Chess Room Newsletter #665 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #665

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #665
April 18, 2014

I do get nervous sometimes, especially if I feel that I’m not so well prepared, like not being—it’s sort of the same feeling like not being prepared for an exam. But otherwise, during games, I don’t really get that nervous. Because—I don’t know—I have great confidence in what I do, basically, most of the time … and thus I don’t get too nervous. And often when I do get nervous, I try to put on a brave face and not to show it so much.

—Magnus Carlsen, Jan. 16, 2014, during a Churchill Club
talk with Peter Thiel at the Computer History Museum
in Mountain View, California

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

IM Elliot Winslow beat top seed NM Hayk Manvelyan in round five, and leads the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon with a perfect score. Right behind him at 4½ are FM Andy Lee and Steve Gaffagan.

From round 5 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Lee–Tsodikova after 15...Qxe7)White to move (Lee–Tsodikova after 17...Bd7)
White to move (Byambaa–Ochoa after 29...Kh7)White to move (Doyle–Abraham after 23 ...Re4)
Black to move (Ostrovsky–Potharum after 17 Qc2)White to move (Bayaraa–Fuentes after 25...d5)
White to move (Chandrasekaran–Askin after 9...a6)White to move (Chandrasekaran–Askin after 11...c5)
Black to move (Casares–Lkhagvasuren after 18 Bc3)White to move (Reyes–MacIntyre after 17...Nf6)
White to move (Newey–McKellar after 14...Nc6)White to move (Bertot–Hilliard after 18...Bxf6)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 5.

The following game gave IM Elliott Winslow the lead at the midway point of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon.

Elliott Winslow (2250)–Uyanga Byambaa (2136)
Mechanics’ Spring TNM (4) San Francisco (4) 2014

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 Ng4 8.Bg5 f6 9.Bh4 Nc6 10.d5 Ne7 11.Nd2 Nh6 12.f3 c5 13.dxc6 bxc6 14.b4

So far this is all theory. Black has favored 14...Be6, 14...Kh8 and 14...Nf7 but Byambaa, true to her aggressive nature, opts for the sharpest approach. It’s not clear that Black’s position is strong enough to support this advance.

14...d5 15.cxd5 cxd5 16.exd5

16.Nxd5 was played in Magnus Carlsson (not that Carlsen!)–Howell, London 1993.

16...Nhf5 17.Bf2 Bh6 18.Nde4 Kh8 19.Qd3

19.0–0 Ne3 20.Qd3 Nxf1 21.Rxf1 was a very interesting exchange sacrifice that looks quite promising. White has c5 for his knight and a strong passed d-pawn.

19...Nd4! 20.Bxd4 exd4 21.Qxd4 Nf5

Black has excellent compensation for the sacrificed pawns.

22.Qd3 Ne3 23.g3 Ng2+

Here 23...Qb6 looks more natural.

24.Kf2 Bh3 25.f4 Qb6+ 26.Kf3?

This looks to be where White goes wrong. Correct was 26.Nc5 Qxb4 27.Ne6.


26...Rae8 with ...f5 to follow was a strong alternative.

27.Nf2 Rae8

27...g4+ was also interesting. One pretty point is 28.Nxg4 Rg8 29.Ne3 Rae8 30.Nxg2 Bg4 mate!

28.Ncd1 g4+! 29.Nxg4 Rg8! 30.Nge3

Black to play and win.


Not bad, but 30...Bxf4!! 31.gxf4 Nh4+ 32.Kf2 Rg2+! 33.Ke1 Qxb4+ 34.Nc3 Rxe2+! 35.Kxe2 Ng2 with unanswerable threats of ...Nxf4+ and capturing on e3—so says Stockfish.

31.gxf4 Qxb4 32.Qc4 Qe7?

32...Qd2 33.Qd3 Qb4 34.Qc4= (Stockfish). Now, IM Winslow takes control.

