Chess Room Newsletter #948 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #948

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #948


December 19, 2020

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Happy Holidays

We want to wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday next week! We will  take a break from the newsletter next week in observance of the holidays, but we will be back on January 2, 2021 with a tournament recap of the conclusion of the December Tuesday Night Marathon and other chess happenings. Thank you all for your continued support of the Mechanics' Institute. Your participation in our events and classes, membership, and engagement through our streams have helped sustain us through this difficult time, and we look forward to an amazing year of chess in 2021!

 Mechanics' Institute November Tuesday Night Marathon Report

GM Gadir Guseinov continued his perfect run in the December TNM, defeating two of his strongest opposition in IM Elliott Winslow and FM Kyron Griffith. He has 6/6 going into next weeks last two rounds. The battle for 2nd and 3rd is tight however, with 3 players at 5/6 including NM Kireet Panuganti, IM Elliott Winslow, and NM Michael Walder. Of these 3 players, Walder has not played Gadir, so we look for that matchup next week. Also chasing at 4.5/6 are FM Kyrn Griffith and Ashik Uzzaman. 

To watch the coverage of round 5&6, please click here:

Here are some games from rounds 5&6, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(3) FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2470) - GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2600) [B34]
Mechanics' December TNM (6.1), 15.12.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Kyron likes the white side of this position 8...Nd5 9.Nxd5 cxd5 10.Qxd5 Rb8


White has won a pawn but Black has open lines for compensation. Is it enough? The players seem to have different opinions as Gadir is happy with the black side. 11.0-0-0! Bb7 12.Qd2 Bxe5 13.Bxa7 Ra8 14.Qe3 0-0 [14...Bg7 15.Bd4] 15.Qxe5 Rxa7 16.Kb1? [16.a3! is a far more effective way to hold the queenside squares. Kyron has played the opening very well and would hold a big advantage. 16...d6 17.Qe3 Ra4 18.h4 h5 19.Rd4 keeps White in control] 16...d6 17.Qe3 Qa8! suddenly Black is getting good play for the pawn with the open files on the queenside 18.Bc4?! [18.a3 Rb8 19.f3 would be about level] 18...Bxg2 19.Rhg1 Be4 Now Black holds an edge with the compact pawn structure and queenside attacking chances. 20.Bb3 Rb8?! [20...Rc8!] 21.Rd4! Bf5?


22.Rh4? [Missing an opportunity. 22.Bd5! simply wins the exchange with a winning position. Strangely there is nothing Black can do for a counterattack.] 22...Rxb3! 23.Qxb3 Be6 This inspired exchange sacrifice gives Black the advantage. The action is all on the queenside near the white king. 24.c4? [24.Qc3 Bxa2+ 25.Kc1 is worse for White but he is still very much in the game] 24...Bf5+ 25.Kc1 This lets Black in. The alternative [25.Ka1 loses to 25...Bc2! which is the shot that Kyron may have missed earlier.] 25...Rxa2 Gadir now has a winning initiative. The black bishop is powerful and so Black controls the action. 26.Kd2 Qa5+ 27.Ke2 Qe5+ 28.Kf3 Rxb2 29.Qe3 Qf6 30.Kg3 Rc2 31.Qh6 Qe5+ 32.Qf4 g5 33.Qxe5 dxe5 34.Kf3 f6


material is even but the White rook on h4 can't get out of the bad situation. 35.c5 e4+ 36.Ke3 Kf7 37.Rxe4 trading into a clear technical loss, but anything else was worse 37...Bxe4 38.Kxe4 Rxc5 39.Kf3 Rc4 40.h3 Two pawns up for Gadir in a rook endging is automatic. There is nothing left to say. 40...h5 41.Ra1 e5 42.Kg3 Kg6 43.Ra8 Kf5 44.Rh8 h4+ 45.Kg2 Kf4 46.Rf8 f5 47.Rf7 e4 48.Rf8 Rc2 49.Kg1 e3 50.fxe3+ Kg3 51.Rxf5 Rc1+ 52.Rf1 Rxf1+ 53.Kxf1 Kxh3 Kyron resigned. A great battle! 0-1

(4) Jonah Busch (Kondsaga) (1934) - Mateo Hansen (mateosh) (1687) [B01]
Mechanics' December TNM (5.17), 15.12.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nf3 A switchup on the usual. But more, White keeps open c-pawn possibilities, both c2-c3 to guard a pawn on d4, and c2-c4 to get that pawn also working in the center. The theory on this is unsettled still. [3.Nc3 is of course the tried and true -- and blunt -- grab a tempo.] 3...Nf6 [3...Bg4 4.Be2 Nc6 gets castled quickly to pressure a pawn on d4 -- and keeps open possibilities of ...Nh6.] 4.d4 Bg4 5.Be2 e6 6.0-0 Be7 The less ambitious approach doesn't approach at all, and lets White gets space, maybe the two bishops, and the usual opening advantage from a fairly safe pawn on d4 vs. pawn on e6. 7.h3


