Chess Room Newsletter #773 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #773

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #773
January 20, 2017

I don’t know to what degree that can be explained by computers. It seems to me that in his case it’s more about talent. Few people can do the same, because to look at a bad position for hours is very tough mentally. You get a position which makes you feel nauseous, it’s unlikely to get any better, but it’s still too early to resign. You have to sit there and simply find the best moves. That’s a most precious gift! In that regard Sergey is one of the best, if not the best in the world. I, for example, have also saved bad positions, but in that respect I don’t even come close to Karjakin!

—Peter Svidler, in response to the question
“So as a typical child of the computer era would Karjakin be ready to defend any position?”

See the entire interview with Svidler.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

There were upsets galore in round three of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon, with Fianna McCarty-Snead and Erika Malykin defeating opponents rated 606 and 448 points above them. International Master Elliott Winslow and Experts Derek O’Connor, Igor Traub and Michael Walder lead the 103-player event with perfect scores. It’s still possible to enter this eight round USCF- and FIDE-rated event with half-point byes for the first three games.

From round 3 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Wong–Warton after 37...Qf7)Black to move (Campers–Thornally after 24 Be3)
Black to move (Kondakov–Otterbach after 25 Rd2)White to move (Tsodikova–Melville after 16...Be7)
White to move (Poling–Brown after 15...Bd6)White to move (Sadowsky–Wonsever after 21...Qh5)
White to move (Boldi–Erdenebileg after 13...c6)White to move (Kulkarni–Marrus after 21...Rf8)
Black to move (Weingarten–Bayaraa after 29 Bd7)Black to move (Enkh–Green after 13 Bxf6)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 3.

The following game is from the first round of the Pro Chess League. Time control was 15 minutes a side with a two-second increment.

Caro Kann B10
Wolff (San Francisco)–Shabalov (Pittsburgh)
Pro Chess League (1) 2016

1. e4 c6 2. Ne2 d5 3. e5 f6 4. d4 fxe5 5. dxe5 c5? 6. Nf4 Nh6 7. Qxd5 Nc6 8. Bb5 Qxd5 9. Nxd5 Kf7 10. Bxc6 bxc6 11. Nf4 Ng4 12. e6+ Kf6 13. b3 h5 14. Na3 Rh7 15. Nc4 g5 16. Bb2+ Kf5 17. Nd3 Bxe6 18. h3 Nf6 19. Ne3+ Kg6 20. Nxc5 Bg8 21. O-O-O Nd5 22. c4 e6 23. Nd3 Nf4 24. Ne5+ Kh6 25. g3 Ng6 26. N5g4+!

26... hxg4 27. Nxg4+ Kh5 28. Nf6+ 1-0

Shabalov’s problem is that he is not just losing the rook, he is losing the bishop on g8 and then the rook anyway after Nf6+.

The Mechanics’ entry in the Pro Chess League lost its second round match to one of the league favorites, the San Jose Hackers (Grandmasters Mameyarov, Naroditsky and Izoria). Grandmaster Sam Shankland was the top scorer with 2½ from 4, while Cameron Wheeler had two points, including a draw with Mamedyarov.

2) Remembering Val Zemitis (1925–2012)

March 22 marks the fifth anniversary of the passing of Val Zemitis of Davis, California. We remember the hard worker for chess, who was active for seven decades, with the following photographs.

Bob Burger (back of head), Mikhail Tal, Val Zemitis and the noted painter Raimonds Strapans. This photograph was taken in Strapans’ home on Potrero Hill in San Francisco in March 1991. Tal was playing in the Pan-Pacific International organized by the Mechanics’ Institute. (Photo: Ilona Strapans)

Val Zemitis in front of the Tal family plot in Riga, Latvia. (Photo: unknown)

Val Zemitis with a young Alexey Shirov in Riga, Latvia. (Photo: unknown)

Zemitis wrote that he played the following with Tal in a simul in Germany in 1958 following the Munich Chess Olympiad.

King’s Indian Samisch E83
Mikhail Tal–Val Zemitis
Munich (simul) 1958

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Be3 Nc6 7.Qd2 a6 8.Bd3 e5 9.d5 Nd4 10.Nge2 Nd7 11.0–0 c5 12.dxc6 bxc6 13.Rad1 Nc5 14.Bb1 Nce6 15.Bf2 f5 16.exf5 gxf5 17.Nxd4 Nxd4 18.Ne2 c5 19.b4 Qf6 20.Nc3 Be6 21.Nd5 Bxd5 22.cxd5 Bh6 23.Qe1 Ra7 24.bxc5 dxc5 25.Kh1 Rg7 26.Be3 Rg6 27.g3 Kh8 28.f4 Qd6 29.fxe5 Qxd5+ 30.Kg1 Bxe3+ 31.Qxe3 Re6 32.Rde1 Rfe8 33.Qf4 Rxe5 34.Rxe5 Qxe5 35.Qxe5+ Rxe5 36.Bd3 a5 ½–½

“Tal offered me a draw, which I accepted”—Val Zemitis.

A remembrance of Zemitis can be found here.

3) Here and There

We note with sadness the recent passing of the noted Portland organizer and tournament director Neil Dale. Tributes to his memory can be found at

Annual matches were held between players from Northern and Southern California for almost 50 years. This tradition, which started in the mid-1920s and continued to the early 1970s, was one of the highlights of the year with meetings in central cities like Atascadero, San Luis Obispo and Fresno long remembered. This was during a time in which club chess had not yet been supplanted by weekend tournaments.

Before the establishment of a proper road system between San Francisco and Los Angeles allowed players to drive to the event and meet face-to-face the two halves of California played by telegraph.

National Master John Blackstone of Las Vegas discovered the following game from one of these matches played over 100 years ago.

Queen’s Gambit Declined
M.A. Woodward–A.J. Fink
San Francisco –Los Angeles 1915

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.a3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Nc3 0-0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.b4 Be7 9.Bb2 a5 10.cxd5 axb4 11.axb4 Rxa1 12.Qxa1 Bxb4 13.dxe6 Ne4 14.exf7+ Kh8 15.Bc4 Qf6 16.0-0 Bxc3 17.Qa3 Nd7 18.Nd4 Bxb2 19.Qxb2 Nd6 20.Ba2 Nxf7 21.Bb1 Nde5 22.Qc2 g6 23.f4 Ng4 24.Qc3 Bd7 25.Qb4 Nd8 26.h3 Nh6 27.g4 Ng8 28.e4 Nc6 29.Nxc6 Bxc6 30.g5 Qg7 31.h4 Rd8 32.f5 gxf5 33.Rxf5 Qd4+ 34.Qxd4+ Rxd4 35.Kf2 Rb4 36.Bd3 Bxe4 37.Bxe4 Rxe4 38.h5 Kg7 39.Rb5 Re7 40.Rb6 Rd7 41.h6+ Kf7 42.g6+ hxg6 43.h7 Kg7 44.hxg8Q+ Kxg8 45.Rxg6+ Kf7 ½-½

Source: Oregonian January 23, 1916.

4) This is the end

This study features an overworked white bishop versus advanced black pawns. Can White save the day?

White to move

Show solution

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