Chess Room Newsletter #819 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #819

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #819
February 23, 2018

Morphy and Capablanca had enormous talent, they are two of my favorites. Steinitz was very great too. Alekhine was great, but I am not a big fan of his. Maybe it’s just my taste. I’ve studied his games a lot, but I much prefer Capablanca and Morphy. Alekhine had a rather heavy style, Capablanca was much more brilliant and talented, he had a real light touch. Everyone I’ve spoken to who saw Capablanca play still speak of him with awe. If you showed him any position he would instantly tell you the right move. When I used to go to the Manhattan Chess Club back in the fifties, I met a lot of old-timers there who knew Capablanca, because he used to come around to the Manhattan club in the forties—before he died in the early forties. They spoke about Capablanca with awe. I have never seen people speak about any chess player like that, before or since. Capablanca really was fantastic. But even he had his weaknesses, especially when you play over his games with his notes he would make idiotic statements like ‘I played the rest of the game perfectly.’ But then you play through the moves and it is not true at all. But the thing that was great about Capablanca was that he really spoke his mind, he said what he believed was true, he said what he felt.

—Bobby Fischer

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The last round of the 138-player Winter Tuesday Might Marathon promises to be an exciting one, as three players (NMs Josiah Stearman, Derek O’Conner and Ezra Chambers) are tied for first with scores of 6–1 and four players (IM Elliott Winslow, NM Keith Vickers, Expert Phillip Perepelitsky and Class A player Kevin Kuczek) are a half-point back.

The standings would be quite different if Winslow, who has played the toughest schedule to date and faced all three players on six points, had finished off Stearman in round 6.

From round 7 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Chambers–Shaw after 26...Rxg7)White to move (Ross–Chea after 18...Qa5)
White to move (Allen–Touset after 15...Nb6)Black to move (Sandoval–Amassu after 41 Kc1)
Black to move (Bannan–Lesquillier after 31 Qc2+)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 7.

Slav D17
Elliott Winslow (2311)–Josiah Stearman (2362)
San Francisco Winter TNM (7) 2018

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Nh4

World Champions Alexander Alekhine and Garry Kasparov are among those who have played this aggressive move.


This passive move gives White the two bishops and a strong pawn center. Black should instead play one of the following: 6...Bd7; 6...Bg4; 6...Bc8 or 6...e6.

7.f3 Bg6 8.Nxg6 hxg6 9.e4 e6 10.Be3 Qc7 11.g3 Nbd7 12.Bxc4 Bb4 13.Qb3 Qa5 14.Kf2 Nb6 15.Be2 Rd8 16.h4 0–0 17.Rhd1


Black cannot free himself with the thematic break with….c5. For example 17...c5 18.dxc5 Bxc5 19.Rxd8 Rxd8 20.Qb5 leaves White with several trumps in the ending including B vs. N, a more active king and a space advantage.

18.Na2 Be7 19.Qc3 Qh5 20.a5 Nc8 21.a6! Nd6 22.Qc2 Nb5 23.Kg2 bxa6


The text is tempting as it drives Black’s queen out of play and is typical of Winslow’s principled and uncompromising play, but White had more practical choices in 24.Nc3 (targeting the weak pawns on a6 and c6) 24...Rfd8 25.Nxb5 axb5 26.Qxc6 or 24.Nc1, planning to meet 24...Rfd8 with 25.Nb3, defending d4. The weak pawns on a6 and c6 are not running away.

24...Qh7 25.Qxc6 Rfd8


Tempting, but 26.d5! exd5 27.e5 Ne8 28.Bxb5 axb5 29.Nc3 with a large, perhaps decisive positional advantage, would have been the culmination of the veteran IM’s previous play.

26...Nxd4 27.Bxd4 Rxd4


28.Qxa7 Rxd1 29.Rxd1 Rxd1 30.Bxd1 Qh6 31.g5 Qxh4 32.Qxe7 Qxg5+ 33.Kf1 Qb5+ 34.Ke1 Qxb2 35.Qd8+ Kh7 36.Qd2 Qe5 leaves White a piece for two pawns, but Black with excellent drawing chances, thanks to the reduced material and exposed white king.

28...Rxd4 29.Qxa7 Rd2 30.Nc3 Bf8

At this point White had thirty minutes remaining while Black had 30 seconds plus five-second delay for the rest of the game.

31.Qe3 Rxb2


32.g5! Nd7 (32...Rc2) 33.Ra7 Nc5 34.Ra8 Nd7 35.Kg3 leaves Black paralyzed.


