Chess Room Newsletter #936 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #936

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #936


September 26, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

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

The US Cadet Championship is underway, and we had the drawing of the lots live on our Twitch broadcast before the start of the final round of the TNM. With this drawing, the pairing numbers are set and made for all rounds of this round robin championship. Here are the pairings, according to their lot assignment:

SwissSys Wall Chart. 2020 Cadet: Cadet 

# Name/Rating/ID St/Tm Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7
1 WCM Ruiyang Yan CA B 7 W 6 B 5 W 4 B 3 W 2 W 8
  2242 15462690 (1744)                 
2 IM Andrew Zhang Hong CA B 6 W 5 B 4 W 3 W 8 B 1 W 7
  2533 14941904 (1804)                 
3 FM Maximillian Lu CT B 5 W 4 W 8 B 2 W 1 B 7 W 6
  2431 14732597 (2368)                 
4 IM Justin Wang TX W 8 B 3 W 2 B 1 W 7 B 6 W 5
  2540 14930904 (1996)                 
5 IM Arthur Guo GA W 3 B 2 W 1 B 7 W 6 B 8 B 4
  2446 14772092 (1391)                 
6 IM Christopher W Yoo CA W 2 B 1 W 7 B 8 B 5 W 4 B 3
  2540 15244943 (2058)                 
7 FM Christopher Shen OH W 1 B 8 B 6 W 5 B 4 W 3 B 2
  2424 14432243 (1948)                 
8 FM Robe Shlyakhtenko CA B 4 W 7 B 3 W 6 B 2 W 5 B 1
  2459 14951916 (2054)                 

The event format, time control, and times are as follows:

Format: 7 rounds of Round Robin

Time Control: G/70+10
USCF Online regular rated - affecting online USCF Online regular rating. (not OTB rating!)


Tournament dates & Round times:

  • Virtual Opening Ceremony - Friday, Sep 25: 3PM PT / 6 ET
  • Round 1 - Friday, Sep 25: 4PM PT / 7 ET
  • Round 2 - Saturday, Sep 26: 9AM PT / 12 ET
  • Round 3 - Saturday, Sep 26: 1PM PT / 4 ET
  • Round 4 - Saturday, Sep 26: 4PM PT / 7 ET
  • Round 5 - Sunday, Sep 26: 9AM PT / 12 ET
  • Round 6 - Sunday, Sep 26: 1PM PT / 4 ET
  • Round 7 - Sunday, Sep 26: 4PM PT / 7 ET

For more information, please visit the event page HERE. We will have special guest commentators throughout the event, including GM Sam Shankland (Friday @5pm, GM Melik Khachiyan on Sunday morning, GM Patrick Wolff on Saturday afternoon, and IM John Donaldson Sunday @5pm. You can follow full coverage of the championship on our Twitch channel: 

The US Cadet Championship is a US Chess national championship for the best under age 16 player in the country. There is a $6000 scholarship to the winner for the college or university of their choice courtesy of Dewain Barber, Dean of Scholastic Chess and US Chess Federation. There is also $1200 in cash prizes courtesy of US Chess. 

You can view the drawing of lots HERE

Mechanics' Institute Online Chess Club: How We Operate

The Mechanics' Institute Online Chess Club went live in March, very soon after the shelter-in-place order was enacted, requiring the temporary closing of the Institute. Since then, many chess communities have moved to online platforms, but many of them operate very differently in terms of who gets admitted into the club and how members are managed. We thought it might be interesting to let our chess community and those following us know what steps we take in terms of managing the club and how we go about maintaining integrity within the membership. 

First and foremost, we treat our online club as seriously as we do our live club in terms of making sure the players who participate in our events do so with the right intentions and with integrity. We do not admit everyone that requests to join. We first have people fill out a Google form that captures basic information such as a players name, email, USCF ID and their username. Doing so allows us to capture important information for player contact purposes, allowing us to more easily reach players. In the beginning we accepted almost everyone that filled out the form, and our club quickly grew to several hundred. 

When we started offering USCF-rated online events, things changed. First of all we had to create a seperate club for those playing our USCF-rated tournaments as we can vet players more closely and ensure that we capture a players basic contact information and USCF ID. This is critical as we have to know for sure that the players playing the event online are the same player for which the tournament will be rated.

We always took fair play seriously, and we were vigilant in reporting suspected cheaters to from our events, even throughout our free play tournaments. But a rated event is quite different, and we want to make sure we take all the precautions we can to ensure fair play. We reached out to Dr. Ken Regan with regards to help screening games, and we thought that along with's fair play screening, this would provide a comfort level in game integrity for our events. While this has worked very well for us, we knew that it was also important now more than ever to tighten the membership requirements for our online commuity, since letting more people in whom we do not know, or people who were not USCF members, would pose significant risks. There is no point in us growing numbers in a club if we feel we have no idea who most of our players are. 

Periodicially, Judit or I will review the list of members to see who had had their accounts flagged for fair play or closed for abuse. We just recently found a player whose account was closed for fair play violations only days after joining the club. So we made the process of joining our club even more burdensome. Now, when new players request to join, we message them in to fill the Google form request. We then deny the join request and ask them to send the request again after they have completed the form. Once we verify we captured their information, we approve it. 

I guess the main point I would like to communicate is that a great deal goes into the online community. Clubs that allow anyone to be a member do so at their peril. There is no advantage in showing big numbers in club membership if the participation and engagement is not there. The participation and enagement is predicated on trust that is built within the community, and it needs to be nurtured just like any other community. Sure there have been errors along the way over the last 6-7 months, but what family doesn't have their ups and downs and learning opportunities. 

Mechanics' Instititute Community Tuesday Night Marathon

The Tuesday Night Marathon concluded with GM Alex Lenderman taking clear first place after a tough final round win against NM Michael Walder. Lenderman finished the tournament with 5.5/6, after a draw in round 5 against NM Ruiyang Yan from an opening position in which he initially thought he was worse. FM Kyron Griffith should the technical superiority of an IM to-be with a great final round win against Rui. Griffith finished the tournament in clear second place with 5/6. These final two games of the marathon will hopefully benefit Rui, as she will participate in the US Cadet Championship starting this Friday. No doubt she will have many of the Mechanics' regulars cheering her on.

Speaking of which, our TNM winner will be playing in the 2020 US Closed Championship next month online. It is great to see these two fine competitors getting some reps at the Mechanics' Institute online!

In the under 1800 section, Yali Dancig Perlman came from behind to defeat Pranav Pradeep, and a win in the final round gave Perlman sole first with 5.5/6. Ganesh Mathrubootham and Marina Xiao tied for second place in the section with 4.5/5. 

GM Lenderman gave a great post tournament interview, and you can watch it at the 2:44:45 mark HERE

Tentative Final Standings

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

# Name ID Rating St Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total Prize
1 Aleksan Lenderman 12787646 2717 NY AlexanderL W16 W11 W3 W2 D5 W7 5.5 1st Place: $150
2 Kyron Griffith 12860484 2470 CA KyronGriffith W28 W14 W8 L1 W9 W5 5.0 2nd Place: $75
3 Pranav Sairam 15424820 2087 CA chesspilot01 W24 W27 L1 D4 W22 W8 4.5  
4 Alex Paul Chin 17050697 1811 CA achingolf W7 W23 D5 D3 D15 W14 4.5 Best u2000: $50
5 Ruiyang Yan 15462690 2242 CA jij2018 W29 W10 D4 W13 D1 L2 4.0  
6 Theodore Biyiasas 13989054 2175 CA Tabiyiasas H--- H--- L17 W30 W28 W15 4.0  
7 Michael Walder 10345120 2075 CA FlightsOfFancy L4 W12 W18 W10 W14 L1 4.0  
8 Arul Viswanathan 14490424 2071 CA Shouldbedoincalchw W34 W21 L2 W17 W13 L3 4.0  
9 Nicholas Ruo Weng 15499404 1958 CA ninjaforce W26 L13 W12 W22 L2 W20 4.0  
10 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 CA BreatheChessAlways W20 L5 W21 L7 W30 W16 4.0  
11 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 CA kclemens W25 L1 W32 D15 H--- H--- 3.5  
12 Ishaan Kodarapu 16128527 1607 OR pika0008 B--- L7 L9 H--- W32 W23 3.5 Best u1800: $50
13 Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 CA ecwinslow W17 W9 W15 L5 L8 U--- 3.0  
14 Felix German 12624534 1976 CA FelixGerman W19 L2 W20 W23 L7 L4 3.0  
15 Ashik Uzzaman 13178575 1940 CA ashikuzzaman W33 W22 L13 D11 D4 L6 3.0  
16 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 CA talenuf L1 W34 H--- H--- W21 L10 3.0  
17 Rudolph Fr Breedt 13701346 1884 CA bobbejaan L13 W25 W6 L8 D23 D19 3.0  
18 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1866 CA mwncklmann L22 W26 L7 L20 W27 W30 3.0  
19 Patrick Peiju Liu 16667410 1719 CA katechen77 L14 L28 D24 W34 W33 D17 3.0  
20 Ahyan Zaman 15035222 1699 CA ahyanzaman L10 W29 L14 W18 W31 L9 3.0  
21 Vishva Nanugonda 16380312 1664 CA vish1080 W31 L8 L10 W27 L16 W28 3.0  
22 Carla Heredia 13935235 2227 CA mathandchess2020 W18 L15 W27 L9 L3 D24 2.5  
23 Ethan [kaza Boldi 15088362 2120 CA etvat W32 L4 W28 L14 D17 L12 2.5  
24 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 CA PlayerCreate1 L3 L31 D19 D33 W29 D22 2.5  
25 Max Hao 16083648 1761 CA Joseph_Truelsons_fan L11 L17 W29 L28 D34 W31 2.5  
26 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 CA MatnMatt20 L9 L18 D34 L29 B--- W32 2.5  
27 Jonah Busch 12469525 1934 CA kondsaga W30 L3 L22 L21 L18 W33 2.0  
28 Kenneth E Fee Jr 12480902 1884 MO KenFee L2 W19 L23 W25 L6 L21 2.0  
29 Nicholas Ar Boldi 15088356 1883 CA nicarmt L5 L20 L25 W26 L24 W34 2.0  
30 Kr Gopalakrishnan 16545130 1628 CA chessboi2010 L27 B--- W31 L6 L10 L18 2.0  
31 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 CA Mangonel L21 W24 L30 D32 L20 L25 1.5  
32 Jwalin Shah 14379732 1832 CA jshah1331 L23 W33 L11 D31 L12 L26 1.5  
33 Imran Champsi 16176854 1663 CA Dragonfish9127 L15 L32 B--- D24 L19 L27 1.5  
34 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 CA chessappeals L8 L16 D26 L19 D25 L29 1.0  


