Chess Room Newsletter #387 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #387

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #387, 3/12/2008
"Bobby Fischer was an inspiration for me and countless others. He was a national hero turned tragic figure. While the decisions he made in life were a mystery, the fact that he died with malice in his heart for his country and people is truly a great tragedy."
~Yaasser Seirawan
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Far West Open
3) The Masked Grandmaster Redux by Jeremy Silman
4) William Addison - Part One
5) Here and There
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
Congratulations to Jayakrishnan Ramachandran who won the A.J. Fink Amateur, open to players below 2000, with a 6-0 score! Teenager Ted Belanoff lost his first game but then won five in a row including a last round victory over MI Trustee Neil Falconer, to take second with five points. Anthony Corrales, Steve Brandwein and John Donaldson directed the 51-player event held March 1-2.

Last weekend the Mechanics' played host to Grandmaster Gregory Kaidanov who gave a seminar to top Bay Area juniors and then a lecture for the public. NM Michael Aigner, aka fpawn, has an excellent report on his blog ( ) which follows. To check out the photos from the event taken by Yian Liou's parents, visit Michael's site.

Kaidanov visit by Michael Aigner

Grandmaster Gregory Kaidanov, ranked #5 in the United States at 2697 USCF and 2604 FIDE, visited the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club on Sunday, March 2. Not only is he a strong and active tournament player, he enjoys the reputation as one of America's best chess teachers. In San Francisco for the day, Kaidanov taught a master class to Northern California's most talented juniors and gave a free public lecture prior to the final round of an amateur tournament.

During the master class in the morning, the veteran Grandmaster reviewed some of his own games from the recent Moscow Open. He focused on the thinking process required to first generate reasonable candidate moves and then calculate the best lines. It was a difficult class for all; one self-proclaimed genius in the audience would miss an obvious zwischenzug in his variation. Even the GM was not immune to self-criticism; he shared the hilarious yet humiliating story of a legally blind Russian FM rated 2500 FIDE who outplayed him with black (a draw) and later lectured Kaidanov on finer points of positional strategy! Perhaps appropriately, the public lecture in the afternoon focused on psychology in chess and the chess teacher's role in identifying weaknesses in a student's personality.

The ten students invited for the class included several of America's best for their age. Often overlooked from the East Coast, these California kids can hold their own against anyone across the country and even the world. Four of the participants have held the #1 or #2 national ranking for their age in recent months; six are presently in the top 10. All are rated over 2000 USCF or have performed at that level in recent tournaments.
  • NM Sam Shankland, 16, 2295 -- top rated junior in CalChess and #6 age 16 in USA
  • FM Daniel Naroditsky, 12, 2261 -- World Youth U12 and CalChess High School champion; #1 age 12
  • Gregory Young, 12, 2194 -- US Junior High co-champ; #2 age 12
  • Nicholas Nip, 9, 2187 -- on track to shatter record for youngest USCF master; #1 age 9
  • Rohan Agarwal, 14, 2095
  • Michael Zhong, 16, 2086 -- US High School co-champion
  • Alan Naroditsky, 16, 2042
  • Louiza Livschitz, 16, 2009 -- top CalChess girl; #9 Girls U21
  • Yian Liou, 10, 1928 -- #7 age 10
  • Adam Goldberg, 13, 1923
A large group of Bay Area players will be traveling to Tulsa, Oklahoma, the end of this month (see details below under upcoming events) including IMs Vinay Bhat, Josh Friedel, David Pruess and Dmitry Zilberstein and NMs Michael Aigner and Sam Shankland.

NM Ron Cusi and Oleg Shakhnazarov tied for first at 2-1 in a Master/Experts Quad held this past week at the MI. Nine-year-old Nicholas Nip was third at 1 1/2 followed by Carlos Davila with half a point.
2) Far West Open
March 21-23 the Far West Open will be held in Reno ( see details below) . Tournament organizer Jerry Weikel writes that GMs Alex Yermolinsky, Sergey Kudrin and Melik Khachiyan and IM Enrico Sevillano are among the pre-entries. Don't miss this event, one of the highlights of the year for Northern California players.
3) The Masked Grandmaster Redux by Jeremy Silman
IM Jeremy Silman is known as one of the most popular writers and lecturers in the United States. A Mechanics' member for many years in the 1970s, 80s and 90s he immortalizes a magic moment in Mechanics' history in the following article.

