Chess Room Newsletter #745 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #745

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Newsletter #745
April 22, 2016

Play not too fast! Examine each move, however natural it may appear.

If you have to choose from several, equally worthy-looking moves, do not delve into endless comparisons. Do not forget that in most situations there are several good ways, but you have to select only one of them, else it will be too late. Do not always search for objectively the best move—frequently there really is none such: in most cases it is a matter of taste—but simply look for a good move!

—Rudolf Spielmann

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliott Winslow and 12-year-old National Master Josiah Stearman are tied for first at 5½ from 6 with two rounds remaining in the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon.

National Masters James Critelli, Russell Wong and Bryon Doyle and Expert Oleg Shakhnazarov are a half-point behind.

From round 6 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Shakhnazarov–Tsodikova after 7...d6)White to move (McKellar–Nelson after 32...Rxc5)
Black to move (Rakonitz–Giridharan after 13 Ne3)Black to move (Schegerin–Morgan after 56 Nxa8)
White to move (Yamamoto–Magdangal after 5...Nf6)White to move (Simpkins–Standen after 21...bxc4)
Black to move (Aafjes–Donnelly after 28 Qb2)White to move (Frank–Poler after 37...a4)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 6.

The sixth round produced several interesting games. Here are three, with light notes.

Natalya Tsodikova has been turning in excellent results for over a year in the TNM, but here she meets Oleg Shakhnazrov in his best form.

Oleg Shakhnazarov (2139)–Natalya Tsodikova (2207)
Mechanics’ Spring TNM (6) 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 4.d3 fxe4 5.dxe4 Nf6 6.Bg5

6.0–0 and 6.Nc3 are thee most commonly played moves here, but the text has been tried over a hundred times.

6...Bc5 7.Nc3 d6


8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Nd5 was a more positional way of handling the position where White gives up the two bishops for a strong knight on d5. The text at first looks like a blunder, but is in fact the prelude to wild complications—Oleg’s cup of tea.

8...Bxf2+ 9.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 10.Kg1 Nxg5 11.Nxg5 Qxg5 12.h4!

12.Nxc7+?? loses after 12...Kd7 13.Nxa8 Qe3+ 14.Kf1 Rf8+ The text not only attacks Black’s queen, but provides a square for White’s king which makes Nxc7+ playable in certain variations.


A fighting decision by Natalya, but not the most prudent move. The text avoids the almost-certain draw by repetition after 12...Qh6 (stopping Qh5+). For example: 13.Nxc7+ Kd8 14.Nxa8 Qe3+ 15.Kh2 Qf4+ 16.Kg1 Qe3+.

13.Qh5+! g6 14.Qh6 Rf8?

14...Be6 had to be tried. After 15.Qg7 Bxd5 16.Qxh8+ Kd7 17.Qxh7+ Qe7 18.Bxc6+ bxc6 19.Qxg6 Rg8 20.Qf5+ Be6 White is clearly better, but Black can still fight.

15.Qxh7 Rf7 16.Qg8+ Rf8 17.Qxg6+ Kd7 18.Qg7+ 1–0

One small opening mistake lands Black in trouble in trouble and a second ends the following game.

Michael Dougal (1801)–Thomas Maser (1932)
Mechanics’ Spring TNM (6) 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.e5 d5 6.Bb5 Ne4 7.Nxd4 Bd7 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.0–0 Be7

9...Bc5 is equally popular.

10.f3 Ng5 11.f4 Ne4 12.Nc3

12.f5 is the alternative.

12...Nxc3 13.bxc3 c5 14.Nb3 Bf5?!

14...c4 15.Nd4 c5 16.Ne2 Bc6 is the main line.


The problem with 14... Bf5; White takes control of the critical c5 square.


15...c4 16.Nd4 Be4 (16...Bd7 17.f5) 17.Qg4 with a small advantage.

16.Bxc5 Bxc5+ 17.Nxc5 Bxc2??

A miscalculation. 17...0–0 was correct, when the doubled pawns on the c-file provides some compensation for the lost pawn.

18.Qxc2 Qb6 19.Qf2 1–0

Wily veteran Jerry Simpkins shows that not only the top boards of the TNM produce spicy play.

Jerry Simpkins (1512)–Julian Standen (1622)
Mechanics’ Spring TNM (6) 2016

1.e4 d5 2.e5 c5 3.c3 Bf5 4.f4 e6 5.d3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Nge7 7.Be2 Qb6 8.0–0 c4+ 9.d4 g6 10.Na3 Bg4 11.Nc2 Bg7 12.Ne33 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 0–0 14.Rb1 Qd8 15.g4 f5 16.Qe2 Qd7 17.Qg2 Kh8 18.b3 b5 19.BBa3 Rg8 20.Bxe7 Nxe7 21.bxc4 bxc4

21...fxg4 was forced, keeping White’s advantage to a minimum.

22.Nxc4! fxg4 23.Nd6! Nf5 24.Rb7! Qxd6

24...Qxb7 25.Nxb7 gxf3 26.Qxf3 wins.

25.exd6 Ne3 26.Qe2 Nxf1 27.Bxg4 Nxh2 28.Kxh2 Rgf8 29.Bxe6 Rxf4 30.Rxg7 Kxg7 31.Qe5+ Rf6 32.Bxd5 1–0

2) Peter Grey, 1935-2016

We reported on Peter’s death in the last two Newsletters. We can now add that a memorial will be held for him on Tuesday, May 31, from 4:30 pm to 6:15 pm, immediately preceding round two of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon.

