Chess Room Newsletter #939 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #939

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #939


October 17, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Coaching and Tournament Directing

I wrote last week about what I feel is a distinction between coaching and teaching, which seemed well received from the feedback I got. I wrote it because I personally experienced the difference between the two, and it more or less reflects what I think coaching should be. Looking deeper into it, I see that this thinking for me touches on many other areas, including as the title indicates, tournament directing. While on the surface it seems the two cannot exist together by definition, I do think there is a way to blend the two so as to educate players (and parents) while maintaining objectivity. 

As a tournament director, fair play and adherence to the rules is the most important thing, but there is also an opportunity for tournament directors to set an example of the type of environment they want to create in an event, and for their organization. Nothing has driven me more crazy more than to see the type of tournament director that passively sits at a computer the whole time during a tournament, waiting for something to happen or to wait for players to post results. While one can argue there isn't much to do while games are playing and there is no controversy, the passivity does not go unnoticed by the players. 

It is important to create an atmosphere of professionalism, or at the very least, the expectation that subtle aggressions will be spotted and handled. Here is an example: during a TNM at Mechanics' Institute, an older gentleman crowded his table area, extending his elbows to the natural space of the player seated next to him, who happened to be very young player. A player noticed this and infomed me, and then I let the player at the table know to please respect the space of the player seated next to him. About 10 minutes later, while walking around the room, I noticed this player again migrating his arms to to the space of the player seated next to him, at which point I paused the clock and told that player if I had to warn him again, I would have to assess a penalty. If I had not been proactive in following up on this player, the transgression would have continued.

Another thing that a TD often has to deal with are players or parents that want exceptions to rules, be it allowance of listening to music or allowing a player to play up a section for which they are not qualified for. I have even had a player, who happens to also be a tournament director, ask if he could read a book while he was playing an active USCF rated game. I have had a player bring who he said was a service dog into the chess room at Mechanics' Institute, only to learn later in the evening that it was the service animal of someone not in the building, not their own, and he was taking care of the animal. This was during a TNM, and there has to be a few reading this that were there that evening. I had to inform the player that someone had to come and take the dog out of the building or he would have to forfeit the game. After a few calls, he resigned his game to take the dog out of the building. 

While a tournament director can sometimes not predict what will be asked of them or what might occur, maintaining a professional demeanor and clearly laying out the expectations is something that seldom diminishes the quality of the event. People may be upset at first, or a little frustrated, but they come to appreciate and accept that the rules are applied to everyone and everything is meant to maintain the highest standards. I'm not saying we are always perfect in this regard, but the mindset of being active in creating a fair environment and responsing to player concerns is always present.

How does this relate to coaching? I think it is also our duty to run a chess club activities and chess events that represent the values we want to reflect as a club, and therfore, an organization. This starts with us, the tournament directors. If we want to be top quality, we have to live and represent it in what we do. This is especially important in our scholastic events, where players learn tournament etiquette from their experience in a live tournament. If we let players talk and disturb others, they will do it at other events. So we correct that behavior when it happens, explain why it is wrong, and let them know there are consequences for not following the rules. This may be something as simple as not allowing them in the playing room while games are going so they cannot watch games, but something this simple does convey a consequence, and kids have been pretty good at learning the right way to participate in a tournament. We teach players how close they can stand to observe games, remind them not to tip off information about a game in progress or discuss live games, and showing good sportsmanship among many other things. During these scholastic events, it is not uncommon for me to let players know we are there to help them learn and understand, to play tournaments the right way and that we can be proud they learned that at Mechanics' Institute. We tell them they represent the club with their actions, and we expect best efforts. We have engaged parents in helping explain to their kids tournament etiquette and they have overwhelmingly been supportive of these efforts.

This may sound a little dramatic, but this works. As a former coach, I'm proud when students and players of our events, go to other events and do things the right way, especially players we know started learning tournament chess through us. Tournament directors can coach players, but as with any coaching, the intent must be to teach something more than just the rules, but teaching the right way to do things.

Ray Conway Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon Report

Rounds 3 & 4 of the Ray Conway Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon certainly provided any chess enthusiast their fair share of action, as dramatic moments, surprise moves, and unlikely heroes dominated the broadcast. Due to the late entry of GM Gadir Guseinov and a draw from IM Prasanna Rao in round 2 last week, we got the dream matchup of the top two players in the TNM in round 4. The cagey veteran IM Elliott Winslow stayed in sharp form, defeating the young Nicholas Weng in an exciting game. NM Michael Walder found an absolue shot of a move against the very formidable Patrick Liu, who drew Prasanna Rao last week. Chelsea Zhou, a 1900+ player has been crusing through the TNM, beating opponents en route to a 4/4 perfomance thus far.  

GM Gadir Guseinov (pictured here) and IM Prasanna Rao played an exciting round 4 game worthy of further analysis

Here are some games from an action packed rounds 3 & 4, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(1) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2639) - IM Prasanna Rao (Praschess) (2198) [C63]
Conway mem TNM Online, 13.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 4.d3 This modest reply to the sharp Schleimann Variation is underrated. 4...fxe4 5.dxe4 Nf6 6.0-0 d6 [snatching the pawn with 6...Nxe4?! 7.Qe2 Nf6 8.Bxc6 dxc6 9.Nxe5 leaves Black with serious difficulties to get developed] 7.Nc3 Be7 8.Be3 0-0 This natural move leads to a position where Black must trade away his light-squared bishop for a knight. Other plans for Black have been played, but White seems to keep some edge there too. 9.Bc4+ Kh8 10.Ng5! Qe8 11.Ne6 Bxe6 [11...Qf7 12.Nxc7 Qxc4 13.Nxa8 Nd4 14.Qd3 favors White] 12.Bxe6 Qg6 13.Bf5


The opening battle has gone White's way. This bishop gives White more light-square control. 13...Qf7 14.Bh3 Qg6 15.Bf5 Qf7 16.a3 Rad8 17.Bh3 Qg6 18.Qd3 d5 It's very tempting for Black to try for a break out, but White is able to keep control here. 19.Bf5! Qh5 20.exd5 e4?! [20...Nd4 21.Be4 Bc5 may give more chances for Black, though the position is still difficult] 21.Bxe4 Ne5 22.Qd4?! [22.Qd1! Neg4 23.h3 would be two pawns up where Black has no decent compensation] 22...Bd6! Now White has to be careful. 23.h3 Nxe4 24.Qxe4 Rde8


25.f4! This courageous move solves the tactical problems and White keeps a material edge. 25...Nc4 26.Qxc4 Rxe3 27.Rf2 Rfe8 28.Raf1 Qg6 29.Kh1 a6 30.Qd4 b6 31.Qd2 Qg3 32.Ne2 Qh4?! [Better to retreat all the way with 32...Qg6 33.Nd4 Qe4 34.Ne6 Rxh3+ 35.Kg1 Re3 36.c4] 33.Nd4 now White is just two pawns ahead, The knight gets to the fine e6 square and White can unravel. 33...R8e4 34.Ne6 h6 35.c4 [35.Rf3! Re2 36.Qd3] 35...Qg3 36.b4 Rxc4 37.Rf3 Rxf3 38.Rxf3 Qg6 39.Rc3 Qb1+ 40.Kh2 Re4 41.Rf3 Re1?!


