Chess Room Newsletter #832 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #832

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #832
June 22, 2018

Losing can persuade you to change what doesn’t need to be changed, and winning can convince you everything is fine even if you are on the brink of disaster.

—Garry Kasparov

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliott Winslow, FIDE Master Ezra Chambers and Woman FIDE Master Natalya Tsodikova lead the 123-player Summer Tuesday Night Marathon at the midway point with 4–0 scores. Tsodikova, who made plus scores in the 1995 and 1996 US Women’s Championships, defeated top seed National Master Derek O’Connor.

From round 4 of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Tsodikova–O'Connor after 24...g4)Black to move (Jensen–Chambers after 15 d4)
White to move (Argo–Porlares after 21...Rd8)Black to move (Chen–Wong after 17 Qb3)
Black to move (Azimzadeh–Del Rosario after 15 Nd2)Black to move (Boldi–Smith after 26 Qg5)
White to move (Boldi–Smith after 29...Qa5)Black to move (Melville–Quang after 47 Kg4)
White to move (Bhattacharjee–Persidsky after 13...b6)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 4.

Tuesday Night Marathon stalwart Robert Drane is captured deep in thought in his round 3 game in the 2018 Summer TNM. (Photo: Frank Revi).

The 18th William Addison Memorial, held on June 16, attracted 39 entries, including six National Masters. Yashodan Gogte (2206) won the event with a 5–0 score, with William Reuter (2207), visiting from Texas, taking second at 4½–½. Daniel R Perlov , Renate Otterbach , Kunal Shrivastav and Tawin M Nunbhakdi won book and software prizes for turning in the biggest upsets.

You can see a dozen photos from Sam Shankland’s reception and talk at the Mechanics’, taken by National Master Kerry Lawless, here.

2) Top US Players Continue to Shine

2018 started well for top American players, and has only gotten better the past few months. Fabiano Caruana followed up his win in the 2018 Candidates’ by taking first place in Norway Chess, ahead of Magnus Carlsen, and Sam Shankland has won the U.S. Championship, Capablanca Memorial and the American Continental Championship back-to-back. The latter has not lost a game at a classical time control in 2018, winning 19 games and drawing 14 to raise his FIDE rating over 60 points to 2727, ranking him number 27 in the world.

Sam Shankland lecturing at the Mechanics’ Institute on June 12, 2018. (Photo: Frank Revi).

Wesley So, fresh off his win over Carlsen in Norway, won the Grand Chess Tour’s Rapid & Blitz competition held in Leuven, Belgium, in mid-June. So was phenomenal in the Rapid, scoring an undefeated 7 out of 9 to become the number-three player in the world at this time control.

Further down, American youngsters are also doing well. Carissa Yip of Massachusetts scored her first International Master norm in the Charlotte Chess Center’s GM/IM Norm Invitational Tournament, held June 6–10 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 14-year-old tallied 7–2 (5 wins,4 draws) to finish first in one of two IM Norm sections, and gained 31 rating points, raising her USCF rating to 2408. Yip also gained a Women’s Grandmaster norm as well as her final Women’s International Master norm, and is slated to receive the WIM title at an upcoming FIDE meeting.

3) Frank James Marshall in 1917 (Part One) by Eduardo Bauzá Mercére


After a residence of over twenty years in Brooklyn, Marshall moved to Manhattan, to be nearer his Chess Divan, which is now located in the Café Français. Marshall shows no ill effects from his recent marathon performance in Philadelphia [a 129 board simultan on December 26], and, in about six weeks, will make another tour. — Brooklyn Eagle, 4 Jan 1917, p. 25

Frank J. Marshall is now living in New York. He has removed his chess divan to the Café Français, where he is always glad to welcome his friends and other chess players who may be visiting New York. — Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 Jan 1917, p. 8

January 27, Kingston (NY)

Marshall gave an illustrated lecture on chess playing, using one of his games with the Cuban champion, Capablanca, as a basis. Mr. Marshall makes no specialty of what is called blindfold playing, but consented to play one game without seeing the board. His opponent was Judge John G. Van Etten, one of the best players of the club, but who made a slip in his eleventh move, of which his antagonist took advantage.

