Chess Room Newsletter #938 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #938

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #938


October 10, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Chess Coaching vs. Teaching Chess

by Abel Talamantez

There are no shortage of people teaching chess, many offering their services to introduce new players to this great game or teaching experienced players to play better, to see things on the chessboard they do not yet see. There are many strong players selling their skill as a player as a license to teach others. Oftentimes I see parents looking for a coach for their kids ask what a prospective instructor's rating is, a perfectly valid question in looking for a coach.

When I started my own after school chess program in 2012, I took on some private students. I am a former 2000 level player who was teaching beginners, so I felt more than qualified to teach chess to these students. My very first student was someone who knew the moves, but did not know how to improve. I focused first on making sure my student understood mate and mate patterns. I reinforced the basics such as center control and had him review tactics.

On my fourth week of lessons (I would teach 1:15 class once per week), my student had not finished all the assigned homework problems. I asked why it had not been done, and he simply shrugged and said he did not know. As the lesson progressed, he seemed to lose focus, which was frustrating for me. I had come to his house after teaching in a full class in a school, and having a half-hearted student that did not finish an assigned task was not something that made me feel good. After a couple more weeks with no change in behavior, I had a talk with his parents, and I told them that he was not focused or engaged during the lesson and was not doing the work assigned. They said they would talk to him and let me know of the scheduling for the next lesson.

I never heard back, and I was perfectly fine with that. I didn’t want my time wasted, and I didn’t want parents wasting their money.

I remember thinking after that maybe I had done something wrong. I didn’t feel good about how I was approaching the relationship, and this was the key. I made the lesson more about what I needed to feel comfortable, about what I wanted and needed to feel comfortable. This was not coaching.

I realized there was a difference between simply teaching chess and coaching. When you coach, you enter a relationship with the student that is more about supporting the student to realize their full potential, and this involves much more than what is on the chessboard. I would let parents and students know my expectations, and I would let them know what they can expect from me. So many behavioral factors are crucial to the success of any student, such as the building of self confidence, dealing with losses, how to properly learn form losses, dealing with the anxiety of competition and how to focus under pressure. These are all things a coach has to identify and bring out the best in a student, but the way to do this will differ between students because everyone is different. This is what I believe makes a good coach, someone who is fully invested in the success of a student, entering into a relationship of responsibility towards the student in which the student feels supported, even in times of great challenge for the student. A good coach accepts the challenges of growth with the student, rather than shirk away from trying times. 

I believe this is missing in many "coaches," particularly in chess. I have seen some great coaches, but I have seen much more teachers of chess, former players showing students what they don't know. We need to have a proper training for coaches of chess.

As you will read in this newsletter, the Mechanics' Institute has been approved by FIDE as the 4th FIDE Academy in the U.S. One of the things I appreciate is that the people leading the FIDE Trainers Commission have acknowledged that it is equally important to develop coaches to teach new students as it is to train coaches to teach masters, because without one you cannot have the other. I think this is the right approach, and the emphasis in providing coaches with programs that develop their skills in coaching and bring an emphasis to the proper role and responsibility of a coach will help bring better coaching to our chess community. The Mechanics' Institute will be committed to this approach in our academy.

I learned the hard way, and failed a student. As we teach our students, however, we must learn from our mistakes, and try not to let our mistakes define us. The best growth comes through mistakes, and it is equally important for both students and coaches.

Ray Conway Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon Report

The Ray Conway Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon kicked off this week, with an 8-round open section tournament, named after former MI Chess Director Ray Conway, who led the club for nine years from 1971-1980. He was the Chess Director during the Fischer-Spassky world championship match in 1972 and was a former guard at Alcatraz, a background that John Donaldson had said was well-suited to keep order in the club during his time there. 

There are 53 players in the marathon, with the top seeds being IM Prasanna Rao, FM Kyron Griffith, and IM Elliott Winslow. But competiton will be tough, as there are 17 other players in the 1800-2200 rating range. The top players made it through the first round, but in the second round, Patrick Liu gave IM Prasanna Rao all he could handle in a time scramble, and capitalized on some errors made by Rao to secure a draw. In another hotly-contested game, David Flores Gomez played well and took advantage of Ethan Boldi's time trouble to produce an upset win. David typically plays fast and is a talented A player, so it was not a surprising result. 

Eric Hon joined the tournament after the first round, so he will be a force to reckoned with as the tournament proceeds. 

The broadcast was lively, and Paul and I were joined during round 2 by WIM Alexey Root and NM Michael Walder. 

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

(5) Rachael Tiong (rachael1120) (1664) - IM Prasanna Rao (Praschess) (2497) [C55]
Ray Conway TNM (1.1), 06.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 [4.Ng5 is about as popular among the kids.] 4...h6 This is right behind the two bishop moves (to e7 or c5) in popularity, with all three scoring over 45% in the big databases. Black has the idea to fianchetto, but first deals with 5.Ng5 (the bishop moves allow Black to just castle). 5.0-0 d6 6.c3 g6 [Mamedyarov and others have toyed with 6...g5!? , both here and after 6.Re1. Black shouldn't be able to get away with this, but often enough he has so far!] 7.Re1 [7.d4!? tries to pressure the center right away. Far and away the main move is 7...Qe7 (7...exd4 8.cxd4 Bg7 is another way to handle the center (8...Nxe4?? 9.Re1+- catches Black's king in the center) but 9.Nc3 is a fairly solid center.) 8.Nbd2 Bg7 9.Re1 lines up on Black's queen, limiting active counterplay.] 7...Bg7 8.h3 [8.Bb3 0-0 9.Nbd2 Re8 10.a4 is a more patient approach, preserving the bishop and expanding on the queenside.] 8...0-0 9.d4 The computers are pushing a- and b-pawns here...