Recently a fan of combinative chess wrote me and asked where he might find a game that I wrote about back in 1974. It isn't in any database, which is a real shame since the game in question is very memorable. Since this game is highly enjoyable, I will repeat my Chess Life article here (with various major analytical changes and additional information at the end).

It was Oct. 26, 1974 and the Carrol M. Capps Memorial chess tournament in San Francisco was just starting. Aside from the usual list of prizes, the event also had a "most brilliant game" award.

This prize had little meaning for the lower-rated players though. After all, how could non-masters players hope to play a more brilliant game than powerhouses like Walter Browne, Dennis Waterman, and R. Rodriguez?

"Look at my game! Look at my game! I've played a brilliancy!" screamed Michael Mills, a class "C" player.

Senior Master Waterman, IM (and U.S. Champion) John Grefe and I stared at him and then we all burst into laughter. "You played a brilliancy? Yeah, sure you did. Okay, let's see it."

Mills, seemingly oblivious to the insulting tone of our voices, sat down and began pushing wood:
R.Catig (1500) - M.Mills (1500)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 0-0 8.Qd2?! d5!So far, we were all silent. Black has played the opening well and has no problems.9.Nxc6The continuation 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxd5 Nxd4! favors Black: 11.Nxe7+ (11.c4 keeps black's edge to a minimum while 11.Bxd4 Qxd5 12.Bxg7 Qxg2! has led to many Black victories) 11…Qxe7 12.Bxd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 Bf5 (13…Re8 14.Qe3! does not promise Black as much) 14.Qe3 Qb4+ 15.Qc3 Qxc3+ 16.bxc3 Rfd8 and black's superior structure promises White a certain measure of endgame pain.9…bxc6 10.e5 Ng4A good response. Also possible is 10…Nd7 11.f4 e6 when the following trap has claimed many victims: 12.Na4? Nxe5! 13.fxe5 Qh4+ 14.Bf2 Qxa4.11.Bxg4 Bxg4 12.h3 Bf5 13.g4?Desperate to find something to criticize, we all became hysterical. "You fool!" we howled, "Why did you allow him to attack your Bishop with gain of time?"

"Well," Michael replied coolly, "I was trying to egg him on."

This was too much for us. We fell on the floor and laughed uncontrollably. Undaunted, Michael continued …13…Be6We were too busy making fun of Michael to notice 13…Bxe5! 14.Bh6 (14.gxf5 d4) 14…d4! 15.Bxf8 (or 15.Qe2 Bf6 16.Bxf8 dxc3 17.b4 Qd2+ 18.Qxd2 cxd2+ 19.Kxd2 Kxf8) 15…dxc3 and white's position is grim.14.Qd4?The idea of this move its to post the Queen on c5 -- not a bad concept, but it walks into various tactical problems. Far better was 14.f4.14…f6A good move, but interesting alternatives existed:

1) 14…Qb8 (with a double attack against b2 and e5) 15.f4 f6 is tempting.

2) 14…Rc8!? is a computer move: 15.Qxa7 (15.Na4 Qc7) 15…Bxe5 16.Bh6 d4 17.Rd1 Ra8 18.Qc5 Ra5 19.Qxc6 Qb8 20.Bxf8 Kxf8 and White is getting wiped out.15.f4?Very poor. White should play 15.exf6 Bxf6 16.Qc5 though Black would still retain an obvious advantage. For example 16…Qb6 (16…d4!? 17.0-0-0 dxc3 18.Rxd8 cxb2+ 19.Kb1 Raxd8 looks like it might be interesting, though it's hardly brave of me to sacrifice someone else's Queen!) 17.0-0-0 Rfb8.15…Qc7The obvious 15…fxe5 16.fxe5 Qc7 nets a free pawn since 17.Bf4 c5 is crushing. However, the text move also leaves White in a bad way, and might even prove stronger than 15…fxe5.16.exf6 Bxf6 17.Qc5 Bh4+More straightforward is 17…d4 18.Bxd4 Qxf4 19.Bxf6 Rxf6 with a winning attack. The path Mills chose is far deeper and far more elegant.18.Ke2Other moves:

1) 18.Kd1 d4! 19.Nb5 Qa5 20.Qxc6 dxe3 21.Qxe6+ Kg7 22.Nc3 Rxf4 wins for Black.

