournament games in 2020 and 2021 was America’s Hikaru Nakamura. The pandemic may have had little to do with his choice to avoid serious tournaments and only play blitz and rapid games along with his “day job” which is streaming about chess. While some considered him a 'has been' in classical chess with the rise of the young players, lo and behold he has returned to classical play in the current FIDE Grand Prix and shown some of the best form of his whole career. He has a chance to qualify for the Candidates Tournament which is a great surprise. (One rumor is that he would give up his spot to Ding Liren in that case. Naka may reconsider if the surprise happens.) We give two of his games below – they are the same entertaining style we have seen from him in the last 20 years.
(1) Nakamura,Hikaru (2736) - Esipenko,Andrey (2714) [A29]
FIDE Chess Grand Prix 1 2022 | Pool A (2), 05.02.2022
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Bg2 Bc5 7.0-0 0-0 This English Opening is a Sicilian, Accelerated Dragon reversed. The extra tempo White has gives him more options. 8.Qc2!? Nf6 9.a3 Nd4?! This looks logical at first site, but Black probably does better with [9...a5] 10.Nxd4 exd4 11.b4! Perhaps unexpected by Esipenko. White now gets an edge from the opening. 11...Bb6 [on 11...Be7 12.Na4 is also some edge] 12.Na4 Re8 13.Nxb6 axb6 14.e3 Typical aggressive Nakamura. 14. d3 would be more calm. White's bishop pair is a plus. 14...d3 15.Qc3 Ne4 16.Qc4 Bf5 [16...Qf6!?] 17.Bb2 Qd7
18.Bxe4 A bit of a surprise to give up the bishop pair, but Naka sees the bishops of opposite color middle game is in his favor. 18...Bxe4?! [A little better defense was 18...Rxe4 19.Qc3 f6 20.f3 Re6] 19.f3 Bc6 20.Rac1 Re7 21.Qf4 f6 22.Rc4 Rd8 23.Rfc1 Qe6? Black is under pressure and errs, allowing a breakthough. Better was [23...b5] 24.b5 Bxb5
25.Re4! much better than taking on c7 right away. White's advantage is great now. 25...Qf7 26.Rxe7 Qxe7 27.Rxc7 Rd7 28.Rc8+ Rd8
29.Bxf6! A fine combination, destroying the black kingside structure. One must calculate accurately to see that White gets the piece back. 29...gxf6 30.Qg4+ Kf8 [on 30...Kh8 31.Qb4! does the job, since 31...Qxb4? 32.Rxd8+ Kg7 33.axb4 is over] 31.Rxd8+ Qxd8 32.Qb4+ Qe7 33.Qxb5 Qxa3 34.Kf2 pawns are even but Black has only pawn islands and doubled pawns. White is winning and Nakamura shows fine technique. 34...Qc5 35.Qxd3 b5 36.Qc3 Qe7 37.Ke2 Kg7 38.Qd4 Qf7 39.Qg4+ Kh8 40.Qb4 Qe8 [40...Qc4+ 41.Qxc4 bxc4 is an easily winning king and pawn ending] 41.Qd6 Qf7 42.Qc5 Qe8 43.g4 Kg7 44.h4 Qd7 45.h5 Kg8 46.h6 1-0

(2) Nakamura,Hikaru (2736) - Grischuk,Alexander (2764) [E73]
FIDE Grand Chess Prix 1 All Pools 2022 (5), 09.02.2022
After showing us he can deal with the young upstarts, Nakamura must see if his rusty game can compete with an old rival who is still one of the best in the world. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Na6
8.h4 This move takes the battle to the kingside immediately instead of the old doctrine that White plays on the queenside and Black the kingside. 8...Nc5 9.Qc2 c6 White seems to get the opening advantage after this move. Perhaps its better to slow down the white kingside advance with [9...h5] 10.h5 cxd5 11.cxd5 Qa5 12.h6 There is no serious kingside attack for White, so taking space and restricting the dark-squared bishop makes sense. 12...Bh8 13.f3 Bd7 14.Rb1 So the battle now takes place on the queenside. 14...Na4 15.Qd2! Nxc3 16.bxc3 Qc7 17.g4 Bc8 18.Nh3 Finally developing the knight. The locked center allowed White to delay development without risk. 18...Nd7 19.Nf2 Bf6 20.0-0 Be7 21.Kh2 Nc5 22.Nd3 b6 23.Nxc5 bxc5
24.f4 White can't win with only the queenside. Naka makes use of his kingside space to pressure Black there. The h6 pawn can be a useful helper in attacking the black king. 24...exf4 25.Bxf4 Bd7 26.c4 Rab8?! Grischuk should have prevented White's next move with [26...Bf6] 27.Qc3 f6 28.Rb3 Rb6?! [28...Rf7 hinders g5] 29.g5 Rf7
30.Bc1! Qd8 31.Bb2 Strong pressure now on the long dark diagonal. 31...Qf8 32.Kg2 Bd8 33.Qf3 Bc8 [33...fxg5? 34.Qc3] 34.Qe3 Rxb3 35.axb3 fxg5? Grischuk finally cracks under the pressure. He thinks he can open the game but he had to defend passively with [35...Bd7] 36.Qc3 Rxf1 37.Qh8+ Kf7 38.Qxh7+ Ke8
39.Qxg6+! Probably the move Grischuck missed. Naka doesn't worry about taking the rook back - he see's his pawn on h6 is more deadly. 39...Ke7 [39...Qf7 40.Qxf7+ Rxf7 41.Bh5 and the h-pawn will queen; On 39...Rf7 40.Bh5] 40.Qxg5+ Rf6 41.h7 Kd7 42.Qg8 Grischuk resigned as 42..Rf2+ 43. Kg1 and the h-pawn queens 1-0



Special Event by Mr. G featuring Mechanics' players

2022 Winter Simul -- A Free Community Event

Five different individuals serving as simul givers:
Two Mechanics' club players: Luke Widjaja and Adithya Chitta
Also: Lauren Goodkind, Mr. Dan Gertmenian (aka Mr. G.) and Jai Satrawada
  • Date: Friday, February 18, 2022
  • Time: First Sitting at 4:00 pm, Second Sitting at 7:00 pm
  • Location: Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N. Stelling Rd. in Cupertino Cost: Free
  • Registration:
  • Open to the public: Age: 3rd grade and up
  • Level: open to all players regardless of experience level (up to 1500 USCF rating)
More detailed information including what to bring, code of conduct and prizes can be found here.


Solution to Tony's Teaser

if 1....Kxd6 2. Qb6+ Kxe7 3. Rf7 mate
if 1....Kxf6 2. Qh6+ Ke5 3. Rd5 mate
if 1....N8xd6 2. Nc6+ Kxf6 3. Qh6 mate
if 1.....N8xf6 2. Ng6+ Kxd6 3. Qb6 mate 



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