Chess Room Newsletter #921 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #921

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #921


June 6, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents


GM Eltaj Safarli Wins Blitz

GM's Alexandr Lenderman and Gadir Guseinov Share 1st in Rapid 

2020 Mechanics' Institute Blitz and Rapid Online Championship A Star-Studded Event

The 2020 Mechanics' Institute Blitz and Rapid Championship was held online last weekend, with a strong field of 11 different grandmasters playing along many other titled players, some of the finest scholastic players in the Bay Area, and Mechanics' regulars. We had 67 players for the blitz and 69 for the rapid. 

Blitz, Saturday May 30th

GM Eltaj Safarli wins the 2020 Mechanics' Institute Blitz Championship

The G/3 +2 12-round Blitz Championship brought out some of the finest players in the world, including GM Andrew Tang who is known for his blitz play and has played in the world blitz championship. Nine GM's participated, and GM Eltaj Safarli showed he was the best player in the tournament with a dominant 10.5/12 clear first showing. It was an impersssive feat in a tournament where every round had to feel like a gauntlet. 

GM Andrew Tang was among the pre-tournament favorites

The big breakthrough ocurred in round 9 against GM Andrew Tang. With this decisive result, Safarli started to pull away from the field. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(1) GM Eltaj Safarli (Eltaj_Safarli) (3015) - GM Andrew Tang (penguingm1) (2934) [C60]
Live Chess, 30.05.2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 An old fashioned variation, it has its points though. 4.c3 a6 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 White has a nice pawn center. Black has two bishops and is only a bit worse, he will be fine if he completes development. 7...Bg7 8.0-0 Ne7 9.h3 0-0 10.Nc3 h6 11.Bf4 Kh7 12.Be5! A nice postional theme. If Black trades the dark-squared bishops then the dark squares are weak. The alternative is to advance the third kingside pawn, loosening the kingside. 12...f6 13.Bh2 g5 14.Re1 Ng6 15.Rc1 f5 16.exf5 Bxf5 17.Be5?! White has played an excellent opening, yet now places the bishop on e5 instead of the more natural 17. Ne5 which would keep a good edge. 17...g4! 18.hxg4 Bxg4 19.Re3 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Bxf3 21.Qxd8 Raxd8 22.gxf3 Rf5?! [22...h5! 23.Rce1 Bh6 24.Re4 Rxf3 would win a pawn for insufficient compensation.] 23.e6 h5 a move too slow 24.Rd1! Rxd1+ 25.Nxd1 Rf8 26.Nc3 Re8 [26...Kg6! gets the king in play close to the e-pawn] 27.f4 Kg6 28.Rg3+! Diagram

4r3/1pp3b1/p1p1P1k1/7p/5P2/2N3R1/PP3P2/6K1 w - - 0 1

giving Black a dilema. 28...Kh6? [Black needed to be brave with 28...Kf6! 29.Ne4+ Kf5 30.Rxg7 Kxe4 31.Rxc7 Rxe6 32.Rxb7 Kxf4 and the rook endgame is equal. After the game move Black is in big trouble with the black king on the side and the white e and f pawns becoming very powerful.] 29.f5 Rf8 30.Ne2?! [30.Rg6+ Kh7 31.Rg5 Kh6 32.Ne4! is winning] 30...Be5 31.Rg6+ Kh7 32.Ng3 Bxg3? [32...Bxb2 33.Rg5 Bf6 34.Rxh5+ Kg7 is not nice for Black but he can still play with the bishop holding the pawns from f6. After the bishop trades for the knight there is no way to stop the white pawns.] 33.Rxg3 h4 [33...Rxf5 34.e7 Re5 35.Re3] 34.e7! Re8 35.f6! hxg3 36.f7 gxf2+ 37.Kxf2 1-0

One of the breakout performances in the blitz was the play of Mechanics' Institute chess regular FM Kyron Griffith, who won his first 3 games, and then pulled off this upset of GM Gadir Guseinov.

(2) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2858) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2356) [B23]
Live Chess, 30.05.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.d4 cxd4 6.Qxd4 Nc6 7.Qd3 An unusual line against the Sicilian. It gets the white pieces in motion though it gains no advantage. 7...g6 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.0-0 Nf6 10.Nd5 0-0 11.Bg5 Nxd5 12.exd5 Ne5 13.Nxe5 dxe5!? This mixes things up. The normal 13...Bxe5 is equal yet it doesn't cause White to think. 14.c4 Rac8 15.Rac1 h6 16.Be3 b6 17.b4 Objectively White is just better as his pawns are not doubled and so more threatening. 17...Rfd8 18.Rfd1 f5 19.f3 e6?! 20.Qb3?! [20.d6! would make this pawn a bone in Black's throat. It would tie down major forces and can easitly be defended by c4-c5.] 20...exd5 21.Rxd5 Qf7 22.Rcd1 Rxd5 23.Rxd5 Kh7 24.Qd3 Rc7 25.a3 Qe6 26.c5 bxc5 27.Bxc5 e4 Black has undoubled the e-pawns and gotten a passes pawn himself. He has at least equality here. 28.fxe4 fxe4 29.Qd2 Bc3!? 30.Rd6 Qc4 31.Rd7+ Rxd7 32.Qxd7+ Bg7 33.Kf2 Qa2+ 34.Kg3?! Giving away a pawn with check. The game would have been just equal after [34.Kf1 Qxa3 35.Qxa7] 34...Qxa3+ 35.Kf4 Qc1+?! [35...Qb2!] 36.Kxe4 Qe1+ 37.Kd5 Qd2+ 38.Kc6 Qxg2+ 39.Qd5 [39.Kb5 keeps the white queen on its active post pinning the bishop.] 39...Qxh2 40.Bxa7 Qc2+ 41.Bc5 h5 42.b5 Qa4 43.Qd7 Qa8+ 44.Qb7? Black has an extra pawn but the white b-pawn is more advanced. White need only move his king to d6 and the game will likely end with checks and repetition. Trading queens leaves Black a winning bishop ending. 44...Qxb7+ 45.Kxb7 Diagram

8/1K4bk/6p1/1PB4p/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1

45...Be5! the bishop does everything here. Slowing the white b-pawn and supporting the black pawns advance. 46.Kc6 h4 47.Kd5! h3 48.Kxe5 h2 49.Kd6 h1Q the rest is easy 50.Kc7 Qd5 51.Kb6 Qd8+ 52.Kc6 Qc8+ 53.Kd6 Qb7 54.b6 Kh6 0-1

One of the very exciting things about an event like this is the ability of our club regulars to play some of the best players in the world. Here in the first round, club regular Felix German got his shot at glory against GM Alexandr Lenderman, but the GM showed why there is a huge separation between them and us mere mortals.

