Chess Room Newsletter #728 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #728

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #728
November 27, 2015

Books are your coach. Botvinnik is your coach. Alekhine is your coach. Having a trainer is good but not everyone can afford it. So many books are available out there, and if you are ready to use your brain then you can learn from them. Coaches will teach you from those very books and charge you money for it. Why do you want to do that?

—Baadur Jobava, interviewed by Sagar Shah at

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

12-year-old Expert Josiah Stearman is leading the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon after 6 rounds with 5½ points. Trailing him a half-point back are top-seeded National Master James Critelli and Experts Natalya Tsodikova and Igor Traub. Three rounds remain for the 101-player field.

From round 6 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Drane–Winslow after 57...Rf7)White to move (Askin–Bertot after 31...Qd7)
White to move (Casares–Brown after 22...Qxa2)White to move (McKellar–Smith after 4...Bf5)
Black to move (Sadeghi–Chalissery after 55 Ke3)White to move (Sloan–Greene after 6...e6)
White to move (Simpkins–Mathrubootham after 7...Bg4)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 6.

Next Thursday evening, December 3, four-player teams from Dropbox (captained by Renjish Abraham) and TubeMogul (captained by Ashik Uzzaman) will face off in a match played between 7 and 9 pm at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club. Spectators are welcome to attend.

Last week MI Chess Club Coordinator Paul Whitehead wrote about the article on the Mechanics’ Chess Club which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle :

It stars Peter Grey and Enkhjin Gombuldeev, but many other Tuesday Night Marathon regulars get cameo roles, including Jossy Chalissery, Renate Otterbach, Richard Newey and Micah Koga.

Peter Grey (Photo: Lea Suzuki)

Felix Rudyak and Jules Jelinek tied for first in the Wednesday Night Blitz on November 18. Joe Urquhart was third.

Congratulations to Jesse Kraai, who took first on tiebreaks in the recently-concluded Edmonton International. Joining Jesse at 7½/9 were fellow Grandmasters Enrico Sevillano and Tejas Bakre.

Here is a nice win by Jesse in the style of Tigran Petrosian and the late Igor Ivanov, who won many nice games with 7 d5.

King’s Indian Petrosian
Jesse Kraai–Enrico Sevillano
Edmonton 2015

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 g6 3. e4 d6 4. d4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 Nbd7 8. Bg5 a5 9. Nd2 h6 10. Be3 Nc5 11. O-O Ne8 12. a3 f5 13. f3 f4 14. Bf2 Nd7 15. b4 g5 16. c5 h5 17. c6 Ndf6 18. cxb7 Bxb7 19. Nc4 axb4 20. axb4 Rxa1 21. Qxa1 Qe7 22. Qa7 Bc8 23. Nb6 Bd7 24. Nxd7 Qxd7 25. b5 Bh6 26. Ra1 Qg7 27. b6 cxb6 28. Qxg7+ Bxg7 29. Bb5 Rf7 30. Ra8 Re7 31. Bc6 Bf8 32. Bxb6 g4 33. Nb5 gxf3 34. gxf3 Rg7+ 35. Kf1 Kf7 36. Bd8 Be7 37. Na7 h4 38. Bxe7 Kxe7 39. Nc8+ Kf7 40. Ra7+ Kf8 41. Rxg7 Kxg7 42. Bxe8 Nxe8 43. h3 Kf8 44. Ke2 Kf7 45. Kd3 Kf8 46. Kc4 Nf6 47. Nxd6 Nh7 48. Nf5 Ng5 49. Nxh4 Ke7 50. Kc5 Nxh3 51. d6+ Kd7 52. Kd5 Ng5 53. Kxe5 Nf7+ 54. Kxf4 Kxd6 55. Kf5 Nh6+ 56. Kg6 Ng8 57. Kf7 1-0

2) The Ultimate Gamesman—Walter Browne (Part One)
      by David A. Fryxell

The following article was published in TWA magazine in August 1980, and is one of many excellent pre-Internet articles that cannot be found online. We were lucky to find a copy of the magazine of the defunct airline in the chess effects of the late Walter Browne.

Walter Browne will play you in anything. Walter Browne will win.

Walter Browne can’t sit still. Beneath the plain folding table with the palin green-and-buff plastic chessboard taped to it, his right leg keeps the beat for some inner music. His knuckles screw insistently into his tenples as though to squeeze out the right move. Hunched over the board, face dark with five-o’clock shadow and a droopy mustache, twitching with competitive frenzy, Browne is the embodiment of the nickname he’s none too fond of: the savage.

