Chess Room Newsletter #620 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #620

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #620
March 20, 2013

Smyslov has a very safe style and he represents the real positional player. He has something in common with the late Dr. Lasker in the way he does not try to gain advantage out of the openings by study, but applies on them the general principles of chess.

—Imre Konig, writing about Smyslov after his victory at Zurich 1953
in the San Francisco Argonaut, November 5, 1953.

Mea Culpa: In last week’s Newsletter the late World Champion that Duncan Suttles was referring to was Bobby Fischer.

This Saturday the Mechanics’ will be hosting the 13th Max Wilkerson G/45.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The Spring Tuesday Night Marathon started last night, and for a while it looked like all the higher-rated players would emerge victorious, but in the end a few upsets occurred. The big shocker of the night was Carl Woebcke’s win over second-ranked Natalya Tsodikova. The latter is best known in the chess world for finishing equal fourth in the 1996 US Women’s Championship (her last USCF-rated event), and is a most welcome addition to the TNM.

The last game to end was MI Trustee Michael Hilliard’s win over Cailen Melville, who was rated almost 450 points higher. Nicholas Brown, who gained over 100 points in the last TNM, continued his over-achieving ways by drawing with Felix Rudyak. Jerry Morgan’s draw with Renjish Abraham was the other half point for the underdogs.

It’s still possible to enter the Spring TNM with a half-point bye for the first round.

Jules Jelinek, Weekly Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator, writes:

Hello everyone,

Tell your friends that non-members can now play the Wednesday Night Blitz!

It is time for the weekly blitz tournament starts at Mechanics Institute Chess Club. As always, the last entry is accepted at 6:40 pm, with sign-up beginning at 6:20 pm. Entry is $7 with clock; $8 without clock. Non-member entry is $9 with clock; $10 without clock. Prizes are 50%, 30%, 20% of base entry fees ($7 per player) collected. Time control preferably is 3 minute, increment 2 seconds; otherwise 5 minutes, no increment.

Last week we had 8 players in the Blitz. The winners were

1st - Carlos D’Avila
2nd - Jules Jelinek
3rd - Joe Urquhart

2) Joseph Redding – Early MICC Giant

We have written before of Joseph Redding, arguably the strongest California player of the 1870s and 1880s. Here is an example of the resourcefulness of this early Mechanics’ Chess Club titan.

Scotch C45
Joseph Redding- Allies
SF-Sacramento, Telegraph, 1989

Notes by Houdini and JD

The following telegraph game, which lasted over two months, was played between Joseph Redding of San Francisco and a group of unnamed enthusiasts from the Chess, Checkers and Whist Club of Sacramento. The moves were published weekly in the Sacramento Theme in the chess column of L.F. Griffin.

Griffin wrote a fine column which offered a good mixture of local and national news. One example of the sort of “gold” to be found there is a reference on March 24, 1889, to the great Jackson Showalter, sometimes called the Lion of Lexington in homage to his home in Kentucky. Griffin refers to Showalter by this moniker but notes that he was formerly of Laredo, Texas, where he was known as the Texas Tiger. Showalter was indeed a “cool cat”.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Qh4 5.Nxc6 Qxe4+ 6.Be2 Qxc6 7.0–0 d6 8.Nc3 Qd7 9.Re1 Be7 10.Nd5 c6 11.a4

11.Qd4! is more energetic.

11...Qd8 12.Qd4 Nf6 13.Nxe7 Qxe7 14.Bf4 d5 15.Bd2! Be6 16.Bb4 Qc7 17.c4 a6 18.Bc5 Qd7 19.cxd5 Qxd5 20.Qb4 Nd7 21.Rac1

White misses 21.Bd6 c5 22.Qf4 keeping Black’s king in the center as queenside castling is dangerous. The text costs Redding the initiative he has enjoyed since the beginning of the game.

21...Nxc5 22.Rxc5 Qd7 23.Re5 0–0–0 24.Bg4??

Redding was an excellent tactician, but here the trickster tricks himself. He had to keep his disadvantage to a minimum with 24.Bf3 Qd4 25.Qa3 Rhe8 26.b4, though after 26...Bd7 Black is still on top.


Black should have called White’s bluff with 24...Bxg4 25.Re7 a5! and Redding is over-extended, as 26.Qb6 is met by 26...Qxe7.

25.h3 g6 26.Bf3?!

26.Bxe6 Rxe6 27.Rxe6 fxe6 28.Qg4 was objectively better, and White has excellent chances to hold, but Redding did not want to confine himself to playing for two results (a draw and a loss).

26...Qd4 27.Qa3 Bd7 28.R5e4 Rxe4 29.Rxe4 Qb6

29...Qd2 was more active.


This looks active, but the rook will soon be unable to defend his king.

30...Be6 31.b4 Rd2 32.b5 Qxf2+ 33.Kh2 Qh4 34.Qc5

34.bxc6 Qxh3+ 35.Kg1 Rd1+! is Black’s pretty point, when 36.Kf2 Qh4+ 37.g3 Qh2+ 38.Bg2 Qg1+ 39.Kf3 Bd5+ 40.Kg4 Qd4+ would be the end for the San Franciscan.

34...Qf4+ 35.Kg1 Qd6

There was nothing wrong with the prosaic 35...Qd4+ 36.Qxd4 Rxd4 37.bxc6 bxc6 38.Bxc6 Rc4 39.Bf3 Rxa4 and White will be dutifully ground down.

36.Qg5 axb5 37.axb5 Kb8

Houdini likes 37...Qd4+ 38.Kh2 Qd8 tying White down as the c-pawn is verboten - 39.bxc6 bxc6 40.Bxc6 and now 40...Qd6+.

