Chess Room Newsletter #919 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #919

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #919


May 23, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

2020 San Francisco Scholastic Championship Online This Weekend, with over 250 Kids Participating!

This Saturday May 23rd we will have what might be the largest scholastic event hosted by Mechanics' Institute. The annual San Francisco Scholastic Chess Championship, a free event, is normally held in Golden Gate Park. We had to postpone the live event, originally scheduled in March, due to COVID-19. As we have honed our skills in virtual programming over the last two months, we are proud to be able to organize the 2020 championship online. We expect nearly 300 kids to participate. The championship USCF online rated section will be played on, and the non-rated sections will take place on

We will also have special guests coming to join our broadcast throughout the event. We are scheduled to have GM Susan Polgar, GM Sam Shankland, GM Patrick Wolff, WIM Ivette Garcia Morales, WFM Alexandra Botez, FM Jim Eade, Coach Jay Stallings, and Adisa Banjoko among others in support of scholastic chess and the spirit and importance of friendship, competition and sportsmanship in these times. Tune in starting at 10:45AM to our Twitch channel: The tournament begins at 11AM.

The link to follow the championship section of the tournament is here:

For information about the event, follow this link:

We hope to see many of you follow, watch and support the games and broadcast. A special thank you to Dr. Judit Sztaray for organizing this large event!

Mechanics' Institute Defeats White Knights Chess Team In Dramatic Final Game

Club 64 Modena, Italy Avenges Loss With Convincing Victory

The Mechanics' Institute Chess Club played in two matches last Saturday with very different results. In the afternoon match, we played against the White Knights Chess Team of GM Elshan Moradiabadi and WGM Sabina Foisor. We coordinated to have an 18-player match with players of similar skill. We ended up being one player short, so just takes the number of players present and matches them up, resulting in a 17-player match. The other full disclosure is that I had to play in the match so we wouldn't be two players short. Since my rating is low due to inactivity, I got paired lower than my actual rating.

Now that the diclosures are out of the way, the match went according to plan in terms of equal skill. The match played down to a 16.5-16.5 tie with one game left. After an exciting time scramble, Andy Schley pulled off an amazing comeback with to deliver the match 17.5-16.5.

FM Paul Whitehead jumped into action as our first board. Our chessmonster666 showed he still has the will and skill to deliver top quality chess for the Mechanics' team.

(3) FM Paul Whitehead (chessmonster666) (2282) - 1e41-O (2240) [B52]
Live Chess, 17.05.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.a4 Nf6 5.d3 g6 6.0-0 Bg7 7.Re1 0-0 8.Nbd2 a6 9.Bxd7 Nfxd7!? This time for development but has logic to it to place the black knights on useful squares. 10.Nc4 Nc6 11.a5! b5 12.axb6 Nxb6 13.Nfd2 Nxc4 14.Nxc4 Qc7 15.c3 White has a small edge since he has one long pawn chain and Black has the isolated a-pawn. 15...Rfb8 16.Bf4 Ne5 17.Bxe5! Bxe5 18.Ra2?! e6?! [18...Bxh2+! 19.Kxh2 d5+ 20.Kg1 dxc4 21.dxc4 Leaves Whie pawns as damaged as Black's.] 19.Qf3 Bg7 20.Rea1 Qc6 21.h4 h5 22.g3 White has an annoying little edge. 22...d5? this break weakens the white squares in the center. Patient defense was needed instead. 23.exd5 exd5 24.Ne3 Rd8 Diagram


25.c4! The white knight gains the central d5 square and White wins a pawn. 25...Rd6 26.Nxd5 Re8 27.Kg2 Qc8 28.Rb1 Bd4 29.b4 cxb4 30.Rxb4 Kg7 31.Rb3 Re1 32.Qf4! Be5 33.Qd2 Ra1 34.Rxa1 Bxa1 35.Qf4 Re6 36.Qb8 Qc5 37.Qc7 Qd4? [37...Bd4 38.Qxc5 Bxc5 39.Kf1 is a winning ending for White but it would take some technique.] 38.Rb7! There is no good way to guard f7.1-0

As the match progressed, the White Knights seemed to dominate early, with results looking like we would head for an early defeat. The Mechanics' team started to mount a strong comeback, particularly in the second games. As the match and broadcast neared the end, Mechanics' needed to win two out of three remaining games, and one game, needed a bit of a miracle. Prayers were answered, as our very own Coach Andy Schley delivered the victory. He was aware during the match that his game would be deciding it all, and played for the win despite being worse in the game. The magic of rapid chess and time trouble, combined with a relentless will to survive, produced this amazing result.

(1) Andrew Schley (andrewschley) (1693) - CruiseShip (1647) [C70]
Live Chess, 17.05.2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Bc5 5.c3 b5 6.Bc2 d6 7.0-0 Bg4 8.d3 Nf6 9.Be3 Ba7 10.Nbd2 A classically played Ruy Lopez opening. Both sides have placed their pieces well. 10...Ne7 11.Bxa7 Rxa7 12.Re1 Ng6 13.h3 Be6 14.Nf1 0-0 15.Ne3 Nf4 16.Nh2 [16.d4! Leaves White a little more aggressive in the center.] 16...Qd7 17.Neg4 Nxg4 18.Nxg4 Bxg4 19.hxg4 c6 20.g3 Ng6 21.Kg2 d5 22.exd5 [22.d4 exd4 23.Qxd4 dxe4 24.Qxe4 gets an open position where the white bishop is doing well.] 22...cxd5 23.d4 e4 24.a4 Rfa8 25.Qe2 Ne7?! [25...Qb7] 26.f3! exf3+ 27.Kxf3!? Rb8?! [27...b4! 28.cxb4 Nc6 29.Qd2 Qd6 30.Rac1 Nxb4 would give Black equal chances.] 28.axb5! Qxb5 29.Qd3?! [29.Qxb5 Rxb5 30.b4 puts Black under pressure in the ending.] 29...Qxd3+ 30.Bxd3 Rxb2 31.Rxa6 Rxa6 32.Bxa6 Kf8 33.c4 Rb4 34.Rc1 dxc4 35.Bxc4 Now the game is equal and would likely end in a draw in a longer time control. 35...Nc6 36.Ke4 Ke7 37.Kd5 Na5 38.Re1+ Kf6 39.Rf1+ Ke7 40.Ba2 Rb5+ 41.Ke4 Nb3?! Diagram


[This knight move starts to get in trouble. Equal chances were there with 41...f6] 42.Kd3! f6? saves the f-pawn but loses a piece 43.Re1+ Kf8 44.Kc4 Nxd4 45.Kxd4 Rb4+ 46.Bc4 The position is winning for White but requires some technique. 46...g6 47.Re3 Kg7 48.Kc3 Rb7 49.Bd5 Rc7+ 50.Kd4 Kh6 51.Re4 Kg5 52.Be6 Re7 53.Kd5 f5? [Black could make things very difficult with 53...Ra7] 54.gxf5 gxf5 55.Rf4 Black has exchanged one pawn but loses the f-pawn. 55...Rg7 56.Bxf5 h5 57.Ke5 Re7+ 58.Be6 Rh7 59.Rf8 Rg7 60.Rf5+ Kh6 61.Rf6+ Kg5 62.Rf4 Ra7 63.Rf5+ Kh6 64.Kf6 The white king joins the attack and the game is decided. 64...Ra4 [64...Ra3 65.Rg5] 65.Bf7 Ra6+ 66.Be6 Ra3 67.Rg5 Rf3+ 68.Bf5 Rf2 69.Rg8 Rxf5+ 70.Kxf5 h4 71.gxh4 Kh7 72.Rg1 Kh6 73.h5 Kh7 74.Kf6 Kh8 75.Kg6 Kg8 76.Rf1 Kh8 77.Rf8# 1-0

You can experience the drama as we experienced it by following this link: It all begins at the 1:20:30 mark. 

