Chess Room Newsletter #742 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #742

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Newsletter #742
April 1, 2016

Modern chess is too much concerned with things like pawn structure. Forget it—checkmate ends the game.

—Nigel Short

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Eight players have perfect scores after round three of the 122-player Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. Six of them are rated above 2200 (James Critelli, Elliott Winslow, Tenzing Shaw, Natalya Tsodikova, Bryon Doyle and Russell Wong) and one is an Expert (Yuan Wang), but the other is only rated 1701! Kevin Walters is the upset king of this event to date with wins over players rated 1993 and 1991 in rounds two and three. He will face a Master in round 4 as he tries to keep his streak going. It’s not to late to join the 8-round Spring TNM with half-point byes for the first three rounds.

From round 3 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Gaffagan–Drane after 11...gxf6)White to move (Mays–Montoya after 13...Bxh4)
Black to move (Menghrajani–Marcus after 29 Ka1)Black to move (Kim–Bertot after 23 Rxe6)
White to move (Shnaiderman–Allen after 16...Bd6)White to move (Sherwood–Cheng after 32...Kc6)
Black to move (Aafjes–Donaldson after 39 Rg1)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 3.

Patrick Donnelly doesn’t just play in the Tuesday Night Marathon; he just ran a Marathon, and how. In his debut at 26.2 miles Patrick finished third in the Oakland Marathon in a time of 2:43:25. That is an average time of 6:14 a mile—and on a hilly course.

Patrick was not the only TNM regular running in Oakland on March 20. Daniel McKellar ran 1:35:06 in the Half Marathon (13.1 miles), at a very respectable pace of 7:15 per mile.

Congratulations to Sam Shankland, who won the Fagernes Chess International held March 20–27. The Orinda Grandmaster scored an outstanding 7 from 9 (2713 FIDE performance) to top the 34-player field, which included four other +2600 FIDE rated players. Sam’s performance in this tune-up for the 2016 U.S. Championship netted him 8 FIDE rating points, bringing his FIDE rating to 2656, number 97 in the world. M.I. Grandmaster-in-Residence Nick de Firmian tied for ninth with a score of 5 from 9. Games for the event can be found at

Wednesday Night Blitz

Last week (March 23) we had one of the larger turnouts of late with 9 entries. Top finishers were:

1. Jules Jelinek
2. Robert Shylakhtenko(10-year-old visiting from Los Angeles)
3-4. David Flores and Ignacio Becerra

Here is the Wednesday Night Blitz schedule for the rest of this year:

There will be a Wednesday Night Blitz on March 30 and April 6. Then a break, followed by the Blitz continuing on May 11, May 18, May 25, June 1, and June 9. Then the Blitz will take its normal summer break and resume on August 31.

Jules Jelinek
Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator

10th Annual Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz Tournament
Held at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club
Come and pay tribute to an old friend!

Sunday May 15, 2016
12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

There will be a chance to reminiscence about Ray over light refreshments both before and after the event.

6 Double Round Swiss
Time control:
Game in 4 minutes with a 2-second increment per move.
Prizes: 1st $400, 2nd $250, 3rd $120, 4th $100, 5th $75, 6th $50. All participants will win a book prize!
Entry fee: $10. Free to GMs, IMs, WGMs and WIMs.
Registration: 12:00 p.m. To 12:45 p.m. No phone entries.
Rounds: 1:00 pm, 1:30 pm, 2 pm, 2:30 pm, 3 pm and 3:30 pm
Prize ceremony: 4:00 pm

Honor Ray’s memory and make this a great tournament!

The Mechanics’ Institute is the oldest chess club in the United States. The Institute can be reached via BART. Exit Montgomery Street BART station. The chess room is on the fourth floor of 57 Post Street, San Francisco.

Questions? For more information, call 415-393-0110 or email [email protected].

2) Arthur Dake

U.S. Chess Hall of Famer Arthur Dake (1910-2000) had a long relationship with the Mechanics’ Institute. He first visited the M.I.C.C. in 1929 to play Alexander Alekhine in a simul. His last visit was 70 years later for the 1999 Dake International held in his honor.

22-year-old Arthur Dake plays World Champion Alexander Alekhine at Pasadena 1932, while unidentified spectators follow the action intently. (Photo: unknown)

These three photos are from Pasadena 1932, where Arthur had a successful debut on the big stage, defeating the World Champion. This makes him a member of a very select club (American players who have beaten a reigning World Champion) and he did it five years after learning the game.