9...exd4!? [9...Qe7 has mostly been played, with excellent results.] 10.cxd4 d5!? Rao clarifies, and plays against the isolated queen pawn. 11.exd5 Nxd5 12.Nc3 [12.Bxd5!? Qxd5 13.Nc3 Qd6 14.d5 Ne7 15.Nb5 Qxd5 16.Bxh6! would have been quite a surprise! 16...Bxh6 (16...Qxd1 17.Raxd1 Bxh6 18.Nxc7 Rb8 19.Rxe7+/-) 17.Nxc7! Qc5 18.Nxa8 is still complicated, but works well for White.] 12...Be6 13.Ne4N
[13.Bb3!? Qd7?! 14.Ne4 b6 15.Bxh6!? Bxh6 16.Bxd5 Bg7 17.Bxe6 fxe6 18.Nh4 is a crushing position, although even with a big ratings advantage White didn't cash: ½-½ (66) Jeet, J (2334)-Cheela Naga,S (1839) Kankarbagh 2017] 13...Nc3! Letting his young but already experienced opponent switch to hanging pawns, but grabbing the two bishops and light-squared control. 14.bxc3 Bxc4 Already the computers are making Black fully equal, with the trend going his way. 15.Nc5?! [15.Bf4] 15...b6 16.Nd3 Re8 17.Be3 [17.Nfe5!? Nxe5 18.Nxe5 Qd5!? still tries to play on the light squares and the weak pawns, even without the bishop. (18...Bxe5 doesn't even win a pawn (with a resulting bishop of opposite color ending) because h6 hangs 19.dxe5 Qxd1 20.Rxd1 Kg7 21.Rd4) ] 17...Ne7 [17...Qd5 leans on White a bit more.] 18.Nde5 Be6 19.Qd2 Kh7 [19...f6!? 20.Nd3 (20.Ng4 h5) 20...Nf5 is a more active defense of h6, with White slipping further into passivity.] 20.Rac1 b5!? [20...c5 doesn't give White as much] 21.c4!? [21.a4!? a6 (21...bxa4 22.c4 gives White the initiative) 22.h4!?] 21...bxc4 22.Nxc4 Nf5 23.Red1 White isn't putting up much fight now, and Black focuses on an unexpected weak point in White's game. [23.Nce5 Bd5 24.Qa5!?] 23...Bd5 24.Nfe5
24...Nh4! 25.f3 Nf5 Continuing the positional squeeze. [But 25...f6! is instant collapse, as if the knight moves Black has ...Bxf3!] 26.Bf2 Bf6 27.Ne3?! [27.Na5!] 27...Bg5
28.h4 Bxe3 29.Bxe3 f6! Even more precise [than 29...Nxe3] 30.Ng4 h5 White gets a couple stray pawns for the knight, but basically the game is over. 31.Nxf6+ Qxf6 32.Rxc7+ Kg8 33.Bg5 Qb6 34.Qf4 Rac8 35.Rdc1 Rxc7 36.Rxc7 [36.Qxc7 is how the computers drag it out.] 36...Bxa2 [36...Nxd4! is superficially precarious but in fact crushes resistance - Black is always a move ahead in the mating game.] 37.Bf6? White was lost but this blunder ends all hope. 37...Qxf6 38.Rxa7 Bf7 39.Rd7 Qxh4 40.Qxh4 Nxh4 41.d5 Nf5 42.d6 Be6 43.Ra7 Nxd6 44.Ra6 Nf7 45.Kh2 Kg7 46.Kg3 Kf6 47.Kf4 g5+ 48.Ke4 h4 49.Kd4 Nh6 50.Kd3 Nf5 51.Ke4 Rd8 52.f4 Rd4+ 53.Kf3 Rxf4+ 54.Ke2 g4 55.Kd3 h3 56.gxh3 gxh3 57.Kc3 h2 58.Kd3 h1Q 59.Kc3 Qc1+ 60.Kd3 Qe3+ 61.Kc2 Rf2+ 62.Kd1 Qd2# Praschess won by checkmate 0-1

(6) Ethan Guo (LightningDragon8) (1592) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (1991) [B88]
Ray Conway TNM (1.3), 06.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 An older and less-seen move recently. Robert J. Fischer mostly played this when his favorite Najdorf Sicilian was played against him. 6...e6 Black tries to shut down White's bishop. In this game successfully. 7.Bb3 [7.0-0 Be7 8.Bb3 Nc6 0-1 (22) Herb,P (2540)-Janosi,E (2415) ICCF corr 1998] 7...Nc6 And this leads into the Classical Sicilian, Sozin Variation, an even older line. [The two particularly Najdorf moves are the even more radical 7...b5; and the relatively sedate 7...Nbd7] 8.Be3 Be7 9.0-0 [9.f4 followed by Qf3 (or Qe2) leads to lots of complications, in case Black thought this was going to be quiet.; And 9.Qe2 followed by 0-0-0 is the Velimirovich Attack, one of the most complicated openings of all.] 9...0-0 10.f4 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 b5

