Chess Room Newsletter #726 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #726

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #726
November 13, 2015

I'm making unequaled preparations to play Bobby Fischer a non-FIDE World Championship match as soon as possible.

—Walter Browne (October 7, 1974)

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

FIDE Master James Critelli and Expert Igor Traub are the only remaining perfect scores after four rounds of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon. Five rounds remain to be played by the 96 contestants.

From round 4 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Gerwin–Winslow after 15 a5)White to move (Walder–Melville after 10...Nc6)
White to move (Uzzaman–Flores after 8...g4)Black to move (Bhattacharjee–Drane after 9 O-O-O)
Black to move (Andries–Sherwood after 19 Nc3)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 4.

The Mechanics’ 2015 US Chess League run was ended last Tuesday night in the quarter-finals when they were defeated by Western Division top seed Dallas by a score of 2½-1½. Uyanga Byambaa won for the M.I. on board four, defeating her opponent in 22 moves. This was Uyanga’s second playoff win and she finished the season with a 3½-1½ score, good for a 2343 performance rating.

Uyanga was also the winner of the 44th Annual Carroll Capps Memorial. She defeated International Master Vladimir Mezentsev and drew with National Master Siddarth Banik, finishing with a score of 5½-½. Mezentsev was second at 5-1 with Banik third at 4½.

This performance brought Uyanga’s rating to a personal best of 2275, which makes her the top-rated female in the Bay Area, ahead of Woman Grandmaster Nadiya Ortiz (2243), National Master Asritha Eswaran (2239) and Natalya Tsodikova (2164).

Alexander Alekhine and Bobby Fischer were both big believers in finding new ideas anywhere, be it the games of Grandmasters or club players. The following game could have been a perfect example if White had found the interesting tactic 36.Bh7+!. As it is both players get credit for an uncompromising fight.

English A23
Rafik Robeal (1724)–Julian Sachs-Weintraub (1321)
Fall TNM (3) 2015

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 c6 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.d3

6.Qb3 wins a pawn but Black gets excellent play after 6...Nc6 7.Nxd5 Nd4

6...Nc6 7.a3 h6 8.Nf3 d4 9.Nb1 Be6 10.0–0 Bd6 11.Nbd2 0–0 12.Nc4 a5 13.Qa4 Rb8 14.Nxd6 Qxd6 15.Nd2 b5 16.Qd1 a4 17.b3 axb3 18.Nxb3 Bd5 19.Bh3 b4 20.e3

20.axb4 Nxb4 21.Ba3 looks to be a more solid try to hold.

20...dxe3 21.Bxe3 Bxb3?

21...Rfd8 looks more consistent, bringing Black's last piece into play and increasing the pressure.

22.Qxb3 bxa3 23.Qc3

The immediate 23.Qxa3 was also possible.

23...Nd4 24.Qxa3 Qd5 25.Bg2 Qd7 26.Qa6 Rfe8 27.Rfb1 Rxb1+ 28.Rxb1 Qf5 29.Rb7?

29.Bxd4 exd4 30.Qc4, with a draw almost a certain result. The text overreaches.

29...Ng4! 30.Be4 Qh5 31.h4 Nxe3 32.fxe3 Qd1+ 33.Kg2 Qe2+ 34.Kh3 Qxe3?

Chess can be a hard game! Black has played a great game and understandably wants to win a pawn after all his hard work, but patience was called for. After 34...Nf3! White would be forced to trade minor pieces and his position would soon collapse. Instead White gets an unexpected opportunity.

35.Qa7! Qf2 36.Bd5?

36.Bh7+! is a tactic worth remembering. 36...Kxh7 (36...Kh8 37.Rxf7 Qg1 38.Be4 Ne2 39.Qxg1 Nxg1+ 40.Kg4 Ne2 is better for White but should also be drawn.) 37.Rxf7 Qxf7 (forced) 38.Qxf7 Re6 and while Black's fortress looks like it should hold, only White has chances for more.


36...Qf1+! should win: 37.Kh2 (or 37.Bg2 Qf5+ 38.Kh2 Qf2) 37...Nf3+.

37.Kg2 Rf8 38.Be4 Qg4 39.Qa2??

39.Rb8 to meet 39...Ne2?? with (39...Ne6 40.Rxf8+ Nxf8 and Black has chances to convert his material advantage although White is very active at the moment.) 40.Rxf8+ Kxf8 41.Qb8+.

