Chess Room Newsletter #915 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #915

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #915


Apr 24, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

St. Louis Chess Club Wins Blitz Battle Of The Titans 

The biggest club battle of the year took place on Thursday night, as four historic chess clubs took part in a 25-player-per-side round robin tournament. The Mechanics' Institute, St. Louis Chess Club, Marshall Chess Club, and Charlotte Chess Center took part in what was billed the "four corners" match by US Chess. The match featured a grandmaster on each side and 24 other players across several rating categories, making it a truly representative event. Time control was G/8 +2, with players playing the same opponent in each round twice, once as white, once as black. Players showed up ready and motivated, and the electricity was definitely in the air. The four teams entered the field of battle at 4:45pm, and St. Louis emerged victorious when it was all over with 92.5 game points. Charlotte finished in second place with 85 game points, followed by Mechanics' with 67 and Marshall with 55.5. 

In the first round, Mechanics' took on St. Louis. GM Jeffery Xiong was supposed to be their top board, but he just missed joining the match so he would have to skip the round. However, St Louis was balanced across all sections, and they proved too formidable, winning that round 28-20. The bright point of the round for us came from our very own FM Paul Whitehead, who stepped in to play as a last minute replacement. He was worried he would be a little rusty, but he showed up ready to play this evening. Here is a win from this round, annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(9) FM Paul Whitehead (chessmonster666) (2092) - Luke Ye (lukeye2008) (1943) [B52]
Live Chess, 23.04.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.a4 Chessmonster666 (our own Paul Whitehead) goes into unusual territory to get out of book. 4...a6 5.Bxd7+ Qxd7?! [5...Nxd7] 6.0-0 Nc6 7.d3 e6 8.a5 Nf6 9.Nbd2 Be7 10.Nc4 the b6 square is a problem for Black. 10...Qc7 11.Re1 0-0 12.Bf4 e5 13.Bg5 h6 14.Bxf6 Bxf6 15.Nb6 Rae8 16.Nd5 such a nice knight on d5 makes it enjoyable to play the white side. 16...Qd8 17.Qd2 Re6 18.h3 Ne7 19.c4 Nxd5 20.cxd5 Re7 21.b4! White has a queenside initiative as the bishop on f6 is out of play. 21...Rc7 22.Reb1 c4 23.b5 axb5 24.Rxb5 Qd7 25.Rab1?! [25.dxc4 Rxc4 26.Rab1!] 25...c3! This pawn is annoying. 26.Qc2 Rfc8 27.Nh2 Bd8 28.Nf1 f5? [Black should play 28...Bg5 to stop the knight from coming to help on the queenside.] 29.exf5 Qxf5 30.Ne3 Qd7 31.Nc4 Diagram


31...Qe7?! [The best chance was the tactical 31...e4! 32.R5b4 (32.Nb6? Qxb5! 33.Rxb5 exd3 34.Qxd3 c2 would win for Black!) 32...exd3 33.Qxd3 Bg5 34.Qxc3 Qf5 with some activity for the pawn.] 32.Nb6 Rb8 33.R1b3 Qe8 34.R3b4 Qf7 35.Rc4?! [35.Nc4 leaves White in full control] 35...Rxc4 36.dxc4 Bxb6? [36...Bh4! was needed to give counterplay.] 37.Rxb6 Qc7 38.Qxc3 Rc8 39.Qb4 Qxc4 40.Qxc4 Rxc4 41.Rxb7 So White has a pawn up rook ending, which is always difficult to wrap up. 41...Ra4 42.Rb5 Kf7 43.Kf1 Ke8 44.Ke2 g6 45.g3 g5 46.Kf3 h5 47.Rb8+ Kf7 48.Rb5 g4+ 49.hxg4 hxg4+ 50.Ke3 Kf6 51.Rb6 Rxa5 52.Rxd6+ Kf5 53.Rd8 Ra3+ 54.Ke2 Ra2+ 55.Kf1 Rd2 56.d6 Rd5 57.d7 Ke6 58.Rg8 Rxd7 59.Rxg4 This position is a theoretical draw, but in practice, especially in blitz, it can be lost. 59...Kf5 60.Ra4 Rg7 61.Kg2 Rf7 62.Ra5 Ke4? the black king should just stay back and defend. It is now traveling away from the passed white g-pawn. 63.f3+! Kd4 [63...Rxf3 64.Ra4+] 64.g4 Rf8 65.Kg3 Rg8 66.f4! e4 [66...exf4+ 67.Kxf4 Rf8+ 68.Rf5 is a winning postion for White with the black king cut off.] 67.f5 e3 68.Kf4 e2 69.Ra1 Kd5 [69...Kd3 70.f6 Ra8 71.Re1 Kd2 72.Rg1 Ra4+ 73.Kg5] 70.g5 Kd6 71.Re1! Re8 72.g6 now its easy 72...Re7 73.Kg5 Kd7 74.f6 Re5+ 75.Kf4 Re6 76.Kf5 Re3 77.g7 Rf3+ 78.Kg4 Rf1 79.Rxe2 Rxf6 80.g8Q Rd6 81.Qf7+ Kc6 82.Rc2+ Kb6 83.Qb3+ Ka7 84.Ra2+ Ra6 85.Rxa6+ Kxa6 86.Kf5 1-0

In the second round, Mechanics' played Charlotte. We figured this would be a tough match, as Charlotte just edged us out in our last club match. In this round, Charlotte was just too strong, and they took round 2 by a score of 27.5-20.5. However, this round provided the game of the match for Mechanics'. 