The match was a training friendly for their club players, and it was fun to collaborate a match with Elshan and Sabina. We thank them and their players for the competition and sportsmanship, and we look forward to another match with them soon.

Full broadcast can be found here:


In our other team match, Club 64 from Modena, Italy soundly defeated our Mechanics' team 32.5-17.5. Many of our top players were not available, and their team played great chess and came out in full numbers to avenge their match loss just about a month ago. 

The bright spot of this match was the play of FM Kyron Griffith, who put on an amazing show in saving a draw in his first match, and producing a technical win in the second against a very tough WGM Olga Zimina. Here are the games from the Kyron Griffith show.

(5) WGM Olga Zimina (Olghita64) (2281) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2054) [A15]
Live Chess, 16.05.2020

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 The Gligoric System against the King's Indian. 7...Na6 8.0-0 Ng4 9.Bg5 f6 10.Bh4 Nh6 11.Rc1 Nf7 12.a3 c6 13.b4 Nc7 14.d5 cxd5 15.cxd5 Bd7 16.Nd2 Bh6 17.Rc2 A typical King's Indian. White has more space and probably a small edge, but the position is dynamic giving Black many winning chances. 17...Rc8 18.Nb3 Na8?! This knight manuver to the corner allows White time for action. 19.Na5 b6? [19...Rc7 was needed. Black must save the b-pawn without losing control of the c6 square.] 20.Nc6! Bxc6 21.dxc6 g5 [21...Rxc6 22.Bxf6! Qxf6 23.Nd5 wins] 22.Bg3 Rxc6 23.Bb5 Rc8 24.Ba6 Rc7 25.Nd5 Rxc2 26.Qxc2 White has terrific compensation for the pawn. The black pieces are all passive and the white pieces on powerful posts. 26...Bg7 27.Qc6 Qe8 28.Rc1 [28.Qb7 Qb8 29.Qd7 is even stronger. It's nice for White to have queens on the board.] 28...Qxc6 29.Rxc6 Rd8 30.f3 Nh8 Diagram


It's not often you see two knights in the corner! 31.Bf2 Ng6 32.g3?! White misses winning the knight on a8 with [32.Rc8! Rxc8 33.Bxc8 Nf4 34.Bb7! Nxd5 35.Bxd5+ Kf8 36.Bxa8] 32...Kf8 33.a4 Ne7 Slowly Kyron is unravelling the mess he got into. Black is still worse but not nearly as much as some moves ago. 34.Nxe7 Kxe7 35.a5 g4?! impatient [35...Kd7! 36.Rc2 Nc7 37.Bf1 Rb8] 36.fxg4 Bh6 37.Rc2! d5 38.exd5 Rxd5 39.Bb7 Rd8 40.a6?! [40.Be4 hits the h-pawn and would cause an overload of problems for Black.] 40...Kd7 41.Kg2 Nc7 42.Kf3 [42.Be4! Nxa6 43.Ra2 Nxb4 44.Rxa7+] 42...Ne6 43.Ke4 Ke7?! [43...Bf8] 44.h4? missing [44.Bxb6! axb6 45.a7 and the a-pawn costs a rook.] 44...Rd2! 45.Rxd2 Bxd2 46.b5 Nd4! 47.Bxd4 exd4 48.Kxd4 Be1 Now Black has reached the sanctuary of a bishops of opposite color ending. He is safe now for the draw. 49.Be4 Bxg3 50.h5 h6 51.Kd5 Kd7 52.Bf5+ Kc7 53.Ke6 Bh4 54.Be4 Bg5 55.Kf5 Bh4 56.Bd5 Bg5 57.Bc6 Bh4 58.Ke6 Bg5 59.Kf7 Bh4 60.Kg7 Bg5 61.Kg6 Kd6 62.Kf7 Kc7 63.Ke8 Bh4 1/2-1/2

(4) FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2089) - WGM Olga Zimina (Olghita64) (2136) [B18]
Live Chess, 16.05.2020

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nh3!? e6 7.Nf4 Qh4 This provacative move is probably not better than the usual 7...Nf6, but it confuses things. 8.Nge2 [8.Be2 Bd6 9.Ngh5 is more ambitious] 8...Bd6 9.g3 Qe7 10.Nxg6 hxg6 11.Bg2 Nf6 12.0-0 Nbd7 13.Re1 This is a double edged positon with attacking chances for both sides if Black castles queenside. 13...Ng4?! 14.h3 Nh6 This knight maneuver lost time. 15.c4 Nf5 16.d5 cxd5 17.cxd5 e5 18.Bd2 0-0 19.Rc1 White has a little more control of the center. 19...Rfc8 20.Rc3?! [20.Nc3] 20...Qd8 21.a3 Qb6 22.b4 Rxc3 23.Bxc3 Nxg3?? Sadly an oversight. Black sees the f-pawn is pinned, but the white knight is there. 24.Nxg3 Rc8 Black bravely fights on, but a full piece down offers little hope. 25.Qd2 Qa6 26.Bb2 Nb6 27.Bf1! Qa4 28.Rc1 Rd8 [28...Rxc1 29.Bxc1 Qb3 30.Ne4 wins easily] 29.Ne4 Bb8 30.d6 Qd7 31.Bxe5 Qe6 32.f4 f6 33.Nc5 Qf7 Diagram


34.Na4 fxe5 35.Nxb6 Kh7 36.Qf2 Qxf4 37.Qxf4 exf4 38.Rc8 Rxd6 39.Rxb8 Rxb6 40.b5! Black has two pawns for the bishop but is helpless on the queenside. 40...Kh6 41.a4 Kg5 42.a5 Rd6 43.Rxb7 Kh4 44.Kf2 Rd2+ 45.Be2 Kxh3 46.Rxg7 Kh4 47.Rxg6 Ra2 48.Ra6 1-0

Congratulations to Club 64 for a great play and great sportsmanship throughout our collaborations. We look forward to a third and deciding match later in the summer!

2020 Mechanics' Institute Rapid and Blitz Championship Will Be Held Online Next Weekend, May 30 - 31st!

GM Fabiano Caruana faces GM Jon Ludvig Hammer in the 5th round of last year's Mechanics' Institute Rapid Championship

2020 Mechanics' Institute Rapid & Blitz Online Championship
Rapid - Saturday, May 30th
Blitz - Sunday, May 31st
Prize fund: $1600 over the weekend
USCF Online rated event
Play for the fun, play for the challenge, play to be a Mechanics' Rapid and Blitz Champion!

