Chess Room Newsletter #766 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #766

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News Letter #766
November 18, 2016

The word prophylaxis was invented by Aaron Nimzowitsch. His definition and examples helped me to get a good idea about this term. However, he used it in a very narrow sense. For Nimzowitsch prophylaxis meant prophylactic moves, and this was the prevention of important pawn advances by the opponent. When I started to work on chess I realized that prophylaxis is much more important in a wider sense—it’s a way of thinking. It’s a way which helps us to find correct moves. You have to understand what your opponent wants to play. Sometimes you don’t need to defend against his ideas. Sometimes you must. So you already have a choice. But the most important thing related to prophylaxis is the skill to ask what my opponent wants to play. If you develop this skill, your play becomes much stronger. Therefore I do not use prophylaxis in my books, but instead use the term prophylactic thinking. This is because I concentrate on the process of thinking and not the moves. Moves are just the consequences.

—The late Mark Dvoretsky, interviewed at

This Saturday the Mechanics’ Chess Club will host the 16th Pierre St. Amant Memorial G/45.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The 107-player Fall Tuesday Night Marathon has a clear leader after the half-way point. 13-year-old FIDE Master Josiah Stearman defeated former Master Oleg Shaknazarov in a game in which he was defending throughout but always substantially ahead on the clock. The latter lost on time after failing to claim a draw by three-fold repetition of the position.

Stearman leads with a 5–0 score and Expert Hongkai Pan is alone in second with 4½ points, with a large group of players on 4, including Derek O’Connor (who lost to Pan) and Shaknazarov.

From round 5 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Shakhnazarov–Stearman after 45...Kf7)Black to move (Gaffagan–Winslow after 37 Kxg1)
Black to move (Lin–Askin after 31 Kg1)Black to move (Rakonitz–Kim after 24 Qe3)
White to move (Walder–Sadowsky after 43...Bc5)White to move (Khristoforov–Ricard after 18...h6)
White to move (Sachs-Weintraub–Yang after 16...Kh8)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 5.

The Newsletter normally focuses on players at the top of the crosstable. This time we examine the play of those further down.

Giuoco Piano C54
Sophie Adams (1224)–Timothy Bayaraa (554)
Mechanics’ Fall TNM (4) 2016

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2

The Russian-French-American Grandmaster Nicholas Rossolimo won many pretty games with this variation.


The time-tested 8...d5 or the tricky 8...Nxe4 is the right way to continue.


9.d5! was more challenging, while 9.e5?! is met by 9...d5!.


Again 9...d5 or; 9...Nxe4 were needed to break up White’s center.


10.h3 to prevent ...Bg4 can be met by 10...d5 or 10...Nxe4.

10...Bg4 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Nxf3 Re8?

12...d5 had to be played.

13.e5! dxe5?

13...d5 was the last chance.

14.dxe5 Qxd1 15.Raxd1 Nxe5

Capitulation, but there were no satisfactory alternatives: 15...Nh5 16.Rd7 Re7 17.Rxe7 Nxe7 18.Ng5 (18.Re4 g6 19.Ng5 Rf8 20.g4 Ng7 21.Rf4 is also good, if more complicated) 18...Rf8 19.Rd1 is a straightforward way to achieve a winning position.

16.Nxe5 b5 17.Bxf7+ 1–0

London System D02
Stephen Touset (1469)–Isiah Kim (1967)
Mechanics’ Fall TNM (1) 2016

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 d5 3. e3 e6 4. Nf3 c5 5. c3 Be7 6. Bd3 Nbd7 7. Nbd2 O-O
8. Ne5 Re8 9. Qf3 Nxe5 10. dxe5 Nd7 11. h4 f6 12. Qh5 Nf8 13. Nf3 Bd7
14. Ng5!?

14. exf6 Bxf6 15. Ne5 offered White a slight advantage, but Stephen offers a piece, which leads to a forced draw with best play.

14... g6 15. Qh6 fxg5 16. hxg5 Kf7 17. Bxg6+! hxg6 18. Qh8! Bxg5 19. Rh7+ Nxh7 20.Qxh7+ Kf8 21. Qh8+ Kf7 ½-½

Jules Jelinek, Mechanics’ Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator, reports:

Here are the results from the last two tournaments. Note that there will be no blitz on November 23 because of Thanksgiving.

