Chess Room Newsletter #791 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #791

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #791
June 23, 2017

I have always thought of the St. Louis Chess Club and the World Chess Hall of Fame as the Mecca and Medina of chess. Every chessplayer hopes to get there one day.

The Mechanics Institute of San Francisco is the Jerusalem. Mechanics Institute serves as this hub of chess culture where giants from ancient and modern times come to test themselves.  Walking in the architecture, the boards, pieces, and even the air is thick with history.

—Adisa Banjoko in an article on the Mechanics' Chess Club, at US Chess online

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliot Winslow, FIDE Master Josiah Stearman and National Masters Tenzing Shaw and Derek O’Connor are tied for first with 4½ from 5 in the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon. Three rounds remain for the 123-player field.

From round 5 of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Shaw–Diaz after 26...Kh8)White to move (Shaw–Diaz after 34...Bg8)
Black to move (Uzzaman–O'Connor after 22 g4)Black to move (Uzzaman–O'Connor after 32 Ba4)
White to move (Melville–Ivanov after 14...N7f6)Black to move (Vickers–Clemens after 15 Bf4)
Black to move (Vickers–Clemens after 20 Qe4)White to move (Vickers–Clemens after 28...Re7)
White to move (Touset–Tamadong after 24...Rc8)White to move (Adkins–Robertson after 53...Kc5)
White to move (Baer–Casares after 44...h2)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 5.

National Master Conrado Diaz won the 39-player 17th William Addison Memorial last Saturday with a score of 5½ from 6. Arthur Ismakov and visiting English Expert Robert Heaton shared second with 5 points, followed by National Master Mike Arne and improving young Ethan Boldi with 4½.

Wednesday Night Blitz results for June 14.

There were 16 players; the results were

1st – NM Josiah Stearman – 10½ pts
2nd – NM Derek O’Connor – 9½ pts
3rd – Kaustubh Pimutker – 7½ pts

The US entry in the World Team Championship, headed by Walnut Creek Grandmaster Sam Shankland (who drew world top 10 player Ding Liren in a game where he was better), is struggling with one match win, two losses and two draws with four rounds left to be played. The team has not adapted well to the 12-hour time difference (the event is being played in Siberia) and will need a strong finish to move up in the standings.

Mechanics’ old-timers remember the days when every table in the Chess Room had a beautiful and distinctive wooden chess set up for play. Those days are long gone, but it is possible to buy a replica of the famous Mechanics’ chess set, thanks to House of Staunton. The massive set, which is available in different woods, can be purchased here. Your purchase benefits the Mechanics’Institute Chess Club, which receives a royalty for each set sold.

Lauren Goodkind writes:

Several weeks ago, I published my chess book 50 Poison Pieces, which is available for purchase here.

I created 50 puzzles for the book; they are intended primarily for chess players who are learning basic tactics. The book took 1½ years to write. In addition, I have also have a website, where I created about 500 puzzles for beginners (registration required).

We believe this is the first chess book written by a female chess player living in the Bay Area.

2) June 2017 FIDE Ratings

The latest FIDE rating lists has some changes in the top 10, with Shakhriyar Mammadyarov and Ding Liren moving up to this select group. This is the first time “Shak” has been rated 2800. The US has three players in the top ten, the only country with more than one. Supporting them are Alex Onischuk, Sam Shankland, Gata Kamsky, Varuzhan, Ray Robson and Jeffery Xiong who are all the rated in the top 100 players in the world. It’s possible that the United States had a similar number in the early 1970s, but having nine individuals in this select group is definitely the most in the past 40 years.

While the United States has the edge at the very top, Russia is still way ahead of everyone in depth with almost a quarter (21) of the top 100 players in the world. China has nine players, including seven over 2695 FIDE, while India has seven and Ukraine six.

Top 25
1. Carlsen NOR 2832
2. So USA 2812
3. Kramnik RUS 2808
4. Caruana USA 2805
5. Mamedyarov AZE 2800
6. Vachier-Lagrave FRA 2795
7. Aronian ARM 2793
8. Anand IND 2786
9. Nakamura USA 2785
10. Ding Liren CHN 2783
11. Karjakin RUS 2781
12. Giri NED 2771
13. Grischuk RUS 2761
14. Svidler RUS 2756
15. Yu Yangyi CHN 2749
16. Topalov BUL 2749
17. Eljanov UKR 2739
18. Dominguez Perez CUB 2739
19. Ivanchuk UKR 2738
20. Harikrishna IND 2737
21. Navara CZE 2737
22. Adams ENG 2736
23. Nepomniachtchi RUS 2732
24. Wojtaszek POL 2730
25. Wei Yi CHN 2728

Top 10 Female players
1. Hou Yifan CHN 2666
2. Ju Wenjun CHN 2583
3. A. Muzychuk UKR 2569
4. Koneru IND 2557
5. M. Muzychuk UKR 2546
6. Cmilyte LTU 2539
7. Lagno RUS 2539
8. Kosteniuk RUS 2537
9. Harika IND 2535
10. Dzagnidze GEO 2533

The highest-rated U.S. women and the only ones rated in the top 100 in the world are Irina Krush, who is number 41 at 2435, and Anna Zatonskih, number 49 at 2417. One positive sign for the future are the five U.S. Girls who are rated in the top 50 female players in the world under 21, headed by Jennifer Yu (born 2002), rated 2319 FIDE.

Top 10 Juniors
This is one category where the U.S. really shines, with two players in the top ten and nine in the top 100 juniors in the world under 21.