GM James Tarjan was our grandmaster and top board for this event. He shocked the chess world in 2017 when he defeated former world champion Vladimir Kramnik at the Isle of Man. We were wondering if Tarjan could bring a little of that magic to this online event, and it appeared in a fabulous win in round 2 against Charlotte GM Daniel Naroditsky. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(7) GM James Tarjan (Tirantes) (2525) - GM Daniel Naroditsky (DanielNaroditsky) (3084) [A20]
Live Chess, 23.04.2020

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 Bc5 4.Nc3 a6!? making sure the bishop has a safe retreat square. 5.Nf3 d6 6.0-0 Ba7 7.e3 Nge7 8.b3 Bg4 9.h3 Bh5 10.Bb2 f5 11.d3 0-0 12.Qd2 Ng6 13.Rae1 Qd7 14.Kh1 We have reached an interesting position from the English Opening where both players have gotten what they want. Tirantes (the great Jim Tarjan) has gotten with White a dynamic position with just a slight edge. Daniel, with Black, has a position he can easily play for a win with. Though there is tehnically a more than 500 rating point difference (and more thatn 40 years age difference) you should not be fooled. Tarjan is a dangerous opponent for anyone in the world (as Kramnik found out a couple years ago). 14...Rae8 15.Ng1!? Kh8 16.f3 White is carefully playing for squares on the kingside. 16...Nge7 17.f4 Rf6 18.Nf3 h6 19.Kh2! slowly covering more territory on the kingside. 19...Bf7 20.Nh4 g5? This aggressive move loosens Black on the kingside. 21.Nf3 Rg8 Diagram


22.Nd5! Suddenly the white pieces come to life. The bishop on b2 is eyeing the black king on h8. 22...Re6 [22...Nxd5 23.cxd5 Bxd5 24.fxe5 Nxe5 25.Nxe5 dxe5 26.Bxe5 would be winning for White.] 23.e4 gxf4 24.gxf4 Reg6 25.Bh1 The white king is safe on h2. The same cannot be said about the black king on h8. 25...fxe4 26.fxe5! dxe5?! [The best hope to hold on was to lose the exchange with 26...R8g7 27.dxe4 Nxe5 28.Nxe5 dxe5 29.Bxe5] 27.Nxe5 Qd6 28.Qf4 crushing 28...Kh7 29.Bxe4 Be8 [29...Bxd5 30.cxd5 is also hopeless] 30.Nxg6 Bxg6 31.Qxd6 Bg1+ may as well get in a check! 32.Rxg1 cxd6 33.Nf6+ Kg7 34.Nxg8+ Kxg8 35.Bxg6 Kf8 36.Ref1+ Kg8 37.Bf7+ 1-0

We were hoping the final round would be our round, and we felt we matche up well against Marshall. However, Marshall took that round 25.5-22.5. We did have some fine wins from our players in this round, here are a couple of games, annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(10) NM Vyom Vidyarthy (2007checkmate) (2253) - FM Peter Giannatos (Giannatos) (2499) [D06]
Live Chess, 23.04.2020

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5!? A tricky move in the opening. 3.Nc3 [3.cxd5 Bxb1 4.Rxb1 Qxd5 5.e3 Qxa2 6.Bd2 is a prominsing pawn sacrifice.] 3...e6 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.e3 Nf6 6.Bd3?! [6.Nf3] 6...dxc4 [6...Bxd3! 7.Qxd3 Nb4 8.Qe2 dxc4 is good for Black] 7.Bxc4 Bd6 8.Bxd6 cxd6 9.Nge2 0-0 10.0-0 Rc8 11.Bd3 Bxd3 12.Qxd3 We have ended up with a completely equal position. 12...d5 13.Rac1 a6 14.Na4 Ne4 15.Nc5 Nxc5 16.Rxc5 Qb6?! [16...Ne5! 17.Qc3 Rxc5 18.dxc5 Qf6] 17.Qc3 Ne7 18.b4 Now White has a little more territory. 18...Rc6 19.Rc1 Rfc8 20.Nf4 Nf5 21.Nd3 Nd6 22.Ne5! Ne4? Diagram


[22...Rxc5 23.bxc5 Qc7 is only slightly worse.] 23.Nxc6! Nxc3 [23...bxc6 24.Rxc6] 24.Ne7+ Kf8 25.Nxc8 Qxb4 26.R5xc3 With two rooks and a knight for the queen it is just a matter of technique. 26...g6 27.g3 h5 28.h4 b5 29.Na7! getting the knight back to a safe, powerful square. 29...Qb2 30.R3c2 Qa3 31.Nc6 a5 32.Ne5 the invasion can't be stopped. 32...b4 33.Rc8+ Kg7 34.R1c7 Checkmate is coming in a few moves. A fine win by 2007checkmate over a strong opponent! 1-0

(8) FM Eric Yuhan Li (wepkins) (2345) - NM Paris Prestia (1d31-0) (2406) [D11]
Live Chess, 23.04.2020

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Be7 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 b5 9.Be2 a6 10.0-0 Bb7 11.Rd1 0-0 12.e4 We have a complex Semi-Slav opening with chances for both sides. 12...Qb6?! [more active is 12...c5 13.dxc5 Bxc5 14.e5 Nd5 15.Nxd5 Bxd5 16.Ng5 g6] 13.e5 Nd5 14.Nxd5?! [14.Bg5 would show the black weakeness on the dark squares.] 14...cxd5 15.Bg5 Rfc8! 16.Qd2 Bf8 17.Bd3 a5 18.h4!? Ba6?! [18...h6!] 19.Qf4 b4?! Diagram

