Chess Room Newsletter #710 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #710

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #710
June 26, 2015

I think Lasker’s main strength, and what distinguished him from the other players of his generation, was his excellent psychology. He knew precisely which moves would discomfort his opponent, and without taking excessive risks he would cause situations to arise on the board in which his opponents were likely to make a mistake. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he was making deliberately bad moves, but he knew how to induce mistakes.

—John Nunn, interviewed by Tim Harford

A memorial for Alan Benson will be held this Sunday, June 28, from 1 to 4 pm at the Mechanics’ Institute. Light refreshments will be served. All are welcome to attend.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliot Winslow leads the 99-player Tuesday Night Marathon with a 5–0 score. Seven players, lead by National Masters Tenzing Shaw, Art Zhao, Russell Wong and Keith Vickers, are tied for second with four points.

From round 5 of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Winslow–Sun after 18...d6)White to move (Askin–Clemens after 23...Rfe8)
Black to move (Newey–Kokesh after 23 Kh2)White to move (Argo–Everett after 12...Nf6)
White to move (Sevall–Lin after 36...a5)White to move (Montoya–Porlares after 14...Nxe7)
Black to move (Frank–Cohee after 17 Rad1)Black to move (Sachs-Weintraub–Hilliard after 24 Rf2)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 5.

National Master Udit Iyengar won the 15th William Addison Memorial, held June 20. The 14-year-old from Fremont scored 5–0, including a win over Senior Master Teddy Coleman. Juan Ventosa and Benjamin Oh (visiting from Hong Kong) shared second with 4 points.

The Tony Lama Birthday Blitz, honoring the long-time Mechanics’ guard (25 years!), will be held July 12 at the Mechanics’. Go to for more information.

Congratulations to Uyanga Byambaa of Oakland, who tied for first with a score of 4–1 in the U.S. Women’s Open Chess Tournament, held in Las Vegas last weekend. USCF President Ruth Haring of Chico finished with 3 points.

Senior Master Cameron Wheeler tied for fifth in the US Game in 10 Minutes tournament held in Las Vegas in conjunction with the National Open. The event, which was quite strong, was won by Ilya Nyzhnik, ahead of fellow Grandmasters Gata Kamsky and Alexey Dreev.

The winners of the main event, held June 19–21, were Grandmaster Alexey Dreev, Gata Kamsky, Ilya Nyzhnyk and Axel Bachman at 5–1. Top Bay Area scorers were International Master Kesav Viswanadha and National Master Vignesh Panchantham. The two teenagers each scored 4½ points, with Kesav beating International Master Aldama and losing only to Dreev, while Vignesh beat Grandmaster Rohde and was only defeated by Kamsky. Mechanics’ Grandmaster-in-Residence Nick de Firmian had a strong performance, scoring an undefeated 4–2, including draws with Grandmasters Kamsky, Rohde and Alex Lenderman.

2) Alan Benson (1947-2015), by Kerry Lawless

This Intermediate Tournament Director was originally an over-the-board USCF Master (1971), ICCF Master (1975), and simultaneous blindfold chess expert (up to 10 boards). He personified Berkeley tournament chess during the post-Fischer era.

Some of the many tournaments he directed were the annual People’s Chess Tournament (starting in 1971 through 1980; the 1st Annual Capps Memorial (1971); (Assistant Director) all eight Paul Masson Chess Tournaments; (Assistant Director) 1975 Lone Pine; and the Calchess Masters Open in 1979 and 1981. He also assisted in the Mechanics’ Institute Pan Pacific Grandmaster Chess Tournament (San Francisco 1987) and the Pan Pacific Grandmaster Chess Tournament (San Francisco 1991). Alan ran the SF Bay Area portion of the National Telephone Chess League from 1976-1979 (the Berkeley Riots team were the National Champions from 1977-78).

