Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #796
August 18, 2017
Bobby Fischer was a nice kid. We both lived in Flatbush, Brooklyn. He went to school near where I lived. He would come in for an hour at lunchtime. He would come in at three and stay until nine. He ate meals with us. We had birthday parties, Christmas, New Year’s, and Thanksgiving together. Ethel and I were like a second family to him. His father left when he was a baby. He never got along with his mother too well. We were really his family for a long time.
—John Collins, quoted in Steven A. Fondiller’s The Ideal Tutor
1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News
The Peter Grey Tuesday Night Marathon has 108 entries, the 15th consecutive Tuesday Night Marathon with triple-digit attendance in a streak dating back to late 2014. It’s not too late to enter this 9-round, USCF- and FIDE-rated Swiss with half-point byes for rounds one and two.
From round 2 of the Peter Grey Tuesday Night Marathon:
|White to move (Stearman–McKellar after 9...Bh3)||Black to move (Vickers–Newey after 34 Rxa6)|
|White to move (Fuentes–Capdeville after 15...Kg8)||White to move (Goins–Porlares after 14...Nc6)|
|Black to move (Kondakov–MacIntyre after 32 Bxf6)||White to move (Melville–Frank after 10...h6)|
|White to move (Tuck–Olson after 15...f5)||Black to move (Simpkins–Valente after 20 Bg5)|
|For the solutions, see the game scores for round 2.|
Jules Jelinek, Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator, writes:
The Wednesday Night Blitz is now on summer break. Mark your calendars for August 30, when the weekly blitz resumes.
American chess legend International Master Anthony Saidy, a regular Newsletter reader, still plays in tournament and with success. Witness the following king hunt from the National Open played earlier this summer.
Anthony Saidy (2228)–Dmitri Shevelev (2319)
Las Vegas (4) 2017
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Bg5 d6 5.Bxf6 exf6 6.e4 a6 7.a4 b4 8.Bd3 g6 9.Nbd2 Bg7 10.Nc4 a5 11.0–0 0–0 12.Nfd2 .Qc7 13.f4 Nd7 14.Qf3 Ba6 15.Rae1 Bxc4 16.Nxc4 Nb6 17.b3 Nxc4 18.Bxc4 Rae8 19.g4 Re7 20.Kg2 Rfe8 21.Bb5 Rb8 22.h4! Qa7 23.Qd3 h6 24.Re2 Qc7 25.h5! g5 26.e5! fxe5 27.fxg5 e4 28.Rxe4 Rxe4? 29.Qxe4 hxg5 30.Bd3 Kf8 31.Qg6 Re8 32.h6 Bd4 33.h7 Bg7 34.Qh6! 1–0
National Master Romy Fuentes had a great result in winning the inaugural Sacramento Outdoor Adult (age 25 and older) Analog Clock Game/13 Quick Chess Championship on May 20, 2017. Fuentes scored a perfect 7 out of 7—after taking byes in rounds 1 and 2—to win the $500 first prize, ahead of one Grandmaster and three National Masters. Grandmaster Enrico Sevillano was second with 7 points, followed by National Master Conrado Diaz with 6 points. The 17-player event, a throwback to days gone by, was organized and sponsored by Stewart Katz.
Lauren Goodkind, who gave a well-received talk at the Mechanics’ on July 23 on her new book 50 Poison Chess Pieces, is teaching a beginners’ chess class for adults at Palo Alto Adult School starting September 11. The class is for five weeks. More information here.
(L-R) Mechanics’ Chess Director Max Wilkerson, International Arbiter Mike Goodall and future Women’s World Champion Susan Polgar at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club in 1986. (Photo: Mechanics’ Institute Archives)
2) FIDE Top 20 after the 2017 Sinquefield Cup
The 2017 Sinquefield Cup and the Giri-Ding match (won 2.5–1.5 by Giri) led to some major changes in the rankings for the top 20 players in the world. Below is the current list with their rating changes noted.
1. Carlsen +5.2 2827.2
2. Vachier-Lagrave +14.9 2803.9
3. Kramnik 0 2803
4. Aronian +3.4 2802.4
5. Caruana -7.8 2799.2
6. Mamedyarov 0 2797
7. Anand +10.7 2793.7
8. So -18.1 2791.9
9. Grischuk 0 2783
10. Nakamura -10.6 2781.4
11. Karjakin +7.1 2780.1
12. Giri +5.4 2777.4
13. Ding Liren -5.4 2771.6
14. Svidler +5.1 2756.1
15. Wei Yi 0 2753
16. Topalov 0 2749
17. Wojtaszek 0 2745
18. Yu Yangyi 0 2744
19. Li Chao 0 2744
20. Radjabov 0 2742
3) Family Chess Days in Richmond August 19, September 16 and 21
Free chess play events for the entire family. All ages welcome. Learn how to play. Practice your game.