(4) Felix German (FelixGerman) (1872) - GM Alexandr Lenderman (AlexanderL) (2791) [A40]
Live Chess, 30.05.2020

1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 The Owen's Defense deferred. Bound to cause confusion. 3.Nf3 [3.e4 Bb7 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Bd3 f5 is very sharp] 3...Bb7 4.g3 Bb4+ 5.Bd2 Bxf3 6.exf3 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 Nf6 8.Nc3 Black has gotten an unusual opening, White holds a little more of the center and so can be happy. 8...0-0 9.Bg2 d5 10.0-0 Nc6 [10...dxc4 11.f4 c6 12.Ne4 Nd5 13.Rfc1 b5 14.b3 cxb3 15.axb3 is fair compensation for the pawn] 11.f4 Ne7 12.Rac1 c6 13.b4?! [13.cxd5 cxd5 is about equal. White gives up the c-pawn in a situation that doesn't give enough play for it.] 13...dxc4 14.b5 Rc8! 15.bxc6 Nxc6 16.Rfd1 Nb4 Black clearly has the more pleasant positon. White must try to regain the pawn and there are no weakenesses in the black camp, 17.Ne4 [17.Nb5! Nd3 18.Nxa7 Nxc1 19.Rxc1 gives White entertaining play for the exchange. The white knight jumps to c6 and causes trouble.] 17...Nbd5 18.Nxf6+ Nxf6 19.Qb4 Qc7 [19...Nd5 20.Qa4 Qd6! is strong since 21.Rxc4? Nc3 drops the exchange] 20.Qb5?! [20.Bf1 c3 21.Ba6 Nd5 22.Qb3 is better holding chances] 20...Rfd8 21.f5 exf5 22.Qxf5 c3 The pawn White gave up on move 13 is now deep in the white camp. 23.g4 trying to generate play. As a practical move it's hard to criticize even though objectively it weakens the white king protection. [23.Rd3 Qd6 24.Rdxc3 Rxc3 25.Rxc3 g6 26.Qc2 Qxd4 is a pawn up for Black though no more] 23...Qd6 24.g5 Nd5 25.Rd3 g6! This takes full control of the position. White can choose a lost middle game or a lost endgame. 26.Qe5 [26.Qxd5 Qf4!] 26...Qxe5 27.dxe5 Diagram

2rr2k1/p4p1p/1p4p1/3nP1P1/8/2pR4/P4PBP/2R3K1 w - - 0 1

27...Nf4! 28.Rxd8+ Rxd8 The knights threatening to fork on d2 and the black pawn on c3 decides the game. There is no way out. 29.Bf3 Rd3 30.Be4? [30.Bg4 b5 31.Kf1 b4 etc.] 30...Ne2+ 0-1

Congratulations to Safarli, who wins the 2020 Club Blitz Championship. Clear 2nd with 9.5/12 was GM Alexandr Lenderman and tied for 3rd was GM Tang and IM Christopher Yoo, who showed he belongs among the elite when it comes to his blitz skills. 

Rapid, Sunday May 31st

The MI Rapid Championship had big shoes to fill, as it was going to become near impossible to top the inaugural event last year which was won by GM Fabiano Caruana, GM Jon Ludvig Hammer, and GM George Meier. However, a strong field came back for the rapid, which included two new GM's that did not play the day before: GM Conrad Holt and GM James Tarjan. It was a 6-round G/15 +2 battle for the title, and GM Alexandr Lenderman and GM Gadir Guseinov showed final round toughness en route to a share of the championship. 

GM Lenderman was a class marathoner, taking 2nd in the blitz and sharing first in the rapid

Lenderman got a share of first with a final round victory over GM Conrad Holt. 


GM Gadir Guseinov out played GM Eltaj Safarli for a share of first

GM Guseinov had to find final round heroics against the reigning blitz champion GM Eltaj Safarli. There was no friendly draw between countrymen in this case, and Guseinov showed fine technique in producing the win.

(5) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2557) - GM Eltaj Safarli (Eltaj_Safarli) (2423) [B23]
Live Chess, 31.05.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Bb5 A good alternative to the theoretical lines of the open Sicilian (4. d4). 4...d6 This leads to doubled pawns. [4...Nd4 5.e5 Nxb5 6.Nxb5 Nd5 Is an alternative, though White has a lead in development.] 5.e5 dxe5 6.Nxe5 Qc7 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Qf3 Bb7 9.Bc4 Black has control of the center squares as compensation for his doubled isolated pawns. This means good squares for the pieces. Still, White is for choice. 9...e6 10.0-0 Bd6 11.h3 0-0 12.d3 Be5 13.Bd2 a5 14.Rae1 Ba6?! This exchange clarifies the position a little and thus shows the weakeness of the doubled pawns. Preferable was [14...a4] 15.Bxa6 Rxa6 16.b3 Bxc3?! Black doesn't want the white knight blockading the doubled pawns, but giving up this good bishop for the knight is not a great solution. 17.Bxc3 Nd5 18.Be5 Qd7 19.a4! f6 20.Bb2 e5 Diagram


21.Re4 Raa8 22.Rc4! This nice rook maneuver will win a pawn. 22...Qd6 23.Ba3 Nb4 24.Qe3 Na6 25.Bxc5 Nxc5 26.Qxc5 Rfd8 27.Qxd6 [27.Qxc6 would be two pawns ahead with little trouble. White plays to keep control.] 27...Rxd6 28.f4 Re8?! [28...exf4 29.Rfxf4 Kf7 is not pleasant but holds the second pawn. Black plays for activity and hopes that White goes wrong.] 29.Rc5 exf4 30.Rxf4 Re2 31.Rf2! Re1+ 32.Kh2 Rd5 33.Rxc6 h5 34.Rc4 Kf7 35.Re4 Rc1 36.Rfe2 g5 37.h4! White is aware that his king could get pinned on the kingside and possibly be attacked by the two black rooks. 37...Kg6 38.hxg5 Kxg5 39.d4?! suddenly Black gets chances. Double rook endgames are tricky. 39...Rf5 [39...f5! 40.Re8 Rxd4 gets a pawn back] 40.R4e3 Rff1 41.Rf3 Rh1+ 42.Kg3 h4+?! [42...Rcd1 43.c3?! (43.Kf2) 43...f5! would bring Black back to even chances.] 43.Kf2 f5 44.Ke3! The white king escapes any mating net and comes to help the white pawns advance. 44...Rhd1?! [this allows the white rooks to move to the offensive. 44...Rcd1 makes more trouble] 45.Ref2! Re1+ 46.Kd3 Red1+ 47.Kc3 f4 48.Rxf4 1-0

Another exciting game was between GM James Tarjan and FM Kyron Griffith. It was dramatic in the endgame and one worth looking at. 

