Chess Room Newsletter #828 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #828

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News #828
May 11, 2018

Yasser, control the e5-square and all good things will flow.

—Canadian Fide Master Robert Zuk (talking to the young Yasser Seirawan)
Source: Learn from the Grandmasters (page 156), edited by GM Raymond Keene

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News #828

National Master Conrado Diaz won the Spring TNM a full point ahead of the 145-player field. His score of 7½–½, which raised his USCF rating from 2334 to 2356, earned him the $800 first prize. FIDE Master Ezra Chambers, National Master Derek O’Connor and Expert Alexander Ivanov shared second place with scores of 6½–1½, with Ivanov the only player to nick Diaz for a draw.

Several players below the top finishers had exceptional performances earning 50 or more rating points:

Yonathan Admassu 170-point rating gain
Alexander Perlov 101 points
Giridharan Durgashhankar 83 points
Stephen Touset 76 points
David Rakonitz 74 points
Frederick Hope 70 points
Michael Baer 51 points

And congratulations to Jackie Cowgill, who has gained almost 200 rating points in 2018.

Crosstable for the event and a complete list of prize winners.

The Spring Tuesday Night Marathon broke the all-time attendance record for the MICC with 145 entries, eclipsing the previous record of 143 set in the 2017 Fall TNM. This marks the 18th consecutive TNM with triple-digit attendance, in a streak going back to the Fall TNM of 2014. As recently as July 2012 the attendance record for a TNM was 86. The 8-round Summer TNM, which is both USCF- and FIDE-rated, begins May 29. Online registration.

From round 8 of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Ivanov–Lewis after 25 Qxb7)Black to move (Agdamag–Chan after 24 Ba4)
White to move (Touset–Cortinas after 13...Kh8)White to move (Erickson–Quang after 12...O-O)
White to move (Robeal–Erdenebileg after 11...Nd7)Black to move (Cunningham–Bayaraa after 7 Bg5)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 8.

The 12th Stephen Brandwein/Ray Schutt/ Jay Whitehead Memorial Blitz was a great success, with 72 players competing, including four Grandmasters and five International Masters. Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky won once again, scoring 10½ out of 12. He split with U.S. Champion Sam Shankland and defeated Grandmaster Conrad Holt 1½–½ in the last round.

Shankland, who also defeated Holt by the same score, dropped an extra half point to International Master Yian Liou in the last round, dropping him to second place with 10 points. Tying for third through eighth at 9–3 were Holt, Liou, FIDE Master Paul Whitehead, National Masters Ivan Ke and Conrado Diaz, and 12-year-old Rochelle Wu. The last, not rated in the top twenty players going in at 2183, played very well, defeating two-time U.S. Champion Patrick Wolff (2–0) and International Master Cyrus Lakdawala (1½–½).


Special thanks to Bill Schutt (who has supported this event every year), Ralph Palmeri and Renate Otterbach for their help in making this tournament possible.

The Stephen Brandwein/Ray Schutt/ Jay Whitehead Memorial Blitz has been played 12 times. Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky, with seven titles won or shared, is the unquestioned king of the event. The only other multiple winner is the late Walter Browne.

2007 GM Walter Browne (32 players)
2008 GM Melik Khachian (32 players)
2009 IM Ricardo De Guzman (28 players)
2010 FM Andy Lee (46 players)
2011 GM Walter Browne and IM Daniel Naroditsky (50 players)
2012 IM Daniel Naroditsky (43 players)
2013 FM Yian Liou (63 players)
2014 IM Daniel Naroditsky (56 players)
2015 GM Daniel Naroditsky (51 players)
2016 GM Daniel Naroditsky (71 players)
2017 GM Daniel Naroditsky and Conrad Holt (76 players)
2018 GM Daniel Naroditsky (72 players)

Romulo Sylvestri dominated the Wednesday Night Blitz at the Mechanics’ Institute on May 2, scoring 10 out of 12 to win the 17-player event. Carlos D’Avila tied for second with Jules Jelinek a point and a half back. The Wednesday Night Blitz will now be taking a break until August 29.

The 30 player Charles Powell Memorial, held Saturday, May 5, was won by Rochelle Wu of Davis with a score of 4½–½. Wu barely avoided an upset at the hands of Nicholas Boldi early in the tournament, but won her last three games to finish half a point ahead of National Masters Conrado Diaz and Mike Arne. Austin Li, Mark Solovyev, Andrew Guo, Nicholas Boldi and Yuelin Shi won book prizes for the largest rating upsets. Special mention goes to Michael Abron, who travelled from Youngstown, Ohio, for this event. Michael is on a quest to become the first African-American player to play in all 50 states. He picked up number 37 last Saturday.


Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky will be giving a lecture and simultaneous exhibition on Friday May 18 at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites (2224 Auburn Boulevard in Sacramento). The event, which is sponsored by the Sacramento Chess Club, starts at 6:30 pm. More information here.

Grandmaster Cristian Chirila, who has called El Cerrito home the past four years, will be relocating to Columbia, Missouri in early May. Chirila was part of the commentary team at the recent U.S. Championship.

Former Mechanics’ member International Master Jeremy Silman, who divides his time between Los Angeles and Japan these days, is best known for his classic Reassess Your Chess, which has gone through four editions and sold over 150,000 copies. He is a regular columnist at and his most recent article on testing one’s positional skills is worth checking out. Find it here.

Best of luck to U.S. Champion Sam Shankland, who flew off Sunday for a month of chess in Central and South America. He will play in the Capablanca Memorial in Varadero from May 8–19 and the American Continental Championship in Montevideo, Uruguay, from June 1–11.

2) Eliot Hearst annotates his two games with Bobby Fischer

The late Eliot Hearst (1932–2018) played two tournament games with Bobby Fischer, but had never annotated them until asked to do so by noted chess historian Nikolai Brunni of Honolulu in 2010, for a book he is writing on Fischer.

We are grateful to Mr. Brunni for allowing us to present these two games with Hearst’s annotations.

I had been playing Bobby for two or three years before the following game took place. This was our first tournament game, as our prior games at the Marshall Chess Club and Columbia University Chess Club were all contested at very fast speeds. I believe I was able to give him rook odds in our initial games, but it soon became apparent that he was a chess genius and that someday in the near future I would no longer be able to hold my own against him. It is not well known that he used to appear occasionally at the Columbia Club after his high school classes were over for the day (or he might have failed to attend school that day at all!); Columbia’s was the only club in New York where some strong players were usually available to play on weekday afternoons. At any rate, at the Rosenwald Tourney Bobby had beaten Donald Byrne a few days before in what became known as the “Game of the Century”, and I was not at all sure that I should be considered the favorite in this game against a 13-year-old (I was 24 at the time, had been playing in tournaments since I was 13, and had gained a master’s rating). Bobby had already established himself as someone who would virtually always open with the Ruy Lopez if his opponent permitted it. I decided beforehand to permit [it], but not to meet the opening with one of the most common defenses against it.

Ruy Lopez
Bobby Fischer–Eliot Hearst

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5

The relatively unusual Classical or Cordel Defense to the Ruy Lopez.


Most common here is 4.c3, aiming for an early d4.

4…Nd4 5.Nxd4 Bxd4 6.c3 Bb6 7.d4 c6 8.Ba4 d6 9.Na3 Nf6 10.Re1 Qe7 11.Bg5 h6

Up to here the play has more or less followed some previously played grandmaster games.


This is a mistake, in my opinion. Since Black can still castle queenside, he does not fear initiatating a pawn storm on the kingside; he has no intention of castling on that side of the board.

12…g5 13.Bg3 h5 14.f3 h4 15.Bf2 g4 16.Nc4 g3!

The opening of lines to White’s king seemed to justify this pawn sacrifice.

17.hxg3 hxg3 18.Bxg3 Nh5 19.Bh2 Bc7

With the minor threat of …b5, but the major purpose of saving this bishop for later use against White’s king.

20.Ne3 Qh4 21.Qd2 Bd7 22.Bb3 Rh7 23.Qf2 Qg5 24.Rad1 Nf4

Of course threating a disastrous fork with …Nh3+.


The move 25.Qg3 gives Black much more trouble. (A follow-up e-mail from Dr. Hearst he relates that he was in a bookstore looking at Karsten Mueller’s book Bobby Fischer: The Career and Complete Games of the American World Chess Champion, and saw Muller’s note: “25. Qg3 leads to a more or less forced draw: 25…Qh5 26. dxe5 dxe5 27. Qg8+ Ke7 28. Qxa8 Qxh2+ 29. Kf2 Qh4.”

25…exf4 26.Nf5?

Appears aggressive but leaves the knight out on a limb. Nc4 was much better. Now Black gains a definite advantage.


Black is fully mobilized for his attack against White’s king. Recalling the game about 30 years later, Bobby told me “you gotta terrific ??? in that game!”

27.Kf1 Rh2 28.Bxf7

Losing a piece eventually but it is hard to suggest a better defense.


Trapping the bishop or at least giving White major defensive problems.

29.Rd2 Rf8 30.Qg1

If instead 30.Bg6 (hoping for 30…Qxg6 31.Ne7+) then Black simply replies 30…Kb8 and the bishop still has nowhere to go.

