Chess Room Newsletter #834 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #834

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #834
July 6, 2018

In his day, Robert Fischer reached a new level of tactical precision which, I think, Kasparov wrote about in one of his books. Fischer didn’t make the same mistakes that his contemporaries, such as Boris Spassky, considered acceptable inaccuracies. And he didn’t forgive them, although he also had poor games.

Carlsen, it seems to me, has gone to the next level of tactical precision. When people say Carlsen plays on to bare kings, that he maintains the tension, that even in equal positions he seeks out the slightest chance—that really is the case. But you have to grasp what it is that allows that to happen. And why others can’t manage it.

Any other chess player in the top twenty who tries to “squeeze water out of a stone” in an equal position would miscalculate at some point, then again overlook something at another and realize that, to be on the safe side, it’s better to make a draw ... Carlsen, meanwhile, does the same thing but manages not to make any mistakes.

—Dmitry Jakovenko

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

FIDE Master Ezra Chambers has a full point lead over the field in the 127-player Summer Tuesday Night Marathon with two rounds remaining. The teenager from Pacifica has 6 from 6 with International Master Elliott Winslow, National Master Russell Wong, Womens International Master Natalya Tsodikova, Expert Michael Walder and Class A player Guy Argo all on five points.

From round 6 of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Winslow–Papanek after 16...Qd4)White to move (Winslow–Papanek after 25...h5)
White to move (Maser–Lesquillier after 36...Qb5)White to move (Wonsever–Mackenzie after 49...Be7)
White to move (Pane–Davila after 17...Rb8)Black to move (Drane–Gray after 12 Nf5)
Black to move (Shi–Porlares after 30 Nc7)Black to move (Gomboluudev–McKellar after 17 Qe2)
Black to move (Robeal–Poling after 26 Qb1)White to move (Huberts–Chen after 16...f5)
White to move (Rakonitz–James after 23...Raa8)White to move (Matz–Sayers after 9...h6)
White to move (Touset–De La Garza after 10...Nd7)White to move (Allen–Greene after 14...Nxe7)
White to move (Revi–Kondakova after 25...Bf6)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 6.

The Tuesday Marathon is FIDE- as well as USCF-rated. Here are the top-rated players in the Summer TNM.

IM Elliott Winslow 2190
FM Ezra Chambers 2153
Alexander Ivanov 2152
WFM Natalya Tsodikova 2127
Dana Mackenzie 2062
Alan Kobernat 2061
Steffen Thieme 2049
Russell Wong 2002

We wrote about top women players who had visited the Mechanics’ Institute in Newsletter #829 and mentioned Susan Polgar, who played in the 1991 Pan Pacific International, may have given a simul at the Mechanics’ during her first visit to San Francisco in 1986. We have been unable to confirm this one way or another but were able to find the following photograph from her first time at the MICC that year.

Susan (then Zsuzsa) Polgar with Jan Fischer (center) and Myron Johnston in the background.

Polgar was in town to play in a round robin tournament held at Miz Brown’s restaurant in the Mission District. Nick de Firmian won the event and Elliott Winslow made his final IM norm in the event, which was organized by future International Master Guillermo Rey.

International Master Jay Whitehead and Polgar in deep thought. (Photo: Val Zemitis)

International Master Erik Kislik’s first book, Applying Logic in Chess (Gambit 2018, 319 pages), is out. The 30-year-old Kislik, who was born in Hillsborough, California, grew up in the Bay Area and played regularly in the region until moving to Budapest in 2007 as a 20-year-old 2100 rated Expert.

The Summer Tuesday TNM still has a few rounds to go, but the Walter Shipman Tuesday Night Marathon (August 7 to October 2) is not far away. International Master Shipman is remembered as a strong player with a deep knowledge of American chess history who contributed deeply to the royal game in an over 60-year career.

Shipman wrote several thought-provoking letters over the years, including the following one published in the February 1979 (p. 73) of Chess Life and Review.

Anthony Saidy’s interview with Maya Chiburdanidze had appeared in a previous issue of Chess Life and Review and the new Women’s World Champion had indicated her interests in music, history and languages, and mentioned she planned to enter medical school. Dr. Saidy replied: “Wonderful! You won’t be another one-sided chess champion”.

Shipman responded:

This comment is interesting, because it reflects the view, widely held by both chess players and non-chess players, that becoming a chess champion is not a sufficient achievement for a mature adult.

I have often been asked, concerning chess champions, “but what else can he do?” Like those questions and like Dr. Saidy, I respect people of multiple interests and accomplishments. What I find objectionable is the selective demand for versatility in chess champions, as distinct from other achievers.

No one inquires whether Jack Nicklaus or Muhammad Ali or Salvador Dali or Jascha Heifetz can do anything else, nor does anybody accuse these supreme competitors and artists of being “one-sided”. Unless we chess players accord the same respect to our own champions and to our own game, we can hardly expect any greater esteem for chess among the general public.

