Chess Room Newsletter #705 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #705

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #705
May 8, 2015

The next Newsletter will appear on May 29.

Perhaps the most important advice is that if you can’t think of a good plan, at least don’t play a bad one.

—John Nunn on page 53 of Understanding Chess Middlegames

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Tenzing Shaw and Russell Wong shared top honors in the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. The two National Masters scored 7–1 to top the 106-player field, and divide $1225 in prize money. The crosstable for the event can be found at

From round 8 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Winslow–Khristoforov after 10...Bb7)White to move (Doyle–Fuentes after 11...e5)
White to move (Byambaa–Grey after 10...O-O)Black to move (Nelson–Steger after 14 Nd1)
White to move (Bertot–Gupta after 21...Qxc7)Black to move (Gurovich–Gerwin after 12 Bd3)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 8.

The Summer TNM starts May 26, and Orinda Grandmaster Sam Shankland, first board for the United States in the 2014 World Team Championship, will be the special guest lecturer that day. Come here Sam speak about his experiences in the World Team, from 5:15 to 6:15 pm. The event is free and open to all.

Foster City Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky was the convincing winner of the 9th Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz, held May 3. Daniel scored 10½ from 12 to take home the $400 first place. National Masters Andrew Boekhoff and James Critelli shared second with 9½ points, good for $200 apiece. The surprise performance of the 6 double-round, 51-player event, was 1910 rated Edward Lewis who scored 9–3 to take clear fourth place. Three Grandmasters and four International Masters were among the 51 players taking part. Photos for the event can be found at

Wednesday Night Blitz Results, by Jules Jelinek

April 1
1st – Jules Jelinek
2nd – Mariano Mayans
3rd – David Flores

April 7

1st – Arthur Ismakov
2nd – IM Elliott Winslow
3rd - Jules Jelinek

April 14

1st – Carlos D’Avila
2nd/3rd - Arthur Ismakov and Jules Jelinek

April 21

1st – Jules Jelinek
2nd – Arthur Ismakov
3rd - Carlos D’Avila

April 28

1st – IM Ray Kaufman
2nd – Gady Costeff
3rd – Arthur Ismakov

Ashik Uzzaman writes:

Hello everyone, I have created the Facebook group. For now I have named it Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club (MICC) Players (as other similar names are already taken by MICC Facebook page and Wikipedia page).

Please join this group and start posting games and news in this group, as well as letting your friends and colleagues know about this group. I will send a group membership invite to each of you shortly.

Attendance in the Tuesday Night Marathon

The TNM has experienced steady growth the past few years as the following figures show.

2000 - average 51 players per event
2001 - average 54 players per event
2002 - average 68 players per event
2003 - average 78 players per event
2004 - average 77 players per event
2005 - average 71 players per event
2006 - average 63 players per event
2007 - average 75 players per event
2008 - average 68 players per event
2009 - average 65 players per event
2010 - average 59 players per event
2011 - average 57 players per event
2012 - average 70 players per event
2013 - average 88 players per event
2014 - average 94 players per event

So far in 2015 the Winter TNM has drawn 121 players and the Spring TNM 106 players.

Looking at the names of the top finishers in the Larry Evans Memorial, held April 3-5 in Reno, one might have thought it was a tournament from thirty-five years ago, as veteran Grandmasters dominated the field. Alexander Ivanov won the top section of the 182-player event with an undefeated 5–1. Among those who nicked him for a half point was fellow Grandmaster James Tarjan, who ended up in a massive tie for second at 4½-1½ with MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Nick de Firmian (two half-point byes and one draw), Sergey Kudrin, 6-time US Champion Walter Browne, Enrico Sevillano, Melik Khachian, International Masters John Bryant and Ray Kaufman and FIDE Master Alexander Kretchetov. Fran and Jerry Weikel directed this annual event for the Sands Regency Hotel and Casino.

Bay Area chess players shone in the National High School Championship held in Columbus, Ohio, April 10–12. Cameron Wheeler tied for second at 6–1, taking the only half point from tournament winner International Master Akshat Chandra (2580 USCF) in round five. Cameron’s result gives him the longer overdue USCF Senior Master title as his rating went over 2400 after the event. International Master Kesav Viswanadha led the event with 5–0 but lost to Chandra to finish on 5½. He also had a fine tournament, putting his USCF rating back over 2400.

2) World Team Championship

The 2015 World Team Championship was held in Tsakhkadzor, Armenia from April 19–28 with Russia, China, Ukraine, Armenia, Cuba, Hungary, Israel, India, Egypt and the United States competing in the 10-team round robin.

The Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club supplied 40% of the US team, with Sam Shankland and Daniel Naroditsky playing first board and reserve respectively. Joining them were Alex Onischuk, Varuzhan Akobian and Alex Lenderman, with Gregory Taimanov as coach and John Donaldson as captain.

