Chess Room Newsletter #650 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #650

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #650
November 6, 2013

Who would ever have imagined that anyone would be interested in watching golf on TV? Most people consider golf more boring than chess and yet golf is very successful on TV. But if you think about it, if you know anything about chess, you know that there’s a rich, thick history, both of players and personalities and madness and theory that you can talk about on and on and on and on. There’s nothing to talk about in golf.

—Andrew Paulson

Paulson is an American living in London, and for half a million dollars he bought the rights to promote World Chess for the next decade. He was recently interviewed by National Public Radio:

This will be the last Newsletter until December 11, when MI Chess Director John Donaldson returns from Turkey, where he will be captaining the US entry (GMs Nakamura, Kamsky, Onischuk, Robson and Akobian) in the World Team Championship.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

There were upsets galore last night in the Tuesday Night Marathon, starting at the top with Expert Uyanga Byambaa knocking off top-seed IM Elliott Winslow. The two have battled several times in past TNMs, with Uyanga having Elliott on the ropes but never able to convert against the wily veteran. This time the game was balanced before Uyanga decided to go for the throat where the position did not warrant it. Black had two choices how to respond, and unluckily for the veteran IM he opened the wrong door.

You will be able to find this game with annotations and others from the round at in the games archive.

From round 3 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Askin–Hack after 19 Rxf3)White to move (Royzen–Olson after 19...Nf8)
For the solutions, see the game scores (when available) for round 3.

The San Francisco Mechanics’ face off against the Los Angeles Vibe in the first round of the US Chess League Playoffs Wednesday night at 6:15 pm. The Mechanics’, as division champions, have draw odds.

Los Angeles VibeSan Francisco Mechanics
GM Melikset Khachiyan: 2602

GM Vinay Bhat: 2555

IM Luke Harmon-Vellotti: 2491

GM Daniel Naroditsky: 2570

NM Madiyar Amerkeshev: 2328   

FM Yian Liou: 2491

NM Craig Hilby: 2246

Siddharth Banik: 2192

Average Rating: 2417

Average Rating: 2452

IM Ricardo DeGuzman and 14-year-old Expert Gabriel Bick of Davis tied for first in the 41st Carroll Capps Memorial held November 2 and 3. The two winners, who never met, reached their 5-1 scores differently. Top-seed De Guzman won his first four games before being held to draws by Expert Tanuj Vaseudeva and NM Udit Iyengar. Bick lost to Vasudeva in round three, but upset IM Elliott Winslow in a key round five encounter.

Tying for third with 4½ points in the 33-player event were Iyengar, Vasudeva and Siddarth Bannik. Newly-minted NM Alan Beilen was among those with four points.

GM Jesse Kraai will be the guest lecturer for the Tuesday Night Marathon on November 12 and 19. One of the mainstays of the Mechanics’ entry in the US Chess League, Kraai will be commenting on the Anand-Carlsen World Championship match, which begins on November 9. About the match Kraai writes, “My intuition is that this match will be the biggest thing since Fischer–Spassky.”

GM Kraai will have copies of his new chess novel Lisa for sale after both lectures. He will soon be going on a major tour to promote his book. To check it out go to Jesse’s website at

Mechanics’ member Sam Shankland, now is in his senior year at Brandeis University, finished in the middle of a recent GM round-robin in Barcelona.

Wednesday Night Blitz Chess Coordinator Jules Jelinek writes:

Hi everyone,

In November and December, the prize fund guarantee for the Wednesday Night Blitz Tournament has been extended and increased to $80 each and every week. That’s right, a $80 (minimum) prize fund guarantee ($40-$24-$16), no matter how many players show up every week. If there are more than 11-1/2 players, the prize fund will increase based on $7 per player accordingly.

Every Wednesday evening is the time for the weekly round-robin blitz tournament at Mechanics Institute Chess Club. As always, sign-up begins at 6:20 pm; playing starts by 6:40 pm and last entry accepted at 7 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 minutes, increment 2 seconds; otherwise 5 minutes, no increment.

