Chess Room Newsletter #809 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #809

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #809
December 1, 2017

Zvonko Vranesic (who attended a Fischer lecture in Toronto) and I agreed Bobby’s lectures were filled with profound thoughts and ideas. One of them was that the queen’s real prowess could only be realized by drawing upon her the firepower of the enemy, and just when it seems she is about to be captured...she uses her power to jump to the other side of the board!

—John Blackstone

This Saturday the Mechanics’ will host the six-round G/30 Guthrie McClain Memorial

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

FIDE Master Josiah Stearman leads the 127-player Fall Tuesday Night Marathon/William Lombardy Marathon with 5½ from 6. Four players are half a point behind, with three rounds remaining: International Master Elliott Winslow, FIDE Master Paul Whitehead, National Master Conrado Diaz and Expert Igor Traub.

From round 6 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Stearman–Ivanov after 30 Kf3)White to move (Gaffagan–Marcus after 15...Ba6)
Black to move (Melville–Askin after 27 Nb5)White to move (Gray–Argo after 11...d5)
White to move (Ricard–Maser after 17...f4)White to move (Crofts–Rudyak after 54...Ke7)
Black to move (Poling–Simpkins after 15 f3)White to move (Schneider–Eastham after 7...Bc5)
Black to move (Morgan–Babayan after 29 Qb3)Black to move (Temple–Harris after 18 Be3)
White to move (Stearman–Otterbach after 27...Qd7)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 6.

Grandmaster Sam Shankland, currently rated 84th in the world at 2662 FIDE, will be the special guest lecturer before the next round of the TNM (December 5). The talk, which will be held from 5:15 to 6:15 pm, is free and open to all.

Shankland, who will be playing in an event in Barcelona in a little over a week, will be selling copies of his DVDs (Shankland Method and Shankland Method Part 2) at the lecture (cash only) for the discounted price of $80 for one set or $120 for both. Each sells for $120 online.

Former Mechanics’ member Chinguun Bayaraa, playing for his native Mongolia, scored 4 out of 11 in the recently-concluded 2017 World Junior Championship. Chinguun, who was a regular in the TNM for several years, was one of the youngest and lowest-rated (1820 FIDE) players, but turned in a 2191 performance to gain 121 rating points.

14-year-old Josiah Stearman of Martinez has had a busy and successful November, winning the Berkeley November Weekender and the Pierre St. Amant G/45, going 4–0 in rounds 3 through 6 of the Fall TNM, and scoring 4½ from 7 in the American Open, including a win over IM Phillip Wang. Josiah is currently rated 2346 (around 2360 with the four TNM games included).

2) Top Individual Olympiad Performers

Outside of the World Championship the biannual Chess Olympiad is the biggest stage in chess. Although it is primarily a team event, individual accomplishment is noted, and no player better represented his country than the late Tigran Petrosian. The former World Champion scored 103 points in 129 games (79.8 percent) and lost only one individual game (on time) in a drawn rook ending to Robert Hubner in the 1972 Olympiad.

Garry Kasparov is not far behind with 64½ points in 82 games (78.7 percent), and unlike Petrosian his teams took gold in every Olympiad he played. Garry won gold but he did lose three games.

Two of the players who defeated Kasparov in Olympiads were present during the Champions Showdown in St. Louis last month: Yasser Seirawan and Veselin Topalov. The latter had an interesting story to tell about the third player to defeat Garry—Bulgarian Grandmaster Krum Georgiev.

According to Topalov, one could not accuse his countryman of being one of Caissa’s most devoted servants. Lazy is the word he used to describe Krum, who loved to play blitz rather than engage in serious study. However it was precisely this passion for rapid transit which helped him to defeat Garry.

Before the Malta Olympiad Georgiev was losing regularly in five-minute chess to someone Veselin referred to as a total patzer. He got so frustrated losing with White in the same variation, over and over again, that he analyzed the line in the 6.Bg5 Najdorf inside and out and came up with some interesting ideas. You guessed it—Garry played right into Georgiev’s preparation. Who says there is no luck in chess.

Here is the game.

