Chess Room Newsletter #935 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #935

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #935


September 19, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Mechanics' Institutue to Organize 2020 US Cadet Championship National Online September 25-27, 2020. More than $7,000 in Prizes!

The Mechanics' Institute is proud to announce we have been approved by the US Chess Federation to organize the 2020 US Cadet National Championship September 25-27, 2020, online via This tournament is an 8-player invitational for the top under-16 year old players in the country. Six players are chosen by USCF rating, one player is an automatic qualifyer by winning the Barber Championship (K-8 Champion), and one player is an organizer wild card. The winner wins a $6,000 scholarship to the college or university of their choice, courtesy of Dewain Barber, Dean of Scholastic Chess, and the US Chess Federation. There will also be a $1,200 prize pool courtesy of the US Chess Federation. 

This is the field:

We are excited to see in the field the two previous winners of the Mechanics' Institute's Neil Falconer Award (Hong, Yoo) and a Tuesday Night Marathon regular (Yan). We know many in the Bay Area will be cheering these players on!

We will be broadcasting the event on our Twitch channel HERE. GM Nick de Firmian and FM Paul Whitehead will provide commentary over the weeknd for this event, joining Judit and I. We will also have GM Patrick Wolff join us for a few of the rounds. 

We look forward to hosting this national championship event next weekend!

For more information, such as round times and format, please visit the event page HERE

Unwritten Rules of Chess Etiquette

Just as in baseball there are unwritten rules, such as don't steal a base when you have a big lead, do not bunt to break up a no-hitter, and don't gawk at a long home run you just hit, so too does the game of chess. And just like a player can be beaned by the opposing team for violating these rules, so to can there be consequences, or at least a talking to, by the tournament director and/or organizer. 

Case in point, we recently had an online event in which a very highly rated scholastic-aged player was playing a much higher rated master, and the position looked pretty even in the endgame. The scholastic player offered a draw, and it was declined. This same player went on to offer about eight more draws over the next roughly 15 moves, which made the broadcast team (Paul, Judit and I) begin to discuss the etiquette of offering draws, especially when it involves a much lower rated player playing a higher rated player. FM Paul Whitehead was very clear where he stood on the issue, saying that a lower rated player may ask for a draw, but once declined, must prove his or herself to be able to hold the position to a draw, and any further offer of a draw will be perceived as an insult. 

I was directing a tournament at Mechanics' Institute when a 2000-rated scholastic player offered a draw to an International Master, who took great offense at the offer. The rebuke got so loud I had to go to the table and inform the IM that the player had the right to offer the draw. In my opinion, a player has the right for the first offer without rebuke, but should not offer again and earn the draw. While by the book a player can offer a draw whenever within reason, repitition may earn you a reputation you probably would rather not have. The game continued until it was at last, drawn.

IM John Donaldson played a Monday Night Rapid one evening and was offered a draw in a position that clearly had much chess to play, and the quiet rebuke from the legend towards the player created a tension where you could feel the player instantly regret the offer. 

While there may be other dynamics at play here, it is easy to believe that kids just are not aware, and this may be true. They at least need to be informed it is considered a violation of an unwritten rule of chess, though it sorts of does have language written down in the USCF Rules of Chess under annoying behavior.

20G. Annoying behavior prohibited. It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. A director, upon a complaint by the opponent, has discretion to determine whether any particular behavior is in violation of this rule and to impose penalties. See also 1C2, Director discretion; 21F, Player requests for rulings; and 21K, Use of director’s power. 20G1. Inadvertent annoying behavior. Sometimes a player’s actions, though annoying to the opponent and possibly others, are clearly unintentional. For instance, a player may occasionally cough. While the director has the right to invoke rule 20G, this is quite harsh if the player’s actions are involuntary. A partial solution is to assign such a player to a board in another room or far away from other games. 

I have had several conversations with parents and their kids regarding rules such as these, and by far most of the time it is well received. This is all a product also of proper coaching and guidance in teaching players the sportsperson-like way to play the game. I had an incident one time a few years ago where I was playing a tournament, and was crushing my opponent, mate was forthcoming, and the player offered me a draw. I politely (outwardly) declined and went on to win the game. I later had a conversation with the player's parent about it, who then had a discussion with the player. I was given an apology, and the player has since grown to earn the NM title and has been an exceptional person and player since. 

I'm remembering one incident during a US Amateur Team Championship - I was playing a scholastic player and was cruising to a win in a completely won endgame, where all of a sudden, on my opponents move, he goes and starts watching other games. While it is a team event where the outcome of other games is important, this player was games from the top boards, that had nothing to do with his own team! You can imagine what went through my head at the time, and after about 10 minutes, I had decided I was going to take my time, eat lunch, observe games, all while milking time and making my opponent sit and wait until he resigned or allowed mate to be delivered. Fortunately it did not have to go that way, as we played normally until the end came. But this was an odd 10 minutes, how can anyone do that?

But now we have online chess, and new issues not really thought about before. In addition to excessive draw offers, we have one annoyance that is particular to online play, excessive chat.

Excessive chat during a game can be annoying. While some players enjoy chatting with players, most during a rated game prefer to be just playing the game. Perhaps the new online rules can allow for a broader applicability to rule 20G on annoying behavior, but something like this can cause a distraction to a player. While a player may just disable chat, why should they have to deal with that distraction in the first place? 

Fortunately, these cases are rare, and when they have happened and we inform the player and/or parents, it has almost always been a productive discussion and proper sportsmanship learned. This is natural and expected. As online play will continue to be the way of chess for a little while longer, who knows what other new things will come up that could get lumped into the discussion of what is the proper etiquette. If something ever comes up for a player, immediately inform a TD. Our USCF rated events always have a TD present, available by chat, email or phone call, or in the case of many of our events as well, a Zoom help line. 

Chess is art, it is also a sport. And like many sports, there are some things you just have to know, and we will help explain.

Mechanics' Instititute Community Tuesday Night Marathon

The 3rd and 4th rounds of the Mechanics' Institute Community TNM had some exciting action this week, as the top players in their sections mixed it up, producing some action-packed games and heart thumping endgames. GM Aleksandr Lenderman got through an inferior position out of the opening aganist Pranav Sairam to get the win. This led to a marquee round 4 match between Lenderaman and FM Kyron Griffith in round 4, who had earlier defeated Arul Viswanathan. The game was very sharp, but Lenderman was in top form in this game and delivered a beautiful win. 

The other big game in round 4 was between IM Elliott Winslow and NM Ruiyang Yan. This hear pounding game was one of the last games remaining in the round, and from a position that looked like either player could soon deliver the knockout, it was Rui who landed the haymaker, taking advantage of a blunder to win the queen and the game. 

In the under 1800 section, Pranav Pradeep continues perfection, as he defeated Erika Malykin in round 4 to take a half point lead in the section over Yali Perlman. 