aggressive but allowing White to counter attack. 41...Rc4 was only a pawn down. 42.Qc3! Rh1+ 43.Kg3 Qa1 44.Qxa1 Rxa1 45.Kg4! a5 [45...Rd1 46.Kf5 Rxd5+ 47.Kg6 a5 48.Nxg7] 46.Kf5 Kh7 Black stops the white king from becoming a force on g6. The white rook and knight take up the charge. 47.Rg3 g5 48.Rc3 axb4 49.axb4 gxf4 50.Nxc7 Bxb4 51.Rc6 Bc5 52.Ne6 pawns are even but all the white pieces are extremely active. The white d-pawn is also a threat, so there is no way out for Black. 52...Rg1 53.Rc7+ Kg8 54.Nxc5 bxc5 55.d6 Black resigned as the d-pawn wins the rook. 55...Rd1 56. d7 Kf8 57. Ke6 etc. 1-0

(4) Patrick Liu (katechen77) (1696) - NM Michael Walder (FlightsOfFancy) (1874) [B92]
Conway mem TNM Online, 13.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be2 Be7 9.Qd3!? [9.Nd5!? Nbd7 10.Qd3 is the sensible order, avoiding the game continuation.] 9...Nc6!? 10.a3 [10.Nd5? Nxd5 11.exd5 Nb4] 10...Na5!? [10...d5?! 11.exd5 Nxd5 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.0-0-0 ½-½ (42) Anand,V (2816)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2731) Saint Louis 2015 when Black was never really completely equal.; 10...Rc8 11.Nd5] 11.Nxa5N [A couple recent games have gone 11.Nd2 b5 12.Nd5 Nxd5 13.exd5 Bd7] 11...Qxa5 12.b4?! [12.0-0 0-0 13.Rfd1+/=] 12...Qc7 13.Nd5?


13...Nxd5 14.exd5


14...Bd7? [14...Bxd5! wins a key pawn (White can't take as ...Qc3+ works pretty well) and should be able to handle the technical problems.; 14...Bf5!! wins a better pawn; the d5-pawn is as much in White's way as anything, and Black can handle any trouble on the c-file.] 15.0-0 0-0 16.c4 b5?! 17.c5 dxc5?! 18.bxc5 This is too fast for Black to handle. 18...Bf6 19.Rac1 Rfd8 20.d6 [White could gather the fuel with 20.Rfd1 and Bf3 before making a crucial push.] 20...Qc8 21.Bf3 Bc6 22.Bd2 Qb7


White has a lot of crunchers; trade, a rook to e1, move the queen somewhere. All devastating. 23.Ba5?? Going from a big advantage to losing in one move. This fails even worse than it looks at first. 23...e4! 24.Qc2 exf3 25.Bxd8


25...Qd7! Recapturing was fine; this is a finely calculated finish. 26.Rfd1 Qg4 27.Kf1 Qxg2+ 28.Ke1 Qg1+ 29.Kd2 Qxf2+ 30.Kd3 Qd4# Patrick is still a little rough when it comes to the knockout, but what with this game and his earlier draw with Rao, we can only expect better things in the near future. As for Mike -- well, he's still up and down, moments of brilliance combined with gross oversights; he still hopes to recapture the magic. 0-1

(5) Ethan Sun (sfdeals) (1523) - Ethan Boldi (etvat) (1902) [C02]
Conway mem TNM Online, 13.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 The Advance Variation of the French. Could its recent resurgence at high levels be related to the ongoing popularity of the Advance Caro Kann? 3...c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 Usually played with the intention to gambit the d-pawn. 6...Bd7 [6...cxd4 7.cxd4 (7.0-0!? has been played quite a few times by Swedish GM Jonny Hector, who often goes his own way. If you're going to give up a pawn, why not do it immediately!?) 7...Bd7 the usual move order. (The old trap: 7...Nxd4?? 8.Nxd4 Qxd4 9.Bb5+) ] 7.Bc2? Over-optimistically defending d4, but now there are other problems. [7.dxc5!? Bxc5 8.0-0 (8.b4 Bxf2+ 9.Ke2 Nxb4!? (9...Nh6!?) ) 8...a5; 7.0-0! when there are still a few ways to play for play for the pawn besides the oldest 7...cxd4 8.cxd4 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Nc3 a) 10.Re1; b) 10.Qe2 Ne7 (10...a6 11.Rd1) 11.Rd1 Nc6; 10...a6 (10...Qxe5!? 11.Re1 Qb8! 12.Nxd5 Bd6) 11.Qe2 Ne7 12.Rd1 Nc6 13.Bxa6 Qxe5 White gets the pawn back; Black gets the somewhat better game.] 7...cxd4 8.cxd4 Nb4! "Don't move the same piece twice in the opening." (Except when it's good.) 9.Nc3 [Most seen is 9.0-0 while they can.] 9...Nxc2+ Some players really miss their light-square bishop in this pawn structure. [9...Qa6!?] 10.Qxc2 Bb5


Rare; you mostly see one of [10...Ne7; or 10...Rc8; or 10...Qa6; Something new: 10...a5 11.0-0 Ne7 12.Be3 Qa6 13.a4 Nf5 14.Qb3 Bb4 15.Na2 Be7 16.Nc3 Bb4 17.Na2 Be7 18.Nc3 ½-½ Lajthajm,B (2433)-Kovacevic,B (2456) Gradiste 2019] 11.Nxb5N [11.Qb3 Bc4 12.Qxb6 axb6 13.b3 Ba6 14.Bb2 Ne7 15.0-0-0 Nc6 16.a3 Be7 17.Kb1 Kd7 18.Na4 Kc7 19.Rd2 b5 20.Nc5 b6 21.Nd3 b4 22.Nxb4 Nxb4 23.axb4 Bxb4 24.Rc1+ Kd7 25.Bc3 Ba3 26.Bb2 Bb4 27.Bc3 Be7 28.Ra2 Bd3+ 29.Rac2 Rhc8 30.Bb2 Rxc2 31.Rxc2 Bb4 32.Kc1 Bxc2 33.Kxc2 Ke7 0-1 (33) Fleischer,B (1900)-Fleischer,F (2212) Neumarkt am Wallersee 2013] 11...Qxb5 12.Qe2 Bb4+ A hard decision. It's bad good bishop vs. good bad bishop. (!) 13.Bd2?! [13.Kf1! when White can gain time with a3-b4 and try to control the queenside.] 13...Bxd2+ 14.Qxd2=/+ Ne7 15.Qe2 Qb4+ [15...Qa4!?] 16.Qd2 Qxd2+ [16...Qc4!?] 17.Kxd2


