Chess Room Newsletter #735 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #735

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #735
January 29, 2016

International Master William Addison, who knew Fischer very well, said. “There were two things about Fischer at the board. He was absolutely honest and would never cheat.”

This is what Addison said. “I played him thousands of speed games, I watched him play people all over the country and he’d get like a knight and a bishop and his opponent might have a queen and a pawn, on the rare occasions he got in trouble, and Fischer would just flip over his king in a five minute game and I’d tell Bobby, ‘Look, Bobby, I don’t care what the position is, I don’t care if you’re a rook down, keep playing, if you’ve got two bishops and the other guy has a queen, he’s not going to be able to beat you, even though it’s a win for the queen. Go ahead and play it, you’ll still win on time, you’ll still beat him.’ And Fischer just threw the chess pieces in the center of the board and said, ‘If I can’t win it clean, I don’t want to win it.’ At the board he would die before he would cheat. No one, ever, ever, for one moment, caught Fischer in anything that wasn’t strictly class at the board.”

—As related by Jude Acers in “The Man in the Red Beret”, part 2 at

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Elliott Winslow is the only perfect score at the mid-way point of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon. The 63-year-old International Master got to 4–0 by defeating National Master Tenzing Shaw in a sharp, tense struggle in round four, which can be found in the games section at The Winter TNM continues to grow, and currently has 127 participants, the all-time MI Chess Club attendance record.

From round 4 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Shaw–Winslow after 45...Nc2)White to move (Klinetobe–Clemens after 48...Be6)
White to move (Anderson–Kim after 23...Nb6)Black to move (Tan–Hakobyan after 20 Qd1)
Black to move (Erickson–Newey after 23 f3)White to move (Donnelly–Bayaraa after 20...Qf8)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 4.

This past Sunday over 100 people came to the Mechanics’ Institute to share their memories of the late Steve Brandwein. Among those attending were Steve’s younger brother Russell and his wife Mary Sue, his college roommate Steve Kellerman, Mechanics’ Executive Directors past and present (Jim Flack and Ralph Lewin), MI Trustee Mark Pinto, Three-time U.S. Champion Grandmaster Nick de Firmian, Matt Gonzalez, the chief attorney of the SF Public Defenders Office, and Andrew McKinley the owner of Adobe Books. The last was Steve’s last roommate, and master of ceremonies for the event, which ran from noon to 5 pm. Go to to see close to 150 wonderful photos taken by Richard Shorman at the event.

Jules Jelinek, M.I. Weekly Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator, writes:

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder: there will be a blitz every Wednesday night from now until April. Sign-up is at 6:30; round one is at 6:40 pm. Late entries accepted.

Last week (January 13) there were 8 players; the results were

1st – Arthur Ismakov
2nd and 3rd – Jules Jelinek and Jan Jettel

Sam Shankland won the 2nd Ghinggis Invitational held in Burlingame from January 19–23. The Orinda Grandmaster scored an undefeated 7 from 9 to win the Grandmaster round-robin, which featured an average rating of 2549 FIDE. Tying for second in the event with 6½ points were Timur Gareev and Andrey Stukopin, followed by Yaroslav Zerebukh and Alejandro Ramirez on 5.

2) Cameron Wheeler 2016 Falconer Award Winner

15-year-old Senior Master Cameron Wheeler of Cupertino has won the 2016 Falconer Award. Rated 2426 on the December 2015 USCF list, he just nudged out International Master Kesav Viswanadha, who was 2423. Vignesh Panchanatham was right behind them at 2395.

This award, named after the late Neil Falconer, is given to the top-rated player in Northern California under age 18. The prize is equal to winner’s rating ($2426). A list of previous winners is pretty impressive, as several have gone on to become Grandmasters.

An award ceremony will be held at 5 pm on Tuesday, February 2 and all are welcome to attend.

Previous Winners
2000 Senior Master Vinay Bhat
2001 Senior Master Vinay Bhat
2002 International Master Vinay Bhat
2003 National Master Michael Pearson
2004 National Master Nicolas Yap
2005 National Master Matthew Ho
2006 National Master Matthew Ho
2007 National Master Nicolas Yap
2008 National Master Sam Shankland
2009 International Master Sam Shankland
2010 Senior Master Steven Zierk
2011 Senior Master Daniel Naroditsky
2012 International Master Daniel Naroditsky
2013 International Master Daniel Naroditsky
2014 Senior Master Yian Liou
2015 International Master Yian Liou

3) Remembering Steve Brandwein, by IM James Rizzitano

Steve Brandwein (rear, glasses) serving as a wall boy for Saidy–Fischer, 1965-66 U.S. Championship (Photo: Chess Life, March 1966)

I met Steve Brandwein during July 1983 at the Game Room on Manhattan, and I spent many nights for roughly one week playing late-night blitz sessions with him. I remember that the games were extremely interesting and that Steve had a very distinctive and dynamic playing style combined with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of 1950’s and 1960’s chess opening theory, particularly games from the Soviet Championships. Steve was an exceptionally strong player, very modest, and knowledgeable about a wide range of subjects—the type of guy that you meet and after 30 minutes it seems like you have been friends with him for your whole life. I’m sorry that our paths never crossed again, but Steve made a very favorable impression on me and I was glad to have met him. Rest In Peace, Steve.