Here are the current standings:

SwissSys Report: Mechanics' Community TNM Online

SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Community TNM Online: 1800+ (Standings (no tiebrk))

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 Aleksan Lenderman 12787646 2717 AlexanderL W17 W11 W10 W3     4.0
2 Ruiyang Yan 15462690 2242 jij2018 W29 W16 D9 W4     3.5
3 Kyron Griffith 12860484 2470 KyronGriffith W18 W7 W6 L1     3.0
4 Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W19 W8 W12 L2     3.0
5 Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy L9 W27 W30 W16     3.0
6 Arul Viswanathan 14490424 2071 Shouldbedoincalchw W33 W21 L3 W19     3.0
7 Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W25 L3 W20 W15     3.0
8 Nicholas Ruo Weng 15499404 1958 ninjaforce W34 L4 W27 W13     3.0
9 Alex Paul Chin 17050697 1811 achingolf W5 W15 D2 D10     3.0
10 Pranav Sairam 15424820 2087 chesspilot01 W31 W28 L1 D9     2.5
11 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 kclemens W32 L1 W24 D12 H--- H--- 2.5
12 Ashik Uzzaman 13178575 1940 ashikuzzaman W26 W13 L4 D11     2.5
13 Carla Heredia 13935235 2227 mathandchess2020 W30 L12 W28 L8     2.0
14 Theodore Biyiasas 13989054 2175 Tabiyiasas H--- H--- L19 W22     2.0
15 Ethan [kaza Boldi 15088362 2120 etvat W24 L9 W18 L7     2.0
16 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 BreatheChessAlways W20 L2 W21 L5     2.0
17 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf L1 W33 H--- H---     2.0
18 Kenneth E Fee Jr 12480902 1884 KenFee L3 W25 L15 W32     2.0
19 Rudolph Fr Breedt 13701346 1884 bobbejaan L4 W32 W14 L6     2.0
20 Ahyan Zaman 15035222 1699 ahyanzaman L16 W29 L7 W30     2.0
21 Vishva Nanugonda 16380312 1664 vish1080 W23 L6 L16 W28     2.0
22 Kr Gopalakrishnan 16545130 1628 chessboi2010 L28 B--- W23 L14     2.0
23 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 Mangonel L21 W31 L22 D24     1.5
24 Jwalin Shah 14379732 1832 jshah1331 L15 W26 L11 D23     1.5
25 Patrick Peiju Liu 16667410 1719 katechen77 L7 L18 D31 W33     1.5
26 Imran Champsi 16176854 1663 Dragonfish9127 L12 L24 B--- D31     1.5
27 Ishaan Kodarapu 16128527 1607 pika0008 B--- L5 L8 H---     1.5
28 Jonah Busch 12469525 1934 kondsaga W22 L10 L13 L21     1.0
29 Nicholas Ar Boldi 15088356 1883 nicarmt L2 L20 L32 W34     1.0
30 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1866 mwncklmann L13 W34 L5 L20     1.0
31 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 PlayerCreate1 L10 L23 D25 D26     1.0
32 Max Hao 16083648 1761 Joseph_Truelsons_fan L11 L19 W29 L18     1.0
33 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 chessappeals L6 L17 D34 L25     0.5
34 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 MatnMatt20 L8 L30 D33 L29     0.5

SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Community TNM Online: u1800 (Standings (no tiebrk))

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 Pranav Pradeep 15871762 1252 pranavpradeep2006 W16 W8 W12 W6     4.0
2 Ya Dancig Perlman 16280288 1235 noydan100 B--- D6 W15 W8     3.5
3 Gan Mathrubootham 15183473 1494 gmbchess W19 L13 W20 W12     3.0
4 Marina Xiao 16380642 1398 programmingmax H--- H--- W16 W13     3.0
5 Ella Guo 16380657 1193 SunnyCountry L6 W19 W17 W9     3.0
6 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 starserika18 W5 D2 W13 L1     2.5
7 Rama Krish Chitta 17350313 1499 draidus D21 L9 W14 W17     2.5
8 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1679 GiorgosTsolias W11 L1 W18 L2     2.0
9 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 rimus11 L13 W7 W10 L5     2.0
10 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1331 chesspoki L15 W21 L9 W19     2.0
11 Ian Liao 16738735 1054 victor6688 L8 L16 W21 W20     2.0
12 Martin Camacho 17248027 1031 camachom X22 W17 L1 L3     2.0
13 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 948 andrewaballantyne W9 W3 L6 L4     2.0
14 Yuvraj Si Sawhney 17095004 823 SaintReturns L17 B--- L7 W21     2.0
15 Bruce Hedman 17344551 unr. Bruce_Hedman W10 H--- L2 H---   U--- 2.0
16 Stan Polivyanenko 17310102 unr. MrL0cust L1 W11 L4 W18     2.0
17 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 Echecsmike W14 L12 L5 L7     1.0
18 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass H--- H--- L8 L16     1.0
19 Danny Du Uy Cao 16939797 843 caodanny L3 L5 B--- L10     1.0
20 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 unr. vincitore51745 H--- H--- L3 L11     1.0
21 Go Dancig-Perlman 17151222 875 Gogosf D7 L10 L11 L14     0.5
22 Vedant Talwalkar 16408266 1569 serverbusy F12 U--- U--- U---     0.0


Here are some games from the evening, annotations by GM Nick de Firmian

(5) GM Alexander Lenderman (AlexanderL) (2801) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2148) [E94]
MI Tuesday Night Online (4.1), 15.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 exd4 New ideas in this seemngly concession of the center have brought this towards the forefront. [7...Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 is still a vast theoretical continent to master.] 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 c6

