Chess Room Newsletter #944 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #944

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #944


November 21, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Thanksgiving Message from Chess Department

All of us in the chess department of the Mechanics' Institute would like to first and foremost take this opportunity to thank everyone for all the support, encouragement, engagement, and participation in all our activities this year. Under these very difficult circumstances, we have sought above all to provide quality programming in the hopes of keeping our community together and actively engaged in an activity we all love. It has been a great pleasure to see so many familiar faces online, and see the growth in new members participating. With your support, we have been able to expand our class offerings, keep providing quality online events, continued our stream which really helps bring us all together and visible, and we have been entrusted to organize national championship events, making the Mechanics' Institute and San Francisco, a true chess hub in the United States. We hope 2021 will evolve into one of our best years, one of hope, one of community, and one that guides the Mechanics' Institute in continuing its storied chess history, which is 166 years running. 

From all of us in the chess department, thank you for being active and for playing and learning with us. We are all here for each other, and we look forward to seeing the sun rise to a new day in chess in the coming year. 

Mechanics' Institute Chess Team

 Mechanics' Institute November Tuesday Night Marathon Report

The November Tuesday Night Marathon Rounds 3&4  are in the books, with two players emerging in a tie for the lead in the top section. GM Gadir Guseinov and FM Kyron Griffith won their 3rd round games and faced off against each other in round 4. Their game ended in a draw, but the post game analysis between the two players in the game chat was quite interesting. Kyron was gracious enough to annotate his game for us based on the discussion in theri chat, and it is provided in the games analysis, along with GM Nick de Firmian's annotation of the game. Both players lead the top section with 3.5/4.

What was unfortunate was the very anticipated match between GM Jim Tarjan and NM Mike Walder in round 3. Internet issues plagued Tarjan in Oregon, and after a few moves, Walder graciously offered a draw in a show of sportsmanship. Tarjan received a half point bye for round 4. 6 players are at 3/4, including Tarjan.

In the u/1800 section, Phillip Gerstoft and Pranav Pradeep are tied for the lead at 3.5/4, with 3 other players at 3/4. 

Here are the current standings after 4 rounds

Standings after Round 4

SwissSys Report: November 2020 Tuesday Night Marathon Online

SwissSys Standings. November 2020 Tuesday Night Marathon Online: 1800+

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 GM Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2685 gguseinov W26 W11 W9 D2     3.5
2 Kyron Griffith 12860484 2499 KyronGriffith W21 W6 W4 D1     3.5
3 GM James Edwa Tarjan 10991820 2469 tirantes W15 W13 D5 H---     3.0
4 Arun Dixit 14607904 2199 Limelight2727 W22 W14 L2 W15     3.0
5 Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy W23 W16 D3 D9     3.0
6 Nicholas Ruo Weng 15499404 1983 ninjaforce W27 L2 W22 W14     3.0
7 Ashik Uzzaman 13178575 1943 ashikuzzaman W17 L9 W16 W11     3.0
8 Ethan Guo 16761994 1664 LightningDragon8 B--- W19 L11 W13     3.0
9 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W10 W7 L1 D5     2.5
10 Javier Silva III 16089208 1895 J3Chess24 L9 D17 W18 W20     2.5
11 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 kclemens W24 L1 W8 L7     2.0
12 Tejas Mahesh 15086558 1988 ChessTX9 H--- H--- L15 W23     2.0
13 Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W25 L3 W21 L8     2.0
14 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 BreatheChessAlways W18 L4 W23 L6     2.0
15 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1908 mwncklmann L3 W24 W12 L4     2.0
16 Adam Mercado 16571026 1831 A-boy415 W19 L5 L7 W25     2.0
17 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 MatnMatt20 L7 D10 D19 W21     2.0
18 Ahyan Zaman 15035222 1711 ahyanzaman L14 B--- L10 W22     2.0
19 Ethan Boldi 15088362 2120 etvat L16 L8 D17 W27     1.5
20 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf H--- H--- H--- L10     1.5
21 Jonah Busch 12469525 1940 kondsaga L2 W27 L13 L17     1.0
22 Nicholas Boldi 15088356 1883 nicarmt L4 W25 L6 L18     1.0
23 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 PlayerCreate1 L5 W26 L14 L12     1.0
24 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 chessappeals L11 L15 D27 D26     1.0
25 Roger V Shi 16191192 1753 1-h4-1-0 L13 L22 W26 L16     1.0
26 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 Mangonel L1 L23 L25 D24     0.5
27 Max Hao 16083648 1761 Joseph_Truelsons_Fan L6 L21 D24 L19     0.5

SwissSys Standings. November 2020 Tuesday Night Marathon Online: u1800

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 Philip Gerstoft 12913356 1724 pgstar3 W12 W7 D2 W5     3.5
2 Pranav Pradeep 15871762 1409 pranavpradeep2006 W9 W13 D1 W6     3.5
3 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 fiddleleaf W4 W18 L5 W8 H--- H--- 3.0
4 Ian Liao 16738735 1105 victor6688 L3 W16 W19 W11     3.0
5 Sebby Suarez 16875347 811 Sebbymeister W11 W17 W3 L1     3.0
6 Marina Xiao 16380642 1545 programmingmax W19 D8 W17 L2     2.5
7 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass W21 L1 D9 W13     2.5
8 Ethan Sun 16964125 1180 sfdeals W14 D6 W10 L3     2.5
9 Bruce Hedman 17344551 870 Bruce_Hedman L2 W12 D7 W16     2.5
10 Valerie Jade 17168772 1490 Evariel H--- H--- L8 W19     2.0
11 Stan Polivyanenko 17310102 1365 MrL0cust L5 W15 W20 L4     2.0
12 Kevin Sun 16898540 1161 kevin_mx_sun L1 L9 B--- W20     2.0
13 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 470 Vincitore51745 B--- L2 W15 L7     2.0
14 Nate Andaya 30054738 unr. nathaniei L8 L19 W22 W17     2.0
15 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 Echecsmike D16 L11 L13 W22     1.5
16 Adithya Chitta 16695036 930 adichi D15 L4 W21 L9     1.5
17 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1519 rimus11 W20 L5 L6 L14     1.0
18 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1347 chesspoki W22 L3 U--- U---     1.0
19 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 1057 andrewaballantyne L6 W14 L4 L10     1.0
20 Jeff North 17179258 1043 JeffNorthSF L17 W22 L11 L12     1.0
21 Samuel Brown 16380615 662 comfyqueso L7 H--- L16 H---   H--- 1.0
22 Justin Brunet 30055583 unr. night_breeze L18 L20 L14 L15     0.0

SwissSys Standings. November 2020 Tuesday Night Marathon Online: Extra Games

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 470 Vincitore51745 W2           1.0
2 Judit Sztaray 14708926 827 JuditSztaray L1           0.0


Here are some games from Tuesday night, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian. Included as the final game is FM Kyron Griffith's annotation of his game against GM Guseinov.

