Chess Room Newsletter #928 | Mechanics' Institute

You are here

Chess Room Newsletter #928

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #928


August 1, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Short History of the People's Tournament: Part 3

The Players and Reflections Through Berkeley 2009

Tournament Information: 27th Annual People's Tournament

Posted by Alan Glasscoe

  • 1. We are using the June 1996 rating list because the printing is more legible.
  • 2. Players may play down one section for an additional fee.
  • 3. Rule variations:

              a. All rook and pawn endings will be declared drawn.

              b. You must say "I adjust" before taking back a move.

              c. You may request a half point bye before the first time control.

  • 4. If you leave the playing area for longer than 15 minutes during your game, please bring back pizza and Cokes for the directors.
  • 5. If you must discuss your game in progress, do it in a language the directors don't understand.
  • 6. The directors attempt to equalize and alternate colors, except when they are tired. 
  • 7. While your game is in progress, please do not disturb skittles players and players analyzing their completed games near you.
  • 8. If you are in time trouble, add a few irrelevant moves to your scoresheet.
  • 9. You may take home any pieces you capture.
  • 10. To expidite payment of prizes, checks will be taped to a blind turtle which will be spun around three times and dropped a second floor window of the Oakland Mail Center.

From California Chess Journal Winter 2000, courtesy of Chess Dryad

The People's Tournament has always had a uniqueness unto itself, much like the city of Berkeley. Known to many back in the day (and even today) by the nickname "People's Republic of Berkeley" because of its extreme liberalism, it has always embraced differences in style and personality, and celebrated among other things, individuality and acceptance. It is fitting then that in the year 2000, from which this tournament announcement at the beginning was taken, that the first and only woman to win the People's Tournament was crowned. Camille Baginskaite took clear first at the People's, and then went on that same year to win the U.S. Women's Championship. 

The People's Tournament over the years has seen some great local legends compete. Among the past winners of this event have been GM Walter Browne, GM Larry Christiansen, GM James Tarjan, and IM's Jeremy Silman and Jay Whitehead. Among these also are our very own GM Nick de Firmian (five-time champion) and IM John Donaldson (six-time champion) and along with IM Ricardo de Guzman, tied for the most titles. This is a pretty impressive list of chess Americana. What is also interesting are the names that have played the People's who have not won, players like GM Yasser Seirawan. In addition to national chess legends like those mentioned, however, many local legends were also winners, players like FM Craig Mar, NM Michael "fpawn" Aigner, and GM Vinay Bhat. 

More recent years have not had repeat champions, the last one being de Guzman, who won three years in a row from 2010-2012. Top GM's like Conrad Holt (2017) and Parimarjan Negi (2016) have won it, but no one has been consistently dominant in close to a decade.

The Chess Dryad has been in invaluable resource in learning about the People's Tournament, as well as for learning about our California chess history. Thank you to Kerry Lawless and the many other contributors like Richard Shoreman and the many others. The link to the California Chess Journal for issues from 1986-2004 is here: For past issues of Chess Voice from 1968-1985 covering the local chess scene, follow this link: Here you can find coverage of the local historical events, as well as the games of the past from our local players. 

When I think about the People's Tournament, it makes me reflect on the value our chess community places on an event like this. We have been lucky to attract premier national and state championship events to the Bay Area with great participation. This has no doubt been good for our chess community, as it has filled a need in providing our players, particularly our scholastic players, many opportunities to compete at a high level. Tournaments like the People's Tournament, though it has always had a competitive prize pool relative to other events, was really a Bay Area event, a Berkeley event, an event that harkened to the memory of the original founders and chess players and organizers of the 1970's and 1980's. What has struck me in what I have read, and what has impacted me is the importance of local chess, the importance of the stories and history of the local players and events, and the memorial events dedicated to the people that have built and promoted chess. 

I am not saying state and national events are not as important. On the contrary, we support growth at the Mechanics' Institute and bringing high quality events, and we will continue to strive to continue organizing national events. Just as the Mechanics' Institutue is itself a preservation of chess history, however, it is incumbent on us to place just as high a value on promoting and supporting events like the People's Tournament. It is important that it not be just another tournament with the name People's plastered on the marquee. Even if just some stories are told of the event, the people remembered who made the event, it can now serve as a memorial and remembrance honoring the local organizers and players, those that passed and those still living, that made the event what it was, made it different, made it unique, made it very Berkeley.

Fred and Pat Mayntz Memorial
​Tuesday Night Marathon Online - Aug 2020

USCF Online Rated!

via, Open for everyone!

Aug 4 - Aug 25

Event Schedule:

2 rounds of G/35+2 each night: Round times are: 6:30PM & 8PM

Time control: 8SS G/35+2.  (Game in 35 minutes with 2 second increement with each move.)

MUST Register in order to play: 
Registration deadline in order to be paired in Round 1: 3PM on 8/4. Anyone registering after that will get a 0.5 point bye. Late registrations *might* be paired for extra rated games, but it's not guaranteed.

Eligibility - Players must have:

- current US Chess Federation membership
- account that is part of Mechanics' Chess Club (free account is perfectly sufficient) -- Don't have one yet? Easy to make, just follow the instructions below.


- 8 rounds of G/35+2  - more details on tournament details here.
- 2 Sections: 1600+ & u1600
- paired based on OTB Aug 2020 supplemental regular rating!
- paired based on swiss tournament rules
- NEW: pairing will be done manually using match command on You'll need to be on and wait for your game to pop up!
- NEW: Pairing will be posted for Round 1, Round 3, Round 5 and Round 7 on Tuesdays 4:30PM
- if you register after Tuesday 3:00PM, you'll still be able to join the tournament, but you'll be paired as an extra rated, and will be given a 0.5 point bye for the first round.
- Players have to be online on when Round 1 starts, and their game will be started by the Chief TD.
- Chief TD will have a list of match commands needed to be executed one by one: IF players are not online when pairing is executed, they'll be put at the end of the list, and match command will be tried one more time. Two times not present on will automatically get a 0F.
- Late registraitons *might* be paired up for extra rated games, but it's not guaranteed.
- Games will be US Chess Online regular rated - tournament will be submitted 5-7 days after the tourament to allow all games to be screened for fair play.


Rules:  standard USCF rules apply.

Mouse slips count, no takebacks.

If player is not logged in to live chess when pairings occur, we will assign a 0 point bye.

Section prizes will be awarded based on USCF standard rating.

