Chess Room Newsletter #536 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #536

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News 536



Spend as much time as you can in the company of stronger players. Stronger players think in a different way, but if have the raw ability you can soon bring yourself up to think on their level.


GM Danny Gormally in his book How to Calculate Like a Grandmaster


1)     Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

2)     Buff-Hendricks, Burlingame 1978

3)     Here and There

4) Upcoming Special Events at the Mechanics'  

5) Upcoming Events  


1)     Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News


The Spring Tuesday Night Marathon had an exciting finish last night with plenty of drama. NMs Kyle Morrison, Peter Zavadsky and Russell Wong entered the final round lead with 5.5 points from 7 games and for much of the evening it was unclear whether they would finish first or not.


Wong and Zavadsky faced off in a sharp Sicilian and the latter was just barely able to draw by constructing a fortress with a Rook and pawns versus Queen and pawns on one side of the board. They were joined at 6 points by Oleg Shaknazarov who defeated Canadian Master Kyle Morrison and James Jones who downed tournament upset king Ethan Chamberlain.


Further down in the tournament standings Henry Mar beat Dan Litowsky in game which might be for the record books as Mar is 86 years old and Litowsky 94. Both are TNM regulars.


Congratulations to Charles James and Daniel Montoya who gained 142 and 90 rating points respectively.


Thanks to Todd Rumpf for the detailed notes to his last round win over Ted Belanoff.



Spring Tuesday Night Marathon (8) 2011


1.d4 f5 2.h3!? d5


Avoiding the dangerous line 2...Nf6 3.g4 fxg4 4.hxg4 Nxg4 5.Qd3 with unclear play.




White steers for a Stonewall position.


3...Nf6 4.Bf4 g6!?


An interesting Stonewall-Leningrad hybrid.




5.h4?! I considered but rejected: 5...Bg7 6.h5 Nxh5 7.Rxh5 gxh5 8.Be5 Bxe5 9.Nxe5 Nd7 10.e3 (10.Nxd7 Qxd7 11.e3 Qe6 12.Qxh5+ Qg6) or 10...Nf6. In both cases Black is clearly better.


5...e6 6.Nc3 Bg7


6...c6 7.c5!? Bg7 8.Bd6 Ne4 9.Nxe4 fxe4 10.Ne5 is unclear.


7.e3 0-0 8.Be2?!


White's play is insipid here and in the next few moves. Be2 was intended to discourage g5-g4, but 8. Bd3 or 8.b4!? are better.


8...Ne4 9.Be5?! c6 10.0-0 Nd7


After a few more moves I really wished I had played 11.Bh2: I needed a dark square defender on the king side.


11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.Qc2 Qf6 13.Nd2 h5






Maybe better was 14.Ndxe4


14...fxe4 15.f4


The choice was between the game continuation and 15.f3 Qg5 16.Qc3 exf3 17.Rxf3� This looks better than the game continuation, since White gets further ahead in development. (Bc8, Ra8)


15...Qh4? 16.Kh2! Qe7


Embarrassing is 16...Nf6? 17.g3 Ng4+ 18.Bxg4 Qf6+-; Even worse is 16...g5?? 17.g3+-.


17.Qc3 Nf6 18.b4


Now it's White's turn on the queenside: White will play b4-b5, a4-a5-a6 and destroy the Black pawn chain.




This doesn't really win a pawn after 19...Nd5, and almost sinks Black (see note after move 20 for Black's saving resource!).


19.Bxc4 Nd5 20.Qb3 Qxb4?


20...b5! is a fantastic resource: 21.Be2 (21.Bxd5 exd5 22.Qb2 Bd7�) 21...a5! unclear.


21.Bxd5 Qxd2 22.Bxe4� a5!


A good practical chance.


23.Rac1 Qb4 24.Qd3 Rf6 25.Rc5 b6!


A nice defensive resource. White had dual threats: 26. Rg5 and 26. Rb1 Qa4 27. Qc3 trapping the queen.




Missing the point!


Winning was 26.Rxc6 Ba6 27.Rc7+ Rf7 28.Qc2 Bxf1 29.Bxa8+-.


26...Ba6 27.Qd1 Bxf1 28.Qxf1!?


Rejecting the forced draw 28.Qxh5 Rh8 29.Rxg6+ Rxg6 30.Qxg6+ Kf8 31.Qf6+ Kg8 32.Qxe6+ Kf8 33.Qf6+ Kg8 etc. White plays on with little risk: he has one pawn, soon two, for the exchange, and has more active pieces. The deciding factor was the relative safety of the two kings: White's is perfectly safe, while Black feels a breeze.




28...Rh8; 28...Qc3 29.Qf2 Rh8 30.Qg3 Rh6=


29.Qf3 Kf7






30.Bxc6 may have been better, but I wanted a Black rook at g8 (see next note).


30...Rg8 31.Bxc6 Rf5 32.Rxf5+ gxf5


Black must weaken his kingside pawns: 32...exf5?? 33.Bd5++-






33...Rh8 34.Bf3 Qe7!


