Chess Room Newsletter #743 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #743

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Newsletter #743
April 8, 2016

It is said that long diagonal moves backward are easily overlooked…It is also said that the rule does not apply to long central diagonals.

—Bent Larsen, Selected Chess Games 1948–69.

The 16th Annual Imre Konig Memorial will be held this Saturday (April 9) at the M.I.C.C.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliott Winslow, top-seeded FIDE Master James Critelli and National Master Natalya Tsodikova are tied for first at the half-way point of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon with 4–0 scores. A half-point behind the leaders is a large group, headed by National Masters Tenzing Shaw and Josiah Stearman. The tournament has attracted 126 players to date, the second-best attendance for a Mechanics’ Chess Club event in its history. With four rounds remaining there is an outside chance that the event will pass the all-time record of 132 players held by the 2016 Winter Tuesday Night Marathon.

From round 4 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Shakhnazarov–Babayan after 18...Qc6)Black to move (Melville–Mays after 31 Qg1)
White to move (Touset–Kim after 11...hxg4)Black to move (Boldi–Kumar after 17 Ke2)
White to move (Newey–Eastham after 6...Bb6)White to move (Palmeri–Magdangal after 28...Bb7)
White to move (Bayaraa–Hilliard after 6...c5)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 4.

Peter Grey

Peter Grey (1935–2016)

This photo was from the last TNM—round one on January 5—taken by Armen Boldi, whose son Ethan was playing Peter that round.

An obituary will appear in an upcoming newsletter

The Spring Tuesday Night Marathon extends to seven the streak of events attracting over 100 players.
Fall 2014 – 103
Winter 2015 - 121
Spring 2015 - 106
Leighton Allen 2015 - 102
Fall 2015 - 105
Winter 2016 - 132
Spring 2016 – 122

The weekend attendance record is held by Stamer Memorials held during and immediately after the Fischer boom.

1972 Stamer - 116
1973 Stamer - 119
1974 Stamer – 119

These events might have attracted even more entries if not for a self-imposed limit on the number of players.

G/45 record (held since 2000)
2003 Max Wilkerson – 74 players
2009 Charles Bagby – 69 players

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) non-profit 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.

Arthur Ismakov won the March 30 edition of the Wednesday Night Blitz with a perfect score of 12–0. Jules Jelinek was a distant second with 8, followed by Felix Rudyak with 6½. Eight players competed in the six double-round Swiss.

The Wednesday Night Blitz is held every week from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. under the direction of Jules Jelinek, with the following exceptions:

There will be a Wednesday Night Blitz on 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.

The annual Larry Evans Memorial, held March 25–27 in Reno, ended in a 4-way tie for first at 5–1 among Grandmasters Melik Khachian, Sergey Kudrin and Enrico Sevillano plus International Master John Bryant. Top Mechanics’ scorers in the top section of the 171-player event were FIDE Master Andy Lee and National Master Bryon Doyle. Fran and Jerry Weikel organized and directed this event.

2) Berkeley Ches Club News

The California Women’s State Championship was won in convincing fashion by Uyanga Byambaa with a 5–0 score. Uyanga not only won the $700 first prize, but regained her National Master title. Her key win was in the last round over top seed National Master Natalya Tsodikova. Lauren Goodkind was second with 4 points, followed by Jessica Lausser at 3½. Bryon Doyle directed the 22-player event, held at the Hillside School in Berkeley on April 2–3. The organizer and visionary for this welcome new addition to the Bay Area chess calendar was Elizabeth Shaughnessy, who also sponsored this event along with FIDE Master James Eade.

The 41-player Berkeley Weekender held March 11-13 at the Hillside School in Berkeley was a tournament full of surprises. 12-year-old Josiah Stearman won the event with a score of 4½ from 5, raising his USCF. rating to a personal best of 2231. Fellow National Master, Marin high school student Ladia Jirasek was second at 4, losing only to Josiah in round 2. The surprise of the event? That was the appearance of World top 100 player Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi. Currently a student at Stanford, Negi played one round, drawing with Expert Joshua Cao.