(8) GM James Tarjan (Tirantes) (2283) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2059) [A15]
Live Chess, 31.05.2020

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.e4 d6 6.Nge2 c5 7.d3 Nc6 White has opted for the Botvinnik setup in this English Opening. That allows for a slower maneuvering game for a while. 8.0-0 a6 9.a4 Rb8 10.Rb1 Ne8 11.Be3 Nc7 12.d4! Now this central break allows White an edge with more space in a now open positon. 12...cxd4 13.Nxd4 Ne6 14.Nde2 Nb4 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.cxd5 Nc5 17.b4 Nd7 18.Nd4 Ne5 19.Ne2?! why go backwards? [19.a5!] 19...Bd7 20.Qb3 b5! Now Black has the c4 square for the knight and chances are back to even. 21.a5 Rc8 22.Bb6 Qe8 23.Rfd1 f5 24.Bd4 fxe4 25.Bxe5!? eliminating the central knight but at the cost of a good bishop 25...Bxe5 26.Bxe4 Qf7 27.f4 Bg7 28.Rbc1 Qf6 29.Kg2 Qb2 30.Qxb2 Bxb2 31.Rxc8 Rxc8 32.Rb1 Black has a pull in the endgame because of the bishop pair. 32...Bf6 33.Rc1 Rxc1 [33...Rc4!? 34.Rxc4 bxc4 35.Kf3 Bb2 could also make trouble for White] 34.Nxc1 Bc3 35.Nd3 Kg7 36.Kf3 h5 37.Ke3 Kf6 38.Bf3 Bf5 39.Be4 Bg4 40.Bf3 Bh3 41.Kf2? [41.Nf2! Bf5 (41...Bf1? 42.Ne4+) 42.Ne4+ Bxe4 43.Kxe4 Bxb4 44.g4 gets the white bishop into the game and offers good drawing chances.] 41...Bf5! 42.Ke3 Diagram


42...Bxd3 Black wins two pawns now, but the bishops of opposite color give White some drawing chances 43.Kxd3 Bxb4 44.Ke4 Bxa5 45.Be2 Be1 46.Bd3 h4 47.g4! g5 48.fxg5+ Kxg5 49.h3 Kf6 50.Be2 Bd2 51.Bd3 e6 52.Be2 Ke7 53.Bd3 Kd7 54.Be2 exd5+ 55.Kxd5 .Here the white king controls the center and keeps the black king out, so the black monarch heads for the queenside. 55...Kc7 56.Bd3 Bf4 57.Ke4 Be5 58.Kd5 Kb6 59.g5 a5 60.g6 a4 61.Bc2 Ka5 62.g7 Bxg7 63.Kxd6 b4?! [63...a3! 64.Bb3 Kb4 65.Be6 Kc3 is an easy win] 64.Kc5! Now the black king is trapped on the side and can't get to the aid of the pawns in their advance. 64...b3 65.Bd1 b2?! [It's hard to get the black king to help. Perhaps 65...Bf8+ 66.Kc4 Kb6 67.Bf3 Kc7 68.Be4 Bd6] 66.Bc2 a3 67.Bb1 Bf8+ 68.Kc4 Kb6 69.Kb3 Now the game is a draw. The pawns are blockaded on white squares. 69...Kc6 70.Ka2 Kd5 71.Bf5 Kc4 72.Bg6 Kc3 73.Kb1 Kd2 74.Bf7 Ke3 75.Bg8 Kf4 76.Bf7 Kg3 77.Be6 Bd6 78.Bd7 Bc5 79.Be6 Kf2 80.Bd7 Ke1 81.Be6 Kd2 82.Bf7 Bf8 83.Be6 Bc5 84.Bf7 Ke2 85.Be6 Kf3 86.Bf7 Kg2 87.Be6 Kg3 88.Bd7 a2+ 89.Kxa2 b1N 90.Kxb1 Bf2 A lucky (and skillful) escape by Tirantes. 1/2-1/2


GM James Tarjan has been playing Mechanics' online events

The rapid also saw a battle of talented local regulars. Here is a game between FM Balaji Daggupati and FM Josiah Stearman that shows even some of the strongest youth players in the country can succumb to trickery in a rapid event.

(6) FM Balaji Daggupati (chess2thesun) (2557) - FM Josiah Stearman (josiwales) (2152) [B31]
Live Chess, 31.05.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.Re1 Nf6 6.Nc3 0-0 7.e5 Ne8 8.d3 Nd4 [8...Nc7 is a sensible alternative. It's always nice to get the knights off the sides of the board.] 9.Nxd4 cxd4 10.Nd5!? a6 This is a mistake as Black doesn't see White's devilish idea coming on move 12. He would be is good shape with [10...e6! 11.Nf4 d6 12.exd6 Nxd6 having excellent control over the central squares.] 11.Bc4 [11.Bg5] 11...b5? Diagram


[11...e6!] 12.Bg5! Ouch! This move destroys the Black position. Their is no decent reply. 12...Qa5 [12...bxc4 13.Nxe7+ Kh8 14.Nxg6+ fxg6 15.Bxd8 loses the queen; 12...f6 13.exf6 exf6 14.Nxf6+ Kh8 15.Nxh7 is nearly as bad] 13.b4! Black resigns as the queen is lost to the bishops retreating to attack it on c1 and b3. A sudden end to the game! 1-0

In these events, we are always looking for huge upsets. Such was almost the case for Theo Biyiasas, who had a beautiful game and looked like he could potentially pull of a monster upset against GM Alexandrov Alekej, only to have the position collapse under time pressure. 