Prizes: $600 based on 40 paid entries

  1600+ u1600+
1st Place $150 $100
2nd Place $75 $75
Best under2000 $50  
Best under1800 $50  
Best under1400   $50
Best Female $50

Fair Play

US Chess online rated tournament - most USCF rules and consequences apply.
Players should not use any outside assistance: not have other browsers open and not be talking to other people during their games
Parents are strongly encouraged to monitor their kids' activity during the tournament to ensure fair play.
All games will be carefully reviewed by and Mechanics' Institue Chess club staff during and after the event.
Players found or believed to be violating fair play are not eligible for a prize and their account will be removed from Mechanics' group.
Players who are confirmed to be using outside assistance will be reported to US Chess and restricted from future Mechanics' online and over-the-board events.

Parents - Please help us educate your child that IT'S SIMPLY NOT WORTH THE RISK!

For some helpful links regarding fair play, please check these out:

Fair play screening: all games will be screened by both and by Dr. Kenneth W. Regan, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University at Buffalo. 

The Organizer and/or the Chief Tournament Director can require players to play their games with a camera that records the player playing with a view to the screen. Players should be prepared to provide this precaution if asked to do so.

Prize distributions and rating submission will take place AFTER all games have been screened.

Entry Fee

MI library member: $30
Non-MI library member: $40

Play up fee:$10. Player 1400-1599 may play up to the top section.

Registraton deadline: 2 hours before tournament start time to be included in the pairing, any registration after - first round is not guaranteed.

Tournament Informaiton

What are the time controls mean?
Time controls are telling you how much time you have for each game.
G35+2 for example: Game in 35 minutes with 2 second increment. This means you get 35 minutes, your opponent gets 35 minutes and with each move every player gets 2 second added to the clock. So one game can last up to 70-80 minutes.

How many games/rounds?
The 6SS before the time control means how many rounds, i.e. how many games can a player play in the tournament. The tournaments are never elimination, so win or lose you can stay in the tournament.

Late joins: if you joining late, you'll get zero(0) points for each missed rounds.

Sections: Two sections: 1600+ and u1600 based on the 2020 Aug supplemental regular rating system.

Pre-requested byes: since we are pairing manually, based on OTB ratings, pre-requestd byes now available. You must let us know by Tuesday noon.

How to join us?

If you would like to play in our online tournaments, you must

1) Register for the event -- we need to know your full name, and ID

2) have an account on; -- don't have one? Sign up now!

3) join our club on

Join tournaments: two ways to join the tournaments: 1) log in to and click on the link above; or 2) log in --> Play --> Live Chess
For this tournament only: Tournament directors will be pairing players manually, so no tournaments to join!

For players who are interested in play in our online tournament,
PLEASE fill out our online Players database:
to get email notifications about last minute changes and invitational opportunities.

Mechanics' Institute Player Appreciation Tournament Draws 52 Players!

During the off week before the start of the next Tuesday Night Marathon next week, we decided to hold a free USCF online rated blitz event as a player appreciation event. This event was a thank you to players in our chess community for supporting us and playing with us during these difficult times. Prior to the tournament, we held a Zoom social for players to come on and interact with other players and ask us questions about chess events, the club, and anything o their minds. It was fun to see many of the faces of the players and letting them know the club is here and we look forward to the day live chess is back.

We also had a random drawing from among the people who registered for the event for 3 free entries into our next TNM. We used a computer random selection and here are the winners:

  • 1. tazdevils2005
  • 2. CocoKat
  • 3. draidus

These players have been notified via email, congratulations to them!

As far as the tournament goes, we had 52 players participate. The winner was Eric Hon (microbear) with 6.5/7. In sole 2nd place was Tejas Mahesh (ChessTX9) with 6/7, and tied for 3rd were WCM Omya Vidyarthi (harkerchess), who flagged FM Kyron Griffith in the final round, and pineapplepro123, both with 5.5/7. Omya is currently the 3rd ranked girl in the country in the age 10 category. 

Eric Hon won the event with this final round win against Javier Silva, who also had a fine tournament with 5/7. Mechanics' volunteer Tejas Mahesh was playing strong blitz this evening, and had this win over tournament favorite FM Kyron Griffith. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(1) Tejas Mahesh (ChessTX9) (2020) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2368) [A40]
Live Chess, 28.07.2020
[de Firmian]

1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.e4 e6!? This is an unusual move in the King's Indian. For decades Black has always gone ...d6 to hit back on the dark squares with the aid of the fianchettoed bishop. 4.Nf3 Ne7 5.Be2 [5.Nc3 d5 6.Bd3 is a reasonable plan for White] 5...d5 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e5 Bg4 8.0-0 0-0 9.Bg5 Qd7 10.Nc3 c6 11.Qd2 Nf5 12.Rad1 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Na6?!


[13...f6 14.exf6 Bxf6 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 would address the issue of the king side squares right away. Black would be only slightly worse then.] 14.g4! Ne7 15.Be2 [15.Bf6!] 15...f5 16.h3 Nc7 17.f4 Ne6 18.Bh4 b5 19.Qe3 a5 20.Nb1?! [20.Bd3! planning Ne2 would be a good set up. Black cannot play 20...fxg4 21.hxg4 Nxd4? 22.Bxe7] 20...Rf7 21.Nd2 fxg4 22.hxg4 Nxf4?? a miscalculation. Black had gotten a good position but starts the tactics too soon. [He would be at least equal after 22...Raf8] 23.Rxf4 Bh6 24.g5 Nf5 25.Rxf5! Qxf5 26.gxh6 That's actually three minor pieces for the rook. No chance for the black side. 26...Qc2 27.Rf1 Rxf1+ 28.Nxf1 Qxb2 29.Bg4 c5 30.Be6+ ChessTX9 won by resignation 1-0

Here are a few more games from the tournament.

(5) WCM Omya Vidyarthi (harkerchess) (2134) - Javier Silva (J3Chess24) (1899) [D13]
Live Chess, 28.07.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 cxd5 The Exchange (or Symmetrical) Variation of the Slav Defense. If both players want to, it can be pretty dry on the winning chances, but interesting things manage to happen most of the time. 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bf4 e6 [Black could continue the "copy-cat" game with 6...Bf5] 7.e3 Bd6 8.Bg3 White would like to open the h-file if the bishops come off. 8...0-0 9.Bd3 b6 10.Rc1 Bb7 11.0-0 Rc8 12.a3 Na5 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.Nb5 White hopes to get some sort of concession out of Black with this not particularly well-prepared attack. [14.Qe2 just improves the position; or 14.Qa4; Or for that matter 14.Ne5 to follow with f2-f4 and some attacking stance.] 14...Qb8 15.Ne5 a6 [The better 15...Rxc1 16.Qxc1 Rc8 would take control of the c-file, at least for a bit, with balance upheld.] 16.Nc3


