Chess Room Newsletter #920 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #920

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #920


May 30, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

2020 San Francisco Scholastic Championship Online Draws 288 Players! Shawnak Shivakumar Wins 2020 SF Scholastic Championship On TieBreaks

The 2020 San Francisco Scholastic Championship was held online this year with great success. We were concerned turnout might wane a bit, but instead we saw a record turnout for this free scholastic championship event, as 288 players participated, up from the 250 we had the previous year at Golden Gate Park. 

This tournament is special in that it has always been free and open to anyone. The idea is to remove barriers to participation in a true celebration of chess. We had sections divided by grade level that were non-rated, so no USCF membership was necessary. Aside from the non-rated grade level section, we had two USCF online rated championship sections, one for players under 1000 USCF and an open championship section. We had a great distribution of players across all sections, and we had 209 players play the ChessKid platform and 79 players play the open championship section on 

Adding to the excitement of this event was the star-studded guests we had on the broadcast, which included GM Susan Polgar, GM Sam Shankland, GM Patrick Wolff, Coach Jay Stallings, WIM's Ivette Garcia Morales and Alejandra Guerrero, and Adisa Banjoko. It was an honor for us to have so many great people come on and support our event.

As for the chess, this year's online event brought out some of the best scholastic players in the area. Shawnak Shivakumar (2098) scored a perfect 5/5 and won the tiebreaker over Rudransh Pathak, Brian Fong, and Defne Elci. Congratulations to all these co-champions. 

Shawnak Shivakumar at Mechanics'

The championship was decided in a final round game between Shivakumar and Rohan Rajaram (1866). This matchup of talented young players was a fitting deciding match for the title. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(11) Shawnak Shivakumar (alphaunlimited) (1894) - Rohan Rajaram (ninjatrick) (1981) [A25]
Live Chess, 23.05.2020

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.e4 The Botvinnik pawn structure in this English Opening. This is a potent system for White. 5...d6 6.Nge2 f5 7.d3 Nf6 8.0-0 0-0 9.f4 [9.Rb1 planing pawn to b4 would be the usual plan for White] 9...exf4 10.exf5 Bxf5 [10...fxg3 11.Nxg3] 11.Bxf4 Qd7 12.Qb3!? Ready to start tactics. White doesn't defend d3 and instead attacks b7. 12...Bxd3 [12...Bh3 would be a safe way to play as Black will always have some chances against the white king with the light-squared bishops exchanged.] 13.Qxb7 Ne7 14.b3! Nh5 15.Rad1 Nxf4 16.Rxf4 Bf5?! [16...Bxe2 17.Nxe2 Bh6 would keep chances level.] 17.c5! Qe6 18.Qxc7 Rac8 19.Qxd6 Qe3+ 20.Kh1 Qxc5 [20...Bxc3 21.Nxc3 Qxc3 22.Qxe7] 21.Qxc5 Rxc5 22.Rf3?! White is a pawn ahead but is getting a little tangled up. [22.Nd5 Nxd5 23.Bxd5+ Kh8 24.b4 was better] 22...Rfc8 23.Re3 Re5 24.Rxe5 Bxe5 25.Rc1 Kg7 26.Be4 Bxc3? The black bishops are powerful and this exchange takes the pressure off White. [26...Bh3 would keep him tied up] 27.Bxf5! gxf5 28.Rxc3 Rxc3 29.Nxc3 Now White is a clear pawn ahead in a knight ending. so has good winning chances. 29...Kf6 30.Kg2 Ke5 31.Kf3 Nc6 32.Ke3 a6 33.Ne2 Nb4 34.a4 Nd5+ 35.Kd3 Nf6 36.Kc4 Ng4 Diagram


37.Kc5! White finds the winning plan - use the king to win the a-pawn and run the queenside pawns. 37...a5 38.Kb5 Nxh2 39.Kxa5 Ng4 40.b4 Kd5 41.Kb5 Ne5 42.a5 Now it's pretty easy. 42...Kd6 43.Kb6 Nc6 44.b5 Nb8 45.a6 Nd7+ 46.Kb7 Nc5+ 47.Kc8 Na4 48.a7 Nb6+ 49.Kb7 Kc5 50.Nc3! h6 51.Na4+ Nxa4 52.a8Q Kxb5 53.Qe8+ Kb4 54.Qf8+ Kb5 55.Qxf5+ Nc5+ 56.Kc7 Kc4 57.Qf4+ Kd3 58.Qxh6 Ke4 59.g4 Nd3 60.g5 Nf4 61.g6 Kf5 62.g7 Ne6+ 63.Kd6 Nxg7 64.Qxg7 Kf4 65.Qe7 Kf3 66.Qe5 Kf2 67.Qe4 Kg1 68.Qf3 Kh2 69.Qg4 Kh1 70.Ke5 Kh2 71.Ke4 Kh1 72.Kf3 Kh2 73.Qg2# 1-0


(10) UWillResignYesUWill (1691) - mselvaa (1418) [C62]
Live Chess, 23.05.2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 The Old Steinitz Variation of the Ruy Lopez, played by the world champion at the end of the 19th century. 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bd7 6.0-0 Nf6 7.Nc3 Be7 8.h3 0-0 9.Be3 a6 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bc4 Be6 12.Qd3 Bxc4?! The game has been fine opening play by both players so far. Black's last move gives up some squares. Instead [12...d5 would be about equal.] 13.Qxc4 d5?! [13...c5] 14.Qxc6! Courageously taking the pawn and calculating that nothing bad happens. It's good to trust yourself. 14...d4?! This was the idea, but it doesn't work. 14...dxe4 would only be a pawn down. 15.Rad1! Qc8 There was no salvation with any other move. Black is losing a second pawn and losing the battle for central squares. 16.Bxd4 Rd8 17.e5! Nh5 18.Nd5 Bg5 19.Nxc7 Rb8 20.e6! Bf4 [20...fxe6 21.Qxe6+ Qxe6 22.Nxe6 Rd5 23.c4 wins more material] 21.exf7+ Kh8?! Diagram


22.Qe8+ Simplifying into a completely winning endgame. 22...Rxe8 23.fxe8Q+ Qxe8 24.Nxe8 Rxe8 25.Rfe1 Rc8 26.Bc3 Rc6?! The position was hopeless anyway. 27.Re8# 1-0


In the K-12 under 1000 section, StandingWriter took sole first with a perfect 5/5. Here is a fine win en route to the championship.