(7) Theo Biyiasas (TABiyiasas) (1885) - GM Aleksandrov Aleksej (aleksandrovaleksei) (2568) [E32]
Live Chess, 31.05.2020

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.Nf3 d5 6.cxd5 exd5 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 c5 9.e3 Be6 10.Be2 Nbd7 11.0-0 Rc8 A well played Nimzo-Indian dopening by both sides. Black has near equality. 12.Qa4 [12.Rac1] 12...a6 13.Rac1 Qb6 14.a3 Bxc3 15.bxc3 c4 16.Rb1 Qa7 17.Nd2! Bf5 18.Rb2 White must deal with the black bishop controlling the b1-h7 diagonal. His pieces find good squares despite that. 18...Rfe8 19.Bf3 Rc6 20.Qa5?! the white queen is not going anywhere from here 20...b6 21.Qa4 Rce6 22.Bg3 Qa8 23.Qd1 Qc6 24.Rb4 a5? Diagram


[24...Bd3] 25.Rxc4! Qb5 26.Rc7 White has snatched a pawn and has the two bishops. 26...Qb2 27.a4 [27.c4! Qxa3 28.cxd5 would be a huge edge to White] 27...Qa2 28.c4 Nf8 29.cxd5 Nxd5 30.Bxd5?! giving up the light squared bishop makes Black's game easier to play. [30.Rc4 Nb4 31.e4 is again a big edge] 30...Qxd5 31.Qb3 Qd8?! [31...Qxb3 32.Nxb3 R6e7 has holding chances] 32.Rfc1 Qa8 33.Nc4 Be4 34.f3 Bd5 White is totaly controlling the board. He has an extra pawn and two monster center pawns. Simpy 35. e4 would start to roll Black up. 35.Nxb6?? a tragic miscalculation, losing a piece. 35...Bxb3 36.Nxa8 Rxa8 37.e4 Now White still has the two center pawns but that's just not enough for a piece in this ending. 37...Ree8 38.d5 Bxa4 39.Rb7 Bd7 40.Rcc7 a4! this little pawn allows Black to play offensively and makes the win easy 41.Ra7 a3 42.Be5 a2 43.Bd4 f6 44.Kf2 h5 45.g3 Kh7 46.h4 Kh6 47.f4 Kg6 48.Ke3 Kh6 49.f5 Rxa7! 50.Rxa7 Bxf5 51.Rxa2 Rxe4+ 52.Kd3 Rxh4+ 53.Kc3 Rg4 54.Bf2 Kg6 55.Rd2 Nd7 56.d6 Re4 57.Kb3 Kf7 0-1

It was a great deal of fun to see the participation and viwership for this amazing event. Special thanks go to our commentators for the weekend, GM Nick de Firnian, FM Paul Whitehead, FM Jim Eade. Also thanks go to our extarordinary organizer Dr. Judit Sztaray, the club's General Manager of Youth Outreach and Events. I also want to thank our amazing players and everyone who participated. There were a lot of moving parts in organizing an online rated event and the players all did what was necessary, making everything a very smooth process. I also want to thank and Isaac Steincamp, and Dr. Ken Regan for both verifying that all games were clean. We will organize more online rated events with prize pools, stay tuned for more details!

For full results, follow this link:

To watch the live broadcast, follow these links:


Rapid part 1:

Rapid part 2:


Starting this coming week: USCF ONLINE rated tournaments - $375 Prize Fund!

June 11 Thursday @ 7PM - 8SS G/5+2
June 28 Sunday @ 2PM - 6SS G/15+2

More information


Tight fair play screening: both & Dr. Regan from University of Buffalo will screen matches, prizes and tournament rating will only be finalized after the screening completed.

Prize Fund: $375 b/30 paid entries

1st: $100, 2nd: $75, 3rd: $50
u2000: $75, u1800: $50, u1600: $25  --  based on USCF regular (OTB) rating

Entry fee: $20 for MI library members, $30 for non-MI library members -- All players must be US Chess members!

Players must register through Jumbula, and be a part of the Mechanics' Online rated club on


Mechanics' Institute Tuesday Night Online

The Tuesday Night Online this week was dominated by one player, coming off an impressive perfomance in the weekends blitz and rapid. FM Kyron Griffith played his first TNO in a few weeks and dominated the 54-player field with a perfect 5/5 to win the gold medal, a full point ahead of the field. 

FM Kyron Griffith (left) went 5/5 in the TNO

One of the toughest games he had was against Lauren Goodkind. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(9) Lauren Goodkind (laurengoodkindchess) (1778) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2069) [B22]
Live Chess, 02.06.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.d4 Nf6 6.Be2 Be7 7.dxc5!? Usually White doesn't make this exchange, but there is nothing wrong with it. The one thing is that Black can trade into an equal ending , though you may not mind that. 7...Qxd1+ 8.Bxd1 Bxc5 9.0-0 b6 10.Bg5 Bb7 11.Ba4+ Ke7 12.Nbd2 h6 13.Bh4 Rd8 14.Rfe1?! Diagram


Thus far both players have done the best and the position was level. The white rook just went to the wrong file - it should have gone to d1 where it defends the knight on d2. 14...g5! seizing the opportunity 15.b4 [15.Bg3 g4 16.Nd4 Bxd4 17.cxd4 Rxd4 18.Rec1 Rxa4 19.Rc7+ Ke8 20.Rxb7 is a clear pawn up for Black] 15...Bxb4 16.cxb4 gxh4 17.Rac1 Na6! White's postion looks very harmonious. Black though has all the squares covered and an extra pawn. 18.a3 h3 19.Bc6 [19.gxh3 Rd3 20.Bb5 Rxa3 21.Bxa6 Rg8+ 22.Kh1 Bxf3+ 23.Nxf3 Rxf3 24.Rc7+ may have been a better chances to hold the game] 19...Bxc6 20.Rxc6 hxg2 21.Kxg2 Rac8 22.Rec1 Rxc6 23.Rxc6 Rd3 An extra pawn and more centralized king give Black good winning chances. 24.Nc4 Nd7?! [24...Nd5! threatening ...Nf4+, Raf3+ and Nd4+ forking the rook would have been very good 25.b5 Nc5] 25.b5 Nac5 26.Rc7 Rb3 27.a4 [27.Nfe5! Rxb5 28.Rxa7 Rb1 29.Nxd7 Nxd7 30.Ne5 Rd1 31.Rb7 Rd5 32.Nxd7 Rxd7 33.Rxb6 gets White almost even chances] 27...Nxa4 28.Rxa7 Nac5 29.Nxb6 Rxb5 30.Nxd7 Nxd7 31.Ra8 Nf6 32.h3 Now all the pawns are on one side, which is good for the defense. Still a pawn is a pawn. 32...Nd5 33.Ra2 Kf6 34.Kg3 Rb3 35.h4 Ne7 36.Ra4 Nf5+ 37.Kg2 Rb8 38.Rg4 Rb2 39.Re4 Kg6 40.Rg4+ Kh5 41.Re4 Rb8 42.Kh3 Rc8 43.Rg4 Rc3 44.Rf4 Kg6 45.Kg2 f6 46.Nd4 Ng7 Black is wise not to exchange into a rook ending, which should be a draw. 47.Nf3?! [47.Ne2 Rc2 48.Rg4+ Kf7 49.Ng3 continues to make it difficult for Black to progress] 47...e5 48.Ra4 Ne6 now Black has an aggressive setup with the e and f pawns and the knight. 49.Rg4+ Kf5! 50.Nh2 [50.Ra4 Nf4+ 51.Kg3 Rd3! 52.Ra7 e4 53.Ra5+ Nd5 also wins ] 50...Nf4+ 51.Kg1 Rc1+ 52.Nf1 Kxg4 53.f3+ Kxf3 54.h5 Ne2+ 55.Kh2 Rxf1 56.Kh3 Rh1# 0-1

One player we are starting to follow is "Action" Adam Mercado (A-Boy415). This Mechanics' regular has been playing games we can't take our eyes off of, some in his favor, others not. Here is an action game from this evening.

