Chess Room Newsletter #945 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #945

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #945


November 27, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Happy Thanksgiving 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone from the chess department. We hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday and we thank you for your support!

 Mechanics' Institute November Tuesday Night Marathon Report

The Mechanics' Institute Tuesday Night Marathon concluded this week with GM Gadir Guseinov defeating GM Jim Tarjan in a great positional game to win the TNM with a score of 5.5/6. This much anticipated matchup showcased Guseinov's patience, slow build up, and precision, against an always dangerous and tough Tarjan. Guseinov defeated Tarjan in round 5 and then sealed the deal with a 6th roun win against NM Arun Dixit. FM Kyron Griffith took sole 2nd place in the TNM after a final round victory over IM Elliott Winslow, finishing with 5/6. Rising young talent Nicholas Weng took sole 3rd place with a sharp final round win over Ethan Guo.

In the under 1800 section, Philip Gerstoft and Pranav Pradeep tied for first with a score of 5.5/6, with their only draw coming against each other in round 3. Tying for 3rd with 4/6 were Bryan Hood, Sebby Suarez, Kevin Sun , and Nate Andaya. 

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all the players who participated!

Here are two games from the final rounds, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(2) GM Jim Tarjan - GM Gadir Guseinov [A26]
TNM, 24.11.2020

The battle of the heavyweights. 1.c4 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.Bg2 d6 4.Nc3 e5 5.e4 Nc6 6.Nge2 Tarjan likes this Botvinnik pawn set-up with the white side. It has shown up in a number of his recent games. 6...f5 7.d3 Nf6 8.0-0 0-0 9.Nd5 [9.Rb1 with the idea of pushing the b-pawn is the standard plan, Tarjan's move seems equally good.] 9...Be6 [9...Nxd5 10.cxd5 Ne7 11.Be3 c6 12.dxc6 bxc6 gives Black central control from the pawns at the cost of a little loosening of the position] 10.Bg5 Qd7 11.Qd2 Kh8


This is a complex position with various options for White. 12.Rac1 [12.Nxf6 Bxf6 13.exf5 Bxf5 14.Bxf6+ Rxf6 15.b4 Would again be the standard queenside expansion. White should have an edge here.] 12...Rae8 13.b3 Ng8 14.exf5 [Grandmasters may prepare one plan but switch to annother if the tactics change. Yet there was also good reason to follow through on the previous move with 14.c5] 14...Bxf5 15.Rce1 Nd8 16.d4 Nf7 17.Be3 c6 18.Ndc3 e4


19.f3?! This starts to change the game in Black's favor. A stronger plan, suggested by the computer, was [19.d5 c5 20.Nf4 Nf6 21.Ne6! which gains play since 21...Bxe6 22.dxe6 Qxe6 23.h3 h5 24.Bf4 Qf5 25.Qc2 White wins the pawn back with an edge.] 19...exf3 20.Rxf3 Nf6 21.Ref1 d5 22.cxd5 cxd5 23.Nf4 Nd6 24.h3? This ends up as a weakeness that gets taken. [White should have played 24.Nd3 Nfe4 25.Nxe4 dxe4 26.Nc5 Qc8 27.R3f2 b6 with a small edge for Black but nothing severe. Now White is in trouble.] 24...Nfe4 25.Nxe4 Bxe4 26.R3f2 Bxg2 27.Rxg2


27...g5! 28.Ne2 [Somewhat better was 28.Nd3 Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Qxh3 30.Kg1 Ne4 31.Qe1 when Black is a pawn ahead with also a big positional advantage, yet White could still hope.; 28.Nxd5? Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Ne4] 28...Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Qxh3 30.Bxg5 Ne4 [Even better was 30...Qh1+ 31.Ng1 Ne4 32.Qe3 Qh5! winning immediately as the bishop on g5 is threatened and also the deadly ...Qe1+] 31.Qe3 Qh1+ 32.Qg1? losing immediately [32.Rg1 Qh5 33.Bf4 Nxg3+ 34.Rxg3 Rxe3 35.Rxe3 is a winning ending for Black with queen and pawn for rook and knight. White could still play at least.] 32...Qxg1+ GGuseinov won by resignation. Black wins the bishop on g5. 0-1

