Chess Room Newsletter #527 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #527

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics' Institute
Chess Club News 527

To be honest I am a little tired, and at the moment I feel I should play a little less - so that
I'll have time to acquire a reserve of nervous energy. Otherwise you get situations where at
a certain moment your head simply switches off and your hand starts to make moves
quickly. For a professional that's unacceptable, but when you get tired that is, unfortunately,
what happens. 

                                                          Vassily Ivanchuk

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

2) Yasser Seirawan wins Dordrecht Blitz

3) 3rd Metropolitan Chess Fide by Ankit Gupta

4) Here and There

5) Upcoming Events



1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News


IM Walter Shipman made history last night by becoming the oldest ever winner of the Mechanics' Institute's Tuesday Night Marathon series which dates back to the early 1970s. Shipman almost had company at the top. Leading by a point going into the last round he saw one of his pursuers - NM Robin Cunningham - win quickly and the other - Uyanga Byambaa - quickly obtain a promising position against him. The rapidly-improving 20-year-old Mongolian student hoped to repeat the earlier TNM triumph of her fellow countrywomen Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, and for much of the game against Shipman it looked certain she would be victorious, but the wily veteran saved a difficult rook ending to emerge alone with 7 points from 8 games. NM Cunningham was second with 6.5 followed by Byambaa (who picked up 79 points to raise her rating to 2051) and Expert Igor Traub.  


Besides Byambaa there were several other big rating gainers with Tom Allen picking up 98 points, 10-year-old Siddarth Banik 72 points (to bring his rating to almost Expert at 1984) German Bertot 64 points, Jossy Challisery 56 points and Richard Newey 51 points. The next TNM starts on March 15th.  



Results of the February 16th Mechanics' Institute Wednesday Night Blitz:


1st - Carlos D'Avila  
2nd - Arthur Ismakov  
3rd - Jules Jelinek   


2) Yasser Seirawan wins Dordrecht Blitz


Yasser Seirawan, who recently received a wild card invitation to play in the US Championship, showed that his skills at blitz chess are very much intact by winning the prestigious Dordrecht Blitz ahead of 25 others GMs (11 over 2600) with a score of 25 from 34 for a tournament performance rating of 2934 (!). Seirawan, who turns 51 next month, didn't lose a single match in the 17 double-round robin event. After scoring seven points from his first eight games he faced only GMs the rest of the way with the following results.


2-0 Naiditsch and Smeets

1.5-.5 Fier, Van Wely, Timman, Banusz, Gustafsson and Sokolov

1-1 Kasimdzhanov, Erdos, Baklan, Fridman and Iturrizaga. 


1 Seirawan, Y. 25.0
2 Kasimdzhanov, R. 24.5
3 Iturrizaga, E. 23.5
4 Fier, A. 23.0
5 Fridman, D. 23.0
6 Erd�s, V. 22.5
7 Smeets, J. 22.5
8 Fedorchuk, S. 22.5
9 Sadler, M. 22.5
10 Gustafsson, J. 22.0  



The Newsletter is grateful to GM Seirawan for providing the following report and annotated game. 


For thirteen years Dordrecht has been the site for Holland's most prestigious blitz event.  I try to play there often as the organization goes incredibly smoothly with excellent camaraderie all around.  When playing in a blitz event with two hundred people it is hard to have the rounds start on schedule, which is precisely what happens in Dordrecht!  It is a great group of volunteers that make an efficient well run event.  Kudos to everyone!


As usual, Dordrecht's format is an open with 17 rounds.  For each pairing the players alternate colors so there are 34 games played in all.  The 2011 Dordrecht edition featured many grandmasters and turned out to be a two horse race between Rustam Kasimdzhanov "Kasim" and yours truly.  Kasim got off to a comfortable lead but I kept stalking him by failing to lose any of my matches.  In our pairing we split victories and a 1 -1 score.  Towards the end of the tournament, Jan Smeets would strike a decisive blow in determining the winner.  Jan won 2-0 over Kasim and the very next round lost to me 2-0.  This allowed me to tighten the gap.  Going into the last round, Kasim and I were tied, Kasim won his first game against Mathew Sadler, while I drew versus Ivan Sokolov.  This meant with one game to play Kasim had a half-point lead.  In the second game, Sadler played brilliantly and won, while I too managed a victory over Ivan and so I piped Kasim at the post. 