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

# Name ID Rating St Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total Prize
1 Ya Dancig Perlman 16280288 1235 CA noydan100 B--- D15 W19 W9 W5 W8 5.5 1st Place: $100
2 Gan Mathrubootham 15183473 1494 CA gmbchess W18 L13 W21 W12 D3 W9 4.5 2nd Place: $75;
Best u1400: $50;
2-way split of $125: $62.5 each
3 Marina Xiao 16380642 1398 CA programmingmax H--- H--- W14 W13 D2 W5 4.5 2nd Place: $75;
Best u1400: $50;
2-way split of $125: $62.5 each
Best Female: $50
4 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 CA rimus11 L13 W8 W11 L6 W12 W14 4.0  
5 Pranav Pradeep 15871762 1252 CA pranavpradeep2006 W14 W9 W12 W15 L1 L3 4.0  
6 Ella Guo 16380657 1193 CA SunnyCountry L15 W18 W16 W4 L8 W13 4.0  
7 Yuvraj Si Sawhney 17095004 823 CA SaintReturns L16 B--- L8 W20 W19 W15 4.0  
8 Rama Krish Chitta 17350313 1499 CA draidus D20 L4 W7 W16 W6 L1 3.5  
9 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1679 CA GiorgosTsolias W17 L5 W10 L1 W15 L2 3.0  
10 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 CA swimgrass H--- H--- L9 L14 W21 W16 3.0  
11 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1331 CA chesspoki L19 W20 L4 W18 L14 W17 3.0  
12 Martin Camacho 17248027 1031 CA camachom X22 W16 L5 L2 L4 X--- 3.0  
13 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 948 CA andrewaballantyne W4 W2 L15 L3 W17 L6 3.0  
14 Stan Polivyanenko 17310102 unr. CA MrL0cust L5 W17 L3 W10 W11 L4 3.0  
15 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 CA starserika18 W6 D1 W13 L5 L9 L7 2.5  
16 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 CA Echecsmike W7 L12 L6 L8 W18 L10 2.0  
17 Ian Liao 16738735 1054 CA victor6688 L9 L14 W20 W21 L13 L11 2.0  
18 Danny Du Uy Cao 16939797 843 CA caodanny L2 L6 B--- L11 L16 W21 2.0  
19 Bruce Hedman 17344551 unr. CT Bruce_Hedman W11 H--- L1 H--- L7 U--- 2.0  
20 Go Dancig-Perlman 17151222 875 CA Gogosf D8 L11 L17 L7 B--- U--- 1.5  
21 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 unr. CA vincitore51745 H--- H--- L2 L17 L10 L18 1.0  
22 Vedant Talwalkar 16408266 1569 CA serverbusy F12 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  

Here are some games from the final round:

(12) GM Alex Lenderman (AlexanderL) (2787) - NM Michael Walder (FlightsOfFancy) (1865) [B39]
Live Chess, 23.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.Nf3 Starts as a Reti (which is usually a transpositional step)... 1...c5 [1...d5 cuts across the hesitant English player.] 2.c4 Now White has an English having avoided 1.c4 e5. 2...g6 3.d4 Breaking symmetry as soon as possible 3...cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 5.e4 And now -- it's a Sicilan Defense, Accelerated Fianchetto (or "Accelerated Dragon" as it seems to be called now). 5...Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4!? An interesting suite of variations that has held market share since the 50s. 8.Qxg4 Nxd4 9.Qd1 e5!? [9...Ne6!? isn't as "all or nothing" -- Black might play for ...g5 and dark square control, or later to c5.] 10.Bd3 [The days of 10.Nb5 have passed.] 10...0-0 11.0-0 b6 [11...d6 is the most natural and popular development.] 12.Qd2 Bb7 13.Rad1 f5 14.exf5

14...gxf5 [14...Qh4!? is mentioned by Shaw in his 1.e4 repertoire series (and given the edge by Stockfish) 15.-- a) but follows with 15.f3! gxf5 16.Qf2 (16.Ne2!) 16...Qh5 17.Bxd4 exd4 18.Ne2 White grabs the pawn with a clear advantage, but only drew: ½-½ (64) Lein,A-Flesch,J Budapest 1963; b) Stockfish thinks 15.f4 is just as good or better.; c) 15.Bxd4 gxf5!? is a joke of sorts, but White just plays (15...Bxg2!? 16.f4! Bxf1 17.Bf2) 16.Be3 f4 17.Be4! Bxe4 18.Nxe4 fxe3 19.Qxe3 with a won game, which he swiftly claimed: 19...Rf7 20.Nd6 Rf4 21.g3 Rg4 22.Qf3! e4 23.Qf7+ Kh8 24.Qd5 h5 25.Qxa8+ 1-0 (28) Gonzalez, B-Mattiaccio,H Argentina 1980; ] 15.Bxd4 [15.f4 d6 16.Nd5 Qd7 17.fxe5 dxe5 18.Bxd4 exd4 19.Bxf5 Qd6 20.Qd3 b5 21.Bxh7+ Kh8 22.Bg6 Qe6 23.Rfe1 Qg4 24.Re4 Qg5 25.Re5 1-0 (25) Neiksans,A (2581)-Sulskis,S (2521) Liepaja 2017] 15...exd4 16.Nb5?! [16.Ne2 prepares to round up the d-pawn while also lending a bit of kingside support.; 16.Nd5! lets the pawn alone but brings about other plusses, and seems best (if you trust computers).] 16...Qh4! at the very least threatening ...Bxg2, but perhaps further attacking plans, not just a perpetual. 17.f3 Rf6 [17...Bc6] 18.Qf2 Qh5 Black keeps his kingside attacking chances alive. [18...Qxf2+ 19.Rxf2 Bf8 20.Nxd4 Bc5 White has won the pawn, but the well-deployed Black bishops, along with ...d5 after preparation, will make it a difficult one to win.] 19.Rde1 Grandmasters know when to hang on to their positional advantage, but computers... [Take the pawn! 19.Nxd4 Solid plus.] 19...Raf8 20.Re7 Rh6
21.Rxg7+ This goes the wrong way. [21.h3 Rg6 22.Kh1 Qg5 23.Rxd7 Bc6 24.Rxg7+ Rxg7 25.Nxd4 Bd7 26.b4 with a little something for White, but hardly a win.] 21...Kxg7 22.Qxd4+ Kg8 23.Qf4 Qh4! Walder sees safety in the ending -- but it cost him three of his remaining nine and a half minutes. 24.Qxh4 Rxh4 25.Rd1 d5?! And this burned away half of his time here. (Alex had over ten minutes. [25...Bc6=/+ would leave White scrambling to hold.] 26.Nd6 [26.b3!?] 26...dxc4! [26...Ba6! also draws: 27.Bxf5 (or 27.Nxf5; but not 27.cxd5?? Rd4 28.Bc2 Rxd1+ 29.Bxd1 leaves Black winning at will, with 29...Kg7 a head above the rest.) 27...dxc4 28.Be6+ Kh8! keeps the needle pegged on zero. (28...Kg7?? 29.Nf5++-) ] 27.Bxc4+ Kh8?! But here it's the other way around: [27...Kg7! 28.Be6 Kf6! (28...Kg6?? 29.Nxb7) 29.Bd7 Ba8! 30.Nxf5 Rb4 31.b3 (31.Rd6+ Kg5=) 31...Rd8 32.Kf2=] 28.Be6! Bc6 29.Rc1 Ba8! =, but down to 24 seconds... 30.Nxf5 (White has 7:27) 30...Rf4?! [30...Rb4 31.b3 Rb5= keeps that rook in the game causing trouble] 31.Rc7 That bishop on a8 might be a liability after all... 31...a5? [31...Bd5! 32.Bxd5 R4xf5 33.Rd7! puts Black on the spot -- White's pawns get going sooner or later.] 32.Kf2?
AlexanderL won on time. [32.Nh6!+-; 32.Kf2 Black is equal after 32...Bd5= (or even 32...Be4!=) 33.Bxd5 R8xf5] 1-0