Rapid Championship: Format: One open section, Time Control:  6SS G/15+2inc
Prize fund: $800 total prize fund b/50 paid entries: 1st Place: $250, 2nd Place: $200, 3rd Place: $100, u2000: $100, u1800: $75, u1600: $75

Blitz Championship  Format: One open section Time Control:  12SS G/3+2inc
Prize fund: $800 total prize fund b/50 paid entries:  1st Place: $250, 2nd Place: $200, 3rd Place: $100, u2000: $100, u1800: $75, u1600: $75

* Class prize are based on OTB standard USCF rating. Unrated (OTB, players are not eligible for class prizes. Organizers reserve the right to determine class prize eligibility based on OTB and online activity in certain cases.

USCF Online Rated - Tournament will affect both and USCF online ratings. Tournaments will be submitted to US chess for rating 4-7 days after the tournament to allow time for fair play screening.

Start time: 3PM PST on both days

  • First round is paired at 3PM sharp by
  • Consecutive rounds are paired as soon as all games are finished in previous rounds.
  • No bye requests are possible.
  • Late joins are okay, they will be added by the system with 0 point for each missed round.

Registration Fee: $20 for MI members, $25 for non-members, 10% discount if registering for both tournaments, GM's free, first 10 IM's free by 5/27.

Rules:  Standard USCF rules apply. Pairings are based on rapid/blitz rating.

  • Mouse slips count, no takebacks.
  • No rejoin: once a player withdraws/withdrawn from the tournament, no rejoin is possible.
  • if player is not logged in to live chess when pairings occur, the system will assign a 0-point bye for that round.
  • Section prizes will be awarded based on USCF standard rating

Fair play screening: All games will be screened by both
Prize distributions and rating submission will not take place until AFTER all games have been screened.

How to join?
1. Register online via jumbula:
2. Join the specific Mechanics' club on
Note that only those, who registered at least for one tournament through jumbula, and provided their full name, user ID (handle) and their USCF ID will be accepted to the club. Please, allow us time for this process to take place, 24 hours at least a day ahead of the tournament, and min 2 hours on the same day of the tournament. Tentative registration close time is 1PM PST on 5/30 and 5/31, respectively.
3. Join the tournament an hour prior to the start (2PM PST).

For more information and questions, email: [email protected]


Mechanics' Institute Tuesday Night Online

The Tuesday Night Online this week was completely up for grabs, as work obligations kept IM Rost Tsodikov out of action in his attempt to become the first 3-peat champion. FM Eric Li was in the field, as were other contenders like John Canessa and Abhinav Penagalapati. Eric was definitley the favorite. I picked Canessa, while special guest WFM Natalya Tsodikova thought Abhi would be the one who would break through the field. As it turned out, none of them would place in the top three. Seven players tied for 1st with 4/5, but it was Mechanics' regulars Kristian Clemens (kclemens) and Cailen Melville (Mangonel) who would finish in the top two spots, with newcomer Nathaniel Balam (hypernathanism) from Modesto finishing in 3rd. It was a dramatic final round that saw WCM Omya Vidyarthi with a chance to win the tournament outright, but a crucial blunder in time trouble led to the 7-way tie. 

Kristian Clemens playing at the Mechanics' Tuesday Night Marathon

We were very happy to see Kristian come out on top of the TNO. This is not too surprising as he is a strong expert level player, capable of holding hos own against anyone. Here is a nice win from Clemens against Stewart Katz. Game annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(11) Kristian Clemens (kclemens) (1839) - Stewart Katz (knvsback) (1628) [D02]
Live Chess, 19.05.2020

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Modern players often play 5. e3 to avoid the complications of Black capturing the pawn with 5...dxc4. Yet Kristian is brave and plays the most aggressive move. 5...Nbd7 Avoiding the complications of 5...dxc4 6. e4 leaves White with a nice little edge. 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 Be7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.Qc2 Re8 10.Bd3 dxc4 11.Bxc4 b6 12.0-0 Bb7 13.Rfd1 Qc8 White is completely developed with pieces posted on useful squares. 14.Bg3 b5 15.Bd3 Nh5?! 16.Bh4 Bxh4 17.Nxh4 e5 18.Ne4 The dark squares are vulnerable now so the white knight eyes them. 18...Qc7 19.Qe2 [19.d5! Rac8 20.Bxb5 would net a very nice pawn] 19...Ndf6 20.Nxf6+ Nxf6 21.dxe5?! [21.Bxb5!] 21...Qxe5 22.Nf3 Qh5 23.Nd4! White is still completely mobilized and can pressure the c6 pawn. It is very correct to offer the trade of queens as the ending is at least as good as the middle game. 23...Qxe2 24.Bxe2 Rac8 25.Bf3 Nd5 26.g3 [26.Bxd5 cxd5 27.Nxb5 is very good] 26...a6 27.Bxd5 cxd5 28.Nf5 Rxc1 29.Rxc1 Kf8?! Black is in real trouble and needs to try something active such as 29...Re5 30. g4 g6. 30.Rc7! This ending is like something Capablanca would have against his opponents in the 1920s. 30...Ba8 31.Nd6 Diagram


31...Rd8 32.Nxf7 Re8 33.Nd6 Rd8 34.Rc8?! [34.Nf5 would keep complete control. This move offers Black an opportunity.] 34...Ke7? [34...Rxc8 35.Nxc8 Kf7! keeps the white knight somewhat trapped as it cannot escape via d6. White is still better but there would have been a lot of work to do to win the game.] 35.Nf5+! Kd7 36.Rxd8+ Kxd8 37.Nxg7 Now with two pawns ahead and the better minor piece White has an easy win. 37...Kd7 38.Nf5 b4 39.Nd4 Kd6 40.Kf1 Kc5 41.b3 a5 42.Ke2 Bb7 43.Kd3 Ba6+ 44.Kd2 Bc8 45.f4 Bd7 46.f5 a4 47.f6 Be8 48.bxa4 too many white pawns. 48...Kb6 49.Kc2 Bxa4+ 50.Kb2 Be8 51.Kb3 Kc5 52.h3 h5 53.g4 hxg4 54.hxg4 Kd6 55.g5 Ke5 56.Kxb4 Ke4 57.Kc5 Bf7 58.a4 Kxe3 59.a5 Kf4 60.a6 Kxg5 61.a7 Kxf6 62.a8Q 1-0

Eric Li drew his 4th round game against Omya, and took an easy draw in the final round againsr Clemens. However, the fighting positional chess of Li was in full display in round 2 against Sricharan Pullela. 

(8) FM Eric Li (wepkins) (2377) - Sricharan Pullela (Sricharan_The_King) (1748) [E61]
Live Chess, 19.05.2020

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.h3 c5 7.d5 a6 8.a4 Nbd7 It is probably best for Black to play 8...e6 to open the center a little. Then the game would be classic Benoni/King's Indian play. 9.Bd3 Rb8 10.0-0 e5 11.Re1 h6 12.Bd2 White has more space and so the opening advantage. 12...Nh7 13.Qc1! h5 14.Qc2 f6 15.a5 [15.Nh4! Qe8 16.f4 exf4?! 17.e5! would be a direct invasion] 15...Rf7 16.Na4 Ndf8?! [16...Ng5] 17.Nb6 f5 18.Nxc8 Qxc8 19.b4! The black queenside is under pressure. 19...f4 20.bxc5 Qxc5 21.Rab1 Rc8 22.Rb6 Rd7 23.Nh2 g5 24.Bb4 Qc7 25.f3 Ng6 26.Ba3 Bf8 27.Reb1 Rb8?! Diagram


27...Rg6 would have held out longer 28.c5! Qc8 [28...dxc5 29.Rxg6+] 29.c6 Rc7 30.Bxa6! complete victory of the queenside attack. An ideal King's Indian from the white side. 30...Qd8 31.Bxb7 Ne7 32.a6 Nc8 33.Bxc8 Rxb6 34.Be6+ 1-0

John Canessa (right) playing the 2019 John Donaldson Championship in December

My dark horse pic was John Canessa, a freshman at Santa Clara University that recently played at Mechanics' and had a stron tournament showing, including wins against FM Jason Liang and NM Derek Wu. He was held to a draw in the final round by Cailen Melville, preventing him from winnning clear first. Here is a fine win from this tournament by Canessa.

