Chess Room Newsletter #769 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #769

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #769
December 9, 2016

Such a pity to see these symmetrical positions at the highest level! When helping Kramnik with the Berlin I didn’t know we were killing the game!

—Miguel Illescas, Vladimir Kramnik’s second when he beat Garry Kasparov to become World Champion,
referring to 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6, which has proved such a tough nut to crack.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The 110-player Fall Marathon is set for an exciting finish next Tuesaday. Expert Chinguun Bayaraa, who just turned 11, is leading with 7 out of 8, having just defeated FIDE Master Josiah Stearman. Right behind Chinguun with 6½ points are International Master Elliott Winslow and National Master Russell Wong.

From round 8 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Wong–O'Connor after 35...h5)Black to move (Pan–Winslow after 19 Rh3)
Black to move (Argo–Shakhnazarov after 14 g4)Black to move (Maser–Sadowsky after 23 Re7)
Black to move (Eastham–McKellar after 13 fxe4)White to move (Sherwood–Abraham after 27...Qc6)
White to move (Hilliard–Casares after 23...Bxc4)White to move (Tuck–Erickson after 7...g6)
Black to move (Boldi–Simpkins after 29 Qxa4)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 8.

The following game from round seven of the Fall TNM between FIDE Master Frank Thornally, who represented the United States in the 1968 and 1969 Student Team Championships, and upcoming Class A player Kevin Walters, is a real slugfest.

Scandinavian B01
Frank Thornally (2201)–Kevin Walters (1864)
Fall TNM (7) 2016

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.Be2 Nf6 5.d4 Nc6 6.0–0 0–0–0


Clearly the best move, although 7.c4 has also been played, when 7…Qh5 8.Be3 e5 9.h3 exd4 10.hxg4 Nxg4 offers Black excellent compensation for the piece.


The alternatives are 7...e6; and 7...Qh5 8.Nbd2! (8.h3 e5 9.hxg4 Nxg4 10.Nbd2; 8.c4 e5!) with the idea 8...e5 9.h3 exd4 10.hxg4 Nxg4 11.Bf4.

8.c4 Bxf3

8...e5 is the main try here.

9.Bxf3 Ne5?

9...e5 and 9...Qd7 were both much better.

10.Bxb7+! Kxb7 11.Qb3+

White should be winning now.

11...Ka8 12.dxe5 Ng4 13.Nd2

13.Qa4 Nxe3 14.Nc3! threatening Nb5 was a dangerous alternative. 14...Qd7 (14...Qxe5 15.Rfe1 e6 16.Rxe3 Qc5 17.Nb5 followed by Ra3 or b4 and c5 leaves Black without an adequate defense.) 15.fxe3 Qxa4 16.Nxa4 leaves White with an winning ending.

13...e6 14.Nf3 Be7 15.Bd4 Qf4 16.Bc3?

One slip throws away all of White’s advantage. Instead 16.Rad1!, meeting 16...Nxh2 with 17.Nxh2 Rxd4 18.Rxd4 Qxd4 19.Qf3+ Kb8 20.Qxf7 Bc5 21.Qxe6 winning.

16...Rd3! 17.h3

17.Qb5 leads immediately to a draw. 17...Rxf3 18.Qc6+ Kb8 19.Qb5+ Kc8 20.Qa6+ Kb8 (20...Kd7?? 21.Rfd1+) 21.Qb5+.

17...Rxf3 18.hxg4 h5

18...Bc5 19.Qa4 Bxf2+ 20.Rxf2 Rxf2 21.Qc6+ is another way to draw. So is 18...Rg3 19.Qb5 (19.fxg3?? Bc5+) 19...Rxg2+.


Or 19.Qb5 hxg4 20.Qc6+.


19...Rd3 only asks for trouble after 20.Qa4 Qe4 21.Rad1.

20.Qb5 Bxf2+ 21.Rxf2 Rxf2 22.Qc5

Or 22.Qc6+ Kb8 23.Qb5+ Kc8 24.Qa6+.


22...Re2 was simpler. 23.Bd4 (23.Qc6+ Kb8 24.Qb5+) 23...Kb8 24.Qxa7+ Kc8 and White has nothing better than to take the perpetual. 25.Qa8+ Kd7 26.Qxh8?? (26.Qa4+=) 26...Qxd4+ 27.Kh1 Qh4+ 28.Kg1 Qf2+ 29.Kh1 Qxg2#.


23.Bxd2 Qxd2 24.Rf1 might give White a small pull but with White’s exposed king and doubled g-pawns Black has sufficient resources to hold.

23...Qxg5 24.Bxd2

24...Qxd2 Draw

25.Rxf7 Qxb2 26.Rxc7 Qb6 27.Qxb6 axb6 28.Rc6 Kb7 29.Rxe6 Ra8 30.Re7+ Kc6 31.Rxg7 Rxa2 32.Rh7 Rc2 33.Rxh5 Rxc4 and the advance of Black’s b-pawn ensures the draw, despite the pawn deficit.

