Chess Room Newsletter #381 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #381

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #381, 1/31/2008
"It was Bobby Fischer who had, single-handedly, made the world recognize that chess on its highest level was as competitive as football, as thrilling as a duel to the death, as esthetically satisfying as a fine work of art, as intellectually demanding as any form of human activity."
~Harold C. Schonberg (in his 1973 book Grandmasters of Chess.)
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Bobby Fischer 1943-2008
3) People's Tournament Rescheduled
4) Young and Finegold lead in Chicago
5) U.S. Championship Details by Tom Braunlich
6) Richard Shorman USCF Volunteer of the Month
7) Here and There
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
FM Frank Thornally and NM Daniel Naroditsky have the only perfect scores after three rounds of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon. 11 players are tied for third at 2 1/2 led by IM John Grefe and NM Sam Shankland. Also on this score is newly minted Expert Alan Naroditsky who is enjoying an excellent start with a draw with IM Grefe and a win over Expert Nicholas Nip.

MICC Newsletter #380 mentioned that MI members IMs David Pruess and Josh Friedel will be playing in the Aeroflot Open in Moscow next month. In fact not only will they be playing in that event they will also be participating in the Moscow Open as well.

World Under 12 Champion Daniel Naroditsky turned in an excellent performance in the Western Class Championship in Agoura Hills held January 18-21. The young Mechanics' member scored 3.5 from 6 playing up five rounds out of six, including a first round draw with GM Melik Khachiyan. This event, organized by Bill Goichberg's Continental Chess Association and directed by Randy Hough, was won by visiting Bulgarian IM Valetin Yotov, IM Andranik Matikoziyan and NM Matthew Beelby. The three winners scored 4.5 from 6 in an open section that attracted only 23 players. Overall the turnout of 170 players was below expectation and continues a discouraging decline in attendance for open tournaments in the Los Angeles area despite dedicated organizers, a strong local chess column and a well-regarded bimonthly magazine devoted to Southern California chess.

9-year-old Expert Nicholas Nip is looking for players rated over 2000 for matches and quads to be held at the Mechanics' Institute in San Francisco on weekends. Interested parties may contact John Donaldson at

Book and equipment donations to the Mechanics' are always welcome. All donations to the Mechanics' are tax deductible due to the M.I.'s 501(c) (3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that have been lying around unused for some time consider donating to the Mechanics'. You will not only get a tax write off but also the satisfaction of seeing things put to good use.
2) Bobby Fischer 1943-2008
Bobby Fischer died on Thursday, January 17, 2008, in Reykjavik, Iceland, of kidney failure at the age of 64. His death was widely reported in the media. Most of the obituaries covered well trodden ground but one of the better ones, by long time Guardian columnist Leonard Barden, was more personal. Here is a brief excerpt on Fischer's visit to England in the early 1960s that may be new for many readers.

In autumn 1960, Fischer led the US team to silver medals behind the USSR in the chess olympiad at Leipzig, drawing his individual game with Tal. Handsome and over six feet tall, he was friendly, talkative, and took pride in his growing collection of suits. Claiming to be a palm-reader, he took Tal's hand and said "I can see that the next world champion is going to be a young American". After Leipzig he decided to visit London and Saville Row, and agreed to take part in a consultation game on BBC's Network Three weekly half-hour radio chess programme. His fee was �50, which covered the cost of the suit.

Fischer's opponents were Jonathan Penrose, the British champion, and Peter Clarke. I was nominally the American's consultation partner, but the producer told me that my real job was to encourage the sometimes-taciturn Bobby to verbalise his ideas. This proved unexpectedly easy, since Bobby had the advantage throughout the game and explained eloquently the value of two bishops against knights. However, the opponents proved good defenders, and after a marathon eight-hour session the studio recording time ran out with no decision. Despite Fischer's claims that the game was resignable, the producer ruled that the position should go for adjudication, and the former world champion Dr Max Euwe declared it drawn.

The next day, after being fitted for his suit, Bobby visited my home. He had a prodigious appetite and ate most of the contents of my mother's well-stocked fridge. We played five-minute blitz at which, although I was then British lightning champion, he trounced me. "You're just a British weakie," he taunted. Fischer's deep-set eyes, large hands and talon-like fingers had a charismatic and even hypnotic effect. During Leipzig I also gave the top grandmasters memory tests for the BBC programme, with revealing results. Tal, prompted with some obscure game, rattled off the opening and the occasion, and when it was his own game, gave me a resume of the pre-game banter and the post-mortem analysis. Fischer's memory, by contrast, was excellent only for his own wins.

