Chess Room Newsletter #913 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #913

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #913


Apr 10, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Mechanics' Institute To Play St. Louis Chess Club Wednesday April 15th! 

We are excited to announce we have scheduled a club match on Wednesday April 15th with the St. Louis Chess Club. This first match will be 18 players per side, with three players in each of the following categories; u/2400, u/2200, u/2000, u/1800, u/1600, u/1400. Each player will play the same opponent twice, once as white, once as black, with a time control of G/20 +2. We hope this will be the first of many online collaborations with St. Louis, and we would like to thank the St. Louis Chess Club Executive Director Tony Rich and Assistant Manager Mike Kummer for helping organize the tournament. The match will start at 5:30PM, and we will stream the match on our Twitch channel We look forward to a fun and competitive tournament!


Mechanics' Institute Loses Close Match To Charlotte Chess Center

The Mechanics' narrowly lost a thrilling club match against the Charlotte Chess Center that came down to the last few games, 45-41. The match had 44 players a side and a time control of G/15 +2. This "Let's Do It Again" match was rematch of a previous 50-player-per-side match in which Mechanics' dominated the middle boards to cruise to victory. In this match, there was parity across all boards, and Charlotte pulled our victories in key games to pull them to victory. FM Paul Whitehead, FM Jim Eade, Judit Sztaray, and Abel Talamantez provided commentary for this match, which was streamed on the MI Chess Twitch channel. We want to thank Grant Oen and Peter Giannatos from the Charlotte Chess Center for helping organize this event. 

We had some exciting matches, including this fine win by FM Josiah Stearman from Mechanics' against FM Peter Giannatos. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

FM Josiah Stearman (josiwales) (2287) - FM Pete Giannatos (Giannatos) (2001) [B03]
Live Chess, 08.04.2020

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 Many masters recapture with [5...exd6 which is a bit boring yet solid like Petov's Defense.] 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.b3 This is a very solid system which limits Black's counterplay. White has the more pleasant side to play. 9...Bf5 10.g3!? [10.Nf3 is safer. White is playing originally but that gives opportunity to the second player.] 10...Nc6 11.Nge2?! d5?! [11...Nb4! 12.Nf4 e5 is simply good for Black. White would have to suffer.] 12.c5 Nc8?! [12...Nd7!] 13.Bg2 e6 14.Qd2 N8e7 15.a3 e5 16.0-0 Bg4 17.f3 Be6 18.dxe5 Nf5 [18...Bxe5 would be about equal] 19.Bf2 d4! 20.Nb5 Bxe5 21.f4 Bg7 22.g4 Nh4 23.f5?! [23.Be4 Bxg4 24.Nd6 is a good alternative] 23...Bxb3 24.Be4 Re8 25.Qd3 Diagram


25...Ba4?! [25...gxf5 26.gxf5 Qg5+ 27.Kh1 Rxe4 28.Qxe4 Qxf5! 29.Qxf5 (29.Qxh4 Bd5+ 30.Kg1 Qf3) 29...Nxf5 would leave Black with a great endgame, having two pawns and excellent light-squared control. The white king could come under pressure even without the queens on.] 26.Nd6 Ne5? 26...Qg5 to control the king side squares was needed. The game move loses control of that area. 27.Qh3! d3 [27...g5 28.Nxd4 is less damage, though White would have a firm grip and easy game to play.] 28.Bxh4 g5 29.f6 [29.Nc3 d2 30.Rb1 d1Q 31.Nxd1 gxh4 32.f6 Bxf6 33.g5 is also very good] 29...dxe2?! Diagram


[29...gxh4 30.Qxh4 Ng6 31.Bxg6 hxg6 32.g5! would be a winning attack, though still complicated. Now it's over] 30.Bxh7+! Kf8 [30...Kxh7 31.Bxg5+ Kg8 32.fxg7] 31.Bxg5 exf1Q+ 32.Rxf1 Qa5 33.fxg7+ Kxg7 34.Qh6+ Kh8 35.Bf6# Great attack by Josiah! 1-0

FM Eric Li also delivered for Mechanics' Institute, winning both games against FM Benjamin Moon. Here is one of his victories.

