Chess Room Newsletter #667 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #667

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #667
May 2, 2014

Is a person better off using one engine or several engines when analyzing?

I think it does make sense to use one core for each of the top three engines when you have a quad, partly because using all the cores for one engine is a bit inefficient, and also because the top three engines are not very similar.

—GM Larry Kaufman at

The three engines he refers to are Houdini, Stockfish and Komodo.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The penultimate round of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon was filled with fighting chess but in the end the top three boards all were drawn. This enabled NMs Natalya Tsodikova and Romulo Fuentes to join IM Elliot Winslow and over-achieving Experts Steven Gaffagan and Bryon Doyle in a tie for second with 5½ points from 7. FM Andy Lee continues to lead the 88-player event at 6 points, with one round to go.

WFM Uyanga Byambaa almost joined the group tied for second, narrowly missing a win over top seed NM Hayk Manvelyan. Renate Otterbach, rated only 1056, has won three games in a row!

From round 7 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Ochoa–Niemann after 21 Rc1)Black to move (Ostrovsky–Drane after 19 Be3)
Black to move (Malykin–Gomboluudev after 22 Qxe3)Black to move (Paquette–Simpkins after 11 Bb5+)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 7.

Wednesday Night Blitz results by Jules Jelinek

April 23

1st – Arthur Ismakov 11 pts
2nd – Jules Jelinek 10 pts
3rd – Hans Niemann 9 pts

Book and equipment donations to the Mechanics’ are always welcome. All donations to the Mechanics’ are tax deductible, due to the M.I.’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that have been lying around unused for some time consider donating to the Mechanics’. You will not only get a tax write-off, but also the satisfaction of seeing things put to good use.

2) Henry Nelson Pillsbury in San Francisco—April 1904 (Part one)

The Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club has had many distinguished visitors in its over 150 year history. Among them was Henry Nelson Pillsbury whose exploits were covered in the San Francisco Chronicle in April 1904. This is the first of a two part series.

Harry N. Pillsbury, American Chess Champion, left San Francisco Thursday last (April 14th), and after a short stay in Denver he goes East to participate in the great international chess masters tournament, which opens at Cambridge Springs, PA, April 25th. Pillsbury’s engagement here lasted a week, and the local chess enthusiasts were provided with a chess feast such as they will not soon forget. His blindfold exhibitions in particular, astonished all who saw him in action. He became quite popular here, and his genial unaffected manner won him a host of friends who will watch his future chess career with added interest, and all hope to see him emerge from the struggle at Cambridge Springs with top-notch honors.

Pillsbury asked $200 for his week’s engagement with the Mechanics’ Institute Chess and Checker Club, but the club did one better and gave him $250. Much credit is due to N.J. Manson, H.K. Eells, Wallace E. Neville and T. L. Lyon for the able manner in which they handled the financial arrangements.

Dr. W.R. Lovegrove’s victory over the champion last Sunday (the 10th) has created quite a furor in local chess circles.

This afternoon a match game between Champion Pillsbury and Dr. W.R. Lovegrove, the well-known local chess champion, will take place at the rooms of the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club, Post street.

Play will commence at 2pm. If time suffices, Pillsbury will also play individual games with N.J. Manson and Oscar Samuels, two prominent local experts. The encounters will be well witnessing and are sure to attract a big crowd.

Yesterday afternoon Champion Pillsbury met the local experts in simultaneous play at the Mechanics’ Chess Club. At chess he played against five different teams, and also negotiated five games of checkers at the same time. He won four of the chess games and lost one. At checkers he drew six, won one and lost one.

Petroff C42
Walter Lovegrove–Harry Nelson Pillsbury
San Francisco April 10th, 1904
(an individual exhibition game, played with clocks)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Be7 7.0–0 Nc6 8.c4 Nf6 9.Nc3 0–0 10.Ne5

A departure from the usual play of doubtful value, for after the exchanges which follow Black obtains a predominance of pawns on the queenside and this commits White to a kingside attack.

Houdini 3 prefers 10.Re1 with a slight edge for White.

10...Nxd4 11.Bxh7+ Nxh7 12.Qxd4 dxc4 13.Qxc4 Be6 14.Qe2 Bd6 15.Bf4 Re8 16.Rfe1 f6 17.Nd3 Qd7

17...Bf7= Houdini 3.

