Chess Room Newsletter #835 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #835

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #835
July 13, 2018

Fischer’s play in that game evoked memories of 1972. In fact, the match games were of a fairly high quality particularly when compared with Kasparov’s championship matches of 1993, 1995 and 2000, for example. Yet the games also reminded many fans how out of place Fischer was in 1992. He was still playing openings of the previous generation. He was, moreover, the only strong player in the world who didn’t trust computers and wasn’t surrounded by seconds and supplicants. He was a player from the past.

—Andy Soltis, in Bobby Fischer Rediscovered (p. 278)

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

FIDE Master Ezra Chambers has a full-point lead in the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon with a round to go. The Pacifica teenager has 7 out of 7, including a win over International Master Elliott Winslow, who is tied for second at 6–1 with National Master Russell Wong. Class A-rated Ella Papanek, who is having an excellent tournament, with only a loss to Winslow, is alone in fourth with 5½ points.

From round 7 of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Wong–Walder after 10 Kh1)White to move (Wong–Walder after 20...Ke8)
Black to move (Papanek–Askin after 15 g4)White to move (Mackenzie–Shi after 15...Nc5)
Black to move (Nyangar–McKellar after 18 e5)White to move (Hilliard–Frank after 11...O-O)
White to move (Enkhjargal–Vales after 7...Nbd7)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 7.

Some of the Bay Area’s best players ventured East to play in the 12th Philadelphia International, held June 28–July 2. FIDE Master Josh Stearman led the way, scoring 6 from 9 to not only raise his USCF rating over 2400 for the first time, but also make his first International Master norm. International Master Teddy Coleman scored 5½ points, as did former Mechanics’ member Hans Niemann. Tuesday Night Marathon regular Derek O’Connor finished with 4, but the strength of his opposition was high enough that he actually improved his USCF rating from 2306 to 2309.

Both Stearman (2403 to 2411) and O’Connor (2320 to 2331) performed above their pre-tournament ratings in the World Open, held in Philadelphia over the July 4th weekend.

Grandmaster Sam Shankland of Walnut Creek has not only won three important tournaments in a row, he is now on the cover of New in Chess, American Chess Magazine, and Chess Life. The 26th-rated player in the world recently filmed a video on how he won the 2018 US Championship. Sam’s website is

This program from the 1991 Pan Pacific International put on by the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club features signatures from tournament participants: Lubomir Ftacnik, Joel Benjamin, Patrick Wolff, Eugenio Torre, John Fedorowicz, Mikhail Tal, Susan Polgar, John Grefe and Walter Browne.

2) July FIDE Ratings

Thanks in part to Sam Shankland’s recent surge the United States is now tied with China for the second highest average rating of its top ten players at 2704 (Russia is far ahead at 2744).


 1 Carlsen, Magnus g NOR 2842 8 1990
 2 Caruana, Fabiano g USA 2822 8 1992
 3 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar g AZE 2801 8 1985
 4 Ding, Liren g CHN 2797 3 1992
 5 Kramnik, Vladimir g RUS 2792 0 1975
 6 Giri, Anish g NED 2782 0 1994
 7 So, Wesley g USA 2780 8 1993
 8 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime g FRA 2779 9 1990
 9 Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2777 9 1987
 10 Karjakin, Sergey g RUS 2773 8 1990
 11 Anand, Viswanathan g IND 2768 9 1969
 12 Aronian, Levon g ARM 2767 8 1982
 13 Yu, Yangyi g CHN 2766 14 1994
 14 Grischuk, Alexander g RUS 2766 0 1983
 15 Nepomniachtchi, Ian g RUS 2757 9 1990
 16 Svidler, Peter g RUS 2753 0 1976
 17 Radjabov, Teimour g AZE 2751 0 1987
 18 Jakovenko, Dmitry g RUS 2749 9 1983
 19 Topalov, Veselin g FID 2747 0 1975
 20 Navara, David g CZE 2741 14 1985
 21 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof g POL 2737 7 1998
 22 Harikrishna, P. g IND 2734 1 1986
 23 Vitiugov, Nikita g RUS 2734 0 1987
 24 Wojtaszek, Radoslaw g POL 2733 3 1987
 25 Le, Quang Liem g VIE 2728 0 1991
 26 Shankland, Samuel g USA 2727 11 1991
 27 Wei, Yi g CHN 2724 14 1999
 28 Rapport, Richard g HUN 2719 0 1996
 29 Vidit, Santosh Gujrathi g IND 2718 9 1994
 30 Cheparinov, Ivan g FID 2712 0 1986

MI Member Daniel Naroditsky is tied for number 12 in the United States at 2615 FIDE. Anna Zatonskih is the top-rated American women at 2431, followed by Irina Krush at 2422. TNM regular Natalya Tsodikova is the 21st-rated female player in the United States at 2127, number two in the country for players age 40 and older.