(6) IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (2045) - GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2637) [E91]
Mechanics' Nov TNM (3.1), 18.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Nf3 Bg4 To call this Guseinov's "pet line" is an understatement -- he has over sixty games in the databases, thus slightly edging out Beat Zueger's 60 for the superfan award. It does take the game far away from the electrified madness of the Mar Del Plata and Bayonet variations, and thus has attracted some devotees. 7.Be3 Nfd7 and this: 55 times. 8.Rc1 [8.d5!? Avrukh has two wins against Guseinov with this, avoiding Rc1.] 8...a6!? One annotator dubbed this the 'Azeri' move, for how many of that country's players major it in their repertoire. [8...e5 is the older move;; Gadir has played 8...c5 in four of the ten games after 8.Rc1 with no seeming preference otherwise.] 9.b4!? [Half his games (3) here went 9.d5 c5 (to stop 10.Nd4), with a win and two draws.] 9...c5 Black took his first think of the game choosing -- [9...a5!? has been the other move, with adequate results -- but Guseinov has only played the text (two games).] 10.bxc5 dxc5 11.d5 b5 12.cxb5 [12.0-0 Qa5 13.Qb3 Bxf3 14.gxf3 bxc4 15.Qb7 Nb6 16.Na4 Qxa4 17.Qxb6 c3 18.Qxc5 Re8 saw Black making the most of that huge asset, the pawn at c3; 0-1 (43) Chuchelov,V (2592)-Guseinov, G (2505) Istanbul 2003] 12...axb5 13.Nxb5


13...Rxa2 [The only game that made it here went 13...Qa5+ 14.Bd2 Qa4? (14...Qxa2 15.0-0 when Avrukh shows some advantage for White) 15.a3! Qxe4 16.Rc4 Qf5 17.Rf4 Qh5 18.h3 Bxf3 19.Rxf3 Qxd5 20.Nc7 and White cashed the Exchange for pawn game: 1-0 (60) Volkov,S (2634)-Guseinov, G (2573) Warsaw 2005 [Avrukh,B]] 14.0-0 Qa5 Avrukh hints in his notes to the above game that this might be Black's best chance for salvation, but his knights still have trouble finding action. 15.h3! Bxf3 16.gxf3 Now White hs the two bishops and a strengthened center, but the weakening of the king's defense comes back to bite him in a few moves. 16...Na6?! [16...Rb2!? 17.Ra1 Qb6 18.Na3! heading for c4] 17.Na7! As noted by Avrukh in another position -- c6 is a pretty nice outpost if White can get it. [17.f4! is about as good, though.] 17...Ndb8 18.Bxa6 [18.f4! here, too] 18...Qxa6 19.Bxc5 White is up a pawn, but gives it back, overlooking something. 19...Be5 White: 19:57 Black: 23:14


20.Nc6? Played too quickly! Dreaming of somehow taking on e7 and marching the d-pawn, but there won't be a d-pawn after... [20.Be3! Qf6 21.Nc6 was the way to do it, with a clear plus if not a won game already.] 20...Nxc6 21.dxc6 Qxc6 22.Qd5 White used almost half his remaining time to work out, incorrectly, what would happen after [22.Bxe7 -- it wasn't as bad as it looks after 22...Qe6 if White notices 23.f4! (everything else is crushed by . ..Qxh3 and mate) 23...Qxe7 (23...Bxf4 24.Qf3! A couple of only moves by White and a draw is in sight. 24...Re8 (24...Bxc1 25.Bxf8) 25.Qxf4 Rxe7 26.Kg2! Qxe4+ 27.Qxe4 Rxe4 28.Ra1 That is, in sight if the 2278 player can hold R+2 v R+3 vs. the 2665 former European Under-10 champion and Olympic gold medalist.) ] 22...Qf6!=/+ Life remains rough in spite of the limited field -- the aforementioned kingside weakness! 23.Be3 [23.Qxa2?? Qg5+ 24.Kh1 Qf4 and mate!] 23...Ra3 24.Kg2 Rfa8?! Stockfish is starting to show "0.00" (dead draw), but of course White didn't know that during the game -- nor did he have time to get his bearings. [24...Bf4!?=/+ 25.Rc6 e6 26.Qc5 keeps it together or tries to.] 25.Rc5 Black has nothing now 25...Bf4 26.Rfc1?! [26.Rc6 Qh4 27.Bd4= 0s across the list.] 26...Bxe3 27.fxe3


27...Qa6? [27...h5!-/+ /=/+ -- Certainly Black keeps things going.] 28.Qd2? [28.Qd4! appears to cause Black enough trouble --; But a player with over four minutes might have noticed 28.Qxa8+! Qxa8 29.Rc8+ Qxc8 30.Rxc8+ Kg7 31.Kf2 when Black's winning chances are not nonexistent, but White should hang on.] 28...h5 [28...Rd3! 29.Rc8+ Rxc8 30.Rxc8+ Kg7! 31.Qb2+ f6 Black might still work some Q+R magic.] 29.f4? [29.Rc6 is a candidate for the draw;; 29.Kg3 also. But nothing is easy at this point.] 29...Rd3 30.Qe2 Qa3 31.Kf3 [31.Rc8+ Rxc8 32.Rxc8+ Kh7 33.Kf2 Qd6 34.Rc2 Kg7 Maybe White can hold this, but it's very uncomfortable.] 31...Kh7!


White: 2:15 Black: 14:18. Black lets White panic, which he does. 32.f5? [32.Rc8 Rxc8 33.Rxc8 Rb3 continues to "massage" White, when combined with time shortage will be good. 34.Rc2 (34.Qd2 Qa6! 35.Rc1 Qe6 (35...Rd3) ) ] 32...Rad8 33.fxg6+ fxg6 White just handed Black the f-file! But after the next it is moot. 34.Kg2?? Rd2 Guseinov's pet line comes through again! But he might want to take it to the shop, as the opening was bumpy. Next round it will be Guseinov vs. Kyron Griffith, one of the star matchups, with GM James Tarjan and Mike Walder a half point behind. 0-1

(1) FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2226) - NM Arun Dixit (Limelight2727) (2028) [B27]
Mechanics' Nov TNM, 18.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bg7 The Accelerated Dragon is an opening much favored by former MI Chess Director John Donaldson. Here 5. c4 heads to a positional game where white has some space advantage, but Kyron plays for more active possibilities. 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 taking the game to a postition that was well investigated 40 years ago but may now be littled remembered 8...Nd5 This is the classic older move in this variation, not backing down. Yet the subtle [8...Ng8! may well be an easier way to equality] 9.Nxd5 cxd5 10.Qxd5 Rb8 11.0-0-0! This brave way to guard the b2 pawn seems to give White some edge. 11...Qc7?! [11...Bb7 12.Qc5 0-0 13.c3 Be4 gives some compensation for the pawn] 12.f4 [12.Bd4! seems to be a strong neutalizing move which contests the power of Black's Dragon bishop and asks what does black have for the pawn. 12...Bb7 (12...0-0 13.b3) 13.Qc4 Qxc4 14.Bxc4 Bxg2 15.Rhe1 threatens both 16.Bxa7 and 16 e5-e6] 12...0-0 13.Qc5 [The computer likes 13.b3 d6 14.exd6 exd6 15.Qxd6 Qb7 16.Bd4 when White who has two pawns more to begin any complications.] 13...Qb7 14.b3 d6! This gets Black some play on the queenside 15.Qxa7 Qxa7 16.Bxa7 Ra8 17.Bd4 Bg4


18.Re1?! [18.a4! Bxd1 19.Kxd1 would be a marvelous ending for White as the passed queenside pawns block the black rooks and will eventually advance for the win] 18...Rxa2 19.Bd3 dxe5 20.Bxe5 Bxe5 21.fxe5 Be6?! [21...Bf5! 22.Bxf5 gxf5 23.Rhf1 Rd8 24.Kb1 (24.Rxf5? Ra1+ 25.Kb2 Rxe1) 24...Rda8 is a pawn up for White but the double rooks make for counterplay against the king] 22.Rhf1 Rc8 23.Kd1 [23.Kb1! Rca8 24.Re3 consolodates with the passed pawns] 23...Rc3 24.Be4 Bf5 25.Kd2?!