(1) FM Benjamin Moon (JustKid) (2096) - FM Eric Li (wepkins) (2395) [A45]
Live Chess, 08.04.2020

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 d5 3.e3 c5 4.dxc5 Usually White keeps the position more closed in this London System instead of the pawn capture here. 4...Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.c3 e6 7.b4 a5 8.Qb3 Ne4 Black has compensation for the pawn, though 8...Nh5 would be simpler. 9.f3 g5! 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Be5 f6 12.Bd4 e5 Diagram


We have reached a complicated, unusual positon from this opening. This is where you have to make the right choices. 13.Bxe5? [13.fxe4 exd4 14.cxd4 dxe4 15.b5! cxb5 16.Nc3 would give White active play and good control in the center.] 13...Nxc5! 14.bxc5 fxe5 15.Qa3 Qe7 Black will get his pawn back with the bishop pair and a strong center. He has a big advantage. 16.Ne2 Qxc5 17.Qc1 Staying in the middle game is a practical choice. Objectively there were more chances for White in the endgame. 17...Bg7 18.0-0 0-0 19.Kh1 g4! Trading off the one misplaced black pawn and loosening the white kingside. 20.Ng3 gxf3 21.gxf3 Kh8 22.e4 Bh3 23.Rg1 Qf2 There is no hope here. 24.Qd1 Qxf3+ 25.Qxf3 Rxf3 26.Nd2 Rxc3 27.Rac1 Rxc1 28.Rxc1 Bh6 29.Rc2 Rb8 30.Kg1?! Be3+ 31.Kh1 Bxd2 0-1

We wish to thank all our players who came out to represent Mechanics'. It is a pleasure for us to see our club regulars and new members coming together for an exciting evening of chess, in friendly competition with other clubs around the country. 

For full results from this match, please follow this link:

For the replay of the live stream, please follow this link:

Mechanics' Institute Dominates Pittsburgh Chess Club As Top Board Steals The Show

Team Mechanics' Institute turned in a dominant performance against our newest partner, the Pittsburgh Chess Club, 22-4 in a match that featured 13 players a side with a time control of G/15 +10. This was Pittsburgh's first collaboration in online club matches, which featured some strong players on the first few boards, with some lower-rated players making up the rest of the field. Mechanics' had several players looking to play, so the top 13 players who registered represented our club, which meant we had a big advantage in rating in the middle and bottom boards. The goal of this match was the engagement and friendly competition, and we definitley had that in the match as the chat was lively, and represented the spirit in which this match was organized. 

The marquee matchup in this match was the top board, as GM James Tarjan represented Mechanics' against GM Alexander Shabalov for Pittsburgh. The matchup lived up to its billing, delivering this fine game in the first round, where Tarjan can out on top. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(4) GM James Tarjan (Tirantes) - GM Alexander Shabalov (superblysse)
Live Chess

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.g3 Bb4 4.e4!? 0-0 [4...Bxc3 5.bxc3 Nxe4 6.Qe2 gets the pawn back] 5.Nge2 c6 6.Bg2 d5!? Diagram


This is a risky pawn sacrifice to open the game. 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.exd5 Bf5 9.d4 e4 10.0-0 Na6 11.Qb3 Re8 12.Bf4 Qd7 13.Bg5 Be7 14.a3?! [14.Nf4 Nxd5 15.Nfxd5 Bxg5 16.Rae1 would maintain the pawn advantage. ] 14...h6 [14...Nxd5!] 15.Bf4 Bh3 16.f3 exf3 17.Rxf3 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Bd6?! It would be better to develop and take the d-pawn with [18...Rad8 19.Raf1 Nxd5] 19.Bxh6! Ng4 [19...Nc7! pressures the d-pawn] 20.Bd2 b5!? 21.h3 Nf6 22.Raf1 [22.Bg5! eases pressure on the d-pawn] 22...b4 23.axb4 Nxb4 24.Nf4 Rab8 25.Qd1 Bc7 26.Kh2 Nbxd5? finally taking the weak d-pawn, but at the wrong moment when f7 is loose. 27.Nfxd5 Nxd5 28.Rxf7! Nxc3 29.Bxc3 Qd6 [There is no hope in trading the queen for the rooks, e.g. 29...Qxf7 30.Rxf7 Kxf7 31.Qf3+ Kg8 32.Qd5+ Kh8 33.Qf7 Bb6 34.d5 Re2+ 35.Kh1] 30.Qg4 Re2+ may as well get a couple checks 31.Qxe2 Qxg3+ 32.Kh1 Qxh3+ 33.Kg1 Qg3+ 34.Qg2 Qe3+ 35.R1f2 Bg3 36.d5 Qc1+ 37.Qf1 1-0

Here is a fine positional win from the match, by our board 2 FM Balaji Daguppati against FM Gabriel Petesch, 