3) A Chess Poem by Dennis Fritzinger

one reason

get my licks in,
take my lumps,
a chess game has
a lot of bumps.
a chess game is
a rocky road,
not a piece of pie
that’s a la mode.
and that’s the nature
of the struggle,
a boxing match
and not a snuggle.
you throw yourself
into the fray,
confident you’ll
win anyway.
the point is, that
you took the risk,
how else to know
that you exist?
anybody’s guess,
and that’s one reason
you play chess.

National Master Dennis Fritzinger at a Mike Goodall 2003 Christmas party. (Photo: Richard Shorman)

4) Best-Selling Chess Books and Authors

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess was first published in 1966 and according to one of the men involved in the production of the book, Stuart Margulies, it has sold over 1 million copies, making it a strong candidate for the best-selling English-language chess book of all time. Another book aimed for the beginner/near-beginner market, An Invitation to Chess by Kenneth Harkness and Irving Chernev, first published in 1945 (before the Fischer work), was the go-to manual for introducing newcomers to the game. It has sold several hundred thousand copies, making it another best-seller. Many books were published on the 1972 Fischer–Spassky match, with Svetozar Gligoric’s paperback the one which sold best. Visit a second-hand bookstore and you are likely to find copies of all three of these titles on the shelves.

Determining the best-selling author is a bit trickier, as Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess had multiple authors. Amazon publishes a list of its best-sellers, but this doesn’t include offline sales. We are not certain which author boasts the biggest sales, but International Master Jeremy Silman, a Mechanics’ member for close to twenty years, has to be a contender, with well over 400,000 books sold in a writing career that spans almost four decades. He and his wife Gwen Feldmen’s publishing company, Silman-James Press, has sold 384,000 chess books with just five instructional works—all devoted primarily to players in the 1400–2000 rating range. A sixth title, Pal Benko: His Life, Games and Compositions, a fantastic book, but on a decidedly less-commercial topic, has not sold as impressively.

Here are the sales figures.

How to Reassess Your Chess 4th edition (published 2010) - 34,000 copies sold
How to Reassess Your Chess 3 (published 1993) - 73,000 copies sold
Amateur’s Mind - 75,000 copies sold
Reassess Workbook - 42,000 copies sold
Silman’s Complete Endgame - 53,000 copies sold
Complete Book of Chess Strategy - 107,000 copies sold

Silman is perhaps best known for How to Reassess Your Chess. Note the totals above do not include the first two additions (1986 and 1991) of this title, which were published by Thinkers’ Press.

Jeremy Silman during the filming of his Great Courses series on chess. (Photo: Jeremy Silman)

5) Frank Marshall 1917 (Part 4) by Eduardo Bauzá Mercére

March 10
Rochester simuls [+15-0=0 & +11-2=4]. Frank J. Marshall Beaten by Clark and Townsend at Chess Club.

Either Frank J. Marshall, American chess champion, is not the player that he used to be, or the local chess enthusiasts are coming up in the world, for the last night when he played simultaneously against seventeen players but lost two games and drew four. Marshall played simultaneously against fifteen yesterday afternoon in the rooms of the Rochester Chess Club in the Reynolds Arcade, winning all of them. There was a full gallery to see him play at night.

Lee Clarke and R. E. Townsend were the players to beat him and Raymond Northrup, George Switzer, J. W. Pease and George Lawler drew with him.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 11 Mar 1917, p. 39

March 24
Brooklyn Institute CC simul [+26-2=1]. Feuer of Boys High wins from Marshall.

