Chess Room Newsletter #789 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #789

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #789
June 9, 2017

Carlsen, in my view, has a better feel than anyone else for changes on the board. I don’t have the impression that he’s the most talented, if I have the right to judge chess talent. I’ve played a lot of games against all the elite players, and that’s my “experienced” opinion. Carlsen is very balanced. He has outstanding drive, he’s exceptionally strong-willed and ambitious. That’s visible in all games, even when in training sessions we played basketball on one hoop. For us that was a way of switching off and relaxing, but for Magnus it was another arena for victory. Of course the majority of elite players have that “killer instinct”, as otherwise it would be tough to achieve similar heights. During games against him I got the feeling that I was playing with an intelligent opponent. In tricky situations he makes not the best, but intelligent moves—it’s hard to explain. That’s the reason he so invariably plays rapid and blitz well. No other sportsman has such stability. In my opinion there are players more talented than Carlsen, such as Ivanchuk or Nepomniachtchi. But they always lack that desire, that drive. Therefore Carlsen is for now the number one.

—Alexander Morozevich

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The 119-player Summer Tuesday Night Marathon has a seven-way tie for first after three rounds, with International Master Elliott Winslow, National Masters Tenzing Shaw, Conrado Diaz, Derek O’Connor, Romy Fuentes, Expert Michael Walder and Class B player Cailen Melville all having perfect scores. It is still possible to enter the eight round USCF and FIDE event with half point byes for rounds one through three.

From round 3 of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Shaw–Ivanov after 23...Ne7)Black to move (Askin–Tuck after 26 f3)
Black to move (Waharte–Boldi after 13 Bd2)Black to move (Simpkins–McEnroe after 56 Qd6)
White to move (Babayan–White after 13...g5)White to move (Rakonitz–Robertson after 52...a2)
White to move (Baer–Acharya after 12...Qd8)White to move (Torres–Boldi after 25...d4)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 3.

National Masters Conrado Diaz and Romy Fuentes and Expert Justin Fink tied for first with 5–1 scores in the 54th Arthur Stamer Memorial held June 3 and 4 at the Mechanics’ Institute. Teodoro Porlares finished fourth with 4½ points, and was the top finisher rated under 2000. 41 players competed in this annual event, held to honor the first Chess Director of the Mechanics’ Institute.

Jules Jelinek, Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator writes:

Wednesday night means blitz at the Mechanics’ Institute. Come on by and pick up some quick games tonight. The Blitz runs the entire month of June before it takes its summer break. Signup starts around 6:30 pm, with round 1 starting at 6:45.

There were 12 players for the Wednesday blitz on May 3. The results were as follows:

1st – Jacob Sevall
2nd – National Master Conrad Diaz
3rd - Felix Rudiyak, Joe Urquhart and Jules Jelinek

GM Sam Shankland beat GM Vasily Ivanchuk in the final round of the 2017 Capablanca Memorial (12-player double round robin) to tie for second.

The final standings
1. Sasikiran (IND, 2669) – 6½/10
2–3. Ivanchuk (UKR, 2738) and Shankland (USA, 2676) – 5½
4. Piorun (POL, 2638) – 5
5. Ortiz Suarez (CUB, 2570) – 4
6. Cordova (PER, 2645) – 3½

Here is Sam’s game against Ivanchuk:

Caro-Kann Defense: Advance. Short Variation (B12)
Samuel Shankland (2676)-Vassily Ivanchuk (2738)
Capablanca Memorial 2017 (10.3)

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Be2 Nd7 6.0–0 Bg6 7.Nbd2 Nh6 8.Nb3 Be7 9.a4 0–0 10.a5 f6 11.c4 Nf7 12.cxd5 cxd5 13.exf6 Bxf6 14.Bf4 Rc8 15.Rc1 Qe7 16.Qd2 h6 17.h3 Be4 18.Rfe1 b6 19.axb6 axb6 20.Nh2 Bg5 21.Bxg5 Nxg5 22.Qe3 Qb4 23.h4 Nf7 24.Bg4 Bf5 25.Bxf5 exf5

26.Nf3 Nf6 27.Ne5 Nxe5 28.dxe5 Ng4 29.Qf3 Rxc1 30.Rxc1 Qe4 31.Qxe4 fxe4 32.e6 Rxf2 33.Rc8+ Rf8 34.Rc6 e3 35.Nd4 Rf4 36.Ne2 Rf2 37.Rc8+ Kh7 38.e7 Rxe2 39.Kf1 1–0

National Master John Blackstone of Las Vegas, a long-time friend of the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club, died on May 12. We will have more to say about John in a future Newsletter.

2) Norman Whitaker at the Mechanics’ Institute

The late Norman Whitaker (1890-1975) is unquestionably one of the shadiest characters to ever sit down at a chess board. It’s is safe to say that no other International Master spent as much time in jail as Whitaker did. He served a particularly long stint for trying to extort money from the Lindbergh baby kidnapping.

Those who want to know more about Whitaker’s life should check out John Hilbert’s excellent book Shady Side: The Life and Crimes of Norman Tweed Whitaker, Chessmaster, a copy of which can be found in the Mechanics’ library. Here we will confine our attention to Whitaker’s connection with the Mechanics’ Institute.

