Apr 17, 2020
By Abel Talamantez
Table of Contents
- Mechanics' Institute-St. Louis Club Match
- Tuesday Night Online
- Online Events Recap
- Mechanics Chess Social
- Scholastic Online Offerings
- Online Events Schedule
- FM Paul Whitehead's Column
- GM Nick de Firmian's Column
- Submit your piece or feedback
Special Announcement - Please join Mechanics' Institute, the Charlotte Chess Center, St. Louis Chess Club, and Marshall Chess Club
for a Round Robin Match on Thursday April 23 at 4:45pm
The St. Louis Chess Club got the better of Mechanics' Institute (MI) on Tuesday night 24-14. The games were fun, and there were some exciting time scrambles. The St. Louis team had strong balance across all sections, propelling them to victory. The matches were played on chess.com under the club match feature which pairs players accoring to their chess.com rapid rating. The time control for this match was G/20 +2, and each player faced the same opponent twice, once as white, once as black.
By chess.com rapid rating, FM Eric Li was our board 1, and he was paired against IM Aaron Grabinsky. Their two matches were exciting to follow, and in the first game Eric looked like he was defending, but was able to turn the tides and actually had a slight advantage in the endgame. Unfortunately, he could not convert the advantage for a win and settled for a draw. The second game however, provided dynamic and technical endgame play by Eric. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.
(6) FM Eric Li (wepkins) (2397) - IM Aaron Grabinsky (SketchyMoves) (2294) [A40]
Live Chess Chess.com, 15.04.2020
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Bb4+ 3.Bd2 Qe7 4.g3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 We have gotten to a normal Bogo-indian position. 8...e5?! Diagram
9.Nd5! Nxd5 10.cxd5 Bxd2 11.Qxd2 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 exd4 13.Rac1 Bf5 14.Qxd4! Qxe2 15.Rxc7 White is more active here. 15...Qa6 16.a3 Rac8 17.Rfc1 Rxc7 18.Rxc7 Re8 19.h4 h6 20.Qb4 Rb8 21.Bf1 Bd3? giving up a pawn. Better was to hold on with [21...Qb6] 22.Bxd3 Qxd3 23.Rxb7 Rxb7 24.Qxb7 Qb1+ 25.Kh2 Qf5?! 26.Qxa7! Qxd5 27.b4 The white pawns march. 27...Kh7 28.a4 Qe4 29.b5 f5 30.Qe3! Qxa4 31.Qd3 g6 32.b6 The advanced b-pawn and safer white king (which avoids more checks) make the queen ending very difficult for Black. 32...Qa2 33.Qe3 Qb2 34.Qe7+ Kg8 35.Qd8+ Kf7 36.Qc7+ Ke6 37.Kg2 f4 38.b7 fxg3 39.Qc8+ Ke7 40.Kxg3 Qb3+ 41.Kg2 Qd5+ 42.Kg1 Qd1+ 43.Kh2 Qf3 44.Qc7+ Ke6 45.Qc4+ Ke5 46.b8Q! The white king must run now. He is confident he can escape. 46...Qxf2+ 47.Kh1 Diagram
47...Qf3+ 48.Kg1 Qg3+ 49.Kf1 Qh3+ 50.Ke1 Qg3+ 51.Kd2 g5 52.Qe8+ Kf5 53.Qd3+ Qxd3+ 54.Kxd3 Kg4 55.hxg5 hxg5 56.Qd7+ Kg3 57.Qxd6+ Kh3 58.Ke3 g4 59.Kf2 Kh4 60.Kg2 [60.Qh6#] 60...Kh5 61.Kg3 Kg5 62.Qd4 Kf5 63.Qxg4+ Kf6 64.Kf4 Kf7 65.Ke5 Ke7 66.Qg7+ Kd8 67.Qf7 Kc8 68.Qe7 Kb8 69.Qd7 Ka8 70.Kd5 Kb8 71.Kc6 Ka8 72.Kb6 Kb8 73.Qd1 Ka8 74.Qe1 Kb8 75.Qf1 Ka8 76.Qg1 Kb8 77.Qg8# A fine game and excellent technique by wepkins. 1-0
FM Kyron Griffith also delivered a nice point for the Mechanics' team against Danny Machuca.
