Chess Room Newsletter #802 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #802

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #802
September 29, 2017

A master cogitates carefully, perhaps a half-hour on a move. Finally, he chooses the correct square for the correct piece and places it there. A grand master is much more skillful. He hardly thinks at all; he throws the piece into the air and it just falls on the right square.

—GM Arthur Bisguier, quoted in Stan Isaacs,
The 1969 Chronicles: A Sportswriter’s Notes

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliott Winslow leads the 124-player Peter Grey Tuesday Night Marathon heading into the last round, with a score of 7 from 8, a half-point ahead of FIDE Master Josiah Stearman and National Master Conrado Diaz.

From round 8 of the Peter Grey Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Diaz–Jones after 32 g3)White to move (Drane–Jensen after 21...Nxf5)
Black to move (Krasnov–Crofts after 19 Qe1)Black to move (Marcus–Rakonitz after 32 Nd3)
Black to move (Babayan–Tuck after 23 Kd1)Black to move (Melville–Cohee after 15 O-O-O)
Black to move (Agdamag–Donaldson after 32 Bf3)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 8.

National Master Ezra Chambers, who represents Burundi, won the September 20 Wednesday Night Blitz with a score of 9½ from 12. Carlo D’Avila and Jules Jelinek were second and third in the 13-player field with 9 and 8½ points respectively

2) Grandmaster James Tarjan Annotates

Today Grandmaster James Tarjan calls Portland home, but many Bay Area chess players remember he spent a lot of time in Berkeley from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. In fact, his last tournament, before retiring from the game, was the 1984 U.S. Championship held in the People’s Republic at the UC Berkeley Student Union. Jim went out in style, tying for third in the 18-player field.

Jim has paid his dues since returning to the arena at the 2014 U.S. Open. Many players might have quit after a series of disappointing results, especially someone who was once rated in the top 60 players in the world and represented his country with distinction in five Olympiads.

Everyone can see from Jim’s result at Isle of Man, where he currently has 3 ½ from 6 against an all-grandmaster field, including a sensational win over Vladimir Kramnik, that he is regaining his mojo. This result has not come completely out of the blue. This summer he beat Alex Lenderman in the Canadian Open and tied for third. More recently he won the Oregon Open 5–1, despite taking two half-point byes.

This last-round game decided first place in that event. Breckenridge was coming off a victory in the Vancouver (WA) Open, in which he defeated Grandmaster Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Notes to the following game are by Grandmaster James Tarjan.

Guioco Piano C55
Steven Breckenridge (2411)–Jim Tarjan (2482)
Portland Oregon Open (6) 2017

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.Re1 d6 7.a4 Be6] 8.Nbd2 Qd7 9.c3 Rad8 10.Bxe6 fxe6


11.b4 a6 12.b5 Na7 13.Qb3!?

An imaginative and entirely correct temporary pawn sacrifice.

13...axb5 14.d4 bxa4 15.Rxa4 Nc6 16.d5 b5 17.Ra2 Nb8 18.dxe6 Qc6 19.Ra5 Na6


Many interesting alternatives for both sides on the following moves, just for example: 20.Ba3!? Rb8 21.Rb1.

20...Qxb5 21.Rxb5 Nc5 22.Ba3 Nd3 23.Re3 Ra8 24.Rxd3 Rxa3 25.g3 Rfa8


26.Rb7 R3a7 27.Rxa7 Rxa7 28.c4 c5 29.Rb3 g6 30.Rb8+ Kg7

James Tarjan playing at Lone Pine in the late 1970s. (Photo: Stella Monday)

31.Kf1 h6 32.h3 Nh7 33.Nb1 Nf8 34.Nc3 Nxe6 35.Nd5

35… Bd8

35...Bf8!?; 35...Nd4

36.Rc8 Ra1+ 37.Kg2 Ra6 38.Rb8 Ra7 39.Rc8 Ra6 40.Nd2


40...Ba5 bringing the bishop to e1 to counterattack: for the first time in the game Houdini then thinks Black has equalized

41.Rb8 Ra7 42.Nb1 Ba5 43.Na3 Bc7 44.Rb3


44...Nd4!? was my original intention, but then I became afraid of 45.Nb5 (45.Rd3 is also possible, followed by Nb5) 45...Nxb3 46.Nxa7 Bd8 though this looks like a better try for Black than as I played.

45.Rf3+ Ke8 46.Nb5 Ra6

White has finally activated both his knights, and Black’s position has become desperate. Black is essentially in zugzwang as things stand but oddly, it is almost a mutual zugzwang.


If 47.Nf6+ Black must step into the discovered check: 47...Kf7 but then White has nothing better than to repeat moves with 48.Nd5+; 47.g4! looks like a winner, with Black indeed in zugzwang and having to weaken his own position.


Now I believe it is truly a mutual zugzwang. If White could pass, what could Black play? All I could find was ...Rc6 allowing Ra3 and a rook invasion.

48.Nf6+ Ke7 49.Nd5+ Ke8 50.Kh2 Nd4

Now this is possible, as the rook is unprotected on f3.

51.Ndc7+ Bxc7 52.Nxc7+ Kd8

The only move; not 52...Ke7 53.Nd5+ followed by 54.Rf6


Hereabouts Breckenridge stopped keeping score as he had less than five minutes remaining on his clock (plus a ten-second delay). I had about 12 minutes. But the game is far from over, with a complicated endgame and difficult choices at practically every move.

53...Ra4 54.Nd5 Rxc4

Houdini thinks the position equal, but only after long and debatable variations. I was not happy, as White’s pieces are better coordinated and I did not see how I would stop a White passed h pawn, nor use my passed c pawn in time.