(9) StandingWriter (1592) - TastyCelery (1451)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Bb4 This move is alright, but not as solid as the usual 3...Nf6 4.Nd5 Ba5 5.c3 Nf6 6.Bb5 [6.Qa4 would be a good alternative] 6...Nxe4 7.Qe2 Nf6? Diagram


It was ok to grab the e-pawn but the black knight needed to retreat to d6 for a tactical reason. 8.Nxf6+? [8.Bxc6 dxc6 9.Qxe5+ Be6 10.Nxf6+ Qxf6 11.Qxa5 would win a piece.] 8...Qxf6 9.Bxc6 dxc6 10.Qxe5+ Qxe5+ 11.Nxe5 We are back to even material in the endgame. Black is a bit better because of the bishop pair. 11...0-0 12.0-0 Re8 13.Nf3 b6? 14.d4? [14.b4! traps the bishop] 14...Ba6 15.Rd1?! [15.b4!] 15...Be2! 16.Rd2 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Re1+ 18.Kg2 b5 19.a4 b4 20.cxb4 Bxb4 21.Rc2 h5?! [21...Re6 guards the c-pawn] 22.Rxc6 Bd2?! [22...Bd6] 23.Rxc7! Rb8 24.Rc2 With two pawns up White is clearly better even though the rook on a1 and the bishop are not developed. 24...Bg5 25.f4 Bh6 [25...Bf6! is more active] 26.Ra3! This move is terrific. It gets out of the pin on the bishop and develops the rook. White has a big advantage now. 26...Rd8 27.Rd3 f6 28.Bd2 Rd1 29.Rc1 Rxc1 30.Bxc1 Rc8 31.Be3 Rc2 32.Rd2 Rxd2?! When you are down material try to avoid trades. Now White is two pawns up with just bishops and kings. That is an easy win. 33.Bxd2 Kf7 34.Kf3 Ke6 35.Ke4 f5+ 36.Kd3 Kd5 37.b4 g6 38.b5 Bf8! 39.Ba5 Bd6 40.Ke3 Kc4 good defense - activating the king. 41.b6! a6 [41...axb6 42.Bxb6 Bb8 43.a5 Kb5 44.h3 Bd6 45.d5 Bb8 46.Kd4 Bxf4 47.Bc5 Kxa5 48.d6 Kb5 49.Kd5 would be winning for White, but this might be hard to find.] 42.f3 Kb3 43.b7 Kxa4 44.Bd8 Kb5 45.Bf6 Kb6 46.Be5! Bc7 [More complicated would be 46...Bxe5 47.fxe5 Kxb7 48.Kf4 Kc6 (48...a5 49.e6 Kc7 50.Kg5 a4 51.e7 Kd7 52.Kf6 Ke8 53.Ke6 a3 54.d5 a2 55.d6 a1Q 56.d7#) ] 47.b8Q+ Bxb8 48.Bxb8 The ending with an extra bishop is no problem to win. 48...a5 49.Bd6 a4 50.d5 Kb5 51.Kd4 Kb6 52.Ke5 Kb7 53.Ke6 Kc8 54.Kf6 Kd7 55.Ba3 g5 56.fxg5 h4 57.g6 f4 58.g7 h3 59.g8Q Kc7 60.d6+ Kb6 61.d7 Kb5 62.d8R Kc6 63.Qe6+ Kc7 64.Rd7+ Kc8 65.Qe8# 1-0


In the Grade 6-12 non-rated section, DarkChiefLand took sole forst with 4.5/5.

(8) CSF-Alex (1569) - DarkChiefLand (1676)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.Nxe5 Nxe5 [4...Qg5 or; 4...Qe7 would be tricky ways to win the pawn back and try to cause trouble.] 5.d4 The fork trick. White wins the piece back for a pawn in good position. 5...c6 6.Ba4 [6.Be2!] 6...b5?! [6...Qa5+ 7.c3 Bb6 8.dxe5 Qxe5 9.0-0 Nf6 is equal] 7.Bb3 Bxd4 8.Qxd4 d6 9.Bf4?! [9.f4! Qh4+ 10.Qf2 Qxf2+ 11.Kxf2 is an edge in the endgame as White has a little more control of the central squares ] 9...Qf6?! [9...c5! 10.Qc3 (10.Qd5 Be6) 10...c4 11.Bxe5 dxe5 12.Qxe5+ Kf8 13.Qxb5 cxb3 14.axb3 Nf6 gives Black an extra bishop for 3 pawns.] 10.Bxe5?! [10.Qd2!] 10...Qxe5 11.Qxe5+ dxe5 12.a4! This pawn lever activates White on the queenside. 12...Bd7 13.axb5 cxb5 14.Bd5 Rc8 15.c3 Rc7 16.Nd2 Nf6 17.Nf3 Nxd5 18.exd5 0-0 [18...f6!] 19.0-0 [In the endgame the king can be useful, so 19.Ke2 would be a little better] 19...Re8 20.Rfe1 f6 21.Ra6 Bc8! 22.Ra5?! The rook is out of play here after Black's next move. The game would be equal after [22.Rd6] 22...a6 23.Rd1 Rd8 The white d-pawn is in trouble. 24.Ne1 Rcd7 25.c4 bxc4 26.Rc5 Bb7 27.Rxc4 Rxd5 Black has won a pawn and the bishop is slightly better than the white knight in this endgame. 28.Rdc1 Rd1 29.Kf1 Diagram


29...Bd5! 30.Rc7 Rxc1 31.Rxc1 Kf7 32.Ra1 Ra8 33.Nc2 a5 34.Ne3 Bb3 35.Rc1 a4 36.Rc7+ Kg6 37.h4 h5 38.Ke2 Rb8 39.Ra7 f5! 40.g3 [40.Ra6+ Kh7 41.Nxf5? Bc4+ wins the rook] 40...f4 41.gxf4 exf4 42.Ng2 Kf5?! this loses the f-pawn. Black could keep a big edge with [42...Rb4] 43.Ra5+ Ke4 44.f3+ Kd4 45.Kf2?! [45.Nxf4 Bc4+ 46.Kd1 is better for Black because of the active king, but White would have fair drawing chances.] 45...Bd1 46.Nxf4 Rxb2+ 47.Kg3 Kc3! Black uses his king well in this ending. The black a-pawn gets support and becomes a terror. 48.Rc5+ Kb3 49.Nd3 Rd2 50.Nc1+?! the white knight gets trapped now and the game is clearly lost. It was very difficult anyway after [50.Nf2 a3] 50...Kb2 51.Kf4 Bc2! 52.Ke3 Kxc1 53.Rxh5 a3 54.Ra5 Rd3+ 55.Ke2 Kb1 56.Rb5+ Rb3 57.Rg5 a2 58.Rg1+ Kb2 Excellent endgame play by DarkChiefLand, especially considering that CSF-Alex made few mistakes. 0-1


In the 61-player Grade 3-5 section, Uramazing was amazing in scoring a perfect 5/5.

(7) Uramazing (1453) - PeskyPenguin_SVCA (1467)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0 The Exchange Ruy Lopez, often played by Bobby Fischer. Now Black needs to defend the e5 pawn and could do that in several ways, such as 5...f6 5...Nf6?! 6.Nxe5 Bd6 7.d4 [even better is the retreat 7.Nf3 which just wins a clear center pawn as Black should not capture on e4 - 7...Nxe4? 8.Re1 f5 9.d3] 7...Bxe5 8.dxe5 Qxd1 9.Rxd1 Nxe4 10.f3 Nc5 11.Be3 Ne6 12.Nc3 This endgame is better for White because he has 4 pawns against 3 on the kingside and Black has doubled pawns on the queenside making it hard to use the pawn majority there. 12...0-0 13.f4 g6?! [This causes a hole on f6. Better to play 13...Re8 and retreat the knight to f8] 14.g4 Ng7 15.h3 Be6 16.Ne4! The knight can do a lot from this central square. 16...Rad8 17.b3 Bd5?! Diagram