He was also the Director of the East Asia Book & Game Center Chess Club during Fischer’s reign and the Director of the UC Berkeley Campus Chess Club (under the auspices of SUPERB Productions) from 1976 to 1981. He was Games Bulletin Editor of the Lone Pine tournaments from 1976 to 1979. He was Chess Editor of several East Bay newspaper chess columns: the Berkeley Gazette and the Daily Californian. He started as treasurer of the Professional Chess Association (PCA) and eventually became its president. He was also the Promotions Coordinator for ProChess from 1979-1980. More recently (2004) he worked for Games of Berkeley and ordered the chess books for them.

3) Fischer in Colorado Springs

Edward Winter’s Chess Notes , the number-one site in the world for chess history, has come through again with an amazing find—a forgotten Fischer simul in Colorado Springs. number 9219 has information on a previously-unknown simul Bobby Fischer gave in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Here is the only draw Bobby gave up. I have added light notes to the game (John Donaldson).

Philidor C41
Fischer–Juan Reid
Colorado Springs (simul) April 28, 1964

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 exd4 5.Nxd4 Be7

This variation of the Philidor has been played for over a hundred years, but it was the Soviet Grandmaster Antoshin who made it respectable in the 1960s. Today many Grandmasters use it, including Mamedyarov and Bu. Black has rich strategical play with ...d5, .c5 and ...b5 breaks, plus pressuring the e4 pawn.


A rare treatment.

6.Be2, 6.Bc4, 6.Bf4, 6.g3 and 6.Bd3 are all more common.

6...Nbd7 7.Be3 Ne5?!

7...0–0 8.Qd2 Nb6 9.0–0–0 d5 10.e5 Ne8 11.Nb3 c6 12.Kb1 Nc7 and 7…0-0 8.Nf5 Ne5 9.Nxe7+ Qxe7 10.Qd2 Be6 11.0–0–0 Rfd8 both offer equal chances.

8.Qd2 c5 9.Bb5+! Bd7?

This move is a serious mistake as it loses control of f5. Black had to play 9...Kf8.

10.Nf5 0–0 11.Bxd7 Qxd7 12.0–0–0

Not bad, but 12.Bxc5 won a clean pawn.

12...Nc4 13.Qe2 Nxe3 14.Qxe3 Rfd8 15.g4 Bf8 16.e5 Ne8 17.Ne4?

Too fancy. The simple 17.exd6 wins material. For example 17...Nxd6 18.Rxd6 Bxd6 19.Rd1 Qc7 (or 19...Qe6 20.Qxe6 Bf4+ 21.Qe3 Bxe3+ 22.Nxe3 Rxd1+ 23.Kxd1) 20.Nb5 Bf4 21.Nxc7 Bxe3+ 22.Nxe3 Rxd1+ 23.Kxd1. In both cases White has excellent chances to win the ending.


17...Qe6 18.exd6 Nxd6 offered equal chances.


18.e6! fxe6 19.Ng5 Rd7 (19...e5 20.Ne6 wins the exchange) 20.Qxe6+ Kh8 21.Rhe1 with a dominating position.

18...Nxd6 19.Nexd6 Bxd6 20.Nxd6 Rxd6 21.Rxd6 Qxd6 22.Rd1 Qxh2 23.Qe7 Qb8 24.Rd7 Qf4+ 25.Kb1 g6 26.Qe2 b6 27.a3 a6 28.Qd3 b5?!

28...Re8 was more challenging. The forcing line 29.Rd8 Rxd8 30.Qxd8+ Kg7 31.Qxb6 Qxf3 32.Qxc5 Qxg4 favors Black after 33.b4 h5 and the h-pawn is very quick.

29.Qd5 Re8 30.Ka2 Re5

Black could safely continue.


4) Here and There

Congratulations to Erik Karklins (father of Andrew) of Chicago who recently celebrated his 100th and continues to play Expert-level chess.

National Master John Blackstone of Las Vegas passes along the following two games.