16...Nc6?! [16...Nc4!? is certainly a way to play for a win, since 17.f4?? isn't possible: 17...Nxe3; 16...b5!? as well looks for complications. Consider: 17.g4!? Nc4!? 18.Bxc4 dxc4 19.g5 Ne4 20.Nxe4 (20.Nd7!? Nxg5! 21.d5!) 20...Bxe4 21.Nd7? (21.f3) 21...Qb7 22.Nc5 (22.Nxf8?! Bf3) 22...Qd5 23.f4 Qf5 24.Nxe4 Qxe4 25.Kf2] 17.f4! The big difference in ...Nc6 and ...Nc4; this is a sharp move now. Now Black has to worry about a kingside attack and a queenside attack. 17...Rfd8 18.Rf3 [18.Na4!?] 18...g6 The computers actually like this but in the long run it means disaster on dark squares. 19.Rh3 [19.Qe1!?] 19...Nd7? [19...h5!? is the computers playing with our attempts to think clearly. 20.g4!? hxg4! 21.Nxg4 Nxg4 22.Qxg4 Kg7 to contest the h-file.] 20.Qg4 Now White is building a strong attack. [20.Nxf7 is flashier but also good: 20...Kxf7 21.Rxh7+ Kg8 22.Rh6 (or 22.Qg4) ] 20...Ncxe5 Opening the f-file for White can't be good. [20...Nf8 21.Qh4 Qd6 would be somewhat better] 21.fxe5 Nf8 22.Rf1 Qc7 23.Qg5 [Perhaps it's time to switch targets: 23.Rhf3 intending h4, Ne2-f4, and some crashthrough on g6.] 23...Re8 24.Qf6 Qe7 25.Qf4 of course trading queens would give away most of White's advantage. 25...Rc7


26.e4!? dxe4? Black falls in line with White's dream, to get a knight on f6! [26...b5 27.exd5 exd5 at least give Black the e6 square for some time in the future.] 27.Bxe4! Bxe4? [Even 27...Rxc3!? would be a drastic measure of interest (but still White is winning).] 28.Nxe4 There is simply no decent defense for Black now. 28...Nd7 29.Qh6 f5 30.exf6 Qf7 31.Ng5 harkerchess won by resignation. Well done by young Omya! 1-0

(6) Cailen Melville (Mangonel) (1707) - PJ Liotino (CocoKat) (2123) [D70]
Live Chess, 28.07.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 A not-so-offbeat line that slightly discourages the Gruenfeld Defense. 3...Bg7 [since after 3...d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 and Black has to retreat with the knight.; 3...c5!? 4.d5 d6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Ne2 e6 7.Nbc3 exd5 8.cxd5 0-0 9.Ng3 a6 is a type of Benoni played in Ding,L (2778)-Grischuk,A (2747) Wenzhou 2016.] 4.e4 d6 5.Nc3 The "price" White pays is it has to be the Saemisch vs. the King's Indian. 5...0-0 6.Nge2 [Another line is 6.Bg5 also "allowing" 6...c5; 6.Be3 is still the most played move here, although it no longer is thought to stop 6...c5 as taking the pawn give Black fine counterplay. 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.d5 Ne5 9.Ng3 e6 10.Be2 exd5 1/2-1/2 (52) Macias,J-Glavina,P (2405) Spain 1993] 6...c5 The most popular response. 7.d5 e6 8.Ng3 [Of course popular here (often via transposition) are 8.Bg5 exd5 9.cxd5; and 8.Be3 exd5 9.cxd5 Nbd7 10.Ng3 Ne5 11.Be2 h5 12.0-0 a6 13.a4 Rb8 14.h3 1-0 (45) Fedorowicz,J (2530)-Aguera Naredo,J Candas 1992] 8...a6 [Usually Black exchanges immediately 8...exd5] 9.a4 Re8 [9...exd5 10.cxd5 Nbd7 when e8 might be a usefulsquare for a knight (and leaving the rook on f8 helps for enforcing ...f7-f5).] 10.Be2 exd5 Black ran out of waiting moves! 11.cxd5 Nbd7 12.0-0 This can be a frustrating system against the Benoni; White's e4 is so solid, where is play going to come from? 12...Ne5 This move is a little suspect as the knight will get pushed back sooner or later Black hopes to then have some play against e4, but it's at the cost of two tempi. Better to look for queenside play or try [12...h5 13.Bg5! Qb6!? (13...Qc7 14.Qd2 Nh7 15.Bh6; 13...c4!?) 14.Qd2 Nh7 15.Be3 when 15...Ne5!? could be a better time for it] 13.Be3 [13.f4!? Neg4 14.h3 Nh6 (14...Nh5?! 15.Nxh5 gxh5 (15...Bd4+ 16.Kh1 Nf2+ 17.Rxf2 Bxf2 18.Qf1 Bh4 19.g3 Be7 20.e5 gxh5 21.Bxh5 Black wins the Exchange -- with a precarious game.) 16.e5!) ; 13.h3 is "later" -- Black can't stop f3-f4, although White might want to get in Be3 first..] 13...Rb8 14.h3 h5!? 15.f4 Ned7


