Chess Room Newsletter #941 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #941

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #941


October 31, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

The Queen's Gambit on Netflix

I have watched the first 4 episodes of The Queen's Gambit on Netflix, and hope to finish it by this weekend. I will save my full review until I complete all the episodes, which will be in next weeks newsletter. I know the reviews have largely been praise for the series, and I myself have enjoyed the acting, the chess, the human drama and the music supporting the storytelling. There is one part of the series I would like to mention, because it speaks to the beauty and power of chess, and for the ability of the everyday person to change the world through kindness.

In the first episode, we are introduced to the central character, Beth Harmon, who at an early age is placed in an orphanage after the death of her mother in a car crash, one in which it appears she took her own life. Beth survived, and tries to adapt to her new life. While being sent to clean erasers during the school day, she goes tot the basement to find the custodian, Mr. Shaibel, going over a game on a chessboard. She inquires about the game, and starts to learn the piece movements by watching him. As she gets more curious about the game, Mr Shaibel begins to teach her more, including notation. Soon enough, her genius surpasses the skills of her instructor. Mr Shaibel then brings the director of the high school chess club, who then organizes a simul at the school. As she goes on to defeat challenger after challenger, she becomes poised to enter the world of tournament play. However, she does not have the money to play her first event in her home state of Kentucky, so she writes to Mr. Shaibel for a loan for the entry fee, which he sends to her. Thus begins her journey into the competitive chess world, and the drama and tale begins to unfold. 

What I really enjoyed about the first two episodes was the relationship between Beth and Mr. Shaibel. He not only teaches her chess, but he instills discipline while teaching. During one moment of frustration by Beth, she calls him a name and he does not permit her to go down to the basement to play for a time. He recognizes her talent, and supports her growth and progress, and goes out of his way to bring attention to her through his outreach to the local high school chess club and his support of her first tournament entry. While this was the last (at least through four episodes) we see of Mr. Shaibel, his impact on her was immense. 

I very strongly believe that in chess, and in life, an everyday person can have a profound impact on the lives of others, and that even those that are geniuses or that accomplish great things are influenced by everyday people in some way that helps and supports them. I think often times people think of themselves as insignificant in terms of making an impact on the world, but the reality may be that people have an impact they do not realize. Even from some of the stories I have heard since coming to Mechanics', I have been quite surprised to hear of stories like Bobby Fischer staying at the house of Steve Brandwein for example, giving him a place to stay while in San Francisco. This is significant in telling the history of Bobby Fischer, what would he have done otherwise? Would we have had him in San Francisco?

I eagerly await to see how the series plays out, but I really enjoyed this part of the series. Chess is played literally everywhere in the world, and it is a very special thing for us to have that, just as it is a vspecial thing to look up at the moon and know the whole world sees the same thing. Probably only soccer can claim the same in terms of sport or game. And just like in soccer, you need very little to learn and play, only a set of pieces and a board. And with this, the ability to change the world.


Ray Conway Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon Report

The 8-round Open section Ray Conway Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon concluded on Tuesday, and IM Elliott Winslow showed that in chess brilliance, perseverance, and resolve can stay with you long into your career. Winslow got through a gauntlet of players that included GM Gadir Guseinov, IM Prasanna Rao and FM Kyron Griffith to win clear first in the TNM with a score of 7/8. His wins were delberate, and his draw against GM Guseinov was aggressive. He took a strategic draw in the penultimate round against FM Kyron Griffith but closed the show in fine form in the final round against the very young and talented Javier Silva. Congratulations to Elliott on a phenomenal performance over 8 rounds and 4 weeks!

GM Gadir Guseinov took clear 2nd with 6.5/8 and IM Prasanna Rao, NM Michael Walder and Patrick Liu tied for 3rd at 6/8. 

Tentative prize winners include Patrick Liu (u/2000), Vishva Nanugonda and Ethan Guo (u/1800) and Stephen Zhu, Jacob Wang, Yali Dancig Perlman, and Pranav Pradeep (u/1400). 

All results are tentative pending a far play review which will be conducted by and Dr. Ken Regan. 

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

(1) Javier Silva (J3Chess24)(2019) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow)(2032) [B22]
Ray Conway mem TNM (8.1), 28.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.cxd4 [6.Bc4 right away is quite a different path: 6...Nb6 7.Bb3 d5 8.exd6 Qxd6 9.0-0 (9.Na3 dxc3!? (9...a6) ) 9...Be6 10.Na3 (10.Bxe6 Qxe6 11.Nxd4 Nxd4 12.Qxd4 Rd8 (12...Qd7!?) 13.Qh4 Qe2 (13...h5) ) ] 6...d6 7.Bc4 dxe5!? [Mostly you see 7...Nb6; or 7...e6] 8.dxe5 [8.Bxd5 used to be the idea, but 8...Qxd5 9.Nc3 Qd6 10.d5 Nd4! 11.Nxd4 exd4 12.Qxd4 e5! 13.Qd3 Bd7 14.0-0 f5! when Black is quite content to settle his king on f7.; 8.Nxe5 could well be the best try for an advantage.] 8...Ndb4!?