[17...b6! avoids material loss] 18.Nf6+ Kh8 19.Bc5! White now wins the exchange. That combined with the kingside pawn majority makes the position clearly winning. 19...Bf3 20.Rf1! Bd5 21.Bxf8 Rxf8 22.c4 Bxc4? This is giving up. Retreating with the bishop to e6 gives some hope in case White would go wrong. 23.bxc4 Rd8 24.Rad1 Rxd1 25.Rxd1 Ne6 A rook ahead, White easily converts for the win. 26.f5 Nf4 27.Rd8+ Kg7 28.Kh2 Kh6 29.h4! g5 30.Ng8+ Kg7 31.f6+ Kg6 32.h5+ Nxh5 33.gxh5+ Kxh5 34.e6 b5 35.cxb5 cxb5 36.exf7 c5 37.f8Q c4 38.Qh6+ Kg4 39.Rd4+ Kf5 40.Ne7+ Ke5 41.Rd5+ Ke4 42.Qxg5 c3 43.Qe5+ Kf3 44.Rd3+ Kf2 45.Qg3+ Ke2 46.Rxc3 b4 47.Rc2+ Kd1 48.Qd3+ Ke1 49.Qe2# An excellent game by Uramazing! Bobby Fischer would have been impressed. 1-0


The K-2 section saw a tie for first with 5/5, but it was ConcernedOat who took first over InspiredSister on tiebreaks.

(6) ConcernedOat (1554) - kennethmex (1497)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.0-0 d6 5.c3 a6 6.Ba4 Nf6 7.Bc2?! White has played this Ruy Lopez well thus far and could get a nice edge out of the opening with the aggressive [7.d4 Ba7 8.dxe5 (8.d5 b5) 8...Nxe4 9.Qe2] 7...0-0 8.d4 exd4 [8...Ba7 keeps the e5 pawn working in the center.] 9.cxd4 Bb6 10.Bf4 [10.h3! is a helpful move which avoids the pin ...Bg4 and so holds the nice white center duo of d4 and e4] 10...h6 11.Qd2?! [11.h3] 11...Nh7?! Black could have gone on the offensive with [11...Bg4! threatening to take the knight on f3 and then the pawn on d4. Note that 12.Bxh6? gxh6 13.Qxh6 Bxf3 14.gxf3 Nh7 is very good for Black] 12.Nc3! Qf6? Asking for trouble. 12...Bg4 was needed. 13.Nd5 Qe6? This square is unfortunate as Black runs into a pawn fork the next move. The retreat 13...Qd8 was needed to avoid material loss. White would have a good edge, but wouldn't win anything right away. 14.Nxb6 cxb6 15.d5 From here on White takes advantage of every opportunity. 15...Qg6 16.dxc6 Bh3 17.Bg3! Defending the threatened mate and attacking the bishop on h3. 17...Bg4 18.cxb7 Rab8 19.Nh4 Qe6 20.Bxd6 Rbd8 21.b8Q Rxb8 22.Bxb8 Rxb8 23.Qf4 Rf8 24.Bb3 Qd7 25.Ng6! Diagram


Very nice! The knight jumps in from the rim to cause havoc. 25...Ra8 26.Ne5 Qc7 27.Bxf7+ Kh8 28.Ng6#! 1-0


(5) DarkSkippingOcean (733) - InspiredSister (1173)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 Nf6? [5...Qf6 is better, so that 6.Nxc6 Bxe3! is good. White would do better with 6. c3 Nge7.] 6.Nc3? [6.Nxc6! attacks the queen and the black bishop on c5, so White would win a piece.] 6...Nxd4 7.Bxd4 Bxd4?! This gets the white queen developed. 7...Qe7 gets the black queen out and defends the bishop. 8.Qxd4 0-0 9.Nd5? [9.e5! Ne8 10.0-0-0 gives White great control of the board.] 9...Nxe4! 10.Qxe4? [falling into the pin and losing the queen 10.0-0-0 still leaves White with good chances.] 10...Re8! 11.f3?! [11.Qe2 Rxe2+ 12.Bxe2 leaves White some chances with rook and knight for the queen.] 11...Qh4+ 12.g3 Diagram


12...Rxe4+! 13.fxe4 Qxe4+ Black vacuums up the white pieces. 14.Be2?! Qxh1+ 15.Bf1 Qxd5 16.a4 d6 17.Ra3 Bg4 18.c3 Re8+ 19.Kf2 Qf3+ 20.Kg1 Re1 21.h3 Rxf1+ 22.Kh2 Qf2# 0-1

This event went really well, with special thanks to Judit Sztaray, who organized this first-time virtual tournament. I also want to thank the broadcast crew of GM Nick de Firmian and FM Paul Whitehead. We are fortunate to have their talents and insights be a part of our commentary. Most of all, I want to thank the chess community for coming out and particpating and supporting this event, and for us to be able to continue this event for the scholastic chess community in San Francisco and Bay Area. 

Results for sections can be found here:

Championship Section:

SwissSys Standings. tourney recreation: Online

# Name ID Rtng Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Tot TB-Sonneborn Prize
1 SHAWNAK SHIVAKUMAR 15641965 2098 W42 W32 W26 W17 W6 5.0 15  
2 RUDRANSH PATHAK 15361216 1921 W43 W9 W27 W8 X--- 5.0 13  
3 BRIAN FONG 16314805 1767 W12 W40 X--- W33 W18 5.0 11.5  
4 DEFNE ELCI 17324673 1281 W53 X--- W35 X--- W31 5.0 7.5  
5 ZACK ZHOU 16146661 1440 W57 L20 W30 W21 W24 4.0 11  
6 ROHAN RAJARAM 15739716 1866 W48 W25 W37 W18 L1 4.0 10.5  
7 PRANAV SATHISH 16464655 1776 L17 W38 W56 W25 W27 4.0 10.5  
8 ABHINAV PENAGALAPATI 15467440 2017 W51 W13 W21 L2 X--- 4.0 8.5  
9 SWAGATHA SELVAM 16203181 1293 W71 L2 W64 W20 W23 4.0 8  
10 IAN WIDJAJA 16010636 unr. W73 W56 L18 W39 W17 4.0 7.5  
11 RYAN TIONG 15990403 1790 X--- W65 D12 D15 W48 4.0 6.5  
12 ADITHYA CHITTA 16695036 718 L3 W68 D11 W35 W16 3.5 9  
13 RUSHIL DARSH YADAVALLI 16443601 1176 W63 L8 W52 W46 D14 3.5 6.75  
14 ADAVYA SHARMA 16595703 1029 W74 L18 W47 W26 D13 3.5 6.75  
15 JUSTIN LEUNG 16037737 1662 W69 L21 W28 D11 X--- 3.5 6  
16 KYLE YIFAN ZHENG 16281680 1305 W62 D35 X--- W36 L12 3.5 4.75  
17 ARUNACHALAM KASI 16244965 1292 W7 W36 W20 L1 L10 3.0 9.5  
18 YALI DANCIG PERLMAN 16280288 1235 W49 W14 W10 L6 L3 3.0 9.5  
19 WCM ANIKA RAJARAM 15446678 1890 W52 W46 W24 U--- U--- 3.0 7  
20 JULIAN COLVILLE 16397710 1787 W64 W5 L17 L9 W54 3.0 7  
21 KADEN YIKAI ZHENG 16281674 1508 W59 W15 L8 L5 W43 3.0 7  
22 HAOFANG ZHU 16171382 1454 W31 L37 L40 W63 W33 3.0 7  
23 EASON LI 17036260 902 U--- W55 W32 W41 L9 3.0 7  
24 LUKE WIDJAJA 16010621 1257 W67 W28 L19 W37 L5 3.0 6.5  
25 WINSTON LEUNG 16013470 1418 W65 L6 W42 L7 W34 3.0 6  
26 ADRIEN CHENG 16318903 1294 W47 W45 L1 L14 W51 3.0 6  
27 AUSTIN LI 16606238 1204 W61 W41 L2 W45 L7 3.0 5.5  
28 CHARLENE KWOK 16470910 1124 W60 L24 L15 W52 W41 3.0 5.5  
29 LUKE HONG 16894950 1346 L35 W71 U--- W47 W42 3.0 5  
30 ETHAN SUN 16964125 931 D58 X--- L5 D60 W46 3.0 3.5  
31 JAVIER SILVA III 16089208 1880 L22 W58 X--- W61 L4 3.0 3  
32 RACHAEL TIONG 16019458 1624 W75 L1 L23 W64 W39 3.0 3  
33 VEDANT AMEYA TALWALKAR 16408266 1532 X--- W66 W51 L3 L22 3.0 3  
34 KIRILL NIKOLAEV 15971864 1064 W66 X--- L39 W53 L25 3.0 3  
35 SANAT GUPTA 16396482 1224 W29 D16 L4 L12 W60 2.5 6.25  
36 ANAGHA DHURJATI 17003536 1089 W38 L17 D43 L16 W44 2.5 5.5  
37 DANIEL CAO 17081711 942 W68 W22 L6 L24 D38 2.5 5.25  
38 JAKE CHI HANG LI 17144246 797 L36 L7 W57 W56 D37 2.5 5.25  
39 GAVIN PU 16605660 1024 L46 W49 W34 L10 L32 2.0 5  
40 GOGO DANCIG-PERLMAN 17151222 875 W55 L3 W22 U--- U--- 2.0 5  
41 ADAM TAI 16362865 963 W44 L27 W50 L23 L28 2.0 4  
42 JUSTIN YEE 15167211 715 L1 W53 L25 W50 L29 2.0 4  
43 ANDREW CHENG 15943457 1023 L2 W59 D36 D54 L21 2.0 3.75  
44 GAVIN KATZ 15762048 1091 L41 L47 W65 W49 L36 2.0 3  
45 KEVIN SUN 16898540 1039 W50 L26 W69 L27 U--- 2.0 3  
46 SAHIL SHIVAKUMAR 16379226 873 W39 L19 W63 L13 L30 2.0 3  
47 ELLA GRACE KINNEY 16939048 unr. L26 W44 L14 L29 W62 2.0 3  
48 BRAD YEN 15957635 1089 L6 L63 W58 W62 L11 2.0 2.5  
49 ANDREW BALLANTYNE 17079795 818 L18 L39 W68 L44 W59 2.0 2.5  
50 EKAM DHOT 15754603 611 L45 W60 L41 L42 W65 2.0 2.5  
51 JAYDEN WU 16636182 1380 L8 W62 L33 W66 L26 2.0 2  
52 VIVEK GOORLA 16519828 1144 L19 W67 L13 L28 W72 2.0 2  
53 EASHAN MAHAJAN 16803522 896 L4 L42 W71 L34 W64 2.0 2  
54 STEPHEN ZHU 16412414 1331 U--- W75 D61 D43 L20 2.0 1.75  
55 JARON LAI 16426304 942 L40 L23 L62 W73 W63 2.0 1.5  
56 MAKSYM ZADAVYSVICHKO 17111597 928 W76 L10 L7 L38 W61 2.0 1.5  
57 FABIAN GUO 17246318 unr. L5 L64 L38 B--- W66 2.0 1  
58 ALAN LUO 17093542 422 D30 L31 L48 L59 W67 1.5 2.5  
59 WILLIAM FITZGERALD 17048414 549 L21 L43 D73 W58 L49 1.5 1.75  
60 SOHAM CHATTERJEE 16314648 1098 L28 L50 W75 D30 L35 1.5 1.5  
61 YUQIN ZHAO 16443732 894 L27 W76 D54 L31 L56 1.5 1  
62 THOMAS GU 17005685 641 L16 L51 W55 L48 L47 1.0 2  
63 ROWAN LAI 16941535 594 L13 W48 L46 L22 L55 1.0 2  
64 CALEB LIU 17101700 508 L20 W57 L9 L32 L53 1.0 2  
65 DAVID KUPERMAN 17140478 778 L25 L11 L44 W68 L50 1.0 1  
66 HRISHIKESH BOLLINI 16890941 641 L34 L33 W67 L51 L57 1.0 1  
67 RIBHAV RISHI VALLISHAYEE 15499101 522 L24 L52 L66 W71 L58 1.0 1  
68 NEEV HITEN PATEL 16473402 572 L37 L12 L49 L65 W73 1.0 0.5  
69 Vikrams76   unr. L15 W73 L45 U--- U--- 1.0 0.5  
70 IMRAN CHAMPSI 16176854 1644 X--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0 0  
71 ANSHUL REDDY KOLLI 15089371 767 L9 L29 L53 L67 W75 1.0 0  
72 DHEERAJ TALLAPRAGADA 15733874 326 U--- U--- U--- W75 L52 1.0 0  
73 NATAN GIMELFARB 16757673 1049 L10 L69 D59 L55 L68 0.5 0.75  
74 TAURUS TONG 16321755 839 L14 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0 0  
75 RAGHAV SIVAKUMAR 16467310 638 L32 L54 L60 L72 L71 0.0 0  
76 KRISH DESAI 17216743 108 L56 L61 U--- U--- U--- 0.0 0  


K-12 under 1000

Grade 6-12 non-rated

Grade 3-5 non-rated

K-2 non-rated

To watch the broadcast, follow this link:

Mechanics' Institute To Organize Northern California Online Invitational Championship June 21

GM Sam Shankland headlines the Northern California Online Invitational

The best players in Northern California will come online with the Mechanics' Institute on Sunday June 21st to participate in a round robin rapid championship. The Northern California Online Invitational Championship will feature GM Sam Shankland, GM Zviad Izoria, and GM Steven Zierk. They will face the last three recipients of the Mechanics' Institute Neil Falconer Award, given to the top under-18 player in Northern California. They are IM Christopher Yoo, IM Andrew Hong, and IM Cameron Wheeler. The match will be G/15 +2 and will begin at 2PM PST. We will have a live broadcast with commentary, brought to us through the support of Mechanics' Institute Trustee FM Jim Eade. GM Sam Shankland and GM Steven Zierk are also past recipients of this award.

Stay tuned for more details from this exciting upcoming event! 

Mechanics' Institute Draws With Southern Arizona Chess Association/Eastside Chess Club 13-13

The Mechanics' Institute played its first match in the Club's League, and we had to make a stunning comeback in winning our final three games to draw our match against the Southern Arizona Chess Association/Eastside Chess Club 13-13. We are looking to come back strong this week with a win against Toronto Kaiqi Chess Club. The match will be on Saturday morning 10am PST, registration beginning at 9am here: Match is open to any member of our online chess club, but the number of players is limited to the number of players each side brings, so play is not guaranteed. There must be a minimum of 10 players. Go Mechanics'!