10.Bf4!? Not the first -- nor second! -- time Lenderman has played this! [10.Kh1!? has been the prime response for over sixty years! Probably by now the following is no longer the "latest" (if in fact 10.Kh1 is already passe): 10...d5 11.cxd5 cxd5 12.Bg5 Nc6 13.Bb5 h6!? 14.Nxc6 (14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.exd5 a6! 16.Bxc6 16...Rd8! is a bit of IM Ntirlis' work.) 14...bxc6 15.Bxc6 hxg5 16.Bxa8 d4! Nikolaos Ntirlis wrote in an article in the current New In Chess Yearbook that he knew he wasn't alone to suggest this move, as it is the preferred line of Lc0, the open-source version of Alpha Zero. And sure enough, he appended the folliwing high high-level game for publication. 17.Nd5 Ba6 18.Bc6 Re6 19.Rc1 Bxf1 20.Qxf1 g4 21.Nf4 Re7 22.Nd3 gxf3 23.Qxf3 Nd7 24.Bd5 Ne5 25.Nxe5 Bxe5 26.g3 Kg7 27.Kg2 Rc7 28.Rc4 d3 29.Qxd3 Rxc4 30.Qxc4 Bxb2 31.Bxf7 Qd2+ 32.Kh3 Qh6+ 33.Kg2 Qd2+ 34.Kh3 Qh6+ 35.Kg2 Qd2+ ½-½ (35) Ding,L (2791)-Carlsen,M (2863) Chessable Masters Final INT June 30, 2020] 10...Nh5! Ntirlis 11.Be3 f5! and again [11...Nd7 12.Qd2 a6 13.Rfd1 Ne5 14.Rac1 Nf6 15.Nb3 Be6 16.Qxd6 Qxd6 17.Rxd6 Bxc4 18.Na5 Bxe2 19.Nxe2 Rab8 20.Rcd1 h5 21.Ba7 Ra8 22.Bb6 Re7 23.Bd8 Rxd8 24.Rxd8+ Kh7 25.Rb8 b5 26.Rc8 Re6 27.Nf4 Re7 28.Nxc6 Nxc6 29.Rxc6 a5 30.Nd5 Nxd5 31.Rxd5 Bxb2 32.Rxb5 Bd4+ 33.Kf1 a4 34.Rb4 Be5 35.g3 h4 36.f4 Bg7 37.Rxa4 h3 38.Rb4 Rd7 39.Ke2 Ra7 40.a4 Bf8 41.Rbc4 Rb7 42.Rc7 Rb2+ 43.Rc2 Rb1 44.Rxf7+ Kg8 45.Rxf8+ Kxf8 46.Kf3 1-0 (6) Lenderman,A (2648)-Chigaev,M (2644) Banter Blitz Cup INT Jan 4 2020] 12.Qd2 f4 13.Bf2 Be5! 14.Rfd1
The computers don't "get" Black's counterplay, and perhaps with good reason. [14.Nc2!? Be6 15.Ne1 Ng3 16.Bxg3 fxg3 17.f4 gxh2+ 18.Kh1 Bg7 19.Rd1 Na6 20.f5 Bf7 21.f6 Bf8 22.Nf3 Nc5 23.Qf4 a5 24.Qg3 Nxe4 25.Nxe4 Rxe4 26.Bd3 Re3 27.Qf4 Qe8 28.Qxh2 a4 29.Ng5 h6 30.Bxg6 Bxg6 31.f7+ Bxf7 32.Nxf7 Qe6 33.Qh5 Rg3 34.Rxd6 Bxd6 35.Nxh6+ Kg7 36.Nf5+ Kg8 37.Nxg3 Bxg3 38.Qg5+ Kh7 39.Qxg3 Re8 40.c5 Re7 41.Qd3+ Qg6 42.Rf5 Kg7 43.Qd4+ Kg8 44.Qc4+ Kg7 45.Qd4+ Kg8 46.Qf4 Qe6 47.Qg4+ 1-0 (47) Lenderman,A (2434)-Yermolinsky,A (2522) Foxwoods op, Ledyard April 2009] 14...Qf6?! White in over-the-board play has 5 wins and a draw here. [14...Nd7!? Ntirlis stands behind this move based on "a few high-level correspondence games" and OTB here: W1 D4 B0 The one win: 15.Nb3+/= (15.b4!?+/- Stockfish) 15...Qe7 16.Bd4 Ng7 17.Bxe5 dxe5 18.Qd6 Qxd6 19.Rxd6 Ne6 20.Rad1 Ndc5 21.Nxc5 Nxc5 22.b4 Ne6 23.c5 Kf8 24.Bc4 Ke7 25.Kf2 Nf8 26.b5 Bd7 27.bxc6 bxc6 28.g3 fxg3+ 29.hxg3 Red8 30.f4 exf4 31.gxf4 Bg4 32.R1d2 Ne6 33.f5 Nxc5 34.f6+ 1-0 (34) Baerwolf,S (1878)-Fehling,M (2200) Gelsenkirchen 2013] 15.b4 [15.Rac1 requires mention because of the Black player, a former Bay Area junior who has gone East and up (but not in this game): 15...Na6 16.a3 Nc5 17.b4 Ne6 18.Nb3 Ng3 19.Bd3 Nh5 20.Ne2 Nhg7 21.c5 dxc5 22.Nxc5 Nxc5 23.Rxc5 Ne6 24.Bc4 Kf8 25.Bxe6 Bxe6 26.Bd4 Bb3 27.Rxe5 Rxe5 28.Rb1 Bc4 29.Nxf4 1-0 (44) Rasmussen,Allan Stig (2532)-Niemann,Hans Moke (2275) Reykjavik Mar 11, 2015] 15...Be6 [15...Nd7 16.Rac1 (16.a3; 16.Rab1) ] 16.Rac1 Bf7 [16...Ng7] 17.Nb3 Na6 The first new move. But this knight is offsides, as Black's trying to whip some play up on the kingside. [17...Qe7 18.Na4 Nd7 19.Nb2 d5 20.Rc2 Ng3 21.cxd5 Nxe2+ 22.Qxe2 cxd5 23.exd5 Nb6 24.Qb5 Rad8 25.Bxb6 axb6 26.Re2 Qf6 27.Nc4 Bc3 28.Rxe8+ Rxe8 29.Qxb6 Qg5 30.Qf2 Bxd5 31.Qc5 Qh4 32.Qxd5+ Kh8 33.Qd3 Kg7 1-0 (33) Kacheishvili,G (2612)-Markzon, G (2227) Philadelphia op, April 2012] 18.b5!+/- Nc7? [18...Nc5!? 19.Nxc5 dxc5 20.bxc6 bxc6 21.Na4+- (21.Bxc5?! Rad8+/=) ] 19.Na5+-
Now Black's position loses its elasticity. White is already winning. Lenderman scores a point right out of opening preparation. How Black should have anticipated this is the question for anybody who would like to try this line as Black; was ...Be6-Bf7 worse even than a waste of time, a misplacement? Queen on c7? Or does 10.Bf4 put the whole concept at risk? 19...c5 20.Nxb7 Ng3!? Not scarey enough -- White just ducks. 21.Bd3 a5 22.Ne2 Ra7?! [22...Nxe2+ 23.Bxe2 Ne6 24.Nxa5 Nd4 25.Bf1 g5 26.Nb3 Ne6 Black stays right around the computer's criterion for a lost game, 1.68 at depth 24.] 23.Nxa5 Nxe2+ 24.Bxe2 Rea8 25.Nc6 Rxa2 26.Rc2 Rxc2 27.Qxc2 Be8 28.Nxe5 Qxe5 29.Qd2 Alex works his way in, forcing Kyron to relinquish the a-file. 29...Rd8?! 30.Bf1 Bf7 31.Qa5 Ne6 32.b6 Qb2
33.Qb5! [33.Qa7! covering b7 and b8 with obvious intention.; 33.Rd2! -- geometry! -- when the Black queen can't both watch over the b-pawn and cover against e4-e5.] Those other moves (Thank you Stockfish) are quite something! But Alex's move is completely winning, and (once the details are worked out, and there aren't too many of them) straightforward. In short, the "human move." 33...Qxb5 34.cxb5 Kf8 35.e5! dxe5 [35...d5 36.b7; 35...Ke7 36.b7 Rb8 37.Rxd6 Rxb7 when most legal moves are excellent.] 36.Bxc5+ Kg7 37.Bd6 and the pawn rolls in. Grandmaster preparation! 1-0


(8) IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (1978) - NM Ruiyang Yan (jij2018) (2133) [D38]
MI Tuesday Night Online (4.2), 15.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.Qa4+ Not seen so often any more. [5.e3 ends up in a more Nimzoindian-like line, and indeed after 5...0-0 6.Bd3 c5 7.0-0 we have one of the main positions, where the only difference is the bishops on b4 vs d3.; 5.Bg5 is quite popular, as is; 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 (but 6.Bf4 seems to have caught on at the very top lately, including with Carlsen.) ] 5...Nc6 6.Bg5 [6.e3] 6...Bd7 Hoping to get in ...Nxd4! [6...h6 seems more to the point (but not as tricky), when 7.Bxf6 is most overwhelmingly played (although 7.Bh4 scores better) ] 7.Qb3