(1) IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (2043) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2235) [D30]
Live Chess, 24.11.2020

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 Avoiding the crazy lines of [5...dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7] 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 Be7 We have now transposed into the (usually) calm lines of the Queen's Gambit Declined, Exchange Variation. 8.Qc2 h6 [8...0-0 9.Bd3 Re8 is the most common line, avoiding moving any black pawns on the kingside for the moment] 9.Bf4 0-0 10.h3 Re8 11.Bd3 Nf8


12.0-0-0?! [12.0-0 or; 12.Bh2 should be a safe, pleasant position for White. Winslow decides to go for the gusto and mix it up.The opposite sides castling suddenly makes the game very exciting as White wants to pawn storm the kingside and Black to attack on the queenside. I expect Beth Harmon would approve. She wouldn't play the Queen's Gambit for a draw.] 12...Qa5 13.Kb1 Be6 14.g4 Ne4! Kryon remembers that for good attacks you need to control the center. 15.Rhg1?! White needs to deal with the center squares immediately. [15.Bxe4 dxe4 16.Nd2 b5 17.Ndxe4 Ng6 18.Bg3 b4 19.Na4 Bd5 20.f3 Bh4 is compensation for the pawn] 15...Bb4 16.Bxe4 dxe4 now White can't take the e-pawn 17.Nd2 Bd5 18.a3?! [18.Nxd5 cxd5 19.a3 would keep the disadvantage to a minimum. Black would have more play, but all the white pawns are solid.] 18...Bxc3! 19.Qxc3 Qb5 Black's control of the light squares on the queenside is more impotant than anything White can do on the kingside. 20.Rc1 Ne6 21.Bg3 Ng5 22.h4 Nf3 23.Nxf3 exf3 24.Rgd1? [24.g5 keeps White in the game (though under strong pressure). Now Black takes full command of the position as White can't break out of the light square bind.] 24...a5 25.Ka1 a4 26.Qd3 Qb3!


27.Qxb3 axb3 The black bishop on d5 is a powerhouse. White cannot generate active play on either side of the board and must await Black's advance. 28.g5 hxg5 29.hxg5 Kh7! note the difference between the two monarchs. Kyron's king comes up to attack and Elliott's is stuck in the corner. 30.Rd3 Kg6 31.Rc5 Rh8 32.Rd1 b6 33.Rc3 Kxg5 The extra pawn is decisive. Bishops of opposite color give hopes for a draw only if all the rooks get exchanged, which Kyron will not allow. 34.Kb1 Kf5 35.Kc1 Ke4


The centralized black king deserves a diagram. It's perfectly safe on e4 as the white pawns are blockaded and the white rooks can't break through. 36.Kd2 f6 37.Bc7 b5 38.Bd6 g5 39.Rg1 Rag8 40.Ra1 f5 41.a4 Winslow takes his chance to finally gain some activity. 41...bxa4 42.Rxa4 Ra8? [42...Rh1! 43.Ra7 Re8 stops the threatened check on e7 and the Rh1 invades to take the f2 or b2 pawn. This would be a quick finish.] 43.Rxa8 Rxa8 44.Rc1 Rh8 45.Rg1 Rh5 46.Be7? low on time White makes a mistake by attacking the g5 pawn and taking the guard off of the h2 square. He could still have put up resistance with [46.Kc3!] 46...Rh2 47.Ke1


47...Kd3! Kyron charges in. The black monarch finishes the job. 48.Bxg5 Kc2 49.Bf4 Rg2 50.Rh1 Kxb2 51.e4 fxe4 52.Be3 Kc2 KyronGriffith won on time 0-1

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

Here are the final standings:

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 Prize
1 GM Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2685 gguseinov W27 W19 W9 D2 W4 W5 5.5 220.00
2 Kyron Griffith 12860484 2499 KyronGriffith W22 W3 W5 D1 D6 W9 5.0 132.00
3 Nicholas Ruo Weng 15499404 1983 ninjaforce W20 L2 W15 W14 W8 D6 4.5 88.00
4 GM James Edwa Tarjan 10991820 2469 tirantes W7 W12 D6 H--- L1 W16 4.0  
5 Arun Dixit 14607904 2199 Limelight2727 W15 W14 L2 W7 W13 L1 4.0  
6 Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy W23 W16 D4 D9 D2 D3 4.0  
7 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1908 mwncklmann L4 W26 W11 L5 W17 W12 4.0 22.00
8 Ethan Guo 16761994 1664 LightningDragon8 B--- W18 L19 W12 L3 W13 4.0 22.00
9 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W10 W13 L1 D6 W19 L2 3.5  
10 Javier Silva III 16089208 1895 J3Chess24 L9 D21 W17 W25 L12 W18 3.5  
11 Tejas Mahesh 15086558 1988 ChessTX9 H--- H--- L7 W23 L16 W24 3.0  
12 Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W24 L4 W22 L8 W10 L7 3.0  
13 Ashik Uzzaman 13178575 1943 ashikuzzaman W21 L9 W16 W19 L5 L8 3.0  
14 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 BreatheChessAlways W17 L5 W23 L3 D21 D19 3.0  
15 Nicholas Boldi 15088356 1883 nicarmt L5 W24 L3 L17 W27 W21 3.0  
16 Adam Mercado 16571026 1831 A-boy415 W18 L6 L13 W24 W11 L4 3.0  
17 Ahyan Zaman 15035222 1711 ahyanzaman L14 B--- L10 W15 L7 W22 3.0  
18 Ethan Boldi 15088362 2120 etvat L16 L8 D21 W20 W25 L10 2.5  
19 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 kclemens W26 L1 W8 L13 L9 D14 2.5  
20 Max Hao 16083648 1761 Joseph_Truelsons_Fan L3 L22 D26 L18 B--- W27 2.5  
21 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 MatnMatt20 L13 D10 D18 W22 D14 L15 2.5  
22 Jonah Busch 12469525 1940 kondsaga L2 W20 L12 L21 W26 L17 2.0  
23 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 PlayerCreate1 L6 W27 L14 L11 L24 W26 2.0  
24 Roger V Shi 16191192 1753 1-h4-1-0 L12 L15 W27 L16 W23 L11 2.0  
25 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf H--- H--- H--- L10 L18 U--- 1.5  
26 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 chessappeals L19 L7 D20 D27 L22 L23 1.0  
27 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 Mangonel L1 L23 L24 D26 L15 L20 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 Prize
1 Philip Gerstoft 12913356 1724 pgstar3 W4 W10 D2 W5 W12 W8 5.5 132.00
2 Pranav Pradeep 15871762 1409 pranavpradeep2006 W8 W18 D1 W7 W5 W9 5.5 132.00
3 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 fiddleleaf W12 W21 L5 W11 H--- H--- 4.0 22.00
4 Kevin Sun 16898540 1161 kevin_mx_sun L1 L8 B--- W17 X--- W10 4.0 22.00
5 Sebby Suarez 16875347 811 Sebbymeister W14 W16 W3 L1 L2 W11 4.0 22.00
6 Nate Andaya 30054738 unr. nathaniei L11 L13 W19 W16 X--- W12 4.0 22.00
7 Marina Xiao 16380642 1545 programmingmax W13 D11 W16 L2 L8 W17 3.5  
8 Bruce Hedman 17344551 870 Bruce_Hedman L2 W4 D10 W15 W7 L1 3.5  
9 Valerie Jade 17168772 1490 Evariel H--- H--- L11 W13 W18 L2 3.0  
10 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass W22 L1 D8 W18 D11 L4 3.0  
11 Ethan Sun 16964125 1180 sfdeals W6 D7 W9 L3 D10 L5 3.0  
12 Ian Liao 16738735 1105 victor6688 L3 W15 W13 W14 L1 L6 3.0  
13 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 1057 andrewaballantyne L7 W6 L12 L9 W15 W20 3.0  
14 Stan Polivyanenko 17310102 1365 MrL0cust L5 W20 W17 L12 H--- U--- 2.5  
15 Adithya Chitta 16695036 930 adichi D20 L12 W22 L8 L13 W18 2.5  
16 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1519 rimus11 W17 L5 L7 L6 W20 L19 2.0  
17 Jeff North 17179258 1043 JeffNorthSF L16 W19 L14 L4 X22 L7 2.0  
18 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 470 Vincitore51745 B--- L2 W20 L10 L9 L15 2.0  
19 Justin Brunet 30055583 unr. night_breeze L21 L17 L6 L20 B--- W16 2.0  
20 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 Echecsmike D15 L14 L18 W19 L16 L13 1.5  
21 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1347 chesspoki W19 L3 U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
22 Samuel Brown 16380615 662 comfyqueso L10 H--- L15 H--- F17 U--- 1.0  