Sicilian Najdorf B96
Krum Georgiev (2465)–Garry Kasparov (2595)
Malta Olympiad (5) 1980

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qc7 8.Qf3 b5 9.0–0–0 b4 10.e5 Bb7 11.Ncb5 axb5 12.Bxb5+ Nfd7 13.Nxe6 fxe6 14.Qh3 Kf7 15.f5 Be4 16.fxe6+ Kg8 17.Qb3 Bxc2 18.Qxc2 Qxc2+ 19.Kxc2 Nxe5 20.e7 Bxe7 21.Bxe7 Nbc6 22.Bxd6 Ra5 23.Rd5 Rxb5 24.Rxb5 Nd4+ 25.Kb1 Nxb5 26.Bxe5 Kf7 27.Rc1 Ke6 28.Rc5 Nd6 29.Kc2 Rf8 30.Bd4 Rf1 31.Re5+ Kd7 32.Bc5 Kc6 33.Bxb4 Rf2+ 34.Kc1 Nb7 35.Rg5 g6 36.a3 Re2 37.Kb1 Rf2 38.Ka2 Nd8 39.Rc5+ Kb7 40.Rd5 Nc6 41.Bc3 Rxg2 42.Rd7+ Kb6 43.Rxh7 Kb5 44.Kb3 Rg4 45.Rd7 Rh4 46.Rd2 Rh3 47.Rg2 Nd4+ 48.Ka2 Nf5 49.Be5 Re3 50.Bb8 Re6 51.Rg4 Ne7 52.Bg3 Nc6 53.a4+ Kc5 54.Ka3 Rf6 55.b3 Kd5 56.Rg5+ Ke4 57.Rc5 Re6 58.a5 Kd3 59.b4 Nd4 60.Be5 Nf3 61.Bb2 Nd2 62.Rc3+ Ke2 63.Ka4 1–0

Three other players that come immediately to mind when remembering top-scoring Olympiad players are Isaac Kashdan (63 out of 79, 79.7 percent), James Tarjan (38½ out of 51, 75.5 percent) and Susan Polgar (43½ out of 56, 77.7 percent).

3) Alla Kushnir at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club (part two)

The following photos by Richard Shorman are from her simul at the Mechanics’ Institute in late April of 1975.


4) John Blackstone, remembered by Erik Osbun (part five)

Sicilian Defense Najdorf B99
John Blackstone–Walter Cunningham
California State Championship, Los Angeles, 1963

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7

John and I in our skittles games often discussed 8….h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.fxg5 N6d7 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Qh5+ Kf8 13.Bb5, the Argentine trilogy variation (Geller–Panno, Keres–Najdorf, and Spassky–Pilnik in Round 14 of the Goteborg Interzonal, 1955) for good training.

9.0-0-0 Nbd7 10.Qg3

Considered by most experts to be of less promise than 10.g4, or 10.Be2. or 10.Bd3. It may be more useful if the timing is right, thus 10.Bd3 b5 11.Rhe1 Bb7 12.Qg3! 0-0-0 13.Bxf6! Nxf6 14.Qxg7, and White wins a pawn (Spassky–Fischer, 15th Match Game, 1972).

10….h6 11.Bh4 g5!?

The strong point of this move is to get control of square e5.

12.fxg5 Rg8?!

This is the older continuation, which has largely been superseded by 12….Nh5 13.Qe3.

(The attempt to hold the pawn by 13.Qg4 hxg5 14.Bxg5 Ne5 15.Qh4 allows the draw by repetition: 15….Ng6 16.Qg4 Ne5 17.Qh4 Ng6, Osbun–Youngworth, U.S. Amateur Team Championship, Los Angeles, 1986.) Qc5 14.Kb1 (14.Qd2 Bxg5!) hxg5 15.Bf2 Ne5 16.Qd2 Qc7 17.Nf3 Nxf3 (17…Rg8!? 18.h4 g4 19.Nxe5 dxe5 is likely to be stronger, Balashov–Browne, Manila, 1976.) 18.gxf3 Bd7 19.h4 gxh4, and now:

1) the safe 20.Be2 (Kauranen–Sanakoev, 10th World Correspondence Championship Final, 1978) and;

2) the wild and wooly 20.Bxh4!? Ng3 21.Bxe7 Rxh1 22.Bf6! Nxf1 23.Qg5 Nd2+ 24.Kc1 Rxd1+ 25.Kxd1, and perhaps equilibrium can be achieved (Sakharov–Zelinsky, Correspondence, 1982).