1. Wei Yi 1999 CHN 2728
2. Duda 1998 POL 2697
3. Artemiev 1998 RUS 2691
4. Xiong 2000 USA 2658
5. Bluebaum 1997 GER 2634
6. Gledura 1999 HUN 2620
7. Oparin 1997 RUS 2613
8. Van Foreest 1999 NED 2607
9. Sevian 2000 USA 2601
10. Vavulin 1998 RUS 2595

Top 10 countries:
1. Russia 2742
2. USA 2708
3. China 2707
4. Ukraine 2688
5. India 2673
6. Azerbaijan 2659
7. France 2652
8. Hungary 2646
9. Armenia 2645
10. Poland 2643

3) Colle and Rubinstein–Landau and Tartakower, Rotterdam 1932

Akiva Kiwelowicz Rubinstein (1880–1961)

Rubinstein (left) and Tarrasch

Akiva Rubinstein’s last tournament was played in 1932 and featured an unusual format. The four competitors played as pairs, changing partners each round. Consultation games are not unheard of, but normally feature one strong player and amateur on each side. Having only strong players involved in a consultation game is rare, and a tournament using this format rarer still.

The following game was published in Akiva Rubinstein: The Later Years, but recently the noted researcher Tony Gillam has unearthed annotations and information on how the tournament was run.

Sponsored by Rotterdamsche Nieuwsblad
Arbiter: G.C.A. Oskam
Time Limit: 40 moves in 2½ hours.

The sponsors took advantage of the presence in Rotterdam of the four players who had just played a small tournament in the city at the end of December 1931. This was to be Rubinstein’s last tournament. The result of this consultation tournament exactly reversed the placings in the December individual tournament. So that the players could consult with their playing partners without being overheard, two boards were used, sufficiently far apart for their opponents not to hear them. This detail became very important in the first game, when an error was made in setting up White’s board after the adjournment.

Nimzo-Indian E42
Colle and Rubinstein–Landau and Tartakower
Rotterdam (consultation game) January 3, 1932, round 1

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 c5 5.Nge2 cxd4 6.exd4 d5 7.c5

A move in the Queen’s Gambit that is not usually played. White can only temporarily block Black in as he will later be able to free himself with either …e5 or …b6.

7...0–0 8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.Nxc3 b6 10.b4 bxc5 11.dxc5

11 bxc5 also came into consideration. White, however, preferred to take with the d-pawn in order to gain a strong majority on the queen’s side. In compensation, Black has the center pawns.

11...e5 12.Bg5

Threatening 13 Bxf6 followed by taking on d5.

12...Bb7 13.Nb5 d4 14.Nd6 Bd5 15.f3 h6 16.Bh4

An exchange on f6 would have deprived White of his bishop which can still give him good service on f2 or g3. Moreover, he would be relieving Black’s game by removing the pin on the knight. Note g7–g5 now would be dangerous because of the exposing of Black’s king and also because White will, sooner or later, be able to play h4.


17.Bd3 g5

A bold venture. Black, however, on the queen’s side was in a minority and it was impossible to act there until the pawns had advanced. For sure, Black should still lose the game in the long run.

18.Bf2 Nh5 19.0–0 Nf4 20.Re1 Qf6 21.Bf1

So as to be able to recapture with the bishop on g2 if Black should sacrifice his knight on that square.


So as to have the opportunity to sacrifice this rook for the knight on d6 and a pawn or to play …Rd7 and …Re7 to improve his position. Note that the queen must protect f3. On 22 Qc2 follows 22...Nh3+! 23 gxh3 Qxf3 with the inevitable threat of Qh1 mate.


In preparation for a later advance of the b- and c-pawns.


The knight is going to f5.

23.g3 Nfg6 24.Bg2 Nf5

Threatening Nxd6. White would, however, rather exchange his knight for the Bd5.


White’s positional advantage is now clear. The black queen must now go to a less favourable square or exchange on e4 and then retreat his Nf5. In both cases, Black’s attack would be repulsed. After an exchange on e4, the f-file would be open for a white rook and he would have two bishops against two knights.

25...Qc6 26.Qd3

Threatening 27 Nxg5 hxg5 28 Qxf5.

26...Nfe7 27.b5 Qe6 28.c6 f5 29.Nc5 Qc8


This costs Black the exchange.


At this point White played 31 Rc5 (An incomprehensible move. The mystery is soon solved.) 31...Rxb7 32 Rxd5?? (At this point it became clear that the position on the white board was incorrect. The black knight which should have been on e7 had been placed on g7. Because Black now played 32...Nxd5, it became clear that the reasons for White’s last two moves had been entirely wrong. The arbiter, Mr. Oskam, decided that the game must be replayed from the position where the mistake (in the setting up of the position) had occurred; after 26...Nfe7. Play began again and the same moves were repeated until the position was reached after 30...Rd7.


Varying from 31 Rc5.

31...Qxb7 32.Rc5 Rd8 33.Bh3

33…Be6 34.Rcxe5

White returns the exchange and so remains a pawn ahead.

34...Nxe5 35.Rxe5 Qxd7 36.Qxd4 Qc7

37.Qc5 Rd1+ 38.Bf1 Qxc5 39.Rxc5 f4

Threatening …Bh3.


40…Nd5 ½–½

Play ended here, with Oskam deciding the game a draw. Notes from the Rotterdamsche Nieuwsblad 4/1/1932. The translation from the Dutch is by Tony Gillam.

4) R. Byrne–Benko, U.S. Open 1969

The following game, not to be found in MegaDatabase 2017, comes from the archive of the late Peter Grey. It was played in the 1969 U.S. Open held in Lincoln, Nebraska.

5) This is the end

In this study, White’s position looks dire. Can he hold on?

White to move

Show solution

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