[7.c4!? Qd8 8.Nc3 c6 9.h3 Bh5 10.Be3 0-0 11.Qb3 Qb6 12.Rfd1 Qxb3 13.axb3 as described above: 1-0 (65), Timofeev,A (2580)-Mezentsev,I (2354) INT 2020] 7...Bxf3N Adding the two bishops to White's plus column. [7...Bh5 8.c4 Qd7 9.Qb3 and Black felt compelled to take anyway, losing a tempo on top of everything else: 9...Bxf3 10.Bxf3 c6 11.Nc3 0-0 12.Rd1 1-0 (37), Alekseev,E (2616)-Swicarz,M (2378) Katowice 2017.] 8.Bxf3 Qb5


9.b3?! Too cautious! [9.c4! White is bordering on winning outright;; 9.Nc3! Same here too. White can even hit Black on the next move with 10.d5 and bust it open for the Bs.] 9...0-0 10.c4 Qa6 This is no picnic, but it lets Black off a hook. 11.Re1 [11.Bb2; 11.b4! is hard to bring oneself to play after 9.b3, but it puts the screws to Black's queen.] 11...Nc6


12.d5? White overlooks something, and so does Black. [12.Bb2; Even 12.Bxc6!? tightens up the central situation.] 12...Rad8 [There is a tactic: 12...exd5 13.cxd5 Nxd5! (13...Rad8 is fine of course) 14.Qxd5 (14.Bxd5? Bf6) 14...Rad8 and Black IS going to get his piece back with ... Bf6 with none the worse of it. (14...Bf6? 15.Be2 Qa5 16.Qxa5 Nxa5 17.Bd2 Nxb3 18.axb3 Bxa1 might look good, but White's pieces are better than the rook and two pawns here.) ] 13.Nc3 Bb4 14.Bb2 Qa5 15.Re3 [15.a3!? Bxc3 16.b4 Bxb4 17.axb4 Qxb4 18.Qc1 exd5 19.cxd5 Nd4!+/=] 15...exd5? [15...Bc5] 16.Nxd5+- Nxd5 17.Bxd5 Kh8 18.Qg4 f6 19.Rg3 g6 20.Qe6 Kg7 21.Rf3 Rd6 22.Qe2 Ba3?


23.Bc3 [23.b4! Bxb4 24.g4] 23...Bb4 24.Bb2 Ba3 25.Re3 Bxb2 26.Qxb2 Qb6 27.Rae1 Ne5


28.f4? [28.b4! c5 29.Rxe5! fxe5 30.Qxe5+ Rdf6 31.Qe7+ Kh8 32.Re6 puts Black away.] 28...Rxd5 [or 28...Nd3 29.Qc3 Nxf4! (29...Nxe1?? 30.c5!) 30.c5 Nxd5=] 29.fxe5?? [29.cxd5 Nd3 30.Qc3 Nxe1 31.Qxe1=] 29...Rxe5 30.Qc3?! [30.Qf2-+] 30...Rfe8 31.Kf2 Rxe3 32.Rxe3 Rxe3 33.Qxe3 Qxe3+ 34.Kxe3 Kf7 Totally winning for Black. But: 35.Ke4 Ke6 36.c5 f5+ 37.Kd4 b6?! [37...c6 38.b4 a6 shuts any dreams down.] 38.b4 g5 [38...b5!] 39.a4 h5 40.cxb6 cxb6! [40...axb6? is still a win, but why give yourself headaches?] 41.a5 bxa5 42.bxa5 h4 [42...a6] 43.a6


White: 3:02 Black: 4:16 Now a king move to d6, f6 or f7 would claim 43...g4?? Throwing away the win. [Even 43...f4 does it.] 44.hxg4 fxg4 45.Ke4 h3 46.gxh3 gxh3 47.Kf3 It turns out that White can take the h-pawn and get back to c1 in time. Counting: f3,g3,xh3, g3,f3,e3,d2,c1 for eight moves; Black has d5-c5-b5xa6-b5-b4-b3 for seven. White was going first, so on his eighth: Kc1. 47...Kd5 48.Kg3 Kc5 49.Kxh3 Kb5 50.Kg2 Kxa6 51.Kf1 Ka5 52.Ke1 Ka4 53.Kd1 Ka3 54.Kc1 There it is. 54...Ka2 55.Kc2 a5 56.Kc1 a4 57.Kc2 Ka3 58.Kb1 Kb3 59.Ka1 a3 60.Kb1 Ka4 61.Ka2 Game drawn by agreement. Both players showed strong play to a point, but slipped up in critical positions and let it go. Still, an entertaining and instructive battle. Mateo has been at it now for a while, with a bit more work his game should gel and his rating take off. 1/2-1/2