Black's grand strategy is to put out the fires and win the e-pawn. But there can be quite a few fires! 9.a3?! [9.Qb3!? e6 10.Nc3 Na5 (10...Nd3+!?) 11.Bb5+ Bd7 12.Qa4 Bxb5 13.Qxb5+ Nac6 14.0-0 a6 15.Qa4 b5 16.Qb3 Na5 17.Qd1 Qxd1 18.Rxd1 Be7 19.Bg5 Nbc6 20.Bxe7 Kxe7=/+; Everybody's computer prefers 9.0-0 Qxd1 10.Rxd1 Bf5 11.a3 Nc2 12.Ra2 e6 13.Nc3 (13.b4? N2xb4 14.Rb2 Na5!) 13...a6 14.b4 Rc8 and perhaps Black hasn't quite equalized.] 9...Qxd1+ 10.Kxd1 Na6 11.Bxa6?! The bishops may seem less concrete of an advantage than better pawns, but it doesn't turn out that way -- and it won't be easy to get to these a-pawns. As it went White had a big opportunity on the c-file but didn't cash it in. [11.b4!?] 11...bxa6=/+ 12.Bf4 Bg4?! [12...g5!?; 12...h6!? 13.h4 Rb8 14.e6 Rxb2 15.exf7+ Kxf7=/+] 13.Nbd2 0-0-0? [13...g5!?=] 14.Rc1+/- Kb7 15.Ke1 e6 16.h3 Bh5 17.g4 Bg6 18.Ke2 Be7 19.Rhd1 Rd5 20.Nc4 Rhd8 21.Ne3 [21.Nd6+ Bxd6 22.Rxd5 exd5 23.exd6 made for an interesting imbalanced situation, favoring White.] 21...Bd3+ 22.Ke1 Critical move. 22...Rb5 23.Rc3 Be4 24.Nd2
24...Bg6? [You have to love the engines -- they recommend 24...Bh1! 25.Rdc1 Rd4 26.Bg3 a5 27.f3 Bg5! 28.Ndc4 Bxf3 29.Nd6+ Rxd6 30.exd6 Bf6 31.Rd3 Be4 32.Rd2 Rb3 33.Ke2 Rxb2 34.Rxb2+ Bxb2 35.Rc4 Bd4 What a wild line!] 25.Ndc4?= [The best move was 25.Rdc1+- Rxb2 26.Nec4 Ra2 27.Nd6+ Bxd6 28.exd6 Rxd2 29.Kxd2 Be4 30.Rc5 Bd5 31.Ke3 h6 32.Bg3 g5 33.Rb1+ Ka8 34.f3 a5 35.Rbb5] 25...Rxd1+ 26.Kxd1 Kc7 making sure the rook has a way back, plus the king stands better near the pawns in the center. 27.Nc2?! Kd7 28.Kc1 a5 29.Bg3 Rd5 30.N4e3 Rc5 The rooks off just mean that it's that much easier for Black to use his king. 31.Rxc5 Bxc5 32.f4 Be4 33.Kd2 Nd4 34.Nxd4 Bxd4 35.b3 Kc6 36.Nc4 Bg2 37.Nxa5+ Kd5 38.h4?! [38.Ke2 Bxh3 39.Kf3 Bf1 40.Bf2 Bc3 41.Nb7 a6-/+] 38...Bh3 39.Ke2 [Might as well at least hold that pawn: 39.g5 Ke4 40.a4 Kf3 but the king penetration is more of a problem than White can create on the queenside.] 39...Bxg4+ 40.Kf1 Ke4 41.Kg2 Bf3+ 42.Kh2 Be3 43.Nc4 Bxf4 [43...Bc1!] 44.Nd6+ Kxe5 Critical move. 45.Nxf7+ Kf5 46.Bxf4 [46.Nd6+ Kg4] 46...Kxf4 Black fumbles a bit, but manages to find the path to a win from here. 47.Ng5 e5 48.Nxh7 e4 49.Kg1 e3 50.Kf1 Bd5 51.b4 Bc4+ 52.Ke1 Kg4 53.Nf8 Kxh4 54.Ng6+ Kg3 [54...Kg5!] 55.Ne5 [The best move was 55.a4] 55...Bb5?
White: 0:13.2 Black: 0:47 [55...Bd5] 56.Ng6? [56.a4! requires Black to spot 56...Kf4!! (56...Bxa4? 57.Ke2 is only a draw! White can give up his knight to dissolve the kingside pawns, then run to a1 with his king. Wrong color bishop! 57...g5 58.Kxe3 might look totally won to the engines, but it's a tablebase draw.) 57.Ng6+ Kg5 58.Ne7 Bc4 and *this* is a win.] 56...Kf3 57.Ne5+ Kg3? [57...Kf4 58.Ng6+ Ke4] 58.Ng6? Kf3 59.Ne5+ Ke4 60.Ng6 Be8 61.Nh4?! [61.Nf8 Bf7 62.Nd7 g5 63.Nc5+ Kf3 64.Nd3 Bd5 65.Ne5+ Ke4 66.Ng6 g4 67.Ne7 Bc4 68.Nc8 Kf3 69.Nd6 Bd5] 61...g5 62.Ng2 g4 63.Nh4 g3 64.Ng2 Bd7 65.Nh4 Bg4 66.Ng2 Bf5 67.a4 Bh3 68.Nh4 g2 69.Nxg2 Bxg2 70.b5 Bf3 71.a5 Kd5 72.b6 axb6 73.axb6 Kc6 ecwinslow won by resignation 0-1

(2) FM KyronGriffith (KyronGriffith) (2175) - GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2615) [B27]
Ray Conway mem TNM (8.2), 28.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 Via an unusual move order the game has become a Dragon. 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 And a Yugoslav Attack, so both players are out for blood. 9.0-0-0 The only slightly more restrained continuation, [compared with 9.Bc4] 9...d5 The most principled and popular move, since it was found that [9...Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6 11.Kb1! thwarts Black's direct play: 11...Qa5?! 12.Nd5!] 10.Nxc6!? An almost forgotten line, Kyron shows it has considerable teeth. [10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 (12.Nxd5 cxd5 13.Qxd5 Qc7!) 12...Bxd4!? (12...e5 13.Bc5 Be6!? was the rage for a long time but has been completely superseded.) 13.Qxd4 Qb6] 10...bxc6 11.Bh6