39...Ne2! 40.Kf2 Nxg3

Or 40...Qxg3+ 41.Kxe2 Qh2+.

41.Bd5 Qf4+ 42.Kg2 Nh5 43.Qe2 Qxh4 44.Rxf7 Rxf7 45.Bxf7+ Kxf7 46.Qf3+ Nf4+ 47.Kg1 Qe1+ 48.Kh2 Qe2+ 0–1

Grandmaster Jesse Kraai will give a free lecture at the Mechanics’ on Tuesday, November 24, from 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm.

Jules Jelinek, Weekly Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator, writes:

Wednesday Night Blitz at the club (Mechanics’ Institute) continues without interruption until Thanksgiving. Signup is at 6:30; round one at 6:40 pm. Late entries are accepted.

Last week’s results were

1st – Arthur Ismakov (a perfect 12 from 12!)
2nd/3rd Women Grandmaster Nadya Ortiz and Jules Jelinek

International Master Jeremy Silman has a long association with the Mechanics’ Institute dating back to the mid-1970s, when he moved to San Francisco from San Diego.

One of the few chess writers out there who manage to both entertaining and instructive, Silman’s recent series of reminiscences about famous players he has played and analyzed with is among his best work. His latest piece, on Najdorf, Petrosian and Smyslov can be found at

2) Part One – Korchnoi (1975), recorded by James Warren

FIDE Master Ivars Dahlbergs (Oregon and later Southern California) facing Viktor Kortchnoi (right) at Lone Pine in 1981. Photo: Alan Benson

This article, which is taken here from the Illinois Chess Bulletin (1975), notes it originally appeared in the Michigan Chess Bulletin.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Viktor Korchnoi, the fifth-ranked player in the world, gave a lecture and simul at the Chicago Chess Club in February. Club member Jim Warren recorded the lecture. He and Helen Warren then transcribed Korchnoi’s words for her APCT (American Postal Chess Tournaments) News Bulletin, a monthly devoted mainly but not exclusively to postal chess. Korchnoi’s lecture is reported here with the kind permission of Helen Warren. She writes; “Korchnoi is an expansively warm person, speaks very acceptable English, and seemed perfectly at ease with his audience. He is also looking forward mightily to his match with Petrosian!”

As to the match with Mecking, I knew the expression that Mecking was one of the “bad boys of chess”; I knew of his fame and when I was preparing I read all the interviews he made. He was not very polite. Generally speaking, he doesn’t know much about courtesy. You know, I’m 20 years older than he, but during the match when, for instance, before the game he was sitting at the table, and I was coming to the board, he stretched his hand toward me, sitting on the damn chair! He could rise up just a little bit—and I was his opponent and 20 years older! During the match, I had on a sit and tie and was properly dressed, but he had on some kind of underwear! And there was an inscription on it, “Café de Brazil.” My second, Mr. Osnos, International Chess Master, suggested I put on my pants and write on them, for instance, “Drink Vodka Moscova!”

In his interviews he (Mecking) confirmed he is one of the strongest players, and that there are only three players in the world now: Fischer, Karpov, and Mecking himself! All other grandmasters are patzers or kibitzers! He confirmed that he knows me, and he says that I am rather strong, but I have a lot of flaws and he knows how to beat me. It was not very polite. By the way, I may say frankly, that I made a mistake, too. Before the drawing of lots, when the pairings were not known, in some interview I said that Mecking is a rather weak player, that he should lose to anybody he meets in the first round. It was my mistake! I did not know that I should play him; and then when it happened that I had to play him, later on I said that I had never made such a statement! I had to prove now that my statement was right; I had to prove it myself!

3) Part Two – Korchnoi (1975), recorded by James Warren

Mecking grew up in chess very, very quickly, and he learned a lot of things about chess. He knows how to play openings properly; he knows a lot about strategical fight; and it’s true, he learned how to play, for instance, in Petrosian’s style, Fischer’s style, even how to imitate my style, maybe, but he hasn’t his own face in chess, he doesn’t have any new ideas. Maybe I’m not too objective now, excuse me, because I had a very serious match, a very psychological fight, and even now I’m a little bit angry about him! Maybe next time, a month later, I will tell you just the opposite, but now, it’s my opinion that I played badly in that match—I’m not satisfied with the quality of my play.