International Master Elliott Winslow, who turns 64 on May 16, won the Berkeley Chess Club’s Humphrey Bogart Marathon held in January and February with a score of 5½ from 6, including a win over the top seed, FIDE Master Roger Poehlmann. The latter was second with 5 points and Tom Maser was third with 4½. Maser defeated 12-year-old National Master Josiah Stearman. The event was organized by Elizabeth Shaughnessy and directed by National Master Kerry Lawless.

3) 2016 Inductees to U.S and World Chess Halls of Fame

Players will be honored in Saint Louis on April 13, 2016, just before start of the 2016 US Championship and US Women’s Championship.

An induction ceremony on April 13, 2016, will recognize five exceptional chess players as they take their places in history as members of the World Chess Hall of Fame and the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame.

Representatives of the World Chess Federation (Fédération Internationale des Échecs or FIDE) nominated and selected David Bronstein, Sonja Graf Stevenson and Howard Staunton for induction into the World Chess Hall of Fame. They join 24 other players who have received the honor since the World Chess Hall of Fame’s creation in 2001. Members of the World Chess Hall of Fame are chosen for their total contribution to the sport. Players as well as others who have made an impact as authors, journalists, organizers and in other ways are eligible for induction. “This year’s inductees into the World Chess Hall of Fame are recognized for their level of play as well as their overall contributions to the game,” Beatriz Marinello, FIDE Vice President, said.

The U.S. Chess Federation Hall of Fame Committee considers and sends candidates for the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame to the U.S. Chess Trust each year. The trustees of the U.S. Chess Trust voted on candidates, selecting Grandmasters Maurice Ashley and Gata Kamsky to join the other 55 players currently in the U.S. Hall of Fame.

“Ashley and Kamsky have both made a tremendous impact on the chess world. Both highly accomplished players, Ashley has broadened the visibility of chess among key audiences, and Kamsky has demonstrated the unique ability to sustain a high caliber of play over more than three decades. We are thrilled to celebrate these elite players,” Harold Winston, U.S. Chess Trust Chairman, said.

Each player is commemorated at the World Chess Hall of Fame in Saint Louis, Missouri with a plaque bearing his image and a biography of his notable contributions to the game.

“The 2016 induction ceremony will recognize these important players of our time, their tremendous chess careers and their undeniable influence on the game,” Shannon Bailey, chief curator of the World Chess Hall of Fame in Saint Louis, said.

2016 World Chess Hall of Fame Honorees
David Bronstein (1908–1965)
Sonja Graf Stevenson (1908–1965)
Howard Staunton (1810–1874)

2016 U.S. Chess Hall of Fame Honorees
Maurice Ashley (b. 1966)
Gata Kamsky (b. 1974)

For more information, please visit the World Chess Hall of Fame online at

4) The last tournament game Bobby Fischer annotated with words

The following game, which appears in the Fischer/Bjelica book Chess Meets of the Century, is the last that Bobby annotated with words. The last game he annotated (with symbols) was Fischer–Browne, Zagreb/Rovinj 1970, for Chess Informant.

This game rekindled interest in the variation 3.exd5 and 4.Bd3, due to Fischer’s 11.a4!, improving on Maroczy–Capablanca, Lake Hopatcong 1926, where 11.0-0 Bb5! gave Black good play.

Fischer–Tigran Petrosian
Belgrade (1) 1970

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3

More often seen is 4.c4. I played an old variation in order to avoid well-known variations.

4...Nc6 5.c3 Nf6 6.Bf4

If 6.h3 e5 or 6.Bg5 Ne4 7.Bxe4 dxe4 8.d5 Ne5 9.Qa4+ Qd7 10.Qxe4 Qf5 and White would have the advantage.


The second possibility would be 6...g6.

7.Qb3 Na5

Hort’s move 7...Qc8 is better, with the bishop maneuver …Bh5-g6.

8.Qa4+ Bd7 9.Qc2 e6

After the game Petrosian recommended 9...a6.

10.Nf3 Qb6 11.a4!

