Chess Room Newsletter #704 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #704

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #704
April 3, 2015

How do world champions and top GMs keep physically fit for grueling matches that last several months? What kind of sports or exercises are they active in?

Bobby Fischer swam and played tennis. I vividly recall [his] telling me how glad he was to see that Efim Geller had developed a paunch before their game at Mallorca in 1970, where Fischer as Black declined a draw on move 7 and went on to swindle a win in 72 moves from a simple rook and pawn ending after Geller missed a draw on move 71!

—Larry Evans

The Newsletter will take a break for the next four weeks, as the editor will be in Reno, St. Louis and Armenia. It will resume May 8.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

National Masters Tenzing Shaw, Russell Wong and Keith Vickers and Experts Natalya Tsodikova, Uyanga Byambaa and Bryon Doyle lead the 104-player Spring Tuesday Night Marathon with perfect scores after three rounds. It’s still possible to enter the event in round four with one-and-a-half points.

From round 3 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Gaffagan–Winslow after 42...Rxc3)White to move (Shaw–Walder after 22...Nxd4)
Black to move (Khristoforov–Vickers after 47 Nh2)White to move (Doyle–Purland after 29...Qg5)
White to move (Casares–Porlares after 15...Qxd4)Black to move (Morgan–Otterbach after 34 Re8+)
White to move (Handler–Paquette after 14...Na5)For the solutions, see the game scores (when available) for round 3.

The 2015 San Francisco Scholastic Championship, sponsored by Robert W. Baird & Co and the Mechanics’ Institute was held last Saturday in Golden Gate Park and was a great success. The 65-player top section ended in a three-way tie for first at 4–0 among Jayson Shi, Callaghan McCarty-Snead and Aaron Thompson, with Shi taking the title in a playoff.

Baird is an employee-owned, international wealth management, capital markets, private equity and asset management firm with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Established in 1919, Baird has more than 3,100 associates serving the needs of individual, corporate, institutional and municipal clients. Baird has more than $135billion in client assets. Committed to being a great place to work, Baird ranked No. 9 on FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2014 – its 11th consecutive year on the list. Baird’s principal operating subsidiaries are Robert W. Baird & Co. in the United States and Robert W. Baird Group Ltd. in Europe. Baird also has an operating subsidiary in Asia supporting Baird’s investment banking and private equity operations. For more information, please visit Baird’s Web site at

Jules Jelinek, MI Chess Club Weekly Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator writes:

The results for March 31:

1st – Jules Jelinek
2nd – David Flores
3rd – Jeff Sinick

Be sure to mark May 3 on your calendar. That is when the 9th Annual Ray Schutt Blitz will be held at the Mechanics’ Institute. Signup that day will be 12–12:45 pm, with the games getting under way around 1 pm.The prizes will be $400-$250-$150-$100-$100. Entry fee is $10 (free for GM, IM, WGM, WIM) with book prizes for all participants. The Schutt family will be providing beverages and light refreshments.

Ted Castro’s NorCal House of Chess team from Fremont, powered by Grandmaster Enrico Sevillano, International Master Ricardo de Guzman and FM Ronald Cusi has won the US Amateur Team Championship for the third time in a row. Well done!

Six-time U.S. Champion Walter Browne will be among the participants in the Larry Evans Memorial in Reno this weekend. He will be offering autographed copies of his best games collection The Stress of Chess on Sunday from 11 am–1 pm. Walter also has a half-dozen DGT clocks available for $40 each. You can contact him at his website at

Congratulations to Mechanics’ Chess Club Game/45 regular Simona Nayberg, who will be representing Northern California at the Girls' National Invitational Tournament after winning the 2015 Cal Chess Girls Qualifier last weekend.

Grandmaster James Tarjan, now living in Portland, has long ties to the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club. Its members have enjoyed seeing him come back from a thirty-year break from tournament play and write about his experiences (see the January issue of Chess Life).

