Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #580
April 18, 2012
The most talented is Carlsen, who is of course a star of the first order. In contrast to the situation in athletics, chess records depend on “inflation”. When I was climbing to the top you’d count one or two people with a 2700 rating and that was that, while now it’s at least 45 people.
In fact, due to the increase in those playing chess the base of the pyramid has grown, and that adds points at every level. Fischer’s rating was 2785 in 1972, but that’s of course much more significant than Carlsen’s higher rating now. It can be compared to my 2851 in 1999. The evolutionary factor is having an impact, so despite the mathematical basis of ratings I nevertheless wouldn’t attribute such historical importance to them.
When Fischer was climbing to the top he’d score +6, I’d score +6-7, while Carlsen scores +3-4. That’s simply enough, as the pyramid really has grown, and today’s super-tournaments are now rated above 2750. The only tournament with a similar rating was in 1996. At the tournament in Las Palmas, which featured myself, Karpov, Kramnik, Anand, Ivanchuk and Topalov, the top six were all playing. That tournament was unique, although by current standards the ratings of the top players weren’t the highest. So you have to take that into account if you want to carry out a historical analysis.
—Garry Kasparov, talking to journalists in Estonia in April 2011
1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News
Spring Tuesday Night Marathon leader National Master Romy Fuentes was held to a draw last night by veteran Expert Peter Grey and now has company at the top. Fuentes is joined at 5-1 by Fide Masters Andy Lee and Frank Thornally and Expert Uyanga Byambaa. Two rounds remain for the 71 combatants.
It’s Wednesday! Time for the weekly blitz chess tournament at Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club.
Come join us on Wednesday nights and sharpen your blitz skill for the upcoming Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz Tournament on Sunday May 7th, 1-5pm. It should be noted that many of the prize winners last year also participate in the Wednesday night blitz tournament.
As always, it starts no later than 6:40pm with sign-up beginning at 6:20pm. Entry is $10 with clock $11 without clock. Prizes are 50%, 30%, 20% of entry fees. Time control preferably is 3 minute increment 2 seconds otherwise 5 minutes no increment.
The winners last week were
1st - Jules Jelinek
2nd -Tom Stevens
3rd - Merim Mesic
Look forward to seeing you tonight.
Weekly Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator
Speaking of the Ray Schutt Blitz the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club is pleased to announce that 6-time US Champion Walter Browne will be competing in this year’s event on May 6th.
Here is a brief look at the history of the Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz.
2007 - 1st GM Walter Browne (34 players)
2008 - 1st GM Melik Khachian (34 players)
2009 - 1st IM Ricardo DeGuzman (28 players)
2010 - 1st FM Andy Lee ahead of 2 GMs and 5 IMs (46 players)
2011 - 1st GM Walter Browne and IM Daniel Naroditsky (50 players)
The time control for this event will be game in 4 minutes plus a 2 second increment (mistakenly given as 5 seconds previously).
2) My friend Arthur Wang, New Strength, Part 2 of 3, by Erik Osbun
We wrote of National Master Art Wang’s death on December 11 last year in MI Newsletter #564. Now we are honored to present the second of a three-part tribute, by Arthur’s friend Erik Osbun.
1959-60 was a big chess year for Art. In review of his results published in The California Chess Reporter, Vol. IX and X for 1960: He won the 1959 Northern Calif. Champ.; got an even score in the Calif. Champ., 1959 with Tibor Weinberger winning at 6-2 followed by James Cross and Zoltan Kovacs at 5½ and Julius Loftsson at 5; tied for first with Eugene Krestini in the Golden Gate Club Champ. at 8½ -1½, Loftsson 3rd at 7; first place in the 2nd CFNC Experts Tournament, Oakland, 1960 at 7-2 followed by Roy Hoppe and myself at 6-3; he didn’t do so well at the Calif. Open in Fresno at 4½ - 2½ after a noteworthy loss to Thomas Fries; and tied for 1st - 3rd place in the 1st Northern Calif. Open at 4-1.
Art repeated at the U.S. Junior in West Orange, New Jersey, tying for 3rd at 7-3 with Wesley Burgar, David Ames and George Olte, but behind repeating U.S. Junior Champion, Robin Ault, at 8½ - 1½ and Walter Harris at 8-2 (The event was one round longer than in 1959.), and went on to the U.S. Open in St. Louis for a respectable 7½ of 12.