55.Rf6 Kd7 56.Nb6+ Ke7 57.Nd5+ Kd7

58.Rxg6 Rc2

58...Kc6 59.g4 Ne2 is a computer try that might hold the draw.

59.Kg2 c4 60.g4

Now Black is lost.

60...Ne6 61.gxh5 Rd2

Sheer desperation, with the trick of ...Rxd4 in mind.


62.h6 Rxd5 63.Rg7+! wins (63.Rxe6 Rc5 64.Re8! Kxe8 65.h7 gets to the same thing) 63...Nxg7 64.hxg7 Rc5 65.g8Q c3 66.Qg5 c2 67.Qc1.

62...Ke7 63.Rxe6+?? Kxe6 64.h6

By now I was down to just under five minutes myself, and also stopped keeping score. I cannot exactly reconstruct the rest of the game. I am fairly sure of the next couple of moves.


64...Kf6 would have been better.

65.Nxc4 Rd4 66.Ne3 Rxe4 0-1

If this is indeed how the game went, then 65.Nf5 would still offer White drawing chances. Whatever the exact next moves were, I remember the gist of it. Black’s king took the advanced h pawn, while Black’s center pawns remained on the board, supported by the rook. After a few more moves in a hopeless position White forfeited on time.

3) Valentine Huber 1901 Mechanics’ Champion

Thanks to the late John Blackstone we were able to publish a photo of 1901 Mechanics’ champion Valentine Huber in Newsletter #766. Recently we have learned more about him.

The Japan Weekly Mail (May 18, 1895 page 569) writes that Huber (b. 1862) learned to play at the age of 13 and that Morphy’s games and the problems of Stamma were his guides to the mysteries of the royal game.

Huber proved to be an apt pupil and soon became one of the best players at the Chess Club Budapest along with Szen, Lowenthal, Gunsberg, Kemeny and Makovetz. According to the Japan Weekly Mail the latter was Huber’s daily partner indicating Huber was indeed a very strong player as Gyula Makovetz (1860–1903) was second behind Tarrasch at Dresden 1892 and won a match against Charousek in 1893 by the score of 3½–2½. Sadly Makovetz died young like Charousek and Reti.

Huber likely moved to California in the early 1890s. We know he issued a challenge to all players on the West Coast for a match with a purse of $100 a side in 1892 and found no takers.

The following game sees Huber winning in nice style against one of the standard bearers of Mechanics’ chess from the 1890s to the early 1930s—Dr. Walter Romaine Lovegrove.

Ruy Lopez C67
Valentine Huber–Walter Lovegrove
San Francisco 1895

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 5.0–0 Be7 6.dxe5 0–0 7.Re1 Nc5 8.Nc3 a6 9.Bxc6 dxc6 10.Qe2 Bg4 11.h3 Bf5 12.Be3 Ne6 13.Rad1 Qe8 14.g4 Bg6 15.Nd4 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 Rd8 17.Ne4 Bxe4 18.Qxe4 b5 19.b3 Bb4 20.c3 Be7 21.b4 a5 22.a3 axb4 23.axb4 Rd5 24.f4 Qd7 25.e6 fxe6 26.Qxe6+ Qxe6 27.Rxe6


27...Bxb4! 28.cxb4 Rxf4

28.f5 c5 29.bxc5 Bxc5 30.Rc6 Bd6 31.Kg2 Rd8 32.Kf3 b4 33.c4 Ra5 34.Bb2 Kf7

35.Rdxd6!? cxd6 36.Rc7+ Ke8 37.Rxg7 Rd7 38.Rg8+ Ke7 39.Rh8 Ra2 40.Rxh7+ Kd8 41.Bf6+ Kc7 42.Rh8 b3 43.g5 b2


44.Bxb2 Rxb2 45.g6 Kc6 46.Rc8+ Kb7

47.f6! Kxc8 48.g7 Rbb7 49.g8Q+ Kc7 50.f7 1–0

Source: The Japan Weekly Mail (May 18, 1895, page 569)

4) MI Tournament Schedule for 2018

The Mechanics’ Chess Club will offer a variety of tournaments in 2018, with the chance to play over 120 USCF-rated games. No entry fee is more than $50.

January 6th

18th Bob Burger Open G/40

February 3th

18th Henry Gross Memorial G/40

March 3rd - 4th

A.J. Fink Amateur Memorial (open to players under 2200)

March 17th

18th Max Wilkerson Memorial G/40

March 24th

San Francisco Scholastic Championship

April 7th

18th Annual Imre Konig G/40

May 5th

18th Charles Powell Memorial G/40

May 6th

12th Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz

June 2nd-3rd

55th Arthur Stamer Memorial

June 16th

18th William Addison Memorial G/40

July 21st

18th Charles Bagby Memorial G/40

August 4th

18th Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial G/40

August 18th and 19th

12th Bernardo Smith Amateur (open to players under 2200)

September 8th

18th Howard Donnelly Memorial G/40

October 6th

18th J.J. Dolan Memorial G/40

November 3rd-4th

47th Carroll Capps Memorial

November 17th

18th Annual Pierre St. Amant Memorial Open G/40

December 1st

18th Guthrie McClain Memorial G/40

Tuesday Night Marathon     

Winter TNM January 9th to February 27th
Spring TNM March 20th to May 8th
Summer TNM May 29th – July 17th
Walter Shipman Memorial TNM (9 round) August 7th – October 2nd
Fall TNM (9-round) October 23rd - December 18th

5) This is the end

Here is a tricky endgame from a Grandmaster game.

Black to move

Show solution

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