[7.Qc2 puts a bit less pressure on Black (b4? b7!?)] 7...h6 [7...a5!? could be awkward for White; 8.a3 a4! 9.Qc2 h6!? 10.Bxf6 Bxc3+ 11.Qxc3 Qxf6 12.e3 0-0 13.Be2 dxc4 14.Bxc4 Rfc8 15.0-0 Na5 16.Ne5 Be8 17.Ba2 c5 18.d5 exd5 19.Bxd5 Ra7 20.e4 b6 21.f4 Nc6 22.Qg3 Ne7 23.Rad1 Nxd5 24.exd5 Bb5 25.Rfe1 Qd6 0-1 (30) L'Ami,E (2550)-Jobava,B (2614) Kusadasi 2006; 7...Bxc3+ 8.Qxc3 h6 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 1-0 (52) Daly,C (2327)-O'Rourke,R (2026) Dublin 2012] 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.e3 Bxc3+ It's not necessary to do this capture right away. 10.Qxc3 Controlling e5 but that might not matter. [10.bxc3!? "Capture towards the center" 10...Na5 11.Qb4 b6 12.Ne5 Qe7 13.Qxe7+ Kxe7 14.cxd5 exd5 when White certainly has some sort of edge.] 10...0-0 11.cxd5!?N Fixing a pawn on the color of Black's bishop and thinking minority attack, but maintaining the tension also made at least as much sense; Black might be loathe to trade on c4. [11.Be2 dxc4 12.Bxc4 Rfe8 13.Rd1 Rad8 14.0-0 e5 15.d5 Ne7 16.Qxe5 Qxe5 17.Nxe5 Rf8 18.e4 1-0 (52) Daly,C (2327)-O'Rourke,R (2026) Dublin 2012; 11.Bd3 Rfe8 12.0-0 Rac8 13.Rfd1 Qe7 14.h3 g5? 15.b4? (15.e4+-) 15...g4 (15...Nxb4=) 16.Nd2 dxc4 17.Nxc4 b5 18.Nd2 Nb8 19.Ne4 Bc6 20.d5! Bxd5 21.Nf6+ Kf8 22.Nxd5! 1-0, Pimenta, J-Ferreira,R Mexico City 1980] 11...exd5 12.Be2+/= Qd6 [12...Bf5; 12...Rfc8!?] 13.0-0 Rae8
Ruiyang is clearly aiming at the kingside, as the pawn structure might indicate. 14.Rfc1+/- f6?! It's hard to see what Black was worried about with this move. [Then again, Stockfish's two favorite moves are 14...Rc8; and 14...Rb8 so you can there is no clear plan for Black.] 15.b4! a6 16.Rab1 [16.b5!? axb5 17.Bxb5 Ra8 18.a4 Rfc8 19.Qc5 and Black is under pressure and been drawn onto the defense, Minority Attack in action.] 16...Rc8?
[16...Ra8 to use all hands on deck on the queenside.] 17.a4 [White has a tactical blow: 17.b5!+- axb5?! (On any knight move White just takes - once - on a6 and follows up with 19.h3 and lets Black sweat the weak a-pawn.) 18.Rxb5 wins at least a pawn -- don't overlook 19.Rxd5!] 17...Ne7 Black scrambles to secure the queenside 18.Qb3 Kh8 Scared of ghosts? 19.e4 wasn't really anything. [18...c6] 19.Ne1 [19.b5 axb5 20.axb5 c6 21.Ne1 Again, there's just no way for Black to turn the queenside into anything but a liability.] 19...Bf5 [19...c6] 20.Rb2 g5 Ruiyang tries to get something going, but it's not clear what it's going to be. 21.Bd3 [21.b5 axb5 22.Qxb5!? b6 23.Qb4 provokes concessions.] 21...Bd7?! 22.Rbc2 [22.b5!] 22...f5 [22...c6] 23.Nf3 [23.b5!] 23...Ng6 24.Rc5 c6 25.b5 axb5 26.axb5 g4 27.Nd2 Ra8 [27...f4 28.e4 g3] 28.Qc2? [28.bxc6 bxc6 29.Qc3 h5 (29...f4 30.e4 g3 31.Nf3) 30.g3 Black remains stymied on the kingside.] 28...Ne7? [28...b6! equalizes on the spot. 29.Rc3 (29.Rxc6 Bxc6 30.bxc6 Ne7 31.c7 Rfc8=) 29...cxb5 30.Rb3 b4 holding that pawn can be quite a nuisance for White.] 29.bxc6 bxc6
30.Nb3 [30.g3!] 30...f4!? Objectively Black is still fighting uphill, but she is fighting. 31.e4 [31.exf4!? Qxf4 32.g3 Qg5+/=] 31...g3! 32.e5? [32.hxg3; 32.fxg3! dxe4 (32...fxg3 33.e5 gxh2+ 34.Kh1+/-) 33.Bxe4 fxg3 34.Re5 gxh2+ 35.Kh1+/=] 32...gxh2+ 33.Kxh2 (3:01 left) 33...Qe6=
(7:27 left) 34.Qe2?! [34.f3 Nf5 35.Rxc6 Bxc6 36.Qxc6 Qxc6 37.Rxc6 Ra2 38.Kh3 Ne3 39.g4 fxg3 40.Rxh6+ Kg7 41.Rg6+ Kf7 42.Kxg3=; 34.Rh1!?] 34...f3! White's time crisis is now compounded with needing to defend accurately. 35.Qe3 fxg2 36.Rg1? [36.Kxg2 readies a defense/ counter with Rh1 and Kf1, but it's too late -- Black is bordering on winning.] 36...Nf5-+ [36...Rxf2!?] 37.Bxf5 Rxf5 38.Rxg2 Rh5+ 39.Kg1
39...Rh3? [39...Rg8!-+ Note White's other rook, pathetically boxed out of the game on c5.] 40.Rg3= Rg8 41.Rc3 Rhxg3+ 42.fxg3 (1:27) 42...Qh3 (2:38) Right around here it's hard to find a sensible move for White that doesn't draw. 43.Nd2 Bf5 Now White panics. 44.e6? Bxe6 45.Rxc6?? Rxg3+ jij2018 won by resignation 0-1


(9) NM Ruiyang Yan (jij2018) (2125) - Alex Chin (achingolf) (1968) [B78]
MI Tuesday Night Online (3.4), 16.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Bb3 Nxd4 Topalov's line. A somewhat simplified but no less critical way for Black to play. [11...Ne5 is the longstanding continuation, still up in the air.] 12.Bxd4 b5 13.Kb1?! [13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.exd5 a5 16.a3 Kg8 remains unclear.] 13...b4 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.Bxd5 Bxd4 16.Qxd4 Qc7 17.Rd2 a5 18.b3 Bb5! White is suffering. 19.e5? In desperation Ruiyang frees e4 for the bishop, at the cost of a valuable center pawn. [19.h4!? e6?! (19...h6! is a solid advantage for Black; 19...Qc5 could be good as well.) 20.h5! exd5?? (20...Qc5; 20...Qc3) 21.hxg6 fxg6 22.Qxd5++-] 19...dxe5-+ 20.Qe3 e6 21.Be4 Qc3 [21...a4!] 22.Qxc3 Rxc3 23.Rhd1 Rfc8 24.Rd8+ Kg7 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.a4 bxa3 27.c4

27...Bc6? [27...Be8!-+ and ...f5 is going to be pretty fast with Black's super-majority.] 28.Bxc6 Rxc6 29.Ka2 a4
30.Kxa3?! [30.b4!? Rxc4 31.b5! f5 32.Kxa3 e4! 33.b6 Rc8 34.Kxa4 e3!? Black seems to be holding.] 30...axb3 31.Kxb3 h6 32.Rd2 [32.Kb4 Rb6+ 33.Ka5 Rb2] 32...f5 33.Kb4 Rb6+ 34.Ka5 Rb3 35.c5
35...e4? [35...Rc3! 36.Kb5 (36.Kb4 Rc1=) 36...Kf6= (36...g5=; 36...h5=; 36...Kf7=; 36...Kf8=) ] 36.fxe4 fxe4?!
[36...Rc3 37.Kb4! Rc1 38.e5!] 37.c6? [White could still win but it wasn't so easy to find: 37.Rc2!+- or is it? Rooks behind passed pawns, right? 37...Ra3+ 38.Kb5 Kf6 (38...Rb3+ 39.Kc4) 39.c6 Ke5 (39...Ra8 40.Rc5) 40.c7 Ra8 41.c8Q Rxc8 42.Rxc8 e3 43.Rc1! Kd4 44.Kc6 e2 45.Kd6 e5 46.Re1] 37...Rc3! 38.Kb6 Kf6 39.c7 Ke5 40.Kb7 e3 41.Rb2 [41.Rd3 Rxd3!! 42.c8Q e2= 43.Qc5+ Ke4 44.Qf2 Re3 45.Qe1 (Stockfish 12) 0.00/0 ] 41...Kd4 42.c8Q Rxc8 43.Kxc8 e5 44.Kd7 Kd3 45.Ke6

45...e4?? [45...e2! 46.Rb1 when Black has two moves (only!) to draw: 46...Kc2 (and 46...e4) ] 46.Ke5?? [46.Rb3+!! is the only move to win -- but it does! 46...Kd2 47.Rb4! e2 48.Rxe4 e1Q 49.Rxe1 Kxe1 50.Kf6 Kf2 (50...g5 51.g4) 51.Kxg6 Kxg2 52.h4+-] 46...e2= 47.Rb1 e3 48.Kf4 Kd2 49.g4 e1Q 50.Rxe1 Kxe1 51.Kxe3 Kf1 52.Kf3 Kg1 53.h4 Kh2 54.Kf4 Kh3 Both players have reason to be unsatisfied with their play, but the result is a fair finish. Quite a battle! And Alex Chin joins the group of upcoming young stars! [54...Kh3 55.h5= (55.g5=) ] 1/2-1/2

