Chess Room Newsletter #925 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #925

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #925


July 11, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

History of the People's Tournament: Part 1 - Next Week July 18


Mechanics' Institute Tuesday Night Marathon Online

The Tuesday Night Marathon has returned, and we held rounds one and two of this modified, online Tuesday Night Marathon (TNM). This event is a 3-week event that has six rounds in total, with a time control of G/35 +2, and is USCF-online rated. Each week there will be two rounds played, and players are paired manually on according to their standard over-the-board USCF rating. There are also two sections and a prize pool, and the event was broadcast on our Twitch channel. It had every bit the feel of the TNM many of the players know and the excitement for this new event was definitely in the air. It was great to see the strong turnout and support, as 54 players registered, and we expect to have 60 players by the start of next week!

The games were manually paired by Chief TD Dr. Judit Sztaray on The round times were 6:30pm and 8:00pm, and the rounds started on time. Special thanks to Judit or handling this very busy part of the tournament, as she had to process results and troubleshoot players not in live chess at the start of the second round.

The field was led by Mechanics' regulars FM Kyron Griffith, IM Elliott Winslow FM Eric Yuhan Li and NM Ruiyang Yan. FM Kyron Griffith had a tough first round, but converted the win in a time scramble. His second round game was sharp and ended quicky. Kyron defeated the very formidable Rudolph Breedt. Game annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(4) FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2470) - Rudloph Breedt (bobbejaan) (1884) [C47], 08.07.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 Bb4!? [4...exd4 Kyron would be in character by playing 5.Nxd4 (5.Nd5!? the Belgrade Gambit, dares Black to take another pawn.) ] 5.Nxe5 Nxe4 6.Qg4 Nxc3 Diagram


7.Qxg7 Rf8 8.a3 Ba5 9.Nxc6 dxc6 10.Qe5+ Qe7 11.Qxe7+ Kxe7 12.Bd2 Diagram


12...Nb5?N Black (Rudolph Fr Breedt) plays for a bit of counterattack, but overlooks a loss of exchange. [Fourteen games, all went 12...Bf5 and we've transposed into thirty more! 13.Bxc3 It's about split between this (and 13.bxc3!? both in frequency and results.) 13...Bxc3+ 14.bxc3 Bxc2 15.Kd2 Bg6 16.h4 is still annoying for Black, as his bishop still isn't home free. 1/2-1/2 (33) Thilakarathne,G (2346)-Esipenko,A (2609) Konya 2018] 13.Bxa5 Nxd4 [After 13...b6 14.Bb4+ Nd6 15.0-0-0 White has a pawn and other advantages as well.] 14.Bb4+! Giving Black a decision on where to put the king. Each square has some difficulty. 14...Ke8?! [14...Kf6 15.0-0-0 Rd8 16.Bc5! Ne6 17.Rxd8 Nxd8 18.Bd4+ Kg6 19.g4!+- And even here, Black's king has not reached safety.; 14...Ke6 takes the square from the knight 15.0-0-0 Rd8 16.Bc5] 15.0-0-0 No more difficulties. White is winning with an extra exchange. 15...Ne6 16.Bxf8 Nxf8 17.Bc4 Be6 18.Rhe1 Ke7 19.f4 Kf6 20.Bxe6 Nxe6 21.Rd7 Rg8 22.g3 h5 23.f5! Ng7 24.Rxc7 Nxf5 25.Rxb7 h4 KyronGriffith won by resignation. [25...h4 26.gxh4 Rg2 27.h3 c5 28.Rxa7 Nd4 29.c3 6.80/0 ] 1-0

FM Eric Li showed his precice technical play against Simona Nayberg in round 2.

(8) Simona Nayberg (roboro13) (1906) - FM Eric Yuhan Li (wepkins) (2369) [B22]
Live Chess, 07.07.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

Simona Nayberg vs. Eric Yuhan Li 1.e4 c5 2.c3 [In looking at the diagram below, note that this move order is important: 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 d6 7.d4 cxd4 8.cxd4 dxe5 9.Nxe5 Nc6 10.Nxc6 bxc6 1-0 (30) Carlsen,M (2863)-Xiong,J (2709) INT 2020 11.0-0] 2...Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.cxd4 d6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Bc4 dxe5!? [Most usual is 7...Nb6 8.Bb5 dxe5 9.Nxe5 Bd7 10.Nxd7 Qxd7 11.Nc3 (11.0-0) 11...e6 1/2-1/2 (92) Vachier Lagrave,M (2778)-Giri,A (2764) INT 2020] 8.Nxe5 [8.Bxd5 used to be quite an initiative for White until the value was appreciated of 8...Qxd5 9.Nc3 Qd6! 10.d5 Nd4! 11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Qxd4 e5! 13.Qd3 Bd7 Black prepares ...f5! and ...Kf7!; 8.dxe5 Ndb4 and, notes Peter Wells, if Black is careful, he gets an initiative against White's e5 pawn and light squares at d3 and c2.] 8...e6 9.0-0 Nb6!? Diagram


Black shows his considerable theoretical preparation here. [9...Be7; and 9...Bd6 are the two moves considered by Peter Wells in his excellent coverage of this line (7...dxe5!?) in "Dangerous Weapons: Anti-Sicilians" (2009).] 10.Bb5 [10.Nxc6!? has only been played once in this position but by the strongest player who's been right here (Skoberne), but a move later there are hundreds of games, including one by the strongest player who's been anywhere! And *very* recently: 10...bxc6 11.Bb3 and suddenly there are hundreds of games! (see move order on move two) 11...Be7 12.Nc3 0-0 13.Qf3 Ba6 14.Rd1 Nd5?! This has to be seen as a bit inconsistent at best. (14...Qd7 is a move the computer is off and on about.) 15.Ne4 Qb6 16.Qg3 Qb8 17.Bg5 Qxg3 18.hxg3 Bxg5 19.Nxg5 Rfb8 and Black is on the verge of equality. (or 19...Bb5) ] 10...Bd7 11.Nxd7 Qxd7 12.Nc3 Diagram