(3) FM Gabriel Petesch (nfds) - FM Balaji Daguppati (chess2thesun)
Live Chess

1.Nf3 d5 2.Nc3 This two knights attack is unusual but has the disadvantage that the center doesn't get the immediate influence of the white pawns. 2...Nf6 3.b3 g6 4.Bb2 Bg7 5.g3 0-0 6.Bg2 c5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Na4 b6 9.c4 Better late than never! The white c-pawn joins the battle. 9...Bb7 10.d4 dxc4 11.dxc5 b5 12.Nc3?! White needed to go tactical to solve the problems. With [12.Nd4! Nxd4 13.Bxb7 Ne6 14.Nc3 b4 15.Na4 c3 16.Bc1 he would at least keep it complicated.] 12...b4 13.Na4 c3 14.Bc1 Ne4 [14...Qxd1 15.Rxd1 Rad8 16.Be3 Ng4 is a big edge in the endgame.] 15.Qc2 f5 16.Be3 Qc7 17.Rad1 Rad8 18.Rc1 e5 Black has control of the board with pieces on their best developed squares and pawns advancing. Note the powerful pawns on b4 and c3 keep the white knight on a4 stranded. 19.Rfe1 f4! 20.Qxe4?! Diving into the complications. The position was bad anyway. 20...Nd4 21.Qxb7 Nxe2+ 22.Rxe2 Qxb7 Diagram


White has in fact three pieces for a queen, but the black pawns cause too many problems. 23.c6 [23.gxf4 exf4 24.Bd4 Qb5 25.Re4 Bxd4 26.Nxd4 Qd3 27.Ne6 f3 is one line that illustrates White's problems. There are just too many loose pieces and lack of coordination for White.] 23...Qb5 24.c7 Qxe2! 25.cxd8Q Rxd8 26.gxf4 Rd1+ 27.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 28.Bf1 Qxf3 29.fxe5 Bxe5 Queen against two pieces and the powerful c3 pawn make it easy. 30.Nc5 c2 31.Nd3 Bd4 32.Bxd4 Qg4+ 33.Kh1 Qxd4 34.Kg2 Qxd3 35.Bxd3 c1Q 0-1

We want to thank Pittsburgh club director Mark Jeromin for helping organize this match, and we look forward to future matches. 

Mechanics' Institute Tuesday Night Online

The Tuesday Night Online showcased youth dominance, as FM Eric Li finished first with a perfect 5-0 score, winning the evenings gold medal. NM Ruiyang Yan finished in 2nd place on tiebreakers with 4/5 for the silver, followed by bobbejaan also with 4/5 for the bronze. The event had 67 players with a time control of G/10 +2, played over 5 rounds. 

FM Eric Li closed the show with this final round win over bobbejaan. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(6) FM Eric Li (wepkins) (2367) - bobbejaan (1997) [E61]
Live Chess, 07.04.2020

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Nbd7 8.Be3 Nc5 9.Nd2 [9.Bxc5?! dxc5 10.Nxe5?! Qe7 11.f4 Nh5 would not hold together.] 9...c6 10.g4 cxd5 11.cxd5 h5?! It seems a bit early to hit with the h-pawn. If White castles it would be good. Here however the black king seems to get the worst of the king side opening. 12.Be2 hxg4 13.hxg4 Diagram


An interesting King's Indian position. White has grabbed space on the king side as well as the center. That's a nice plus, but where will the white king go? Perhaps it stays in the center. Black now would do best to try a "normal" King's Indian move such as 13...a5 or 13...Bd7. 13...Qd7?! 14.g5 Ne8 15.Rg1 a6?? 16.b4 oops. No where for the knight to go. 16...Nxe4 17.Ndxe4 f5?! Often one feels the need to do something active and aggressive after making a blunder. The problem is that such moves usually make things worse, and here is no exception. 18.gxf6 Bxf6 19.Rxg6+ 1-0

Here is another fine game from the tournament from two strong Bay Area players Kristian Clemens and Rohan Rajaram, with Rajaram coming out on top.

(5) kclemens (1833) - ninjatrick (1768) [D02]
Live Chess, 07.04.2020

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Be7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 dxc4 8.Bxc4 c5 More usual is 8...b5. The problem with playing this way is that the c-pawn took two squares to come to c5, so White has an opening edge. 9.Qe2 b6 10.Rd1 Qc7 11.d5 [11.e4 cxd4 12.Nb5 Qb7 13.e5 Nd5 14.Nfxd4 would be very nice] 11...exd5 12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.Bxd5 Nc6 14.Bd2 Bg4 15.h3 Bh5 16.Bc3 Rad8 17.Qc2?! [17.e4] 17...Bd6 [17...Nd4! 18.Bxd4 Rxd5] 18.a3 Ne7 19.Be4 f5 20.Bd3 Bxf3 21.gxf3 c4 22.Bf1 Ng6 23.Bb4?! [23.Qa4! hitting the c-pawn would put White on top.] 23...b5 24.Bxd6 Rxd6 25.Rxd6 Qxd6 26.Rd1 Qc6 27.a4! a6 28.axb5 axb5 Diagram