Rochelle Wu, born in 2006, is a regular in the Mechanics’ monthly G/40 tournaments along with her brother and fellow National Master Sijing. Late last year she first went over 2200, but since then she had hit a plateau for much of 2018 before having several excellent results the past month to bring her rating over 2250. They include a 3½–3½ score in the 2018 National Open, where she defeated an International Master and a 2388 and drew a Grandmaster.

The 18th Charles Bagby Memorial G/40 will be held Saturday, July 21. More information.

National Master Charles Bagby (1903–1975) won the Northern California Championship in 1949 and 1950, and the California Championship in 1958. A long-serving Mechanics’ Trustee, he is pictured here near the end of his life. (Photo: Mechanics’ Chess Club Archives)

2) Visitors to the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club (1913-2014)

The highly-respected website Chess Notes recently ran a piece (#10868) in which Gerard Killoran (Ilkley, England) wrote about the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Mechanics’ Institute register from 1913-2014 which can be found online. The first person to sign the book was U.S. Champion Frank Marshall, who was visiting the Mechanics’ as part of a transcontinental exhibition tour.

3) Frank Marshall (Part Three) by Eduardo Bauza Mercere

March 8 Buffalo simul, new record of 144 games [+127-1=16]
Chess Champion Master Effort Marshall Plays Simultaneously Against 144 Persons and is Beaten by Only One. Has Sixteen Draws.
Buffalo Gains International Renown in Chess World By Breaking Record Hitherto Held By Philadelphia

Yesterday was a red-letter day for the Consistory Chess Club. Through its indefatigable efforts it gave Buffalo an international reputation by producing 144 players to oppose Frank J. Marshall, the chess champion of the United States, in his great simultaneous drive at the Consistory auditorium in the afternoon and evening. The record heretofore was held by Philadelphia, where Marshall contended against 129 adversaries.

But the glory was not all Buffalo’s by any means. Mr. Marshall had never before met so many players in a single séance. He lost but one game. The successful man was E. H. Bull, a well-known resident of Wilson. Sixteen players escaped with a draw. In many cases the chess master might have won had the game run its natural course, but on the other hand some he unquestionably would have lost. In every instance the player who got a draw felt well satisfied with his efforts. One remarkable drawn game was that played by Robert C. White of No. 59 Zittel street, a lad of 12 years, who played against the champion with the sang froid of a veteran. He succeeded in forcing Marshall to give up his queen in order to escape a mate, and had the boy insisted upon playing the game out, the champion frankly admitted he would have lost it. One of the Buffalo men, Sigmund Stopinski, played two games and got a draw in both.

At the close of the drive Mr. Marshall complimented the Consistory highly upon its activity in popularizing chess in this city and declared that the competition put up by the Buffalo players was very keen. The club feels that the credit for the success of the exhibition is due largely to Mr. George K. Staples, commander-in-chief of the Consistory, whose kindly interest in the affairs of the chess club made it possible for the latter to utilize the commodious auditorium for the purpose. It is also felt generally that without the unflagging efforts of Dr. R. S. J. De Niord, the energetic and efficient secretary of the chess club, the meeting never could have been the success that it was.

The following were the players who drew with the champion: Robert C. White, Sigmund Stopinski (2), H. E. Cleland, O. K. Horner of Indianapolis, Albert Barber, Arthur Briggs and H. F. Garwood of the Niagara Falls Chess Club, Sidney Beard, T. Norton Willcox, F. J. Arthurs, Paul D. Crow, Victor J. Guenther, A. P. C. Rodenbach, Robert J. Eger and Ralph L. White.

Buffalo Commercial, 9 Mar 1917, p. 8

The Brooklyn Eagle added that Marshall met 144 local players, including five children and one woman. It also erroneously gave Marshall’s performance as +131-1=12 (9 Mar 1917, p. 20; see: also ACB, 4/1917, pp. 73-75)

Marshall’s simultaneous exhibition in Buffalo in which he played 144 games will hardly stand as a record performance as the play was divided into two sessions with an intermission for rest and supper.

Washington Evening Star, 25 Mar 1917, part. 5, p. 2

4) 2018 FIDE Elections

Grandmaster Alex Baburin’s online publication Chess Today has provided close to 20 years of informed daily chess coverage, with titled players making up a significant percentage of its readership. Baburin in CT #6443 recently weighed in on the 2018 FIDE elections, in which FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov faces his biggest challenge since taking office in 1995.

Baburin writes:

FIDE presidential elections will take place in early October 2018 in Batumi. At present there are four candidates—FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, FIDE Deputy President IM Georgios Makropoulos, GM Nigel Short and Arkadiy Dvorkovich.

Two days ago, the Russian Chess Federation held a ballot concerning its position in the forthcoming FIDE elections. Dvorkovich received 22 votes and Ilyumzhinov got only 2.

3rd of July 2018 is the deadline for presidential tickets. There are rumors that Ilyumzhinov may decide not to run after all, aiming instead to get an honorary position in FIDE. However, if he will be running, the fact that there are so many candidates should favor Ilyumzhinov.