2) 18.Bf2 Bxf2+ 19.Qxf2 Rxf4 20.Qe3 Bf7 21.0-0-0 e5 has to be winning for Black.

3) 18.Kd2 d4 wins on the spot.18…Bc8!!A first-rate move that is even beyond the powers of modern day (2008) computers. Black brings his light-squared Bishop into play and makes way for the advance of his e-pawn, which will rip open the center. Michael's earlier moves had not made much of an impression on us. But when we saw this move, our pompous smiles began to fade.19.Nxd5Very tempting and very greedy, but there really isn't a fully acceptable defense. Other tries:

1) 19.Kd2 Ba6 (intending both …d4 and …Rxf4) 20.Rad1 (20.Qd4 Bf6!) 20…Rxf4 21.Bxf4?? Qxf4+ 22.Qe3 Qf6 and White has to resign due to threats like …d4 and …Bg5.Instead of 21.Bxf4??, White should play 21.Nxd5 Rd8 22.Kc1 Rxd5 23.Rxd5 Rc4 24.Qxa7 cxd5 25.Qxa6 Rxc2+ 26.Kb1 Bf6 (26…Rxb2+!? 27.Kxb2 Qe5+ 28.Kc2 Qe4+ 29.Qd3 Qxh1 30.a4 gives White counterplay) 27.Bc1 Rg2! 28.Qb5 Qc2+ 29.Ka1 Kg7 and White's position is most unpleasant.

One would think that White should go for this, except Black can improve: 19.Kd2 Ba6 20.Rad1 (His only chance is probably 20.Kc1!? though White's position would then be wretched in every way after 20…e5) 20…e5! 21.fxe5 (21.Nxd5 Qb7 22.Nb4 Be7 is more than White can handle) 21…d4! 22.Bxd4 Bg5+ 23.Ke1 (23.Be3 Be7 and White will suffer massive material losses) 23…Rad8 and Black's attack should prove decisive. One nice line: 24.Qxa7 Qxe5+! 25.Bxe5 Bh4+ 26.Bg3 Bxg3+ 27.Qf2 Bxf2 mate. Cool!

2) 19.b4 e5 20.fxe5 Qxe5 looks grim.

3) 19.Rag1 Ba6+ 20.Kd1 e5 and all I can say is that I wouldn't want to be White.19…Ba6+ 20.c4Black has many possibilities after 20.Kf3, the simplest of which is 20…Qe5 when White has to jettison a piece by 21.Nxe7+ (21.Qxc6 Rac8 is game over) 21…Qxe7 22.Qxe7 Bxe7.20…Qb7! 21.Nb4 e5!White's holding on as best he can, but Mills (who appears to be channeling Alekhine) won't stop playing great moves!22.Nxa6If 22.fxe5 Be7 23.Qxc6 Qxb4 (much stronger than 23…Bxb4 -- why not enjoy an extra piece AND a strong attack?) 24.b3 Bb7 25.Qe6+ Kh8! 26.Rhf1 Bg2 and wins.22…exf4?!Black learned that he's supposed to open lines in this kind of position and he's making sure he does it! Unfortunately, more direct measures were called for: 22…Qxb2+ 23.Kf3 (23.Bd2 holds out a bit longer, though 23…Rxf4 leaves White in agony) 23…e4+ 24.Kxe4 Rae8+ 25.Kd3 (25.Kf3 Rxf4+! mates) 25…Rd8+ and mate is in the air.23.Bd4 Rae8+?!The most natural move in the world, but it turns out to be inaccurate. Instead, 23…f3+ turns out to be quite strong: 24.Kd3 Rad8 25.Nb4 Be7 (the immediate 25…Rxd4+ is also good) 26.Qe5 Rxd4+ 27.Qxd4 Qxb4 28.Qc3 Qc5 29.Kc2 Rf4 30.b4 Qf2+ 31.Kb3 Bf6 32.Raf1 Qe2 33.Qc2 Qe3+ 34.Ka4 f2 gives Black a winning advantage.24.Kf3??Kindly allowing a stunning finish. White had to play 24.Kd3 when 24…Qxa6 25.Qxa7 Qxa7 26.Bxa7 f3 27.Bc5 Rd8+ 28.Ke4 Rf7 still leaves White in serious trouble due to the power of the passed f-pawn and the vulnerability of the white King. One sample: 29.Ba3 f2 30.Raf1 Re8+ 31.Kd3 Rd7+ 32.Kc2 Re2+ 33.Kb3 Bf6 and White is helpless.