Black grabs the chance to activate his queen

33.Nd1 Rb1

33...Rb7 was safer.


This threatens not only the rook, but also Qd6 or Qd8.

34...Rxd1 35.Bxd1 Nh7

Black’s position is still tough to crack.


White wants to attack f7.

36...Qe7 37.Bb3 Qb4 38.Qe3 Nf6 39.e5 Nd7 40.f4?

The text is too loosening. Instead, 40.Rd8 hoping for 40...Nxe5?? 41.Qxe5 Qxb3 42.Qd6 winning.


The immediate 40...g5! is even stronger.

41.Bc2 Qb7+ 42.Qf3 Qd7 43.Kg3 Qd4 44.Kh3 Qd2 45.Ra2 Qd4 46.Bd1 Qc4 47.Rd2 Kh7?

47...g5! 48.fxg5? Ne4 is good for Black.


Missing a forced win with 48.Rd8! Kg8 (48...Be7 49.Re8) 49.Be2 (49.Qa8 Qf1+) 49...Qc2 50.Qa8 Nd7 51.Bf3 Qd3 52.Qe4 Qf1+ 53.Bg2 Qd1 54.Qc6 Qd3+ 55.Kh4 Qd2 56.Qxd7 Qxg2 57.Rxf8+ Kh7 58.Qd3 Qh2+ 59.Qh3 Qxf4 60.Qg2 and White’s extra rook proves decisive.

48...Be7 49.Kh2

49.g5 prevents a future counterplay based on ...g5.

49...Qb4 50.Re2 Kg8


White is still playing for a win, but starting to get low on time himself.

Again 51.g5 was the more practical choice, although it is not easy to find a way to make progress. Instead Winslow, who has listened to the Tom Petty song “I Won’t Back Down” on more than one occasion, goes forward and Black is suddenly playing for three results for the first time since the opening.

51...exf5 52.gxf5 gxf5 53.Bxf5 g6 54.Bg4 Kg7 55.Rf2 Qc4 56.e6? f6 57.Rd2 Nxe6 58.Bxe6 Qxe6 59.Qd5 Kf7 0–1

Both players were down to a few second plus the five second delay the past few moves, but only here did Elliott stop recording. The queens were soon exchanged and in a drawn ending of bishop and two pawns versus rook White placed his rook on a3 where it was captured. The pawns were on Black’s third rank and only offer winning chances if they make it to the sixth which can easily be avoided.

This was a tough loss for White, who had played by far the strongest field to date, and had beaten NMs O’Conner and Chambers and drawn with NM Tenzing Shaw in earlier rounds.

Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator Jules Jelinek reports the results of the 13 player event held February 14.

1st – Elliott Winslow – 10/12
2nd / 3rd – Romulo Sylvestri and Jules Jelinek 8

The Bay Area will have two participants in the 2018 U.S. Chess Championship, to be held April 18–30 in St. Louis, Missouri. Walnut Creek Grandmaster Sam Shankland, who has played in several of the events, will be joined by debutant Zviad Izoria, formerly representing Georgia, who works for Bay Area Chess. The twelve-player field, which will be competing for $194,000 in prizes, includes three of the world’s top ten rated players, in Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis is organizing and sponsoring this event and the concurrent U.S. Women’s Championship. Follow the action here.

The Mechanics’ Institute would like to thank Gordon Brooks and Arthur Drucker for their generous donations of chess books, magazines and software. Particularly helpful were the many bound years of the English magazine Chess, which filled in gaps in an otherwise-long run, and many instructional DVDs.

One of the great benefits of a Mechanics’ membership is having access to the M.I. library which has close to 3000 books and periodicals including complete runs of the British Chess Magazine, Chess Review, Chess Life and the American Chess Bulletin, not to mention all Chess Informants and New in Chess Yearbooks.

2) Mystery Solved - Alekhine-Rubinstein, San Remo 1930

International Master Nikolay Minev and I asked in The Life and Games of Akiva Rubinstein: The Later Years (v. 2) back in 2012 if a game score inaccuracy was responsible for the opening double blunder in the following famous game.

Queen’s Gambit Declined D65
Alexander Alekhine–Akiva Rubinstein
San Remo 1930

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.e3 Be7 6.Nc3 0–0 7.Rc1 Re8

Rubinstein had fallen into a slightly different version of the trap two years before: 7...c6 8.Bd3 a6 9.cxd5 exd5 10.0–0 Re8 11.Qb3 h6?! 12.Bf4 Nh5? 13.Nxd5 and …1-0 in Euwe–Rubinstein, Bad Kissingen 1928.