(10) Advay Bansal (chessforme17) (1738) - Adam Mercado (A-boy415) (1622) [C45]
Live Chess, 02.06.2020

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 The classical response to the Scotch Game - old and tested. 5.Nb3 Bb6 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Bg5 d6 [7...h6 could give Black more options if White retreats the bishop to h4.] 8.Qe2 Bd4?! 9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.Qd3 White has gotten the nice dark squared bishop for a knight - a good trade. 10...c5?! aggressive but loosening [10...Ne6] 11.0-0-0 Be6 12.Kb1 [12.Nb5! causes trouble for Black] 12...Qa5 13.a3 Ng4 14.Qg3 f6 15.Bf4 0-0-0 16.f3 Ne5 17.Be3 [17.Qxg7! is greedy and good. That's just a nice pawn to grab.] 17...g6 18.Bxd4 cxd4 19.Rxd4 Rd7?! [19...Qc5] 20.Be2 Rc7 21.Nb5! Rc6 22.c3 Rb6 23.c4 [23.Rxd6!] 23...a6?! [23...Kb8!] 24.Nxd6+ Kb8 25.Ka1 [25.f4 Nc6 26.Rd3 Qc5 27.Rhd1] 25...Rd8 26.Rhd1 Qa4 27.Qe1?! this gives Black an opportunity as the queen leaves the diagonal of the black knight and king. [27.R1d2] 27...Nc6 28.R4d3 Nb4! suddenly Black is back in the game. Though two pawns down, there are threats. 29.R3d2 Rdxd6 30.Rxd6? Diagram


[White needed to avoid the capture and play 30.Kb1 when the game is still about even] 30...Nc2+! suddenly Black has an overwhelming attack. 31.Kb1 Nxa3+ 32.Ka2 Nxc4+ 33.Kb1 Rxb2+ 34.Kc1 Qc2# 0-1

This TNO also saw a fine performance from Clarence Lehman, who played solidly through every round, and got this fine win against a tough opponent.

(12) Clarence Lehman (FrankJamesMarshall) (1559) - Gianluca Pane (b0bl0b1aw) (1744) [B20]
Live Chess, 02.06.2020

1.e4 c5 2.b4 The Wing Gambit - entertaining and sound enough. 2...cxb4 3.a3 d5! 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nf3 [5.axb4? Qe5+ wins the rook on a1] 5...e5 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Be7 8.Na3 Bg4?! [8...e4 or ; 8...Nc6 are more to the point] 9.Nb5 Qd7 10.h3 [10.Qa4! Bxf3 11.Nc7+ Kd8 12.Nxa8] 10...Bh5? [Black needs to take the knight 10...Bxf3] 11.g4 Bg6 12.Nxe5 the white knights are controlling the board 12...Qc8 13.Nxg6 [13.Bg2 Nc6 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.Nxa7! works tactically for White. His pieces are all participating.] 13...hxg6 14.Qe2 Qc6 15.Rg1 a6?! [15...Kf8 is relatively best - getting out of potential checks] 16.Bg2! Qd7 Diagram


17.Bxb7! Ra7 [17...Qxb7 18.Nd6+] 18.Nxa7 Qxb7 19.Qe3 Nf6 20.Ba3?! [20.g5! Nd5 21.Qe4 0-0 22.Ra5 and White keeps the material edge] 20...0-0! 21.Bxe7 Re8 22.Qc5 Rxe7+ 23.Kf1 Qxa7 24.Qxa7 Rxa7 Now the endgame is equal. Rook and pawn is usually worth two knights. 25.d4 Rc7 26.Ra3 Ne4 27.Kg2 Kh7?! kings belong in the center in the endgame. At least Black avoids [27...Rxc3? 28.Rxc3 Nxc3 29.Rc1 Nb5 30.Rc8+] 28.Rc1 Kh6 29.c4 Now the white pawns are advancing and becoming dangerous 29...Kg5 30.f3 Nd6 31.c5 Nb5 32.Rd3 Rd7?! [32...Nc6 33.d5 Nb4 gives more hope] 33.d5 Kf4?! 34.c6 now the white pawns simply win the game 34...Nxc6 35.Rxc6 a5 36.Rc5 Nd6 37.Rxa5 Nc4 38.Ra4 Rc7 39.Rc3 1-0

Full results can be found here:

To watch the broadcast, follow this link:

Mechanics' Online Events Recap

The 32-player Friday Night Online was won by NM Vyom Vidyarthi (2007checkmate) with 8.5/10, buoyed by a round 6 win over IM Rost Tsodikov (JasonRBT). In second was Tsodikov with 8 and Abhinav Penagalapati in 3rd with 7.5. Full results can be found here:

The Monday Night Arena was won by Abhinav Penagalapati (qing29) with 26 points, ahead of EM-TheChessShark with 25 and FM Kyron Griffith with 24. Full results here:

The Wednesday matinee was won by IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) with 3.5/4, full results here:

The Wednesday Late Night Showdown was won by Kristian Clemens with 6/7, followed by Rudolph Breedt (bobbejaan) with 5/7 and David Askin with 4.5/7. Full results here:

In the Fischer Random Thursday, Austin Mei went a perfect 3/3 to win the event. Full results here:

In the Thursday Late Night event, IM Elliott Winslow rolled through the competition, which included this writer, to go 5/5 and cruise to an easy win. Nathan Fong took 2nd with 3.5 and Manas Paldhe 3rd with 3/3. Full results here:

Mechanics' Chess Social

Jay Stallings bringing chess as far as Maachu Picchu

We will have a very special edition of the Mechanics' Chess Social this week as spoke to Paul Covington and Jay Stallings. Paul Covington is from Colorado and was a recipient of the 2020 US Chess Meritorious Service Award. He is also a US Chess Delegate from Colorado and member of the US Chess Clubs Committee. Coach Jay Stallings is from Southern California and was the recipient of the 2020 US Chess Organizer of the Year award and is a member of the US Chess Scholastic Committee. He is also the author of the popular Coach Jay book series for scholastic students and very active in promoting scholastic chess as organizer of the Southen California State Scholastic Championship. 