Petroff [C42]
John G. Van Etten–Marshall (blindfold)

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bb5 c6 4. Ba4 Nxe4 5. O-O Bc5 6. d4 exd4 7. Nxd4 O-O 8. Be3 d5 9. Nc3 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Nd7 11. c4 dxc4 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Bxc6 Rb8 14. Bxd7 Bxe3 15. Bxc8 Bd4 16. Bg4 Bxa1 17. Qxa1 Qd2 18. c3 Qb2 19. Bf3 Qxa1 20. Rxa1 Rfd8 21. Rd1 Rxd1+ 22. Bxd1 Rb1 0-1Kingston Daily Freeman, 29 Jan 1917, p. 1

January 29, Marshall Challenges Dr. Lasker

Frank J. Marshall, United States chess champion, announced yesterday that he had issued a challenge to Dr. Emanuel Lasker of Berlin, present champion of the world, to decide the world’s title. He proposes that the contest be held early in the spring. —NY Times, 30 Jan 1917, p. 10 [Because of the War, it is hard to ascertain how serious this challenge was]

This tile commemorates the Marshall Chess Club’s 50th anniversary. It was founded in 1915 at Keens Chophouse (now Keens Steakhouse), which is still in operation today at 72 West 36th Street. Marshall, in My Fifty Years of Chess on page 22, refers to it as Keene’s Chop House at 70 West 36th Street. The MCC was originally called Marshall’s Chess Divan.

February 24, Philadelphia simul [+15-2=4]

The exhibition given by Frank J. Marshall, the American champion, at the Mercantile Library, February 24, proved a marked success. The champion met twenty-one players, and wound up with a score of won 15, lost 2, drawn 4. Messrs. Ruth and Buckley were the successful home players who scored against the champion.

Jackson, Klang, Winkelman and Williamson drew. Other opponents: Gerson, Hall, Smith, Herr, Rodgers, Sellers, Ivins, Moon, Slazburg, Arklers, Westwood, Stoner, Schimelwitz and Flaccus. —Philadelphia Inquirer, 11 Mar 1917, p. 6

4) Remembering Walter F. James

Searching for Walter “Walt” F. James on the Internet produces meager results, which is a shame, as he deserves to be better remembered. Few have dedicated their lives to chess as much as he did. The following tribute by 11-time Minnesota state champion George Barnes, and an obituary and remembrance published at the time of his death, give some idea of his numerous contributions to the royal game.

Fifty Years of Chess Fun by George S. Barnes

Part Fifteen:

It take an old timer to remember one of Minnesota’s chess immortals: Walt James. In the early 1930’s this frail little gentlemen joined the Minneapolis Chess and Checker Club. Soaking wet he would never have weighed eighty pounds and he was terribly crippled by arthritis so that crutches were necessary. Even worse, many of his joints were immobile. It came as a terrible shock to me to see his comb tied to a yardstick (the only way he could comb his hair), but even in this short article I have probably devoted more time to Walt’s physical disabilities than he did in his entire lifetime.

Walt had a dynamic personality, always cheerful and constructive and possessing hidden talents . It was a happy day for the Correspondence League of America when Walter F. James became secretary and Tournament Director of that organization, and became editor of the Chess Correspondent. Then it became apparent that Walt was not only a master of prose but poetry also, that he was a consummate artist as well whose works beautifully illustrated this chess publication. He was a fine editor who injected humor, life and poetry into otherwise dry chess material.

Isaac Kashdan, who at the time lived in New York and served the Chess Review in an editorial capacity, immediately noticed Walt’s excellent work in the Chess Correspondent and at one time in Boston expressed interest in hiring Walt for Chess Review. I urged him to do so but it did not materialize. Walt, who was dreadfully poor financially, moved to Cherokee, Iowa, where he continued to produce the Chess Correspondent. I do not know the sequel, if there was one.

