Chess Room Newsletter #784 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #784

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #784
April 21, 2017

White, having the advantage of the first move, is allowed one minor blunder per game.

—Bobby Fischer

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

National Master Tenzing Shaw and Expert Alexander Ivanov lead the 114-player Spring Tuesday Night Marathon at 5½ out of 6, with two rounds remaining. Experts Natalya Tsodikova, Derek O’Connor and Chinguun Bayaraa are a half-point back.

From round 6 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Turner–Bayaraa after 28 Nxc5)White to move (Askin–Winslow after 18...Rf8)
Black to move (Boldi–Standen after 18 Nd6)White to move (Bayaraa–Liang after 31...e3)
Black to move (Boldi–Enkh after 24 Ra2)White to move (Cowgill–Badgett after 8...exd4)
White to move (Garfield–Bayaraa after 12...Kc8)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 6.

Jules Jelinek, Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator, provides the following information.

Wednesday Night Blitz April 12 (11 players)
1st Jules Jelinek
2nd Jacob Sevall
3rd Joe Urquhart

Sunday May 7 is when the Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz tournament will be held at the Mechanics’ Institute. 1st $400, 2nd $250, 3rd $120, 4th $100, 5th $75, 6th $50; everyone gets a free chess book for entering. Registration will be from 12:00 to 12:45 pm. No phone entries. The rounds will be at 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, 3:00 and 3:30 pm.

The USCF Member Service Area (MSA) only goes back to September 1991, but the USCF offered printouts of tournament crosstables starting in the early 1980s. Mike Goodall directed many Mechanics’ tournaments in the 1980s, and purchased printouts for these events, which he carefully saved. Those for the annual Arthur Stamer Memorial have been scanned by MI Library Manager Diane Lai and can be found here.

2) Nikolay Minev (1931–2017)

Few individuals have had as big an impact on the chess world as International Master Nikolay Minev, who died on March 10, 2017, in Seattle, Washington.

Minev, who was born on November 8, 1931, in Ruse, Bulgaria, didn’t take chess seriously until he was 15, but made quick progress, tying for first in the 1951 Bulgarian Championship. He lost the playoff, but would go on to win the title in 1953, 1965 and 1966. Minev further cemented his position as one of the top Bulgarian players of the 1950s and 60s by representing his country in six Olympiads, where he often played first board and met the likes of Mikhail Botvinnik, Tigran Petrosian and Bobby Fischer. He was also a member of four Bulgarian entries in the Student Team Olympiads, including the one in 1957 that finished second behind a Soviet team headed by Tal, Spassky and Polugaevsky.

Minev received the International Master title in 1960, but was never a professional player. He received his medical degree in 1956 and practiced medicine until 1972, when he was named editor of the Bulgarian national chess magazine Shakmatna Misl, a position he held until 1979, when he took a position as a trainer in Greece. Minev founded the Bulgarian national toxicology lab in Sofia. This accomplishment and his considerable chess successes were achieved despite never being a member of the Bulgarian Communist party.

Prior to this move to Greece Minev had combined his editorial responsibilities with training Ivan Radulov, who became the top Bulgarian player of the 1970s. Minev enjoyed even greater success in Greece, a country which in 1979 had no Grandmasters and few International Masters. He played an important role in the development of future Grandmasters Efstratios Grivas, Vasilios Kotronias and Spyridon Skembris, who were the beginning of a chess renaissance in Greece.

Minev and his wife Elena were supposed to return to Bulgaria in 1983, but tired of living under communism they instead defected, and ended up settling in the United States after a short stay in Vienna. The chess community in Seattle was the beneficiary of their move, and not long after settling in his new homeland Minev was editing Northwest Chess and writing for Players Chess News and Theory and Analysis. When Yasser Seirawan started Inside Chess in 1988 he turned to his good friend Nikolay Minev to be one of the key contributors for the new magazine. Minev’s column on tactics proved to be particularly popular, as he had a knack for writing instructive material that was also entertaining.

While Minev could engage the club player, he could also appeal to the very strongest. Garry Kasparov gave his highest praise to Minev’s 1980 work on rook-and-pawn endings, Ednotopovni Endtspili, a portion of which was later published as A Practical Guide to Rook End Games. This book served as the basis for the volume on rook-and-pawn endings in the Encyclopedia of Chess Endings series. Minev was closely involved in the Encyclopedia of Chess Endings project and the Encyclopedia of Chess Openings series, continuing a long-time relationship with Chess Informant. All told he was the author of over thirty books, on all aspects of chess.

Nikolay Minev at work in his study. (Photo: Derrick Robinson)

Minev was in in his fifties when he settled in the United States, but that didn’t stop him from tying for first in the 1983 American Open, and winning the Oregon Open on three occasions in the 1980s. Minev taught much more than he played after settling in Seattle, and among his pupils was two-time Washington State Champion and current Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the late Kent Pullen, another Washington State Champion and prominent politician.

Nikolay and Elena settling in Seattle was pure chance. Neither had been to the United States before and knew only a handful of Americans. It just happened that their Bulgarian sponsor lived in Lynnwood, Washington.

