Chess Room Newsletter #932 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #932

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #932


August 29, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Chess Clubs From Around the Country: A Reflection

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called The Surrounding Game ( It is about an effort by Go organizers, players, and enthusiasts to promote the game of 'Go' in the United States and establish the first American Go professional. As a chess player and organizer, I was uniquely drawn to this film. It follows the path of young teenagers at the top of their game trying to balance the pursuit of excellence in their craft while considering their future plans. It also follows Go organizers trying to make the most of an opportunity to elevate Go in the United States and raise awareness of the game among the general public. While watching, there are so many similarities to chess, in terms of the tournaments, the players, the goal of organizers, and the hope that one day American Go will find their Bobby Fischer. 

As a member of the US Chess Clubs committee, I have interacted with others passionate about chess clubs in their respective commmunities from all over the country. Whether clubs are big or small, live or online, own their own space or rent or borrow, all clubs would not exist without a collective buy in from the people that make up the club. The community is what makes the soul of any club, and gives it life and builds loyalty that transcends time. What attracted me to writing about chess clubs from around the country is in trying to understand the comunity of players from other parts of the country, and how clubs go about addressing the needs of their community and how these clubs go about building community. 

There is another part that makes communities of people special, though, and that is the passion and drive of the players. At the Mechanics' Institute there are a number of passionate players that love chess. They have played chess for a great part of their lives, play in our events and at our club, participate in our classes, and all do it for the love of the game and wanting to be among other like minded people. I could go on and on listing names of Mechanics' players, but they know who they are.

They love chess, but they are also someone else outside of chess. Even though they may also belong to other social, professional, or recreational groups, they bring the totality of their life expereinces with them to add value and enhance and illuminate our own chess community, helping to make us collectively one. I see this as our goal as organizers and club directors: to provide opportunities for people to play chess, to offer exciting unique ways for players to play, to host rated events and bring marquee events. It is also equally important to bring in new players, to raise awareness of our club outside of "rated" chess because there are so many people that also love the game that play in parks and coffee houses or with friends, that would love to join the Mechanics' Institute chess community if only they were aware of it. I believe this to be a key for us to engage more underrepresented groups into chess. Men and women of color are out there ready to play, we just need to raise awareness of the opportunities and provide pathways for participation, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances. Our chess club will have a goal of engaging new communities in San Francisco not only to our club and the Institute, but also to the game of chess. We will work to not only find players and make them aware of our club and community, but also find non-chess players and introduce them to the game and the many benefits it brings. Although there are challenges in community engagement during these times, it is not impossible, and we are working to find unique ways to reach out to our diverse communities.

Back to the Surrounding Game. At the end of the documentary, we see the first 2 American Go professionals established - Andy Liu and Gansheng Shi - after advancing through a tournament series to earn the Professional 1-dan title. The player that made me the most curious was Ben Lockhart, who from the film was a young American who loved the game so much, he even move from the United States to live in Korea for the sole purpose of being able to train and play with stronger players not available in the United States. From his interviews, he was a pure player, devoting his life to the game and its excellence, setting aside the expectations of the world and following his own path. As chess tournament organizers, we know those players - it often seems it is just in the blood, and chess becomes a way of life. For that type of person, the Mechanics' Institute is a truly special place, and if you have been inside the club, you know and feel why.

As I was learning more about Ben Lockhart, I was surprised to learn he had passed away last year of cancer at the age of 26. Life is short, but he clearly followed his passion and dreams. Incidentally, one of the director's of this fil is Will Lockhart, Ben's brother. 

If you have the opportunity, watch this film. As chess players, we will certainly relate and watch in admiration as the players and organizers follow their passion and pursuit of excellence, and seeing the community of players and the atmosphere it delivers. We all may be a little crazy, but we have our own community of crazies, and we are truly fortunate. Our crazy community has rallied together and we have had a home together every week during COVID. 

The sentiment of this piece is summed up perfectly in a quote from the film Million Dollar Baby, said by Morgan Freeman's character regarding a female boxer looking to win the world title. It goes: "It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you." For the Go players in The Surrounding Game and for chess players in any chess community, there is truth in this.

I will continue next week with my 3rd chess club profile. 

Fred and Pat Mayntz TNM Report

The Fred and Pat Mayntz Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon concluded with FM Kyron Griffith dominating the field wire-to-wire and scoring an impressive 7.5/8 to take sole first place. He had to survive a final round challenge against IM Elliott Winslow, who was looking for a win to tie for first, but a sharp game and a misstep led to a rather quick victory for Griffith. Winslow had been on a run of some extraordinary games lately, but he came up just a bit short on this occasion. NM Ruiyang Yan defeated Kristian Clemens in round 8 to secure sole 2nd place finish as well as the top female prize. Pranav Sairam, who was the only mild blemish for Griffith in the tournament, played very well throughout to take sole 3rd place.

In the under 1600 section, Pranav Pradeep was the clear winner with a dominating 7/8. Ian Liao takes 2nd with 5.5/8 and Martin Camacho is 3rd with 5/8.

The final rounds had many interesting games that we followed on the broadcast, and it was almost a shame that the event had to end. We had several guests come on and join Paul and I, including Kyrong Griffith (who provided round 8 commentary after his game with Elliott), Jonah Busch, and Elliott Winslow (who showcased how to mate with a King, Bishop and Knight in round 7). We had 64 players in total for this TNM, and we would like to thank all the participants for playing our event and for their support of the Mechanics' Institute. 

The next TNM will start on September 8th. It will be 6 rounds over 3 weeks, with 2 sections; 1800+ and under 1800. Stay tuned for more details.

To watch the broadcast of rounds 7&8, please click here:

Full results can be found on our event page here:

Here are some games from the evenings action, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian. 

(8) FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2167) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (1962) [B99]
Live Chess, 25.08.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Kyron has tried some of the recent sidelines but here returns to the main line. [6.Bd3 and; 6.Nb3] 6...e6 7.f4 Be7 [7...h6 8.Bh4 Be7 9.Qf3 Nbd7 10.0-0-0 0-1 (50) Kavalek,L-Weinstein,R Leningrad 1960] 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 h6 Black avoids some lines but allows others. [9...Nbd7 10.g4 being the main one avoided. (10.Bd3 h6 11.Bh4 g5 is the game; 10.Be2 b5 is a lot better for Black without ...h6 in) 10...b5 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.g5 Nd7 13.f5 The "modern move" is 13...0-0!?] 10.Bh4 Nbd7 11.Bd3 Overall the most popular. [11.g4 is possible here too.; But 11.Be2! is the problem move, and its popularity will overtake 11.Bd3.]


11...g5!? Back before databases this was known as the Kavalek Variation. Six-time U.S. champion Walter Browne then lived and died by it, and it became the Kavalek-Browne Variation, now it's often just called the Browne Variation. But it was really Bobotsov who first brought it to the world stage. In fact Kavalek lost a game as White to it in 1960, to Raymond Weinstein. [Well not quite: that game went like this: 11...Rb8 12.Rhe1 g5 13.fxg5 Ne5 14.Qe2 Nfg4 15.h3 hxg5 16.Bg3 Nf6 17.Nf3 Nh5 18.Nxe5 dxe5 19.Qf3 b5 20.Rf1 Nf4 21.Bxf4? exf4! with a probably winning advantage. Kavalek so wanted open lines and the e4 square that he pushed the e-pawn, but carefully Weinstein used that pawn and other plusses to get the win. 22.e5 Qxe5 23.Rfe1 Qc7 24.Re2 Bb7 25.Be4 Kf8 26.Red2 f5 0-1 (50) Kavalek,L-Weinstein,R, World Students Team, Leningrad 1960] 12.fxg5 Ne5 13.Qe2 Nfg4 14.Nf3 The most direct line. [One also tries 14.h3 hxg5 15.Bg3 Nf6; and the occasional 14.Kb1] 14...hxg5 [14...Nxf3 15.Qxf3 hxg5 0-1 (49) Kusmierek,J (2068)-Wantoch Rekowski,J (2246) ICCF email 2008] 15.Bg3 [15.Bxg5?! Bxg5+ 16.Nxg5 Qc5 when White isn't happy with either 17.Nh3 on the rim(or 17.Nf3 losing an exchange, albeit it for some compensation. 17...Nf2 18.Nxe5 (18.Na4 Nfxd3+! 19.Rxd3 Nxd3+ 20.Qxd3 Qc7) 18...Nxd1! (18...dxe5?! 19.Na4 Qa720.Bb5+! axb5 21.Qxb5+ Ke7 22.Qb4+ Kf6 and White's attack is very dangerous after 23.Nb6) 19.Nxf7 Nxc3 20.Qf3 Rf8 0-1 (29) Supancic,D (2335)-Tarjan,J (2510) Maribor 1978) ] 15...Nxf3 [15...Bd7 could well be the way to go. 16.h3 Nxf3 (16...Nf6 17.Nxe5 dxe5 18.Bf2 Bc6 19.Rhf1 Nh5 20.g3 1-0 (33) Ivanchuk,V (2752)-Quan,Z (2396) Edmonton 2005) 17.hxg4 Rxh1 18.Rxh1 Nh4 isn't the end of the story; Black can be quite resilient.] 16.Qxf3 [16.gxf3 Ne5 17.f4 gxf4 18.Bxf4 is dynamically balanced; White has a passed h-pawn, Black the e5-square.] 16...Ne5 17.Bxe5!? dxe5 18.Rdf1 f6 [18...Rh7!? 19.h4!? gxh4 20.Qg4 Rh8! 21.g3 Bd7 22.gxh4 0-0-0 23.Rxf7 Rdg8 24.Rg7 Rxg7 25.Qxg7 Rxh4 The computers favor White a bit, but Black is fairly well blocked in and should hold.] 19.h4 gxh4 20.Qg4


20...Kf7?? Winslow must have miscalculated here. [20...Bd7 got beat up pretty bad; after 21.Qg6+ Kd8 White can choose: 22.Rxf6 (22.Qg7) ; 20...Qc5 21.Rxh4 Rxh4 22.Qxh4 0-1 (49) Kusmierek,J (2068)-Wantoch Rekowski,J (2246) ICCF email 2008 22...Kd7!? 23.Qh7 Kc6 24.Kb1! b5 25.a4 b4 26.Na2 sees White still causing trouble for the beleagured Black king.] 21.Rxh4 Bd7 22.Rfh1 White is just invading on the kingside. Nothing to be done. 22...Rxh4 23.Rxh4 Bf8 24.Rh7+ Ke8 25.Qg6+ KyronGriffith won by resignation 1-0