(6) Kristian Clemens (kclemens) (1802) - Jwalin Shah (jshah1331) (1698) [D59]
MI Tuesday Night Online (3.11), 16.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0-0 7.e3 b6 Peter Svidler noted in his Master Class that in the Soviet Union they called this the "TMB" Variation. Tartakower, Makagonov, Bondarevsky. They could add a few other names, for instance Kasparov after his marathon world championship matches with Karpov -- and Karpov too, as at some point they were "turning the tables" and playing each other's openings. 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Bxe7 Nxe7!? All the greatest players in this position have captured with the queen, but this move has some logic as well. Black gets to the long diagonal right away. But that knight is not happy on e7, plus getting the queen off the back rank is useful. [9...Qxe7 is mostly routine here. Add Geller and Spassky (Bondarevsky's student) to that list above, and if you haven't committed Fischer-Spassky, World Championship Game 6, Reykjavik 1972 to memory, or at least seen it, please do so immediately. And toss in Timman-Geller, Hilversum 1973 for a lesson in play against a king in the center. (White's!)] 10.Bd3 Bb7 In fact, White doesn't even have a plus score from here! Jwalin Shah is another of the Bay Area's improving juniors, just breaking into "A" with more to come. 11.0-0 Nd7 12.Qe2 c5 Quite sensible, to equalize in the center (as so often happens in this line), maybe give his knights some better squares. 13.Rfd1 Kristian's smooth development packs some lurking danger. 13...cxd4

[13...Bxf3 14.Qxf3 cxd4 15.Be4 dxc3 16.Bxa8 c2 17.Rd4 Nf5 18.Rd2 Ne5 19.Rxd8 Nxf3+ 20.Bxf3 Rxd8 21.Rc1 Nh4 22.Rxc2 Nxf3+ 23.gxf3 Rd7 24.Kf1 g5 25.Ke2 Kg7 26.a4 f5 27.b4 Kf6 28.Rc6 Ke5 29.Rc4 f4 30.h4 Kf5 31.h5 Ke5 32.Rc8 Rh7 33.Kd3 fxe3 34.fxe3 Rf7 35.Ke2 Rh7 36.Kf2 Kd5 37.Kg3 Ke5 38.e4 Kd4 39.a5 bxa5 40.bxa5 1-0 (40) Pachta,P (2331)-Zavadilova,J (2057) Stare Mesto 2006] 14.Bb5? Kristian hits a false step here. [14.Nxd4 Nf6 (14...Nc5!? 15.Bc2 (looking for b2-b4) 15...Nd5 16.Nxd5 Qxd5 17.f3 Qg5= is relaxed for Black.) 15.Nxe6?! Could this be a bluff? (15.Nf3 Qb8! Safe Square -- followed by ...Ned5 with a knight (and maybe rook) trade, nothing to worry about.) 15...Qc8?? (15...fxe6! of course 16.Bh7+ Kxh7 17.Rxd8 Raxd8-/+ is too many pieces for the queen.) 16.Nxf8 Kxf8 17.f3 Qe6 18.e4 Nh5 19.Bc4 Qf6 20.Qd2 Kg8 21.Nd5 Nxd5 22.Bxd5 Bxd5 23.Qxd5 Re8 24.Qxh5 1-0 (24) Juszczak,A (2025)-Kulicka,A Bartkowa 2002] 14...Bc6? [14...Bxf3! 15.gxf3 (15.Qxf3 dxc3! 16.Rxd7 cxb2 17.Rb1 Qc8 and Black is winning; note that 18.Rxe7 Qc1+ 19.Qd1 (19.Rxc1 bxc1Q+ 20.Bf1 Rad8) 19...Qxd1+ 20.Rxd1 Rac8-+ White can't both get in Bd3 and defend d1.) ] 15.Nxd4 Now it gets quiet again, but White's slight development lead and a few soft squares in Black's position provide something to play on. 15...Bxb5 16.Ndxb5 [16.Qxb5 a6 17.Qb4 isn't so comfortable for Black either.] 16...Qc8? This isn't going to be a good place, what with Nd6, rooks on the c-file, loose knights. 17.Nd6 [17.Rac1 is also pretty good for White. Well, winning.] 17...Qc6 18.Rac1 Rad8
19.Ncb5! Qa8 20.Rc7! It's over. White overruns Black's position. 20...a6 21.Ra7 Qb8 22.Rb7! axb5 [22...Qa8 23.Nc7 just wins the queen] 23.Rxb8 Nxb8 24.Nxb5 with a routine material win, as long as White remembers to make "luft" at some point. 24...Rxd1+ 25.Qxd1 Nbc6 26.Nc3 Rd8 27.Qb3 Rb8 28.g3 Kf8 29.Kg2 Ke8 30.a3 That pawn is White's "candidate." [30.a4! looking for Qb5 or Qc4, b2-b4, make a passed pawn, make another queen.] 30...Kd7 31.h4 g6 32.Qb5 Kc7 33.Qc4 Kd7 34.Qf4! Another weakness, another pawn, another passed pawn, another queen. 34...Ke8 35.Qxh6 Nf5 36.Qf4 Kd7 37.g4 Nd6 38.Ne4 [38.h5] 38...e5 39.Qf3 Nxe4 40.Qxe4 Rh8 41.Qd5+ Black resigned. Once they both let that blip on move 14 pass Clemens poured on the technique and left no doubt. Jwalin will improve! And his ...Nxe7 does suggest that Black doesn't have to suffer so much in this line. 1-0


(7) Nitish Nathan (BreatheChessAlways) (1934) - NM Michael Walder (FlightsOfFancy) (1839) [A43]
MI Tuesday Night Online (4.6), 16.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 c5 2.Bf4?! Too mechanical! White has to do something about the immediate attack on his center. [2.d5 is really the only way to make something of the first move.; If you're a desperate London player then 2.c3 is the way to go.] 2...cxd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qd1 e5 5.Bg3 d5 White's opening is a disaster. And this obvious move might not even be best: [5...h5!? requires 6.h3 but White is squarely worse. (or 6.h4) ; 5...Qb6 causes further disarray in White's game.] 6.c3 Nf6 7.Nf3?! [7.e3 first] 7...Bd6 [7...e4! 8.Nd4 e3! 9.fxe3 Ne4 is unsavory.] 8.e3 0-0 9.Be2 e4 Quite a different story now. Black should solidify his center. Any developing move, [or even 9...h6 so that ...Be6 on the next move won't be harassed. And on 10.Bh4 Black has the happy choice between 10...g5 (and 10...Be6) ] 10.Nd4 Bxg3 11.hxg3 Ne5

12.0-0? The classic "Castling Into It." With hxg3 having already happened, White has to be aware of the problem with square g4. If things were different, say White had already castled and there was a capture on g3, then often the interesting recapture is fxg3, opening the f-file and keeping open h2-h3 if necessary. But of course there are other problems, weakness at e3, and (after h3) g3. But here... 12...Nfg4!-/+ Natash might not be experienced enough to know about the danger, but Mike jumps right on it. 13.Nd2?! [13.Bxg4 Nxg4 14.Re1 sets up Nd2-f1 to defend h2, as well as guards e3 so that f2-f3 can happen. But that wily computer Stockfish mentions 14...a5! setting up the wonderful rook-lift ...Ra8-a6-h6 "and mate."(14...Qg5 15.Nd2 Qh5 16.Nf1 a5 17.Ne2 Qf5! on f2 (17...g5?? 18.Qxd5) 18.Nf4 g5 19.f3 exf3 20.gxf3 Ne5 21.e4 (21.Qxd5? Be6) 21...dxe4 22.fxe4 Qg4 is looking pretty good for Black.) ; 13.Re1 Qf6 14.Bxg4 Bxg4!-+ is now the better way to go.] 13...Qf6!-+ A big number, the computers think it's over. 14.Bxg4 Nxg4 15.Qc2 Qh6 16.Rfe1 Qh2+ 17.Kf1 Qh1+ 18.Ke2 Qxg2 19.Rf1 Ne5 [19...Nh2!] 20.N2b3 b6 21.a4 Bg4+ 22.Kd2 Nd3 23.Nc1 [23.Ne2 Bxe2 24.Kxe2 Qf3+ 25.Kd2 Nxf2! may look like an unnecessary risk but it breaks White's defense.] 23...Qxf1 0-1