This article was one of a series of twenty published in the Minnesota Chess Journal in the late 1960s and early 1970s which covered the chess career of George Samuel Barn. A long run of this journal as well as Barnes’ game scores and papers were donated to the World Chess Hall of Fame by the family of the late Curt Brasket, 16-time Minnesota state chess champion.

The emergence of Chess Review in 1933 gave the United States three national magazines; the others being the American Chess Bulletin and the The Chess Correspondent. One might think the last, started in 1928, would have been of limited interest for those who didn’t play correspondence chess, but they would be mistaken. During its golden period from the 1930s to 1950s the magazine published many articles of wide interest by nationally known authors like Isaac Kashdan, Fred Reinfeld and Imre Konig. Walt James was editor from 1932 until his death in 1945, and the issues published during his tour of duty still make for interesting reading. They can be found in the John G. White Collection at the Cleveland Public Library.

The following obituary, published in the Sioux City Journal on April 9, 1946, gives more information on Walter James’ life and considerable accomplishments.

Walter F. James Dies Here After Long Illness

Walter F. James, 54, 4057 Adams street, a nationally known chess expert, died Monday night in a hospital where he had been a patient since he was stricken with illness in December.

The son of Mr. and Mrs. Williams James, he was born in Sioux City May 5, 1891, and lived here all his life with the exception of a few years in Cherokee, Iowa, and Minneapolis. His father once was a member of the police force here. There are no immediate surviving relatives.

Mr. James for 13 years was national secretary of the Correspondence Chess League of the United States and Canada. He was editor of the league’s magazine, The Chess Correspondent, until failing health caused him to resign that position in December.

During the period that Mr. James was secretary of the organization and editor of its publication the league had its headquarters in Sioux City and in that time increased its membership from 81 to 1,300 members. After his resignation the secretaryship and headquarters were moved to Newark, N. Y.

Mr. James was a talented musician, composer and artist. He was graduated from the Minneapolis School of Art and his work had been widely exhibited. His career in music began when he was a drummer at the old Star theater on Jackson street between Fourth and Fifth streets. In World War I he and Judge Berry J. Sisk toured the country giving music programs in Red Cross campaigns. Both played the piano and the marimbaphone.

Walt James

In the death or Walt James on April 9, the Correspondence Chess League of America has lost one of its most valuable officers. Although James was physically handicapped and never very robust, he managed to carry on an enormous correspondence and displayed a flair tor chess promotion. His infectious enthusiasm for chess gave the game a real Impetus during the doldrums of the depression years. In recent years his activities had to be curtal1ed considerably because of ill health. — Chess Review, May 1946 (p. 6)

4) Here and There

Senior Master Arun Sharma is a man of many talents. Perhaps best known for his role in organizing the US Chess League, he also put on several international norm tournaments a few years ago. He will be hosting another in early 2019, partnering with Bay Area Chess. You can find out more about this event, to be held immediately after the Pan American Intercollegiate, at

The annual Exchange Bank Open will be held August 25 and 26. For more on this event and others held in Santa Rosa go to

One of the great families of American chess is the Karklins clan. Father Erik played tournament chess until he was almost 100, and his son Andrew played in two U.S. Championships. To learn more about them go to

Don’t forget to vote. US Chess is holding elections for two of its Executive Board positions. All four candidates are well-known and respected. Among those running is former U.S. Women’s Champion and Olympiad team member Anjelina Belakovskaia.

There is an excellent article on U.S. Chess Hall-of-Famer Hermann Helms at The late International Master Walter Shipman held Helms in the highest esteem and we can think of no higher tribute. Some of Shipman’s stories about the “Dean” of American chess can be found at

6) This is the end

To find the solution to this study you must solve a series of puzzles.

White to move

Show solution

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