(8) NM Ruiyang Yan (jij2018) (2133) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2166) [B11]
Live Chess, 23.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c6 2.Nf3 [Compare to the slightly less rare 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 (Even against 3.Nd2 a6! has been seen half a hundred times.) 3...a6 when in the Mega database White has played here SEVENTEEN moves! (Not all at once.) 4.Nf3 is the most popular and transposes to our game. (4.h3 Take that! (28 games); 4.a3 And that!! (5 games)) ; 2.Nc3 d5 1/2-1/2 (7) Marcia,G (2266)-Vajda,A (2427) Mamaia 2015] 2...d5 3.Nc3 a6 One must search far and wide to make sense of this move. Maybe it relates to the line [3...Bg4 4.h3 Bh5 5.exd5 cxd5 6.Bb5+] 4.d4 Bg4 5.h3 Bxf3 [And indeed, 5...Bh5 is much more frequent, and has a plus score!] 6.Qxf3 [6.gxf3 e6 7.Be3 Nf6 doesn't figure, ½-½ (7) Marcia,G (2266)-Vajda,A (2427) Mamaia 2015] 6...e6 7.exd5?! [7.Be3!? (best score) 7...Nf6 8.a3 b5 9.Bd3 b4 10.axb4 Bxb4 11.e5 Nfd7 12.Qg3 g6 13.h4 1-0 (30) Jones,G (2635)-Surtees,M (2113) Leeds 2011; 7.Bd3!? (most frequent) 7...Nf6 (7...Qb6!? Stockfish 12's main line, at least for a while.) 8.0-0 Be7 9.e5 Nfd7 10.Ne2 c5 11.c3 1/2-1/2 (129) Muzychuk,A (2560)-Zhao,X (2552) Khanty Mansiysk 2014; 7.Bf4!? (heaviest hitters) ½-½ (44) Robson,R (2567)-Jobava,B (2696) Khanty-Mansiysk 2009] 7...cxd5 White has a misplaced knight but also the two bishops, while Black's ...a6 could actually figure in with getting a minority attack going. 8.Bd3 [SF12 gives White a shade better than equality by getting the knight rerouted right away: 8.Nd1; or even 8.Ne2] 8...Nc6 9.Ne2 Now Black goes out of his way to eliminate White's king bishop. 9...Nb4 10.c3 Nxd3+ 11.Qxd3 Nf6 12.0-0 [12.Bg5!?] 12...Be7 [12...Bd6!?] 13.Bf4 0-0 14.Ng3 Bd6 15.Be5 Bxe5 16.dxe5

This is more a Sicilian or French pawn structure than a QGD Exchange Reversed -- you can go batty thinking about transpositions! The main thing is the Black pawns coming down the board to open up files and leave a weakness. 16...Nd7 17.f4 Rc8 18.Rf2 g6 19.Qe3 Rc4 20.Rd1 Qb6 21.Qxb6 Nxb6 22.Ne2 As of this moment Black has very little, but the trend is downhill for White. 22...Nd7 23.Rf3 b5 24.Rd4 Rb8 25.Rf1 a5 26.Rc1 (11:41) 26...Rbc8=/+ (18:41) White now "takes the bull by the horns" and resolves the pawns... 27.b3?!-/+ [27.Kf2] 27...R4c7 28.a4?-+ Not only does she ruin her defense, but it cost her a lot of time! [28.Rb1 is ugly but tries to hold] 28...b4 The computer line is [28...Nc5! 29.Rb1 bxa4 30.bxa4 Ne4 31.Rb5 Nxc3 32.Nxc3 Rxc3 33.Rxa5 Rc2 looking to double rooks on the 7th.] 29.c4 But then again, no human is going to let Black take and get a pawn on c2... 29...Nb6 The pin means that Black wins a pawn (and the game). 30.c5 Rxc5 31.Rxc5 Rxc5 32.Kf2 Rc2 33.Rd3 Nd7 34.Kf3 Nc5 35.Re3 Rd2!
36.Nc1 Rd1 37.Na2 [37.Ne2 d4!] 37...Ra1 38.Re2 Nxb3 39.Rb2 Nc5 40.Nxb4 axb4 41.Rxb4 Rxa4 42.Rb5 Ra3+ 43.Kg4 Ne4 44.Rb8+ Kg7 45.Rb2 h6 46.Re2 Rg3+ 47.Kh4 g5+ 48.fxg5 hxg5+ 49.Kh5 Rxh3+ 50.gxh3 Ng3+ 51.Kxg5 Nxe2 52.Kg4 Nd4 KyronGriffith won by resignation. 0-1

(9) Felix German (FelixGerman) (1654) - Alex Chin (achingolf) (1970) [A67]
Live Chess, 23.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.e4 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Bb5+ Nfd7 9.a4 [9.Bd3; 9.Be2!?] 9...0-0 [9...Na6 10.Nf3 Nb4 11.0-0 a6 gets that in before White can play Re1 and tuck the bishop in at f1. And famously Kasparov crushed Nunn with 12.Bxd7+ Bxd7 13.f5 1-0 (21) Kasparov, G (2675)-Nunn,J (2590) Luzern ol 1982, but improvements for Black have been found since then.] 10.Nf3 a6?! [10...Na6 has fared better in practice.; as well as 10...Nf6] 11.Bd3 Re8 12.0-0

White stands quite well. Black's problem is too many pieces, not enough squares. White should make sure ...Bg4 doesn't happen. 12...c4!? [12...Nf6 is most frequent, as is 13.h3 in return.; 12...Qc7 is 2nd, but White does solidly with a number of replies.] 13.Bc2 [13.Bxc4! calls Black's bluff. 13...Bxc3 14.bxc3 Rxe4 gets the pawn back, but at what a price! After 15.Bd3 Re8 16.Bc2 (or maybe even better, 16.f5! Ne5 17.Nxe5 Rxe5 18.fxg6 hxg6 19.Qc2 is already knocking on Black's king's door.) 16...Nf6 17.f5 Nbd7 18.Bg5 Black is going to miss his dark square bishop badly. 18...Qb6+ 19.Nd4 Ne4 20.Bxe4 Rxe4 21.Qf3 1-0 (32) Saeed,I (2286)-Shrestha,S (1893) Abu Dhabi 2016] 13...Nc5 14.e5?! [14.Be3! once again dares Black to win the e-pawn, for a price. It might be the best way to go now, but White is clearly getting more than enough eompensation. 14...Bxc3 15.bxc3 Nxe4 16.Bd4] 14...Bg4 15.Be3 Nbd7 16.h3 [16.e6!? fxe6 17.dxe6 Qe7 is complicated but balanced.] 16...Bxf3 17.Qxf3 dxe5
18.f5?! [18.d6 is a better followup, when 18...exf4 19.Qxf4 Rxe3!? 20.Qxe3 Qb6 21.Qf2 Rf8 22.Rad1 Qxb2 23.Nd5 b5 is full counterplay] 18...Rc8? [18...e4! is the standard riposte, when it works -- as here it does. 19.Nxe4 Nxe4 20.Bxe4 Nf6! (20...Qe7!? 21.fxg6 hxg6 22.Rae1! Qf6!) 21.fxg6 hxg6 22.Bd4 Rxe4! 23.Bxf6 Qxd5! and it's pulling towards Black.] 19.d6? [19.fxg6! first 19...fxg6 20.d6 e4 21.Nxe4 Ne5 22.Qd1 Ncd3 23.Bd4 Nf7! 24.Bxg7 Rxe4 25.Bxd3 cxd3 26.Qb3 favors White] 19...Qb6? [19...e4! 20.Bxe4 Ne5 keeps it on the better side of equality.] 20.Rab1 [20.Rad1!+- keeps the scarier pawn, when 20...Qxb2 runs into 21.fxg6 fxg6 22.Bxg6! hxg6 23.Nd5! might look unclear to humans, but the computers are adamant: +-.] 20...Qxd6 21.fxg6 [21.Rbd1! Nd3 22.Ne4 Qd5 23.b3 b5 24.axb5 axb5 25.Bxd3 cxd3 26.Bh6! Bxh6 27.Rxd3 Qa8 28.Rxd7 is still going on, but not won for White (or, for that matter, Black).] 21...fxg6 22.Qf7+ Kh8 23.Qxc4 [23.Rbd1!] 23...e4 White has recovered one of the missing pawns, but that e-pawn is troublesome. 24.Qe2?! [Still, after 24.Rbd1 White has good chances to hold.] 24...Nd3 25.Qd2?! [25.Rbd1 N7c5 26.Kh1 Qc6 Black consolidates] 25...N7c5 [25...Nb6! 26.Bb3 Qb4 A fierce battle, typical of the Benoni!] 26.Rf7 Re7?! [26...a5!] 27.Rxe7 Qxe7 28.b4 White fights back to equality again! 28...Ne6
29.Nd5?? [That pawn has to go: 29.Nxe4! keeps balance.] 29...Qd6 Black doesn't let up now. 30.Nb6 Rd8 31.a5 Qg3 32.Rf1?! [32.Nc4] Now Black finishes it off. 32...Be5 33.Bxd3 Rxd3 34.Qa2 Qxe3+ 35.Kh1 Qg3 achingolf won on time 0-1

(10) Arul Viswanathan (Shouldbedoincalchw) (2068) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (1973) [A45]
Live Chess, 23.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 [3...d6 4.e4 transposes into the Pirc with 4.Bf4, a line that is not at all easy to deal with.] 4.e3 [4.Qd2!? Bg7 5.h4 h5 0-1 (33) 33, Najer,E (2648)-Jones,G (2670) INT 2020] 4...Bg7 5.Be2 0-0 6.h4?! c5 7.h5 Nc6 8.hxg6 played in 8 of 8 8...hxg6 [8...fxg6!? 9.Bh6 Bxh6 10.Rxh6 cxd4 11.exd4 Qb6 12.Qd2 Qxd4 0-1 (38) Turzo,A (2306)-Ilincic,Z (2436) Budapest 2017] 9.Nf3 Ne4!=/+

