Chess Room Newsletter #940 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #940

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #940


October 24, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Chess Rules on the Platform

While following one of the games from the Tuesday Night Marathon on our broadcast, we commented on a game where given the pieces on the board, there was a strategy possible for one of the players to attempt to sacrifice material to get down to the classic King, Bishop, and Rook pawn vs. King, with the bishop being the opposite color of the queening square, leading to a theoretical draw. A moment later, someone watching our stream asked in the chat what the rules were on regarding draws on the platform, whether it uses USCF or FIDE rules. This made me think that it would be beneficial to explain this to our readers, especially given the volume of games many of our players play on and that it is the preferred platform of Mechanics' Institute.

I reached out to staff. Here is what was told to me regarding the rules and platform.

We don't follow FIDE or US Chess directly for various reasons, including the fact that these rules cannot always map directly onto an online system, that there is no arbiter in the system, and that online chess primarily consists of blitz and bullet and not classical. Our implementation is designed to provide the best possible experience for our members, most of whom are casual players and have no exposure to USChess or FIDE rules.
This makes sense. The platform was designed to play chess and adhere to the basic rules of chess, not to be responsible for rated chess and being malleable to the nuances of USCF vs. FIDE rules. An example of the difference between USCF and FIDE rules and how it can come into conflict with the platform is a game where a player has a king and two knights vs. a lone king. In this example, under USCF rules, the game is declared drawn since it cannot force mate. Under FIDE rules, the game is not declared drawn, as it is possible to mate, though the lone king would have to be a willing participant. 
So in this respect, it seems that follows USCF rules, because as it states here:, a king and two knights is considered insuffient mating material. also auto recognizes three-fold repetition and 50-move draws according to USCF rules. 
So the simple answer is it does not specifically conform to either USCF or FIDE rules, but was designed rather to conform to what is commonly recognized as standard rules of chess. It pretty much adheres to all the rules except in certain instances, where it may differ between a USCF or FIDE rule. An unforseen challenge may arise for example if a tournament is run on a platform where it does not account for a nuanced rule, for example, if an event goes by FIDE rules, but uses as a platform. A rule like the king and two knights vs lone king would come at odds with the server capability, and so the tournament director and organizer would have to decide what to do in that instance.
Best practice for organizers and tournament directors of online rated chess is to announce in advance if there should ever be the possibility that a specific USCF or FIDE rule cannot be observed given the parameters of the platform, and what the arbiter will do if the situation arises. We are all learning best practices as we go, and new challenges arise as we push the envelope of utilizing online chess to play competitively. As long as we all keep the dialogue open and keep players informed, we are keeping the integrity of the game intact.

Ray Conway Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon Report

The Tuesday Night Marathon concluded rounds 5 & 6 on Tuesday night, with the top players rising to the top. IM Elliott Winslow played a very inspiring and aggressive draw against GM Gadir Guseinov, a game in which it appeared he may even have had some winning chances. He now sits as the sole leader of the Ray Conway Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon with 5.5/6 with 2 rounds to go. FM Kyron Griffith won both of his games in very quick fashion, pulling him right behind Elliott with 5/6. Also on the heels of Elliott is NM Michael Walder, who also has 5/6. Trailing at 4.5/6 are GM Guseinov, IM Prasanna Rao, Felix German and Javier Silva. The final two rounds next week will surely produce some action, as the top players battle to climb the ladder. 

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

(7) GM Guseinov,Gadir (GGuseinov) (2600) - IM Winslow,Elliott (ecwinslow) (2278) [B23]
Ray Conway mem TNM (6.1), 20.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.Bb5+ This as-yet unnamed line has been appearing in the Bay Area among some of the top players -- in fact, this is the third time Winslow has been up against it. Maybe he's starting to catch on. [One can find quite a few games where Guseinov has played 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Bb5 for example 1-0 (23) Gadir Guseinov (2586)-Davit Shengelia (2523) Baku AZE 2007(but after a string of losses he switched to 5.Qd2 (analyzed in NIC #128 "The Birth of a New System", by Ioannis Simeonidis) and won: 5...e6 6.b3 Nf6 7.Bb2 d5 (7...a6 8.0-0-0 b5 9.f3 h5!? 10.Nh3 Be7 11.Ng5 h4 12.f4 Bb7 13.Kb1 Rc8 14.Be2 Qc7 15.Rhe1 Nh7 16.Nxh7 Rxh7 17.g4 1-0 (31) Carlsen,M (2843)-Wojtaszek,R (2744) Shamkir 4.23.2018 was the game that started quite a run on this line. (17.Nd5!) ) 8.exd5 exd5 9.0-0-0 Be6 10.Nf3 Qa5 11.Nd4 Bb4 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.Qe3 Kf7 14.Kb1 d4 15.Rxd4!? (Stockfish doesn't believe in it, but in practice...) 1-0 (34) Guseinov (2664) - Sarana (2618) St. Petersburg RUS 2018) ] 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 [4...Nxd7 makes less sense here than with the knight on f3 instead of c3, and 5.f4!? scores very well, including in an earlier TNM game: 5...e6 6.Nf3 Ngf6 7.0-0 Qc7 8.d3 Be7 9.Kh1 a6 10.a4N 0-0 11.Qe1 b6 12.e5 1-0 (43) KyronGriffith (2149)-ecwinslow (1943) July 21, 2020] 5.d4 cxd4 6.Qxd4 Nc6 7.Qd3 [7.Qd2 and b2-b3 has hardly ever been tried here: 7...g6 8.b3 Bh6 9.f4 e5 10.Nd5 Nce7 11.Ne2 Nxd5 12.Qxd5 Bg7 13.Bb2 Nf6 14.Qd3 Qc6 0-1 (36), Kovalev,V (2662)-Matlakov,M (2699) Moscow 2019.] 7...Nf6 [7...g6 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.0-0 Rc8N 10.Nd5 Nf6 11.c3 0-0 12.Bg5 Nxd5 (12...Ng4; 12...Ne8=) 13.exd5 Ne5 14.Nxe5 dxe5 15.Rad1

