Chess Room Newsletter #775 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #775

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #775
February 3, 2017

I quit during the first year. I was studying Political Economy at St. Petersburg State University. It was a special department where chess players could study, but reading those textbooks put me into a state of depression. I scratched my head and decided: “no”. I don’t want to be an economist—why should I go through all of this? In part it’s a pity, because I cut myself off from some kind of life-altering experiences. Perhaps they would have taught me to work a little if I’d gone through all five years, but at that moment it was clear that I was going to be a chess player, and I considered there was no need for a higher education. And the example of my contemporaries—Vasily Yemelin, Vadik Zvjaginsev, who I competed with as an equal, shows I was right. They graduated with glowing diplomas from serious institutions, but that held back their chess development. If you study something seriously then you have to take a break in your chess career, and those are precious years when you absorb things like a sponge and experience explosive growth.

—Peter Svidler, discussing whether university studies are good for a top chess player.

See the entire interview with Svidler.

The Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club will be hosting the 17th Annual Charles Bagby Memorial G/45 tournament this Saturday, February 4.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

National Masters Conrado Diaz and Bryon Doyle are tied for first with Expert Michael Askin, with three rounds remaining in the 111-player Winter Tuesday Night Marathon. International Master Elliott Winslow and FIDE Master Josiah Stearman head a large group a half-point back at 4–1.

From round 5 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Kondakov–Bayaraa after 34 dxe5)White to move (Viswanath-Natraj–Walters after 17...Kg7)
White to move (Babayan–Erickson after 18...Ne7)White to move (Poling–Simpkins after 19...Ke6)
Black to move (McEnroe–Sherwood after 29 Rxb5)White to move (Drane–Karweit after 22...Qd7)
Black to move (Bachseitz–Harris after 19 Kh2)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 5.

The San Francisco Mechanics’ lost to Seattle 7½-8½ in the third round of the Pro Chess League. International Master Steven Zierk had a great debut scoring 3 out of 4 beating Grand Master Giorgi Margvelashvili and International Master Georgi Orlov and drawing with Grandmaster Gabriel Sargissian who is rated number 85 in the world.

Jules Jelinek writes: Wednesday Night Blitz is back. Here is the schedule for the remainder of 2017.

February 1 through June 28 nonstop.
August 30, through November 15
November 29 through December 20.

2) Jeffery Xiong 2017 Samford Fellowship Winner

The Frank P. Samford, Jr. Chess Fellowship, marking its thirty-first annual award, has selected Grandmaster Jeffery Xiong of Coppell, Texas, as its 2017 Fellow. The Samford is the richest and most important chess fellowship in the United States, having awarded over two million dollars the past three decades. It identifies and assists the best young American chess masters by providing top-level coaching, strong competition and access to study materials. The Fellowship also supplies a monthly stipend for living expenses so that the winners may devote themselves to chess without having financial worries. The total value of the Fellowship has been increased several times over the years and is now $42,000 annually. The prize is awarded for one year and can be renewed for a second year. The winner’s term begins July 1, 2017.

Sixteen-year-old Jeffery Xiong is the reigning World Junior Champion and is currently the third-rated player under 21 in the world at 2667 on the January 2017 FIDE rating list. Last year he made an even score in his U.S. Championship debut and won the B group of the Capablanca Memorial.

The winners were chosen by the Samford Fellowship Committee, consisting of Frank P. Samford III (son of Samford Fellowship founder Frank P. Samford, Jr.), former U.S. Chess Champion Grandmaster Yury Shulman and International Master John Donaldson. The winner’s potential was determined based on chess talent, work ethic, dedication and accomplishments. The Fellowship is administered by the U.S. Chess Trust, with particularly valuable services provided by Al Lawrence.

The Samford Chess Fellowship was created by the late Frank P. Samford, Jr. of Birmingham Alabama. Mr. Samford was a distinguished attorney and CEO of Liberty National Life Insurance Company (now Torchmark). He was active in civic, business, political, educational and cultural affairs. Mr. Samford was also an enthusiastic competitor in chess tournaments. After providing financial support for several chess projects he decided to do something significant for American chess. The result was the Samford Fellowship.

Since its inception the Fellowship has proven very successful. Many Samford Fellows have become strong Grandmasters, members of the United States Olympiad team and US Champions. The 2016 Samford Fellow Wesley So is number four in the world on the January 2017 FIDE rating list and four of the five members of the 2016 gold medal winning US Olympiad team were current or former Samford Fellows.

Generous contributions from the late Mrs. Virginia Samford and the Torchmark Corporation support the Fellowship. The Samford Fellowship is a fitting memorial to an extraordinary man. The dedication, creativity and achievement that marked Mr. Frank P. Samford, Jr.’s life are examples for all chess players to admire and emulate.