Black is ready with ... h4 and ...b5, both indirectly affecting the e-pawn's security. It's a great plan, but it so happens that White has a standard shot. 16.e5! dxe5?! [16...h4! a timely countershot 17.Nge4! (17.Nh1 dxe5 18.f5 Nf8! pulls towards Black) 17...Nxe4 18.Nxe4 Nxe5! (18...dxe5 19.f5+- is a typical rollup) 19.fxe5 Rxe5 looks like trouble, but White has a way out: 20.Bf3 Bf5 21.Bg5! f6 22.Bf4 Rxe4 23.Bxe4 Bxe4 24.Qg4! f5! (24...Bf5 25.Qe2; 24...Qe8! 25.Bxd6 Rd8 26.Bxc5 Rxd5=) 25.Qxg6 Qf6 keeps a balance] 17.f5! The classic "Sealer-Sweeper" maneuver, stronger than usual with ...h5 in. 17...e4!? The standard reaction to White's pawn-sac, even giving the pawn back; Black needs the e5 square. [17...h4 18.Nge4 (18.fxg6! fxg6 (18...hxg3 19.gxf7+ Kxf7 20.d6!+- Black's extra piece is no help.) 19.Nge4) 18...Nxe4 19.Nxe4 Nf6 (19...gxf5! 20.Rxf5 Nf6) 20.fxg6 fxg6 21.Nxf6+ Bxf6 and now 22.d6! is White crashing through for a win. for example 22...Kg7 23.Bg4 Bxg4 24.Qxg4 Qxd6 25.Rad1 Qe6 26.Rd7+ Kh8 27.Qxg6 (27.Rxf6) ] 18.Qc2?!N White should forget about the e-pawn and hit the accelerator! [18.fxg6 fxg6 19.d6! Qa5?! (19...Kh8) 20.Qc2 (20.Nd5! would tear into Black's flimsy kingside defence. 20...Re5 21.Nxf6+ Nxf6 22.d7! Nxd7 23.Bc4+ Kh8 computer move: 24.Nf5!!) 20...Qb4 21.a5?! (21.Na2 Qb6 22.Bc4+ Kh7 23.Nc3) 21...b5! 22.Ra3 Bh6? (22...c4!) 23.Bxh6 Qd4+ 24.Rf2 b4 25.Ra4 1-0 (45) Fedorowicz,J (2530)-Aguera Naredo,J Candas 1992; 18.d6! , leaving the pawns, gets a bit more acc. to Stockfish. Perhaps the f7-pawn will hang after ...Kh8 and Bc4.] 18...Qe7?! [18...Qc7!? 19.Rad1?? Qxg3] 19.Rad1 h4 20.Nh1? [20.d6! Qf8 (20...Qe5 21.Bf4) 21.Ngxe4 White has a winning attack and it didn't even cost him anything. (21.fxg6!? hxg3 22.Bc4 Re6 23.Bxe6 fxe6 24.Nxe4) ] 20...Ne5? [20...gxf5 21.Rxf5 Ne5 puts up a better fight] 21.d6! Better late than never! The tempo on the queen doesn't hurt either! 21...Qd8


22.Bxc5?? [White needs to capture with the f-pawn! 22.fxg6 Nxg6 (22...fxg6 23.Bg5 Bf5 24.g4! (24.Nd5) ) 23.Bg5 Re5 24.Bxf6 Bxf6 White has various strong moves, how about 25.Nf2 e3 26.Nfe4 Bg7 27.d7 Bxd7 28.Bc4 Nh8 29.Nd6 Help!] 22...Bxf5 Suddenly it's Black all over. White's play totall dries up. 23.Be3 Nfd7?! [23...Nd3 puts White away; 24.Rxf5 gxf5 25.Bxd3 exd3 26.Qxd3 Re6 27.Bg5 Qb6+ 28.Nf2 Ne4 29.Ncxe4 fxe4 White just can't get that last d7 and d8Q in.] 24.Nd5? [24.Nf2! causes just enough trouble: 24...Nf6 25.Qb3 Qa5 is no particular advantage, maybe a little for Black.] 24...Nd3 [24...Nf3+! 25.gxf3 (25.Kf2 Rc8 26.Ne7+ Qxe7!) 25...exf3 26.Bd3 Rxe3!] 25.Ne7+?! [25.Nf2!] 25...Rxe7 26.dxe7 Qxe7 27.Qc7 Be5 28.Qa5 Qd6?! [28...Nxb2] 29.Nf2


29...Qe7? [29...Re8] 30.Nxd3! Now it's White with the pull. 30...exd3 31.Bxd3 Bxb2 32.Bf4 Bd4+?! [32...Bxd3 33.Rxd3 Ne5 34.Re1] 33.Kh1 Rc8? 34.Bxf5 Bb6 35.Qd5 Nf6 36.Qd3 gxf5 37.Qxf5 Rc5 CocoKat won on time in a lost position. What an outsized battle! [37...Rc5 38.Qb1!] 0-1

(7) Barbara Goodkind (eatdinner) (1841) - Allyson Wong (Fascimate) (1746) [D00]
Live Chess, 28.07.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 c5 3.c3 e6 4.e3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Nbd2 Qb6 7.Qb3 c4 8.Qc2 White has played a nice, safe London System and has an edge with an easy game to play. 8...Be7 9.h3 0-0 10.Be2 Bd8 11.0-0 Bc7 12.Ne5 Nicely keeping Black bottled up. 12...Nxe5 13.dxe5 Nd7 14.Nf3 f6 15.exf6 Bxf4?! 16.fxg7! This intermezzo gives White a big advantage. 16...Rf7 17.exf4 Rxg7 18.Nd4 Nf6 19.Kh1 Ne4 20.Bf3 e5 Seeking complications in a bad position. A good practical choice even if it's objectively dubious. 21.Bxe4 dxe4 22.fxe5 Qh6 23.f4! Rg3 24.Rf2 [24.f5 stopping the c8 bishop from attacking would be an easier defense] 24...e3 25.Rf3 Rxf3 26.Nxf3 Qxf4


White has played an excellent game up to here, fielding all of Black's attempts to confuse the game. 27.Rf1? [White should play 27.Qe2 and 28.Re1, getting rid of enemy #1 on e3.] 27...Bf5 Black gains the tempo needed to keep the game equal. 28.Qa4 e2?! [28...Bxh3! 29.gxh3 e2 30.Rg1+ Kh8 is ready with the perpetual after 31.Ne1 Qe4+ 32.Kh2 (32.Rg2 Rf8 33.Qxa7! Rf1+ 34.Kh2 Qf4+ 35.Rg3 Rf2+ 36.Ng2 Rxg2+! 37.Kxg2 e1N+! = is the only way to stay afloat at this point.) 32...Qf4+] 29.Qxc4+?? [29.Re1! Bxh3 30.Rxe2! is an advantage after 30...Bg4 31.Qd1 Bxf3 32.gxf3 Kh8 (32...Qxf3+?? 33.Rg2+!) 33.Re4] 29...Qxc4 Fascimate won by resignation. A tragedy for White after playing so well for so long. 0-1

We want to thank everyone again for being a part of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club. We value our community and look forward to the day we can gather both online and live. 

To watch the broadcast for this event, click here:

For full results, click here:


4-Way Tie in July 26 Mechanics' Online Rated Rapid

We held a USCF rated rapid on Sunday, 6 rounds of G/15 +2. 24 players participated in a tournament that provided some dramatic moments that livened up the show. When it was all over, four players tied for first; Eric Hon (microbear), Manas Paldhe (manaspaldhe12), FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith), and Shaaketh Sivakumar (chessisveryfun1264), all with 5/6. 

Eric Hon had a great tournament, and might have gone 6-0 had it not been for a slip up in time pressure against Manas Paldhe in round 5, where he had a winning position, only to fall into a mate. Here he had this fine win against a tough Austin Mei. Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(8) Eric Hon (microbear) (1954) - Austin Mei (TitanChess666) (1817) [C55]
Live Chess, 26.07.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 h6 Crude defense or subtle waiting move? After a bishop move Black could answer Ng5 with ...0-0 and then push the knight back. Maybe. Still, ...h6 isn't a wasted move, plus it has some aggressive aspects of its own. And when Mamedyarov, Ivanchuk, Short, Radjabov have played it more than once, it must be within the boundary of "playable." 5.c3 d6 6.Bb3 g5!?