(L-R) Val Zemitis, Guthrie McClain, Bob Burger, Mark Eudey and Peter Grey

The following obituary, prepared by Peter’s family, will appear shortly in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Peter Griswold Grey was born on July 31, 1935, in Greenville, MS, and died at the age of 80 on April 5, 2016, in San Francisco. He was predeceased by his parents, Arthur and Marion Grey, and he is survived by his two sisters, Lucy Grey Gould of Chico, CA, and Sarah Grey Thomason of Chelsea, MI, and their families.

He grew up in Highland Park, IL, and then attended Pomona College, graduating with a BA in history in 1956. A few years later he joined the U.S. Army, training at the army’s Monterey Defense Language Institute and then working in Washington, DC, for the rest of his military service. Soon afterward he moved to San Francisco, where he spent the rest of his life, earning his living in the insurance industry. His employment was a means to an end, and the goal was to live in San Francisco on his own terms. He was not career-minded; at one point he refused a promotion because it would have meant moving to Seattle.

Instead of a career, his interests centered on his books and especially on chess: he was a chess scholar as well as a dedicated player. For years he worked with George Koltanowski, the long-time chess columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, and occasionally he wrote a guest column for the Chronicle. His social life, aside from occasional family visits, revolved around the Mechanics’ Institute chess group. He missed only a handful of the Mechanics’ Tuesday Night Marathon tournaments after the tournament’s inception in 1971.

Peter’s library filled his small apartment, even the kitchen cabinets and the oven (he didn’t cook), to the point where an earthquake once blocked access to the apartment when the overfull bookcases lining the entrance hall fell and spilled their contents into the hallway. Aside from his massive collection of chess books and memorabilia, his taste in books was eclectic, both in fiction and nonfiction.

Peter lived alone for over forty years, but was never lonely. He was an excellent companion, and he enjoyed company in relatively small doses. But he preferred his own company most of the time, and he lived the life he wanted to live.

3) Fischer–Bednarski, Havana 1966: Boys’ Life, February 1967

Bobby Fischer wrote a chess column for Boys’ Life (the official Boy Scout publication) that ran approximately three years. An upcoming collection of Fischer’s writings by John Donaldson and Eric Tangborn, coming to almost 500 pages, will soon be available on Kindle. It includes all of Fischer’s Boys’ Life columns, converted to algebraic notation when needed.

Could you please tell me what you think is the best opening for White?
Marianne McDowell, Winter Haven, Florida.

My favorite is 1.e4, as in this game against J. Bednarski of Poland in the 17th World Chess Olympiad in Havana, Cuba. Along the way I’ll point out some of my strategy. Try replaying the game with a friend, or against yourself.

Editor’s note: This is game 55 in My 60 Memorable Games, where it appears with much different notes. Note Fischer’s column was a mixture of descriptive and algebraic notation.

Najdorf B86
Fischer–Jacek Bednarski
Havana (ol) 1966

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6

Normally it isn’t a good idea to make unprovoked rook pawn moves early in the game, but this move is an exception, because Black’s control of the square b5 will keep White’s pieces out of there later on.

6.Bc4 e6

Closing off the white bishop’s diagonal and taking pressure off Black’s king bishop pawn.


I moved my bishop because it was unprotected.

7…Nbd7 8.f4 Nc5 9.f5

White puts pressure on Black’s e-pawn. If Black moves his king pawn to e5 then knight at d4 moves to e2, and the White bishop’s diagonal is reopened. Of course Black can take this bishop, but White recaptures back with his rook pawn, opening his rook file. Also White would have a positional threat of bishop to g5, eventually followed by Bxf6. Then White plants his knight on Black’s weak d5 square and the knight can never be driven out.

9…Nfxe4 10.fxe6 Qh4+?

A bad move by the Black queen. He should have played 10…fxe6.

11.g3 Nxg3 12.Nf3 Qh5 13. exf7+ Kd8 14.Rg1 Nf5 15.Nd5

My winning move. If Black’s knight takes the bishop at b3 then White bishop to g5 check wins at least two pieces or the queen. If Black stops the check with …h6 then Nd5-f4 traps Black’s queen.

15…Qxf7 16.Bg5+ Ke8 17.Qe2+

Instead of 17.Qe2+ I could have won his queen with a knight move. Do you see how? I didn’t do this because I wanted to continue the attack for a faster finish.

17… Be6 18.Nf4 Kd7 19.0-0-0 Qe8 20.Bxe6+ Nxe6 21.Qe4 g6 22.Nxe6 1-0

If Black’s queen takes the knight at e6 then White’s queen takes Black’s pawn on b7 check… if Black’s king moves to e8 to get out of the check, White rook at g1 to e1.

4) Here and There

The Sinquefield Cups are unquestionably the strongest round robin tournaments ever held in the United States with the Piatigorsky Cups right behind, but what U.S. Swiss system tournament has featured the most Grandmasters competing? The World and Millionaire Opens have attracted impressive fields, as has the strongest US Open (Reno 1999), but none of them is the correct answer.

The winner of the title strongest US Swiss ever held goes to the PCA/Intel Grand Prix, New York Qualifier, with 70 GMs. Steve Immittt and Sophia Rohde directed.

Those who are curious to know what the new documentary about Magnus Carlsen is about should check out John Henderson’s column at

5) This is the end

Enough of rook endings. Here is a study with only pawns and kings. Although it is posed as Black to move, it is also challenging with White to move.

Black to move

Show solution

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