17...0-0?! [17...Kd7!? (king to the center!) sets up ...f6 when e6 is already defended.] 18.Rac1 Nc6 19.a3?! Na5 [19...f6!] 20.Kd3 Here the endgame is roughly equal. 20...Rfc8 [20...Nc4 21.Rc2 Rac8] 21.Nd2 f6 22.f4 Kf7 23.g4 [23.b4!] 23...a6 [23...b5] 24.h4! White gets something going on the kingside. 24...b5 25.b4?! [25.h5!] 25...Nc4 26.Nxc4 [White's no worse after 26.Nb3] 26...bxc4+ 27.Kc3


27...Rcb8?! [27...h5!] 28.a4! Rb6 [28...h5] 29.Rb1 [29.h5!] 29...Rab8 30.h5 Kg8 31.h6 [31.Rhe1! Kf7 32.f5! could get dangerous for Black. (Stockfish thinks White is even winning already!)] 31...fxe5 32.fxe5 Rf8 33.hxg7? [33.Rhf1! stops the black rook from becoming active] 33...Rf3+! White is pushed back, and Black is now no worse. 34.Kc2 Kxg7 35.Rh4?! Rb8?! [35...Rg3 36.Rbh1?! Rxb4-+] 36.b5!? axb5 37.axb5 Rf7 [37...Kg6!?] 38.g5 Rfb7 39.Rh6 It slogs into a dead drawn position now. Well, almost dead. 39...Rb6 40.Rf6 R8b7 41.Rb4 Kg8


42.g6? Rg7? [42...h5! will be a very annoying passed pawn. (The g6 pawn isn't going anywhere.)] 43.gxh7+ Kxh7 44.Rf3 Back to 0.00 everywhere. 44...Rg2+ 45.Kc3 Ra2! The only move to draw!? Black has to be careful that a sudden Rb1 by White doesn't checkmate him. 46.Rf6 Ra3+ 47.Kc2 Kg7 48.Rb1 Ra2+?? [48...Rg3 and nine other moves held the draw.] 49.Kc3 50.Kb4-c5 is a deadly new threat, on top of 50.Rg1+. 49...Rg2 50.Rb4?? [50.Kb4 is crushing. The b-pawn runs; the c-pawn is stopped as an afterthought.] 50...Rg3+ 51.Kc2 Rg4 52.Kc3 Rg1?? [52...Rg3+=] 53.Kc2? [53.Rb2! reopens the path!] 53...Rg3 54.Rb1 Kg8 55.Rb4 Rg7 56.Rb1 Rg4? 57.Kc3 Kg7 58.Rb4? Rg1? 59.Kc2? Rh1 60.Kd2 Kh7 61.Rf7+ Kg6


62.Rc7?? A path for Black! It'd be a smooth win now except they each have three minutes left. 62...Kf5-+ 63.Rc6 Rb8 64.b6 Rg8! Everything is winning, but this is the best. 65.Rb5 Rh3 [Smoothest and swiftest is 65...Rg3 66.Ke2 Ke4! 67.Kf2 Rhg1!] 66.Ke2 Rg2+ 67.Kf1 Ra2 [67...Rhg3!] 68.Kg1 Rg3+ 69.Kf1 Rd3 [69...Ke4!] 70.Rb1 Rf3+ 71.Kg1 Rg3+ 72.Kf1 Rh3! 73.Kg1 Rah2 74.b7 Rh1+ [74...Kf4! mates shortly] 75.Kf2 Rxb1 76.Rc7 Rhb3 77.Rf7+ Ke4 78.Rf6 R3b2+ 79.Kg3 Rxb7 80.Rxe6 Rg7+ 81.Kf2 Rb2+ 82.Kf1 Ke3 83.Rf6 Rb1# A typically tense double-rook "end"-game. 0-1

(6) Nicholas Weng (ninjaforce) (1915) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (2001) [B89]
Conway mem TNM Online, 13.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Be7 8.Be3 a6 9.Qe2 Qc7 10.0-0-0 A super sharp Siclian Velimirovic Attack. 10...Na5 11.g4 b5 12.g5 Nxb3+ 13.axb3 Nd7 14.h4 b4 15.Na4 Nc5 16.h5 [It's been known for quite a while that 16.f3 is too slow. 16...Bd7 17.Kb1 g6!?N 0-1 (32) Nisipeanu,L (2647)-Popov,I (2599) Moscow 2012] 16...Nxe4!? Vigorito in his 2020 Najdorf book mentions this almost in passing [before heading for the well-trodden lines with 16...Bd7] As always in the Velimirovic, hesitation should be fatal. 17.Qg4?! [17.g6!? is the main move, also as per practice (every game in the databases!). Vigorito suggests 17...0-0!? (17...f5?!; while most games have seen 17...Bf6!? 18.gxf7+ Kxf7 with a still quite complicated and unclear mess. Is Black still up a pawn?) 18.Qg4!? f5 (18...Nf6!? is given by Vigorito but no games yet; Stockfish somehow gives it 0.00 as well.) 19.gxh7+ Kh8 20.Qg6 Rf6 21.Qe8+ Rf8=; 17.Bf4 Bb7 18.Rhg1 e5; 17.Rh4 d5 18.Kb1 0-0] 17...d5!-/+


18.g6? There is a problem, which goes unnoticed. [Lc0 and Stockfish 12 both jump into 18.Kb1 e5 (18...0-0!? 19.Rhg1 Re8!? (19...Rb8!?) 20.g6 fxg6 21.hxg6 h6) 19.Nf5 g6 20.Ng7+ Kf8 and eventually Stockfish (which sees mate until it doesn't) admits it's not a Black win, and Lc0 (which thinks everything is defensible (if it's not playing) admits that Black might actually have something.] 18...Bf6?! The standard response [but 18...f5! 19.Qg2 h6 20.f3 Nf6[]-+ (stockfish, =/+ Lc0 on a slow computer. 21.Nb6!?] 19.f3N This position actually has occurred before, via some sort of move-adding transposition. Here are the adjusted moves for comparison: [19.gxf7+ Kxf7 (19...Qxf7?) 20.f3 Qg3 21.Rhg1 Qxg4 22.fxg4 e5 23.Nc6 Bd7 24.Nxb4 Bxa4 25.g5 Bb5 26.gxf6 gxf6 27.Rxd5 Rhg8 28.Re1 Rac8 29.c4 Ke6 30.Nc2 Rg2 31.Bd2 Nc5 32.Rxc5 Rxc5 33.cxb5 axb5 34.b4 Rc8 35.Bc3 Rcg8 36.Nd4+ Kd5 37.Nf5 Ke6 38.Nd4+ Kd7 39.Nf3 R8g3 40.Rf1 Ke6 41.h6 Rh3 42.Nd2 Rxh6 43.Kc2 Rhh2 44.Rd1 h5 45.Kb3 Re2 46.Nb1 h4 47.Na3 h3 48.Nxb5 Rhg2 0-1 (69), Chuprov,D (2411)-Kalugin,S (2455) St Petersburg 1999.] 19...e5! Both players appear to be heading down the rabbit hole. 20.Nf5 Bxf5 21.Qxf5 Ng3 22.Qg4! [22.Qd3 Nxh1 23.Qxd5 Rc8 (Last chance for 23...0-0!?) 24.Bc5 hxg6 (24...Ng3 25.Nb6 (25.gxf7+ Qxf7 26.Qd6 Ne2+ 27.Kb1 Nd4) ) 25.hxg6 (25.Rxh1 Be7 26.Re1 Bxc5) 25...Ng3-+] 22...Nxh1 23.Nb6! d4?!