(9) NM Ruiyang Yan (jij2018) (2127) - Kristian Clemens (kclemens) (1808) [C42]
Live Chess, 25.08.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.Nc3 Nf6!? [Most but not all the games now go 5...Nxc3 6.dxc3 with White castling queenside and throwing his pawns at Black's kingside -- except that Black players have learned their lesson and now castle long as well.; 5...Bf5? 6.Qe2 was infamously 1-0, Zapata - Anand, Biel 1988.] 6.d4 Be7 This is similar to the line 5.d4 Be7 6.Bd3 Nf6, but here White is committed to Nc3, so the c-pawn can't participate so readily in the center. 7.Bd3 Bg4 8.h3 Bh5 9.Bf4 Nbd7 10.Qd2 c6 11.0-0-0 White does have a slight space advantage -- and there's that opposite-sides castling again. 11...d5 12.g4 White takes away even the option of ... Bxf3. 12...Bg6 13.Bxg6 hxg6 14.Qd3 Nf8 15.Ng5!? N6h7 16.Nxh7 Nxh7 17.Rde1 0-0


18.h4! Bd6 [18...Bxh4?! would be very daring, but Black might well get away with it! 19.Bd2! g5 20.f4 f6 (20...gxf4 21.g5! sees White sacrificing three pawns for a winning attack!) 21.Kb1 Black is teetering on the edge, with his bishop rather out of play.] 19.Be3?! [19.Be5!] 19...Re8 20.g5! Making sure lines open up when h4-h5 happens. 20...Qd7 21.h5 Nf8 [21...Qf5!? 22.hxg6 Qxd3 23.gxf7+ Kxf7 24.cxd3 Nf8 drops a pawn but not much of one; Black could try to defend this.] 22.h6?! [22.hxg6 is advantage White however Black recaptures.] 22...Qf5 The game is threatening to turn in Black's favor! 23.Qxf5 gxf5 24.Bd2?! Rxe1+ 25.Rxe1 Ne6 26.g6?! Nxd4 [26...gxh6 27.Bxh6 Nxd4-+] 27.h7+ [27.gxf7+ Kxf7 28.hxg7-/+] 27...Kh8 28.gxf7


28...Kxh7?? Kristian's defensive powers let him down on this occasion! [Black had one move to win but win it would: 28...Rf8! 29.Re8 Kxh7!] 29.Re8 Black's rook is on the wrong side of the gun. 29...Kg6 30.Rxa8 Kxf7 31.Rxa7 jij2018 won by resignation. Rui is not to be underestimated! 1-0

(10) Pranav Sairam (chesspilot01) (1967) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (1966) [B92]
Live Chess, 25.08.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Be3 Be6 10.f3 Pranav is fond of this move here, although it seems somewhat passive and committal. [10.a4 Nc6!?; It is similar to Karpov's line, 10.Qd2 Nbd7 11.a4 Qc7 (11...Rc8 12.Rfd1 Qc7 13.f3 1/2-1/2 (30) Sznapik,A (2460)-Sigurjonsson,G (2455) Oslo 1983) 12.a5 Rac8 13.Rfd1 but White retains the option of Bf3 (and has saved a move for the moment).; 10.Nd5 is the rage these days, with yet another instance of the Caruana-Carlsen pawn structure from their 2018 World Championship match. 10...Nbd7 11.Qd3 Bxd5 12.exd5] 10...Nbd7 11.a4 Qc7 12.Qd2 Rfd8 13.Rfd1 Rac8 14.a5 This takes the a5 square away from the White queen (!!), allowing a surprising combination which has been seen quite a few times.


14...d5!? Black can play this! But should he? When playing for a win there is the danger of a bland equality. The first occasion was Bradvarevic-Bertok, Yugoslav ch Final 1963. 15.exd5 Nxd5 16.Nxd5 Bxd5 17.Qxd5 Nf6 There are 56 games here in the Chessbase online database! 18.Qc4 Rxd1+ 19.Rxd1 Qxc4 20.Bxc4 Rxc4 Black has regained his piece and we are in a fairly level endgame. 21.c3 [21.Bc5!? Bxc5+ led to a draw between two fairly strong players: (21...Rxc5!? 22.Nxc5 Bxc5+ 23.Kf1 Kf8 (23...Be7 24.Rd3! Kf8 25.Rb3 Bd8 26.Rxb7 Bxa5 27.Ra7 is not what Black wants; White's passed pawns could get annoying.) 24.Rd8+ Ke7 25.Rb8 Nd7 26.Rxb7 peters out to the dreaded 0.00.) 22.Nxc5 Kf8 23.Nxb7 Rxc2 24.b4 Rb2 25.Nd8 Rxb4 26.Nc6 Rc4 27.Rd8+ Ne8 28.Nxe5 Rc1+ 29.Kf2 Ke7 30.Rd2 Nd6 1/2-1/2 (30) Sznapik,A (2460)-Sigurjonsson,G (2455) Oslo 1983] 21...Kf8 22.Kf2 Meanwhile, Stockfish 11 has taken a bit of a liking to White's position. 22...Ke8 23.Ke2 Nd7 24.Kd3 [24.Nd2!?] 24...Ra4!? with the slightest pressure on White's defenses. 25.Ra1


allowing another central combination, which, like 16...d5, is more bark than bite. 25...e4+! 26.Kc2? [26.fxe4 Ne5+ 27.Ke2 Rxe4 28.Nd2 Rg4 29.g3 and as often, nothing much.] 26...Rxa1 27.Nxa1 exf3 28.gxf3 Ne5 Black makes it into something tangible as the white pawns are weak on the kingside. 29.f4 Nc4 30.Bd4 Nxa5 [30...Bd6!? 31.Bxg7 Bxf4 32.h3 Nxa5] 31.Bxg7 Bd6 32.Bh6 Nc4 33.Bg5 Kd7 34.Nb3 Ne3+ 35.Kd3 Ng4 36.Nd4 h6?! This time it's just too clever. [36...Nxh2! is a simple clear pawn ahead] 37.Bh4 Bxf4 38.h3 Ne5+ 39.Ke4 Ng6 40.Bf6 a5 41.b3 Bd2 42.c4 Bc3 43.Kd3


[43.Bg7!? Ne7! keeps the tricks coming.] 43...Bb2 [43...Bxd4! 44.Bxd4 Nf4+ 45.Ke3 Nxh3 46.Bb6 a4! 47.bxa4 h5 still is close to winning but one can't be sure.] 44.Ke4 h5 45.Kf5? Bc1? [45...Ne7+! 46.Bxe7 (46.Kg5 Ng8! Who saw that coming?) 46...Kxe7 47.Nc2 Kd6 is winning] 46.Nf3 [46.Ne2! Bd2 47.Ng3] 46...Kd6?! [46...Nf4] 47.Bc3 b6 48.Bd4 0.00. Black has let his win slip away. 48...Kc6 49.Kf6? [49.Bf2=] 49...Nf4! 50.Ne5+ Kb7?! [50...Kc7! 51.Nxf7 Nxh3 52.Kf5 Bd2 is still problematic; it's not at all clear if it's a win or a draw.] 51.h4 Ne6


52.Ba1? [52.Bf2= keeps sentry on c5.] 52...Nc5 Now Black is definitely winning. 53.Nxf7 Nxb3 54.Be5 a4 Now the passed a-pawn should win the game 55.Kg6 a3 56.Nd6+ Kc6 57.Nb5 Bb2 [57...Nd2!] 58.Nxa3 Bxe5 59.Kxh5 Kc5 60.Kg4 Bb2 61.Nc2 Kxc4?! [61...Nd4 62.Ne3 Bc1] 62.h5 [62.Ne3+ Kc5] 62...Nd4 Trying to make it hard!? [62...Bc1] 63.Ne3+ Kc5 64.h6 Ne6 65.Kf5 Nf8 66.Ke4 b5 67.Ng4 b4 68.Kd3 Bd4 69.Nh2 b3 70.Nf3 Bf6 71.Nd2 Kb4 72.Nxb3 Kxb3


Black has a wall; White loses the h-pawn; then it's just a question of mating with bishop and knight in a minute... 73.Ke4 Kc4 74.Kf5 Bh8 75.Kg5 Kd5 76.Kf5 Kd6 77.h7 Kd5 78.Kg5 Ke6 79.Kh6 Kf7 80.Kg5 Kg7 81.Kf5 Kxh7 82.Kf4 Kg6 83.Ke4 Kg5 84.Kd5 Kf5 85.Kd6 Bf6 86.Kd5 Be5 87.Kc6 Ke6 88.Kb7 Kd7 89.Ka8 Ne6 90.Kb7 Bd4 91.Ka8 Kc6 92.Kb8 Nc7 93.Kc8 Ba7 94.Kd8 Nd5 95.Ke8 Kd6 96.Kd8 Ne7 97.Ke8 Ke6 98.Kf8 Nf5 99.Kg8 Bc5 100.Kh7 Kf7 101.Kh8 Be7 102.Kh7 Bg5 103.Kh8 Kg6 104.Kg8 Bh6 105.Kh8 Bg7+ 106.Kg8 Nh6# Checkmate. Well done by Winslow with little time! 0-1

(1) Martin Camacho (camachom) (1426) - Rahim Dharssi (rahimftd) (1356) [A01]
Live Chess, 25.08.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 d5 4.Bb5 Bd6 A classic Larsen/Nimzovitch Attack where White seeks to pressure the center squares with the bishops - one pins the knight on c6 and the other attacks on the long a1-h8 diagonal. 5.f4


5...e4? A blunder. Black needed to hold the center squares with [5...f6 6.Nc3 (6.fxe5?! fxe5 7.Nf3 Qe7 8.Nc3 Nf6 leaves Black in control of the center.) 6...Nge7 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qf3 a6 9.Bxc6+ bxc6 and everything is guarded.] 6.Bxg7 Ouch. The bishop does its job and grabs a lot of material. 6...a6 7.Bxc6+ bxc6 8.Bxh8 Nf6 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Nc3 Bb4 11.Na4 Bf5 12.Ne2 Ke7 Black is a rook and pawn down, but plays logically to get all the pieces out and hope for a shot. 13.Nd4 Bd7 14.c3 Bd6 15.b4! An important move to hold the squares for the white knights. If Black had gotten to play ...c5 the game would have become complicated. 15...Rg8 16.Qe2 Bxf4 This is objectively bad but as Black is lost anyway you may as well try something active. 17.exf4 Qxf4 18.0-0-0! White has plenty of material, so it is good to give a little back and get the king to saftey. 18...Bg4 19.Qxa6 Bxd1 20.Nxc6+ Now the extra material translates to a winning attack for White. 20...Kd7 21.Nc5+ Kd6 22.Rf1 Qxh2 23.Rf6#


camachom won by checkmate 1-0

(2) PJ Liotino (CocoKat) (1682) - Arul Viswanathan (Shouldbedoincalchw) (1663) [A61]
Live Chess, 26.08.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 c5 2.d5 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.Bf4 Bg7?! A known mistake once played by Bobby Fischer. Black needs to prevent the check on a4 with [7...a6 8.a4 and only then 8...Bg7] 8.h3 [8.Qa4+! Bd7 9.Qb3 misplaces the black pieces as d6 needs defending and the bishop on d7 occupies the square a knight wants to be at.] 8...0-0 9.e3 a6 10.a4 Qc7 11.Be2 Nbd7 12.0-0 Rb8 13.Bh2 A Benoni position where White has only moved to pawn to e3 instead of e4. This is very solid for White and lets him try to pressure the d6 pawn with help from the bishop on a2. 13...b6?! [13...Re8 14.Nd2 Ne5 keeps the central squares contested.] 14.Nd2 Nh5? This creates weakenesses for no reason. 15.Bxh5 gxh5 16.Nde4! Ne5 17.f4 Nc4 18.Qxh5? [18.f5! Nxe3 19.Qxh5 gets to the game continuation without allowing a good defense.] 18...Nxe3?