Black is now slightly better.




The ending is lost after 35.Bxh5+? Kf8 36.Qxe7+ Kxe7 37.Bd1 Rc8! 38.Kg3 Rc3 39.Kf3 Ra3 40.Bb3 b5 41.d5 a4


35...h4 36.d5 e5?


36...exd5 37.Bxd5+ Kg7 38.Qc2 Rf8 and Black is clearly better.


37.Qb2� Rh6


37...Re8? 38.Bh5++-;


37...Kf6 38.Qxb6+ Kg7 39.d6 Qf6 40.Qc7+ Kh6 41.d7�


38.fxe5 Qg5


Threatening a perpetual with Qg3+ and Qe1+.


39.Qc3! Qg3+ 40.Kg1 Rh8 41.Kf1!


Avoiding 41.e6+ Kg6 42.Qxh8? Qe1+ 43.Kh2 Qg3+=


41...Rf8 42.Bh5+


I missed 42.d6! Ke6 43.d7 Qxe5 44.Qc8+-




Better is 42...Kg8 43.d6 f4 44.Bf3+-


43.d6 f4 44.e6+ Rf6 45.d7! fxe3+ 46.Qxf6+ Kxf6 47.d8Q+ Kxe6


Now all White has to do is trade queens


48.Qe8+ Kd5 49.Qd7+ Kc5 50.Qf5+ Kd6 51.Qg6+ Kd5 52.Qxg3 hxg3 53.Ke2 b5


53...Kd4 54.a4 Ke4 55.Be8 Kd4 56.Bb5 Ke4 57.Bd3+ Kd4 58.h4+-


54.Kxe3 Kc4 55.Bf7+ Kc3 56.h4 b4 57.h5 a4 58.h6 b3 59.axb3 a3 60.h7 a2 61.h8Q+ Kc2 62.Bg6+ 1-0


Mechanics' member Evan Sandberg of San Francisco tied for second in the National High School Championship held last weekend  in Nashville. Sandberg scored 6-1 including a win over 2397 rated Raven Sturt.


Kudos go to Fremont teenager Hayk Manvelyan who earned his master title at the Far West Open in Reno two weeks ago.

Sam Shankland's third place finish in the US Championship has raised his USCF rating over 2600.


The Mechanics'  Institute has a long tradition of producing World Class problem composers and solvers with A.J. Fink one of the all time American greats. Another giant in the field, albeit of more recent vintage, is Robert Burger who has also won acclaim as an author (The Chess of Bobby Fischer) and sported a 2300 USCF rating in his playing days. Bob is nearing his 80th birthday but shows no sign of slowing down.   


He writes:


On April 16, at Harrowgate, in England, I gave the main address at the annual meeting of the British Chess Problem Society. This was occasioned by the fact that Professor Robin C. O. Matthews, who died last year, was being celebrated at this event. He was without doubt the premier British composer over the past fifty years, even though he confined himself primarily to three-movers. I happened to be his collaborator in a large number of his problems. In introducing me, the president of the Society noted that there have been three well-known collaborations in the history of chess composition: Kohtz and Kockelhorn in 1890-1910, Vincent L. Eaton (U.S.) and G. F. Anderson (UK) in 1945-1960, and Burger and Matthews in 1961-2008. He stated that the Burger-Matthews collaboration was thus the longest and strongest in chess history.


2) Buff-Hendricks, Burlingame 1978


Thanks to IM Jeremy Silman for entering the following game and sending it to us. We reported in Newsletter 518 that Mr. Buff passed away last fall.


From Cal Chess News: "Jim Buff of San Francisco plays 'go-for-broke' attacking chess. And while this all or nothing style often leaves his tournament score depressed, it does not repress an occasional outburst of pure art.


"Witness the dazzling display of fancy fireworks which follows. U.S. Champion Walter Browne, IM Peter Biyiasas and USCF masters Dennis Fritzinger and Jeremy Silman all thought very highly of this effort."


Buff - Hendricks, Burlingame 1978



Notes by Jim Buff


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. Nc3 e6 5. d4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Qa5 7. Bd2 Qc7 


Black had probably intended to play 7. ... cxd4 8. cxd4 Bb4 9. Bd3 Nc6 and then saw that I would have continued 10. 0-0! Bxd2 11. Nxd2 Nxd4 12. Nc4 with very sharp play and advantage to White.


8. Be2 Nc6 9. 0-0 d6 10. Bg5! 


Defending white's e5-pawn, as two captures there costs Black a Knight and three captures costs his King by Qd8 mate!


10. ... Bd7 11. Rb1 dxe5? 


Overlooking the point of my last move in his desire to win a pawn and the battle for control of the e5-square. 


12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 Qxe5 14. Rxb7! 