Grunfeld D93
Herbert Seidman–Joseph Richman
New York Marshall CC-ch 1941/42

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Qb3 c6 7.Nf3 e6 8. Be2 Nh5 9. Be5 Bxe5 10. Nxe5 Ng7 11. O-O Nd7 12. f4 Nf5 13. Rf3 c5 14. Rd1 Nxe5 15.dxe5 d4 16. Ne4 Qb6 17. Nf6+ Kg7 18. Rh3 h6 19. Qa3 Nxe3 20.Rxd4 Nf5 21.Rd2 Qb4 22. Qxb4 cxb4 23. g4 Ne7 24. Rhd3 a5 25. Bf3 Nc6 26. Rd6 g5 27. Bxc6 bxc6 28. fxg5 Bb7 29. Nd7 Rfe8 30. gxh6+ Kxh6 31. Nc5 Ba6 32. b3 Rec8 33. Rd7 Kg6 34. h4 a4 35. Rf2 f5 36. Nxe6 fxg4 37. Rf6+ Kh5 38. Rh7 1-0

Source: Christian Science Monitor, March 7, 1942.

The following game is from the 1945 California State Championship.

Ruy Lopez A60
A.J. Fink–Goldberg
San Francisco 1945

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.c3 d6 8.d4 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 Nc4 11.b3 Nb6 12.Qe2 exd4 13.cxd4 c5 14.dxc5 dxc5 15.Rd1 Qc7 16.e5 Nfd5 17.Rxd5 Nxd5 18.Qd3 g6 19.Qxd5 Bb7 20.Qd1 Rad8 21.Qe2 Bxf3 22.gxf3 Qd7 23.Be3 Qxh3 24.Nd2 Qh5 25.Bf4 Bg5 26.Qe3 Bxf4 27.Qxf4 Rfe8 28.Re1 Rd4 29.Re4 Rxe4 30.Nxe4 Qxe5 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Qh4 Kg7 33.Nxe8+ Qxe8 34.Kg2 Qe5 35.Qd8 h5 36.Be4 c4 37.bxc4 bxc4 38.Qc8 c3 39.Qxa6 Qg5+ 40.Kh2 Qd2 41.Qa7 c2 42.Bxc2 Qxc2 43.Qd4+ Kg8 44.a4 Qc7+ 45.f4 Kf8 46.Kg3 g5 47.Qh8+ Ke7 48.Qe5+ Qxe5 49.fxe5 Ke6 50.f4 h4+ 51.Kg4 gxf4 52.a5 f3 53.Kxf3 Kd5 54.Kg4 Kc6 55.Kxh4 Kb5 56.Kg5 Kxa5 57.Kf6 1-0

Christian Science Monitor, March 31, 1945

Chris Mavraedis writes:

I enjoyed this classic video on YouTube - . Some good games—the Great Dane Bent Larsen and the last half hour my old friend GM Julian Hodgson, albeit in a much younger version. I also was amused by the crude computer graphics in this 1990–91 video. Notice in the first games how slowly the pieces move. But this was state-of-the-art in 1990.

Leonard Barden and George Koltanowski are two names that come immediately to mind when thinking of long-running chess columns. Frederick Chevalier is another. His column in the Christian Science Monitor ran from October 1929 to Apr 8, 1980.

The World Chess Hall of Fame opened an exhibit entitled Battle on the Board: Chess during World War II on June 25. It will run until January 17, 2016.

Though chess is often perceived as a game of war, it also serves as a means of passing long hours or as an aid in recuperation for members of the military. Battle on the Board: Chess During World War II provides insight into how a game modeled upon battle can provide a sense of home and community as well as demonstrating the dramatic changes the war brought to the game. The exhibition includes prisoner of war chess sets from the collections of the National Museum of the Marine Corps and National Museum of the United States Air Force, archival material from the John G. White Chess Collection at the Cleveland Public Library, and highlights from the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Go to for more information.

5) This is the end

Speaking of Fischer,

White to move

Show solution

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