A radical expansion! Now both players avoid castling kingside... 7.h3 Bg7 8.Nbd2 Be6 9.Nf1 d5 10.Qe2 Qd7 11.g4!? An overreaction? It's a sort of standoff, where neither side can push their h-pawn without disaster. In any case it's White who is ready with the knight-hop to the hole. 11...0-0-0 12.Ng3 Rhe8 13.Nf5 Bf8 [13...Bxf5! 14.gxf5 (14.exf5? e4 15.dxe4 Nxe4! (15...dxe4 16.Nh2 Ne5 is quite strong as well, just not as strong.) 16.Be3 Nxc3! White collapses.) 14...Na5 15.Bc2 Kb8 when Black has the only active chances, with White's bishops inactive and ...c5.] 14.Bd2 Kb8 15.0-0-0 dxe4 [As always the computer confounds us with 15...Na5!? 16.Nxe5 Nxb3+ 17.axb3 Qc8; 15...a5 is its main move, no less inexplicable.] 16.dxe4 Bxb3 The problem is that now the knight on f5 is unopposed. 17.axb3 Qe6 18.Qc4? This must be an oversight. [18.Kc2! Na5 19.c4 Nc6 20.Bc3! seems to keep a grip on things.] 18...Qxc4 19.bxc4 Nxe4 At least now Black has a pawn for his troubles. 20.Be3 Bc5 [Maybe the computer is broken; here it likes 20...Rxd1+ 21.Rxd1 f6 22.Kc2 a5 23.Nd2 Nxd2 24.Rxd2 b6 putting every single pawn on the same color as that bishop!] 21.Nxh6?! [21.Bxc5 Nxc5 22.Rxd8+ Rxd8 23.Nxh6 is much better timing. (23.Kc2) ] 21...Bxe3+ 22.fxe3


They've reached a fairly rare multi-piece endgame. Andy Soltis in his superlative "What It Takes To Become A Grandmaster" cites the Russian saying "The bishop is stronger... but the knight is more clever." If one knight is tricky, thing how sneaky four knights could be! 22...Nf2 [22...Rxd1+! 23.Rxd1 f6 looking for ...Na5] 23.Rxd8+ Rxd8?! [23...Nxd8 24.Rf1 Ne4 25.Nd2] 24.Rh2 [24.Rf1!+/-] 24...Nd3+ 25.Kc2 f6 26.h4? [26.Nd2!=; 26.b4? e4 27.Nd2 (27.Nd4 Nce5 28.c5 Rh8 White folds like a house of cards.) 27...Ne1+ 28.Kd1 Nf3 29.Rf2 Nce5 30.Kc2 Nxd2 31.Rxd2 Rh8 32.Nf5 b6 Black gets there first.] 26...gxh4? [26...e4! 27.Nd4 Ne1+ 28.Kc1 Nf3! works out for Black.] 27.Rxh4 e4 28.Nd4?! [28.Nf7!] 28...Nce5 29.Nhf5 a6 30.Rh7 Nxc4 31.Ne6 Re8 [31...Rc8] 32.Nxc7 Rg8 33.Nd5 Rxg4 34.Kb3 Nd2+?! not much going on there 35.Ka2 Nc4??


[35...Nc1+ 36.Ka3 Nc4+ 37.Kb4 b5 Black has defensive prospects.] 36.Nfe7! Suddenly it's Black caught in a mating net! 36...Rg2 [36...Nd6 37.Rh8+ Ka7 38.Rd8!] 37.Rh8+ Ka7 38.Nc8+ Kb8 39.Ncb6+! Ka7 40.Ra8# microbear won by checkmate. A difficult game in all phases. 1-0

He also had this win against FM Kyron Griffith, that under normal time controls may have been drawn.

(2) FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2135) - Eric Hon (microbear )(1945) [B50]
Live Chess, 26.07.2020
[de Firmian]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Be3 0-0 9.Qd2 a5 10.a4?! [10.Bb5 would be a better way to stop ...a4] 10...Nb4! 11.0-0-0 Be6 12.g4 d5! 13.g5


13...Nxe4 14.fxe4 d4 microbear has played the opening very logically and directly. The central break with ...d5 and temporary piece sacrifice have allowed all the black pieces to become active. Black has a small edge at this point. 15.Nxd4 exd4 16.Qxd4 Qxd4 17.Bxd4 [17.Rxd4 Bc5 is also better for Black] 17...Bg4 18.Be2 Bxe2 [18...Na2+! 19.Nxa2 Bxe2 20.Rde1 Bxg5+ would gain Black the bishop pair and secure an edge] 19.Nxe2 Bxg5+ 20.Kb1 Rfe8?! this gets into a little trouble. Safe was [20...Nc6 21.Bc3 Rae8 22.Rhg1 f6] 21.Rhg1 Bh6?! [21...f6!] 22.Ng3 g6 23.Nh5! Active play by Kyron highlights the weakness of the dark squares around the black king. 23...Red8 24.Nf6+ Kh8 25.Nd5+ Bg7 26.Bxg7+?! [26.Bb6! Rd7 (26...Rd6 27.Bc5 wins a pawn) 27.Nxb4 Rxd1+ 28.Rxd1 axb4 29.a5 is a big endgame advantage for White] 26...Kxg7 27.Nxb4 axb4 28.b3 Kf6 Now chances are back to even in this double rook endgame. 29.Rdf1+ Ke6 30.e5 Rd2 31.Rf6+ Kxe5 32.Rxf7 Rc8 33.Re1+ Kd6 34.Ree7 Rcxc2


