Chess Room Newsletter #388 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #388

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #388, 3/12/2008
"Some twenty years ago an English journalist complained that in sports, only chess and marbles were above suspicion. One wonders what has happened in the world of marbles."
~Hans Ree
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Nicholas Nip Youngest US Master ever by Michael Aigner
3) FIDE Grand Prix
4) Stockholm Ladies Open
5) Donaldson-Sinanan
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
Former US Champion John Grefe, who tied for top honors with GM Lubosh Kavalek at El Paso in 1973, will be giving a one hour lecture next Tuesday night before the start of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. John's talk, which will run from 5:15 to 6:15, is free to all.

Add the names of IM Walter Shipman and World Under 12 Champion Daniel Naroditsky to the group of Mechanics' members who will be traveling to Tulsa in late March for the US Championship qualifier. Walter played in his first US Championship in 1946!

So far five GMs and 7 IMs have signed up to play headed by GMs Alexander Goldin, Eugene Perelshteyn and Alex Yermolinsky and IM Ben Finegold. Seven spots in the US Championship are up for grabs.

Organizer, sponsor and tournament director Frank Berry asks those attending the event and flying in Thursday to e-mail ( him their flight information to facilitate their pickup. Also... bring set and clock. G-90 + 30 sec (delay or add-on).

He hasn't gotten his picture on the cover of Rolling Stone yet but don't count Daniel Naroditsky out. After winning the World Under 12 Championship Daniel's face appeared on the cover of Chess Life and Chess for Kids. Now he is featured on Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd -
2) Nicholas Nip Youngest US Master ever by Michael Aigner
The following article comes from Michael Aigner's excellent blog ( which is the place to go for recent Bay Area chess news.

Nicholas Nip has broken the US Chess Federation's record for the youngest master at the tender age of 9 years and 11 months, shattering the previous record of 10 years and 79 days held by Hikaru Nakamura. His new rating on the MSA website stands at 2207. Nicholas earned the final 20 rating points on March 5 in a G/60 quad tournament at the Mechanics' in San Francisco, defeating FM Ron Cusi (2339) in the climactic game.

The youngest master record is considered one of the most hallowed marks of the USCF. Future World Champion Bobby Fischer was considered a prodigy when he became a master at the age of 13. The rise of computers and prominence of scholastic chess has pushed this record younger and younger. In 1995, two young rivals from the Bay Area earned the master rank before their 11th birthdays. Jordy Mont-Reynaud did it in 10 years and 209 days and then, merely a few months later, Vinay Bhat shaved yet another 33 days off the record. Future Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura lowered the mark almost another 100 days in 1998, a record that nobody has come close to touching until today.

Much of the credit for Nicholas' rapid improvement from a talented yet inexperienced first grader in 2005 to National Master goes to his supportive parents who traveled with him and coaches Liina Vark and Eric Hicks of Academic Chess. The teachers identified his potential in kindergarten and developed it with tender nurturing care over the years. Hicks has told me several times over the years that one reason Nicholas improved quickly is his ability and desire to study on his own, often with the help of a computer. Certainly those of us who have witnessed his meteoric rise first hand can attest to Nicholas' love for the game of chess. He would always be eager to hang around chess players and he quickly became a favorite of many older children at the Mechanics' Institute.

What does the future hold for Nicholas? The fact that he has already defeated nine (9!) different established masters, including this writer, at slow tournament time controls bodes very well. He also has a solid FIDE rating of 2143 which will surely increase over time. Perhaps it is the pedigree of former youngest masters that offers the most hope for the future for young Nicholas. Here's wishing you all the best!
3) FIDE Grand Prix
FIDE published the final list of 21 FIDE Grand Prix participants, as well as a schedule of their participation in six GP tournaments: each player will take part in four events. The sole American participant is Gata Kamsky.