(5) Nathan Fong (nathanf314) (1954) - NM Arun Dixit (Limelight2727) (2199) [B39]
Mechanics' December TNM (5.3), 15.12.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 The modern way to head for the Accelerated Dragon [Black avoids the Rossolimo 2...Nc6 3.Bb5] 3.c4 [White could play 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 when White can try to disrupt Black's smooth movement with 5.e5 a) 5.Nc3!? looking to kick the knight later 5...Nc6 6.Qa4 d6 7.e5!; b) 5.Bb5!? (Anticipation!) 5...Nc6 (5...a6!?) 6.Bxc6 (6.Qa4 Bg7) 6...bxc6 7.e5 (7.c4!?) ; 5...Nc6 6.Qa4] 3...Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4!? 8.Qxg4 Nxd4 9.Qd1 Ne6 The positional approach, with many interesting developments and strong adherents. [9...Nc6 might look "normal" but the knight doesn't find much to do there.; 9...e5!? dares White to win a pawn on d4 without getting overwhelmed by counterplay everywhere. The line still resists getting put away.] 10.Be2?!


Too accomodating. White should keep his pawns healthy, [with 10.Qd2; or 10.Rc1] 10...Bxc3+! Like the 9...e5 line, Black is willing to do something very commital to unbalance the game, here giving up his pride and joy, the Fianchetto'ed ("Dragon") bishop. 11.bxc3 b6?! [11...Qc7! (preparing ...b6) has a huge score in practice, He's in no hurry to castle (if he ever does), while White's pawns remain easy targets.] 12.Qd5


A bit of disruption! 12...Nc7?! [12...Rb8?? 13.Qe5 had to be embarrassing! (it happened in a master game!); 12...Ba6! keeps the knight on its best square, holding c5 and ready for ...Rc8. The game is balanced in its imbalances in theory, but in practice White has more often made his dynamic features prevail. As in 13.f4 4-0!] 13.Qe5?! Not wanting to encourage the knight to return to that nice square, but it loses time another way. [13.Qd4!+/= followed by trading off a weak pawn with e5 or c5 (without trading off the good dark squared bishop) works fairly well.] 13...f6 14.Qg3 Bb7 15.f3 Ne6 16.0-0 Rc8 Black is cozy, and hardly misses castling at all. 17.Rab1 [17.Rfb1!? with thoughts of a2-a4-a5, a "Deep State Minority Attack"] 17...Qc7 [or 17...Ba6 and Black is getting around to targeting the c-pawn(s).] 18.Qf2 Nf4!? is the most clearcut of the choices, but these others are to be considered [18...0-0; 18...Kf7; 18...Ba6; 18...d6]


19.Bd1? [19.c5! Nxe2+ 20.Qxe2 bxc5 21.Qb5 Ba8 22.Bxc5! still slightly favors Black, as there are other weak pawns in White's camp, but the main one has been traded off. And the opposite colored bishops don't work out so badly either. The g2-f3-e4 barricade to Black's bishop is nice. The point is 22...Qxc5+?? 23.Qxc5 Rxc5 24.Rb8+] 19...Ba6 20.Bb3 Ne6-/+ Back again. Now Black is in control. 21.Rfd1


21...0-0? A bad moment. [21...Bxc4! It's time for this. Note 22.Ba4 Rd8 23.Rd2 0-0 and now it's time for that (so to have ...d6 available).] 22.Rd5? The advantage jumps around for a while! [22.c5! bxc5 23.f4 launches an attack out of nowhere. 23...f5 (23...Kg7 24.f5) when best may well be 24.Qd2 Kh8 25.exf5 Rxf5 26.g3 with sustained pressure.] 22...Nc5?!= [22...Bxc4! 23.Bxc4 Qxc4 24.Rxd7 Rc7-/+ leaves Black with the more effectively posted pieces.] 23.Rbd1 d6 24.h4?! Bb7?! [24...Kh8-/+] 25.R5d2 h5 26.Qg3 Kf7 27.Bc2 Rg8 28.Bf4?! Ne6 [28...Bc6=/+] 29.Be3 Ba6 30.f4 Bxc4-/+ Black finally gets around to this pawn, with more to come. White: 12:32 Black: 12:10 31.Qf3 Nc5 32.f5