29.Bg2?! This passive defense turns the game in Black's favor. With [29.Qd2! Qxf3 30.Qd5+ White has at least equality in the endgame despite temorarily being a pawn down.] 29...Nh4 30.Qe2?! [30.Qd2!] 30...Qg6 Now Black wins a pawn cleanly. 31.Qf1 Nxf3+ 32.Kh1 Ne5 33.b3 f4 34.exf4 Rxf4?! [34...Nd3!] 35.bxc4 Nxc4? [35...bxc4 keeps the knight central and defending] 36.Rd8+ Kf7 37.Qe2?! [37.Qe1! Kf6 38.Rf8+ Kg5 39.Qc1! is the subtle but winning difference that the queen can get to the c1-h6 diagonal] 37...Kf6 38.Rf8+ Kg5 39.Qe7+ Rf6 Now Black is safe and the game should be a draw. 40.Qc5+ Kh6 41.Rxf6 Qxf6 42.Qxb5 Ne5 43.Qe2 Ng6 44.Qe3+ Nf4 In a normal game this endgame would just be agreed drawn, but in blitz chess the games are decided by the clock. 45.Kh2 Qg5 46.Qg3 Qf5 47.Qh4+ Nh5 48.Kg1 Qb1+ 49.Kh2 Qb2 50.Bf3 Qe5+ 51.Kg2 Qg5+ 52.Qxg5+ Kxg5 53.Be4 Nf6 54.Bc2 g6 55.Kg3 Nh5+ 56.Kg2? [56.Kh2] 56...Kh4 57.Bb3 Nf4+ 58.Kh2 Nxh3 59.Kg2 g5 It is still objectively drawn even after White losing a pawn, but in practical blitz play the position is very difficult. 60.Bc2 h5 61.Bf5 g4 62.Bc8 Nf4+ 63.Kh2 Nd3 64.Kg2 Kg5 65.Ba6 Ne1+ 66.Kf1 Nf3 67.Kg2 h4 68.Bb7 Kf4 69.Bc6 h3+ 70.Kh1 Ng5 71.Kh2 Ne4 72.Kg1 Nd2 73.Kh2 Kg5 74.Kg3?? Nf1# 0-1

For full results, please follow this link:

To watch the stream for this tournament, please follow this link:

Mechanics’ Online Event Recap

The Saturday matinee's top top spots in a tie for first with 3/3 went to dragonfish9127, vedoba, and twangbio. 37 players played in this tournament with a time control of G/30. Full results can be found here:

The Sunday Night Late Showdown attracted 54 players for late evening blitz action, with Greg Lope dominating the night with the only perfect 5/5 score. IM Elliott Winslow finished 2nd on tiebreaks with 4/5, followed by Felix German also with 4/5. Full results for this event van be found here:

The big Friday Night Blitz event featured some great action, with NM Ruiyang Yan capturing her first gold medal in clear first with 8.5/10! in 2nd place with the silver was our very own FM Paul Whitehead with 8/10, followed by Shaashwath Sivakumar with the bronze, also with 8/10. It is worth checking out some of the matchups and games from this event, and all can be found roght here:

Thank you everyone for participating in our online events!

Going Online: Mechanics' Mention in US Chess Article!

Check out this article from US Chess on clubs and coaches going online, with a shout out to the Mechancis' Institute and our very own Dr. Judit Sztaray!

You Can Be the Hero Part 2 by WIM Dr. Alexey Root

Hey everyone, check out this article by Alexey Root on how to enjoy chess from home. She is front and center in writing about online resources for chess and maintaining fair play and integrity in online play. Thanks Alexey for your support of chess and Mechanics'!



Mechanics' Institute - Online Offerings For Our Scholastic community

We had record number of kids playing in our online scholastic tournaments past week!
Hope to see new players next week as well!

   We are excited to see new IDs and new kids playing in each tournment. There are some interesting and very exciting games, and we encourage everyone to keep up the great participation.
Upcoming schedule (to join, click on the link under Join from 3:45PM) 
4/14 Tuesday 4PM: Mechanics' Tuesday Kids -  Join from 3:45PM 
4/16 Thursday 4PM: Mechanics' Thursday Kids -   Join from 3:45PM
4/18 Saturday 4PM: Mechanics' Saturday Kids - Join from 3:45PM
4/19 Sunday 4PM: Mechanics' Sunday Kids - Join from 3:45PM 
Time control: two different formats we use for our scholastic tournaments:
        Game in 5 minutes (5 min for each players) with 5 sec added with each move.
        Game in 10 min (10 min for each players) with 2 sec added with each move.

Join (sign up) for the tournament: at 3:45PM - 15 minutes before the start time. First round starts 4PM sharp.