8.Qc2 a6 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Bd3 c6 11.0–0 Ne4?

11...Nf8 was required


12.Bxe4 won a pawn.

12...f5? 13.Nxd5 and later 1–0.

International Master Bernard Zuckerman points out the answer is to be found in Alexander Alekhine’s annotations to the following game, number 91 in My Best Games of Chess 1924–1937.

International Master Bernard Zuckerman is one of America’s foremost chess scholars. He is pictured here circa 1965. (Photo: Beth Cassidy)

Ruy Lopez C86
Alexander Alekhine–Theodore Tylor
Margate 1937

Notes by Alekhine

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Qe2 0–0?

A rather common error: White does not threaten anything at this moment (for instance 7. Bxc6 dxc6 8.Nxe5 Qd4 9.Nf3 Qxe4, etc. equalizing easily) so Black thinks he has time to castle—and forgets that precisely after this move White can win a pawn, the bishop at e7 no longer being protected by the king. The correct move, of course, is 6...d6.


An exaggerated faith in the knowledge of my opponents was always the vulnerable point of my opening play: for instance, at San Remo, 1930, I did not take a pawn on the tenth move which my opponent, Rubinstein, left en prise in an even more obvious way than in this game! It is quite obvious that 7.Bxc6 dxc6 8.Nxe5 could and should have been played since 8...Qd4. 9.Nf3 Qxe4? costs a piece after 10.Qxe4 followed by 11. Re1. The slight lead in development that Black would have obtained after, for instance, 8...Re8 9.d3 Bc5 10.Nf3 Bg4, would by no means compensate for the material loss. After the tame text move well-known positions will be reached.

Mystery solved.

7... d6 8.d4 Bd7 9.d5 Nb8 10.Bc2 Ne8 11.c4 f5 12.exf5 Bxf5 13.Bxf5 Rxf5 14.Nc3 Nd7 15.Ne4 Nf8 16.Be3 Ng6 17.g3 h6 18.Nfd2 Kh7 19.Qd3 Qd7 20.f4 Kh8 21.Nf3 exf4 22.Nd4 Rf7 23.Bxf4 Nxf4 24.gxf4 Qg4+ 25.Kh1 Nf6 26.Nf2 Qh5 27.Rg1 Nd7 28.Ne6 Nc5 29.Qe3 Nxe6 30.dxe6 Rf6 31.Rae1 Raf8 32.Qg3 g5 33.Nh3 Rf5 34.Qg2 c6 35.Re3 Kg7 36.Rg3 d5 37.Qd2 Bd6 38.Nxg5 Bxf4 39.Qc3+ R8f6 40.Ne4+ Bxg3 41.Rxg3+ Kh8 42.Qxf6+ Rxf6 43.Rg8+ Kxg8 44.Nxf6+ 1–0

3) Bobby Fischer’s record in the Chess Olympiads

Bobby Fischer’s record in Chess Olympiads was outstanding. He scored 49 points from 65 games (+40, -7, =18), winning two team silver medals (and two fourth place finishes) and two silver and one bronze individual medals. His career winning percentage of 75.4 percent is among the top 15 players of all-time and behind only Isaac Kashdan (79.7%) and James Tarjan (75.5%) among American players who have played in more than one Olympiad.

An American team led by Fischer and backed by Kavalek, R. Byrne, Evans, Lombardy and Reshevsky would have been a strong lock for a medal at Skopje in 1972, and with a bit of luck could have pressed the Soviets for first.

4) The Readers Write

In Newsletter #818 we wrote about the late Igor Ivanov’s accomplishment of playing in three different national championships (Canadian, British and U.S.), but as the noted chess journalist John Henderson notes it might have been four. He writes

Pity Igor narrowly failed to make it to the Soviet Championship—if he had, he would have been the only player to have played in the Soviet, Canadian, USA and British Championships!

Garry Kasparov has much to answer for.

Igor’s near miss qualifying for the Soviet Championship that John refers to was an event held in Daugavpils, Latvia, in 1978. 64 players competed for one spot in the championship, and Garry and Igor tied for first with scores of 9 from 13. Their individual game was drawn and unfortunately the tie-breaker—alas for Igor, not arm wrestling—favored Garry.

5) This is the end

Can Black hold on for a draw in this amazing study?

White to move

Show solution

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