Chess Room Newsletter #811 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #811

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #811
December 15, 2017

Practically speaking you could say that we don’t, as it’s only a spectacle for those in the know, while in terms of its educational functions it can no doubt be substituted by other games. But chess is part of human civilization: of history, tradition, culture – it’s one of those things that distinguish us from the Neanderthals.

—Grandmaster Mikhail Krasenkov, in answer to the question: Why do we need chess?

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The Fall Tuesday Night Marathon / William Lombardy Memorial is heading for an exciting finish with FIDE Masters Paul Whitehead and Josiah Stearman, National Master Conrado Diaz and Expert Alexander Ivanov tied for the lead at 6 ½ from 8 with one round remaining. International Master Elliott Winslow and National Masters Natalya Tsodikova and Derek O’Connor are half a point behind.

The event, which is proving to be a fitting tribute to the late William Lombardy, currently has 135 entries, tying the all-time Mechanics’ Chess Club attendance record set this past summer. Games from this TNM and all others going back over a decade can be found at the MI Chess Club web site. As an added bonus International Master Elliott Winslow has annotated many of his games the past few years, and many others feature light comments by your editor. We are indebted to Peter Sherwood for his help in making this resource available to TNM players and the public.

From round 8 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Perepelitsky–Stearman after 23 Qf2)White to move (Gaffagan–O'Connor after 33...fxg6)
White to move (Winslow–Askin after 18...Rg8)Black to move (Vickers–Ash after 61 Kc5)
Black to move (Krasnov–Boldi after 17 Rd1)White to move (MacIntyre–Rudyak after 20...Qa5)
White to move (Brown–Chalissery after 15...Bxf6)White to move (Mays–Chen after 8...a6)
White to move (Perlov–Babayan after 18...Red8)Black to move (Greene–Casares after 9 dxc7)
White to move (Badgett–Frank after 12...b5)White to move (Revi–Rushton after 32...g6)
Black to move (Allen–Otterbach after 15 Nd2)White to move (Cowgill–Bayaraa after 9...d6)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 8.

Thirteen players showed up for the December 6 edition of the Wednesday Night Blitz. Jules Jelinek won with the outstanding score of 11½ from 12. Fellow Expert Carlos D’Avila was second at 9 and National Master Ezra Chambers finished third with 8½ points. Come join the action for this weekly tournament which costs less than a movie and features prizes for the top three finishers.

Signup starts around 6:30 pm, with round one beginning at 6:45. The last Wednesday Night Blitz of 2017 will be held on December 20, with the event resuming in 2018 on January 3.

Many thanks again to Russell and Mary Sue Brandwein for their very generous gift to the Mechanics’ campaign to restore its chess tables, many of which have been part of the club since 1913. Their donation was made in honor of Steve Brandwein, who was deeply involved with Mechanics’ chess for over 30 years. The two-year anniversary of Steve’s death was December 12.

Those who want to support this campaign can advantage of this opportunity to commemorate a loved one, or honor a person, family, or business, by naming a chair in either the world-renowned Chess Room or the Meeting Room of the Mechanics’ Institute.

This opportunity is available for a donation of $500 per chair. Your gift will entitle you to an engraved, brass, personalized nameplate mounted on the back of a Mechanics’ Institute chair. When you sponsor a seat, we will acknowledge your gift to the recipient of your choice. Chair donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

You can dedicate a chair

• As an individual, couple, or family
• For your children, grandchildren, or parents
• In memory of a loved one
• With the name of your business or organization
• Marking a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion
• To honor an employee, friend or colleague
• Or with your favorite quotation

More information.

2) Annus Horribilis

It’s difficult to think of another year when so many important American chess players have died. Some, like former World Correspondence Champion Hans Berliner, Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier and Grandmaster William Lombardy, had obituaries in the New York Times, while we have written about International Master Nikolay Minev, National Master John Braley, National Master James Harkins, National Master James Schroeder and International Master Walter Shipman in the Newsletter. Sadly they were not the only ones to pass.

We note the death of many-time Michigan Champion Paul Poschel at the age of 87 on March 28. Poschel is best known for tying for second in the 1960 U.S. Open. His triumph was written up here.

Bob Dudley, died on February 19 at the age of 88. Dudley was a key member of the Pittsburgh Chess Club for three decades and published its newsletter, En Passant, for 25 years, but will be best remembered for founding Chess Enterprises. Dudley’s small publishing firm produced many outstanding books for over two decades while he was simultaneously holding down a full-time job as a college professor. An obituary for him can be found here.

Chicago Senior Master Greg DeFotis, who passed away at the age of 65 on September 5, was one of the most promising American players of the early 1970s, tying for sixth in the 1972 U.S. Open (+3 =9 –1) and sharing first in the 1973 U.S. Open.

