Chess Room Newsletter #713 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #713

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #713
July 17, 2015

A coach that I worked with for many years, Albert Kapengut, always told me that you need to try to be a universal player and to know everything. That’s why I learnt the games of all players. We started to read books first. There was a series in the Soviet Union called “Outstanding chess players of the world” – altogether there were 32 books. It was also called “Black series” because of the black covers. I learnt nearly everything. I will tell you how it all went. I used to come back from school, sat on the sofa, took a book without using a chess board and tried to keep everything in my mind. Then I finished the book and did it all again from the very beginning. I was not unique – many did the same thing. It is a very effective method as it allows one to develop a skill to keep all the board under control in your head. I think that musicians do the same thing to remember all the notes.

—Boris Gelfand
For the complete interview go to

The Newsletter will take a break after this issue and resume when the Leighton Allen Tuesday Night Marathon starts in early August.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Congratulations to Expert James Sun who won the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon with a 7-1 score, good for $700. His only loss was to International Master Elliott Winslow, who had to take a zero-point bye in the last round, which pushed him down into a second-place tie with Expert Aniruddha Basak at 6½.

From round 8 of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Krasnov–Stuetzel after 51 Kf6)White to move (Drane–Kondakov after 17...Nh4)
White to move (Simpkins–Everett after 13...Qb6)White to move (Bertot–Robertson after 36...Bd4)
Black to move (Gupta–Eastham after 36 Kg1)White to move (Rakonitz–Aafjes after 43...Ke6)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 8.

The 15th Annual Mechanics’ Institute Chess Camp for Advanced Players starts next Monday, July 20, and runs the entire week. Held between 10 am to 4 pm daily, the staff of instructors includes Grandmaster and three-time U.S. Champion Nick de Firmian, Grandmaster John Fedorowicz and International Master Elliott Winslow.

Go to for more information on this camp, which is open to players of all ages, and features small classes with expert instructors.

The Leighton Allen Tuesday Night Marathon, a nine-rounder, starts August 4 and runs until September 29. The $50 entry fee for nine rounds of both FIDE and USCF rated chess is a good bargain, and includes free one-hour lectures before each round (5:15 to 6:15 pm), The two guest lecturers this series are Grandmasters Ioan Christian Chirila on August 4 and Timur Gareev on September 1. M.I. Chess Director John Donaldson will give a special lecture on the history of chess at the Mechanics’ on August 11.

A memorial for six-time U.S. Chess Champion Walter Browne will be held on Saturday, August 15, from 1 to 4 pm. Light refreshments will be served. All are invited to pay their respects.

National Master Ian Schoch and Expert Ivan Kee tied for first in the 15th annual Charles Bagby Memorial G/45 held last Saturday. The two winners, who drew with each other in round four, scored 4½–½ in the 52-player event and took home $190 apiece. The next Game/45 at the Mechanics’ will be held August 1.

The Tony Lama Blitz, held to honor the Mechanics’ chess-playing guard’s 80th birthday, attracted 30 entrants last Sunday. Senior Master Arun Sharma of El Cerrito won the event in convincing style, scoring 10½ from 12 to take home the $300 first prize. FIDE Master Paul Whitehead was second with 8½ points, good for $200. Rounding out the list of prize winners were Arthur Ismakov and Vikas Kumar, whose scores of 8–4 were good for equal third and $75 apiece.

Daniel Naroditsky tied for second in the 35th Benasque Open, which finished last Saturday. The Foster City Grandmaster scored an undefeated 8 from 10, good for a 9 FIDE rating-point gain, which brings him over 2630.

Daniel’s next tournament will be the Politiken Cup, which will be held in Helsingor, Denmark, starting July 25. He will be joined in the event by fellow Grandmasters Sam Shankland and James Tarjan.

U.S. Junior Closed

The 2015 U.S. Junior Closed, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis from July 6–16, had a strong field, averaging 2482 U.S.C.F. They competed for $20,600 in prize money, with the winner seeded into the 2016 U.S. Chess Championship.

The field included International Master Yian Liou of Alamo, who will be attending U.C. Berkeley this fall.