15...h6N 16.Be3 b6? (16...b5) 17.c4 1-0 (40) Stearman,J (2445)-Winslow,E (2223) San Francisco Feb 11, 2020; 7...Rc8] 8.Nf3 g6 9.0-0 [For a modern line there are some pretty not-so-modern precedents, for instance: 9.Bg5 Bg7 10.h3 0-0 11.0-0 Rac8 12.Rad1 Qe6 13.Nd5 Nd7 14.Rfe1+/- ½-½ (40), Robatsch,K-Larsen,B Amsterdam 1954 (!)] 9...Bg7 10.Nd5 [And that was nothing, compare to this: 10.h3 0-0= 11.Be3 Rfc8 12.a3 Na5 13.Nd2 Qc6 14.Rac1 Nc4 15.Nxc4 Qxc4 16.Bd4 Qxd3 17.cxd3 ½-½ (28) Romanovsky, P-Chekhover,V Leningrad 1938 (!!)] 10...0-0 11.Bg5 Guseinov has been here before. 11...Ng4 [11...Nxd5 12.exd5 Ne5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.c3 Rfe8 15.Rae1 Bf6!? 16.h4!? Bxg5 17.hxg5 e5 18.dxe6 Rxe6 19.Rxe6 Qxe6 and Black held on: 1/2-1/2 (54) Guseinov,G (2665)-Baches Garcia,G (2329) INT 2020; 11...Nh5!? 1/2-1/2 (33) Shimanov,A (2593)-Grischuk,A (2777) INT 2020] 12.h3
12...h6N [Previously 12...Nge5] 13.Bh4 Nge5 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.Qb3 g5 16.Bg3 e6 17.Ne3 Qc6 18.f3
Black doesn't have any conspicuous reason to be unhappy with the result of the opening. 18...Rac8?! [and in fact Stockfish thought it was some advantage after 18...b5] 19.Rad1 Rfd8 20.c3 a6?! 21.Kh1 Ng6 22.Rd2 Be5 23.Bf2
23...Bf4! Black decides to take out the white knight before it can get "tricky." His remaining minor piece will have no trouble finding squares. 24.Rfd1 b5 25.Re2 Bxe3 26.Bxe3 Qc4?! 27.Red2 Qxb3 28.axb3 Rc6 29.Bd4 e5 else 30.Bf6 would be disruptive; the hole on d5 isn't a problem, seeing as how White has no knight to plant there. 30.Be3 Kf8 31.Kg1 Ke7 32.Kf2 Ke6 33.b4 [33.g4!?] 33...f5 keeping the balance 34.exf5+ Kxf5 35.Ra1 d5 It's hard for either side to make progress, except for one factor: the experience imbalance. Guseinov has been playing these lines since he was European Under-10 Champion (he was born in 1986), and he's used a grand total of six and a half minutes on his clock, while Winslow has burned almost two thirds of his time. And it gets worse, as he tries to avoid ghosts. 36.Bc5 Nf4 37.Rad1 Ke6 38.Be3 Ng6 39.Kg3 Rc4 40.Bb6 Rd7 41.Ra1 Rc6 42.Bc5 h5 43.Rdd1 Nf4 Times: White: 26:38, Black: 10:10 44.Rd2 Rg7!
Black tries to give his grandmaster opponent something to be concerned about. 45.b3? [45.Kf2 g4 46.hxg4 hxg4 47.Rh1=] 45...Kf5 46.Kh2 g4 [46...h4!? when the weakness of c3 is a factor.] 47.g3 Nxh3 48.Rxd5 [48.Rf1!? Ke6 (48...Kg6!) 49.f4 exf4 50.gxf4 Rf7 51.Re2+ Kf6 52.f5!=] 48...Ng5 49.fxg4+?! [49.f4 Nf3+ 50.Kg2 h4=/+] 49...hxg4
50.Rxe5+! Tactics in the Endgame indeed! 50...Kxe5 51.Bd4+ Ke4 52.Bxg7 White has won a pawn for now, but Black's king rules. 52...Nf3+ [52...Rd6!?] 53.Kg2 Rg6 54.Bf8 Kd3

55.c4! White heads for safety, eventually trading off the queenside pawns and continually harrying Black. Now follow a lot of moves, leaving Black with very little time, but in the end he finds a repetition that can't be avoided. 55...bxc4 56.bxc4 Kxc4 57.Kf2 Rf6 58.Be7 Re6 59.Bc5 Kd3 [Last chance for a plus: 59...Nd2!] 60.Ra3+ Kd2 61.Be3+ Kc2 62.Ra5 Kc3 63.b5 axb5 64.Rxb5 Truthfully the players could make peace here. 64...Ra6 65.Bf4 Re6 66.Rd5 Kc4 67.Rd8 Times: 22:04 3:02 67...Nd4 68.Be3 Rf6+ 69.Kg2 Nf5 70.Bf2 Re6 71.Rg8 Re4 72.Rg5 Nd4 73.Ra5 Nf3 74.Ra2 Kd3 75.Ra3+ Kc4 76.Ba7 Re2+ 77.Bf2 Re4 78.Ra8 Kd3 79.Rb8 Kc4 80.Rd8 Kc3 81.Rd7 Kc4 82.Ba7 Re2+ 83.Bf2 Re4 84.Kf1 Nh2+ 85.Kg1 Nf3+ 86.Kg2 Kc3 87.Rg7 Kd3 88.Rc7 Rc4 89.Rd7+ Ke2 90.Re7+ Kd3 91.Re3+ Kd2 92.Ra3 Re4 93.Ra6 Rc4 94.Re6 Kd3 95.Re7 Re4 96.Rf7 Ke2 97.Ba7 Kd3 98.Rd7+ Ke2 99.Rg7 Ke1 100.Bf2+ Ke2 101.Rf7 Kd3 102.Rf6 Ke2 103.Bb6 Ne1+ 104.Kh1 Nf3 105.Rc6 Re5 106.Kg2 Ne1+ 107.Kg1 Nf3+ 108.Kg2 Ne1+ 109.Kg1 Nf3+ 110.Kg2 It's been "0.00" for the last 50 moves: Game drawn by repetition 1/2-1/2

(4) Zhou,Chelsea (mwncklmann (1927) - IM Winslow,Elliott (ecwinslow) (2278) [E67]
Ray Conway mem TNM (5.1), 20.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.c4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.Nf3 d6 4.g3 Nf6 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 e5 7.d4 Nbd7 It's now the King's Indian Defense, Classical Fianchetto. 8.h3 [This is usually only played after 8.e4 c6] 8...c6 9.Be3 White goes another way. Does Chelsea know "theory"? Perhaps she was thinking about the Panno Variation, where instead of ... Nbd7 and ...c6 Black has played ...Nc6 and ...a6. In that position the moves h3 and Be3 used to be quite a main line. 9...Qe7 [This old game is in the database 9...exd4 10.Nxd4 Qe7 11.Qd2 Re8 12.Bh6 Bxh6 13.Qxh6 Nb6 14.b3 d5 15.cxd5 Qb4 16.Qh4 Qxc3 17.Rac1 Qa5 18.Qxf6 Nxd5 19.Qh4 Nc3 20.Rc2 c5 21.Nf3 Bf5 22.Ng5 h5 23.Qc4 1-0 Lombardy,W (2520)-Winslow,E (2250) US Open (9) Fairfax 1976] 10.Qd2 e4 Producing quite a different battleground:

11.Ne1N [The previous, probably not too important game was 11.Nh2 1-0 (36) Schwaninger,U (1892)-Vokroj,G (1792) Frohnleiten 2000] 11...d5 12.cxd5 cxd5 13.Bg5 [The standard attack on Black's center here would be 13.f3 but coupled with h2-h3 it starts to look pretty loose on the kingside.] 13...Nb6 14.b3 Letting herself be led around. (This move wasn't necessary.) 14...Be6 15.Nc2 Rfc8 to keep a7 guarded vs. Nb5 [15...h6!? 16.Bxh6? Bxh6 17.Qxh6 Rac8 18.Qe3 Qc7 19.Nb5! Qd7! (19...Qxc2 will be a perpetual on the queen) 20.Nba3 Bxh3 21.Qh6! Bxg2 22.Kxg2 Ng4 23.Qg5 Kg7 24.Rh1 Rh8 25.Ne3 White is looking to hold the line.] 16.Rac1
16...h6! The first appearance of the Overworked Queen theme in this game. 17.Bf4?! [17.Be3; 17.Bxh6? Bxh6 18.Qxh6 Rxc3] 17...g5?! [17...Nh5! 18.Be3 (18.Be5? f6 19.Bf4 g5 20.Be3 f5 gives Black a free move) 18...g5 is dangerous for White. (or 18...f5 first) ] 18.Be5! Nfd7?! [18...Nh5! 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Ne3 f5] 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Ne3 f5
21.Kh2? White needs to stop the bulldozer: [21.f4!+/- has to be played, which is fine -- it exposes the weakness of f5 (and Black wishing his rook were still on f8).] 21...f4-/+ 22.Nc2?!
[22.Ned1!?] 22...a6?! [22...Nf6! makes better use of the O.Q. theme, and gets that knight back on track to h5 where it's doing something (pressuring g3).] 23.gxf4 gxf4
24.Qxf4? Sacrificing a piece for some dangerous threats, which indeed Black mishandles. [But 24.Rg1! would have been more sophisticated, even if the computer finally finds some advantage for Black: 24...Kh8!! (24...Kh7? 25.Nxe4!+-) 25.Qxf4 Rxc3 26.Qxh6+ Qh7 27.Qxe6 Rc6! 28.Qg4 Rg8 29.Qf4 Rf6 30.Qe3 Qh4 31.Rcf1 Rfg6 and despite the two-pawn deficit, the computer makes Black doing pretty well.] 24...Rxc3 25.Rg1 Qf6 [25...Kh7! is safe when White doesn't have the knight to play Nxe4 any more! 26.Bxe4+ fizzles: 26...dxe4 27.Qxe4+ Kh8 28.Rg6 Rxh3+ 29.Kg1 Bd5! is a rude surprise.] 26.Qd2 [26.Bxe4+ Kf7] 26...Rac8 27.Bxe4+ Kh8 28.Bf3
[28.Bd3 Bf5! is the best according to Stockfish 12.] 28...Qh4? Sure enough, defense is hard. The following moves all would have been winning: [28...R8c6; 28...Kh7; 28...Nf8; 28...Bf7] 29.Rg3? [29.Rg6! when Black is lucky to have two paths to a draw: 29...Kh7 (29...Qxh3+ 30.Kg1 Kh7 31.Bg2 Qh4 (31...Kxg6 32.Bxh3 Bxh3=) 32.Rxe6 Qg5 33.Re3 R3c6 is a pin that's hard to break: even game.) 30.Rxe6 Qxf2+ 31.Bg2 (31.Kh1 Qh4 32.Kh2 (32.Bg2?? Rxh3+ 33.Kg1 Rg8-+) 32...Qf2+) 31...Qg3+ 32.Kh1 Qg5 33.Qxg5 hxg5 34.Rf1 Rxc2 35.Rf7+ Kg8 36.Ree7= White's turn for a perpetual] 29...Nf6? [29...Nf8 (best of a few winners) puts out the fire.] 30.Rg6? [30.Ne1? Ne4!-+; 30.Ne3! Rxc1 (30...Ne4 31.Bxe4 and no ...Rxg3!) 31.Ng2! Black's queen is "trapped, although the knight-check and QxR+ both draw.] 30...Qxh3+ 31.Kg1 Ng8 [31...Kh7!] 32.Bg4!? The computer suggests all sorts of moves that are "only' around -4.7 (vs. -8 for the move played), but Black was confused and took a lot of time here. 32...Bxg4 Hard to give this an exclamation point! [Times: 4:30 4:07] [32...Rg3+ was the alternate, forcing a draw. 33.fxg3 Qxg3+ 34.Kh1 (34.Kf1?? Rf8+) 34...Qh4+ 35.Kg1 (35.Kg2 Bxg4 starts to get uncomfortable, with ...Bh3 being check) ; 32...Qxg4+ 33.Rxg4 Bxg4 34.Qf4! isn't good for anything (except maybe a draw) either.] 33.Rxb6
[33.Qf4!? was the scary move, but when you're two pieces up there are a lot of roads to a successful defense. Either rook along the c-file (c6 or c7) was enough, but best was 33...Qh5! e.g. 34.Rxg4 Nd7] 33...Rg3+? Black just didn't see the knockout: (and now 2:23 left) [33...Bf3! 34.exf3 Nf6!] 34.fxg3 Qxg3+ 35.Kh1 Bf5 [3:13 2:23] and Chelsea didn't see the defense - and resigned! [
35...Bf5 0-1?! 36.Ne1! Be4+ 37.Nf3 Qh3+ (37...Bxf3+ 38.exf3 Qxf3+ 39.Kh2 Qh5+ 40.Kg1 Qg4+ 41.Kh1 Qh4+ 42.Kg2 Rf8) 38.Kg1 Rf8!-/+ But is there a win? Certainly worth a blitz finish to find out.] 0-1

(5) Weng,Nicholas ninjaforce (1958) - Flores,David PlayerCreate (1812) [C66]
Ray Conway mem TNM (5.7), 20.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 The time-worn Steinitz Defense. 4.0-0 Nothing wrong, [but 4.d4 tries to upset Black right away and encourage ...exd4, when White has a space advantage (but Black is solid for now).] 4...Nf6 5.Re1 Be7 6.c3 [Or 6.d4 still, reserving c3 for the knight.] 6...0-0 7.h3

7...g6!? Played after two seconds (!). In fact, with a time control of 35 minutes and an increment of two seconds, David's clock now read 34:57! And that's about how it went the whole game. [Most common is 7...Bd7; or 7...a6; 7...Nh5? 8.Nxe5 was the course of one game whose players shall remain unnamed.] 8.d3?! Too passive. Black's plan is ...Nh5 and maybe ...f5? Then White should "meet a wing attack with a counterattack in the center" -- [8.d4! exd4 9.cxd4 Bd7 10.Nc3 Re8 11.b3 a6 12.Bd3 Nb4 13.Bb1 c5 14.Bb2 Nh5 15.a3 Nc6 16.Nd5 Bf6 17.g4 Ng7 18.e5 and White crashed through: 1-0 (26) Gimenez Aguirre,I (2234)-Prado,I (2063) La Cumbre 2019] 8...Nh5 9.Be3 [9.d4!+/- Better late than never!] 9...Bd7 10.Nbd2 [10.d4!] 10...Bf6 Black shuffling of his pieces, allowed by White's cautious buildup. 11.Nf1 Qe7 12.a4 a6 13.Bc4 Na5 14.Ba2 c5 Standard queenside expansion by Black Times: White: 30:12, Black: 34:15. Impressive. 15.Bd5 Still no break. [15.d4; 15.b4] 15...Nc6 16.Qb3 [16.N1d2!? b5 17.axb5 axb5 18.Rxa8 Rxa8 19.d4+/-] 16...Rab8 17.a5 Qd8 18.Qa3 Black's pawns are somewhat compromised on the queenside. 18...Ne7 19.N1d2 Around here the computer (Stockfish) starts think White is close to winning; taking the bishop gives White great squares for knights. 19...Bc6 20.c4?! [20.Ba2! followed by d4 and/or Nc4 keeps Black's game dire.] 20...Nxd5 21.cxd5 Bb5 22.Nc4 Nf4 Black still hasn't gotten around to ...f5 23.Red1?! giving Black's knight the option of ... Ne2+ and into d4. [How about 23.Rab1 followed by b2-b4?] 23...Rc8 24.Nb6?! Deadend Outpost. 24...Rc7 25.Kh2 [25.Bxf4 exf4 26.Rac1 again, playing for b4] 25...Qe7 26.g3?
[26.Rd2] 26...Ne2! 27.Rd2? [27.b4!] 27...Nd4 28.Bxd4
28...exd4?! [28...cxd4!-/+ and White's chance of opening up the b-file goes away.] 29.Rc1?! [29.Re1! White has a new lever -- e5! -- and should play for it.] 29...h5 30.Rdc2 Bg7 31.Nh4 Bh6 32.Re1 White has been burning up his clock (finally!) and is down to 6:36 left (Black: 32:41, having spent less time on the last dozen moves than White has on almost any one of them!). 32...Qf6?! [Black could cripple White on the dark squares now: 32...Bg5! 33.Nf3 h4!] 33.Kg2! Re7?! [33...Bg5 34.Nf3 h4 35.e5! dxe5 36.Rxe5 Bh6 37.Rxc5 is a lot of trades, with White on top at the end. 37...Rxc5 38.Qxc5 hxg3 39.fxg3 Bxd3 40.Qxd4] 34.Nc4 Bxc4 35.Rxc4
35...Re5? 36.b4?! A dangerous but inconclusive exchange sacrifice by White. [36.Nf3 pushes Black back without risk. 36...h4 37.Nxh4 Rh5 38.Nf3 Rxh3 doesn't do it.] 36...cxb4? [36...Bd2! 37.Rb1 Bxb4 38.Rbxb4 cxb4 39.Qxb4+/=] 37.Qxb4 Qe7?!
This would be a huge win for White, except that he's down to under four minutes (Black has yet to break a sweat -- or 31 minutes!). 38.f4 Going for the whole enchilada, but with some risk to the king. [38.Nf3!] 38...g5!? 39.fxe5 How could you not, especially with 3:11 remaining (and he used almost a minute on it!). [39.Nf5! Rxf5 40.exf5 Qd7 41.fxg5 Bxg5 when White dares Black to take on f5 (and the rooks have the f-file then as well).] 39...gxh4 40.Qxd6?! Qg5
41.e6?? It looked so good in the moment, but it loses -- and he had much much better moves! [41.Kh1! and Rg1 suddenly it's White taking over.] 41...Qd2+ 42.Kf1 Be3! A final instant move -- and it's over. 43.exf7+ Rxf7+ 44.Qf4 Rxf4+ 45.gxf4 Qf2# A tough game to lose by Nicholas -- and as for David's final clock time of 30:51, what fire was there in the kitchen that he played so fast! It could have cost him. 0-1