[18...f5! 19.Ng5 h6 allows Black to defend] 19.f5! This terrific move turbocharges the white attack! Material doesn't matter with White terrible threat of 20. f6. 19...Nxf5 [19...Nxf1 would be too much fun for White, e.g. 20.f6 Ne3 21.fxg7 Kxg7 22.Qg5+ Kh8 23.Qf6+ Kg8 24.Bxd6 Qd8 25.Be7 Qd7 26.Qg5+ Kh8 27.Bf6#] 20.Rxf5 Bxf5 21.Qxf5 Technically material is even, but the white minor pieces completely control the board. 21...Rbd8 22.Ng5 Bd4+ 23.Kh1 f6 24.Ne6


The monster knight is worth at least a rook. Cocokat wraps the game up efficiently. 24...Qf7 25.Ne4 Bxb2 26.Rb1 Be5 27.Nxd8 Rxd8 28.Bxe5 dxe5 29.Rxb6 c4 30.Nxf6+ Kh8 31.Rc6 e4 32.Qxe4 c3 33.Qe5! Rf8 34.Qxc3 Rb8 1-0

(3) Ashik Uzzaman (ashikuzzaman) (1849) - Jonah Busch (Kondsaga) (1713) [B03]
Live Chess, 26.08.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.Nf3 [White gets an endgame advantage after 9.b3 e5 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Qxd8 Rxd8 12.c5] 9...Bg4 10.b3 Nc6 11.Be2 e5 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.0-0 Qe7?! [13...Qb8!? would keep the disadvantage to a minimum.] 14.Bxb6? giving up dark square control. Instead [14.Nxe5! wins a clean pawn - 14...Bxe2 15.Nxc6 Qxe3 16.fxe3 Bxd1 17.Ne7+ Kh8 18.Rfxd1] 14...axb6 15.Nd5 Qc5 Black is happy now. 16.a4 Rad8 17.Ng5 Rxd5? This doesn't work right and gives up material. [17...Bf5!] 18.cxd5 Bxe2 19.Rxc5?! [19.Qxe2 Qxd5 20.Qc4 Is simply ahead for White an exchange for a pawn.] 19...Bxd1 20.Rxc6?! [20.Rc1 Bxb3 21.dxc6 bxc6 22.Rxc6 Bxa4 23.Rxb6 leaves White winning chances in the endgame] 20...bxc6 21.Rxd1


21...Rd8! Suddenly Black takes over the advantage. White must advance the pawn, but it becomes weak. 22.d6 Rd7 23.Kf1 Bf8 24.Ne4 Kg7 25.g4 f5! 26.gxf5 gxf5 27.Ng3 Kg6 [27...Kf6 is a more centralized square] 28.Ke2 Rxd6 A clear extra pawn for Black means that White must struggle for the draw. 29.Rg1 Kf6 30.Nh5+ Kf7 31.Rg5 Ke6 32.Ng3 f4 33.Ne4 Rd4 34.f3 Rb4 35.Rh5 [perhaps more chances are offered by 35.Nd2 Bc5 36.Rh5 Be3 37.Nc4] 35...h6 36.Nf2?! [36.Nd2] 36...Rxb3 37.Ng4 Bg7 38.Nxh6 Ra3 Black has a winning position anyway but [38...e4! 39.fxe4 f3+ 40.Kf1 Bd4 would win quickly] 39.Ng4 Rxa4 40.Rh7 Bf8 41.h4 Rd4? [41...Ra2+ 42.Kd3 b5 keeps Black well ahead] 42.h5! This pawn is great counterplay. 42...b5 43.h6 b4 44.Rb7 Rd7


45.h7! Bg7 46.Rxb4 Now White has enough play to hold the game. Note the white knight is superior to the black bishop. 46...Bh8 47.Rb6 Kd5 48.Rb8 Rxh7 49.Rd8+? [49.Kd3! keeps the black king passive and would hold easily] 49...Kc4! 50.Re8 c5 51.Nxe5+ Bxe5 52.Rxe5 Rh2+ 53.Ke1 Kd4 54.Re4+ Kd3 55.Rxf4 Ke3? [55...c4 56.Rf8 Rh1+ 57.Kf2 c3 and Black wins the rook ending - 58.Rd8+ Kc4 59.Rc8+ Kb3 60.Rb8+ Ka4! 61.Ra8+ Kb5 62.Rb8+ Ka6 63.Rc8 c2! White loses the rook and the f-pawn and white king are not advanced enough to make a draw.] 56.Re4+! Kxf3 57.Rc4 Rh5 58.Kd2 Now this is a simple draw. 58...Rd5+ 59.Kc3 Ke3 60.Kb3 Kd3 61.Rc3+ Kd2 62.Rc2+ Kd1 63.Rc4 Kd2 64.Ka4 Kd3 65.Kb5 Rd4 66.Rxc5 Ke4 67.Rc6 Rd5+ 68.Kb6 Ke5 69.Rc5 Rxc5 70.Kxc5 Game drawn by insufficient material 1/2-1/2

SwissSys Standings. TNM Online August new: 1600+

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total T-Sonneborn Prize
1 FM Kyron Wa Griffith 12860484 2470 W53 W22 W30 W10 W2 D3 W5 W6 7.5 35.5 150.00
2 Ruiyang Yan 15462690 2242 W54 W19 W35 W11 L1 D8 X17 W4 6.5 21.25 75.00
3 Pranav Sairam 15424820 2087 W15 W32 D16 W5 W17 D1 L6 W11 6.0 29.5  
4 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 D37 L24 W20 W23 W35 W9 W8 L2 5.5 25 12.50
5 Jonah Busch 12469525 1934 W33 W26 W6 L3 W10 W25 L1 D12 5.5 25 12.50
6 IM Elliott C Winslow 10363365 2278 W45 W9 L5 D35 W24 W21 W3 L1 5.5 24.25  
7 Michael Walder 10345120 2075 L35 W46 W31 W13 L8 W26 W16 D10 5.5 22.75  
8 Daniel Lin 15176393 1929 W46 F35 W26 W42 W7 D2 L4 W23 5.5 22.75 12.50
9 Peter Joh Liotino 15915496 1889 W20 L6 W41 W32 D11 L4 W21 W29 5.5 22 12.50
10 Theodore Biyiasas 13989054 2175 W31 W18 B--- L1 L5 W15 W19 D7 5.5 20.75  
11 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 W14 W13 W24 L2 D9 D16 W25 L3 5.0 23  
12 Ashik Uzzaman 13178575 1940 W40 H--- W14 L24 L21 W33 W35 D5 5.0 17.75  
13 Jwalin Shah 14379732 1832 W49 L11 W36 L7 D33 D38 W28 W25 5.0 16.75  
14 Imran Champsi 16176854 1663 L11 W28 L12 W51 L34 W39 W42 W30 5.0 16 25.00
15 Ryan Wang 15991187 1725 L3 L39 W48 W27 X29 L10 W38 W24 5.0 13.5 25.00
16 Vishva Nanugonda 16380312 1664 W47 W23 D3 L17 W22 D11 L7 D19 4.5 19.25  
17 Mansoor Mohammed 16086550 1893 H--- W37 W34 W16 L3 W32 F2 U--- 4.5 14.5  
18 Javier Silva III 16089208 1869 W43 L10 W51 L25 L26 W27 D32 W35 4.5 14.25  
19 Adam Mercado 16571026 1831 W44 L2 W50 L30 W39 W28 L10 D16 4.5 14.25  
20 Gan Mathrubootham 15183473 1494 L9 D45 L4 W46 W40 W22 L29 W38 4.5 14.25  
21 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1866 H--- H--- W44 D47 W12 L6 L9 W33 4.5 12.75  
22 Rudolph Fr Breedt 13701346 1884 W51 L1 W27 H--- L16 L20 W40 W32 4.5 12.5  
23 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 X48 L16 H--- L4 W41 W37 W24 L8 4.5 10  
24 Kr Gopalakrishnan 16545130 1506 X--- W4 L11 W12 L6 W30 L23 L15 4.0 14.5  
25 Ahyan Zaman 15035222 1699 X38 F30 W38 W18 W30 L5 L11 L13 4.0 11.5  
26 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1679 B--- L5 L8 W44 W18 L7 L30 W39 4.0 10.5  
27 Daniel R Perlov 16465203 1364 L34 W54 L22 L15 W31 L18 W43 W42 4.0 10  
28 Ethan Guo 16761994 1241 H--- L14 D46 W43 W42 L19 L13 W45 4.0 9.75  
29 Arul Viswanathan 14490424 2071 H--- H--- L32 W37 F15 W51 W20 L9 4.0 9.5  
30 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 W52 X25 L1 W19 L25 L24 W26 L14 4.0 9.5  
31 Kevin Joe Roberts 12735690 1739 L10 W43 L7 L33 L27 W52 W49 W41 4.0 9  
32 Saatvik Krishnan 15210955 1797 W39 L3 W29 L9 W47 L17 D18 L22 3.5 11.75  
33 Roger V Shi 16191192 1572 L5 L38 W49 W31 D13 L12 W37 L21 3.5 11.5  
34 Stewart Katz 12458563 1835 W27 H--- L17 H--- W14 H--- U--- U--- 3.5 9  
35 Patrick Peiju Liu 16667410 1719 W7 X8 L2 D6 L4 X47 L12 L18 3.5 8.25  
36 Andrew Yuech Gong 16947137 1221 H--- H--- L13 D40 L37 L45 W52 W48 3.5 5  
37 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 D4 L17 W45 L29 W36 L23 L33 D40 3.0 10.25  
38 John W Jaffray 10495920 2008 F25 W33 L25 D41 W50 D13 L15 L20 3.0 9.5  
39 Rama Krish Chitta 17350313 unr. L32 W15 L42 W52 L19 L14 W51 L26 3.0 8  
40 Ishaan Kodarapu 16128527 1607 L12 W49 L47 D36 L20 W50 L22 D37 3.0 7.25  
41 Isaac Wang 17058192 1508 H--- H--- L9 D38 L23 W46 D45 L31 3.0 5.25  
42 Scott E Poling 12745555 1800 H--- H--- W39 L8 L28 W49 L14 L27 3.0 5  
43 Wentao Wu 16629782 1411 L18 L31 L52 L28 B--- W44 L27 W49 3.0 5  
44 Kevin Sun 16898540 1009 L19 W52 L21 L26 L46 L43 B--- W51 3.0 3  
45 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 L6 D20 L37 L50 D48 W36 D41 L28 2.5 8.5  
46 Vedant Talwalkar 16408266 1569 L8 L7 D28 L20 W44 L41 L48 W52 2.5 6  
47 Rohan Das 15263634 1979 L16 X48 W40 D21 L32 F35 U--- U--- 2.5 5.25  
48 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 F23 F47 L15 L49 D45 B--- W46 L36 2.5 3.75  
49 Andy Yueduo Xu 16732301 1312 L13 L40 L33 W48 W52 L42 L31 L43 2.0 3.5  
50 Jonathan Yic Gong 16947143 994 H--- H--- L19 W45 L38 L40 U--- U--- 2.0 2.5  
51 Bruce Wishard 13994342 1462 L22 X53 L18 L14 X53 L29 L39 L44 2.0 0  
52 Joel Carron 16600505 1610 L30 L44 W43 L39 L49 L31 L36 L46 1.0 3  
53 Barbara Goodkind 12778604 1791 L1 F51 H--- H--- F51 U--- U--- U--- 1.0 0  
54 Glenn Kaplan 12680193 1776 L2 L27 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0 0  

