Chess Room Newsletter #795 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #795

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #795
August 11, 2017

If God were to construct the ideal chess player, it would come out like Fischer. He did have—it is all in the past now—total recall. He was completely devoted to it. He would read and study ten to twelve hours a day. He was very competitive and very aggressive in his play. He had great stamina. He was completely composed and cool. He left all his idiosyncrasies when he reached the board and he picked them up again when he finished the game.

—John Collins, quoted in Steven A. Fondiller’s The Ideal Tutor

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The Peter Grey Tuesday Night Marathon, a nine-round USCF- and FIDE-rated Swiss, started last Tuesday, and with a few more last-minute entries will extend the streak of 14 consecutive TNM’s with 100 or more players. One player who has played in all the events in this streak—which dates back to the fall of 2014—is International Master Elliott Winslow.

From round 1 of the Peter Grey Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Starr–Stearman after 12 Nf3)Black to move (Hilliard–Khristoforov after 21 Kh1)
Black to move (Scalese–Stolpe after 18 f4)White to move (Crofts–Cowgill after 10...Ne5)
White to move (McLain–Tuck after 21...Qa5)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 1.

International Master Elliott Winslow might rightly be called “Mr. Tuesday Night Marathon”, if you look at the numbers. Since the fall of 2011, when he made a return to tournament chess after a break of more than fifteen years, he has played all 29 TNMs, not missing a single one. More impressively, he has finished in the top three in 23 of these events, winning or tying for first nine times, second 12 times and third on two occasions. Elliott has been especially good in games for the prize money, scoring 21 wins and just five losses in 26 last-round encounters.

While he is normally one of the top-rated players in the TNM, he has been given plenty of competition by IM Ganbold Odondoo, Senior Master Andy Lee, FIDE Master James Critelli, and National Masters Conrado Diaz, Hayk Manvelyan, James Sun and Tenzing Shaw—all rated over 2300 USCF—not to mention plenty of lower-rated masters.

Mr. Tuesday Night Marathon (Photo: Elliott Winslow)

Elliott’s USCF rating was 2396 when he started playing again after the long layoff and, predictably, it took some time to shake the rust off. His rating dropped as low as 2250 before starting back up, in part due to the acknowledgement that tournaments with faster time controls were no longer his forte. For the last year Elliott’s rating has been consistently in the 2300–2330 range, making him one of the top players in the U.S. in the age-65-and-over rankings. It might even be higher if he avoided weekend events with more than one round per day. Elliott’s rating, if he just played in the TNM would likely be closer to 2350.

Elliott Winslow (L) and his brother Dan on October 15, 1967, with the Capablanca Chess Club of St. Louis in the background. (Photo: Takuri Tei)

National Master Romy Fuentes won the 17th Vladimir Pafnutieff G/45 tournament held August 5 with a perfect score. Tying for second at 4–1 in the 41-player event were Jesse Turner of Fresno and Samir Llamazares of Spain.

Vladimir Pafnutieff (1912–1999) arrived in San Francisco in 1930 from Harbin, China, when his family was forced to flee after the Russian Revolution. He quickly found the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club, which he made his second home for close to 70 years.

Vladimir Pafnutieff playing Black against James Cross in the 1952 Hollywood International with Eugene Steiner watching. (Photo: Nancy Roos)

Known for his sharp combinative style of play, Pafnutieff was one of the best players in Northern California for several decades, regularly playing on a top board in the annual North-South matches. His book, How to Create Combinations, part tactics primer, part best-games collection, is highly recommended.

Pafnutieff was a man of many talents; besides being a chess master he was a strong tennis player who taught the teenage Rosie Casals, and had a fine baritone singing voice. He and his wife Eugenia operated a Russian restaurant in the Seattle area for several years in the mid-1970s.

2) Falling in Love with Baseball by Chris Maveraedis

Those who love baseball and chess will want come to the Mechanics’ Institute on Tuesday, August 15, at 12:30 pm, when Liz Mavraedis, editor Bob Sockolov and KNBR’s Marty Lurie will discuss Chris Mavraedis’ book and all things baseball.

Falling in Love with Baseball is a beautiful full-color hardbound book loaded with great anecdotes and remembrances by a man who truly loves baseball. When Lou Gehrig’s disease robbed Chris Mavraedis of the ability to speak, he translated his passion for the game into stories, blog posts, and emails. These pieces and photographs (24, in honor of Willie Mays’ jersey number) are inspiring, often hilarious, at times heartrending, and will delight anyone who ever fell in love with baseball.

