Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #566
January 11, 2012
My general rule of thumb is that if a coach can add half a point to the score of his charge during a tournament, he is doing a par job.
Nigel Short, New in Chess #8, 2011, page 46
(1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News
National Master Russell Wong heads a group of 10 players who are tied for first after two rounds of the 65-player Winter Tuesday Night Marathon. It’s still possible to enter the eight round event with byes for the first two rounds.
Last night several of the top players in the event, who missed round one because of the overlapping Northern California International, made their debuts, including Expert Uyanga Byambaa. Here she defeats veteran Julian Standen in an instructive miniature.
Uyanga Byambaa - Julian Standen
Winter Tuesday Night Marathon (2), 2012
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 c5 6.Be3 Qb6 7.Nc3 Nc6
7...Qxb2 8.Qb1! is known to be very strong for White - see for example Christiansen-Seirawan, U.S. Ch. 2011.
8...Qxb2 9.Qe1! is also known to be good for White.
9.Nh4 is not bad and 9.b3 is most commonly seen here. Objectively the text is not as strong as either of these moves but it is tricky.
Correctly played as 9...dxc4 10.d5 Qxb2 11.dxc6 bxc6 12.Qd4 as planned by Uyanga is quite good for White.
This is the losing move. Instead 10...dxc4 11.Nc7+ Kd8 12.Nxa8 Qxc2 leads to a messy positions where Black’s chances are by no means worse.
This traps Black’s queen and effectively ends the game.
12.Rb1 Qxb1 13.Qxb1 axb5 14.a4 b4 15.Nh4 1-0
Next Tuesday at 5 pm 16-year-old International Master Daniel Naroditsky will be awarded the 2012 Neil Falconer Award as the highest-rated player (2546 USCF) under 18 in Northern California on the December 2011 rating list. All are welcome to attend the presentation in the M.I. Chess Room.
NM Romy Fuentes won the 12th annual Bob Burger Open held January 7th at the Mechanics’, with a score of 4.5 from 5. Tying for second with four points in the 38-player field were IM Elliott Winslow (who drew with Fuentes in a tough last-round battle), NM Kenan Zildzic, Expert William Gray and fast-improving junior Jeffrey Tao.
Book and equipment donations to the Mechanics’ are always welcome. All donations to the Mechanics’ are tax deductible, due to the M.I.’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that have been lying around unused for some time, consider donating to the Mechanics’. You will not only get a tax write-off, but also the satisfaction of seeing things put to good use.
2) Sam Shankland wins Northern California International
Grandmaster Sam Shankland had a very successful year in 2011 (3rd place in the U.S. Championship and defeating Peter Leko in the World Cup for starters). 2012 looks like it will be more of the same, judging from his convincing victory in the Northern California International, held January 2-8 in Fremont at Ted Castro’s Nor Cal House of Chess. The 19-year-old from Orinda scored an undefeated 7 from 9, to not only take home the $3,000 first prize, but also 15 Elo points, bringing his rating to 2580 FIDE.
Other top scorers were GMs Alejandro Ramirez and GM Josh Friedel, who shared second through fourth with IM Marc Arnold at 6.5/9. Among those on 6 were the top seeds GMs Georg Meier, Bartolmiej Macieja and Yury Shulman.
Once again Aruna Sharma was the organizer of this international, which attracted 62 players from 14 federations, including 8 GMs and 16 IMs. Arun, who spent hundreds of hours organizing this event for the third year in a row on a purely volunteer basis, was assisted by Ted Castro, Payam Afkham-Ebrahimi, S. Mehta Gaurang and Tom Langland.
The battle for first place was effectively decided in round 7.
Sam Shankland (2565 FIDE) - Georg Meier (2671 FIDE)
Northern California International (7) 2012
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 c5 5.g3 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Ne4 7.Bd2!?
A search of any database will quickly show that 7.Qd3 is the most popular choice here, and 7.Qc2 has recently received a lot of tests, while the text is almost unknown. The fact that White is accepting double c-pawns without receiving compensation in the form of the bishop might be the explanation for this. Sam has seen further and recognizes that his piece activity, and the difficulties Black has in activating his bishop, provide ample value for his inferior pawn structure.
7...Bxc3 8.Bxc3 Nxc3 9.bxc3 a6
9...Qa5 10.Qd2 was seen in Pruess-Kelly, 2011 USCL. White got a good position in that game, but 10.Qb3 might be even stronger.
10.Bg2 Qc7 11.Qa4 Nc6 12.c5!
This clamps down on Black’s position, and insures more open lines after the freeing moves ...d6 or ...b6. 12...0-0 13.0-0 Ne7 14.Qa3! This not only guards the c-pawn, but also threatens Nb5-d6.
Maybe 14...Rb8 15.Rfd1 Re8, preparing ...b5 or ...b6, was better, but Black’s position still looks a little suspicious.
15...Qe5 16.Qa5 Rf8 17.Nc7 Rb8 18.Qb6 leaves Black paralyzed.
16.Qxa8 Qxc5 17.Bxb7 Nf5
17...d5 18.a4! brings White’s rook into the game, with strong effect.
18.Qa5! Rf8 19.Bf3 d5
This opens the d-file and activates the bishop. The end is near.
20...dxe4 21.Bxe4 Nd6 22.Bg2 e5 23.Qb4!
23...Qxb4 24.cxb4 Be6 25.a4 bxa4 26.Rxa4 e4 27.Ra6 Nb5 28.Bxe4 Nc3 29.Re1 1-0
3) Here and There
The 74th Wijk aan Zee tournament (Tata Steel) starts this Saturday. This will be the strongest event in the long series, and for the first time the US will have two participants (Nakamura and Kamsky).