Chess Room Newsletter #654 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #654

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #654
January 15, 2014

What are the different properties of Komodo, Stockfish, Houdini, Rybka and Fritz and how would the person who wants to improve their chess use these differences to his advantage?

Komodo is best at evaluating middlegame positions accurately once the tactics are resolved. Stockfish seems to be best in the endgame and in seeing very deep tactics. Houdini is the best at blitz and at seeing tactics quickly. Rybka is just obsolete; I like to think of Komodo as its spiritual descendant, since I worked on the evaluation for both, although the rest of the engines are not similar. Fritz is just too far below these top engines to be useful.

—GM Larry Kaufman, interviewed at

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

There were upsets galore in round two of the 86-player Winter Tuesday Night Marathon and only 11 perfect scores are left. National Master Michael Lin heads the group. It’s still possible to enter the TNM with half-point byes for the first two rounds.

From round 2 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Uzzaman–Winslow after 10...Ng4)White to move (Uzzaman–Winslow after 11...Kxf7)
Black to move (Whitehead–Odondo after 27 Rf1)For the solutions, see the game scores (when available) for round 2.

Congratulations to Robert Reyes and Callaghan McCarty-Snead, who tied for first in the Grade 3 section of the Cal Chess Grade School Championships, held last weekend in Burlingame. The Tuesday Night Marathon regulars scored 5-0.

Congratulations also go to Daniel Naroditsky, who recently turned 18. The high school senior tied for first in the 2014 Bay Area International with fellow GMs Anton Kovalyov, Wei Yi, Sam Shankland, Bartomiej Macieja and IM Darwin Yang at 6½-2½. The well-run 74-player swiss was organized by Arun Sharma and Salman Azhar.

Daniel, who gave an excellent lecture to the Tuesday Night Marathon crowd last evening, has been on a roll since last summer, picking up rating points in every event he played. He is currently 2632 U.S.C.F., which puts him second in the country under 21, behind only Ray Robson; he is ranked number 17 overall. His FIDE rating has risen from 2487 to about 2540 in the last six months.

Sam Shankland, in the middle of his last year of school at Brandeis, bounced back from an early loss to tie for first in the 2014 Bay Area International, and in the process raise his USCF rating to an all time peak of 2698.

The Mechanics’ Institute would like to thank Claudia, David and Duncan Baruch for the donation of their father Hans’ beautiful chess table, which now resides in the chess club.

IM Ricardo De Guzman and Dmitry Vayntraub tied for first in the 57-player Bob Burger Open held January 11 at the M.I. The two winners, who drew a hard-fought game in round four, scored 4½ from 5. This is an event Vayntraub will long remember, as his performance raised his rating from 2186 to 2216, earning him the National Master title. The next one-day G/45 event, the 14th Henry Gross Memorial, will be held February 1.

Senior Master Yian Liou will receive the 2014 Neil Falconer Award next Tuesday evening at 5:15 pm in the M.I. Chess Room. This award is given annually to the top-rated junior player in Northern California,according to the December USCF rating list. The winner receives a cash prize equal to their USCF rating—in Yian’s case the amount is $2478.

2) John Grefe (1946-2014) Part 2

The following notes by John Grefe first appeared in Richard Shorman’s chess column in the Hayward Daily Review, February 27, 1972.

Sicilian B57
John Grefe–Han Ree
New York (Empire City Open) 1971

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 Qb6 7.Nb3 e6 8.Be3 Qc7 9.Bd3 a6 10.f4 Be7

The immediate 10...b5 was to be considered.

11.g4!? b5 12.g5 Nd7 13.a3

Better was 13.Qh5 or 13.Qf3. The weakening of the queenside and loss of time involved in 13.a3 make the move seem dubious, especially in view of the fact that if the black queenside pawns are allowed to advance, then Black may even be able to open lines there to his own advantage.

13...b4 14.axb4 Nxb4 15.0–0 0–0 16.f5

White continues on his committal course and the game quickly assumes a very sharp character. During the game I felt that White must undertake something definite before Black completes his development and seizes the initiative. Such play is typical of the Sicilian Defense.


While not the decisive error, this move deserves a question mark, because it allows White to embark upon a dangerous sacrificial attack based on the unprotected rook on Black’s e8. Much better was 16...Rd8! , as then Black would be set to parry all immediate attempts to storm his position.