[25.Bxf5 gxf5 26.Re2 Ra1+ 27.Kd2 Rxc2+ 28.Kxc2 Rxf1 29.b4! is a potent passed pawn] 25...Raxc2+! 26.Bxc2 Rxc2+ 27.Ke3 Rc3+ 28.Kd4 Rxb3 29.Rf2 h5 Now Black should be able to hold the draw with accurate play 30.Re3 Rb1 31.h3 Rd1+ 32.Kc5 Be6 33.Rb2 Rc1+ 34.Kd4 Rc4+ 35.Kd3 35...Rc7 36.Ke2 Kg7 37.Kf3 Bd5+ 38.Kf2 Be6 39.Rbe2 Rc4 40.Re4 Rc5 41.Rb4 Bd5 42.Ra4 Rc7 43.Ra5 Be6 44.Rb5 Rd7 45.Reb2 g5 46.Rb7 Rd5 47.Rxe7 Rxe5 48.Re2 Rf5+ 49.Kg1 Kg6 50.Re8 h4 51.Rg8+ Kf6 52.Rf2 Rxf2 53.Kxf2 Kf5 54.Rb8 Ke4 55.Rb5 f6 56.Ra5 f5 57.Ra7


57...g4? This is the mistake, leaving the h4 pawn unprotected. Black has played the endgame very well and here only needs to do nothing, such as 57...Bd5 58.Rh7! Kyron quickly jumps on the mistake and converts with the extra material 58...g3+ 59.Kg1 f4 60.Rxh4 Ke3 61.Rh8 Bd5?! [Black could put up more resistance with 61...Ke4 62.Rf8 Bb3 63.h4 Bd1] 62.Re8+ Be4 63.h4 f3 64.h5! KyronGriffith won on time [64.h5 Kf4 65.Rxe4+ Kxe4 66.h6] 1-0

(5) Ashik Uzzaman (ashikuzzaman) (1825) - Kristian Clemens (kclemens) (1795) [C36]
Mechanics' Nov TNM, 18.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 Ashik is quite fond of gambits and quick attacks. 2...exf4 3.Nf3 d5 while Kristian prefers the quieter waters. The problem is, they're hard to find in the King's Gambit! 4.exd5 Nf6 5.d4 Nxd5 6.c4? Too loose! Some bishop move, preparing to castle, is prudent.


[And in fact, these players met previously, back when the TNM was face to face: 6.Bc4 Be6 7.Qe2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.c3 c5 10.Kh1?!N (10.Bxd5 Qxd5 11.Bxf4 Nc6 12.Rd1 Rad8 13.Ne5 1-0 (43) Pruijssers,R-Beekhuis,M Apeldoorn 2001) 10...Nc6 11.Rd1 Qd7 12.Ne5 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Bg4 0-1 (51) Uzzaman,A (2096) -Clemens,K (1917) MI TNM, San Francisco April 10, 2018] 6...Bb4+ Computer-approved. [6...Ne3!? Straight up could well be better. (and Bangiev gave it an exclamation point!) 7.Bxe3 fxe3 8.Qd3 Bb4+ Black is just better. 9.Nc3 0-0 10.0-0-0 Bxc3! 11.Qxc3 Qe7 12.Re1 Re8 13.Bd3 Nc6! 14.Bb1 Bg4 15.d5 Ne5! 16.Rxe3 Bxf3! 0-1 (48) Grabarczyk,B (2394) -Markowski,T (2531) Plock 2000 [Bangiev,A]] 7.Kf2 White wants to be able to deal with the knight coming to e3. 7...Ne3! Not quite always played. [What to make of this gamelet? 7...Nf6 8.Qa4+ Nc6 9.d5 Bc5+ 10.Ke1 0-0 11.dxc6 Ng4 12.Be2 Nf2 13.Rf1 Nd3+ 14.Bxd3 Qxd3 15.Nbd2 Re8+ 16.Kd1 Qe2+ 17.Kc2 Bf5+ 0-1 (17) Hoffmann,J-Wich,M Wiesbaden 1999] 8.Bxe3! [8.Qa4+ Nc6 9.d5 (9.Be2 0-0-/+) 9...Ng4+ 10.Ke2 Qe7+ 11.Kd1 Nf2+ 12.Kc2 Bf5+ 13.Kb313...b5! 14.Qxb5 Rb8 15.Qxc6+ Bd7 16.Qxc7 Ba4+ 0-1 (16) Kraft, V-Heimrath,R Zirndorf 1985; 8.Qb3 Ng4+ 9.Kg1 Be1!?] 8...fxe3+ 9.Kxe3 0-0 10.Nc3 Bg4 11.Be2 c6 Slightly slow. Black's advantage lays in White's ridiculous king position and some fast development was in order. [11...Nc6! 12.Nd5 Re8+ 13.Kf2 when Black stands very well after 13...Re4 (or 13...Bd6) ] 12.Kf2 Nd7 Well, the fact is that f6 and maybe even b6 are great squares for the knight as well. 13.a3 [Best was to "castle by hand" with 13.Re1 Re8 14.Kg1 Bxf3 15.Bxf3 Rxe1+ 16.Qxe1 Nb6 but Black still has a clear advantage.] 13...Be7 14.Rf1 Nf6 15.Kg1 Qc7 16.Ne5 Bxe2 17.Qxe2 Rad8 18.Rad1 Bd6 19.Ne4 Bxe5 20.dxe5 Nxe4


21.Rxd8? [21.Qxe4!=/+ was the way to go. 21...Rxd1 (21...Rde8!? 22.Rfe1 Re6 picks on the one weak pawn, on e5, with a slight advantage.) 22.Rxd1 Qb6+ 23.Kh1! (23.Qd4?? Rd8) 23...Qxb2 24.e6! fxe6 25.Qxe6+ Kh8 26.Qe7 Rg8 27.h3 White is a pawn down but clearly more active.] 21...Rxd8 22.Qxe4 Re8? [22...Qb6+ 23.Kh1 Qd4!-+ and Black dominates via the d-file control and White's weak pawns.] 23.Qd4 Qxe5 24.Qxe5 Rxe5 25.Rd1 Kf8 26.Rd7 Re7 27.Rd8+ Re8 28.Rd7 Rb8 Black decides to avoid the repetition and try to win with his extra pawn. But that white rook is at least compenation. 29.b4 Ke8 30.Rc7 A standoff. Black tries too hard to win and ... 30...h5 31.Kf2 g6?! 32.Ke3 Kf8 33.Kd4 Rd8+ 34.Kc5


34...Rb8? Back to fatal passivity. [Best play, as any endgame manual will say, is to activate the rook with 34...Rd2 35.Rxb7 Rxg2 when White has only a small advantage.] 35.h4 Kg7 36.g3? [Better was 36.a4! g5 37.hxg5 a5 38.bxa5 Ra8 39.Kb4!+-] 36...Kf6 37.a4 [37.Kd6+/=] 37...Ke6? [Black is holding after 37...Kf5! 38.Rxf7+ Kg4] 38.a5 f6 39.a6! bxa6 40.Rxc6+ [As good but requiring severe calculation: 40.Rxa7 g5 41.Rxa6 gxh4 42.Rxc6+ Ke5 43.gxh4] 40...Kf5 41.Rxa6 Rc8+ 42.Rc6 Re8 43.b5 White has a number of little advantages that add up to a win, but it's a particularly difficult rook ending. 43...g5 44.Rc7 gxh4 [44...Ra8 45.Kc6 Kg4 46.Kb7+-] 45.gxh4 Ra8 46.Rg7 [46.Kc6 Kg4 47.Kb7] 46...Ke5 [46...Ke4 47.Re7+ Kd3 48.Rd7+ Kc3 49.Kd5] 47.Rh7? Putting the win at risk. [47.Re7+ forces the king in front of the f-pawn; 47...Kf4 48.Kd6 It's always the c-pawn.] 47...f5 48.Rxh5 Ke4 49.Rh7! f4 50.Re7+