32...Qc6? [32...Nd7 33.fxg6+ Kg7-/+ The pawn loss is insignificant; the e5 and g4 squares will be considerable.] 33.fxg6+ Rxg6 [33...Kg7? 34.Qf4! Rh8 35.e5!+-] 34.Qxh5= Rcg8! 35.e5 Bd3 Best of the three; Black defends well, but the fact is that defense is harder, at the very least on the clock: White 8:43 Black: 4:56. [35...Ne4; 35...Nd3] 36.exf6 Bxc2?! [36...exf6!?] 37.Rxc2 exf6 38.Bf4+/= Qe4?! [38...Ne4+/=] 39.Rf2! Nd3 40.Re2! Those defensive maneuvers cost White on the clock as well. 40...Qxf4 [40...Nxf4?? 41.Qh7+ R8g7 42.Qxg7++-] 41.Rxd3+/- Black's king shows to be the more exposed. 41...Kf8? White 2:08 Black 0:52 [41...Qc1+? 42.Kh2 Qf4+ 43.g3; 41...Qg4!? 42.Qd5+ Kg7 43.Kf1 f5 reshuffles Black's king and rooks to a safer configuration, with less of a plus for White.] 42.Qd5 [42.Rf3! Qh6 (42...Qc4 43.Rfe3 Qc5 44.Qf3 followed by Kh2, and something will give.) 43.Qf5 Black's king is still on the wrong side of the rest of his army.] 42...Rg4?


[42...Qc1+ 43.Rd1 Qxc3 44.Qb7! draws the king out.] 43.Rd4! A sort of X-ray defense of h4; Black disintegrates. But the clocks! White 0:28 Black 0:30 43...Qg3 44.Qxd6+? [44.Qb7! at least picks off a rook after 44...R4g7 45.Qc8+ Kf7 46.Qd7+ Kg6 47.Rg4+ Kh6 48.Rxg3 Rxd7 49.Rxg8] 44...Kg7?? [44...Qxd6 45.Rxd6 Kg7 reduces White's advantage to nothing special.] 45.Re7+?? So many moves were better, with the best (but not easy to spot) being [45.Qe7+ Kh6 (45...Kg6 46.Rd7) 46.Rxg4 Qxg4 47.Qxf6+]


45...Kg6??+- [45...Kh6!=] 46.Rxg4+ Good enough! [46.Qd5! Better!] 46...Qxg4 47.Qd3+! Qf5 48.h5+! Kg5 49.Qg3+?? With 16 seconds... [49.Qxf5+ Kxf5 50.h6 is won] 49...Qg4?? [49...Kxh5 is a draw! What an end that would have been!] 50.Qe3+? [50.Qxg4+ Kxg4 51.h6 is again a win.] 50...Qf4? [The last chance was 50...Kxh5 although here 51.Rh7+ Kg6 52.Qd3+ f5 53.Rh3 White has a real chance to still bring it in, what with Black's target of a king.] 51.Qxf4+ Finally White acquiesces to the won rook ending. 51...Kxf4 52.h6 Rh8 53.h7 f5 54.Rxa7 Ke4 55.Kf2 Kd3 56.Kf3 Kxc3 57.Kf4 b5 58.Kxf5 b4 59.g4 b3 60.axb3 Kxb3 61.g5 Kb4 62.g6 Kb5 63.Kf6 Kb6 64.Rf7 Rd8 65.Kg7 Kc6 66.h8Q Rxh8 67.Kxh8 Kd6 68.g7 Ke6 69.g8Q with the two-second increment they'd both managed to double their clock time to over half a minute. No matter, as Black had just been playing without hope for quite a while. nathanf314 won by resignation. An extremely tense and difficult struggle all the way! 1-0

(6) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2600) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (2278) [B69]
Mechanics' December TNM (5.1), 15.12.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 This used to be a prelude to the Closed Sicilian: g3, Bg2, d3, maybe Be3 and Qd2, maybe f4 and a kingside assault, maybe Rb1 and b4 on the other side. But nowadays almost anything can happen. 3.d4 and 4.Qxd4 has been seen by Guseinov, and 3.Bb5+ lines, But those are after 2...d6; it's different now. 2...Nc6 3.Nf3 Arcing back to normal lines. [3.Bb5 is Tiviakov's odd line, when 3...Nd4 might not make sense according to not moving the same piece twice in the opening, but Black can annoy White's bishop advantageously.] 3...d6 Daring White to do something less common still, but it seems that today Guseinov wanted to test out a main line. 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nf6 The Classical Sicilian. 6.Bg5 The Rauzer (Richter's line was later on and a somewhat erratic attacking line, so let's leave him out of this). [Last week there was a game with the Sozin, 6.Bc4 and into the Velimirovic Attack, which leads to irrational attacking lines and spectacular sacrifices. This week the play is more strategic, although attack on the kings is always in the air.] 6...e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f4 Be7 Development? Old-school. Even with the boost of two games from the 1972 World Championship match this is the less-played line now. [More to the point is 9...b5 , as well as a lot more popular.] 10.Nf3 b5 11.Bxf6 gxf6 [11...Bxf6!? 12.Qxd6 Be7 13.Qd2 (13.Qd3!?) 13...b4 gives up a pawn to get Black's pawns rolling a little faster. The verdict is still forthcoming.] 12.Kb1 [12.Bd3 was one of those Fischer-Spassky games;; 12.f5 is a pawn sacrifice nobody has ever taken (in the big databases at least). Strategically Black pins his hopes on his pawn center working for him, not against. 12...Qb6 13.Kb1 0-0-0 14.Qh6 is the closest Guseinov has been to the current game: 1-0 (30) Guseinov,G (2611)-Rahmanov,S (2245) Baku 2010] 12...Qb6 13.Bd3 b4 The computer isn't too keen on this gung ho approach, but White is coming out on top in lines anyway. 14.Ne2 a5 15.f5 White pursues the plan of pressuring Black's central pawns, especially e6, trying to get a concession. 15...a4 16.Nf4 Qc5 17.Rhe1 Now Black has to be concerned with variou sacrificial operations to get at his center. 17...Ne5