(6) Hon,Eric (microbear) (2186) - Mercado,Adam (A-boy415) (1842) [C44]
Ray Conway mem TNM (5.9), 20.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d3 This is hardly bad, but no way to play for an advantage. [3.Nxe5 is the classic approach; 3.d4 is the more modern move] 3...Nc6 4.Be2 Bc5 5.0-0 d6 6.h3 h6 7.Re1 Be6 8.Bf1?!

8...g5! Black takes advantage of not having castled to throw his pawns at White's kingside. Correctly, according to the computer! 9.Be3?! [Incredibly Stockfish finds the idea to play a delayed Evans Gambit, 9.b4 Bxb4 10.c3 Ba5 11.d4 as the best way to minimize the disadvantage (although it is still pretty good for Black).] 9...g4 10.hxg4 Bxe3 11.Rxe3 Nxg4 12.Re1 Nd4 [12...Qf6!] 13.Nbd2 Qf6 14.c3 Nxf3+ 15.Qxf3 White: 31:13, Black: 32:13 15...Qh4 [15...Qg5! gains time attacking the knight, and there follows ...h5 and/or ... 0-0-0, with a winning attack.] 16.Qg3!
Another case of speed-demoning: the clock times are White: 31:13, Black: 32:04. 16...Qxg3 Keeping queens on might have been right strategically (attack!), but giving White a dreadful pawn structure is right up there in value. 17.fxg3 0-0-0 18.d4 Rhg8 19.Be2 Ne3?! looking for trouble... there's nothing there (for Black...) 20.Bd3
20...Rxg3?? ...and finding it! [Black should just say no: 20...Ng4 still with a sizable advantage (but the lost time will cost him).] 21.Kf2 Rdg8 22.Rxe3 White is winning. 22...Rxg2+ 23.Ke1 h5 24.Kd1? His biggest think of the game so far, and it's a lemon. [24.Bf1! gets on to the business of neutralizing Black's rooks, with a likely win.] 24...Rf2 [24...Rh2! leaves White with no advantage!] 25.Ke1 At least White admits the error of his ways. 25...Rh2 26.Rf3 and has a clear advantage again. But between moving his king back and forth, and then this (excellent) move, it cost him a third of his time. 26...Rgg2?! and eight minutes for this helpful (for White) move. 27.Nf1 Rh1 28.Rf2 Rgg1 29.d5 [29.Rd1] 29...Bh3?! [29...Bg4!?] 30.Rxf7 [30.Rd1] 30...h4! 31.Kd2 [31.Rd1! Gets the rook in the game.] 31...Bg2 White: 13:27, Black: 11:11 32.Ke3 The best move, but he used the majority of his time. Ultimately that costs him the game. 32...h3 33.Kf2 Bxf1 34.Bxf1 h2 A scary position! Suddenly the black h-pawn has become a force. 35.Rh7 Kd8 36.Rd1
White still has to solve the problem of dealing with this pin without something awful happening (Black queening!) or slipping into a bad ending. But Black also has a problem: Is this Zugzwang!? [Annoying that 36.Rxh2?? Rxf1+ 37.Rxf1 Rxh2+ 38.Ke3 Rxb2 fails dreadfully.] 36...Rg4 All the "best" moves for Black, according to Stockfish, are pawn moves now. So this lets White free himself! White: 2:09, Black: 6:47. 37.Be2! Rgg1 A trade of e-pawn for h-pawn means that White is ready to get his bishop into the game and after Black's pawns. 38.Rf1?! Only 25 seconds left! (plus the two-second increment) [38.Rd3! and Rf3! is problematic. 38...Rg8 39.Rdh3 Rb1 40.Rxh2 Rxb2 41.Rf7 is going to get ugly on the 7th.] 38...Ke8 39.Ke1! Kd8 40.a4 a6 41.b4 Ke8 42.a5 Kd8 43.c4 Ke8 44.b5 [44.c5! looks to take out the b-pawn (c5-c6), then the a-pawn, then make a queen.] 44...Kd8 45.bxa6 bxa6 White: 0:14.3, Black: 2:36 46.c5! [46.Kf2! even better] 46...Rxf1+ 47.Bxf1 dxc5 48.Kf2 c4
(Black wouldn't have had this if he'd played 46.Kf2 first) 49.Kg2?? White has played such a fine strategic endgame, only to trip up at the finish line. [49.Bxc4 Ra1 (49...Rc1 50.Bf1) 50.Rh8+ Kd7 51.Rxh2 Rxa5 52.Rh6 is pretty routine.] 49...Rg1+ 50.Kf2?! [50.Kxh2 Rxf1 51.Rh6 is a try, but it looks like Black takes it with 51...c3 52.Rc6 Re1 53.Rxc3 Rxe4] 50...h1Q 51.Rxh1 Rxh1 52.Bxc4 Ra1 53.Bxa6 Rxa5 This is a technical win. Black is down to 1:31 (White 11.1 seconds!) but that is plenty of time to claim the win. 54.Bb7 Ke7 55.Ke3 Ra3+ 56.Ke2 Kd6 57.Bc8 Kc5 58.Bf5 Kd4 59.Kd2 Ra2+ 60.Kc1 Kc3 61.Kb1 Rg2 62.Be6 Kd2 63.Bf5 Kc3 64.Be6 Rd2 65.Bf5 Rd4 66.Kc1 Ra4 67.Kb1 Kd2 68.Kb2 Rb4+ 69.Ka3 Kc3 70.Bg6 Rb8 [70...Rb6] 71.Ka4 Kc4 72.Ka3 Rb6 73.Bf7 Kc3 74.Ka4 Rd6 75.Kb5 Kd4 76.Be6 Kxe4 77.Kc5 Kf4 78.Bg8 Rh6 79.Be6 e4 80.Kc6 e3 81.Kxc7 e2 82.d6 Rxe6 83.d7 Re7 84.Kd6 Rxd7+ A difficult struggle with interesting phases, marred by a game-turning blunder leading to an upset win by Adam. If Eric only had more time he surely would have brought it home. 0-1