20.Bxh7+! Kxh7 21.Qxf7 A promising sacrifice. Black has a hard time getting his pieces over to defend the king. 21...Be2 22.Bd8! Inspired! Clearing the g5 square for the knight. 22...Qc6?! It's hard to give good advice here, but Black should at least take the material and hope to give something back. [22...Qxd8 23.Ng5+ Kh6 24.Qg8 Nf6 25.exf6 Kg6 26.fxg7 Bxg7 27.Qf7+ Kh6 28.Qxe6+ Qf6 29.Qxe2 leaves White two pawns up, but at least pieces are equal and there is no quick checkmate.] 23.Ng5+ Kh6 24.Qg8 Qc2 25.Qh8+ Kg6 26.Rdc1 [26.Qh7# was also good] 26...Qxc1+ 27.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 28.Kh2 Kf5 29.Qh7+ Kf4 30.Nxe6+ Kg4 31.f3+ Black resigned as 31... Bxf3 32. Qg6 is mate. A wonderful game from Wepkins! 1-0

Since we had agreed that game points would be how we would score the match, St. Louis ended up winning the match with 92.5 total game points, despite losing the match round to Charlotte in the final round 25.5-24.5. Charlotte took second with 85 game points. Surprisingly, Mechanics' took third place with 67 points, and Marshall finished fourth with 55.5, despite winning the round against us. Mechanics' was able to rack up enough points in previous rounds even in losing that helped keep us in third place.

Regardless of the tournament results, everyone had fun, and it was exciting to play such a historic match. It was two and a half hours of action-packed entertainment, high level chess, exciting finishes, and dramatic moments. It was fun for our Mechancs' team to work together so closely on one event, as we had GM Nick de Firmian and FM Jim Eade did the commentary, FM Paul Whitehead played in the match, and Judit and I managed the tournament. It was a team effort, and we were happy that the chess community could come together. We want to thank Grant Oen and Peter Giannatos from Charlotte Chess Center, Tony Rich and Mike Kummer from St. Louis Chess Club and Bryan Quick from Marshall Chess Club. I especially want to thank all the players who participated as they all volunteered their time to make this happen, which we greatly appreciate. Here was our team roster:


GM James Tarjan 10991820 2469 Board 1
FM Paul Whitehead 10478936 2355 U2400 
FM Eric Yuhan Li 15688436 2369 U2400 
NM Vyom Vidyarthi 15107740 2247 U2400 
NM Ruiyang Yan 15462690 2242 U2400 
Pranav Sairam 15424820 2087 U2200 
Theo Biyiasas 13989054 2175 U2200 
Ethan Boldi 15088362 2120 U2200 
Abhinav Penagalapati 15467440 2060 U2200 
Omya Vidyarthi 15782318 1934 U2000 
Anika Rajaram 15446678 1858 U2000 
Lauren Goodkind 12778910 1856 U2000 
Rohan Rajaram 15739716 1905 U2000 
Barbara Goodkind 12778604 1791 U1800 
David Rakonitz 12931024 1622 U1800 
Juan Cendejas 12717746 1718 U1800 
Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 U1800 
Joseph Roberts 16864855 1448 U1600 
Jahaan Ansari 21004356 1446 U1600 
Reka Sztaray 14656444 1533 U1600 
Matt LeForce 15808732 1547 U1600 
Daniel Perlov 16465203 1364 U1400 
Warren Tian 12906125 1380 U1400 
Jon Cendejas 15121586 1220 U1400 
Rhianna Lope 15793393 1057 U1400 

To watch the stream of the match, please follow this link:

For full results, please click here: 

R1 v St. Louis

R2 v Charlotte

R3 v Marshall


Mechanics' Institute Tuesday Night Online

The Tuesday Night Online drew 67 players for the premier 5-round G/5 +2 battle. The gold medalist this evening was NM Ruiyang Yan, who went a perfect 5/5 en route to her first TNO gold medal. The silver goes to Rohan Rajaram and the bronze to Lauren Goodkind, both with 4.5.

Below is her final round win against a very tough Abhinav Penagalapati. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(2) NM Ruiyang Yan (jij2018) (2285) - Abhinav Penagalapati (qing29) (2075) [B31]
Live Chess, 21.04.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Qc7 8.Be3 b6 9.Qd2 0-0 10.Bf4 Qd7 11.Bh6 White has gotten a slight advantage from the opening. 11...a5 12.a4 Ba6 The bishop is not that active here. 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.0-0 Rad8 15.Qe3 Qc7 16.Nd2 e5 17.f4 exf4 18.Rxf4 Nd7 19.Raf1 f6! It is important to hold squares on the kingside. This keeps White's advantage to a minimum. 20.Qf2 Qd6 21.Ne2 Ne5 22.Nf3 Rd7 [22...Bxd3!? 23.cxd3 Nxd3 24.Qe3 Nxf4 25.Nxf4 would be a very reasonable material exchange.] 23.b3 Rdf7 24.h4 Bc8 25.Nxe5 Qxe5 26.Ng3 h5! 27.Qd2 Bg4 28.Kh1 Rd7 29.Qe1 Rd6 30.R1f2 Re8 31.Nf1 Bc8?! 32.Ne3 Rde6 33.Qf1 [33.Nc4! Qc7 34.e5] 33...Rf8 34.Nc4 Qc7 35.c3 Ba6 36.d4 cxd4 37.cxd4 Bxc4 38.bxc4 Qd6?! 39.Qd3 [39.e5 Qe7 40.Qb1] 39...Rd8 40.d5 cxd5 41.cxd5 Rf8 42.Qc3 Re5 43.Qd4 Rf7 44.Rc2 Qa3? 45.Rf3? [45.Rxf6! Rxf6 46.Qxe5 would win] 45...Qe7 46.Re2 Rf8 47.Rc3! Rf7 48.Rc6 Qb4 49.Qxb4 axb4 50.Rxb6 f5 51.Rxb4 Rfe7 [51...fxe4 52.Rbxe4 Rxd5 is a pawn down but fair drawing chances] 52.d6 Rd7 53.Rd4 Kf6 [53...fxe4] 54.Kg1 fxe4 55.Kf2 Ke6? Diagram