18.Qf3 Bc4 19.Bxd6 Qxd6 20.Nf4 Ng5 21.Qh5 Bf7

21...Rxe1+ 22.Rxe1 Qxf4 23.Re8+ forces a draw.

22.Qg4 Qd2 23.Rec1

Best! It is extremely doubtful the knight’s pawn can be safely captured.




A necessary move to dislodge Black’s knight, and also provides an escape for the king.


After considerable analysis Mr. Pillsbury came to the conclusion he would have done better playing: 24...Ne6 but Dr. Lovegrove suggests the following probable continuation which seems to prove White would still have retained an advantage: 25.Nfd5 Kh8 26.Rcb1 Qd2 27.Rxb7 (Houdini 3 assesses the position after 27...Reb8 as equal).

If 24...Ne4 then 25.Nd3 Qd2 26.Nxe4 Qxd3 27.Nxf6+ wins.

25.Ncd5 Rad8

If 25...Rac8 then 26.Ne7+ wins.

26.Rab1 Qd4

Houdini 3 judges this to be the losing move suggesting instead 26...Qe5 with equal play.

27.Rxc7 f5

27...Rxd5 28.Rxf7 Kxf7 29.Rxb7+ Re7 30.Qe6+ wins.

27...b6 28.Rd1 f5 29.Rxd4 fxg4 30.Ne7+ Kf8 31.Nfg6+ Bxg6 32.Nxg6+ Kg8 33.Rxd8 Rxd8 34.Rc8 (34.Ne7+ Kf8 35.Rxa7 is preferred by Houdini 3.) 34...Rxc8 35.Ne7+ followed by Nxc8 with a winning game.

Instead 35...Kf7 36.Nxc8 g5 37.hxg5 Nxg5 38.Nxa7 Ne4 offers Black drawing chances—Houdini 3.

28.Qxf5 Bxd5 29.Rbxb7 Kh8 30.Rxg7 Qxg7 31.Rxg7 Kxg7 32.Nxd5 1–0

3) The Triumphant March of Black’s King Pawn, by Fred Wilson

Editor—A glance at the crosstable of the Dr. David Ostfeld Memorial, a one-day event held in Hackensack, New Jersey, on March 31, would reveal that three players tied for first. The first two, GM Sergey Kudrin and 2013 New Jersey champion Alexander Katz, finished as expected, but number three was a shocker.

Fred Wilson of New York is well-known as a book seller, author and teacher, but few think of him as a player. They would be wrong. Fred loves the game and studying it. He likes nothing better than to attack, and that is just what he did at the Dr. David Ostfeld Memorial, collecting the scalps of two masters on the way to a USCF performance rating of 2540 and sharing first with GM Kudrin and NM Katz.

Here the 68-year-old Expert (who picked up 48 rating points to raise his rating to 2147) shares his favorite game from the event.

King’s Indian E90
George Grasser–Fred Wilson
Ostfeld Memorial (2) Hackensack 2014.
Notes by Fred Wilson

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5. h3!? 0-0

I allow him to transpose into sort of a Kavalek Variation, although 5…e5 or 5…c5 may be stronger.

6. d4 e5 7.Be3

7. Bg5 Na6 is much more common, often followed by 8. d5 Qe8!?.


I think this is just a good here as 7…Na6, etc.

8. d5 Ne7 9. g4!?

Whoa Nellie! Now he wants to simply play Qd2, 0-0-0, Bh6, push pawns on the kingside and mate me! Gotta do something!!

9…h5! 10.gxh5?

10. g5 must be better.

10…Nxh5 11.Qd2 f5 12.exf5

If 12. Bg5 fxe4 looks strong.

12…Nxf5 13.Bg5 Qe8 14. 0-0-0

I thought a long time here and came up with…

14… e4! 15.Re1

Which after this move must be followed by…

15…e3!! 16.Qd3

The “big idea” is if 16.Bxe3 Nxe3 17.Rxe3 Bh6!18.Rxe8 Bxd2 CHECK is better for Black.

16…Qf7 17.fxe3 Nfg3 18.Bg2 Nxh1 19.Rxh1 Ng3 20. Re1 Bd7!