The 16th Annual Guthrie McClain G/45 tournament, held on December 3, attracted 40 players, including four national masters and a 2197-rated player. National Master Conrado Diaz continued his run of success at recent Mechanics’ (equal second in both the Capps and St. Amant) by winning with a score of 4½ from 5. A half-point behind him were Experts Baren Eren and Chinguun Bayaraa and Class A players Michael Lum and Adrian Kondakov. This was the last Mechanics’ weekend tournament of 2016. The 17th Bob Burger Open starts the 2017 series on January 7.

Mechanics’ Wednesday Night Blitz Chess coordinator Jules Jelinek reports the event held November 30 was the strongest and one of the best attended in the series, with three International Masters in the 16-player field.

1st IM Ray Kaufman
2nd IM Vladimir Mezentzev
3rd IM Elliott Winslow and Jules Jelinek.

ABC news visited the Mechanics’ Institute on November 30 to film regulars watching the world championship playoff broadcast featuring Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin. Among those in attendance were Mechanics’ Institute Directors past and present Jim Flack and Ralph Lewin, Grandmaster Nick deFirmian, International Masters Vince McCambridge and Elliott Winslow and FIDE Master Paul Whitehead. The clip can be viewed at

Episode 8 of the first season of the TV series “Chance”, which is filmed in San Francisco, has a chess scene in it. Mechanics Chess Room coordinator Paul Whitehead was the technical advisor for it and TNM regular Wassim Nassif has a brief appearanc,e as does Iris Kokish.

The Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club will be closed from December 24 through January 2.This closure will enable vital work to be done to upgrade the wiring to the Mechanics’ network, dramatically increasing the speed of our internet service.

The 2017 dates for the two big two yearly Reno tournaments that so many Mechanics’ members have played in over the years are now available. Mark Easter weekend (April 14–17) for the Larry Evans Memorial and October 13–15 for the Western States Open.

2) Stella Monday Photos

Photographer Stella Monday was a mainstay of California chess tournaments in the late 1970s and early 1980s, particularly in the Bay Area. Besides playing, she also took many beautiful black-and-white portraits of top players of the time. Recently Stella kindly allowed her archive to be scanned by Chess Dryad editor Kerry Lawless, and we will be featuring some of the highlights in the Newsletter.

Prize winners from the 1979 Paul Masson tournament are in a good mood after the tournament. L-R (standing) Craig Mar, Nick de Firmian, Paul Whitehead, Larry Christiansen, Paul Cornelius, John Grefe, Paul Enright, Daniel Switkes (maybe) and Mike Goodall (tournament director); (squatting) David Ross, Dennis Fritzinger and Alan Benson (tournament director). (Photo: Stella Monday)

3) December FIDE Rating List

The United States continues to have three players in the top 10, and all of them will be playing in the London Chess Classic which starts today.

1. Carlsen NOR 1990 2840
2. Caruana USA 1992 2823
3. Kramnik RUS 1975 2809
4. Vachier-Lagrave FRA 1990 2804
5. So USA 1993 2794
6. Karjakin RUS 1990 2785
7. Aronian ARM 1982 2785
8. Anand IND 1969 2779
9. Nakamura USA 1987 2779
10. Giri NED 1994 2771

The United States doesn’t have any women rated in the top ten in the world, but Jeffrey Xiong has been making steady progress and is now number four in the world Under-21, despite only recently turning 16.

Top-10 women:

1. Hou Yifan CHN 1994 2651
2. Ju Wenjun CHN 1991 2579
3. A. Muzychuk UKR 1990 2558
4. Koneru IND 1987 2557
5. Kosteniuk RUS 1984 2555
6. M. Muzychuk UKR 1992 2546
7. Harika IND 1991 2543
8. Cmilyte LTU 1983 2538
9. Lagno RUS 1989 2530
10. Gunina RUS 1989 2525

Top-10 juniors:

1. Rapport HUN 1996 2717
2. Wei Yi CHN 1999 2707
3. Duda POL 1998 2684
4. Xiong USA 2000 2666
5. Dubov RUS 1996 2660
6. Artemiev RUS 1998 2653
7. Bluebaum GER 1997 2640
8. Oparin RUS 1997 2616
9. Nyzhnyk UKR 1996 2616
10. J. Van Foreest NED 1999 2605

4) USCF Election Committee Announces Executive Board Special Election

The Election Committee has determined the following process will be used to fill the vacant seat on the Executive Board.

“Provided there are at least four individuals who submit nomination petitions and qualify as candidates, the Election Committee will run a special Executive Board election to fill the vacancy caused by Randy Bauer’s resignation concurrently with the 2017 general election. The top three finishers by vote total will win terms ending in 2020, and the finisher ranked fourth in vote total will win a term expiring in 2018.”

December 31, 2016, is the deadline for submitting nominating petitions, the $100 filing fee, and a statement signed by the candidate that they will serve if elected. Send petition, fee and statement to US Chess, Attn.: Cheryle Bruce, P.O. Box 3967, Crossville, TN 38557. If you have any questions about this process, please contact Cheryle Bruce at 931-787-1234, ext. 147 or email [email protected] .

5) This is the end

In this study, Black appears to have an overwhelming advantage. What can White do?

White to move

Show solution

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