A curious position. Both sides have super aggressive rooks. 35.Rd7+ Ke5 36.Rxd2 Rxd2 37.Rxh7 Kd4! 38.Rc7 Rxh2 39.Rc4+ Kd3 40.Rxb4?! [40.Rg4! would secure the draw as White would have many checks from the side.] 40...Rh7 41.a5? [41.Rb5! Rg7 42.Kc1 would control that pesky g-pawn. After the game move White is in trouble.] 41...g5! 42.Rg4 Rg7 43.Kb2 Ke3 44.b4? this is too slow. White needed to try [44.Kc3 Kf3 45.Ra4! g4 46.a6 bxa6 47.Rxa6 g3 48.Rf6+ which should draw with exact play] 44...Kf3 45.Rg1 g4 46.Kb3 Kf2 47.Ra1 g3 48.b5 g2 49.a6 bxa6 50.bxa6 Ra7! By one tempo Black is able to get queen vs rook 51.Kb4 Rxa6 52.Rxa6 g1Q Of course this is a theoretical win. It can be difficult to convert against tough defense, but the defense is very hard to do in rapid chess 53.Rf6+ Ke3 54.Rc6 Qb1+ 55.Kc5 Ke4 56.Re6+ Kf5 57.Rd6 Qc2+ 58.Kd5 Qd3+ 59.Kc5 Qa3+ 60.Kd5 Qa5+ 61.Kc6 Ke5 62.Rd7 Qa6+ 63.Kc7 Ke6 64.Rd8 Qa7+ 65.Kc6 Qa4+ 66.Kc7 Ke7 67.Rb8 Qc4+ 68.Kb6 Kd7 69.Rb7+ Kd6 good progress thus far by Black, pushing the white king to the edge 70.Ka7 Qa4+ 71.Kb6 Qb4+ 72.Ka7 Qa5+ 73.Kb8 Kc6! 74.Re7 Qb4+ 75.Ka7 Qxe7+ 76.Ka6 Qb7+ 77.Ka5 Qb5# microbear won by checkmate 0-1

24 players participated in all, for full results, please follow this link:

The Blitz Tournament of the Americas Coming Saturday August 15th! Closed Event for Titled Players from North and South America

The Mechanics' Institute and KmadaChess have partnered to organize The Blitz Tournament of the America's, a free event open exclusively to titled players (national federation or FIDE) to bring together the best players from North and South America in a celebration of chess. The event will take place on on Saturday August 15 at 3PM Pacific time. It will be 9 rounds G/3 +2. 
We want to promote chess in Latin American countries and to our Latin American community, and engaging in competition with the best players in Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, and many others will give our players in the U.S. and Canada the experience of playing opponents they may never have played. More importantly, the intent of the tournament is to bring new chess communities together through chess. Another important part of this event is that KmadaChess will stream the event in Spanish while Mechanics' will stream in English, and the players themselves and other streamers are encouraged to stream the event as well, with the goal of having a stream available from as many countries as we can. It will be a fun and exciting way to raise awareness of the event and expose as many people to this collaboration.
We have already received confirmation from many players to participate from the U.S. If you are a titled player wanting to participate, please fill out this form.
To see the advance entries, follow this link: It will be updated on Mondays.
We look forward to this event, and we want to thank those that are helping make this event possible, especially KmadaChess and Chess Sin Fronteras. 

Report on an Amazing Event During These Unique Times:
An Inside View on the US Chess National Invitationals

by Dr. Judit Sztaray

'Desperate times call for desperate measures,' the saying goes. During these times, when over-the-board tournaments are on-hold indefinitely and when so many tournaments are cancelled or postponed, however, many organizations have taken their tournaments online. Mechanics' Institute and a few other organizations were some of the early ones to transition to virtual tournaments, and we have gained valuable experience with every event and learned how to handle fair play of online tournaments.
On an afternoon in late April, a few of us got on a call, and with the amazing support of Dewain Barber, the Dean of Scholastic Chess, the idea of the 2020 High School Senior Rapid Online event was created. What we didn't know back then was that this event will serve as a test and pilot event for the US Chess Executive Board and the Invitationals Committee to see if an online championship would be feasible.
The HS Senior Rapid Online was held on the second weekend in June, drawing almost 100 high school seniors. It was a great success, and gave them a final goodbye to their scholastic chess player career. Not only did everyone have fun, the event went without any major hiccups and the fair play screening did not find anyone in violation. Moreover, it showed US Chess that it's doable - with precautions and careful planning, we can organize events without serious fair play violations.
The invitational committee put together a detailed proposal and, after the approval of the US Chess Executive Board, the US National Invitational Online was created. The US National Invitationals have been held in conjunction with the US Open, and have been heritage events for the US Chess scholastic and senior community. When the hard but necessary choice was made to cancel the over-the-board events, the online option became the only option in these desperate times to continue the legacy of Denker, and the other four events.
The event is run like a tight ship: the players are manually paired offline with a tournament software, as is done in live over-the-board play. Pairings are posted ahead of the round, and at the announced round times players are matched on platform (very similar to the Tuesday Night Marathon Online). Players are monitored through a zoom meeting by two cameras: one front facing connected to the players' computer from which they are playing, and another so called "angled" camera that shows the player and his/her computer screen. This setup allows section TDs to fully monitor the players and serves as an efficient deterrent from fair play violation. Games are also sent to Dr. Ken Regan to add an additional fair play screening measure.
I'm honored to work under the leadership of NTD Jon Haskel, with the best group of TDs from around the nation. I'm serving as the backroom TD: duties include executing matching commands, connecting with Section TDs to solve issues with players, monitoring games for fair play, and gathering results. Games are also covered with live broadcast with prestigious guests, such as GM Robert Hess, WFM Jennifer Shahade, IM Daniel Rench and GM Hikaru Nakamura. Watch the past coverage on US Chess' youtube account or this coming week on their twitch channel live.
Northern California sent five excellent representatives to the five different National Invitationals. Past weekend we had IM Andrew Hong taking 2nd place in the Denker and WIM Rochelle Wu tied for 2nd, 3rd on tiebreaks in the HaringIM Elliott Winslow is standing at tied for 7th place, 10th place in tiebreaks in a super strong field after 3 rounds of the Seniors.
This coming weekend you can follow the Barber and Rockefeller, and see how Elliott closes in the Senior. Tune in to this coming weekend, and follow the exciting games.
Read more about the upcoming weekend here:
Further event reports are here:
I'll be back next week with the final report on this event and some of the conclusions and projections what this event could mean for online chess.
Any questions, my inbox is always open: jsztaray

Mechanics' Online Events Recap

Friday Night Blitz July 24: Winners: Clarence Lehman (FrankJamesMarshall) and Jonah Busch (Kondsaga)

Saturday Matinee: July 25: Winner: NM Michael Walder (FlightsOfFancy)

Saturday Night Blitz July 25: Winners: Winston Leung (TM_TheMaster), Kevin Sun (kevin_mx_sun), Robert Smith (maturner)

Monday Night Arena: Winner July 27: Adam Mercado (A-Boy415)

Wednesday Late Night Showdown July 29: Winner: Eric Hon (microbear)

Mechanics' Chess Social 

This week's Mechanics' Chess Social had GM Cristian Chirila. He currently leads the chess program at the University of Missouri and is a regular commentator with the St. Louis Chess Club. He is also winner of the 2018 National Open and a regular chess streamer. He previously lived in the Bay Area for a few years, and we had a lively discussion with a good friend on his current activities and old memories from his time in the East Bay. We will include the link for the interview in our next newsletter. 