(5) FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2205) - Danny Machuca (ChessPlayingWolf) (2076) [B03]
Live Chess Chess.com, 15.04.2020
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.b3 Bf5 10.Nf3 N8d7?! 11.Nh4! With this move White gains the advantage in the opening. 11...Kh8?! [11...e5 12.Nxf5 gxf5 13.g3] 12.g4!? [12.Nxf5 gxf5 13.Bd3 is very simple and strong] 12...e5 13.Nxf5 gxf5 14.gxf5 Rg8 15.h4 exd4 16.Bxd4 Ne5 17.Be2 Qd7 18.f6 Bxf6 19.f4 A very sharp position has arisen. White is objectivley better but must be careful with his king in the center. 19...Qc6 20.Rf1 Ned7 21.Bf3 Rae8+ 22.Kf2?! Diagram
[22.Kd2! looks strange, yet the white king is safer on that square] 22...Qc7? [22...Qc5! would even the chances since 23.Bxc5?? Bxh4#] 23.Ne4 [23.Rg1! Rxg1 24.Kxg1 Bxd4+ 25.Qxd4+ Kg8 26.Nb5 Qc5 27.Qxc5 dxc5 28.Kf2 is a great endgame for White] 23...Re6? Black allows himself to get into a deadly pin. Instead he had a very active and promising continuation - [23...Rxe4! 24.Bxe4 d5! 25.Bxf6+ Nxf6 26.Bf3 Qxf4 leaves Black in control] 24.Nxf6 Nxf6 25.Bd5! Nbd7 26.Qf3 Qa5 27.Rc2 [27.Qc3!] 27...Ree8 28.h5 Re6 [28...Kg7 looks ugly, but was probably necessary. Black must get out of the deadly pin.] 29.Qc3! Qxc3 30.Rxc3 Re7 31.Re3 Rxe3 32.Kxe3 Rg3+ 33.Rf3 Rxf3+ 34.Kxf3 b6 35.Bxf7 with an extra pawn and the two bishops the endgame is certainly winning. The quick time control means though that there are still chances for Black. 35...Kg7 36.Be6 Kh6 37.b4?! [37.Bxd7! Nxd7 38.Kg4 is dominating] 37...Kxh5 38.a4 Kg6 39.a5 bxa5 40.bxa5 Nc5 41.Bh3?! [41.f5+] 41...Kf7 42.Bf5 h5 43.Bc2 h4?! this pawn becomes weaker with the advance 44.Bf2 h3 45.Bg1 a6 46.Bxc5! dxc5 47.Bf5 h2 48.Kg2 Nh5 49.Bc8 Nxf4+ 50.Kxh2 Ne6? [The knight gets to an awkward square. Black is a pawn down but gets fair drawing chances after 50...Ke7 51.Bxa6 Kd6 52.Kg3 Ne2+ 53.Kf2 Nd4] 51.Bxa6 Nc7 52.Bb7 Ke6 53.a6 Ke5 54.a7 Kd4 55.Bd5! The white bishop wins the fight against the black king and knight. 55...Kc3 56.Kg3 Kb4 57.Kf4 Kc3 58.Ke5 Kb4 59.Kd6 Na8 60.Bxa8 Ka5 61.Bd5 Ka6 62.a8Q+ 1-0
One fast rising Mechanics' player is Alejandro Canales (Lilpix2). Here is his win in round 1.
(4) Aaron Lin (pvzlin2) (1627) - Alejandro Canales (Lilpix2) (1715) [E61]
Live Chess Chess.com, 15.04.2020
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.Bf4!? An unusual line against the King's indian. 5...d6 6.e3 Nh5 7.Bg3 c5! 8.Be2 a6 9.0-0 Nxg3 10.hxg3 cxd4 11.exd4?! [11.Nxd4 is safer control over d4. ] 11...Nc6 Black has gotten a nice active game out of the opening. White has more space but misses his dark squared bishop. 12.Rc1 Bg4 13.Ne1 Bxe2 14.Nxe2 Qb6 15.d5 Ne5 16.b3 Qa5 17.Qc2 Rfc8 18.Nf3 b5! 19.Nxe5 Bxe5 Diagram
20.f4?! It looks active, but this weakens White's king position. 20...Bg7 21.Rf3 bxc4 22.bxc4 Qc5+ 23.Kh2 e6?! [23...Rab8! puts the last piece to work and avoids any weakenesses] 24.dxe6 fxe6 25.Qe4 Re8 26.Rd3 Rad8 27.Qb7?? [With 27.g4 White is back to a nearly level position. The game move is a blunder after a close fight.] 27...Qh5+ 28.Kg1 Qxe2 29.Rb3? Bd4+ 30.Kh1 Qh5# 0-1
The match had some dramatic moments as well, none better than the last minute of this second round battle between Mechanics' Abhinav Penagalapati (qing29) and WIM Thalia Cervantes (DishonorOnYourCow). For those who say chess doesnt have elements of sport, check this out. What is funny about this is Judit was following the game in real time, while the rest of the commentators were following the game on the broadcast, which becomes self evident at the end. The lag was about 10 seconds. The action begins at 1:29:30 with the stunning moment coming at 1:31:00.
This was a fabulous collaboration between our two clubs, and we want to thank Tony Rich and Mike Kummer from the St. Louis Chess Club for helping organize this event. Both teams streamed the match, and we want to thank all our players and viewers participating in the chat. Congratulations to St. Louis, and we look forward to our continuing partnership and collaborations on future matches. Thank you to our commentators FM Paul Whitehead and FM Jim Eade and IM Rost Tsodikov for providing entertaining and insightful commentary for our viewers and Dr. Judit Sztaray for a great job organizing and coordinating with St. Louis.
For full results, please follow this link: https://www.chess.com/club/matches/live/mechanics-chess-club-club-match/8427
To watch the stream for this tournament, please follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPVQd0SC5mA
This week's Tuesday Night Online event drew 78 players, and we had a very special guest commentating team of IM Rost Tsodikov and WFM Natalya Tsodikova, along with FM Paul Whitehead and FM Jim Eade. Competion for the sought-after medal was fierce, but it was FM Eric Li who took the gold with a perfect 5/5 score. Taking the silver in his first medal performance was NM Michael Walder with 4.5 and the bronze went to Ruiyang Yan also with 4.5.
One of the games that caught the attention of the broadcast was this fine win by Anika Rajaram (dragontrap) against Pranav Sairam (chesspilot01).