November 2, 13 players
1st - Carlos D’Avila 11/12
2nd - Jules Jelinek 9 pts
3rd – Baran Eren 8 pts

November 9, 13 players
1st – Jules Jelinek 11 pts
2nd – Jacob Sevall 10 pts
3rd – Oleg Shakhnazarov and Felix German 7 pts

Thanks to National Master John Blackstone of Las Vegas, who discovered the following picture of Valentine Huber, the 1901 Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Champion.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, November 16, 1901, page 11.

Many thanks to John Ramshaw and Guido Piccinini for their generous donation of chess books to the Mechanics’ Institute.

Former Mechanic, Grandmaster Jesse Kraai, newly relocated to Baltimore, drew with Senior Master Praveen Balakrishnan in his debut in the Northern Virginia Chess League this past September.

2) Chess and Tech meet at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club

Come play bughouse, blitz chess and more with fellow tech workers from around the city each month in the oldest chess club in the United States, home to Grandmasters Sam Shankland and Daniel Naroditsky. Sets, boards and clocks and light refreshments will be provided. All tech workers are welcome.

First Thursday of the month from 5 pm to 7 pm: January 5, February 2, March 2, April 6, May 4, June 1

57 Post St. San Francisco, fourth-floor meeting room. For more information write [email protected].

3) Oklahoma Chess Quarterly replaced by Oklahoma Chess Monthly

The Oklahoma Chess Monthly replaces Frank Berry’s long-running Oklahoma Chess Quarterly, and carries on its tradition in a monthly online format. It is a lot of good chess stuff, and it is free. All you have to do is take a moment to register at our website, Once you’ve signed up, download the first issue to read, and go there on the first of every month to get the latest OCM.

What’s in it? The first issue has 32 pages on these topics, plus a lot more. It mainly covers Oklahoma, but also Arkansas, Kansas, and north Texas. There are annotated games, photos, news, feature articles, historic articles, Top Lists, etc.

The Okie Chess Database is also a treasure—over 16,000 games of Oklahoma players (dating back 100 years), collected by Frank Berry. You can download it in either ChessBase format or standard PGN format into your computer for study or enjoyment. Many games are annotated. The main database is available now (up-to-date through September 2016), and we will periodically post updates that you can add to it.

The OCF is an association of chess organizers dedicated to promoting and preserving quality tournament sport chess in Oklahoma. We thus offer these free benefits to chess enthusiasts who wish to join us. We also organize tournaments and other events—with a full slate coming again in 2017. See you there.

Tom Braunlich, OCM Editor

Alex Onischuk, the late Frank Berry (1945–2016) and Anatoly Karpov in Las Vegas. (Photo: Jim Berry)

4) Here and There

A useful if incomplete map of the chess sites of New York was produced for the World Championship match and can be downloaded at

One major oversight was failing to include 80 East 11th street in the list of significant locations. This first hosted Paul Morphy for a dinner during the 1st American Chess Congress. Later famous chess book dealer Albrecht Buschke had his office there as did the U.S. Chess Federation in the 1960s. Another noted book dealer and chess instructor, Fred Wilson, has operated a chess store for over thirty years in this location. Mr. Wilson is open 12pm to 7pm Monday through Saturday and is located in suite 334. Contact information: (212) 533-6381,

252 players traveled to the SFO Hyatt Regency in Burlingame this past weekend to play in the U.S. Class Championships. The 25-player top section was won by Georgian Grandmaster Zviad Izoria, who now represents the United States. He scored 4½ out of 5, drawing only with Los Angeles Grandmaster Melikset Khachian in the last round. 16-year-old Senior Master Cameron Wheeler (now up to 2481 U.S.C.F.) and International Master Ray Kaufmann tied for second at 4–1, losing only to Izoria. Khachian was alone in fourth with 3½, with many players on 3, including the Mechanics’ Institute Saturday chess class instructor International Master Elliott Winslow.

Judit Sztaray organized for Bay Area Chess, with Tom Langlang, Richard Koepcke and Abel Talamarez directing.

Gata Kamsky, playing for Ladya Kazan, had the best result of any second board in the recent European Club Championship held in Novi Sad, Serbia. The 42-year-old Kamsky scored 6 out of 7, beating Richard Rapport (2730 FIDE) and Michael Roiz (2605) for a 2821 performance.

Kamsky’s result puts him back in the top 100 rated players in the United States. The U.S. has eight players on the list, possibly for the first time ever since the introduction of FIDE ratings, certainly since the 1970s.

2. Caruana 2823
5. So 2794
8. Nakamura 2779
69. Robson 2675
71. Shankland 2674
80. Onischuk 2668
91. Kamsky 2661
95. Xiong 2660

5) This is the end

The black pawn on d2 looks dangerous. Can White defend?

Black to move

Show solution

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