[55...Re6] 56.Rdxe4! Rxe4 57.Rxe4+ White now wins the ending. To recapture the d-pawn leads to a lost king and pawn ending. 57...Kd5 58.Re2 Kc6 59.Rd2 Rf7+ 60.Ke3 Kd7 61.Ke4 Rf5 62.g3 Ra5 63.Rd4 Rf5 64.Rd5 Rf1 65.Rg5 Rf6 66.Rd5 Rf1 67.a5 Ra1 68.Kf4 Ra4+ 69.Kf3 Ra3+ 70.Kf4 Ra4+ 71.Ke3 Ra3+ 72.Kf2 Ra2+ 73.Kf3 Ra3+ 74.Kg2 Ra2+ 75.Kh3 slow, but sure technique. 75...Ra3 76.Rg5 Kxd6 77.Rxg6+ Ke7 78.Rg5 Kf6 79.Rxh5 1-0

WFM Natalya Tsodikova provided an entertaining game befitting her style with this beautiful attack.

(1) Brendyn Estolas (Brendyn33) (1735) - WFM Natalya Tsodikova (natrost2000) (2276) [A27]
Live Chess, 21.04.2020

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 d6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Nge7 6.e4 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0 f5 10.exf5 Nxf5 [10...Bxd4! 11.Bxd4 Nxf5 is a good way to win back the dark squared bishop and equalize the game.] 11.Nxf5 Bxf5 12.Qd2 Qd7 13.Rfd1 Bg4 14.f3 Be6 15.c5 Rad8 16.cxd6 cxd6 17.Nb5 [The centralizing 17.Ne4! would give White some edge.] 17...d5 18.Nd4 Bf7 19.Rac1 Ne5?! 20.Bb5! Qd6 21.Bf4 [21.b3!] 21...a6 22.Bf1 Qb6 23.Be3?! [23.Qf2] 23...Qd6?! [Black could have siezed the initiative with 23...Nc4! 24.Bxc4 dxc4 when everything is working well] 24.b3! Rfe8 25.a4 Rd7 26.h3 h5?! 27.f4! Nc6 28.Nxc6 bxc6 29.Bc5 Qf6 30.Bxa6 White has won a pawn, so Black needs to generate counterplay quickly. 30...Bh6 31.Rf1 Re4 32.g3 h4?! [32...d4! would keep the game messy.] 33.Bd3 Re8 34.g4 Now White has a pawn and is clearly in control. 34...Bg7 35.g5 Qe6 36.f5! Qe5 37.Qf2 gxf5 38.Bxf5 Rb7 39.g6 [39.Qxh4! threatening Qh7 mate would finish the game.] 39...Be6 40.Rce1 Diagram


[40.Qxh4!] 40...Bxf5 41.Rxe5 Rxe5 42.Bd4 Re2 43.Qxe2 Bxd4+ 44.Kh2 Be4 45.Qh5 Re7 46.Rf5!? Bd3 47.Rg5? White has been winning for some moves, but now errs. The easiest win here is [47.Rxd5 Re2+ 48.Qxe2 Bxe2 49.Rxd4] 47...Re2+ 48.Rg2 Be5+ 49.Kg1 Bd4+ 50.Kh1? White now had to repeat moves and make a draw. Unwilling to accept that result leads to a loss 50...Re1+ 51.Kh2 Be5+ 52.Rg3 hxg3+ White resigns. Rather a tradgedy for Brendyn33. 0-1

Another slugfest that caught the attention of the commentating team was this round 2 match.

(3) Jonah Busch (Kondsaga) (1615) - Javier Silva (J3Chess24) (1758) [B12]
Live Chess, 21.04.2020

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 e6 [3...dxe4 4.fxe4 e5! is the usual response to this variation] 4.e5 Nd7 5.f4 c5 6.c3 f6 7.Nf3 b6?! 8.Bd3 [8.f5! exf5 9.Bb5 would leave Black in difficulties.] 8...Bb7?! 9.0-0 f5 10.Ng5 Ke7 11.g4 h6 12.Nh3 [12.Nxe6! Kxe6 13.Bxf5+ Ke7 14.Qe1 would be an attack worth more than the piece.] 12...g6 13.Be3 Kf7 14.gxf5 exf5 15.c4 Ke6?! this is really too brave of his majesty. 16.Nc3 Ne7 17.Qb3 cxd4 18.Bxd4 Nb8 19.Rad1 Nbc6 20.cxd5+ Nxd5 Diagram


21.Bc4! Nxd4 22.Rxd4 Bc5 23.Rfd1! Rc8 24.Kf1? [24.Bxd5+ Bxd5 25.Nxd5 is simply winning] 24...Bxd4 25.Rxd4 Rc5 [25...Rxc4! 26.Qxc4 Ba6 27.Qxa6 Ne3+ 28.Ke2 Qxd4] 26.Na4 Ra5 [26...Rxc4!] 27.Qd1?! [27.Qg3] 27...b5? [27...Ba6! would be much better for Black. The game move turns it around.] 28.Nc5+ Ke7 29.Nxb7 Ne3+! 30.Ke2 Nxd1 31.Rxd8 Rxd8 32.Nxd8? [32.Nxa5! threatening Nc6 check instead would win] 32...Kxd8 now Black should win the ending. 33.Bf7 Nxb2 34.Bxg6 Nc4 35.Bxf5 Rxa2+ 36.Kf3 b4 37.Be6 Ra3+ 38.Ke4 b3! 39.Bxc4 b2 40.Bd3 Rxd3 41.Kxd3 b1Q+ 42.Kd4 Qb2+ 43.Kd5 Qxh2 0-1

For full results of this event, please follow this link:


Mechanics’ Online Event Recap

The Mechanics' Institute played a club friendly against the Southern Arizona Chess Association on Monday, April 20. We put together a 13-player all scholastic team, except for me. I stepped in as a last minute replacement for someone, but this group was a strong bunch. At 1800, I was the lowest rated player of the whole group! Time control was G/30 

Mechanics' ended up winning this match 15-11, and our team was led by NM Vyom Vidyarthi, NM Ruiyang Yan, NM Sriram Krishnakumar, Ethan Boldi and Pranav Sairam. 

