Chess Room Newsletter #800 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #800

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #800
September 15, 2017

It is with poetry as with Chess and Billiards— There is a certain degree of attainment, which labor and practice will reach, and beyond which no vigils and no vows will go.

—John Quincy Adams (quoted in the Wall Street Journal (p. C5) July 29–30, 2017)

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

FIDE Master Josiah Stearman’s sixth-round win over National Master Conrado Diaz has moved him into sole first place with 5½ from 6 in the Peter Grey Tuesday Night Marathon. A large group led by International Master Elliott Winslow is a half-point behind the 13-year-old FIDE Master. Three rounds remain for the 117 participants.

From round 6 of the Peter Grey Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Winslow–O'Connor after 17...c4)White to move (Goins–Dougal after 15...hxg5)
White to move (Snyder–Clemens after 30...Nc6)Black to move (Ricard–Askin after 18 Rxd7)
Black to move (Anderson–Dupree after 11 b4)White to move (Yanofsky–Ross after 7...e6)
Black to move (Chan–Jensen after 55 e4)Black to move (Than–Mays after 22 Kg2)
White to move (White–Krasnov after 15...Be7)Black to move (Baer–Abraham after 17 Rfd1)
White to move (Touset–Erdenebileg after 18...gxh4)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 6.

Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky of Foster City has 3½ from 8 (2576 performance) with one round remaining in the A section of the Fall Chess Classic being held at The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.

National Master Derek O’Connor has won the Berkeley Chess Club’s 33-player Neil Falconer Marathon with a round to spare.

2) Lost game rediscovered: Evans-McCormick, Lone Pine 1971

The first of eleven chess events in the small town of Lone Pine, California, was held in 1971. The tournament would eventually grow into one of the strongest opens in the world with several dozen Grandmasters competing, but in the beginning the requirements were more modest: any player with a U.S.C.F. rating over 2000 could play.

Most, but not all Lone Pine tournaments had bulletins. Max Burkett and his crew produced them for the events from 1975 to 1981, while John Grefe, Dennis Waterman, Dennis Fritzinger and others collaborated on a book on the 1972 event, which featured all the games. This leaves only the inaugural event and 1973 and 1974 without comprehensive coverage.

Waterman and Grefe’s The Best of Lone Pine 1971-1980 offers some information for the missing three years, including the position starting with Black’s 48th move in the game Larry Evans-James McCormick from round one in 1971, but not the preceding moves. It was long thought the scoresheets from that game had been thrown away (McCormick has been searching for his score for 40 years), but recently one copy resurfaced, thanks to the generosity of Richard Kashdan, son of the famous Grandmaster who directed all the Lone Pine events.

The carbon is of McCormick’s scoresheet. Not to be confused with the New Jersey Master Edgar McCormick, “Dirty Jim’s” scorekeeping has always been a challenge. Many thanks to chess cryptographer extraordinaire Eduardo Bauza Mercere for deciphering his handwriting.

Larry Melvyn Evans–James McCormick
Lone Pine (1) March 14, 1971


Bent Larsen had incredible success with 1.b3 throughout 1972, but this game was played before he started using it regularly.

1...c5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.Nf3 d5 4.e3 e6 5.Bb5 Nge7

This is a sensible way to handle the position, taking advantage of the fact that the knight is not committed to f6.

6.Ne5 Bd7 7.Nxd7 Qxd7 8.0–0


Not bad, but 8...a6 9.Be2 d4, as in Danailov–Eingorn, Alicante 1992, is even simpler.


9.Bd3, trying to stop Black from developing his bishop, can be met by 9...d4.

9...Be7 10.e4 Nfd4 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.c3 Nb5 13.c4 dxc4 14.dxc4 Nd4

Black’s ironclad grip on d4 compensates for the doubled pawns.

15.Nc3 e5 16.Na4 Qc7 17.Qg4 0–0 18.Rad1 Rad8 19.Rd3 Rfe8 20.Rfd1 g6 21.Kf1 Bf8 22.Qg3 Qb8

It’s difficult for either side to make progress.

23.Qh4 Be7 24.Qh6 Bf8 25.Qc1 Qc8 26.Ba3 Ne6

Jim McCormick (wearing glasses) playing at Lone Pine 1973. His opponent may be many-time Oregon Champion Clark Harmon, in which case this photo was taken in round five.

Next to McCormick is International Master Larry Remlinger and in the distance Grandmaster Arnold Denker (wearing a baseball hat) and FIDE Master Frank Thornally (long hair and glasses).

