Chess Room Newsletter #679 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #679

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanic’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #679
August 22, 2014

In a rather wandering life I have known personally only two geniuses, Tennessee Williams, who used words and human situations more brilliantly than any of us, and Bobby Fischer, the chess champion, who was geared in some wild unique way.  Both men found that to be the vessel housing genius was an intolerable condition and each was destroyed by that burden.

—James Michener, in the foreword to Conversations with Capote, 2000

Edmar Mednis, in How To Beat Bobby Fischer, in the updated paperback second edition (Dover 1997), quotes something similar from Michener on page 283, giving the source as Playboy magazine from September 1981.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

FIDE Master Andy Lee, National Master Uyanga Byambaa, Expert Alex Steger, Class A player John Jaffray and Class C player Erika Malykin (playing as a house player and ineligible for prizes), are tied for first place in the Jay Whitehead Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon with perfect scores after three rounds. It’s still possible to join the 83-player field with half-point byes for the first three rounds of the nine-round event.

From round 3 of the Whitehead Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Steger–Vickers after 33...Kh7)Black to move (Walder–Jaffray after 13 c5)
Black to move (Newey–Gaffagan after 16 Bxb7)For the solutions, see the game scores (when available) for round 3.

Michael Lin won the annual Bernardo Smith Memorial, held August 16-17 at the Mechanics' Institute. The UC Berkeley student scored 5 from 6 to top the 35-player field. Vikram Ramsamy was second with 5 points, followed by Simona Nayberg at 4½. Among those on 4–2 the result of Richard Hack warrants special mention. The C-rated Hack played up five times, and beat a player rated 2180 to raise his rating from 1570 to 1664.

The Mechanics’ entry in the US Chess League starts its season next Wednesday, August 27, against the Rio Grande Ospreys, composed of players from the University of Texas at Brownsville. Leading the MI squad are Grandmasters Daniel Naroditsky, Vinay Bhat and Jesse Kraai.

18-year-old Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky of Foster City is currently placed fifth on tiebreak in the 2014 edition of the Riga Technical University Open. His 4–1 score (performance rating 2689) includes a draw with Hungarian 2700 Richard Rapport. Daniel’s live FIDE rating is currently 2594.

2) Walter Browne Annotates

Editor—The following games comes from the Best of the West Open held over Memorial Day weekend in Santa Clara.

Ruy Lopez C77
Walter Browne (FIDE 2453)–Andy Lee (FIDE 2275)
Best of the West 2014 (6), 2014

I got a pleasant edge in the opening, but Andy defended fairly well, as though nearly always superior, I never missed a clear win.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Rb8 8.axb5 axb5 9.Nc3 d6 10.Nd5!?

Posing Andy some choices early in the struggle gained me time for thought as well!


10...Nxd5 11.Bxd5 Ne7 12.Bb3 0–0 13.0–0 Bb7 14.Be3 Bxe3 15.fxe3 h6 16.Nh4 is slightly better for White.

11.c3 0–0 12.0–0 Bg4?!

Better was 12...Nxd5 13.exd5 Ne7 14.d4 exd4 15.Nxd4 Re8 16.Qd3 Bxd4 17.Qxd4 Nf5 18.Qd3 Nh4 19.Qg3 Nf5 20.Qf4 with chances for both sides. Now White gains the upper hand.

13.h3 Bxf3 14.Qxf3 Nxd5 15.Bxd5 Ne7 16.Bb3

With the two bishops and pressure on f7 I was enjoying my position!

16...Ng6 17.Rd1

17.Be3 b4 18.Bc4 bxc3 19.bxc3 Bb6 20.Qh5 (20.Qg4 Kh7 21.Qf5 Qe7 22.Ra6 Bxe3 23.fxe3 Kh8 24.g3 is clearly in my favor.) 20...Nf4 21.Bxf4 exf4 22.Rfb1 Qg5 23.Qxg5 hxg5 24.Kf1 Ra8 25.Bd5 Rxa1 26.Rxa1 g6 27.Ke2 is slightly better for me.

17...Bb6 18.d4 Qe7

Or 18...c5 19.dxc5 Bxc5 20.Bd2 b4 21.cxb4 Bxb4 22.Be3 Ba5 23.Ba7 Rb7 24.Bc5 Nh4 25.Qg3 Bc7 26.Rac1 with a slight pull for White.

19.Bd5 b4 20.Be3

Equally playable was 20.Ra4 bxc3 21.bxc3 exd4 22.cxd4 c5 23.dxc5 Bxc5 24.Ba3 with a persistent advantage.

20...bxc3 21.bxc3 Nh4?! 22.Qg4 Kh8 23.g3 Ng6 24.f4

This looked good at the time but Andy gets counterplay as my king later becomes a bit exposed. Better was 24.Qh5! Qf6 25.h4 exd4 26.cxd4 Ne7 27.Bc4 (27.Bg5 Qg6 28.Qxg6 Nxg6 29.h5 Ne5 30.Be7 Rfe8 31.dxe5 Rxe7 32.exd6 cxd6 33.Rab1 with a slight edge for White) 27...Qg6 28.Qxg6 Nxg6 (28...fxg6 29.Be6 is clearly in my favor) 29.Kg2 Ne7 30.Bf4 Rbd8 31.Bb3 Rb8 32.Rab1 Kg8 33.h5 Rfd8 34.d5 with a pleasant edge.