33.Bf1 Qd7 34.Nf2 Bf5 35.Bd3 Bxd3 36.Qxd3 Qf7 37.Qf5 Rxe3+ 38.Kxe3 Qe7+ 39.Kf3 Qa3+ 40.Qd3 Qd6 41.Qd4 Qa3+ 42.Qe3 Qa4 43.Rhd1 Re8 44.Qd4 Qa6 45.Re1 Rg8 46.Re6 Qa3+ 47.Re3 Qd6 48.Rae1 Bxf4 49.Re6 Qa3+ 50.R1e3 Bxe3 51.Qxf6+ Rg7 52.Re8+ 1–0

Hans Niemann became the youngest winner of a Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club tournament when he won the 14th Annual Imre Konig Memorial, held April 12. The 10-year-old from Orinda defeated IM Elliott Winslow in the last round to top the 25-player event with a 5–0 score. Second place was taken by 12-year-old Tanuj Vasudeva, who raised his rating over 2200 for the first time with his 4–1 score. Congratulations, Tanuj!

This event was truly dominated by youth, as two of the three players who tied for third at 3½, Callaghan McCarty-Snead and Chinguun Bayaraa, are only eight years old. The third player in the tie, veteran Arthur Dembling, is almost twice the combined age of the four youngsters, which might just be a record.

MI Wednesday Night Blitz director Jules Jelinek reports:

Results for April 2:

1st – IM Ray Kaufman 11/14 pts
2nd/3rd – Hans Niemann and Oleg Shaknazarov 7½ pts

Results for April 9 (9 players):

1st – IM Ray Kaufman 11 pts
2nd/3rd – Arthur Ismakov and Gady Costeff 9 pts

The 8th Annual Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz Tournament

GMs Walter Browne. James Tarjan and Daniel Naroditsky have confirmed their participation.

A chance to remember and pay tribute to an old friend
Sunday May 4, 2014
1 pm to 5 pm.
Tournament: 2 pm to 4 pm.

There will be a chance to reminisce about Ray over light refreshments, both before and after the event.

5 double-round Swiss

Time control is 4 minutes + 2-second increment from move one.

PRIZES: 1st $300, 2nd $200, 3rd $100, 4th $75, 5th $50, 6th $25

ENTRY FEE: $10. Free to GMs and IMs.
Enter at tournament from 1:00 to 1:45 pm. No phone entries.

Come honor Ray’s memory and make this a great tournament!

2) Neil Falconer 1923-2014

The Mechanics’ Institute has suffered a terrible loss with the death of Neil Falconer, who passed away on April 5, just after celebrating his 91st birthday. Neil was active in the Chess Room right up until near the end of his life, attending a memorial for John Grefe on February 8.

The following tribute appeared in 2012, in the Mechanics’ Institute’s monthly publication. Here it has been expanded and updated.

The Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club has had nine Chess Directors and three Grandmasters-in-Residence in its 160-year existence, but there is no doubt that the person with the longest and most important connection with the Chess Club has been Neil Falconer. His involvement with the club spans nine decades, from his first visit in 1938 as a Berkeley High School student to the end of his life.

A native Californian, Neil first joined the Institute in 1945 after finishing his service in the U.S. Army, and soon after established himself as one of the strongest chess players in California, finishing third in the state championship in 1946. When former World Champion Max Euwe visited the Mechanics’ in 1949 Neil was one of those who held him to a draw. That same year, Neil graduated from the Boalt School of Law at UC Berkeley, passed the bar and started working at the firm where he would later rise to named partner—Steinhart and Falconer. New responsibilities did not slow down Neil’s rise as a chess player, and in 1951 he won the California Open title at Santa Cruz.

These results confirmed Neil’s strength as a player, but what really first earned him the respect and admiration of the Chess Room regulars was his help in enshrining in the Mechanics’ Bylaws the stipulation that the Institute would forever have a place for those who play chess. While the royal game had been an integral part of the M.I. since its beginnings, and the Chess Room dates back to the opening of the building in 1910, it was only in 1947 that its role was officially recognized.