While White was pushing his h-pawn down the board, Black was pulling ahead in development; this is the result. [9...Qa5 10.Kf1 cxd4 11.exd4 Bg4 12.Qc1 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Nxd4 14.Bh6 Qa6+ 15.Ne2 Bh8 1-0 (26) Alarcon Casellas,R (2397)-Perpinya Rofes,L (2373) Colima Santa 2016; 9...cxd4!? 10.Nxd4!? (10.exd4 Ne4 0-1 (42) Koustav,C (2383)-Kushagra,M (2309) Kolkata 2018) 10...Qb6 11.Ndb5 e5!? (11...Bf5!?) 12.Bg5 d4! 13.Bxf6 dxc3 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.bxc3 Rd8=/+] 10.Bh6 A new move but suspicious. [Predecessor: 10.Kf1 Bf5 11.g3?! (11.Kg1) 11...e6 12.Kg1 Re8 13.Nb5 g5 14.Bc7 Qd7 15.g4 Bg6 0-1 (36) Ponomariov,R (2631)-Kuzubov,Y (2643) INT 2020] 10...Bxh6 [10...Qa5! 11.Kf1 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Qxc3 13.Rb1 Bf5-+] 11.Rxh6 Kg7 12.Rh4 Qa5 13.Kf1?! [13.dxc5 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Qxc3+ is fine for Black] 13...Nxc3 [13...Bf5! prepares right away to jump on the h-file.] 14.bxc3 Qxc3 Black shows an unhealthy addiction to pawns. [14...Bf5; 14...Be6] 15.Rb1 [15.dxc5 Be6 (15...Bf5) ] 15...Bf5 [15...c4!-/+; 15...cxd4 16.Rb3 Qa5 17.Bb5 f6] 16.Rxb7? [16.Bd3 Bxd3+ 17.Qxd3 Qxd3+ 18.cxd3 cxd4 19.Nxd4 Rfb8!-/+] 16...Bxc2?! A very unhealthy addiction. [16...c4-+ 17.Ne1 Rab8 18.Rxb8 Rxb8-+] 17.Qc1 [17.Qe1 cxd4 18.Nxd4 Qxe1+ 19.Kxe1 g5 20.Rg4 Nxd4 21.exd4 Kf6] 17...Rab8!-+ 18.Rb3 [18.e4 Rh8 19.Rxb8 Rxh4 20.Nxh4 Nxb8 21.dxc5 dxe4] 18...Rxb3 19.axb3 Qxb3 [19...c4! 20.bxc4 (20.e4 Rh8[] 21.Rxh8 Kxh8 22.bxc4 (22.Kg1 Kg8!; 22.Qh6+ Kg8 23.Kg1 Nxd4) ) 20...Rb8!] 20.dxc5 [20.Ne1!?] 20...Rb8! 21.Ne1 Be4 only 22.f3
Now Black collapses, still with time. 22...Bb1?= [22...g5!! 23.Rg4 Bg6 24.Rxg5 a5-+ 25.e4 dxe4 26.Bc4 Qb1! 27.Qxb1 Rxb1 28.Bd5 Nd4! favors Black, although White should hold.] 23.e4 dxe4?? [23...e5=; 23...d4=] 24.Qh6+ [24.Bc4!+- is lights out.] 24...Kf6 25.Qf4+? [25.fxe4+/- e5 26.Rh3] 25...Ke6=/+ Suddenly Black is making a run for it! 26.fxe4
26...f5?? [26...Kd7! 27.Bg4+ f5 28.exf5 Qb5+! 29.Be2 (29.Kg1? Qxc5+ 30.Kh2 Bxf5-+) 29...Qxc5 30.fxg6 Bxg6 31.Bf3 Rb1=/+] 27.exf5+ Black must have overlooked the impending Bc4 27...Kd7 28.fxg6 Bxg6 29.Bg4+ Kd8 30.Qd2+ Ke8 31.Bd7+ Kf7 32.Qf4+ Kg7 33.Qh6+ Kf6 34.Rf4+ Shouldbedoincalchw won by resignation 1-0

(1) Jonah Busch (Kondsaga) (1932) - Chelsea Zhou (mwncklmann) (1819) [E05]
Live Chess, 23.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.d4 Nf6 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 Grabbing the pawn to make it an Open Catalan. There are a lot more tactics when the game opens up. 7.Nbd2 It would be easier to get the pawn back after 7. Ne5 7...b5 8.a4 c6 9.axb5 cxb5 10.Ne5 Nd5 11.e4 Nf6 12.d5 exd5 13.exd5 Bd6 14.Nc6?! This helps Black develop. White would keep more chances with 14. Ndf3. 14...Nxc6 15.dxc6 Bg4 16.Qc2?! [16.Nf3] 16...Qc7?! [16...Be2! 17.Re1 Bd3 would leave a monster bishop in the middle of White's camp.] 17.Ne4 Nxe4 18.Bxe4 h6 19.b3 cxb3 20.Qxb3 Rfe8 21.Bd5 b4 22.Bb2 Re2?! [22...a5 would keep the edge. Black should keep attention on the passes pawns.] 23.Rfe1 Rae8 24.Rxe2 Rxe2 25.Bd4 a5 26.Be3 Bf5 27.Qc4 Rc2 28.Qb5 Bh3 29.Bb6? White has gotten back to equality, but hands the initiative back to Black who has attacking chances. [29.Rxa5 is equal] 29...Qe7! 30.Qxa5 Bc5 31.Bxc5 Rxc5 32.Qa8+ Kh7 33.Qb7?

[33.Qa2 Qe5! 34.Rd1 Bg4 35.f3 Bf5 is good for Black, but White is still in the game. The text move blunders a piece.] 33...Qe5! 34.Bg2 Qxa1+ White resigned. 0-1

(2) Pranav Pradeep (pranavpradeep2006) (1264) - Yali Dancig Perlman (noydan100) (1841) [C01]
Live Chess, 23.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 Bd6 6.h3 Bh5 7.Nc3 c6 Black easily gets a solid position in this Exchange Variation of the French Defense. 8.Ne5 Bxe2 9.Qxe2 Ne7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Re1 Re8 12.Bf4 Ng6

13.Qg4? This loses a piece. White had an interesting alternative - [13.Nxc6!? Nxc6! 14.Qxe8+ Qxe8 15.Rxe8+ Rxe8 16.Bxd6 Rd8 17.Bc7 Rd7 18.Bg3 Nxd4 which would be all equal in the end.] 13...Nxf4 14.Qxf4 f6 15.Nxc6 At least White gets a pawn for the knight. 15...Rxe1+ 16.Rxe1 Nxc6 17.Qf3 Bb4! 18.a3 Nxd4 19.Qd3 Bxc3 20.Qxc3 Nc6 21.Rd1 Qd7 22.Qb3 Rd8 23.c4 Na5 Black could just advance the d-pawn, but wants even more material. 24.Qb4 Nxc4 25.b3 There's no real hope here unless Black blunders badly. 25...Nb6 26.a4 Qd6 27.Qa5 Qc6 28.Qb4 Kf7 29.a5 Nd7 30.Qd4 Nc5 31.b4 Ne6 32.Qxa7 Qa6 33.Qe3 Qc4 34.Re1 d4 35.Qe4 Qd5 36.Qxd5 Rxd5 37.Kf1 Rb5 38.Rb1 Nc5 39.Ke2 Na6 40.Kf3 Rxb4 41.Rxb4 Nxb4 noydan100 won by resignation.0-1

To watch the live coverage of the final round, please see the video on our YouTube channel HERE

The next TNM starts October 6, 2020, it will be an 8-round Open tournament played over 4 weeks. Registration is open and can be found HERE

We look forward to seeing everyone then!