A nuclear attack with 14. Qxd7+? fails to 14. ... Kxd7 15. Rxb7+ Kc8 (  15. ... Ke8 16. Bb5# )  16. Ba6 Qxg5 17. Rxf7+ Kd8 (  17. ... Kb8 18. Rb1# )  18. Rd1+ Ke8 and White has reached the end of the road.  


14. ... Bc6 


14. ... Qd5 15. Qxd5 exd5 16. Bb5! Bxb5 17. Re1+ wins for White.


15. f4! 


The most critical move so far. It had to be seen on move eleven.


15. ... Qe3+ 16. Kh1 f6! 


Forced.16. ... Bxb7 17. Bb5+ mates


16. ... Rc8 17. Bf3 Bxb7 18. Bxb7 and if the black c8-Rook moves White mates on c6 or d8, while 18. ... Be7 leads to 19. Bxc8 Bxg5 20. Qd7+ Kf8 21. fxg5  


17. Bh5+! 


 Avoiding 17. Bxf6? Bxb7 (  17. ... gxf6 18. Bh5# )  18. Bb5+ Kf7 19. Qd7+ Kxf6 20. Qxb7 wins for Black since he's a Rook and position up.


17. ... g6 18. Re1 Rd8 


Fantastic! All of white's pieces are under attack! However, the new weakness on e6 will provide a fresh target for white's busy pieces.


19. Qb1! 


An attacking move directed against the weakened white squares around black's King. Black now makes an ingeious last ditch stand.  


19. ... Qh3!  


In one stroke, the Queen escapes white's Rook, defends against the devasting 20.Rxe6+ and threatens mate on the move.  


20. Bf3!


Decisive, now ...Bxf3 loses to 21.Qb5+ and mate in two. 


20. ... Bxb7 21. Qxb7 Rd6 


21. ... Qf5 22. Bc6+ does it.


22. gxh3 fxg5 23. Bc6+ Kd8 24. Rxe6 Rd1+ 25. Kg2 Bd6 


Guarding against the dual mate threats on e8 and b8, but allowing a third. 


26. Qd7#


3) Here and There


International Match Play in St. Louis

Nakamura vs. Ponomariov, May 16-25


The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis will host a 10-game match (six classical, four rapid) between St. Louis Grandmaster (GM) Hikaru Nakamura, ranked No. 8 in the world, and GM Ruslan Ponomariov, ranked No. 11 in the world, May 16-25. 


The players will take part in a live, virtual press conference at 10 a.m. CDT on May 16. Journalists and fans from all over the world can log onto to submit questions to the players and watch their answers streamed live online. More details including the specific Livestream channel will be available soon.


The 23-year-old Nakamura, who declined his invitation to the 2011 U.S. Championship, recently moved up to No. 8 in the world on the top rating list by FIDE, the World Chess Federation. His international rating of 2774 is the second-highest rating ever attained by an American, second only to GM Bobby Fischer's rating of 2785. Nakamura's first six classical games against Ponomariov will be FIDE rated, and Nakamura can break Fischer's record with a +3 score, which would make him the highest-rated American ever. (A +3 score, for example, can be attained by winning three games and drawing (or tying) three; or losing one, winning four and drawing one.)


Since moving into the top 10 in the world, Nakamura said he has shifted his focus to prepare for the world's best to make a run at the next World Championship cycle, which will begin in two years.  


Round one of the 10-game matches will take place at 1 p.m. CDT on May 17. Commentary for the live games will be provided by IM John Donaldson and WGM Jennifer Shahade. Spectators can watch the action live at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, located in the heart of the Central West End, or see all the action online at 


May FIDE rating list


Top 20

1. Anand 1969 IND 2817
2. Carlsen 1990 NOR 2815
3. Aronian 1982 ARM 2808
4. Kramnik 1975 RUS 2785
5. Ivanchuk 1969 UKR 2776
6. Karjakin 1990 RUS 2776
7. Topalov 1975 BUL 2775
8. Nakamura 1987 USA 2774
9. Mamedyarov 1985 AZE 2772
10. Gashimov 1986 AZE 2760
11. Ponomariov 1983 UKR 2754
12. Grischuk 1983 RUS 2747
13. Radjabov 1987 AZE 2744
14. Svidler 1976 RUS 2739
15. Vitiugov 1987 RUS 2733
16. Gelfand 1968 ISR 2733
17. Jakovenko 1983 RUS 2732
18. Kamsky 1974 USA 2732
19. Wang Hao 1989 CHN 2732
20. Vachier-Lagrave 1990 FRA 2731



US Top 20

1.  Nakamura 2774

2.  Kamsky 2732

3.  Onischuk 2675

4.  Seirawan 2635

5.  Shulman 2627

6.  Akobian 2603

7.  Hess 2601

8.  Shabalov 2586

9.   Ehlvest 2580

10.  Ramirez 2579

11.  Christiansen 2575

12.  Kaidanov 2574

13.  Stripunsky 2568

14.  Goldin 2561

15.  Becerra 2555

16.   Benjamin 2553

17. &n

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