SwissSys Standings. TNM Online August new: u1600

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total T-Sonneborn Prize
1 Pranav Pradeep 15871762 1252 W9 W2 W4 W7 W6 L3 W5 B--- 7.0 24 100.00
2 Ian Liao 16738735 1054 W8 L1 B--- L6 W5 D7 W9 W4 5.5 16.25 75.00
3 Martin Camacho 17248027 1031 H--- H--- L7 L9 B--- W1 W8 W6 5.0 14.5 50.00
4 Adithya Chitta 16695036 749 D10 X5 L1 L5 W8 W6 W7 L2 4.5 11.75  
5 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 H--- F4 W8 W4 L2 B--- L1 W9 4.5 10  
6 Rahim Dharssi 12693378 595 H--- H--- W9 W2 L1 L4 B--- L3 4.0 7.5  
7 Danny Du Uy Cao 16939797 843 X5 L10 W3 L1 W9 D2 L4 L8 3.5 9.75  
8 Kwee Kuntjara 17220740 unr. L2 H--- L5 B--- L4 W9 L3 W7 3.5 5.5  
9 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 948 L1 B--- L6 W3 L7 L8 L2 L5 2.0 5  
10 Andrew Yuech Gong 16947137 1221 D4 W7 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.5 5.75  

SwissSys Standings. TNM Online August new: Extra Games

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total T-Sonneborn Prize
1 Ryan Wang 15991187 1725 W11 W12             2.0 0 87.50
2 Patrick Peiju Liu 16667410 1719 W9 W11             2.0 0 87.50
3 Rohan Das 15263634 1979 W12 U---             1.0 0  
4 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 W10 U---             1.0 0  
5 Kr Gopalakrishnan 16545130 1506 W13 U---             1.0 0  
6 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 U--- W15             1.0 0  
7 Ian Liao 16738735 1054 W15 U---             1.0 0 25.00
8 Jonathan Yic Gong 16947143 994 W14 U---             1.0 0 25.00
9 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 L2 U---             0.0 0  
10 Ahyan Zaman 15035222 1699 L4 U---             0.0 0  
11 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 L1 L2             0.0 0  
12 Bruce Wishard 13994342 1462 L3 L1             0.0 0  
13 Ethan Guo 16761994 1241 L5 U---             0.0 0  
14 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 948 L8 U---             0.0 0  
15 Judit Sztaray 14708926 827 L7 L6             0.0 0

Mechanics' Institute August 23 Rapid Tournament Recap

We held a 1-day USCF rated rapid tournament on Sunday August 23, and had 22 players. There was a 3-way tie for first place with 5/6 between IM Elliott Winslow, FM Josiah Stearman, and Eric Hon. Here are a couple of interesting games from the event, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(6) FM Josiah Stearman (josiwales) (2128) - Eric Hon (microbear) (2036) [B30]
Mechanics' USCF Online Rated Rapid, 23.08.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 The famous Tiviakov line, which no one understands. 3...Nd4 4.Nf3 a6 5.Bd3 A curious move which gets the bishop out of the way. 5...e6 6.0-0 g6 [6...Nc6 7.Be2 Nd4 8.Bd3 Nc6 9.b3 (They almost repeated!) 1-0 30, Grischuk - Gelfand, London GP 2012.] 7.Rb1


[7.Nxd4 cxd4 8.Ne2 Bg7 9.c3 is the standard continuation; Josiah tries a unique path to activate his pieces (or try to).] 7...Bg7 8.b4 cxb4 9.Rxb4 Nc6 10.Rb3 Nge7 11.Re1 0-0 12.Bf1 d5 13.d4


13...dxe4?! This opens up the game. [13...Qc7 holds the line in the center.] 14.Nxe4 b5 Further weakening the dark squares (there will be no ...b6). [14...Nxd4?! 15.Nxd4! Qxd4 (15...Bxd4? 16.Rd3 Nc6 17.c3) 16.Ba3! Nc6 (16...Re8?! 17.Rd3 Qb6 18.Bxe7 Rxe7 19.Rd8+ Bf8 20.Nf6+ Kg7

White has a lot of good moves here, but the most interesting is 21.Re5!! Kxf6 22.Qa1 Deadly! And the fruition of a major theme (think back to White's 7.Rb1 and 8.b4!).) 17.Rd3 Qb6 18.Bxf8 nabs rook for bishop when Black doesn't have much in the way of compensation, certainly the dark squares are still a problem.] 15.Bg5! h6 [15...f6 16.Bc1! f5 (or else 17.Nc5) 17.Neg5 perforates Black's position.] 16.Bf6! Bxf6 Nothing better really. 17.Nxf6+ Kg7 18.Ne4 There was another move, see next note. 18...Bb7? Looks natural but what square does it weaken? [18...Nd5 isn't entirely a blockade of the IQP. For one thing, it isn't an IQP! The c-pawn! Still, it's impractical to play for c2-c3,a2-a4 and after the b5-pawn goes away, c3-c4. For all that, 19.Qa1! could well be best.; 18...Na5! 19.Rd3 Nc4 Yes, Black has some great squares for his knights but so does White. And the danger on the dark squares around his king remain. 20.Qa1!]


19.Nc5? Too soon. [19.Qa1!+- breaks through! (And that's what White missed a move ago.) 19...Na5 (19...Nd5 20.c4! Na5!? 21.cxd5 Nxb3 22.axb3 Bxd5 23.Bd3 when White's "extra" piece (two knights for one rook) are ready to pick on Black's king.) 20.d5+! f6 21.Nc5! Bxd5 22.Rd3 It's e6 collapsing. 22...Qb6 23.Rxd5! Nxd5 24.Nxe6+ Kh7 25.Qd1! Qd6 26.Nxf8+ Rxf8 27.h4! would have been classic Josiah, working over the Black kingside after provoking weaknesses.] 19...Na5! 20.Rbe3 [20.Qa1? Nxb3 21.axb3 Bxf3 Black just gets his king to h7 safe.] 20...Bd5 Securing e6 and blocking the d-pawn solidly. White has very little now. 21.Ne5 Nc4?! Handing some advantage back to White. [21...Nf5 22.Rh3 Nc6 Now that the bishop does its lighthouse imitation on d5, exchanges work for Black.] 22.Bxc4 bxc4 23.c3 [23.Rc3! Not much that Black can do.] 23...Nf5 24.Rh3 [24.R3e2! is more respectful of the center.] 24...Qg5 25.f3 Rfb8 [25...h5 is probably best, even if it does put that last pawn on a light square.] 26.Ne4 [26.Qe2] 26...Qe7 27.g4 [27.Qd2 gets Black to place a rook passively: 27...Rh8 28.g4 Nd6 (28...Nh4!? 29.Qf2 g5 30.Ng3 is only slightly annoying.) 29.Nxd6 Qxd6 30.Rxh6! Qe7! 31.g5 Rxh6 32.gxh6+ Kh7 33.Qf4 is still pressure.] 27...Nh4 28.Qd2 g5


29.f4? White loses his patience and immediately regrets it. [29.Ng3 first keeps everything balanced. Of course the f-pawn can't be taken.] 29...Bxe4! And suddenly it's all over: Black swarms in on the b-file and the long diagonal. 30.Rxe4 Rb1+ 31.Re1 [31.Kf2 Qb7 32.Qe3 Rb2+ 33.Kf1 (33.Kg3 Rg2#) 33...Rxa2] 31...Rab8 32.Rxh4?! A desperate removal of that knight that is so bothering him. [32.Nc6 Qb7 33.d5 (33.Nxb8 Rxe1+ 34.Kf2 (34.Qxe1 Qg2#) 34...Rb1) 33...Qb2 34.Qxb2 Rxe1+ 35.Kf2 Rxb2+ 36.Kxe1 exd5] 32...gxh4 33.Nc6 Qb7 Remember when it was White who was crashing through on the long diagonal!? 34.Nxb8 Rb2! And Black mops up. 35.Qxb2 Qxb2 36.Nc6 Qxc3 37.Kf2 Qd2+ What an exciting game! A spectacular win for Eric Hon. 0-1