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

Join us for Speed Weekend! The Mechanics' Institute Rapid and Blitz Championship will have a strong field for our first cash prize event. Confirmed registrants include GM Elshan Moradiabadi, GM Alexandr Lenderman, GM James Tarjan, GM Gadir Guseniov, IM Elliott Winslow, FM Josiah Stearman, and many more! Don't miss out on the thrill and action rapid and blitz, with live broadcast and commentary on our Twitch channel here: Read below for all the details!

WGM Carla Heredia plays WFM Mugi Tsegmed at the 2019 MI Rapid Championship

2020 Mechanics' Institute Rapid & Blitz Online Championship

Blitz - Saturday, May 30th -5pm PST
Rapid - Sunday, May 31st -3pm PST
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: Blitz 5/30 -5PM PST. Rapid 5/31 -3PM PST

  • First round is paired by at the start time. Players MUST be logged in and in live chess or they will not be paired.
  • 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 a 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 and Dr. Ken Regan.
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

This week's Tuesday Night Online brought incredible thrills and excitement, and for some players, for all the wrong reasons. One of the beautiful things about chess is the high drama and the thrills that come from incredible comebacks, seeing perseverance through adversity, and players winning games against all odds. It is exciting to see chess play out in these moments, and we got a handful of exciting moments on Tuesday. For those that lost won positions, it is a lesson in making sure to have the patience and skill to finish off games. For those who came back, it is a lesson for all of us that persistence can, at times, produce entertaining and memorable comebacks. We will share some of those games with our readers.

As for the TNO, we also saw a new winner emerge, as the undefeated run of IM Rost Tsodikov came to an end in a thrilling final round game. Nathan Fong, a UC Berkeley student (Go Bears!) and regular in our online events won his first TNO with a perfect 5/5 after a final round victory over Tsodikov. Annnotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(4) Nathan Fong (nathanf314) (1898) - IM Rost Tsodikov (jasonRBT) (2101) [C00]
Live Chess, 26.05.2020

1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.d4 a6?! White has played the innocuous Exchange Variation against the French. There is little danger, but this is a slow move that doesn't help development. On the plus side it gets to unknown territory. 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.0-0 Ne7 7.Re1 0-0 8.Bg5?! [8.c4 would contest central squares.] 8...f6 9.Bh4 Nf5 10.Bg3 Nxg3 11.hxg3 The game is now about even again. 11...Nc6 12.c3 Ne7 13.Nbd2 c6 14.Qc2 g6 15.Re2 Rf7 16.Rae1 Qf8 17.c4 b5!? [17...Bd7 would get the rest of the black pieces out and prepare a later ...Re8 to contest the e-file.] 18.c5 [18.cxd5 cxd5 19.Nb3 may be more promising as now the queenside gets locked up.] 18...Bc7 19.b3 Bg4 20.Re3 Bd7 21.a3 a5 22.R1e2?! a4 23.b4 Nf5! 24.Bxf5 Bxf5 The bishop pair gives Black a small edge. 25.Qc1 Bd7 26.Qe1 g5 27.Nf1 h5 28.N3d2 Rh7?! Black's advantage is the bishop pair. White is tripled on the e-file but cannot do much with that if black is vigilant. The rook on h7 looks to attack, but extra defense with ...Rd8 first is safer. 29.Nf3 h4 30.gxh4 [30.Re7! Rxe7 31.Rxe7 Re8 32.Rxe8 Qxe8 33.Qxe8+ Bxe8 34.gxh4 gives White the edge.] 30...g4 31.N3h2 f5 32.g3 f4?! Diagram


33.Re7! The invation takes over the initiative. Instead of attacking Black must defend a pawn down. 33...Rxe7?! [33...Rf7 holds on better] 34.Rxe7 Re8 35.Rxe8 Bxe8 36.Nxg4 Bd7 37.Ne5 two pawns behind is too much for Black 37...Qe7 38.Nd2 fxg3 39.fxg3 Qg7 40.Ndf3 Be8 41.Kf2 Bh5 42.Qe3 Qf6 43.Qg5+ trading to the endgame takes away any hope of an attack with the black bishops. 43...Qxg5 44.hxg5 Be8 45.Ke3 Bd8 46.Kf4 Bh5 47.g4 Be8 48.Nh4 Kg7 49.Nf5+ domination 49...Kh7 50.Nd6 Bg6 51.Nxg6? [51.Nxc6 is completely crushing] 51...Kxg6 52.Nf5 Bxg5+ 53.Ke5 Bc1 White is still winning though there is worry now as the black bishop creates some counterplay. 54.Ne7+ Kf7 55.Nxc6 Bxa3 56.Kxd5 Bb2 57.Na5! This plan controls the dangerous black a-pawn. The rest is easy. 57...a3 58.Nb3 a2 59.Kc6 Bxd4 60.Kxb5 Ke7 61.Ka4 Kd7 62.Ka3 a1Q+ 63.Nxa1 Bxa1 64.Kb3 Bf6 65.Kc4 Be7 66.Kd5 Kc7 67.b5 Kd7 The three advanced pawns are too much for the black bishop and king. 68.c6+ Kc7 69.Ke6 Bh4 70.Kf5 Be7 71.g5 Bf8 72.g6 Kd6 73.Kf6 Bh6 74.g7 1-0

While Fong's performance was impressive, and the win well deserved, it was great memorable comebacks that will make this week's ediiton of the TNO memorable. It started in the first round, where we  thought we were watching Roham Rajaram (ninjatrick), a very talented 1900 level player, strike the finishing blow on Adam Mercado (A-Boy415). He was up 2 rooks in an endgame that looked routine, and Mercado was desparately checking his opponents king with his queen when lightning struck.

(3) Adam Mercado (A-boy415) (1599) -Rohan Rajaram (ninjatrick) (1948) [E32]
Live Chess, 26.05.2020

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.Nf3 [Usually White plays 5.a3 to force the bishop to capture on c3 right away.] 5...c5 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 d5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 cxd4 10.cxd4 dxc4 Black stands well as he has played logical developing moves or pawn moves to contest the center. 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.e4 Nc6 13.e5?! Diagram


13...Nxd4! This combination wins a pawn and positional pluses. 14.Qc3 [14.Nxd4? Qxe5+ loses more for White] 14...Nxf3+ 15.gxf3 Qe7 16.Rg1 Bd7 17.Qe3 Kh8 18.Bxc4 Bc6 19.0-0-0! White is objectively lost yet plays for the most active possibilities. That at gives one practical chances. 19...Rac8 20.Kb2 Bxf3? Diagram


