Chess Room Newsletter #691 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #691

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #691
December 5, 2014

You don’t have to know why a move is strong to play it.

—James Schroeder

The 14th Guthrie McClain Memorial G/45 will be held this Saturday at the Mechanics’.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

11-year-old Expert Hans Niemann of Orinda continues to lead the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon. His win over National Master Tenzing Shaw in round 6 leaves him with a perfect score with two rounds to go and a point lead over the field.

Tied for second at 5–1 in the 101-player field are National Masters Uyanga Byambaa and Russell Wong, Experts Pranav Nagarajan and Ushik Uzzaman and Class A player Michael Askin. Nagarajan has crossed 2200, while Askin is having a very impressive event, having already beaten two masters.

From round 6 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Shaw–Niemann after 26 Qe2)Black to move (Byambaa–Tsodikova after 23 Kg2)
Black to move (Askin–Vickers after 27 Re3)Black to move (Poler–Robertson after 15 Bf3)
Black to move (Ronin–Nagle after 18 f4)White to move (Chandrasekaran–Simpkins after 23...Rg6)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 6.

All four current and past Samford Fellows performed well in the Qatar Masters held in Doha November 26–December 4.

Grandmaster Sam Shankland, ranked 31st going into the event, scored 6 out of 9 to tie for 6th and turned in a performance rating of 2732. Daniel Naroditsky was right behind him at 5½, for a PR of 2679. Both current Fellows played four 2700 players (top 40 in the world) in the last four rounds and scored 2–2. Sam is now 2653 FIDE and Daniel is 2628. The latter, who turned 19 on November 19, continued his string of gaining rating points in every event, now reaching back to July 2013, when he was 2486. He was significantly better in two of the games he drew with 2700s, so the result in Doha could have been even better.

New York GMs Alex Lenderman (5 points PR 2619) and Irina Krush (4 points PR 2585) also played very well until last-round losses - Irina played up over 100 or more points in eight of the nine rounds.

Thanks to National Master John Blackstone of Las Vegas, who brought the following article to our attention.

"Little Black Pawn" in the Staten Islander has received a letter from Ernest J. Clarke, the well-known chess player of San Francisco, giving an account of his recent visit to San Quentin penitentiary. He says there is a large chess club there under the presidency of a young Greek, a life-termer for dynamiting a house during the graft prosecution in San Francisco a few years ago.

The prison is the largest in the United States, having 2,600 prisoners, and is conducted along humanitarian lines. They have all kinds of activities, a splendid band of 50 pieces, a baseball team and chess club.

Hallwegan, Stamer, Fink and Clarke played simultaneous chess against four separate groups with the following results:

Fink - won 11 games, lost 4, drew 2
Stamer - won 8, lost 1
Hallwegan - won 10, lost 0
Clarke - won 6 and drew 1

The time consumed was one hour and thirty minutes.

The visiting party presented the prisoners with several books on chess and ten sets of chess men and boards.

Washington Post, August 13, 1916

2) Bay Area Juniors excel at home and abroad

The bronze medal won by Rayan Tagizadeh in the Boys under 12 section of the 2014 World Junior Championship continues a tradition of exceptional performance by Bay Area in this event. Very few American players have medaled at the World Youth and most of those have come from the Bay Area. Here are the Bay Area medalists over the last 21 years:

Jordy Mont Reynaud - 1993 silver under 10
Vinay Bhat - 1996 bronze under 12
Daniel Naroditsky - 2007 gold under 12
Sam Shankland 2008 bronze under 18 (tied for 1st-5th)
Steven Zierk - 2010 gold under 18
Samuel Sevian - 2012 gold under 12
Cameron Wheeler - 2012 silver under 12
Rayan Tagizadeh - 2014 bronze under 12

Note Vinay was also tied for second (three-way tie) at the Under-12 World Youth Championships in 1995 and tied for third (three-way tie) at the Under-14 World Youth Championships in 1998.

Closer to home several Bay Area players have won the US Junior Closed.

2008 Gregory Young (tied with Tyler Hughes)
2010 Sam Shankland
2011 Gregory Young
2013 Daniel Naroditsky

3) Here and There

The noted chess historian and book collector, Robert S. Moore, who dates his first visit to the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club to the late 1950s, writes:

A while back, I found that McFarland published books on baseball as well as on chess. Johnathan Fraser Light’s The Cultural Encyclopedia Of Baseball (Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland, 1997, 888 pages) has a chess reference in the index. On page 171, in “College Baseball”, the first college game is given as between Amherst and Williams on July 1, 1859. Amherst was victorious. There was also a chess match between the clubs, which Amherst also won. The Amherst Express put it in a headline—“William and Amherst; Baseball and Chess; Muscle and Mind!” Of course, these games were right in the middle of the period of maximum excitement over Paul Morphy.

Eduardo Bauzá Mercére writes:

The following game seems to have escaped scrutiny.

It is one of the two Frank Marshall played at the 1941/42 Marshall CC championship (first round). The other one was a loss to Edward Lasker, which can be found in Chess Secrets I Learned From The Masters and the American Chess Bulletin. Marshall withdrew from the tournament because of illness.

Grunfeld Exchange D85
Frank Marshall–Joseph Richman
New York (1941/42 Marshall C.C. Ch.) November 30, 1941

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. e4 Nxc3 7. bxc3 c5 8. Bb5+ Bd7 9. Bxd7+ Nxd7 10. O-O O-O 11. Rb1 b6 12. Bf4 cxd4 13. cxd4 Nf6 14. Qe2 Qd7 15. Rfd1 Rac8 16. Be5 Qc6 17. Bxf6 Bxf6 18. e5 Bg7 19. d5 Qc2 20. Qa6 Rc7 21. Qa3 Rd8 22. Rbc1 Rxd5 23. Rf1 Qe2 24. Rxc7 Rd1 25. Nd2 Qxd2 26. g3 Bxe5 27. Rxa7 Rxf1+ 28. Kxf1 Qd1+ 29. Kg2 Qd5+ 30. Qf3 Qxf3+ 31. Kxf3 Bd6 32. Ke4 Kg7 33. Kd5 f5 34. a4 1-0

Source: NY Sun, 17 Jan 1942, p. 16.

Patsy A. D'Eramo, Jr. has discovered the San Raphael Daily Independent Journal had a chess column from 1949-1950. He writes:

The column apparently started in 1948 with Robert Upham as editor. He was succeeded by Jim Myers, Louis Yates in 1949, and then George Koltanowski in 1950 (as the Chess Minstrel). The column seems to disappear in April 1950.

California chess is lucky to have such a tireless recorder of its history as National Master Kerry Lawless. His website ChessDryad is a model for other states and organizations seeking to preserve their past. One can find pretty much everything related to chess in the Golden State on his site from a list of all periodicals published in California to a database of of over 40,000. That doesn’t sound like an impressive figure until you realize that it only contains games played in California.

One of the most popular corners of Chess Dryad is the section with thousands of chess photos taken in California (mostly the Bay Area Chess). Go to for a look.

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