12.a3 Sensible and played by Fischer against Spassky in their 1972 world championship match, but subsequent determinations have it too cautious. [12.e5! dxe5 13.fxe5 Nd7 14.Ne4! Bb7 15.Nd6 Bxd6 16.exd6 Qg5 has been known since the analysts tackled that Fischer-Spassky game, but still no final conclusion has been reached.] 12...Bb7 13.Qe1 All the queen moves get in big trouble in practice via the same as in the game. [13.Qd3 was Fischer's choice. 13...a5! 14.e5?! dxe5 15.fxe5 Nd7 16.Nxb5 Nc5 17.Bxc5 Bxc5+ 18.Kh1 Qg5 (18...a4!?; 18...Ba6!?) 19.Qe2? (19.Qg3 Qxg3 20.hxg3 a4 21.Bc4 Ba6 22.Rf4 Rad8 23.Nd6 Bxd6 24.exd6 Rxd6 25.Bxa6 Rxa6 1/2-1/2 (38) Meshcheriakova,E (2211)-Kiss,A (2393) Szombathely 2004) 19...Rad8 20.Rad1 Rxd1 21.Rxd1 Black had an initiative bordering on an attack but White held on: ½-½ (45) Fischer,R-Spassky,B Reykjavik 1972; 13.Qf3; 13.Qe2; One possible ray of hope is 13.f5!? e5 14.Be3 but Black has the thematic exchange sacrifice 14...Rc8 15.Qf3? Rxc3! 16.bxc3 Nxe4 bordering on won, although ½-½ (35) Scheffknecht, P-Brandstaetter,F (2095) Liechtenstein 1995] 13...a5! Almost everybody's favorite move, here and after the queen moves. [But 13...Rc8!? had a successful trial: 14.Rd1 d5 15.f5 e5 16.Bxe5 Qb6+ 17.Kh1 dxe4 18.Rf4 Rfd8 19.Bxf6 Qxf6 20.Nxe4 Qe5 21.f6 21...Bb4! (or the mundane 21...Qxf4 22.fxe7 Rxd1 23.Qxd1 Re8 24.Nd6 Rxe7 25.Nxf7 Kf8 steps out of trouble and wins.) 22.axb4 Qxf4 0-1, Herb,P (2540)-Janosi,E (2415) ICCF corr 1998] 14.e5? Even here Black is more ready for this than White is. [14.Rd1 b4 has been seen a few times. The computers don't make much either way but Black has won every game eventually. 15.e5! (15.axb4 axb4 16.e5 dxe5! 0-1 (37) Klovsky,R-Tavadian,R Yerevan 1981(16...bxc3 17.exf6 Bxf6 18.Qxc3 Bxd4+ 19.Qxd4 Qa5!= 20.Qxd6?? (20.Qf2) 20...Rad8? (20...Rfd8! when White doesn't have the trick on the next move) 21.Qe5? (21.Ra1! Qxa1 22.Qxf8+=) 21...Qb6+ 22.Kh1 Qf2 23.Qg5 Rd2 0-1 (31) Delanoy,A (2184)-Korotylev,A (2554) Geneve 2001) ) 15...bxc3 (15...dxe5 16.fxe5 Nd7 17.Nb5 a4 is Lc0's line 18.Bc4) 16.exf6 Bxf6 17.Qxc3 Rc8 18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Qd4 Rc6 20.Kh1 Kh8 21.f5 e5 22.Qh4 Rc5 23.Rf2 e4 24.Qf4 Re5 0-1 (58) Henry,L (2211)-Jiang,L (2135) Montreal 2008] 14...dxe5 15.Bxe5 [15.Qxe5 is better, but Black has an unusual and powerful response: 15...a4! 16.Ba2 Ra5!!] 15...b4 Not bad or anything, but Black was already winning with a combination of three moves: [15...a4! 16.Ba2 Qb6+ (16...Ng4) 17.Kh1 Ng4-+ too many bad things are happening on both sides of the board.; or first 15...Ng4!; or 15...Qb6+!] 16.axb4?! [16.Na4] 16...axb4 Now Black has the best of all worlds. 17.Ne2?! [17.Na4] 17...Rxa1 18.Qxa1 Bc5+ 19.Kh1
19...Qd2 [19...Ng4! is just a lot stronger.] 20.Qe1 Qxe1 [20...Rd8!] 21.Rxe1 Rd8 In spite of the inaccuracies it's pretty much over. Black grabs the file; all his pieces are firing much more strongly than White's. 22.h3 Rd2 23.Bc4 Rxc2 [23...Nd5!] 24.b3 Nd5 [24...Ne4!] 25.Bxd5 Bxd5 26.Kh2 f6 27.Bb8 Bf2 28.Rc1 Rxe2 29.Rc8+ Kf7 30.Rc7+ Kg6 31.f5+ exf5 32.Rxg7+ Now it's just getting silly. 32...Kxg7 33.Bg3 Be3 34.Bf2 Rxf2 35.Kg3 Rxg2+ 36.Kh4 Bg5+ 37.Kh5 Bf3# ecwinslow won by checkmate 0-1

(7) IM Prasanna Rao (Praschess) (2206) - Patrick Liu (katechen77) (1665) [B72]
Ray Conway TNM (2.1), 06.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bc4 IM Rao plays a quieter, central-oriented line against the Dragon Sicilian, which usually comes about via the Accelerated Fianchetto. No wild Yugoslav Attack! 6...Bg7 7.h3 [7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 Nc6 9.h3 Bd7 10.Be3 Rc8 0-1 (77) Emms,J (2462) -Jones,G (2641) England 2015] 7...Nc6 8.Be3 0-0 9.Bb3 Bd7 10.0-0 Rc8 Black takes advantage of the particular move order. [Actually 10...Qa5 would be from the Accelerated Fianchetto, as given above.] 11.Re1 Modern style. [11.f4 is similar to the older lines (against the line with ...Qa5).] 11...a6 [11...Na5 12.Nf3 0-1 (77) Emms,J (2462)-Jones,G (2641) England 2015] 12.Nf3