[20...Rfd8 keeps control] 21.Rxg7! A fine shot to even the chances. Suddenly the black king needs serious protection. 21...Qh4 [21...Kxg7? 22.Rg1+ Kh7 23.Bd3+] 22.Rd4 Qxd4+ forced 23.Qxd4 Kxg7 Black has two rooks and a pawn for the queen, but his open king compensates White for that. 24.Qf4 Bh5 25.Qf6+ Kh7 26.Bd3+ Bg6 27.Bxg6+ fxg6 28.Qe7+ Kh8 29.Qxe6 Rc6 30.Qe7 Rxf2+ 31.Kb3 Rf3+ 32.Kb4 Rb6+ 33.Kc5 Rf5 34.Kd4 Rf4+ 35.Ke3 Rf5 36.Qd8+ Kg7 37.Qd7+?! [37.Qd4] 37...Rf7 Black is happy to get this rook back for the defense. 38.Qd4 Re6! 39.Ke4 Rfe7 40.Qxa7 Rxe5+ Now black should have all the winning chances with the two rooks and pawn. 41.Kd4 Re1 42.Qb6 Rd7+ 43.Kc3 Rc1+ 44.Kb2 Rc6 45.Qf2 Rcd6 46.Kb3 Rd2 47.Qg1 Rd1 48.Qc5 R1d2 49.Qe5+ Kh7 50.a4 Rf7 51.Qe4?! Rxh2 Now with two passed pawns Black should have a clear win. 52.Kb4 h5 53.Qd4 h4 54.Kb5 h3 55.Qh4+ Kg7 56.Qd4+ Rf6 57.Qd7+ Kh6 58.Qg4 g5 59.Qd4 Rhf2 60.Qd8 h2 61.Qh8+ Kg6 62.Qg8+ Kh5 63.Qh7+ Rh6 64.Qb1 Kg4 [64...Rb2+! 65.Qxb2 h1Q 66.Qe2+ Kh4 is one win] 65.Qe4+ Rf4 66.Qg2+ Kf5 67.Qd5+ Kg6 68.Qd6+ Rf6 69.Qd3+ Kg7 70.Qd7+ Rf7 71.Qd4+ Rhf6 72.Qd1 Rf1 73.Qd4+ Kg6 74.Qe4+ R1f5+ [74...R7f5+ 75.Kb6 h1Q] 75.Kb6 Rh7 76.Qe8+ Rff7 77.Qe4+ Kg7 78.Ka7! White keeps fighting! 78...h1Q 79.Qe5+ Rf6 80.Qxg5+ Rg6 81.Qe7+ Kh6 82.Qf8+ Kg5 83.Qc5+ Kf6 84.Qd6+ Kf5 85.Qc5+ Ke4?! [85...Ke6 86.Qb6+ Qc6] 86.Qc4+ Ke3 87.Qc3+ Ke2 88.Qc2+ Kf1 89.Qd3+ Kf2 90.Qc2+ Ke1 91.Qb1+ Kd2 92.Qb2+ Kd3 93.Qb3+ Kd4 94.Qb4+ Kd5 95.Qb5+ Kd6 96.Qd3+ Qd5?? losing two rooks with one move! [96...Ke5 is still winning] 97.Qxg6+ Kc5 98.Qxh7 now it should just be a draw 98...b6 99.Qc7+ Qc6 100.Qe5+ Qd5?? [100...Kb4] 101.Qxd5+ Kxd5 102.Kxb6 and so the white queen has taken all the black material. There is nothing left but the kings and one little white pawn, which unfortuately for Black can just march down to the queening square. 102...Kd6 103.a5 Kd5 104.a6 Kd6 105.a7 Ke6 106.a8Q Kf6 107.Qd5 Kg6 108.Qf3 Kh6 109.Qg2 Kh7 110.Kc6 Kh8 111.Kd6 Kh7 112.Ke6 Kh8 113.Kf7 Kh7 114.Qh2# What a come back. 1-0

Seeing the game itself does not give it justice. Watch it as we experienced it in the broadcast. Start at the 43:00 mark:

Another game that caught our attention was a game between Abhinav Penagalapati and Cailen Melville. Cailen had built an amazing attack and had such a beautiful game, it seemed to us that he would cruise to a fine win against a talented player. Time pressure and the inability to find the finishing touches all creeped up, leading to an unraveling that was followed by our broadcast team.

(2) Cailen Melville (Mangonel) (1593) - Abhinav Penagalapati (qing29) (2086) [D17]
Live Chess, 26.05.2020

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 [6.e3 is the most usual way to recapture the c-pawn.] 6...Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 8.Ne5 a5 9.e3 e6 10.g4!? Aggressively taking space on the kingside. Black needs to be careful. 10...Bg6 11.h4 h5? [11...Bd6 12.h5 Be4 is a positionally safer way to keep material even] 12.g5 Nfd5 13.Nxg6 fxg6 14.Qc2! Qd7 [14...Kf7?! 15.Rh3! and the rook checks on f3] 15.Qxg6+ Kd8 16.Bh3 Nxc3 17.bxc3 Qd5 18.0-0! White has played a terrific opening and here will win a second pawn and control the board. So far all is roses. 18...Kc7 19.e4! Qd7 20.Bxe6 Qd6 21.Qf7+ Qe7 22.Bf4+ Kd8 23.Rfd1 Qxf7 24.Bxf7 Ke7 25.g6 Kd7 26.Rab1 Ra6! Diagram


This position deserves a diagram. White has played wonderfully and is completely winning. Yet kudos to qing29 for fighting hard in this lost postion. No one ever won by resiging. 27.d5 cxd5 28.exd5 Be7 29.Be3 Bd8 30.Be6+ Ke7 31.Bc5+ Kf6 32.Bf7 Nxa4 33.Bd4+ Kf5 34.Bxg7 Bf6 35.Bxh8 Bxh8 36.Rxb7 Nxc3 37.Rd3 Ne2+ 38.Kf1 Nf4 39.Rf3 Bg7 40.Be6+ Ke4 41.Rf7? [simply 41.Rxf4+ Kxf4 42.Rxg7 is a bishop and two pawns up and easy as pie to win] 41...Kxf3 42.Rxg7 Nxe6 [42...Rb6 43.Bf5!] 43.dxe6 Rxe6 44.Rf7+ Kg4 45.g7 Rg6 46.Ke2 Kxh4 White is completely winning again. He can play 47. f4 and the f-pawn comes quickly up to help the pawn on g7. Sadly though White lost here (presumably on time). 0-1

The final comeback we want to point out was the unfortunate turn of events of last week's TNO winner Kristian Clemens. He appeared to be cruising to a victory over Stewart Katz, when all of a sudden he lost track of the position : ) 

(1) Kristian Clemens (kclemens) (1852) - Stewart Katz (knvsback) (1633) [D31]
Live Chess, 26.05.2020