Last we had 9 players. The week’s winners were

1st - Vladimir Mezentsev
2nd - Arthur Ismakov
3rd - Jules Jelinek

Here are the final cumulative standings for the month of October for the special Fisher–Spassky poster reproduction quilt prize:

Arthur Ismakov 36 (won on 2 game tie break 2-0)
Jules Jelinek 36
Hans Niemann 20½
Joe Urquhart 17
Jeff Sinick 15½
Elliott Winslow 11½
Mike Anderson 11½
George C 9
Ray Kaufman 8½
Vaishnov Aradhyila 8
David Flores 8
Vladimir Mezentsev 8
Callaghan Snead 8
CHarles de Villiers 7
Ramin Farzaneh 3
Mateo Hansen 1½
Mihailo Strojoncis 1
Jacob Nathan ½
Siddarth C 0

2) Emanuel Lasker at the Mechanics’ Institute—December 1902

Many Newsletters ago, World Champion Emanuel Lasker’s December 1902 visit to the MI, including his famous loss to Dr. Lovegrove, were written up. The initial impression was that Lasker was just in town for a few days. Later the indefatigable researcher Steve Brandwein unearthed a great deal more about Lasker’s stay, which in fact lasted almost two weeks. This research was published in the Quarterly for Chess History (volume 6, pages 114-122).

Steve went through the San Francisco Chronicle for all of 1902 but it turns out that two later columns were published in early 1903 covering Lasker’s sojourn in San Francisco. We thank Patsy D’Eramo Jr. for making this material available. Mr.D’Eramo is doing excellent work in making chess history of the past easily available to all. Check out his website at

The pages of the San Francisco Chronicle report that during Lasker’s stay he was a regular at the MI (then at the same location, but at 31 Post, and only a three-story building), but also gave simuls at the Western Addition Chess, Checker and Whist Club and the San Francisco Whist and Chess Club. These clubs no longer exist and San Francisco changed many street addresses after the disaster in 1906, but the locations are still there. For the Western Addition Chess, Checker and Whist Club (2206 Fillmore) go to the corner of Fillmore and Sacramento near Alta Vista park. The San Francisco Whist and Chess Club (8 Mason) is a short walk from the Mechanics’ at the corner of Mason and Turk not far from the Powell BART station. Even closer is where Lasker stayed during his visit. The Occidental hotel on the east side of Montgomery occupied the entire east side of Montgomery Street, from Sutter to Bush, was one of the grand hotels of San Francisco when the World Champion visited but was so badly destroyed in 1906 it had to be dynamited.

Part One—Lasker in San Francisco

Dr. Emanuel Lasker left yesterday (January 3—editor) for the south. After making a short stay in Los Angeles he goes to New Orleans and to some of the Eastern cities where he has engagements. His presence here has given a great impetus to the game in local chess circles and his visit has been a most satisfactory one. He demonstrated that he is a wonderful player and he made himself very popular here.

At a special meeting of the Mechanics’ Institute Chess and Checker Club Dr. Lasker was unanimously elected an honorary member. Asked to address the club, Dr. Lasker briefly thanked it for the honor conferred and hoped his visit would be productive of much good to the club.

At the San Francisco Whist and Chess Club Tuesday evening (December 30—editor) Dr. Lasker played simultaneously against twenty-three players. The champion was in fine fettle, and vanquished all of his opponents, with the exception of E.V. Gage, who drew against him.

The score of the Lasker-Gage game is as follows.

Vienna C27
Emanuel Lasker–E.V. Gage
San Francisco (simul), 30.12.1902

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 d6 5.Na4 Bb6 6.Nxb6 axb6 7.f4 exf4 8.Bxf4 h6 9.Ne2 d5?

9...Nc6 was better.

10.exd5 Nxd5 11.0-0 Be6 12.Nd4! Nxf4 13.Rxf4 Bxc4 14.Re4+?

14.Qe2+!+- was even stronger.

14...Be6 15.Nxe6 fxe6 16.Qh5+ Kf8 17.Rf1+ Kg8 18.Rxe6?

18.Qf7+ Kh7 19.Rxe6 Nc6 20.Rff6+- won on the spot.

18...Nc6 19.Rf5??

19.Qf7+ Kh7 20.Rff6 was again winning but after this blunder Black takes charge.


19...Qd4+ 20.Kh1 Qd7

20.Re4 Rf8 21.Rxf8+ Kxf8 22.Qg6 Qf7 23.Qg4 g5 24.Re2 Kg7 25.h4 Rf8 26.hxg5 Qf1+ 27.Kh2 Qf4+ 28.Qxf4 Rxf4 29.gxh6+ Kxh6 30.Kg3 Kg5 31.Re8 Rf7 32.c3 Re7 33.Rg8+ Kf6 34.d4 Re2 35.Rc8 ½–½

35.Rc8 Rxb2 36.Rxc7 Na5 and Black should win without too much trouble.