24...exd4 25.cxd4 c5 26.dxc5 Bxc5 27.Bxc5 dxc5 28.Qe2 Rb4 29.Kh2 Rfb8 30.Ra2?!

30.Ra6 Qe8 31.Rd2 Ne7 32.Bc4 Nc6 33.Bxf7 Qxf7 34.Rxc6 Qb7 35.Rxc5 Rxe4 36.Qf3 and a 50–50 chance to win due to the presence of the extra heavy pieces on the board—a single rook ending would be a simple draw.

30...Nf8! 31.Qh5 Ng6

31...Ne6! 32.Qe5 (32.h4 f6 33.e5 Nd4 34.exf6 Qxf6 35.Ra7 Qf5 36.Qxf5 Nxf5 37.Rc1 c4 38.Rxc4 Rb2+ 39.Kh3 R2b3 40.Rc8+ Rxc8 41.Bxb3 Nxg3 is equal but not 41...Rc3?? 42.Ra8+ Kh7 43.Bg8+ Kg6 44.Ra6+ Kh5 45.Bf7+ g6 46.Bxg6 mate) 32...Qd7 33.Qh5 Qc7 34.Rad2 c4 35.Bxe6 c3 36.Rd7 Qb6 37.Qxf7 Rb2+ 38.Kh1 Rh2+! 39.Kxh2 Qf2+ 40.Kh1 Qf3+ - this rook sac which I'd seen in other lines draws here.

32.Qf5 Rf8 33.Rc2 Rd8?!

33...Qa7 34.Qh5 Ne7 35.Bxf7 Rxe4 36.Rd6 Ng8 37.Bxg8 Rxg8 38.Rc6 c4=

34.Rdc1 Rd4 35.Rg2

35.Rb1! Rf8 36.Rb7 Qd8 37.Rd7 Qa5 38.Re2 Rd2 39.Qg4 Qc3 40.e5 Qd3 41.Rxd2 Qxd2+ 42.Bg2 Qa2 43.Qd1 Rb8 44.Qd5 Qxd5 45.Bxd5 f6 46.e6 Re8 47.f5 Ne7 48.Be4 with a clear advantage.

35...Rf8 36.Rb1 Qf6 37.Qxf6 gxf6 38.Rb7 Kg7 39.Re2

39.Rd7 f5 40.exf5 Ne7 41.Rxe7 Rxd5 42.g4 Rd3 43.Rc7 Ra8 44.Rxc5 Raa3 would have kept White’s advantage to a minimum.

39...f5 40.Rc7

Black meets 40.Kg2 fxe4 41.Bxe4 with 41…Rfd8 and not 41...Re8?? 42.Rxf7+ Kxf7 43.Bxg6+ Kxg6 44.Rxe8 with excellent chances to win the rook ending.

40...fxe4 41.Rxc5

Black holds after 41.Bxe4 Re8 42.Rxf7+ Kxf7 43.Bxg6+ Kxg6 44.Rxe8 c4 45.Kg2 c3 46.Re6+ Kf7 47.Rc6 Rd2+ 48.Kf3 Rd3+ 49.Kg4 Ke7 50.f5 Kd7 51.Rc4 Ke7 as his rook is much more active than in the variation given in the last note.

41...Rd8 42.Bb3

Here 42.Bxe4 Re8 43.f5 Rexe4 44.Rxe4 Rxe4 45.fxg6 is just a draw.

42...Rd2 43.Rc2 Rxe2+ 44.Rxe2 f5 45.Ra2 Re8 46.Kg2 Re7 47.Kf2 Rc7 48.Ra5 Ne7 49.Re5 h5 50.h4

Still trying to play for a win. White wins a pawn after 50.Bd1 h4 51.g4 Kf6 52.gxf5 Nxf5 53.Rxe4 but Black still holds comfortably due to his active pieces. For example: 53…Rc1 54.Bg4 Rc2+ 55.Ke1 Rb2.

50...Rb7 51.Bd1 Kf6 52.Bxh5 Rb2+ 53.Kf1 Nc6 54.Rd5 Nb4 55.Rd6+ Ke7 56.Rb6 Nd3 57.Rxb2 Nxb2 58.Ke2?

A time pressure blunder that makes Black’s task easier but even against best play Black was holding: 58.Be2 Kf6 59.Kf2 Na4 60.Ke3 Nc3 61.Bc4 Nd1+ 62.Ke2 Nc3+ 63.Kd2 Na4 64.Ke3 Nb6 65.Bb3 Kg6 66.Be6 Kf6 67.Bb3 Kg6 68.Kd4 Nd7 69.Ba4 Nf6 70.Bd1 Kh6 71.Ke5 Kg6 72.Be2 Nd7+ 73.Kd4 Nf6 74.Bb5 Nh5 75.Be8+ Kh6 76.Bxh5 Kxh5 77.Ke3 Kg4 and the protected passed pawn and active king allow Black to draw a pawn down in the king-and-pawn ending.