After this final mistake by White, Mills really does turn into Alekhine!24…Re3+!!Still clearing lines like a maniac! At this point all of us were exhibiting signs of shock, jaws hanging to the floor.25.Kg2If 25.Bxe3 fxe3+ 26.Ke4 leaves Black with a multitude of winning ideas, with 26…Re8+ 27.Kd3 Rd8+ 28.Ke4 Qxb2 being my personal favorite.25…f3+ 26.Kf1 Rfe8!!Black now threatens to mate with …Re1+. Of course, White cannot play 27.Bxe3 due to …Qxb2.27.Kg1 Bg3!Tightening the net. The Rook is still immune to capture -- an incredible situation. Of course, 27…Re1+ also won easily, but 27…Bg3 is more accurate.28.Rf1 Re1 29.Bc3 Qxb2!!Now, since 30.Bxb2 Rxf1+ 31.Kxf1 Re1 is mate, White resigned. 0-1.

"Who was that masked grandmaster?" Larry Christiansen asked when I showed him the game some months later.

How did Mills do it? Was it something he ate? Did he practice celibacy for this event?

Michael was quite willing to give us the answer. "I just followed the advice given in Vukovic's book, THE ART OF ATTACK."

And it suddenly all made sense! I had told him to read this classic months before the tournament and he had taken the advice to heart. His use of basic tactical motifs like double attack, the opening of lines, the overworked piece, and building a mating net were all beautifully featured in this game.

As it turned out, he really didn't calculate that many variations. He just did what Vukovic told him to in such positions and hoped it would work out. Therefore, this game is both a testament to Vukovic's book as well as a final proof of the validity of the Hundred Monkey Theory. Nevertheless, few players (of any rating) ever create an evergreen such as this, so he can consider himself blessed.