If Browne is The Savage, what does that make his opponent, Douglas Root, age sixteen? Root is painfully thin, peering out at the board with puppy-dog-lost eyes masked by thick glasses; he is the kid in your algebra class who knows all the answers, but doesn’t tie his shoes. But it would be a mistake to cast Root as the sacrificial lamb in this drama. In the complicated system of rating strength—where “master” class begins at 2200 points, “grand master” at 2400—young Root is literally at the edge of greatness, with a rating of 2381. Browne, age 31, is rated 2538.

They are playing in what looks like a junior-high cafeteria-rows of tables, plain brick walls. It is, in fact, the town hall of Lone Pine, California, a building constructed as much for chess as for as for civic functions. Forty-three of the best chess players in the world have come to this tiny town at the base of Mr. Whitney to play for $50,000 in prizes, one of the richest purses in professional chess. The tournament is in Lone Pine because the man with the money, the man who built the town hall, is a local resident, an inventor and chess aficionado named Louis D. Statham. It is the sort of town where the green-and-white highway sign at the city limits gives the elevation, not the population. Such is the state of professional chess in 1980 in the United States.

This afternoon, Browne is ahead by a pawn, but twenty minutes behind on the clock. He’s used most of the 150 minutes allotted each player to make 45 moves, and he’s still a long way from the magic 45-move mark. Browne must hurry his game to stave off a forfeit on time, while Root has the leisure of many precious minutes to ponder his position. When Root completes a move, punching his end of the chess clock to start Browne’s time ticking away again, Browne lashes out and maneuvers the pieces as though herding wild animals. He stabs his clock, scribbles his move on the scoresheet, and goes back to thinking, knuckles grinding away.

One opponent has described playing against Browne as like playing chess with an oncoming train. Browne himself has said, “If Bobby Fischer is the god of chess, then I’m the devil. Fischer plays perfect chess. I’m tenacious, tricky, like the devil.” And like the devil, Browne is driven to win, to win at all costs, he says, short of actual physical violence, though one suspects he wouldn’t hesitate to karate-chop the chessboard—or an opponent—if he thought it would help. If it had been Walter Browne instead of Lucifer in Paradise Lost, Milton might have had to write an entirely different ending.

(to be continued)

3) Here and There

The FIDE website ( is one place to look for player’s FIDE ratings (and that includes those playing in the Tuesday Night Marathon). Another, more up-to-date site, is The following list of the top twenty rated players in the Americas as of 11/21/2015 comes from there.

1. Nakamura (USA) 2793
2. Caruana (USA) 2787
3. So (USA) 2767
4. Dominguez (Cuba)2732
5. Kamsky (USA) 2681
6. Grand Zuniga (Peru) 2678
7. Bareev (Canada) 2675
8. Onischuk (USA) 2664
9. Robson (USA) 2659
10. Bruzon (Cuba) 2657
11. Shankland (USA) 2646
12. Quesada (Cuba) 2643
13. Leitao (Brazil) 2633
14. Naroditsky (USA) 2628
15. Lenderman (USA) 2627
16. Zherebukh (USA) 2627
17. Mareco (Argentina) 2625
18. Iturrizaga (Venezuela) 2624
19. Akobian (USA) 2618
20. Cordova (Peru) 2611

The US leads the way with 11 players, including the top three, and MI members Sam Shankland (#11) and Daniel Naroditsky (#14). Cuba is second with three (Dominguez, Bruzon and Quesada). Peru is third with two (Granda and Cordova), followed by Argentina (Mareco), Brazil (Leitao), Canada (newly-affiliated Bareev) and Venezuela (Iturrizaga).

Andy Ansel provides the following two upsets over 1973 United States co-champion John Grefe. Both were played in the Liberty Bell Open in Philadelphia in different years.

Modern Defense A42
David Moore–John Grefe
Liberty Bell op Philadelphia 1974

1.c4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 Nc6 5.Nge2 e5 6.d5 Nce7 7.Be3 f5 8.f3 Bh6 9.Bxh6 Nxh6 10.Qd2 Nf7 11.Nc1 c5 12.a3 0–0 13.b4 b6 14.Nb3 f4 15.Be2 g5 16.0–0–0 Bd7 17.g3 Ng6 18.Rdg1 Kh8 19.h4 fxg3 20.hxg5 Nxg5 21.Rxg3 Nf4 22.Na1 cxb4 23.axb4 Rc8 24.Kb2 Rg8 25.Nc2 Qe7 26.Ne3 Ngh3 27.Rxg8+ Rxg8 28.Ra1 Bc8 29.Bf1 Ng5 30.Qf2 h5 31.Qh4 Rg7 32.Be2 Kg8 33.Rh1 Qf7 34.Bd1 a6 35.Kb3 Qc7 36.Rg1 Nfh3 37.Qxh5 Bd7


38.Rh1 b5 39.cxb5 axb5 40.Be2 Nf4??