Another position that has attracted the attention of the world's elite in the last year! 12...a6 [12...Be7 13.Qg4 0-0 14.Bh6 Qxd4 15.Qg3 Bd6 16.Bxg7 Bxg3 17.Bxd4 Bxh2+ 18.Kxh2 Nxd4 19.Bd3 f5 20.Rae1 Rf6 21.Re3 Rh6+ 22.Kg1 Kf7 23.Ne2 Rd8 24.Rc1 Nxe2+ 25.Bxe2 Rd2 26.Bf3 Rxb2 27.Ra3 a6 28.Bxb7 Nc4 29.Ra4 Nd2 30.Ba8 Ne4 31.Bxe4 fxe4 32.Rxa6 Rf6 33.Rf1 h5 34.Ra3 Rf5 35.Re3 Rxa2 36.Rxe4 1/2-1/2 (36) Nakamura,H (2736) -Ding,L (2791) INT 2020] 13.Bxc6 Qxc6 14.Qg4 [14.Be3 Nd5! 15.Rc1 Nxc3 16.Rxc3 Qd5 17.Qg4 h5 is about equal] 14...g6!? has scored well (almost 70%) [14...h5!? has scored the same!] 15.Bg5 Bg7 16.Rac1 Qd7 17.Rfd1 [An A-player came up with the excellent 17.d5! 0-0 (17...Nxd5! 18.Rfd1 f5! 19.Nxd5! fxg4 20.Nc7+ Qxc7 21.Rxc7 0-0!=) 18.Rfe1?! (18.dxe6!+/=) 18...Nxd5 19.Red1 f5 (19...h5!-/+) 20.Nxd5? (20.Qf3) 20...fxg4 21.Ne7+ Qxe7 22.Bxe7-/+ but White managed to draw: ½-½ (59) Foster,J (1948)-Barissever,E (1957) Coulsdon 2008] 17...0-0 Diagram


18.h4!?N [18.d5! eliminates White's isolated pawn and so the game is equal.] 18...Rac8 19.b3?! Nd5 [19...Rc6!] 20.Ne2 Rxc1 21.Rxc1 Rc8 Black is just better with a solid game and play against the isolated pawn. 22.h5 Rxc1+ 23.Bxc1 Nf6 [23...Qc7] 24.Qg3 Qc8 25.h6 [25.hxg6 hxg6 26.Qd3] 25...Bf8 26.Qe5?! Ng4 When that pawn goes it's going to be difficult. 27.Qe4 Nxh6 28.g4!? [28.Bxh6!? Bxh6 29.d5 would acquiesce to a pawn-down but weakness-free defense, but would probably go Black's way regardless.] 28...Qc6 [28...Qd7!?] 29.Qf4 [29.Qxc6 bxc6 30.f3] 29...Qc8 30.Qg3 f5 31.g5 Nf7 32.Bf4 Be7 33.Nc3?! Qd8! Black attacks both the d-pawn and g-pawn. wepkins won by resignation 0-1

NM Ruiyang Yan showed her fierce attacking style in her 1st round win against Ryan Tiong.

(3) NM Ruiyang Yan (jij2018) (2242) - Ryan Tiong (gmcarebear999) (1790) [B78]
Live Chess, 07.07.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

Ruiyang Yan vs. Ryan Tiong 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 The classic Dragon, Yugoslav Attack. Both players are out for blood. 11...Ne5 12.Kb1 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.h4 An older line. [14.g4 is the major battleground these days, when after 14...b5 15.b3!? (P. Negi in his "Grandmaster Repertoire" series on 1. e4 doesn't let Black have so much fun: 15.h4 b4 16.Nce2 (16.Nd5) ) 15...b4!? 16.bxc4 bxc3 17.Qxc3 White is objectively doing well, but in practice anything can happen.] 14...Qc7!? [14...h5!?] 15.g4 Rc8 16.h5 b5 [16...Rxc3 17.bxc3 Qxc3 18.hxg6 (18.Qxc3 Rxc3 19.Rd3 Rc7 20.h6!?) 18...hxg6 19.Bh6 Qxd2 20.Rxd2 Bxh6 21.Rxh6 Kg7 is a classic Exchange sacrifice, but White is better in the endgame. 22.Rh1 Nh7 23.Rdh2 Nf8 24.Kb2 1-0 (76), Wang,H (2484)-Xu,J (2582) Jinan 2005] 17.hxg6 fxg6 18.Qh2 Diagram


[18.Nd5! (far and away the most popular move) really puts Black on the spot: 18...Nxd5 19.exd5 Be5 20.Qf2! Rf8 21.Qh4 Rf7 22.f4 Bf6 23.Qh3 Qc8 Diagram