Benjamin Howard Feuer, a member of the champion chess team of the Brooklyn Boys High School, which captured the two interscholastic league trophies this year, distinguished himself by being one of two players to defeat Frank J. Marshall, the United States chess champion, in the simultaneous exhibition given by the latter before the members of the Brooklyn Institute Chess Club, Saturday night, when the international master, who only recently established another record in Buffalo, took on twenty-nine opponents, making a score of 26 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw. Feuer was the first to win his game and, as a reward, the U. S. Champion presented him with a copy of Marshall’s "Chess Swindles", a book containing a collection of the former Brooklyn expert’s most notable victories here and abroad, with his own annotation.

J. Perla was the other player to win his game, while Louis W. Jennings of the Ocean Hill Chess Club obtained a draw. All told, Marshall took about three hours and a half to complete his task. The art room was full to capacity with chess enthusiasts. The full list of the champion’s opponents:

Max Sissman, J. Naylor, P. Wolfson, W. Folfman, Henry Wheeler, J. C. Percy, A. N. Joerg, Edward Taylor, J. P. Jansen, J. Perla, Charles O. Wolff, Henry Livene, B. H. Feuer, L. W. Jennings, Paul Schlein, J. H. Park, E. Hausleiter, S. Simon, Charles McMichael, L. W. Babbitt, W. H. Harpet, I. Chernofsky, J. Schneider, F. D. Radcliffe, W. A. Bristol, W. l. Chappel, Robert Cochrane, H. H. Ridge and C. Todenhaupt.

Brooklyn Eagle, 26 Mar 1917, p. 9

April 12
NY simul [+69-7=25]. New Record by Marshall In Huge Chess Drive.

No world records were broken at the New York City Chess Club in Manhattan [at the League of Foreign-Born Citizens, 138 Second Avenue], where Frank J. Marshall last night gave one of his sensational exhibitions of simultaneous play at 101 boards, the largest number of games ever contested at one time within the limits of Greater New York. The high-water mark in that respect had been 65 boards in the Capablanca exhibition in the Eagle Auditorium, February 12, 1915, where the Cuban champion was opposed by 84 opponents. Including consultation parties, there were 125 players in line last night, just 20 short of the total needed to surpass Buffalo’s world record of 144.

Marshall was in fine fettle, starting at 8:45 o’clock, and showed no ill effects when play stopped at 1:20 a. m., at which time all unfinished games were adjudicated by Oscar Chajes, H. M. Phillips and F. P. Beynon. The total score made by the United States champion was 69 wins, 25 drawn games and 7 losses.

The winners against the champion, who included B. H. Feuer of the Boys High School, and A. Kreines of the Eastern District High School, all received valuable book prizes. The other winners were Harry Borochow of City College, who had also won from Kupchik [in a simultan exhibition two days earlier]; C. B. Isaacson of Columbia, John W. Scoville and Irving Kaplan of Morris High School, and Louis Gaber of the N. Y. City Chess Club. Drawn games were credited to Mrs. Harriet A Levasseur and Miss Mayo-Smith of the Women’s Chess Club, H. Holth, N. Stern, H. Polte, S. Scherr, Meyer Isaacs, A. J. Gordin, H. Wagner, Morris Tarkoff, Benjamin Levine, Nathan Pines, J. Bertrand Mulligan, S. A. Clapp, Walter Goldenberg, Ernest Knapp, J. Belloch, Dr. Samuel Deltz, David Perla, J. Perla, Abe Yennlock, S. Seplowin, George Strezynski and Percy Elias. Marshall was introduced to the gathering by Perez Atkes [sic], manager of the N. Y. Chess Club, and addresses were also made by Nathan Phillips, president of the League of Foreign-Born Citizens and H. M. Phillips.