Play isn't as dense as, say, the convolutions of the 9.Bc4 lines, but this does get very sharp. 11...Bxh6!? "inviting" the queen in, radically increasing the stakes. [Sergei Kudrin, who played this line for both sides, championed 11...Qc7 against Andrei Sokolov in Lugano 1985. 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.exd5 cxd5 14.h4 h5 15.Nxd5 Nxd5 16.Qxd5 Be6 17.Qd4+ Kg8 18.Bd3 Rfd8 19.Qe3 Bxa2 20.g4 Rab8 21.gxh5 Rxb2!! 1/2-1/2 (39) Sokolov,A (2550)-Kudrin,S (2485) Lugano 1985 EXT 2000 [Bulletin]; 11...e6 12.h4 Bh8! was Kudrin-Lobron, New York 1983] 12.Qxh6 Rb8! This is what Gawain Jones recommends in his Dragon books for the Grandmaster Repertoire series. Black holds off on where to put the queen (a5 or b6). 13.e5 Certainly the most troubling, moving the knight away from defense. 13...Nd7 14.Rd4!? The immediate deadly 15.Rh4 allows no time for taking on e5. [14.h4 Nxe5 15.h5 Bf5 16.g4 f6! 17.Qf4?! was the original game for this line. (17.gxf5? g5!; 17.Qd2 Be6 18.hxg6 Nxg6 19.Bd3 Rf7 1-0 (41) Noritsyn,N (2508)-Findlay,I (2206) Edmonton 2019; 17.Qe3! and the battle goes on.) 17...Qd6 18.Qe3 Qb4 19.gxf5 Qxb2+ 20.Kd2 d4 21.Qe4 Qxc3+ 22.Ke2 gxf5 0-1 (22) Gonell Aparici,R-Marin,M (2520) Manresa 1995] 14...Re8 Critical move. 15.e6! [15.Rh4 Nf8 and Black is tight.] 15...fxe6 [Jones advocated 15...Nf6 16.exf7+ Kxf7 "unclear," but computers have White on top after 17.Ra4 Qb6 18.b3] 16.Bd3 Nf8 Critical move. 17.h4! Worth waiting for. 17...e5
18.Ra4! [18.h5!? exd4 19.hxg6 leads to a perpetual only: 19...Qd6! 20.gxh7+ Kh8 21.Qg7+! Kxg7 22.h8Q+ Kf7 23.Rh7+ Nxh7 24.Qxh7+ Kf8 (24...Kf6?? 25.Qg6+ Ke5 26.Qg5+ Ke6 27.Qf5#) 25.Qh8+ Kf7=] 18...Qd6 19.h5 Bf5 20.hxg6?! [20.Bxf5 gxf5 21.Qg5+ Kh8 22.Qxf5 is some advantage for White, although Black's impressive center shouldn't be underestimated.] 20...Bxd3 21.cxd3 hxg6 22.f4! Qf6! The tournament's grandmaster has been defending furiously and accurately;; 23.fxe5 Qxe5 24.Rf4 A little test? (25.Rxf8+ and 26.Qh7#) [24.Rxa7 Rb4! is only equal, but Black does get his rook into the game.] 24...Qg7 [24...Qe3+?? 25.Kb1! Rxb2+ 26.Ka1!!+-] 25.Qh3 g5!? [25...e5 26.Rh4 Qf6 27.Kb1! still provides play worth at least a pawn.] 26.Rg4?! [26.Rf2 keeps up more pressure.] 26...Nh7 [26...e5!?] 27.Qg3 e5 Black sets up lateral defenses. 28.Rh5 Qf6! 29.Qh3 Rb7 30.Rh6 Qf5 31.Qh5?! White maybe tries too hard around here. A classic motif of getting pieces so far over on the attack, that when it dead ends, they're all out of play. [31.Ra4 is enough play to hold: 31...Rf8 32.Rxc6 Qxh3 33.gxh3 Rf1+ 34.Kc2 Nf6 35.Ra5 Rf2+ 36.Kc1 Rf1+ 37.Kc2=; or 31.Rxc6 Qf1+ 32.Nd1] 31...Rf8 [31...Re6! 32.Rxe6 Qxe6 33.Nd1 Kg7 when ...Qg6 pushes back.] 32.Qg6+ Rg7 33.Qxf5 Rxf5 34.Rxc6 Nf6 35.Rg3?
[35.Ra4 d4 36.Nb5 gets something going on the queenside, but Black is ahead on the kingside and center.] 35...g4!-+ Times 5:19 vs. 7:59. White finds his pieces, almost by magic, very misplaced. 36.d4!? exd4 37.Nd1 Ne4? [The best move was 37...Nh5! 38.Rd3 Nf4 39.Rd2 no taking back the d-pawn! 39...g3 when the e-file is open for ...Re7, ...d3, and ...Re2] 38.Rd3 Rf1 39.Rxd4 Rg1 40.Rxd5 g3 [40...Rxg2?! 41.Ne3 Rh2 42.Nf5 is fully back in the game] 41.Rc2 vs. 5:44 [41.Rc4! Re7 (41...Nf2 42.Kc2 Rxg2 43.Rh5) 42.Rd3 Kf7 43.Rf3+ neither man nor box is seeing a way to an advantage.] 41...Nf2 Now the clear path for Black is muddled as they run short of time. 42.Rdd2?! (40 seconds for this) [42.b3] 42...Rf7 43.Rc3 [43.b4] 43...Ne4 44.Rd8+ Kh7 45.Rc4 Nf2 46.Rd2?! (20 seconds left) [46.b3 Nxd1 47.Rh4+ Kg6 48.Rg4+ Kf6 49.Rxg3 attempts to hold, but is no fun.] 46...Nxd1 47.Rxd1 Rxg2-+ Black locks onto what should be a won ending. 48.Rh1+ Kg6?! [48...Kg7 49.Rg4+ Kf8] 49.Rg4+ Kf5 50.Rg8 Kf4?! [50...Ke4 and doubling on the seventh is right out of Rook Endings 101 (and winning).] 51.Rf1+ Rf2 52.Rg1 Rf3 53.Rd1?! White banked a couple seconds on the last two moves to get to seven; Black has 3:52. [53.Re1] 53...Rf5 [53...Ke3! right away keeps the a-pawn out of trouble as well.] 54.b4?! [54.Rd7!? Ke3 55.Re7+ Kf2 56.Rxa7] 54...Ke3 55.Rd7 Kf2?! [55...a5!?] 56.Rxa7
56...Re5? [56...R5f4! 57.b5 Rc4+ 58.Kd2 Rff4 adds checkmate to White's woes, for the win.] 57.Rag7? White draws after either rook move [57.Rc7!; or 57.Rd7] 57...Re1+! 58.Kd2 Re2+ 59.Kc1 Kg2 60.Rd7 Rf1+ 61.Rd1 Rff2 [61...Rxd1+ 62.Kxd1 Rxa2 is straightforward.] 62.Rd3 Re1+ 63.Rd1 Re3?
White can now hold! [Best was 63...Rxd1+ 64.Kxd1 Rxa2 as above. 65.Ke1 Rb2 66.Rb8 Kh1 67.Rg8 g2 68.Rh8+ Kg1 69.Rh4 Rc2 sets up the Lucena position, when the b-pawn isn't enough of a factor: 70.Rh8 Rc4 71.b5 Rb4 72.Rb8 Re4+ 73.Kd2 Kh2 74.Rg8 Rb4 75.b6 Rxb6] 64.Rd4? [White draws with 64.Rd2 Re1+ 65.Kc2 Kh2 66.Rh8+ Kg1 67.Rg8 g2 68.b5 Ref1 69.b6 Rxd2+ 70.Kxd2 Rb1 71.a4 Rxb6 72.Rxg2+ Kxg2 73.Kc3 Kf3 74.Kc4 Ke4 75.a5 Rh6 76.Kb5 Kd5 77.a6=; 64.b5= also draws.] 64...Rxa2 65.Kb1 Rf2 66.Kc1 Re1+ 67.Rd1 Rxd1+ 68.Kxd1 Rb2 Black gets the best of it, with the b-pawn alone unable to matter. 69.Rg4 [69.Rg6 Rxb4 70.Ke2 Re4+ 71.Kd3 Re7 72.Rh6 Kf2 73.Rf6+ Kg1 74.Rh6 g2 is Lucena's position.] 69...Kf3 70.Rg8 g2 Black has 71... g1Q+ coming up. 0-1

(3) Felix German (FelixGerman)(1696) - IM Prasanna Rao (Praschess) (2140) [A83]
Ray Conway mem TNM (7.3), 27.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 f5 2.e4 The Staunton Gambit against the Dutch Defense. Felix goes for immediate action. 2...fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 c6 5.f3 e3 Instead of looking for a refutation, Black gives back the pawn immediately, leaving White with a strange pawn at f3, and aiming for a psychological edge: after all, if an opponent wants to play a gambit, why give him what he wants? 6.Bd3 g6 7.Bxe3 Bg7 8.Qd2 Yet White has a nice solid position with good control of the center. 8...Qa5 9.Nge2 d6 10.0-0 0-0 11.a3 Nbd7 12.b4 Qc7 13.b5 This advance doesn't really do much for White. 13...Nb6 14.bxc6 bxc6 15.Kh1 Be6 16.a4?! [16.Bh6] 16...Nc4 17.Qc1 Nxe3 18.Qxe3 Bf7 Black has the two bishops now, without compensation for that. 19.Nf4?

Anything else! 19...Qd7? [19...Bh6! 20.g3 (20.Ne6 Bxe3 21.Nxc7 Bxd4 22.Ne2 Bxa1 23.Nxa8 Be5 24.Nc7 Rb8-+ is a pawn and position -- and those bishops are still there.) 20...Rae8 Black's potential is about to be realized. (20...e5) ] 20.Rfe1?! [20.Nh3] 20...Bh6 Still pretty good. 21.g3 Rae8 22.Qf2 Bxf4 Wrecking White's pawn formation. 23.gxf4 Nh5 24.f5 returning the favor some (but it costs a pawn). 24...gxf5 White is up a pawn, which will take some work to cash in. 25.Rg1+ Kh8 26.Rg5 Nf4?? There must have been a hallucination. [26...e6 keeps the pawn and some advantage.] 27.Bxf5 Now White has a clear plus. 27...e6
28.Qh4? [He thought for five and a half minutes and didn't find 28.Bxh7! Nh3 29.Qh4 Nxg5 30.Bd3+ Bh5 31.Qxh5+ Nh7 and he probably didn't see 32.Bg6! with Ne4 to come, with a big, probably winning, advantage.] 28...exf5 [28...Bh5] 29.Qxf4 Qe7! a good idea to get the black queen covering dark squares 30.Rg3 [30.Rxf5?? Bg6 31.Rxf8+ Rxf8 and White comes undone.] 30...Qe3
31.Qxe3? White has too many weak pawns for an ending. [31.Qh4! Re6 32.Rag1! Qh6! still tries to make the ending count.(32...Qxc3 33.Rh3 leads to a perpetual: 33...Bg6 34.Rxg6 Re1+ (34...Qe1+) ) ] 31...Rxe3 32.f4 Rfe8 33.Kg2 Rxg3+ 34.hxg3 Re3 35.Ra3?! A sad move to make, but only if Black finds... 35...Re1?? Not that! [35...Bd5+!-+ is a zugzwang of sorts (well, White has Nb1, but still lost).] 36.d5! cxd5 37.Nb5 [37.Kf2] 37...Re2+ 38.Kf1 [38.Kf3?? Bh5+] 38...Rxc2 39.Nxd6 [39.Nxa7] 39...Be6 [39...Bg6!?] 40.Nb5 There shouldn't be any chance for either side now, except that Felix has 1:50 to Prasanna's 10:19. 40...a6 41.Nd4 Rc1+ 42.Kf2 Bd7 43.Rb3 Rc4 44.Rb8+ Kg7 45.Rb7 Rxd4 46.Rxd7+ Kg8 47.Rd8+ Kf7 48.Rd7+ Ke6 49.Rxh7 Rxa4 50.Rh6+ Ke7 51.Rh7+ Ke6 52.Rh6+ Kf7 53.Rd6 d4 54.Ke2 Ra3 55.Rxd4 Rxg3 56.Ra4 Rg6 57.Ra5 Re6+ 58.Kf3 Rf6 59.Kg3 Kg6 60.Kh4 Rd6 61.Ra1 Kf6 62.Ra2 Kg6 63.Rg2+ Kf7 64.Ra2 Rg6 65.Kh5 Rao's thoughts of advantage have merely cost him his time: it's now 0:22 vs. 0:32. 65...Rb6 66.Kg5 Ke6 67.Rh2 Kd5 68.Kxf5 a5 69.Ra2 Ra6 70.Rd2+ Kc4 71.Ke4 a4 72.f5 a3 73.Ra2 Kb3 74.Rxa3+ Kxa3 75.Ke5 Kb4 76.f6 Kc5 77.f7 Ra8 78.Ke6 Kc6 79.Ke7 Ra7+ 80.Kf6 Ra8 81.Ke7 Kc7 82.f8Q Rxf8 83.Kxf8 Game drawn by insufficient material Game drawn - insufficient material 1/2-1/2