Whitaker traveled to San Francisco in the summer of 1923 to play in a 12-player round robin for the championship of the Western Chess Association. The event, held at the Mechanics’ Institute, was grandfathered in as a US Open after a merger of chess organizations in 1939 led to the founding of the U.S. Chess Federation. This tournament was won by Whitaker and Stasch Mlotkowski with Samuel Factor third. Mechanics’ member and world-famous problemist A.J. Fink was fourth.

In the following letter Whitaker writes to then-Mechanics’ Institute Chess Director Alan Bourke, requesting help in obtaining copies of photographs of the 1923 event from the M.I. archives. One of them, featuring all the participants in the event, can be seen just before entering the Chess Room.

3) Open Files II: Celebrating 5 Years of Collecting at the WCHOF

Showcasing some of the most unique, historic, and fun artifacts acquired by the World Chess Hall of Fame during the past five years, Open Files II: Celebrating 5 Years of Collecting includes 100 diverse objects from the institution’s permanent collection. Highlights include a rare Hungarian chess set, artwork by Rafael Tufio, the Boy Scouts of America Chess Merit Badge, and selections from the archive of famed correspondence and computer chess pioneer Hans Berliner.

4) Tarjan–Zhou, 2016 North American Open, annotated by Tarjan

Here James Tarjan of Portland, the top-rated player in the United States on the age 65 and older list, nearly defeats fellow Grandmaster Zhou Jianchao of China, who is rated over 2600 FIDE.

London System A48
Jim Tarjan–Zhou Jianchao
North American Open (8) 2016

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.h3 c5 5.e3 Qb6 6.Qc1 cxd4 7.exd4 d6 8.c3 Nc6 9.Nbd2 Be6 10.Be2 Rc8 11.0-0 0-0 12.Re1 Nd5 13.Nc4 Qc7 14.Bh6 f6 15.Bd3 Bf7 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Ne3 e5 18.Qd2 Rcd8 19.Nxd5 Bxd5 20.Nh2 Bg8 21.Bb5 Ne7 22.Ba4 Nd5 23.Bb3 Nf4 24.Bxg8 Kxg8 25.Rad1 Qc6 26.d5

Better is 26.f3. So far all Black has is the one good piece, the knight on f4, and White can hop around with his own knight to trade it: Ng4-f2-d3 or Nf1-g3-e2.

26...Qc5 27.h4 Kg7 28.g3 Nh5 29.Kg2 f5 30.f4 exf4 31.gxf4 Rde8 32.Nf3 Rxe1 33.Rxe1 Qxd5 34.Re7+ Rf7 35.Rxf7+ Qxf7 36.Qxd6 Qxa2 37.Qe7+ Qf7 38.Qe5+ Kh6 39.Ng5 Qd5+ 40.Kf2 Qxe5?

40...Qd2+ wins. I saw it at the board, and he thought about it for awhile. I’m not sure but he looked like he might have lost track of the number of moves, though it shouldn’t have mattered to him as he had plenty of time left.


This is much more problematic


41...Kg7 42.Ne6+ Kf7


Now it is likely to be a draw, but of course still very complicated. We each had the additional 30 minutes after move 30, and a 10-second delay

42...b5 43.b4

Played more or less by instinct. Houdini’s first choice and now the machine acquiesces to complete equality.

43...a6 44.Kh3!

Probably the only move

44...Kh5 45.Nxh7 Ne6 46.Nf6+ Kh6 47.Kg3 g5 48.hxg5+ Kxg5 49.Nh7+ Kg6 50.Nf6 Kf7?

Now he really should go back 50. ...Kg5 and make a draw. Probably he just couldn’t stand drawing with a senile old man

51.Nd5 Ke8

First he played 51...Kg6 which loses to 52.Nf4+ but he didn’t let go of the piece.

52.Kf3 Kd7 53.Ke3 Kc6?? 54.Ne7+

I had perhaps four or five minutes left, he had less. I really shouldn’t have let him get away with this.

54...Kb6 55.Nxf5 a5 56.bxa5+

Houdini wins with 56.Nd4! Nc7 (56...Nxd4 57.bxa5+) 57.e6 a4 58.Kd3.

56...Kxa5 57.Nd4 Nc7

I thought this should be winning, but Houdini is not so convinced and in any event I did not have the strength at that moment to play good blitz. We start trading blunders.


58.e6 b4=


58...b4 59.Nc6+ Kb5 60.Nxb4 Kc4=




Now the computer says “equal”.

60.Kf5 Kd5 61.Kf6 Ne8+ 62.Ke7 Kxe5 63.Kxe8 Ke4 64.Nd4 b4 65.cxb4 Kxd4 66.b5 Kc5 67.b6 Kxb6 ½–½

5) People’s Open—1976 and 2017

What comes around goes around. Most Bay Area players associate the annual People’s Open with its traditional location in the Pauley Ballroom at the Student Union building at UC Berkeley, and indeed most events have been held there, but not all. Despite the name of the event, the tournament started in Hayward and not the People’s Republic of Berkeley. When it moved north in 1976 it was not held in the Student Union, but instead the Faculty Building, as the following flyer documents.

This July 14–16 the 42nd edition of this historic event will be held at the Faculty Club of the University of California at Berkeley. More information here.

6) This is the end

For your consideration, this study features a race to promote.

White to move

Show solution

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