24.f5 gxf5 25.gxf5 Bxd4 26.Bxd4 Bxf5 27.Rhg1+ 1-0 Morris,W (2380)-Whitehead,P (2330) CalChess Masters, Berkeley 1981] 18...b4?N Now White gets the good variation a vital move up. [18...Rxc3! 19.bxc3 Qxc3 makes a lot more sense here, as Black can keep the queens on the board for the attack, at least for a while. 20.Qd2 (20.Rd3!?) 20...Qa3 21.Qc1 Qa4 22.Rd3 b4 23.Qb2 a5 (23...Rc4!?) 24.Qb3+ e6?! 25.Rd2 Rc3 26.Qxa4 Bxa4+/- 27.Rd3?? Bxc2+-+ 0-1 (46) Caderon,M (1999)-Prevot,E (2108) Soulac sur Mer 2015] 19.Nd5 Black crumbles! 19...Nxd5 20.Qxh7+ Kf8 21.Bh6 [21.Qxg6!?] 21...Bxh6 22.Qxh6+ Kf7 23.exd5 [23.Qh7+ Kf6 and White has varioui moves that lead to mate in 9 or so 24.g5+ (and 24.Rh6; 24.exd5 does also win but not imminent mate)) ] 23...Rxd4 24.Rxd4 Qxc2+ 25.Ka1 White just stops the counterattack. Note the white queen on h6 helps with the defense. 25...g5 26.Qxg5 Rf8 27.Rf4+ Ke8 28.Qh5+ Kd8 29.Rxf8+ Kc7 30.Qg5 Qe2 31.Rc1+ Kb7 32.Qf4 a5 33.Qc4 Qxc4 34.Rxc4 Kb6 35.g5 Kb5 36.Rc1 e6 37.dxe6 Bxe6 38.g6 Ka4 39.g7 d5 40.g8Q Bxg8 41.Rxg8 d4 42.Rd8 d3 43.Rd5 jij2018 won by resignation 1-0

Perhaps the most dynamic game of the match was this 2nd round matchup between Austin Mei and Ryan Wang. It certainly took up most of the second round broadcast commentary!

(10) Austin Mei (TitanChess666) (2149) - Ryan Wang (Ryanwang01) (1725) [C52]
Live Chess, 07.07.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 The Evans Gambit -- an entertaining adventure. 4...Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.0-0 d6 8.cxd4 Nf6 9.d5 [Here's a recent master game in this line: 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.e5 dxe5 12.dxe5 Qe7 13.Qe2 Bg4 14.Bb5 Qe6 15.Nbd2 Bxd2 16.Qxd2 Bxf3 17.gxf3 0-0 18.f4 Qg6+ 19.Kh1 Rad8 20.Qe3 Nd4 21.Rg1 Qh5 22.Bf1 Nc2 23.Qg3 g6 24.Rc1 Qf5 25.Bh3 Qe4+ 26.Bg2 Qf5 27.Bh3 Qe4+ 28.Bg2 Qf5 ½-½, Travkina,A (2221)-Styazhkina,A (2301) Sochi 2017] 9...Ne5 10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.Qa4+ c6 Diagram


12.Ba3?N White stops Black from castling, but there is another matter... [12.dxc6 0-0! is the well-preached strategy of giving back the extra pawn to solve other problems, i.e. getting castled. 13.Rd1 Qc7 14.Ba3 Rd8 15.Rxd8+ Qxd8 16.Qb3 Qc7 17.cxb7?! Bxb7 leaves even material but Black better developed. The game continued. 18.f3 Bb6+ 19.Kh1 Bd4 20.Nc3 Rc8 21.Nb5 Qxc4 22.Nxd4 Qxd4 23.Rd1 Qb6 0-1 (23) Zgarda,J (1859)-Szajda,M (2093) Poronin 2013] 12...b5! 13.Bxb5 [13.Qc2 bxc4 14.dxc6 Be6 is a safe piece ahead] 13...cxb5 14.Qxb5+ Bd7 15.Qe2 Qb6 Yes Black's king is stuck in the center, but White just doesn't have the way to add fuel to the fire. The knight will be exchanged before it gets to play to c4 and d6. 16.Nd2 Bxd2! 17.Qxd2 Nxe4! Black has another path for his king... 18.Qe1 f5! 19.Rb1 Qd4 20.Rb7 Trying to stop ...Kf7 20...Nd2 The greed approach. 21.Qd1 Qxd5?! [21...h5! is safer] 22.Qh5+ Kd8 (forced!) 23.Rc1! Ne4 Diagram


Black is trying to hang on to his advantage, but now he's hit with yet more sacrifce: 24.Rxd7+! Kxd7 25.Qxf5+ [25.Rd1!? Nd2 26.Qxf5+ Kc6! 27.Qc2+ Qc4! 28.Qxd2 Rad8! 29.Bd6 Kb7!-/+ Castling "by hand" -- on the queenside!] 25...Ke8 26.h3! Nf6?! [The computer finds 26...Rg8!!-/+ 27.Re1 g6 28.Qf3 Rd8 with still a small edge for Black] 27.Rc5! Finally! White's attack has some traction. 27...Qxa2 28.Rxe5+ [28.Qxe5+ Kf7 (28...Kf8 29.Rc8+! Kf7 30.Rc7+) 29.Rc7+ Kg8! (29...Kg6? 30.Qg3+ Kf5 31.Qd3+ and mate is coming) 30.Qe7 Nh5 31.Qe5 Nf6 seems to hold on] 28...Kf7= 29.Re7+ Kg8 30.Qg5? [30.Bb2! Rf8 31.Bxf6 Rxf6 32.Re8+ Kf7 33.Qd7+ Kg6 34.Qg4+= is a draw by perpetual check] 30...Qb1+ 31.Kh2 Qg6 A splendid defense! White is pretty much out of ammunition now. 32.Qc5 h6! 33.Qc6 Re8 34.Qe6+ Kh7 35.h4 Rxe7 36.Qxe7 Re8 37.Qxa7 Ng4+ 38.Kg3 Nf6+ [38...Ne3+ and mate] 39.Kh3 Qg4+ 40.Kh2 Qxh4+ 41.Kg1 Re1# Ryanwang01 won by checkmate 0-1

Another action packed game was this one between Tejas Mahesh and Roger Shi.