Jim’s second international event since coming back was this past January in Gibraltar. Here he shares a funny story from it:

“In Gibraltar there played a man from Mongolia named Badrakh Galmandakh. He showed up with a FIDE rating of 2240. I didn't realize it during the tournament, but I see now that he played not only in the Masters but also in both of the five-round Challengers. So for ten days, in the morning he played in a Challengers round, and then the Masters in the afternoon.

“Out of the 20 games, in 18, every game but two, he opened as follows: with White, 1.d3; with Black, 1. ...d6.

“Already in the first round of the Masters, he blew his cover. He was White against GM Motylev (2665). The game began 1.d3 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.dxe4 Qxd1+ 4.Kxd1. One can almost hear Motylev thinking to himself, just what kind of patzer do I have here? Motylev was steadily outplayed and finally resigned on move 77.

“In one Challengers game, against his countryman Ravdanlkhumbuu Amgalanbaatar, Badrakh opened with 1.e4. The game ended in a draw. In the last round of the Challengers, GM Juan Bellon played 1.b3, and Badrakh responded 1. ...b6. Bellon won. Despite losing in the last round, Badrakh made an IM norm with 4½ points against 4 GMs, 5 IMs and one other. He scored four and a half out of five in both of the Challengers. At the end of the ten days he had a 2328 FIDE rating, having gained 88 points, 6.6 of them for his draw against me.”

With long-running chess columns dropping like flies these days (The New York Times for one) it is heartening to hear stories like the following one from long-time Mechanics’ friend John Henderson, who writes:

Dear Everyone,

Firstly, many thanks for your support after The Scotsman opted to recently drop my chess column. The good news is that First Move, the forward-thinking Bellevue-based education foundation in Washington that puts chess into classrooms across America, will now be sponsoring the column from today. We will start the partnership by initially running the column three-times a week—please show your support for First Move by following the column at

Each time a new column is published, you will be sent a link directly to it. Please pass the link on to the wider chess community.

Many thanks to First Move!


2) Chess in Auschwitz

An MI Newsletter reader writes:

I am asking for help from you and the other members of the international chess historians group.

In his book I Cannot Forgive Rudolph Vrba describes his escape from Auschwitz in early April, 1944 with Alfred Wetzler. After escaping they hid in a large clump of bushes “Fred lectured me amiably on the finer points of chess until we fell asleep. He was an expert. The champion of Auschwitz, in fact; and I am glad to say that he retired, unbeaten.”

I am interested in finding out whether Alfred Wetzler played in tournaments or had a rating, either before the war or afterward. He and Vrba were Slovakian Jews who had been incarcerated since 1942, so most likely they both were in their twenties.

After their escape they wrote a very detailed report dated April 25, 1944 in Zilina, Slovakia. It was immediately translated into German and Hungarian and soon into English. This was the first detailed account of what was happening at Auschwitz and the imminent planned murder of one million Hungarian Jews. Their report eventually reached the Pope, Churchill, and Roosevelt, and pressure from the Allies finally forced the Hungarian President to stop the deportations in early July, 1944, saving the lives of 600,000 persons (e.g., the Allies threatened to bomb Budapest). Some of the more than 400,000 persons deported and murdered from May 15 to early July might have been saved also, were it not for Kastner’s apparent deal with Eichmann. Kastner was the head of Hungarian Jewry and in late April had been given a Hungarian translation of the report so he could warn everyone. However he apparently suppressed the Vrba/Wetzler report in exchange for Eichmann’s arranging the transport of 2000 Hungarian Jews to safety (Kastner’s family and friends as well as other big shots). Kastner was assassinated in Tel Aviv in 1958.

Source: I Cannot Forgive by Rudolph Vrba (with Alan Bestic), Regent College Publishing, Vancouver, British Columbia, 1964. German and French editions: Ich Kann Nicht Vergeben, Munchen, Germany: Rutten + Loening Verlag, 1964; Je me Suis Evade d’Auschwitz (Paris: Presses Pocket, 1988)

Can any Newsletter reader provide more information?

3) Best Chess Books—Erik Osbun (Part One)

Newsletter #698 reported on Jacob Aagaard and John Shaw’s list of their all-time top ten chess books.