50...Kf5? [Maybe Black is drawing after 50...Kd3! 51.Rd7+ Ke3 52.Kd5 f3] 51.Kd6 [51.Kd4!] 51...f3 52.c5 [More accurate is 52.Rf7+ Ke4 53.c5 Rd8+ 54.Ke6 Re8+ 55.Kd7] 52...Rb8 [52...Rd8+ 53.Kc7] 53.c6 Kg4 54.c7 [54.Rf7!] 54...Rf8 55.Re1 Kxh4 56.Rf1 Kg3 57.Kd7 Rf7+ 58.Kd8 Rf8+ 59.Kd7 Rf7+ 60.Kc6 Rf8 61.Kb7 Kg2 62.Rxf3 Kxf3 63.c8Q Rxc8 64.Kxc8 Ke4 65.Kb7 Kd5 66.Kxa7 Kd6 67.b6 Kc6 68.b7 ashikuzzaman won by resignation. A bumpy road, but Ashik brought it home. The rook ending is worthy of some effort in study. 1-0

(2) Philip Gerstoft (pgstar3) (1785) - Sebby Suarez (SebbyMeister) (1549) [B01]
Mechanics' Nov TNM, 18.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 4.d4 Bf5 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bd3 Bg6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Re1 c6 9.Bg5 Be7 10.Ne2 0-0 11.Bxg6 hxg6 12.c4


White has played logical moves to gain a small advantage in space. Black has a solid position that is hard to crack. 12...Re8 13.Qb3 b6?! A slight weakening of the queenside. 13...Qb6 would keep the solid pawn structure. 14.Ne5 [14.Rad1!] 14...Nfd7 15.Bxe7 Qxe7 16.Nf4?! now Black is able to trade off pieces and has no troubles 16...Nxe5 17.Rxe5 Nd7 18.Re3 Qd6 19.Ne2 Rad8 20.Rd1 Nf6 21.Red3 Nh5 22.g3 Nf6 23.h4 Rd7 24.Nf4 Nh5 25.Ng2 Red8 26.Ne3 Nf6 27.Qc3 Ne4 28.Qe1 Qe7?! [28...Nf6 keeps the game perfectly level. Now the white knight is able to jump to a strong post] 29.Ng4! Nf6 30.Ne5 Rd6 31.b4 c5? [Black feels under pressure and decides to do something, but this lets White win a pawn. It was best to just wait with a move like 31...Qc7] 32.bxc5 bxc5 33.dxc5 Rxd3 34.Rxd3 Rxd3 35.Nxd3 Qd7 36.Ne5 Qc7 37.c6!


The extra doubled pawn really shows it strength. Black is tied down and can do little. 37...Ne8 38.Qe4 Nf6 [38...f6 39.Nxg6 Kf7 40.Nf4 Qd6 41.h5] 39.Qd4 Kf8 40.c5 Ke7 [40...Nd5 41.Nd7+ Kg8 42.Qe5 Qxe5 (42...Qxc6 43.Qb8+ Kh7 44.Nf8+ Kh6 45.Nxe6!) 43.Nxe5 Kf8 44.f4 Ke7 45.Kf2 is a winning knight ending] 41.f4 Nh5 42.Kg2 Nf6 43.Qb4! the white queen heads to b7 where it will cause great problems 43...Qd8?! [43...Ne8 44.Qb7 Kf8 holds out longer, though White could win by marching the king up to a6 45.Kf3 Ke7 46.Ke3 Kf8 47.Kd3 Ke7 48.Kc4 Kf8 49.Kb5 Ke7 50.Ka6 Kf8 51.Qxc7 Nxc7+ 52.Kxa7] 44.Qb7+ Ke8 45.Qxf7# pgstar3 won by checkmate 1-0

(4) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2610) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2236) [B12]
Mechanics' Nov TNM, 17.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ exf6 6.c3 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Ne2 Re8 9.0-0 So: it's back to the quiet line. [9.Qc2 was standard, to see how Black reacts before deciding which side to castle on -- and then along came 9...h5!! and things haven't been the same. Since 2017 when it first appeared in master play there have been over 600 games in the databases, with a plus score for Black. Those opening books that declared 5... exf6 a dry line hoping for a draw are going to need rewriting! Here is a light in the wilderness: 10.Be3 Nd7 11.0-0-0 b5?! (11...Nf8 has done fine) 12.d5 c5 13.Bxb5 Rb8 14.c4 a6 15.Ba4 1-0 (63) Duda,J (2757)-Carlsen,M (2863) Stavanger 8th Norway Chess 2020 and another earlier game.] 9...Qc7 [9...Nd7 10.Bf4 Nf8 11.Bxd6 Qxd6 12.Re1 g6 13.Ng3 saw Carlsen win, but as usual, others weren't so fortunate. 1-0 (39) Carlsen,M (2863)-Svane,R (2613) INT 2020] 10.Ng3 g6


11.Qf3 [11.Ne4! is more aggressive as Black would lose material after 11...Bxh2+ 12.Kh1 when both 13. Nxf6 and 13. g3 are threatened] 11...f5 Kyron has been playing this line for only a few months now; uninfluenced by 5...exf6's quieter history he assumes an aggressive stance. 12.Bh6 Be6 13.Rae1 Nd7


14.Bxf5?N Miscalculation? Over-optimism? A change to the "trend" of the game? In any case, the engines are steadfast in their claim: this is unsound. [One earlier, quiet game: 14.b3 Nf6 15.c4 Ng4 16.Bc1 Bd7 17.h3 Nf6 18.Bb2 Rxe1 19.Rxe1 Re8 20.Rd1 f4 21.Nf1 b6?! 22.Nh2 h5 23.Nf1 and White managed to win: 1-0 (41) Lapertosa Viana,J (2130) -Orfali,M (2055) ICC INT 2009] 14...Bxf5 15.Nxf5 gxf5 16.Qxf5 Bf8! 17.Bf4 Bd6 Kyron, unsure what is going on, repeats. 18.Bh6 Bf8 19.Bf4 Qd8! [19...Qc8 also thwarts White.; 19...Bd6 20.Bh6 would be a three-fold repetition.] 20.Bg5


20...Qc8?!-/+ [20...f6!-+ when 21...Bg7 is an almost universal followup, with Stockfish making it in the high -2s.] 21.Qg4! The only move to make it interesting, but it's clear by now that the attack doesn't exist. 21...Kh8 [21...f5!? is a radical price for a tempo: 22.Qxf5 Nb6] 22.Qf5 Kg8 [22...f6! 23.Bxf6+ Nxf6 24.Qxf6+ Bg7 25.Qf7 Rf8 26.Qe6 a5 Both players have about half their time remaining. There isn't any reason Black shouldn't play on.] 23.Qg4 Kh8 24.Qf5 Kg8 Game drawn by repetition. A curious game -- Guseinov got a little crazy and Griffith didn't have the defensive will to follow through. Still, a draw leaves them both tied for first-second with two rounds to go. 1/2-1/2

Here is the same game, annotated by FM Kyron Griffith

(7) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2610) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2236) [B15]
TNM, 18.11.2020