(7) Pranav Sairam (chesspilot01) (1879) - Anika Rajaram (dragontrap) (1723) [B49]
Live Chess Chess.com, 14.04.2020
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.Be2 Nf6 8.0-0 Be7 9.f4 d6 10.Bf3 0-0 11.Nb3 Rd8 12.a4 Bd7 13.Qe2 A classical Scheveningen Sicilian. 13...Rdc8?! 14.g4! Na5 15.Nxa5 Qxa5 16.g5 Ne8 17.Kh1 Qb4 18.Rfb1?! [18.Ra3! Qxb2 19.Rb3 Qxc3 20.Rxc3 Rxc3 21.Rb1 is advantage for White] 18...b5 19.a5 Qc4 20.Qg2 Rab8 21.f5 b4 22.Ne2?! [22.Be2 Qc6 23.fxe6 fxe6 24.Na4! Qxc2 25.Nb6 gives White fine play for the pawn.] 22...Qxc2 23.g6? charging ahead, yet this is done too soon to work right. 23...hxg6 24.fxg6 fxg6 25.Qxg6 Qb3! 26.Qg1 Bf6 27.Qf2?! Rc2 28.Rg1 Bb5 Black has invaded on the queen side. The pin on White's second rank causes great problems. 29.Bh5 Bxe2 30.Bxe8 trying to continue attacking. On [30.Bxe2 Qxb2 31.Rae1 b3 would win] 30...Rxe8 31.Qxf6 Diagram
31...Re7! 32.Rg2 [32.Qxe7 Bf3+ 33.Rg2 Bxg2+ 34.Kg1 Qxe3#] 32...Qxe3! 33.Qxe7 Rc1+ 34.Rxc1 Qxc1+ 35.Rg1 Bf3# Very nice attack by dragontrap! 0-1
For full results, please follow this link:https://www.chess.com/tournament/live/mechanics-tuesday-night-online-1183281
To watch the stream for this tournament, please follow this link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWUwEnr-v6E
The Friday Night Blitz on April 10 brought 58 players for a shot at a medal, and FM Jason Liang (Marty435) captured his first gold with a score of 9/10. Taking silver was NM Vinesh Ravuri (SoggyCheese12) with 8.5/10 and the bronze went to NM Ruiyang Yan with 8/10.
There were some good games in the blitz, and here is a nice win by the champion against NM Ravuri. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian
(3) FM Jason Liang (Marty435) (2328) - NM Vinesh Ravuri (SoggyCheese12) (2550) [C60]
Live Chess Chess.com, 10.04.2020
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 4.0-0 g6 5.c3 Bg7 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.Re1+ Be6 10.Ng5 Normally White would play 10. Bg5 with a slight edge. 10...0-0! 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Nxe6 fxe6 Black has shattered pawns but a strong knight on d5 and better development. His chances are at least equal. 13.Nc3 [13.Rxe6?! Qh4 14.g3 Qxd4] 13...Qh4 [13...Rb8! 14.Ne4 Rb4 presses the initiave] 14.Ne4 Rf5 15.g3 Qe7 16.Be3 [16.Nc5] 16...Raf8 17.Qd2 e5?! [17...Nxe3 18.Rxe3 (18.fxe3 e5) 18...Rd5] 18.dxe5 Qxe5 19.Bc5 Rd8? Diagram
20.Nd6? [20.Nc3! Qf6 21.Be7 wins the exchange] 20...Qxb2 21.Qxb2 Bxb2 22.Nxf5 Bxa1 23.Nh6+ Kg7 24.Ng4 h5 25.Rxa1 hxg4 The dust has settled and we have an even ending. 26.Bxa7 Ra8 27.Bd4+ Kf7 28.a3 Ra4 despite the two sets of doubled pawns Black is ok if he stays active due to the white square control. 29.Bc5 Nc3 30.Re1 Ne4?! [30...Rc4 31.Bb4 Nd5] 31.Bb4 Nd6 32.Rc1 Nb5? looks like time induced errors from Black. [32...Ra6 keeps material even. ] 33.Rxc6 Nxa3 34.Rxc7+ Ke6 35.Re7+ Kf6?! [35...Kf5 avoids the bishop check] 36.Re4 Now White wins a second pawn and it's over. 36...Kf5 37.Rf4+ Kg5? 38.Be7+ 1-0
In another game, Rui was able to capture the bronze after going on a tear in her last 3 games, defeating FM Eric Li, Anika Rajaram, and FM Thijs Laarhoven. Here is her win against the always tough Eric Li.
(2) NM Ruiyang Yan (jij2018) (2310) - FM Eric Li (wepkins) (2289) [B92]
Live Chess Chess.com, 10.04.2020
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.a4 A practical move in this 6. Be2 Najdorf. White simply wishes to restrain Black and play the game, as Karpov used to do. 9...Be6 10.Bf3 Nbd7 11.Re1 Rc8 12.Nd2 h6 13.Nf1 heading for e3 to control the d5 square. 13...Nc5 [A more active plan is 13...Rc4! 14.Ne3 Rd4] 14.g3 [14.Ne3!?] 14...Qc7 15.Ne3 Rfd8 16.a5 Bf8 17.Ncd5 Nxd5 18.exd5!? [18.Nxd5 is a simple advantage. White plays for a queenside pawn phalanx.] 18...Bd7 19.c4 e4! 20.Be2 Be8? Too passive. More active is [20...b5! which keeps Black in the game. Now White takes complete controll.] 21.b4! Nd7 22.Bb2 Ne5 [22...Be7 23.Bg4 is also very unpleasant] 23.Bxe5! dxe5 24.c5 Diagram
24...g6 25.Bc4 White's monster pawns on the queenside and center control the game. Black should not be able to survive. 25...Bb5 26.Bxb5 axb5 27.Qg4 Bg7 28.Rad1 Qd7 29.Qxd7 [29.Qxe4 f5 30.Qh4 was a greedy and good alternative, but the text is a winning endgame that is easy to play.] 29...Rxd7 30.d6 f5 31.Nd5 Rf8 [31...Rc6 32.Ne7+ Kf7 33.Nxc6 bxc6 is a try for a blockade, but it can't really work] 32.Nb6 Rdd8 33.a6! bxa6 34.c6 crushing 34...Rb8 35.Nd7 Rf7 36.Nxb8 1-0
For full results, please follow this link: https://www.chess.com/tournament/live/mechanics-friday-night-blitz-1180084
Our new Saturday Late Night Showdown had 48 players competing in the 5-round G/5 +2 blitz event. The winner was FM Thijs Laarhoven, overcoming a very strong field to go 5/5. In second place with 4/5 was NM Michael "f-pawn" Aigner and in third on tiebreaks was FM Kyron Griffith.