30…Rh7 31.exd5 Rhxf7 32.dxc6 Bxc6

Now White’s knight is trapped, too. Against a grandmaster opponent Bobby would probably have resigned here. But we were both in tremendous time pressure to reach the 40th move.

33.d5 Bb5+ 34.Ree2 Rxf5 35.Qxa7 Rxd5 36.c4 Bxc4 37.Qa8+ Bb8 38.Rc2 Rc5??

I was merely trying to play safe moves so that I could avoid a loss on time. Were I looking for an immediate tactical win I might have seen 38…Rd1+ 39.Kf2 Qg3 mate. As soon as the game was over everyone in the crowd surrounding our game (allowed in those days) pointed out this checkmate to me. I was abashed but so happy to win that I was able to laugh at my blunder.

39.Ke1 Bxe2 40.Qa5

In a totally lost position and extreme time pressure Bobby found this tricky move. Somehow I am impressed by this last-gasp try, even though it can be refuted in numerous ways.

40…Qg3 0-1.

Now that I have reached the time control without overstepping the time limit, my recollection is that Bobby resigned right now. However, some collections of Bobby’s games continue with the following moves, which I do not believe occurred: 41.Kd2 Rd8+ 42.Qxd8+ Kxd8 43.Rxc5 Qxg2. I consider this game one of the five best games I ever played, regardless of whether it was played against a future world champion. My only regret about it was missing the forced mate on move 38.

Manhattan CC

7 – 6 Marshall CC
1. Bisguier, ArthurDrawBernstein, Sydney
2. Turner, AbeDrawSeidman, Herbert
3. Horowitz, IsraelDrawSherwin, James
4. Lombardy, William1 – 0 Mednis, Edmar
5. Feuerstein, Arthur0 – 1 Pilnick, Carl
6. Sussman, HaroldDrawCollins, John
7. Fischer, Bobby1 – 0 Hearst, Eliot
8. Pinkus, Albert0 – 1 Wachs, Saul
9. Shainswit, GeorgeDrawDunst, Theodore
10. Kevitz, Alexander0 – 1 Santasiere, Anthony
11. Vine, KarlDrawLasker, Edward
12. Beninson, Daniel1 – 0 Gore, James
13. Shipman, Walter1 – 0 Donovan, Jerry

My second tournament game with Bobby came about seven months after the first. I no longer lived in New York but had been drafted into the U.S. Army and was stationed in Washington, D.C. Even so, I drove to New York on most weekends to see friends and to play occasionally for the Marshall Chess Club in the Metropolitan League matches, held on Saturday nights in the early part of each year. Almost always the Marshall and Manhattan Chess Clubs had won all their previous matches and were paired in the final round. I believe the Manhattan club won virtually all these title-deciding matches; they had a stronger group of players to select from than did the Marshall club and rumor has it that they paid some members of their team to play in what was not really an important national or international event. It had relatively little interest outside New York City, except for the fact that some of the nation’s top players participated.

Seven months after my first game with Bobby he had improved by leaps and bounds and later in 1957, after this game, he won both the U.S. Open and regular U.S. Championships at the age of 14. He played the following game without any real errors and I was pleased to hold my own, losing a contest that I could probably have drawn with better play on my part at the crucial stages.

Sicilian Defense
Eliot Hearst–Bobby Fischer

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6

The Najdorf Variation, one of Bobby’s favorites throughout his career. It has been one of the most analyzed openings of the past 50–60 years.


This rather uncommon move was always my favorite; I knew it well and was happy to avoid the more frequent continuations, such as Bg5 and one of Bobby’s favorites, Bc4.

6…e5 7.Nf3 Qc7 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.O-O b5 10.a3 Bb7 11.Kh1 g6 12.Be3

Perhaps 12.Qe1, intending to place the queen on h4 was better.

12...Ng4 13.Bd2 Bg7 14.f5 Ngf6

Getting ready to play …d5.

15.Ng5 h6 16.Nh3 g5 17.Nf2 Nc5 18.b4

Weakening White’s queenside. 18.Qf3 with Ng4 in mind was a better alternative.

18...Nxd3 19.cxd3 Qd7 20.Qe2 Rc8 21.a4 O-O 22.axb5 axb5 23.Ra5

23...d5 24.exd5

Obviously not Rxb5 because of the reply …d4.

24...Nxd5 25.Nxd5

25.Nce4 was a superior move and gives White attacking chances on the kingside and queenside.

25...Qxd5 26.Ne4 Rfd8 27.Be1

Partly to prevent …Rc2 and I thought Black could not capture my d-pawn because of the fork 29.Nc5, as follows. But Bobby saw further ahead than I did! 27.Nc5 was better and seems to retain an equal game.