Lone Pine 1973 was one of four in the series which were played in the local VFW Hall. By 1975 the tournament had outgrown the space, so sponsor Louis Staham donated $300,000 to construct a town hall, which allowed the field to continue to expand.

27.g3 Rxd3 28.Rxd3 Rd8 29.Qd1 Rxd3 30.Qxd3 Qc7 31.Ke1

McCormick now does Petrosian (famous for such maneuvers) proud by moving his bishop back and forth between e7 and f8 the next ten moves, challenging Evans to find a way to improve his position.

31...Be7 32.Kd1 Bf8 33.h4 Be7 34.Kc1 Bf8 35.Kb1 Be7 36.Bc1 Bf8 37.Be3 Be7 38.Kc1 Bf8 39.Qd2 Be7 40.Kb2 Bf8 41.f4

This is a double-edged attempt by the former U.S. Champion to unbalance the position.

41...exf4 42.gxf4 Qe7 43.Qf2 Bg7+ 44.e5 f6!

Logical. Black wants to open the diagonal for his bishop.

45.Nxc5 fxe5 46.fxe5??

Evans over-presses. He had to play 46.Nxe6 Qxe6 47.Ka3 (47.Bxa7 exf4+ 48.Ka3 Qd6+ 49.Bc5 Qxc5+ transposing into a winning pawn ending, a theme that will come up in the actual game as well.) 47...a6 (47...e4 48.Bxa7) 48.fxe5 Qxe5 49.Ka4 (49.Bc5? Qxc5+!) with equal chances.

46...Nxc5 47.Bxc5 Qxe5+ 48.Ka3

48.Kc2 fares no better after 48...Qc3+ 49.Kd1 Qa1+.

48...Qxc5+!! 49.Qxc5 Bf8

Black has a winning king-and-pawn ending.


50.Kb4 is met by 50...a5+.

50...Bxb4+ 51.Kxb4 h5 52.Kc5 g5 53.Kd4


53...gxh4 was winning as it prevents White’s king from staying in the middle of the board. 54.Ke4 c5 55.Kf3 Kf7 56.Kg2 Kf6 57.Kh3 Ke5 58.Kxh4 Kd4 59.Kxh5 Kc3 60.Kg5 a5 61.Kf5 Kb2 62.Ke5 Kxa2 63.Kd5 Kxb3 64.Kxc5 a4 65.Kd5 a3 winning.

54.Ke4 Kf7 55.b4 Ke6 56.a3 Kd6 57.Kf4 Kc7 58.Ke3 Kb6 59.Kd3 c5 60.Ke4 cxb4 61.axb4 a5 62.bxa5+ Kxa5


63.Kd3 draws despite Black’s protected passed pawn as White’s king can both support his passed pawn and keep Black’s under control: 63...Ka4 64.Ke4 Kb4 65.Kd4 drawing. 63.Ke3 also draws.

63...Ka6 64.Kd4 Kb7 65.Ke4 Kc7 66.Ke3 Kd7

66...Kc6 67.Kd4 Kb5 is faster, but the text does no harm.

67.Kd3 Kc6 68.Kd4 Kb5 69.Kd5 g3 70.c6 Kb6 71.Kd6 g2 72.c7 g1Q 73.c8Q Qd4+!

Well-played. Black has calculated everything to the end.



74...Qxh4+ 75.Kf8

75.Kf7 Qf4+ 76.Ke8 (otherwise checks on c7 or g4 trade queens.) 76...Qe5+ 77.Kf7 (77.Kf8 Qh8+) 77...Qc7+ wins.

75...Qf4+ 76.Ke8 Qe5+ 0–1

Evans came back from this defeat to win his next six games in a row and take first place. He got his revenge against McCormick in the first round of Lone Pine 1973.

3) Lone Pine 1977

This picture of a brunch during the Lone Pine 1977 tournament brings back memories. We thank Richard Kashdan and the World Chess Hall of Fame (which he donated his father’s archive to) for their generosity in sharing it.

On the left are Walter Korn (of MCO fame), Guthrie McClain (founder of the California Chess Reporter), Imre Konig (best known for the classic From Morphy to Botvinnik: A Century of Chess Evolution), Kenn Fong from the Lone Pine bulletin crew, and tournament participants Bryon Nickoloff and Vince McCambridge. To the right are more players: Pal Benko and Oscar Panno. (Photo: World Chess Hall of Fame)

4) This is the end

Here is a bishop-vs-knight endgame from a master game.

White to move

Show solution

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