Here is a nice win by Pranav Sairam from the match:

(4) jacobsong1 (1904) - Pranav Sairam (chesspilot01) (2095) [D35]
Live Chess, 20.04.2020

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.e3 [Of course not the old trap 6.Nxd5? Nxd5 7.Bxd8 Bb4+!] 6...Be7 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Qc2 c6 9.Nf3 Re8 10.0-0 Nf8 We have a classic Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation. 11.h3 Ng6 12.Rab1 a5 13.a3 Ne4 14.Bxe7 Qxe7 15.b4 axb4 16.axb4 White proceeds with the minority attack, planning to weaken the black pawn structure with 17. b5. Black must create play on the kingside, and chesspilot does this energetically. 16...Ng5! 17.Nh2?! [17.Nxg5 Qxg5 18.Kh2 Nh4 19.Rg1 is safer] 17...Nh4 18.Rfe1?! Diagram


18...Nxh3+! 19.gxh3 Qg5+ 20.Ng4 Bxg4 21.hxg4 Qxg4+ 22.Kf1 Nf3! 23.Red1? [23.Bxh7+ Kh8 24.Red1 g6 is much better (in fact winning) for Black, but still better than the game move.] 23...Qg1+ 24.Ke2 Nxd4+ 25.Kd2 Qxf2+ that's all folks 26.Kc1 Nxc2 27.Bxc2 Qxe3+ 28.Kb2 d4 29.Na4 Rxa4 30.Bxa4 Qc3+ 31.Ka2 Re2+ 0-1

We would like to thank Robby Adamson and Michelle Martinez for their help in organizing this match!

For full results, follow this link:


The 24-player Sunday Late Night Showdown on April 19 went to NM Ruiyang Yan, who finished with 5/5, followed by Mephistotelian and Atrozen with 4/5. For full results, follow this link:


The 49-player G/5 +2 Wednesday Late Night Showdown on April 22 was won by Abhinav Penagalapati with 4.5/5. In 2nd place was Brendyn Estolas and 3rd was NM Vyom Vidyarthi, all with 4/5. 

Here is a nice win from this event.

(5) David Askin (David_Askin) (1863) - Alan Finkelstein (stratus_junior) (2035) [D11]
Live Chess, 22.04.2020

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0-0 0-0 8.e4 dxe4 More usual is 8...dxc4. White gets a little more freedom now is this Semi-Slav opening. 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 h6 11.b3 e5 12.Bb2?! [12.Bc2! would avoid the coming advance and keep a little edge for White.] 12...f5! 13.Bc2 e4 14.Ne5 Qc7 15.Nxd7 Bxh2+?! [15...Bxd7 is very pleasant for Black. The game move is a bit greedy.] 16.Kh1 Bxd7 17.g3 Now Black must give up the bishop for 3 pawns. 17...Bxg3 18.fxg3 Qxg3 19.Qe2 [19.Qh5! keeps better control of the kingside squares.] 19...Rae8 20.Rae1 f4 21.Bxe4? Diagram


This gets rid of one of the powerful central pawns, but at too high a cost. The calm [21.Qh2 would keep even chances.] 21...Bf5 22.Qf3 Bxe4! Now White must lose either a rook or queen for rook. 23.Qxe4 Rxe4 24.Rxe4 f3 0-1

For full results, follow this link:


Online Class with FM Paul Whitehead

Wednesdays 6:30PM - 8:00PM

This class is designed to help players who are 1000+ learn how to think and what to look for in games after the opening all the way through the endgame. Modeled after his own style of coaching, Paul uses games of students and current and historical games to discuss what players should be thinking about in order to get their chess to the next level. This class is dynamic, and encourages student participation and discussion. The goal is for students to understand the thinking so they can apply what is learned in their own games.

Students will need a Zoom account, and Paul will use an interactive board to conduct the class online. This will be a live class, it is not per-recorded. While this class is aimed at the active tournament player looking to rise in rating, it is suitable for everyone that wants to improve their chess by learning how a master thinks and sees games. Paul is a former U.S. Junior Champion and commentator on our Mechanics' broadcasts.

$25/class for a 90-minute class. MI needs a minimum of four students to host the class, and has a maximum of 12 students.

Register online:


Mechanics Chess Social #2
Carol Meyer, Executive Director of US Chess
GM Rauf Mamedov


This week we had two special guests:

Next week's guest is: Elizabeth Shaughnessy from the Berkeley Chess School. Join us May 1st from 12PM on

Chess and Twitch: Home Away From Home by WIM Dr. Alexey Root

Dr. Alexey Root wote a great article for Chess Life Online on how our chess community is expressing themselves digitally given the current state of the world, and she mentioned Mechanics' and our broadcast. Please check out the article here:

We appreciate Alexey's support of Mechanics' and our broadcast!