N# Player name Score

1. IM Akshat Chandra (2589) 7
2. IM Jeffery Xiong (2606) 6½
3. FM Arthur Shen (2477) 6
4. FM Ruifeng Li (2502) 5
5. FM Michael Bodek (2527) 4½
6. IM Yian Liou (2501) 4
7. NM Mika Brattain (2457) 4
8. IM Luke Harmon-Vellotti (2526) 3½
9. FM Awonder Liang (2428) 3½
10. Curran Han (2211) 1

International Master Akshat Chandra was the winner with a score of 7-9 followed by Grandmaster Jeffrey Xiong on 6½. Yian finished in the middle of the field with a score of 4½–4½.

A talk on Jacqueline Piatigorsky by Mechanics’ Institute Chess Director John Donaldson can be found at:

An article by Donaldson on the current World Chess Hall of Fame exhibition Battle on the Board: Chess during World War II can be found at

2) Wesley So’s amazing rating progress

Born October 9, 1993

January 2005 enters the FIDE rating list at 2165
July 2006 crosses 2300 (2330)
October 2006 crosses 2400 (2411)
April 2007 crosses 2500 (2519)
October 2008 crosses 2600 (2610)
March 2013 crosses 2700 (2701)
August 2014 crosses 2750 (2755)
February 2015 crosses 2775 (2788)

One amazing statistic is that although it took Wesley nearly 4½ years to advance from 2600–2700 (very likely due to limited opportunities), he has never lost 10 points on a single FIDE rating list, though he did collectively drop 24 points from 2674 (July 2010) to 2650 (July 2012).

It’s interesting to compare So’s rise with that of Fabiano Caruana, Anish Giri and Magnus Carlsen. FIDE has increased the rate at which ratings have been published over the years from every six months, to quarterly, to the present monthly publication. This makes it hard to compare players unless they are close in age as Carlsen (November 30, 1990 - 24), Caruana (July 30, 1992 - 22), Giri (June 28, 1994 - 20) and So (21) are.

Age reached 2500: Carlsen (13), Caruana (15), Giri (15), So (14)
Age reached 2600: Carlsen (15), Caruana (16), Giri (16), So (15)
Age reached 2700: Carlsen (17), Caruana (18), Giri (17), So (20)
Age reached 2750: Carlsen (18), Caruana (20), Giri (20), So (21)
Age reached 2775: Carlsen (18), Caruana (20), Giri (20), So (21)
Age reached 2800: Carlsen (19), Caruana (22), Giri (not yet achieved), So (not yet achieved),

Note: in a couple of instances where the player was about to reach a rating milestone, but was about to turn a year older the next month, his upcoming birthday was used to give a more accurate comparison.

Clearly Carlsen has always been ahead of the others, but one can make a case that Wesley might possibly be different than Caruana and Giri, who, like Magnus, have been based in Europe for most if not all of their careers. None of the other players had a situation similar to So, who was rated in the 2600s (for 4½ years). Since then he has improved his rating at an astonishing rate before settling around 2780 the past half year.

3) New York 1915—Metropolitan Chess League individual championship

Eduardo Bauza Mercere has reconstructed the crosstable and found many games for this event, which was held March 17–May 15, 1915.

1. Edward Lasker 12/15
2-3. Roy Turnbull Black and Oscar Chajes 11½
4. Alfred Schroeder 11
5-6. Jacob Bernstein and Albert Beauregard Hodges 9½
7. Einar Michelsen 9
8-9. Charles Jaffe and Frank Kendall Perkins 8
10. John Homer Stapner 8
11. Abraham Kupchik 7½
12-13. S. Greenberg and Louis Jennings 4
14. Mario Schroeder 3½
15. O. Prante 3
16. Kuzsma 0

Crosstable corrected from various sources: Brooklyn Eagle, 20 MAY 1915, p. 3; American Chess Bulletin , 7-8/1915, p. 155; Gaige, Vol. III, p. 450.

Note: Kuzsma beat Hodges, lost to Chajes and Stapfer, and withdrew. All of Kuzsma’s games were considered losses and included as such in the final crosstable.

Here is a snappy win from the New York master Roy Black, then living in Brooklyn but later associated with Buffalo chess.