San Francisco Chronicle January 4, 1903

Part Two—Lasker in San Francisco

The final courtesy offered to Dr. Lasker during his sojourn in the city was a banquet given him by ex-senator Jeremiah Lynch in the Owl room of the Bohemian Club. Afterward Dr. Lasker delivered a short lecture to the assembled guests and then played five games simultaneously, sans voir. His opponents were Dr. Chantreau, Dr. Marshall, Dr. Arnold, Mr. Payne and Mr. Lynch. He won every game with consummate ease at the end of three hours.

The Doctor’s position in playing these blindfold games was rather peculiar. He has a slight, short figure, not more than 5 feet 6 inches, nor exceeding 140 pounds. His head is round and firm. His forehead is square and white, crowned with masses of the heaviest black hair. His face is pallid, like one who has no blood, nor exercise. This slight, frail figure, clothed in conventional evening dress, curled himself up like a snake in a large armchair, and with his head in his hand and his eyes closed like one in abstraction or sleep, listened to the moves of the contestants announced by Frank Grace and returned his replies almost instantly. If his opponents had moved as quickly as he did the games would not have taken more than an hour. His marvelous accuracy and memory were shown when Mr. Grace through inexperience occasionally announced the wrong move. The Doctor immediately corrected him and said, “No, the move my opponent has made must be so and so,” and invariably he was right. Constantly he smoked immense black strong cigars, consuming no less than three or four during the game.

He speaks English with but a very slight accent, and of course, fluently. As a matter of fact, he is a naturalized British subject, his residence having been in Manchester the last dozen years, where he has been a Doctor of Mathematics at Owens College.

It is to be regretted that the chess players of Los Angeles, or southern metropolis, had no sufficient enterprise and love for the most noble and royal game to have made arrangements for receiving and witnessing the great master play in their sunny town. Correspondence was opened by the chess players of San Francisco with Los Angeles chess players for the purpose of arranging that Dr. Lasker should give an exhibition there, but the effort proved abortive.

From here Dr. Lasker went to New Orleans. He expressed himself as intending to visit the continent during the summer, but added he would probably return to New York again next winter, and indeed seemed desirous of remaining permanently in the United States.

The visit of the great master of chess has shaken up all the old fogies and wakened in all those who have witnessed his marvelous manifestations new lines of thought and play. He will be welcomed here again.

During his visit to San Francisco Dr. Lasker played in all 114 simultaneous games at the different clubs.

December 1902

20th - Mechanics’ Institute 11 (+8, -2, =1)
22nd – Mechanics’ Institute 17 (+13, -0, =4)
23rd – San Francisco Whist and Chess Club 18 ( +14, -1, =3)
26th – Western Addition Chess Club 22 (+15, -2, =5)
27th - Mechanics’ Institute (blindfold) 5 (+4, -1, =0)
30th - San Francisco Whist and Chess Club 23 (+22, =0, -1)
31st - Mechanics’ Institute 13 (+10, -3, =0)
31st – Bohemian Club (blindfold) 5 (+5, -0, =0)

114 (+91, -9, =14)

This second column also included the games:

Lasker–A.J. Kuh, San Francisco 1902 - 1-0 in 50 moves (Giuoco Piano)
Lasker–G.P. Woodward, San Francisco 1902, 1-0 in 37 moves (King’s Gambit Declined)

which will be given in a future Newsletter.

San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 1903

3) Here and There

The World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis has a major exhibition, going on until April 18, 2014, on Jacqueline Piatigorsky, with many unique items on display, including rare photos of Bobby Fischer from his match with Sammy Reshevsky and the 1966 Piatigorsky Cup. Check it out at

The Auburn Power Open may have been cancelled, but the city in the Sierra foothills will still have a high-quality chess event this month. Six-time US Champion Walter Browne will be giving a 20-30 board simul and lecture starting at 6pm Sat. on November 9th. The cost for the lecture and simul is $25. Go to for more information.

German GM George Meier, currently studying at Webster University just outside St. Louis, took home two national titles in Santa Clara in late October.

The first, the U.S. Game/30, he won alone, scoring 5-0, defeating GM Enrico Sevillano and IMs John Bryant and Ricardo De Guzman, who shared second at 4-1 in the 117-player field.

Meier had company at the top in the better-attended (182 players) U.S. G/60 the following day. Nicked for a draw by IM De Guzman in round three he defeated the only perfect score after three rounds, NM Michael Wang, to finish with 3½ points. He was joined at the top by fellow German FM Henning Silber who upset GM Enrico Sevillano in the final round after dropping a half point early on to Siddarth Banik.

Salman Azhar organized the events for Bay Area Chess, with Tom Langland serving as chief tournament director.

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