Mechanics' Saturday Night Rapid Report

The Mechanics' Institute held a 27 player USCF rated rapid last Saturday on September 19th, with GM Alex Lenderman rolling through the field for a perfect 6/6. The tournament had a strong field, including IM Elliott Winslow, NM Michael "fpawn" Aigner, Eric Hon, and Nathan Fong. Here are the tentative final standings:

Saturday, 9/19 - Rapid - TENTATIVE

Time control: 6SS G/10+2   -  70% payout
Link to result:

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total T-Sonneborn Prize
1 GM Aleksan Lenderman 12787646 2717 AlexanderL W11 W14 W2 W9 W3 W5     6.0 23 70.00
2 Eric Hon 13778105 2186 microbear W20 W4 L1 W15 W12 W9     5.0 15.5 52.50
3 Chad E Lieberman 12814730 1807 celieber W21 W5 D9 W8 L1 D6     4.0 13 29.17
4 Adam Mercado 16571026 1831 A-boy415 W18 L2 W17 L6 W8 W15     4.0 11.5 29.17
5 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 PlayerCreate1 W25 L3 W13 W19 W6 L1     4.0 10 29.17
6 Nathan Fong 13001390 1954 nathanf314 L14 W16 W10 W4 L5 D3     3.5 12  
7 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W16 W15 L8 W10 L9 D11     3.5 10.75  
8 Vishva Nanugonda 16380312 1664 vish1080 W17 D10 W7 L3 L4 W18     3.5 10.25 35.00
9 NM Michael Aigner 12595730 2207 fpawn W23 W13 D3 L1 W7 L2     3.5 10  
10 Alan Finkelstein 14958842 2058 stratus_junior W19 D8 L6 L7 W21 W17     3.5 8.75  
11 NM Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy L1 W22 L12 W23 W20 D7     3.5 7.25  
12 Isaac C . Spence 15293854 unr. USA U--- W24 W11 W20 L2 U---     3.0 7 17.50
13 Jonah Busch 12469525 1934 Kondsaga W22 L9 L5 D17 D16 W20     3.0 6.5  
14 Samik Pattanayak 14833211 1463 spatt07 W6 L1 L20 W25 L15 W22     3.0 6.5 17.50
15 Clarence E Lehman 10497272 1904 FrankJamesMarshall W26 L7 W25 L2 W14 L4     3.0 5  
16 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 MatnMatt20 L7 L6 D23 W22 D13 D21     2.5 5.25  
17 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 Mangonel L8 W26 L4 D13 W19 L10     2.5 5  
18 Gan Mathrubootham 15183473 1494 gmbchess L4 L20 D21 W24 W25 L8     2.5 3.5  
19 Sebby Suarez 16875347 691 SebbyMeister L10 D23 W24 L5 L17 W25     2.5 3.25  
20 Max Hao 16083648 1761 Joseph_Truelsons_fan L2 W18 W14 L12 L11 L13     2.0 5.5  
21 Elliott Jar Regan 15032065 943 TTVchessmaster L3 L25 D18 W26 L10 D16     2.0 3.5  
22 Kevin Sun 16898540 1009 kevin_mx_sun L13 L11 W26 L16 W23 L14     2.0 2.5  
23 Sanjeev Anand 14436451 1753 chessp1234 L9 D19 D16 L11 L22 D24     1.5 3.25  
24 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1331 chesspoki U--- L12 L19 L18 W26 D23     1.5 1.75  
25 Kr Gopalakrishnan 16545130 1506 chessboi2010 L5 W21 L15 L14 L18 L19     1.0 2  
26 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 948 andrewaballantyne L15 L17 L22 L21 L24 B---     1.0 0  

Here are some games from this tournament, annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.

(13) NM Michael Aigner (fpawn) (2310) - GM Alex Lenderman (AlexanderL) (2805) [B15]
Live Chess, 20.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ exf6 A solid, underrated variation of the Caro-Kann. 6.c3 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Qc2 Re8+ 9.Ne2 h5 The modern line, both specifically and generally; marching h-pawns is The Big Thing nowadays. 10.Be3 [10.0-0 h4 11.Bf4 and here Griffith lost his way: 11...Rxe2?? 12.Qxe2 Bxf4 13.Qe4+- Qc7?? 14.Qh7+?? (14.Qe8#) 14...Kf8 15.Qh8+ Ke7 16.Qxg7 Bxh2+ 17.Kh1 Be6 18.Rae1 Nd7 19.Rxe6+! and White managed to pull himself together to bank a win: 1-0 (55) ecwinslow (1858)-KyronGriffith (2070) Mechanics' Tuesday Night Marathon, 2020] 10...Nd7 11.0-0-0 Nf8 12.g3?! A slight weakening of the light squares. 12...Bg4 13.Rde1 Qa5 14.Kb1 Re7 15.Bf4 Qc7 16.Bxd6 Qxd6 17.Nc1 Rae8 Black's solid central play and no attack at all for White frustrates; that's rather the point of this system. 18.Qd2 Bf3 19.Rhg1 b6 20.Re3?! Rxe3 21.fxe3 This pawn will remain backward. 21...Qe6 22.Re1 f5 23.Bc2 Be4 24.Nd3 Nh7 25.Nf4 Qh6 Black has a nagging edge with control of the e4 square. 26.Bxe4 Rxe4 27.Nd3 Qd6 28.Qf2 g6 29.Ne5 Kg7 30.Qc2 Nf6 31.Qa4?


looking for counterplay White makes a blunder. 31...Qxe5! 32.dxe5 Rxa4 33.exf6+ Kxf6 The rook ending with an extra pawn and better position is a win. 34.a3 Re4 35.Kc2 h4 36.Kd3 hxg3 37.hxg3 Rg4 38.Rg1 g5 39.Ke2 f4 40.exf4 gxf4 41.Rf1 Kf5 42.gxf4 Rg2+ 43.Kd3 Rxb2 44.Re1 a5 45.a4 f6 46.Kc4 Rf2 47.Re8 Rxf4+ 48.Kb3 b5 49.axb5 cxb5 50.Rb8 b4 51.Rb5+ Kg4 52.Rxa5 bxc3 53.Kxc3 Re4 The white king is cut off from the advance of the black pawn. The rest is easy. 54.Kd3 f5 55.Ra1 Kg3 56.Rg1+ Kf2 57.Rg5 Re3+ 58.Kd2 f4 59.Rh5 Re8 60.Rh2+ Kg3 61.Rh7 f3 62.Rg7+ Kf2 63.Rd7 Kg2 64.Rg7+ Kf1 65.Rd7 f2 66.Rd5 Rg8 67.Ke3 Kg1 AlexanderL won on time. 0-1

(3) GM Alex Lenderman (AlexanderL) (2803) - Eric Hon (microbear) (2215) [D79]
Live Chess, 20.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d5 6.0-0 c6 7.Qb3 b6 Black could consider trying to get play with [7...a5 8.Rd1 a4] 8.cxd5 cxd5 9.Nc3 Nc6 10.Bg5 e6 11.Rfc1 [11.e4!?] 11...Bb7 12.e3 h6 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.Ne1 Qd7 15.Nd3 Rfc8 16.Qd1 Ba6 Thus far we have a symmetrical positon and both sides are solid. 17.Bf1 Bxd3 18.Bxd3 Na5?! Now White is able to cause some trouble on the light squares. 18...Qb7 would hold the balance. 19.Ba6! Rc7 20.Nb5 Rxc1 21.Rxc1 Now White owns the c-file. 21...Nc4 22.Qf3 Kg7?

[22...Qd8 would avoid material loss.] 23.Rxc4! Snagging a piece. The game is over. 23...Qe7 [23...dxc4 24.Qxa8] 24.Rc7 Qb4 25.a3 Qxb2 26.Kg2 h5 27.h4 Qb3 28.Qf4 Qa4 29.Nd6! Rf8 30.Bb5 Qxa3 31.Ne8+ Rxe8 32.Bxe8 AlexanderL won by resignation 1-0

(4) IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (1982) - NM Michael Aigner (fpawn) (2312) [D30]
Live Chess, 20.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.b3 Ne4 6.Nbd2 f5 Black has started with the Slav Defense and now transposed into a Stonewall Dutch. 7.Bd3 Nd7 8.0-0 Bd6 9.Bb2 Qf6 10.Qe2 0-0 11.a4 Bc7 12.Rfc1 Rf7 13.b4 g5

It is a game of two flanks. White advances on the kingside while Black pushes on the kingside. Objectively White has a small edge, but it's always more fun to direct the attack at the opposing king. 14.Nf1 g4 15.N3d2 h5 16.b5 Nf8 17.Rc2 Bd7 18.Rac1 Bd6 19.bxc6 Bxc6 More solid is 19...bxc6 20.cxd5 [20.Bxe4 fxe4 21.Nxe4! dxe4 22.d5 Qg6 23.dxc6 bxc6 24.Rd1 Bc7 25.c5] 20...Bxd5 21.Nxe4 [White may get more play from 21.Bxe4 fxe4 22.Nc4 Bc7 23.Ba3] 21...fxe4 22.Bc4 Ng6 23.Bxd5 exd5 24.Qb5 Qf5?! [24...Qe6 would not get hit by the knight when it moves to g3] 25.Qe2?! [25.Ng3! Bxg3 26.hxg3 is an edge for White] 25...Nh4 26.Ng3 Qe6 27.Rc5? Looking for counterplay, but better was [27.Qb5 Nf3+ 28.gxf3 gxf3 29.Kf1 h4 30.Nh1 which looks ugly but has chances to defend] 27...Raf8! 28.Rf1?!
28...Nf3+! the threat of this move has been looming for some time. Now it comes with decisive effect. 29.Kh1 [29.gxf3 gxf3 30.Qb5 Qh3 is of course mate] 29...Nxh2! 30.Kxh2 h4 31.f4 This doesn't help, but nothing does. 31...gxf3 32.gxf3 hxg3+ 33.Kg2 exf3+ fpawn won by resignation. 0-1

States Cup Report by FM Kyron Griffith

On Monday September 21st, team CA-North played its third round of the 2020 States Cup against team Washington. The States Cup is an online tournament hosted on Lichess organized by Saumik Narayanan of Minnesota. See his detailed writeup on the US Chess Website:

There are 30 states competing in a 7-round regular season with three rounds of playoffs for the top-performing teams from each division. Each team fields a four-player lineup each week with an average USCF rating below 2200 (much like the Amateur Team Tournaments). The four player teams face off in a series of four games of 15 minutes with 2 second increment against the opposing team's full lineup each week.