National master Erik Karklins, also of Chicago, died on March 25 at the age of 102. Karklins, who was born in Latvia, came to the United States in the early 1950s. Family and professional life (he was an architect) never allowed the him to play chess as more than a hobby, but he attained the National Master title in 1984, at the age of 68, the third oldest U.S. Chess Federation member ever to do so (Oscar Shapiro and Fred Wilson were in their early 70s). Karklins, who had a peak rating of 2305, was playing 2100-level chess in his late 90s. He is survived by his son, FIDE Master Andrew Karklins.

Staff Sergeant Bryan Black of Puyallup, Washington, who was killed on October 4, 2017 in Niger, at the age of 35, was a regular tournament player in his teens, holding a Class A rating (peak 1989). He drew with Irina Krush in the 2000 National High School Championship.

3) Bobby Fischer: The Later Years: 1963–2008

The fifth and final volume in International Masters John Donaldson and Eric Tangborn’s series on the life of Bobby Fischer is now available and can be found here.

This book covers the critical period leading up to Fischer’s winning the World Championship and the dark years that followed. The first half deals with the road to the title starting with Fischer’s last Swiss system tournaments: the 1963 Western and New York State Opens. Particular attention is focused on his Candidate Matches with Mark Taimanov, Bent Larsen and Tigran Petrosian.

The second half of the book deals with Fischer’s life after winning the crown. Among the highlights are Bobby’s fascination with chess computers, his lawsuit with Brad Darrach, visits to San Francisco and the rematch with Boris Spassky. The latter includes an in depth look at the training games he played with Svetozar Gligoric and Eugenio Torre prior to facing Spassky.

A detailed analysis of Fischer’s handling of the black side of the Maroczy Bind is given, as is a critical examination of his charges that the Kasparov–Karpov matches were rigged.

This large book comes to 693 Kindle pages. Amazon provides a free app that enables those without a Kindle to read the book on their computer.

The other books in the series can be found here.

Here is a brief excerpt from Bobby Fischer: The Later Years: 1963–2008.

During his youth Bobby learned to swim and this was one of his main forms of exercise when preparing for the 1972 match in Reykjavik. The other sport that was a staple of Fischer’s adult life was tennis and there were numerous sightings of Bobby playing during his Candidates match with Bent Larsen in Denver.

What isn’t well known is that Bobby competed in the second annual Dewar’s Sports Celebrity Tennis Tournament at La Costa Country Club in Carlsbad, California, just outside San Diego, in early June of 1972.

We know of no other case where a world chess champion or soon to be world champion competed with sports professional in an athletic competition. Bobby was either a pretty good tennis player or very brave.

The roughly 60 athletes in the Dewar’s Sports Celebrity Tennis Tournament played doubles with alternating partners. Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg was the winner and other legends competing included basketball players Rick Barry, Gail Goodrich and Elgin Baylor, runners Marty Liquori and Gerry Lindgren, boxer Joe Frazier and football players Deacon Jones and O.J. Simpson, but it was Bobby that was the center of attention. Newspaper accounts of the time mention Barry, Jones and Baylor asking Fischer for his autograph. This is not something that is likely to be repeated!

Lubos Kavalek recalls a somewhat similar event combining doubles tennis and alternate move chess organized by Dimitrije Bjelica in Italy. Three top-level chess players were partnered with three top tennis pros: Karpov/Mulligan, Anderson/Lundquist and Spassky/Smid, with the latter winning. We do not know when the event was played.

Bobby serving, with his partner, basketball legend Gail Goodrich, in the foreground. (Photo: unknown)

4) Bobby Fischer Mystery

Fischer researcher Jason Radley has discovered a possible new Fischer simul.

The (Camden, New Jersey) Courier-Post, May 8th, 1958, p.10 has:

“Bobby Fischer will give a simultaneous exhibition at the Atlantic City Chess Club at the Jewish Community Center on Saturday, May 31. He will play up to 25 boards.”

We have been unable to find any confirmation this event took place and note Fischer does not mention it in the biographical section of Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess, which was published in 1959.

Bobby Fischer circa late 1950s (Photo: Lawrence N. Shustak)

5) John Blackstone, remembered by Erik Osbun (part seven)

This game enabled John to tie for first in the 1968 California Open. The transposition to the endgame and subsequent heroic defense by Weinberger gives it an interesting character.

Pirc Defense B06
John Blackstone–Tibor Weinberger
California Open Fresno (7) 1968

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3

Why not 3.c4, taking advantage of Black’s move order?

3….d6 4.f4

The “Austrian Attack,” it’s not quiet. A “quiet development” is 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Be2, wrote Tartakower.