Brooklyn Eagle, 13 Apr 1917, p. 21

French C14
Marshall–Frank James Isaacson Jr.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Bxf6 Bxf6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Bd3 c5 8. exd5 exd5 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. Nxd5 Nc6 11. O-O Qxd5 12. Re1+ Be6 13. Qe2 O-O 14. Rad1 Qh5 15. a3 Bg4 16. Be4 Nd4 17. Qd3 Bxf3 18. gxf3 Rad8 19. b4 Bd6 20. f4 Bxf4 21. c3 Ne6 22. Qf3 Qxf3 23. Bxf3 Rxd1 0-1

Brooklyn Eagle, 26 Apr 1917, p. 13

Göring Gambit C44
Marshall–Irving Kaplan

1.e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. cxd4 Nc6 6. Nf3 Bg4 7. Be2 Nf6 8. Nc3 Bb4 9. Bd2 Bxc3 10. bxc3 O-O 11. O-O Rfe8 12. h3 Bh5 13. Rb1 b6 14. Re1 Qxa2 15. Bb5 Rxe1+ 16. Bxe1 Bxf3 17. gxf3 Qe6 0-1

Brooklyn Eagle, 19 Apr 1917, p. 3

Arthur Dake, Harry Borochow, tournament director Harry MacMahon and Isaac Kashdan at Pasadena 1932. (Photo: unknown)

Center Gambit C21
Marshall–Harry Borochow

1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. e5 d5 6. exf6 dxc4 7. Qxd8+ Kxd8 8. Bg5 g6 9. Nxc3 Bf5 10. OO-O+ Bd3 11. Nf3 Bd6 12. Rhe1 Re8 13. Be3 Nd7 14. Ng5 Nxf6 15. Nxf7+ Kd7 16. Nxd6 cxd6 17. h3 a6 18. a4 Ne4 19. Nxe4 Rxe4 20. Bd2 Rae8 21. Rxe4 Rxe4 22. g3 Re2 23. b3 c3 24. Be3 Rc2+ 25. Kb1 Rb2+ 26. Ka1 c2 27. Rc1 Rb1+ 28. Ka2 b5 29. axb5 axb5 30. h4 b4 0-1

Brooklyn Eagle, 19 Apr 1917, p. 3; Philadelphia Inquirer, 29 Apr 1917, p. 6; Washington Post, 29 Apr 1917, p. 3

Harry Borochow near the end of his life. (Photo: Val Zemitis)

Center Gambit C21
Marshall–A. Kreines

1.e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. e5 d5 6. exf6 dxc4 7. Qxd8+ Kxd8 8. Bg5 g6 9. Nxc3 Bf5 10. OO-O+ Bd3 11. Nf3 Bd6 12. Rhe1 Re8 13. Be3 Nd7 14. Ng5 Nxf6 15. Nxf7+ Kd7 16. h3

Marshall deviates from the previous game, where he tried 16. Nxd6.

16...Re7 17. Nxd6 cxd6 18. Bg5 Rxe1 19. Rxe1 Re8 20. Rxe8 Nxe8 21. Kd2 Bf1 22. g4 Bxh3 23. f3 Bf1 24. Nd5 Ke6 25. Nf4+ Ke5 26. Ke1 Bd3 adjudicated 0-1

Brooklyn Eagle, 19 Apr 1917, p. 3; Philadelphia Inquirer, 29 Apr 1917, p. 6

6) Kenneth Roger Douglas Clayton 1938–2017

On December 26, 2017, Kenneth Roger Douglas Clayton passed away peacefully at the age of 79. He leaves behind a host of accomplishments, including winning the 1963 US Amateur Chess Championship and in 1967, earning the title of National Master, one of the first African-American players to earn that honor.

7) Here and There

We wrote about the death of chess-playing Staff Sgt Bryan Black, whose peak USCF rating was 1989, in Newsletter #811. He was recently honored with an unusual memorial in his hometown of Puyallup, Washington, which installed chess tables in his memory in Pioneer Park. Erik Anderson of America’s Foundation for Chess was instrumental in making this happen. Read more about it here and here.

The two strongest chess-playing women of all time, Judit Polgar and Hou Yifan, talk about the difficulties of being a woman grandmaster in a male-dominated game in an interview with the BBC.

East Bay Coffee and the West Coast Chess Alliance are collaborating to present Wednesday Night Speed Chess Tournament at East Bay Coffee, 2529 San Pablo Avenue, Pinole. Everyone is invited to join an exciting evening of chess. The tournament is free. Chess sets and clocks are provided.

Dates: Wednesday - July 18th & August 15th
Time: Registration - 6:00 to 7:00 pm
First round start time: - 7:00 pm

For more information contact: TC Ball aka the Black Knight (510) 439-6311

8) This is the end

This position is a variation from a grandmaster game.

Black to move

Show solution

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