The team, seeded 9th out of 10 teams, had an excellent result tying for 4th with Russia. Sam scored 4/9 on board one, facing an average rating of 2732(!), while Daniel’s score of 4 from 7 included a win over 2740-rated Dimitry Jakovenko of Russia.

3) Denker, Barber and National Girls Invitational by Michael Aigner

The following article first appeared on National Master Michael Aigner’s blog .

The most heavily loaded Denker qualifier in CalChess history took place at the Bay Area Chess headquarters in Milpitas the weekend of March 28–29. Eight high-school masters competed in a high-class round-robin with an average USCF rating of 2296. In a sign of the cutthroat competition, the top three seeds each scored a win and a loss in the head-to-head pairings. However, the favorites finished undefeated against the other five participants, and the final standings depended on the number of draws allowed.

At the end of a long weekend, 15-year old FIDE Master Vignesh Panchanatham (2365) earned a trip to the Denker Invitational at the US Open in Phoenix.  International Master Kesav Viswanadha (2386) and FIDE Master Cameron Wheeler (2386) took 2nd and 3rd places. Vignesh beat Kesav in round 2, but lost to Cameron in round 6. Alas, Cameron succumbed to Kesav in the finale. Along the way, Vignesh surrendered just one draw, Kesav two, and Cameron three.

Denker Qualifier - Final Standings

1 FM Vignesh Panchanatham (2365) 5½
2 IM Kesav Viswanadha (2386) 5
3 FM Cameron Wheeler (2386) 4½
4 NM Pranav Nagarajan (2200) 3½
5 NM Siddharth Banik (2298) 3
6 NM Jack Zhu (2255) 3
7 NM Colin Chow (2261) 2½
8 NM Teemu Virtanen (2218) 1

Two more qualifiers occurred alongside the Denker last weekend. In another clutch victory for the #3 seed, 12-year old FIDE Master Rayan Taghizadeh (2226) scored 1½–½ against his highest rated competitors to qualify for the Barber Invitational (restricted to K–8 players). The National Girls Invitational qualifier followed a similar script, when 12-year old Simona Nayberg (1821) scored 1½–½ against her top challengers.

4) Chess Books – Erik Osbun (Part 2)

I have something to add about books I used in my youth.

I read the following books cover to cover long ago: My System ( Reinfeld edited edition 1947) by Nimzovich, The Middle Game in Chess by Fine (1952), Judgment and Planning in Chess (1955) by Euwe, Strategy and Tactics in Chess (1937) by Euwe, Pawn Power in Chess ( 1959 ) by Kmoch, Chess Fundamentals by Capablanca, The Art of Sacrifice in Chess (1951 edited and revised by Horowitz and Reinfeld ) by Spielmann, and Master Chess Play (1951) by Wenman. These (other than Fine’s book already on my list) may have made my list, because they were quite good.

Wenman’s book is a collection of 106 very lightly annotated games, containing several of James Mason’s best games, several from the Vienna Gambit tournament of 1903, several from Ostend 1905,and a few from St. Petersburg 1914. I started my own collection after perusing this book from the library, and several are included in my notebooks.

Euwe’s books are quite good, but Euwe probably spent too much time thereafter systematizing his treasure trove of game data rather than examining them in depth. Some evidence of that came about: I have his two books on the Middle Game published in 1964, but that was after I had attained master ranking, and had not much time or taste to read them while in college and working to pay for that too. [In 1963 I was reading Shakhmatny Biulletin heavily.]

Kmoch’s Pawn Power in Chess is quite good, but you have to get by his arcane language and study the moves. Both Kmoch and Euwe tend to systematize rather a lot more than is necessary. After all, they worked together.

Nimzovich’s book might have been the best, except that his language (translators and revisers had a tough time with that) is indirect and his own moves sometime ignore the dynamic element. Tacticians like Marshall, Alekhine and Capablanca, and even Rubinstein chalked up plus scores against Nimzovich with sharp harmonious play.

Spielmann’s book is personal and reasonably well translated. It has some great games as well as some shallow games, but that’s chess by Spielmann. These games are rather well annotated, and apparently left some room for improvements by later chess masters.

Capablanca’s Chess Fundamentals is a book any aspiring youngster should read. It’s not a tough read like Nimzovich’s book, but his examples from his own practice are great. It was a follow up to his My Chess Career, in which he showed only his wins, and corrected that self-pump up with his few carefully annotated losses in Chess Fundamentals.

Today’s books are in many regards rather better. I like the fairly numerous productions by Timman, Nunn, Mednis, Marovic, Gligoric and especially Ivan Sokolov. Two books that I wish I had when I was young are Romanovsky’s Middlegame Combinations and Middlegame Planning, which awaited rather good translations by Jimmy Adams, published in 1991 and 1990, respectively. I think these works by Romanovsky are more colorful and superior to Fine’s book on that subject. Too bad they were not translated earlier.

