Chess Room Newsletter #640 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #640

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #640
August 21, 2013

A lot of people have said that if Tal had looked after his health, if he hadn’t led such a dissolute life... and so forth. But with people like Tal, the idea of “if only” is just absurd. He wouldn’t have been Tal then. I can’t imagine him without a cigarette in his mouth—he’d smoke five packs a game! He never needed a lighter—he’d finish one, and light the next one from it. Most of his illnesses were inherited. When it came time for us to marry, a doctor from the Riga Special Clinic, where Dr. Nehemiah Tal once worked, told me that I shouldn’t marry a man with that kind of health. He was always ill. And in the last years of his life, all his illnesses got worse. There were three whole years in which his temperature simply never went down. I have no idea how a man playing with a constant temperature of 38-39 degrees could become World Blitz Champion in 1988! And on May 28, 1992, at the Moscow blitz tournament, he became the only player to defeat Kasparov. I’m told he even left the hospital to play. The strongest chess-player in the world still lost to a dying Tal.

—Sally Tal, interviewed at

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Defending champion NM Hayk Manvelyan, IM Elliott Winslow, FM Andy Lee, Expert Igor Trub and Class A player Hovik Manvelyan are the remaining perfect scores three rounds into the 80-player Neil Falconer Tuesday Night Marathon. The last-named leader, Hayk’s dad, upset Expert Uyanga Byambaa to join the leading group. It’s still possible to enter the nine-round event with half-point byes for the first three games.

International Master John Grefe will give a special lecture on the 1973 US Championship on Tuesday, September 10, at 5:15 pm to commemorate his tying for first with Grandmaster Lubos Kavalek 40 years ago.

Viswanathan Arul and Stephen Ho shared top honors in the 33-player Bernardo Smith Amateur held last weekend. The two youngsters drew with each other in round five and won the rest of their games to finish with 5½ from 6 to win the event open to players rated below 1800.

Hi everyone,

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 minutes, increment 2 seconds; otherwise 5 minutes, no increment.

Results for August 15th

1st - Elliott Winslow
2nd - Jules Jelinek

See you tonight!

Jules Jelinek
Weekly Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator

2) The Fischer Center Selfoss Foundation

Press release

The 11th of July 2013 at 5 pm local time, 41 year have passed since Spassky played 1.d4 in his famous match in Reykjavik. In Selfoss, the minister of culture and education, Illugi Gunnarsson, opened the Fischer Center—Fischersetur, in Icelandic. The minister of agriculture and fishery Sigurdur Ingi Jóhannsson, who hails from the Selfoss area, gave an inspired speech.

The living legend GM Friðrik Ólafsson told the guests about his friendship with Fischer. He also handed over three scoresheets from his games against Fischer in the Candidate Tournament in 1959 (one win, loss and a draw).

GM Helgi Ólafsson proved by statistics what we already knew; Fischer was the strongest chess world champion during his active years.

The Fischer Center is a combined museum and a club house for the local chess club Skákfélag Selfoss. Magnús Matthíasson was one of the key persons during the building of the center. (The Swedish grandmaster Tiger Hillarp Persson is playing for Selfoss in the Icelandic league.) The Fischer Center is the first chess museum in the Nordic countries!

The Swedish contribution came from Lund, from Calle Erlandsson and Gunnar Finnlaugsson.

The nice old house of 140 square meters is owned by the local building contractor Sigfús Kristinsson. His daughter Aldís Sigfúsdóttirhas has been the project manager.

The Fischer Center is only a few hundred meters from Bobby Fischer’s grave in Laugardælir.

The following unique details are already in the center;

• A replica of the chess table from 1972
• Fischer’s chair from the antiquarian bookshop Bókin in Reykjavik
• A huge painting showing Spassky and Fischer. The position is from the spectacular 13th game.
• Scoresheets from the Match of the Century in 1972
• A printout from the radiation measurements demanded by Spassky after the eighth game.
• A library with books in different languages abour Fischer and the match 1972.

The so called Riddaralið (from the Icelandic word “riddare”—knight) of local pensioners keeps the Center open three hours a day. Heading the team is Óli Þ Guðbjartsson, a former minister of justice.

3) National Chess Day Event in Richmond

Hilltop Mall
National Chess Day
Speed Chess Tournament
Saturday, October 12, 2013

Prize Fund $400 (Guaranteed):
1st - $200 / 2nd - $120 / 3rd - $80

Location: Hilltop Mall Center Court
2200 Hilltop Mall Road
Richmond, CA

Entry Fee: $10.00

Registration: 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

5-round tournament, 1st round: 1:00 PM
2 games per opponent (1 White / 1 Black) each round
Time Control: G/5 (Game in 5 minutes, no delay)
Tournament Director: Scott Mason

Tournament limited to first 40 registered players
Non-rated tournament, USCF Rules
Chess sets provided
Chess clocks not provided

Pre-registration encouraged. For more information and registration contact:

TC Ball at (510) 439-6311 or [email protected].

Make checks payable to: Trendell Ball Consultants

Mail to: West Coast Chess Alliance P.O. Box 20111, El Sobrante, CA 94820

Everyone is welcome at Hilltop Mall!
All proceeds will go to “Chess in Richmond’s Schools” Program

4) Here and There

Here is a miniature from the Cardinal Open held earlier this year, by the former Mechanics’ Grandmaster-in-Residence.

Slav D 10
Alex Yermolinsky–John Stopa
Columbus (2) 2013

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.f3 Bd7 6.Bd3 e6 7.Nge2 dxc4 8.Bxc4 c5 9.d5 exd5 10.Nxd5 Nc6 11.Nec3 Nxd5 12.Nxd5 Qh4+ 13.g3 Qxc4? 14.b3 1–0

Source: Ohio Chess Bulletin, May 2013, page 8.

Kingpin, the British satirical chess magazine, is back up and running. Check it out at

International Master Anthony Saidy passes along the following information from Giants of Power Play, one of English GM Neil McDonald “Chess Secrets” series. Efim Geller’s career record against world champions is most impressive.

Here it is, omitting draws:

Geller 11     Smyslov 9
  5 Fischer 3
  5 Petrosian 3
  4 Botvinnik 1
  6 Tal 6

Boris Spassky, who beat Geller in the both the 1965 and 1968 Candidates Match cycle, was the one world champion who had a healthy plus score against the Grandmaster from Odessa.

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