(1) NM Michael Walder (FlightsOfFancy) - Chelsea Zhou (mwncklmann) [B99]
Ray Conway mem TNM
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 The sharpest line of the Najdorf. It's good to see this classic battle played again. 6...e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 Nbd7 10.f5!? Mike likes this direct move and has scored well with it. 10...e5 [Black may wish to keep the pawn on e6 to cover the light squares and try 10...Ne5 11.Qh3 Nfg4 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 (not 12...Nf2? 13.Nxe6!!) 13.Qg3 0-0] 11.Nde2! b5 12.Bxf6 Nxf6 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5! An interesting plan to open the e4 square for the white knight. This is much more dangerous than it looks at first sight. 14...0-0?! [14...Qc4 15.Kb1 Bd7 16.Nd4 Qc5 could be an improvement. The black king will then have a choice which of place on the board is safest.] 15.Ng3 Bd7?! [15...b4!? 16.Ne4 f6 17.g4 Bd7 18.Kb1 a5 19.h4 looks dangerous, but Black should also get some chances for attack.] 16.Ne4 f6 17.c3!

17...a5 18.g4 White can close up the queenside against any pawn advance but Black can't stop the white pawn storm on the kingside. So Black needs to do something to alter the course of the game, but it's not easy. 18...b4?! 19.c4! a4 20.Bd3 Rac8 21.h4 Qb6 22.Kb1 White is now in complete control. There is no breakthrough for Black on the queenside and White can calmly prepare the kingside breakthrough. 22...Rb8 23.Rdf1 b3 24.a3 Qd4
looking for counterplay. This allows an unexpected breakthough. 25.c5! dxc5 26.Rc1 The black queen is in danger and the d5 pawn cannot be taken because of Nf6+ 26...c4 27.Bxc4 Kh8 28.Rhd1 Qb6 29.d6 Bd8 30.Be6
The white pieces are suddenly dominating on the queenside and center. The d6 pawn is a monster. 30...Bc6 31.Bd5 Bb5 32.g5 Qa7 33.gxf6 Bxf6 34.Nxf6 Rxf6 35.Rc7 Qb6 36.Qg4 g6 37.fxg6 Black resigns. 37...Rxg6 38. Qh5 is finished. 1-0

Here are the current standings:


SwissSys Standings. Conway Memorial TNM Online: Open (Standings (no tiebrk))

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W15 W20 W8 W9 W11 D4 5.5
2 FM Kyron Griffith 12860484 2470 KyronGriffith W28 W19 H--- H--- W10 W13 5.0
3 NM Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy W44 W38 L9 W12 W18 W11 5.0
4 GM Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2600 GGuseinov H--- H--- W37 W5 W9 D1 4.5
5 IM Prasanna Ragh Rao 16083805 2508 Praschess W27 D12 W24 L4 W19 W20 4.5
6 Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W21 W40 W13 L11 W24 D7 4.5
7 Javier Silva III 16089208 1869 J3Chess24 L47 W46 W32 W27 W17 D6 4.5
8 Nicholas Ruo Weng 15499404 1958 ninjaforce W46 W47 L1 W28 L13 W25 4.0
9 Jonah Busch 12469525 1948 kondsaga W39 W34 W3 L1 L4 W31 4.0
10 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 BreatheChessAlways L32 W45 W30 W26 L2 W27 4.0
11 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1927 mwncklmann W33 W42 W23 W6 L1 L3 4.0
12 Patrick Peiju Liu 16667410 1851 katechen77 W52 D5 W16 L3 W22 D17 4.0
13 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 PlayerCreate1 W54 W22 L6 W15 W8 L2 4.0
14 Vishva Nanugonda 16380312 1775 vish1080 L42 W33 W47 L17 W46 W26 4.0
15 Ethan Guo 16761994 1606 LightningDragon8 L1 W53 W50 L13 W23 W24 4.0
16 Eric Hon 13778105 2186 microbear H--- W41 L12 W31 L20 W35 3.5
17 Daniel Lin 15176393 1998 SmilyFace4 W31 L24 W21 W14 L7 D12 3.5
18 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf H--- H--- W39 W29 L3 H--- 3.5
19 Mark L Drury 12459313 1843 BirdOrBust W48 L2 D40 W38 L5 W37 3.5
20 Adam Mercado 16571026 1842 A-boy415 W53 L1 D34 W40 W16 L5 3.5
21 Marina Xiao 16380642 1428 programmingmax L6 W36 L17 W55 D37 W38 3.5
22 Ethan Boldi 15088362 2120 etvat W29 L13 L31 W42 L12 W40 3.0
23 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 kclemens W45 W32 L11 L24 L15 W46 3.0
24 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 MatnMatt20 W49 W17 L5 W23 L6 L15 3.0
25 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1710 GiorgosTsolias L50 L39 W52 W48 W32 L8 3.0
26 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 starserika18 H--- H--- W35 L10 W39 L14 3.0
27 Rachael Tiong 16019458 1656 rachael1120 L5 W52 W49 L7 W34 L10 3.0
28 Kr Gopalakrishnan 16545130 1628 chessboi2010 L2 W48 W55 L8 L35 W47 3.0
29 Lisa Willis 12601676 1583 LittlePinkCorvette L22 W54 W56 L18 H--- H--- 3.0
30 Richard Hack 12796129 1569 Kaline340Green H--- H--- L10 L35 W48 W49 3.0
31 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 rimus11 L17 W43 W22 L16 W36 L9 3.0
32 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1331 chesspoki W10 L23 L7 W43 L25 W44 3.0
33 Martin Camacho 17248027 1311 camachom L11 L14 L36 W53 W55 W45 3.0
34 Jacob S Wang 17083655 1287 jacobchess857 W36 L9 D20 D37 L27 W43 3.0
35 Jeff North 17179258 923 JeffNorthSF L38 W44 L26 W30 W28 L16 3.0
36 Nicholas Ar Boldi 15088356 1883 nicarmt L34 L21 W33 W47 L31 D39 2.5
37 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 chessappeals D41 W50 L4 D34 D21 L19 2.5
38 Max Hao 16083648 1761 Joseph_Truelsons_Fan W35 L3 D42 L19 W49 L21 2.5
39 Ella Guo 16380657 1355 SunnyCountry L9 W25 L18 W56 L26 D36 2.5
40 Pranav Pradeep 15871762 1323 pranavpradeep2006 W43 L6 D19 L20 W51 L22 2.5
41 Adithya Chitta 16695036 933 adichi D37 L16 L43 L44 W53 W51 2.5
42 Ethan Sun 16964125 931 sfdeals W14 L11 D38 L22 L43 W54 2.5
43 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 Mangonel L40 L31 W41 L32 W42 L34 2.0
44 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 fiddleleaf L3 L35 L48 W41 W52 L32 2.0
45 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 Echecsmike L23 L10 W53 L49 W50 L33 2.0
46 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass L8 L7 W54 W50 L14 L23 2.0
47 Ya Dancig Perlman 16280288 1235 noydan100 W7 L8 L14 L36 W56 L28 2.0
48 Kevin Sun 16898540 1073 kevin_mx_sun L19 L28 W44 L25 L30 W56 2.0
49 Stan Polivyanenko 17310102 831 MrL0cust L24 B--- L27 W45 L38 L30 2.0
50 Sebby Suarez 16875347 691 Sebbymeister W25 L37 L15 L46 L45 W52 2.0
51 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 unr. vincitore51745 H--- H--- H--- U--- L40 L41 1.5
52 Ian Liao 16738735 1091 victor6688 L12 L27 L25 W54 L44 L50 1.0
53 Yuvraj Si Sawhney 17095004 1060 SaintReturns L20 L15 L45 L33 L41 W55 1.0
54 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 953 andrewaballantyne L13 L29 L46 L52 B--- L42 1.0
55 Willia Fitzgerald 17048414 537 OlympusMons00 H--- H--- L28 L21 L33 L53 1.0
56 Bruce Hedman 17344551 unr. Bruce_Hedman H--- H--- L29 L39 L47 L48 1.0

