Chess Room Newsletter #651 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #651

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #651
December 12, 2013

Are there qualities besides talent and hard work that, in your view, are essential for chess players?

Yes. In particular there’s one very important quality which isn’t always mentioned, but which lies on the surface: intelligence, in the broadest meaning of the word.

People in chess are educated but, nevertheless, I think even among elite chess players there are few true intellectuals. That’s because they devote a great deal of time to chess and favor chess ahead of other forms of activity.

—David Navara

The United States finished fourth in the recently concluded World Team Championship in Antalya, Turkey. Team captain John Donaldson will have a full report next week.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Expert Oleg Shaknazarov leads the 84-player Fall Tuesday Night Marathon going into the last round with a score of 7 from 8. NM Natalya Tsodikova is second with 6½, followed by Alexander Ivanov, Ashik Uzzaman and Brendan LaCounte on 6. IM Elliott Winslow heads up a large group on 5½ points.

From round 8 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Wong–Uzzaman after 18...Qxc2)White to move (Wong–Uzzaman after 24...Nd4)
Black to move (Chernobilskiy–Winslow after 19 b3)Black to move (Askin–Bekhtur after 10 Bg5)
Black to move, draw (Flores–Royzen after 42 Kxf6)White to move (Casares–Chalissery after 10...Nfd7)
Black to move (Cowgill–Simpkins after 10 d3)For the solutions, see the game scores (when available) for round 8.

Jerome Sun won the Guthrie McClain Memorial held on December 7 with a score of 4½ from 5. The tournament attendance of only 21 players was the lowest in over 14 years of monthly G/45 events. This state of affairs was partly attributable to the 300-player (!) California Class Warfare Warfare Open held in Santa Clara the previous weekend (won by IM Ricardo DeGuzman with an excellent 5½ from 6, a point ahead of WGM Lufei Ruan), but a more direct cause was the 2nd East Bay Open held December 7 and 8. Normally the USCF Clearing House for Northern California only allows one tournament a weekend in close proximity, but this double-booking somehow crept in and didn’t help either event (the East Bay Open was down 33 players from last year).

Wednesday Night Blitz
by Jules Jelinek, weekly Wednesday Night Blitz coordinator

In 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. If there are more than 11½ 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.

Winners the past few weeks:

November 6
1st - Jules Jelinek
2nd/3rd - Arthur Ismakov, Hans Niemann

November 13
1st/2nd tie- Arthur Ismakov & IM Ray Kaufman
3rd -Jules Jelinek

November 20
1st - Jules Jelinek
2nd - Arthur Ismakov
3rd - Arnold Hua and IM Elliott Winslow

No event November 27

December 4
1st - NM Gadi Costeff
2nd - Jules Jelinek
3rd - Arthur Ismakov

2) SM Yian Liou wins the 2014 Neil Falconer Award

Yian Liou, a high school junior from Alamo is the 2014 Falconer Award winner.

His rating on the December 2013 USCF rating list is 2478. An award ceremony honoring Yian will be held on Tuesday, January 21st, at 5:15 pm.

Previous winners:

2000 SM Vinay Bhat
2001 SM Vinay Bhat
2002 SM Vinay Bhat
2003 NM Michael Pearson
2004 NM Nicholas Yap
2005 NM Matthew Ho
2006 NM Matthew Ho
2007 NM Nicholas Yap
2008 NM Sam Shankland
2009 SM Sam Shankland
2010 SM Steven Zierk
2011 SM Daniel Naroditsky
2012 IM Daniel Naroditsky
2013 IM Daniel Naroditsky

NM = National Master (+2200 USCF) , SM = Senior Master (+2400 USCF) , IM = International Master

The record for the highest-rated Falconer Award winner is Daniel Naroditsky (December 2012 = 2553).

3) Three Mechanics’ make 2013 US Chess League All-Star team

Three members of the Mechanics’ US Chess League team, which finishing tied for third in the 16-team league after losing to the eventual league champion, the Miami Sharks, made the 2013 All-Star team. The following report comes from the USCL website at

1 - 2nd Team: Siddharth Banik (SF)

This was another tough choice. As is often the case, arguments could have been made to have him take the top spot (based on the low rating he counted for, his win %, and his performance rating) while others might have said that, not having been as active as his two main rivals, that he perhaps should have been placed third. As usual, this was not an easy overall decision, but we eventually decided on the second spot for him.

As always, whatever his proper spot might have been, there can be no doubt how huge he was for the Mechanics, his performance likely being the most key thing to the Mechanics’ capturing the division title.

Like a few of his predecessors on board four for the Mechanics’, now-GM Shankland and FM Liou, it should be interesting to see what the future, particularly what 2014, has in store for him. His predecessors have moved on to great heights, definitely giving him high expectations to live up to, but if he can do so, with him and his All-Star teammates, GMs Bhat and Naroditsky, the future looks very bright for San Francisco.

Record: 5½ / 6 (92%)
Performance Rating: 2530

2 - 3rd Team:GM Daniel Naroditsky (SF)

This was also a very difficult choice, as an argument could have been made to put him second rather than third, while others might have argued that one of the other candidates deserved third over him—once again, each candidate having various things in their favor. But in the end, we elected to give the nod to him, mostly because he played more games than the other competitors, and we generally feel that when several players perform excellently that the player who manages to do it over a larger sample of games (which is obviously much more difficult) deserves a good deal more credit.

Having completed the requirements for his GM title shortly before the beginning of the season, he certainly showed that his improvement was not just limited to his OTB games, really having a break-out season this year.