38.b6 Rb2

Correct, but difficult to see, was that 38...Ra2 (denying the White queen’s use of the a-file, was more precise.) He can then meet 39.Re8+ Bc8 40.Rd8 with 40...h6!.

39.Re8+ Bc8 40.Rd8! Rb1+ 41.Kf2 f6 42.Qe3

White avoids the immediate draw he could have forced with 42.Qa5 Rb2+ 43.Kf1 Rb1+ 44.Kf2 Rb2+.


As 42...Qxd8 is met by 43.Qf4+ Ka8 44.Qa4+ Kb8 45.Qa7 mate!

43.Be2 Qe5 44.Qxe5+ fxe5 45.Ke3

White may be two pawns down but he has tremendous compensation in his more active pieces and the terrible threat of Bg4.


Obvious, but wrong. Black had to find the difficult defense 45...Rb3+ 46.Ke4 h5 47.Bc4 Rb4 48.Kd3 c5!, with the clever point that 49.Be6 is met by 49...Rd4+

46.Bc4 Rxb6 47.Be6 Kc7 48.Rxc8+ Kd6 49.Bf7

Black’s chances of surviving are small. He has enough pawns for the piece at present, but White’s forces are much better placed—both to support the advance of a passed pawn and to stop one.

49...Rb2 50.g3 h4 51.g4?

Redding mis-steps and offers Black room for hope. The straightforward 51.gxh4 Rh2 52.Kf3 Rxh3+ 53.Kg4 Rh1 54.Bxg6 was easily winning.


51...g5! 52.Rg8 Rh2 53.Rxg5 Rxh3+ 54.Ke4 Rh1 55.Rh5 Re1+ 56.Kd3 e4+ 57.Kd2 Rg1 58.Rxh4 Ke5 offers Black real chances to draw as White’s pieces are much less coordinated than in the game.

52.Bxg6 Rxh3+ 53.Ke4 b5 54.Rd8+ Kc5 55.Kxe5 b4 56.Bf5 b3 57.g5 b2 58.Rb8 Rg3 59.Kf6 h3 60.Rxb2 Rg2 61.Rb7 h2 62.Rh7 1–0

3) 2013 Samford Fellowship Awarded to GM Sam Shankland
by John Donaldson

The Frank P. Samford, Jr. Chess Fellowship, marking its twenty-seventh annual award, has selected Grandmaster Sam Shankland, of Orinda, California, as its 2013 Fellow.

The Samford is the richest and most important chess fellowship in the United States. It identifies and assists the best young American chess masters by providing top-level coaching, strong competition and access to study materials. The Fellowship also supplies a monthly stipend for living expenses so that the winners may devote themselves to chess without having financial worries. The total value of the Fellowship has been increased several times over the years and is now $42,000 annually. The prize is awarded for one year and can be renewed for a second year. The winner’s term begins July 1, 2013.

All in all, it gives these brilliant young American Grandmasters the support and resources necessary to enhance their skills and reach their full potential.

Currently rated 2612 by FIDE, Sam Shankland was awarded the GM title at the age of 20. His career highlights include tying for first in the under-18 category in the 2008 World Youth Championships, taking third in the 2011 US Championship, beating Hungarian super-GM Peter Leko in the 2011 World Cup, and winning both team and individual gold while playing for the US team in the 2013 Pan-American Team Championship.

The winners were chosen by the Samford Fellowship Committee, consisting of Frank P. Samford III (son of Samford Fellowship founder Frank P. Samford, Jr.), former U.S. Chess Champion Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier and International Master John Donaldson. The winner’s potential was determined based on his chess talent, work ethic, dedication and accomplishments. The Fellowship is administered by the U.S. Chess Trust with particularly valuable services provided by Barbara DeMaro.

The Samford Chess Fellowship was created by the late Frank P. Samford, Jr. of Birmingham Alabama. Mr. Samford was a distinguished attorney and CEO of Liberty National Life Insurance Company (now Torchmark). He was active in civic, business, political, educational and cultural affairs. Mr. Samford was also an enthusiastic competitor in chess tournaments. After providing financial support for several chess projects he decided to do something significant for American chess. The result was the Samford Fellowship.

Since its inception the Fellowship has proven very successful. Many Samford Fellows have become strong Grandmasters, members of the United States Olympiad team and US Champions. America’s two top players, Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky, are not only rated in the top 17 in the world but are former Samford Fellows.

Generous contributions from the late Mrs. Virginia Samford and the Torchmark Corporation support the Fellowship. The Samford Fellowship is a fitting memorial to an extraordinary man. The dedication, creativity and achievement that marked Mr. Frank P. Samford, Jr.’s life are examples for all chessplayers to admire and emulate.

Previous Samford Winners:

1987 Joel Benjamin
1988 Maxim Dlugy
1989 Patrick Wolff
1990 Alex Fishbein
1991 Ilya Gurevich
1992 Alex Sherzer
1993 Ben Finegold
1994 Gata Kamsky
1995 Josh Waitzkin
1996 Tal Shaked
1997 Boris Kreiman
1998 Dean Ippolito
1999 Greg Shahade
2000 Michael Mulyar
2001 Eugene Perelshteyn
2002 Varuzhan Akobian
2003 Dmitry Schneider
2004 Rusudan Goletiani
2005 Hikaru Nakamura
2006 David Pruess
2007 Josh Friedel
2008 Irina Krush
2008 Vinay Bhat
2009 Ray Robson
2010 Robert Hess
2011 Alex Lenderman
2012 Timur Gareev
2012 Alejandro Ramirez
2013 Sam Shankland

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