Chess Room Newsletter #822 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #822

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #822
March 30, 2018

His path in chess is best characterized by finding the hidden dynamics and coordination between minor pieces. In the later stages of his career, I remember how we—his colleagues—begged him, “Paul, look at this for a second!” (because in the toughest moments even the masters of the chess world put their faith in miracles from some higher power). This was usually followed by a slightly ironic, “Well, I might take a look...” and immediately the bored pieces sprung to life.

—Tigran Petrosian, speaking about Paul Keres (interview)

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The Spring Tuesday Night Marathon has sixteen perfect scores after two rounds. Most of the leaders are Masters or Experts, but three Class B players—Patrick Donnelly, John Harris and Peter Sherwood—are in the mix, thanks to some major upsets. It is still possible to enter the 125-player event with half-point byes for rounds one and two.

From round 2 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Gomboluudev–Elisman after 32...a5)Black to move (Uzzaman–Agdamag after 70 Ra7)
White to move (Maser–Hilliard after 15...Qe7)White to move (Marcus–Boldi after 8...a6)
White to move (Karp–Revi after 8...Nbd7)White to move (Donaldson–Otterbach after 30...Rab8)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 2.

The Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 1.

Wednesday Night Blitz Results

March 14 (11 players): Carlos D’Avila and Jules Jelinek tied for first with scores of 9–3, while Jeff Sinick, Joe Urquhart, Robert Lombardo and Pranav Gindal shared third with seven points.

March 21 (16 players): Jules Jelinek won with a score of 9 from 12. National Master Anna Matlin was second at 8½ followed by Joe Urquhart, Max Tinski and Nate Kranzc at 8.

The 2018 San Francisco Scholastic Championship, held March 24 in Golden Gate Park, attracted 227 players. Read about the event here.

2) Blackstone–Maillard, Long Beach 1969

National Master Eric Osbun continues his tribute to the late John Blackstone.

This short, decisive game was “The Game of the Month” in The California Chess Reporter, Vol. XIX, No. 1, July-August, 1969. Annotations are by John, except for mine in brackets and unmarked editorial corrections for manuscript consistency.]

This game was played in the last round of the John Gilbreth Memorial when I was leading Jim Lazos, Jerry Hanken, and Bill Maillard by half a point. To make sure of first place I had to win the game (Lazos actually did beat Hanken.).

Before my first move I spent about six minutes wondering what to play. I did not want to play 1.e4 because Maillard plays the French Defense and therefore why should I let him play something he knows and feels comfortable in? I decided to play a slow positional game. It does not contain a lot of fireworks and brilliant points, but it was the best game I played at the Gilbreth.

Reti A11
John Blackstone–William Maillard
Long Beach (John Gilbreth Memorial) 1969

1.g3 Nf6 2.Bg2 d5 3.Nf3 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 0-0 6.c4 c6

At this point I decided to treat the opening as a Reti. My main concern was whether my d4 square would be weak or strong after I played e4. I didn’t see any way for him to take immediate advantage of it so I decided to go ahead with the Reti setup.


[7.d4 Ne4 8.0-0 Be6 9.Nbd2 Nxd2 10.Qxd2 reaches by transposition the 11th Match Game of Tal-Botvinnik, 1960, one of my favorite games.]


Better for Black is 7….Bg4 as several recent games have shown. The idea is to play ….Bxf3 followed by either ….e6 or ….e5; Black has been able to eliminate his “bad” QB.


I spent a few minutes looking at 8.Qc1 instead of the text. This would support the c1-h6 diagonal, but would not help in playing e4….so the text.


This does not conform to the position. Black should strive for ….e5 so he should play 8….Re8.

9.d3 Bb7 10.e4

With White’s last he has carried out his entire opening plan and Black has yet to form one.


A better try is either 10….Rc8 or 10….Re8. With the text it looks as though Black is obtaining some play, but that is an illusion.


This move is forced but it does several things: 1) Indirectly protects his e-Pawn and 2) Overprotects his d3 and d4 squares. Black’s last has the idea of placing his QN on e6 where it would cover a few vital squares in the center.


Now e6 is ruled out for the knight as White’s reply of Bh3 is very uncomfortable for Black. 11….Qc7 had to be tried.


Black was threatening 12….Nxd3 13.Rxd3 dxe4.