(4) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2609) - NM Michael Walder (FlightsOfFancy)(1886) [B40]
Ray Conway mem TNM (7.2), 28.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Qc7 The Taimanov Variation - flexible yet fighting. This gives us a rich strategic Sicilian position. 6.Be3 a6 7.Qd2 Nf6 8.f4 Bb4 9.Bd3 b5 Mike chooses this variation, perhaps influenced by [9...Na5 10.a3 Bxc3 11.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 12.bxc3 d5 13.exd5 Nxd5 14.Bd2 Nb6 15.Rb1 Nbc4 16.Rb4 Nxd2 17.Kxd2 Bd7 18.Be4 0-0-0 19.Rhb1 g5 20.Bxb7+ Nxb7 21.Rxb7 gxf4 22.Ke1 Rhg8 23.Kf2 e5 24.Nf3 e4 25.Nd4 Rg5 26.Rb8+ Kc7 27.R1b7+ Kd6 28.Rxd8 e3+ 29.Kf3 1-0 (29) GGuseinov (2518)-0gZPanda (2138) 23.05/0 ] 10.a3 [Alternatives are 10.0-0-0!?; and 10.a4!?] 10...Be7 [riskly is 10...Ba5?! 11.Nxc6 Qxc6 12.b4 Ng4!? 13.Bg1 Bb6 14.Be2 Bxg1 15.Rxg1 Nf6 16.Bf3 Bb7 17.e5 Nd5 18.Nxd5 exd5 19.0-0-0! White is on the verge of winning but his illustrious opponent managed to hold; ½-½ (50) Skuhala,L (2087)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2789) PRO Chess League, Ljubljana Turtles vs. Marseille Migraines, INT 21.03/0 ] 11.e5 Ng4 The game has already become sharp. This knight move is needed for Black to stay competitive. 12.Nxc6 [12.Bg1 Bb7 13.h3 Bh4+ 14.Kd1 Nh6] 12...dxc6 13.Ne4 Nxe3 14.Qxe3 Bb7 15.b4

15...c5! It's important for Black to open up the lines for his bishops, even at the cost of a pawn. The activity and freedom of movement is compensation. 16.Nxc5 Bd5! 17.0-0 0-0 18.Ne4 Rfd8 19.Rae1 a5 A key move to open the queenside. 20.Qh3 Bc4!
21.Nf6+ Guseinov accepts the invatation. This is not a sacrifice as of course 21...gxf6 22. Qxh7+ is mate next. 21...Bxf6 22.Qxh7+ Kf8 23.exf6 gxf6 24.Kh1 axb4 25.axb4 Bxd3 26.cxd3 wonderfully played by both players. The black king has to run back to the center for shelter but he is fine there with the e and f pawns to protect him. 26...Rac8 27.Qh4 Ke7 28.f5 Rh8 29.Qf4 Qxf4 30.Rxf4 And into the double-rook ending. Black has at least adequate compensation for the pawn. 30...e5 31.Rfe4 Rhd8 32.h4 [32.d4? Rc4 33.dxe5? Rxe4 34.Rxe4 Rd1+] 32...Rxd3 33.Kh2 Rb3 34.h5 Rc4 [34...Rb2 35.Kh3 Rf2 keeps one rook back to keep an eye and the white h-pawn] 35.h6 Kf8 36.Rxc4 bxc4 37.Re4 c3 38.Rg4 c2 39.Rc4 Rxb4 [39...Kg8! would be simpler to play for Black] 40.Rc8+! Black has maintained the balance but Gadir tries to make things tricky with the advanced h-pawn. 40...Ke7 41.Kg3 Rb3+ 42.Kg4 Rb4+ 43.Kg3 Rb3+ 44.Kf2 Rb2 45.Ke3 c1Q+ 46.Rxc1 Rxg2 47.Rc7+
47...Kf8?? Mike finally blunders after playing a great game. He had an easy draw after [47...Kd6! 48.Rxf7 Rg3+ 49.Kf2 Rh3 50.Rxf6+ Ke7 51.Ra6 Kf7 52.Ke2 Rh5 when there is almost nothing left] 48.Rc8+ Oh no. The h-pawn queens. 48...Ke7 49.h7 GGuseinov won by resignation 1-0

(5) Richard Hack (Kaline340Green) (1517) - Ethan Boldi (etvat) (1881) [C11]
Ray Conway mem TNM (7.11), 28.10.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 Burn's Variation of the French. Like the Rubenstein Variation Black gives up a little space in the center but gets free development and avoids White's cramping pawn on e5. 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Ng3 Richard chooses a sideline and retreats the kinght. This costs a tempo though, so more testing is 6. Bxf6. 6...h6 7.Be3 Nd5 8.c4?! Chasing the knight from it's post but leaving the white king exposed to checks. Developing and castling would be safer. 8...Nxe3 9.fxe3 Bb4+ [probably even stronger was 9...c5! 10.d5 0-0 11.Nf3 Re8 12.Qd2 exd5 13.cxd5 Bd6 with great control of the board] 10.Ke2 [10.Kf2] 10...0-0 11.a3-/+ Bd6 12.Ne4 Bd7 [12...Be7] 13.c5 Be7 14.Nf3 f5?! This creates a weakeness on e6. [Black would be happier opening up play on the queenside with 14...b6] 15.Nc3 Bf6 16.g3 b6 17.b4 a5 18.Rc1 [18.Bg2] 18...axb4 19.axb4 bxc5 20.bxc5 Critical move. 20...Bc6 21.Bg2 Na6 22.Qb3 White has gotten back to equal chances with his development and now targeting the e6 pawn. 22...Re8 23.Nh4?! [23.Rb1] 23...Bxg2?! [23...Rb8! 24.Qa3 Nb4 gives Black active play] 24.Nxg2 Rb8 25.Qa3 Nb4 26.Rb1 Nd5 27.Nf4?! [White is ok after 27.Rxb8 Nxc3+ (27...Qxb8 28.Nxd5 exd5 29.Kf2) 28.Qxc3 Qxb8 29.Rc1] 27...Ra8! 28.Qb3

28...Nxf4+?! [Black here has the nice shot 28...Nxe3! 29.Nxe6 (29.Kxe3 Qxd4+ 30.Ke2 Qxc3) 29...Qd7! 30.Nxc7+ Nc4+ 31.Nxe8 Rxe8+ 32.Kf1 Qxd4 33.Kg2 Kh7 34.Rhc1 Ne3+ with a winning attack] 29.gxf4 Qd7 30.Qb5 Qf7 31.Qc6?! [31.h4 Ra3 32.Kd2] 31...Ra3?! [missing the central breakthrough 31...e5! 32.fxe5 Bxe5 33.dxe5 Qc4+ 34.Kf3 (34.Kd2 Red8+ 35.Kc2 Qd3+ 36.Kb2 Rdb8+) 34...Qxc3 when White is in big trouble with the weak pawns] 32.Nb5?! [32.Kd3! and the white king is safe in the center] 32...Ra2+?!