Full results can be found here:
The Sunday Night Blitz had 36 players, and Sathvik Singireddy went on a roll to win outright with 5/5. Second went to NM Ruiyang Yan with 4/5 and third to FM Thijs Laarohoven also with 4/5.
NM Vyom Vidyarthi took 4th place also with 4/5, and here is a fine win from him in the final round against Anthony Rozenvasser. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.
(1) NM Vyom Vidyarthi (2007checkmate) (2241) - Anthony Rozenvasser (Atrozen) (2071) [E61]
Live Chess Chess.com, 12.04.2020
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3 e5 7.d5 Ne8 8.g4 anticipating Black's break on the king side. The game then opens up for both sides there. 8...f5 9.gxf5 gxf5 10.Rg1 f4 keeping the game more closed is sensible 11.Bd2 Kh8 12.Nh2 Nf6 13.Qf3 Na6 14.Be2 Nb4 [14...Bd7 15.0-0-0 Nc5 is a more promising set-up for Black] 15.0-0-0! a5 16.Rg2 Na6 17.Rdg1 Rf7 18.Ng4 Ng8 19.Ne3!? [19.h4] 19...Qf8?! [19...Ne7 stops the threatened Nf5.] 20.Nf5! Bxf5 21.exf5 Nc5 22.Bd1! Ne7 23.Bc2 getting the light-squared bishop to its best square 23...Bh6 [23...Nxf5 24.Bxf5 Rxf5 25.Rxg7 can't be played] 24.Qh5 Nxf5? Diagram
25.Rg8+! Qxg8 26.Rxg8+ Kxg8 27.Bxf5 Bg7 28.Ne4? [28.Qxh7+ Kf8 29.Be6!] 28...Rxf5! Atrozen finds a tactic to get back in the game. 29.Qxf5 Rf8 30.Qxf8+ [Objetively better is 30.Qg4 Nxe4 31.Bxa5 b6 32.Bd2 as 32...Nxf2? 33.Qf3 wins the knight.] 30...Kxf8 31.Nxc5 dxc5 32.Bxa5 b6 33.Bd2 Kf7 34.a4 Still the endgame is preferable for White. 34...Kg6?! [34...f3! 35.a5 bxa5 36.Bxa5 e4 37.Kd2 (37.Bxc7? e3 38.fxe3 f2) 37...Bd4 38.Ke1 Be5 is equal] 35.a5! bxa5 36.Bxa5 e4 37.Bxc7 e3? [37...Kf5 still gives Black hope] 38.fxe3 fxe3 39.d6?! [39.b3!] 39...Bxb2+?! [The last chance was to get to a pawn down ending with 39...Be5 40.Bb8! Bxb2+! 41.Kd1 Kf7 42.d7 Ke7 43.Bd6+ Kxd7 44.Bxc5 Bc3 45.Bxe3] 40.Kxb2 e2 41.Ba5 Kf6 42.d7 1-0
Here is also a nice win by Sricharan Pullela in this tournament against yours truly. The finish was very nice, and yes, I came up on the wrong end of this result.
(8) Abel Talamantez (coachabel) (1603) - Sricharan Pullela (Sricharan_The_King) (1955) [E81]
Live Chess Chess.com, 12.04.2020
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0-0 6.Bd3 A somewhat unusual but logical way to play the Saemisch King's Indian. 6...e5 7.d5 Nbd7 8.Nge2 Nc5 9.Bc2 Ne8 10.b4! Nd7 11.0-0 [I would prefer 11.Be3 so that 11...a5 is met by 12.a3 and White keeps the aggressive pawn formation on the queen side. ] 11...f5 [11...a5!] 12.Bb2 f4 13.Rc1 g5 14.g3 White contests the king side squares so as not to let Black have a free hand with the pawn advances there. This at least lets White have more control of his fate. 14...h5 15.gxf4 gxf4 [15...exf4 would be a very reasonable alternative, opening the long dark diagonal.] 16.Qe1 Rf6 17.Kh1 Rg6 18.Rg1 Naturally both sides rush to occupy the only open file, leading to exchanges. 18...Qf6 19.Rxg6 Qxg6 20.Qg1 Qxg1+ 21.Rxg1 Kf7 22.Ba4 Nef6 Thus far a well played game by both players. The queen and rook trades means that there is no mating attack against the white king, yet this also reduces White's chances of a serious queen side invasion. 23.Bxd7? This one move seems to be the source of White's troubles. The value of the light-squared bishop is clearly more than that of a knight in this position. [23.Bb3 leaves White with no problems and some spatial advantage.] 23...Bxd7 24.c5 Bf8 25.cxd6 cxd6 26.a3 Bh6 27.Nc1 Nh7 28.Kg2 Rg8+ 29.Kf2 Rxg1 30.Kxg1 Bg5 31.Kf2 Bh4+ 32.Ke2 Ng5 33.Nb3? [Keeping the knight closer to the king side with 33.Nd3 would avoid the coming tactics and leave material equal. Black would be somewhat better with the bishop pair but it would be a lot of work to break through.] 33...Kg6?! [33...Nxf3! would be the same as two moves from now] 34.Na5?! [34.Nd2!] 34...b6 35.Nc6 Diagram
35...Nxf3! 36.Kxf3 Bg4+ The f-pawn runs easily through with the help of the two bishops. This was a sudden end to a tough fight. 37.Kg2 f3+ 0-1
Full results can be found here: https://www.chess.com/tournament/live/mechanics-sunday-late-night-showdown-1181343
The Monday Night Arena had 50 players. The Arena format has a scoring system as follows:
Arena Scoring System:
Loss: +0 points.
