Chess Room Newsletter #831 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #831

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #831
June 15, 2018

Chess in the Schools works because chess is a metaphor for life.

—Neil deGrasse Tyson

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliott Winslow, FIDE Master Ezra Chambers, National Master Derek O’Connor, Women’s FIDE Master Natalya Tsodikova and Class A players David Askin and Tom Maser lead the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon with perfect scores three rounds into the event. There are five rounds remaining for 118 participants. It is still possible to enter the tournaments with half-point byes for the first three rounds.

From round 3 of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Maser–Persidsky after 20...c5)White to move (Papanek–Karp after 21...b6)
White to move (Clemens–Cortinas after 22...Nxc5)White to move (Campers–Hilliard after 13...cxd4)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 3.

U.S. Champion Sam Shankland gave a well-received lecture last Tuesday night before the TNM. The 26-year-old Shankland, who recently won the American Continental Championship, has been on a tear of late. Currently rated number 27 in the world at 2727 he has raised his rating almost 60 points in 2018, while winning his last three tournaments without a loss of a single game. His next tournament will be a strong 10-player round robin in China, featuring its national team and five foreign 2700 players.

Sam Shankland, Diego Flores and Pablo Salinas at the American Continental Championship in Montevideo, Uruguay (Photo: Uruguayan Chess Federation)

The US Olympiad teams were recently announced and the Mechanics’ will be well-represented, with Sam Shankland returning as a player and John Donaldson as team captain.

The teams are, in rating order,

GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Wesley So, GM Hikaru Nakamura, GM Sam Shankland and GM Ray Robson with GM Aleksander Lenderman as team coach and IM John Donaldson as captain.

GM Irina Krush, IM Anna Zatonskih, WGM Tatev Abrahamyan, FM Jennifer Yu, WGM Sabina Foisor, with GM Robert Hess as team coach and GM Melik Khachiyan as team captain.

The Olympiad will be held September 24 to October 5 in Batumi, Georgia. It won’t be easy for the United States to repeat as champions, as Russia and China will also field teams with similar average ratings to the U.S., and India (with Anand), Azerbaijan and Ukraine will also be over 2700 average rating per board.

2) Isaac Kashdan’s recollection of New York 1924

The following remembrances from the 18-year-old Isaac Kashdan, typed on a water-damaged piece of paper found at the bottom of a box which was part of a donation made by his son Richard to the World Chess Hall of Fame, offers insights into the different tournament behavior of two of the greatest players of all time.

“I attended the sessions as often as I could, after classes at City College. Later I met all the contestants as my own chess career developed, and got to know some of them quite well. Capablanca was the idol of the spectators. The area in front of his table was always the most crowded. It seemed so easy for him. He spent much less time at the board than anyone else. When his opponent moved, Capablanca would sit down, rarely take more than a few minutes, make his move and get up. He had his cronies among the officials, and often went out of the enclosure to chat with friends. He was almost oblivious of the other players, hardly greeting them, and rarely socialized with any of them before or after a game.

Lasker was the most intent, bending over and staring at the board as if to force the pieces to do his will. He would smoke several cigars during a game, making occasional efforts to keep the smoke away from his opponents. He was practically always at the board, observing his opponent while the latter was on the move. The cigars were the cheapest, most foul-smelling available. When someone offered Lasker a fine cigar, he would acknowledge it, place it in his breast pocket and hold it for leisurely enjoyment later. This was not a chess cigar.”

L-R: Manager Fritz Brieger, Sammy Reshevsky, Issac Kashdan, I.A. Horowitz, Reuben Fine and Frank Marshall. (Photo: Chess Review 1938, page 75)

The performance of the United States at Stockholm 1937 was nothing short of outstanding as it finished 6 points ahead of second place Hungary, winning 15 matches, drawing three and losing none. That Arthur Dake, who had the best overall score in the 1935 Olympiad, couldn’t even make the 1937 squad, speaks volumes about how strong this team was.

3) USCF ratings—Part One

Few services offers are as fundamental as the ratings it provides. Although the United States Chess Federation (USCF) was founded in 1939, it was not until the March 5, 1952, issue of Chess Life that the first ratings appeared, courtesy of future US Chess Hall-of-Famer Kenneth Harkness (note: not Arpad Elo, the originator of FIDE ratings). The two large pages of ratings reflected events rated as of December 31, 1951, and the ratings categories, while recognizable, are not exactly what we use today.

Grandmaster (a title the USCF no longer awards) was 2700 on up
Senior Master (the current highest title) was 2500 to 2699
Master 2300 to 2499
Expert 2100 to 2299
Class A 1900 to 2199
Class B 1700 to 1899
Class C 1500 to 1699
Class D Below 1500

Top-rated players on the first list were

1. Sammy Reshevsky 2734
2. Reuben Fine 2676
3. Larry Evans 2660
4. I.A. Horowitz 2545
5. Arthur Dake 2510
6. Arnold Denker 2504
7. Max Pavey 2502

The highest-rated West Coast players, besides Arthur Dake of Portland, were Los Angeles-based Isaac Kashdan (2455) and Herman Steiner (2427).

Val Zemitis and Arthur Dake sharing good times in Portland in 1996 (Photo: John Donaldson)

4) Gareev-Patel, 2nd Frank K. Berry Memorial

15-year-old International Master Advait Patel is the strongest player Oklahoma has ever produced. Here he defeats Grandmaster Timur Gareev on the way to winning the 2nd Frank K. Berry Memorial this past May with a 5–0 score. Gareev was second with 4 points and former Mechanics’ member Bill Orton finished third with 3½.

Patel, the strongest player in the history of Oklahoma, has won its state championship four times in a row, starting at age 11.