(1) Marina Xiao (programmingmax) (1553) - Andrew Ballantyne (andrewaballantyne) (1296) [C54]
Live Chess, 16.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.b4 This logical move is not played as often as one would expect. 6. Nbd2 or 6.0-0 are flexible, but this direct expansion on the queenside can't be bad. 6...Bb6 7.0-0 0-0 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 Be6 [Here I would suggest Black play 9...g5 10.Bg3 a5 11.b5 Ne7 with the knight headed to g6 and good play on the dark squares.] 10.Nbd2 a5?! Black is playing logical moves, but they don't fit together quite right here. 11.b5 Bxc4 12.Nxc4 Na7?! [12...Nb8 followed by ...Nbd7 would keep the knight more in play. White is now gaining a substanstial advantage.] 13.a4 Bc5?! 14.Qe2 [There is no reason not to grap the pawn with 14.Nxa5] 14...c6

15.d4! White breaks at the time when the black pieces are in disarray. It's nice to see such harmony in the white position. 15...exd4 Black is in big trouble. He could hang onto material with [15...Bb6 16.dxe5 dxe5 17.Rfd1 Qc7 18.Bxf6 gxf6 but White would be winning with the attack - 19.Nh4 Kh7 20.Nxb6 Qxb6 21.Qh5] 16.cxd4 Bb4 17.e5 dxe5 18.dxe5 g5
19.Nxg5! hxg5 20.Bxg5 cxb5?! [Black could defend for a while with 20...Be7 21.exf6 Bxf6 22.Bxf6 Qxf6 yet 23.Ra3! Rfe8 24.Rg3+ Kf8 25.Qg4 is a crushing attack. Note that the black knight on a7 is simply out of the game and unable to help defend the black king.] 21.Bxf6 Qd4 22.Qh5 Qe4 23.Qh8# 1-0


(2) Vishva Nanugonda (vish1080) (1998) - Nitish Nathan (BreatheChessAlways) (1949) [A16]
Live Chess, 16.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 A choice to take the game into an open position. Black could have delayed any central action with 3....0-0 or 3...d6. 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 transposing to traditional Gruenfeld lines where White has the pawn center. Some players like to play the endgame with the continuation [6.dxc3 Qxd1+ 7.Kxd1] 6...Bg7 7.Bc4 delaying the central advance d4. More natural is [7.d4 0-0 8.Be3] 7...0-0 8.h3?! [8.d4] 8...c5 9.0-0 Nc6 Now White has trouble to get in d4, so Black has few worries about the center. 10.Bb2 a6 [10...Na5!] 11.d4 Qc7 12.Ba3 cxd4 13.cxd4

13...Nxd4! starting the action. 14.Bxf7+? The desire to get the pawn back lands White in a poor position. There would be full compensation for the pawn after. [14.Rc1 Nxf3+ 15.Qxf3 Qe5 16.Bd5] 14...Rxf7 15.Nxd4 Qc3?! [15...Bxh3! 16.gxh3 Rd8 gains material back with a clear advantage. 17.Qc2 Qxc2 18.Nxc2 Bxa1 19.Rxa1 (19.Nxa1 Rd2) 19...Rd2 is a big endgame advantage] 16.Nc2? [16.Nb3!] 16...Be6! now the black bishops pressure the queenside 17.Bb4 Qc4 18.Rc1 Bh6 19.Rb1?! [19.Bd2] 19...Qxe4 20.Re1 Qf5 21.Qe2 Bd5 [Black could be greedy and snatch a pawn with 21...Bxa2 22.Nd4 Qd5 23.Rbd1 Bc4] 22.Bxe7? here White was greedy but will get punished for it. There would only be a small disadvantage after [22.Ne3 Bxe3 23.Qxe3 Bxa2 24.Rbd1] 22...Re8 23.Nd4 Qd7 that's it. The white bishop on e7 goes and there's no coming back. 24.Qe5?! Rfxe7 25.Ne6 Rxe6 26.Qc3 Rxe1+ 27.Rxe1 Rxe1+ 28.Qxe1 Qe6 29.Qc3 Qc6 30.Qe5 Qc1+ 0-1

To watch the broadcast of the evening's action, please follow this LINK.

Event page is HERE for more information.

TD Corner

2020 US Cadet Online – and Invitational Round Robin Tournament Explained

TD Corner

By FA, Senior TD Dr. Judit Sztaray

The upcoming 2020 US Cadet Online is an eight (8) player round robin tournament, where the field consists of the best under Age 16 scholastic US chess players.

The round robin tournament format is also known as all-play-all, meaning all the players in a group play one game against every player in that round robin. It was a very popular and often used format in the past. Nowadays it’s mostly used for important, invitational events, to ensure that everyone gets a chance to play with everyone else.

The upside of this format is that it’s easy to pair: players are assigned numbers by lot, and the pairings are readily available from the so-called Crenshaw tables from the US Chess Rules of Chess book (Chapter 12). This means that players, TDs/organizers and spectators are fully aware of the pairings for the entirety of the tournament, and preparation can start as soon as pairings are out.

The downside is that withdrawals are strongly discouraged. When it happens, it has a negative effect on all the rest of the rounds in the tournament, unlike Swiss where it only affects one round, thus creating numerous inequities and unfair advantages to some players.

In the case of the US Cadet, we’re going to have an 8-player round robin, there are seven matches in the schedule. This will result in players having different number of whites and blacks in the tournament. The pairing table can be found in US Chess Rules of Chess Chapter 12: Player 1, 2, 3 and 4 will have 4 whites and 3 blacks, while Player #5, 6, 7, and 8 will have 4 blacks and 3 whites. The player numbers are determined by a random drawing of the lots.

The table also offers us solutions if an emergency withdrawal happens, and we need to adjust the colors. Hopefully it won’t happen.

Drawing of the lots for an in-person, over-the-board event, traditionally done a bit before the event, oftentimes involves a fun and entertaining process. For our online event we have the advantage to do it ahead of time, via a zoom meeting and live broadcast. We are planning to have the drawing of the lots early next week, to allow players ample time for preparation.

The online event also allows us and US Chess to have the strongest US Cadet Championship ever to be held, as all the top players accepted our invitation! Mechanics’ Institute, as the organizer of the event, is also allowed to choose a player, as the organizer’s wild card. We are proud of WCM Rui Yan, who has been participating in our online events since day 1 of the SIP, and has represented Mechanics’ at important events. It’s also important for us to have a female representative in the lineup of this prestigious event.

The time control we have chosen when bidding for the online event is the same as the US Chess National Invitationals had: G/70+10. This time control was proven to be a perfect fit for online events: long enough to produce quality games, and at the same time offer opportunity to have 3 games on the same day to ensure that the tournament can be completed over one weekend.

Fair play measures will follow the standards that have been established at other online high quality and high stakes tournaments: players will require to be live in a zoom meeting with two separate cameras: one showing their face and one showing their screen and surrounding (aka angled camera). The games will be reviewed by GMs, by Dr. Ken Regan and by fair play team. We hope that these measures combined will assure everyone that if any fair play violation occurs, we will be able to detect that and act against them in the strictest way.

Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Classes

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

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

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Thursday 5:00-6:30PM - A 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. 

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 Thursdays 6:30 - 8PM - The World Championship Match  -- by FM Paul Whitehead
Course Dates: Part 1 -- 9/3 through 10/1 (FREE!) Click on link below to try class out free next week
                          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, September 19: starts at 3:00PM - join from 2:45PM

6SS G/15+2:

Sunday, September 20: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5 +5:

Monday, September 21: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, September 22: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, September 23: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, September 24: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM
5SS G/5+5:

Friday, September 25: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4:00PM

4SS 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) aachess4321 (1696) - CoolPowerfulGhoul (1381) [C78]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Bc5 [Kramnik made the Berlin wall endgame defense famous in his world championship match with Kasparov. The black position stood solid against all of Kasparov's attempts after 4...Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8] 5.c3 a6?! 6.Ba4?! [6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Nxe5 just wins a pawn] 6...b5 7.Bb3 0-0?! [It is better to anticipate the central action and hold squares with 7...d6] 8.d4! exd4 9.cxd4 now the white pawns push around the black pieces 9...Bb6 10.Bg5 [10.e5!] 10...h6 11.Bh4 Qe8? Now the black kingside gets destroyed. The threat was 12. e5, but a better defense to that was [11...d6 or; 11...g5] 12.Bxf6 gxf6 13.Re1

13...Qe7 14.Nh4 [14.Nc3 gets everyone into the game] 14...Re8?! The last chance was to be brave with [14...Nxd4 even though the situation is still difficult after 15.Nc3 Bb7 16.Qh5] 15.Nf5 Qb4 16.Nc3 [16.Qg4+ Kf8 17.Qg7# would have been quick and merciful.] 16...a5 17.Nxh6+ Kf8 18.Qg4 a4 19.Qg8+ Ke7 20.Qxf7+ Kd8 21.Qxf6+ Ne7 22.Nf7# aachess4321 won by checkmate 1-0


(4) dinosaurus333 (1381) - KindMagneticFist (1379) [D20]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nc3 Bd7 This is an odd square for the bishop to be on. It helps to get in ...b5 but doesn't blend with the overall development plan. 4.e4 b5 5.a4! challenging the queenside squares right away gives White targets on that side 5...bxa4?! This leaves the black pawn structure all broken up. Black would be worse but have more play after [5...b4 6.Nd5 e6 7.Ne3 Bc6] 6.Bxc4 Nf6?! [6...e6] 7.Nf3 [7.e5!] 7...e6! 8.Bf4 Bb4 9.0-0 Bxc3 10.bxc3 Nxe4 Black has boldly grabbed a center pawn. White has great compensation with the extra development, the active bishops and stronger pawn structure. 11.Qd3 [11.Re1! Nxc3? 12.Qd3 would win the knight] 11...Nf6 12.Bb5?! trading the active bishop for the passive one on d7 helps Black. [12.Bg5 Nc6 13.Ne5 keeps Black under pressure] 12...Bxb5 13.Qxb5+ c6 14.Qb7 Nbd7 15.Qxc6 Qa5? forgetting about the rook on a8 16.Rxa4? [16.Qxa8+] 16...Qf5? 17.Qxa8+ Ke7 18.Qxh8 Qxf4 White is ahead a lot of material - two rooks for a knight. It is only necessary to be careful against the black queen and knights. 19.Rb1 Nb6 20.Rxa7+ Nbd7 21.Kh1 [21.h3! would be a good way to take all the worries away from the white king.] 21...Ng4

22.Rxd7+! Kxd7 23.Rb7+ Kc6 24.Qc8+ Kd5 The black king shouldn't survive on this march, but it is a little tricky to finish the job. 25.Rd7+ Ke4 26.Qc6+ Kd3 27.g3 Qc1+ 28.Kg2 Qc2 29.Kh3? [29.Ne1+! wins the queen] 29...Nxf2+ 30.Kh4 Ke3!
The best fighting chance! 31.Rxf7? [31.Ng5! with the threat of Qf3+ would still win the game easily.] 31...Qg6! suddenly Black is winning. There is no good defense to the queen and knight attack. 32.Ne5 Qh6# KindMagneticFist won by checkmate 0-1

NEW: US Chess Online Rated Scholastic Tournaments
Twice a month

September 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 Thursdays:

Absolute 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 under 800. Click Here to Register and for information

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. Click Here to Register and for Information.


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. Click Here to Register and for Information.

Note: Minimum five 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:

9/19 Saturday - Mechanics' USCF Rated Rapid
Format: 6SS G/10+2
9/22 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Community Marathon
Format: 6SS G/35+2 USCF rated, manually paired
Start at 6:30PM
9/24 Thursday - Thursday Night Quads
Format: 3SS G/60+10
Join by 4PM - 
Start at 6:30PM

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

Domination, Part 3.

[email protected]

In part 1 we saw the knight dominating the bishop, in part 2 it was rook vs rook.  Here we have (perhaps) the more familiar theme of the bishop dominating the knight. 

I dithered a bit on which study I should let the reader solve on their own: the easier one, or the more difficult?  I decided to show the easy one: after all, the essential idea is there, and I expect the reader who puts in some effort should solve the second example readily enough.

You can find these studies in Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Ghenrikh Kasparyan (1974).


1. Dawson 1925 – White wins.

The solution is simple and direct - and completely forced: 1.f7! Kg7 2.Be7! Kxg7 3.Bb4! The knight is immobilized (dominated!), and white’s king simply marches over and scoops it up.


2. Troitzky 1924 – White wins.

This is a more complex study using the same ideas.


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Return to Normalcy

Six months of the coronavirus pandemic and now a month of fires and smoke in California have us thinking the world has changed to a different reality. Yet the smoke has cleared and the progress of a Covid-19 vaccine gives us hope the world will fairly soon return to normal. The chess world had adapted extremely well to the new reality of online existence, but now it is preparing for the return to life as it used to be.

Already starting October 5th there will be a live tournament in Stavanger, Norway where Magnus Carlsen will try to increase his record streak of 121 classical games without a loss.  The event though that will really feel like the world is getting back to normal is the re-start of the Candidates Tournament, now scheduled for November 1. It will resume at the location where it was abruptly halted in March, Ekaterinburg Russia. The eight challengers to the throne had played the first half of a double round-robin and now they will play the second round. The leaders are the Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi and the Frenchman Maxim Vachier-Lagrave, with 4.5 from 7 games. Readers must excuse me for rooting for the player who is a point behind the leaders, our American-Italian Fabiano Caruana. Fabiano still has a good shot at becoming the challenger again if he can find his great form from previous events. We give below a couple of his games from the last (real) Olympiad in Batumi in 2018. First though I can’t resist showing a blitz game from this week coming from the new entertaining online rivalry between Carlsen and Nakamura.