13.Be2 Ne5 14.Nf3

White strives to dispute control of the e5-square, which is the leitmotiv of the 10.Qg3 variation.

Weaker is 14.g6?! Nxg6 15.Rhf1 Nxh4 16.Qxh4 Rg6 17.Bd3 Ng4 18.Qh5 Ne5 19.Nf3 Qc5! 20.Nxe5 Qxe5 21.Qxe5 dxe5, and Black has obtained the better endgame by maintaining control of square e5 (Tal–Fischer, Zurich, 1959).


Botvinnik recommends 14….hxg5 15.Bxg5 Nh5 16.Qf2 Rxg5 as favorable for Black. However, 16.Qh3 is an obvious improvement, for if 16….Rxg5?! (Better is 16….Bxg5+ 17.Nxg5 Nf4 18.Qe3 Nxg2 19.Qg3 Qe7 20.Qxg2 Rxg5 21.Qf2, and the chances are probably equal.) 17.Nxe5! Nf4 18.Qh8+ Bf8 19.Nd3 Nxe2+ 20.Nxe2, and White has winning chances (Osbun–Blackstone, Training Match, 6th Game, San Jose, 1962).

15.Bxf3 hxg5 16.Bxg5 Nxh7?

A blunder, the position is not that simple; 16….Qa5 17.h4 Nh7 is correct.

17.Bxe7! Rxg3 18.Bxd6 Qa5 19.hxg3 Qg5+ 20.Bf4 Qg7 21.e5

So White controls square e5 and has captured a rook, a bishop and two pawns for his queen, more than sufficient compensation.

21….Ng5 22.Ne4 Nxe4 23.Bxe4 Bd7

One can easily see Cunningham’s plight here: no counterplay. As White threatens 24.Rh7 Qg8 (24….Qg4 25.Rh8+ Ke7 26.Bh6) 25.Bh6 and 26.Bg7 winning quickly, the text move is forced.

24.Bxb7 Ra7 25.Be4 Rc7 26.Rh7 Qg4 27.Rh4 Qg7 28.Rh7 Qg4


The solution: White threatens mate and so flushes the black king into the open.

29….Rc8 30.Bg7 Kd8 31.Bf6+ Kc7 32.Bf3 Qc4

Or 32….Qg8 33.Rh4, and the threat of 34.Rc4+ wins at least a piece.

33.Rxf7 Kb6 34.c3 Bc6 35.Bd8+ Kc5?

Walking into mate, but 35….Rxd8 is equally hopeless.

36.Bxc6 Rxc6 37.Rb7 Rc8 38.b4+ Kc6 39.Rb6 1-0

5) Here and There

An article at the singer Joni Mitchell’s web site mentions she polished her talent at the Checkmate coffeehouse in Detroit in the mid-1960s. The proprietor of this establishment was National Master and 1963 Michigan state champion Morrie Widenbaum. Mitchell later played in the 1972 American Open, and one wonders if she might have learned to play at the Checkmate.

Few have done as much as Jude Acers to promote chess in the United States the last fifty years and he is still going strong. View one of his recent interviews here.

Bob Long writes he is organizing a Chess Festival in February 16-18, 2018, in Bettendorf, Iowa, with Grandmaster Simon Williams and International Master Andrew Martin. Email him for more information.

Rusty Miller writes Senior Master Steven Breckenridge of Oregon won the Seattle Chess Extravaganza held November 10 to 12 with a score of 5½ out of 6. National Masters Andrew He and Viktors Pupols (still going strong at 83), tied for second at 5.

Noted book dealer National Master Fred Wilson will open his doors at his new location at 41 Union Square West, Suite 718 (at 17th Street) on December 20.

5) This is the end

This position is from a Grandmaster game, but it became a study. It looks like Black is about to lose his e-pawn.

Black to move

Show solution

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