The following game made a striking impression upon me, so much so that it has been etched into my mind ever since.  I present it below while again warning that this was a blitz game and under the pressure of a ticking clock, it was stunning how quickly I fell into a vicious attack.



Caro-Kann [B12]

Seirawan, Yasser

Smeets, Jan

Dordrecht Blitz, 2011


Notes by GM Seirawan  




Jan and I have done some analysis together in the past and so I'm quite aware that he is an expert in the lines of the Slav, especially the most heavily analyzed ones.  How to get him out of his comfort zone?


1...c6 2.e4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd5


By transposing into a Caro-Kann - a defense that I specialize in - that is how.  After this double capture, Black can play 4...Qxd5 5.Nc3, leading to the famous Isolated Queen Pawn position.  In that case however, Black is denied lines of play featuring ...Bf8-b4 defenses, when I prefer White.  Therefore, Jan defers the recapture.


4...Nf6 5.Qa4+ Nbd7 6.Nc3 g6 7.Bc4 Bg7 8.d3


A pet line of mine, with which, as White, I have a good score.  Essentially, White says, "I'm a good doubled pawn up in the position, show your compensation."


8...0-0 9.Qb3 Nb6


My how far chess engines have come.  At this moment, my engine prefers 9...a6, considering that Black has a small edge despite his material deficit.




Preparing to fortify the d5-pawn further by Ne2-f4, if necessary.  The preferable 10.Nf3 Bg4! 11.Ne5 Bf5, leaves the e5-Knight a bit vulnerable.  At this moment, I was quite happy with my position.  I've reached it numerous times in the past.  White's play is quite straight-forwards: Castle, develop the c1-Bishop and bring the Rooks to the center.  If things go very well, the e7-pawn presents an inviting target and Black can get simply squashed.




Good grief, talk about a challenging move!  If you just "look" at the position you'd think, as did I, "didn't I stop that one?"  Well no choice really, I must accept the challenge.


11.dxe6 Nxc4 12.exf7+


Again, no real alternative here either.  If 12.dxc4? Bxe6, Black has the better game.  With the text I'll be two pawns up, a favorite living condition...


12...Rxf7 13.dxc4 Ng4!?


Well that is a plain old onery kind of move.  I had hoped/expected that Black would play 13...Be6, 14. O-O Rc8, when he might recover the c4-pawn but I thought that I'd be better.  The text is a second slap in the face.  What to do about the f2-pawn?  I did a fast calculation of 14.O-O, trying to bring my King to safety but feared I'd be jumping into a raging fire, 14...Qh4 15.h3 Nxf2 16.Bf4!? Rxf4 17.Nxf4 Bd4, and didn't like the looks of Black's pieces buzzing around my King.  So I have to put castling on hold.  Blocking the threat seemed best.


14.Bf4 Rxf4!?


The third slap in the face.  Where did that come from?  Oh dear.  Here I thought that Jan would play 14...Nxf2 15.Kxf2 g5, when Black would win back his piece reckoning that 16.Rad1!? Qe8!? 17.Rhf1 gxf4 18.Kg1, would be a reasonable line.  I had however spotted an old favorite: 14...Nxf2 15.O-O!, always a very "cool" move in such moments.  My King would crawl into a comfortable h1-cave.  Not much choice here either, recapture.


15.Nxf4 Qd4


 Yet more unpleasantness.  Jan isn't giving me a moments rest.  (Really, I'm a nice guy who just wants to castle and have a safe King.  An extra pawn or two along the way is appreciated of course.)  Now there are two threats, to my f4-Knight and f2-pawn.  Fleetingly, I thought about both 16.Nfe2 as well as 16.Nce2, allowing 16...Qxf2+ 17.Kd2 Bf5, and decided Black was having too much fun.  The innocuous retreat 16.Nh3, would have to be played, but to interrupt the party, I thought it was time to toss in a check.


16.c5+! Kh8 17.Nh3


Okay, this retreat isn't going to bring me any best game prizes or much public acclaim (read Tal envy) but all I need is to safeguard my King and then it will be my turn.




Dashing my fondest hopes.  Again King moves, weren't attractive but I understood after blocking the check, I still wouldn't be castling any time soon thanks to the threat against the h2-pawn.


18.Ne2 Bf5


Completely natural but probably wrong.  Black wants to keep the e-file open so that he can play ...Ra8-e8 and just win.  But this gives me the chance to fight for the initiative.  I had expected something like 18...Be6! 19.Qb4!? Re8 20.Nhf4, simply hoping to be able to castle.