12….e6 13.Ba3

This has the threat of 14.e5 and 15.d4 winning the exchange. Maillard mentioned that 14.Bxc5 was also a threat leaving him without any play on the queen-side, and then proceeding with a king-side attack by White. This idea occurred to me, but only after Black had exchanged in the center, not before. The difference is that White then has his e4 available for his pieces.

13….Rd8 14.e5 Nfd7

I was expecting 14….Ng4 for which I had worked out a line giving excellent winning chances: 1) 15.d4 Nd7 16.Bh3 Nh6 17.cxd5 cxd5 18.Rac1 Nf5 19.g4 Nh6 20.Qb2 Re8 21.Nb5, and wins at least the exchange. 2) 15.d4 Na6 16.Bh3 Nh6 17.cxd5 cxd5 18.Rac1 Qd7 19.Qb2 Rac8 20.Rc2 Rc6 21.R1c1 R8c8 22.b4, at which point White wins control of the c-file at least.

Admittedly these lines are long and complicated and there may be improvements on both sides, but they give an example of how White should play the position.

15.d4 Na6 16.Qe2

White must protect his e5 square as 16….dxc4 17.bxc4 c5 is threatened. I would prefer to play 16.Qd2, but this loses his e-Pawn.

16….dxc4 17.bxc4 c5

This is Black’s best practical chance of obtaining counter-play. He could have chosen 17….Nc7 with a passive defense, but White could proceed with a king-side attack while Black just waits.

18.Nb5 Nab8?

Black’s best chance consisted of 18….Bc6. White still maintains his edge by 19.Nd6 Qc7 20.d5 Ba4 ( Not 20….Nxe5? 21.Nxe5 Qxd6 , and White wins two pieces for a Rook by 22.Nxc6. [That’s true if the game continues 22….Bxa1 23.Rxa1 Re8, but White can win a piece with 23.Nxd8 instead.] ) 21.dxe6 Bxd1 22.Rxd1 fxe6 23.Ng5 Nxe5 24.Nxe6 Qe7 25.Bxa8 Rxa8 (If 25….Rxd6 26.Rxd6 Qxd6 27.Nxg7 followed by Bb2 wins.) 26.Nxg7 followed by Bb2 wins.

19.Nd6 Qc7 20.Nb5 Qc8 21.Nd6 Qc7

White was only gaining some time on the clock.

22.Nxb7 Qxb7

23.Ng5 Nc6 24.Qf3 Ndb8 25.dxc5 Rxd1+?

Black’s last few moves have been forced. 25….Rc8 was better, but White still maintains his edge by 26.Qe3.

26.Rxd1 Bxe5?

This ends the game quicker than expected. During the game I was not sure how I would continue after 26….h6 27.Ne4 Bxe5 28.Nf6+ Kg7 (Not 28….Bxf6 as after 29.Qxf6 and 30.Bb2 Black has to be mated or lose a piece.) 29. Ne8+, but could not see a win. Later it occurred to me that I could win a piece by 29.Nd7 Nxd7 (what else?) 30.Qxc6 Qxc6 31.Bxc6 winning a piece.

If 26….Qc7 27.Rd6 wins two pieces for a rook and a win in the long run. [Simpler is 27.cxb6 axb6 28.Bd6 Qb7 29.Bxb8, and wins.]

27.Rd8+ Kg7

If 27….Nxd8 28.Qxb7 Nxb7 29.Bxb7, White regains his rook and comes out a piece to the good.

28.Nxe6+ 1-0

Black has his choice of deaths: 28….fxe6 29.Qf8 mate, and if 28….Kh6 29.Qe3+ followed by an eventual Qg5(xg5) mate. It is rather strange to note that Black in this last variation is mated on the same diagonal (c1-h6) that I worried about in the opening.

3) 2018 Grand Chess Tour

The dates for the 2018 Grand Chess Tour events will be as follows:

Your Next Move GCT (Rapid & Blitz)
June 10–17, 2018 | Brussels-Leuven, Belgium

Paris GCT (Rapid & Blitz)
June 17–26, 2018 | Paris, France

Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz (Rapid & Blitz)
August 9–16, 2018 | Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

Sinquefield Cup (Classical)
August 16–29, 2018 | Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

The 2018 London Chess Classic & GCT Tour Finals will take place on dates still to be confirmed during the period between December 10, 2018, and December 21, 2018, in London, UK.

