Chess Room Newsletter #402 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #402

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #402, 6/18/2008
"It is often supposed that, apart from their 'extraordinary powers of memory', expert players have phenomenal powers of calculation. The beginner believes that experts can calculate dozens of moves ahead and he will lose to them only because he cannot calculate ahead so far. Yet this is utter nonsense. From my own experience I can say that grandmasters do not do an inordinate amount of calculating. Tests (notably de Groot's experiments) supports me in this claim. If anything, grandmasters often consider fewer alternatives; they tend not to look at as many possible moves as weaker players do. And so, perversely, chess skill often seems to reflect the ability to avoid calculations. It is, in truth, not clear that chess is a game of calculation. Of course there are times when intense calculation is called for, and often the master is better at dealing with these situations than the amateur. No wonder, he has had more practice than the amateur, but all the same his innate calculating ability need not be any greater. Most of the time it is something quite different that is required in chess, something more akin to 'understanding' or 'insight'."

~GM David Norwood , Chess and Education
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Greg Young leads US Junior
3) A Historical Look at US Players Rated in the Top Ten in the World
4) A Poem by Dennis Fritzinger
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
San Francisco high school student Evan Sandberg is alone in first with a 4-0 score halfway through the Tuesday Night Marathon. Tied for second at 3 1/2 are IM Ricardo DeGuzman, WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, Rey Salvatierra and Steve Gaffagan.

This Sunday the first session of the San Francisco School of Chess will be held at the Mechanics' with IM David Pruess the instructor and NM Michael Aigner assisting. 24 of the Bay Area's best youngsters will meet in three classes of eight players. Similar sessions will be held in July (GM Nick DeFirmian), August (GM elect Josh Friedel) and September (GM elect Vinay Bhat). Go to for more information.

The lecture by IM Irina Krush, scheduled for next Tuesday night at the Mechanics' has been canceled. We hope to have her at the MI later this year.

NM Michael Pearson had an outstanding tournament this past weekend defeating IM Ricardo DeGuzman and NM Andy Lee and drawing WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs in the last round to win the 45th Arthur Stamer Memorial with a score of 5.5 from 6. IM Ricardo DeGuzman and NM Paul Gallegos shared second with 5 points. 51 players competed in this annual event held to honor the memory of the Mechanics' first chess director.

Berkeley Master Andy Lee finished just out of the money with 4.5 but had the honor of playing the most entertaining game of the tournament.