(L-R) Sammy Reshevsky, Arthur Dake and Herman Steiner receive their prizes for tying for third through fifth. The man presenting the envelopes is likely Dr. Robert B. Griffith, the tournament referee. (Photo: unknown)

Dake was born in Portland and, except for a few years in the 1930s, that was his lifelong home. He played on the gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympiad teams of 1931, 1933 and 1935, winning individual medals on board 4 in 1933 (silver) and 1935 (gold). His score in the latter was the best in the entire Warsaw Olympiad (+13, -0, =5).

Those wishing to learn more about Dake’s career will want to get a copy of Casey Bush’s Grandmaster from Oregon.

Standing (L-R) José Joaquín Araiza, Arthur Dake, Reuben Fine, Sammy Reshevsky Sitting: Alexander Alekhine and Isaac Kashdan. (Photo: unknown).

3) Magnus Carlsen headlines championship

The current world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen, will join seven other top chess masters in the strongest and richest tournament ever held on the Internet.

The 2016 Grandmaster Blitz Battle Championship is a bracket-style competition with seven online matches starting in April and culminating with the final in December. The total prize pool is $40,000.

Each round, two of the best chess players in the world will play three hours of blitz and bullet chess in a knockout match, with the winner advancing to the next round.

The tournament bracket includes the world’s top four blitz players and the top two American grandmasters:

1. Magnus Carlsen (Norway)
2. Hikaru Nakamura (USA)
3. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France)
4. Alexander Grischuk (Russia)
5. Levon Aronian (Armenia)
6. Fabiano Caruana (USA)
7. Pentala Harikrishna (India)
8. Winner of a $5,000 qualifier tournament open to international masters and grandmasters.

First round schedule:

Grischuk vs Aronian — April 6
Nakamura vs Harikrishna — May 4
Vachier-Lagrave vs Caruana — May 2016
Qualifying tournament — May 31
Carlsen vs qualifier — June 2016

All matches are scheduled for 10 am Pacific time. will broadcast all seven matches and the qualifying tournament live with grandmaster commentary on and

“This is a historic event for millions of chess fans eager to see the world’s best players go head-to-head in online blitz and bullet,” said CEO Erik Allebest. “This is the event that chess players have been waiting for since the advent of Internet chess.”

Though Carlsen is the highest-rated blitz chess player in the world, he may not be the favorite in this event. Hikaru Nakamura, the American grandmaster, has more online chess experience and was recently voted the best blitz player of all time in a survey of chess masters.

“I am excited to play in this event and prove I am the best online player ever,” said Nakamura. “ is my home turf.”

The top-rated American player, Fabiano Caruana, is also eager to play in this new format.

“In today’s chess, with so many great players online all the time, blitz can be just as intense and challenging as major events,” said Caruana

Each match will also include three games of chess 960, a form of chess with randomly determined starting positions invented by the former world champion Bobby Fischer. cited the modern nature of the event as a big draw to the world’s top chess players.

“For the first time in the history of chess, we believe the time is right to give the world’s best players what they deserve: a chance to make good money and grow their fanbase without having to travel all across the globe,” said IM Daniel Rensch, vice president of content and professional relations for

4) Advice from Bobby Fischer

Game 30 from Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games.

King’s Indian E98
Svetozar Gligoric–Fischer
Bled 1961

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0–0 6.Be2 e5 7.0–0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Ne1 Nd7 10.Nd3 f5 11.exf5 Nxf5 12.f3 Nf6 13.Nf2 Nd4 14.Nfe4 Nh5 15.Bg5 Qd7 16.g3 h6 17.Be3 c5 18.Bxd4 exd4 19.Nb5 a6 20.Nbxd6 d3 21.Qxd3 Bd4+ 22.Kg2 Nxg3 23.Nxc8 Nxf1 24.Nb6 Qc7 25.Rxf1 Qxb6 26.b4 Qxb4 27.Rb1 Qa5 28.Nxc5 Qxc5 29.Qxg6+ Bg7 30.Rxb7 Qd4

In My 60 Memorable Games Bobby writes:

“The only move. Gligoric was so sure I’d ‘find’ it that he wrote it down on his scoresheet while I was taking a minute to look for something better.”

In the draft he wrote that is part of the Sinquefield Collection at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, Bobby had more to say at the end of this comment that was cut out of the book:

“I’ve trained myself to stop and look even if there seems to be only ‘one move’, unless it’s a forced recapture. You never know!”

31.Bd3 Rf4 32.Qe6+ Kh8 33.Qg6 ½–½

5) This is the end

This position is from a 1999 tournament.

Black to move

Show solution

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