Jeremy Silman offered his and his friends selections earlier this year in an article posted at It has already attracted close to 60,000 views!

Now National Master and regular Newsletter reader Erik Osbun provides his own list. He writes:

I won’t put my 32 selections in any order, except to note that I favor books I learned from as a youth. I also have minimized tournament book selections (if not the list would be huge).

Here is my list:

Gossip: The Chess Player’s Manual (revised and edited by Lipschutz, 1888; this is likely the first chess book I saw in the library, and it has lots of games)
Edward Lasker: Chess Secrets I Learned from the Masters (probably my number 1)
James Mason: The Principles of Chess (revised by Fred Reinfeld)
Reuben Fine: The Middle Game in Chess (The first chess book I actually bought.)
R. Fine: Lessons from My Games
Wilhelm Steinitz: The Modern Chess Instructor (Contains all of his 1889 match games with Tschigorin.)
Mikhail Tal: The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal
Bobby Fischer: My 60 Memorable Games
R. Fischer: Bobby Fischer’s Games of Chess (1959)
Kramer & Postma: Das Schachphanomen Robert Fischer (in German)
Edmar Mednis: How to Beat Bobby Fischer (Even the Nicaraguans know this book!)
David Bronstein: International Grandmaster Tournament, Zurich 1953 (1956 edition in Russian, bought from Imre Konig in 1958)
Aron Nimzowitsch: My System (read cover to cover in the 50s)
Mikhail Botvinnik: 100 Selected Games
M. Botvinnik: Championship Chess (Leningrad-Moscow 1941) I bought this one at Omaha in 1959, maybe from Jack Spence.
M. Botvinnik and others: International Chess Tournament, Tschigorin Memorial, 1947 (in Russian, a prize gift from George Koltanowski in 1957)
Frank Marshall: My 50 Years of Chess
Roman Toran: David Bronstein (in German, revised by Erich Eliskases)
Philip Sergeant: Morphy’s Games of Chess
Fred Reinfeld & Reuben Fine: Dr. Lasker’s Chess Career
Dr. Hannak: Emanuel Lasker, The Life of a Chess Master
Hans Kmoch: Rubinstein’s Chess Masterpieces
Samuel Reshevsky: Reshevsky on Chess
Vassily Smyslov: My Best Games of Chess
I.A. Horowitz & H. Kmoch: World Chess Masters in Battle Royal (I checked this one out from the library probably hundreds of times)
Fred Reinfeld: Keres’ Best Games of Chess, 1931 – 1948
F. Reinfeld: Tarrasch’s Best Games of Chess
F. Reinfeld: The Unknown Alekhine, 1905 – 1914
F. Reinfeld: The Immortal Games of Capablanca
Alexander Alekhine: My Best Games of Chess, 1908 – 1923
Dr. Max Euwe: From My Games
A. Alekhine: Nottingham 1936
A. Alekhine: New York 1924

(to be continued)

4) Here and There

Here is a corrected crosstable replacing the one published in MI Newsletter #698.

New York
Dimock Thematic
                           1    2    3    4 
                          ---  ---  ---  ---
1. Tholfsen, Erling       * *  1 1  1 1  1 =  5½
2. Reinfeld, Fred         0 0  * *  1 0  1 1  3
3. Marshall, Frank James  0 0  0 1  * *  = 1  2½
4. Hanauer, Milton Loeb   0 =  0 0  = 0  * *  1
5. Perkins, Frank Kendall 1 -  0 -  = -  - - [1½/3]

Reconstructed from NY Post, 13 NOV 1929, p. 20; Brooklyn Eagle 9 MAY, 12 MAY, 23 MAY, 16 JUN, 25 JUL 1929; Reinfeld’s notebooks [from Andy Ansel].

Go to to find out more about the Dimock thematic opening tournaments.

5) This is the end

Since this is the last issue of the newsletter for four weeks, we have two different positions.

Black to move

Show solution

White to move

White’s back is literally and figuratively against the wall. Can he save himself? The solution to this one will be in the next Newsletter.

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