Chess Room Newsletter #740 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #740

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Newsletter #740
March 18, 2016

You know, if a doctor makes a mistake, a patient might die. If a pilot makes a mistake, he might get killed, or indirectly kill, hundreds of people. But if a chess player makes a mistake, he just loses one game and sometimes not even that.

—David Navara, when asked on how he keeps calm after a loss.

The 16th Max Wilkerson G/45 will be held this Saturday at the M.I. Chess Club.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Sam Shankland (2648 FIDE), who will be playing in the US Championship this April, gave an excellent lecture this past Tuesday, right before the start of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon.

This edition of the TNM features International Master Elliott Winslow and National Master Tenzing Shaw, who has played very well in the past few TNMs and is now only 8 points from reaching 2300 USCF. It is still possible to play in the 8-round TNM with a half-point bye for the first round.

From round 1 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Winslow–Dupree after 29...Nc7)Black to move (Stearman–Casares after 12 Rf1)
White to move (Eastham–Kumar after 38...Kg7)Black to move (Kim–Cowgill after 9 h4)
White to move (Weingarten–Bacus after 8...Nbd7)White to move (Shnaiderman–Kondakova after 4...Bf5)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 1.

Michael Walder, Hovik Manvelyan, Chinguun Bayaraa and Michael Dougal tied for first with 5–1 scores in the 36-player A.J. Fink Amateur, held March 5 and 6.

Wednesday Night Blitz Results

2/24 (8 players)
1st – Jan Jettel
2nd - Jules Jelinek
3rd – Oleg Shakhnazarov

3/2   (8 players)
1st – Jules Jelinek
2nd – Oleg Shakhnazarov
3rd -  Joe Urquhart

3/9 (4 players)
1st - Jules Jelinek
2nd - Tyler Leswing
3rd - Ignacio Becerra

Congratulations to 15-year-old Ashritha Eswaran of San Jose, who had a brilliant result in the American Women’s Continental Championship, held the second half of February in Lima, Peru. Rated 15th (out of 38 players) going into the event, Ashritha scored 6½ from 9 to take third. The event was won by Peruvian star Deysi Cori (2430 FIDE). You can read reports by her coach Bulgarian GM Dejan Bojkov at

2) Steiner–Fink Match 1930

Back in Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #489 we printed the following information about a match between the young upcoming star Herman Steiner and the Mechanics’ standard-bearer, the world-class problemist A.J. Fink.

John Blackstone sends in the following game from the match between Herman Steiner and A.J. Fink held at the Mechanics’ Institute in May of 1930. Steiner won the planned three-game match 2–0.

Ruy Lopez C84
A.J. Fink–Herman Steiner
San Francisco (2)1930

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d3 d6 7.c3 0-0 8.h3 b5 9.Bc2 Ne8 10.d4 Bf6 11.d5 Ne7 12.Kh2 Ng6 13.Be3 Nf4 14.Bxf4 exf4 15.Nd4 Be5 16.Qf3 g6 17.Nd2 Qh4 18.Nc6 g5 19.Ne7+ Kh8 20.Nxc8 Rxc8 21.Qg4 Qxg4 22.hxg4 Nf6 23.f3 h5 24.Bd1 Kg7 25.Kg1 Rh8 26.gxh5 Rxh5 27.Kf2 c6 28.dxc6 Rxc6 29.Bb3 b4 30.Nc4 bxc3 31.Nxe5 dxe5 32.Rac1 Rd6 33.Rxc3 Rd2+ 34.Ke1 Rxg2 35.Rc7 Rhh2 36.Rxf7+ Kg6 37.Ra7 Rxb2 38.Rxa6 g4 39.fxg4 Kg5 40.Rg1 Nxg4 41.Bd1 Rb1 42.Re6 f3 0-1

Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle May 15,1930, p.28

Recently we uncovered the first game, which was an epic encounter, with the advantage swinging back and forth several times.

The May 11, 1930 San Francisco Chronicle column of E.J. Clarke reports Steiner was in SF for a week as a guest of the MI and had just left to return back to NYC. Clarke included both games of the match, including the missing game one.

Notes are by the Newsletter Editor.

Hungarian Defense C50
Herman Steiner–A.J. Fink
San Francisco (1) 1930

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Be7 4.d4 d6 5.h3 exd4 6.Nxd4 Bf6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.0–0 Ne7 9.Nc3 0–0 10.f4 Ng6 11.Ne2 Re8 12.f5? Nf8

It’s hard to explain why Fink did not play the natural 12...Ne5 For example: 13.Bb3 Ba6 14.Re1 Bh4 15.Rf1 d5 16.exd5? Nf3+ wins on the spot.

13.Qd3? Qe7

13...Nd7! eyeing e5 and c5.

14.Qb3 Bd7


15.Bd3 d5! 16.exd5 Reb8

16...Qc5+ 17.Kh1 Rab8 18.Qc4 Qxc4 19.Bxc4 cxd5 20.Bd3 c5 with a winning advantage.

17.Qa4 cxd5 18.Qa5 c5 19.Nf4 Bc6 20.c3 c4 21.Be2 Qd6

21...Rb5! 22.Qa6 Qc5+ 23.Kh1 Rb6 24.Qa3 Qxa3 25.bxa3 Bxc3 is decisive. Fink chooses another way to exploit the misplaced White queen, but it doesn’t work nearly so well.

22.Bf3 Bd8 23.Qa3 Bb6+ 24.Kh1 Bc5 25.b4! cxb3 26.Qb2 bxa2 27.Qxa2

Now White has counterplay against the d5 pawn.