27...Qxd3! 28.Qxd3 Rxd3 29.Nc5 Rd1 30.Nxb7 Rcc1 31.Kg1 Rxe1 32.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 33.Kf2 Re4 34.Rxb5

White has other moves that are more likely to gain a draw: 34.Ra8+ Kh7 36.Nd6.



A time-pressure blunder that ensures Black’s win. Other moves such as Nd8, Kf3, or g3 still left White with drawing chances.

35...Rxb4! 36.Ra5 Bxc5+ 37.Rxc5 Rf4+ 38.Ke3 Rxf5 39.g4 Rf4 40.h3 e4 41.Rc4 Rf3+ 42.Kxe4 Rxh3 43.Ke5 Re3+ 44.Kf6 Rf3+ 45.Ke5 Kg7 46.Kd5 Kg6 47.Rc1 Rf4 48.Rg1 f5 49.gxf5+ Kxf5 50.Rh1 Kg6 51.Ke5 h5 52.Rd1 h4 53.Rg1 Kh5 54.Rh1 Rf8 55.Rd1 h3 56.Ke4 Kh4 57.Rd7 Rf1 58.Rd2 g4 59.Rd8 h2 0-1.

I should have resigned earlier but thought maybe a 14-year-old wasn’t as good in the endgame as in the opening and middlegame. He was.

3) Jose Capablanca at the Mechanics’ Institute 1916 (correction)

José Raúl Capablanca’s visit to the Mechanics’ Institute in 1916 was covered in Newsletter #689 (November 21, 2014). Among the games presented was Capablanca–Simpkins, but it turns out it was actually Capablanca–Simkins, as given in Edward Winter’s Chess Notes #10721. One can also find the missing moves of the game there. Anyone with a serious interest in chess history will want to visit Mr. Winter’s site which can be found here.

4) Grandmaster James Tarjan annotates

Dutch A90
Johannes Luangtep Kvisla–Jim Tarjan
Gibraltar (10) 2018

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 e6 4.g3 d5 5.Bg2 Bd6 6.0-0 0-0 7.Qc2 c6 8.Nc3 Bd7 9.Rb1 a5 10.c5 Bc7 11.Bf4 Bxf4 12.gxf4 Ne4 13.e3 Be8 14.Ne5 Nd7 15.f3 Nxe5 16.fxe5 Nxc3 17.bxc3 f4 18.Rxb7 Qg5

It turns out 18...fxe3 would have been a better try.

19.exf4 Rxf4 20.Qf2 Bg6 21.Qg3 Qh6


22.Qh3 Bh5 23.Rc7 Houdini says White is winning... oh well.





23...Bh5 24.Re7 R4f5 25.Qg3

25.f4 Rxf4 26.Rxe6 Qg5 27.Qe3 h6 28.Rf6! R8xf6 29.exf6 Rxf6 30.Qxg5 hxg5=.

25...Rg5 26.Qh3 Rg6 27.f4

This is the losing move. The computer holds a draw with 27.Rb7! Qc1+ (27...Qe3 28.Qxh5 Rh6 29.Qg4 Rg6=) 28.Rf1 Qe3+ 29.Kh1.

27...Rxf4 28.Rxe6

Black to play and win

28...Rxg2+! 29.Rxg2

29.Kxg2 Rxf2+ 30.Kxf2 Qf4+ 31.Kg1 Bg4 winning+ or 29.Qxg2 Rxf2-and again Black wins.

29...Rf1+ 30.Kxf1 Be2+! no, not a draw by perpetual check


31.Kxe2 Qxh3 the rooks are forked and dorked.

31...Qxh3 32.Rxc6 Qe3+ 33.Rf2 Bf3 34.Rc8+ Kf7 35.e6+ Kg6 36.e7 Qg5+ 37.Kf1 Qc1 0-1

5) Upcoming Events

San Pablo Library—Passed Pawns
Community Chess Day
Saturday May 12th, 2018

San Pablo Library
13751 San Pablo Avenue
11:00 am to 2:00 pm

Everyone is invited to an exciting day of chess at the San Pablo Library on Saturday May 12, 2018. You will get an opportunity to meet new chess friends, compete in a community chess tournament and more. Chess sets and chess clocks are provided.

This is a West Coast Chess Alliance supported event.

For more information contact chess coach Nicolas Petroni at (510) 685-7776 or TC Ball at(510) 439-6311.

The 36th Annual Reno Western States Open will be held October 19–21 (2 day option the 20th-21st).

The Berkeley Chess School, which has done so much to support Women’s chess, will be hosting the Women’s Western States Regional Championship May 18–20. More information.

6) This is the end

The pawn formation in this study is characteristic of the Peshka opening, now rarely seen in Grandmaster games.

White to move

Show solution

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