Chess Room Newsletter #410 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #410

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #410, 8/13/2008
"Surprising your opponent can be effective but there is a danger. Every player develops a "feel" for the positions resulting from his regular openings; memorizing the theory of a new opening is not the same as having a close familiarity with the resulting positions."

~ John Nunn
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Jack O'Keefe (1930-2008)
3) A new Bobby Fischer game
4) Here and There

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
The 9th Annual Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial G/45 held last Saturday saw IMs Andrei Florean, Vladimir Mezentsev and Ricardo DeGuzman show up to battle for first but in the end top honors went to 18-year-old San Francisco college student Nicholas Yap who defeated Florean and DeGuzman on the way to scoring 5-0. This was an impressive performance by Yap who has played very little the past few years. We hope to see more of him.

Vladimir Mezentsev was second at 4.5 drawing DeGuzman in round four and defeating 19-year-old NM Drake Wang who was playing his first event since the 2006 US Open.

Top seeds NMs Michael Pearson and Andy Lee are among a large group with perfect scores after two rounds of the Irving Chernev Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon. It is still possible to enter the eight round event with half point byes for the first two games.

Northern California Top Ten under 21

1. Sam Shankland 2398 (age 16)
2. Daniel Naroditsky 2339 (12)
3. Nicolas Yap 2333 (18)
4. Matthew Ho 2281 (20)
5. Michael Pearson 2276 (20)
6. Daniel Schwarz 2249 (18)
7. Drake Wang 2247 (19)
8. Stephen Zierk 2237 (14)
9. Gregory Young 2227 (13)
10. Nicholas Nip 2207 (10)

NM Michael Aigner of Davis was the top Northern California scorer in the recent US Open in Dallas, tying for fifth with 7 from 9. IM Walter Shipman had 6.5 and NM Steven Zierk finished on 6 in the 375 player event in which GM Alex Shabalov and IMs Enrico Sevillano and Rade Milovanovic shared first with 8 points.
2) Jack O'Keefe (1930-2008)
NM Jack O'Keefe of Ann Arbor, MI, died on 31 July 2008 . A great chess historian, particularly knowledgeable about American chess and especially the annual US Opens, Mr. O'Keefe was always very generous in helping others. Nick Pope's book on Pillsbury and the works on Rubinstein by IMs Nikolay Minev and John Donaldson both benefited greatly from his assistance. He will be sorely missed.

You may find two photographs of Jack O'Keefe, provided by his granddaughter Carla Campbell, at Edward Winter' Chess Notes - it's item #5708.

An obituary has appeared in the Ann Arbor News -
3) A new Bobby Fischer game
The ChessBase website ( has started an interesting series encouraging readers to submit previously unpublished simul games against famous Grandmasters.

The following game from Fischer's simul in Copenhagen was not in The Unknown Bobby Fischer by Tangborn and Donaldson which only has Fischer's draw with NM Allan Jensen, who provides quite a bit of background on the event which was quite strong (see pages 187-188).

Game submitted by Palle Henriksen (Birkeroed, Denmark)

Mr Henriksen comments:

‘The game was played in the only simultaneous exhibition Fischer gave in Denmark (+27 – 7 =7). As far as I remember, only players of master strength were allowed to participate. I offered a draw at about move 40, but Fischer either did not hear it or refused. He had a strong will to win even in a simultaneous exhibition, and at move 46 I made the final error.

At the end of the display Fischer expressed the view that the Danish players were bad in the endgame. Perhaps this game inspired him to make that pronouncement. The chairman of the Copenhagen Chess Union told me later that Fischer had said that the game was the most interesting he had played in the exhibition, but I do not know if that is right.’
Robert James Fischer – Palle HenriksenCopenhagen, 11 March 1962Sicilian Defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 a6 6.Nd6+ Bxd6 7.Qxd6 Qf6 8.Qd1 Qg6 9.Nc3 Nge7 10.h4 h5 11.Rh3 Qg4 12.f3 Qg6 13.Kf2 Nd4 14.Be3 d5 15.Rg3 Qf6 16.exd5? Nef5 17.Ne4 Qb6 18.Bxd4 exd4? 19.Bd3 Nxg3 20.Nxg3 Bd7 21.Qe2+ Kf8 22.b3 Qf6 23.Qd2 g6 24.Qg5 Kg7?! 25.Ne4 Qxg5 26.hxg5 Bf5 27.Nf6 Bxd3 28.cxd3 Rac8 29.Re1 Rc2+? 30.Kg3 Rd8 31.Re7?b5 32.a4 bxa4? 33.bxa4 Rc5? 34.Ra7 Ra5 35.Kf4 Rxa4 36.Nd7 Ra2 37.Ne5 Rxd5 38.Rxf7+ Kg8 39.Rf6 a5 40.Nxg6!? Rd7! 41.Ne5 Ra7 42.g4 h4 43.Rh6 Rh7 44.Ra6 h3 45.Ra8+ Kg7 46.g6 Rh6? 47.Kg5 h2 48.Ra7+ Kf8 49.Kf6.Rxg6+ 50.Nxg6+ Ke8 51.Ne5 Kd8 52.Rh7+ 1-0This game with notes by GM Karsten Mueller can be found at
4) Here and There
On 8th August 2008 the Russian Chess Federation published the following announcement:

The traditional chess festival M. Tal Memorial will take place in Moscow (GUM, Exhibition Hall- very close to Red Square) from 17 August (arrival date) to 31 August (departure date).

It will consist of two parts: a classical chess round robin tournament of ten top GMs, viz. V.Kramnik, A.Morozevich, E.Alekseev, V.Ivanchuk, A.Shirov, G.Kamsky, R.Ponomariov, Sh.Mamedyarov,P.Leko, B.Gelfand, and the Tal Cup Blitz tournament (qualification 27 and 28 Aug, final 29 and 30 Aug).

The classical tournament will be played with the FIDE time control, i.e.2 hours for the first 40 moves, 1 hour for the next 20 moves and another 15 minutes for the rest of the game withan increment of 30 seconds per move starting with move 61. The first round will be played on 18 Aug, the last round - 27 Aug, the rest day - 23 Aug. Each round starts at 3 p.m.The prize fund of each part of the Tal Memorial amounts to $100,000, i.e. $200,000 for the whole event.

Former US Champion Lubos Kavalek, who turned 65 on August 9, is one of the great men of American chess. A several time medal winner for US Olympiad teams and one of only a handful of US players to be rated in the top ten in the world, Kavalek is also the author of several excellent works on the game including Wijk aan Zee 1975, judged by NM Dennis Fritzinger to be one of the greatest tournament books of all time. Many will also remember his organizing the World Cup series for the GMA and seconding Nigel Short all the way to a World Championship match, but few will also know that Kavalek was Bobby Fischer's bowling coach. This might seem a little strange title as Kavalek has only bowled a few times in his life but there is a logical explanation as Lubos explains:

I was Bobby's "bowling coach" in Reykjavik in 1972. This is what the invitation to the closing ceremony said. Although I worked with Bobby from game 12 till the end of the match as his second, Bill Lombardy, who worked with him earlier, still had the official title. So, they invented "bowling" for me. We went bowling to the U.S. Army base in Keflavik often. I believe that Bobby's average was over 200, but how much over, I don't remember. Bowling was not my cup of tea after all.

Leonard Barden and George Koltanowski are the two iron men of chess columnists but an honorable mention goes to Harold Lundstrom who wrote from Dec 26, 1948 until about 1990 for the Desert News of Salt Lake City.

The American Chess Journal of February 1877 on page 152 writes that Mr. Jas. Mason will make a trip to California, giving exhibitions along the way. Does anyone know if he made it to San Francisco?

Mechanics' member Steven Gaffagan writes:

Hello John,

Many lectures ago you were showing a game you played with Black. Toward the end you had split pawns on b2 and d2. You asked whether there is a way to search for such complex themes. Were you aware of CQL? CQL stands for chess query language. One way it is used is to check the originality of study themes.

I stumbled upon the following:

You can specify complex themes, parameters, etc. and search pgn databases. CQL searches are also integrated into the commercial version of Chess Assistant:

This method of searching is far more powerful than the ChessBase search mask. On the other hand, before you apply it you must spend some time learning it.


IM Blas Lugo writes:

Dear over the board player:

You can still save money in your entry fee for this very exciting tournament by registering before the end of August 2008.

Save money in your Registration for the Miami Chess Open “featuring: $ 100,000 dollars prize fund” for more information visit:

Don’t miss this great chess event, featuring:
  • Blitz Tournament
  • Free Grandmasters Lectures
  • Free Grandmasters Simultaneous exhibitions and many other side events.
Act Now!

Best regards,

Blas Lugo

Tournament Organizer


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