Chess Room Newsletter #733 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #733

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #733
January 15, 2016

Probably Bobby Fischer at his best. Because the precision and energy that he played with is just unmatched in the history of chess. So Bobby Fischer from 1970 to 1972.

—Magnus Carlsen, answering Gabriel Sam’s question
“If you could play one of all the players in history, who would you play?”

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The Winter Tuesday Night Marathon has 119 players after two rounds and will surpass the all-time TNM attendance record of 121. It is still possible to enter the event with half-point byes for the first two rounds.

From round 2 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Gomez–Vickers after 27...Nd8)White to move (Tracy–Houshdaran after 35...Bxf2)
White to move (Gaffagan–Kondakov after 45...Kf8)White to move (Clemens–Agdamag after 18...Rf7)
Black to move (Enkh–Purland after 10 Bxe7)Black to move (Donaldson–Rieger after 19 Kxg2)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 2.

The first round of the TNM saw almost all the rating favorites victorious, including the following miniature.

Erkhes Erdenebileg (1196)–David Flores (1826)
Winter TNM (1) San Francisco 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5

The Wilkes-Barre variation, named after the Pennsylvania coal mining town.


This looks natural, but 5.Bxf7+ Ke7 6.Bd5 is considered stronger and safer. Now Black launches a sharp counterattack.

5...Bxf2+! 6.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 7.Ke1?

7.Kg1 is stronger, when 7...Qh4 8.g3 Nxg3 9.hxg3 Qxg3+ 10.Kf1 Rf8 11.Qh5 d5 12.Bxd5 Nd4 was the start of a wild correspondence game in 1968 between Mikhail Tal (Black) and the readers of the Soviet publication Pravda (“Truth”).

7...Qh4+ 8.g3 Nxg3 9.Rg1 Ne4+

9...Nh1+ leads to the same finish, after 10.Rg3 Nxg3.

10.Rg3 Qxh2

10...Nxg3 11.hxg3 Qxg3+ 12.Kf1 d5 was another path to victory.

11.Rf3 Qg1+



12.Bf1 was more stubborn, but Black still wins after 12...Nd4 13.d3 Qh2 14.dxe4 Nxc2+ 15.Qxc2 Qxc2.

12...Qg3+ 13.Ke2 Nd4# 0–1

Mongolian Grandmaster Batchuluun Tsegmed won the 16th Bob Burger G/45 on January 9 with a 5–0 score, defeating his chief rival, International Master Ricardo De Guzman in round 4. 10-year-old Chinguun Bayaraa was second in the 40-player field with 4½ points.

Arjun Sankar and Samer Sabri were the upset kings (653 and 491 points respectively) and won copies of Walter Browne’s The Stress of Chess. A complete list of prize winners can be found at

Arthur Ismakov won the M.I. Wednesday Night Blitz on January 6, with Jules Jelinek second and Alok Singh third.

A memorial will be held for Steve Brandwein at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club on January 24 from 1 to 5 pm, and all are welcome. Those who are unable to attend are encouraged to send their remembrances to [email protected], to be shared during the event.

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

Continued from Newsletter #732

Dottie West, Walter Browne and Kenny Rogers, Las Vegas circa 1980 (Photo: unknown)

Browne is perhaps the game’s most ardent salesman in America. Two separate deals that would have matched him against Karpov, chiefly as a publicity stunt, fell through last year—$75,000 and $50,000 deals, one including TV rights to the game. “It was just a stunt, but it would have mushroomed, “Browne says, shaking his head. “I was going to take just over $10,000 because I thought it would be a great promotion for the game. But Karpov didn’t want a measly $25,000 for two hours’ work.”

Another aborted deal would have brought Browne $10,000 for breaking the world record for simultaneous chess—over 600 games at once. Browne already holds most of the records for chess exhibitions, which allows amateurs all over the country to play the game’s best. In 1971, he defeated 29 challengers simultaneously in an incredible 45 minutes, for a record that probably will never be topped. In 1973 Browne played 105 humans and one computer in a record seven hours, twenty minutes. He polished off the computer in just fifteen moves: “They have no imagination, no creativity,” he explains. “With a computer, you have in effect a good average player who can see an infinite number of moves. But in chess, the exception is the rule, and how do you put that into a computer?”

Browne’s most remarkable feat, however, was a two-month exhibition tour of the U.S. in 1975. He and his wife took their burgundy BMW 15,000 miles in 60 days to 50 cities in 40 states where Browne played a total of 2,000 games.

If Joe Namath had done something comparable in football, or Henry Aaron in baseball, we would have all read about it. Howard Cosell would have fawned over the gifted performer and the President would have posed with him in the Rose Garden. The United States Chess Federation didn’t even give space to Browne’s tour.

Fame, Browne says, isn’t important to him. “It bothers me only from a financial point of view. I should get more respect in this country. Whether I get famous is something else.”

He is not famous, nor is he particularly rich by sports superstar standards. But Walter Browne is not an unhappy man. “I don’t want to have to work for anyone, ever, and I’ve lived up to that,” he says. “I’ve never had to do something I didn’t want to, for money. What I’m doing is meaningful; it’s creative; it’s an art form. Chess games are recorded; they live on. I can keep playing chess all my life. I’ll still have chess at age 80, 90—others in sport have to give it up at 35.”

In Lone Pine, California, at midnight on a weeknight in March, the only people on the streets are chess players. Where the sidewalk ends in dark tress outside the Lone Pine High School, Browne encounters a Russian player who wants to buy some chess bulletins Browne is selling. They walk together back to Browne’s hotel.