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Join the Mechanics' Institute, and realize savings on our events and classes while supporting our mission to provide a center for cultural and intellectual advanncement

We are doing a membership drive through the end of the year for new members and to encourage current members to renew. 

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TD Corner

Color Allocation

US Chess Rules of Chess 29E addresses how tournament directors should assign colors to players in any given round. It is a complicated and tough subject, so no surprise the matter is discussed and detailed out in almost 10 pages. While I’m not going to try to summarize and cover all aspects, recent chat discussions in the live twitch broadcast prompted to point out some of the basic, easier and regularly used guidelines.

Two Principle Guidelines

1)The objective in a tournament with an even number of rounds is to give white and black the same number of times to as many players as possible; in an event with an odd number of rounds, each player should receive no more than one extra white or black above an even allocation.

2)In addition to the task of equalizing colors, the director, after the first round, tries to alternate colors, by giving as many players as possible their due (correct or expected) color, round by round. The due color is usually the color a player did not have in the previous round, but not always. For example, a player who had white in rounds one and two and black in round three has a due color of black in round four, as equalization has priority over alternation.

First round colors in the top section is decided usually by coin toss. Consecutive sections are determined based on the open section. As many players as possible are given their due colors in each succeeding round, so long as the pairings conform to the basic Swiss system rules.


What’s a due color?

A player who has had an unequal number of whites and blacks is due the color that tends to equalize the number of whites and blacks. A player who has had an equal number of whites and blacks is due the opposite color to that he received in the most recent round. Unplayed games, including byes and forfeits, do not count for color. This means forfeit wins, and byes!


So what’s the priority? Equalizing the number of whites and blacks? Or Alternating the colors?

Equalization of colors takes priority over alternation of colors. First, as many players as possible are given the color that tends to equalize the number of times they have played white and black. After that is accomplished, as many players as possible should be given the color opposite to that which they played in the previous round.

What about pairing players due the same color?

1.If one player has had an unequal number of whites and blacks, while the other has had equal colors, the player who has had unequal colors gets due color. Example: WBW gets black over BxW, where x denotes any unplayed game—full-point bye, half-point bye, forfeit win, forfeit loss, etc.

2.If both players have had an unequal number of whites and blacks, the player with the greater total color imbalance gets due color. Example: WWBW gets black over xWBW.

3.If both players have had an equal number of whites and blacks, or both are equally out of balance, and if they had opposite colors in the previous round, the players should be given colors opposite to that which they played in the previous round. Example: WWB gets white over WBW.

4.If both players have had an equal number of whites and blacks, or both are equally out of balance, and if they had different colors in one or more prior rounds, priority for assigning color should be based on the latest round in which their colors differed. One or both players should be assigned the color opposite to that which they played in that round. Example 1: WBWB gets white over BWWB, because the first player had black in round two, the latest round in which colors differed. Example 2: BWxBW gets white over BWBxW, because the first player had black and the second had no color in round 4, the latest round in which colors differed.

5.If both players have had the same color sequence, the higher-ranked player gets due color. The higher ranked player is the player with the higher score. If the players have the same score, the higher-ranked player is the higher-rated.

Application of these Rules in Recent Matches

Applying these rules, we can understand why IM Elliott Winslow got black in Round 6 against GM Gadir Guseinov. Elliott had BWBWB going into Round 6, while Guseinov had HHBWB. Since they both had BWB in the last three rounds, going back Elliott had W in Round 2, while Guseinov had no color in Round 2. This means Elliott was equalized at that point, and Guseinov had a color imbalance.




Rd 1

Rd 2

Rd 3

Rd 4

Rd 5

Rd 6



GM Gadir Guseinov




B 23

W 2

B 12

W 4



2600 17343590










IM Elliott Winslow


B 31

W 21

B 11

W 12

B 15

B 1



2278 10363365 (2210)










Dr. Alexey Root

In Dr. Alexey Root's latest installment of Grandmaster Chef, Alexey and NM Michael Walder look at a favorite dish of France's top GM, Maxime Vachier Lagrave. To learn more about what this delicious dish is, along with an annotated game from MVL against GM Ian Nepomniachtchi from the FIDE Candidates match by Michael Walder, click here:

The dish, along with the position from MVL-Nepomniachtchi

Also, Alexey has been profiling the candidates for her Grandmaster Chef articles. If anyone out there knows some favorite dishes for Ding Liren, Wang Hao, Ian Neponiachtchi, and Kirill Alekseenko, please reach out to her at [email protected] 

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, 10/26:

FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 10/27:

MI Chess Director Abel Talamantez, Dr. Judit Sztaray Arena: Fridays 5pm-6:00pm, 10/30:

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 24: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Sunday, October 25: starts at 10:00AM - join from 9:45AM

8SS G/5+2:

Monday, October 26: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, October 27: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, October 28: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, October 29: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Friday, October 30: 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) bronkey (1553) - AtomicSillyTiger (1515) [D00]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 h5?! 3.h4?! [3.c4 is more useful as it attacks the center. The moves with the h-pawns are not as focused.] 3...Nf6 4.e3 Bf5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Bd3 Bxd3 7.Qxd3 e6 8.Nd2 Bd6 9.Bxd6 cxd6 The game is roughly equal. Both sides have developed the bishops and taken center squares. 10.e4 dxe4 11.Nxe4 Nxe4 12.Qxe4 d5 13.Qe3 Rc8 14.Nf3 Na5 15.Ne5 Nc4 16.Nxc4 Rxc4