With the idea if 21. Nh4 Rae8! 22. Qxg6 Qxg6 23. Nxg6 Rf2 is much better for Black.

21.Nd4? Qf2!

Winning stuff.




The simplest because 23. Bh6 loses to 23…Ne2+!.

23.h4 Rf6! 24.Qd3 Rf1 25.Nc2 Bf5 26.e4 Bxc3!


27. Qxc3?

But 27. bxc3 allows me to trade off everything, remaining a rook ahead, after 27…Bxe4.

27…Ne2+ 0-1

4) Here and There

We were saddened to learn that the Chicago African-American Senior Master Morris Giles died in 2012. On the chance that others missed this information at the time we encourage them to check out an excellent tribute by Dr. Daaim Shabazz at

Noted chess historian Eduardo Bauza Mercere, who has been doing work on the history of the US Opens, recently rediscovered the following tactical slugfest. Notes are written with the assistance of Houdini 4.

Reti A04
Donald Byrne–Arturo Pomar
Tampa US Open (12), 08.1952

1.Nf3 c5 2.g3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.Nb3 a5 7.a4 d6 8.0–0 Be6 9.Nc3 Bxc3 10.bxc3 Qc8 11.c4 Bxc4 12.Bb2 f6 13.Qd2 h5 14.Nd4 h4 15.Nb5 Kf7 16.Qf4 Be6 17.Rad1 Bh3


This is flashy, but 18.Bxh3 Qxh3 19.g4 threatening Rd3 looks hard to meet.

18...Bxg2 19.Rxf6+ Nxf6 20.Nd6+ exd6 21.Qxf6+ Ke8 22.Qxh8+ Kd7 23.Qh7+ Ne7 24.Kxg2 Qxc2 25.Bf6 Qe4+ 26.Kg1 hxg3 27.hxg3 Re8 28.Ra1?!

28.Rc1 was better.

28...Qxe2 29.Bxe7 Rxe7 30.Qxg6 Qe4 31.Qxe4 Rxe4 32.Kg2 Rb4 33.f4 Ke6 34.Kf3 d5 35.Kg4 d4 36.Kg5 d3 37.g4?

Heading down the wrong path. Something like 37.Re1+ Kd5 38.Rd1 Kc4 39.f5 b5 40.f6 bxa4 41.f7 Rb8 42.g4 a3 43.Kh6 a2 44.g5 d2 45.g6 had to be tried.

37...d2 38.Rd1 Rd4 39.f5+ Kf7 40.Kh6 Rxg4 41.Rxd2


41...Kf6! 42.Rd6+ Kxf5 43.Rb6 Rb4 was winning.

42.Kg5 Re4 43.Rh2 b5 44.Rh7+ Kg8 45.Rb7 b4 46.Ra7 ½–½

5) United States versus USSR/Russia: the last 30 years (1984-2013)

The United States and Soviet Union national teams first met in a famous radio match in 1945 that marked a changing of the guard. The Americans were the dominant teams in the Chess Olympiads of the 1930s (in which the Soviets did not compete) while the USSR would take over as top dog from the 1950s to the breakup of its empire in the early 1990s. Russia, led by Garry Kasparov, was dominant up until 2002, but when he stopped playing things changed. Despite being the top seed they have not won in over a decade, with Armenia (three times) and Ukraine (twice) winning the last five Olympiads.


1984 USA 2½-USSR 1½
1986 USA 2½-USSR 1½
1988 USSR 2½-USA 1½
1990 USSR 2½–USA 1½
1992 Russia 3½–USA ½
1994 Did not play
1996 Russia 2½-USA 1½
1998 Russia 2½–USA 1½
2000 Did not play
2002 Did not play
2004 Russia 2½–USA 1½
2006 USA 2½–Russia 1½
2008 Did not play
2010 Russia 3–USA 1
2012 USA 2½–Russia 1½

USSR/Russia over USA +7, -4

World Team Championship

1985 USA did not play
1989 USSR 3 – USA 1
1993 USA 2- Russia 2
1997 USA 2–Russia 2
2001 USA  did not play
2005 Russia 2½–USA 1½
2009 Russia 3- USA 1
2011 Russia 3–USA 1
2013 USA 3–Russia 1

USSR/Russia over USA +4, -1, =2

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