This and the next game were played at a time control of G/45.
Fuentes,Romulo - Lee,Andy [C18]
Arthur Stamer Memorial San Francisco (4), 2008
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 Qc7 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 cxd4 10.Ne2 Nbc6 11.f4 Bd7 12.Qd3 dxc3 13.Rg1 0�0�0 14.g4 d4 15.h4 White has also tried 15.Rb1 and 15.Nxd4 here. 15...Ng6 15...Be8 16.h5 f6 was seen in Shirov-Shulman, from last year's World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk. Rybka and Fritz 11 both like 5...Qb6 16.Rg3 Nd5. 16.Qg3 16.Nxd4 was possible. 16...Qa5 17.g5 Qa4 Black might have also considered interpolating 17...Rh8 18.Rh1 and only then 18...Qa4. 18.h5 Qxc2 19.hxg6 d3 This is certainly natural but 19...Be8 might have been stronger. 20.gxf7 d2+ 21.Bxd2 cxd2+ 22.Kf2 Rg7 23.Bg2 Rxf7 24.Qe3 Be8 25.Rgd1 Rc7 26.Be4 Qc4 27.Ng3 Rcd7 28.Rab1 Rd3? This exchange sac shouldn't work. Instead 28...Qd4 or 28...Qa4 should have been tried. 29.Bxd3 Rxd3 30.Qe4? 30.Ne4! was quite strong. 30...Rd4 31.Qh7 This puts the Queen out of play. 31.Qe3 Rxf4+ 32.Kg1 looks better. 31...Rxf4+ 32.Kg2 Qd5+ 33.Kh3 Nxe5 33...Rf2 34.Qe4 Nxe5 was another way. 34.Rxd2 Qxd2 35.Qxb7+ Kd8 36.Qb8+ Ke7 37.Qxe5 White looks to be doing very well at first glance but ... 37... Rh4+! 38.Kxh4 Qh2+ 39.Kg4 Bh5+ 40.Kf4? 40.Nxh5 was a better try but 40...Qxe5 41.Rb4 Qf5+ 42.Kh4 e5 breaks the blockade. 40...Qf2+ 41.Ke4 Bg6+ 0�1
Pearson,Michael - DeGuzman,Ricardo [A32]
Arthur Stamer Memorial San Francisco (4), 2008
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nf3 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 d6 7.e3 Nbd7 8.Be2 Be7 9.0�0 0�0 10.a4!? a5 11.Ndb5 Ra6 12.Qc2 Rc6 13.Rfd1 Qb6 14.Rd2 h6 15.Bh4 d5 16.cxd5 exd5 17.Nd4 Bb4 If Black tries to keep the exchange with 17...Rc5 then 18.Qd1 is strong piling up on d5 with Nf5 in reserve. 18.Nxc6 bxc6 19.Rc1 Re8 20.Qd1 Bb7 21.Bg3 Nf8 21...Nc5 looks more active. 22.Rdc2 c5 ? Black's position collapses after this move. He had to try 22...Ne6 with some compensation for the exchange. 23.Bf3 Qe6 24.Nb5 Rd8 25.Rxc5! Bxc5 26.Rxc5 Ne4 27.Rc7 Rd7 28.Bg4 f5 29.Nd4 Qf6 30.Rxd7 Nxd7 31.Bxf5 Ndc5 32.Qc2 Ba6 33.Bxe4 Nxe4 34.Qc7 h5 35.Qxa5 Bb7 36.Qb5 Qf7 37.a5 h4 38.Bxh4 Qh5 39.Nf3 Nd6 40.Qd7 Qg6 41.h3 1�0 The following game was played at 30/90 followed by G/30.
Lee,Andy - Pearson,Michael [A55]
Arthur Stamer Memorial San Francisco (5), 17.06.2008
1.c4 c6 2.e4 e5 3.Nf3 d6 4.d4 Nd7 5.Nc3 Ngf6 6.Be2 Be7 7.0�0 0�0 8.Qc2 Re8 9.Rd1 Qc7 10.d5 cxd5 11.cxd5 Nc5 12.Nd2 Bd7 13.Nb5 Bxb5 14.Bxb5 Rec8 15.Qb1 a6 16.Be2 b5 17.g4?! This looks too ambitious. 17.b3 was equal. 17...h6 18.f3 Qa7 Immediately going for the dark squares with 18...Nfd7 19.Nf1 Bg5 was probably better. 19.Kg2 Bd8 20.Nf1 Nh7 21.Ng3 Bg5 22.Nf5 Qd7 23.h4 Bxc1 24.Rxc1 Qd8? 24...b4 was necessary. 25.b4! Na4 26.Rc6! Rxc6 27.dxc6 g6 28.Ne3 Stronger was 28.Nxh6+ Kg7 29.g5 f6 30.Ng4 fxg5 31.hxg5 Nxg5 32.Qh1 Nf7 33.Rc1 with a strong position on both sides of the board. 28...Nf8 29.Nd5 Ne6 30.Qe1 Rc8 31.Rc1 Nb6 32.c7 Rxc7 33.Nxc7 Nxc7 34.Qd2 Ne6 35.Qxh6 Nf4+ 36.Kf1 d5 37.Qg5? 37.exd5 Nbxd5 38.h5 Ne3+ 39.Ke1 Qh4+ 40.Kd2 Nc4+ 41.Rxc4 bxc4 42.Bxc4 Qf2+ 43.Kc3 Qxf3+ 44.Kb2 Qxg4 45.hxg6 Nxg6 46.Qc1 had to be tried. 37...f6 38.Qh6 dxe4 39.fxe4 Qd2 40.Re1 Nc4 0�1
2) Gregory Young leads US Junior
Michael Aigner's blog ( ) reports that after round eight of the US Junior (most people played six games) Mechanics' member Gregory Young 4.5 leads the field by a full point with one game left to be played. 2. Tyler Hughes 3.5, 3. Daniel Yeager 3.0, 4. Edward Lu 2.0, 5. Bradley Sawyer 1.0/4.