18.Nxe5?!N Guseinov was keeping up a quick pace, but this could end up getting pushed back. [Previously 18.fxe6 fxe6 19.Bf1 (setting up Nd4 with e6 in trouble) 19...b3 20.cxb3 axb3 21.a3 Kf7 22.Rc1 Qb6 23.Nd4 Rhc8 24.Be2 Rxc1+ 25.Rxc1 Qb7 26.Re1 Rc8 27.Bh5+ Ng6 28.Nfxe6 Bxe6 29.Qh6 1-0 (29) Klovans,J (2477) -Yrjola,J (2401) Cappelle-la-Grande 2005] 18...fxe5 19.Nh5 Now it's quite a difficult decision. 19...a3!? Perhaps jumping the gun, but it could have worked out very well. [19...Kd8!? sidesteps knight checks and heads maybe for c7, connecting the rooks and keeping options.; 19...0-0-0 was the other decisive choice. The pawn cover isn't completely abandoning the king...] 20.b3? This move needed preparation! [20.f6 Bf8 21.Ng7+ Kd8 22.b3! although Black's constant threat to do something drastic on the dark squares will continue to haunt White.; 20.fxe6 fxe6 21.Rf1 is another way to go, but Black comes out no worse after 21...Kd8 (or 21...Rg8 22.Nf6+ Bxf6 23.Rxf6 0-0-0!) ] 20...Rg8!? [20...Qd4! is the forcing line: 21.c3 (21.Qc1? Bg5 is just a worse version) 21...bxc3 22.Qe2 Qb4-/+ while Black hasn't broken through, he has fractured White's armor a bit -- and that c-pawn is going to have to be watched.] 21.Bc4 Qd4?? A muddled over-reaction. [21...0-0-0 White can't bring further pressure on the center. 22.f6 (22.Qh6 Rxg2-+ with winning counterpressure against c2 (22...Bb5 is also very good) ) 22...Bf8] 22.Qxd4 exd4 23.fxe6


23...Bxe6 This leads to some awful pawns for both sides! [23...fxe6 24.Nf4 Rg4 looking for ...e5 25.Nxe6 Bxe6 26.Bxe6 Rxg2 27.Rxd4 Rb8 is an ugly bunch of exchanges, but leads to a fairly quiet opposite colored bishop situation, rooks regardless.] 24.Nf4 [24.Bb5+!? Kf8 25.Rf1 Bg4 26.Nf4 Ra5!=] 24...Bxc4 25.bxc4 Rc8 26.e5!? [26.Rxd4 Bf6 27.e5 dxe5 28.Nd5 Kf8! 29.Nxf6 exd4 30.Nxg8 Kxg8 is Black's dream, although White is hardly worse.] 26...Kf8! 27.e6?! [27.g3 Rxc4 28.exd6 Bxd6 29.Re4 Again, White has to be careful not to come out worse.] 27...Rxc4-/+ Black had five and a half minutes left (to White's 22!) but just didn't appreciate how well off he was. This seems to happen to a lot to Guseinov's opponents! 28.g3 Rg5! 29.Nd3 fxe6 [29...Rg6 30.exf7 (30.Nf4 Rh6 31.h4 Bf6!) 30...Kxf7 might not be as good as it started out looking, but certainly Black is no worse.] 30.Rxe6 Kf7 [30...Rf5 takes squares from White and keeps the pawn and the advantage.] 31.Re4?!