A dozen moves have been played here, but this has a pretty good percentage score (over 60%). [12.Nxc6!? was a high-rated game: 12...Bxc6 13.Nd5 Nd7 14.Bg5 Re8 15.c3 h6 16.Bh4 g5 17.Bg3 e6 18.Ne3 Ne5 19.Ng4 Bb5 20.Re3 Qe7 21.f4 gxf4 22.Bxf4 Qh4 23.a4 Nxg4!? 24.hxg4 Bc4 25.Bc2 (25.Rh3!) 25...e5 26.Bg3?! (26.Rh3+/-) 26...Qg5= but: 1-0 (62), Gashimov,V (2733)-Tregubov,P (2598) Warsaw 2010.] 12...Qc7N [12...Na5 has been seen a few times: 13.Qe2 (13.Qd2!? b5 14.Bh6 Nc4 15.Bxc4 Rxc4 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.b3 (17.Rad1!?) 17...Rc6 18.Nd5 e5!?= 0-1 (77) Emms,J (2462)-Jones,G (2641) England 2015) 13...Bc6 14.Bg5 Qc7 15.Rad1 b5 16.Nd5 Bxd5 1/2-1/2 (16) Gao,R (2533)-Iturrizaga Bonelli,E (2640) Rochefort 2015; 12...b5 has also been played.] 13.Nd5! A common motif in this line -- White provokes a knight exchange, giving him play down the e-file. In this case it appears that Black's counterplay isn't quite as good. 13...Nxd5 14.exd5 Ne5 15.c3 [15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.c3 a5 17.a3+/-] 15...Nc4 16.Bxc4 [16.Bd4!?] 16...Qxc4 17.Bg5
17...Bf6?! [17...Rfe8 18.Bxe7 Rc5 19.Bxd6 Rxd5 20.Rxe8+ Bxe8 21.Qe1 Bc6 22.Be5! secures an advantage of note.] 18.Bxf6 exf6 19.Re7 [19.Qb3!?] 19...Rcd8 20.Qd2 Rfe8 21.b3 Qc5 [21...Qc7; 21...Qc8] 22.Rae1 Rxe7 23.Rxe7 Kf8 24.Re4 Kg7 25.Rh4 [25.c4! is a win, according to the usual silicon suspects.] 25...h5 26.b4 [26.Rc4; 26.c4; 26.Rf4 are all enticing.] 26...Qb6
27.g4? This just doesn't work out. [27.Rf4; 27.c4 Re8 28.g4 would be a better time.] 27...Rh8! 28.gxh5 g5! Now White has to decide -- take a draw by repetition or gamble. The times: White 12:54, Black 5:11. 29.h6+ There are still chances for Black to go wrong (and he does). [29.Nxg5 fxg5 30.Qxg5+ Kh7 (30...Kf8?? 31.Qf6 Rh7 32.h6 is a nice winning line - Black has a lot to worry about.) 31.Rf4 Rg8 32.Rxf7+ Kh8 33.Rf8 Rxf8 34.Qh6+ with a perpetual.] 29...Kg6! [29...Rxh6? 30.Rxh6 Kxh6 31.h4 Qd8 32.c4 puts Black under pressure, with c4-c5 on the queenside.] 30.Re4?!
[30.Qd3+ Bf5 31.Qd4 Qxd4 32.Rxd4 Rxh6 33.h4 g4? (33...Bc2; 33...b5) 34.Nd2 Rxh4 35.Nc4+/-] 30...Bxh3? [30...Rxh6!=/+ on the principle of removing the most dangerous pawn.] 31.Nd4?! [31.Qd3! Rxh6 (31...Bf5?? 32.Nh4+ is a blow; 31...f5 32.Re3 Qb5+/=) 32.Nd4 Kg7 33.Re7 Bc8 34.Ne6+ Bxe6 35.dxe6 Qc6 and White is strongly advised to grovel to a draw.] 31...Qd8? Patrick used up one of his three remaining minutes but missed the mark. [31...Bd7 32.Qd3 f5 does consolidate, with White looking foolish.] 32.Qd3+- White locks in; Black is lost. 32...f5 33.Re3 Bg4 White 10:40, Black 1:20 34.f3? But only if he finds the right way! [34.Rg3! forces a king move, when f2-f3 keeps h3 covered and pulls the bishop off f5. Crushing.] 34...Bh3 35.Qe2? [35.f4! Bg4 36.Rg3 Kh5! 37.Rh3+ is a perpetual whether or not Black captures the rook.(37.Nxf5!? gxf4! 38.Ng7+ Kh4 39.Rxg4+! (39.Rg2? Qf6!) 39...Kxg4 40.Qf5+= Nice king!) ] 35...Rxh6? [35...Kxh6! gives Black a nice situation. 36.Re7 Kg6 37.Rxb7 Re8 38.Qh2 g4 39.Qg3 (39.Kf2 Qg5) 39...Re3!] 36.Re7? [36.Re8! Qd7 37.Qe7! (37.Re7? Qc8! could have been the game.) 37...Qxe7 38.Rxe7 g4 39.f4 g3 40.Ne2 g2 41.Kf2 Bg4 42.Ng1 is no fun but White does hold on.] 36...Qh8!? with a devilish idea, but there was a better way. Still, using 17 of your remaining 43 seconds it's pretty impressive! [36...Qc8! 37.Qd3 Kf6 38.Re2 f4! Black takes over.] 37.Rxb7??

[37.Re8! Qf6 38.Rg8+ (38.Qe7 also draws) 38...Kh7 39.Rb8 (39.Qe8 f4 40.Rf8 Kg6 41.Rg8+ Kh5 and there goes that king again! 42.a4 but it's just a draw) ] 37...Bf1!!-+ 38.Kxf1 [38.Qe7 threatens mate in one! but 38...Rh1+ 39.Kf2 Qh4+ 40.Ke3 Qe1+ 41.Ne2 Qxe2+ 42.Kd4 Qd2# gets there first.] 38...Rh1+ 39.Kf2 Rh2+ 40.Ke1 Rxe2+ 41.Kxe2 White 7:33, Black 0:17.8 41...Qh2+ [41...Qc8 takes out c3;; 41...g4!? makes another queen (!).] 42.Kd3 Qxa2 43.Rb6 At this point Black, in admittedly a won position but so short on time, saw a perpetual and like a life boat jumped on it. 43...Qb1+ 44.Kc4 Qf1+ 45.Kb3 Qb1+ 46.Kc4 Qf1+ 47.Kb3 Qb1+ 48.Kc4 Game drawn by repetition. Another fantastic TNM battle! Both players missed chances, but 37...Bf1!! made up for that. Patrick Peijun Liu, second highest rated 8-year-old in the country; another one to keep an eye on. 1/2-1/2

(1) NM Michael Walder (FlightsOfFancy) (1890) - Max Hao (Joseph_Truelsons_Fan) (1806) [B99]
Ray Conway TNM (2.5), 06.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 Nbd7 My compliments to both players for choosing this classic fighting opening from the glory days of the Fischer era. 10.f5!? White playes a less common line instead of the usual 10. g4 or 10. Bd3. These sidelines can be confusing to an opponent. 10...Ne5 [an alternative is 10...e5 11.Nb3 b5 12.a3 Bb7] 11.Qh3 h6?! This doesn't threaten the bishop right now due to the pin on the h-file. In the Najdorf one needs to make use of each precious tempo. [I suggest 11...0-0 since 12.fxe6 Nfg4! 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 gives Black active play for the pawn] 12.fxe6 Nfg4? Now this doesn't work. Black needed to play [12...fxe6 though White has the advantage after 13. Be2 or 13. Bd2] 13.exf7+ Nxf7 14.Bxe7! Nf2?!