(9) maturner (1672) - John Canessa (wacj) (1965) [C58]
Live Chess, 19.05.2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 The Two Knights' Defense. An opening which takes courage from both sides. 4...d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Qf3 [8.Bd3 has been popular of late] 8...Be7 9.Nc3 [9.Bxc6+ Nxc6 10.Qxc6+ Bd7 11.Qf3 0-0 is compensation for the pawns] 9...0-0 10.Bxc6 Bg4 Diagram


11.Bxa8 Bxf3 12.Bxf3 White is technically ahead material with rook, bishop and two pawns for the queen. Black's extra development and open lines make up for the pawn at least. 12...h6 13.Nge4 Nxe4 14.Bxe4 f5 15.Bd5+ Kh7 16.a3 Qb6 17.Ba2 Nc6 18.Nd5 Qd4 19.Nxe7? This one move ruins the white position. 19. 0-0 was close to even. 19...Qe4+! This surprise must have been very unpleasant. If wacj has just recaptured White would be fine. It pays to be alert in chess. 20.Kf1 Nd4! Diagram


21.Bc4 This stops the threatened mate with 21...Qe2+. There are just too many threats though. 21...Nxc2 22.Be2 Nxa1 23.d3 Qb7 The white knight is trapped and that is the end. 24.Nxf5 Rxf5 25.Bf3 Qc7 26.Be3 Rxf3 27.gxf3 Nc2 28.Bd2 Qf7 29.Kg2 Nd4 30.Re1 Qxf3+ 31.Kg1 Ne2+ 0-1

While the action was lively fighting for the top spots, this tournament produced great club matchups in every round. Here was a great matchup that would be fun to watch in any tournament, but brought to us via our online event. 

(10) Jonah Busch (Kondsaga) (1645) - Anika Rajaram (Kirotori) (1591) [B22]
Live Chess, 19.05.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Bd3 White goes his own way in this Sicilian. Black reacts with direct play in the center. 4...Nc6 5.0-0 d5 6.exd5 exd5 7.Re1+ Be7 8.Bc2 0-0 9.d4 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Nxd4?! This brings the white queen to a good square. Black had played the opening very well and would have had a small edge with [10...Re8] 11.Qxd4 b6 12.Bg5 Bb7 13.Qd3! Threatening to take the knight on f6 followed by checkmate on h7. This forces Black into a passive position. 13...Ne4 14.Bxe7 Qxe7 15.Nd2 Qc5 16.Re3! f5 17.Nb3 Qd6 18.Nd4 Qg6 19.Bb3 [19.f3 Nc5 20.Nxf5! Nxd3 21.Ne7+ would win a pawn] 19...f4 20.Rxe4?! It looks very tempting to take the pinned knight, but this backfires and loses the exchange for a pawn. Simply retreating the rook would have kept the edge. 20...Kh8! 21.Re3 fxe3 22.Qxg6? [22.Qxe3!] 22...exf2+! 23.Kf1 Diagram


23...hxg6?! [23...Ba6+! 24.Nb5 Bxb5+ 25.c4 Bxc4+ 26.Bxc4 hxg6 27.Bxd5 Rad8 would be a straightforward win in the endgame.] 24.Nf3 Rae8 [24...d4! 25.cxd4 Rad8] 25.Kxf2 Rf5 26.Rd1 g5 27.Kg3 Re4? [27...Re2 is still a big advantage. Black walked into a skewer and gives back the exchange.] 28.Bc2 Kh7 29.Bxe4 dxe4 30.Nd4 Rd5 31.Re1 Re5 32.Kf2! The white king moves in front of the passed pawn and so White starts to take control of the endgame. 32...Kg6 33.Ke3 Ra5 34.a3 Re5 35.Rf1 Re8 36.Rf2 a5 37.Nb5 Rd8 38.Rd2! Rxd2 39.Kxd2 Bc6 40.Nd4?! [40.Nd6! threatening both Nc4 and Ke3 would win a pawn] 40...Bb7 41.Ke3 Kf6 42.Nb5 Ke5 43.Nd4 g6 44.b4 axb4 45.axb4 Bd5 46.Nb5 Bc6?! Black drifts into a passive position in the next moves. Here he could get more activity with [46...Bc4!] 47.Na3 Bd5 48.c4 Bb7?! [48...Be6!] 49.Nb1 Bc6 50.Nc3 Bb7 51.b5 [51.Na4!] 51...Kd6 52.Nxe4+ Bxe4? This trades into a pawn down king and pawn ending. That is lost as almost all pawn down king ending are. Black should have kept the bishop to keep chances in the game. 53.Kxe4 Kc5 54.Kd3 g4 55.h3 g3 56.h4 Kb4 57.Kd4 Kb3 58.Kd5 Kb4 59.Kc6 Ka5 60.Kb7 efficient by Kondsaga 60...Kb4 61.Kxb6 Kxc4 62.Ka6 Kc5 63.b6 Kd4 64.b7 Ke3 65.b8Q Kf2 66.Qb7 Kf1 67.Qf3+ Kg1 68.Qxg3 Kh1 69.Qxg6 Kh2 70.g4 Kh1 71.g5 Kh2 1-0

Full results can be found here:

To watch the broadcast, follow this link:

Mechanics' Online Events Recap

Game annotations by GM Nick de Firmian

The Friday Night Blitz on May 15 saw an impressive 10/10 performance from IM Rost Tsodikov, a first for this event. This was especially impressive given the competition, as he defeated FM Eric Li, NM Vyom Vidyarthi, and many other Expert and A players. The matchup with Li was particularly exciting for chess fans following the Mechanics' Institute's online chess community. The two were headed to a final round Tuesday Night Online (TNO) battle a few weeks ago, but Li withdrew from the final round with a perfect score. Then they faced each other in the final round of the TNO the following week, but a clear mouseslip by Li on move 4 prevented a true matchup. The matchup would finally come here on this evening, with experience prevailing over youth.