IM James Rizzitano

4) To Walter it was just $100 worth of boredom

Walter Browne winning first US Junior Closed (Photo: Chess Life, July 1966)

At $100 for three hours Walter Browne must be one of the highest-paid workers around.

Easy money?

“Nah, just three hours of boredom,” said Mr. Browne as he groaned about having to bother playing simultaneous chess with people who can’t play the game as well as he.

The organizers would have been horrified to hear his honesty.

He’d just finished a simultaneous series against 30 players at Grace Bros in Sydney.

The score—Browne 28, the rest 2—were no real indication.

“The two were blunders, not real losses,” he said. “Nobody outplayed me. Chess is nothing for me unless I am playing someone at least as good as me.”

Surely the people playing in the store hoped to day to be that good?

“Well, they’ll never get there playing simultaneous,” he said.

“They have to study and study and practice hours and hours.

“It starts as a gift but you have work on it hard.”

At 22, Mr. Browne is the second-youngest of the world’s best five chess players.

He was born in Australia but as a child his parents took him to live in New York.

“I’m Australian all right,” he said. “But I’d like to live in San Francisco or Scandinavia.

“This tour I’m on now is a good thing. There ought to be more sponsorship of chess: more money, more interest.”

Walter Browne did his part to help the show succeed; he even wore a tie in Melbourne.

“I felt I was all aagh,” he said. “Strangled or choked or something.”

With longish hair, red corduroy pants and a snakeskin patterned shirt, he creates a whole new image of chess as he swoops from board to board.

He’s been called the “Nureyev of chess.”

That’s pretty right, I suppose, he said.

“I can be good at anything I want to do.”

So far he has only wanted to play chess. He left school at 16 because “it was one big drag” and became a chess professional.

“Just now I want to see how far I can go with chess. Then acting and perhaps business. People keep saying I’m going great because I’m 22: if I gone into business instead of chess I’d have a lot more money.”

Source: The Australian, February 9, 1971

5) Here and There

Former M.I. Chess Club member International Jeremy Silman writes: “there is a great article by Batgirl (Sarah Cohen) on Herman Steiner which can be found at

The New Yorker ran a short piece on Fabiano Caruana in its January 4, 2016, issue:

Paul Stagnoli writes about the two annual tournaments held each year in Santa Rosa. Here is the tournament schedule for 2016.

* Frank Doyle Open April 23th and 24th
* Exchange Bank Open August 27th and 28th

The format is still the same (4 round Swiss, G/120 d5).
A $10 fee will be charged for playing up a section.
I post tournament information at

Andy Ansel sends in the following creative effort by the late Igor Ivanov, who sacrifices his queen for two minor pieces and a couple of pawns.

Sicilian B53
Gary Simms–Igor Ivanov
New Mexico open 1991

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 a6 5.c4 Nc6 6.Qd2 Nf6 7.Nc3 g6 8.b3 Bg7 9.Bb2 Qa5 10.Rb1 0–0 11.Nd5 Qxa2 12.Ra1 Qxb2 13.Qxb2 Nxd5 14.Qc1 Nc3 15.Bd3 Bg4 16.0–0 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Nd4 18.Qe3 b5 19.cxb5 axb5 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.Rc1 b4 22.Kg2 Nxb3 23.Re1 Bd4 24.Qf4 Be5 25.Qe3 Nc5 26.Bc4 Ra3 27.Qc1 Kg7 28.h4 h6 29.f4 Bd4 30.f3 N3a4 31.Re2 Nb6 32.Ba2 Nd3 33.Qd2 e5 34.fxe5 dxe5 35.Kg3 Nf4 36.Rh2 Nh5+ 37.Kg2 b3 38.Bb1 Nc4 39.Qb4 Ne3+ 40.Kh1 Ng3+ 0–1

Source: The Desert Knight January 1992 pages 18–19.

6) This is the end

This study requires careful play on both sides. It seems White is winning, but how should he proceed?

White to move

Show solution

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