Overlooking or not giving enough credit to White's 25th move. [23...hxg6! 24.Nxa8 Qc6 25.hxg6 Rh2!? 26.Rd2 Rxd2 27.Bxd2 a5 28.gxf7+ Kxf7 29.Qh5+ Ke7 30.Qxh1 Qxa8=/+ Lc0 (probably one of those won positions for Black that Lc0 would hold for White); 23...0-0!? could well be the way as well.] 24.Nxa8 Qc6


25.Bxd4! Reminding Black that this came out of a Velimirovic Attack! 25...0-0!? A practical move, with a long-ago echo of the game Bilek-Fischer, Stockholm Interzonal, 1962. With pieces hanging right and left RJF just castled out of it. (The computers of today let us know it was the only move.) [25...exd4!? when the computers love the long variation 26.Re1+ Kd8 27.Qf4! (27.gxf7 d3 28.Qc4 Qxc4 29.bxc4 Nf2) 27...Kc8 (27...Qxa8? 28.Qd6+ Kc8 29.gxf7+/-) 28.gxf7 Kb7 29.Qc7+! Qxc7 30.Nxc7 Rf8! 31.Ne6 Rxf7 32.Rxh1 = Lc0 -0.13/0 ] 26.Be3 Rxa8 27.Rxh1 Rc8 28.gxh7+ [28.gxf7+!? Kxf7 29.Rh2 e4!?] 28...Kxh7 [Times: 11:43 vs. 10:53] Now for a few moves neither player can decide if they want the queens off or not. 29.Qf5+ [29.Qe4+ Qxe4 30.fxe4 Be7=; 29.Rh2!?] 29...Kg8 30.h6?! [30.Qe4!? Qb5 (30...Qxe4 31.fxe4 Be7 and is Black's king better off on g8 or h7?) ] 30...g6 31.h7+ [31.Qe4] 31...Kh8 32.Qe4 a5 [Stockfish 12 likes 32...Qb5 quite a bit (clear advantage Black),; while Lc0 seems to favor 32...Bg7 to get the f-pawn going.] 33.Kb1?! [33.Qxc6 Rxc6 34.Kd2 Rd6+ 35.Ke2 e4 36.fxe4 Bxb2 37.Rd1 Re6] 33...Qb5?! [33...Bg7! 34.Qxc6 Rxc6 35.Rd1 Kxh7 36.Rd5 Rf6 37.Rxa5 Rxf3-+] 34.Bc1?! White went from 9:33 to 7:12 here. It's not easy to find a way forward. Nicholas Weng was showing clearheaded opening play but now he's showing the inexperience that the best of the scholastic players shake off and master. In time. [Perhaps if he'd found the bailout 34.Rd1! Kxh7 35.Rd6 Kg7!? 36.Rxf6! (36.Bh6+ Kxh6 37.Rxf6 Kg7 38.Rd6 Qc5 (38...Rh8) ) 36...Kxf6 37.Qh4+ Ke6 38.Qg4+ f5 39.Qxg6+ Kd7 40.Qxf5+ Kc7=] 34...Bg7 [34...Qa6 35.Qd5 Qa7 36.Qd6 Bg7 37.Bh6 Bxh6 38.Rxh6 Qg1+ 39.Ka2 Qg5 First = sf12, then = Lc0; 34...Qc6; 34...Rd8] 35.Bd2? [35.Bh6 Bf6 36.Bd2] 35...f5-/+ (on the verge of winning (Stockfish), up half a pawn (Lc0)) 36.Qh4 Qc6?! [36...f4! breaks White's ability to transfer.] 37.c3?! [37.Bh6!? Bxh6 38.Qxh6 Qxf3 (38...Qxc2+ 39.Ka2 f4=) 39.Rg1 Qh5 40.Rxg6 (40.Qd2 f4 =/+ Lc0 d10, -+ sf12 d22 41.Qd6 Qf5 42.Rxg6 a4-/+ Lc0) 40...Qxh6 41.Rxh6 e4 42.Kc1 Rd8-+] 37...Qxf3 When even Lc0 gives it -+ you can pretty sure the game has tipped. 38.Qe1? Qd3+ 39.Ka2


[39.Kc1 bxc3 (39...f4; 39...e4) ] 39...a4! 40.bxa4 b3+! 41.Ka3 [41.Kxb3 Rb8+ 42.Ka2 Qc2 43.Qc1 (43.Bc1 Ra8) 43...Qxa4+ 44.Kb1 Qe4+ 45.Ka2 (45.Qc2 Qxh1+) 45...Ra8+ 46.Kb3 Qa4#] 41...Qc4 [41...Rb8! 42.c4 Qxc4 43.Bb4 e4] 42.Rh4 [42.Bh6!? Bf6 43.Bg5 Qc5+ 44.Kxb3 Bxg5] 42...e4 [42...Bf8#!] 43.Qd1 Bf8# A game of theoretical interest with quite a few thorny problems, and a flash ending. Another dangerous youngster is on the loose! But the old masters can still give it out as well as take it. 0-1

(7) Chelsea Zhou (mwncklmann) (1896) - Kristian Clemens (kclemens) (1782) [E12]
Conway mem TNM Online, 13.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.c4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Be7 Not seen so often anymore, as everyone is getting into [3...Nf6 4.Nf3 -- (4...c5 The Semi-Tarrasch; 4...c6 (The Meran and Semi-Meran); 4...Bb4 (The Ragozin),; 4...a6 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bf4 Bd6 The "Carlsen"?; 4...h6 The Caruana!) ] 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 But Kristian has been going Orthodox for quite a while. [5...0-0 6.e3 1-0 (24) Botvinnik,M-Vidmar,M Nottingham 1936] 6.e3 0-0 7.Bd3 A very old line, Botvinnik was fond of it: Botvinnik-Vidmar! What a game! [The main line seen in many world championshp matches was 7.Rc1 c6 8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Nd5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.0-0 Nxc3 12.Rxc3 e5; 7.Qc2 keeps options open but 7...c5 is the standard antidote. Now queenside castling is maybe too risky.; 7.cxd5 does at least put a big question to Black: 7...exd5 (or 7...Nxd5 with at least some trades leading to a more relaxed game.) 8.Bd3 c6 9.Qc2 Re8 On the one hand Black is mostly committed to the conservative deployment, but then again, White has his knight on f3 and can't so easily play for f3 and e4. There are still Minority Attack options, including 10.0-0 Nf8 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.b4 getting it going right away.] 7...dxc4 [7...c5 8.0-0 cxd4 9.exd4 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Nb6 11.Bb3 Bd7 12.Qd3 Nbd5 13.Ne5 Bc6 14.Rad1 Nb4 15.Qh3 Bd5 16.Nxd5 Nbxd5 17.f4 Rc8 18.f5 exf5 19.Rxf5 Qd620.Nxf7! Rxf7 21.Bxf6 Bxf6 22.Rxd5 Qc6 23.Rd6 Qe8 24.Rd7 1-0 Botvinnik,M-Vidmar,M Nottingham 1936] 8.Bxc4 b6!? Less played than the c-pawn, but it is more to the point when it comes to that last minor piece, the queen bishop. [8...c5 is most common, but seriously, how does it help to solve Black's development? The pawn itself wasn't particularly threatened. Trading on d4 might give White an isolated pawn, but that's at best double-edged.] 9.0-0 Bb7 10.Bf4 Hardly ever played! But not absolutely bad. Is this piece so better placed here that it's worth burning a tempo? [Most common, best scoring, and following classic development patterns (minor pieces, castle, queen, rooks) is 10.Qe2!?] 10...a6 11.Rc1 Rc8?! [Stockfish would have Black leap into action: 11...b5! 12.Bb3 Nh5! 13.Be5 c5 with Black starting to get the better of it.] 12.Qe2?!