This action was prompted by an attempt by the better-dressed members of the Institute to chase out what they perceived to be riff-raff—namely, the regular users of the chess room. The “Hart Schaffner & Marx Revolt”, as dubbed by the San Francisco Chronicle after the proprietors of fancy men’s wear, was put down by a group of chess players led by Charles Bagby and the young Neil Falconer. Had it not been for their efforts to rouse the 300 or so chess room members to action, much of the fourth floor would now be rented out as office space.

Neil remained one of the top players at the Mechanics’ for many years. He was a regular on the Northern California team in its annual matches with the Southland in the early 1950s, and wrote frequently for the California Chess Reporter, the regional publication that had many friends of the Mechanics’ on its staff, including the publisher Guthrie McClain and future Mechanics’ Trustee Bob Burger. The 1950s would be the last time Neil was active as a player, though he would continue to play off and on in the future, with highlights including victories over former World Champion Tigran Petrosian in a simul at the Mechanics’ in 1978 and Grandmaster Arthur Dake in 1992. The latter led to his winning the U.S. Senior champion title.

Joining the Board of Trustees in 1973, Neil immediately became a member of the Chess Committee and also served as Board President, first in 1988 and again from 1993 to 1995. Among the highlights of his nearly four decades of service is his role as the chief fundraiser for the Pan Pacific chess tournaments in 1987, 1991 and 1995. Anyone who has ever had to raise money knows just how difficult it can be, but Neil performed his role with distinction, and was so successful that the events were able to attract players the caliber of former World Champion Mikhail Tal, the great Viktor Korchnoi, and Women’s World Champions Zsuzsa Polgar and Xie Jun.

Neil did not confine his role to top-level chess. Ahead of his time, he teamed up with the New-York-based American Chess Foundation in the 1980s and 1990s to bring chess instructors into under-privileged inner-city schools in San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond. Neil not only volunteered his time as an administrator for the program, but was also one of its financial supporters.

In 1999 Neil established the Falconer Award at the Institute, which awards a cash prize to the highest-rated junior player under 18 in Northern California. Grandmasters Vinay Bhat, Sam Shankland and Daniel Naroditsky are among those who have won the Falconer Award, which has awarded more than $30,000 to support excellence in chess.

Neil’s legendary precision and thoroughness can be seen in the definition of Northern California in the eligibility standards for the award:

“Northern California shall be deemed the area in California lying North of a line drawn from a point 10 miles South of the City of San Luis Obispo running roughly Easterly to a point 10 miles South of the City of Visalia and thence roughly Easterly to a point 10 miles South of the City of Bishop and thence in an East-West direction to theNevada State line.”

One of Neil’s defining characteristics, besides his generosity of spirit and dry sense of humor, has been a lifelong interest in learning. He was a regular attendee of former Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky’s weekly endgame lectures, and has always had a keen interest in solving chess puzzles and problems. The past decade he has played with pleasure in more than one five-minute chess tournament at the Institute, matching wits with players almost 80 years his junior!

The Mechanics’ Institute has been fortunate to have such a good and devoted friend as Neil Falconer.

Back in 2002 Neil selected the following four games as his most memorable, with his brilliancy-prize-winning effort over Blazo Sredanovic in the 1964 Stamer Memorial a close fifth.

Ruy Lopez C71
Neil Falconer - John Tippin
Oakland (Castle Chess Club) 1940

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.c4 f5?!

The move ...f5 is popular after 5.c3, but here White has Nc3.

6.d4 fxe4 7.Nxe5 dxe5 8.Qh5+ g6

8...Ke7 9.Bxc6 Qxd4 10.Qe8+ Kd6 11.Be3 Qxc4 12.Nc3 Bg4 13.Rd1+ 1-0, Book–Andersson, Warsaw (ol) 1935.

9.Qxe5+ Kf7 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Qxh8 Nf6 12.Nc3 Qd7?