[14...Qxe7 15.Nd5 Qg5+ 16.Rd2 Nf2 17.Nc7+ Ke7 18.Qa3 Nxh1 19.Nxa8] 15.Qf3 Nxd1 16.Nd5!
Black is in big trouble against the super powerful white knights in the middle of the board. 16...Qc5 17.Qxd1 Bd7 18.Be2 White's minor pieces trap the black king in the center. There is no way out. 18...Rc8 [18...Bc6 19.Ne6 Qa5 20.Nxg7+ Kd7 21.Bg4#] 19.Bh5 Rf8 20.Bxf8 Kxf8 21.Qf3 Be8 FlightsOfFancy won by resignation 1-0

(2) Mark Drury (BirdOrBust) (1668) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2172) [A03]
Ray Conway TNM (2.2), 06.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.f4 BirdorBust clearly lives by his name. 1...g6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 Bg7 4.d4 Nh6!? This is often a good square to place the knight in these structures. The knight looks to go to f5 and this leaves the black f-pawn able to move up to f6 to chase away a white knight jumping on to the e5 square. 5.Bd3 0-0 6.0-0 c5 7.c3 [White doesn't want to lose central control with 7.dxc5?! Nd7] 7...Bf5 8.Qe2 Qb6 9.Nbd2 Nc6 10.Ne5? Black had gotten a nice opening position and now White allows a tactic. 10...Rad8? Kyron misses it though he keeps a good position. He had [10...cxd4 11.cxd4 (11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.cxd4 Bxd4) 11...Nxd4! 12.exd4 Bxe5 13.fxe5 Qxd4+ 14.Rf2 Qxd3] 11.Ndf3 Rfe8 12.Nxc6 bxc6 13.Ne5?! This knight just gets chased away. 13...f6

Looking at the position one sees that all the black pieces are developed and the black pawns are ready to break in the center. Meanwhile the white queenside is not yet developed. Trouble lies ahead for White. 14.Nf3 cxd4 15.exd4? [15.cxd4 was necessary but clearly better for Black] 15...e5! All the black pieces come to life, and there is also the problem that White's d-pawn is pinned so cannot help out in the central battle. 16.fxe5 fxe5
17.Bxf5 [17.Bxh6 exd4! 18.Qd1 dxc3+ 19.Kh1 Bxh6] 17...Nxf5 18.Qf2 exd4 19.cxd4 Nxd4 20.Kh1 Nxf3 simple and effective. It's not just the extra pawn - Black's developed pieces make for a decisive advantage. 21.Qxf3 [21.Qxb6 axb6 22.gxf3 Re2] 21...Rf8 22.Qe2 Rxf1+ 23.Qxf1 Rf8 24.Qe2 Qf2! Trading to an easily winning ending. 25.Qxf2 Rxf2 26.Be3 Rxb2 27.Bxa7 this loses a piece but [27.Rc1 d4 is not much better] 27...Rb7 28.Bc5 Bxa1 KyronGriffith won by resignation 0-1

Here are the standings after the first 2 rounds.

SwissSys Report: Conway Memorial TNM Online

SwissSys Standings. Conway Memorial TNM Online: Open

# Name ID Rating St Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
1 FM Kyron Griffith 12860484 2470 CA KyronGriffith W29 W24 2.0
2 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 CA ecwinslow W31 W25 2.0
3 Felix German 12624534 1976 CA FelixGerman W35 W37 2.0
4 Jonah Busch 12469525 1948 CA kondsaga W36 W38 2.0
5 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 CA MatnMatt20 W40 W16 2.0
6 NM Michael Walder 10345120 2075 CA FlightsOfFancy W46 W17 2.0
7 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 CA kclemens W47 W18 2.0
8 Nicholas Ruo Weng 15499404 1958 CA ninjaforce W48 W19 2.0
9 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1927 CA mwncklmann W49 W20 2.0
10 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 CA PlayerCreate1 W53 W15 2.0
11 IM Prasanna Ragh Rao 16083805 2508 CA Praschess W28 D13 1.5
12 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 CA chessappeals D42 W41 1.5
13 Patrick Peiju Liu 16667410 1851 CA katechen77 W50 D11 1.5
14 Eric Hon 13778105 2186 UT microbear H--- W42 1.5
15 Ethan Boldi 15088362 2120 CA etvat W32 L10 1.0
16 Daniel Lin 15176393 1998 CA SmilyFace4 W34 L5 1.0
17 Max Hao 16083648 1761 CA Joseph_Truelsons_Fan W39 L6 1.0
18 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1331 CA chesspoki W21 L7 1.0
19 Ya Dancig Perlman 16280288 1235 CA noydan100 W23 L8 1.0
20 Ethan Sun 16964125 931 CA sfdeals W26 L9 1.0
21 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 CA BreatheChessAlways L18 W47 1.0
22 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 CA talenuf H--- H--- 1.0
23 Javier Silva III 16089208 1869 CA J3Chess24 L19 W48 1.0
24 Mark L Drury 12459313 1843 CA BirdOrBust W51 L1 1.0
25 Adam Mercado 16571026 1842 CA A-boy415 W52 L2 1.0
26 Vishva Nanugonda 16380312 1775 CA vish1080 L20 W49 1.0
27 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 CA starserika18 H--- H--- 1.0
28 Rachael Tiong 16019458 1656 CA rachael1120 L11 W50 1.0
29 Kr Gopalakrishnan 16545130 1628 CA chessboi2010 L1 W51 1.0
30 Gan Mathrubootham 15183473 1620 CA gmbchess H--- H--- 1.0
31 Ethan Guo 16761994 1606 CA LightningDragon8 L2 W52 1.0
32 Lisa Willis 12601676 1583 NV LittlePinkCorvette L15 W53 1.0
33 Richard Hack 12796129 1569 CA Kaline340Green H--- H--- 1.0
34 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 CA rimus11 L16 W43 1.0
35 Marina Xiao 16380642 1428 CA programmingmax L3 W44 1.0
36 Ella Guo 16380657 1355 CA SunnyCountry L4 W45 1.0
37 Pranav Pradeep 15871762 1323 CA pranavpradeep2006 W43 L3 1.0
38 Jacob S Wang 17083655 1287 CA jacobchess857 W44 L4 1.0
39 Jeff North 17179258 923 CA JeffNorthSF L17 W46 1.0
40 Stan Polivyanenko 17310102 831 CA MrL0cust L5 B--- 1.0
41 Sebby Suarez 16875347 691 CA Sebbymeister W45 L12 1.0
42 Adithya Chitta 16695036 933 CA adichi D12 L14 0.5
43 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 CA Mangonel L37 L34 0.0
44 Nicholas Ar Boldi 15088356 1883 CA nicarmt L38 L35 0.0
45 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1710 CA GiorgosTsolias L41 L36 0.0
46 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 CA fiddleleaf L6 L39 0.0
47 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 CA Echecsmike L7 L21 0.0
48 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 CA swimgrass L8 L23 0.0
49 Martin Camacho 17248027 1311 CA camachom L9 L26 0.0
50 Ian Liao 16738735 1091 CA victor6688 L13 L28 0.0
51 Kevin Sun 16898540 1073 CA kevin_mx_sun L24 L29 0.0
52 Yuvraj Si Sawhney 17095004 1060 CA SaintReturns L25 L31 0.0
53 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 953 CA andrewaballantyne L10 L32 0.0