(7) IM Rost Tsodikov (jasonRBT) (2441) - FM Eric Li (wepkins) (2353) [B23]
Live Chess, 15.05.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 Nc6 4.d3 g6 5.Be3 Bg7 6.Qd2 e6 7.Bg2 Rb8 8.Nge2 b5 9.0-0 Nge7 This allows the exchange of dark-squared bishops right away and gives White a clear plan. Still, it is a principled move. Black could also have tried [9...b4 10.Nd1 a5] 10.Bh6 0-0 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.d4?! [12.Nd1 Bd7 13.Ne3 is more in keeping with the Closed Sicilian.] 12...b4 13.Nd1 cxd4?! [13...Qb6! 14.dxc5 dxc5 15.Ne3 Rd8 16.Qc1 Ba6 17.Ng4 Ng8! is very nice for Black] 14.Nxd4 Ba6 15.Re1 Qc7 16.Ne3 Nxd4 17.Qxd4+ e5 18.Qd2 h5?! [18...Bc8] 19.a3! bxa3 20.Rxa3 Bc8 21.b3 Now White has a solid game and Black has the pawn targets of a7 and d6 to defend. 21...Be6 22.f4 exf4 23.gxf4 Qc5 24.Ra5 Qb6 25.Kh1 Nc6 26.Ra4 Nb4?! 27.f5! The attack begins. 27...Bd7 28.f6+! Kh7 Diagram


[28...Kxf6? 29.Rxb4 Qxb4 30.Nd5+] 29.Nf5! Bxf5 [29...gxf5 30.Qg5 is a quick mate] 30.exf5 a5 31.Be4 d5 32.fxg6+ [32.Rg1! dxe4 33.fxg6+ fxg6 34.Qd7+] 32...fxg6 33.Bxg6+ Kxg6 34.Rg1+ Kxf6 [34...Kf7 holds on longer] 35.Qg5+ Ke6 36.Re1+ Kd6 37.Qe7+ Kc6 38.Re6+ Kb5 39.Rxb6+ Kxb6 Black has a rook and knight for the queen yet he cannot defend well as White still has the attack. 40.Qd6+ Kb5 41.c4+! dxc4 42.Qd7+ Kb6 43.bxc4 Nc6 44.Ra1 Rf6 45.Rb1+ Nb4 46.Qd4+ Kb7 47.Qxf6 Rc8 48.Qe7+ Ka6 49.Rxb4 axb4 50.Qxb4 Rxc4 51.Qxc4+ A very entertaining attack by jasonRBT! 1-0

NM Vyom Vidyarthi finished in 2nd on tiebreaks with 7.5, ahead of Abhinav Penagalapati. Vyom is a very strong and still improvong player, but even he was no match for the steamroller performance of Rost.

1.Nc3 This avoids any serious opening theory! 1...e6 2.d4 d5 3.Bf4 Bd6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Bd3 b6 7.Bxd6 Qxd6 Logical opening play by Black has produced an even game. 8.e4 Wasting no time in making the center break. 8...Qe7!? [8...dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 c6 11.0-0 (11.Bxh7+ Kxh7 12.Ng5+ Kg6!) 11...Ba6 12.Re1 Nd7 would be a "normal" type of game that could easily arise from a French Defense.] 9.e5 Nfd7 10.0-0 Ba6 11.Bxa6 Nxa6 12.Ne2 c5 13.c3 Nab8 14.Qd2 Nc6 We name have a French Defense pawn structure with both bishops exchanged. White has just a small edge due to more kingside space. 15.Ne1?! going backwards [15.Rfe1] 15...Rac8 16.f4 f5 17.exf6 Nxf6 18.Nf3 Ne4 19.Qe3 Na5 20.Ne5 cxd4 21.Nxd4 Nc4 22.Nxc4 Rxc4 23.Nf3 [23.f5! would give White activity.] 23...Qc5 24.Qxc5 bxc5 25.Ne5 Ra4 26.g3 Rb8 27.b3 Ra3 28.c4 d4 29.Rfe1 Nc3? [Active but losing a pawn. Simple and safe was 29...Nf6] 30.Nd7 Rd8 31.Nxc5 d3 32.Nxe6! Re8 Diagram


33.f5? This costs the exchange and puts Black ahead. White could maintain the advantage with the accurate [33.Re3! when he remains a pawn ahead. e.g. 33...d2 34.Rxc3 Rxe6 35.Kf2 Rxa2 36.Rd1 Kf7 37.Rd3 Rb6 38.Ke3 Rb2 39.R1xd2 R2xb3 40.Rxb3 Rxb3+ 41.Ke4] 33...d2 34.Red1?! [34.Rf1 had more chances for White] 34...Nxd1 35.Rxd1 Rxa2 36.c5 g6 37.g4 gxf5 38.gxf5 Kf7! with the black king controlling the f-pawn the ending is won for Black. 39.c6 Kf6 40.c7 Rc8 41.Kf2 Kxf5 42.Nd4+ Ke4 43.Nb5 Kd3 0-1

Full results here:

The Saturday Matinee was won by IM Elliott Winslow with a perfect 3/3, winning on tiebreaks over Crazykid777. SunnyCountry took 3rd with 2/5/3. 

Full results here:

The Saturday Late Night Showdown was won by FM Kyron Griffith with a perfect 5/5. Advay Bansal (chessforme17), Sricharan Pullela (Sricharan_The_King) and NM Michael Walder (FlightsOfFancy) finished with 4/5. Full results here:

The Sunday Evening Blitz was won by Advay Bansal with a perfect 5/5, ahead of Vishva Nanugonda (vish1080) and Niko Pompe (kralj8). Full results here:

The Monday Night Arena was won by Mechanics' regular Felix German with a score of 42. In second was Advay Bansal with 34, just ahead of Jonah Busch (kondsaga) with 33. Full results here:

The Wednesday Late Night Blitz saw a strong showing from Austin Mei (TitanChess666) with 7/8. In 2nd was Jeremy Cawthon (Karmas_Revenge) with 6.5/8, followed by Kristian Clemens with 6/8. Full results are here:

Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Playing in the Chess.Com Clubs League Starting Saturday May 23rd

The Mechanics' Institute Online Chess Club in one of the nearly 100 participants in the Clubs League, which begins this Saturday May 23rd. This is a league composed of chess clubs from around the world, both those with ab online presence as well as more traditional brick and mortar chess clubs. The Mechanics' Institute will compete in Division A, which will require a minimum of 10 players. Some of the over 60 chess clubs in Division A, it will prove to be an exciting competition, with interactions from people and clubs from around the world. 

Our first match will take place this Saturday at 10am against Southern Arizona Chess Association/Eastside Chess Club. Any Mechanics' Institute Online Chess Club member may play and represent Mechanics' Institute, but please be aware that the number of players eligible is limited to the number of player both teams bring. For example, if we bring 20 players and the other team has 10, only our top 10 players by rating will be eligible. Teams must have a minimum of 10 players. 

To participate or to follow the match, you may go to this link starting at 9am on Saturday: Match begins at 10am. Go Mechanics' Institute Chess!

Mechanics' Chess Social

The Mechanics' Chess Social on Friday May 15th featured GM Melikset Khachiyan and WGM Tatev Abrahamyan. During our talk, we discussed their roles as coaches and players for the US Women's Team, coaching chess players at various skill levels, and what they are up to now.

To watch the interview, please follow this link:

This week's guest for May 22nd will by WIM Alexey Root. Woman International Master Alexey Root won the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship in 1989. She earned her Ph.D. in education from UCLA in 1999. Since the fall of 1999, Root has been a lecturer at The University of Texas atDallas, teaching online courses about chess in education. She has written seven books, including her most recent, Prepare With Chess Strategy (2016).

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, 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 - Scholastic Offerings

Upcoming Tournament Schedule - NOW daily on!

