Chess Room Newsletter #814 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #814

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #814
January 19, 2018

What does it take to become a 2800 player?

The main thing is work. You need a good coach, several strong analysts… a professional team that will bring your preparation to the next level. However, not everyone can do that because it’s very expensive. Kasparov had that when he was at the top. Kramnik has that. Anand, Topalov, Carlsen as well. But there aren’t many.

—Lenier Dominguez (interview)

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

There are 18 players tied for first after two rounds of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon. The group includes not only International Master Elliott Winslow, FIDE Masters Frank Thornally and Ezra Chambers, National Masters Tenzing Shaw, Derek O’Connor, Keith Vickers and Russell Wong, but also Class B players Marty Cortinas and Willie Campers, plus unrated Adam Mercado. The latter three defeated Experts and strong A players in round two to join the leading group. It’s still possible to join the 121-player event with half-point byes for rounds one and two.

From round 2 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (McKellar–Winslow after 28 Qxd3)Black to move (McKellar–Winslow after 30 Nxd4)
White to move (Perepelitsky–Delgado after 7...Bxf6)White to move (Boldi–Greene after 19...Qe7)
White to move (Fu–Eastham after 27...Be3)White to move (Hope–Cryer after 38...Nd3)
Black to move (Frank–van der Wall after 18 Rb1)White to move (Zulkhuu–Erdenebileg after 9...Na5)
White to move (Cowgill–Stearman after 31...Qc6)White to move (Fu–Azimzadeh after 6...Qd7)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 2.

National Master Romy Fuentes and Conrado Diaz tied for first at 4½–½ in the 41-player Bob Burger Open held January 6. FIDE Master Ezra Chambers, Class A players Maxim Elisman and Anthony Acosta tied for third at 4–1.

The Wednesday Night Blitz tournament held on January 10 attracted eight players. The top finishers were

1st Josiah Stearman 11½/12
2nd Carlos D’Avila
3rd Jules Jelinek 

The Mechanics’ Institute has had a chess club since its opening in the second half of 1854, but the position of Chess Director was only created in 1951. The M.I.C.C. has had nine directors the past 66 years.

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Directors

Arthur Stamer 1951–1963
Kurt Bendit 1963–1964
Howard Donnelly 1964–1965
IM William Addison 1965–1969
Alan Bourke 1969–1971
Ray Conway 1971–1980
Max Wilkerson 1980–1996
FM Jim Eade 1996–1998
IM John Donaldson 1998 –

Here is a complete list of 2018 Mechanics’ USCF-rated tournaments, including the five Tuesday Night Marathons, which are also FIDE-rated. All players have the opportunity to play 114 USCF-rated games, and those below 2200 another dozen more (two events are restricted to players below 2200).

Bob Burger Open

January 6info
Winter TNMJanuary 9–February 27info
Henry Gross MemorialFebruary 3info
Fink Amateur MemorialMarch 3–4info
Max Wilkerson MemorialMarch 17info
Spring TNMMarch 20–May 8
Imre Konig MemorialApril 7info
Charles Powell MemorialMay 5info
Ray Schutt MemorialMay 6info
Summer TNMMay 29–July 17
Arthur Stamer MemorialJune 2–3info
William Addison MemorialJune 16info
Charles Bagby MemorialJuly 21info
Vladimir Pafnutieff MemorialAugust 4info
Walter Shipman Memorial TNM (9-round)August 7–October 2
Bernardo Smith MemorialAugust 18–19info
Howard Donnelly MemorialSeptember 8info
J.J. Dolan MemorialOctober 6info
Fall TNM (9-round)October 23–December 18
Carroll Capps MemorialNovember 3–4     info
Pierre Saint–Amant Memorial     November 17info
Guthrie McClain MemorialDecember 1info

Tuesday Night Marathons are in bold.

The top-rated players to participate in the TNM series in 2017 were:

1. FM Josiah Stearman 2362
2. FM Paul Whitehead 2355
3. NM Conrado Diaz 2319
4. IM Elliott Winslow 2311
5. NM Tenzing Shaw 2307
6. NM Derek O’Connor 2275

The Mechanics’ Institute offers a free class for women and girls each Sunday from 11 am to 1 pm. Players of all levels of experience are welcome and no registration is necessary. The alternating instructors for the class are Ewelina Krubnik and Sophie Adams.

The annual Berkeley Chess Club Championship, held September 29 to December 15, was won by International Master Elliott Winslow with a score of 6½ from 8, a half-point ahead of top seed National Master Ladia Jirasek. National Master Roger Poehlmann, Expert Michael Wilder and Class A players Edward Lewis and Bruce Ricard tied for third at 5½. The 40-player event was organized by Elizabeth Shaughnessy and directed by Bryon Doyle.

2) A Chess Poem by National Master Dennis Fritzinger


after a tournament
we go to a denny’s
and hang out.
this, coincidentally,
is what my indian friends do
after a pow-wow.
at denny’s you can get breakfast
any time of the night.
my favorite is buttermilk pancakes
with eggs and bacon on the side,
butter, and maple syrup.
there’s always conversation
and a certain amount
of shop talk.
open 24 hours.