Look at upcoming tournaments: 

Joining is easy! Group: 

If you are new - 

If you already have an account - Registration Key: QCJJNH

  • Find the 6-digit Registration Key on the "Info" tab page of your Group. Give this code to the youth player.

  • Have the youth player log in to his/her own account & click the grey settings icon. **They'll need to log in from a browser for access to this page.**

  • Enter the player's first & last name, and parent/guardian email.

  • Click "Do you have a Group Registration Key"

  • Enter the 6 digit Registration Key & click Save. The youth participant will be added to your Group.

  • Note: If you do not see a place where you can add Registration Key, that means you need to add Mechanics' as a Secondary Guardian. Email us for further instructions.

The kids play some very interesting games online, and we thought we should showcase a few of our up and comers.
Here are a few games from our scholastic tournaments, with annotations by our Grandmaster-in Residence, 3-time U.S. Champion GM Nick de Firmian.

(1) andrewschley (1682) - andrewaballantyne (1263) [C62]
Live Chess, 07.04.2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.0-0 Bd7 5.d4 a6 6.Ba4 exd4 7.Nxd4 Nf6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Bg5 d5? Too soon to open up the center! Black must develop first with 9...Be7. 10.exd5 cxd5 11.Re1+ Be7 12.Bxd7+ Qxd7 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Qe2 0-0! 15.Nd2 not falling for [15.Qxe7?? Rfe8 16.Qxd7 Rxe1#] 15...Rfe8 16.Qh5 Bb4 17.c3 Bc5 18.Nf3 Re7 19.Nh4 Rae8 20.Rxe7 Rxe7 21.Nf5 Re5 22.Qg4+ Kf8 23.Qg7+ Ke8 24.Qg8+ Bf8 Diagram


25.Ng7+?! The knight is not well placed here. Better to centralize it with 25. Nd4, keeping an edge. 25...Ke7 26.Qxh7 Bxg7?! [26...Qg4! would trap the knight!] 27.Qxg7 Now White is ahead again. 27...Qe6 28.Rf1 Qd6?! [28...Re2!] 29.Qg4 Re4 30.Qd1 Ke6 31.Re1 Qe5 32.Kf1 d4? This leads to a lost endgame. Better to be greedy with [32...Qxh2] 33.cxd4 Qb5+ 34.Kg1 Kd5 35.Rxe4 Kxe4 36.f3+ Ke3 37.Qc1+ Ke2 38.Qf1+ Ke3 39.Qf2+ [39.Qxb5 axb5 40.h4 Kf4 41.Kf2 is an easy way to win] 39...Kd3 40.h4 Qh5 41.g4 Qh6 42.Kg2 f5 43.Kg3 fxg4 44.fxg4 Qd6+ 45.Qf4 Qb4 46.Qf3+! Kxd4 47.Qf4+ Kc5 48.Qxb4+ Kxb4 Now it's very easy 49.h5 Kc5 50.h6 Kc4 51.h7 Kd3 52.h8Q Kc2 53.Qd8 c5 54.Qc7 a5 55.Qxc5+ Kxb2 56.Qxa5 f5 57.gxf5 Ka1 58.f6 Kb1 59.Qb4+ Ka1 60.f7 Kxa2 61.f8Q Ka1 62.Qa8# 1-0


(2) TastyCelery (1279) - LateLoyalBagel (1525)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 d3 A practical way to deal with the gambit, though less abitious. 4.Bxd3 Bc5 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bg5 0-0?! [6...d6 is safer] 7.e5! h6 Diagram


8.exf6?! This takes away Black's problems. [8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 leaves the black king side weak] 8...hxg5 9.fxg7 Re8+! 10.Be2 Qe7 11.0-0? forgetting about the bishop. It would be about even after [11.Nbd2] 11...Qxe2 12.Qxe2 Rxe2 13.Nxg5 Rxb2 14.Re1? eager for counterplay White loses more material. This is too much to come back from. 14...Bxf2+ 15.Kf1 Bxe1 16.Kxe1 Rxg2 17.Kf1? Rxg5 18.h4 Rh5 19.Nd2 Rxh4 20.Ke2 d6 21.Kd3 Bf5+ 22.Ke2 Nc6 23.Kd1 Rh1+ 24.Ke2 Rxa1 25.Kf3 Rxa2 26.Nc4 a5 27.Kf4 Be6 28.Ne3 a4 29.Ng4 Bxg4 30.Kxg4 Kxg7 31.Kf5 a3 32.Kg5 Rg2+ 33.Kf5 a2 34.Kf4 a1Q 35.Kf5 Qf1+ 36.Ke4 Re2+ 37.Kd5 Qd1+ 38.Kc4 d5+ 39.Kc5 Ra5# 0-1