Saturday- San Francisco Scholastic Championship

Sunday, May 24: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/10+2:

Monday, May 25: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, May 26: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM
5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, May 27: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM
4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, May 28: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Friday, May 29: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM
5SS G/10+5:

If you have any problems connecting with us on, please send us an email and we'll send you step-by-step instructions with pictures.   

Any questions? [email protected]


Scholastic Games Of The Week (games from our scholastic online tournaments)

Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian


(12) BentActiveTank (1197) - BlueFlower (1050)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nf3 Bc5?! This is risky. Best is 3..Nc6 to guard the e-pawn. If [3...Nxe4 Black could grab the e-pawn, but after 4.Nc3 Nxc3 5.dxc3 there is great danger, such as 5...d6? 6.Ng5! Be6 7.Bxe6 fxe6 8.Qf3 Qd7 9.Qxb7 and White is winning.] 4.Nxe5! Nxe4? Best was to be safe with the king - 4...0-0. 5.0-0? This safeguards the white king and is very good for that reason. Yet after [5.Bxf7+! Kf8 6.d4 White is a pawn ahead with a much safer king.] 5...0-0 6.Nf3 Nd6?! This knight gets in the way of advancing the d-pawn which allows the other bishop to develop. Simply 6...d5! was very good. 7.Bd3 Ne8 Diagram


8.Bxh7+? White remebers this plan to sacrifice the bishop, check with the knight and bring the queen out for checkmate. This doesn't work here - you always need to check the exact moves. 8...Kxh7 9.Ng5+? according to plan, but 9...Qxg5! now Black is ahead and should win the game, however 10.d4 Bd6?? Oh no! Forgetting your queen is attacked shoudl lose the game. 11.Bxg5 f6 Now White is winning and wraps up without trouble. 12.Qh5+ Kg8 13.Bxf6? retreating the bishop would save it. 13...gxf6 14.Qg4+ Ng7 15.h4 f5 16.Qg5 Nc6 17.h5! Be7 18.Qg6 d6 19.h6 Be6? [19...Bf6 would well ahead for White but there would be a lot left to play. White ends the battle] 20.Qxg7# 1-0


(13) Filtercometj (1338) - RareThirdDessert (1595)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.0-0 d6 6.d3 h6 7.h3 All is well and calm and even so far. Black now plays an aggressive move which provokes White. 7...g5 8.g4?! [8.Nh2] 8...Nxg4!? Diagram


9.hxg4 Bxg4 Black has sacrificed a piece for two kingside pawns. This is a dangerous sacrifice, but not objectively good (at least not good if you are playing Magnus). 10.Qe1?? this simply loses the battle. Black was threatening to use the pin with 11...Nd4, but White could play [10.Be3 Nd4 11.Bxd4 and defend the kingside.] 10...Bxf3 11.Be3 g4! 12.Bxc5 Qh4! the black bishop on f3 dooms the white king. 13.Qe2 Qh1# 0-1


(14) DarkCapableCharm (1465) - SuperBigMonkey (1250)
Live Chess

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 The Smith-Morra Gambit. This is a very practical way to play against the Sicilian Defense. White gets a lead in development for the pawn. 4...Nc6 5.Nf3 e5?! This weakens the a2-g8 diagonal, where White now places the light-squared bishop. Safer is 5...e6. 6.Bc4 Bc5 7.Qd5 Qe7 8.Ng5 Nf6! The best defense. Giving back the pawn to develop the black pieces. 9.Qxf7+ Qxf7 10.Nxf7 Rf8 11.Ng5 h6 12.Nf3 Ng4?! 13.0-0 Nxf2?! This trade of knight and bishop for rook and pawn is simply not good. 14.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 15.Kxf2 g5 16.Nd5 Kd8 Diagram


17.h4! With many more pieces out and a safer king, White finds a great attacking idea. 17...g4 18.Bxh6! Rf7 [18...gxf3 19.Bg5+ Ke8 20.Nc7#] 19.Bg5+ Ke8 20.Nc7+ Kf8 21.Bxf7 The best. White just ends up well ahead in material. 21...Rb8 22.Bg6 gxf3 23.Kxf3 Nd4+ 24.Kg4 d5+ 25.Kh5 dxe4 26.Rf1+ Kg8 27.Bh6 Bd7 28.Bf7+ Kh7 29.Bd5 e3 30.Rf7+ Kh8 31.Bg7+ Kh7 32.Rxd7 e2 33.Bxe5# A great game by DarkCapableCharm! 1-0


(15) Filtercometj (1326) - MagicJoshua (1736)
Live Chess

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.e5 The players are following a complicated variation of the Sicilian, which Magnus has also played. Now 8. Ne4! is the normal move to leave Black's pawn structure insecure. White now exchanges knights and solidifies the black center. 7...Nd5 8.Nxd5?! cxd5 9.Be2 Qc7 10.Bf4 Bb4+ 11.c3 Be7 12.0-0 0-0 13.Bd3 a5 14.Qh5 g6 15.Qh3 Ba6! This is a fine move to trade off the bishop on c8, which was not doing much, for the good white bishop on d3. 16.Bxa6 Rxa6 17.Qd3 Rfa8 18.Rfe1 Rb6 19.g3? Black's position is more comfortable, but this just gives away an impotant pawn. [19.b3 holds things up on the queenside.] 19...Rxb2 20.Bc1 Rb7 21.a4 Rb3 22.Bf4? giving away a second pawn is too much in this postion. 22...Rxc3 23.Qb5 Rb8 24.Qe2 Bb4 25.Rac1 Rc4! 26.Rxc4 dxc4 27.Rc1 c3 28.Rc2 Ba3 29.Bd2 Diagram


29...cxd2! 30.Rxc7 Rb1+! 31.Kg2 d1Q Black has made a fine combination to be a bishop and pawn ahead. 32.Rc8+ Kg7 33.Qf3?! The postion is lost anyway. 33...Qf1# 0-1

Online Chess Classes for Kids

To see available classes and register:

Day Time Coach Link
Monday 4-5PM Coach Colin
Tuesday 2-3PM Coach Andy
Tuesday 3:15-4:15PM Coach Andy
Wednesday 3-4PM Coach Colin
Friday 1-2PM Coach Andy
Friday 2:15-3:15PM Coach Andy

Class Fee: $25 for single class, $45 for two classes (10% off), $80 for 4 classes (20% off)
More details:

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:

5/23 Saturday - Saturday Afternoon Matinee
Format: 3SS G/30+0
Join from 2PM -
Starts at 3PM

Saturday Late Night Showdown
Format: 5 rounds of G/5+2
Join from 8PM  -
Start: 9PM
5/24 Sunday - Sunday Late Night Showdown
Format: 5 rounds of G/5+2
Join from 7PM -
Start: 8PM
5/25 Monday - Monday Online Arena
Format: 90 mins of G/5+2 - as many games as you can.
Join from 5:30PM -
Start: 6:30PM
5/26 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Online Rapid
Format: 5 rounds of G/10+2 (Swiss)
Start: 6:30PM
5/27 Wednesday - NEW:  Afternoon Rapid
Format: 4SS G/15+2
Join from 3PM -
Start at 4PM

Wednesday Late Night Showdown
Format: 5SS G/5+2
Join the tournament from 8PM-
Starts 9PM.
5/28 Thursday -  Mechanics' Fischer Random tournament
Format: 5SS G/5 +2
Join from 5:30 -
Start: 6:30PM
Thursday Late Night Showdown
Format: 5SS G/5+2
Join the tournament from 8PM-
Starts 9PM.
5/29 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

I am chessmonster666.