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

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


Mechanics' Institute Thursday Night Marathon Report

The Thursday Night Marathon has an off week this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. We will be back next week with round 3.

For more information about this event, follow this link:

Here are the current standings for our G/60+5 USCF rated Thursday Night Marathon:

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

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:

WIM Dr. Alexey Root

Dr. Alexey Root has a great new article on ChessBase on the chess culture in Uruguay, inspired by Gonzalo Muniz, who dropped into our Twitch stream during one of our events. Alexey was also in the chat and connected with Gonzalo to discuss the chess scene in Uruguay. Click the link below to the article, which shows how chess can be a unifying activity and a reflection of a culture and community. Enjoy!


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, 12/1:

GM Nick de Firmian Arena: Thursdays 5:00pm-6:00pm, 12/3:

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 28: starts at 9:30AM 

5SS G/25+5: Pacific Regioanl Grade Level Online Championship

Sunday, November 29: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

5SS G/5+5:

Monday, November 30: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, December 1: starts at 4:15PM - join from 4PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, December 2: starts at 4PM - join from 3:45PM

4SS G/20+0:

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

5SS G/5+5:

Friday, December 4: 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:

12/1 Tuesday - December Tuesday Night Marathon
Format: 8SS G/35+2
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

[email protected]

Chessmonster666: old and slow.

Joining the Paul Whitehead Arena (see for more details) on Tuesday, November 17th, I was unpleasantly surprised by a new time control of 2 minutes a side (fast, but OK by me) with a 1-second increment (uh-oh: way too fast!).

There are things I like about blitz, but when you throw in pre-moves and time controls with actual physical obstacles (sticky mouse, 1-second increment) then I start losing interest – not to mention losing chess games!

Chess is (or should be) a game of skill using your brain.  Or, as in my case, what’s left of it.

Nevertheless, my final score of 10-4 wasn’t too bad: I may be old and slow, but I’m not down and out!

Below I take a quick look at those four losses, for the following reasons:

- Explaining my losses improves my game.

- Explaining my losses is better than drowning my sorrows in drink.

- Explaining my losses enables me to make excuses for my mistakes.

I’ve been told that next week we are back to the old 3/2 format, and I’m grateful.  I’m old-school, really, and don’t much fancy chance, or lady-luck in my chess.

See you then.