(7) Eric Hon (microbear) (1998) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (1954) [B90]
Mechanics' USCF Online Rated Rapid (5), 23.08.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3 This has established as a major battleground. There is a logic: The Najdorf (5...a6) was a refinement on the Scheveningen (5...e6), holding it off a move to hinder the annoying Keres Attack (6.g4); so White simply reactivates the "threat" to play it. Only fair! 6...e5 7.Nde2 h5!? And this has risen to the top as a logical continuation of that battle. The pawn can get weak after Black castles, the price he pays. 8.Bg5 And this line is at the front line. White returns to positional considerations, trying to conquer d5. The most glaring aspect is that Black won't ever have ...h6. But oddly that's not what it's about in the modern lines. [Anand has also played the blunt occupation 8.Nd5 Nxd5 9.Qxd5 (9.exd5!? could well catch on after all those Caruana-Carlsen games in the Sveshnikov with this formation.) 9...Nc6 10.Qd1 (10.Nc3? --too blunt!-- 10...Nd4-+ is an embarrassment.) 10...Be6 11.Nc3 But the move Eric played uses his bishop as well for the key d5 fight.; 8.g3 is another way to go, with harmonious development while keeping a thought to that h-pawn. It was very popular, only recently overtaken by the game continuation. 8...Be6 9.Bg2 Nbd7 10.a4 is all but universal.; If one just brings up the position in a modern games database and looks for the best percentage, one would find that 8.Ng1!? is that move. That some superstars have essayed this classic "stooping to conquer" is a testament to something.] 8...Be6 [8...Nbd7?! 9.Nd5 White has scored over 90%. Enough said.] 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Nd5 This doesn't look too refined! White goes for the d5 square. 10...Bxd5?! Eliminating White's biggest problem. [10...Qd8 is almost always played. 11.-- White's problem is that he has too many pieces to control d5! He can only put one there. So by not trading, Black keeps all of White's pieces from finding good locations.a) 11.Nec3 is the obvious continuation, aim at d5, prepare to bring out the bishop. 11...g6 (keeping options for the knight, d7 or c6) 12.Bc4 Bh6 13.0-0 0-0 14.Qd3 Nc6 15.Rad1 Rc8 16.Bb3 Nd4 (now that Black can answer 17.Ne2 Nxb3 White just can't keep all his hopes afloat. 18.Qxb3 (18.axb3 Bxd5) 18...b5! 19.a4 Rb8 Vigorito attributes this to Vachier-Lagraeve, and still: White can't make more of his d5 square than a trophy knight there.; b) 11.Qd3!? was Anand's more recent idea, to tuck the king at b1. Perhaps young Hon knows about this line, and perhaps there will be further battles here!; ] 11.Qxd5 Nc6 12.c3?! Now that one knight is gone, the other would love to head to d5. But this takes away its most realistic route there. 12...Qe6! Black hopes to conquer the d5 square one way or another. Either get ...d5 in, or force White to recapture with the e-pawn followed by ...f5, or as in the game. 13.Qxe6+ fxe6 14.0-0-0?! Weakening f2. [14.h4; 14.Ng1!?] 14...0-0-0?! Ignoring f2! [14...Be7 when a rook on f8 will provoke the stiff f2-f3.] 15.h4 Be7 16.g3 Now White hopes to get in f2-f2 and recapture with the pawn. 16...g5!? Now White's pawns are the more compact (pawn islands!). But Black does work up some targets. 17.hxg5 Bxg5+ 18.Kc2 [18.f4! Be7 19.Kc2 with thoughts of Bh3, f5, at least taking over the light squares (from a different direction for a change).] 18...Kd7? [18...Rdf8!? since 19.Rxd6?! (19.Bh3 Rxf2 20.Bxe6+ Kc7 21.Bc4 b5 22.Bd3 comes around for equality) 19...Rxf2 20.Rxe6? Rd8! (20...Rhf8 21.Rxh5 is still pretty complicated) ] 19.f4! Bf6 20.f5 [20.Bh3!? first] 20...exf5 21.Bh3 [21.exf5] 21...Ne7 looking to play ... d5!? 22.Rdf1 h4 Trading off a liability 23.Bxf5+ [23.g4?! Looks great except then what? (Black doesn't take!) 23...Rhg8 24.gxf5 (24.exf5 Nd5 is not the plan White had for his bishop!) 24...d5 Finally the break Black is always looking for.] 23...Nxf5 24.Rxf5 Ke6 25.gxh4 Bxh4= Black doesn't want to have to worry about the pawn advancing, so removes it. The clocks are 9 minutes White, 12 minutes Black. [25...d5!?= gets going, since 26.h5?! dxe4 27.Ng3 e3! is also a dangerous pawn.] 26.c4 White remembers the Prime Directive: find that knight a good square! 26...Be7?! Black on the other hand, slips into a passive state. [26...d5? 27.cxd5+ Rxd5? 28.Nf4+! wins; 26...b5!? 27.cxb5 axb5 28.Rf3 Bg5 sets up a repetition: 29.Rxh8 Rxh8 30.Rb3 Rh2 31.Kd1 Rh1+ 32.Kc2 Rh2; 26...Rdg8!? 27.Nc3 Bd8 keeps the balance as well.] 27.Rxh8 [27.Rfh5!? Rxh5 28.Rxh5 Rg8 29.Rh6+ Kd7 30.Rh7 Rg4 31.Nc3 Rh4 in confidence that the good knight bad bishop ending is holdable.] 27...Rxh8 28.Nc3 Rh4


29.a4!? 6:17 vs. 11:08 29...Bd8!? At first a blunder, but maybe a practical decision? Black took 45 seconds to either eschew or overlook [29...Rxe4! 30.Nxe4 Kxf5 31.Kd3 The only move but it's good enough. White has to hold square e4! (31.Nc3? e4 is won 32.Ne2 (else ...Bg5) 32...Kg4!) 31...Ke6 32.Nc3 a5 (else 33.b4 is useful for White) 33.Ke4 when there is no way to make progress. You can tell when you use an engine that it is a blockade, when every move has the same evaluation, almost whatever it is. (in this case -0.53, although sometimes it's rather drastic. Put a drawn bishop plus wrong rook pawn vs. king in front of the pawn on the engine and see what the evaluation is!] 30.Rf3 Ba5 31.Re3 Bxc3 32.Kxc3


This position is quite drawn, or would if they clocks weren't a factor (3:17 vs. 9:30), working against Eric. 32...Kd7 [32...a5 33.b4 axb4+ 34.Kxb4 Rh1 is nothing.] 33.a5 Still "0.00" everywhere -- but he took over a minute of his time on this move! 33...Kc6 34.Kd3 Kc5 35.Kc3 Rh1 36.b4+ Kc6 37.Rg3 Rc1+ 38.Kd3 Rd1+ 39.Kc3 Rd4 40.Rg4 [Or 40.Re3] 40...b5!? 41.axb6 Without the en passant rule he'd be worse! 41...Kxb6 42.Rh4 a5 Black tries to create ghost threats. 43.bxa5+ Kxa5


[43...Kc5 is still 0.00. Black's problem will be winning some 2 vs 1 rook ending, which are mostly just drawn.] 44.Rg4?! White took two seconds on this obvious slip, but who can blame him? He's down to 1:00 vs. 8:06. [44.Rh3! reduces the game to nothing. Note: 44...-- a) 44...Rxe4 45.Rd3! That's that. Draw.; b) 44...Kb6 45.Rd3! Rxd3+ 46.Kxd3 Kc6 47.Kc2! (Or 47.Kd2!; Just not 47.Kc3?? Kc5-+ and Zugzwang.) ; ; 44.Rh2! also has the same tactic.] 44...Kb6 45.Kb4 [45.Rh4 Kc5 is probably lost. The rook got caught in a passive position.] 45...Kc6 46.Rh4 Rd1 47.Rh8 The active rook is an important component of successful defense in rook endings. 47...Re1 48.Rh4 Rb1+ 49.Kc3 Kc5 50.Rh8 Rc1+ 51.Kd3 Rd1+ 52.Kc3?! [52.Ke2; 52.Ke3] 52...Re1? [52...Rd4 when the tablebase shows that White must give up the e-pawn with a draw, while losing the e-pawn is a loss. Maybe next time.] 53.Rc8+ Kb6 54.Kd3 Rh1 55.Kc3 Rh3+ 56.Kd2 Rg3 57.Kc2?! [57.c5+ dxc5 (57...Kb7 58.Re8) 58.Re8= is a bit hard to be sure about when you have 14 seconds left (vs. 6:23). 0.00/0 ] 57...Re3 58.Kd2 Rxe4 Yes, like this. Lomonosov: drawn. 59.Kd3 Rd4+ 60.Kc3[] [60.Ke3? Kb7 61.Rd8 Kc7 gets to rook plus two connected passed pawns, which is a win in most situations.] 60...Rh4 61.Rd8 Kc7 62.Rg8 Kc6 63.Rc8+ Kd7 64.Rg8 Rh3+ 65.Kd2 Kc6 66.Rc8+ Kb6 67.Rd8! [or 67.Kc2 , the only two drawing moves.] 67...Kc5


68.Rc8+?? Believe it or not, White had two moves that drew: [68.Kc2!; and 68.Ke2!] 68...Kd4 Black is winning now. The problem is that the two "extra" pawns (White's c-pawn, Black's d-pawn) now get in the way of rear checks -- so Black can engineer mate on the edge or queening unharassed. 69.Rd8 [69.Rc6 is a sharper situation, when after 69...Rh6 it is mutual Zugzwang!! Black on move draws. White on move loses. 70.Ke2 e4 71.Kd2 (71.Kf2 e3+ 72.Kf3 Kd3) 71...e3+ 72.Ke2 Rh2+ 73.Ke1 (73.Kf3 Rf2+ 74.Kg3 Rf6)


And now the key tactic: 73...d5!!] 69...Rh6 70.Rc8 e4 71.Re8 Rh2+ [71...e3+ also wins, by going into a won king and pawn ending: 72.Rxe3 Rh2+ 73.Re2 Rxe2+ 74.Kxe2 Kxc4 75.Ke3 d5 76.Kd2 Kd4 Instructive.] 72.Kd1 Kd3 73.Ke1 e3 74.Kf1 e2+ 75.Kg1 Rh4 76.Re6 Re4 77.Rxd6+ Kxc4 [77...Kc3!] 78.Rc6+ Kd5 ecwinslow won by resignation. This lined up for a three-way first place tie, as joseywales beat ecwinslow in Rd. 3 and microbear beat joseywales in Rd. 4. 0-1

Full results found by following this link:

2020 FIDE Online Olympiad (Part One) by US Captain IM John Donaldson

The United States has qualified for the quarterfinals in the FIDE Online Olympiad held July 24-August 30. The American team won its preliminary group in this event, which has replaced the traditional Olympiad.

The U.S. team scored 15 out of a possible 18 match points (two points for each match win and one point for drawn matches). Greece matched this score but trailed on game points by a wide margin (39.5 to 32) in the ten-team round robin.

The event is being held at a time control of 15 minutes per game plus 5 second increment, and features competition on two open boards, two women’s boards, one junior board and one junior girls board. Among those competing for the United States are 2018 US Champion Sam Shankland of Walnut Creek who is well known to Mechanics’ Chess Club members.

US Team Individual Scores:


Wesley So – 6/9  

Sam Shankland – 3½/5   

Ray Robson – 2½/4                                                                                                                                                                                            

Women’s Boards

Carissa Yip – 4/6    

Anna Zatonskih – 4½/6  

Tatev Abrahamyan – 4½/6                                                                                                                                                                   


Jeffery Xiong – 7½/9

Junior Girls

Annie Wang – 7/9

Here is an attractive miniature won by U.S. first board Wesley So against the other “Yasser”.

Wesley So – Yasser Quesada Perez

2020 FIDE Online Olympiad

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Bd6 6.0–0 0–0 7.c4 c5!?

Here 7...c6, 7...Bxe5, 7...Nc6 and 7...Nf6 are all more commonly seen. The radical text, which reestablishes the symmetry, has been successfully employed by Petroff Expert Yu Yangui on at least two occasions.