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ exf6 Recapturing here with the e pawn instead of the g-pawn has gained a following only in the past few years. Historically, recapturing with the g-pawn was considered the obvious reply as chess players are typically taught to take towards the center. However practice has shown that black's quick and flexible development is ample compensation for the slightly damaged pawn structure. White has a number of different ways to set up his pieces here but the most challenging is the c3 - Bd3 - Qc2 - Ne2 setup. Finally, white would love to reach an endgame without any further pawn transformations. The 4 on 3 queenside pawn majority would promise great endgame chances while black's crippled majority on the kingside is nowhere near as impressive. 6.c3 Bd6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Ne2 [More common is: 8.Qc2 Re8+ 9.Ne2 Where black has the popular move h5!? here although the alternatives h6 and g6 are fine as well. 9...h5] 8...Re8 [8...Qc7 After the game, GM Guseinov advised that I take a look at this move. The main idea is to prevent white from castling kingside. I was initially worried that white could reply with Qc2 and try to castle queenside, but perhaps in this particular case black should prefer h6 over h5. 9.Qc2 h6! and now white is less interested in castling queenside as black's counterplay will come quickly on that wing while white's play on the kingside will be slower as compared to if black had played h5. (9...h5 10.Be3 Black has been slightly tricked here. We reach a position similar to a tabiya, but black's Queen is on c7 instead of Re8. This limits black's options slightly, although in practice black should be fine.) ] 9.0-0 Qc7 10.Ng3 g6?! I realized this move was dubious as soon as I played it. I simply wanted to achieve a g6-f5 pawn structure and lock down the white knight. Unfortunately now it has a moment to jump to freedom. 11.Qf3?! Returning the favor with an inaccuracy. Now my plan is justified. [11.Ne4! Black either has to go on the defensive or give up the bishop pair here. 11...Be7 (11...Bxh2+ This may be the best practical chance but it is quite speculative 12.Kh1 Rxe4 (12...Nd7 13.g3 f5 14.Bf4 and black's bishop is lost) 13.Bxe4 Bd6) 12.Bc4 Be6 13.Bxe6 fxe6 14.Qb3 Qd7 is quite unpleasant] 11...f5 12.Bh6 Be6 13.Rae1 Nd7 14.Bxf5?! I actually said out loud "what the he**?!" when I saw this move. It feels like it shouldn't work - black's position is solid and all his pieces are developed. That being said it is tricky to refute as black always has to worry about his king. 14...Bxf5 15.Nxf5 gxf5 16.Qxf5 Bf8 The only move or else white would be winning. GM Guseinov mentioned after the game that he had missed this one. In fact it is now black who has the edge. [16...Nf8 as mentioned on the broadcast gets mated quickly 17.Qf6] 17.Bf4 Bd6 18.Bh6 Bf8 19.Bf4 Qd8! I was happy I played this move instead of taking the easy draw. On one hand it is unclear how black is going to untangle, but on the other hand white doesn't have any immediate threats. I felt that black was better here but it is tough to prove. 20.Bg5 Qc8?! [20...f6 was the opportunity for black to keep the edge] 21.Qg4 Kh8 22.Qf5 Kg8 23.Qg4 Kh8 24.Qf5 Kg8 Game drawn by repetition = [24...f6 25.Bxf6+ Nxf6 26.Qxf6+ Bg7 27.Qf7 The engine gives a -0.5 evaluation here but I think black has a large task ahead of him to prove that.] 1/2-1/2

For more information on the November TNM, please follow this link:

Mechanics' Institute Thursday Night Marathon Report

The second round of the new Thursday Night Marathon was played, and many of the favorites went on to win, setting up some exciting 3rd round matchups in 2 weeks. Next week will be an off week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. With perfect scores at 2/2 are IM Elliott Winslow, FM Allan Savage, NM Michael Walder, Pranav Sairam, Ako Heidari, Stewart Katz, Eric Hon and Adam Mercado. Here are the current standings.

Standing after Round 2

SwissSys Standings. Thursday Night Marathon Online: Open

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
1 Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W13 W14 2.0
2 Eric Hon 13778105 2186 microbear W19 W15 2.0
3 Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy W20 W17 2.0
4 Stewart Katz 12458563 1835 knvsback W22 W26 2.0
5 Adam Mercado 16571026 1831 A-boy415 W23 W18 2.0
6 Ako Heidari 15206848 1980 oka_ako W30 W24 2.0
7 Allan G Savage 10014999 2200 duchamp64 W33 W12 2.0
8 Pranav Sairam 15424820 2084 chesspilot01 W34 W16 2.0
9 Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W21 H--- 1.5
10 Richard W Koepcke 10493269 2200 rkoepcke H--- W29 1.5
11 Gadir Guseinov 17343590 unr. gguseinov H--- W28 1.5
12 Roger V Shi 16191192 1753 1-h4-1-0 W25 L7 1.0
13 Marina Xiao 16380642 1545 programmingmax L1 W31 1.0
14 Alexander Huberts 16419664 1794 cccalboy W36 L1 1.0
15 Timothy Horng 13282721 1730 aYzz W35 L2 1.0
16 Jeff C Andersen 11296106 1643 zenwabi W38 L8 1.0
17 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 fiddleleaf X--- L3 1.0
18 Richard Hack 12796129 1569 Kaline340Green W37 L5 1.0
19 Rama Krish Chitta 17350313 1475 draidus L2 W35 1.0
20 Ya Dancig Perlman 16280288 1428 noydan100 L3 W36 1.0
21 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass L9 W37 1.0
22 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1347 chesspoki L4 W38 1.0
23 Paul Krezanoski 16897133 1238 pjkrizzle L5 W33 1.0
24 Robert H Frank 10498325 1200 cyber-droid X32 L6 1.0
25 Ethan Sun 16964125 1180 sfdeals L12 W34 1.0
26 Danny Du Uy Cao 16939797 863 caodanny X--- L4 1.0
27 Rahim Dharssi 12693378 595 rahimftd H--- H--- 1.0
28 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf H--- L11 0.5
29 Lisa Willis 12601676 1583 LittlePinkCorvette H--- L10 0.5
30 Andrew Nicho Paul 14232850 1385 chessplayer3740 L6 H--- 0.5
31 Willia Fitzgerald 17048414 537 OlympusMons00 H--- L13 0.5
32 Mohammad Amir Ali 30029248 1565 Deshbondhu F24 U--- 0.0
33 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 rimus11 L7 L23 0.0
34 Jacob S Wang 17083655 1434 jacobchess857 L8 L25 0.0
35 Ian Liao 16738735 1105 victor6688 L15 L19 0.0
36 Bruce Hedman 17344551 870 Bruce_Hedman L14 L20 0.0
37 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 470 Vincitore51745 L18 L21 0.0
38 B J Day 12586048 unr. mrbillstunes1 L16 L22 0.0


No rounds on Thanksgiving Thursday! Next round is on December 3!


FIDE Trainers Seminar December 11-13

The Mechanics' Institute will be organizing its first FIDE Trainers Seminar on December 11-13, 2020. This seminar is for coaches and players looking to enhance their education in coaching and understanding the learning of chess. Participants at the conclusion of the seminar will take an exam towards the awarding of a FIDE title for trainers. 

The instructors and lecturers for this seminar include GM Melik Khachiyan, GM Jacob Aagaard, GM Dejan Bojkov, IM John Donaldson, IM Kostya Kavutskiy, WIM Dr. Alexey Root, Dr. Judit Sztaray and Abel Talamantez. Topics for the seminar include Some of the topics covered will be the role of the trainer, fair play in chess, psychological issues, study of classical games, tactics training, training in calculation, and means of improvement.

For more information and to register, please follow this link: Club's League Week 2 Report

The Mechanics' Institute went don in defeat in week 2, losing to a very tough Chess Kids Nation team. We lost 15-9 in the rapid and 11.5-2.5 in the blitz. Their team had a very deep bench of solid strong players that made it difficult for our mid-lower boards. Congratulations to them on an outstanding performance.