A native San Franciscan, Chris Mavraedis was introduced to baseball at five years old by his grandfathers and father during the Giants’ first season in San Francisco in 1958. Chris was a talented baseball player himself and played semi-pro baseball for one year. He laid down his catcher’s glove to go to college to support his young family. Throughout a successful decade’s long career in computer technology, that included owning a consulting corporation, he continued his love of the game and followed baseball closely. In 2009 Chris was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Falling in Love With Baseball is Chris’s first book. Chris and his wife of 30 years, Elizabeth, live in San Francisco.

Older Bay Area chess players will remember Chris Mavraedis as a popular figure. A long-time M.I. chess player and USCF-rated Expert, Chris posted a very interesting video to YouTube of John Grefe giving a one hour lesson on the King’s Indian. It can be found here.

3) James Allan Anderson—Forgotten Man of Chess

More than one hundred players have represented the United States in Chess Olympiads since the late 1920s, but few if any are as mysterious as James Allan Anderson (1906–2001). A three-time St. Louis Champion who defeated Alekhine in a simul in 1929, Anderson finished second in the 1929 Western Chess Association Championship (ahead of Herman Steiner, Norman Whitaker and Samuel Factor), earning himself a spot on the U.S. team for the 1930 Olympiad in Hamburg. Playing board four, he started fine with 6½ from 12, before collapsing and losing his last five games.

Anderson finished fourth at the 1931 Western Chess Association Championship in Tulsa and won the St. Louis championship in 1932 with 8½/9, before disappearing from the chess world at the age of 26.

Anderson died in Antioch, California, and is buried at Oak View Memorial Park in that city, but we have heard of no connection between him and Northern California chess.

4) William Lombardy

William Lombardy is one of the greatest talents in the history of American chess. New York State Champion at the age of 16, he attracted worldwide attention by winning the World Junior Championship in 1957 with a perfect score. Lombardy followed up this performance by taking home team and individual gold (first board) in the 1960 World Student Team Championship and earning a team silver medal in the 1960 Olympiad.

He stopped playing chess full-time in his prime after taking second place in the 1960–61 U.S. Championship, preferring instead to study for the priesthood. Lombardy enrolled at St. Joseph’s Seminary and College in Yonkers, where he earned a B.A. in Philosophy (1963), an M.A. in Moral Theology (1966) and a Master of Divinity in General Theology (1967). He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1967, a member of the last class of Cardinal Spellman.

Lombardy taught at Cardinal Hayes High School until 1977, when he left the priesthood and took a job in the insurance business for four years. Despite having many prior tournament successes and authoring several books (among them one on the 1973 U.S. Chess Championship), Lombardy’s résumé notes he only became a chess professional in 1981 at the age of 42.

William Lombardy (R), photographed in the spring of 2017, in Greenwich Village with his friend Imad Khachan, the proprietor of Chess Forum. (Photo: Joe Shipman)

The legendary Grandmaster is currently working on a sequel to his well-received book Understanding Chess: My System, My Games, My Life (2011).

5) 1976 US Junior Closed

The 1976 U.S. Junior Closed held in Memphis, Tennessee, was one of the strongest in the series, which dates back to the mid-1960s (Walter Browne won the first one). Six of the eight players (Mechanics’ Grandmaster-in-Residence Nick de Firmian, Yasser Seirawan, John Fedorowicz, Michael Rohde, Ron Henley and Jonathan Tisdall) became Grandmasters and Mark Diesen and Ken Regan achieved the International Master title. Diesen and Rohde tied for first, with Diesen earning the invitation to the World Junior Championship later that year, which he won.

This was a big moment in Memphis chess, the first major event held in the Mid-South since the U.S. Open Championship (Western Chess Association Championship) was played there in 1920.

L-R Jonathan Tisdall, Ken Regan, Yasser Seirawan, Ron Henley, Mark Diesen, John Fedorowicz, Michael Rohde and Nick de Firmian (Photo: unknown)

6) This is the end

This study might look as if it’s being viewed from the Black side, but in fact Black is threatening to promote three pawns to White’s lone e-pawn. Can White survive?

White to move

Show solution

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