8.cxd5 Nf6 9.Bg5 cxd4 10.Re1

10.Nf3 was played in December 2019 in a game between Predke and Yu in the Chinese Team Championship.

10...Be7 11.Nd2 Nxd5 12.Qh5 g6


13.Bxe7 gxh5 14.Bxd8 Rxd8 offers White no more than equal chances.

13...fxg6 14.Bxg6 hxg6 15.Qxg6+ Kh8 16.Qh5+ Kg8 17.Qg6+ Kh8 18.Qh5+ Kg8


White makes Black solve one last problem before agreeing to a draw.


Here (A) 19...Nf4 20.Bxf4 Bf5 21.Be5 Nc6 22.Qh8+ Kf7 23.Qg7+ Ke8 24.Bf6 Rf7 25.Qg8+ Rf8 and (B)19...Qe8 20.Qxd5+ Qf7 21.Qe5 Re8 22.Ne4 Nc6 23.Qg3+ Kh8 24.Nd6 Bxd6 25.Rxe8+ Kh7 26.f4 Bxf4 27.Rf1 Bxg3 28.Rxf7+ Kxh6 29.hxg3 d3 30.Rf6+ Kg7 31.Rd6 Kf7 32.Rh8 Rb8 33.Rxd3 Be6 both held the balance. In both cases Black survives by returning material. His loss in this game can be directly attributed to his failure to do so.



20...Rxh6 21.Qxh6 Qf8 22.Qxf8+ Kxf8 23.Rxd5 was equal.

21.Rxd5 Bf8

21...Rxd5 22.Qg6+ is the point of White’s last move.

22.Rg5+ Qxg5 23.Qxg5+ Kf7 24.Qh5+ Kg8 25.Bxf8 Kxf8 26.Qh8+ Kf7 27.Qxc8 1–0

Mechanics' Institute Summer Chess Fest 2020!

Saturday, August 29, 2020 to Sunday, August 30, 2020

Mechanics' Institute Summer Chess Festival

Series of events suitable for everyone
Aug 29-30, 2020

Event Schedule:

Mechanics' Institute Summer Championship - Saturday, Aug 29 through Sunday, Aug 30. Both days 10AM - 6PM

Mechanics' Institute Summer Blitz Championship - Saturday, Aug 29 @ 7PM

Summer Fischer Random Championship - Sunday, Aug 30 @ 7PM - FREE

Mechanics' Summer Scholastic Championship - Sunday, Aug 30 @3PM


Mechanics' Institute Summer Championship

Date: Saturday, Aug 29 - Sunday Aug 30.
USCF online rated affecting US Chess Online regular rating
Round times: 10AM, 1PM, and 4PM on both days
Format: 6SS G/60+5 inc
Section: 2000+, 1600-1999, and u1600 - based on OTB Aug 2020 supplemental rating. Play-up within max 200 rating.
Pairing method: manually paired by Chief TD on
Prizes: $1400 b/80

Section 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place Class
Championship (2000+) $300 $175 $90 u2200: $75
1600-1999 $200 $125 $76 u1800: $50
u1600 $150 $70 $50 u1400: $40


Entry Fee: $30 MI member, $40 non-MI member, $10 play-up fee
Registration link:
What do to on the day of? Be on ready for your game to pop-up and play!


Mechanics' Institute Summer Blitz Championship

Date: Saturday, Aug 29
USCF online rated affecting US Chess Online blitz rating
Round times: Round 1 starts at 7PM sharp, rest of the rounds are automatically starting after all games are finished in the previous round
Format: 9SS G/3+2 inc
Section: one Open section
Pairing method: automatically paired by based on blitz rating
Prizes: $200 b/40: 1st $100, 2nd $50. 3rd $25, Best under 2000 USCF OTB $25
Entry Fee: $10
Registration link:
What do to on the day of? Join the tournament from 6PM onwards by click on the JOIN button on this page:


Summer Fischer Random Championship

Date: Sunday, Aug 29
Round times: Round 1 starts at 7PM sharp, rest of the rounds are automatically starting after all games are finished in the previous round
Format: 6SS G/5+2 inc
Section: one Open section for everyone
Pairing method: automatically paired by based on blitz rating
Entry Fee: FREE - no need to register.
What do to on the day of? Join the tournament from 6PM onwards by click on the JOIN button on this page:


Mechanics' Summer Scholastic Championship

Date: Sunday Aug 30 @ 3PM
USCF online rated affecting US Chess Online rapid rating
Round times: 3PM and ongoing
Format: 6SS G/15+5 inc
Section: 1200+ chesskid, u1200 chesskid, u600 chesskid
Pairing method: automatically paired by
Reward: Trophies to Top 5 players in each section, Top Girl in each section
Entry Fee: $25
Registration link:
What do to on the day of? Join tournament on via the following link: TBA


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.
- 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.


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


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.


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.

Pre-requested byes: since we are pairing manually, based on OTB ratings, pre-requestd byes now available.

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.

TD Corner by Dr. Judit Sztaray FA USCF Senior TD

US Chess Rules of Chess - Chapter 10 – Rules for Online Tournaments and Matches

  1. Chapter 10, Rule 2: Online rating

Over the board (OTB) games can be rated in three categories: regular, quick or blitz, and there are time controls, like the commonly used G/30;d5, that are dual rated, meaning the games are rated in both categories and affect both ratings.

End Date
Event ID

Event Name
Section ID and Name

Reg Rtg
Before / After

Quick Rtg
Before / After

Blitz Rtg
Before / After



786 => 827

747 => 754


Online ratings show up in the corresponding columns, but have an ONL notation before them:

End Date
Event ID

Event Name
Section ID and Name

Reg Rtg
Before / After

Quick Rtg
Before / After

Blitz Rtg
Before / After





ONL:(Unrated) => 662 (P1)

US Chess has made the same rating categories for online chess, with one very important difference: any game can only be rated in one category, there are no dual rated time controls. It’s also important to emphasize that online games can only affect online ratings, and OTB games can only affect OTB rating.

There will never ever be a game that can affect both OTB and Online ratings. Why is that? Because as you’ll see, there are rules that are quite different for regular vs online games, and therefore the two types of games (regular and online) can never be compared.

  1. Chapter 10, Rule 4: Tournament Directors at online tournaments

We all agree that TDs are essential for tournaments for many reasons, and ideally TDs should be present live at the location where the games are played. In the best case scenario, this is the same for online games too: if possible, a TD should be physically present where the player is playing an online game/tournament. However, we all know that this may not be possible, especially in our current situation and for most online tournaments. The rules in Chapter 10 4B clearly lay out the possible variations that are acceptable, in the order of preference. The number one reason for these guidelines is to keep the rules upheld, especially the fair play rule.
For this reason, remote observations are highly encouraged, and as well monitoring games using fair play algorithms.

  1. Chapter 10 Rule 5: Choose the hardware you are playing on carefully!

Rule 5 covers a lot of details on the software and hardware that a player might be using during their online play. An important rule is that whatever the player chooses to use, it’s the player’s responsibility, and of course absolutely no other chess playing software or game analysis software is allowed! If your computer fizzles out in the middle of a game, it will be regarded the same as if you left the playing hall.

In this rule it also states that players should not be allowed to use a physical board next to their computer to visualize standings, and making moves on them.

  1. Chapter 10, Rule 6: Event rules and regulations

The Online Play Task Force is proud to present to you the longest TD tip ever, and since I was tasked to make the first draft of this, my experience with organizing online tournaments for our club has played a major role in making sure that the tip covers all the important points.

  1. Chapter 10, Rule 7: Identities of the Players

When organizing an online tournament, one of the important steps that any organizer has to pay attention is to ensure that players are able to view a list of registered players, which includes not only their real name, but also their usernames on the platform the tournament will be played on. Often times we only see the list of players with their real name, or the list of the account names, but after all, once the tournament is rated, it’s easy to figure out. The point is to make the player’s experience better, and similar to OTB tournaments, they need to know who they are facing on the online board.

A confusing but utterly important detail is which rating is used for pairing purposes. What may be obvious for the organizer, might not be so for the players, so call me out on this anytime it’s not obvious for you!

To be continued next week with Rule 8 through Rule 15.

Any questions or comments, please email me at [email protected]


Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Classes

New Session Starting August 31! 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:


Thursday 5:00-6:30PMA Journey Through Chess History - Course 1: Olympiads with GM Nick de Firmian

This class will be a reflective journey of some of the games and experiences of Mechanics' Institute GM in Residence and 3-time U.S. Champion GM Nick de Firmian. He will go over some of his games from Olympiads of the past where players can learn and interact while at the same time learning stories from the event and about players from the event from someone who lived it. It will be an exciting class that combines chess learning with storytelling for a fun and engaging class. 

More information:

Register at:


 Thursdays 6:30 - 8PM - The World Championship Match  -- by FM Paul Whitehead
Course Dates: Part 1 -- 9/3 through 10/1
                          Part 2 - 10/8 through 11/5

An in-depth look at the World Championship matches – the great games, styles and personalities of the World Champions and their challengers.  The central idea of the class will be the study of chess ideas and theory, as practiced by the greatest players.  In each class we’ll look through a selection of the most famous games ever played: games where literally everything was at stake.