(1) Tejas Mahesh (ChessTX9) (1988) - Roger Shi (1-h4-1-0) (1572) [E97]
Live Chess, 07.07.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 The Bayonet Attack against the King's Indian, a less popular line to the Mar Del Plata Variation until Kramnik started finding idea after idea. He won the Top Novelty prize one issue of the Chess Informant book, and then in the same position found another novelty and won it again the next issue! [9.Ne1 heads for the Mar Del Plata. White combines attack and defense on a grand scale, while Black usually leans more on a pawn storm kingside attack, including sacrifical showers. Of course the big difference is that, should Black crash through, there is a king there to checkmate. But White does win a good share of the games. 9...Nd7 10.Nd3 (10.Be3 f5 11.f3 f4 12.Bf2 g5) 10...f5 11.Bd2 Nf6 12.f3 f4 13.c5 g5] 9...Nh5 10.g3 The older move, which here in 2020 the computers are not so sure about. [One of Kramnik's signature lines, with many games by him and others following, is: 10.Re1 f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.Bf3 c6 13.Be3] 10...f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.Bf3 Another Kramnik discovery; [The old 12.f3 still leads to severe complications after 12...f4 (or 12...c6) ] 12...h6 [12...c6 has probably been the biggest move. 13.dxc6!? Actually a novelty after all that has passed before! (13.Ba3 was Kramnik's first surprise (against Giri in 2011);; 13.Bg2 was his next thunderbolt, vs. Grischuk in 2012.) 13...bxc6 14.exf5 gxf5 15.b5 h6 16.Nh3 Be6 17.bxc6 Bxc4 18.Re1 Qc7 19.Ba3 Rfd8 20.Qa4 d5 21.Nf4!? Nxc6! Black gives up the Exchange but keeps his fantastic center; 22.Ne6 Qd7 23.Nxd8 Rxd8 0-1 (42) 42, Indjic,A (2622)-Shimanov,A (2587) Moscow 2020.; 12...fxe4!? is all just too complex...] 13.Ne6 Bxe6 14.dxe6 Qc8!? Diagram


[14...c6; 14...Ne8] 15.Ba3?!N A few years after their first scholastic events, these youngsters (Tejas Mahesh and Roger Shi) are duking it out in an epic theoretical King's Indian Defense! But here White rather loses the thread. [Probably more critical is the only somewhat tested: 15.Nd5 Nexd5 16.cxd5 (16.exd5 e4 has also been tried a few times) 16...fxe4 17.Be2 c6 1/2-1/2 (31) Likavsky,T (2486)-Zelbel,P (2379) Austria 2012] 15...Qxe6 Black starts to turn the game in his favor. 16.Nb5? [16.exf5 gxf5 (16...Nxf5) 17.Bxb7 Rab8 18.Bd5 (18.Bg2 Qxc4 19.Rc1 Qf7) 18...Nexd5 19.Nxd5 c6! 20.Nxf6+ Rxf6-/+ Black has much more central control.] 16...Qc8?! [16...fxe4!-+ would just win a critical pawn as 17. Nxc7 Qd7 wins material] 17.c5 Around here White is probably wondering why everything works so well for Kramnik, but he's all a mess... 17...dxc5 [17...fxe4! 18.cxd6 cxd6 19.Nxd6? Qc3] 18.bxc5 fxe4 [or 18...Nc6 Black is very happy not to play ...c6.] 19.Bg2 a6? [19...Rd8 20.Qb3+ Kh7 21.Rad1 Ned5=/+] 20.Qb3+ Kh7 21.Nc3 [21.c6! Nxc6! 22.Bxf8 Qxf8 23.Nxc7 Nd4 and White has to be careful about his king... 24.Ne6! keeps an advantage.] 21...Nc6 22.Rab1?! [22.Nxe4] 22...Rb8 Black has kept his head, closed down White's bishops, and has squares for knights (well, at least one, d4) 23.Nxe4 Nd4 24.Qd3 Rd8 25.Rfd1 Qg4 26.Kh1 Nc6 27.Nxf6+ Bxf6 28.Qb3 Nd4 [28...Bg7] 29.Qf7+ Bg7 30.c6?! Nxc6 [30...bxc6!] 31.f3?? [31.Rxd8 Rxd8 32.h3 Qf5 33.Qxf5 gxf5 34.Rxb7 Rd1+ 35.Kh2 Nd4=] 31...Rxd1+?! [31...Qa4!-+ 32.Rxd8 Rxd8 and there is nowhere good for the bishop to go] 32.Rxd1 Qa4!? 33.Rd7! Rg8 Diagram


