Chess Room Newsletter #630 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #630

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #630
May 29, 2013

Self-confidence is very important. If you don’t think you can win, you will take cowardly decisions in the crucial moments, out of sheer respect for your opponent. You see the opportunity but also greater limitations than you should. I have always believed in what I do on the chessboard, even when I had no objective reason to. It is better to overestimate your prospects than underestimate them.

—Magnus Carlsen, interviewed by Martin Sandbu in
the Financial Times, Dec 8-9, 2012, page 3

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The Summer Tuesday Night Marathon started last night and has 83 entries to date, with a few more expected. Top seeds in the 8-round event are IM Elliott Winslow, FM Frank Thornally and NMs Hayk Manvelyan, Natalia Tsodikova, Romy Fuentes, Russell Wong and Todd Rumph.

The first round usually follows the form charts, as the top half generally outrates the lower by 400 to 500 points in each individual matchup, but not last night. Bayaraa Bekhtur, Willie Campers and Hans Niemann all pulled off major upsets against Master/Expert opposition. David Olson and Matthew Purland also came close to winning before eventually drawing opponents 407 and 413 points higher-rated.

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

The next round of the Tuesday Night Marathon (June 4) will have a special guest commentator, as Australian GM Ian Rogers discusses the recent super tournament in Norway. The talk is free to all.

Every Wednesday evening is the time for the weekly round-robin blitz tournament at Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club. As always, the last entry is accepted at 6:40 pm, with sign-up beginning at 6:20 pm and games starting soon after. 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 11 players in the Blitz. The winners were

1st/2nd tie - Hans Neiman and Jules Jelinek $30.60 each
3rd - Joe Urquhart $15.40

See you tonight!
Jules Jelinek

2) de Firmian, Khachiyan and De La Cruz tie for first in the Best of the West Class Championship

Mechanics’ Grandmaster-in-Residence Nick de Firmian shared top honors with fellow GM Melik Khachiyan and FM Alfredo De La Cruz in the Best-of-the-West Class Championship held in Santa Clara last weekend. The three winners, who each scored 4.5 from 6, took home $1386.67 apiece.

Tying for fourth at 4-2 in the top section of the 188-player event, organized by Salman Azhar’s Bay Area Chess, were 6-time US Champion Walter Browne, IM Dmitry Zilberstein, NM Hayk Manvelyan and young Expert Jack Zhu.

3) Here and There

The Bay Area will again have a big international Swiss this coming January, after a year hiatus. Once again Arun Sharma is the driving force behind the event, partnering with Salman Azhar and his Bay Area Chess.

The tournament, which offers GM and IM norms, will be held January 2-8 at the Hilton Santa Clara at Great America. For more information go to

Congratulations to former San Francisco Mechanics US Chess League team member Josh Friedel, who tied for first with fellow GMs Ray Robson and Nikola Mitkov in the 22nd Chicago Open, held May 23-27 in Wheeling, Illinois. The three winners’ scores of 7 from 9 netted them each $5833.34 for their efforts.

4) Reshevsky World Championship Cycle Run 1967-68

U.S. support for Bobby Fischer during his World Championship run in the early 1970s is well-known, but he was not the first American player to make a try for the title. Just a few years earlier Sammy Reshevsky made his first and only appearance in the Candidates’ matches at the age of 56.

Looking back it’s hard to believe that this was the only time Reshevsky was in the Candidates’, but that’s the truth. He was equal second at the Zurich 1953 Candidates’ tournament, but for various reasons (unsuitable venues, not qualifying from US Championships/zonals and choosing not to play) did not appear again in the final stages of the World Championship cycle until the 1964 Interzonal in Amsterdam. There he finished tied for eighth in a field of 24, but due to a rule in place at the time restricting the number of qualifiers from any one country, Reshevsky got a playoff match with Lajos Portisch. He was beaten 2½–1½, the first match he had ever lost in his career.

Three years later, at the Sousse Interzonal, Reshevsky tied with Leonid Stein and Vlastimil Hort for 6th place and the last spot in the Candidates’ matches. The three met in a playoff match held February 18 to March 3, 1968, at the Herman Steiner Chess Club in Los Angeles. After twelve games the three players were tied 6-6 and Reshevsky advanced due to better tiebreak to the Interzonal. His reward was to meet Viktor Kortchnoi, almost twenty years his junior, who beat him 6½-2½.

The Piatigorsky Foundation, U.S. Chess Federation and American Chess Foundation provided Reshevsky with first-rate financial support for both the Interzonal Playoff and the Candidates’ match. This was quite impressive at a time the USCF membership rolls had only around 10,000 names.

The support including the following:
Four months of living expenses for Reshevsky and his family prior to the Interzonal Playoff = $4,000
Reshevsky-Benko warm-up match (Benko’s fee) = $400
Second’s fee for Benko for the Kortchnoi match = $600
Reshevsky honorarium for the Kortchnoi match = $5,000

The Piatigorsky Foundation, U.S. Chess Federation and American Chess Foundation also arranged for Reshevsky, Mrs. Reshevsky and Benko come to Amsterdam several weeks early for the match with Kortchnoi.

All told the three groups spent over $14,000 supporting Reshevsky and arranging the three-way-playoff match. Multiply this figure by 6.5 for 2013 dollars.

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