More information:

Register at: Part 1:
                   Part 2:


Mechanics' Chess - Scholastic Tournaments

Saturday, August 29: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/15+2:

Sunday, August 30: MI Kids Summer Championship

6SS G/10 +2 USCF rated:

Monday, August 31: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, September 1: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, September 2: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

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

Friday, September 4: 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

(4) Aslan_Pasha (1322) - chessp9999 (1119) [C54]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2

The classic Guico Piano opening, played by Italians for the last four centuries. Black has answered White's central advance very well, but now needs to follow up to split the white pawn duo of e4 and d4. 8...0-0?! [8...d5! 9.exd5 Nxd5 gives Black equal control of the central squares and makes the game perfectly level.] 9.0-0?! White could have advanced with 9. e5 or 9. d5 and used the pawns to push around the black pieces. 9...d6 [9...d5!] 10.Re1 Re8 11.h3 Be6? 12.Bxe6? [White could have won a piece with a pawn fork after 12.d5] 12...fxe6 13.e5 dxe5 14.dxe5 Nd5 15.Qb3 Nb6 16.Nc4 White has charged forward but Black has kept equal control of the board. 16...Rb8 17.Nxb6 cxb6?! The normal rule in such pawn captures to to capture towards the center (here 17. axb6). That would leave Black with a pawn guarding the d6 square. 18.Rad1 Qc7 19.Rd6 Qf7? allowing White to jump in. Black would only be slightly worse after [19...Nxe5! 20.Rxe6 Nxf3+ 21.Qxf3] 20.Ng5! Qf5 21.Nxe6 Qg6? [Black is in trouble no matter what. Still better is 21...Qf7 22.Re3 Nd8] 22.Nf4+?! This is winning, though [22.Ng5+ wins the black queen.] 22...Qf7 23.Qxf7+ Kxf7 24.e6+ Ke7 25.Rd7+ Kf8 26.Rf7+ Kg8 27.Nh5! Nd8?! [Black holds out better with 27...Re7 28.Rxe7 Nxe7 when White needs to find 29.Rd1 and 30 Rd7 to have good winning chances in the endgame] 28.Rxg7+ Kf8
29.Re3! Nxe6 [29...Rxe6 30.Rf3+ Ke8 31.Rxh7 Rg6 32.Nf6+ Rxf6 33.Rxf6] 30.Rf3+ Nf4 31.Rxf4# Aslan_Pasha won by checkmate 1-0


(5) BlueColdTooth (1446) - TastyCelery (1493) [C53]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nge7 The knight is not as active on this square as on f6. 5.Ng5 [5.d4! exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 gives White an opening advantage (if the black knight were on f6 it could take the e4 pawn, but here it can't). 7...d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.0-0! puts the pressure on] 5...d5 6.exd5 Na5?! [6...Nxd5 would be fine as Black attacks the white knight on g5] 7.Bb5+ [7.Qa4+! c6 8.dxc6] 7...c6 8.dxc6 Naxc6 9.Qh5 Ng6 10.Bxc6+?! [10.Bc4! would cause trouble against f7] 10...bxc6 11.Nxh7? It's temping to grab a pawn, but this gets into a pin where the white queen is stuck defending the knight on h7. 11...Qd6 [11...Qd5!] 12.b4 Bb6 13.0-0 Nf4? Black forgets the rook on h8 needs to be defended. Instead 13...Qd3! keeps complete control. 14.Nf6+! Qxf6 15.Qxh8+ Ke7 16.d4! opening up lines and developing 16...exd4?! 17.Re1+ Be6?! [17...Ne6 would remain only the exchange down. Black gambles and gives up a rook.] 18.Qxa8 Nd3 19.Qb7+ Kd6 20.Rf1 dxc3 21.Nxc3 A good move, giving back a knight to get all the pieces out. White is still ahead a lot of material. 21...Bxf2+ [21...Qxc3 22.Be3!] 22.Kh1 Qxc3 23.Qb8+ Kd5

A crazy position with the black king right in the middle of the board. Objectively Black is quite lost, but the active black pieces give practical chances. 24.Bg5 Bb6 25.Be7? [25.Rad1! pins the troublesome knight and gets the last white piece into play. White should take the point without too much trouble after that.] 25...Nf2+! 26.Kg1 [26.Rxf2?? Qxa1+] 26...Nh3+! 27.Kh1 Nf2+ 28.Kg1 Nh3+ 29.Kh1 Nf2+ Game drawn by repetition. A great escape by TastyCelery! 1/2-1/2

NEW: US Chess Online Rated Scholastic Tournaments
Twice a month

September 5, 13, 19, 27, @ 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

Mechanics' Enrichment Chess Classes

Select from the following four levels that are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays:

Absoulte Beginner class: This class is meant to teach brand new students the moves of the pieces and captures so that students may jump into the New at Chess class with knowledge of piece movements. Students may take this course as much as needed, but the same concept will be taught weekly, though it will be a different class each week. The goal is simple, teach piece movements in preparation.

Starting at Chess: This class is for new players that need to develop basic skills that will lead to improvement, such as learning notation, elementary checkmates, piece values, piece development, importance of the center of the board, and the most important part of chess learning, the value of learning from mistakes and losses and how to improve from it. This class will build the foundations from which all learning will develop and teach them learning skills that can be applied in many other areas of a child’s learning and development. Class is suitable for new players, non rated players, and players with a ChessKid rating under800.

Developing Players: This class Is for students looking to go beyond the basics and learn the building blocks of advanced chess learning. We will cover tactics, mating patterns, opening principles, middle game attack planning and endgame techniques. This class is suitable for kids with a ChessKid rating 800-1300 or who have had tournament experience. 

Mastering Your Chess: This class is for advanced scholastic players with tournament experience and understand tactics and mates who want to go beyond what can be calculated and think more abstractly about the game. We will go over middle and endgame theory, have students create their own tactics and learn positional play by going over historical games from the great players in history. Ideal for players with a ChessKid rating above 1300 or USCF rating over 800.

Please click on the day to get more information about the class structure, topics taughts, dates & fees and to register:

Absolute Beginner - Please click here to learn about the special schedule.

Class Tuesdays Wednesdays Thursdays

Starting at Chess

Click for more info
Click for more info
Click for more info
Developing Players 4-5PM
More information
Click for more info
Click for ore info
Mastering Your Chess 5-6PM
Click for more info
Click for more info
Click for more info


Note: minimum 5 students to start the class, maximum 10 student in each class.
Information with link to join the class will be sent via email after your registration.
​Classes are online: student must have laptop, with mic and webcam, and good internet connection in order to participate in classes!

Refund policy: Full refund minus a $5 administration fee if cancelled more than 24 hours before the start of class. No refunds within 24 hours of the start of class.

If you have any questions, or need a sample of a class, please feel free to reach out to [email protected]

Mechanics' Institute Regular 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:

8/29 Saturday - Chess Fest 2020
Format: 6SS G/60+5
Manually paired, USCF rated, 2 day event. Register here:
Start: 10:00am
8/29 Saturday - Chess Fest 2020 Blitz Championship
Format: 9SS G/3+2
8/30 Sunday - Chess Fest 2020
8/30 Sunday - Chess Fest 2020 Fischer Random Championship
Format: 6SS G/5+2
Start: 7:00pm
9/2 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Online
Format: 5SS G/10+2
Join from 5:30PM -
Start at 6:30PM
9/4 Thursday - Thursday Night Quads
Format: 3SS G/60+10
Join by 4PM -
Start at 6:30PM
9/5 Friday - Friday Evening Online Blitz
Format: 10 rounds of G/3+2 (Swiss)
Join from 5:30PM - 
Start: 6:30PM sharp.

Past Club Tournament results are here:
Before playing in our online tournaments, be sure to do the following:
1. Sign up and log in to
2. Sign up to be a member of Mechanics' Institute Chess Club at You need to become a member before you can play.
3. Please fill out the Google Form, so we know who you are, and can inform you about changes, and ad hoc events:

Any questions? [email protected]

FM Paul Whitehead

The King March 5: Walk of Shame, Part 3.

This is my final chapter on king marches.

I didn’t expect a 5-part series, but it’s like a bag of cookies to a sugar-addict:

once I got going I couldn’t stop.

After all, checkmate is the name of the game - and these are some sweet examples.



Alekhine’s Defense is risky business, and Larsen’s Variation with 5…Nd7!? is riskier still.

Boruchovsky-Savchenko 2012

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Nf3 dxe5 5. Nxe5 Nd7 6. Nxf7 Kxf7 7. Qh5+ Ke6 8. c4 N5f6 9. d5+ Kd6 10. Qf7 Ne5 11. Bf4 c5 12. Nc3 a6 13. Bd3 g6 14. b4 Qc7 15. bxc5+ Kxc5 16. Na4+ Kd417. O-O-O Bh6 18. Bxh6 Nxd3+ 19. Rxd3+ Kxd3.


20. Rd1+ Ke2 21. d6 Qd7 22. Nc3+ Kxf2 23. Ne4+ Kxg2 24. Rd2+ Kf3 25. Rf2+Kxe4 26. Rxf6 e6 27. Rf4+ Kd3 28. Rf3+ Kd4 29. Be3+.

Black resigned.  It’s mate in 5 moves against any defense.


The only thing that makes any sense in this ridiculous game is the cruel finish.

Minchev-Velev 1994

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Nxe5 Nxe5 5. d4 Nc6 6. d5 Ne5 7. f4 Ng6 8. e5 Ng8 9. d6 cxd6 10. exd6 Qa5 11. h4 Qb4 12. Qe2+ Kd8 13. f5 Nxh4 14. a3 Nxg2+ 15. Qxg2 Qxd6 16. Bd2 Qe5+ 17. Be2 Qxf5 18. O-O-O Qg6 19. Qxg6 fxg6 20. Nb5 Nf6 21. Bf4 Ne8 22. Be3 a6 23. Bb6+ Ke7 24. Rhe1 axb5 25. Bc4+ Kf6 26. Bd8+.

Finally, our theme begins to emerge…

 Kf5 27. Rd5+ Kf4 28. Rd4+ Kg3 29. Bh4+ Kh2 30. Bd5 Bc5 31. Rh1.


And well deserved, I daresay.


This is quite a brilliant finish, although black was a bit cooperative in his own demise: he might have seen this coming.

Norwood-Marsh 1992

1.g3 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bg2 e6 4.O-O Be7 5.d3 c5 6.Nbd2 Nc6 7.e4 b6 8.e5 Nd7 9.Re1 Qc7 10.Qe2 Bb7 11.h4 O-O-O 12.a3 h6 13.h5 Rdg8 14.c4 d4 15.b4 g6 16.bxc5 bxc5 17.hxg6 Rxg6 18.Rb1 h5 19.Ne4 h4 20.Bg5 Bf8 21.Nxh4 Rgg8 22.Nf3 Rh7 23.Nd6+ Bxd6 24.exd6 Qxd6 25.Bf4 Qe7 26.Rxb7 Kxb7 27.Qe4 f5 28.Qxc6+.

A beautiful shot, drawing the king out.

28… Kxc6 29.Nxd4+ Kb6 30.Rb1+ Ka6 31.Bb7+ Ka5 32.Bd2+ Ka4 33.Bc6+ Kxa3 34.Bc1+ Ka2 35.Rb2+ Ka1 36.Nc2.


A wonderful coordination of the white forces!


This game is a modern classic, and a delight for all King’s Indian players.

So-Nakamura 2015

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Ne1 Nd7 10. f3 f5 11. Be3 f4 12. Bf2 g5 13. Nd3 Ng6 14. c5 Nf6 15. Rc1 Rf7 16. Kh1 h5 17. cxd6 cxd6

18. Nb5 a6 19. Na3 b5 20. Rc6 g4 21. Qc2 Qf8 22. Rc1 Bd7 23. Rc7 Bh6 24. Be1 h4 25. fxg4 f3 26. gxf3 Nxe4 27. Rd1 Rxf3 28. Rxd7 Rf1+ 29. Kg2.

The king packs his bags…

29…Be3 30. Bg3 hxg3 31. Rxf1 Nh4+ 32. Kh3 Qh6 33. g5 Nxg5+ 34. Kg4 Nhf3 35. Nf2 Qh4+ 36. Kf5 Rf8+ 37. Kg6 Rf6+ 38. Kxf6 Ne4+ 39. Kg6 Qg5.

…but is robbed of them at the Inn.