34.Bf8?? [White would be alright with either 34.Bc5! Qc2 35.Bg1; or 34.f4!] 34...Nd4 Certainly some advantage. [but 34...Nb8!!-+ puts White up to a test he can't pass. 35.Rxc7?! Qd1+] 35.Bf1!? Qd1 36.Kg2 Qc2+ 37.Kg1 Qf5 38.Bb4 Nxf3+ 39.Kg2 Qxf7 [39...Nd4!] 40.Rxf7 e4 41.Rxc7 Black is up a lot of pawns! But White, with the two bishops and far superior rook and king, can harrass those extra pawns until there isn't much left. But he has to get on it right away! 41...b5 42.Bc3?! [First 42.a4 dissolves the queenside pawns 42...bxa4 43.Bc3! Kh8 44.Bc4! Bxc3 45.Bxg8] 42...Kh8 43.Bxg7+ Rxg7 44.Rc8+?! [44.Rc6 gets right on it, picking on the queenside.] 44...Kh7 45.Ra8 Rc7 White has to be careful 46.Rxa6?! [46.Kf2 Nxh2 47.Be2 Rc3 48.Rxa6 e3+ 49.Kg2 Rc2 and Black doesn't lose the knight for nothing, and wins.] 46...Rc2+ completely winning. 47.Kh3 Rxh2+ [47...h5! 48.g4 Rxh2+ 49.Kg3 h4+ 50.Kf4 Rf2 and the h-pawn is unstoppable] 48.Kg4 h5+?! [48...Rf2 and now White has to contend with the e-pawn (after ...Ne5+).] 49.Kf4 g5+ 50.Kf5 Rf2 51.Ra7+ Kg8 52.Ra8+ Kf7 53.Ra7+ Ke8? 54.Ke6? [54.Bxb5+ gets rid of a lot of pawns at once and draws.] 54...Nd4+?! [54...Kd8-+; 54...Kf8!-+] 55.Kd6? [55.Kd5 when Black still has to find a win.] 55...Rxf1 That should do it! 56.Ra8+ Kf7 57.Ra7+ Kf6 58.Kd5 Rd1 59.Ra6+ Kf5 60.Ra8 Ne6+ 61.Kc6 Rc1+ 62.Kd5 Rc5+ 63.Kd6 Rc1 64.Ra5 Rd1+ 65.Kc6 Nd4+ 66.Kb6 e3 67.Ra8 e2 68.Re8 e1Q 69.Rf8+ Kg4 1-h4-1-0 won on time. What a battle! 0-1

In the under 1600 section, Daniel Perlov and Charlene Kwok are the only players remaining perfect after 2 rounds. Here is a game from that section, a nice win by Liora Gizburg against Rahim Dharssi.

(5) Liora Ginzburg (pegasus1015) (1523) - Rahim Dharssi (rahimftd) (595) [D53], 08.07.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.Nf3 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 The advantage White has is that the black c-pawn is not helping with the central battle while the white c-pawn is. 6...0-0 Playing in conservative manner after ...Nc6 leads to discoordinated positions. 7.Bd3 [7.a3 would be a useful move here] 7...b6 8.a3 Bb7 9.0-0 a6 Diagram


[9...dxc4!? 10.Bxc4 Na5 11.Bd3 c5 tries to put Black's house back in order. 12.dxc5 bxc5 13.Qe2 Rc8 is only slightly better for White. 14.Rfd1 Nd5 15.Bxe7 Qxe7 1/2-1/2 (23) Cherepov,A (2224)-Kupsik,J (1708) Poznan 2019] 10.Re1N [10.Qe2 takes aim at the pawn on a6. 10...dxc4 11.Bxc4 Nd5 12.Bxe7 Ncxe7 13.Rac1 c6 14.Rfd1 h6 15.Bd3 b5 16.Ne4 1-0 48, Dashiev,K (2059)-Khudyakov,Y Russia 2014; while 10.Rc1 pressures the c-file. 10...Qd7 11.Qe2 Rfe8 12.b4 Rec8 13.Rfd1 Na7 14.Ne5 Qe8 15.Rb1 Ne4 16.Bxe4 dxe4 17.Bxe7 Qxe7 18.f4 1-0 (53) Baur,V-Leditschke,S Torgelow 1994] 10...Na7 11.e4! Taking charge of the center. 11...dxe4 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.Bxe4 Bxe4 15.Rxe4 Rad8 16.Qe2 c6 17.Rd1 White (Liora Ginzburg) plays a straightforward game, a space advantage with play on the central files plus Black (Rahim Dharssi) queenside weaknesses. 17...Rd7!? In spite of all that, Black is developed and able to defend. [17...b5] 18.d5?! This has problems. [18.b4 b5 19.Ne5 Rc7 20.c5 is a classic "give squares (d5) to get squares" operation.] 18...Rfd8 19.Rd2 a5? Diagram


Black doesn't want to lose this pawn for the d5 pawn, but now White can win another pawn somewhere else. [19...cxd5 20.cxd5 Rxd5 21.Rxd5 Rxd5 22.Qxa6 b5 leaves White with no way to capitalize on the side lined Na7 , so the game would be even.] 20.dxe6! Rxd2 21.Nxd2 f6+- 22.Nb3? Everything else is winning: [Something like 22.h3 is just a huge advantage.] 22...c5! looking for the d4 square 23.Nc1 Nc6 24.Nd3 Nd4?! [24...Qd6! 25.Re3 Nd4 26.Qg4 Nxe6 would get rid of the annoying advanced e-pawn] 25.Qe3 [25.Qe1 Nf3+ 26.gxf3 Rxd3 27.f4 g6 28.Qe2 Rd6 29.b3 continues to be a problem pawn on e6.] 25...Rd6 [25...Nf5!] 26.Nf4! Nb3? [26...Nxe6!? 27.h4! Kf7 28.Nd5 Qd7 29.Qf3 White still tries to angle a way in at the Black king, but at least the monster on e6 has been eliminated!] 27.Nd5 [Nothing wrong with 27.Qxb3] 27...Qe8 28.e7 White has learned the power of a passed pawn! 28...Nd4 29.Nc7! winning the queen 29...Nf5 30.Qe1! Qxe7 31.Rxe7 Nxe7 32.Nd5 Ng6 33.Qe8+ Nf8 34.Ne7+ pegasus1015 won by resignation. 1-0

The broadcast was led by FM Paul Whitehead with myself (Abel) joining. We had a lively chat and the games were exciting. The pairings for round 3 which begins at 6:30pm on Tuesday July 14 will be posted by noon on Monday the 13th. To view the current standings and see the pairings when they are released, please follow this link:

We would like to thank all the participants and viewers of the broadcast. Everyone who has registered is supporting the Mechanics' Institute, and we are happy to be able to provide competitive chess online and broadcasting it to the entire chess community. 

