Chess Room Newsletter #730 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #730

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #730
December 11, 2015

I have not worked a single hour on these systems at home. I play them practically during the game. My main aim is to be unpredictable. When I am White my opponents do not know what I am going to play. Sometimes even I am not sure about what my first move would be. [Laughs] I prepare one line in my room and when I reach the board, I change my mind. I try to feel my opponent’s body language before and during the game. You could say it is some sort of intuition which comes with years of experience.

—Baadur Jobava, interviewed by Sagar Shah, in answer to the question
When you play 1.b3 or 1.d4 followed by Nc3, Bf4, what is your method of preparation?
Do you work on them deeply at home or do you just come to the board and play?

Go to for the interview.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

12-year-old Josiah Stearman and Michael Walder lead the 104-player Fall Tuesday Night Marathon with 6½ out of 8, having defeated the front-runners James Critelli and Igor Traub in round 8. The two leaders will meet in the final round next Tuesday, with Stearman trying to become the second-youngest winner of a TNM, behind only Hans Niemann, who won the 2014 Fall TNM at the age of 11.

From round 8 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Walder–Critelli after 18...Rg8)Black to move (Traub–Stearman after 65 Ke1)
Black to move (Manvelyan–Wong after 19 Rh1)Black to move (Tracy–Tsodikova after 34 Qe4)
Black to move (Vickers–Drane after 28 Ke4)White to move (Klinetobe–Babayan after 44...f6)
Black to move (Maser–Dupree after 45 h4)White to move (Marcus–Paquette after 28...a6)
White to move (Morgan–Sherwood after 19...Kb8)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 8.

The 15th Annual Guthrie McClain Memorial attracted only 23 players, but among them were a Grandmaster and two International Masters. Tying for first at 4½ from 5 were Mongolian Grandmaster Batchullun Tsegmed and International Master Richardo De Guzman. 9-year-old Chinguun Bayarra finished third with 4 points.

Albert Starr and Cailen Melville won copies of Walter Browne’s The Stress of Chess as the upset kings of the event with wins over opposition rated respectively 512 and 195 points higher than them.

Here is the key last-round game between Santa Rosa National Master Paul Gallegos and Grandmaster Tsegmed.

French Advance
Paul Gallegos–Batchuluun Tsegmed
McClain (5) 2015

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Be3 Qb6 6.Qd2 Nh6 7.Nf3 Nf5 8.Bd3 Nxe3 9.fxe3 Be7 10.0–0 0–0 11.Qh1 f6 12.Qc2 f5 13.Nbd2 Bd7 14.Rae1 Rac8 15.Qb1 cxd4 16.exd4 Na5 17.g4 Bb5 18.gxf5 Bxd3 19.Qxd3 Rxf5 20.b4 Nc4 21.Nxc4 Rxc4 22.Nd2 Rxf1+ 23.Rxf1 Rc8 24.Nb3 Qc6 25.Nc5 Bxc5 26.bxc5 b6 27.cxb6 axb6 28.Qf3 Qe8 29.Rb1 Qc6 30.Rf1 Qe8 31.Rb1 Rc6 32.Rf1 h6 33.h4?!

This creates an unnecessary weakness.

33…Rc7 34.Qh2 Rf7 35.Qxf7+??

White, low on time, mistakenly transposes into a losing king and pawn ending. Active defense would have saved the game.

35.Qd3 Rxf1 36.Qxf1 Qh5 37.Qg3 Qg6+ 38.Qh3 Qc2 39.Qf3 Qxa2 40.Qg4 Qf7 41.Qf3+ Qe7 (41...Qe8 42.Qg4) 42.Qg4.

35...Qxf7 36.Rxf7 Qxf7 37.Qh3 g6 38.Qg4 b5 39.Qf4 Qe7 40.Qe3 Qd7 0–1

The 16th Bob Burger Open will be held January 9, 2016.

Wednesday Night Blitz December 2nd

1. Jules Jelinek
2. Arthur Ismakov
3. Joel Kenny

Book and equipment donations to the Mechanics’ Institute are always welcome. All donations to the Mechanics’ are tax-deductible, due to the M.I.’s 501(c) (3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that have been lying around unused for some time, consider donating to the Mechanics’. You will not only get a tax write-off but also the satisfaction of seeing things put to good use.

2) Dropbox defeats TubeMogul in inaugural Bay Area Tech Match

San Francisco based Dropbox defeated TubeMogul of Emeryville 3½-½ in a friendly match held December 3 at the Mechanics’ Institute. This was the first of what is hoped to be a series of matches between Bay Area tech companies.