Team CA-North is battling for the Western Division against teams Arizona, CA-South, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

Going into Monday's match, Washington was the sole leader of the Western division with a 2-0 score. CA-North was 1-1 after a tough loss last week to Arizona. Monday's match featured a big win for CA-N to catch up to Washington with a 2-1 score. The match showcased a number of Mechanic's regulars both on and off the board! The team captain, FM Josiah Stearman, fielded a lineup including FM Kyron Griffith, IM Elliott Winslow, and NM Ruiyang Yan, along with a very strong (and very underrated) board 4, Bryce Yeh. Mechanic's regulars Kevin Yanofsky and Derek O'Connor provided full match commentary on stream. Other Mechanics' players participating are NM Derek Wu, Austin Mei, NM Mike Walder and Mansoor Mohammed.

A strong performance from all four boards yielded a commanding 10-6 win over a very tough (2197.75 rating average) Washington team. After an unfortunate one game forfeit for team Washington due to a player being late in Round 1, the match was even after two rounds. A big result in Round 3 (3.5-0.5) including an exciting sacrificial win from IM Elliott Winslow over fellow IM Bryce Tiglon and a very fortunate swindle from FM Kyron Griffith over NM Derek Zhang propelled the California team to victory.

The team has another tough match next week on Thursday October 1 against Southern California.

See the Round 3 match breakdown:

See the full States Cup Schedule:

Watch Kevin and Derek's stream:

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

(7) FM Kyron Griffith (kyrongriffith) (2209) - NM Derek Zhang (D-Z) (1500) [C06]
Rated Rapid game, 22.09.2020

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 cxd4 8.cxd4 f6 9.exf6 Nxf6 10.0-0 Bd6 A classic French, Tarrasch Variation. 11.Nf3 0-0 12.Bf4 Bxf4 13.Nxf4 Ng4 [13...Ne4] 14.Qd2 Qf6 15.Nh5 Qh6 It's reasonable to trade into the endgame. White is somewhat better in any case as he has the better bishop and more dark square control. 16.Qxh6 Nxh6 17.Rfe1 g6 18.Ng3 Nf7 19.Rad1 a6 20.h4 Kg7 21.h5 It may be better to wait with this move as it puts the pawn on a white square. 21...g5! 22.a3 Bd7 23.b4 h6 24.Nf1 Nd6 25.Ne5?! Nxe5 26.Rxe5?! These last moves have let Black gain the initiative and now White's pawns are weaker. 26...Rf4 27.Be2?! [27.Nd2! Rxd4?! 28.Nb3 Rf4 29.Nc5] 27...Nf5 [27...Rc8] 28.Rc1 Rc8! Stopping counterplay before taking the white d-pawn. 29.Rxc8 Bxc8 30.Bd3 Nxd4


with a solid pawn ahead and better king position Black should have a winning endgame 31.Re1 Nc6 32.Ne3 Bd7 33.g3 Rd4 34.Be2 e5?! 35.b5?! [35.Rc1! Rd2 (35...Kf7 36.Rc5) 36.Bg4 Bxg4 37.Nxg4 gives White some activity for the pawn] 35...axb5 36.Bxb5 Kf6 37.Rc1 Ke6 38.a4 Kd6 The centralized black king is much more useful than his couterpart. 39.Kg2 Rd2 40.Ra1 Be6 41.Bxc6 Kxc6 42.Rc1+ Kd6 43.g4 Rd4?! [43...d4 44.Nf5+ Bxf5 45.gxf5 e4! would wins easily enough] 44.Rb1 Kc6?! [44...Kc7] 45.a5! suddenly Kyron has gotten counterplay as the a-pawn allows the white rook to run into the black camp. 45...Bxg4 46.Rb6+ Kc5 47.Rxh6 Be2 48.Rh7 Rh4 49.h6?


[49.Rc7+ Kd6 (49...Kb4 50.Rxb7+ Kxa5 51.Re7!) 50.Rxb7 would hold a draw] 49...d4? [49...g4! sets up a mating net with ...Bf3+ coming] 50.Nf5 Rf4? [50...Rh5 51.Rc7+ Kd5 52.Ng3 Rxh6 53.Nxe2 Ra6 gives drawing chances] 51.Rc7+ Kb5 52.h7 The h-pawn queens and that's it, 52...d3 53.h8Q Bf3+ 54.Kg3 d2 55.Qxe5+ Ka6 56.Qe3 Kxa5 57.Qxd2+ Black resigns. A great battle and an undeserved fate for D-Z. 1-0

(11) IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (CA-N) (2050) - IM Bryce Tiglon (WAChessinator) (WA) (1620) [B94]
States Chess Cup, 22.09.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4 The old, really ancient line, from Spassky in the 50s. [All the current energy is devoted to 7.Qe2 when the ideas are pure 21st Century: 7...h6 8.Bh4 g6 9.f4 e5 10.fxe5 dxe5 11.0-0-0 Qc7 12.Nb3 b5 13.Qf3 Bg7 14.Bd3 0-0 15.Kb1 Bb7 16.a3 Nh5 17.Be7 Rfe8 18.Bb4 Mike Walder won a nice game vs. young and rising Eric Yuhan Li in a Tuesday Night Marathon before everything went online: 1-0 (52) Walder,M (1958)-Li,E (2255) Donaldson TNM, San Francisco 2019] 7...Qb6 the modern treatment; [In the good old days it went 7...Qa5 8.Qd2 e6 9.0-0-0 (or 9.0-0) ] 8.Bb3 e6 9.Qd2 [9.Bxf6!? Nxf6 10.Qd2] 9...Nc5 [9...Be7 is the main, GM move, but as played scores better. 10.0-0-0 Nc5 1/2-1/2 (30) Shirov,A (2723)-Dominguez Perez,L (2712) Wijk aan Zee 2010 CBM 135 [Marin,M]] 10.f3 Be7 11.0-0-0 [11.h4 Qc7 12.a4 h6 13.Be3 e5 0-1 (47) Nepomniachtchi,I (2730)-Korobov,A (2660) Warsaw 2011] 11...Qc7 12.Kb1 Bd7! Black keeps White guessing as to where his king will end up. [12...0-0 13.g4 b5 14.a3 Rb8 15.h4 Bd7 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.g5 ½-½ (30) Shirov,A (2723)-Dominguez Perez,L (2712) Wijk aan Zee 2010 CBM 135 [Marin,M]] 13.Rhe1 [Most games went 13.g4 anyway, but Black can keep pace with 13...b5] 13...0-0 14.f4!? [14.a3 b5] 14...h6?! [14...Bc6!?] 15.Bh4??


[15.h4 Even with Rhe1 in this puts Black to the test.] 15...Nfxe4! 16.Nxe4 Bxh4 17.g3 Nxe4 18.Rxe4 Bf6 Black is up a pawn for "nothing" but still needs to remain vigilant. 19.g4 Qc5 [19...d5! 20.Ree1 a5!-/+] 20.h4!?


20...Bxh4?! Somewhat suicidal! But not necessarily so bad. [20...d5 21.Re3 Bxd4 22.Qxd4 Qxd4 23.Rxd4 healthy extra pawn, queens off, Black should win.] 21.Rh1?! [21.g5 hxg5 22.Qh2 Rfe8 23.Rh1 d5! still favors Black] 21...g5?! Black loses his cool and goes up in flames. [21...Bf6] 22.f5! e5?


[22...exf5 23.gxf5 Bxf5 24.Rexh4 gxh4 25.Nxf5 (25.Rxh4 Qe5!) 25...Qxf5 26.Qxh6 Qg4 27.a3!? (27.Qc1 Kh7 28.Qe1 h3 keeps resisting -- White can't quite turn the corner.) ] 23.Rxh4! gxh4?! Straight to mate 24.Qxh6 Qxd4 25.Rxd4 exd4 26.f6 Time forfeit 1-0

TD Corner

Why Organizers Are Using Webcam to Monitor Players

Working towards offering a “clean” tournament with no fair play violations has been one of the main goals for organizers around the country and the world since the beginning, but especially since the online chess boom began. There are two ways to work towards this goal: preventing violations and catching violators. Several tools are available for the organizers. Data and statistics remains the tried and true method since screening can be automated by monitoring certain indicators, filters, and thresholds. It is consensus that the second major tool for both preventing and catching violations is the use of one or multiple web cameras that monitors the players, the player’s computer, and their surroundings.

Initially the argument was that web cameras are hard to implement, players are not used to them, and that it’s not common for especially mid- and older-aged players to utilize them. However, with the effect of the lockdown and virtual working from home lifestyle, having a web camera and the use of online platforms to show your face and surroundings are no longer an obstacle. Therefore, it’s now a realistic requirement for organizers to require one or more cameras for select or all players.

What should these cameras show, and where are these cameras? The easiest is to use the built-in camera of the computer on which the player is playing. This will show the player’s face, facial expression, and front view body movements and body language. These are good to track eye and head movements, and to view the room that’s behind and next to the player (right & left). Can this help an organizer? Yes, absolutely. However, if an organizer chooses to require one camera, another option may provide more information and proof to be more useful. That is the use of the side camera, aka “angled camera" that is placed on one of the sides of the player and shows both the player’s body from the side, as well as the screen of the computer on which the player is playing. It is important to be from a distance where the screen is visible, so that we can see how the player is using the computer and to ensure that no other side activity is going on during the games. This helps reduce the blind spots when monitoring the surroundings of a player.

With both cameras, view is one of the data points that can be collected, and the other is voice. Therefore, if players are muted, a crucial data source is eliminated. So that is why it is important to explain to players to not mute themselves and leave their microphone on. But if there is more than one player present in the online platform where the organizer does the monitoring and collecting the data, it is essential that their output/speaker volume to be turned down, i.e. they will not hear anyone speaking.