Dvorkovich is well-known in Russia, as he was Deputy Prime Minister for six years (until the 7th of May 2018). He is also a well-known figure in chess, as between 2007 and 2014 he held key posts in the Russian Chess Federation, and was involved in organizing the 2012 Anand vs. Gelfand World Chess Championship match. However, Dvorkovich joined the FIDE presidential race rather late and the fact that he may be targeted in future U.S. sanctions, could be used against him by other candidates.

In fact, IM Malcolm Pein, who himself has presidential ambitions and who is running on the Makropoulos’ ticket, has already used that argument in a recent lengthy interview he gave to Macauley Peterson: “My concern would be that if there was Russian domination of FIDE, we might end up cooperating with more sanctioned figures.” Pein had the following to say about Nigel Short: “Unfortunately, for the reasons I’ve made very clear, I don’t see Nigel as a great leadership candidate. He’s deficient in many respects. It’s just that he and I agree on an awful lot so it’s a shame that we can’t work together, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen.”

We note former Mechanics’ member and five-time U.S. Women’s Team member Ruth Haring of Chico, California, has been mentioned as part of Short’s team.

Ruth Haring at Lone Pine circa 1976 (Photo: Alan Benson)

Subsequent to Baburin’s article the following announcement was made at on June 29.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov today announced that he is withdrawing his candidacy for the upcoming FIDE presidential elections on October 3 in Batumi. Instead, he is supporting Russia’s new candidate, Arkady Dvorkovich.

“I decided not to nominate myself in October this year at the next FIDE Congress as the president of this organization,” Ilyumzhinov told the Russian news agency Interfax on Friday. ”I support the candidacy of Arkady Dvorkovich for the post of FIDE president,” Ilyumzhinov stressed.

5) Peter Svidler

Grandmaster Peter Svidler, an eight-time Russian champion, has been one of the best players in the world for two decades. He also enjoys a reputation as one of the best and most interesting chess commentators around. In 2016, shortly after turning 40, he gave an interview to Roman Reifeld covering a wide range of topics.

Genuine and serious broadcasting of chess tournaments on TV is only being done in one country in the world—Norway. The main channel there has live broadcasts of all the tournaments in which their compatriot and world champion Magnus Carlsen is playing. He’s the no. 1 in the country in terms of popularity. What the Norwegians are doing is truly revolutionary, since even in Soviet times it was just a 10-minute clip on the program Time, but they’re showing whole rounds. Half the country watches those broadcasts, which is simply unprecedented. Sometimes they show seven hours of chess live—there’s nothing like it anywhere else. The results of such popularization will, I think, be seen by about 2025, but we’ll definitely see results.

The most important event in history for the growth of chess was the match in Reykjavik between Fischer and Spassky. I know a lot of people who told me that if it wasn’t for that match they would never in their life have started to play the game. Those are people who’ve reached the top. They got into chess because of one event—the battle of a lone American against the Soviet machine.

I’m not planning to get involved in any way in the political life of my city or country, though I do hold positions on various questions. I’m not in favor of making declarations, though, because I only feel comfortable speaking about those matters where I understand something. There aren’t many such areas in life. I have an opinion but, realizing its significance, I keep it to myself.

I was and remain a Dylanist. My musical tastes haven’t changed for many years: I listen to classic rock and blues of the late 60s and early 70s, interspersed with some modern stuff. There’s too much music to get a real grasp of it all without spending a great deal of time. I’m also not so sure that looking for something I’d prefer to Dylan and Waits would be crowned with success.

I don’t teach anyone. I commentate on chess games on the internet. It’s not that it’s impossible to play at a high level after forty, but… for me personally it’s time to think about what to do when I’ll no longer be able to play like this.

It’s clear that it’s possible to organise your life differently: not to start a family, to fully devote yourself to work or, on the contrary, the family. But I’ve never had the desire to blow something up in life, to make a splash, for some revolution that changes everything. Such a tendency isn’t in my character. For such a thought to arise you have to be deeply unhappy with something, and I see nothing of the sort in my life.

6) Here and There

Senior Master (2513) Alexander Katz won the Berkeley Chess Club weekender held June 8–10 with a score of 4½ from 5. National Master Ladia Jirasek was upset in round two, but won his last three games to take second at 4–1 in the 50-player, four-section event, organized by Elizabeth Shaughnessy and directed by Bryon Doyle.

Those who want to authenticate an autograph or are merely curious as to how players of the past signed their names will find this web site quite helpful.

Author and coach Dan Heisman remembers his college coach, U.S. Chess Hall-of-Famer Donald Byrne here.

Three U.S. Chess Hall-of-Famers in action: Robert Byrne analyzes his game with Larry Evans while his brother Donald (cigarette in hand) watches (Photo: Beth Cassidy)

American chess historian Nick Pope, author of an excellent book on Henry Nelson Pillbury has done excellent work once again with his in-depth look at the 1894 Steinitz-Lasker World Championship match, the first such contest in which an American citizen participated (this was not the case when Steinitz played Johannes Zukertort). Read Pope’s work here.

7) This is the end

This is a study. The action centers around the pawn.

White to move

Show solution

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