I played Nikolay twice at the beginning of 1983 in Norway and didn’t think it likely our paths would cross again. Imagine my surprise and theirs when just a half-year later I ran into Nikolay and Elena in front of the Neptune Theater just off 45th Street and University Way in Seattle’s University district. They had been understandably tight-lipped about their plan to leave Bulgaria and I had no inkling prior to our meeting that they had settled in Seattle.

One of my fondest memories of Nikolay is him giving group lessons on the endgame to many of Seattle’s best players. These weekly classes were much appreciated and a rare chance to receive instruction from a top-level endgame expert.

Nikolay Minev was a person of the highest integrity who will be sorely missed by his many friends around the world.

Those wishing to learn more about this remarkable individual may wish to go to the website which is a worthy tribute to him by his long-time friend and student Phil McCready

Sicilian B22
Nikolay Minev–Viktor Korchnoi
World Students Team Championship Oslo 1954

1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.cxd4 Nc6 6.Nf3 e6 7.Nc3 Nxc3 8.bxc3 d6 9.exd6 Bxd6 10.Bd3 Be7 11.0–0 0–0 12.Qe2 Bf6 13.Re1 Qd5 14.Bf4 Rd8 15.Rad1 Bd7 16.Ne5 Be8 17.Qh5 g6 18.Ng4! Be7 19.Qh6


19...Qxa2 is strongly met by 20.Re3!. 19...f5 was relatively best. After 20.Ne5 Bf8 21.Qh4 Nxe5 22.Bxe5 White has a clear advantage, but nothing decisive.

20.Qxh5 gxh5


A strong move but even better was the computer idea 21.Nh6+! Kh8 22.Rb1 Rd7 23.Rb5 h4 24.d5! with the point that 24...Rxd5 (24...exd5 25.Bf5) 25.Rxd5 exd5 is met by 26.Rxe7!.

21...Rac8 22.Nxc6 Bxc6 23.Re5


23...Rd5 had to be played.

24.Rc1! Ba3

24...Rd5 25.Rxd5 exd5 26.Bf5 with a clear advantage.

25.Rb1 Rxc3 26.Re3 Rdc8?

26...Kf8 had to be played.

27.Rg3+ Kf8 28.Rxb7

The threat of Bh6+ and Rg8+ is impossible to meet.

28...Rc1+ 29.Bf1 1–0

Wolfgang Uhlmann was one of the top players in the world in the 1960s and early 1970s (he qualified for the 1971 Candidates matches), but Nikolay had his number with a lifetime score of 5–3 (+2, =6).

French Defense C06
Nikolay Minev – Wolfgang Uhlmann
East Berlin (11) 1962

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 Qb6 8.Nf3 cxd4 9.cxd4 f6 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.0–0 Bd6 12.Bf4 Bxf4 13.Nxf4 Qxb2 14.Rb1


14...Qxa2 is now the preferred way to play for Black, but that was not known when this game was played. Uhlmann, one of the great experts on the French Defense, now finds his king subjected to a fierce attack.

15.Ng5 Qd6 16.Nfxe6 Bxe6 17.Nxe6 Qxe6 18.Re1 Ne4 19.Bxe4


19...0–0–0 20.Bf3 Qf7 21.Re6! Qc7 (21...Rhe8 22.Rxc6+! bxc6 23.Bg4+ Kc7 24.Qd2) 22.Qa4 is much better for White.

20.d5 Qe5 21.dxc6 bxc6 22.Qb3 Qd5 23.Qb4 Kf7 24.Qb7+ Kg6 25.Red1 Qe6

26.Qc7 Rac8 27.Qg3+ Kh5 28.Rd6 Qg4 29.Qe3 Rhf8 30.Rc1 g6 31.Rc5+ Rf5 32.h3 Qg5 33.g4+ 1–0

3) Here and There

The second issue of the American Chess Journal is out. The oversize glossy magazine is 152 pages, and features articles by Hou Yifan, Lenier Dominguez, Ivan Sokolov, Mihai Marin, Yasser Seirawan and many other Grandmasters. The cost of $29.95 (or $99 for a four-issue one year subscription) is not cheap. New in Chess magazine, by comparison, is $89 for 8 issues (about 800 pages), however ACJ pages are larger. You can find the American Chess Journal at

The 2017 Winter Classic, held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, consisted of two ten-player Grandmaster round robin tournaments. Sam Shankland represented the Bay Area in tournament A and Christian Chirilia in the B event.

1. GM Howell (ENG, 2657) – 6/9,
2–3. GMs Fedoseev (RUS, 2658) and Swiercz (POL, 2645) – 5½,
4–6. GMs Shankland (USA, 2674), Ipatov (TUR, 2660) and Zherebukh (USA, 2614) – 5,
7–8. GMs Cordova (PER, 2655) and Xiong (USA, 2674) – 4,
9–10. GM Sevian (USA, 2579) and IM Li (USA, 2561) – 2½

1. GM Baryshpolets (UKR, 2578) – 6½,
2. GM Chirila (ROU, 2522) – 6,
3. GM Hess (USA, 2571) – 5, etc.

4) This is the end

This rook-and-pawn position from a Grandmaster game illustrates many of the subtleties of such endings.

Black to move

Show solution

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