Paul Covington represents chess in Colorado and has traveled the country visiting chess clubs

To listen to the interview, follow this link:


Colorado Open Online Fundraiser
June 20, 10 AM (MDT--Denver time) Event is on

All donations are accepted. This is a great opportunity for a chance to play against a titled player!
After going to the info site, click on the sign up link :

This site take you through the rest of the process.

Coach Jays Chess Academy

Mechanics' Defeats Toronto Kaiqi Chess Club 24-20, Will Face Club de Ajedrez Par de Alfiles From Paraguay In Round 3 Of Club's League

Our Mechanics' Institute Chess Club team defeated Toronto Kaiqi Chess Club 24-20 last Saturday in our club's first league victory! We now have 1.5/2 headed into week 3. This Saturday, we play Club de Ajedrez Par de Alfiles from Paraguay. If you would like the opportunity to play in this match, or simply want to follow the action and root the team on, follow this link on Saturday at 10am: If you want to play, registration opens at 9am. Go Mechanics!

Dr. Alexey Root on Michael Walder and Chess in Coronoavirus Times

WIM Dr. Alexey Root has written two amazing articles that we would like to share with the Mechanics' community. The first is a personal profile of Mechanics' regular NM Michael Walder that is definitely worth rreading for anyone that has had the pleasure of knowing him and interacting with him. You can read the article here in Chessbase:

Another article is on how we can all keep the chess alive in these shleter in place times. Written for, you can read the article here:

We want to thank Alexey for writing thoughtful and thought provoking articles, and we especially thank her for the wonderful piece on Michael Walder. Getting an intimate glimpse of the people that make up our club and knowing them beyond the chessboard is a truly fascinating thing. Thanks, Alexey!

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

Saturday, June 6: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM
5SS G/5 +5:

Sunday, June 7: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM
5SS G/10+2:

Monday, June 8: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM
4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, June 9: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM
5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, June 10: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM
4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, June 11: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM
5SS G/5+5:

Friday, June 12: 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.   

NEW: US Chess Online Rated Tournaments
Twice a month

in June: June 14 & June 28 @ 3PM on

US Chess online rated - affecting online rapid rating - every player must be a US Chess member
Trophies or Medals for Top Finishers
Convenient, safe platform & tight fair play screening
Space is limited to first 30 players to ensure tournament quality


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

Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian

(13) tuotuo (1420) - BentActiveTank (1301)
Live Chess

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 e6?! The idea of advancing the black c-pawn is to take the white pawn on d4 and thus help control the center. Now White could advance with 4. d5! and have a clear advantage. 4.Bg5?! f6 5.Bf4 e5? [5...cxd4! 6.Nxd4? Nxd4 7.Qxd4 e5 wins a piece.] 6.dxe5 fxe5 7.Bg5 [7.Nxe5 Qf6 8.Nxc6 Qxf4 is complicated] 7...Nf6 8.Nc3 h6 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Bb5 [10.Nd5 Qd8 11.Bc4 leaves White with the pieces on excellent squares] 10...Nd4?! [10...a6] 11.Nxd4 cxd4 12.Nd5 Qd6 13.Qh5+ Kd8?! [13...g6 keeps the right to castle] 14.0-0 a6 15.Ba4 Qc5? This gives away the important e5 pawn, which lets White take over the center and add to the attack. 16.Qxe5 b5 17.Bb3 a5 18.Rad1? [18.a4! keeps full control and keeps all the material] 18...a4! now Black wins the bishop and has even chances 19.Bxa4 Rxa4 20.a3 b4?! 21.axb4 Qxc2? Diagram


This looks sensible, but allows White to get a winning attack. [21...Rxb4! makes the defense much easier] 22.Rc1! Qxb2 23.Qc7+ [23.Rxc8+ Kxc8 24.Qc7# is also good] 23...Ke8 24.Qxc8+ Kf7 25.Qxd7+ Kg6 26.Qf5# 1-0

(14) suIndu12 (1504) - kennethmex (1524)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 h6 5.0-0 Nf6 6.c3 d6 7.a4 a6 8.b4 Ba7 9.Re1 0-0 A well played opening thus far by both players. The pieces have been developed to good squares. 10.d4?! exd4 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.cxd4 Bg4?! [12...Nxe4! 13.Rxe4 d5 is the fork trick. Black wins the piece back in excellent position.] 13.f3 Be6 14.Bxe6 fxe6 15.Be3 e5 16.dxe5?! [16.Nc3] 16...Bxe3+ 17.Rxe3 dxe5 18.Qxd8 Raxd8 19.Nc3 c6 20.Rd1 Rxd1+ 21.Nxd1 Rd8 Black has a slight edge in the endgame due to having control of the open file. 22.Nc3 Rd2 23.b5 cxb5 24.axb5 axb5?! [24...a5! is a nice passed pawn] 25.Nxb5 Rd1+ 26.Kf2 Rb1 27.Nd6 b5 28.Rc3! Activating the rook allows White active possibilities. 28...Rb2+ 29.Kg1 Kh7?! Black plays to win sacrificing a pawn [29...Rb1+ 30.Kf2 Rb2+ 31.Kf1 Rb1+ would be a draw] 30.Rc5 b4 31.Rxe5 b3 32.Rb5! rooks belong behind passed pawns 32...Rb1+ 33.Kf2 b2?! The loses the passed pawn. There were better chances to be had after [33...Rb2+] 34.Nc4 Rh1 35.Rxb2 Rxh2 36.Ne5 Rh5 37.Ng4? [the game move breaks up the white pawns. Clearly better was 37.Nd3] 37...Nxg4+ 38.fxg4 Re5 39.Ke3 Ra5 40.Rb3 Re5 41.Rd3 Re7 42.Kd4 Kg6 43.e5 Kg5 44.Rg3 Kf4 45.Re3? Diagram


45...Kxg4? going from winning to losing in one move [45...Rd7+! drives the white king away and so wins the rook on e3] 46.e6! suddenly the e-pawn becomes a monster and wins the game 46...Kf5 47.Kd5 g5 48.Kd6 Rg7 49.e7 Rg8 50.e8Q Rxe8 51.Rxe8 Kg4 52.Rh8 h5 53.Ke5 h4 54.Rg8! good technique 54...h3 55.gxh3+ Kh4 56.Kf5 Kxh3 57.Rxg5 Kh4 58.Kf4 Kh3 59.Rg4 Kh2 60.Rg3 Kh1 61.Kf3 Kh2 62.Kf2 Kh1 63.Rh3# 1-0