Picking on the a-pawn but it doesn't have to be a problem. [The mass liquidation after 12.d5 leaves some white squares for White and a small advantage.; But first 12.a4! puts Black in a tricky situation. 12...c6!? 13.Qe2 b5 is a radical solution, but there are still liabilities after 14.Bd3] 12...b5! 13.Bd3 c5=/+ 14.dxc5 Nxc5 15.Bc2 Qb6 A comfy square for the queen, ready for the last piece to get into play. [But more to the point is 15...b4!? 16.Na4 (16.Nb1 a5 and ...Ba6 is a nuisance) 16...Nce4!? is solid in the center.] 16.Rfd1 Rfd8 17.h3 Making 'luft' -- White has to be careful not to clue Black in on the danger of the back rank...


17...Nd5? [17...Rxd1+ 18.Rxd1 (18.Qxd1 a5) 18...b4 19.Na4 Nxa4 20.Bxa4 Bd5 Black gets the better of a symmetrical center.] 18.Nxd5! Bxd5 19.Ne5 White grabs the moment! Between kingside danger (Qh5) and a veiled trade-off into a good ending, Black's problems appear. 19...Be4


Times: [Black had to suffer with 19...Ne4 20.Qh5 g6 21.Qh6 and hope to survive. The downside of ...Qb6: that piece isn't helping defend.] Here Zhou took a few minutes and found 20.Bxe4! Nxe4 21.Rxd8+ Rxd8 [21...Qxd8 22.Nc6 Kf8 (22...Bh4 23.Qc2!) 23.Nxd8 Rxc1+ 24.Kh2 Luft matters!] 22.Nc6! Rd2 The computers accept and just lose the rook for knight, but then it's just a technical win. Chelsea Zhou might be still pretty young, but with seven years tournament experience that should be well within her skill set. 23.Nxe7+ Kf8 24.Qf3 Nxf2 [24...f5 25.Nc6 Rxf2 26.Bd6+! (26.Qxf2 is the blunt "had enough?" alternative) 26...Nxd6 (26...Ke8 27.Qh5+ leads to mate) 27.Kxf2 is a whole rook.] 25.Nc8 Qd8 26.Nd6 Ke7 27.Bg3 [27.Qb7+ is already mate on the horizon.] 27...f6 28.Nc8+ Kf7 29.Bxf2 Rxb2 30.Qh5+ Kf8?! 31.Nd6 g6 32.Qxh7 Rd2 33.Qf7# An instructive and interesting game. Clemens is probably still scratching his head wondering where it went wrong. Hats off to Zhou for a fine win, placing her tied for first! 1-0

To watch the broadcast, follow this link: 

Full standings can be seen below, for more information on the event, please follow this link:

SwissSys Standings. Conway Memorial TNM Online: Open

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Total
1 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W29 W19 W8 W9 4.0
2 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1927 mwncklmann W46 W41 W21 W7 4.0
3 GM Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2600 GGuseinov H--- H--- W23 W15 3.0
4 FM Kyron Griffith 12860484 2470 KyronGriffith W28 W18 H--- H--- 3.0
5 NM Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy W43 W39 L9 W17 3.0
6 Daniel Lin 15176393 1998 SmilyFace4 W31 L14 W32 W24 3.0
7 Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W32 W40 W13 L2 3.0
8 Nicholas Ruo Weng 15499404 1958 ninjaforce W33 W47 L1 W28 3.0
9 Jonah Busch 12469525 1948 kondsaga W34 W36 W5 L1 3.0
10 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 BreatheChessAlways L35 W45 W44 W26 3.0
11 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf H--- H--- W34 W30 3.0
12 Javier Silva III 16089208 1869 J3Chess24 L47 W33 W35 W27 3.0
13 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 PlayerCreate1 W55 W20 L7 W29 3.0
14 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 MatnMatt20 W38 W6 L15 W21 3.0
15 IM Prasanna Ragh Rao 16083805 2508 Praschess W27 D17 W14 L3 2.5
16 Eric Hon 13778105 2186 microbear H--- W53 L17 W31 2.5
17 Patrick Peiju Liu 16667410 1851 katechen77 W48 D15 W16 L5 2.5
18 Mark L Drury 12459313 1843 BirdOrBust W49 L4 D40 W39 2.5
19 Adam Mercado 16571026 1842 A-boy415 W54 L1 D36 W40 2.5
20 Ethan Boldi 15088362 2120 etvat W30 L13 L31 W41 2.0
21 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 kclemens W45 W35 L2 L14 2.0
22 Nicholas Ar Boldi 15088356 1883 nicarmt L36 L32 W46 W47 2.0
23 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 chessappeals D53 W50 L3 D36 2.0
24 Vishva Nanugonda 16380312 1775 vish1080 L41 W46 W47 L6 2.0
25 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1710 GiorgosTsolias L50 L34 W48 W49 2.0
26 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 starserika18 H--- H--- W37 L10 2.0
27 Rachael Tiong 16019458 1656 rachael1120 L15 W48 W38 L12 2.0
28 Kr Gopalakrishnan 16545130 1628 chessboi2010 L4 W49 W51 L8 2.0
29 Ethan Guo 16761994 1606 LightningDragon8 L1 W54 W50 L13 2.0
30 Lisa Willis 12601676 1583 LittlePinkCorvette L20 W55 W52 L11 2.0
31 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 rimus11 L6 W42 W20 L16 2.0
32 Marina Xiao 16380642 1428 programmingmax L7 W22 L6 W51 2.0
33 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass L8 L12 W55 W50 2.0
34 Ella Guo 16380657 1355 SunnyCountry L9 W25 L11 W52 2.0
35 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1331 chesspoki W10 L21 L12 W42 2.0
36 Jacob S Wang 17083655 1287 jacobchess857 W22 L9 D19 D23 2.0
37 Jeff North 17179258 923 JeffNorthSF L39 W43 L26 W44 2.0
38 Stan Polivyanenko 17310102 831 MrL0cust L14 B--- L27 W45 2.0
39 Max Hao 16083648 1761 Joseph_Truelsons_Fan W37 L5 D41 L18 1.5
40 Pranav Pradeep 15871762 1323 pranavpradeep2006 W42 L7 D18 L19 1.5
41 Ethan Sun 16964125 931 sfdeals W24 L2 D39 L20 1.5
42 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 Mangonel L40 L31 W53 L35 1.0
43 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 fiddleleaf L5 L37 L49 W53 1.0
44 Richard Hack 12796129 1569 Kaline340Green H--- H--- L10 L37 1.0
45 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 Echecsmike L21 L10 W54 L38 1.0
46 Martin Camacho 17248027 1311 camachom L2 L24 L22 W54 1.0
47 Ya Dancig Perlman 16280288 1235 noydan100 W12 L8 L24 L22 1.0
48 Ian Liao 16738735 1091 victor6688 L17 L27 L25 W55 1.0
49 Kevin Sun 16898540 1073 kevin_mx_sun L18 L28 W43 L25 1.0
50 Sebby Suarez 16875347 691 Sebbymeister W25 L23 L29 L33 1.0
51 Willia Fitzgerald 17048414 537 OlympusMons00 H--- H--- L28 L32 1.0
52 Bruce Hedman 17344551 unr. Bruce_Hedman H--- H--- L30 L34 1.0
53 Adithya Chitta 16695036 933 adichi D23 L16 L42 L43 0.5
54 Yuvraj Si Sawhney 17095004 1060 SaintReturns L19 L29 L45 L46 0.0
55 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 953 andrewaballantyne L13 L30 L33 L48 0.0