To follow GM Chirila on his livestream, click here:

Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Classes

Monday 6:30-8PM - Endgame Lab by FM Paul Whitehead

More information:

Register at:


Wednesday 6:30-8PM - Online class with FM Paul Whitehead

More information:

Register at:




Mechanics' Chess - Scholastic Offerings

Saturday, August 1: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM
5SS G/15 +2:

Sunday, August 2: starts at 3:00PM - join from 2:45PM

8SS G/5+2 USCF rated :

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

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, August 4: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, August 5: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, August 6: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM
5SS G/5+5:

Friday, August 7: 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.   

Games from Scholastic Tournaments

Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian

(3) RareThirdDessert (1622) - aachess4321 (1735) [A03]
Live Chess
[de Firmian]

1.f4 Bird's Opening is a good way to surprise your opponent. You have to be careful though to take control of central squares as 1. f4 doesn't do that as much as 1. d4 or 1. e4. 1...Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 c5 4.Bb5+ Bd7 5.Bxd7+ Nbxd7 6.0-0 e6 7.d4?! This doesn't fit with the strategic plan of Bird's Opening as it now directly contests the center where Black is ready. Better to fianchetto the bishop with 7. b3. 7...cxd4 8.Nxd4 Be7 9.Nc3 a6 10.f5?! e5 Now Black has a beautiful classical pawn center. 11.Nb3 Nc5 12.Qe2 Nxb3 13.cxb3 0-0 14.Re1 Bc5 15.Kh1 e4 This gives White a little time to get the pieces out, Black could have been very direct with [15...d4! 16.exd4 exd4 17.Ne4 Nxe4 18.Qxe4 Re8 19.Qxe8+ Qxe8 20.Rxe8+ Rxe8 with a big advantage in the endgame.] 16.Bd2 Qd7 17.Rac1 [17.Rf1] 17...Bb6 [17...Qxf5! steals a clean pawn as there is no good discovery from the knight on c3] 18.Na4 Ba7 19.Bb4 Rfc8 20.Bc5 Qc7 21.Bxa7!? Qxc1 22.Nb6?

[22.Nc3! Rxc3 23.bxc3 Qxc3 24.Bd4] 22...Qc6? [The cold blooded 22...Rxa7! wins a piece 23.Nxc8 Qxc8] 23.Nxc8 Rxc8 24.Bd4 Qc2 25.Bc3 Qxe2 26.Rxe2 White has made it to an even endgame. 26...b5 27.h3 Nh5?! 28.Kh2! Nf6 29.Bxf6 gxf6 30.Rd2 Rc5 31.Kg3 [31.b4! chases away the rook from defending the d-pawn 31...Rc4 32.a3!] 31...Kg7 32.Kf4 b4! 33.g4 Ra5 34.g5 fxg5+ 35.Kxg5 f6+ 36.Kf4 Rxa2 37.Rxd5 Rxb2 38.Kxe4?! [38.Rd7+ Kg8 39.Ra7 is the easiest way to make a draw] 38...Rxb3 39.Ra5? [39.Rd7+! Kg8 40.Rd8+ Kf7 41.Rd7+ Ke8 42.Rxh7 a5 43.Ra7 would still have good drawing chances] 39...Ra3! now Black is winning with the two passed queenside pawns. White can't exchange rooks as the a-pawn would queen, 40.Rc5 b3 41.Rc1 a5 42.Kd4 b2 43.Rb1 Rb3 44.Kc4 a4 45.h4 Rb8! 46.Kc3 a3 a good rook ending by aachess4321 0-1

(4) TastyCelery (1461) - MagicOm (1357) [C44]
Live Chess
[de Firmian]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 [Many players prefer to decline the gamit with 3...d5 4.exd5 Qxd5] 4.Bc4 The Danish Gambit is bold sacrifice of two pawns in the opening. It is sound enough, but Black can equalize by giving back the pawns at a good moment. 4...cxb2 5.Bxb2

5...Nc6 6.Nf3 White's two raking bishops are a force to be reckoned with. Objectively Black is quite ok, but needs to be very accurate for the next few moves. 6...Bc5?? [Black needs to develop with check 6...Bb4+ when the game would be about even. Black's next move would be 7...Nf6 after either 7. Nc3 or 7. Nbd2.] 7.Bxg7 winning a pawn and then the rook on h8. The game should be over. 7...Nf6 8.Bxh8 Nxe4 9.0-0! When you are ahead material make sure your king is safe. 9...d5?! 10.Qxd5 Qxd5 11.Bxd5 Bf5 12.Bxe4 Bxe4 13.Re1 f5 14.Nfd2? This is the source of the trouble that follows. White is winning and should simply develop all the pieces. Thus the other knight should come out - 14. Nbd2! 14...0-0-0 15.Nxe4 fxe4 16.Rxe4?? Oh no! Just move the bishop on h8 and White stays a rook ahead. 16...Rd1+ Back rank chekmate coming. MagicOm won by resignation 0-1

NEW: US Chess Online Rated Tournaments
Twice a month

August 2, August 8 @ 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


Virtual Summer Chess Camps 2020

June 1 through Aug 14 on selected weeks

More information:

9AM - 12AM morning camps: Monday through Fridays
Next camp: August 3-7 - camp is filling up so secure your spot now!
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
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:

8/1 Saturday - Saturday Arena
Format: 90 mins of G/5+2 - as many games as you can.
Join from 6:00PM -
Start: 7:00PM
8/2 Sunday - Sunday Rapids
Format: 6SS G/15+2
Join from 5:30PM -
Start at 6:30PM
8/4 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Marathon Online
Format: 8 rounds of G/35+2 (Swiss) 2 games per week; 6:30PM, 8:00PM
8/5 Wednesday - Late Night showdown
Format: 8SS G/3+2
Join from 8PM -
Start at 9PM
8/7 Friday - Friday Evening Online Blitz
Format: 10 rounds of G/3+2 (Swiss)
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

The King March, Part 1: The Road to Victory.

The sight of His Royal Highness taking a stroll out in the middle of the chess board – and sometimes right into the hostile fortress of the opposing side - never ceases to amaze us.

Haven’t we been told countless times to keep the king safe?  It’s one thing when it’s the endgame.  Then we all know the theory of “centralization”, and proudly bring our king forward.  But in the heat of a middlegame battle?  What’s gotten into his head…!?  But the king sometimes does as he pleases – he misses the action maybe, and goes right on in.  Nothing can stop him.  Nonchalant and without fear, he leads the battle and demands surrender of the enemy.