Why is there a need again for the use of web cameras? Prevention and post-game analysis.

Prevention because there are certain percentage of players who might be tempted to use outside help during the games, but would not go through with this while being monitored.

Data and evidence from the webcam monitoring recording can help in the post-game analysis in cases where the data and indicators that the game was an unusual one, and honest players can use this opportunity to prove that they were playing fairly and clean and they just had the game of their life!

I tend to emphasize this point of view and organizer’s responsibility: Please, keep this in mind: these requirements are for your protection and for your benefit!

And last but not least, organizers also tend to compare player’s performance during no web camera monitoring versus when the player is monitored by one or two web cameras. Can it be an indicator if a player has consistent 95% without being monitored and then 50-70% accuracy when monitored? Well, it’s not necessary clear cut evidence of fair play violation, but it’s may be one part of the bigger picture when considering all factors and making the decision about the player.

We hope that with this short column our players will understand the reasons why we sometimes require web cameras, and none of you will take it as an offense, but take it as a useful tool that will help you maintain and enhance your reputation.

Any questions? Our email is always open!

Take on the Mechanics' Chess Staff Live on Twitch!

The chess room staff at the Mechanics' Institute are taking on all comers now weekly, as each of us will livestream an Arena tournament where we will commentate our own games! You might be playing 3-time US Champion GM Nick de Firmian, or perhaps our commentator and instructor extraorinaire FM Paul Whitehead. Try to take down Organizer sensation Dr. Judit Sztaray or Chess Director Abel Talamantez. We will all be live on Twitch playing, talking about our games and talking about anything that comes up in the chat. Come hang out with us at the Mechanics' online club, perhaps we may even give out occasional free prizes also!

Arenas are an hour long, and the chess staff will be paired against the first available player to play at the conclusion of their games. All other players will be paired with the next available opponent. This will continue for the whole hour. While there is no guarantee you will be paired against a chess staff member, you will have a very good chance of it, depending on the number of players playing. All games will be streamed live on our Twitch channel:

Check out the times here:

GM Nick de Firmian Arena: Mondays 4pm-5pm, 9/28:

FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 9/29:

Dr. Judit Sztaray Arena: Fridays 5pm-6pm, 10/2:

MI Chess Director Abel Talamantez Arena: Fridays 6pm-7pm, 10/2:

See you in the arena!

Mechanics' Chess Social

On our September 11, 2020 edition of the Mechanics' Chess Social, we had on new US Chess President Mike Hoffpauir. He is an NTD and FIDE Arbiter, colonol in the US Army, has served as 

To watch the interview, follow this LINK

For our September 25 Mechanics' Social, we had on Michelle Martinez from ChessKid. She is also a US Chess Delegate from Arizona and we will discuss the scholastic online chess boom, the Arizona chess scene and chess life during the pandemic. We will post the interview on our YouTube channel as soon as it is available HERE.


Dr. Alexey Root

Check out Dr. Alexey Root's newly released installment of Grandmaster Chef on Chessbase with GM Peter Svidler! You can also get a great Ahi Tuna Poke recipe from NM Michael Walder all by following this LINK. Chess and Golf Part 2 will be released soon, stay tuned!

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.

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Register at: Part 1:
                   Part 2:

Mechanics' Chess - Scholastic Tournaments

Saturday, September 26: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

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Sunday, September 27: starts at 10:00am - join from 9:45AM

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Monday, September 28: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

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Tuesday, September 29: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

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Wednesday, September 30: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, October 1 24: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM
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Friday, October 2: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4:00PM

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Games from Scholastic Tournaments

Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian

(5) BlueColdTooth (1483) - StandingWriter (1497) [C42]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 Nc6 A cavalier gambit, almost what one might call a trap. [3...Nxe4!? doesn't lose a piece! 4.Qe2 Qe7! (4...Nf6?? 5.Nc6+!) 5.Qxe4 d6 6.d4 dxe5 7.dxe5 Nc6; 3...d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 Now White has three main paths: 5.-- (The super-safe 5.Qe2 Qe7 6.d3 Nf6 7.Bg5 with a possible queens off, totally benign pawn structure; The classic 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.0-0 0-0 when Black has the "free" move ...Nf6-e4; but perhaps premature, as White can play to undermine the knight with 8.c4 Still, after 8...c6 White's advantage is fairly thin.; The modern and still popular 5.Nc3 Nxc3 6.dxc3 trying to unbalance the game "no matter what" -- often with White castling queenside, while Black has to decide which way to go with his/her king.) ] 4.Nxc6 dxc6 The computers say "+-" (White is winning), but there is danger lurking... 5.Nc3 [5.d3 is the safe and solid way to hold the pawn, if a bit passive.] 5...Bc5!? 6.Bc4?

This goes from a clear advantage to close to losing in one move. The natural development of the bishop is wrong for this position. [6.h3! might seem crude and a waste of a good move, but White has to stop Black's threat cold!; 6.Qe2!? shows some finesse, so as to have d1 for the knight(!): 6...Ng4 7.Nd1 with a possible c2-c3 and d2-d4, (when Black will sorely miss the e-pawn!) or just h2-h3 and then back to d2-d3.] 6...Ng4! Suddenly Black has a clear advantage! 7.0-0? Castling into it! [White has to try 7.Rf1; Or maybe best is 7.Qf3 (with a threat as well!) when Black's path is 7...Ne5! 8.Qe2 Qh4! 9.g3 before White's world falls apart 9...Qh3 10.Qf1 Nxc4 11.Qxc4 Qg2 12.Rf1 Bh3 Black stays a jump ahead of White and at the very least wins the Exchange, but does even better to continue the attack with ...0-0-0 and ...h5.] 7...Qh4 The black queen, bishop and knight combine with lethal threats. 8.h3 Nxf2 9.Qf3?! Leads to mate. [9.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 10.Kf1 Be6 develops quickly and decisively.] 9...Nxh3+ 10.Kh1 Nf2+ 11.Kg1 Qh1# StandingWriter won by checkmate. Those trappy gambits can be fun when they work -- and they must be taken seriously! 0-1

(6) FineGoldFirefly (1349) - AdityaKBayAreaChess (1525) [C50]
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Solid development, but the testing move against Black's Two Knights' Defense is 4. Ng5! 4...Bc5 5.d3 h6 A reasonable use of time, to prevent 6. Bg5 6.h3 [6.Be3] 6...0-0 7.0-0 d6 8.Be3 Bb6 9.Re1 Be6 10.Bb3 Nd4 11.Nxd4? The wrong capture, losing a piece. [11.Bxd4 exd4 12.Ne2 c5 13.Nf4 would be a nice position for White] 11...exd4 12.Ne2?! [12.Bxd4] 12...dxe3 13.d4 exf2+ 14.Kxf2 Nxe4+ 15.Kg1 Qf6 16.Rf1 Qe7 17.c3 Black is a piece and pawn ahead but White plays good moves to make the best of it. 17...Qg5 18.Rf3 Nd2? 19.Rg3! So now White will win the adventurous black knight that jumped too far into the white camp. 19...Bxb3 20.axb3 Qe5 21.Qxd2 Kh7 22.Kh2 Qe6?! 23.Nf4! Qxb3 24.Ra3?! The white rook doesn't do much from this square. [24.Nh5! g6 25.Nf6+ Kg7 26.Rf1 would give White a strong attack with all the pieces near the black king] 24...Qc4 25.Nh5 Rg8 26.Qc2+ Kh8 27.Ra4 Qe6 28.Qd2 c5 29.d5 Qe5! 30.Rag4

30...g5?! [30...Qxh5 would defend and win the knight. Still, the game move stops the white pieces from coming in.] 31.Kh1 f5? [31...Rae8! is a winning position for Black] 32.Re3! Qxe3 33.Qxe3 fxg4 34.hxg4?! [34.Qe6! Kh7 35.Qf7+ Kh8 36.Nf6 Rg7 37.Qh5 Rh7 38.Qg6 Rg7 39.Qxh6+ would win. Queens and knights work well together.] 34...Rgf8 [34...Rae8!] 35.c4?! [35.Qe6!] 35...Rae8?! 36.Qc3+ Re5 37.Ng3 [37.Qd3!] 37...Kh7 38.Nf5 Rfxf5 A practical decision to get rid of the pesky knight. Perhaps Black could have waited for a better time to do this. 39.gxf5 Kg7 40.b4?! [40.g4 Bd8 41.Qh3 Be7 42.Qh5] 40...cxb4?! [40...h5] 41.Qxb4 Rxf5 42.Qxd6 Rf1+ 43.Kh2 Rf7 44.Qe5+ Kg6 45.Qe6+ Kg7
46.Qd6?? [46.d6 would be a winning endgame. The d-pawn would cost Black either the bishop or the rook.] 46...Bc7 That's it. Without the white queen there are no more tricks. 47.Qxc7 Rxc7 48.d6 Rxc4 49.d7 Rd4 50.d8Q Rxd8 51.g3 b5 52.Kh3 b4 53.Kh2 b3 54.Kh3 b2 55.Kh2 b1Q 56.Kh3 h5 57.g4 Rd3+ 58.Kh2 Qa2+ 59.Kh1 Rg3 60.gxh5 Rc3 61.h6+ Kf7 62.h7 Ke7 63.h8Q Rc1# AdityaKBayAreaChess won by checkmate 0-1

NEW: US Chess Online Rated Scholastic Tournaments
Every Week!