Ruy Lopez C77
Roy Turnbull Black–Jacob Bernstein
MCL individual-ch New York (3), 27.03.1915

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d4 Nxe4

This move has always been considered inferior to 5...exd4, but that may not be true.


6.Qe2 is considered the way to “punish” 5...Nxe4, but after 6...b5 7.d5 (7.Qxe4 d5 is fine for Black) 7…Nc5 8.dxc6 Nxa4 9.Nxe5 Be7 Black is slightly better.

White does better to play either 7.Nxe5, when 7…bxa4 8.Qxe4 d5 9.Nxc6+ dxe4 10.Nxd8 Kxd8 11.0–0 Bb4 offers equal chances in this unbalanced ending or transpose into the Open Ruy with 6.0-0.

6...Nc5 7.dxc6 Nxa4 8.Nxe5 bxc6

8...Bd6! 9.cxd7+ Bxd7 10.Nxd7 Qxd7 11.0–0 0–0 favors Black who has a significant lead in development.

9.0–0 Qf6 10.Re1 Be7 11.Ng4 Qd6?

Black had to play 11...Qg6 12.Qe2 Qe6 (or 12...0–0 13.Nh6+ gxh6 14.Qxe7 Bb7 15.Qxd7 c5 16.Qh3 Rfe8 which offers equal chances in a very dynamic position according to Stockfish.) 13.Qd1 Qg6.

12.Qxd6 cxd6 13.Bg5

Black is in serious trouble.

13...f6 14.Nxf6+ Kf7 15.Nxh7 Bxg5 16.Nxg5+ Kg6 17.Ne4 d5

17...Nxb2 18.Nxd6 is a worse version of the game.

18.Nd6 Nxb2 19.Nd2

Black is helpless, as he can’t get his pieces out.

19...a5 20.Re7 Kf6 21.Rae1 Na4 22.Rf7+ Kg6 23.Ree7 Rg8 24.f4 Nc3 25.g4 Ba6 26.Nf3 Rab8 27.Ne5+ Kh7 28.Rf5 Rh8 29.Ndf7 1–0

Sources: Brooklyn Eagle, 1 Apr 1915, p. 3; NY Tribune, 11 Apr 1915, p. 6

4) Here and There

Eduardo Bauza Mercere points out the position after 24...Nxh1 is quite unique, not to mention that after 20...Qxa1, all four rooks were captured on their original squares.

Philidor C41
Westfield (NJ) 2014

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 f5 4.dxe5 fxe4 5.Ng5 d5 6.e6 Bc5 7.Nf7 Qf6 8.Be3 d4 9.Bg5 Qf5 10.g4 Qd5 11.c4 Qxe6 12.Nxh8 Nc6 13.Na3 Ne5 14.Bg2 Nd3+ 15.Kf1 Nf6 16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.Qe2 e3 18.Qf3 .Nxf2 19.Qxf6 gxf6 20.Nb5 d3 21.Nxc7+ Kf8 22.Nxa8 Bxg4 23.h3 Be2+ 24.Kg1 Nxh1 25.Bxh1 Bd1 26.b4 e2+ 27.Kg2 e1Q 28.bxc5 Bf3+ 29.Kxf3 Qxa1 30.Ke3 Qxh1 31.Kxd3 Qxh3+ 32.Kd4 Kg7 33.Nc7 Qd7+ 34.Nd5 Kxh8 35.Ke4 Qe6+ 36.Kf3 f5 37.Kg3 Qe1+ 38.Kg2 Qe2+ 39.Kg3

Source: Atlantic Chess News Annual 2015, page 18.

Best of Northwest Chess, a collection of articles from Washington Chess Letter, Northwest Chess Letter and Northwest Chess identified by former NW Chess editor and business manager Russell (Rusty) Miller can be found at

5) This is the end

Genrikh Kasparyan was one of the most prolific composers of endgame studies. Here is one.

White to move

Black seems to have a simple task to avoid defeat: capture the pawn, and king + two knights vs king will draw. But things are not always what they seem.

This study is quite difficult. The solution will appear in the next Newsletter, scheduled for Friday, August 7.

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