All the bishops and knights have been traded to get a heavy piece middle game. Chances are even here. 17.Qg3 Qf6?! [17...0-0] 18.0-0?! [18.Qb8+! Qd8 19.Qxb7 picks up a pawn] 18...0-0 19.Rae1 Rfc8?! 20.Re5! g6?! [20...Qh6 21.Rg5 is pleasant for White though even in material] 21.Re3?! [21.Rxh5! wins a clean pawn] 21...Qg7 22.Rd1 Rf8 23.Qd6 Rc6 24.Qb4 f5?! This creates a weakeness on e6 with no benefit in return. [24...Rb8 keeps the game dead equal] 25.Rde1 Re8 26.f4 [26.Re5] 26...Rb6 27.Qa3 Ra6 28.Qb3 Rb6 29.Qc2 Qf6 30.g3 Qg7 31.Qa4! Re7? [31...Qe7! 32.Qxa7 Rxb2 keeps material even] 32.Qxa7 Rxb2 33.Rxe6 Rxe6 34.Rxe6 White has won a pawn and opened the e-file for the rook to join in the attack. Both kings are somewhat exposed but the white pawns provide more shelter. 34...Rb1+ 35.Kf2 Rb2+ 36.Kf3! Qd7 37.Qb8+ Kf7
38.Rd6?? [38.Re3 is a winning attack for White as the queen and rook combine on the kingside, e.g. 38...Rb6 39.Qh8 Re6 40.Qh7+ Ke8 41.Qxg6+ Ke7 42.Re5 Qc6 43.Qg5+ Kd7 44.Qxf5 Qxc3+ 45.Kg2] 38...Qe7! Now it's the black queen and rook that win by attack 39.Qd8 Qe2# AtomicSillyTiger won by checkmate 0-1

(3) MSCFriSebbyS (1515) - AwesomeHat (1282) [C56]
Live Chess
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 This classic line of the Guico Piano has been played for centuries. The action in the center is complicated though now the right plans have been found so that Black can fully equalize. 6.0-0!? an unusual move that sets problems for Black. It may not objectively be so good but it has a lot of practical value (and it's fun). [6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 is the standard old line that is safe and equal] 6...dxc3?! [The right pawn to take is the trouble making e-pawn - 6...Nxe4! 7.cxd4 (7.Re1?! d5 8.cxd4 Bb4 9.Bg5 Qd6 10.Nbd2 f5) 7...d5 8.dxc5 dxc4 9.Qe2 Qd3 solves all of Black's troubles and leaves White the task of trying to regain the sacrificed pawn.] 7.e5! Ng8? [The only way out of trouble now is 7...d5! 8.exf6 dxc4 9.fxg7 Rg8 is still ok for Black. The game would have equal chances.] 8.Qd5! Qe7 9.Nxc3 White's developmental lead is a decisive advantage He controls the whole center and has open lines for the one pawn given up. 9...Nh6 10.Nb5 [10.Bg5 Qf8 11.Nb5 Bb6 12.Nd6+! cxd6 13.Rfe1! dxe5 14.Rxe5+ wins right away] 10...0-0

[Black could make the win more difficult with 10...d6! 11.exd6 cxd6 12.Re1 Be6 13.Qh5] 11.Bg5! A crusher, winning big material. It's games like this that make people want to play gambits. 11...Qe6 12.Qxc5 Qe8 13.Nxc7 MSCFriSebbyS won by resignation 1-0

US Chess Online Rated Scholastic Tournaments
Every Week!

Next one: October 25, @10AM 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:

10/27 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Marathon 
Format: 8SS G/35+2 
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 8

[email protected]


This week’s studies take us to the material imbalance of rook and knight vs. queen, with her majesty chased, trapped – dominated.  I suspect she will take her revenge soon enough, however.

These studies have immense practical value.  Without moving the pieces, you can work on visualizing forced sequences, witnessing the birth of creative ideas and thought, spurring your own investigations into the mysteries of chess.

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


1. Rinck 1903 – White wins.

This is our model, and the solution is precise, elegant: 1.Rb4! Qe8 (1...Qa5 2.Nc6+ wins) 2.Rb8! Relentless. The queen has but one square. 2…Qh5 3.Rh8!  Incredible, but true. 3…Qxh8 4.Ng6+. The knight has the last word. White wins.


2. Troitzky 1910 – White wins.

With Rinck’s study – and solution - in mind, this won’t be too difficult, but of course there’s a nice twist or two along the way.


3. Kubbel 1911 – White wins.

You have your rook and knight: use them!


4. Lilja 1962 – White wins.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this mind-bending study: enjoy!


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

The Old Man and the Endgame

Excuse the reference to Ernest Hemingway’s classic novel, yet this week we must consider the “old men” of the game of chess who take refuge in the endgame. Tournament players know of the terror of playing an up and coming young kid. The youngsters are sharp with the tactics, know their openings extremely well and can navigate the middle game. Yet they are often lacking in endgame skills, which is something one acquires with experience. The older player will sometimes seek to bail out of a bad position into an inferior endgame that can be held for a draw. Older players (particularly older masters) will often play a safe opening and middlegame against a young opponent but then seek to grind down the youngster in a dry ending where they figure they will have the chances.

Below we have three examples of endgames and in these the older player wins, as often happens. One reason for our nod to the “old men” is last week’s US Senior Championship which was won by GM Joel Benjamin (a former US Junior Champ and 3-time US Champion). We must remind you that age is relative and so the question is, are you older than your opponent? If so you may wish to head to the endgame and we hope these examples give you some ideas.

(1) Firouzja,Alireza - Carlsen,Magnus [A04]
Altibox Norway Chess, 18.10.2020

Here we have the young super talent - 17 year old Alireza Firouzja - meeting the "old" champ. 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 c5 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.0-0 e5 5.e4 d6 6.c3 g6 7.d4 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bg4 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Nc3 Bg7 11.h3 Bxf3 12.Qxd8+ Rxd8 13.Bxf3 0-0 The game is an equal ending. Young Firouzja was likely happy to have a safe draw against the champ. Yet it is the endgame, and Magnus loves to try to grind things out. 14.Kg2 Nd4 15.Bg5 h6 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nd5