In the first part of this mini-series we find the king triumphant: the battle-field is his, and he shrugs off all who oppose him. 

In the second part we will take a look at the absolute master of the king march, World Champion Tigran Petrosian.  He deserves a chapter of his own.

Finally, in part three, we give our theme a twist.  The king takes a walk all right, but now he’s walking the plank - and meets his doom surrounded by hostile forces.


Our first position might be well known to you:

Short-Timman 1991.

Black is tied up, and this gave Short the idea… of bringing his king to h6! After 1.Kh2! Rc8 2.Kg3! Rce8 3.Kf4! Bc8 4.Kg5!

Black resigned.


The following sequence is far more harrowing:

Weenik-Gans 1923.

The white king starts to walk… 1.Kd1 Nb2+ 2.Ke2 Qa6+ 3.Ke3 Nc4+ 4.Kxe4! gxf6 5.Qxf6 Qb6 6.Kf4! Qc7+ (Black thinks he’s the one attacking!) 7.Kg5! Bd5 8.Kh6!

Now that’s a powerful king! Black resigned.


For a complete record we must include this classy endgame example from the Maestro himself, Paul Morphy:

Morphy-Salmon 1858.

We all know the drill: 1.Kf2! g5 2.Ke3 g4 3.Kd3 g5 4.Bc6 gxf4 5.gxf4 Rg8 6.Kc4 Rf8 7.Kb5 (As usual the defending side is curiously helpless and must wait for the axe to fall.) Rg8 8.Ka6 Rf8 9.Kb7 Rg8 10.Kc8 Bb6 11.Rxg8 Kxg8 12.d8(Q) Bxd8 13.Kxd8.

Black resigned.


A very famous endgame king walk we all should know is this one:

Cohn-Rubenstein 1909

1…Kf6! (Making a bee-line to the h3 square.) 2.Kd2 Kg5 3.Ke2 Kh4 4.Kf1 Kh3 5.Kg1 e5 6.Kh1 (White is getting that helpless feeling…) b5 7.Kg1 f5 8.Kh1 g5 9.Kg1 h5 10.Kh1 g4 11.e4 fxe4 12.fxe4 h4 13.Kg1 g3 14.hxg3 hxg3 15.fxg3 Kxg3.

White resigned.


Another textbook example:

Alekhine-Yates 1922.

1.Kf2 Kh7 2.h4 Rf8 3.Kg3 Rfb8 4.Rc7 Bb5 5.R1c5 Ba6 6.R5c6 Re8 7.Kf4! Kg8 8.h5 Bf1 9.g3 Ba6 10.Rf7 Kh7 11.Rcc7 (This is almost as bad as it gets!) Rg8 (The stage is set, but it’s curtains for black.) 12.Nd7 Kh8 13.Nf6! Rgf8 14.Rxg7! Rxf6 15.Ke5!

The king triumphant! Black resigned.


Often in these games it’s hard to say who’s attacking who:

Cheparinov-Sutovsky 2013.

The white king is in check and must move. 1.Kg2 Ne1+ 2.Kg3 (Here we go!) Qf3+ 3.Kh4 Qxf2+ (I imagine black was feeling OK here…) 4.Kg5! f6+ 5.Kh6! (But now what?) f5 6.Rg3 Qxe2 7.Kg5!! (Cool as a cucumber, white threatens Qh7 mate.) Rf7 (Unfortunate…for black.) 8.gxf7+ Kxf7 9.Qxf5+ Ke8 10.Bf4! Rxa1 11.e6.

Unable to seriously prevent Qf7 mate, black resigned.


Another example of dual attacks – this one is quite extreme:

Kramnik-Kasparov 1994.

1.Ka3! (White seeks safety from the barrage of queen checks by moving forward.) Qc5+ 2.Ka4! Qc2+ 3.Kb5 Qb2+ 4.Ka6 Qe2+ 5.Kb7 Rh7+ 6.d7.

Black resigned.  After  6… Qb5+ 7.Kc7! Rxd7+ (Or 7…Nxg4 8.Qe8+ Kg7 9.Qf7+ Kh8 10.Qf8 mate.) 8.cxd7 Qc5+ 9.Kb7 Qb5+ 10.Ka8! The king finally reaches a safe square at a8 and it’s all



Another dark-square themed king march in a volatile situation:

Korchnoi-Tal 1962

The first three moves should be obvious by now.  1.Kg3! Rb8 2.Kh4 Qf7 3.Kg5 fxg4 4.hxg4 Bd7 5.Rc4! a4 6.Rc7 a3 7.Rxd7! (It’s going to be a photo-finish.) Qxd7 8.e6 Qa7 (There is no defense.) 9.Qe5!! (An exquisite centralization, denying black the …Rb5+ and …Qf2+ possibility.) axb2 10.e7 Kf7 11.d7.

Voila! Black resigned.


In our next example white checks and checks and checks the black king, inviting a direct face-off with his own monarch.  Watch what happens: 

Kuershner-Tarrasch 1888.

1…Kg7 (The king comes out to play.) 2.Re7+ Kg6 3.Bb3 Rg2+ 4.Kh1 h3 5.Rd1 Rc8 6.Rd7+ Kf5 7.Rxa7 (White is losing anyway, why not take a pawn?) Rc1+ 8.Bd1 Ne2! (Threatens …Rg1 mate.) 9.Ra5+ Kf4 10.Rf6+ Ke3 11.Re5+ Kf2! 12.Rxe2+ Kf1!

A picturesque finale.  White resigned.


Finally, a mind-numbing double mating attack – who will land the final blow?

Shashin-Korchnoi 1973.

1.Kh2 Qd6+? (Apparently 1…Ng4+! would have saved the game.) 2.g3 Ng4+ 3.Kg2 (Not 3.hxg4? Qh6+ 4.Kg2 Qh1 mate.) Nh4+ 4.gxh4 Qh2+ 5.Kf3 Qxf2+ 6.Ke4 Qe2+ 7.Kf4 Rf1+ 8.Kg5 h6+ 9.Kg6! Ne5+ 10.Qxe5 Rg1+ 11.Qg5! (A spectacular move.) Qxb2 (11…Rxg5+ loses as well.) 12.Rxg7+.

That’s a double-check, with mate next move.  Black resigned.

GM Nick de Firmian's Column

GM Nick de Firmian's column will return next week August 8


Submit your piece or feedback

We would welcome any feedback, articles or "Letter to the Editor" piece. Submit yours today through this Google Form:


You can browse through our archived newsletters using the "next" and "previous buttons".

Want to save this newsletter for reading at a later time? Click here to learn how.

Want to be notified when the next newsletter is published? Join Our Email List →