58...Nc4 59.Bg6 Kf6 60.Be8 Nd6 61.Ba4 Nf7 62.Ke3 Nh6 63.Bd1 Ke6 64.Kd4 Kf6 65.h5 Nf7 66.Kd5

66.g4 fxg4 67.Bxg4 Nh6 68.Bh3 Nf7 69.Kxe4 Ng5+! 70.fxg5+ Kxg5 draws.

66...Nh6 67.Be2 Nf7 and drawn in about 80 moves

3) 2014 Sinquefield Cup

Last year this inaugural super-tournament was the strongest chess competition ever held on U.S. soil, but only four players participated: Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian, Hikaru Nakamura and Gata Kamsky. The first three will be back in Saint Louis for the second edition, which will be a six-player double round robin with Carlsen defending his title.

“Last year we intended to go with six players also,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. “But we had a hard time with the scheduling; I think the fall is just a really busy time for professional players especially.”

For the second edition, the organizers started by sending out invites to Carlsen and Nakamura.

Mr. Rich: “We wanted to make sure that the reigning world champion would play, and obviously we also wanted the top American. Beyond that, we thought what really rounds the event out, and not just in strength but also in playing style? We wanted folks to come in and really show something.”

The field of Carlsen, Nakamura, Aronian, Fabiano Caruana, Veselin Topalov and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are all rated in the top 10 in the world. Missing are Russian players Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk and Sergey Karjakin, who declined their invitations for various reasons.

The tournament will be a homecoming for American-born Fabiano Caruana, who represented the United States until the fall of 2004, when at the age of 12 and rated around 2300 USCF, he moved to Europe and started playing for Italy (his father Lou is a dual national).

The tournament's prize fund has been increased; whereas last year Carlsen took home $70,000, this year the first prize is $100,000, part of a $315,000 total prize fund.

This year, there will be a bonus event titled “Ultimate Moves” to be held through Tuesday, September 9. Ultimate Moves will feature eight teams made up of a GM (the six participants and two more) and an amateur player, where teammates alternate moves.

The 2014 Sinquefield Cup will feature live play-by-play and analysis from three different teams of grandmaster commentators. Online viewers worldwide will enjoy the daily live commentary stream hosted by the legendary team of GMs Yasser Seirawan and Maurice Ashley paired with WGM Jennifer Shahade. Events for spectators are planned.

Live spectators will have two additional options of GM-led commentary, both at the World Chess Hall of Fame and Lester’s Restaurant on the Central West End chess campus. The commentary team will include GMs Ian Rogers, Ben Finegold, Ronen Har-Zvi, Robert Hess, and “one special surprise that we hope makes it to the event,” said Mr. Rich. will have coverage of the event on Likely the official on site team of Ashley, Seirawan and Shahade will be broadcasting to our channel as well as the official website.

A free autograph session with the players will also be held before the tournament on Tuesday, August 26 at noon.

As a special complement to the Sinquefield Cup, the World Chess Hall of Fame is presenting a brand-new exhibit titled A Memorable Life: A Glimpse into the Complex Mind of Bobby Fischer, featuring a rare collection of items that celebrate one of the best chess players ever.

Tickets to the 2014 Sinquefield Cup start at $15 per round, but discounted ticket packages are available at $65 for five rounds or $100 for all ten rounds of the event.

Last year the tournament attracted about 600 spectators a day, and even more are expected to show up this year.

Mr. Rich said that asking an entry fee is mostly a way of crowd control.

“We were concerned that if there was free access, we would just be overwhelmed. In exchange, we provide catered food and beverages for all the spectators, the commentary and access to the playing hall.”

For more information on the event, including the full schedule, ticket information and lodging details, visit

The Field

1. Magnus Carlsen (Norway) 2877
2. Levon Aronian (Armenia) 2805
3. Fabiano Caruana (Italy) 2801
4. Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 2787
5. Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) 2772
6. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) 2768

4) Here and There

The FIDE election is over, but the profile on former World Champion Garry Kasparov that appeared on the eve of the vote makes for interesting reading. It can be found at

Mechanics’ Tuesday Night Marathon participant John Jaffray was a member of Herman Steiner’s fabled Hollywood Chess Group in his youth, growing up in Los Angeles in the early 1950s. Jaffray remembers the club was held in the top floor of a garage/carriage house adjacent to the Steiner home, located at 108 N. Formosa in West Hollywood near the intersection of La Brea and Beverly. The club had one or two rooms with space for 30 or 40 players. The Steiner home (three bed, three bath, 2677 square feet), a beautiful Mediterranean built in 1929, sold on 10/26/2011 for $1,995,000.

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