SwissSys Standings. Conway Memorial TNM Online: Extra Games

# Name ID Rating St Fed Rd 1 Total
1 Stan Polivyanenko 17310102 831 CA MrL0cust W2 1.0
2 Judit Sztaray 14708926 827 CA JuditSztaray L1 0.0


Mechanics' Institute Approved as Fourth FIDE Academy in U.S.

We are very proud to announce that FIDE has just approved the Mechanics' Institute as a FIDE Academy, which means we will begin organzing seminars and workshops for coaches and players that can lead to earning FIDE titles for trainers. GM Melik Khachiyan and IM John Donaldson will be among the trainers for the seminars, are we look forward to organizing educational programs for the professional development of coaches and for the benefit of our chess community. The FIDE Trainers Commission (TRG) has stated the importance of training coaches to teach new and developing players, as well as the nation's top players, and we are committed to that goal as well. Other coaches in-house with FIDE Trainer titles are GM Nick de Firmian, Chess Director Abel Talamantez, and women's class coach Sophie Adams. More information coming soon. 

TD Corner

Ratable time controls (US Chess Rules 5C) & Rating systems

Which of my rating will get affected by the tournament you offer?

by Senior TD, FA Judit Sztaray


There are three rating systems that US Chess uses: Regular (slow), Quick (fast), and Blitz.

Depending on the time control under which a rated game was played, or the time control of the tournament in which you are playing, different ratings will be affected.

Time control is always calculated by the G/minutes and inc/seconds or d/seconds: the two need to be added together to calculate the total playing time.
For example: G/30;d5 is a 35 minutes game; G/60;d5 is a 65 minutes game; G/120;d5 is a 125 minutes game and the popular online versions are G/5+5 is a 10 minutes game, G/35+2 is a 37 minutes game, G/60+10 is a 70 minutes game.

In any of the three rating categories, players now not only have the standard over-the-board (OTB) ratings, but also separate online ratings. OTB games only affect the standard, OTB rating, and online games only affect the ONL rating. They can never ever cross.

If you play a game over-the-board, the following rules apply:

  • If the total playing time for each player is greater than 65 minutes, the regular rating will be affected. (mm+ss>65)
  • If the total playing time for each play is from 30 to 65, the games are so called dual rated, meaning the games are both regular and quick rated. (30≤mm+ss≤65)
  • If the total playing time for each player is more than 10 minutes, but less than 30 minutes, the games are affecting the quick rating only. (10<mm+ss<30)
  • Finally, if the total playing time for each player is between 5 and 10 minutes, the games are blitz rated. Here we also have a restriction that the primary time control must be minimum 3 minutes. There shall be no game rated under 5 minutes. (5≤mm+ss≤10)

If you play an online game, the rules are very similar with one major exceptions: there are no games that are dual rated:

  • Online Regular: total playing time for each player is 30 or more minutes. (mm+ss>30)
  • Online Quick: total playing time for each player is more than 10 minutes and less than 30 minutes (10<mm+ss<30).
  • Online Blitz: total playing time for each player is from 5 to 10 minutes, inclusive. (5≤mm+ss≤10)

How do you check your rating after a tournament?
After each tournament has been submitted for rating, the rating change can be viewed on any player’s last tab (Tnmt. Hst, aka Tournament History) on the player’s profile. There are three columns: Regular, Quick and Blitz. If the numbers in the column have ONL before them, those games & tournaments affecting the online rating in that particular rating system. If you don’t see an ONL before it, be sure to know that represents an actual, live, face-to-face, Over-The-Board (OTB) tournament, which most of us are all missing since March, 2020.

I encourage everyone to visit your Tournament History tab by clicking this link after updating the XXXXXXX with your USCF ID:

Any questions? My inbox 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 live stream 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, reviewing 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 an occasional free prize!

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 at 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, 10/12:

FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 10/13:

MI Chess Director Abel Talamantez, Dr. Judit Sztaray Arena: Fridays 5pm-6:30pm, 10/16: 

See you in the arena!