Michael writes, "In the last round, Gregory faces his main rival, NM Tyler Hughes from Colorado. They drew a wild contest two days ago and now they switch colors and play again. Tyler is a strong, talented and underrated (at 2264 USCF) young man who has played in several California tournaments. Gregory will no doubt have his hands full with the black pieces. If Tyler manages to win, they would be considered co-champions, but Tyler has an edge in the tiebreaks (Sonneborn-Berger)."

The game will be relayed live both on MonRoi and on ICC beginning at 8:00am Pacific time. Best of luck to Gregory!

The field for the 2008 US Junior in Lindsborg is:
  • 1. FM Daniel Yeager, 2373, age 16 from Pennsylvania
  • 2. NM Tyler Hughes, 2264, age 17 from Colorado
  • 3. NM Edward Lu, 2227, age 16 from Virginia
  • 4. NM Gregory Young, 2213, age 13 from California
  • 5. Bradley Sawyer, 2192, age 19 from Texas

3) A Historical Look at US Players Rated in the Top Ten in the World
Last Newsletter reported that Hikaru Nakamura had become one of only three American players to achieve a FIDE rating of 2700 since the establishment of the rating system in 1971. We now take a look at American's who have been on FIDE's Top Ten in the World on a rating list. Again the number of Americans to perform the trick is quite few. We note that only once have two Americans appeared on the top ten list simultaneously - Gata Kamsky and Yasser Seirawan on the July 1990 list at number 8 and 10 respectively.

Bobby Fischer # 1 1971-1975

Gata Kamsky July 1990 ( #8 at 2650) January 1992 (# 8-10 with Salov and Jusupov at 2655), January 1993 as #10 with Azmai at 2655, January 1994 #6 at 2695, July 1994 as#6 at 2695, January 1995 #7 at 2710, July 1995 #4 at 2735, January 1996 #5 at 2735, July 1996 # 5 at 2735, January 1997 #7 at 2720, July 1997 #7 at 2720, January 1998 #7 at 2720, July 1998 at 2725, January 1999 #7 at 2720.

Lubos Kavalek 1974 # 10 with rating 2625. January 1980 tied for 10th at 2600.

Yasser Seirawan July 1990 #10 with 2635.

In issue #4, 1990 of the Polish magazine Szachy IM Andreij Filipowicz looked at the number of players rated over 2600 since the introduction of the FIDE rating system in January of 1971. Here is what he found:

January 1971 - 16 rated over 2600
January 1981 - 15 rated over 2600
January 1985 - 12 rated over 2600
January 1986 - 14 rated over 2600
January 1987 - 13 rated over 2600
January 1988 -18 rated over 2600
January 1989 - 28 rated over 2600
January 1990 - 29-rated over 2600
July 1990 - 32 rated over 2600

On the April 2008 rating list player number 100 was 2628.

The collapse of the Soviet Union, the growing popularity of chess among youngsters around the world, improved technology and simply the fact that more high rated players means more rating points floating around have all contributed to the rise in ratings but it is wise to not compare ratings from 2008 with 1978 - they don't correlate.
4) A Poem by Dennis Fritzinger
chess in the vineyards

the legendary paul masson tournament
was held at the winery
at the very top of a hill
covered with grapevines.
the drive up by windy road
passed through them,
but i scarcely noticed,
thinking about the tournament.
games were played outdoors at picnic tables
with clocks and sets and boards, pencils and scoresheets.
early rounds you battled against the sun,
late rounds you fought against the darkness.
in between rounds there was wine tasting,
in case you wanted to take the sting from a loss;
after the sun set you could walk over
to the retaining wall, look down, and see stars.
wine and chess and natural beauty--
surely they were made to go together.
that was the idea, at least; but the publicist
who dreamed the whole thing up, quit or got fired,
and the new publicist didn't grasp the message.
so: one year you had a splendid tournament,
the next you had a hole where it had been,
with the grapevines asking. 'where are the chessplayers?'

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