(1) chessmonster666 (1868) - vish1080 (2208) [B31]
Live Chess, 17.11.2020

Storyline: white completely outplays black and wins 2 pawns. Then he blunders badly with 36.Qg4?? dropping a rook. Say no more! 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.0-0 Bg7 5.Re1 e5 6.d3 Nge7 7.Nbd2 0-0 8.Nc4 d6 9.Bxc6 Nxc6 10.a4 Be6

11.Ng5 h6 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.Be3 d5 14.Na3 d4 15.Bd2 Qf6 16.Rf1 Rad8 17.Nc4 b6 18.Qe2 g5 19.Rab1 Ne7 20.b4 cxb4
21.Bxb4 Rf7 22.Bxe7 Rxe7 23.a5 bxa5 24.Nxa5 Rf8 25.Nc4 Kh7 26.Ra1 Rc8 27.Ra5 Rcc7 28.Nxe5 Qf4 29.Nc4 Rf7 30.Rfa1 e5
31.g3 Qf6 32.Nxe5 Rfe7 33.Nc4 Qe6 34.Ra6 Qd7 35.Qh5 Re6 36.Qg4??
36...Rxa6 37.Qxd7 Rxa1+ 38.Kg2 Rxd7 vish1080 won by resignation 0-1

(2) fpawn (2205) - chessmonster666 (1232) [B24]
Live Chess, 17.11.2020

Storyline: a nice game! Some mutual errors, but as his time ticked down black made more. Finally, white finishes him off with a pretty tactic. 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 g6 5.d3 Bg7 6.Be3 d6 7.f4 Nge7 8.Nf3 Nd4 9.0-0 Nec6 10.e5 dxe5

11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.fxe5 Bxe5 13.Ne4 0-0 14.c3 Nc6 15.Bxc5 Re8 16.Qf3 f5 17.Nf2 Bd7 18.d4 Bg7 19.Rfe1 b6 20.Ba3 Qf6
21.Nd3 Rad8 22.Bd6 Nxd4 23.Qf2 Nc6 24.Rad1 e5 25.Bc7 Rc8 26.Bxe5 Nxe5 27.Nxe5 Rxe5 28.Rxd7 Rxe1+ 29.Qxe1 a5
30.Qd2 Qe5 31.Rb7 Qc5+ 32.Kh1 Kh8 33.Qd7 Rg8? [33...Qf8] 34.Bd5 Qf2 35.Qxg7+!!
[35.Bxg8?? Qf1#] 35...Rxg7 36.Rb8+ fpawn won by resignation 1-0

(3) Oli_MS (1874) - chessmonster666 (1866) [A48]
Live Chess, 17.11.2020

Storyline: White drops a piece on the 21st move, black blunders it back, white wins on time on the 48th. I suppose this is chess... 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.e3 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0 Nbd7 7.c4 e6 8.Nc3 Qe7 9.h3 b6 10.b4 Bb7

11.Bh2 Ne4 12.Nxe4 Bxe4 13.Nd2 Bb7 14.Rc1 a5 15.a3 axb4 16.axb4 Ra2 17.Nb3 Rfa8 18.c5 Bd5 19.cxd6 cxd6 20.Rc7 Bxb3
21.Qxb3 Rxe2 22.Rfc1 Raa2 23.Bg3 h5 24.h4 g5 25.hxg5 Qxg5 26.Rxd7 h4 27.Bf4 Rxf2 28.Rc8+ Kh7 29.Qd3+ Qg6 30.Qxg6+ Kxg6
31.Rcc7 Rxg2+ 32.Kf1 Rgf2+ 33.Kg1 Rxf4 34.exf4 Bxd4+ 35.Kf1 f5 36.Rf7 Bf6 37.Rh7 d5 38.Ke1 Rb2 39.Rb7 Rxb4 40.Rhd7 Re4+
Of course black is winning, but with only 1 second per move could not keep up, even losing on time at the end. 41.Kf1 Rxf4+ 42.Kg1 h3 43.Kh2 Rf3 44.Rh7 d4 45.Rxh3 Rxh3+ 46.Kxh3 d3 47.Rxb6 d2 48.Rd6
Oli_MS won on time 48...Bc3 49.Rxe6+ Kg5 50.Rd6 Kf4 is still winning for black. 1-0

(4) stratus_junior (2290) - chessmonster666 (1880) [E64]
Live Chess, 17.11.2020

Storyline: A hard fought game where black eventually came out on top...only to lose on time yet again. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 d6 5.Nc3 0-0 6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 8.e4 c6 9.h3 a5 10.Be3 exd4