27...Rd8 28.Nd3 Bb6 29.Bf4 Qf6 30.Nb4 Rac8 31.Bxd5 Bd7?

31...Bb5 was better 32.c4 with 32...a5.

32.Bb7! Bb5 33.Rf3?

33.Bxc8 Bxf1 34.Nd5 Qh4 35.Rxf1 Rxc8 36.f6!

33...Bc4! 34.Qc2 Rc5

Now Black is on top again!

35.Be4 a5 36.Na2

36.Nd3 Bxd3 37.Rxd3 Rxd3 38.Qxd3 Rxc3.


36...Nd7 was even stronger activating the knight.

37.Be3 Re5 38.Bd4 Bxd4 39.cxd4 Rec5?

Too tricky! Instead, 39...Ree8 40.Nc3 Qxd4 41.Rxa5 Nd7, intending ...Nf6 should be winning, as White’s position is extremely loose.

40.Rd1 R5c7 41.Nc3 Ba6 42.Qb2 Qh4 43.Bd5 Re7? 44.Kh2



44...Nd7 brings the knight into the game while stopping White’s f5–f6 advance.



45...Be2 46.Nxe2 Rxe2 47.Qb5

White is back in the driver’s seat.

47...Qg5 48.Rg3 Qf4 49.Bxe8 Re3 50.Bxf7+! Kh8

50...Kxf7 51.Qb7+ Kg8 (51...Ke8 52.Qxg7) 52.Qxg7#

51.Rf1 Qxg3+ 52.Kg1 Re7 53.Ba2 Qe3+ 54.Kh2 Qxd4

54...Nd7 55.Qxa5 Nf6 was the only way to continue the fight, albeit with a two pawn deficit.

55.Qb3 1–0

Source: S.F. Chronicle May 11, 1930

A picture of the two masters playing game two hangs on the wall of the Chess Room Annex. Here is what the slightly water-damaged photo looks like:

Steiner (left) and Fink (Photo: unknown)

3) Wesley So named 2016 Samford Scholar

The Frank P. Samford, Jr. Chess Fellowship, marking its thirtieth annual award, has selected Grandmaster Wesley So of Minnetonka Minnesota, as its 2016 Fellow. The Samford is the richest and most important chess fellowship in the United States having awarded over two million dollars the past three decades. It identifies and assists the best young American chess masters by providing top-level coaching, strong competition and access to study materials. The Fellowship also supplies a monthly stipend for living expenses so that the winners may devote themselves to chess without having financial worries. The total value of the Fellowship has been increased several times over the years and is now $42,000 annually. The prize is awarded for one year and can be renewed for a second year. The winners’ term begins July 1, 2016.

22-year-old Wesley So is currently the 10th-rated player in the world at 2773 on the March 2016 FIDE rating list. He won the Bilbao Masters last fall ahead of Anish Giri, Viswanathan Anand and Ding Liren and tied for second in the Tata Steel tournament held earlier in 2015. So also won the inaugural Millionaire Open in October 2014.

The winners were chosen by the Samford Fellowship Committee, consisting of Frank P. Samford III (son of Samford Fellowship founder Frank P. Samford, Jr.), former U.S. Chess Champion Grandmaster Yury Shulman and International Master John Donaldson. The winners’ potential was determined based on their chess talent, work ethic, dedication and accomplishments. The Fellowship is administered by the U.S. Chess Trust, with particularly valuable services provided by Al Lawrence.

The Samford Chess Fellowship was created by the late Frank P. Samford, Jr. of Birmingham Alabama. Mr. Samford was a distinguished attorney and CEO of Liberty National Life Insurance Company (now Torchmark). He was active in civic, business, political, educational and cultural affairs. Mr. Samford was also an enthusiastic competitor in chess tournaments. After providing financial support for several chess projects he decided to do something significant for American chess. The result was the Samford Fellowship.

Since its inception the Fellowship has proven very successful. Many Samford Fellows have become strong Grandmasters, members of the United States Olympiad team and US Champions.  Hikaru Nakamura, currently rated number five in the world, is a former Samford Fellow.

Generous contributions from the late Mrs. Virginia Samford and the Torchmark Corporation support the Fellowship. The Samford Fellowship is a fitting memorial to an extraordinary man. The dedication, creativity and achievement that marked Mr. Frank P. Samford, Jr.’s life are examples for all chess players to admire and emulate.

Samford Winners:

1987 Joel Benjamin
1988 Maxim Dlugy
1989 Patrick Wolff
1990 Alex Fishbein
1991 Ilya Gurevich
1992 Alex Sherzer
1993 Ben Finegold
1994 Gata Kamsky
1995 Josh Waitzkin
1996 Tal Shaked
1997 Boris Kreiman
1998 Dean Ippolito
1999 Greg Shahade
2000 Michael Mulyar
2001 Eugene Perelshteyn
2002 Varuzhan Akobian
2003 Dmitry Schneider
2004 Rusudan Goletiani
2005 Hikaru Nakamura
2006 David Pruess
2007 Josh Friedel
2008 Vinay Bhat
2008 Irina Krush
2009 Ray Robson
2010 Robert Hess
2011 Alex Lenderman
2012 Timur Gareev
2012 Alejandro Ramirez
2013 Sam Shankland
2014 Daniel Naroditsky
2015 Samuel Sevian
2015 Kayden Troff
2016 Wesley So

4) This is the end

This position is taken from a 1975 game. It is said that all rook endings are drawn. Is this one?

Black to move

Show solution

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