At last, a happy move.  Since my shame-faced retreat I was hoping to make amends by getting the steed back into action and this threatens the old smothered mate.  By this time both players were down to their final minute.


19...Rf8 20.Rd1!


I could have gone for 20.Nf7+ Rxf7 21.Qxf7 Bd3 22.Qf3, but getting some development can't be bad.


20...h5 21.Nf7+ Rxf7 22.Qxf7


The music for Black has stopped as he has run out of firewood.  Now all eyes went to the clocks.  I still had a precious 40+ seconds.


22...Be6 23.Qe7! Nh6 24.Rd6! Nf5 25.Qxe6 1-0



Fortunately Jan resigned and I could breathe a sigh of relief.  It isn't often that I'm blown backwards so quickly, especially in an opening I'm supposed to know something about.  No wonder in Dutch circles Jan has a reputation of a head hunter.  You've been warned! 



3) 3rd Metropolitan Chess Fide by Ankit Gupta


The 3rd Metropolitan Chess FIDE Invitational begins today. Games will be relayed on, and standings will be updated daily at 


The participants include: IM Zhanibek Amanov (KAZ), IM Timothy Taylor (USA), IM Jacek  Stopa (POL), FM Alexandre Kretchetov, FM Joel Banawa, FM Michael Casella, FM Philip  Wang, NM Konstantin Kavutskiy, NM Kayden Troff, and CM Giovanni Nieto Carreto. The  FIDE average of the field is 2305 , for a respectable category 4.



4) Here and There


IM Ricardo DeGuzman won the 37th Annual Peoples Open this past weekend in Fremont with an excellent score of 5.5 from 6. His score included wins over IMs Jacek Stopa and Emory Tate and a draw with 2500-rated John Bryant. IM Stopa was second with 5 points followed by IM Tate, 10-year-old NM Samuel Sevian and teenager Daniel Liu on 4. Salman Alzhar organized and Richard Koepcke directed this annual Bay Area fixture which had its best turnout in many years with 176 entries.


Teenager Howard Chen won his second Washington State Championship this past weekend scoring 6.5 from 9 in the traditional round robin event which goes back to 1932. US Womens Olympiad team member Katerina Rohonyan shared second place with the surprise of the event, Expert (now Master) Dereque Kelly, a point behind Chen. Top-seed Costin Cozianu (2557) and NMs Curt Collyer and David Bragg were the remaining plus scores with 5 points.


Oregon also held its state championship the past two weekends using a round robin format as well. Brian Esler, Daniel Gay, Steven Breckenridge and Radu Roua shared top honors with scores of 6-3.  


Steven W. Etzel of  Mequon, Wisconsin has a very nice site devoted to the historic Cambridge Springs 1904 tournament at 

5) Upcoming Events   

MECHANICS' TOURNAMENTS (go to for more information)

2011 Events  

A.J. Fink Amateur Championship - March 12-13
Max Wilkerson Open - March 19
WGM Jennifer Shahade talk and book signing - March 29
Imre Konig Memorial - April 9
Walter Lovegrove Senior Open - April 16-17
Charles Powell Memorial - May 7
5th Annual Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz - May 15
Arthur Stamer Memorial - June 4-5
William Addison Open - June 11   


Spring Chess Festival - Saturday, February 25th, 2011
Presented by:
Atlantis Business Insurance Solutions, LLC
NorCal House of Chess
5 Round Swiss
A One Day G/45 USCF rated Event
Location: 45401 Research Avenue, Suite 141, Fremont, CA 94539
Entry Fee: Regular Entry - $60. Economy Entry - $40. 5 discount to members of NorCal House of
Chess. Economy Option pays 50% of calculated prize money. The remaining amount goes back to
the budget to offset Economy Fee Discount.
Time Control: Game in 45.
Regestration & Schedule: Registration: 9:00 am-9:30 am. Rds: 10 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 4 pm,
6 pm.
Prizes: $1400 - total, based on 40 fully paid entries. Open Section: $400-$200, U2200: $180,
U2000: $150, U1800: $140, U1600 $130, U1400 $130, U1200 - $100.
Cash Prizes in every round! - $20 cash prize will be awarded in each round to a player scoring a
first win AND to a player scoring the biggest upset. All lower-rated players are eligible to win
higher class prizes.
Questions? - Call TD Felix German at (415) 335-0900 or email:
Mail advance entries to: 14 Sullivan Ave, Daly City, CA 94015. Make checks payable to: Felix


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