White was "blitzing" Black, playing almost faster, with that same 22 minutes remaining! (Black had 4 at this point). [31.Rh6] 31...Bf6?= [31...Rf5!-/+ 32.Nf4? (32.h4 Rf3 33.Rf4+ Rxf4 34.Nxf4 Bf6 35.Rf1 Be5!) 32...Bf6-+ Not easy with just a few minutes, but not impossible. (32...Re5-+) ] 32.Rf1! now there are real problems with the f-file. 32...Kg7? [32...h5! 33.Ref4 Rg6 34.Rf5 Ke7 (34...Rh6 35.Rb5 Ke6 keeps it under control, even if it does drop the b-pawn) 35.Rxh5 Bg5 finds a cozy square on e3, with equality] 33.Re6? [33.h4! Rxg3 34.Nf4 gets a fork in, but 34...Be5! (34...Rc5 might hold on as well) 35.Nh5+ Kh6! (35...Kg6?? 36.Nxg3 Bxg3 37.Rg4+! (37.Rg1? Kf5) ) 36.Nxg3 Bxg3 leaves Black with a horrible ensemble of pawns to accompany the bishop, but -- White has no advantage.] 33...Be5!= 34.Re7+ Kg6 35.Rf8


Now Stockfish makes almost anything "0.00", i.e. a draw. 35...Rf5?? Black panics with three minutes on the clock, probably Grandmaster Derangement Syndrome. [In fact, 35...Rh5! 36.Rf2 (36.h4 Bxg3) and **now** 36...Rf5 is even a bit of plus for Black.] 36.Re6++- Bf6 37.Nf4+ Kg7 38.Rfxf6 Rxf6 39.Nh5+ Kg6 40.Nxf6 d3 41.cxd3 Rd4 42.Ne4+ 1-0

(7) IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (2278) - Nicholas Weng (ninjaforce) (1958) [E81]
Mechanics' December TNM (6.2), 15.12.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 This little move shows up a lot among the Bay Area players. White plays against the Gruenfeld, that is, the Exchange Variation doesn't let Black trade for a knight on c3. [3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3] 3...c5 But besides the Saemisch King's Indian, Black can head the game in other directions, such as various Benoni structures. 4.d5 Bg7 5.e4 d6 6.Nc3 [6.Ne2 e6 7.Nec3!? exd5 8.cxd5 Nh5!? tries to take advantage of White's knight deserting the kingside.] 6...0-0 Black has one slight plus from this move order, that White has committed to d4-d5 before Black's ...Nc6, so Black isn't threatened immediately (not that those lines are bad). 7.Bg5 Na6?! Black takes his time, and almost gets checkmated in the process. The three most played moves are 7...a6, 7...h6 and 7...e6 -- and Kasparov has more than once played all three one after the other! [7...a6 8.a4 h6 9.Be3 e6 10.Qd2 exd5 11.cxd5 Re8 (11...Ne8; 11...Nh7) 12.Nge2 Nbd7 has lead to many tense confrontations when the pawns finally get going.; 7...h6; 7...e6] 8.Qd2 Nc7 9.Nge2 [Sam Shankland played 9.Bd3 back in 2014 when he was a mere 2600 player: 9...Bd7 10.Nge2 a6 11.a4 b5 12.axb5 axb5 13.Rxa8 Qxa8 14.Nxb5 Nxb5 15.cxb5 Qa1+ 16.Qc1 Qxc1+ 17.Bxc1 Rb8 18.Nc3 Ne8 19.Bg5 Bf8 20.Kd2 Nc7 21.Ra1 Nxb5 22.Nxb5 Bxb5 23.Bxb5 Rxb5 24.Ra8 ½-½, Shankland,S (2616)-Romanov,E (2642) Fagernes 2014] 9...a6 10.a4 b6 Black has chosen the "slow and steady" method of getting in ...b5, without allowing a4-a5, when Black's pawns might lose their resiliency (but the b-file would be opened up for Black anyway). 11.Bh6 Black's plan is slow: White plays for checkmate! 11...Rb8 12.Ng3 Bd7 This is too slow now. [How about 12...Bxh6 13.Qxh6 b5!? 14.axb5 axb5 15.h4 (15.cxb5 Bd7) 15...bxc4 16.h5 Rxb2 17.Bxc4 g5!? The point is Black has all sort of defensive methods, checkmate just isn't happening.] 13.h4


13...b5N [Predecessor: 13...e6 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.dxe6 Nxe6 16.h5! White correctly ignores the d-pawn and plays to stymie Black's king and rook: 1-0 (38) Jordanova,S (2111)-Pencheva,I (1799) Bulgaria Women's open chmp, Vratsa 2012] 14.h5 [14.axb5 axb5 15.h5 could be more accurate; White wanted to prevent Black from using b5.] 14...bxa4 [The computers are excited about 14...b4 but no human would be, and after 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.hxg6 fxg6 17.Qh6+ (17.e5!? bxc3 18.exf6+ Kh8 19.Qh6! (19.Qxc3 exf6+/=) 19...Rf7 20.bxc3 exf6 21.Qxg6) 17...Kg8 (17...Kh8 18.Nce2) 18.e5! dxe5 (18...bxc3 19.exf6 Rf7 20.Bd3! cxb2 21.Rb1+- and White crashes in on g6.) ; 14...bxc4 15.Bxc4 e5 is a thought, when 16.Bg5! plays to slam the door on Black's bishop with h6.] 15.e5 dxe5 16.hxg6?! [16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Bd3!? White should never be worried about ... Rh8, since h6+ followed by winning on the queenside is available (Black did all the work opening files there!).] 16...fxg6 17.Bxg7 Kxg7