[32...Qh5+ 33.Kd2 Ra2+ 34.Kc3 Kh7! 35.Nxc7 Rd8 36.Qxe6 Qe2 is a ferocious attack] 33.Kf1? [The white monarch should be brave here and advance in the center with 33.Kd3! The white rooks would be connected then and chances would be even. 33...Qh5?! 34.Nc3 defends the white king very well and leaves Black with weakenesses to defend.] 33...Qh5 Now there is no good defense to the attack from the black queen and rook. 34.Re1 Bh4 35.Nxc7 Rf2+ etvat won by resignation [35...Rf2+ 36.Kg1 Qg4+] 0-1

Tentative final results - pending fair play review

SwissSys Standings. Conway Memorial TNM Online: Open

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total T-Sonneborn
1 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W17 W20 W13 W10 W6 D2 D8 W7 7.0 36.5
2 GM Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2600 GGuseinov H--- H--- W37 W3 W10 D1 W4 W8 6.5 29.5
3 IM Prasanna Ragh Rao 16083805 2508 Praschess W30 D5 W19 L2 W12 W20 D9 W14 6.0 28.5
4 NM Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy W43 W21 L10 W5 W22 W6 L2 W17 6.0 28.5
5 Patrick Peiju Liu 16667410 1851 katechen77 W48 D3 W23 L4 W11 D18 W10 W9 6.0 27.75
6 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1927 mwncklmann W47 W35 W16 W9 L1 L4 W15 D12 5.5 24
7 Javier Silva III 16089208 1869 J3Chess24 L27 W46 W25 W30 W18 D9 W13 L1 5.5 23
8 FM Kyron Griffith 12860484 2470 KyronGriffith W28 W12 H--- H--- W14 W24 D1 L2 5.5 21.5
9 Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W38 W29 W24 L6 W19 D7 D3 L5 5.0 21.75
10 Jonah Busch 12469525 1948 kondsaga W42 W26 W4 L1 L2 W33 L5 W28 5.0 20.5
11 Ethan Boldi 15088362 2120 etvat W32 L24 L33 W35 L5 W29 W31 W22 5.0 20
12 Mark L Drury 12459313 1843 BirdOrBust W45 L8 D29 W21 L3 W37 W38 D6 5.0 19.25
13 Nicholas Ruo Weng 15499404 1958 ninjaforce W46 W27 L1 W28 L24 W34 L7 W30 5.0 18.5
14 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 BreatheChessAlways L25 W53 W31 W40 L8 W30 W24 L3 5.0 17.5
15 Vishva Nanugonda 16380312 1775 vish1080 L35 W47 W27 L18 W46 W40 L6 W26 5.0 17.5
16 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 kclemens W53 W25 L6 L19 L17 W46 W32 W24 5.0 17
17 Ethan Guo 16761994 1606 LightningDragon8 L1 W50 W44 L24 W16 W19 X18 L4 5.0 15
18 Daniel Lin 15176393 1998 SmilyFace4 W33 L19 W38 W15 L7 D5 F17 W37 4.5 18.5
19 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 MatnMatt20 W39 W18 L3 W16 L9 L17 D33 W36 4.5 18.25
20 Adam Mercado 16571026 1842 A-boy415 W50 L1 D26 W29 W23 L3 L22 W38 4.5 16.5
21 Max Hao 16083648 1761 Joseph_Truelsons_Fan W41 L4 D35 L12 W39 L38 W49 W33 4.5 14.25
22 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf H--- H--- W42 W32 L4 H--- W20 L11 4.5 11.5
23 Eric Hon 13778105 2186 microbear H--- W49 L5 W33 L20 W41 H--- H--- 4.5 9
24 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 PlayerCreate1 W54 W11 L9 W17 W13 L8 L14 L16 4.0 17
25 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1331 chesspoki W14 L16 L7 W52 L34 W43 L28 W41 4.0 13
26 Jacob S Wang 17083655 1287 jacobchess857 W36 L10 D20 D37 L30 W52 W34 L15 4.0 13
27 Ya Dancig Perlman 16280288 1235 noydan100 W7 L13 L15 L36 W51 L28 W52 W43 4.0 13
28 Kr Gopalakrishnan 16545130 1628 chessboi2010 L8 W45 W56 L13 L41 W27 W25 L10 4.0 12
29 Pranav Pradeep 15871762 1323 pranavpradeep2006 W52 L9 D12 L20 W55 L11 W35 D34 4.0 11.25
30 Rachael Tiong 16019458 1656 rachael1120 L3 W48 W39 L7 W26 L14 X47 L13 4.0 10.5
31 Richard Hack 12796129 1569 Kaline340Green H--- H--- L14 L41 W45 W39 L11 W47 4.0 9.5
32 Lisa Willis 12601676 1583 LittlePinkCorvette L11 W54 W51 L22 H--- H--- L16 W45 4.0 7.5
33 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 rimus11 L18 W52 W11 L23 W36 L10 D19 L21 3.5 12.75
34 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1710 GiorgosTsolias L44 L42 W48 W45 W25 L13 L26 D29 3.5 12
35 Ethan Sun 16964125 931 sfdeals W15 L6 D21 L11 L52 W54 L29 W49 3.5 11.75
36 Nicholas Ar Boldi 15088356 1883 nicarmt L26 L38 W47 W27 L33 D42 W41 L19 3.5 11.5
37 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 chessappeals D49 W44 L2 D26 D38 L12 W42 L18 3.5 11
38 Marina Xiao 16380642 1428 programmingmax L9 W36 L18 W56 D37 W21 L12 L20 3.5 10.75
39 Stan Polivyanenko 17310102 831 MrL0cust L19 B--- L30 W53 L21 L31 W46 D42 3.5 6.5
40 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 starserika18 H--- H--- W41 L14 W42 L15 H--- U--- 3.5 6
41 Jeff North 17179258 923 JeffNorthSF L21 W43 L40 W31 W28 L23 L36 L25 3.0 11
42 Ella Guo 16380657 1355 SunnyCountry L10 W34 L22 W51 L40 D36 L37 D39 3.0 9.5
43 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 fiddleleaf L4 L41 L45 W49 W48 L25 W44 L27 3.0 8.5
44 Sebby Suarez 16875347 691 Sebbymeister W34 L37 L17 L46 L53 W48 L43 W54 3.0 8.5
45 Kevin Sun 16898540 1073 kevin_mx_sun L12 L28 W43 L34 L31 W51 W53 L32 3.0 7.5
46 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass L13 L7 W54 W44 L15 L16 L39 W52 3.0 7
47 Martin Camacho 17248027 1311 camachom L6 L15 L36 W50 W56 W53 F30 L31 3.0 5.5
48 Ian Liao 16738735 1091 victor6688 L5 L30 L34 W54 L43 L44 W55 W53 3.0 5.5
49 Adithya Chitta 16695036 933 adichi D37 L23 L52 L43 W50 W55 L21 L35 2.5 5.75
50 Yuvraj Si Sawhney 17095004 1060 SaintReturns L20 L17 L53 L47 L49 W56 D51 W55 2.5 3.75
51 Bruce Hedman 17344551 unr. Bruce_Hedman H--- H--- L32 L42 L27 L45 D50 W56 2.5 2.25
52 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 Mangonel L29 L33 W49 L25 W35 L26 L27 L46 2.0 6
53 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 Echecsmike L16 L14 W50 L39 W44 L47 L45 L48 2.0 5.5
54 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 953 andrewaballantyne L24 L32 L46 L48 B--- L35 W56 L44 2.0 1
55 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 unr. vincitore51745 H--- H--- H--- U--- L29 L49 L48 L50 1.5 0
56 Willia Fitzgerald 17048414 537 OlympusMons00 H--- H--- L28 L38 L47 L50 L54 L51 1.0 0