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Upcoming Tournament/Club Match schedule

Saturday, April 25 - 3PM VIA! - join from 2PM
Saturday, April 25 - 4PM - join from 3:45PM
Sunday, April 26 - 4PM - join from 3:45PM
Tuesday, April 28 - 4:15PM - join from 4PM
Thursday, April 30 - 4PM - join from 3:45PM
Saturday, May 2 - 4PM - join from 3:45PM
Sunday, May 3 - 4PM - join from 3:45PM

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Any questions? [email protected]

Scholastic Games Of The Week

Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian


1.e4 d5 2.f3?! This is not the pawn you want to move early in the opening. Better to just take the d-pawn - 2.exd5. 2...Nf6 3.c4?! dxe4 winning a nice central pawn 4.Nc3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.Be2 Nc6 7.0-0 e5 8.Re1 Bc5+ 9.Kh1 0-0 10.d3 Re8 Diagram


So far Black has played a model game. All the pieces are out on good squares, plus that extra pawn. 11.h3 Bh5 12.Nd5?! Nxd5 13.cxd5 Qxd5 14.Rf1 Rad8 15.Nd4?! Bxd4 [15...Bxe2 16.Nxe2 Qxd3 would be a winning position three pawns up and no worries at all] 16.Bxh5 g6 17.Bf3 Qb5 18.Bg5 Black is still well ahead, but must be careful here. 18...Rd7 19.Bxc6 Qxc6 20.Qd2 Qb5 21.Bf6 Qxb2?? [with 21...Re6 22.Qh6 Rxf6! 23.Rxf6 Qxb2 Black would still be well ahead] 22.Qh6 Oops. No way to stop checkmate. 22...Qxa1 23.Qg7# 1-0


(2) KolbyR (1264) - TopWittyGem (1574)
Live Chess

1.e4 c5 2.c4!? d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd1 Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.c5?! This just gives up a pawn. Much better to develop and castle! [7.Nf3 Bg7 8.Be2 0-0 9.0-0] 7...dxc5 8.Qxd8+ Nxd8 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Bxd7+ Nxd7 11.Nf3 Nc6 12.Nd5 Rc8 13.0-0 Bg7 Black has done a nice job of taking the pawn and then getting the black pieces out. 14.Rb1 Nf6 15.Ng5?! h6 16.Nxf6+ Bxf6 17.Nf3 0-0?! giving back the hard earned pawn 18.Be3 [18.Bxh6] 18...Ne5 19.Nxe5 Bxe5 20.Bxh6 Rfd8 21.Bg5 f6 22.Be3 b6 23.Rbd1?! [23.b3!] 23...Rd6?! [23...Bxb2! would get the pawn back and leave Black with an excellent queenside pawn majority.] 24.Rxd6 exd6 25.b3 Rd8 26.Rd1 Kf7 27.f4 Bc3 28.e5?! It looks like a great pin, but White forgot about the black bishop. 28...fxe5 29.fxe5 Bxe5 30.Bg5 Bf6? Diagram


[30...Re8] 31.Bf4? [31.Rf1! would just win the bishop! Now Black should be winning with the central and queenside pawns rolling.] 31...d5 32.Bc7 Rd7 33.Bb8 Ke6 34.Kf2 Be5?! 35.Bxe5?! [look for those pins! 35.Re1! Rf7+ 36.Kg1 Rf5 37.g4 Rg5 38.Kf2 Kf6 39.h4! Bxb8 40.hxg5+ Kxg5] 35...Kxe5 36.Ke3 d4+ 37.Kd3 Rf7! 38.Re1+ Kd5 39.Re2 b5! now the pawns are unstoppable. 40.a4 c4+ 41.bxc4+ bxc4+ 42.Kd2 c3+ 43.Kc2 Kc4 44.Re4 Rf2+ 45.Kd1 Kd3 46.Rg4 Rf1# 0-1


(3) BusyLargeMonster (955) - dinosaurus333 (1241)
Live Chess

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Bb5+? Oops. This check is the wrong time. 3...Qxb5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qa6 6.Nd5 Nice try to get back in the game. Black responds precisely though. 6...Qa5! 7.0-0? The lesson for this game is "hold on to your pieces!" [7.c4] 7...Qxd5 Two pieces up and no worries should be easy. 8.d3 Bg4 9.Bg5? Bxf3! 10.b4 Now White is being very generous, though he is already too much down for this game. 10...Bxd1 11.Raxd1 Qxg5 12.Rde1 Nf6 13.Re2 Ng4 14.Rfe1 Qh4 15.f3 Qxh2+ 16.Kf1 Qh1# 0-1

(4) LateLoyalBagel (1322) - TopWittyGem (1575)
Live Chess

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.d3 [6.d4 cxd4 7.Nxd4 would be a Sicilian Dragon. In the game White moves the pawn to d3 and keeps the game closed.] 6...0-0 7.Bf4 h6 8.Qd2 Kh7 9.Rad1 a6 10.Rfe1 b5 11.Bb3 Bb7 12.a4 [A good alternative is to open the game with White being fully developed - 12.e5 dxe5 13.Nxe5] 12...Nc6?! giving up a pawn 13.axb5 axb5 14.Nxb5 Nh5 15.Be3 Bxb2? wanting to get the pawn back Black allows a trap 16.Bxh6?! not a bad move at all, but [16.c3! Qb6 17.Bc4 would just win the dark squared bishop on b2] 16...Re8? [16...Bg7!] 17.c3 Ba6 Diagram


18.Bc4?! [18.Ng5+! Kxh6 19.Nxf7+ Kg7 20.Qh6+ would be crushing] 18...Na5 19.Be3 [19.Ng5+] 19...Nxc4 20.dxc4 Bxb5 21.cxb5 Ba3 22.Ra1 Qa5 23.Ra2 [23.Reb1 Reb8 24.Qd3 would still leave White well ahead as the bishop on a3 cannot escape] 23...Qxb5 24.Rea1 Qb3 25.g3? Diagram


[25.Qd5!] 25...Bc1! Black cleverly escapes the problems with this tactic. If 26. Qxc1 Rxa2 26.Rxa8 Bxd2 27.Rxe8 Bxe3 28.fxe3 Qxc3 29.Ra7? [White needed to play defense with 29.Re1] 29...Qxe3+ 30.Kg2 Qe2+! 31.Kh3 Qxf3 32.Rexe7 Nf4+ 33.Kh4 Qh5# A great battle! 0-1