(1) Nakamura,Hikaru - Carlsen,Magnus [B12]
St. Louis Blitz, 15.09.2020

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 A tricky move, which would trap the black bishop after 4...e6? 5. g4 Be4 6. f3 Bg6 7. h5. 4...h5 5.Bd3 Bxd3 6.Qxd3 e6 7.Bg5 Qa5+ 8.Nd2 Qa6 9.c4 Naka stays in the middlegame to keep attacking chances. 9...Ne7 10.Ngf3 Nf5 11.0-0 Nd7 12.b3 Bb4 White has more space, but it is difficult to make something of it against the solid black setup. 13.Rfd1 Nb6 14.Rac1 0-0 15.Nf1 c5 The pawn break equalizes play in the center. 16.dxc5 dxc4 17.Qb1!? [17.bxc4 Bxc5] 17...Bxc5 18.b4 Be7 19.Ng3?! [19.Bxe7 Nxe7 20.Ng5 g6 21.Ng3 with the idea of Nxh5 would keep enough play for White. Now Black gets the edge.] 19...Nxg3 20.fxg3 Rae8! keeping both rooks near the king for defense. White would get more play after [20...Rfe8 21.Bxe7 Rxe7 22.Ng5 g6 23.Qe4] 21.Bxe7 Rxe7 22.Ng5 g6 23.Qe4 Nd5

[23...Qxa2!? 24.g4 hxg4 25.h5 g3 26.Rc2 Rd7! puts bank rank tactics into play] 24.Kh1? [White should play 24.Rxc4 Ne3 25.Qxe3 Qxc4 26.Ne4! Though he is an exchange down, the weak dark squares on the black kingside make the chances equal.] 24...c3 25.Rc2 Rc8 The black c-pawn, which has been allowed to live, is a bone in the throat. 26.Qf3 Qa4 27.Rf2 c2 28.Rc1 Rc3 29.Qe2 Qxb4 30.Kh2
30...Rxg3 31.Kxg3 Qa3+ 32.Kh2 Qxc1 33.Qc4 [objectively better is 33.Qxc2 Qxc2 34.Rxc2 Rc7 though that is a simple endgame which is completely lost] 33...Rc7 34.Qb5 Qxg5 Nakamura resigned as the c-pawn will gain a new queen. No doubt we will see many more online encounters between these two players. 0-1


(2) Jan-Krzysztof Duda - Fabiano Caruana [A28]
Chess Olympiad Batumi GEO (9), 03.10.2018

To win the Candidates Tournament you must play great chess, with powerful opening ideas and subtle positional maneuvers. You must also fight each game to the bitter end and grind down elite players. Here Fabi plays the talented Jan Duda of Poland and gains an endgame edge. To win the Candidates he needs to finish off with position like he gets here. 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.e3 Bb4 5.Qc2 Bxc3 6.Qxc3 Qe7 7.d4 Ne4 8.Qd3 exd4 9.Nxd4 0-0 10.Be2 Qb4+ 11.Kf1 Qe7

The game is about equal. White has two bishop but can't castle. 12.f3 Nc5 13.Qc3 d6 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.b3 a5 16.Bb2 f5 17.Rd1 Be6 18.Kf2 a4 19.b4 Nd7 20.Rd2 f4 21.Rc1 Rae8 22.Rd4 fxe3+ 23.Qxe3 c5 24.bxc5 Nxc5 25.Kg1 Qf7 26.Qf2 Bf5 27.Bf1 Re7 28.Ba3 Re5 29.Qd2 Rfe8 30.Rd5 h6 31.Bxc5 dxc5 32.Qa5 Qe7 33.Rdd1 Qg5 34.Kh1 Qe3 35.Qxc7 Qf2 36.Qa5 Qxa2 37.Ra1 Qb3 38.h3 Kh7 39.Rd5? The game would have still been equal if Duda had taken the a-pawn. Now Black gets a substantial edge. 39...Bc2 40.Qd2 Bg6 41.Qa5 Qb4! 42.Rxa4 Qxa5 43.Rxa5 Rxd5 44.cxd5 Re1 Black wins the bishop for two pawns. 45.Kg1 Bd3 46.Rxc5 Rxf1+ 47.Kh2 Rd1 48.Kg3 Bf1 49.Kf2 Kg6 50.h4 Bd3 51.h5+ Kf5 [51...Kxh5? 52.d6+ Kg6 53.Rc1! Rxc1 54.d7 queens the pawn] 52.Rc7 Kf6 53.Rc6+ Kg5 54.Rc7 g6 55.hxg6 Bxg6 56.Rd7 Rd2+ 57.Kg3 Bd3 58.Re7 Bf5 59.Kh2 h5 60.d6 h4 61.Rg7+ Kf4 62.Rg8 Rxd6 63.g3+?! Duda gets rid of the last white pawn, but the rook and bishp vs rook position is bad for White as the white king is trapped on the corner. 63...Kxf3! 64.gxh4 Rd2+ 65.Kg1
here is where Fabi could have won the game. 65...Bg4? [centralizing with 65...Be4! 66.Rf8+ Ke3 controls the board from the center. It's still tricky but White has no defense, e.g. 67.h5 Rg2+ 68.Kf1 Rg5 69.Re8 Rxh5 70.Rg8 forced, but the white rook has a problem now on this file 70...Ra5! 71.Kg1 Ra1+ 72.Kh2 Rh1+ 73.Kg3 Rg1+ winning the rook] 66.Rf8+ Kg3 67.h5 Bxh5 68.Rg8+ Bg4 69.Rf8 Rd6 70.Rf2 Rd1+ 71.Rf1 Duda manages to hold the draw now with careful defense. 71...Rd2 72.Rf8 Re2 73.Rf7 Re1+ 74.Rf1 Re2 75.Rf8 Be6 76.Rf6 Bh3 77.Rg6+ Bg4 78.Rf6 Rg2+ 79.Kf1 Rh2 80.Kg1 Re2 81.Rf8 Re5 82.Rf2 Bf3 83.Rg2+! Kf4 84.Ra2 Re1+ 85.Kf2 Rh1 86.Ra7 Rh2+ 87.Kg1 Rg2+ 88.Kf1 Be4 89.Ra3 Rb2 90.Kg1 Bf3 91.Ra7 Kg3 92.Rg7+ Bg4 93.Rf7 Rb8 94.Rf2 Bf3 95.Rg2+ Kf4 96.Ra2 Be4 97.Ra3 Rb2 98.Rh3 Rg2+ 99.Kf1 Bf3 100.Rh8 Ra2 101.Rb8 Kg3 102.Rg8+ Bg4 103.Re8 Ra1+ 104.Re1 Ra5 105.Re8 Rd5 106.Re7 Rd8 107.Re3+ Bf3 108.Re7 Kf4 109.Kf2 Rd2+ 110.Ke1 Rh2 111.Ra7 Re2+ 112.Kf1 Rd2 113.Rc7 Kg3 114.Rg7+ Bg4 115.Re7 Rf2+ 116.Kg1 Rd2 117.Kf1 Re2 118.Rxe2 Bxe2+ 1/2-1/2


(3) Fabiano Caruana (2827) - Viswanathan Anand (2771) [E03]
Chess Olympiad Batumi GEO (4.3), 27.09.2018

Fabiano meets the previous World Champion, still one of the most difficult players to beat. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 dxc4 5.Qa4+ Nbd7 6.Qxc4 The Open Catalan gives active play to both sides. 6...a6 7.Be3!? A curious development - bishops before knights. 7...Bd6 8.Qc2 0-0 9.Nh3

Placing the knight on the rim. Yet Fabiano has an underlying harmony to the piece development. 9...e5 10.0-0 h6 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nc3 Qe7 13.Rad1 Re8 14.Nf4 c6 15.Bd4 Now all the white pieces are on normal, natural squares. White is a little more comfortable. 15...g5 16.Nd3 Nxd3?! [16...Bf5 17.e4 Bh7! would be only a bit worse for Black] 17.Rxd3 Be5 18.Qd2 Bf5 19.e4! Bg6 20.f4 gxf4? Surpisingly this is the losing move. The game opens up and Fabiano has calculated that Black can't hold. Needed was [20...Bxd4+ 21.Rxd4 though White has more control of the center] 21.Bxe5! Qxe5 22.gxf4 Qc5+ 23.Kh1 Nxe4 Anand grabs the center pawn. Otherwise White would advance the pawn to f5 and have a winning kingside bind. 24.Nxe4 Rxe4

[24...Bxe4 25.Bxe4 Rxe4 26.Qg2+ wins the rook on e4] 25.Rg3! White threatens both Bxe4 and f4-f5. 25...Rd4 26.Qe3 Black resigned as White wins a piece. 1-0


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