Well, first of all, I was probably not accustomed to the difference in time and climate between Moscow and Georgia, and also I may say that Mecking is very nervous. He is really nervous! There’s dead silence in the hall, but nevertheless, Mecking complained every day and every hour about some noise in the corridor, some whistle or fan, and so on. And his nervousness transferred to me. I felt that I played much worse than I usually play. I won three games, but it was possible only with the assistance of my opponent—I could not do it myself, you know! That match was a very difficult task for me.

Very often Mecking is compared with Fischer. Now the behavior of Fischer is rather strange, but I’m not inclined to say the same. Fischer had a very difficult childhood, and he is nervous too, of course, but I understand all his deeds, his behavior, and his thoughts, and I can talk to him; I have common subjects to talk with him; but I have nothing in common with Mecking. I don’t understand his behavior. His father is a rich man, and his behaviors that of a very naughty boy, but he is now 22 years old and he has to be responsible for his behavior. When we played, the situation was very nervous. Usually I tried not to be at the board during his thinking, so as not to disturb him; but it was one of the last games of the match, and time pressure was coming for both players. I was sitting opposite him and it was his turn to think and to move, and suddenly he made such a gesture (breathing hard—it meant that I was not to breathe too loud, you know! I became like a mouse during the match; it was difficult for me to play such a match.

4) Money well spent

Las Vegas national master John Blackstone found an interesting article in the March 24, 1952, issue of the Christian Science Monitor by Mary Hornaday that explains how the Chess and Checkers House in Central Park came to be (previous to it players played outside exposed to the elements).

This one-time home of Bobby Fischer was only built in 1952 after a New York philanthropist gave $38,000. Considering this facility is still going strong 63 years later this was indeed money well spent. It is open November to March: Wednesday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day and April to October: Tuesday – Sunday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

5) Here and There

We continue our tribute to the late Walter Browne by publishing more of his games that are not in Mega Database 2015.

First, a game sent by John Blackstone.

Alekhine’s Defense B04
Walter Browne–Sperling
US Open Fairfax 1976

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 dxe5 6.dxe5 c6 7.Nc3 Be6 8.Ng5 Bg7 9.Nxe6 fxe6 10.Qg4 Nxc3 11.bxc3 Nd7 12.f4 Qa5 13.Bd2 Nc5 14.0-0 Ne4 15.Qxe6 Qc5+ 16.Kh1 Nxd2 17.Qf7+ Kd7 18.Rad1 Rhd8 19.Rxd2+ Kc7 20.Rxd8 Rxd8 21.Bd3 Bh8 22.h4 Kb6 23.Qxh7 Qd5 24.Qxe7 g5 25.Rb1+ Ka5 26.Qb4 1-0

Source: Christian Science Monitor, September 28, 1976, page 23.

Then another from Andy Ansel.

King’s Indian E91
Walter Browne–Igor Ivanov
Los Angeles op (3) July 25, 1992

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 Bg4 7.Be3 Nbd7 8.0–0 c5 9.d5 a6 10.a4 Qc7 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Bxf3 Rae8 13.a5 e6 14.Qc2 exd5 15.exd5 Ne5 16.Be2 Nfd7 17.Bd2 f5 18.f4 Nf7 19.Rf3 Bd4+ 20.Kh2 Nh6 21.Bd3 Qd8 22.g3 Nf7 23.Ne2 Bg7 24.Rg1 Nh6 25.Re1 Nf6 26.b4 Ne4 27.Rb1 Nxd2 28.Qxd2 cxb4 29.Qxb4 Rf7 30.Kg2 Rfe7 31.Kf1 Nf7 32.Kf2 g5 33.Kf1 g4 34.hxg4 fxg4 35.Rf2 Qc8 36.Qd2 Re3 37.Qc2 h5 38.Bf5 Qd8 39.Be6 R3xe6 40.dxe6 Rxe6 41.Rxb7 Qxa5 42.f5 Rf6 43.Nc3 Qe5 44.Nd5 Qxg3 45.Qe4 Ne5 46.Nxf6+ Bxf6 47.Qd5+ Kh8 48.Qxd6 Qd3+ 49.Qxd3 Nxd3 50.Re2 Ne5 51.c5 1-0

Source: Browne scoresheet

6) This is the end

The game is almost over, but the result is in doubt. What would you do?

White to move

Show solution

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