(5) DarkCapableCharm (1327) - CKK0207SanRamon (1225)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6 4.0-0 Nf6? this allows White's next powerful move. If Black plays with this move order he must play first 4...Be7 and then 5...Nf6 so that he would be ready to castle and defend f7. 5.Ng5! d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 Diagram


7.Qf3 [7.Nxf7! Kxf7 8.Qf3+ Ke6 9.Nc3 Nce7 10.d4 would be a winning sacrifice here. The black king in the center wouldn't survive long.] 7...Be6?! [7...Qxg5! 8.Bxd5 Qf6 would guard everything] 8.Nxe6 fxe6 9.Qg4 Qf6 10.Nc3 Nde7?! This gives away an important pawn. The knight should have stayed at its post. 11.Bxe6 g6?! [11...Nd4] 12.Nb5! Kd8 13.d3 h5 14.Qh3 a6 15.Nc3 Nd4 16.Nd5? [16.Bb3 leaves White a pawn up with the black king in the middle] 16...Nxe6? an oversight just as Black was finally getting a break. [16...Qxe6! is a piece ahead] 17.Nxf6 1-0

Online Chess Classes for Kids

Do you have a child who is eager to learn or play some chess? 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.

Coaches are meeting students via a closed and secured zoom. Classes are supervised by coach and often one other staff member, and recorded. After 60 minutes of interactive class, the students are encouraged to log onto and join the upcoming tournament, or just play online a few games with fellow club members.
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

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

4/25 Saturday - Club Match with Club 64 from Medona, Italy
Format: club match - everyone will be paired up with a player from the Italian club.
time contorl: G/15+10
Saturday Late Night Showdown
Format: 5 rounds of G/5+2
Join from 8PM  -
Start: 9PM
4/26 Sunday - Sunday Afternoon Matinee
Format: 3 rounds of G/30+0
Join from 1PM
Start: 2PM
Saturday Late Night Showdown
Format: 5 rounds of G/5+2
Join from 8PM  -
Start: 9PM
4/27 Monday - Monday Online Arena
Format: 90 mins of G/5+2 - as many games as you can.
Start: 6:30PM
4/28 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Online Rapid
Format: 5 rounds of G/10+2 (Swiss)
Start: 6:30PM
4/29 Wednesday - Late Night Showdown
Format: 5SS G/5+2
Join the tournament: 8PM:
Starts 9PM.
4/30 Thursday - First every Mechanics' FISHER RANDOM tournament
4/30 Thursday - Thursday Late Night Showdown
Format: 5 rounds of G/5 +2 
Join from 5:30PM:
First game starts at 6:30PM
5/1 Friday - Friday Evening Online Blitz
Format: 10 rounds of G/3+2 (Swiss)
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's column will resume next week



GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Nick de Firmian’s Column

Magnus to the rescue!

While almost the entire world is locked down with the coronavirus, there are no sporting events. So many billions of people staying at home, many terribly bored and wanting to see some action somewhere. In steps Magnus and the Norwegians with his Magnus Carlsen Invitational. This is an on-line single round robin tournament with an unusual and entertaining format. Instead of a single classical game between the opponents, they play a mini-match of four rapid games, each player getting 15 minutes for the game and 10 second increment per move. If the match is tied after the four games, then one Armageddon game is played to decide the match. Players are not eliminated – it is a round robin – and Magnus/sponsors have chosen an elite and entertaining field. The participants are Magnus himself. Fabiano Caruana. Ian Nepomniachtchi, Ding Liren, Maxim Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura and young superstar Alireza Firouzja. The tournament takes place from April 18-30 during these challenging days of coronavirus closures.

The games are fast so there are mistakes, but still great moves. We have chosen entertaining games with tense positions and problems for both sides. We hope you enjoy these, and hope you tune into the tournament to avoid the corona blues.

(1) Firouzja,Alizera - Carlsen,Magnus [B30]
Magnus Invitational, 20.04.2020

A battle between the world's one teenage super talent and the (now) very seasoned veteran, the World Champion. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Most people are afraid to play 3. d4 and meet Magnus's Sveshnikov Sicilian. 3...e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.d3 Qc7 6.Qe2 e5 7.Nbd2 Ne7 8.Nc4 Ng6 9.h4 h5 10.g3 d6 11.Bd2 f6 12.Ne3 We have a fairly closed position where Black has the two bishops at the expense of doubled pawns. Chances are equal. 12...Be7 13.Ng1 Bd8 14.Qf3 Nf8 There is a lot of maneuvering because time is not so important when things are closed and there are no good breakthroughs. 15.Ne2 Ne6 16.Qg2 a5 17.a4 Nd4 18.f4 Be6 19.b3 Qd7 20.f5 Bf7 21.Nc1 d5 22.0-0 Diagram

22...c4!? Magnus sacrifices a pawn to break open the position. More circumspect was [22...Rb8] 23.bxc4 dxc4 24.dxc4 Bb6 25.Rb1 Qa7 26.Kh2 Rd8 27.Rb2 0-0 28.g4 [28.c3 Nb5 29.cxb5 Bxe3 30.Bxe3 Qxe3 31.b6 Rd7 32.Qe2 Qxc3 33.Nb3 Rfd8 is about equal] 28...Ne2!? Aggressive play! This leads to an exchange sacrifice for the bishop pair and play. 29.Qxe2 Rxd2 30.Qxd2 Bxe3 31.Qe2 Qd4 32.Nd3 Qxe4 33.Re1 Bf4+ 34.Kh3 Qxc4 35.gxh5 Bh6 the game is still about level. The two bishops are very good here but the white rooks are also powerful with their open files. 36.Rb7 Qxa4 37.Rg1 Rd8 38.Rg3 Qa1 39.Nf2?! Rd2? [39...a4 pushing the passed pawn would leave White struggling and on the defensive. Magnus gets too eager to finish the game, as often happens in rapid chess. This one mistake leads to a sudden turnaround.] 40.Rb8+ Kh7 Diagram
41.Qg4! The deadly threat of 42. Qg6+! is a mating attack for which there is no defense. 41...Qf1+ 42.Rg2 Qxg2+ and Black resigned. Thus young Firouzja won a game against the great World Champion. However, Magnus cruised to two victories in the other games and so won the match. 1-0