(15) Oktai (1394) - BCSabarishree (1231)
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5! The courageous move, making difficulites for your opponent and yourself. 4...d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Be2 h6 9.Nf3 [9.Nh3 Bobby Fischer preferred to play] 9...Be6?! [9...e4! drives the white knight] 10.Nc3?! [10.Nxe5! takes a valuable center pawn and removes the worries of ...e4 by Black] 10...Qe7 11.d3?! [11.Nxe5!] 11...0-0-0 12.Bd2 Rh7?! this puts the rook on a poor square 13.Ne4?! [13.Nxe5] 13...Nxe4 14.Bxa5?! Diagram


14...Rd7? [14...Qc5! 15.Bxd8 Qxf2#] 15.Qb1?! Nf6 16.0-0 Ng4 17.h3 h5 18.hxg4? This takes a piece but brings the black rook on h7 into the action. White was much better just leaving the knight alone. 18...hxg4 19.Nh2 Qh4! suddenly Black has an overwhelming attack. Good use of the h-file 20.f3 g3! not letting the king escape 21.Re1 Qxh2+ 22.Kf1 Qh1# 0-1


Virtual Summer Chess Camps 2020

June 1 through Aug 14 on selected weeks

More information:

9AM - 12AM morning camps: Monday through Fridays
Next camp: June 15-19 - camp is filling up so secure your spot now!
Other weeks: 6-29-7/3, 7/6-10, 7/20-24, 8/3-7
Min 4 students, max 9 students in each camp.


Continuing our Small Group Afternoon Chess Classes

More information: 

1-hour intensive class followed by optional online tournament
$25/class, $45/two classes or $80/four classes package

Available classes:
Monday 4:00-5:00PM - Coach Colin
Tuesday 3:15-4:15PM - Coach Andy
Wednesday 3:00-4:00PM - Coach Colin
Friday 1:00-2:00PM - Coach Andy
Friday 2:15-3:15PM - Coach Andy 


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:

6/6 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
6/7 Sunday - Sunday Late Night Showdown
Format: 4 rounds of G/15+5
Join from 3PM -
Start: 4PM
6/7 Sunday - Sunday Late Night Showdown
Format: 5 rounds of G/5+2
Join from 7PM -
Start: 8PM
6/8 Monday - Monday Online Arena
Format: 90 mins of G/5+2 - as many games as you can.
Join from 5:30PM -
Start: 6:30PM
6/9 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Online Rapid
Format: 5 rounds of G/10+2 (Swiss)
Start: 6:30PM
6/10 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.
6/11 Thursday -  USCF Online Rated Tournament
6/12 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


To master the game of chess, a player needs tactical awareness.  Time and again I see my students dodging calculation, avoiding complications.  It’s as though they are living in a world where lightning never strikes and their wishful thoughts always come true.  The reality is that tactics dominate the game.  After all, what good is the aphorism “double your rooks on the 7th rank”, when you do so, only to overlook your opponent’s checkmating your king in one move?

So, wake up and smell the tactics!  When you start looking for – and seeing - those 1-2-3 jabs the masters use, you will win a lot more games.  I promise.

Putting my own words into practice, the following positions are from my own on-line blitz games.  Immodestly I will state I was on the winning side in all.  I highly recommend blitz, especially for older players.  It keeps you sharp – tactically aware!  Some of the positions you might find easy, some hard.  I’ll give some clues, but I’m sorry I won’t be there to tell you “it’s mate in 2” when you’re playing your next game!

- FM Paul Whitehead

Diagram 1. White to play.

Black has just played …Nf6-g4? This is the kind of move a player who’s only looking at their own chances makes.  White mates in 3 moves.


Diagram 2. White to play.

White has black on the ropes.  How can he force mate or a decisive gain of material? Don’t be lazy – work out a variation or two.


Diagram 3. Black to play.

White has been careless. Mate him in 3 moves.


Diagram 4. Black to play.

Remarkably, black has many losing moves, only one drawing move – and only one move that wins! This one’s a little tough, but working out the variations will pay off in the long run.


Diagram 5. White to move.

A nice move ends any hope black might have had here.


Diagram 6. Black to move.

This is a little sequence every player should have in their bag of tricks.  Black mates white  in 2 moves.


Diagram 7. Black to move.

A volatile situation, but black is winning. Give a few variations.


Diagram 8. White to move.

It’s mate in 3 moves. Give it a delicious twist!


Diagram 9. White to move.

Black is a piece ahead, but dead lost. Find the forced mate without moving the pieces. 


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Great Action from Lindores Abbey Finals

Tennis has four Grand Slam tournaments in which all the best players in the world participate (unless they are injured). Who is the greatest tennis player? Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg? That is open to debate, but in the French Open there is no one that compares (or has ever compared) to Rafael Nadal, who has won 12 of the last 14 events. That kind of dominance is similar to what Magnus Carlsen has done of late (or for that matter since 2010 when he became the #1 player in the world). When Magnus doesn’t win a tournament he plays in it is a shock. Winning the tournament is one matter, but defeating Magnus is an even greater triumph.

It is for this reason we celebrate the finals of the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge. Our own Hikaru Nakamura made it to the semi-finals of this event and met his opponent “Sauron” as Hikaru calls him. This joking likening to the evil dark lord of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic is a fitting name for Magnus if you happen to meet him over the board. Hikaru started in the best of three rapid match losing the first match 3-0. All seemed usual for “Sauron.” Then Hikaru squeaked by with a victory in the second match and it all came down to the Armageddon game of the third match. With a miraculous victory, Hikaru won and went to the Finals against up and coming Danil Dubov. Dubov managed to win the finals with the Armageddon game of the third match, so a great victory for him. Yet I consider Hikaru’s tournament to be better. Defeating Sauron and bringing order to the world is a rare and satisfying victory.