Not mentioned is Emanuel Lasker’s Manual of Chess because I was not able to obtain a copy until later in my youth. It’s a good read, but not all of it seems strictly about chess. After all, Lasker was the strongest player for the longest time. He should have been invited to the New York 1927 tournament, probably would have won it, and probably would have taken Capablanca in a close match under better conditions. He was always better than Capablanca in tournament play until he really tired out by old age in 1936.

I left out Koenig’s book From Morphy to Botvinnik. It is meaty with over 100 GM games and pretty well annotated. I had the book, now rather battered, in my youth and am only now getting close to completing the re-annotation of all the games in the book’s margins. Once I had an argument with Imre about his analysis of the first game in the book, and probably he was right and I was wrong way back then. However, since then I have found a number of mistakes in analysis or judgment in his notes and more often omissions of critical moves/lines. It is quite compelling to analyze these games and what he wrote about them; his selections are superb and provide stimulus that kept me working on it all through the years. It is an excellent work book that I can recommend to any aspiring chess player.

5) Chess Tournament Fundraiser for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

Dear Sir/Madam,

The Allied Arts Guild Auxiliary is having an unrated quad chess tournament on Saturday, May 16th, 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM at the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. This is a one-day benefit for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and uncompensated care for critically-ill children.

I hope your chess students can support us for this fun and exciting event.

I am sending you an attachment for the entry form.

Many thanks, in advance, for your kind support. If you have questions, I can be reached at (650) 722-1890 or e-mail:  [email protected]

By the way, my daughter, Lauren Goodkind, will be the chess tournament director at this event. She looks forward to seeing some of her friends from MI there.

“For the love of children”

Marion Goodkind
Chess Tournament Chairperson, benefiting Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

6) Inaugural Grand Chess Tour Unveiled In Saint Louis

SAINT LOUIS (April 24, 2015)—There is a new, gold standard for international chess competition, providing more opportunities for the world’s best chess players to compete on a grand stage.

The world’s most prestigious, international chess events are combining efforts to establish a gold standard for the inaugural Grand Chess Tour, an annual competitive circuit for ten of the world’s top grandmasters. The announcement was made today at a press conference held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

The Grand Chess Tour is an affiliation between the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (Sinquefield Cup), Tower AS (Norway Chess) and Chess Promotions Ltd. (London Chess Classic), combining the organizational efforts of three elite events into one unified competitive structure. The partnership aims to raise worldwide awareness for each prestigious tournament, as well as for the tour.

The inaugural 2015 Tour will kick off in June as a three-event cycle, beginning with Norway Chess 2015, followed by the Sinquefield Cup in August/September, and finishing with the London Chess Classic in 2015.

Norway Chess 2015 - Stavanger, Norway, June 15 – June 26, 2015
Sinquefield Cup - Saint Louis, USA, August 21 – September 3, 2015
London Chess Classic - London, England, December 3 – December 14, 2015

Based on FIDE’s January 2015 rating list, the Grand Chess Tour invited the world’s top-ten international grandmasters, eight of whom agreed to appear in all three international events. A ninth grandmaster, who will also play the entire tour, will be added at a later date. The tenth and final grandmaster will be selected as a wildcard by each organizing host.

Each of the three 2015 Grand Chess Tour events will award individual prize funds of $300,000, with competitors also tallying points toward a tour prize fund of $150,000; the overall tour champion will receive an additional $75,000. The total prize fund for the circuit is $1,050,000.

The participating players are
World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, Norway
Fabiano Caruana, Italy
Alexander Grischuk, Russia
Veselin Topalov, Bulgaria
Viswanathan Anand, India
Levon Aronian, Armenia
Anish Giri, Netherlands
Hikaru Nakamura, USA

“The Grand Chess Tour was created with just one goal in mind: Demonstrating the highest level of organization for the world’s best players,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the CCSCSL. “Featuring the world’s strongest chess professionals fighting for massive prize funds, along with a full spectator experience led by world-class commentary, this circuit sets forth an internationally coordinated effort that casts a shining spotlight on global chess competition.”

“It’s an honor to be among the giants of chess organizers,” said Joran Aulin-Jansson with Tower AS (Norway Chess). “Having the world’s best chess players in one circuit is a great way to fuel excitement for the future of chess.”

“The London Chess Classic is delighted to be part of this new venture which we feel sure will greatly add to the public interest in top flight chess,” said Malcom Pein, Director London Chess Classic.  “We look forward to the Grand Chess Tour climaxing in London and to further tournaments joining the GCT in coming years.”

Participating tournaments are identified as the gold standard for international event organization, setting the model for player conditions, prize funds and spectator experience. Each of the events will cater to live audiences, as well as offer streaming broadcasts complete with grandmaster commentary.

For more information, visit

7) This is the end

In the previous Newsletter 704, we had the position

White to move

Show solution

Here is a simple mate. At least, it would be simple except that it was move 173, and by a USCF rule in force at the time, games were automatically drawn after 175 moves. So White has only three moves (moves 173, 174 and 175) to win.

White to move and mate in 3

Show solution

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