This game first appeared years ago in the San Francisco Chronicle where the late George Koltanowski asked “why not 12...Qd4 with good possibilities?” He looks to have been right, as the logical sequence 13.Be3 Qxc4 14.Bg5 Bg7 15.Qd8 Bg4 16.Qxa8 (16.Qxc7+ Nd7 17.Qf4+ Bf5 18.Rd1 with equal chances is the right way to play) 16...Nd5 wins for Black!

13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Qxh7+ Bg7 15.Bh6 Qxd4 16.0-0 Qf6 17.Rae1 Ng5 18.Re7+ Kxe7

Or 18...Qxe7 19.Qxg7+ Ke8 20.Qg8+ Kd7 21.Rd1+

19.Bxg5 Qxg5 20.Qxg7+ Kd6 21.Rd1+ Kc5 22.Qd4+ Kb4 23.Qc3+ 1-0

French Winawer C19
Neil Falconer–F. Hildebrandt
San Francisco (US Open) 1961

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 Ne7 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.Nf3 Qa5 8.Bd2 Qa4 9.Bd3 Nbc6

More logical is 9...c4.


This gives White the use of the important d4 square. The tripled c-pawns are not so important.

10...Qa5 11.0-0 Qxc5 12.Qe2 Ng6 13.h4! d4?!

Here 13...h5 looks safer. For example:14.Bxg6 fxg6 15.Qd3 Ne7 16.Bg5 Nf5 17.Nd2 b6 (17...0-0 18.c4) 18.Ne4 with interesting play.

14.cxd4 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 Qxd4 16.Bb5+ Bd7 17.Bxd7+ Qxd7 18.Bb4!?

White fixes Black’s King in the center at the cost of a pawn.

18...Nxh4 19.Rfd1 Qc6 20.f3 Nf5 21.g4 Qb6+ 22.Kh2 Nd4?

22...Ne7 was essential. Hildebrandt puts his head into the mouth of the lion and quickly pays the price.

23.Rxd4! Qxd4 24.Rd1 Qf4+ 25.Kg2 f6

25...a6 26.Qd3

26.Qb5+ Kf7 27.Rd7+ Kg6 28.exf6 h5 29.Rxg7+ Kxf6 30.Bc3+ e5 31.Qd7 Qxf3+ 32.Kxf3 hxg4+ 33.Kxg4 1-0

Boden-Kieseritsky Gambit C42
Neil Falconer–Eugene Lien
Oakland 1983

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Nc3

The Boden-Kieseritsky Gambit.

4...Nxc3 5.dxc3 f6

Accepting the challenge. 5...Be7 6.Qd5 0-0, returning the pawn, is fine.

6.0-0 Qe7

6...d6 or 6...Nc6 is the normal way to stop the threatened Nxe5.


7.Nh4 is another way of treating the position.

7...Nc6 8.b4 Nd8 9.Nd4 d6 10.f4 Be6

10...c6 looks more accurate.

11.Nxe6 Nxe6 12.Qg4

White’s lead and development and bishop pair offer excellent value for the pawn.

12...Nd8 13.fxe5 dxe5 14.Be3 Qd7 15.Qh5+ g6 16.Qf3 Qg7 17.Rad1 c6 18.Qh3 Rb8

18...Qc7 might have held out longer, but Black’s position is very difficult.


It’s a matter of taste between the text and19.Bg5! fxg5 (19...h6 20.Bxf6 Qxf6 21.Qd7#) 20.Rxe5+.


Black had no way to guard e5 satisfactorily.

20.Bh6 Bc5+ 21.bxc5 Qc7 22.Bg5 Rf8 23.Rxe5+ fxe5 24.Rxd8+ Rxd8 25.Qe6+ 1-0

This is one of two losses Petrosian suffered in the exhibition.

Nimzo-Indian E43
Tigran Petrosian–Neil Falconer
San Francisco (simul) 1978

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.e3 Bb7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Ne4 9.Ne1 f5 10.f3 Nf6 11.Nc2 d6 12.Qe2 Nbd7 13.e4 fxe4 14.fxe4 e5 15.Bg5 Qe8 16.Rae1 Qg6 17.Bh4 Nh5 18.d5

This is a terrible move for White to have to make, but alternatives are no better.