Browne tries to share his tale of woe and Kashdan’s perfidy with the Russian, who may or may not speak enough English to understand. Chess isn’t popular enough in the United States. Kashdan is out to get him. His three minutes were worth more because he had fewer left.

The Russian just shakes his head. At least this is not Russia, he says. “This country is gold.”

Browne, not The Savage now at all, nods his head and chuckles in the cold mountain night. It’s true: in America there are still things to be won. For Walter Browne, for now, that is enough.

The End

3) Write Faster, Write Better (2004), pages 130-131 by David Fryxell

Fryxell writes about interviewing Walter Browne.

…While I’m a long way from Capote in either writing ability or memory skills, I know from experience that is indeed possible for writer to fly solo, without a notebook. When TWA Ambassador sent me out to a California chess tournament to interview chess champion and jack-of-all games Walter Browne, I found myself hounding the great gamesman for interview time. Every moment, it seemed, he was either actually playing chess or preparing for the next match. I finally got the time I needed by going to dinner with him—but the restaurant Browne chose was too dark to take notes, even if I’d been able to wield a pencil along with my knife and fork. So we talked—more of a dinner conversation than a formal interview, the casual atmosphere seemed to put him at ease. And then, after I bade Browne goodnight, I raced to my tiny hotel room. Frantically, I wrote down all I could recall of the evening’s several hours of revealing conversation. Much to my amazement, I remembered almost everything of importance.

4) US Championships in St. Louis this April

Nation’s Chess Capital Welcomes 2016 U.S. Championships
Garry Kasparov to face top three finishers in blitz competition.

SAINT LOUIS (January 7, 2016)—For the eighth consecutive year, the nation’s top 24 chess players will gather in Saint Louis to compete for the titles of U.S. Champion and U.S. Women’s Champion.

The 2016 U.S. Chess Championships, boasting one of the strongest fields of American men and women ever assembled, will be held simultaneously at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) from April 13 through April 29.

The 12-player field of the 2016 U.S. Championship will invite eight players determined by the January 2016 U.S. Chess rating supplement. Offers will also be extended to 2015 U.S. Champion GM Hikaru Nakamura, the 2015 U.S. Open Champion GM Alex Shabalov, 16-year-old IM Akshat Chandra, the 2015 U.S. Junior Closed Champion and one wildcard.

The 2016 U.S. Women's Championship will feature seven-time U.S. Women’s Champion GM Irina Krush, who seeks to maintain her iron grip over an up-and-coming field of American females. The 12-player round robin will also include 8 players selected by the January 2016 U.S. Chess rating supplement, two wildcards and the U.S. Junior Girls Champion, 15-year-old WIM Ashritha Eswaran, who also appeared in the 2014 U.S. Women’s Championship.

“We’re excited to assemble America’s best chess players in Saint Louis for the eighth year running,” said Tony Rich, Executive Director of the CCSCSL. “The top rated American players have all expressed interest in participating in the 2016 U.S. Championships.”

The U.S. Championship will culminate with the top three players competing in a special blitz round robin format against legendary chess champion Garry Kasparov. The round robin matches will take place over two days upon the conclusion of the Championships.

The 2016 U.S. Championships will be streamed live daily on, featuring play-by-play and analysis from the world-renowned commentary team of GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade. Live spectators may also view the action in the tournament hall of the CCSCSL, which offers additional on-site commentary led by grandmasters. For further details, visit

5) Here and there

A strong (2549 FIDE average) 10-player Grandmaster round robin will be held January 19–23 in Burlingame.

2nd Chinggis tournament

1. GM Shankland Samuel USA 2638
2. GM Akobian Varuzhan USA 2628
3. GM Zherebukh Yaroslav USA 2614
4. GM Ramirez Alejandro USA 2578
5. GM Stukopin Andrey RUS 2558
6. GM Chirila Ioan-Cristian ROM 2536
7. GM Ringoir Tanguy BEL 2504
8. GM Batchuluun Tsegmed MGL 2457
9. IM Gorovets Andrey BLR 2532
10. IM Kiewra Keaton USA 2444

Bobby Fischer circa 1965 (Photo: Beth Cassidy)

The second book of John Donaldson’s four volume series on Bobby Fischer, written with fellow International Master Eric Tangborn, is out in a Kindle edition at This 254-page work covers all of Bobby’s simultaneous exhibitions (except 1964) and blitz games. The highlight is 62 pages devoted to Fischer’s 1971 month-long tour of Argentina after his match with Petrosian.

Volume one in the series is a 398-page third edition of Legend on the Road, which offers an in-depth look at Bobby’s 1964 transcontinental tour of North America. It can be can be found at The third book in this 1200+ page project will be devoted to Fischer’s writings and the fourth is biographical in nature. All computer users can read Kindle products with a free app.

Lauren Goodkind writes

Dear Mechanics' Chess Club,

I just wanted to let you know that I have finished my chess e-book for beginning chess players. It's free to download on my new website,

In this book, I talk about how to win a chess game by asking questions. In the second half of the book, I talk about how chess has benefited my life in many ways. I also invite chess players to Like my Facebook page, which includes what I hope are fun and useful discussions about chess. People are also welcome to follow me on Twitter:

I hope this effort will inspire and grow the female chess player population.

Best regards,
Lauren Goodkind

6) This is the end

White is a pawn up, but his b-pawn is threatened, and his king is in a poor position. Since this is a study, you can expect the unexpected. Or not.

White to move

Show solution

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