I like playing blitz online – it’s great for pattern-recognition, and for keeping myself from getting rusty.  I am no longer a serious competitive player, but I am competitive when playing casually – if that makes any sense.  I feel more relaxed playing anonymously, there’s nothing at stake, and I can really let the moves fly out without being too hard on myself.

Yet recently I’ve found myself conscripted, kicking and screaming, into the “official” online chess world.  The Mechanics’ Institute needed a few good men for a couple of matches recently, and I heeded the call.  I guess it is payback time: now my games, in all their horror, are out there to be ruthlessly torn apart, just as I have been picking apart everyone else’s during our broadcasts.

But a funny thing happened in what’s left of my brain: I found myself enjoying the challenge, and while my play hasn’t been perfect, it hasn’t been too bad either.

So here are a few games, the first from a blitz tournament last month, the next two from the match with the White Knights Chess Team.  And if you’re online and see chessmonster666 on your travels – stop and say hello before your flag falls.

This game has an amusing finish.

championps (1863) - chessmonster666 (2122)

Live Chess ( A04 2020.04.10

1.Nf3 d6 2.c4 e5 3.Nc3 f5 4.e4 Nf6 5.exf5 Bxf5 6.d4 e4 7.Nd2 c6 8.Qe2 d5 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.f3 Nc6 11.fxe4 Nxd4 12.Qd1 dxe4 13.Nb5 e3 14.Nxd4 Qxd4 15.Nf3 Bb4+ 16.Ke2 Qc4+ 17.Kxe3 Ng4#  0-1

Final position after 17…Ng4#.


A hard-fought game. Kudos to my opponent for his fighting spirit. Black should have exchanged queens on the 37th move with a dynamically equal position.

1e41-O (2264) - chessmonster666 (2103)

Live Chess ( E70 2020.05.17

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Bd3 O-O 6.Nge2 Nc6 7.O-O Nd7 8.Be3 e5 9.d5 Nd4 10.f3 c5 11.Qd2 a6 12.Rae1 Rb8 13.a4 Qa5 14.Ng3 Qb4 15.Rb1 Nb3 16.Qd1 Nd4 17.Qd2 Nb3 18.Qd1 Nd4 19.Nge2 f5 20.exf5 gxf5 21.b3 Nf6 22.Bd2 Qb6 23.Kh1 Bd7 24.Ng3 Rbe8 25.Nce2 e4 26.fxe4 fxe4 27.Nxd4 cxd4 28.Rxf6 exd3 29.Rxf8+ Rxf8 30.b4 Qd8 31.Qb3 Qh4 32.Qxd3 Be5 33.Kg1 Qg4 34.a5 h5 35.Rf1 Rxf1+ 36.Nxf1 Bf5 37.Qf3 Qg6 38.Ng3 Bg4 39.Qe4 Qf6 40.c5 d3 41.Qxd3 Bd4+ 42.Be3 Bxe3+ 43.Qxe3 Qa1+ 44.Nf1 Bd7 45.Qg5+ Kf8 46.Qd8+ Be8 47.Qxd6+ Kg8 48.c6 Qd4+ 49.Kh1 bxc6 50.Qg3+ Kf8 51.Qf3+ Ke7 52.dxc6 Qc4 53.Qe3+ Kd6 54.Ng3 h4 55.Nf5+ Kd5 56.Kg1 Bxc6 57.Ne7+ Kd6 58.Nxc6 Kxc6 59.Qc5+ Qxc5+ 60.bxc5 Kxc5 61.g3 hxg3 62.h4 Kd5 63.Kg2 Ke5 64.Kxg3 Kf5 65.Kf3 Ke5 66.h5 Kf5 67.h6 Kg6 68.Ke4 Kxh6 69.Kd5 Kg6 70.Kc6 Kf6 71.Kb6 Ke6 72.Kxa6 Kd6 73.Kb7


Final position after 73.Kb7.


Revenge is sweet. After the game my opponent texted that he had no idea where he went wrong, and I congratulated him on his fine win in our first game. Texting has taken the place of a handshake in this virtual world!

chessmonster666 (2282) - 1e41-O (2240) 

Live Chess ( B52 2020.05.17

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.a4 Nf6 5.d3 g6 6.O-O Bg7 7.Re1 O-O 8.Nbd2 a6 9.Bxd7 Nfxd7 10.Nc4 Nc6 11.a5 b5 12.axb6 e.p. Nxb6 13.Nfd2 Nxc4 14.Nxc4 Qc7 15.c3 Rfb8 16.Bf4 Ne5 17.Bxe5 Bxe5 18.Ra2 e6 19.Qf3 Bg7 20.Rea1 Qc6 21.h4 h5 22.g3 d5 23.exd5 exd5 24.Ne3 Rd8 25.c4 Rd6 26.Nxd5 Re8 27.Kg2 Qc8 28.Rb1 Bd4 29.b4 cxb4 30.Rxb4 Kg7 31.Rb3 Re1 32.Qf4 Be5 33.Qd2 Ra1 34.Rxa1 Bxa1 35.Qf4 Re6 36.Qb8 Qc5 37.Qc7 Qd4 38.Rb7


Final Position after 38.Rb7. 


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Steinitz Online Memorial

The Chess world continues to live online with entertaining events. Our Mechanics’ Institute chess club is very active in cyberspace now, but the rest of the world is too. This week’s most interesting international tournament was the Steinitz Memorial. Played online, this would be a world Steinitz would not have dreamed of in the nineteenth century. The event was a rapid play, with a fairly mixed field. That field did include the World Champion who made the event more interesting, and Magnus duly won the tournament. He never seems to fail to win anymore – quite a historical record.

Among the participants was our young American Jeffery Xiong, who had a memorable battle with Magnus. We present this game so the reader can place him/herself in Jeffery’s shoes and imagine the thrill of getting to play the champ.

In homage to Steinitz, we include one of his wonderful games. The world has changed drastically since his time, but the world of the chess board is still mostly the same. It has been intriguing enough to captivate us for centuries.

(1) Xiong,Jeffery - Carlsen,Magnus [B07]

We include this game as it is great excitement for our young American player Jeffery Xiong to get a chance to play against the great World Champion. 1.d4 g6 2.Nf3 d6 3.e4 Nf6 4.Bd3 Bg7 5.0-0 0-0 6.c3 A good solid system against the Pirc Defense. 6...c5 7.dxc5 dxc5 8.Qe2 Nc6 9.h3 Qc7 10.Re1 b6 11.Na3 Nd7 12.Nc4 Bb7 13.Bg5 This is fine, but Jeffery may have considered 13. a4 just to hold Black on the queenside. 13...b5 14.Ne3 c4 15.Bc2 e6 16.Ng4 h5 17.Ngh2 The knight is a little out of play on h2. 17. Ne3 was a bit better. 17...b4! 18.Qxc4 bxc3 19.bxc3 Rac8 20.Rab1 Nce5?! [20...Na5 21.Qxc7 Rxc7 wins the c-pawn back with good play.] 21.Qxc7 Rxc7 22.Be7 Rfc8 23.Bd6 Rxc3 24.Rxb7 Rxc2 25.Rxa7 Rc1 Black has a little play for the pawn, but White is clearly for choice in this endgame. 26.Ba3 Rxe1+ 27.Nxe1 Nc5 [More activity would have been gained by hopping with the knights - 27...Nf6! 28.f3 Nc4 29.Kf1 Ne8 30.Ke2 Nc7 31.Bb4 Nb5] 28.Bxc5 Rxc5 29.Ra8+ Kh7 30.Nhf3 Rc1 31.Kh2 Bf6 32.g3 Nxf3+ 33.Nxf3 Rc2 34.Kg2 Diagram