You can find the entire article at,,2243266,00.html.

For a tribute to Fischer from participants in the Corus tournament consult the following production.

Dear colleagues,

ICC's special "Fischer Remembered" video filmed and edited by Macauley Peterson is available on More of a short documentary, this 13 minute video (with interviews and tributes from Corus players) is available for cross-posting, under a Creative Commons license, available at the following URL:

You can select your web site format and copy & paste the relevant code to embed the video on your site.

John Henderson
Director of Marketing & Chess Content
Internet Chess Club
3) People's Tournament Rescheduled
This Newsletter is coming out late in part due to the desire to offer the latest news on the People's Tournament. Held since the mid 1970s in Berkeley this Bay Area tradition has suffered from the lack of an active UC Berkeley Chess Club presence the past few years. This year, due to a scheduling mix-up the event will not be held in Berkeley at the UC Student Union Pauley Ballroom on President's Day weekend - the advertisement in Chess Life to the contrary. Tournament Director Richard Koepcke hopes to hold the event at the usual venue, but sometime this spring - dates still to be determined.

When it was announced that the People's was in trouble Elizabeth Shaughnessy and Salman Azhar both offered suggestions for alternative sites for the President's Day weekend and it is Mr. Azhar's intention to host an event this February 16-18 on the Peninsula. Note the Young Peoples tournament will still be held on February 18.
4) IM Ben Finegold wins 7th North American FIDE Invitational in Chicago
The following information comes from the North American Chess Association website The event was held January 20-26 at the The Touch Move Chess Center in Chicago.

1st - 8.0/9.0
IM Ben Finegold (USA)
2nd place - 7.0/9.0
IM Angelo Young (PHI)

3rd place - 6.5/9.0
Dr. Tansel Turgut (TUR) - IM Norm Scored!

4th - 10th place:
4th place - FM Mehmed Pasalic (GER) - 5.5/9.0
5th place - IM Arjun Vishnuvardhan (IND) - 4.5/9.0
6th place - Gauri Shankar (IND) - 4.0/9 .0
7th place - FM Albert Chow (USA) - 3.5/9.0
8th place - FM Dr. Ricardo Szmetan (BAR) - 2.5/9.0
9th place - Bill Calton (USA) - 2.0/9.0
10th place - FM Thomas Bartell (USA) - 1.5/9.0

Judging from the crosstable a serious illness must have swept through the tournament as 9 games were forfeited ( four by Carlton and three each by Bartell and Szmetan ( now representing Barbados instead of his native Argentina). Fortunately they did not influence first place ( Finegold had one forfeit win and Young had two) nor apparently Turgut's norm as he played all nine games.

1st North American Match Challenge
Krush (USA) vs Mkrtchian (ARM)
March 31 - April 3, 2008

The North American Chess Association is proud to announce the 1st North American Match Challenge featuring two-time US Women's Champion, IM Irina Krush, taking on four-time Armenian Women's Champion, IM Lilit Mkrtchian.Event Details:
  • 4 round exhibition match
  • 1 round each day at 5pm Chicago time
  • 40/100 +15 after 40 moves + 30/sec per move from move 1
  • No draw prior to 30 moves (except for stalemate, repetition of position, or no mating material)
  • Live broadcast on the MonRoi World Databank of Chess (
More information will be updated at

5) US Championship Details by Tom Braunlich
The U.S. Chess Championship dates back to 1845 and includes among its victors such famous champions of the past as Morphy, Pillsbury, Marshall, Reshevsky, and the late Bobby Fischer. Who will be the champion for 2008?

The 2008 Frank K. Berry U.S. Chess Championship is now slated for May 13-21 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is sanctioned by the USCF and will be a 9-round Swiss System event with 24 contenders. The 2008 Frank K. Berry U.S. Women's Chess Championship will be held at the same time and location, as a 10-player round robin. International Arbiter Frank K. Berry is again sponsoring this year's events as he did last year in nearby Stillwater. The move to Tulsa is intended to simplify travel for the players.

The organizing committee today announces the following details:Venue - Radisson Hotel Tulsa.