(3) BentActiveTank (1096) - shanlee (1184)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 Transposing into the Two Knights Defense. [3...Nxe4 4.Nc3 Nxc3 5.dxc3 Is a promising pawn sacrifice for White.] 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5?! 6.Qh5?! [Black allowed the Fried Liver Attack. 6.Nxf7! Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 is fun for White.] 6...g6 7.Qf3 Qxg5! 8.Bxd5 Kd8?! [8...Nd4! 9.Qxf7+ Kd8 10.0-0 Nxc2 is good for Black despite having the king in the center.] 9.Qxf7 [9.Bxc6!] 9...Qe7?! [9...Nd4!] 10.Qf3 Nd4 11.Qd1 Bg4?! Diagram


12.Qxg4! Nxc2+ 13.Kf1?! [13.Kd1! puts the king to work guarding the c2 square so that the knight gets trapped on a1.] 13...Nxa1 14.Qc4 [14.Bxb7!] 14...c6 15.Bg8? This is too much of a trip for the bishop. It should stay closer to home where it would be safe. 15...Nc2! making use of the poor square of the white bishop to use the trapped knight. 16.Qxc2 Rxg8 17.d3 Qc7 The exchange ahead should be enought to win for Black. 18.d4?! exd4 19.g3 b6 20.Bf4 Qb7 21.Bg5+ Be7 22.Bxe7+ Kxe7! 23.Qe2+ Kd6 24.Nd2 c5! 25.Ne4+ Kc7 Black is easily winning. It ends quickly though. 26.Nf6? Qxh1# 0-1


(4) zzng (1228) - charkwok456 (1585)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 The famous Berlin Defense, popularized by Vladimir Kramnik. 3...Nf6 4.Nc3 [4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 is the endgame played by so many grandmasters.] 4...Bb4 Now we have transposed into the Four Knights Game from the Ruy Lopez. 5.d3 Nd4!? Diagram


6.Nxe5? [6.Ba4 0-0 7.0-0 d6 8.h3 would be a reasonable continuation. White forgot the knight on c3 was pinned!] 6...Nxb5! 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 d6 9.Nf3 Nxc3 10.Qd2 Na4 Making sure the knight finds a safe home to retreat to. 11.c4 Nc5 12.d4? Nb3 13.Qb2 Nxa1 14.Qxa1 Nxe4 Why not? Black is a whole rook ahead, but it's always nice to grab a center pawn. 15.0-0 0-0 16.Re1 Re8 17.h3 d5 18.cxd5 Qxd5 19.Bg5 Diagram


19...Bxh3! connecting the black rooks so that the knight on e4 can move. 20.gxh3 Nxg5 21.Nxg5 Qxg5+ 22.Kf1 Qd5 23.a4 Qh1# 0-1


(5) DarkCapableCharm (1379) - TopWittyGem (1396)
Live Chess

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 The Smith-Morra Gambit, which is tricky if you don't know it. 4...g6?! Other moves such as 4....Nc6, 4...e6 or 4...d6 are safer. 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.Nf3 d6 7.Bf4 [7.Qb3! Would put Black under pressure immediately. There is no really nice way to guard the f7 pawn.] 7...Nf6 8.e5 dxe5? [8...Nh5! 9.Be3 0-0 would get Black to even chances.] 9.Qxd8+! Kxd8 10.Nxe5 trouble 10...Nh5?! [10...Ke8 is probably best, though not pleasant.] 11.Nxf7+ Kd7?! 12.Rd1+ A dream position for White in the Smith-Morra. The extra development leads to a large material gain. 12...Kc6 13.Bd5+ Kb6 14.Be3+ Kc7 15.Nxh8 Bxh8 Diagram


16.Nb5+! Kd8 Black must walk into the discovered check. 17.Bxb7+ Bd7 18.Bxa8 White now has two rooks for a knight - more than plenty. 18...Bxb2 19.Nxa7 Nf6 20.Rb1 Bc3+ 21.Ke2 Nd5 22.Rxb8+ Kc7 23.Rhb1 Nb4 24.Bf4+ e5 25.Rb7+ Kd8 26.Bg5+ Ke8 27.Rd1 Bf5 28.Rd8# 1-0

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Any questions? [email protected]

Online Chess Classes for Kids

Our chess coaches have transitioned their classes to online platforms. We have had two weeks with full classes of students for small group classes, learning, playing chess, connecting and having fun together. We encourage you to try one of our popular online classes. Our schedule is open for any student to join, and we are adding classes as demand grows.
Current schedule:
Monday - Coach Andy 4-5PM
Tuesday - Coach Andy 3-4PM
Wednesday - Coach Colin 3-4PM
Thursday - Coach David 3-4PM
Friday - Coach Andy 1-2PM
Class Fee: $25/single class, $45/2 classes, $80/4 classes
Sign up via Jumbula:
If you have any questions, or need a sample of a class, please feel free to reach out to [email protected]