Then Art went into the U.S. Army and an early trip to Viet Nam, where he met his wife!
Edgar McCormick - Arthur Wang, U. S. Open, St. Louis, 1960, Sicilian Defense:
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 a6
The O’Kelly Variation, which became popular because of White’s very common and perhaps thoughtless next move.
Most modern opening manuals suggest that 3.c4 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nc3 is White’s best course. Geller favored 3.c3. Perfectly playable is 3.Nc3.
3....cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5!
The reason why 3.d4?! is premature, but it’s still not bad for White, as long as he plays aggressively.
6. Nf3 Bb4
The late Charles Henin attempted to improve upon this thematic move with 6...Qc7 (Grey - Henin, Calif. Champ., San Francisco, 1966-67).
The only move that affords White counter-play.
The straightforward 7.Nxe5?! is weak: 7...0-0 8.Bd3 d5 9.0-0 Bxc3 10.bxc3 dxe4 11.Be2 Qc7 (Keres - Olafsson, Candidates Tournament, Beograd, 1959).
The solid 7.Bd2 is passive: 7...d6 8.Bd3 0-0 9.0-0 Bg4 10.a3 Bc5 11.Be2 h6 12.h3 Be6 13.Bd3 Nbd7 14.Qe2 Qc7 15.Rad1 Rac8, and Black’s prospects are more than adequate (Rivise - Wang, Calif. Champ., Hollywood, 1959).
Somewhat better is 7.Bg5 d6 8.Bc4 h6 9.Bd2 Nbd7 10.Nd5 Nxd5 11.Bxd5 Bc5 12.b4 Ba7 13.Qe2 Nf6 14.Bb3 Be6 15.0-0 Qc7 16.Be3 Bxe3 17.Qxe3 0-0 18.Nd2, but Black missed his chance to equalize with 18...d5! (Smyslov - Mueller, Venice, 1950).
7.... Qc7 8. Qd3
The “positional method” as opposed to the lively 8.Bb3 d6 (Not 8...Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Qxc3+? 10.Bd2 Qc7 11.Ng5 0-0 12.Bb4, or 8...Nxe4? 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Qd5+ Ke8 11.Qxe4 Bxc3+ 12.Ke2! as analyzed by Geller.) 9.0-0 Bxc3 10.bxc3 Nbd7 (10...Nxe4?! 11.Ba3 Nc5 12.Bxc5 dxc5 13.Nxe5 0-0 holds, but gives White the initiative. This is incidental analysis by Geller to the game Geller - Kholmov, Match Ukraine - Lithuania, Vilnius, 1957. However, he mentioned that he probably would have chosen: either 12.Qd2 pressurizing d6, or 12.Ng5 0-0 13.f4 with an attack!) 11.Re1 0-0, but still Black has a solid position.
8....0-0 9. 0-0 d6 10. Bg5 Nbd7 11.Rad1?
The simple 11.Nd5 Nxd5 12.Bxd5 is correct, whereupon the chances appear to be equal.
11....b5 12. Bd5 Rb8 13. Ne2?
A very bad idea, but if White should try 13.Bd2 Nc5 14.Qe2 Bg4, Black has all the threats. Probably 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.Bb3 is necessary.
13....Nxd5 14. exd5 f5
Black has acquired a winning attack that almost plays itself.
15. Ng3 Nc5 16. Qe2 f4 17. c3
If 17.Ne4 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 Bc5, and White cannot meet the threat to win his stranded bishop.
17....Bxc3 18. bxc3 fxg3
If now 19.hxg3 Bg4, and the threat of 20...e4 wins material.
White panics, but the better 19.Be3 Bg4 20.Bxc5 Qxc5 21.Qe4 Bxf3 22.gxf3 Rf4 is also lost.
19....gxh2+ 20. Kxh2 Bg4 21. Be3 e4 22. Bxc5 exf3 23. gxf3 Rxf3 24. Qe4 dxc5+
25. d6 Qd7 26. Qd5+ Kf8 27. Rd3 Rxd3 28. Qxd3 Qf5 White resigns.