Defending 11…Bb5, with which Black would solve the problem of his bishop. With this move White gets a clear advantage as he has overturned Black’s strategy.


If 11...Nb3 12.Ra2 Rc8 13.0–0 Be7 White would have difficulties to push back Black’s position, but his bishops would be immobile. If 11...Qb3 12.Qe2 Bxa4? 13.Rxa4 Qxa4 14.Bb5+.

12.Nbd2 Nc6 13.Qb1 Nh5?!

Losing time, better was 13…g6.

14.Be3 h6

If 14...f5 15.g4! fxg4 16.Ng5 Bd6 17.Bxh7.

15.Ne5 Nf6

On 15...Nxe5 16.dxe5 Bc5 17.a5 Qc7 18.Nf3 and White has the advantage.


Defending …Ng4 and preparing g2-g4 if Black castles.

16…Bd6 17.0–0 Kf8?

Better is 17...0–0.

18.f4 Be8

18...Nxe5 19.fxe5 Bxe5 20.a5 winning.

19.Bf2! Qc7

If 19...g6 20.f5! gxf5 21.Bxf5 exf5 22.Qxf5 Qd8 23.Bh4 with a winning position.

20.Bh4 Ng8

Black has a passive position. With his last move he hopes to mobilize his pieces to the kingside.

21.f5 Nxe5 22.dxe5 Bxe5 23.fxe6 Bf6 24.exf7 Bxf7 25.Nf3! Bxh4

If 25...g5 26.Bf2 Kg7 27.Bd4.

26.Nxh4 Nf6 27.Ng6+ Bxg6 28.Bxg6 Ke7!

In this position, where I expected Petrosian to resign, he finds an ingenious defense trying to escape with his king to the queenside.

29.Qf5 Kd8 30.Rae1 Qc5+ 31.Kh1 Rf8

Better was 31...Rc6.


Black is in a difficult position.


If 32...Qc7 33.Qxd5+ or 33.Rxf6.

33.b4 Qc6 34.c4 dxc4 35.Bf5 Rff7 36.Rd1+ Rfd7

If 36...Nd7 37.Rfe1.

37.Bxd7 Rxd7 38.Qb8+ Ke7

38...Qc8 39.Rxd7+ Nxd7 40.Qd6 wins.

39.Rde1+ 1–0

Black resigns because of 39…Kf7 40.Qe8 mate.

5) US Chess Championship

The US Chess Championship starts April 14 in St. Louis. The 12-player field, which includes the big three of Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So and Bay Area standard-bearer Sam Shankland, will compete for a record $294,000 prize fund. Go to to learn more.

6) Chess on TV and in the Movies

Chess is popping up all the time on TV and in the movies.

Three recent examples of the Royal Game appearing on the silver screen are

1. Magnus—this Norwegian documentary about the current world champion will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April. For more information go to

2. The Dark Horse—this movie from New Zealand has been out since 2014 but is only now getting a theatrical run in the United States. It has received good reviews. Here is some information about the movie from the distributor.

The Dark Horse is based on the true story of Genesis ‘Gen’ Potini (Cliff Curtis), a Maori speed-chess champion seeking redemption and a new purpose in life despite his struggles with bipolar disorder. A former chess prodigy, Gen is brilliant and charismatic, bringing unusual, potent energy to a game most often played with quiet reserve.

3. Also from down under and released in 2014 is Son of a Gun, an Australian crime thriller starring Ewan McGregor. There is even a discussion of Fischer’s …Nh5 in the Modern Benoni in this movie.

The Steven King novel turned TV series 11.22.63, about a time traveler (James Franco) trying to stop the J.F.K. assassination, doesn’t have a chess scene per se, but chess players with a key eye will see the character playing Lee Harvey Oswald has a Soviet Jantar (Amber) chess clock he uses to time himself. It’s the white-faced model that was sold in the the West in the early 1970s and there is a decent chance this particular model hadn’t yet been made in the early 1960s when the show is based.

7) This is the end

Seems like rooks are everywhere these days; there are three in this study alone. Maybe the most important is the black rook on h4, ready to help the h-pawn. How should White play?

White to move

Show solution

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