Mechanics' Institute to Organize 2021 US Amateur Team West Championship Online

We are excited to announce that US Chess awarded Mechanics' Institute the bid to organize the 2021 US Amateur Team West Championship online! We want to thank US Chess for the opportunity to continue to organize high profile events online, and we will continue to seek more ways to bring quality events to our chess community in 2021. The event will be held the weekend of January 30-31, 2021. This date is a few weeks earlier than when it is normally held, but we decided to choose this date so as not to conflict with Super Bowl Sunday (February 7) as well as the dates for the other regional team championships. It is quite possible, with the team championship events this year being organized online, that many teams will choose to play all four of the regional events. From our standpoint, we are just happy that we will be able to once again organize the Amateur West, which was a success last year in Burlingame. We will of course broadcast the games and provide live commentary on our Twitch channel. 

Site of the 2020 US Amateur Team West in Burlingame. We hope to create the same buzz and excitement for next year's online event. 

We will also organize a scholastic side event to be held on Sunday January 31, 2021 on Chesskid. 

Registration will open soon, please let us know if you have any questions. We can be reached at: [email protected]

For more information, please click on the event page here:

TD Corner

What to do in case I get disconnected?

Don’t Panic & Reconnect

By Senior USCF TD and FIDE Arbiter Dr. Judit Sztaray

There are various reasons why a player may get disconnected from an online game. However, it does not mean that you automatically lose that game! Here is some information on what’s happening and some advice on what you can do.

Please note that we are covering platform, because all of our offerings are on that platform. If you play in any other platform, we encourage everyone to research and find out platform specific settings for optimal use and performance.

When you play an online game on, there is a connection tab next to each player’s name: four bars that can show up in various colors. This indicates a player’s connectivity. If it’s green, that’s always a good sign. If it’s red or blinking, that’s not so much.

If you click on this connection tab, you can set your own preferences when it comes to Type and Network Options. More information on this can be found here:

If your internet connection is unstable, and your device disconnects from the internet, the system detects that immediately.

If your disconnection happens during your opponents turn, you are in luck, because you don’t lose time.

If the disconnection happens during your turn, your game does not end immediately, and your clock will be running. The time control of the game you are playing determines how much time you have to reconnect: the longer the game is the longer the time you have to reconnect. However, if you disconnect, the servers evaluate the position and if the player is significantly losing, the game is immediately forfeited. The maximum time to reconnect is 3 minutes, and it’s given to longer time controls, like G/60 or do. The short blitz games, like G/3+2 have 20 seconds to reconnect.

So what should you do when disconnect? Don’t panic!
1. First, take a screenshot or a quick picture of the position. This might come handy later, if the game needs to be restarted from a certain position.
2. Reconnect to the internet by using your phone’s hotspot or reconnecting to the wifi and immediately reload and your game should pop up next to the Games/Tournaments tab. You might have to log in again, depending on your setting, but after logging in go to

Of course there are certain bugs that none of us are immune to and that we can’t explain. But we hope that this little, quick suggestion might help you next time you experience that painful sign of blinking bars.

Any questions? Our inbox is always open!

IM John Donaldson Releasing New Book On Bobby Fischer, Set To Release November 11

Former Mechanics' Institute Chess Director and Captain of the US Olympic team IM John Donaldson will soon be relasing the first of a two-part book on Bobby Fischer titled Bobby Fischer and His World. This new book will have newly uncovered games and interviews and is a must read for any serious fan of history and chess. According to John, "Bobby's 1957 visits to the Mechanics' are covered and his stays in San Francisco in the early 1980s, but not the simul he gave at the MI in 1957 which will be in volume 2."

To pre-order, and for more information, follow this link:

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, 10/19:

FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 10/20:

MI Chess Director Abel Talamantez, Dr. Judit Sztaray Arena: Fridays 5pm-6:00pm, 10/23: 

See you in the arena!

Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Classes

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 17: starts at 3:00PM - join from 2:45PM

6SS G/15+2:

Sunday, October 18: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Monday, October 19: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, October 20: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, October 21: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, October 22: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Friday, October 23: 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

(2) PinkAiryCloud (1478) - KindMagneticFist (1380) [C65]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bd6 This move blocks the black d-pawn from advancing. It can be played with a sophisticated strategy where the bishop retreats back to f8 after Black castles and plays ...Re8, but in general I don't recommend this move. 4.0-0 Nf6 5.Re1 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bb3 Bc5?!