Draw: +1 point.
Win: +2 points.
Second win in a row: +3 points.
Third (or higher) win in a row: +4 points.
Players play with a time control of G/5 +2 over 90 minutes and try to win as many games as they can. Players get immediately paired upon completion of their game against the next available opponent in a sort of battle royale.
Winning Monday Night's arena was FM Kyron Griffith, who scored 41 points after going 11-0-0. Second place with 31 was BreatheChessAlways and in third with 30 was Felix German. Full results can be found here: https://www.chess.com/tournament/live/arena/mechanics-monday-night-arena-180730
The Wednesday Night Blitz had only 18 players, but this is understandable given this was the evening of the Mechanics' Institute and St. Louis match. But it was strong players at the top as IM Elliott Winslow won the event with 5/6. Second and third place went to the sibling duo of NM Vyom Vidyarthi and WCM Omya Vidyarthi with 4.5/6.
Full results can be found here: https://www.chess.com/tournament/live/mechanics-wednesday-night-blitz-1192272
We organized our first Mechanics Chess Social, which is slated to interview personalities in the chess world about the state of chess and things happening in our community and across the country. These interviews will be on Friday afternoons, and we will broadcast them live on our Twitch channel. Our inaugural guest was former MI Chess Director and Captain of the U.S. Chess Olympiad team John Donaldson. We discussed his current project on Bobby Fischer, and we asked him about how current events with the pandemic may impact chess over the next few years. We thank him for sharing his wisdom and discussing his current projects. To watch the interview please follow this link:
Next week's guest will be U.S. Chess Executive Director Carol Meyer, followed by GM Rauf Mamedov. Tune in starting at at noon next Friday!
Join (sign up) for the tournament: at 3:45PM - 15 minutes before the start time. First round starts 4PM sharp.
Look at upcoming tournaments: https://www.chesskid.com/clubs/tournaments/mechanics-chess-club/fast
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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.
Here are some games from our scholastic online tournaments this past week!
(1) DarkCapableCharm (1334) - KeenUpbeatClock (1471)
Live Chess ChessKid.com
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.Nf3 White usually holds the central pawn wedge with 4. c3. His plan of just developing is also ok, but care should be given to the central squares. 4...Nc6 [4...cxd4!] 5.Nc3 Bd7 6.Be3 Qb6 [6...cxd4! 7.Nxd4 Nxe5 8.Be2 gives White development for the pawn, but Black should be happy here.] 7.Bb5 a6 8.Ba4?! [8.Bxc6] 8...cxd4 [8...Qxb2! 9.Bd2 Qb6] 9.Nxd4 Nxd4? This keeps the black king in the center. The alternatives were preferable [9...Qxb2; 9...Nxe5] 10.Bxd7+ Kxd7 11.Na4? [11.Bxd4 Bc5 12.Bxc5 Qxc5 13.Qg4 Ne7 14.0-0-0] 11...Qc7? [11...Qa5+! 12.c3 b5 wins a piece] 12.Bxd4 Ke8 13.0-0 Be7?! [13...b5 14.Nc3 Ne7 is a more natural way to develop in the French Defense] 14.Qg4 g6 15.Qf3 [Aggressively opening the game would be good here - 15.c4! dxc4 16.Nb6 Rd8 17.Rac1 Nh6 18.Qd1 Bc5 19.Qa4+] 15...Nh6 16.Be3 Nf5 17.Nb6? Rd8! getting out of trouble and leaving the Nb6 loose. 18.Na4 f6? The key mistake of the game. Black is well ahead after [18...d4! 19.Bd2 b5] 19.Bb6! Qxc2 20.Bxd8 Bxd8 21.b3 Qc7?! [21...fxe5 22.Rac1 Qd2 23.Rfd1 e4] 22.exf6 Qf7 23.Nc5! Bb6 24.Rac1 Bxc5 25.Rxc5 Kd7 26.Rfc1 The white rooks invade. 1-0
(2) charkwok456 (1658) - TopWittyGem (1481)
Live Chess ChessKid.com
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 g6!? 7.0-0 Bg7 8.Bd2?! A strange place for the bishop. More natural is [8.Bg5] 8...h6 9.Be3 0-0 10.f3 Kh7 11.Bb3 We have reached an interesting Sicilian middle game with good play for both sides. 11...Nbd7 12.Nde2 b5 13.Nf4 Bb7 14.Qd2 Rc8 15.a4! loosening up the queen side. 15...bxa4?! [more solid is 15...b4 16.Ncd5 Nxd5 17.Bxd5 Bxd5 18.Nxd5 a5] 16.Nxa4 Qc7 17.Rfd1 Nc5?! 18.Nxc5 dxc5 19.Bc4 Rfd8 20.Nd3 The black pawns and squares on the queen side are weak. 20...Nd7 21.Bf4 Ne5 22.Qe2! Avoiding any tricks of the black knight moving with check or queen attack. 22...f6?! 23.Nxe5 fxe5 24.Be3 Qb6 25.Rxd8 Rxd8 26.Bb3 Rc8 27.Qc4 Bc6 28.Bxc5 Bb5 Diagram
29.Qg8+! Rxg8 30.Bxg8+ Kxg8 31.Bxb6 Kf7 32.Kf2 Ke6 33.b3 Kd7 34.c4 Bc6 35.Rxa6 Bb7 36.Ra7 Kc6 37.Ba5 Bf8 38.b4 Bc8?! 39.Rc7+ Kd6 40.Rxc8 Bg7 41.b5 e6 42.Rc7 Bf6 43.c5# 1-0
(3) BusySuddenOatmeal (1345) - ThinOvalPaw (1400)
Live Chess ChessKid.com