King’s Indian E76
Timur Gareev (2680)–Advait Patel (2585)
Tulsa (4) 2018

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 0–0 6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.dxe6 fxe6

8...Bxe6 is also possible, but the text has always been the main line.

9.Bd3 Nc6 10.0–0 Nd4 11.Ng5 e5 12.f5 h6 13.Nh3 gxf5 14.exf5


The main move here has always been 14...b5 after the famous game Christiansen-Kasparov, Moscow Interzonal 1982, but the text gets high marks from computer engines.

15.g4 e4 16.Nxe4??

White had to play 16.Be2, when 16...h5!? looks interesting, with the point that 17.g5 Ng4 18.f6 can be met by 18...Nxf6 19.gxf6 Bxh3 20.Bxh5, with the spectacular follow up 20...Qe6 21.f7+ Kh8 22.Rf4

22...Rg8!! 23.fxg8Q+ Rxg8 24.Nxe4 Ne2+! 25.Kh1, and now Black can choose between (25.Qxe2 Bd4+ mates) 25...Nxf4 (25...Bg2+ 26.Kxg2 Nxf4+ 27.Bxf4 Qxe4+ 28.Bf3 (28.Qf3 Bxb2+) 28...Qxf4 29.Bd5 and) 26.Bf3 in both cases with some advantage. The text is an uncharacteristic blunder by Gareev that immediately decides the game.

16...Nxe4 17.Re1 Nc3 18.Rxe8 Nxd1 19.Rxf8+ Kxf8 20.Nf4 Bd7 21.Nh5

21...Nxb2 22.Bf1 Na4 23.f6 Bh8 24.Bxh6+ Kf7 25.g5 Nb6 26.Kf2 Nf5 27.Bd3 Nxh6 28.g6+ Kg8 29.g7

29...Bxg7 30.Rg1 Ng4+ 31.Kf3 Rf8 32.Rxg4 Bxg4+ 33.Kxg4 Bxf6 34.Kf5 Be5+ 35.Kg6 0–1

5) US Chess Annual Awards

The US Chess Executive Board recently named the its 2018 award winners, including three individuals from Northern California: Former Mechanics’ Chess Director James Eade, Berkeley Chess School founder Elizabeth Shaughnessy and Davis National Master Michael Aigner. Bay Area Chess was named Chess Club of the Year.

Legendary Washington state National Master Viktors Pupols, who has played at the Mechanics’ on several occasions over the years and won the 1981 Stamer Memorial, was one of two recipients of the Frank James Marshall. This award is given for being an outstandingambassador of the game and for lifelong contributions to chess - in Pupols’ case as a player and writer in a career dating back to the 1950s. He still plays regularly and recently turned in a2300+ performance in the Washington Open including a win over an International Master. Pupols turns 84 this June.

Latvian-American chess players at the Nebraska state capital in Lincoln in the early 1950s. L-R: Elmars Zemgalis, ???, Peteris Pupols (father of Viktors), Viktors Pupols, Alexander Liepnieks, ???, ??? (Photo: Archives of Elmars Zemgalis)

Distinguished Service Award – Gary Walters (OH)
Outstanding Career Achievement Award – Jim Nickell (WI), Guy Hoffman (WI), Jim Eade (CA)
Special Services Award – Richard Reich (WI), Eduardo Bauza Mercere (NY)
Meritorious Services Award Brad Phillips (WI), Fred Lange (WI), Randy Bubolz (WI), Jerry Neugarten (IL)
Committee of the Year – Accessibility and Special Circumstances Committee.
Chess City of the Year – Charlotte, NC
Koltanowski Awards: Gold – Dewain Barber (CA) Silver Two Sigma, Richard and Barbara Schiffrin (PA)
Scholastic Service Award (Individual) – Elizabeth Shaughnessy (CA)
Organizer of the Year – Sophia Rohde (NY), Glenn Panner (IL)
Frank J. Marshall Award – Viktors Pupols (WA), Franc Guadalupe (TX)
Grandmaster of the Year – GM Fabiano Caruana (MO)
Honorary Chess Mate – Bonnie Guadalupe (TX), Edith Just (IL)
Chess Club of the Year – Bay Area Chess, Inc (CA)
Chess College of the Year University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley
Tournament Director of the Year – Chris Bird (MA)
Tournament Director Lifetime Achievement Award – Erv Sedlock (FL)
Outstanding Player Achievement Award – Andrew Karklins (IL), GM Timur Gareyev (KS)
Outstanding Team Performance Award – 2017 US World Cadet Team
Woman Chessplayer of the Year Award – WGM Sabina Foisor (NC)
Special Friend of US Chess – Flynn Sign Co., Inc. (TN)
Accessibility and Special Circumstances Person of the Year Michael Lenox (IL), Michael Aigner (CA)

6) Here and There

Grandmasters Conrad Holt (5½ from 6) and Melikset Khachiyan (5) dominated The Best of the West Class Championship held May 26–28 in Santa Clara. John McCumiskey directed the 200-player event, organized by Judit Sztaray and Abel Talamantez, for Bay Area Chess.

National Master Roger Poehlmann won the Berkeley Weekender held May 11–13 with a score of 4½ from 5. National Master Derek O’Connor and Experts William Sartorio and Joshua Lu tied for second at 4 in the upset-ridden tournament, which saw the top three seeds each lose a game to a lower-rated opponent. 43 players competed in the event, directed by Bryon Doyle and organized by Elizabeth Shaughnessy for the Berkeley Chess School.

7) This is the end

This position occurred in a game between a Grandmaster and an untitled player. How should the play proceed?

White to move

Show solution

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