So we have an endgame where young Jeffery is just a pawn up against the champ. Can he win it? 34...Kg7 35.Ra7 g5?! 36.e5! Bd8 37.Rd7?! [37.Nd4! threatens the rook and Nxe6+ so Magnus would have been forced to trade the rooks - 37...Rc7 38.Rxc7 Bxc7 39.a4! would good winning chances] 37...Bb6 38.Rd2 Rc5 39.Nxg5 Rxe5 40.h4 Kg6 41.Rd7 f6?! [41...Ra5 42.Rxf7 Rxa2 gets all the pawns on one side which is better for the defense.] 42.Nh3! Ra5 43.Nf4+ Kf5 44.Rd2 Bc7 45.Nxh5 Kg6 Now Jeffery is two pawns up, but the white knight is stuck on the side for now. 46.g4 f5 47.f3 fxg4 48.fxg4 Ra4 49.Kf3 Ra3+ Diagram


50.Ke2?! [50.Ke4! Ra4+ 51.Rd4 Rxa2 52.Nf4+ would be good winning chances as Black would be lost if he takes the knight and enters the rook ending against White's two passers.] 50...Ra4 51.Rd7?! [51.Kf3 Ra3+ 52.Ke4!] 51...Rxg4! 52.Rxc7 Kxh5 Now Magnus is just a tad worse and draws easily. 53.Kd3 Ra4 54.Rc2 e5 55.Re2 Ra5 56.Kc4 Kxh4 57.Kb4 Rd5 58.Kc4 Ra5 59.Kb4 Ra8 60.a4 Re8 61.a5 e4 62.a6 Kg3 63.Kc5 Kf3 64.Ra2 e3 65.a7 e2 66.Ra1 Ra8 67.Kb6 Kf2 68.Kb7 Rxa7+ 69.Kxa7 e1Q 70.Rxe1 Kxe1 Not bad Jeffery! A draw, and a probably winning endgame against the great Magnus. 1/2-1/2


(2) Carlsen,Magnus - Mamedyarov,Shakhiyar [D02]
Steinitz Memorial Online, 19.05.2020

Magnus did win the tournament (as usual). Some games he was a bit off and some games he was his usual brilliant self. 1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Nf6 3.e3 e6 4.Nf3 The London System. Magnus has used this a lot lately. 4...Bd6 5.Nbd2 0-0 [5...Bxf4 6.exf4 is possible but it gives White a firm grip on the e5 square.] 6.c3 b6 7.Ne5 c5 8.Bd3 Bb7 Diagram


9.h4!? Usually White plays 9. h3 in the London system. Magnus changes up White's strategy using the h-pawn to charge up and disrupt Black's kingside. Mamedyarov would have been surprised by this. 9...Nc6 10.Qf3 Rc8 11.h5 The opening strategy is working. White's has a solid center and play on the kingside. 11...h6?! Better to have left this pawn back. It is now a target. 12.Qg3! Ne8 [12...Kh8? 13.Nxf7+ Rxf7 14.Bxd6] 13.Bxh6 cxd4 Diagram


14.Bxg7! Nxg7 15.h6 Qf6 [15...Bxe5 runs into 16.Bh7+! Kh8 17.hxg7+ Bxg7 18.Bd3+ Kg8 19.Rh8+! Kxh8 20.Qh3+ Kg8 21.Qh7#] 16.hxg7 Qxg7 17.Bh7+ Kh8 Diagram


18.Nxf7+! Rxf7 19.Bg6+ Kg8 20.Bxf7+ Kxf7 21.Qxd6 After all the complications White has ended up the exchange ahead. Shakh tries for complications now. 21...dxc3 22.bxc3 Ne5 23.0-0 [23.Rh4!] 23...d4! 24.f3?! [24.e4! dxc3 25.f4!] 24...dxe3 25.Ne4 e2?! [25...Bd5 26.Rae1 Kg8 Would make it tough for White to progress.] 26.Rf2! Kg8? [26...Rf8 27.Qc7+ Kg8 28.Qxg7+ Kxg7 29.Rxe2 Would win anyway, but the game move is hopeless.] 27.Qxe6+ Kh8 28.Qh3+ Kg8 29.Rxe2 Rf8 30.Qe6+ Kh8 31.Ng5 Nxf3+ 32.Nxf3 Bxf3 33.Rf2 Qxc3 34.Raf1 Black resigns as he loses the bishop due to the pin on the f-file. A real slugfast!1-0


(3) Steinitz,Wilhelm - Lasker,Emanuel [C65]
World Championship, 1894

The tournament was the Steinitz Memorial, so we thought it appropriate to include a game from the old world champion. Steinitz lost his title to Emanuel Lasker in 1894 as he was ageing and young Lasker was on the rise. This game from the match shows however that Steinitz was still a brilliant player. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 This is the way modern players continue in the Ruy Lopez. Opening popularity runs in cycles. 4...d6 5.c3 Bd7 6.Ba4 g6 7.Nbd2 Bg7 8.Nc4 0-0 9.Ne3 Ne7 10.Bb3 c6 11.h4!? An interesting, aggressive advance on the kingside. Similar to Magnus's h4 of the previous game played 126 years later! 11...Qc7 12.Ng5 d5 13.f3 Rad8 14.g4 dxe4?! [14...d4 15.cxd4 exd4 16.Ng2 h6 may be better] 15.fxe4 h6 Diagram


16.Qf3! Not backing down! Steinitz take kingside squares and is ready to sacrifice the knight. 16...Be8 [16...hxg5 17.hxg5 Nh7 18.Nf5! would be a crushing attack.] 17.Bc2 Nd7 18.Nh3 Nc5 19.Nf2 b5 20.g5 h5 Diagram


21.Nf5! gxf5 22.exf5 f6 [22...Bh8!?] 23.g6 Nxg6 Black must give the piece back to avoid mate. 24.fxg6 Bxg6 25.Rg1 e4? [25...Bxd3 26.Bh6 Rf7 27.Bxd3 Rxd3 28.Nxd3 e4 is slightly better for White but Black is still in the game. ] 26.dxe4 Kh7?! Diagram


[26...Be8 27.Be3 Qe5 28.Rd1 leaves White in control.] 27.Rxg6! Kxg6 28.Qf5+ Kf7 29.Qxh5+ Kg8 With bishop, knight and pawn for the rook White is winning. 30.Qxc5 Qe5 31.Be3 a6 32.a4 Rfe8 33.axb5 axb5 34.Qxe5 Rxe5 35.Ra6 Rc8 36.Ng4 Re7 37.Bc5 Ree8 38.Ne3! Bf8 39.Bd4 Kf7 40.h5 Be7 41.Bb3+ Kf8 42.Nf5 1-0 


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