The GP participants are:

From Matches: Kamsky By Rating: Mamedyarov, Leko, Ivanchuk, Aronian, Gelfand, Radjabov

World Cup: Carlsen, Karjakin

From Rating Reserve: Adams, Grischuk

FIDE President Nominees: Svidler, Cheparinov, Bacrot, Wang Yue

Representatives of Host Cities:

Jakovenko, Inarkiev, Navara, Gashimov, Pelletier, Al-Modiahki

Players who had a right to participate in the Grand Prix, but declined are: Anand, Kramnik and Topalov (Matches), Morozevich (Rating) and Shirov (World Cup).
4) Stockholm Ladies Open
The Stockholm Ladies Open tournament takes place 20th-25th March 2008. The event has got the astonishing entry of 60 WGMs and 47 WIMs and a total of 150 players making it the biggest women's event ever in Sweden and that maybe a world record. IM Anna Zatonskih and WGM Rusa Goletiani will be representing the United States. Go to for more information.
5) Donaldson-Sinanan
John Donaldson � Josh Sinanan [D41]
Collyer Memorial (Spokane) 2008
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.d4 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Nc7 followed by ...e5 leads to a reversed Maroczy Bind. Yasser had great success with 5.e4 in his younger days while the text is the preferred choice in the Opening for White According to Kramnik series and Pritchett's new book on the English. 5...e6 5...Nxc3 6.bxc3 g6 7.e4 transposes into the Exchange variation of the Grunfeld. 6.e4 This leads to the main line of the Semi-Tarrasch variation of the Queen's Gambit which Bobby Fischer employed for Black on more than one occasion. 6.e3 cxd4 7.exd4 Nc6 8.Bc4 (or 8.Bd3 Be7 9.0�0 0�0 10.Re1) 8...Be7 9.0�0 0�0 10.Re1 lead to standard Isolated Queen Pawn positions but Black does better to delay capturing on d4. For example 6...Nc6 7.Bd3 Be7 8.0�0 0�0 when 9.Re1 is met by 9...b6 and 9. a3 by 9...cxd4. In both cases White is unable to obtain his maximum IQP position. 6...Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 8...Nc6 allows White the option of 9.a3 stopping ...Bb4+. 9.Bd2 Bxd2+ 9...Qa5 10.Rb1! Bxd2+ 11.Qxd2 Qxd2+ 12.Kxd2 might seem to make sense heading for an ending with a queenside pawn majority but White's center and strong pressure on the b and c files make it inadvisable. 12...0�0 13.Bb5! (to force weaknesses) 13...a6 14.Bd3 Rd8 15.Rhc1 led to a classic victory for White in Rubinstein-Schlechter, San Sebastian 1912. 10.Qxd2 0�0 11.Bc4 Nc6 11...b6 (note 11...Nd7 12.0�0 b6 13.Rfe1 Bb7 might be more accurate as 11..b6 12.d5! might be a problem.) 12.0�0 Bb7 13.Rfe1 Nd7 14.a4 Rc8 15.Bd3 a5!? is an interesting idea proposed by GM Comas Fabrego in his book True Lies in Chess. Black stops the plan of a4-a5 in its tracks and advancing d5 or e5 give him many squares. It is not considered by Khalifman and his team in the Opening for White According to Kramnik series. 12.0�0 b6 13.Rad1 Bb7 13...Na5 14.Bd3 Bb7 is considered to be more accurate. Now 15.d5 (? according to Atalik) 15...exd5 16.e5 Nc4 17.Qf4 is Sharavdorj-Atalik, Berkeley 2005. In this exact position the Turkish GM believes that 17...Nb2 is strong(!) as the exclusion of ...Rc8 and Rfe1 favors Black. See his exhaustive notes in Chess Informant 93, game 364. 14.Rfe1 Rc8 14...Na5 gives White the additional option of 15.Bf1 which he would not have had a move before. The Bishop might look modest on its original square but White has d4-d5 coming. 15.d5 .exd5 My knowledge of the variation ended with this move. I remembered 15...Na5 16.Bd3 exd5 17.e5 Nc4 18.Qf4 Nb2 19.Bxh7+! Kxh7 20.Ng5+ Kg6 21.h4 with a winning attack for White in Polugaevsky-Tal, Moscow 1969. A big improvement for Black is 16...Qe7 keeping the tension. 16.Bxd5 16.exd5 is also good. 16...Qe7 Josh, who knew nothing about this line beforehand, finds the best move. Alternatives are not as good: A. 16...Qc7 17.Qg5 h6 18.Qg4 Rfd8 19.h3 (to provide air for the King and free the back rank) (the immediate 19.Qf5 is met by 19...Nb4 20.Bb3 Nd3! 21.Bxf7+ Qxf7 22.Qxf7+ Kxf7 23.Rxd3 Rxd3 24.Ne5+ Kf8 25.Nxd3 Rc3 26.Ne5 Bxe4!) 19...Nb4 20.Nd4 with a strong attack brewing in Kolev-Delchev, Elenite 1994.;