1. Kerry Xing
2. Hongkai Pan
3. Renjish Abraham
4. Alex Allain


1. Ashik Uzzaman
2. Sarma Tangirala
3. Steve Thorpe
4. Kenneth Bell

L-R Dropbox: Alex Allain, Renjish Abraham, Kerry Xing, Hongkai Pan
TubeMogul: Kenneth Bell, Steve Thorpe, Ashik Uzzaman, Sarma Tangirala

Here is the exciting game from board one. The time control for the match was G/60.

French Winawer C15
Ashik Uzzaman (1985)–Kerry Xing (2127)
TubeMogul v Dropbox San Francisco 2015

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Bd2

This variation has never been as popular as 5.a3, but it is not without poison. In many lines White aims to put a knight on d6.

5...Be7 6.Bb5 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 0–0 8.c3

8.f4 and 8.dxc5 are also played here.

8...Nbc6 9.f4 Nf5

9...cxd4 10.cxd4 Bf5 11.Nf3 a6 12.Bc3 and 9...a6 10.Nd6 cxd4 11.cxd4 f6 12.Nf3 are the two main lines. The text is connected with a pawn sacrifice for the initiative.

10.dxc5 b6 11.cxb6 Qxb6 12.Nf3 Rb8 13.b3 Ba6

This appears to be a novelty. Previously seen was 13...Bd7 14.Nbd4 Nfxd4 15.cxd4 Rfc8 16.Bd3 Bb4 17.Rd1 Bxd3+ 18.Qxd3 Qb4+ 19.Qd2 Rc2 20.Qxb4 Rxb4 21.0–0 Rxa2 22.Ra1 Rxa1 23.Rxa1 Rb7 24.Nd2 h6 25.Kf2 Rc7 26.Ra5 ½–½ Bartel-Korobov,Beijing 2008.

14.Nbd4 Bxf1 15.Rxf1 Rfc8?

15...Nfxd4 16.Nxd4 Rfc8 17.Kf2 Rc7 18.Kg3 Rbc8 offers Black enough compensation for the sacrificed pawn. The text wrecks his pawn structure.

16.Bxf5 exf5 17.Rf2 a5

On 17...g6 plays 18.Kf1 preparing to castle by hand while 17...Bd8 (intending ...Ne6) is answered by 18.Nd4.


18.Rd1 a4 19.b4 was a serious alternative.

18...a4 19.bxa4?

19.Nxf5 axb3 20.axb3 Qxb3 21.Nd6 Rc7 22.Kf1 with a clear advantage for White.

19...Nxd4 20.cxd4 Rc4 21.a5

21.Rd1 Qa7 22.Qd3 Rxa4=.

21...Qa7 22.Rd1 Rbb4 23.Rc1 g6 24.Rxc4 Rxc4 25.a6 Rxd4

25...Qxa6 26.Qe3=.

26.Qa5 Qb8 27.Rf3 Rxf4 28.Rxf4 Qxe5+ 29.Kd1 Qxf4 30.a7 Qf1+ 31.Qe1 Qd3+ 32.Kc1?

This move doesn’t necessarily lose, but there was no reason to give Black another option. Correct was 32.Qd2, forcing the draw.


Both players were low on time here. If they weren’t Black might have considered 32...Qa3+ 33.Kb1 Qxa7 34.Qe8+ Kg7 35.Qe5+ f6 36.Qxd5 h5 as it is not easy for White to advance his a-pawn.

33.Kb1 Qd3+ 34.Kc1 Qc4+

34...Qa3+ was again a strong alternative.

35.Kb1 Qd3+ ½–½

3) The Ultimate Gamesman—Walter Browne (Part Three), by David A. Fryxell

(continued from Newsletter #729)

Walter Browne vs Hartoch (Photographer unknown)

The days of playing other games for money are behind him. Chess is Browne’s game—”the other games, these days, I play for relaxation.”

He no longer can afford to expend his energy on anything else, not if he wants to someday be the world champion of chess. Walter Browne wants that. He wants that very much indeed.