Mechanics' has chosen to take a bye for this weekend, so we will get a half point and be playing in week 4 next Saturday.


The Mechanics' Institute received a full point bye in week 4, and we will be facing off this Saturday against the St. Louis Chess Club at 1pm PST. The match will be played in 3 sections based on rapid rating, 1800+, 1400-1799, and under 1400. Anyone who is a member of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club online community is eligible to play. Here are the match links for Saturday.

WIM Dr. Alexey Root

Alexey Root has her latest installment of Grandmaster Chef out, with a focus on GM Ding Liren. Find out what he likes to eat as well as a brand new chess inspired recipe by NM Mike Walder by reading the article here:

Nice Game From FM Paul Whitehead's Arena

We thought it would be great to include this fine win by NM Michael "f-pawn" Aigner against FM Paul Whitehead during Paul's Tuesday G/2+1 arena before the start of the TNM. A terrific shot by fpawn shows he still is a blitz force to be reckoned with. Enjoy!

(3) NM Michael Aigner (fpawn) (2205) - FM Paul Whitehead (chessmonster666) (1232) [B24]
Mechanics' Nov Arena, 17.11.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.g3 Choosing the Closed Sicilian for the slow buildup, like Spassky used to do. 3...Nc6 4.Bg2 g6 5.d3 Bg7 6.Be3 d6 7.f4 Nge7 8.Nf3 Nd4 Black could also just castle, but this early knight jump to the center is fine. 9.0-0 Nec6 However the other knight should have stayed in it's place. Castling is safer. 10.e5!? dxe5 [10...0-0!] 11.Nxe5!

White's aggressive play causes trouble to the less developed black side. 11...Nxe5 12.fxe5 Bxe5 13.Ne4 0-0 14.c3 Now White wins back the sacrificed pawn on c5 and gains control of the center. 14...Nc6 15.Bxc5 Re8 16.Qf3 f5 17.Nf2 [17.d4! would be better as Black can't really take the knight on e4. White would hold a clear edge.] 17...Bd7 18.d4 Bg7 19.Rfe1 b6 [19...Na5! planning to activate the bishop to c6 would gain Black even chances] 20.Ba3 Qf6 21.Nd3 Rad8 22.Bd6?
planning to take control of the e5 square, but there is a flaw... 22...Nxd4! 23.Qf2 making the best of it with just losing one pawn. Hopeless would be [23.cxd4 Qxd4+ 24.Kh1 Qxd6] 23...Nc6 24.Rad1 e5 25.Bc7 Rc8? [25...e4 26.Nf4 Ne5 27.Bxd8 Qxd8 would be terrific compensation for the exchange. Now White is ok again.] 26.Bxe5 Nxe5 27.Nxe5 Rxe5 28.Rxd7 Rxe1+ 29.Qxe1 a5 30.Qd2 Qe5 31.Rb7 Qc5+?! The queen is not as good here as on e5. [31...Kh8! is even material and even chances] 32.Kh1 Kh8 33.Qd7 Rg8? The losing move. Black would still hang in there after [33...Qf8] 34.Bd5 Qf2
35.Qxg7+! Rxg7 36.Rb8+ It's mate next 1-0


Support the Mechanics' Institute and

Save Big in the Process!

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. 

$120/year for a regular membership
$65/year for a student membership
You will save big if you are a regular participant in our tournaments and/or classes!
Here are some of our registration costs and savings
you can achieve with membership:
Tuesday Night Marathon: $30 member, $50 non-member registration fee
Weekend USCF rated events: $20 member, $40 non-member registration fee
Basically, your membership pays for itself if you attend just six tournaments, classes, or other chess events per year!
Plus you get everything that a Mechanics' Institute membership offers.
Benefits of Mechanics' Institute Membership
  • Discount on most chess events or classes.
  • Full use of the Library and its services, including online databases, ebooks, and more!
  • Free or reduced admission to cultural events, programs, classes, and book groups.
  • Access to the Chess Room and its tournaments and classes.
  • WiFi access throughout the Library, Chess Room, and 4th floor meeting room.
  • Membership access at other membership libraries.
Join Mechanics' at:
Please forward this information to others who might be interested in joining.
Please enter chess in the referred by column and check off chess as a general interest.
Any questions? Please contact us 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:

FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 11/23:

GM Nick de Firmian Arena: Thursdays 5:00pm-6:00pm, Off: 

See you in the arena!

Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Classes

Monday's 4:00-5:30PM - Mechanics' Chess Cafe

Casual meeting to talk about chess, life and everything. Join 3-time US Champion GM Nick de Firmian and FM Paul Whitehead as they give a lecture and class in a fun casual atmosphere where you can discuss games, learn strategy, discuss chess current events and interact in a fun casual atmosphere. Enter our Monday chess café for the pure love of the game. Class suitable for ALL level of players and FREE for MI members.

FREE for Mechanics' members. $5 for non-members.

More information:


Monday's 6:30-8:00PM - The Art of Attack in Chess by FM Paul Whitehead

Course Dates: 11/16 through 12/21 (6 classes)

Learn to attack the king in this six-week class using Vladimir Vukovic's book, The Art of Attack in Chess (1963 revised 1993 by GM John Nunn), as our text.
We will take lessons from chapters such as "The classic bishop sacrifice", "The attack against the uncastled king", "Focal-points" and "The attack on the king as an integral part of the game".
Vukovic also talks about mating patterns, defense, and much more.
Join us in an investigation into one of the greatest chess books ever written, a classic enjoyed by chess players around the world.

Registration Fee: $20/class for Mechanics' member, $25/class for non-member

Wednesday's 5:00-6:30PM - Free Adult Beginner Class for Mechanics' Members

November 18, 2020 - January 20, 2021

Are you an adult who wants to put learning chess on top of your New Year's resolution! Get a head start with us at the Mechanics' Institute! This virtual class is open to any MI member who has no knowledge of the game or who knows the very basics and wants to improve. Taught by MI Chess Director Abel Talamantez along with Judit Sztaray and other MI staff, we will patiently walk through all the basics at a pace suitable for our class. Our goal is to teach piece movement basics, checkmate patterns, importance of development, and general strategy. We will also show students how to play online so they may practice. The goal of the class is to open a new world of fun and joy through the magic and beauty of chess, from one of the oldest and proudest chess clubs in the world. 

Registration: Free for MI members. Members will have to register online to secure their spot and to receive an email confirming the Zoom link.

More information:


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

More information:

Register at:

2020 Pacific Regional Grade Level Online Championship

Save the date scholastic players for the Pacific Regional Grade Level Online Championship Saturday November 28! This USCF online rated event will feature sections based on grade levels, with kids competing for trophy and medal prizes. 5 rounds with a time control of G/25+5. Games will be played on Chesscom or Chesskid depending on section and games will be manually paired by Chief TD Judit Sztaray.
Register now to get in on the post Thanksgiving scholastic chess action online at the Mechanics' Institute!
Click here to register and for information on this big chess event to close out the 2020 year: 

Mechanics' Chess - Scholastic Tournaments

Saturday, November 21: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/10+2:

Sunday, November 22: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Monday, November 23: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, November 24: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, November 25: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, November 26: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM


Friday, November 27: 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: December 5, @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.

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:

11/24 Tuesday - Tuesday Night Marathon
Format: 6SS G/35+2
Start at 6:30PM
12/3 Thursday Night Marathon
Format: 5SS G/60+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

Friendly Rivalries, Part 20

[email protected]

I feel very lucky to have lived through a “Golden Age” of chess, the years directly following the Fischer-Spassky match in 1972.  I have written quite a bit in these pages about my experiences, the games I played, and the characters I encountered in my youth.  There’s always a new chapter it seems, another event or person that I suddenly can recall with a smile or a rueful nod of my head.