Now Black has gotten a position a tempo behind as the dark-squared bishop took two moves to get to c5. White makes good use of the extra time. 8.Nxe5 Nxe5 9.d4 Bd6?! [Black should try the tricky 9...Nfg4! with the plan of ...Qh4. White would have to be careful, 10.Rf1! Ba7 11.h3 would win the piece back and keep the advantage] 10.dxe5 Bxe5 11.Nd2?! [11.f4! Bd6 12.e5 Bc5+ 13.Kh1 runs Black off the central squares and wins material 13...Ng8 14.Qd5] 11...0-0 12.Nf3 Bd6? a mistake walking into a fork [12...d6 13.Nxe5 dxe5 14.a4 b4 15.Qxd8 Rxd8 16.f3 is a nice endgame for White, but at least material would be even.] 13.e5 Bxe5 14.Nxe5 d6 15.Nf3 Bg4 16.Bg5 White makes use of the extra bishop. Black can only hope for a blunder. 16...h6 17.Bh4 Bxf3 18.Qxf3 g5 19.Bg3 g4 This just weakens the black kingside. It was lost anyway. 20.Qf4 Kh7 21.Bh4! Black resigned. 1-0

(3) Nightimeninja (1312) - AtomicSillyTiger (1476) [D10]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bf4 Bf5 [4...dxc4! 5.e3 b5 would be a testing continuation] 5.c5 [5.e3] 5...e6 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Bd3 Bg6 8.Bxg6 fxg6?! It is better to recapture with the h-pawn to keep the black pawn structure intact. 9.Qb3 Rb8? Black could have just defended the b-pawn with 9...Qc8. This gives up the exchange. 10.Bxb8 Qxb8 11.Nf3 Be7

12.Ne5? jumping into action but breaking up the white pawn structure. From a winning position White has given Black the pawn targets at e5 and c5 and the game is almost even now 12...Nxe5 13.dxe5 Nd7 14.Ne4? White can't resist jumping in with the knights! Here it's just a sacrifice for little compensation. Instead White would have still been for choice after [14.f4 Bxc5 15.Ne2] 14...dxe4 15.Qxe6 Qxe5! Black gets the e-pawn back and remains with bishop and knight for a rook. Here that is a winning advantage if you have really good technique. 16.Qxe5 Nxe5 17.0-0 0-0 18.f4 [White should at least try 18.b4 Nd3 19.a3 b6 20.cxb6 axb6 even though the rook has a tough battle against the bishop and knight] 18...Ng4
The bishop and knight work well together. White has a lot of pawn targets which are hard to defend, and decides not to bother with that task. 19.h3?! Nxe3 20.Rfe1 Nd5 21.Red1?! [21.Rxe4] 21...Bxc5+ 22.Kh2 Rxf4 23.g3?! Rf2+ 24.Kg1 Rxb2+ That's four pawns Black took in the last five moves! 25.Kf1 Rf2+ 26.Ke1 Rf8 27.Rdb1?! losing the exchange as the rook on a1 gets trapped. The position was hopeless anyway. 27...Bd4 28.Rxb7 Bxa1 29.Rxa7 Bc3+ 30.Kd1 Rf1+ 31.Kc2 e3 32.Kd3 Rd1+ 33.Kc2 e2 34.Ra8+ Kf7 35.Ra7+ Ke6 36.Ra6 e1Q 37.Rxc6+ Ke5 38.Rc8 Qd2+ 39.Kb3 Rb1+ 40.Kc4 Qd4# 0-1

US Chess Online Rated Scholastic Tournaments
Every Week!

Next one: October 17, @3PM on

US Chess online rated - affecting online rating only (not over-the-board)
Every player must be a US Chess member.
Trophies or Medals for Top Finishers - Curbside pickup is available per arrangement.
Convenient, safe platform & tight fair play screening.

Save the Date - October 31 10AM - Halloween Special
6SS G/15+2
2 Sections: u1200 and 1200+
Manually paired, online live help desk available
Trophies to Top 10 players in both sections!

Mechanics' Enrichment Chess Classes

Select from the following four levels that are offered:


NEW Class: Get Those Chess Boards Out!  -- Tuesdays 4-5PM
As parents, many of us now see kids staring at a screen for hours during the school day. We understand having another online class may not be so exciting. What if we are able to offer a class for beginners where they can feel and interact with the pieces to capture an important part of the early learning experience? That's why we are introducing a new class for our young, beginner players!
Let's get those chess boards out and use it during the class!
Coach Colin will interact with the players via zoom, but they will talk, use the chess board, set it up and set up different positions, and learn and play on a physical board. No shared screen during the class! It's all interactive, using physical chess pieces! Click HERE for more information.

Starting at Chess -- Mondays 3-4PM

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 -- Tuesdays 3-4PM or Thursdays 4-5PM
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 -- Thursdays 5-6PM
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:

10/17 Saturday - Saturday Night Blitz
Format: 6SS G/5+2
Join by 6:00PM -
Start at 7:00PM
10/20 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Marathon 
Format: 8SS G/35+2 
Start at 6:30PM
10/22 Thursday - Thursday Night Quads
Format: 3SS G/40+5 Double Round Robin
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 7

[email protected]

Queening a pawn is a great thing, but in a race between pawns often there is only one winner.  At the end a queen may dominate a queen…

Pedro Damiano (1480 – 1544) is immortalized for his dubious 2nd move as black: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f6?!

but he also composed a few simple studies.


Examples are taken from Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Ghenrikh Kasparyan (1974).


The following idea occurs in countless games: ignore at your own peril! 


1. Damiano c.1500 – Black wins.

It’s a simple race, but it’s visualizing the final 2 moves that often gives us a headache: 1…f4 2.a5 f3 3.a6 f2 4.a7 f1Q 5.a8Q.  Well, we’ve gotten this far, now what?  5…Qb1+! 6.Ka3/a4/a5 Qa1+!  The classic skewer, winning (dominating!) the white queen. Black wins.


Here’s another easy one, with a bit of a twist at the end:

2. Cook 1886 – White wins.

1.g4 b5 2.g5 b4 3.g6 b3 4.g7 b2 5.g8Q b1Q.  Well that was easy, but can you see white’s winning shot?  6.Qh7+!  The enemy queen is skewered on the diagonal this time. White wins.


This study is a direct descendant of the previous one, but there’s yet another twist.  Not too hard, but I’m afraid you’re on your own.

3. Brenyov 1931 – White wins.


Finally, here’s a funny little study that mirrors in a way Reti’s famous drawn pawn endgame from 1921.

4. Rinck 1922 – White wins.

Not difficult, I think.  As usual I urge the reader to visualize the answers rather than play them out on a board.


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

The End

Magnus Carlsen’s amazing record streak of 125 games without defeat has finally come to an end. He lost to the promising young Polish grandmaster, Jan-Krysztof Duda in the 5th round of the Altibox Norway Chess tournament being played live in Stavanger Norway.( We must note here that Norway is doing well with the coronavirus and is able to have some live events.) Duda received congratulations from Polish prime minister Mateusz Moraweicki via twitter.

Carlsen last lost a classical game on July 18, 2018 to Shakh Mamedyarov. (You may recall Shakh visiting the MI for a simul last year. Our players faired no better than Carlsen.) Thus 2 years, 2 months and 10 days passed without a (classical) loss from Magnus. “It had to happen at some point, but in any case it’s very, very disappointing he said.”  We note that Magnus tends to be resolved, some say angry, after a loss. The next round he faced Duda again to start the second half of the double round robin. Angry Magnus took his revenge.

In other news the US Championships are being played and the US Girls Championship ended with a great victory by Carissa Yip of Massachusetts. Her final score of 7.5/9 was impressive. We give here her last round against Rochelle Wu, who had a chance to tie for first with a victory.