11.Bxd4 Re8 12.Re1 a4 13.e5 dxe5 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.Bxe5 Qxd1 16.Raxd1 Be6 17.c5 a3 18.b3 Ra5 19.Na4 Rxa4 Perhaps not entirely correct. 20.bxa4 Ra8
21.Rd4 Bxa2 22.Ra1 Be6 23.Rxa3 Nd7 24.Bxg7 Kxg7 25.Rc3 Ra5 26.Rb4 Nxc5 27.Ra3 Bc8 28.Rd4 Be6 29.f4 Kf6 30.Kf2 h6
31.Ke3 h5 32.Rb4 Bc8 33.Kf3 Be6 34.g4 hxg4+ 35.hxg4 Bc8 36.g5+ Ke7 37.Ke3 Be6 38.Kd4 Kd6 39.Bf3 Kc7 40.Be2 Na6
41.Bxa6 Rxa6? [41...c5+ should have been easy to see, but black was on the 1-second increment...] 42.a5 Ra8 43.Kc5 Rd8 44.a6? [44.Rd4] 44...Rd5+ 45.Kc4 Ra5+ 46.Kd4 Rxa3 47.Rxb7+

stratus_junior won on time. Black is winning with 47...Kd6 or 47...Kc8. 1-0


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

The coronavirus pandemic continues, yet fortunately online chess is continuing even more so. The 1.5 million dollar Champions Chess Tour consists of 10 online super-tournaments and has just kicked off with the first event of the brand new season – the $100,000 Skilling Open. That rapid play event started with 16 of the world’s best in a round robin preliminary event. Eight of the players “made the cut” to advance to the knock-out matches. Some surprising exits were the young stars Alireza Firouzja and Jan Kristoff Duda along with world #3 Ding Liren.

Magnus Carlsen tied for first in the preliminary round robin, tied with the USA’s Hikaru Nakamura. Yet Carlsen had some bumps along the road, particularly against the Russians. We give below his game against Ian Nepomniachtchi and with it the question, “Do you think you could beat Magnus in one chess game?”

You probably have an answer in your mind, but I will ask you again after you’ve seen the game.

(1) Nepomniachtchi,Ian - Carlsen,Magnus [C60]
Chess Tourn Skilling, 22.11.2020

Here is a battle between the player tied for first in the Candidates Tournament and the World Champion. We could well see the title match next yeat between these two players, though the games would be classical time control and so fewer errors. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nge7 Magnus plays an offbeat line of the Ruy Lopez, something he is unlikely to try in a classic match. 4.Nc3 Ng6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Bc5 7.Be3 Bxd4 8.Bxd4 Qg5 9.g3 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 Ne5 Rather tricky play from Magnus, but Nepo has more space and isn't going to fall for a knight fork. 11.Be2 Nc6 12.Qc4 d6 13.Nd5 Qd8 14.Qc3 0-0 15.0-0-0 Re8 16.f3 Be6 17.Bb5 Bd7 18.h4!