Charles Powell (1944-1991) was a strong Master who moved to San Francisco in the early 1980’s.  He had graced the cover of Chess Review after winning the Armed Forces Championship with an 11-1 score in 1968.  Powell won the Virginia State Championship seven times: he was a legend in his home state, as I learned when I moved there in 1998.

In 1964, in Richmond VA, Powell destroyed Bobby Fischer in a wonderful game during Fischer’s swing through the States giving simultaneous exhibitions in that year.  The game can be seen here:

I remember Charlie as a friendly, easy-going guy who was fond of catching up on the news - he  was often reading the newspaper during his games!  Unfortunately, his health was not good, and he died at the age of only 48.  I heard he was studying to be a lawyer…

A bit more on Charles Powell here:

I played Charley four times, all of them in the Charles Bagby Memorial / Northern California State Invitational Championships, held at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club.  These were wonderful events, with very strong players… I’ve written about them before, and perhaps I will do so again.

Charley took me out the first game, we drew the second, but then…

Well, you can see below for yourself how it went.

(1) Paul Whitehead - Charles Powell [B01]
Bagby Mem./N. Cal. Ch. San Francisco, 1982
[Whitehead, Paul]

A hard-fought game. White pressed, and a promising exchange wasn't followed up very well. Black held on through an unbalanced position, and white eventually fell on his own sword. 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Ne5 e6 9.Bg2 c6 10.0-0 Nbd7

A typical Center-Counter type of position. 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.Bf4 Bb4 13.Ne2 0-0 14.a3 Be7 15.c4 Qa6 16.Qc2 Rac8 17.b4 b5 18.c5 Qb7 19.Bd2 Nd5 20.f4
White has more space and the two bishops. 20...Bf6 21.Qd3 Rfe8 22.Ng3 Be7 23.Rae1 Rcd8 24.f5 Nf8 25.fxe6 Nxe6 26.Rxe6 fxe6 27.Qxg6 Rf8 28.Qxe6+ Kh8 29.Nf5 Bf6 30.Qe4 g6
White has a nice game, but no clear win. Black defends stubbornly. 31.Ng3 Qg7 32.Ne2 Qe7 33.Qxe7 Nxe7 34.Be3 Kg8 35.Rd1 Rfe8 36.Bf2 Nd5 37.Bxd5+ Rxd5 38.Nf4 Rd7 39.Kg2 Kf7 40.Kf3 Red8
The position is still in a precarious balance. 41.Ne2 g5 42.a4 a6 43.axb5 axb5 44.Ra1 Rh8 45.Ra6 White's active approach (opening the a-file) is landing him in trouble. Defending with 46.Kg2 was better. 45...Rxh3+ 46.Kg2 Rb3 47.Rxc6 Rxb4
Now black has a dangerous passed b-pawn. 48.Rb6 Re7 49.Nc3 Bxd4 50.Nxb5 Bxf2 51.Nd6+ Ke6 52.Rxb4 Bxc5
White loses a piece. 0-1

(2) Charles Powell - Paul Whitehead [A48]
Bagby Mem./No. Cal. Ch. San Francisco, 1984
[Whitehead, Paul]

Our second encounter was a rather careful draw. 1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 Nf6 5.e4 0-0 6.Be2 b6 7.0-0 Bb7 8.Re1

White sets a little trap. 8...Nbd7 [8...Nxe4 9.Nxe4 Bxe4 10.Bd3 favors white.] 9.Bf1 e5 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.c3 h6 12.Bh4 Qe7 13.Qc2 Nc5?! 14.b4 Ncd7 15.Nc4 Qe6
Black is marginally better right up to the end. 16.Nfd2 Nh5 17.Ne3 Bf6 18.Bc4 Qe7 19.Bg3 c6 20.Rad1 b5 21.Be2 Nxg3 22.hxg3 a5 23.a3 Bg5 24.Bf1 axb4 25.axb4 Nb6 26.Nb3 Bc8 27.Nc5 Na4 28.Nd3 Nb6 29.Nc5 Na4 30.Nd3 Nb6

(3) Paul Whitehead - Charles Powell [A05]
Bagby Mem./ N. Cal. Ch. San Francisco, 1985
[Whitehead, Paul]

Our 3rd encounter could have gone either way, but Charles lost his way somewhere and I was able to cash in my chips. I'd evened the score! 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b6 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.0-0 c5 5.d3 g6 6.e4 Bg7 7.e5

Seizing the 1st chance to make it "interesting". 7...Nd5 8.d4 Nc7 9.Re1 cxd4 10.Qxd4 Bxf3!
A very sharp move, leading to a fine exchange sacrifice. 11.Bxf3 Nc6 12.Qh4 Nxe5 13.Bxa8 Qxa8 14.Nd2 f5 15.f4 Bf6 16.Qh3 Ng4 17.c3 Qd5 18.Nb3 h5 19.Qg2 h4 20.h3 Nh6 21.Qxd5 Nxd5
Black retains the initiative despite the trade of queens. 22.Bd2 hxg3 23.Rad1 Nf7 24.Kg2 Rh4?! Not a mistake, but black starts to drift. 25.Kxg3 Rh5 26.Kh2 e6 27.Bc1
Threatens 28.Rxd5. Black needs to be careful here, perhaps the solid 27...Nc7. 27...Ne7?! 28.Nd4 g5 29.Nb5!
This move is very difficult for black to deal with. 29...gxf4? This loses. 29...Ng8!? 30.Nc7+ Kf8 [30...Kd8 31.Nxe6+] 31.Rxd7 e5 32.Ne6+ Ke8 33.Rxa7 Nh6 34.Bxf4! [The immediate 34.Rxe7+! also wins.] 34...exf4 35.Rxe7+! Kxe7 [Or 35...Bxe7 36.Ng7+] 36.Nxf4+
1-0 Black resigns. 1-0

(4) Charles Powell - Paul Whitehead [A43]
Bagby Mem./ N. Cal. Ch. San Francisco, 1986
[Whitehead, Paul]

Charles had rather a poor opening, and I won this game with barely a shot fired. 1.d4 c5 2.c3 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Nf6 5.Bg2 Nc6 6.0-0 Be7 7.Ne5 0-0 8.f4 Ne4 9.Nd2 Nxd2 10.Qxd2 cxd4

White's opening play has been somewhat artificial, and black has an easy game. 11.cxd4 Qb6 12.e3 f5 13.g4? This is uncalled for, and it is black that ends up benefiting from the open g-file. 13...Nxe5 14.fxe5 g6 15.gxf5 gxf5 16.Rf3 Bd7 17.Qd1 Kh8 18.Bd2 Rg8 19.Bc3 Rg7 20.Rg3 Bg5
Black is better, and white continues to drift. 21.Qd2 Rag8 22.Kh1 Qd8 23.Qe2 Qe8 24.Bf3 Bb5 25.Qd2 Qg6!
26.Be2 [26.h4 Qh6] 26...Bc6 27.Bd3 Qh6 28.Qe2 Be8! Every black piece is attacking. 29.Rf1 Bh5 30.Qd2 Bh4 31.Rxg7 Qxg7

Black mates in every variation. 0-1

GM Nick de Firmian's Column

The lead character of the “Queen’s Gambit” is a young prodigy who storms the chess world and surprisingly beats the established chess champions. This part of the story is actually based on fact as the 1960’s saw such a phenomenal teenage talent arise in the United States. That player was of course Bobby Fischer, whom author Walter Tevis was extremely aware of when he wrote the “Queen’s Gambit.” Quite a number of the unusual traits of the book’s heroine, Beth Harmon, will seem familiar to older chess fans who remember so well the eccentric Fischer.