(1) Duda,Jan-Krzysztof - Carlsen,Magnus [B15]
Altibox Norway, 11.10.2020

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ exf6 Magnus has played this variation recently. It's bad for an endgame to have the doubled pawns, but they produce an interesting middle game. The great Bent Larsen also used to play this opening on occasion. 6.c3 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Qc2 Re8+ 9.Ne2 h5 using the kingside pawns aggressively. This encourages White to castle to the queenside and make it an attacking battle. 10.Be3 Nd7 11.0-0-0 b5 12.d5! c5! 13.Bxb5 Rb8 14.c4 a6 15.Ba4 Re7

objectively White is better and Duda can be satisfied with the opening. Yet Black has counter chances for the pawn and the game will be very messy. 16.Ng3 Ne5 17.Ne4 The computers prefers 17. Bd2 right now and consider that White has a plus. 17...Reb7 18.b3 Rb4 This forces the exchange sacrifice, which opens opens up the queenside. This makes a complex position with roughly equal chances. 19.Bd2 Rxa4 20.bxa4 Bf5 21.Rde1 h4?! This doesn't help much. When you sacrifice material you need to follow up aggressively. [21...Ng4! 22.Re2 Be5 would be good compensation for the exchange. The white king must deal with many black pieces targeting him.] 22.h3 Ng6 23.Re3! Nf4 24.g4 Bg6 25.Kd1 White's plan is to take control of the weak squares and consolidate with the extra exchange. Magnus needs to create something here. 25...f5?! aggressive but giving more material [25...Qd7 26.f3 Be5 is worse for Black but still messy] 26.Nxd6 Qxd6 27.gxf5 Bh5+ 28.f3 Qf6 29.Bc3 Qg5 30.Qe4 Qg2 31.Rhe1 Qxa2? It's tempting to take this pawn, but it leads to a lost postion because of an upcoming tactic. 32.Qc2! Qxc4 to avoid the trade of queens 33.Re8+
here Magnus noticed the big problem. 33...Kh7 [On the normal 33...Rxe8 34.Rxe8+ Kh7 White has the killing tactic 35.Rh8+! Kxh8 36.Bxg7+ Kxg7 37.Qxc4 winning the queen with an easy win. So Magnus has to throw another rook sacrifice into the attack. It's not at all sound and Duda only has to be careful after this.] 34.Rxb8 Qxd5+ 35.Qd2 Bxf3+ 36.Kc1 Qxf5 37.Re3 Ne2+ 38.Kb2 Nxc3 39.Qxc3 Qf4 40.Qd3+ f5 Two rooks against a bishop. Magnus will not die without a fight yet the material deficit is tremendous. 41.Rf8 Qb4+ 42.Kc1 Be4 43.Qb3 Qd4 44.Qc3 Qd6 45.Rf7 Qg6 46.Rd7 Qg1+ 47.Kb2 c4 48.Rxe4 getting rid of the bishop makes the game simpler. 48...fxe4 49.Rd4 Qf2+ 50.Qd2 c3+ 51.Kxc3 Qg3+ 52.Kb2 Qxh3 53.Rxe4 Perhaps Magnus would normally resign this positon. After 125 games without losing, he won't give up until the bitter end. 53...Qg3 54.Qd4 Qg2+ 55.Kc3 Qf3+ 56.Kb4 Qf8+ 57.Ka5 Qf5+ 58.Kxa6 g5 59.a5 h3 60.Re7+ Kg6 61.Qg7+ Kh5 62.Qh7+ Kg4 63.Re4+
winning the queen. Magnus resigned and the streak was over. 1-0


(2) Carlsen,Magnus - Duda,Jan-Krzysztof [D31]
Altibox Norway, 12.10.2020

The tournament is a double round-robin. Ironically Carlsen had to meet Duda the next game after his loss, having played him the final game of the first round and so met him the first game of the second round. One should note that Magnus is always angry with himself and out for blood after a loss. After ending his undefeated streak there was no doubt Magnus would be in a killer mood for this game. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.b3 This is an unusal move. It has the advantage that the white b-pawn helps with the central control. 5...b6 6.Bb2 Bb7 7.Bd3 Nbd7 8.Nge2 Bd6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Ng3 c5 11.cxd5 cxd4?! This logical move gets into some trouble. Safer is [11...Bxg3 12.hxg3 cxd4] 12.Nce4! Bxg3 13.Nxg3 dxe3 [13...Nxd5] 14.dxe6! exf2+ 15.Rxf2 fxe6 16.Qe2 Nc5 17.Bc2

White has excellent compensation for the pawn with two bishops, an open board and the e6 pawn as a target. 17...Ba6 18.Qe1 Qe8?! [18...Nd5 19.Rxf8+ Qxf8 20.b4 Nd3 21.Qxe6+ Qf7 22.Qxf7+ Kxf7 23.Bb3! Rd8 24.Rf1+ Kg6 25.Ba1 is a very nice ending for White, but Black would still be in the game. Now the White initiative builds.] 19.Rd1 Rc8 20.b4! Driving the knight from it's fine outpost clears the way for the white attack to proceed. It is extremely difficult to defend against the active White pieces. The reader may wish to observe how each piece that Magnus has is fully mobilized. 20...Nb7 21.Ne4 Nd5 [21...Nxe4 22.Qxe4 Qg6 23.Qe5! Rxc2 24.Rxc2 wins] 22.Rxf8+ Qxf8 23.Bb1 Qxb4
24.Nf6+! Kh8 [24...gxf6 25.Qxe6+ Kg7 (25...Kf8 26.Qxc8+) 26.Rxd5 will be mate shortly] 25.Qxe6 Ra8 26.Qxd5 Duda resigned. On 26...Qxb2 27. Qh5 h6 28, Qg6 1-0


(3) Yip,Carissa - Wu,Rochelle [B90]
US Girls Championshi[, 13.10.2020

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3 These girls play aggressive, fighting chess. A sharp Najdorf is typical from them. 7...Be6?! [7...Be7] 8.Ng5! Qc7 9.Nxe6 fxe6 10.a4 Nbd7 11.a5 Be7 12.Ra4 0-0 [12...Kf7!?] 13.Bc4! Kf7 14.Qa1 Nc5 15.Bxc5 [15.Qa2!] 15...dxc5 16.0-0 Rfd8 17.Ne2 g6 18.f4 Kg7 [18...Rd2?! 19.b3! puts the pressure on e5] 19.Bxe6 exf4? this allows the white knight to come into play [19...Qc6 keeps Black in the game] 20.Nxf4 Bd6

21.Nd5! Nxd5 22.Rf7+ Qxf7 23.Bxf7 Ne3 24.Bd5 Rf8 25.b3+ Kh6 Black threatens ...Rf1+. Carissa finds a strong response. 26.e5!

26...Rf1+ [26...Bxe5 27.Rh4+ Kg5 28.Qxe5+] 27.Qxf1 Nxf1 28.exd6 The endgame is easily winning. 28...Ne3 29.Bxb7 Rd8 30.Bxa6 Rxd6 31.Bd3 1-0


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