Dr. Alexey Root: Growing With Golf and Chess

Dr. Alexey Root has just released the next installment of her look into the relationship between chess and golf, assisted by Senior Tournament Director Reka Sztaray, daughter of Dr. Judit Sztaray. To read the article, published on ChessBase, follow this link:

Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Classes

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

More information:

Register at:


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

More information:

Register at:


Thursday 5:00-6:30PM - A Journey Through Chess History - Course 2: US Championships with GM Nick de Firmian

The US Championship is one of the most revered chess events for American players, showcasing the very best in our country. Bobby Fischer, Walter Browne, Hikaru Nakamura, Sam Shankland, and Fabiano Caruana are all among the elite to have won the title. Among thee greats is Mechanics' Institute's Grandmaster in Residence GM Nick de Firmian, who is a 3-time winner of the title. In this class, he will talk about his US Championship victories, as well as some personal first hand accounts and games from this great event. Combining historical storytelling with dramatic games, Nick will enlighten, educate and entertain students with a bit of Americana suitable for players of all skill levels. 

More information:

Register at:


 Thursdays 6:30 - 8PM - The World Championship Match  -- by FM Paul Whitehead
Course Dates: Part 2 -- 10/8 through 11/15 

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:

                   Part 2:

Mechanics' Chess - Scholastic Tournaments

Saturday, October 10: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Sunday, October 11: starts at 10:00AM - join from 9:45AM

6SS G/10+2:

Monday, October 12: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, October 13: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, October 14: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, October 15: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Friday, October 16: 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) MagicOm (1473) - BestMiddleSun (1292) [C27]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nc3 This opening is the Vienna Game, which was popular in the 19th Century. 3...Nxe4!

4.Nxe4?! White simply captures the knight and allows the fork trick which lets Black win back the piece with a fine position. The old masters would play instead [4.Qh5! threatening mate, and after 4...Nd6 5.Bb3 Nc6 6.Nb5! g6 (6...Nxb5 7.Qxf7#) 7.Qf3 f5 8.Qd5 Qe7 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 10.Nxa8 b6 they would reach a wild position with about even chances. The white knight on a8 is trapped and will be captured, leaving Black still down the exchange. Black's compensation for the material is the extra control of the center.] 4...d5! 5.Bxd5 Qxd5 6.Qf3 b6?? Oh no! [with 6...Qe6! Black would have a nice game with the bishop pair and slightly more control of the center.] 7.Nf6+ There goes the queen. MagicOm won by resignation 1-0

(4) MagicOm (1467) - DarkCapableCharm (1533) [C50]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bc5 4.Nc3 d6 5.0-0 Bg4 This already threatens to play 6...Nd4 and cause a lot of trouble. White reacts very well to be prepared for that. 6.h3! Bh5 7.d3 Nd4?! this follows the plan but objectively better is to chase down the light-squared bishop with [7...Na5 8.Bb5+ c6 9.Ba4 b5] 8.g4! Bg6

9.Nxd4 [White could get an opening advantage with 9.Na4! as the knight gets traded for Black's dark-squared bishop and the white c-pawn becomes free to move up to c3.] 9...Bxd4 10.Nd5?! a great central square, but the knight cannot stay there. So better was [10.Ne2] 10...c6 11.Nb4? a5! 12.c3 Bb6 [12...Ba7! 13.Nc2 b5 14.Bb3 a4 wins a piece] 13.Nc2 d5 [also good is 13...h5! opening up the white kingside] 14.exd5 cxd5 15.Bb5+ Kf8 16.b3?! looking to check on a3 and attack the black king 16...Qh4! however it is the white king who is in real danger 17.Ba3+ Ne7 18.Qf3
18...e4! 19.dxe4? [19.Qg2 is needed to stay in the game] 19...Bxe4 20.Qg3 Qxg3#! DarkCapableCharm won by checkmate 0-1

NEW: US Chess Online Rated Scholastic Tournaments
Every Week!

October 11, @ 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:

10/10 Saturday - Saturday Night Blitz
Format: 6SS G/5+2
Join by 6:00PM -
Start at 7:00PM
10/11 Sunday - USCF Rated Rapid
Format: 6SS G/15+2
Join by 3:00PM -
Start at 2:00PM
10/13 Tuesday - Tuesday Online
Format: 8SS G/35+2 
Start at 6:30PM
10/15 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 6

[email protected]

The king can be a powerful (dare I say… dominating?) force in the endgame.

This week’s studies are terrific examples of the king’s hunting powers, as his Royal Highness chases the  enemy bishop hither and yon.  The idea is explored a bit in our first example, but in the next two you will have to guide His Majesty yourself.

These examples of a relentless king are taken once again from Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Ghenrikh Kasparyan (1974).


1. Holm 1917 – White wins.

1.Kb7  (The chase is on!)  1…Bd8  (If 1…Bb6 or 1…Ba5 then 2.Nc4+. This is a central idea.)  2.Kc8! Be7 3.Kd7  (The king smells blood.)  3…Bf8 4.Ke8 Bg7 5.Kf7 Kg8 6.Kg8! and white wins.


2. Rinck 1926 – White wins.

This another variation of our theme.  Now the bishop has more room on the board to run around in, but the white bishop plays a more active role as well.  Work it out without moving the pieces.


3. Mugnos 1950 – White wins.

Finally, the same theme but with a beautiful twist near the end.


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

US Championship

The US Chess Championship(s) are starting now. They are again run by the St. Louis Chess Club with their billionaire sponsor Rex Sinquefeld, but they are not in St. Louis this year.  The tournament(s) are online as has become usual in these coronavirus times. Yet this is certainly the first time since its origin in 1845 that the championship is not played face to face.

The US Championship had historically been just one tournament with no divisions for gender or age. Now we have five tournaments – US Women’s Junior, US Junior, US Senior, US Women’s, and the historical US Championship (with no restrictions for gender or age). The girls start the action on October 9th and the final event is the traditional (non-restricted) championship which begins October 26th. These will certainly be welcome entertainment for chess fans, but the games will not be the deliberate, long battles of the over the board tournaments that would run for two or three weeks. These events are rapid play and only last three or four days.