If you believe in destiny, Browne is surely destined to be the world chess champion. Consider this biography:

Growing up in Brooklyn, he’s one of those boys who’s “not like other kids.” He’s clobbering ordinary adults in chess before he’s ten. He studies chess books on the way to school, stays up into the night playing over the games of the masters. His protective foreign-born mother, seeking to bring her son out of his shell, brings the boy to the Manhattan Chess Club, where he’s recognized as both a prodigy and somewhat of a brat, throwing and breaking the pieces on the infrequent occasions when he loses. At age sixteen, already a chess master, he leaves school—saying, “School is for the average idiot”—and sets out to become a grand master. At first, the best players avoid him—how would it look, after all, losing to a mere child?—but he taunts them into competition and routs them. He feuds with the chess establishment, complains about playing conditions, and rises through the chess world like a skyrocket, aimed straight at the talented Russian who holds the world chess title.

It’s the familiar story of Bobby Fischer, of course. But it is also the story of Walter Browne. Their astonishingly parallel careers diverge only in the ending: Fischer won his title, only to give it up in a dispute over the rules under which he would defend it. Browne hasn’t won the title—yet.

There are other differences. Browne was born in Australia, not the U.S., and came to this country when he was four years old; his dual citizenship would later be the key to getting him his international master title—shut out by the U.S. chess establishment, Browne gained entry to the qualifying tournament by winning the Australian championship. When Browne dropped out of school, he supported himself not on chess but on poker winnings—more than $10,000 won in less than two years from professional gamblers who’d been playing the game longer than Browne had been alive. After one streak of 43 winning sessions in a row, Browne was given notice that his precocious poker—playing skills were no longer wanted in New York. Or else. So he hit the chess circuit where, in 1972, he met and married Raquel (Fischer is hopelessly single). They were married on March 9, Fischer’s birthday—a coincidence, Browne insists.

Thanks in part to Raquel’s mothering, Browne has survived his chess battles much healthier mentally than Fischer. “I see the world the way it is,” he says. “It’s far from perfect, but I’ve adjusted pretty well.” His wife, a clinical psychologist, adds: “For Fischer, chess was everything. He did not lead a normal life.” What Bobby really needs, the implication is clear, is to meet a nice girl like herself.

The two boys from Brooklyn have met across the chessboard only once. Appropriately enough, they drew. Browne recalls, “I tried to win too artistically, I was ahead, but on the 98th move I got too fancy and let him get away with a draw. I’d out-analyzed him. After the game I pointed out here and here where I should have won, and Fischer hadn’t seen any of it. You know, they say I drew Fischer. I say Fischer drew me.”

Browne does not believe that Fischer, now a recluse in Pasadena, will ever play again. Perhaps that frustrates him. Fischer is unquestionably the best player in the world today, arguably the greatest ever to have essayed the game, and his shadow will be on whoever holds or aspires to the world championship for a very long time. Fischer—the god of chess—is safe, unassailable. “But I’m not chasing Bobby,” protests the devil of chess. “I’m just trying to be the best player I can be.”

The object of the chase right now is young Anatoly Karpov, the Russian who picked up Fischer’s title by default. “Karpov is a machine. For five or six years, Karpov was in Pavlovian therapy, getting him ready. He’s getting more help than any player in the history of chess,” Browne ways, adding that the difference between him and Karpov is a bit more clear cut that between Browne and Fischer: “I’m human. Karpov is not.”

The Russians have ruled the chess world since 1948, their reign interrupted only in 1972 by Fischer’s much-publicized defeat of Boris Spassky. According to Browne, the U.S. as a whole can’t expect to catch the Russians in chess in the foreseeable future. “But I don’t hate the Russians. I don’t hate anybody. That’s different from Fischer—he really hated the Russians.”

(to be continued)

4) William Addison Remembered

William Addison commenting at the 1963 Piatigorsky Cup (Photo: Art Zeller)

Las Vegas national master John Blackstone found an interesting article in the February 25, 1963, issue of the Christian Science Monitor that mentions William Addison, the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Director from 1965 to 1969, won 12 weekly Manhattan Chess Club rapids in a row while living in New York City in 1959–60.

Addison, who retired after the 1970 Interzonal with his highest-ever FIDE rating of 2490, was one of the strongest American players to never earn the Grandmaster title. He played in five U.S. Championships (1962–63, 1963–64, 1965, 1966, and 1969, taking second place in the latter behind Sammy Reshevsky.

Addison’s overall score in the five 12-player round robins was 19 wins, 16 losses and 20 draws or 29 from 55 for a winning percentage of 53 percent. He represented the United States in the 1964 and 1968 Chess Olympiads and was top U.S. scorer in the former (7½ from 9 as second reserve) and earned team silver in the second.

5) This is the end

In this game, Black probably wished he’d saved a pawn, but now, with apparently no chance to win, he must fight for a draw. Can you help him?

White to move

Show solution

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