18.Qh6+?! The queen is doing a good job covering b2 and should hold off jumping in until it leads to something. [18.Nge4! sets up a powerful duo of pawns in the center after Nxc5.] 18...Kg8 All of a sudden White is just down two pawns and having to back up to keep it from being worse! 19.Nge4 [Stockfish offers 19.Bd3 Rf7 20.Bxg6 Rg7 21.Bd3 as the best of a bad situation, when there are various drawing lines: 21...Rxg3 (21...Rxb2 22.Nh5 Nxh5 23.Qxh5 Ne8 is the same as; 21...Nce8 22.Nh5 Nxh5 23.Qxh5 Rxb2 24.Bxh7+ Kf8 25.Bd3 with checks up and down the h-file: 0.00.) 22.Bxh7+ Kf7 (22...Nxh7?? 23.Qxh7+ Kf8 24.Ne4 Rg7 25.Qh8+ Rg8 26.Qxe5+-) 23.Ne4 Rg7 24.Ng5+ Kf8] 19...Rf7 20.Nxc5 [20.Qd2! tries to hold the line: 20...Nxe4 21.Nxe4 Ne8 22.Nxc5 Qc8!? (22...Rf4!?) ] 20...Rxb2 21.Qe3


21...Qb8 [21...Nce8!? heads to all sorts of good squares, while White's king remains in the center.] 22.Qxe5?!


Black has held well, and is ready to take over, with one of three aggressive moves he'd be winning: [22.Be2 Qb4 23.0-0! (23.N5xa4 Rxe2+! 24.Kxe2 Qxc4+ 25.Qd3 when all the lateral queen moves are winning or close to: 25...-- (25...Qb4; 25...Qd4; 25...Qf4) ) 23...a3 (23...Ncxd5 24.cxd5 Qd4! is an unexpected shot 25.Qxd4 exd4 26.N3e4 Rxe2 it's amazing White might survive after 27.Nxd7 Nxd7 28.Rxa4) ] 22...Qb4?? [22...a3!?; 22...Rc2!?; 22...Qb6!? 23.Nd3 Rb3 24.Nc1 Ng4! 25.fxg4 Qf2+ 26.Kd1 Bxg4+ 27.N3e2 Rf4! White comes out with a lot of pieces but no king] 23.Nd3+- Young Nick just overlooked this. The fun is actually over, even if it seems close here and there. 23...Qb3 24.Nxb2 Qxb2 25.Rb1 Qc2 [25...Qa3 26.Bd3] 26.Be2 White resorts to boring: get castled, bring both rooks into the game, terminate Black. 26...Nce8 27.0-0 Nh5 Counterattack? 28.Rfc1 Qd2 29.Rd1 Qh6 30.c5 Nf4 31.c6 Bh3 [31...Rf5 32.cxd7] 32.Bf1 [32.Rb8 works, but safety first.] 32...Qh4 33.Rb8 Rf8 34.Rd4 Very close, Nick! As so often, the higher-rated player is not invincible; it's up to anyone to see the opportunities and grab them! Because those masters usually won't leave them lying around for too long. [34.Rd4 Bxg2 35.Bxg2 Qg3 36.Rxf4] 1-0

(1) Christopher Bradley (ifyoustayreti) (1654) - Jonah Busch (Kondsaga) (1934) [B38]
Mechanics' December TNM (6.13), 15.12.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 g6 4.d4 Bg7 5.e4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 d6 So we arrive at a Maroczy Bind by transposition. Black is safe, but White just has that space advantage. 7.Be2 0-0 8.Be3 Nc6 9.0-0 Bd7 10.Nc2 This retreat is fine, though not necessary. It avoids exchanges and doesn't alter the character of the position. 10...a5 11.f3 a4 12.Qd2 Qa5