While like the top All Star, FM Xiong, his season ended in a tough loss to the second All Star, GM Gonzalez, there is no doubt that he was a big contributor to the Mechanics’ easily taking the Pacific Division, after they had a poor showing in 2012. With he and fellow star GM Bhat likely to return in 2014, and this pair of stars leading the San Francisco team, they should be a force for years to come.

Record: 6.0 / 8 (75%)
Performance Rating: 2660

3 - 3rd Team:GM Vinay Bhat (SF)

Another very easy decision as he scored an impressive undefeated plus-three score, also playing against a very tough set of opponents. While his strong season might not have had quite the wow factor of either of the top two stars, there can be no question that his performance was a big reason for the Mechanics’ return to prominence as they convincingly captured the Pacific Division.

As someone who was one of the most dominant players in League history in his early years, one might have thought his general retirement from active play would put an end to his All-Star years in the USCL, but he showed quite the opposite this year, in fact moving up from twice being a board-two star to now being a board-one star.

The Mechanics’ never seem to have a shortage of young up-and-coming talents to man their lower boards, and with he and GM Naroditsky holding down the top two boards so admirably, it seems certain that San Francisco will be a force for many years to come.

Record: 5½ / 8 (69%)
Performance Rating: 2720

4) Walter Browne vs. Ricardo De Guzman, Reno 2013
Annotated by six-time US Champion Walter Browne

Ruy Lopez C84
Walter Browne (2526)–Ricardo De Guzman (2481)
Western States Open 2013

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.a4 b4 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.a5 Rb8 11.c3 Be6 12.Nc4 Nd7

12...bxc3 13.bxc3 Qd7 14.Ba4 Rfc8 15.Qe2 is slightly better for White.

13.Ba4 Na7 14.Be3 c5 15.Bxd7 Bxd7 16.Nb6= bxc3 17.bxc3 Bc6

17...Nb5!? 18.Qc2 Bc6 19.Rfb1 f5 20.h3 Qe8 21.Nd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 Bf6 is slightly better for Black.

18.Nd2 f5 19.exf5 Rxf5 20.d4 cxd4 21.cxd4 Bb5 22.Re1 exd4 23.Bxd4 Nc6 24.Bc3 d5 25.Qg4 g6 26.Rad1

White had two important alternatives:

A 26.Re6! d4

(26...Rg5 27.Qh3 Rh5 28.Rxg6+ hxg6 29.Qe6+ Kf8 30.Nd7+ wins.)


(27.Rxg6+ hxg6 28.Qxg6+ Kh8=)


(27...Kf7 28.Qe4 Nxa5 29.g4 Bc6 30.Rxe7+ Qxe7 31.Qxe7+ Kxe7 32.gxf5 Rxb6=)

28.Ne4 Nxa5

(28...Ne5 29.Qd1±)

29.h4 Rxb6 30.Rxb6 Qxb6 31.hxg5 Nb3 32.Re1 with a dangerous attack.

B 26.Nb3!? Qd6! 27.Rad1 (27.Nd4 Nxd4 (27...Rf4? 28.Nxb5 Rxg4 29.Nxd6 Bxd6 30.Nxd5±) 28.Rxe7! Rf4 29.Qg5 Rbf8 30.Bxd4 Rxd4 31.Rc1=) 27...Rbf8 28.Nd4 Nxd4 29.Bxd4 Bg5 30.h4 Bd8 31.g3 Bf6! with a slight advantage.

26...Bc5 27.Nf3

27.Ne4? dxe4 28.Rxd8+ Rxd8 29.Kh1 Bxf2 is clearly in Black’s favor.

27...Qd6! 28.Qh4

28.Qxf5!? gxf5 29.Rxd5 Bxf2+! (29...Qf8 30.Nd7 Ne7 31.Nxf8 Nxd5 32.Ne6 Bxf2+ 33.Kxf2 Nxc3=) 30.Kxf2 Qa3 31.Re3 Nb4 32.Be5

(32.Rxb5 axb5 33.Nd7 Qa2+ 34.Nd2 Nd5 35.Rg3+ Kf7 36.Nxb8 Nxc3 winning) 32...Qa2+ 33.Rd2 Qxa5 34.Nd7 Rd8 35.Nf6+ Kf7 36.Rxd8 Qxd8 37.Nxh7 Nd3+ winning.

28...Rbf8 29.Qh6 d4 30.Ng5 Qc7! 31.Ne6

31.g4 Rxg5 32.Qxg5 Qf7 33.Qxc5 Qxf2+ 34.Kh1 Qf3+ 35.Kg1 Qxg4+ 36.Kh1 Ne7! wins for Black.

31...Qf7 32.f3?

32.Bd2 d3 33.Nxc5 Rxc5 34.f3 Nd4 35.Qh4 Ne2+ 36.Kh1 Bc6 wins for Black.

32...dxc3+ 33.Nxc5 Rxc5 34.Rd7 Rh5 35.Qe3 Qf4 36.Qxc3 Qxh2+ 37.Kf2 Ne5 0-1

5) Here and There

GM Jesse Kraai has a book trailer for his novel Lisa, which can be viewed at

Anyone interested in the Soviet Union should see reviews of IM Anthony Saidy’s novel at

Those interested in the history of the royal game will find the website invaluable.

Current FIDE Top Ten

1. Carlsen 2872 - Norway
2. Aronian 2812.5 - Armenia
3. Nakamura 2789.1 - USA
4. Kramnik 2786.7 - Russia
5. Topalov 2785 - Bulgaria
6. Caruana 2782 - Italy
7. Grischuk 2777.2 -Russia
8. Gelfand 2777 -Israel
9. Anand 2773 -India
10. Karjakin 2759.3 - Russia

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