Prizes - at least $50,000

Seeding - The 24 invitees to the event will be determined as follows:
  • U.S. Champion (Alex Shabalov).
  • U.S. Open Champion (Boris Gulko).
  • U.S. Junior Champion (Marc Arnold).
  • U.S. Senior Champion (To be determined at the U.S. Senior Open, scheduled for April 28-May 3 in Florida).
  • U.S. ICC Tournament of State Champions Winner (From the ICC online event, date still to be determined).
  • 9 Top rated players on the March 2008 rating list (due out February 10).
  • 7 Qualifiers from the Qualifier Open tournament (March 28-30 in Tulsa). See: for the announcement or for the tournament's website.
  • 3 Wild Cards selected by Frank K. Berry to round out the field (to be announced in April).
Since the already-seeded Shabalov and Gulko will likely be among the top 10 players on the rating list, in effect invitations will go to the Top 11 rated players, plus the various qualifiers to make up 24 total players. This might be considered somewhat "tighter" at the top compared with last year in which there were only 6 players seeded directly by rating out of 36 total, and similar ratios in the previous few years.

Players who win qualification or are seeded under these rules but who decline the invitation will be replaced by the next available person in line on the March rating list. In case an already-seeded player wins the U.S. Senior Open (or the Qualifier Open) the qualification spot goes to the next-highest eligible finisher in that tournament. Of course all players must meet the eligibility requirements.

The Frank K. Berry U.S. Women's Chess Championship

Prizes -$25,000

Seeding - The 10 contenders for the title will be determined as follows:
  • U.S. Women's Champion (Irina Krush)
  • 6 Top-Rated Women players on the March Rating List
  • 3 Wild Cards selected by Frank K. Berry (One of these wild cards will be top female finisher at the Qualifier Open).
MonRoi will again be a sponsor, and will carry the official website and host LIVE games from both events for viewing online.

In the event of a tie for first place at the championship, in both the events, there will be a playoff for the title similar to previous years. The final announcement of the players will be made in April on Chess Life Online. The championship organizing committee consists of Frank K. Berry, Jim Berry, and Tom Braunlich; with assistance from Bill Goichberg, Bill Hall, and John Donaldson.
6) Richard Shorman USCF Volunteer of the Month
Northern California has known about Richard Shorman for half a century as a chess teacher to tens of thousands of children, as a long running chess columnist and for his efforts to preserve a visual memory of chess history through the many photos he has taken (archived at over the decades. Now he is finally receiving national recognition. Last August the USCF awarded him its Meritorious Service award and next month he will be the Federation's Volunteer of the Month for February. Well done Richard!
7) Here and There
Jonathan Hilton of Cincinnati, known to many for his series at Chess Life Online on the late Alex Wojtkiewicz has started up a new magazine devoted to Ohio chess. Check it out at

GM Bu of China leads a star-studded GM field two thirds of the way through the Gibralter Chess Festival with 5.5 from 6. GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Varuzhan Akobian have 4 while Texans IMs Joe Bradford and FM Michael Langner have 3 1/2 and 3 respectively.

IM Nikolay Minev has a new book out devoted to one of the strongest players never to be World Champion. David Bronstein: Fifty Great Short Games (pb, 97 pages, Indices: player, opening, event index) $15.28 + $3 shipping (US destinations only) can be examined at: Preview this book at For more offerings by Dr. Minev go to
The recently concluded Corus tournament in Holland will be remembered for the dramatic fight for first place in the top group ( Aronian and Carlsen shared first) but Americans participants in group C also did very well. Italian-American Fabiano Caruana scored 10 from 13 to finish two points ahead of the field! This result should put Fabiano comfortably over 2600. One of his two losses was to Irina Krush who recovered from a slow start to finish on a very creditable 7 points.

Expert Salar Jahedi scored 4.5 from 5 to win the Richard Shorman Marathon held at the Berkeley Chess Club the past two months. Tying for second in the 23-player event were Farid Mark Watson and Glenn Leotaud. Go to for more information.

FM Bruce Harper has been working on a tribute to Canadian Grandmaster Duncan Suttles for close to two decades and the wait has been worth it. His three(!) volume series totaling over 1000 pages, written in collaboration with GM Yasser Seirawan, on one of the most original and entertaining players in the history of the game, will be long remembered. You can find out more about the book at The publisher is offering a discount for pre-release orders ($100 (Can) for all three volumes, rather than $120

Organizer Len Molden writes:

A major regular chess event is happening on March 15, 2008 in Vancouver, B.C. Canada involving both GM Duncan Suttles and GM Yasser Seirawan. To reserve tickets for the March 15 "Chess on the Edge", Volumes 1-3 book launch and to play in the tandem (alternating move) simultaneous against GMs Suttles and Seirawan, please register now at

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