Mechanics' Institute Online Events Schedule
** updated on 4/13/20 ***


The Mechanics' Institute Chess Club will continue to hold regular online events in various forms. Here is the upcoming schedule for players:

4/11 Saturday - Saturday Matinee
Format: 3 rounds of G/30+0
Join from 1PM  -
Start: 2PM
4/12 Sunday - Sunday Late Night Showdown
Format: 5 rounds of G/5+2
Join from 8PM -
Start: 9PM
4/13 Monday - Monday Online Arena
Format: 90 mins of G/5+2 - as many games as you can.
Start: 6:30PM
4/14 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Online Rapid
Format: 5 rounds of G/10+2 (Swiss)
Start: 6:30PM
4/15 Wednesday - Club Team Match Night
Mechanics' vs. St. Louis
Format: 2 games G/20+2 
Starting 5:30PM
Follow and root for your fellow club members:
also live via

4/16 Thursday - Thursday Late Night Showdown
Format: 5 rounds of G/5 +2 
Join the tournament from 8PM onward.
First game starts at 9PM.
4/17 Friday - Friday Evening Online Blitz
Format: 10 rounds of G/3+2 (Swiss)
** NEW USCF Online rated - 2 sections:
Join from 5:30PM -
Start: 6:30PM sharp.

Past Club Tournament results are here:
Before playing in our online tournaments, be sure to do the following:
1. Sign up and log in to
2. Sign up to be a member of Mechanics' Institute Chess Club at You need to become a member before you can play.
3. Please fill out the Google Form, so we know who you are, and can inform you about changes, and ad hoc events:
Any questions? [email protected]


FM Paul Whitehead's Column

Paul will resume his column next week. Thank you for your patience.


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Meet the Candidates

This week: Fabiano Caruana

Fabiano is an Italian American and was in fact born in America – Miami in 1992.  He grew up in Brooklyn (like another famous American GM – Bobby Fischer). He played for the United States until 2005, when he then moved to Italy with his parents and won three Italian Championships. He returned to the United States in 2015 to represent America again. This was encouraged by billionaire chess patron Rex Sinquefield. Fabiano had one of the greatest tournament performances in chess history at the 2014 Sinquefield Cup where he had an astounding 3103 performance rating. His peak ELO rating is 2844, third highest in history. He is of course currently the number 2 rated player in the world (behind Magnus) and was the challenger in the last World Championship.

With such credentials he was the favorite to win the Candidates Tournament and repeat as challenger to Magnus. There’s no telling how much the strange conditions of this Corona Candidates have affected him, but he is one point behind at the halfway point (the tournament is to resume in the next six months). If Fabiano hits his greatest form again he will easily make up the deficit and return as the challenger.

(1) Caruana,Fabiano - Sutovsky,Emil [A48]
London Chess Classic, 2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 d6 4.h3 Fabiano plays the London System against Sutovsky's King's Indian. This would be a solid, closed type positon if Black just castles and plays normally, instead he plays to open things up. 4...c5 5.dxc5 Qa5+ 6.Qd2! The staightforward developing move is best. Either in the endgame or middle game White should hold a little edge. 6...Qxc5 7.Nc3 Bf5?! Sutovsky wants to prevent 8. e4 with a good set-up for White. This neglects king side development though, so better was [7...Bg7] 8.Nd4 Ne4 9.Nxe4 Bxe4 10.f3 Bc6 11.e4! Diagram


11...e5? taking the bait and entering the complications. White would simply be better after the normal [11...Bg7 12.Be3] 12.Be3 exd4 13.Bxd4 Bh6! 14.Qf2! Qa5+ 15.Bc3 Qd8 16.Bxh8 f6 Black has sacrificed the exchange to trap the bishop on h8. Unfortunately for him White can cause trouble on the king side. 17.Qh4 Bg5 18.Qxh7 Qa5+ 19.c3 Nd7 20.Qxg6+ Ke7 21.h4 Be3 Diagram


22.Bxf6+! Nxf6 23.Qg7+ Ke6 24.g3! Diagram


A curious position! White has nothing developed but the queen and is down two pieces for a rook (albeit with 3 extra pawns. Fabiano finds a deadly attack with the threat of 25. Bh3+, so Sutovsky must counter with checks. 24...Bf2+ 25.Kd2! Be3+ 26.Kc2 Bxe4+ As Fabiano didn't take the dark squared bishop this is all Black has left. The same position in the game would arise by [26...Qa4+ 27.b3 Bxe4+ 28.fxe4 Qxe4+ 29.Kb2] 27.fxe4 Qa4+ 28.b3 Qxe4+ 29.Kb2 Qf3 Black played this and resigned, seeing he loses the queen after 30.Bh3+ Ke5 31.Qe7+ Kd5 32.Qxb7+ 0-1