3) James Tarjan at the World Senior

Grandmaster James Tarjan of Portland is the highest-rated player in the United States age 65 on the December rating list by a wide margin at 2533. International Master Igor Foygel is 66 points back, with the M.I.’s Saturday chess class instructor International Master Elliott Winslow number eight at 2311.

English A21
Jim Tarjan–Fosco Cavatorta
World Senior (5) 2017

Annotations by Grandmaster James Tarjan

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 f5

Marin recommends meeting this with the same Botvinnik V plan as I use so often. I don’t know why I never played it here. Or Bg2, d3, e3, Nge2 like a Closed Sicilian.

4.d4 Be7 5.Bg2

I thought of 5.Bh3 at the board, which makes more sense than it looks. And it turns out it has been played by strong players.

5...Nf6 6.Nf3 e4 7.Ng5 c6


Clearly I do not understand how to play this position. If White has to play like this, he is already worse, seems to me. 8.0-0 is mostly what has been played by good players, and somehow they fight against Black’s center with f3.

8...Na6 9.Nh3 Nc7 10.Nf4 d5 11.b3 Bb4 12.Bd2 dxc4

I was very happy to see this. My bishop on g2 is alive again, and I have a game.

13.Nxe4 Bxd2+

13...Nxe4 14.Bxb4 a5 followed by the inevitable "equal" sign from the computer

14.Nxd2 Qxd4 15.e3 Qe5 16.Nxc4 Qc3+ 17.Ke2 0-0 18.Rc1 Qb4 19.Qd6

Now I even have an advantage, though it remains an open question whether I would have managed to win without his falling for tricks.

19...Qxd6 20.Nxd6 Rd8 21.Rhd1 Kf8 22.Nc4

I was just going to gloss through the rest, but here is already a fantastic tactic that I certainly did not consider: 22.Rc5! g6 23.Bxc6! bxc6 24.Rxc6 Rd7 25.Nxc8 Rxd1 26.Rxf6+ Kg7 27.Rc6 Rd7 28.Nd6+/=

22...Rxd1 23.Rxd1 Ke7 24.Na5 Rb8??

24...Nb5 followed by Nd6 is very solid.

25.Bxc6 Ne4 26.Rc1 Kd8 27.Ke1 Nd6 28.Bf3 Kd7

Don’t ask me to explain his moves; hard enough to explain mine.

29.Nd3 Ne6 30.Ne5+ Ke8 31.Bd5 Ne4 32.b4 Ke7? 33.Bxe4 Kf6

34.Bxb7 Rxb7 35.Nxb7 Bxb7 36.Nd7+ Kg6 37.Nc5 Bd5 38.Nxe6 Bxe6 39.Rc6 1-0

4) World Rapid Championship

Three Americans made the trek to Saudi Arabia to play in the World Rapid Championship in late December. Varuzhan Akobian scored 9 out of 15 in the King Salman Rapid & Blitz World Championships held in Riyadh. Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih scored 8½ and 8 respectively in the Women’s section. Viswanathan Anand of India won the open section of the Rapid on tiebreak over Russian Grandmasters Vladimir Fedoseev and Ian Nepomniachti, while Ju Wenjun was first in the Women’s section, ahead of countrywomen Lei Tinjie and Elizabeth Paehtz of Germany.

The events paid out a record prize fund of $2 million dollars, but much of the reporting on the event in mainstream publications (New York Times, etc.) focused on the exclusion of Israeli players who were not granted visas, despite earlier promises they would be allowed to play.

5) Two Unidentified Bobby Fischer Photos

Many photos of Bobby Fischer have surfaced the past decade thanks to the Internet, but often the background information (other individuals in the photo, where and when it was taken) are not provided. Eric Tangborn and I took great pains to provide as much information as possible about the several hundred photographs included in our recently-completed five-volume work on Fischer (currently only available in Kindle format). Two that stumped us were the following.

This photo is clearly from the late 1950s and shows Bobby giving a simul, but where? The background doesn’t seem to be of the Marshall Chess Club, but that would be the guess. If this is the case the simul was held in February 1958. Another possibility might be the simul he gave during the 1956 Canadian Open in Montreal (September 5, 1956) or the Jamaica Chess and Checker Club (October 14, 1956). One clue is this photo may have been published in Life magazine.

This second photo is clearly from the early 1970s. Who is with Bobby in the photograph?

6) Here and There

International Master Jeremy Silman provides the following photograph that was taken at the 1977 Golden Gate Open, held July 2–4 at the Golden Gateway Open, 1500 Van Ness Avenue.

Walter Browne (White) and Larry Christiansen (Black) are analyzing their game with assistance from Yasser Seirawan. Watching the action are Jeremy Silman (directly behind Seirawan), Steve Brandwein (holding his coat) and Larry Remlinger (glasses and mustache and glasses), who is at the far left.

7) This is the end

This king-and-pawn position from a Master game features a mutual zugzwang on the queenside, and some striking symmetry on the kingside.

Black to move

Show solution

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