To watch the broadcast of the first 2 rounds, please follow this link:

For full results, follow this link:

Mechanics' Online Events Recap

Friday Night Online Blitz: Winner: Rohan Rajaram (ninjatrick)

Sunday Matinee: Winner: IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow)

Sunday Evening Blitz: Winner: Rudolph Breedt (bobbejaan)

Monday Night Arena: Winner: Ed Rosenthal (BogusAurelius)

Wednesday Matinee: Winner: NM Michael Walder (FlightsOfFancy)

Wednesday Late Night Showdown: Winner: Rudolph Breedt (bobbejaan)

Thursday Night Blitz: Winner: IM Elliott Winslow

Mechanics' Chess Social

Guest July 10 Episode, Lauren Goodkind

On Friday's Mechanics' Institute Chess Social we had author and chess coach Lauren Goodkind on the broadcast. She is a strong player and an advocate for women's and girls chess in the Bay Area. I asked her about her life, her coaching, what inspired her to write her books, and her experience with chess in the pandemic era. It was a great discussion and you can watch the interview by following this link: Club's League Update

The Mechanics' Institute had a strong win last week against the Iowa Pawn Stormers 17.5-8.5. We now have 3.5/6 in the league with 2 rounds to go. This Saturday at 10am we will face off in round 6 against the Stevenson High School Chess Club from Illinois. They are Illinois State High School champs and are looking for a top notch win against our historic club. Our players will be ready to put up a battle, and the match for the event can be found here:

Full results for our win against Iowa can be found here:

Go Mechanics!

GM Sam Shankland To Partner With Berkeley Chess School For Online Summer Camp

GM Sam Shankland will do a special online summer seminar July 13-July 15 from 9am -12:30pm. Take advantage of this opportunity to train virtually with one of the world's best chess players, who happens to be a Bay Area native and Berkeley and Mechanics' alum. For more info, please follow this link:

Dr. Alexey Root: Chess and Cooking: A Perfect Pairing Part 2

Here is another article in a series written by Dr. Alexey Root on Grandmasters and cooking, this time about GM Levon Aronian. The dish referenced in the article was from Aronian's late wife, Arianne Caoili, who tragically passed away in a car accient earlier this year. The dish is given further discussion by our very own NM Michael Walder. Enjoy the article here:

New Online Class! FM Paul Whitehead's Endgame Lab

Monday's 6:30PM - 8:00PM

We are excited to announce a new online 6-week course offered by our very own FM Paul Whitehead that focuses solely on the part of the game that really seperates the masters from the club players. Here is the agenda for the course:

Outline for six-week endgame course

Week Date Topics
1 July 13
  • Review student’s knowledge of basic checkmates, principals and terms
  • Opposition, centralization, zugzwang
  • K + P endings: theory and practice
2 July 20
  • Queen endings and Knight endings: theory and practice
3 July 27
  • Bishop vs Bishop endings: theory and practice
4 Aug 3
  • Bishop vs Knight endings: theory and practice
5 Aug 10
  • Rook endings: theory and practice
6 Aug 17
  • Material imbalances


Save your spot now! Classe start Monday July 13. Register by following this link:

 Online Advanced Class With 3-Time U.S. Champion GM Nick de Firmian

Thursday's 6:30 - 8:00PM

For players around 1400-2000, this class is for players looking to develop the thinking skills and techniques that bring their chess to the next level. The class will focus on the development of middle-game thinking, positional play, and endgame concepts, but will cover all areas of need, depending on the class. The class will be dynamic and interactive, so players really become involved in the class with GM de Firmian guiding instruction through lecture, going over games and through discussion. Students are also encouraged to bring games for discussion and analysis so that the whole class can benefit. Also encouraged is to investigate your specific opening problems, which students should bring to the forum.
Classes will be held online through Zoom. Take advantage of this great opportunity to train with our GM in Residence!
Class is on Thursday's 6:30-8:00PM

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, July 11: starts at 3:00PM - join from 2:45PM
6SS G/10+2:

Sunday, July 12: starts at 3:00PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/15+2 USCF Rated:

Monday, July 13: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, July 14: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, July 15: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, July 16: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM
5SS G/5+5:

Friday, July 17: 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: July 11, July 19 & July 25 @ 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

(2) ColdOriginalGecko (1527) - BentActiveTank (1325) [B00]
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 e6 4.Nf3 c5 5.c3 cxd4 6.cxd4 g6? Black has much more important things to do than trying this. [6...Nf6 7.Qe2 Nc6 8.a3 h6? (8...Be7 is pretty passive, but Black can wait and see.) 9.Nc3 g5!? 10.Be3 White is already winning: 1-0 (36) 36, Bocharov,D (2533)-Predke,A (2622) Khanty-Mansiysk 2018; 6...Bb4+] 7.Nc3 Diagram


7...f5?!N In the opening there are two reasons for ...g6, fianchettoing and supporting .. .f5. Here neither of them are good. [7...Bg7?! 8.Bf4 (8.Nb5! jumps right on the weakened dark squares, winning.) 8...a6 9.h4 1-0 (37) 37, Marcos Herrero,F (1930)-Ruiz Bazaga,M (1588) Madrid 2014] 8.exf5 gxf5 Diagram


9.d5! exd5?! Black's pawns are a mess! [9...Nf6 10.dxe6 dxe6 11.0-0 has Black's e-pawn in a dreadful state.] 10.0-0 Morphy would have loved White's position. A big lead in development and many targets for one doubled pawn. 10...Qc7?! These moves are not helping, not that there is any help. 11.Nb5 Qc6 12.Ne5 Qc7?! Suicide by knight? 13.Qh5+ White politely ignores his opponent's queen... 13...Ke7?! 14.Qf7+ Kd8 15.Qxf8# ColdOriginalGecko won by checkmate 1-0