A game well worth replaying.


And here is a lesson: do not allow your opponent an easy sacrifice (15.Nxf7) as it can lead to a lonely death far from home.

Weissgerber-van Neuss 1933

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.a4 c5 6.e3 Nf6 7.Bxc4 Nc6 8.O-O Be7 9.Qd3 O-O 10.Rd1 cxd4 11.exd4 Nb4 12.Qe2 b6 13.Bf4 Bb7 14.Ne5 Re8 15.Nxf7.

Black is in deep trouble.

15…Kxf7 16.Qxe6+ Kg6 17.Qf7+ Kf5 18.Be6+ Kxf4 19.Qxg7 Rg8 20.Qh6+ Rg5 21.Ne2+ Ke4 22.f3+ Ke3 23.Qxg5+ Kxe2 24.Rd2.


Another humiliating finish!


White goes all out - all that’s left at the finish is the proverbial kitchen sink.

Mikenas-Lebedev 1941

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 h6 6.Bh4 O-O 7.Rc1 c6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.Nf3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nd5 11.Bg3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 c5 13.O-O a6 14.Bd3 Nf6 15.Ne5 Bd6 16.Bh4 Be7 17.Bb1 Qe8 18.dxc5 g5 19.Bg3 Bxc5 20.f4 Bxe3+ 21.Kh1 Bxc1 22.fxg5 Bxg5 23.Rxf6 Kg7.

The king tries to help…

24.Qd3 h5 25.h4 Kxf6 26.Ng4+ hxg4 27.Be5+ Kxe5 28.Qd4.

…to no avail.


Superb economy and geometry!


The incomparable Judit Polgar shows off her attacking skills – and some home prep – in this lively take-down of a fellow world-class grandmaster.

J. Polgar-Mamedyarov 2002

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. Nbd2 Nc5 10. c3 d4 11. Ng5 Bd5 12. Nxf7 Kxf7 13. Qf3+ Ke6.

Resembling the notorious Fried Liver Attack.

14. Qg4+ Kf7 15. Qf5+ Ke7 16. e6 Bxe6 17. Re1 Qd6 18. Bxe6 Nxe6 19. Ne4 Qe5 20. Bg5+ Kd7 21. Nc5+ Bxc5 22. Qf7+ Kd6 23. Be7+ Kd5.

Black resigned.

It’s mate in 3 starting with 24.Qf3+.


This is a lovely gem of a game, very instructive.

Zuckertort-NN 1877

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d6 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Bg4 6.O-O Be7 7.d3 Nh5 8.fxe5 Nxe5 9.Nxe5.

A classic queen sacrifice. Add it to your repertoire!

9…Bxd1 10.Bxf7+ Kf8 11.Bxh5+ Bf6 12.Rxf6+ gxf6 13.Bh6+ Ke7 14.Nd5+ Ke6 15.Bf7+ Kxe5 16.c3.

A quiet move ends the struggle.  It’s mate next move.

Black resigned.


A wild attack ends with a master clinic in the art of king-hunting.

Blackburne-NN 1863

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 d6 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Ne5 7.Nxe5 dxe5 8.Bxf7+ Ke7 9.Bg5+ Nf6 10.Qh5 c6 11.Rd1 Qa5 12.f4 Qc5 13.fxe5 Qxe5 14.O-O h6 15.Be8 Be6 16.Rxf6 gxf6 17.Rd7+ Bxd7 18.Qf7+.

Here we go!

18… Kd6 19.Qxd7+ Kc5 20.Be3+ Kb4 21.Qxb7+ Ka5 22.b4+ Bxb4 23.Bb6+ axb6 24.Qxa8.


Remarkably this was played in a 10-board blindfold simultaneous exhibition!


Our last game resembles the famous Ed Lasker-Thomas game given in a previous article, but with colors reversed.  Black’s final move leaves a strong impression.

NN-Crepeaux 1923

1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. e3 Bg4 4. b3 e5 5. fxe5 Nxe5 6. Be2 Bxf3 7. Bxf3 Nf6 8. Bb2 Bd6 9. O-O Ne4 10. Nc3 Qh4 11. Nxd5 Qxh2+.

Again, the classic “magnet sacrifice” to draw the king out of his lair.

12. Kxh2 Nxf3+ 13. Kh3 Neg5+ 14. Kg4 h5+ 15. Kf5 g6+ 16. Kf6 Kf8.

White resigned.

Another quiet yet deadly finish, forcing mate next move.

GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Online Chess Olympiad: Playoffs begin.

After a month, the online Chess Olympiad has reached its playoff stage with all the major contenders still in it. We started with 163 teams on July 25th and now we are down to 12. Four teams have already made it into the quarterfinals by virtue of finishing first in their division. Those four are our own USA team (captained by the MI’s John Donaldson), Russia, India and Azerbaijan. The other 8 teams will face-off in the round of 16 to try to reach the quarterfinals. Those are powerhouse teams China, Armenia, Ukraine along with Germany, Hungary, Greece, Poland and Bulgaria. The winner of the Olympiad will be decided by August 30. (We note that by publication time of our MI newsletter it will be the final match.) Thus after the last month of fairly mediocre matchups we now will  have the big battles of the top teams and players to enjoy.

The format for this Olympiad has been interesting and made for entertainment. Each team consists of six players including at least two women and one junior player. The time control is typical for online -  all matches have 15 minutes for the game + 5 second increment per move. Thus the games are short and fun to watch, with mistakes and blunders when time is short. Many spectators will miss the serious slow games of traditional Olympiads, but these games will at least provide you with a sporting event for your leisure time during the pandemic.

(1) Mabusela,Johanes Manyedi - Shirov,Alexei [D36]
Online Olympiad RSAvsESP, 25.08.2020

Here is a common Olympiad type meeting. A player from South Africa gets to meet a famous player, here Alexei (Fire on Board) Shirov. It's always fun for the smaller chess countries to have an over the board encounter with someone they have read about for years. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Qc2 So far a typical Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation. Shirov, not to disappoint, mixes things up quickly. 6...Na6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 Nb4 9.Qb1 g6 very direct. Shirov threatens. 10...Bf5. White responds logically. 10.Qd1 g5 11.Bg3 Bf5 12.Rc1 Qa5!? 13.Be5

13...Ne4?! Objectively this may not be best, but it's what the fans want from Shirov. A nice rook sacrifice to start the flames burning. 14.Bxh8 Nxa2 15.Nd2! Nexc3 16.bxc3 Ba3?! [16...Nxc3 17.Ra1 Qb6 18.Qc1 Bb4 would be better somewhat better for White but complicated. Shirov's move is wild.] 17.Rc2? Now White goes downhill. He could have tried for glory with [17.Ra1! Bb2 18.e4 Bxe4 19.Be2 Bxa1 20.Qxa1 Ke7 21.Be5 when objectively White is winning (though no doubt Shirov would have been hard to put away).] 17...Nxc3 Now the white pieces are jumbled. 18.Rxc3 Qxc3 19.Qb3 Qxb3 20.Nxb3 Bc2 21.Nc5? [21.Nd2 a5 should win for Black anyway despite the piece down. The undevelped white pieces have trouble stopping the a-pawn.] 21...Bb4#

(2) Noritsyn,Nikolai - So,Wesley [A01]
Online Olympiad USA vsCan, 25.08.2020

In the last round of the qualifying groups the USA met our neighbors to the North. The victory in the match gave us first in the group and qualification directly in the quarter finals. Here Wesley So shows his value to the team. 1.b3 e5 2.Bb2 Nc6 3.e3 d5 4.Bb5 Bd6 5.Nf3 f6 6.c4 The Nimzovich/Larsen opening is reasonable for White and gets a type of position some players very much like. Yet Black's classical development and pawns occupying the center give him few worries. 6...a6 7.Bxc6+ bxc6 8.d4 e4 9.Ng1 Now the opening looks like a French Defense reversed. Black's space advantage gives a slight edge. [9.Nfd2] 9...a5 10.Nc3 Bb4 11.Nge2 Ne7 12.0-0 0-0!? [12...Ng6] 13.Na4! Ng6 14.c5 Well done by young Noritsyn! The black bishop on b4 is trapped. Wesley though has chances on the kingside due to the strong central pawn chain. 14...Nh4! 15.Ng3 f5 16.a3 [16.Bc1 first would do better to hold up White on the kingside.] 16...f4 17.exf4 Bd2 [17...Bh3!? 18.gxh3 Nf3+ 19.Kg2 Bd2] 18.Qxd2 Bh3

19.f3 Bxg2 20.fxe4 dxe4 21.Rf2 Nf3+ 22.Rxf3 Bxf3 23.Nc3 Rxf4! A violent move from Wesley! Do you take the rook? 24.Re1? [White needed to be brave and play 24.Qxf4 Qxd4+ 25.Kf1 Rf8 26.Nf5 Rxf5 27.Qxf5 Qd3+ 28.Kg1 Qe3+ 29.Kf1 Qd3+ with perpetual check. Now the Black attack breaks through.] 24...Qh4 25.d5 Rg4! 26.Nce2 Qh3 There is no defense now 27.Nf4 Rxf4 28.d6 cxd6 29.cxd6 Rf7 30.Be5 h5 With the pawn coming to h4 Black will win more material. White resigned. 0-1

(3) Nepomniachtchi,Ian - Amin,Bassim [C90]
Online Olympiad Rus. vs Egypt, 24.08.2020

Russia crusied into the quarter finals. Their top player, Nepomniachtchi is in fine form. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d3 d6 7.c3 0-0 8.Re1 Re8 9.Nbd2 Bf8 10.Nf1 b5 11.Bb3 Na5 12.Bc2 c5 13.d4 exd4 14.cxd4 Bg4 15.d5 These moves in the Ruy Lopez have all been played before. 15...Nc4 is the usual move, but Amin wants to doulbe the white pawns. 15...Bxf3!? 16.gxf3 g6 17.b3! Bg7 18.Rb1 Black will have trouble getting the knight on a5 into the game. White's plans is to slowly advance with the pawns on the kingside. 18...Rc8 19.Ng3 b4 20.Bd3 Qb6 21.Be3 Qb7 22.Qe2 Ra8 23.f4

23...Qc8 24.f5! White is coming on the kingside and the black knight is still being useless on the a-file. 24...Nd7 25.f4 Bc3 26.Rf1 c4 A bid for counterplay. 27.bxc4 Nc5 28.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 29.Kh1 Rac8 30.fxg6 hxg6 31.f5 Qd4 32.fxg6 fxg6 33.Qg4 Qg7

34.e5! Now the white pieces invade the defenseless kingside. 34...Bxe5 35.Bxg6 Bxg3 36.Rf7! Qh6 37.Qxg3 Re3 38.Qg2 Nxc4 39.Rh7 Qxh7 40.Bxh7+ Kxh7 41.Rg1 1-0

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