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 Nbd7 [6...dxc4 is objectively slightly better but then you have to enter the labyrinth complications after 7.e4 b5 8.e5 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7] 7.e3 Be7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.Qc2 White is waiting to develop the light-squared bishop in case Black captures ...dxc4. Probably better though to just play 9. Bd3 as the white queen move doesn't add too much here. 9...Re8 10.Bd3 dxc4 11.Bxc4 Nf8?! [slighty passive. 11...Nd5 is more direct] 12.Ne5! Nd5 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.0-0 f5?! This pawn on a white square leads to dark square weakenesses. 15.a3 [The direct 15.e4! would increase White's initiative. Black would have to live with the passive bishop and all the white pieces are active.] 15...a5 16.Bd3 c5? opening up the game and losing a pawn. [16...Nxc3 17.Qxc3 Nd7 18.Nc4 a4 19.e4 is nice for White though Black is still holding everything.] 17.Nxd5 exd5 18.Qxc5 Qxc5 19.Rxc5 b6? [19...Be6 saves the d-pawn] 20.Rxd5 Be6 21.Rd6 Rab8 22.Bb5 Rec8 23.d5 Rc5 24.Bc6 [24.Nc6! Re8 25.Nd4 wins more material] 24...Bf7 25.Nxf7?! trading the strong knight brings the black king into play and gives black chances. [25.b4 keeps better control.] 25...Kxf7 26.Ba4 Ke7 27.Rc6 Rxd5 28.Rfc1 Rd2 29.R6c2 Rbd8 30.Rc7+ Kf6 31.R7c6+ Kg5?! [31...R8d6] 32.f4+ Kh5 33.R6c2?! [33.Rxb6! gets the second pawn back in good postion.] 33...R2d3 34.Kf2 Ne6 35.Ke2 Nc5 36.Bb5 R3d6 37.b4 axb4 38.axb4 Ne4 with the black knight arriving on the central e4 square matters have become a bit tricky. White is still a pawn ahead with fair winning chances, but will have to work now. 39.Bc6 Rd2+ 40.Rxd2?! [40.Kf3!] 40...Rxd2+ 41.Kf1 Nf6?! [41...Rf2+ 42.Kg1 Re2! 43.Bxe4 fxe4 is excellent drawing chances] 42.Bf3+ Kg6 43.Rd1?! [43.Rc6!] 43...Rb2?! [43...Rxd1+ 44.Bxd1 Nd5! 45.Ke2 Nxb4] 44.Rd4 Rb3 45.Kf2 Rb2+ 46.Ke1 Rb1+ 47.Ke2 Rb2+ 48.Kd3! Kf7 49.Kc3 Rb1 50.Bd5+?! [50.Kc4! activates the king where it eyes the black pawn on b6] 50...Ke7 51.g3 Re1 52.Kd2 Rb1 53.Bf3 Rb2+ 54.Kc3 Rxh2 Now Black has levelled material and can draw. 55.Rc4 Rf2 56.Bb7 Rf1 57.Rc7+ Kf8 58.Rc6 Rc1+ 59.Kd4 Rxc6 60.Bxc6 Ke7 61.Bb7 Kd6 62.Bf3 g5 63.fxg5 hxg5 64.Be2 g4 65.Bd3 Ke6 66.Bc4+ Ke7?! This lets the white king in. [66...Kd6!] 67.Ke5 Nh5? [67...Ne4! 68.Bd3 (68.Kxf5 Nd6+ 69.Kxg4 Nxc4) 68...Nxg3 69.Kf4 Nh5+ 70.Kxf5 Nf6] 68.Kxf5 Nxg3+ 69.Kxg4 Ne4 70.Kf4 Nd6 71.Bd3 Ke6 72.e4 Nc8 73.Bc4+ Ke7 74.e5 Na7 75.Ke4 Nc6 76.b5 Nd8 Diagram


77.Bd5! The bishop traps the black knight. This makes the game like a king ending. King endings with an extra pawn are almost always winning. 77...Kd7 78.Kf5 Ke7 79.Kg5 Kf8 80.Kf6 Ke8 81.e6! Nxe6 82.Bc6+ Kd8 83.Kxe6 Kc7 84.Kd5 Kb8 85.Kd6 Ka7 86.Bf3 Kb8 87.Kc6 Ka7 88.Kc7?? Tragic! Allowing the stalemate. Of course any bishop move would have won. 1/2-1/2

Watch the agony of the commentators here, starting at 1:10:00.

As tragic as some of these losses were, it really showcased why chess is so beautiful to watch and follow, and why online chess provides us with such enjoyment and learning. It was a fun evening that had it all, and was for me one of the most enjoyable broadcasts ever.

Full results can be found here:

To watch the broadcast, follow this link:

Mechanics' Weekly Online Roundup

The Friday Late Night Blitz saw NM Vyom Vidyarthi (2007checkmate) bested 40 players to take clear first with 8.5/10. The kids dominated the blitz this evening, with Abhinav Penagalapati (qing29) taking 2nd place with 8/10 and Austin Mei (TitanChess666) in 3rd with 7.5/10. Full results here:

IM Elliott Winslow wins the Saturday matinee on tiebreaks with 2.5, full results here:

Michael "fpawn" Aigner took down the Saturday Late Night showdown with 4.5/5. Felix German takes 2nd with 4/5 and Nathan Fong is in 3rd on tiebreaks with 3.5. Full results here:

The Sunday matinee saw a clear victory from Sricharan Pullela (Sricharan_The_King) with 4/4. Full results here:

The Sunday late night showdown saw a very clear victory for kralj8 with 4.5/5. Full results here:

The Monday Arena saw a close battle won by Nitish Nathan (BreathChessAlways) with 44 points ove Pranav Sairam (championps) with 42. Full results here:

The Wednesday Late Night Showdown went to vish1080, winning on tiebreaks over twangbio with 6/8. Full results here:

Fischer Random Thursday was won by FM Kyron Griffith:

Kyron then went on to win the Thursday Late Night Showdown a few hours later, taking the first place tiebreak over "fpawn" with 4.5/5.


Mechanics' Chess Social

Last week's guest on our Mechanics' Chess Social was WIM Alexey Root. She is an author, educator, and advocate of scholastic chess. To watch the interview, please follow this link:

The Mechanics' Chess Social will resume next week with all new special guests! 

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-, May 30: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

Sunday, May 31: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

Monday, June 1: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

 Tuesday, June 2: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

Wednesday, June 3: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

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

Friday, June 5: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

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]


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:

5/30 Saturday - Mechanics' Institute Blitz Championship
Format: 12 rounds of G/3+2: 5:00PM PST
5/31 Sunday - Mechanics' Institute Rapid Championship
Format: 6 rounds of G/15+2: 3:00PM PST

6/1 Monday - Monday Online Arena

Format: 90 mins of G/5+2 - as many games as you can.
Join from 5:30PM -
Start: 6:30PM


6/2 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Online Rapid
Format: 5 rounds of G/10+2 (Swiss)
Start: 6:30PM


6/3 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.
6/4 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.
6/5 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

Paul's column will return next week



GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Online Chess Galore:

Lindores Abbey and Clutch Chess

A new world of chess has arisen in the wake of the coronavirus, and it is as vibrant as ever. Of course the best events are our own Mechanics’ Institute Online events! We had the San Francisco Scholastic last Saturday, and the blitz and rapid tournaments this weekend.

The international chess world continues to have entertaining top-level events. There are in fact two very noteworthy events going on now: the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge and Clutch Chess Rapid. The former is named after a Scottish Distillery and gathered 12 of the top players including Magnus Carlsen and Ding Liren. The format is unusual, something like the NBA, where more than half the field makes it into the playoffs, which is a knockout format. The participants play three mini-matches of rapid games, and the match may be decided by the last Armageddon game.

The Clutch Chess rapid has the top four American players - Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, and Lenier Dominguez - facing off in 12-game rapid matches. Something unusual is that Nakamura and Wesley So are playing in both tournaments! (Lindores and Clutch). This is possible as both are online, and Lindores is played for European hours, Clutch played in USA time.