We hope to see some great battles and memorable games even though it is rapid play. We give below three games from the historical championships, which have produced a treasure of brilliant chess in the last 175 years.

(1) Ray Robson (2660) - Samuel Shankland (2671) [C83]
US Championship St Louis, MO USA (4), 21.04.2018

We start with a recent game from 2018 when our Bay Area native Sam Shankland won the championship. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 This battle between two young grandmasters uses the classic old Ruy Lopez opening. 5.0-0 Nxe4 This Open Defense (taking the e-pawn) leads to a sharper, more tactical game than the slower Closed Variation (5...Be7). 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Be7 10.Bf4 0-0 11.Nd4 Nxd4 12.cxd4 f6 Black needs to start the pawn interaction on the kingside. [12...c5? 13.f3! makes a big problem for the knight] 13.Nd2 fxe5 14.Bxe5 Nd6 15.Bc2 Qd7 16.Re1 Nc4 17.Nf3?! [17.Nxc4 dxc4 is about equal] 17...Bg4! 18.Qd3?! g6

Black has taken over the initiative. He threatens both the pawn on b2 and capturing on f3 to ruin White's kingside structure. 19.b3 Bxf3 20.bxc4 dxc4 21.Qe3 Bd5 22.Qg3 Bf6 Black is a clear pawn up yet needs to take care against White's kingside pressure. 23.h4 Qg7 24.Re3 c6 25.Rae1 Qh6! The threat against h4 forces White to trade off the powerful e5 bishop, leaving Black with a strategically won game (as long as the black king stays safe). 26.Bxf6 Rxf6 27.Re8+ Rxe8 28.Rxe8+ Kf7 29.Qe5 Qc1+ 30.Bd1 Kg7 31.Qe7+ Rf7 32.Qe5+
32...Kh6! The black king finds an unusual haven. 33.Qe1 Qf4 34.g4 Kg7 35.g5 c3 Black has a dominating position. There is no good defense for White. 36.Qe5+ Qxe5 37.dxe5 Rd7 38.h5 gxh5 39.Bc2 Bf7 40.Rc8 Rd2 winning the bishop. The rest needs no comment. 41.Rc7 Rxc2 42.e6 Re2 43.Rxf7+ Kg6 44.Kf1 Rxe6 0-1


(2) Harry Nelson Pillsbury - Jackson Whipps Showalter [C14]
Pillsbury - Showalter US Championship New York, NY USA (7), 16.03.1898

We thought it appropriate to give one of the historical games from the 19th Century. Hopefully in the 23rd Century chess players will find interest in the great games that are played in our time. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 The Classical Variation of the French Defense. This position is still main line theory today. 7.Qd2 a6 8.Nd1!? An interesting plan by Pillsbury. He wants to keep the white pawn chain intact and moves the knight to allow his c-pawn to come up for support. 8...c5 9.c3 Nc6 10.f4 0-0 11.Nf3 f6 12.Bd3 fxe5 13.dxe5 [13.fxe5 is possible since 13...cxd4 14.cxd4 Nxd4? 15.Nxd4 Qh4+ 16.Nf2 Qxd4 fails to 17.Bxh7+] 13...b5 14.Bc2 Nb6 15.h4!? Nc4 16.Qd3 g6 17.g3 Qg7?! Black now gets pushed back. Better was to play for central initiative with [17...d4 and the black pieces become active. White should not try to win a pawn with 18.cxd4? Bb7! when there are many troubles White has to deal with.] 18.b3 [18.h5! was even stronger] 18...Na3 19.Nf2 c4 20.Qe2?! [20.Qd2! keeps more control of the dark squares] 20...b4

The old players certainly played enterprising chess. The position is full of possibilities for both sides. 21.bxc4 bxc3 22.cxd5 Nb4! 23.Bb3 exd5?! [23...a5!] 24.Rc1 Qc7?! [24...a5!] 25.Nd3 a5? Showalter finally plays this active move, but he has been too slow and in this position it costs him a rook. 26.Nxb4 axb4 27.Bxd5+ Kh8 28.Bxa8 Black has a fine looking position if he weren't down a rook. Now Pillsbury just has to be careful. 28...c2 29.e6 Re8 30.Bd5 Qc3+ 31.Qd2! There are no tactics that work here and White is simply winning. 31...Qxd2+ [31...Rxe6+ 32.Bxe6 Qxf3 33.Qd4#] 32.Nxd2 Bxe6 33.Bxe6 Rxe6+ 34.Kf2 The rook up ending is easy enough, so Showalter resigned. 1-0


(3) De Firmian,Nick E (2560) - Benjamin,Joel (2560) [C92]
USA-ch USA, 1988

I include a game of my own, here against Joel Benjamin. Joel had been a top player for decades and played in over 20 US Championships. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 A classic Ruy Lopez position. These were common in the 1980s but nowadays one sees more Guico Pianos. 9...Nd7 10.d4 Bf6 11.a4 Bb7 12.Na3 Qb8?! This decentralizes the queen and allows White to take control in the center. Better was [12...Ne7 as White cannot capture twice on b5 since the rook on a1 would hang] 13.Bg5 exd4 14.Bxf6 Nxf6 15.cxd4 Nb4 16.Nc2! bxa4 17.Rxa4 Nxc2 18.Bxc2 Re8 19.e5 The mobile white center clears the road for the white pieces. 19...Bxf3 20.Qxf3 dxe5 21.dxe5 Qxb2

22.Re2! The white pieces are too active. The pawn on e5 cannot be taken as the rook on a8 would be loose. 22...Qb5 [22...Qc1+ 23.Kh2 Nd7 24.Bxh7+ Kxh7 25.Qxf7 is decisive] 23.Ra1 Nd7 24.Ba4 Qa5

25.e6! fxe6 26.Ree1 White wins a piece. The coordination of the white rooks with the bishop was too much to deal with. 26...Qd5 27.Qxd5 exd5 28.Rxe8+ Rxe8 29.Bxd7 Rd8 30.Bc6 Rd6 31.Rxa6 Black resigns. The black d-pawn is easlily stopped by the white king. 1-0


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