The participants and their method of qualification:

GM Magnus Carlsen (NOR) – 1st place, 2017 Grand Chess Tour
GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA) – 2nd place, 2017 Grand Chess Tour
GM Levon Aronian (ARM) – 3rd place, 2017 Grand Chess Tour
GM Fabiano Caruana (USA) – 1st Average FIDE Classic Rating
GM Wesley So (USA) – 2nd Average FIDE Classic Rating
GM Vladimir Kramnik (RUS) – 3rd Average FIDE Classic Rating
GM Hikaru Nakamura (USA) – 1st Universal Rating System
GM Alexander Grischuk (RUS) – 2nd Universal Rating System
GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE) – 3rd Universal Rating System
GM Viswanathan Anand (IND) – GCT Advisory Board Nominee

4) Here and There

The Southwest Open has a rich tradition going back to 1935 and the list of winners includes a number of players associated with the Mechanics’ Institute, such as the late William Bills and Ray Schutt, as well as C. Bill Jones and Max Burkett. The latter, whose bulletins preserved thousands of games played in California in the 1970s and 1980s including many of the Lone Pine tournaments, has made his home in Missoula, Montana, for many years.

Newsletter 813 included a photo of Bobby Fischer’s good friend and long-time Mechanics’ member Jim Buff. Here is a much better image of him taken by International Master Elliott Winslow.

Books like Reassess Your Chess (four editions) and The Amateur’s Mind have sold tens of thousands of copies and made International Master Jeremy Silman one of the most-read instructional authors in the world for players between 1200 and 1800.

Silman is not only a best-selling author. In his prime he was also a strong player, which can be seen in the following two smooth wins over Grandmaster Peter Biyiasis.

Queens Gambit Semi-Slav D45
Jeremy Silman–Peter Biyiasis
Sunnyvale 1983

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Be7 7.b3 O-O 8.Be2 b6 9.O-O Bb7 10.Bb2 Rc8 11.Rfd1 Qc7 12.e4 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Qxe4 Bf6 15.Rd2 c5 16.Qg4 Rfd8 17.Rad1 cxd4 18.Nxd4 Ne5 19.Qg3 Nc6 20.Qxc7 Rxc7 21.Nb5 Rxd2 22.Rxd2 Rc8 23.Bxf6 gxf6 24.Rd7 Rb8 25.f4 a6 26.Nd6 Nd4 27.Bh5 Bc6 28.Rc7 Rd8 29.Nc8 Be4 30.Nxb6 Bb1 31.Bxf7+ Kf8 32.Bh5 Bxa2 33.Rf7+ Kg8 34.Nd7 Bb1 35.Nxf6+ Kh8 36.Kf2 Nxb3 37.g4 Rd2+ 38.Kg3 Nc5 39.f5 Ne4+ 40.Nxe4 Bxe4 41.fxe6 Rg2+ 42.Kf4 Bc6 43.Rc7 Ba4 44.e7 Rf2+ 45.Kg3 Rf8 46.exf8=R 1-0

English A29
Peter Biyiasas–Jeremy Silman
Berkeley 1983

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 Bb4 4.Bg2 O-O 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.O-O Re8 7.Ne1 Bxc3 8.dxc3 d6 9.Nc2 h6 10.e4 a6 11.Ne3 b5 12.cxb5 axb5 13.b4 Be6 14.Qe2 Qb8 15.h4 Qb7 16.a3 Ne7 17.Qc2 Ng4 18.Nf5 Nxf5 19.exf5 Bd5 20.Bxd5 Qxd5 21.Qe2 Nf6 22.Bb2 Ne4 23.Rfd1 Qc6 24.Rd3 d5 25.Rad1 Qc4 26.Kg2 c6 27.g4 Nf6 28.g5 Qe4+ 29.Qxe4 Nxe4 30.Bc1 h5 31.Re1 Nd6 32.f6 Nc4 33.fxg7 Kxg7 34.Rf3 Re6 35.Re2 e4 36.Rg3 Ra4 37.f3 Kg6 38.fxe4 dxe4 39.Ra2 Rd6 40.Re2 Rd1 41.Be3 Rxa3 42.Bd4 Rd2 43.Rxd2 Nxd2 44.Kf2 Nf3 45.Ke3 Kf5 46.Rg2 Ra1 47.Bf6 Re1+ 48.Kf2 Kf4 49.Bd4 e3+ 50.Bxe3+ Rxe3 51.g6 fxg6 52.Rxg6 Rxc3 53.Rh6 Rc2+ 54.Kf1 Nxh4 55.Rxh5 Nf5 0-1

5) This is the end

Who has the advantage in this position from a grandmaster game?

Black to move

Show solution

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