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Qf3 Diagram
[6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 is the famous Fried Liver Attack, and objectively the best way for White to play.] 6...Nd4? [6...Qxg5! 7.Bxd5 Nd4! Diagram
8.Qxf7+ Kd8 9.0-0 Nxc2 is actually very good for Black as he wins the rook on a1. It's not too much of a problem that the black king is on d8 as there are a lot of black pieces around to keep the monarch safe.] 7.Qxf7# Oops. Sometimes one mistake is all it takes. Chess is a cruel game. 1-0
(4) TopWittyGem (1497) - TastyCelery (1282)
Live Chess ChessKid.com
1.e4 e5 2.f4 The King's Gambit. A tricky opening that often confuses the second player. 2...Nc6 3.Nf3 exf4 4.d4 Bb4+?! 5.c3 White has been able to strenghten the center with tempo. 5...Ba5 6.Bxf4 Nf6 7.Nbd2 0-0 8.Bc4 [8.Bd3! leaves White with a great center and almost full development.] 8...d6 [8...d5! 9.exd5 Nxd5 frees Black's position.] 9.0-0 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 11.Qe2 Re8 12.Rae1? [12.Bd3] 12...d5! making use of the pin on the e-pawn. 13.Bb3? [13.g4! keeps material about even] 13...dxe4 14.Nxe4 Rxe4 15.Qc4? Rxf4 16.g4 Bg6 17.Nh4 Black is two pieces ahead and should win easily, but now gets confused. 17...Bh5?? [17...Rxf1+ 18.Rxf1 Qd6! 19.Nxg6 Qg3+ 20.Kh1 Qxh3+ 21.Kg1 Qxg4+ 22.Kh1 Qxg6 would be finished] 18.Rxf4 Kh8?! [18...Qd6!] 19.gxh5 Nxh5 20.Rfe4 Nf6 Diagram
21.Qxf7! Nxe4 22.Rxe4 material is even, but the white attack is decisive. 22...Qg5+ 23.Rg4 [23.Kh2! Qd2+ 24.Ng2] 23...Qc1+ 24.Kh2 Qd2+ 25.Rg2 Qxg2+?! Giving up the queen is definitely lost. Still losing, but more difficult is [25...Qh6 26.Nf5 Qf6 (26...Qf4+ 27.Kg1 Qc1+ 28.Kf2 Qf4+ 29.Ke1 Qc1+ 30.Bd1!) 27.Qxf6 gxf6 28.Nh6 Rf8 29.Nf7+ Rxf7 30.Bxf7] 26.Kxg2 Rd8 27.Nf5 Rd7 28.Qg8# 1-0
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Early Chess Stories, Part 4
- A rambling account of my adolescent and pre-adolescent chess experiences –
Continuing from here: https://www.milibrary.org/chess-newsletters/912#paul
By the mid 1970’s my brother Jay and I were on similar but different trajectories, both socially and in the world of chess. Jay had become a Master a few months before I had, and our “rivalry” (which gave people vast amusement) was for the most part a healthy one – with a few exceptions. More later, perhaps. We played in the same tournaments, hung out with the same cast of chess characters. And of course, we lived in the same house.
Although we didn’t study together, the constant playing, the buzz of ideas, the chess players (all older than Jay and I) who had become friends of the Whitehead family and who were coming over to visit us on Carl Street in the Haight Ashbury – Joe Tracy and Steve Brandwein, Walter Dorne, Phil Arnol, Mike Dyslin and Randy Feliciano, Jimmy Buff and Jeremy Silman - to name just a few. All of this mixed and swirled together, giving Jay and I not only a 1st Class Chess Education, but lasting friendships - and a different kind of schooling.
It was a time of rapid change for the both of us, and although both Jay and I had compelling interests that lay outside chess, we would stay focused on the Royal Game for some years to come.
Jay had a strong interest in the performing arts – he played the guitar, he loved to sing and act. He was in a few plays around town, including a lead role in The Story, put on by the Magic Theater. He sang and played guitar on a kid’s TV show called Git Box Tickle.
Jay Whitehead, 1974
I was not a performer – unless it was on the chess stage. My friendships in Chess, oddly enough, were starting to lead me in directions away from the 64 squares, and that magical World.
School no longer interested me – all I wanted to do was play chess, and I began to cut classes unbeknownst to my parents. I would ride BART around in circles with a chess book and a pocket set, or would meet up with other like-minded long-haired boho misfits from Everett JHS. We’d wander around and make up wild stories about ourselves. In the later part of the day I’d be down at the MI playing blitz or seeking out Jeremy Silman at his flat on Fell Street.
Paul Whitehead, 1974
There I would find him sitting on the floor in the Lotus Position, chess board and chess books, deep in study. Blasting away on the stereo would be his favorite band, The Tubes.
This was far more interesting to me than Mrs. Williams English Class, I can tell you that.
I also started to hang out with those chess players – and there were lots of them – who took drugs. Before the game, during the game, and after the game.