Of course, Mills won the brilliancy prize, and none of us could do anything but applaud him. Truly a fantastic creative effort and, perhaps, the greatest game by a non-master of all time!
4) William Addison - Part one
William Addison, who served as Chess Director of the Mechanics' in the late 1960s, is one of the strongest American players never to become a GM (rated 2490 FIDE at his retirement). Here are a few of his better games.
Addison,W - Reshevsky,S [E88]
New York (US Ch) 1967
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 c6 8.Qd2! cxd5 9.cxd5 Na6 10.Bd3 Bd7 11.Nge2 Ne8 12.0-0-0! Nc5 13.Bb5 Rc8 14.Kb1 f5 15.Bxd7 Qxd7 16.b4! Na4 17.Rc1 Nf6 18.a3 fxe4 19.fxe4 a5!? 20.Qd3 axb4 21.axb4 Ng4 22.Rc2 Nxe3 23.Qxe3 Rc4 24.Nxa4! Rxc2 25.Nac3 Rxc3 26.Nxc3 Qc8 27.Qd3 Bh6 28.Re1 Qg4 29.Qe2 Qf4 30.Kc2 Qxh2 31.Rf1 Rxf1 32.Qxf1 Qf4 33.Qb5 Qf7? 34.Qb6 Bf8 35.Kb3 h5 36.Qd8! Kg7 37.Nb5 Qe7 38.Qc8 Kh6 39.Nc7 b6 40.Ne6 Bg7 41.Ka4 Qf6 42.Kb5 g5 43.Kxb6 Qf2+ 44.Kc6 Qc2+ 45.Kd7 Qa4+ 46.Ke7 Qa7+ 47.Qc7 Qxc7+ 48.Nxc7 g4 49.b5 h4 50.b6 h3 51.gxh3 gxh3 52.b7 h2 53.b8Q h1Q 54.Ne6 Qxe4 55.Qxd6 Bh8 56.Nc5+ Qg6 57.Ne4 Qxd6+ 58.Kxd6 Kg6 59.Ke6 1-0
Addison,W - Matulovic,M [D40]
Maribor 1967
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.e3 e6 5.d4 d5 6.a3 cxd4 7.exd4 Be7 8.c5 Ne4 9.Qc2 f5 10.Bb5² Bf6 11.Bf4 0-0 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.0-0 g5? 14.Be5 g4 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 16.Ne5± Ba6 17.Rfe1 Rh6 18.Nxe4 Qh4 19.Nf6+!! Kg720.Nfxg4 fxg4 21.h3 gxh3 22.g3 h2+ 23.Kh1 Qh3 24.Re3! Rf8 25.Rae1 Bb7+- 26.Qd2 Kh8 27.f4 Ba6 28.Nxc6 e5 29.Nxe5 Bc8 30.g4 Qh4 31.f5 Bxf5 32.gxf5+- Rxf5 33.Qg2 Rhf6 34.Rg3 Rf8 35.Ng6+ hxg6 36.Rh3 Qxh3 37.Qxh3+ Kg7 38.Re7+ Kf6 39.Qh4+ g5 40.Qh7 Rf1+ 41.Kxh2 Rh8 42.Qxh8+ Kxe7 43.Qe5+ Kf8 1-0
Addison,W - Sigurjonsson,G [E54]
Reykjavik 1968
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0-0 5.Bd3 c5 6.Nf3 d5 7.0-0 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Qe7 9.a3 Ba5 10.Bd3 a6 11.e4 cxd4 12.e5! dxc3 13.exf6 gxf6 14.Qa4 Nc6 15.Bxh7+! Kh8 16.Be4 b517.Qd1 Rd8 18.Nd4!! Qc5 19.Bxc6 Rxd4 20.Qf3 Ra7 21.Qxf6++- Kh7 22.Be3 Bb6 23.Rad1 e5 24.Bh6 Rg4 25.Be4+! 1-0
New York (US CH) 1969
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.d5 e5 11.b3 Bd6 12.0-0 0-0 13.Nd2 g6? 14.a4 c4 15.Bb1! b4 16.Nxc4 Nc5 17.Na2 Ncxe4 18.Qe1 Nc5 19.Nxb4 Nxb3 20.Nc6 Qc7 21.Nxd6! Nxc1 22.Qxe5+- Ne2+ 23.Kh1 Nxd5 24.Be4! Bd7 25.Qxd5 Bxc6 26.Qxc6 Qxc6 27.Bxc6 Rad8 28.Nb7 Rd2 29.Rfd1 Rc2 30.Be4 Rb2 31.Bf3 Rb8 32.Nc5 Nc3 33.Rdc1 Na2 34.Rf1 a5 35.Nb7 Ra8 36.Nd6 Ra7 37.Nc4 Rc2 38.Be4 1-0
5) Here and There
Los Angeles GM Varuzhan Akobian tied for second in the 3rd Morelia Open in Mexico with 5.5 from 7. Costa Rican GM and UTD student Alejandro Ramirez won with 6 points.

Boris Gulko had an excellent result at Cappelle la Grande with 6.5 from 9 ( 2622 performance) tying for ninth. 16-year-old NYC high school student Robert Hess also did quite well with 6 points ( 2530 performance)

GM Alejandro Ramirez won the St. Louis Open with 4.5 from 5 with GM Alexander Yermolinsky and Nm Carl Boor sharing second at 4. Go to for more information.

GM Joel Benjamin won the Millennium Festival in Virginia Beach with 4.5 from 5. Father and son IM Larry Kaufman and FM Ray Kaufman shared second with 4. Go to for more information.

GM Alex Onischuk's excellent website ( reports that he will play for “Junost Moskvi”. in the Russian Chess League held in Sochi from April 1-14.

Alex Shabalov won the Eastern Class Championship (Sturbridge MA, Feb 29-Mar 2, 2008) with 4.5/5, fellow Pittsburgh resident GM Darmen Sadvakasov was second with 4. Go to for more information.

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