Samford Winners

1987 Joel Benjamin
1988 Maxim Dlugy
1989 Patrick Wolff
1990 Alex Fishbein
1991 Ilya Gurevich
1992 Alex Sherzer
1993 Ben Finegold
1994 Gata Kamsky
1995 Josh Waitzki
1996 Tal Shaked
1997 Boris Kreiman
1998 Dean Ippolito
1999 Greg Shahade
2000 Michael Mulyar
2001 Eugene Perelshteyn
2002 Varuzhan Akobian
2003 Dmitry Schneider
2004 Rusudan Goletiani
2005 Hikaru Nakamura
2006 David Pruess
2007 Josh Friedel
2008 Vinay Bhat
2008 Irina Krush
2009 Ray Robson
2010 Robert Hess
2011 Alex Lenderman
2012 Timur Gareev
2012 Alejandro Ramirez
2013 Sam Shankland
2014 Daniel Naroditsky
2015 Samuel Sevian
2015 Kayden Troff
2016 Wesley So
2017 Jeffery Xiong

3) San Francisco is not the only city with a Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club

The chess club in the Australian city of Ballarat has recently started meeting again in its Mechanics’ Institute, as National Master Michael Aigner writes.

I found this interesting article while surfing the internet. Apparently San Francisco is not the only city with a chess club at a building called the Mechanics’ Institute. Check out Ballarat, an Australian town about an hour drive outside of Melbourne. The old club photo from 1925 looks like it could have easily been in San Francisco.

4) Here and There

Magnus Carlsen will be appearing on an upcoming episode of “The Simpsons”, which airs on Sunday, February 19. Here are the exclusive images that John Henderson got for New in Chess, which ran the spread in its latest issue. We thank John for permission to use these.

Click image to enlarge (opens in a new window).
Use browser’s back button to return.

Peter Thiel and Alan Trefler, who tied for first in the 1975 World Open when rated only a master, are the only chess masters we know who are billionaires, but give an honorable mention to the hedge fund manager and author James Altucher, who is another retired USCF master. Altucher continues to value the game highly and writes about its impact on him at

5) Arthur Stamer Memorial Winners

Arthur Stamer (1884–1964) had a long association with the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club. He won the club championship in 1905 and 1923 and several decades later served as the Club’s first Chess Director from 1951 to 1964. International Master Ricardo De Guzman has won it a record eight times.

William Addison (Black), the first player to win the Arthur Stamer Memorial, facing Gudmundur Sigurjonsson at Caracas 1970. (Photo: unknown)

1964 William Addison
1965 Earl Pruner
1966 Duncan Suttles
1967 Earl Pruner and Dennis Fritzinger
1968 John Blackstone and Jude Acers
1969 Earl Pruner
1970 Julio Kaplan, Gilbert Ramirez, Dennis Fritzinger and Jairo Gutierrez
1971 James McCormick and David Blohm
1972 Rex Wilcox
1973 Craig Barnes
1974 Clark Harmon

Seven-time Oregon State Champion Clark Harmon took home $750 for winning the 119-player Stamer Memoria—the equivalent of $3600 today. (Photo: unknown)

1975 Craig Barnes and C. Bill Jones
1976 Roy Ervin, Jeremy Silman, and Frank Thornally
1977 John Watson
1978 Peter Biyiasas and Paul Cornelius
1979 Peter Biyiasas
1980 Nick de Firmian
1981 Viktors Pupols
1982 Peter Biyiasas
1983 Nick de Firmian and Jeremy Silman
1984 Peter Biyiasas

Grandmaster Peter Biyiasas, one of only two players to compete in both the U.S. and Canadian championships (Duncan Suttles is the other) is pictured in this group shot taken at Lone Pine 1978. Front IM Rubens Filguth and GM Peter Biyiasas (hand on table), near the wall is GM Lev Polugaevski, with Leonid Shamkovich and Tigran Petrosian nearby. Helen Kashdan is standing. (Photo: Alan Benson)

1985 Zaki Harari
1986 Nick de Firmian
1987 Dov Gorman
1988 Alex Savetti and Sid Rubin
1989 Marc Leski and Elliott Winslow
1990 Gregory Kotlyar
1991 Igor Ivanov, Richard Koepcke, Greg Hjorth and Jim Eade
1992 Walter Browne and Renard Anderson
1993 Nick de Firmian, John Donaldson, Marc Leski and Emmanuel Perez
1994 Emanuel Perez and John Grefe
1995 Dmitry Zilberstein and Paul Enright
1996 William Orton and Romulo Fuentes
1997 Igor Margulis
1998 Walter Shipman
1999 Russell Wong
2000 Walter Shipman, Gennady Fomin and Steven Gaffagan
2001 Walter Shipman, Guenther Steinmueller, Eugene Levin, Andy Lee, Jennie Frenklakh,
Rey Salvatierra, Steven Gaffagan, Larry Snyder and Monty Peckham

Three-time Stamer Memorial winner International Master Walter Shipman (White) is shown playing National Master Louis Levy at the Marshall Chess Club circa 1965. Visible in the background against the wall are International Master James Sherwin and National Master Paul Brandts. (Photo: Beth Cassidy)

2002 Ricardo De Guzman, Michael Aigner
2003 Adrian Keatinge-Clay
2004 Ricardo De Guzman
2005 Vladimir Mezentsev
2006 Ricardo De Guzman, Michael Aigner
2007 Ricardo De Guzman
2008 Michael Pearson
2009 Ricardo De Guzman
2010 Ricardo De Guzman, Gregory Young
2011 Michael Pearson, Kyle Shin
2012 Gregory Young
2013 Ricardo De Guzman
2014 Paul Gallegos, Romulo Fuentes, Jerome Sun
2015 Siddarth Banik
2016 Ricardo De Guzman

6) This is the end

In this study, Black, despite a huge material advantage, can hardly move. Only his rook on e1 is available for service. But it’s White’s move.

White to move

Show solution

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