I was smoking cigarettes too, a habit it took me over 40 years to break. To his credit, my brother seemed to follow our Dad’s example and was not tempted in these ways. As I most certainly was.
I loved the MI Chess Club, and it seems I was there almost every day. It was Chess Central. But interesting things – apart from chess – were happening elsewhere.
The Meat Market Coffeehouse, on 24th Street in Noe Valley, was the place where those chess players who enjoyed eating and drinking, smoking, and carousing went to play. The chess was blitz, and the players might be quite strong, if unrated. Louis Ladow - cab-driver, life insurance salesman and Shodan Go player – held court all day and night. He later played in a few chess tournaments, becoming an expert on his 1st rating. Other chess playing cabbies, Alex and Chaz, also did double-time at the Mechanics’. Steve Brandwein hung out there, as did my great friends - and sometime housemates - Pam Ford and Joseph Ruggerio. Walter Dorne and Joe Tracy were there every day, as was I.
Apart from chess, people played Go and Bridge and Scrabble, there were guitarists and dancers, fortune-tellers, poets and scribblers. It was an incredible Bohemian Scene. There was a small patio in back where – surprise! – folks would smoke a joint or two before returning to their games. Later, it was a short walk to the corner and Buds Ice Cream Parlor, where there was always a line. Their Bittersweet Chocolate was to die for.
Another attraction of the café scene – as opposed to the chess club or chess tournaments – was the presence of women. Not a lot of girls or women played chess back then. But they were at the coffeehouses and everywhere else.
(To be continued)
Meet the Candidates
This Week: Wang Hao
This week we investigate Wang Hao, an extremely strong and talented player who is somewhat under the radar. This is perhaps because Chinese players get less attention in the West, perhaps because of his modest demeanor or perhaps because he is 30 years old (rather old for a player making a run for the title of World Champion). Yet he is a very interesting and aggressive player who plays wonderful games that should delight the chess fan. It is fortunate that he made the Candidates Tournament so that he gets a higher profile and thus we see the work he has done in the last 15 years.
Wang learned to play chess at age 6 when he went to a youth center with the hopes of learning Chinese chess. When the instructor failed to show up Wang learned classic chess instead, so a quirk of fate led to his international chess career. He became China’s 20th grandmaster at the age of 16 in 2005, a year he won the strong Dubai Open. In 2008 he won the Reykjavik Open, in 2010 the Chinese Championship and in 2012 he won the Biel Grandmaster tournament ahead of Magnus Carlsen. He had not had many high profile tournament victories since then, but 2019 saw him win the FIDE Grand Swiss and thus qualify for the Candidates. He is a dark horse to win the event (when it resumes), but whatever his result he plays uncompromising battles. I believe the reader will enjoy his games below as much as I did.
(1) Wang Hao (2752) - Anish Giri (2734) [C41]
FIDE Grand Prix Beijing Beijing CHN (6), 10.07.2013
1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 This is best, transposing into Philodor's Defense. [4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 optically looks like an advantage for White, but it is extremely difficult to gain any edge in this symetrical ending.] 4...Nbd7 5.Bc4 exd4!? This is somewhat unusual, giving up the center. 6.Qxd4 Be7 Diagram
7.Bxf7+!? Kxf7 8.Ng5+ Ke8 9.Ne6 c5! making an escape route for the black queen. 10.Qd1 Qb6 11.Nxg7+ Kf7 12.Nf5 White has two pawns and a safer king for the pawn. Wang has done a true specualtive sacrifice - Black has as many chances as White. This gives the reader an insight into the style of Wang - he is in fact a very entertaining player. 12...Bf8 Black may have done a bit better going forward with 12...Ne5. 13.0-0 d5 14.Nxd5 Nxd5 15.Qxd5+ Ke8?! [The more natural 15...Qe6 would have kept chances even. ] 16.Bg5 Qg6? Diagram