Classically played by Nepomniachtchi. White should simply take more territory and try to squeeze the position. Magnus doesn't care as much if he is worse in a rapid or blitz game, figuring there will be mistakes to come. 18...a6 19.Ba4?! [19.Be2! is out of the way. This allows the black pawns to advance with tempo.] 19...b5 20.Bb3 a5 21.a3 b4!? Magnus sacs a pawn to get open lines on the queenside. 22.axb4 axb4 23.Nxb4 Nxb4!? [perhaps a little better is 23...Ne5 24.Rhe1 c5 25.Nd5 Bb5 would be enough play for the pawn] 24.Qxb4 Be6 25.Bxe6 Rxe6 26.Qc3 h5 27.b3 Rg6 28.f4 Ra6 29.Kb2 Re6?! 30.Qc4?! [30.e5! is clearly better for White] 30...Qf6+ 31.c3 Ra8 32.Rhe1 Qe7 33.Rd5?
[33.Qc6 would keep a small edge. This allows Magnus a surprising shot to get the heavy pieces over to the a-file.] 33...c6! suddenly White is in trouble. 34.Rd4 [On 34.Qxc6 Qa7! 35.Rd2 d5! 36.Qxd5 (36.Qa4 Ra6) 36...Qa2+ 37.Kc1 Qa1+ 38.Kc2 Ra2+ 39.Kd3 Qxe1 40.Rxa2 Qb1+ 41.Rc2 Rg6! leaves the black queen and rook causing decisive trouble to the white king] 34...d5 35.Qe2 Qa3+ 36.Kc2 Qa2+ 37.Kd3 Qxb3 38.Qc2
Material is even and the black heavy pieces attack the white king. After 38...Qb5+ 39 Ke3 Ra3 Black has a huge advantage. Instead Magnus played 38...Qb4
Now please remember the question I asked you earlier, whether you think you could beat Magnus in one game. The move played was of course a mouse slip, which happens in our new world of online chess. Magnus quickly resigned before giving Nepomniachtchi the chance to offer a sporting draw. The good news is that this didn't affect the tournament since Magnus tied for first and qualified for the knockout matches. 1-0

(2) Nakamura,Hikaru - Firouzja,Alireza [B19]
Skilling Prelim, 24.11.2020

Young Firouzja is the #1 up and coming teenage talent of the chess world. He plays Nakamura, one the "old" players in his mid-thirties. Yet of course Hikaru is still one of the very top players of rapid chess, and he will often hit you with a trick or tactic that is hard to avoid in these quicker time controls. 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 The players follow the main line of the Caro-Kann, just as Spassky and Petrosian used to play sixty years ago. Black is very solid with just a bit less space. 10...e6 11.Bf4 Qa5+ 12.Bd2 Bb4 13.c3 Be7 14.c4 Qb6 15.Bc3 Ngf6 16.Ne5 Rd8 17.Qe2 Bb4!

with these exchanges Firouzja alleviates his space disadvantage and achieves completely equal chances. 18.0-0 Bxc3 19.bxc3 0-0 20.Rab1 Qc7 [20...Qa5!? 21.Rxb7 Nxe5 22.dxe5 Nd7 would be an active way to play. It seems Black would be for choice.] 21.f4 c5 22.Qf3 Nb6 23.Rfd1?! [23.Ne4 immediately is more to the point] 23...Nfd7! Black begins to get pressure against the doubled pawns. 24.Ne4 cxd4 25.cxd4 f5?! this is loosening. Black would maintain the advantage with [25...Nxe5 26.fxe5 Qxc4] 26.Nc5! Nxc5 27.dxc5 Qxc5+ 28.Kh2 Qc7 29.a4! Nakamura is a pawn down but has a powerful knight on e5. He plays for activity as his last move seeks to open the b-file to hit b7. 29...Rxd1 30.Rxd1 Rd8?
It seems very logical to trade down to eliminate the pressure, but this allows a tactic, a typical "Naka shot" that occur frequently in his games. 30...a5 would have stayed equal. 31.Qxb7! Qxb7 There is nothing to do but take the queen sacrifice. 32.Rxd8+ Kh7 33.Ng6 Qc8 The only defense to 34. Rh8 mate is to give back the queen. 34.Rxc8 Nxc8 35.c5!

It is this move which restricts the black knight that gives White a winning ending. 35...Kg8 36.Kg3 Kf7 37.Kf3 Ke8 [37...Ne7 38.Nxe7 Kxe7 39.Ke3 Kd7 40.Kd4 Kc6 is an easily winning king ending 41.Ke5 Kxc5 42.Kxe6 Kb4 43.Kf7 Kxa4 44.Kxg7 Kb5 45.Kxh6 a5 46.Kg6 a4 47.h6 White queens first] 38.Ke3 Kd7 39.Kd4 a6 40.Ke5 the black pawns fall 40...Kc6 41.Kxe6 Kxc5 42.Kf7 Kb4 43.Kxg7 1-0


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