Art had a great capacity for “sang-froid,” or cold blood in English, also known as composure, self-possession, calmness and coolness of mind under fire. This greatly helped him at the chess board. He could have a completely lost position, look beaten, but still calculate and create problems or fatal enticements for his opponent. Several of us fell victim to this characteristic of Art. I lost two completely winning positions to Art in 1960. John Blackstone lost a bunch of games to Art in this way, leading to such a great frustration that even John’s father was talking about it. I observed a game between John Mortz and Art at one of the American Opens (These events did not start until 1965.), in which John won Art’s Queen, but still lost (poor John)! Probably the strongest player to suffer from Art’s “indian sign” was future International Master, William Addison. One of their encounters as follows:
Arthur Wang - William Addison, Northern Calif. Champ., San Francisco, 1960. King’s Indian Defense:
1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5. Nf3 0-0 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 Nh5
Topical at that time was 7...Nbd7 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4, Petrosian’s variation, which could be met by 9...g5 10.Bg3 Nh5 11.Nd2 Nf4 12.0-0 f5 13.exf5 Nf6 (Cuneo - Osbun, CFNC Open Champ., Oakland, 1961), or 13...Nxe2+ 14.Qxe2 Nf6 15.c5 Bxf5 16.Rae1 Rf7 (Wexler - Reshevsky, Buenos Aires, 1960).
The text move was made famous by the game Szabo - Boleslavsky, Budapest, 1950: 7...Nh5 8.Ng1 Nd7 9.Bxh5 gxh5 10.Qxh5 Nc5 11.Nf3 f5!
8. g3 a5
Remarkable is 8...Na6 9.Nd2 Nf6 10.h4 c6 11.Nb3 Nc7 12.Bg5 cxd5 13.cxd5 h6 14.Bxf6! Qxf6 15.Bg4, with advantage to White (Petrosian - Gufeld, U.S.S.R. Champ., Leningrad, 1960).
9. Nd2 Na6 10. Bxh5?
Premature, White should prepare to threaten this capture with the preliminary 10.h4 Nf6 (10...Nc5 11.Nb3) 11.g4, which would increase his control of space.
10....gxh5 11. Qxh5 Nb4 12. Kd1 f5 13. Qe2 c6 14. a3 Na6 15. f3 Nc5 16. b3 fxe4
17. fxe4 cxd5?
Addison could here have capitalized on his positional gains with 17...Qg5 18.Kc2 (18.Nf3? Qh5 19.Rf1 Bg4) Bg4 19.Qg2 Qe3, according to the late Valdemars Zemitis in The California Chess Reporter, Vol. X, Nos. 4-5, Nov.-Dec., 1960.
This well posted knight will provide White with the means for his security. If now 18...Qg5 19.Kc2 Bg4 20.Qe3, safe!
18....a4 19. b4 Ne6 20. Bb2 Nd4 21. Bxd4 exd4 22. Qd3
Zemitis remarks aptly: “Again a critical position.” He suggests that now 22...b5, to deprive the white king of a safe home, is the right course. If then 23.cxb5? Bg4+ 24.Kc2 Rf2 25.Raf1 (as in the game) Rc8+ 26.Kb2 Be2, and Black wins. It seems that White has to prevent the bishop check with 23.h3.
22....Bg4+ 23. Kc2 Rf2 24. Raf1!
Typical Art, he finds the defense that will leave him in charge on the light-colored squares.
24....Be2 25. Rxf2 Bxd3+ 26. Kxd3 Qg5 27. Rf5 Qg4 28. R1f1 Re8 29. R5f4 Qc8
30. Nf3 Qd8 31. Nh4 Rf8 32. Nf5 Kh8
Loses, but what else?
33. Nxg7! Rxf4 34. Nxf4
So White has won material, for if 34...Kxg7 35.Ne6+.
34....Qg5 35. N7e6 Qe5 36. Nxd4 Kg8 37. Nfe6 h6 38. Rf5 Black resigns.
3) Types of Deflation, by GM Alex Baburin
The following article originally appeared in Alexander Baburin’s excellent online daily Chess Today, which is one of the very best sources for up-to-date news, annotated games, and book reviews. Go to www.chesstoday.net to view a sample issue and find subscription information.
Baburin writes about Europe in the following article, but much of what he has to say applies to North America as well.
While economists often talk about price deflation, many professional chess players are only too familiar with another type of deflation—prize deflation—when the same tournament has smaller and smaller prizes every year or prizes stay the same, despite the overall inflation.