40...Rh7 41.Qg6+ Rg7 42.Qh5=

41.Qh8+ Kf7 42.Nxb5 Qb6 43.Nc4 Qf2 44.Nbxd6+ Kf6 45.Rh6+ Ng6 46.Qd8+ Re7 47.Qh8+ Rg7 48.Qd8+ Re7 49.Rxg6+ Kxg6 50.Qxe7 1–0

Source: Pennswoodpusher Nov 1974.

French Classical C14
John Grefe–David Morse
Liberty Bell op Philadelphia (1) 1976

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.Qd2 0–0 8.f4 c5 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.g3 f6 11.exf6 Nxf6 12.dxc5 [12.Bg2; 12.0–0–0] 12...e5 13.0–0–0 d4 14.Bc4+ Kh8 15.Ne2 Qxc5 16.Bb3 Ne4 17.Qe1 d3 18.Rxd3 Nb4 19.Kb1 Nxd3 20.cxd3 Qe3 21.Nxe5 Nd2+ 22.Ka1 Nxb3+ 23.axb3 Bf5 24.Nc1 Qb6 25.g4 Be6 26.f5 Bd5 27.Rf1 Rfe8 28.Rf4 Rac8 29.d4 Bxb3 30.Nxb3 Qxb3 31.g5 Qa4+ 32.Kb1 Rxe5 33.Qxe5 Re8 34.Qe6 Rxe6 35.fxe6 Qd1+ 36.Ka2 Qa4+ 37.Kb1 Qb4 38.Re4 Qe7 39.d5 Kg8 40.Rc4 g6 41.h4 Qd6 42.Rd4 Kf8 43.Kc2 b5 44.b4 Ke7 45.Kc3 Qg3+ 46.Rd3 Qe1+ 0–1

Source: The West Chesser Rank and File Newsletter, Aug 1981.

John Blackstone passes along the following game from the 1913 San Francisco–Los Angeles radio match.

Guioco Piano C50
A. J. Fink–Frazier
Match SF-LA Telegraph Match 1913

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.0-0 d6 5.c3 Nf6 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Bb6 8.Nc3 0-0 9.d5 Ne5 10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.Bg5 a6 12.Kh1 Qd6 13.Qd2 Bd7 14.f4 Bd4 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Ne2 Bc5 17.f5 c6 18.Rac1 Be7 19.d6 Bd8 20.Rf3 Qh4 21.Qd3 c5 22.Bd5 Bb5 23.Qd1 Bxe2 24.Qxe2 Bb6 25.f6 gxf6 and White won on the 36th move 1-0

4) Two upcoming tournaments held by the Berkeley Chess Club

Adult G/45
December 13th, 2015,
Where: Hillside School, 1581 Le Roy Ave, Berkeley, CA 94708
Prizes: $300 based on 20 entries (80% guaranteed)
Open: 1st $100 2nd $50
Top under 1800 $75
Top under 1400 $75
Schedule: On-site registration 9:30–9:45 am,
Round times: 10 am,12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm
Type: Swiss 4 rounds
Time control: G/45 d5
Entry fee: $30 (at least one day before the tournament) On-site is $10 more.

Bonus Event! Rated Blitz Tournament starts at 6:30 pm. It is 10 rounds; you play each opponent twice.
Entry fee: $10
100% of entry fees paid back out in prizes.

Berkeley Open
Jan 30–31, 2016
Where: Berkeley Senior Center; 2939 Ellis Street, Berkeley, CA 94703
Prizes: $1900 based on 60 entries (70% guaranteed)
Open (2000+) $275-175 U2200 $160-100
A/B (1600-1999) $200-150 U1800 $145-100
Reserve (0-1599) $200-150 U1400 $145-100
Schedule: On-site registration 9:00–9:45 am
Round times: 10 am, 3:30 pm
Type: Swiss 4 rounds
Time control: 40/2 G/30 d5
Open Section will be FIDE-Rated!
Entry fee: $50 (at least 6 days before the tournament). On-site is $10 more.
Contact: [email protected]

5) This is the end

White’s position is precarious; can he survive?

Black to move

Show solution

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