Saturday, August 19, 11 am–2 pm @ Community Green Space, Harbour Way & Macdonald Avenue. In partnership with Chill with a Cop. Info.
Saturday, September 16, 1–5 pm @ 9th annual Spirit & Soul Festival (info), Macdonald Avenue: Harbour Way-13th Street
Thursday, September 21, 1 pm @ Community Green Space, Harbour Way & Macdonald Avenue
Join us in kicking off this exciting new downtown project. The Richmond Chess Initiative collaborative is turning downtown Richmond into the Main Street Community Chess Park, a district-wide destination bringing chess play to the community through pop-up matches, regularly scheduled family chess days, and special events. Download the flyer here.
4) New York–Paris 1948 Radio Match
There were few international events in the years immediately after the end of the Second World War, and to compensate for this state of affairs various radio matches were organized. The best-known of course is the 1945 event pitting the United States against the Soviet Union, but there were many others, including one between New York and Paris held Saturday, December 11, 1948, from 9 am to 6 pm.
Fine–O. Bernstein (W) ½–½; E. Lasker–Tartakower ½–½; Horowitz–Rossolimo 0–1; Kashdan–Raizman 1–0; Hanauer–Betbeder ½–½; Collins–Bouteville ½–½; Faucher–Sineca ½–½; Gresser–de Silans ½–½.
L-R (Gresser, Faucher, Collins, Hanauer, Kashdan, Horowitz, E. Lasker and Fine. (Photo: John Collins Collection, Lilly Library, Indiana University).
Despite the 9-hour playing session all but two boards (Fine–Bernstein and Faucher–Sineca) had to be adjudicated by Hans Kmoch (New York) and Eugene Znosko-Borovski (Paris). Today it is hard to imagine the delays in transmitting moves before the rise of the Internet.
It’s often written (for example The Bobby Fischer I Knew and Other Stories) that Isaac Kashdan moved to Los Angeles in the 1940s for the health of one of one his sons (Howard). Judging from the number of events Kashdan played in New York and other cities on the East Coast in the late 1940s it appears the earliest the family moved would have been 1949, and quite possibly a year or two later.
5) Carlos Torre
When making a list of the top American players of all time one player that often gets overlooked is Wilhelm Steinitz. He moved to the United States in 1883 and although he was not yet an U.S. citizen when he played the first official World Championship in 1886 with Johannes Zukertort (held in New York, St. Louis and New Orleans), Steinitz considered himself an American and wanted to play with the stars and stripes beside his board.
Steinitz received his citizenship in 1888, and now using the name William, represented the United States in his title match with Emanuel Lasker in 1894. There is no question that he is the first American to hold the official title of World Champion, a fact sometimes overlooked by some who jump from Paul Morphy (unquestionably the best in his day, when no official title existed) to Bobby Fischer. Much of Steinitz’s most important writing, including the Modern Chess Instructor and the International Chess Magazine, was done while he was an American.
Another player whose U.S. affiliation is often forgotten is Carlos Torre. Born in Mexico in 1904, he moved with his family to New Orleans at the age of 10 and took up the game in earnest a few years later. Though Torre is rightly associated with the place of his birth, it was in the United States that he developed into a world class player, playing actively there for approximately a decade.
Two books by New Orleans legend Andrew Lockett, Chess Players of New Orleans: A record of their achievements in tournament and match play from 1830 to 1931 and Chess Players of New Orleans: A record of their achievements in tournament and match play from 1830 to 1935 provide information on Torre’s early chess exploits. This two works, the latter an enlarged edition of the first, are among the rarest published in the United States, and even the noted collector and chess historian Andy Ansel does not have them. They are in the John G. White Collection at the Cleveland Public Library. The Life and Games of Carlos Torre by Gabriel Velasco is must reading for those interested in learning more about this fascinating player.
6) Second Piatigorsky Cup
The Second Piatigorsky Cup is remembered as one of the most important tournaments ever held, a ten-player double round robin that included some of the greatest players of all time (Fischer, Spassky, Petrosian, Larsen, Portisch, Reshevsky and Najdorf). Held at the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica, but a short walk to the Pacific Ocean, this was a truly iconic event. It doesn’t hurt that one of the best tournament books of all time was written on it (Second Piatigorsky Cup (1968) edited by the tournament director Isaac Kashdan). You can still stay at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, as it is now called, but plan on spending $500 or up a night.
7) This is the end
Which color do you prefer, in the ending from a recent grandmaster game?
White to move