(1) Carlsen,Magnus - So,Wesley [E21]
Lindore Abbey Rapid , 23.05.2020

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nf3 0-0 5.Bg5 In practice this pin is quite annoying. Wesley So has certainly worked out his openings, yet Magnus and his helpers have many ideas. 5...c5 6.Rc1 [6.e3 Qa5! 7.Bxf6 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Qxc3+ is a sharp pawn sacrifice where Black has equal chances if he is prepared.] 6...cxd4 7.Nxd4 h6 8.Bh4 d5 9.cxd5 g5 10.Bg3 Qxd5 11.e3 Qxa2! This may seem risky and greedy but Black needs to get some compensation for his weakened kingside pawn structure. Also it causes threats on the queenside. 12.Qc2 Bxc3+ 13.Qxc3 Ne4 14.Qc2 Qa5+ 15.Ke2 Diagram


An interesting opening! White's king is in the middle of the board, yet he has a good lead in development and chances against the loose black kingside. 15...Nxg3+ 16.hxg3 Kg7 17.f4 Bd7?! This is a little slow and Magnus can add fuel to the attack. With [17...Nc6! Black would immediately contest the center and gain equal chances. He wouldn't worry about giving back the pawn as would give him the initiative.] 18.b4! Qxb4 19.fxg5 White deflected the black queen away from g5 so it couldn't recapture on g5. Suddenly the white queen, rook, pawn and knight are brewing up an attack. 19...Rc8? [19...Nc6 20.gxh6+ Kh8 21.Rh4 Nxd4+ 22.Rxd4 Qe7 is better for White but it is still a good battle.] 20.gxh6+ Kh8 Diagram


21.Qxc8+! Bxc8 22.Rxc8+ Kh7 23.Nf3! Magnus doesn't take a move to safeguard his king, but goes directly for the attack. Black has only the queen out so the white forces together are more than a match. 23...f6 [23...Qb2+ 24.Ke1 Qb1+ 25.Kf2 f6 26.g4] 24.Kf2 Qb2+ 25.Be2 Na6 Sadly black must give up the rook to get the knight in play. There was no time to slowly develop with the exposed king. The rook sacrifice pospones the end. [25...a5 26.Rc7+ Kh8 27.Nh4] 26.Rxa8 Nc5 27.Rd1 Ne4+ 28.Kg1! f5 [28...Qxe2 29.Rd7+ Kg6 30.Rg8+ Kh5 31.g4+ Kxh6 32.Rh8+ Kg6 33.Nh4+ Kg5 34.Rg7#] 29.Bd3 Qf2+ 30.Kh1 Qxe3 31.Bxe4 fxe4 32.Rd7+ Kg6 33.Rg8+ Black resigns as mate is coming, e.g. 33...Kxh6 34. Ne5 Qc1+ 35. Kh2 and Rg6 next. 1-0


(2) Karjakin,Sergey - Dubov,Danil [C55]
Lindores Abbey Rapid, 24.05.2020

Danil Dubov of Russia is one of the brightest young talents in the chess world. He is in his early twenties and has very real possibilities to challenge for the world championship in the future. He had a fighting match with vetaran contryman Sergey Karjakin and here is one of the entertaining games. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 h6 5.c3 g5!? Diagram


This may be a move you want to try yourself! In an age old opening Dubov lashes out with the aggressive pawn advance. It looks like a novice move, but it has points. 6.a4?! Not sure how to react on the kingside, White takes some space on the queenside. This allows Black the initiative. 6...g4 7.Nfd2 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.a5 Bg7 10.a6 It is Karjakin's turn to do the unorthodox. He has taken three moves in the opening with his a-pawn, but it causes some trouble there and this plan could be ok. The problem is that there is no margin for error when you are behind in development. 10...b6 11.h3?! This is one too many pawn moves. 11. Qa4 would be alright. 11...Nf4! 12.Ne4 gxh3?! [12...Nxg2+! 13.Kf1 gxh3 14.Qa4 Bd7 15.Bb5 0-0! 16.Bxc6 Bxc6 17.Qxc6 Qxd3+ would be a promising piece sacrifice.] 13.g3 [13.gxh3 Na5 14.Bxf4 exf4 15.Na3 Nxc4 16.Nxc4 Leaves Black two bishops against two knights yet at least the knights have decent squares.] 13...Ne6 14.Qf3 Bd7 15.Rxh3 Qe7 16.Rh5 0-0-0 17.Be3 Rhf8 18.Rf5 [18.Bxh6 Bxh6 19.Rxh6 f5 is a strong initiative for the pawn.] 18...Kb8 19.Na3 Nf4! Diagram


20.Nd2? White loses his way in the complications. He could play [20.Bxf4 exf4 21.Qxf4 (21.Rxf4 f5) 21...Bxf5 22.Qxf5 Ne5 but then Black has a material and positional advantage. The only way out was the surprising; 20.Nc5! bxc5 21.gxf4 as 21...Bxf5? loses (21...Qe8 22.fxe5 Bxf5 23.Qxf5 Nxe5 is a little better for Black) 22.Qxc6 Bc8 23.Bxc5 Rd6 24.Bxa7+ Kxa7 25.Nb5+ Kb8 26.a7#] 20...Bxf5 21.Qxc6 Bc8 White resigned. Perhaps a bit premature, but he is down material and nothing really works, e.g. 22. exf4 gxf4 and the bishop on e3 goes. 0-1


(3) So,Wesley - Nakamura,Hikaru [B41]
Clutch Chess, 26.05.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 Qc7 7.a3 Diagram


7...Nxe4!? A move in typical Hikaru style. There is lots of risk with this move - it does win a pawn, but Black will lag in development. 8.Nxe4 Qe5 9.Bd3! Qxd4 10.Qe2 Qe5 11.f4 Qc7 12.0-0?! White could have gotten a safe edge with the advance [12.f5! keeping the white knight on its nice central square and using the f-pawn as a battering ram.] 12...f5 13.Ng5 Be7 14.b4 Bf6 Diagram


15.Ra2 Wesley should have channeled his inner Tal and tried the promising sacrifice [15.Bxf5! Bxa1 16.Be3 d6 (16...Rf8 17.Qh5+ g6 18.Bxg6+ hxg6 19.Qxg6+ Kd8 20.Rxa1 is wonderful compensation for the rook) 17.Bxe6 Bf6 18.Bxc8 Qxc8 19.Bc5+ Be7 20.Bxd6 Nc6 21.Bxe7 Nxe7 22.Ne6 When white is a bit better despite having just two pawns for the rook. The black king is stuck in the center and the a8 rook well out of play.] 15...0-0 16.Be3 d6 17.c5 d5 18.g4!? This is aggressive, but also weakens the white king position. 18...Nc6 19.gxf5 exf5 20.Qf3 h6 21.Qxd5+ Kh8 22.Re2? White needs to be bold and precise. The only move to keep good chances was [22.h4! since Black would open the h-file for the a2 rook if he captured the knight. White would have fully equal chances after 22. h4.] 22...hxg5 23.fxg5 Qd8! Hikaru grabbed the piece and now takes away the white attack. 24.Qf3 Qxd3 25.gxf6 Rxf6 26.Qh5+ Kg8 27.Bg5 Qd4+ 28.Kh1 Be6! Diagram


Wesley resigned. The deadly threat of 29...Bd5+ ends any hope for White. 0-1


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