This morning I was browsing through old issues of Die Schachwoche when I saw an advertisement for the Geneva Open 1994. The prizes were 5,000 Swiss francs, 4,000, 3,000, 2,000, 6 x 1,000, etc. I doubt that there is any open tournament in Switzerland nowadays with similar prizes. The above-mentioned Lenk Open this year had the first prize of 1,500 Swiss francs, while in the mid 1990s it was 2,000 or 2,500 francs, if I am not mistaken. In 1992 I won the 10th Liechtenstein Open and received 3,000 Swiss francs. In 2007 I was fortunate to win this tournament again (and the 2007 edition was much stronger!), and received 2,500 Swiss francs.
I do not pretend to have a solution for this problem—perhaps there is no solution at all. But I find it strange that in the world where more and more people learn and play chess, prizes in tournaments actually go down!
4) Here and There
The latest FIDE ratings show American players occupying two spots on the top 15 list.
1. Carlsen (NOR) 2835
2. Aronian (ARM) 2825
3. Kramnik (RUS) 2801
4. Anand (IND) 2791
5. Radjabov (AZB) 2784
6. Karjakin (RUS) 2779
7. Nakamura (USA) 2775
8. Caruana (ITA) 2773
9. Morozevich (RUS) 2769
10. Ivanchuk (UKR) 2764
11. Grischuk (RUS) 2761
12. Topalov (BUL) 2752
13. Kamsky (USA) 2741
14. Svidler (RUS) 2741
15. Tomashevsky (RUS) 2738
16. Wang Hao (CHN) 2738
Metropolitan Chess, Inc. hosted an International Master norm round-robin tournament from April 11th to April 15th, 2012. The tournament was sponsored by California Market Center, Fashion Business, Inc, Chess.com, MonRoi, LawyerFy, the Law Offices of Steinfl & Bruno, and Betty Bottom Showroom.
This tournament was the 18th in its series, and was held in Suite C1002 of the California Market Center on 110 East 9th Street, Los Angeles 90079. The tournament was organized by Ankit Gupta, FA, IO and the chief arbiter was Randy Hough, IA. The participants included IM Zhanibek Amanov (KAZ), IM Larry Remlinger (USA), IM Roman Yankovsky (RUS), FM Harutyun Akopyan (USA), FM Kameswaran Visweswaran (IND), FM Mark Duckworth (USA), NM Yian Liou (USA), NM Brendan Purcell (USA), FM Konstantin Kavutskiy (USA) and NM Garush Manukyan (ARM).
The tournament was a 10-player round-robin (all play all), with rounds scheduled as follows - 11th: 7:00 PM, 12th: 11:00 AM & 5:00 PM, 13th: 11:00 AM & 5:00 PM, 14th: 11:00 AM & 5:00 PM, 15th: 10:00 AM & 4:00 PM.
The tournament was won, clear first, by IM Roman Yankovsky with a score of 7.5-1.5. This was the second tournament that IM Roman Yankovsky played with his IM title official -- the first being the last Metropolitan Invitational where he scored 7.5-1.5 as well.
No norms were achieved. NM Yian Liou came closest by maintaining IM norm chances going into the last day before being defeated by FM Mark Duckworth.
Keep updated with events by Metropolitan Chess, Inc, by visiting www.metrochessla.com.
Ankit Gupta, NM
Metropolitan Chess, Inc.
We would add to NM Gupta’s report by noting that Yian Liou, who tied for third with 5 from 9, improved his USCF rating to 2379 and is poised to have a breakout summer. Brendan Purcell, who MI members will remember from 2005-2007 when he was a regular at the club, has improved a great deal the past few years. He earned his Master title in early 2012 and did creditably at the 18th Metropolitan International, performing at the 2200 level.
Hope you are having a excellent week. Barbara and I recently produced our 9th episode of “Chess Diva”.
The website is http://chessdiva.show.tripod.com/episode9.html.
We hope you enjoy our show, and please send us an e-mail letting us know what you think about it.
Here’s more information about episode #9: On this episode, learn how to checkmate with two rooks vs a lone king. In Lauren and Barbara’s first video clip, they fly and drive to Las Vegas to check out the 2011 North American Open chess tournament. Watch exclusive interviews with two chess players, including Amanda Mateer, a lady chess master. Also watch a short video about the Hip Hop Chess Federation event that took place in San Jose, California in February 2012. Lauren and Barbara have other interests outside of chess, so we’ll so we'll show you what they like besides chess, such as Barbara unicycling backward!