17.f6! Bf8

The game has reached its critical point and Black has a difficult choice. I believe that Ree overlooked the rook sacrifice on move 19 (which does not win by force). He was then so upset psychologically that he failed to find the best defense and paid the penalty. If 17...gxf6 18.gxf6 Bxf6 then 19.Qh5 but 18...Nxf6 complicates matters. White would obtain considerable compensation for the pawn, but analysis has not yet revealed a forced win, and even now it is hard to say what Black’s objectively strongest 17th move would be.

18.fxg7 Bxg7 19.Rxf7!! Kxf7?

White answers 19...Bxc3 with 20.Qh5

20.Qh5+ Ke7?

Hopeless for Black is 20...Kf8 21.Rf1+

21.Qxh7 Ne5?

Or 21...Rf8 22.g6! and the rook is on a bad square. Best was 21...Bb7! 22.Na5! Rab8 , and although all the winning chances lie with White, Black’s defensive resources should not be underestimated. After the move played the Black king quickly succumbs to the concerted action of White’s pieces. Note the number of pinning motiifs in the final attack.

22.Qxg7+ Kd8 23.Qf6+ Qe7 24.Bb6+ Kd7 25.Bb5+ Nbc6

On 25...axb5 White keeps up the pressure and gains material as well.

26.Nc5+ dxc5 27.Rd1+ 1–0

After 27...Qd6 27.Qxe5 crushes further resistance.

3) Saint Louis to host 2014 U.S. Championships by Mike Wilmering

SAINT LOUIS (January 15, 2014) -- The best chess players in the U.S. will gather in Saint Louis once again to fight for the title of U.S. Champion and U.S. Women’s Champion.

For the sixth consecutive year Saint Louis will host the top chess tournaments in the nation.

GM Gata Kamsky will defend his title at the 2014 U.S. Championship while recently anointed Grandmaster Irina Krush will look for her sixth title at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Championship. The events will be held simultaneously May 7 through May 21 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL).

The U.S. Junior Closed Championship also will be held in Saint Louis once again from June 20 through July 3. This marks the fifth consecutive year the CCSCSL has hosted the top event in the nation for players under the age of 20.

Tony Rich, executive director of the CCSCSL, said he is excited to continue the long-standing and growing tradition of U.S. Championship chess in Saint Louis.

Since 2009, we’ve worked to raise the prominence and profile of the U.S. Championships, Rich said. We’re honored the U.S. Chess Federation once again awarded these prestigious events to Saint Louis, and we hope our U.S. Champions will continue to serve as role models for young chess players across the country.

These three events are the most prominent invitational tournaments in the nation, and the players will be competing for more than a quarter of a million dollars in prize money.

2014 U.S. Championship

Dates: May 7-21, 2014
Format: 12-player round robin
Prize Fund: $171,000 plus $64K Fischer bonus (breakdown to be published soon)


o2013 U.S. Champion: Gata Kamsky
2013 U.S. Junior Closed Champion: Daniel Naroditsky
2013 U.S. Open Champion: Josh Friedel
(1) - Wildcard (TBD)
(8) - Rating (TBD - March supplement)

2014 U.S. Women’s Championship

Dates: May 7-21, 2014
Format: 10-player round robin
Prize Fund: $65,000 (breakdown to be published soon)

o2013 U.S. Women’s Champion: Irina Krush
(2) - Wildcard (TBD)
(7) - Rating (TBD - March supplement)

2014 U.S. Junior Closed Championship

Dates: June 20 - July 1, 2014
Format: 10-player round robin
Prize Fund: $10,000 (breakdown to be announced soon)

o(1) - 2013 U.S. Junior Closed Champion (Daniel Naroditsky)
(1) - 2013 U.S. Junior Open Champion (Justus Williams)
(2) - Wildcard (TBD)
(6) - Rating (TBD - April rating supplement)

For the U.S. Championship, the CCSCSL once again will sponsor the $64K Fischer Prize, to be awarded to anyone who scores a perfect 11-0, in honor of Bobby Fischer’s similar accomplishment at the 1963-64 U.S. Championship.

Check for the latest updates, info about past U.S. championships and news about the top players in the U.S.

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