We give below one of the key games that established the young Fischer as a unique talent. That is against Donald Byrne (in 1956), who along with his brother Robert where the best siblings in the country. Young Bobby managed to beat Donald in 1956, but then had to meet his higher ranked brother Robert in a key game of a later US Championship. I hope the readers enjoy these two marvelous battles.

The other famous brothers duo in chess besides the Byrnes is the MI’s own Paul Whitehead with his brother Jay. Our man about town (or online tournaments at least), Elliott Winslow, had a fascinating game with Jay that he shared on our new Monday online Chess Café (4:00-5:30pm). I can’t resist showing this game with the amazing way that White took over all the squares a mobile queen could move to.

(1) Byrne,Donald - Fischer,Robert James [D97]
New York Rosenwald New York, 1956

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.d4 0-0 5.Bf4 d5 The Grundfeld Defense was a favorite of Fischer's throughout his career. The position becomes open and active with chances for both sides. 6.Qb3 dxc4 7.Qxc4 c6 8.e4 Nbd7 The white pawns on e4 and d4 occupy the center and give White more space. Black though has already castled and has a small lead in development, which can be important if White is not careful in maintaining the center. 9.Rd1 Nb6 10.Qc5 Bg4 11.Bg5?

This moves the bishop twice, which gives Black a chance to make use of the lead in development with a tactical sequence. White could have kept equal chances with the simple [11.Be2] 11...Na4! 12.Qa3 [Capturing the knight allows Black to hit back in the center with great effect - 12.Nxa4 Nxe4 13.Qb4 (13.Qxe7 Qxe7 14.Bxe7 Rfe8) 13...Bxf3 14.Bxe7 Bxd1 15.Bxd8 Raxd8 16.Nc3 Rxd4 and White will lose as the active Black pieces target the king.] 12...Nxc3 13.bxc3 Nxe4 14.Bxe7 Qb6 15.Bc4 [15.Bxf8 Bxf8 16.Qb3 Nxc3] 15...Nxc3 16.Bc5 Rfe8+ 17.Kf1 What now? It looks as if White is going to come out of this in good shape, but young Bobby finds a devastating shot. 17...Be6!!
18.Bxb6 White has little choice but to take the queen. On [18.Bxe6 Qb5+ wins; and 18.Qxc3 Qxc5!] 18...Bxc4+ 19.Kg1 See how Bobby keeps control with clever play from the minor pieces. 19...Ne2+ 20.Kf1 Nxd4+ 21.Kg1 Ne2+ 22.Kf1 Nc3+ It's the same position as before but the white d-pawn is gone which makes the knight on c3 protected by the bishop 23.Kg1 axb6 24.Qb4 Ra4!
Attacking the white queen while defending the bishop on c4. Now Black takes a material advantage as well and Donald Byrne can do little to resist. 25.Qxb6 Nxd1 26.h3 Rxa2 27.Kh2 Nxf2 28.Re1 Rxe1 29.Qd8+ Bf8 30.Nxe1 Bd5 with a rook, two bishops and three pawns for the queen there is no hope for White, but he plays it out to mate. 31.Nf3 Ne4 32.Qb8 b5 33.h4 h5 34.Ne5 Kg7 35.Kg1 Bc5+ 36.Kf1 Ng3+ 37.Ke1 Bb4+ 38.Kd1 Bb3+ 39.Kc1 Ne2+ 40.Kb1 Nc3+ 41.Kc1 Rc2# 0-1

(2) Byrne,Robert Eugene - Fischer,Robert James [D71]
USA-ch New York (3), 18.12.1963

This game was from the 1963 US Championship where Fischer plays Robert Byrne, Donalds brother. While Donald was a strong chess master, Robert was a grandmaster and one of the very top players in the country. This game was important for who would win the championship that year. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Robert avoids 3. Nc3 d5 which would be the classical Grunfeld. HIs third move tries to take the game into quieter territory. 3...c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.e3 0-0 8.Nge2 Nc6

This is a Neo-Grunfeld with nearly symmetrical pawn structure. It looks like Robert Byrne has gotten his wish with a less tactical position. 9.0-0 b6 10.b3 Ba6 11.Ba3 Re8 12.Qd2 e5! This accepts an isolated d-pawn but gives the black pieces a lot of activity in compensation. 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.Rfd1?! This seems to make sense to move the rook from f1 so that the knight on e2 is not pinned, but it was better to move the other rook (as we will see later). [14.Rad1!; White cannot grab the d-pawn - 14.Nxd5? Nxd5 15.Bxd5 Bxe2 wins] 14...Nd3 15.Qc2?! [Not seeing Fischer's great idea. White could be only slightly worse after 15.Nf4 Ne4 16.Nxe4 dxe4 17.Rab1] 15...Nxf2!
Byrne's attempt to keep a solid game are destroyed by this knight sacrifice. Yet at the time it was played all the spectators thought it was unsound. 16.Kxf2 Ng4+ 17.Kg1 Nxe3 18.Qd2 Nxg2! This is the move that turbocharges the black attack. Taking the exchange back with 18...Nxd1 would leave White his crucial light-squared bishop. 19.Kxg2 d4! opening the long white diagonal 20.Nxd4 Bb7+ 21.Kf1 [White cannot retreat 21.Kg1 because 21...Bxd4+ 22.Qxd4 Re1+ 23.Kf2 Qxd4+ 24.Rxd4 Rxa1 is an easily winning ending.] 21...Qd7! As this point in the game the spectators thought that White held the advantage. Robert Byrne looked, and looked deeply and saw that there is no way to stop black's attack so he resigned. e.g. 22. Ndb5 Qh3+23. Kg1 Bh6 is curtains. 0-1

(3) Winslow,Elliott C (2340) - Whitehead,Jay E (2425) [B65]
San Francisco 2nd San Francisco (4), 03.1986

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.0-0-0 0-0 9.f4 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 Qa5 11.e5 dxe5 12.Qxe5 The game was kindly explained by Elliott Winslow himself on our friendly MI Chess Cafe which is online Mondays 4:30-5:30. All levels of players join in, so we hope you do too! 12...Qb6? [Jay wants to play a complicated middle game instead of the slightly worse endgame he would get after 12...Qxe5 13.fxe5 Nd5 14.Bxe7 Nxe7 15.Bd3 .That's very natural, but there is an amazing problem to this move.] 13.Na4!


White moves the knight to the rim (in priciple supposed to be bad). Yet here is an amazing position that the black queen runs out of decent squares in an open board. Certainly a surprise! 13...Qc6 [13...Qb4 14.Rd4 is immediately trapped, as is; 13...Qf2 14.Rd2] 14.Bb5! Nd7 [The black queen does have an escape square, which even wins a pawn. The problem is that is opens the g-file which White uses to get to the black king. After 14...Qxg2 15.Rhg1 Qxh2 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Qxf6 g6 18.Nc3 White has won a piece and also has a winning attack with the extra development.; No better is 14...Qe4 15.Qxe4 Nxe4 16.Bxe7 with at least a piece up for White in the endgame.] 15.Qe2! Bxg5 Jay takes his best chance, two pieces and a pawn for the queen. 16.Bxc6 Bxf4+ 17.Kb1 bxc6 18.Qe4! e5 19.Qxc6 Rb8 20.Rxd7 No hope for Black here. Mr. Winslow wraps up quickly. 20...Bxd7 21.Qxd7 Rfd8 22.Qc6 Bxh2 23.Nc3 One of the classic battles of the Bay Area. Of course there are more to come in the MI's TNM! 1-0

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