My California Chess Journey

by NM Michael Walder

In 1976 I became a California chess player. Fresh from Chicago, I was 19 years old and over 2000 USCF. I played in San Francisco Bay Area chess tournaments and got to play a lot of strong players.  There was a regular 5 minute tournament at “A Fiddler’s Green” where I got to regularly play strong players like Walter Browne, Jeremy Silman, Zaki Harari, Jay and Paul Whitehead. In the evenings I often went to Café Picaro and gave my quarters to Steve Brandwein.  And of course I played at the Mechanics.

In 1978 a job promotion had me move to Los Angeles. I was a little unhappy that I might not get to play strong players in LA, but it was a promotion, and I was young and ambitious. I took a hiatus from playing in chess tournaments but showed up regularly at Troy’s Chess Shop in Torrance mall. There I became friends with underrated 2100 player Ricardo Gilbert who Introduced me to 2300 players Chuck Jones and Steve Ramos.  We often met on Wednesdays to study chess openings together.

I returned to tournament chess in May of 1982 with one of the best tournaments in my lifetime, going 5-1 beating Jack Peters, a handful of masters and experts, while losing a tense battle with Nick de Firmian. I became friends with IM Michael Brooks and US Women’s Champion WGM Diane Savereide. We played regularly at the Santa Monica Chess Club along with 2300 player Ben Nethercot. I got plenty of decent games both casually and in tournaments.

I highly recommend playing and studying with your friends. It is fun and doing so helped my chess; it might help yours.

For a bit more about me leaving and returning to chess, please see this article of me being interviewed by WIM Alexey Root

All the best,

Michael Walder

(1) Walder,Michael - Remlinger,Larry (2471) [B89]
American Open, 11.1983
[Michael Walder]

I was awarded the Brilliancy Prize for this game against IM Larry Remlinger which was quite an honor as this tournament was rich with GMs. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bc4 The Sozin was my weapon of choice against the Classical Sicilian back then, 6...e6 7.Be3 a6 8.Qe2 I liked playing this attacking setup pioneered by Dragoljub Velimirović. 8...Qc7 9.Bb3 Na5 10.0-0-0 b5 11.g4 Bb7 [11...Nd7= 12.f4 Nc5 13.f5 b4 14.Na4 Naxb3+ 15.axb3 e5 16.Nf3 Nxa4 17.bxa4 Qc6 18.Qd3 Bb7 19.Qb3 Rc8 20.Rhe1 Be7 21.Bf2 0-0 22.Kb1 Rc7 23.Nd2 Rfc8 24.Rc1 Bg5 25.Be3 Bxe3 26.Qxe3 Qxa4 27.b3 Qb5 28.f6 gxf6 29.Qh6 Qd7 30.Rf1 d5 31.g5 fxg5 32.Qxg5+ Kf8 33.Qxe5 Qg4 34.Qd6+ Re7 35.exd5 Qg5 36.Ne4 Qg6 37.Nf6 1-0 (37) Trabattoni,F-Toth,B (2440) Castelvecchio Pascoli 1977] 12.g5N I wanted to try this pawn sac. While it's true I get some comp if he takes my e pawn, the engines point out that Black would have a small advantage. [12.f3 Rc8 13.g5 Nd7 14.Kb1 Nb6 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.Nxe6 Qf7 17.Bxb6 Nc4 18.Nxf8 Nxb6 19.Nxb5 axb5 20.Qxb5+ Kxf8 21.Qxb6 Qc7 22.Qxd6+ Qxd6 23.Rxd6 Ke7 24.Rhd1 Bc6 25.R6d3 Rhf8 26.Rc3 Rf4 27.b4 Bd7 28.Rxc8 Bxc8 29.Rd3 Ba6 30.Re3 Bf1 31.Kb2 Kd6 32.Kb3 Ke5 33.a4 Rf8 34.b5 Kf4 35.Re1 Bg2 36.Kb4 Kxf3 37.c4 Kf2 38.Rc1 Bxe4 39.c5 Kg2 40.h4 Kg3 41.c6 Bd5 Kozlov,A-Tsetselian,S Almaty 1971 1-0] 12...Nxb3+ [12...Nxe4=/+] 13.axb3 Nd7 [I was planning these variations, and evaluated them as giving me great practical chances: 13...Nxe4 14.Nxe4 Bxe4 15.f3 Bb7 (15...Bg6 16.h4 Bh5 17.Bf4 Rc8 18.Rd3 Be7 19.Nf5) 16.h4 Be7 17.h5=/+] 14.h4 b4 15.Na4 Nc5 [15...e5 This is the right way. I don't get enough after my intended 16.f4 exd4 17.Rxd4 Be7 18.Rxb4 d5 19.exd5 Bxd5 20.Rf1 0-0 21.Rd4 Bc6 22.Qf2 Rfe8 23.h5-+] 16.Kb1 e5 17.Nf5 Nxa4 18.bxa4 Bxe4

I believe this to be an original idea. At least it was for me. 19...Qc6 [19...Qxb6 20.Qxe4 Rc8 21.f4 b3 22.cxb3 Qxb3 23.fxe5 d5 24.Rxd5 Ba3 25.Nd6+ Ke7 26.Nxc8+ Rxc8 27.Rd2+-] 20.Rxd6 Bxd6? [20...Bxc2+ 21.Qxc2 Qxh1+ 22.Rd1 Qf3 23.Re1 f6 24.gxf6 gxf6 25.Ne3 Qb7 26.Qf5 Qd7 (26...Qxb6?? 27.Qh5+ Kd7 28.Rd1+ Bd6 29.Qf7+ Kc6 30.Rc1+ Bc5 31.Qd5++-) ] 21.Qxe4+/= Kd7 22.Nxd6 Qxd6 23.Qb7+ Ke6
24.f4 Rhf8 25.Bc7 Qc5 26.Rf1?! [26.Re1 f6 27.Bxe5! Qf2 28.f5+ Kxf5 29.Qe4+ Ke6 30.Bg3++-] 26...g6 27.Re1 1-0

(2) Walder,Michael - Peters,Jack (2551) [B81]
Memorial Day Classic N. Hollywood (4), 30.05.1982
[Michael Walder]

My career had me move to Los Angeles in 1978. After taking some time off from chess to get my work and new apartment set up, I decided to play in the Memorial Day Classic. Iwent 5-1 in this tournament, winninhg this game. The one loss was an exciting game with future GM and US Champ Nick de Firmian. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 Back then, I loved playing both sides of this opening. Today I think the Keres attack puts Black under pressure. 6.g4 a6 7.g5 Nfd7 8.Be3 b5 9.Bg2 I thought up this Idea while analyzing a Belyavski-Tal game that went f4 here. Both Peters and I thought it was a novelty, but with moden databases I see that is was a rare try, including a game played 8 yrs earlier by, Paul Heinrich, who I played in this tournament. 9...Bb7 10.0-0 This move surprised Peters. He told me that he thought that white castling kingside must be an error, but he confided that he later tried it himself. 10...Ne5 11.f4 Nc4 12.Qe2+/= [12.Bc1+/-; 12.Bf2+/-] 12...Nd7 Black should take the Bishop. 13.f5?! The humbling experience of computers. We both thought this was a shot. 13...e5?