B. 16...Na5 17.Qf4 Qc7 18.Qf5 Bxd5 19.exd5 was better for White in Spassky-Petrosian from their 1969 World Championship match. 17.Qf4 17.e5 Nd8 18.Bxb7 Nxb7 19.Nd4 g6 20.f4 Rc5 21.Qe3 Nd8 22.f5 as in Bocharov-Bologan, Warsaw 2005, may well be stronger. 17...Rfe8 17...Rc7 18.Nh4 Qe5 is an untested suggestion of Bondarevsky. 18.Qf5 It was hard to choose between the text and 18.Nh4. 18.e5 was another move that I considered trying to put a Knight on d6 but didn't see how to do it. For example. 18...Nd8 19.Bxb7 Qxb7 20.Nh4 g6 (20...Ne6 21.Qg3 g6 22.Nf5 is just what White wants) 21.Qg3 Kh8 22.Nf3 Ne6. 18...g6 This is necessary as 18...Rc7 19.Ng5 g6 20.Qf4 Ne5 21.Qh4 h5 22.Qg3 leaves White with a strong initiative. 19.Qg4 Rcd8 One idea of keeping the Queen on the h3-c8 diagonal is to control d7 as can be seen in the variation 19...Nb4 20.Bxb7 Qxb7 21.e5 Nxa2 22.Rd7 Rc7? 23.Rxc7 Qxc7 24.Qa4 picking up a piece. 20.h4 Another possibility here, and maybe an improvement, was 20.Re3. The idea is to prepare Ng5 and use the Rook for the attack. Also, on e3 it is never potentially hanging after ...Bxd5. 20...Na5? This is the first real mistake by Josh who has played very well up to this point. Instead 20...Nb4 21.Bxb7 Qxb7 22.Rxd8 Rxd8 23.Qg5 (23.e5 Qe7) 23...Re8 24.e5 was only slightly better for White. The problem with the text is that Black really never has the possibility to trade on d5 in a satisfactory way. 21.Qf4 A strong alternative was 21.h5 for example 21...Bxd5 22.exd5 Qd6 (one of the reasons I played Qf4 was not to give Black this blockading square but it doesn't solve all of his problems) 23.Qh4 Rxe1+ 24.Rxe1 Qxd5 25.hxg6 fxg6 26.Ng5 h5 27.Ne6 Rd7 28.Qg3 winning at least the Exchange. 21...Kg7 Played to guard the dark-squares around Black's King but 21...b5 22.h5 Nc4 might have been a better try in view of what happens. If 21...Bxd5 then 22.exd5 Qd7 23.Ne5 is strong. 22.h5 h6 23.hxg6 fxg6 Now Black's King is more exposed and his second rank is vulnerable. 24.Qc1 24.Rc1 Rc8 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Qg4 Rd8 27.Nd4 was an attractive alternative. The idea behind the text is to grab the long diagonal and double rooks on the c-file. 24...Bc8?! Josh was running low on time here. More stubborn was 24...Kh7 25.Qb2 Qg7. 25.Nd4 Rf8 26.Qb2 Kh7 27.Rc1 Black's offside Knight really tells. He has no satisfactory answer to White invading with his Rooks along the c-file. 27...Qe5 This stops White's idea but after... 28.Qc3! the upcoming ending is untenable for Black. 28...Rfe8 Or 28...Bd7 29.Ne6! with a winning ending. 29.Qc7+ Qg7 30.Qxg7+ Kxg7 31.Rc7+ Kh8 32.Rec1 a6 33.Nc6 1�0

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