(1) Carlsen,Magnus - Nakamura,Hikaru [D37]
Lindores Abbey Rapid, 30.05.2020

The Armageddon to decide the match. Hikaru chose the black pieces to have draw odds, though a minute less to start the game (5min vs 4 min). 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Be2 dxc4 8.0-0 a6 9.a4 Nd5 10.Bg3 c5 11.Bxc4 cxd4 12.exd4 N7b6 13.Bb3 White has an edge as his pieces have more mobility. 13...a5 14.Ne5 Bd7 15.Ne4 Bc6 16.Nxc6 bxc6 17.Rc1 Nb4 18.Qe2 Diagram


White has a small edge and still almost a minute time advantage. Black's position is pretty solid though. 18...N6d5 [18...Qxd4? 19.Rfd1 wins material as the black queen has no escape square.] 19.Rfd1?! Re8 [19...f5! threatens to trap the bishop on g3 with ...f4 when the knight moves from e4. White can try 20.Nd6! Qd7 (20...f4 21.Qxe6+) 21.Nc4 f4 22.Nb6 Qd6 23.Nxa8 fxg3 24.hxg3 Rxa8 is about equal.] 20.Qf3 Ra7 21.Be5 Bf8 22.Qg3 f6 23.Bd6 White is back to having an edge, though not too much. 23...Bxd6 24.Nxd6 Rf8 25.Ne4 Qb8 26.Qf3 [26.Bxd5! Nxd5 (26...cxd5 27.Nxf6+!) 27.Rxc6 wins a pawn] 26...Re8 27.g3 Kh8 28.Nc5 Rae7 29.Bc4 e5 30.dxe5 Qxe5 31.Rd2 Qg5 32.Nb3 Nb6 33.h4! White is beginning to take squares and increase the pressure. The white bishop is a stronger pieces than a knight. 33...Qe5 34.Re2 Qc7 35.Rxe7 Qxe7 36.Nxa5 Qe5 Diagram


37.Nb3? Just when it looked really bad for Hikaru some luck comes his way. [Magnus could have come through with 37.Bf7! Rf8 (37...Qxb2 38.Qd1 Rf8 39.Nxc6) 38.Nxc6 Qxb2 39.Qd1 basically winning for White ] 37...Nxa4 38.Bf7 Rf8 39.Rc4 Rxf7 40.Rxb4?? Diagram


[40.Qe4! is equal] Here is your position. Can you find how to beat Magnus? 40...Qe1+ That simple! You win a rook. Sometimes you just have to be alert when luck comes your way. 41.Kh2 Qxb4 42.Qxc6 Rf8 0-1


(2) Dubov,Danil - Nakamura,Hikaru [D61]

The finals match with Dubov was very close. Hikaru had his chances and plays well in this game. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.Qc2 c5 8.dxc5 dxc4 9.e3 Na6 10.Bxc4 Nxc5 11.0-0 a6 12.Rfd1 Qe8 13.Be2 b6 14.b4 Ncd7 15.Nd4 Bb7 16.Qb2 Rc8 Diagram


We have a pretty usual queen pawn position where the c and d files are open and the pawn structure symmetical. White is a little more active so holds a slight edge. 17.b5 a5 18.Na4 Nd5 19.Bxe7 Qxe7 20.Bf3 Nc5 21.Nxc5 Rxc5 22.Nc6?! Playing for activity, but this gives up a pawn. 22...Bxc6 23.bxc6 Qc7! 24.Rac1 Qxc6 25.Rxc5 Qxc5 26.Bxd5 exd5 27.Rc1 Qd6 28.g3 Rd8 White has some activity though the extra pawn means that Black is the one playing for the win. 29.Qb5 d4! 30.exd4 Qxd4 31.Rc6 Diagram


31...Qe4! It's this kind of transition move that is important to make. Black leaves the b6 pawn completely unguarded and looks instead to an attack on the white king. 32.Rc1 Qf3 33.Qb1 [33.Qxb6 Rd1+ 34.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 35.Kg2 Qd5+ 36.Kg1 Qxa2 is an excellent pawn up queen ending] 33...g6 34.h4 Rd6 35.Qa1 Kh7 White was forced back to the defensive, so is just a pawn down for nothing. Hikaru has great technique for quick chess. 36.Qb1 h5 37.Re1 a4 38.Qb4?! Rd1! 39.Rxd1 Qxd1+ 40.Kh2 [40.Kg2 Qd5+ 41.Kg1 Qxa2 is again a great queen ending. Black guards the f7 pawn and so can just march up the a-pawn.] 40...Qc2! Diagram


There was no good move. The f2 pawn is hanging so Dubov at least guards that and only remains a pawn down. Unfortunately for him it's still losing. 41.Qxb6 Qxa2 42.Qf6 Qe6 43.Qc3 Qb3 44.Qf6 a3 The a-pawn wins the game. Dubov tries a last desparate chance. 45.g4 Qe6! 46.Qf3 a2 0-1


(3) Dubov,Danil - Nakamura,Hikaru [C26]

The finals all came down to the Armageddon game of the third match. Just as in the semi-final match against Magnus, Hikaru took the black pieces. 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 A decent, offbeat system for White. 3...Bc5 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.Nge2 d6 6.d3 a6 7.0-0 Be6 8.h3 h6 9.Kh2 d5 Going for the central break right away. 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.f4 exf4?! Diagram


12.Bxd5! A surprising and inventive move by young Dubov. Giving up the fianchettoed bishop brings the white knights to action. 12...Bxd5? [Black needed to play 12...fxg3+ 13.Nxg3 Bxd5 14.Qh5 Ne7 15.Nxd5 Qxd5 16.Qxd5 Nxd5 17.Rf5 0-0-0 18.c4 when 18...Nb4 19.Rxc5 Nxd3 20.Rf5 is a clearly better endgame for White, but there is still lots of play left.] 13.Nxf4 Ne7 14.Qh5 c6 15.Ncxd5 cxd5 16.Ne6 Ouch. Black has a lot of troubles. 16...Qd6 17.Nxg7+ Kd7 18.Rxf7 Two pawns up and the attack, White is winning. It's not sure though in a blitz game. 18...Raf8 19.Bf4 Diagram


19...Rxf7 best chance here 20.Bxd6 Rf2+ 21.Kh1 Bxd6 22.Re1 Rhf8 23.Qg4+ Kc6 24.Ne6 R8f6 25.Nd4+ Kb6 26.Re2 Rf1+ 27.Kg2 Nc6 28.Nxc6 bxc6 Hikaru fights on. In a classic time control game he might resign, but there are always chances in blitz. 29.c3 R1f5 30.b4 Kb7 31.Qg7+ Rf7 32.Qxh6 Bc7 33.Qe3 Bb6 34.d4 Bc7 35.h4 a5 36.a3 a4 37.Qd3 Rf1 38.b5! Opening up the position around the black king. The end is near. 38...R1f6 39.bxc6+ Kxc6 40.Qa6+ Bb6 41.Qxa4+ Kb7 42.Qe8 Rf8 43.Re7+ Bc7 44.Qb5+ Rb6 45.Rxc7+ Black resigns as 45...Kxc7 46. Qc5+ picks up the rook on f8. Congratulations to Dubov for a great event, but even more congratulations to Naka for beating Sauron. 1-0



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