(6) ProfessorP (1399) - suIndu12 (1454) [B92]
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3? just giving away the knight for a pawn. Did White forget to move it away? 7...exd4 8.Bxd4 Be7 9.0-0N 0-0 10.Qd3 b5 11.Rfe1 So White has lost a piece for a pawn, but calmly plays good moves. There is some central control for White with the black e-pawn gone. 11...Bb7 12.Bf3 Nc6 13.e5?! Nxd4?! [13...dxe5! 14.Bxc6 Bxc6 (14...exd4) 15.Rxe5 b4 16.Ne2 Ng4 sees Black taking over with an extra piece.] 14.Bxb7 [14.exf6 Nxf3+ 15.Qxf3!? Bxf3 16.fxe7 Qc7 17.exf8Q+ Kxf8 18.gxf3 b4 White has done pretty well in the confusion, but is still lost.] 14...Ra7? [14...dxe5! 15.Bxa8 Qxa8 16.Rxe5 Ne6 Here also, White has come out very well on the material level, considering how it was after move seven (!), but Black is still on top here and has a big advantage.] 15.exf6 Bxf6 16.Bd5 [16.Be4!] 16...Re7 17.Ne4 Ree8 And now it's White with the winning chances. 18.Nxf6+ [18.Qd2! to be ready with f2-f4 if Black tries to put his bishop somewhere better] 18...Qxf6 19.Rxe8 [19.c3 Ne6 20.Qf3 with the better minor piece] 19...Rxe8 20.h3?! [20.c3 Ne2+ 21.Kf1 Nf4 22.Qd2 keeps the balance.; Even 20.g3 Re2 21.f4 Rxc2 22.Rd1 Qe7! 23.Qxd4 Qe2 24.h4 Qh2+ 25.Kf1 Qh3+ looks dangerous but is still a draw.] 20...h6 [20...Re2; and 20...Ne2+ both give Black chances to press the advantage.] 21.c3 Ne2+ Diagram


22.Kh2? [22.Kf1 Nf4 23.Qf3 Qf5! (23...Re2? 24.g3) 24.Rd1 Re5 25.Bb7 g5! Black is still trying to muster up an attack, with ...h5 and g4.] 22...Nf4 23.Qf3 Nxd5 24.Qxd5 Qxf2 25.Qxd6 [25.b3] 25...Re2! control of the seventh rank is a winning advantage 26.Rg1 Rxb2 27.Qd8+ Kh7 28.Qd3+ g6 29.Rf1? Qxg2# suIndu12 won by checkmate 0-1

(7) RareThirdDessert (1643) - CuteDynamicGargoyle (1557) [C50]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Nc3 d6 5.d3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 Nf6 8.Bg5 Nd4 9.Qd1 h6 10.Bh4 Qe7 Diagram


11.Qd2N [More direct is 11.Nd5 Qd8 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.0-0 c6 14.Nc3 Qd7 15.Na4 0-0-0 16.Nxc5 dxc5 17.c3 Ne6 18.Qf3 Qe7 19.Rad1 1-0 (68), Werwitzke,J-Hapke,M INT 2008] 11...0-0-0?! [11...c6!] 12.Nd5! Qf8 13.Nxf6 gxf6 14.Bxf6 Rg8 15.Bxd8 White wins an exchange but needs to take care. 15...Rxg2 16.0-0-0! Kxd8 17.Bd5?! [17.Rdf1] 17...c6 18.Bb3 Nf3 19.Qa5+ Bb6 20.Qc3 Rxf2 21.Rdf1? Rxf1+? [21...Be3+! 22.Kb1 (22.Kd1 Rd2+) 22...Nd2+ wins material] 22.Rxf1 Ng5? [22...Qg7! defends the knight on f3 as 23.Rxf3? Qg1+ 24.Kd2 Qg2+ 25.Ke1 Qxf3 is a big advantage for Black] 23.h4! Nh3 24.Rxf7 Qh8 25.Qe1 now White is up material and in control 25...Kc8 26.Qg3 Nf4 27.Qg4+ Kb8 28.Qd7 Qc8 29.Qxd6+ Bc7 30.Qf6 Bd8 31.Qxh6 Qg4 Diagram


White deftly sidesteps Black's checks: 32.Qd6+ Kc8 33.Rf8 Qg1+ 34.Kd2 Qf2+ 35.Kc3 Ne2+ 36.Kc4 The white king is running around but is safe. 36...b5+ 37.Kb4 a5+ 38.Ka3 b4+ 39.Ka4 One safe square was all that was needed. Black is gone now. 39...Qb6 40.Be6+ Kb7 41.Qd7+ Bc7 42.Qc8+ Ka7 43.Qa8# RareThirdDessert won by checkmate 1-0

(9) SoftBronzeJump (1223) - CuteDynamicGargoyle (1568) [D06]
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c5 3.cxd5 cxd4 4.Nf3 [4.Qa4+ Nd7 5.Qxd4 is just an opening advantage for White] 4...Qxd5 5.Qxd4 Diagram