18...Nf4 19.Qd2 Nc5

Black has a dream Nimzo-Indian against one of the great positional players of all time.

20.Rxf4 exf4 21.Nd4 f3! 22.Bg3 fxg2 23.Nf5 Rae8 24.Bc2 Bc8 25.Bb1 Nxe4 26.Rxe4 Bxf5 0-1

3) Mechanics’ Institute Juniors shine at National High School Championship

Texas GM Darwin Yang fully confirmed his status as pre-tournament tournament favorite in the 2014 National High School Championship held April 4-6 in San Diego, but M.I. juniors turned in excellent results as well.

The Dallas-based Yang’s domination was such that going into the last round he was a full point ahead of the rest of the 338-player field. He drew with M.I. member NM Cameron Wheeler in the last round to finish first with 6½ out of 7. Fellow Mechanic NM Kesav Viswanadha was among those tied for second at 6, while Cameron and Alan Beilen were among those sharing sixth place with 5½ points.

The team competition in the open section saw Catalina High School of Tucson take top honors with 20 points, with Cuppertino Middle School (yes, Middle School!), led by Cameron Wheeler, a half-point back. Fellow team members were NMs Udit Iyengar and Michael Wang and 1950-rated Pranav Srihari and Arhant Katare. Half a point behind, and tying for third, was another team from Cupertino, Monte Vista High School, led by Kesav Viswanadha.

4) Upcoming events

Metropolitan Chess Inc.

Swiss Events

April 25-27 or April 26-27 (Western Pacific Open) - A Heritage SCCF Event!


Radisson LAX, 6225 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045.
5SS, 40/2, SD/1, d/5 (2-day option, rds 1-2 G/75, d/5).

Entry Fee: $109. GM/IM free, $99 from prize. Booster (U1400) Entry Fee: $95

Prizes: $$10,000 b/165, 70% of each prize guaranteed! 5 sections  Open Prize: $$1700-750-400-300-200, U2400 400, U2200 700-300-200  Premier (under 2000) Prize: $$750-300-200-100  Amateur (Under 1800) Prize: $$750-300- 200-100  Reserve (Under 1600) Prize: $$750-300-200-100  Booster (Under 1400/unrated) Prize: $$400-200-100, U1200 150, Unr 150. (Unrated may win Unrated prizes only.)   Re-entry $60 in all sections, except Open

2-day schedule: Reg ends Sat 10 am, rds. Sat 11, 2:30 & 6, Sun 10 & 4:15

Half point byes OK all, limit 2, must commit before rd 3

$15 service charge for refunds

SCCF membership required ($18, $13 juniors [or $3 no magazine junior version] for rated Southern Californians.)

3-day schedule: Reg ends Fri 6 pm, rds. Fri 7 pm, Sat 11 & 6, Sun 10 & 4:15

24-hour airport shuttle

HR: $102-102, 1-(800) 333-3333, code Metropolitan, reserve by April 19th here.

Parking $15/day

Free wireless in public areas

April 27 (WPO Scholastics)


Radisson LAX, 6225 West Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045
5-SS, G/30 d/5

Open to gr. 12-below. In two sections:

Open: Trophies to top 5, top 3 U1200, top 2 Unrated.  Grade 6/below U1000: Trophies to top 5, top 3 U700, top 3 U500, top 2 Unrated.

Registration: 8:30-9, Sunday  Rounds: 9:30-11-12:15-1:45-3  Entry fee: $25     For more information, you can send an e-mail to [email protected]. You can also register by mail at Metropolitian Chess, PO Box 25112, Los Angeles, CA 90025-0112 or online from the following link.

Other upcoming events include our Summer Camp from July 9-13, 2014 with World #2 Levon Aronian as well as the Pacific Southwest Open from July 4-6, 2014 and Pacific Southwest Open Scholastic on July 6.

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