September 27, @ 10AM 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:

9/25-27: 2020 US Cadet National Championship
Format: 7RR G/70+10
9/29 Tuesday - Tuesday Online
Format: 5SS G/10+2 
Join starting 5:30
Start at 6:30PM
10/1 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 4.

[email protected]

Our theme today is trapping the queen - a most worthy goal in my opinion!

We will dissect the main ideas in the 1st study, but then you are on your own in the 2nd.

Both examples are again taken from that excellent book, Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Ghenrikh Kasparyan (1974).


1. Rinck 1913 – White wins.

This is a lovely problem – economical and sweet:

1.b3+!  Puts the question to the king, who must step into danger with 1…Ka5. (If 1…Kb4 or 1…Ka3 then simply 2.Be7+ followed by 3.Bc5 stopping the g-pawn and winning routinely.)  2.Bg5!!  (This is the real kicker! White threatens 3.Be3, stopping the g-pawn again, so…)  2…g1Q 3.Bd2+!  (Setting up the Royal couple…)  3…Kb6 4.Be3+! Qxe3 5.Nd5+!  (…for Death by Fork!)  White wins.


2. Troitzky 1924 – White wins.

As usual the Russian composer Alexey Troitzky (1866 – 1942) takes it to another level.  I suspect with Rinck’s solution in mind the reader won’t have too much difficulty…


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Here and There in the Chess World

While we await the live super tournament in Norway starting in two weeks and the Candidates Tournament in a month, we have several things to entertain us. St. Louis has brought us another top online event, with Carlsen and other world top players (and a return from Garry Kasparov!). Kasparov only played in the Fischer-Random event, with a result showing his age. The blitz and rapid combined event was notable for the success of the American players. Wesely So finished second in a very close race with Carlsen. Nakamura had another fine result in third place, and young Jeffery Xiong was seventh place which is quite respectable.

The wide world of chess has some long standing traditional events, and Covid-19 will not stand in their way. The greatest team league in the world is the Bundesliga in Germany, which always gathers many of the world’s best to play for different clubs throughout the country. A third notable event is the 120 year anniversary of the Reykjavik Chess Club. Iceland is a famous chess country since hosting the famous 1972 World Championship match (Match of the Century). It is also a very welcoming country to visitors and many Mechanics’ Institute members have traveled to Reykjavik as chess tourists to be welcomed by the friendly Icelanders. We give a game from each of these events.

(1) Grischuk,Alexander - Carlsen,Magnus [B75]
St. Louis Rapid, 19.09.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 A Dragon Sicilian! Magnus hasn't played this much, his usual defense is the Sveshnikov Variation. 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 a6 Steering away from the main Dragon lines into a hybrid Najdorf/Dragon. 8.Qd2 h5 9.Bc4 Nbd7 10.Bb3 Nc5 11.0-0-0 White has everything classically developed and has a small opening edge. This is a tricky variation to play for both sides as there is a lot of flexibility. 11...b5 12.Kb1 Bb7 13.a3 A nice slow move by Grischuk. There is no easy way to break down the black position so he just solidifies the queenside. 13...Nxb3 14.cxb3 Rc8 15.Nc2 Qc7 16.Bd4

16...0-0?! [here Black missed an opportunity for active play with 16...e5! 17.Be3 d5 18.exd5 Nxd5 19.Nxd5 Bxd5 20.Qxd5 Qxc2+ 21.Ka2 0-0 and Black has at least equality.] 17.Qf2 e5?! now this doesn't get followed by ...d5 so the d-pawn remains backward 18.Bb6 Qd7 19.Nb4 Rxc3!? probably the best option, getting active play for a little material 20.bxc3 Qe6 21.Kb2 Rc8? [21...d5 22.exd5 Nxd5 23.Nxd5 Bxd5 24.Qc5! forces 24...Rc8 25.Qxd5 Qxb6 when Black has some compensation for the exchange, but not enough. This was the best choice though.] 22.Ba5! guarding c3 and clearing the g1-a7 diagonal. White is consolidating the material edge. 22...d5
23.Qa7! White invades the queenside with decisive effect. It is unusal that Black would have trouble on this wing in a Sicilian. 23...Ba8 24.Nxa6 Bf8 25.Nc7 Qe7 26.Nxb5 Qe8 27.Nc7 Qe7 28.Bb6 dxe4 29.Nxa8 forcing the endgame, which is a sure win 29...Qxa7 30.Bxa7 Rxa8 31.Bf2 Bxa3+ 32.Kc2 Be7 33.Ra1 There is no real hope in this position against such a play as Grischuk, but Magnus plays on since it is a rapid game. 33...Rc8 34.Rhd1 exf3 35.gxf3 e4 36.fxe4 Nxe4 37.Bd4 f5 38.Kb2 Kf7 39.b4 g5 40.Kb3 g4 41.Ra7 Ke6 42.Ra6+ Kf7 43.c4 Bd6 44.Bg1 Ke7 45.c5 Be5 46.Rd5 Black resigned. Of course Magnus won the tournament (again), but it seemed good to show that his opponents make him work for his tournament victories. *

(2) Sigfusson,Sigudur - Gretarsson,Hjorvar Steinn [E90]
Rejkyavik 120 yr anniversery, 21.09.2020

This is a game from a couple of the young Icelandic players. Their names are a tradition from the old days, just as the Vikings had 1000 years ago. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0-0 6.Be3 c5!? 7.Nf3 [7.dxc5 Qa5 8.cxd6?! Nxe4 favors Black] 7...cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nbd7!? [8...Nc6 is more standard, reaching a Morocy Bind position] 9.g3 a6 10.Bg2 Ne5 11.b3 Bd7 12.0-0 Rc8 13.Rc1 Qa5 14.Qd2

White has successfully navigated the opening to get the position he wants - more space without targets that Black can easily attack. 14...Rfd8 15.a4 Nc6 16.Nde2 Qb4 17.Qc2 Na5 18.Rb1 White still has a nice spatial advantage and is ready to start a slow kingside advance. Black rashly decides to take a shot in the middle of the board. 18...d5? 19.cxd5! [Calmly opening the c-file with the black rook on c8. Yet there is nothing Black can take advantage of here and just remains a pawn down. Worse would have been 19.exd5?! Bf5] 19...e6 20.Qd2! exd5 21.e5 This completely disrupts the black position. 21...d4 desperate [21...Ne8 22.Nxd5 Qxd2 23.Bxd2 Nc6 24.Bg5] 22.Qxd4 Qxd4 23.Bxd4 Bf5 [23...Ne8 24.Bb6!] 24.exf6 Bxb1 25.Rxb1
Two pieces and a pawn for a rook plus a crushing position. Black resigned. 1-0

(3) Mamedyarov,Shakh - Kamsky,Gata [E91]
Bundesliga, 20.09.2020

Mamedyarov visited our club last year and gave a memorable simul. Here he meets Gata Kamsky, who now lives in Russia again, but played for the US for many years. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 Nc6!? This is unusual. Kamsky gets out of the main lines by giving up space, but at least making the dark squares a bit more accessible for his minor pieces. 6.d5 Nb8 7.Nf3 c6 8.0-0 0-0 9.h3 e5 10.dxe6 Bxe6 11.Re1 d5 making the central break rather than waiting for White to pile up on the d6 pawn. White has an opening edge in any case. 12.exd5 cxd5 13.Bg5 dxc4 14.Nd4 The active white pieces cause pressure. Kamsky does his best to keep the black position solid. 14...Qc8 15.Nxe6 Qxe6 16.Bf3 Qa6

17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Nd5 Bd8 [18...Bxb2? 19.Rb1 c3 20.Ne7+ Kg7 21.Qd4+ f6 22.Nxg6! hxg6 23.Re7+ Rf7 24.Rxf7+ Kxf7 25.Re1 is a decisive attack as all the black pieces are away from the black king] 19.h4 Nc6 20.h5 Qa5 21.Qc1 Nb4?! [21...Qc5 22.Qh6 Qd4 23.Rad1 Qg7 24.Qf4 gxh5 is a better defense, though still an edge for White] 22.Qxc4 Nxd5 23.Bxd5 Bf6 24.b4! Qb6 25.Rad1 material is even but Shakh has clearly more control of the board. It is instructive to see how he uses this advantage. 25...Rad8 26.a4 Kg7 27.Qf4 Rfe8?! [27...h6] 28.h6+ Kf8 29.Rxe8+ Rxe8 30.a5 Qd8 31.Qf3 now White wins a pawn 31...Qe7 [31...b6? 32.Bc6 wins a lot of material] 32.Bxb7 Be5 33.Bc6 Rd8 34.b5 Rxd1+ 35.Qxd1 The endgame is winning for White because of the advanced queenside pawns. The bishops of opposite color are not enough to allow Black serious drawning chances. 35...Bc7 36.Qa1 Be5 37.Qd1 Bc7 38.Qa1 Be5 39.Qe1 Bd4 40.Qd2 Qc5 41.g3 Ke7 42.Kg2 f5 43.Qg5+ Bf6 44.Qf4 Be5 45.Qd2 Bd4 46.f4 Kf6

47.Kh3! with the white king safe the white queen can infiltrate 47...Qc4 48.Bg2 Qc5 49.Bf3 Ke7 50.Qe2+ Be3 51.Qb2 Bd4 52.Qb3 Kd6 53.Bc6 g5 54.fxg5 a6 55.Qf7 axb5 56.Qd7+ Ke5 57.g6 Kf6 58.g7 1-0


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