[13...Nxe3 14.Qxe3 e5-/+] 14.Ne6!
14...Qa5 [14...fxe6 15.Qh5+ Ke7 16.fxe6 g6 17.Qf3 Qc7 18.Qf7+ Kd8 19.exd7 Qxd7 20.Qf6+ Kc7 21.Qxh8 Bh6 22.Bh3 Qxh3 23.Qxh7+ Kc6+/-] 15.Nxf8?!+/- I thought this was the practical solution. I didn't trust the following try: [15.b4 Qxb4 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.Nc7+ Kd8 18.Nxd5 Qa3 19.Bf2+-] 15...Rxf8 16.Nd1 Rc8 17.Bf2 [17.Bc1!+-] 17...b4 18.c3 Ncb6 19.cxb4 Qxb4 20.Nc3 g6 21.f6 h6 22.h4 hxg5 23.hxg5 Rh8 24.Rad1 Nc4 25.b3 Qxc3 26.bxc4 Rh5 27.Be3 Nc5 28.Bxc5+/- [28.Rxd6 Nxe4 29.Rc1+-] 28...dxc5?? [28...Rxc5+/-] 29.Rd3+- Qa5 30.Qg4 Rd8 31.Rxd8+ Qxd8 32.Rd1 Qc8 33.Qg3 Qc7 34.Bh3 Bc6 35.Kf2 Qb8 36.Qe3 Qb6 37.Rd6 Qb2+ 38.Kg3
1-0 (+) Black lost on time trying to find a way to hold on in a terrible position. Jack Peters was the first International Master I beat in a regular tournament game. 1-0

(3) Walder,Mike - Strauss,David J [E55]
Players Chess News Jan op Los Angeles, CA, 01.1984
[1984.01.22 p.SD_A6]

Playing IM David Strauss was always challenging for me. I previously tried to play sharply against him but he was able to exploit my eagerness with positionally sound moves that usually ended up winning the game for him. In this game I decided to try and play actively, but a little more circumspect. 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 Marshall's treatment of the Scandanavian. 3.c4 c6 4.d4 cxd5 And now we are playing a Caro Kann Panov Botvinnik attack. 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Bb4 7.Bd3 And now we are morphing into a Nimzo Indian 7...dxc4 8.Bxc4 0-0 9.0-0 b6 10.Qe2 Bb7 11.Rd1 Bxc3 12.bxc3 Nbd7 13.Bd3 Qc7 14.c4 Rfe8 15.Bb2 Rad8N [15...Qf4 16.Qe3 Qxe3 17.fxe3 Be4 18.Be2 Rac8 19.a4 Bc2 20.Rdc1 Bg6 21.a5 Rc7 22.axb6 axb6 23.Ra6 h6 24.Rca1 Be4 25.Nd2 Bb7 26.Ra7 Rec8 27.Ba3 Bc6 28.Rxc7 Rxc7 29.Bd6 Rc8 30.Bf3 Bxf3 31.gxf3 Ne8 32.Bg3 Kf8 33.Kf2 Ke7 34.Ke2 Nd6 35.Kd3 Nf5 36.Be1 e5 37.Ne4 exd4 38.exd4 Rd8 39.Bb4+ Ke8 40.Re1 Ne5+ 41.Kc3 Nxd4 42.Nd6+ Kd7 43.Rxe5 Nc6 44.Rd5 Nxb4 45.Kxb4 Keres,P-Barcza,G Budapest 1972 1-0] 16.Rac1 Qf4

We have both played logical moves and White is ever so slightly better. I now made a mental note not to go flying off the handle as I often do against David. 17.Nd2 e5 18.d5 e4?! David is looking for activity, but White's position is solid. It's like he is playing like I usually play against him. [18...Ba6 19.Bb1 Nxd5 20.Ne4 Nf8 21.a3=] 19.Bb1+/=
19...Nc5 20.Nb3 Bc8 21.Bd4?! [21.Qd2 Qxd2 22.Rxd2 Nfd7+/=] 21...Ng4= 22.g3 Qh6 23.h4 e3 [The next day David asked me what I would play after g5, I answered Be3 and we both thought White would be better, but Lc0 thinks it's even. 23...g5 24.Be3 f6 25.Nxc5=] 24.f3 Nf2
I thought I was winning here as Jack Peters wrote in his column, Black can make a few threats but White will pick off the knight and win the game. Lc0 calculates that its not that easy, White is better, but not necessarily winning. 25.Re1 Qd6?
[25...f5! 26.Bxe3 Nh3+ 27.Kf1 f4 28.gxf4 Nxf4 29.Qh2+/=] 26.Kh2?! [26.Kg2! Qd7 27.g4+-] 26...Qd7 27.g4 Qe7 28.Kg3

28...f5?! [28...Nfe4+! 29.Kg2 Qxh4 30.fxe4 Nxe4 31.Qf3=] 29.gxf5 Qd6+ 30.Kg2 Nce4 31.fxe4 Nxe4 32.Qg4 Nf6 33.Qg5 e2 34.Bxf6 Qxf6 35.Qxf6 gxf6 36.Kf2 Re5 37.Rxe2 Rxe2+ 38.Kxe2 1-0

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TD Corner

Right before the final round of the TNM this past Wednesday, IM Elliott Winslow was given black in the final round against Javier Silva. This seemed wrong to Elliott, since it would mean he would have received black three times in the final 4 rounds. His final round game had started, but he did not make a move as he wanted an explanation from the TD's.

Judit had called me during the intermission to discuss the situation, prior to Elliott inquiring online. We both looked up the rule and came to the same conclusion: Elliott had the following color allocation heading into round 8: BWBWBBW. His opponent Javier Silva had the following color allocation: BWBWBWB. In both cases, each player has had four blacks and three whites. 

The USCF rule in this situation is as follows, from USCF Rule 29E4 #4:

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. 

The intersting thing about this is that Judit wrote about this very rule in last week's newsletter in her article on color allocation, check it here:

So Elliott was given black in this scenario given that he had white in the previous round and Javier had black. 

The USCF rulebook online can be found here:

If anyone has a TD question, please feel free to submit to us at [email protected]

Interview with IM John Donaldson on Chess Dojo with GM Jesse Kraai

IM John Donaldson releases his new book Bobby Fischer and His World on November 1st, and he is interviewed by GM Jesse Kraai from Chess Dojo. To watch that interview, please click the link below.

To order his new book, with new information on Bobby Fischer, click HERE

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, 11/2:

FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 11/3:

MI Chess Director Abel Talamantez, Dr. Judit Sztaray Arena: Fridays 3pm-4:00pm, 11/6:

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 11/5 

An in-depth look at the World Championship matches – the great games, styles and personalities of the World Champions and their challengers.  The central idea of the class will be the study of chess ideas and theory, as practiced by the greatest players.  In each class we’ll look through a selection of the most famous games ever played: games where literally everything was at stake.

More information:

                   Part 2:

Mechanics' Chess - Scholastic Tournaments

Saturday, October 31: starts at 9:30AM - join from 9:15AM

6SS G/10+2:

Sunday, November 1: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Monday, November 2: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, November 3: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

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

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, November 5: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Friday, November 6: 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.   

US Chess Online Rated Scholastic Tournaments
Every Week!

Next one: November 7, @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:

11/3 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Political Special
Format: 5SS G/5+5
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 9.

[email protected]

Ghenrikh Kasparyan, in Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies describes a certain set of studies as “checkers combinations”.  In these studies black is forced to take some of white’s pieces, only to end up losing it all in the end.