(2) Ding,Liren - Caruana,Fabiano [D73]
Magnus Invitational, 21.04.2020

The battle between the number 2 and number 3 rated players in the world. Both have played half the Candidates Tournament where Fabiano is slightly disappointed and Ding Liren more so. Yet they are back at home, playing on-line and feeling better. 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.d4 Nf6 5.c4 c6 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Ne5 This is a solid opening for White, but Ding now plays aggressively. 8...e6 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bf4 Nfd7 11.0-0 Nxe5 12.Bxe5 Bxe5 13.dxe5 Nc6 14.Qd2 Kg7 15.Rad1 b6 [15...Nxe5 16.e4! wins the pawn back with some initiative] 16.f4 Ba6 17.Rf3 Rc8 18.g4 Qh4!? Ding is pushing aggressively on the kingside, so Fabi takes his queen over to interfere with the assault. This is definitely a dangerous assignment for her majesty as she is surrounded by the enemy. 19.Rg3 h5?! 20.g5?! [20.gxh5! Qxh5 21.Rh3 Qg4 22.f5! is a very dangerous attack] 20...Rfd8 21.Rh3 Qg4 22.Rg3 Qh4 23.Rf1 Ne7 24.f5 Diagram

White is threatening 25. Rf4 to trap the queen and 25. f6+ to fork the knight and king. What to do? 24...gxf5? [Black had the superb counter 24...Nxf5! 25.Rf4 d4! when 26.Rxh4? (26.Nd5 Nxg3 27.Rxh4 Nxe2+ 28.Kf2 exd5 is only slightly better for Black) 26...dxc3 is winning for Black] 25.Rf4 d4 26.Nb1 Qxf4 27.Qxf4 Ng6 28.Qd2 Nxe5 Black has a rook and two pawns and initiative for the queen. It's not enough, but gives chances in rapid play. 29.Ra3 Bb5 30.Rxa7 Ng4 31.Na3 Bxe2 32.h3! [32.Qxe2 Rc1+ 33.Bf1 Ne3] 32...d3 33.hxg4 hxg4 34.Nb1 e5 35.Qe3 Rc5 36.Nd2 Rd4 37.Qg3 Rc1+ 38.Kh2 f4 Diagram
Black has total domination over the central squares, which looks very impressive. White however still has the queen and pieces that can press a speedy attack. 39.Qh4 g3+ 40.Kh3 Rd6 41.Bd5! The bishop stops checkmate on h1 and provides the needed extra help to push through the white attack. 41...Re6 42.Rxf7+! Kxf7 43.Qh7+ Kf8 44.Qf5+ Caruana resigned this most entertaining game. Yet he had to fortitude to even the match in the next game and prevail in the armageddon game. 1-0


(3) Caruana,Fabiano - Carlsen,Magnus [B03]
Magnus Invitational, 22.04.2020

1.e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Defense. Rather a surprise from Magnus, but this is rapid chess so experimentation is in order. 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4 g6!? Fabiano's aggressive Four Pawns' Attack is met by this unusual move. 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 Be6 8.Nf3 0-0 9.b3 dxe5! 10.dxe5 Nc6 White has more space, but Black leads in development. The opening has turned out to give balanced chances. 11.Ne4?! f6 12.Nc5 Qc8 White's lack of development is a worry now. 13.exf6 Bxf6 14.Be2 [14.Rc1 Bg4 15.Be2 Rd8 also favors Black] 14...Rd8 15.Qc1 Bf5 Diagram

The white rook is lost to one of the bishops. Fabiano wishes to take the valuable dark squared bishop for it. Still it is a speculative exchange sacrifice. 16.0-0 Nd7 17.Nd3 Bxa1 18.Qxa1 Nf6 19.Nde5 Nxe5 20.Nxe5 Qe6 White has nicely placed pieces. If it were only a pawn sacrifice he would be happy. 21.Bd4 Nd7 22.h3 Nxe5 23.Bxe5 c6 24.Qc3 [24.Bh8 Qe3+ 25.Rf2 Kf7 26.Qg7+ Ke6 forces White to trade queens with 27.Qc3 Qxc3 28.Bxc3] 24...h5 25.Re1 Kf7 26.Qg3 [26.c5! Qd7 27.Bc4+ e6 28.Bd6 Would energize the white position.] 26...Rd2 27.Bf3 Rd3 28.Qg5 Rad8 29.Kf2?! [29.Qh4] 29...Rd2+ 30.Kg3?! Fabi wanted to leave his other pieces on their good squares and decided to "improve" his king's position. Sadly the white monarch has marched up to dangerous territory. 30...R8d3! The black rooks radiate power on these central squares deep in the white camp. 31.Qh6 Diagram

31...Bxh3! 32.Kh4 There is no escape. No better is [32.gxh3 Rxf3+ 33.Kxf3 Qxh3+ 34.Ke4 Qd3#; or 32.Qg7+ Ke8 33.Qh8+ Kd7] 32...Rxg2 Fabiano resigns. There is no escape for the white king.0-1


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