(2) Caruana,Fabiano - Giri,Anish [D15]
Tata Steel, 2012

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 The solid slav from the super solid Giri. Fabiano is ready to battle. 4.e3 a6 5.Nc3 b5 6.c5 Releaving the central tension but taking some space. 6...g6 7.Ne5 Bg7 8.f4 a5 9.Be2 Qc7 10.0-0 h5 Diagram


both sides are taking territory inch by inch. This move could weaken the king side, but it stops White from taking that space. 11.h3 Bf5 12.Bd2 Nbd7 13.Bf3 h4 14.Qe1 Ne4 15.Nxe4 dxe4 16.Be2 f6?! Diagram


[16...a4 would keep the game closed. Giri forces the action and Fabiano responds with vigor.] 17.Bxa5! Rxa5 18.Nxc6 Ra8 19.Bxb5 White has three pawns for the piece. If he is given time they will roll down the board. 19...Be6 20.a4 f5?! This sets the pawn structure too much. Better was [20...Kf7 21.Nb4] 21.Qd2 Bf6 [21...Bd5 little better was 22.Nb4 e6 23.Nxd5 exd5 24.b4] 22.d5 Bf7 23.Rac1 Kf8 24.b4 Qc8 25.d6! The invasion is coming. 25...exd6 26.cxd6 Qe8 27.Ne7 Be6 28.Rc7 Rh7 29.Nd5 Bd8 30.Rb7 Rc8 31.a5! The calm advance of the white pawns doom Giri. 31...Kg7 32.a6 Kh6 33.a7 Qf8 34.Ne7 Nb6 35.Qf2 Black has too many problems on both sides of the board. 35...Rf7 36.Qxh4+ Kg7 37.Qg5 Bd5 38.Qxg6+ Kh8 39.Qh5+ Kg7 40.Nxf5+ Kg8 41.Ne7+ *


(3) Carlsen,Magnus - Caruana,Fabiano [C24]
Sinquefield Cup, 2014

To be in the Candiates Tournament is a great achievement, and to win it much more so. Still, the ultimate challenge is to beat the Champion in the match. The great World Champions have been almost invincible, and Magnus may be the greatest of them all. Yet Fabiano has shown he has the will and talent to challenge Magnus. This game, played in the tournament where Caruana was king, showed he has the potential to dethrown Magnus. 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 The Bishop's Opening. Clearly Magnus wanted to get Fabiano into surprise territory. Yet Fabiano knows his openings and plays the best. 2...Nf6 3.d3 c6! 4.Nf3 d5 5.Bb3 Bb4+ [5...dxe4?! 6.Ng5!] 6.c3 Bd6 7.Bg5 dxe4 8.dxe4 h6 9.Bh4 Qe7 10.Nbd2 Nbd7 11.Bg3 Bc7 12.0-0 Nh5 Black has full equality from the opening and the easier game to play. Everyone now knows that Caruano works very hard on his opening preparation. 13.h3?! [White should try to play safely with 13.Nc4] 13...Nxg3 14.fxg3 Nc5 Diagram


15.Bxf7+!? Credit to Magnus for making the game very interesting. Most players could not handle his tactical onslaught, so this becomes a major test for Fabiano. 15...Kxf7 16.Nxe5+ Kg8 17.Ng6 Qg5 18.Rf8+ Kh7 19.Nxh8 Diagram


19...Bg4! 20.Qf1 guarding the rook on f8 20...Nd3! Bringing the game to a superb level! The threat of 21...Bb6+ is lethal. 21.Qxd3 Rxf8 22.hxg4 Qxg4 23.Nf3 [23.Nb3!?] 23...Qxg3 24.e5+ Kxh8 After all the fireworks the game is materially equal. Black has a serious advantage though because of the open white king positon and the extra power of the black bishop over the white knight. 25.e6?! [25.Qe2 Rf5 26.e6 Bb6+ 27.Nd4 Re5 28.Qf2 Qxf2+ 29.Kxf2 Rxe6 would be an extra pawn in the ending, but better than the text.] 25...Bb6+ 26.Kh1 Qg4 27.Qd6 Rd8 28.Qe5 Rd5! 29.Qb8+ Kh7 30.e7 Qh5+ 31.Nh2 Magnus is almost there, but Fabiano gets there first. 31...Rd1+ 32.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 33.Nf1 Qxf1+ 34.Kh2 Qg1+ Next move is 34...Qe3+ and then 35...Qe7 0-1

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