17...Rd6 It really looks like the game is headed for a quick draw. How can one get chances in this symmetrical, bishops of opposite color position? 18.Rac1 Bd8 19.Rfd1 Kg7 20.Ne3 Ra6 21.a3 h5 22.Nc4 Bf6 23.h4 Rc8 24.Ne3?! a safe looking move, but the retreat begins to give Black an initiative. There was a forcing variation - [24.Rxd4! exd4 25.e5 Rc7! 26.exf6+ Kxf6 27.Rc2 d3 28.Rc3 b5 29.Ne3 Rxc3 30.Nd5+ Ke5 31.Nxc3 Rb6 32.Nd5 Rd6 33.Nc3 should hold the draw] 24...Rac6 25.Rxc6 Rxc6 26.Rd3 Bd8 27.Bd1 Rc1 Magnus has gained a small advantage with control of the c-file. Of course he continues to press. 28.Bb3 b5 29.Rd1 Rc8 30.Ba2 a5 31.Rd3 a4! 32.Kf1 Bb6 33.Rc3?! This trades the rooks but weakens the queenside pawns. Black's advantage now becomes serious. 33...Rxc3 34.bxc3 Nb3! 35.Ke1 Bc5 36.Nc2 Nc1?! too eager to grab a pawn, Magnus allows the game to become simplified. He would have kept a lot of pressure with [36...f5 e.g. 37.f3?! f4! 38.gxf4 exf4 39.Kf1 Be7] 37.Bd5 Nd3+ 38.Ke2 Nxf2 39.Bc6 The queenside pawns will be liquidated. 39...f6 40.Ne3 Nh1 41.Nf1 Bxa3 42.Bxb5 Bb2 43.Bxa4 Bxc3 44.Kf3 Bd4 45.g4 hxg4+ 46.Kxg4
All the pawns are on the kingside and there are bishops of opposite color. White has very good drawing chances. 46...Nf2+ 47.Kf3 Kh6 48.Ng3 Nd3 49.Be8 Nf4 50.Ne2 Ne6 51.Bf7 Nc5 52.Ng3 Bc3 53.h5! Be1! 54.Bxg6 Bxg3 55.Kxg3 Kg5 56.Kf3 Nb3 57.Bf7 Nd4+ 58.Kg3 Ne2+ 59.Kf3 Nf4 60.Kg3 Nxh5+ 61.Bxh5 Kxh5 62.Kh3 so Black has won the h-pawn and has 2 pawns vs one in the king ending. Yet the game is a draw because White has the opposition. Magnus knew this, and Firouzja also figured on the draw. Yet Magnus will be as tricky as he can be to try to take the full point. Can you dear reader hold the draw in this position? Think opposition, and especially distant opposition. 62...Kh6 63.Kh4 Kg7 64.Kg3 very good so far. White keeps the kings doing the dance with the right number of squares in between. He must be ready to close in when the black king advances, but in a way that White keeps the opposition when the kings are one square apart. 64...Kf8 65.Kf2 Ke7 66.Ke2 Ke8 67.Ke3 Kd7 68.Kd3! Kd6 69.Kc3? Oh no! The wrong square. The youngster fails at the finish. 69. Kd2 Kc5 70. Kc3 holds the game. 69...Kc5
Now White must give way with the king. 70. Kd3 Kb4 or 70. Kb3 Kd4 wins easily, so Firouzja resigned. 0-1


(2) Carlsen,Magnus - Aronian,Lev [D35]
Altibox Norway Chess, 18.10.2020

When Magnus was quite young Aronian was already a veteran player. Back then he taught Magnus a thing or two in the endgame, though of course Magnus learned his lesson well. In the recent Altibox Norway Chess tournament Magnus played Aronian in the last round (when the champ has already won the tournament). The final game was like the old days with the older Aronian getting an endgame advantage. 1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bf4 c6 7.Qc2 g6 8.e3 Bf5 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 Nbd7 11.h4 a5 12.Kf1 a4 13.a3 Qb6 14.Qc2 h5 15.Bg5 0-0 16.Ne5 Rfe8 17.Bxf6 Nxf6 18.Rh3 Qb3

The game is level and would remain so if White just trades queens on b3. Magnus retreats and gets a disadvantage. We will fast forward to the endgame to focus on our theme. 19.Qb1 Ne4! 20.Nxe4 dxe4 21.Qxe4 Bd6 22.Rg3 Bxe5 23.dxe5 Qb5+ 24.Kg1 Rxe5 25.Qd4 Rd5 26.Qf6 Rf5 27.Qd4 Qe2 28.e4 Rb5 29.Rb1 Qc2 30.Qd3 Rc5 31.Qxc2 Rxc2 White is somewhat tied down in the double rook ending as must play for the draw. 32.b3 b5 33.Rd3 axb3 34.Rbxb3 Ra4 35.Rdc3 Rc4 36.Rxc2 Rxc2 37.f3?! Kf8 38.Kh2 Ke7 39.Kh3 Ke6 40.Rd3 Rc4 41.Kg3 Ke5 42.Rd7 Rc3 [42...Ra4!] 43.Ra7 f6 44.Ra8 Kd6?! [44...Kd4!] 45.Kf4 Kc7 46.g4 Kb7 47.Rg8 hxg4 48.fxg4 Rxa3 49.Rxg6 b4 50.Rxf6? Here Magnus goes wrong with a greedy move. He loses a critical tempo in the race to queen and we can't blame it on his youth this time. Aronian is not quite the player he was ten years ago, but his endgame play is still the highest level and he can take down Magnus when given the opportunity. [50.Rg7+ Kb6 51.Rg8 c5 52.g5 would hold the draw] 50...b3 51.Rf7+ Kb6 52.Rf8
52...Ra7! Now the black pawns are just too fast. 53.Rb8+ Rb7 54.Rd8 c5 55.Ke3 c4 56.Rd1 [56.Kd2 b2 57.Kc2 b1Q+ 58.Kxb1 Kc7+ picks up the white rook] 56...c3 57.Rb1 Kc5 58.Kd3
White resigns. 58...Kb4 supports the black pawns and they easily advance. 0-1


(3) Benjamin,Joel - Wolff,Patrick [B50]
US Senior Chp., 18.10.2020

The winner of the US Senior Championship was Joel Benjamin of New Jersey. Here he meets the MI's own Patrick Wolff, who had a very respectable showing in the championship. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Joel chooses a quite opening, planning to play for small advantages. 3...Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Nxd7 5.0-0 Ngf6 6.d3 g6 7.Re1 Bg7 8.c3 0-0 9.d4 cxd4 10.cxd4 e5?! This gets a pawn stuck on e5 and so makes the fianchettoed bishop less valuable. [10...b5!? would get some queenside space] 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 dxe5 13.Nc3 Qb6 14.Qe2 Rfc8 15.Bg5 Bf8 16.Bxf6 Qxf6 17.Nd5

This strong knight on d5 ensures White a small but enduring advantage. 17...Qe6 18.Rac1 Rxc1 19.Rxc1 Rc8 20.Rc4 Kg7 21.Qc2 Rxc4 22.Qxc4 Qc6 23.Qxc6! Headed to a knight versus bishop ending where the knight is a little better. Benjamin is going for the slow squeeze. 23...bxc6 24.Ne3 Kf6 25.Nc4 Ke6 26.Kf1 Bc5 27.Ke2 Bd4 28.f3 h5 29.b3 h4 30.h3 All the white pawns are on light squares where the black bishop cannot attack them. Clearly White is better and pushing for the win. The question is whether he is able to make progress. 30...Bc5 31.Kd3 Bb4 32.a3 Bc5 33.b4 Be7 34.Na5 Kd6 35.Kc4 Bg5?! [35...Kd7 would keep better drawing chances. The bishop is good guarding from e7.] 36.Kb3 [36.b5! cxb5+ 37.Kxb5] 36...Kd7 [36...Bd8!] 37.Ka4 Be3 38.Nc4 Bd4 39.Ka5 Kc7?! The best plan now was to go completely on the offensive! [39...Ke6 40.Ka6 Kf6! with the plan of marching the black king down to take the g2 pawn.] 40.Ka6 f6 41.a4 Bf2 42.b5 Bd4? [Black had one last chance to draw - running with the king to the kingside while White grabs the a-pawn: 42...cxb5 43.axb5 g5 44.Na5 Kd6! 45.Nc6 Kc5! 46.Nxa7 Kc4 47.b6 Bxb6 48.Kxb6 Kd3 49.Kc5 Ke3 50.Nc6 Kf2 51.Kd6 Kxg2 52.Ke6 Kxh3 53.Kxf6 g4 54.fxg4 Kxg4 55.Nxe5+ Kf4 56.Ng6+ Kxe4 57.Nxh4 and all the pawns are gone] 43.Na5 cxb5 44.axb5 Kb8 45.Nc6+ Ka8

46.Nxa7! This clever move crashes through right away. 46...Bxa7 47.b6 f5 [47...Bb8 48.b7#] 48.bxa7 1-0

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