[5.Nc3!] 5...Qc6?!N [They were going the way of the superstars! But now... 5...Qxd4 6.Nxd4 Bd7 7.e4 Nc6 8.Be3 e5 9.Nb5 Rc8 10.Nd2 Nf6 11.f3 a6 12.Nc3 b5 13.a4 Nd4 14.Bd3 bxa4 15.Bxd4 exd4 16.Ne2 Bb4 17.Nxd4 a3 18.Ke2 axb2 19.Rxa6 Rc1 20.Rd1 0-0 ½- (35) ½ 35, Carlsen,M (2882)-Mamedyarov,S (2764) Saint Louis 2019] 6.Bf4?! [6.Nc3! f6!? 7.Bd2 Leave White with a nice advantage in development as Rc1, and/or e4 and Bb5 is coming. Black will be harassed.] 6...f6!? 7.Be3 e5 and it's White who gets pushed around. 8.Qc3 [8.Qd1] 8...Qe4?? [8...Ne7 is fine for Black. White has just forgotten about the bishop on c8.] 9.Qxc8+ Now there is little hope. 9...Kf7 10.Qc7+ Be7 11.Bc5? [Just developing with 11.Nc3 should win easily] 11...Qc2 [11...Na6! 12.Nc3! Qxf3! 13.exf3! Nxc7 is a little better for White but even pieces] 12.Qxb7?? [12.Nbd2 Qxc5 13.Qxb7 Qc6 14.Qb3+ is still very good for White.] 12...Qc1#! CuteDynamicGargoyle won by checkmate 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 29-July 3 - camp is filling up so secure your spot now!
Other Weeks: 7/13-17,  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 2:00-3:00PM - 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:

7/11 Saturday - Saturday Online Rated Blitz
Format: 8SS G/5+2
Join from 5PM -
Starts at 6PM
7/12 Sunday - 4SS G/15+5
Starts at 2PM
7/12 Sunday - 8SS G/3+2 
Starts at 8PM

7/13 Monday - Monday Online Arena

Format: 90 mins of G/5+2 - as many games as you can.
Join from 5:30PM -
Start: 6:30PM
7/14 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Online Rapid
Format: 5 rounds of G/10+2 (Swiss)
Start: 6:30PM
7/15 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.
7/16 Thursday Night Blitz
Format: 8SS G/3+2
Join the tournament from 6PM -
Starts 7PM.
7/17 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

John Grefe: An Appreciation

After writing a bit about John Grefe here:  (The Three Wise Guys), and then using one of his favorite expressions as the title of my last column here: I decided it was time to delve a bit more into his chess style, and showcase some of the “Greefsters” games and combinations.

John was a serious influence on my development as a player. We played five times, and I was only able to draw him twice. He used an active, forward-momentum style of play, employed sharp openings, a high level of tactical awareness and superb endgame technique. Grefe was right out of the Fischer school: your attempts to prove that 2 + 2 = 5  on the chessboard would be pointed out, laughed at, and then mercilessly destroyed.

Grefe’s heyday was the 1970’s, although he remained a powerful player, analyst, and coach throughout his life.  He wrote an excellent book, The Best of Lone Pine (1980), and was Walter Browne’s second at the Manila Interzonal in 1976.  Winning the 1973 US Championship (as an untitled player!) with Lubomir Kavalek was the highlight of a career that never quite took off afterwards, as John’s ambition seemed to wane.  John Grefe was awarded the International Master title by FIDE in 1975.

Jeremy Silman writes a touching bit about his friend John here:

Richard Shorman interviews John right after he won the US Championship:

I’ll always remember John for helping me out through a rough time back in 2013, right before he passed away.  He was part of my growing up in chess, one of my “brothers” in the chess world.

Sorely missed.

Finally, here are some positions – “practical shots for the tactical patz” - from Grefe’s games.

The positions get a little tougher as you move on to the next, but none are too difficult I think.

Rather than give solutions, I urge our readers to attempt to solve these on their own. 

If you’re still stumped, write me at [email protected]

Or, better yet, find these games yourself on the Internet – and many other games played by this great American chess master.


Diagram 1 – white moves.

John Grefe – James Tarjan

National Open 1971.

These Bezerkley residents and rivals played some tough games.  Can you find the sequence that knocked Tarjan out? 

Diagram 2 – white moves

John Grefe – Sal Matera

Houston 1973.

A simple tactic forces black to resign.


Diagram 3 Black Moves

Julius Loftsson - John Grefe

Lone Pine 1971.

Not too difficult: finish white off, but be accurate about it!


Diagram 4 – white moves

John Grefe – Lawrence Day

Lone Pine 1977.

Remember: we are living in a material world!


Diagram 5 – white moves.

John Grefe – Pal Benko

US Championship 1976

Black has just played 23…Nxb3, but had to resign after white’s next move.


Diagram 6 – white moves.

John Grefe – Arthur Dake

Lone Pine 1976.

This one requires a bit of accurate calculation, after “seeing” the initial shot.


Diagram 7 – white moves.

John Grefe – Norman Weinstein

US Championship 1974.

Does the move you want to play work? Calculate!


Diagram 8 – black moves.

Samuel Reshevsky – John Grefe

US Championship 1977.

Take out the legendary Reshevsky with a nifty one-two punch.


Diagram 9 – black moves.

Larry Evans – John Grefe

Lone Pine 1973.

A volatile situation, yet black has a brilliant shot. Find it!


Diagram 10 – white moves.

John Grefe - Andrew Karklins

US Championship 1973.

White is certainly much better after 1.Qxc7, for example. 

But the old adage “if you see a strong move, look again for a better one” is second nature

for players of Grefe’s caliber.


Diagram 11 – black moves.

John Watson – John Grefe

US Open 1969.

Black has a terrific move here – find it!


Diagram 12 – black to play.

James Tarjan – John Grefe

US Championship 1977.

We end where we began, with another game vs. James Tarjan!

White has infiltrated with 52.Qa8 attacking black’s bishop on e8.

What to do?

GM Nick de Firmian's Column

GM Nick de Firmian's column will return in August


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