An unusual move. Perhaps Weinberger is expecting to achieve via transposition the confusion of his last round opponent. The usual move order is 4…Nf6 5.Nf3 0-0, the solid line, or 4….Nf6 5.Nf3 c5, the dynamic line.

5.Nf3 c6 6.Be3?!

6.e5 is the continuation that deserves serious consideration.


Necessary and good; what should White do now?


Remarkable, White not only prevents 7….b5, but prepares square c4 for his bishop. My guess is that most players would play 7.Qd2 b5 8.a3 Bb7 9.Bd3.

7….Ngf6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.Bc4

Again, I guess that most players would prefer 9.Bd3.


This is an alluring, but not fully sound combination that leads to a difficult endgame for Black. Better is 9….Qe7, and if 10.0-0-0 as in the game, then 10….Ng4! (10….exd4 11.Bxd4 Nxe4 12.Nxe4 Qxe4 13.Rhe1 Qf5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Qxd6 is the game continuation.) 11.Bg1 exf4 12.h3 Ne3 13.Bxe3 fxe3 14.Qxe3 Nb6 15.Bb3 Be6 with approximate equality.

10.Nxe4 exd4 11.Bxd4 Qe7 12.0-0-0 Qxe4 13.Rhe1 Qf5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Qxd6 Nb6

Black needs this tempo, for if 15….Nf6 16.Re7.

16.Bb3 Qf6

Black acquiesces to the queen-less endgame, because White’s pressure is too great. If 16….h6 to prevent 17.Ng5, then 17.Re7 with building threats.

17.Qxf6+ Kxf6 18.Ng5 Kg7 19.Re7

White bags a pawn, but now Black puts up a heroic defense that characterizes this interesting endgame. This is the last round!

19….Nd5 20.Bxd5 cxd5 21.Rxd5 h6 22.Nf3 Bf5 23.Nd4 Bc8 24.Rd6 Rg8 25.h3 b6

He activates his bishop at last.

26.c3 Ba6 27.g3 Bf1 28.h4 Rge8

It is wise to exchange off one of White’s pile-driving rooks.

29.Rdd7 Rxe7 30.Rxe7 Kf8 31.Rc7 a6

Worse is 31….Bg2 37.Nb5 a6 38.Nd6 Bd5 39.Rc8+ Rxc8 40.Nxc8 b5 41.axb5 axb5 42.Na7 Bc4 43.Nc6, and Black will lose a second pawn.

32.Nf3 Bh3 33.Ne5 Be6 34.Rc6 b5 35.Nxg6+

There is no preventing this strike.

35….Kg7 36.Ne5 bxa4 37.Rd6 h5 38.Rd4 Bb3 39.Kd2 Kf6 40.Ke3 Kf5 41.Rd7 Rg8

The black rook makes counter-play.

42.Kf3 Be6 43.Rd4 Bb3 44.Nc6 Re8 45.Na5 Re1

Not 45….Bc2 46.Nc4 Kg6 47.Rd6+ Re6 48.Rxe6+ fxe6 49.Ne3 Bb3 50.Ke4, because the minor piece endgame is easier for White.

46.Nxb3 axb3 47.Rb4 Rf1+ 48.Ke2


Or 48….Rc1 49.Rxb3 Kg4 50.Kd2! Rg1 51.c4, and White’s passed pawn forces the action. 51….Rg2+ 52.Kc1 Rg1+ 53.Kc2 Rg2+ 54.Kb1 Rg1+ 55.Ka2 Rc1 56.Rc3! Rxc3 57.bxc3 is winning for White, but work this one out.

49.Kf2 Rc1 50.Rxb3 Kg4 51.Rb7 Rc2+ 52.Ke3 Kxg3 53.Rxf7 Rxb2 54.Rg7+!

Forcing and confining the Black king to the h-file is the key to the win.

54….Kxh4 55.f5 Rc2 56.Kd4 Rf2 57.Ke5 Re2+ 58.Kd6 Rf2 59.Ke6 Re2+ 60.Kf7 Rc2 61.f6 Rxc3

Black even goes a pawn ahead, but he cannot prevent the f-pawn from queening.

62.Rg1 Kh3 63.Kg7 Kh2 64.Rg5 h4 65.f7 Rc7 66.Kg8 Rc8+ 67.f8(Q) Rxf8+ 68.Kxf8 a5

Perhaps hoping for 68.Rxa5?? Kg2, and Black draws.


The white king will close in on the trapped black king.

69….a4 70.Kg6 h3 71.Kf5 a3 72.Kf4 a2 73.Ra5 Kg1 74.Rxa2 h2 75.Kg3 Black resigns.

So that if 75….h1(Q) 76.Ra1 mate, or 75….h1(N)+ 76.Kf3, and wins.

6) This is the end

Here is a study for you. It’s not too easy, and not too hard.

White to move

Show solution

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