Giri really needed to challenge the white queen now with [16...Qc6 now the white initiative grows to a deadly level.] 17.Rad1! Developing like Morphy! Black cannot capture the bishop on g5 as it would lose the queen to 18. Nd6+. 17...Rg8 18.f4 a5 This doesn't save Black, but Giri realized his planned attack with [18...h6 fails after 19.e5! e.g. 19...hxg5 (19...Qxf5 20.Qxg8 would be winning 20...Qf7 21.Qxf7+ Kxf7 22.Bh4 c4 23.Rde1 Nc5 24.f5 and the white pawns roll) 20.e6 Qh7 21.exd7+ Bxd7 22.Rfe1+ Kd8 23.Ne7] 19.e5! Qxf5 20.Qxg8 Ra6 21.Rfe1 Rg6 Diagram
22.e6! Giri resigned. The threat of 23. exd7+ is crushing - 22...Rxg8 23. exd7+ Kf7 24. d8=Q with both material advantage and winning attack. 1-0
(2) Magnus Carlsen - Wang Hao [A35]
Norway Chess Sandnes NOR (8), 17.05.2013
One way to judge the true strength of a player is how they do against the very best. Wang has beaten Magnus twice (he is only minus one in their lifetime record). Even more impressive is Wang's very plus score against Caruana. 1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 A good system against the English Opening. Black takes a stake in the center at the cost of a weakening on d5. 4.d3 d6 5.a3 a5 6.g3 Nge7 7.Bg2 g6 8.Bg5 Bg7 9.Bxe7 White trades bishop for knight to increase control of d5 and the light squares. 9...Qxe7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Nd2 Be6 12.Rb1 Rfc8 13.Nd5 Qd8 14.b4!? Playing for the standard queenside break, but Wang makes problems. 14...axb4 15.axb4 Bxd5! 16.Bxd5 cxb4 It looks somewhat ugly for Black, but White must make some concession to regain his pawn. 17.Ne4 Rc7 18.Qd2 Kh8 19.Ra1 Rb8 [19...Rxa1 20.Rxa1 Nd4 was a reasonable alternative.] 20.Rfb1 h6 21.Bxc6 bxc6 22.Rxb4 d5 Magnus has regained his pawn, yet Black's central play gives at least equal chances. 23.Rxb8 Qxb8 24.Nd6 e4!? Diagram
This is typical Wang - active and dynamic play. 25.Ra6 exd3 26.exd3 Kh7 27.Kg2 dxc4 28.dxc4 Rd7 29.c5 [29.Rxc6 Bf8 30.Qd5 Rxd6 31.Qxf7+ Bg7 32.Qf4 Rd8] 29...Bf8 30.Rb6 [30.Rxc6? Qa8 31.Qd5 Rc7 wins] 30...Qc7 31.Rb3 Qa7 [31...Bxd6 32.Rd3!] 32.Rc3? Bxd6! 33.cxd6 Qa5! This pin wins a pawn. 34.h4 [34.Rd3 Qxd2 35.Rxd2 Kg7 36.Kf3 Kf6 will win the d-pawn] 34...Rxd6 35.Qe3 Now comes the technical phase. Most players could not convert this pawn up ending against Magnus. 35...Qd5+ 36.Qf3 h5 37.Qxd5 cxd5 38.Kf3 Kg7 39.Rc7 Kf6 40.Ke3 Ra6! well done! To have winning chances the black rook must be active, ready to attack the white pawns and drive the white king. 41.Rd7 Ke6 42.Rb7 Ra3+ 43.Kf4 Ra4+ 44.Ke3 Re4+ 45.Kd3 Re1 46.Rb6+ Kf5 47.Rb7 f6 48.Rd7 Re5 49.f3 Ke6 50.Rg7 g5 51.Rh7 g4 52.fxg4 hxg4 53.Rg7 f5 54.Rg6+ Kf7 55.Ra6 Re1 56.Kd2? [56.h5! Rg1 57.Kd4 Rxg3 58.Ke5! would be the active defense that has very good drawing chances. This was hard to see, even for Magnus.] 56...Rg1 57.Ra3 Rg2+ 58.Ke1 Kf6 59.Kf1 Rc2 60.Ra6+ Ke5 61.h5 Rh2 62.h6 d4 63.Kg1 Rh3 64.Kg2?! [64.Kf2!] 64...d3! 65.Ra5+ Kd4 Wang is winning now. The d-pawn is too powerful. 66.Ra4+ Kc3 67.Ra6 d2 68.Rc6+ Kd3 69.Rd6+ Kc2 70.Rc6+ Kd1 71.Rd6 f4! 72.gxf4 Ke2 73.Re6+ Re3 74.Rxe3+ Kxe3 75.h7 d1Q 76.h8Q Diagram
A queen and pawn each, but Wang has seen how to win the white queen. 76...Qf3+ 77.Kg1 Qf2+ 78.Kh1 Qf1+ 79.Kh2 g3+! Magnus resigned. After 80. Kxg3 Qg1+ 81. Kh3 Qh1+ the queen on a8 falls. 0-1
(3) Wang Hao - Hikaru Nakamura [B96]
Biel Chess Festival Biel SUI (3), 25.07.2012
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 A Najdorf Sicilian and Wang plays the most aggressive line, 6. Bg5. 6...e6 7.f4 b5!? Of course we expect from Nakamura uncompromising play. This Polugaevsky Variation is very sharp and risky. 8.e5 dxe5 9.fxe5 Qc7 10.exf6 Qe5+ 11.Be2 Qxg5 12.0-0 Ra7 13.Qd3 Rd7 14.Ne4 Qe5 15.Nf3 Diagram
15...Qc7 [15...Qxb2 16.Qe3 is a sharp, known pawn sacrifice. ] 16.Qe3 Bb7 17.Nfg5 h6 18.Qh3 g6 19.Bd3 Nc6 20.Kh1 Ne5 21.Rae1 Bb4 22.Re3 Bd5 23.Be2 Nc4 [Naka could consider the greedy pawn capture 23...Qxc2 which is not easy to refute] 24.Rd3 Qe5 25.a3 Ba5 26.Bg4 Nd6? Diagram
Again, Naka should have been greedy, this time with 26...Nxb2! 27.Rxd5! Qxd5 28.Bxe6! Wang in his element. He gives up a whole rook to unlease the potential of White's position. The f-pawn and knight forks leave Black in dire straights. 28...fxe6 29.f7+ Diagram
29...Kd8 [29...Ke7 30.Qxh6!; 29...Nxf7 30.Nf6+] 30.Nxe6+ Kc8 31.f8Q+ Rxf8 32.Rxf8+ Bd8 33.Nxd6+ Kb8 [33...Qxd6 34.Rxd8+ Rxd8 35.Nxd8+ Kxd8 36.Qd3 is a pawn up king ending.] 34.Rf1 Rxd6 35.Nxd8 Qc4 36.Rg1 Rxd8 37.Qg3+ Kb7 38.Qxg6 Two pawns up, Wang securely wraps it up. 38...Rd2 39.Qxh6 Rxc2 40.Qg7+ Kb6 41.b4 Qd3 42.Re1 Qe3 43.Qf6+ Kc7 44.Qf1 Rf2 45.Qg1 Qf4 46.h3 Qg3 47.Qh2 1-0
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