The following study shows the idea:

1. Horwitz 1881 – White wins.

The solution is comical and oddly thrilling: 1.axb8(Q)+ Qxb8. That’s one piece. 2.Bd6+! Qxd6. That’s two pieces. 3.Rxd2+! Qxd2. And that’s three pieces! 4.Nxf3+. The white knight has the final say! White wins.


This next study is by Emmanuel Lasker, and has been published everywhere.  Its practical value cannot be denied.  The ball is in your court – work it out!

2. Em. Lasker n.d. – White wins.


And last but not least, a crazy study in which BOTH sides feel compelled to give away their pieces. Working out the solution might be hazardous to your chess health!

3. Mitrofanov 1953/54 – White wins.


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

US Championships: Women’s and Men’s

Irina Krush won her 8th US Women’s Championship with a great score of 8.5/11. This compares only with the great Bobby Fischer who won 8 Men’s US Championships (though of course Fischer became World Champion and started a worldwide chess revolution).  We must take this opportunity to congratulate Irina as she suffered through the coronavirus in March this year. As she told the New York Times in May (when it featured her recovery battle), “It’s not just a disease. It’s a life trial. Chess players know what it’s like to be in a bad position, to suffer. I realized it was going to be a long game with no easy victory.” As she won the championship again she said, “It feels amazing. I feel the support of my friends, my family, my students, my coach, all these people that are supporting me and watching the games and hoping I do well. I want to make them happy.”

We are happy Irina. Congratulations!

The Men’s Championship is missing Fabiano Caruana, who thought he might have to play the second half of the Candidates Tournament in November. That was postponed due to the third worldwide surge of the coronavirus. Nonetheless the championship has Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura, Sam Shankland, Lenier Dominguez and many strong younger players (Jeffrey Xiong, Ray Robson). Wesley So had taken the lead as of this writing and is the favorite to win. When you read the MI newsletter on Saturday you will have the final result.

(1) Krush,Irina - Abrahamyan,Tatev [D37]
US Womens Chp., 25.10.2020

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.cxd5 exd5 A solid variation of the 4 Qc2 Nimzo, though just a bit better for White. 6.Bf4 c5 7.dxc5 0-0 8.e3 Nc6 9.Nf3 Bxc5 10.Be2 d4!? Tatev plays aggressively in tha opening and starts the action immediately. Black would be safer with 10...Qe7. 11.Rd1 Nd5?

[11...Qb6 12.exd4 Nxd4 13.Nxd4 Bxd4 14.0-0 is only slightly better for White with the lead in development] 12.Ng5! g6 13.Nxd5 Qxd5 14.0-0 Be7 15.Bc4 Qa5 16.h4! dxe3 17.Bxe3 [The computer finds a line that would win right away - 17.Nxf7! Rxf7 18.fxe3 Bf5 19.Qb3 Raf8 20.Bh6 Ne5 21.Bxf8 Nxc4 22.Bxe7 Nd2 23.Qxb7] 17...Ne5 18.Bb3 Bf5 19.Qe2 h6?
[19...Ng4 20.Bd4] 20.Rd5! Qc7 21.Rc1 Nc6
22.Rxf5! hxg5 23.hxg5 gxf5 24.Qh5 White is a rook down yet has a winning attack, much do to the power of the bishops. 24...Qe5 25.g6 Qg7 26.Bh6! The key move. There is no way out for Black. 26...Qf6 27.Bd2! Qg7 28.Bc3 1-0

(2) Krush,Irina - Yu,Jennifer [D31]
US Womens Chp, 22.10.2020

This is a game of the 7-time veteran champ (Irina who is now in her 30s) and current US Women's Champion, 18 year old Jennifer Yu. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 a6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 This is an Exchange Slav, but it has a little extra bite as Black has used a tempo for ...a6. 5...Nf6 6.e3 Bd6 7.Bxd6 Qxd6 8.Bd3 0-0 9.h3 b6 10.Nf3 c5 11.0-0 Nc6 12.dxc5! bxc5 13.Rc1 This is one of those "hanging pawn" positions one gets in a queen's pawn game. The black pawns on c5 and d5 can be active, but they also can be a target of the white pieces. Here white is active and has an edge from the opening. 13...Be6 14.Na4 Nd7 15.b3 h6 16.Qe2 Ne7 17.Rfd1

Note the influence of the white rooks on the c and d files. Black is under pressure and perhaps needs to do something odd like 17...f5 to help in the center. 17...Ng6?! 18.Qc2 White wins a pawn now. 18...Rac8 19.Bxg6 fxg6 20.Qxg6 Qe7 21.Qg3 Rf5 22.Qh4 Qf7
23.Nd4! Using pins Irina ups the pressure and wins a second pawn. 23...Rg5 24.f4 Rg6 25.Kh2 Rf8?! giving up the pinned pawn right away. This is just a lost position now, though good advice was hard to find. 26.Nxc5 Bf5 27.Nxf5 Qxf5 28.Nxd7 Qxd7 29.Qh5 Rd6 30.Rd4 Re8 31.Qf3 Qf5 32.Rcd1 Red8 33.Qg4 Qf7 34.e4 winning a third pawn with yet another pin. The rest requires no comments. 34...Rg6 35.Qf3 Rc8 36.Rxd5 Rc2 37.R1d2 Qc7 38.e5 Kh7 39.Qe4 Rcc6 40.Rd6 1-0

(3) Shankland,Sam - So,Wesley [E25]
US Chp., 26.10.2020

This 4rth round battle was an important game in the race for the top spot. We locals root for our Sam the man Shankland hoping he can bring home another title to the Bay Area, Here he meets pre-tournament favorite Wesley So and the players look for blood. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 This 4.f3 variation of the Nimzo-Indian transposes into a line of the Saemisch Nimzo. It was worked out pretty well in the late 80s/early 90s to be alright for Black yet it continues to be a combative variation. 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.dxc5 Qa5 9.e4 Ne7 [9...Qxc3+? 10.Bd2] 10.Be3 0-0! 11.Qb3 Qc7 12.Bb5 e5 White has an extra doubled pawn. Black has a lead in development and chances to win the c5 pawn. Wesley immediately plays for the light squares. 13.Ne2 Be6 14.c4!? Sharp and commital from Sam. [14.Bc4 Bxc4 15.Qxc4 Nd7 16.Nc1 was a safer alternative] 14...Nbc6 15.Nc3 Na5 16.Qb4?! This gets into some trouble. [16.Qc2 would be alright for White] 16...Nec6 17.Qa4 a6 18.Bxc6

18...Nxc4! A shot from Wesley! He is willing to lose material to make use of White's lagging development and king in the center. Sam would probably do best now with the retreat 19. Bf2, but Sam was not backing down this game. 19.Bxb7?! Nxe3 20.Bxa8 Qxc5 White is temporarily a rook up but must give a something back while his king is stuck in the center. 21.Nd5 Nxg2+?! [21...Nc2+ 22.Kd2 Nxa1 23.Bb7 Bxd5 24.Bxd5 Rc8 would be a winning position with attack against the white king. So's move gives White chances.] 22.Kf1 Nf4 23.Qc6! Qa5 24.Rd1? [Sam needed to defend against ...Qd2 the other way. With 24.Ra2! Rd8 25.Rc2 White should be able to hold the game.] 24...Bxd5 25.exd5 Qxa3

suddenly the black queen and knight are unstoppable. 26.d6 Qb2 White can't stop both checks (e2 and g2). So Black wins a rook back and that's the game. 27.Qe4 Qg2+ 28.Ke1 Qxh1+ 29.Kd2 Qxh2+ 30.Kc3 Ne2+ 31.Kc4 Nd4 32.d7 Qa2+ 33.Kc5 The white king bravely marches up the board. Not yet to his doom, but it costs at least another rook. 33...Qa3+ 34.Kb6 Qb3+ Sam resigned and Wesley was in the drivers seat to win the championship. 0-1

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