13.Bh6?! Often you want to trade off your opponents fianchettoed bishop, but not here. White's dark-squared bishop was doing a valuable job on e3 influencing the center and queenside. 13...Rfc8 [13...Bxh6 14.Qxh6 a3!? 15.Nxa3 Qb6+ 16.Kh1 Qxb2 17.Nab5 Qb4 was also a reasonable choice for Black.] 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Rfd1 Ne5 16.Na3 Be6 17.Nd5 Headed for an equal endgame. 17...Nxd5 18.Qxa5 Rxa5 19.cxd5 Bd7 20.Rac1 Rac5 21.Rxc5 Rxc5 Black has achieved a fully equal endgame with chances to push for the win. If you play the black side of a Maroczy this is what you are aiming for. 22.Rd2 f5 23.Rc2 [23.f4!] 23...fxe4 24.fxe4 Kf6 25.Kf2 Ng4+ This knight is strong on e5 so it is a bit strange to trade it off. 26.Bxg4 Bxg4 27.Rd2 [27.Rxc5 dxc5 28.Nc4 allows the knight to help the central pawns] 27...Ke5 28.Ke3 b5 29.h3 Bd7 30.Rc2?! [30.Nc2! with the plan to bring the knight to f3 and drive away the black king would keep the game level] 30...e6 31.dxe6 Kxe6 32.Rxc5 dxc5 33.Nc2 Ke5


34.a3? The critical mistake, losing the e-pawn and letting the black bishop come to life. White is only slightly worse after [34.Ne1 followed by Nf3+ to chase the black king away] 34...Bc6 35.g3 Bxe4 36.Ne1 A pawn up and the black bishop dominating the knight. There's nothing to be done for White. 36...b4 37.Kd2 Kd4 0-1

(2) Uzzaman (ashikuzzaman),Ashik (1940) - Zhou (mwncklmann),Chelsea (1866) [B23]
Mechanics' December TNM (6.5), 15.12.2020
[de Firmian,Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 The O'Kelly Variation, which can be fine against an open Sicilian (where White plays d4). Ashik decides to play a closed variation where ...a6 is not as useful. 3.f4 b5 4.Nf3 Bb7 5.d3 d6 6.g3 Nc6 7.Bg2 Nf6 8.0-0 Chelsea has played reasonably with the queenside advance, but White has a bit of an edge with the better central and kingside play. 8...e6 9.h3 h5 10.e5 [10.f5! would be a safer way to get the advantage on the kingside] 10...dxe5 11.Nxe5?! [11.fxe5!] 11...Qc7 now the central play is balanced 12.Qe1 Bd6 13.Bxc6+ Bxc6 14.Nxc6 Qxc6 15.a4 b4 16.Ne4 0-0-0!? fighting play, but 16...Be7 would keep a safe solid position 17.Nxd6+ Rxd6 18.b3 Rd5 19.Bb2 Rg8 20.Qf2 Nh7 Planning for ...g5 would to open the kingside. Black could also try to do this with 20...Rf5 so the black knight would stay more centralized 21.Rae1 g5 22.Re4 [22.Re5! would control more of the battleground squares] 22...gxf4 23.Rxf4 The position is still equal but White needs to be careful with the open g-file 23...Rdg5


24.Rf3? [24.g4 hxg4 25.h4 Rh5 26.Rxf7] 24...Qd6? [24...h4! 25.g4 f5 would tear open the kingside 26.Qg2 Rxg4!] 25.Kh2 h4 26.Rg1 [26.Qg2! hxg3+ 27.Kg1] 26...Rh5?! [26...R8g6] 27.Re3 hxg3+ 28.Rgxg3 Rf5 29.Qg2 Rd5 30.Kg1 [30.Be5! Rxg3 (30...Rxe5 31.Rxg8+) 31.Bxg3 Qd7 32.Re5] 30...Rxg3 31.Rxg3 Kd7?


[31...Qf4 keeps material even, though White has a good advantage after 32. Qf3.] 32.Rg7! It's not just the pawn White wins. The black king loses much of his shelter. 32...Nf8 33.Rxf7+ Kc6 34.Qg7 Black is completely on the run now. 34...Rf5 35.Rxf5 exf5 36.Be5! Ne6 37.Qf6 Qd5 38.Qxf5 Nd4 39.Qc8+ Kb6 40.Qb8+ [40.Qc7#] 40...Qb7 41.Qxb7+ Kxb7 42.Bxd4 cxd4 Of course this is completely hopeless for Black. 43.Kf2 Kc6 44.Kf3 Kd5 45.Kf4 Ke6 46.Ke4 1-0

SwissSys Standings. 2020 December TNMO: Open

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total T-Sonneborn Prize
1 GM Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2600 gguseinov W12 W14 W26 W2 W3 W5     6.0 25.5  
2 NM Kireet Panuganti 13843374 2138 kkpanu9 W28 W15 W24 L1 W14 W13     5.0 18  
3 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W38 W32 W25 W4 L1 W11     5.0 17.5  
4 Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy W47 W49 W30 L3 W24 W7     5.0 14  
5 FM Kyron Griffith 12860484 2470 KyronGriffith H--- W40 W19 W10 W7 L1     4.5 14  
6 Ashik Uzzaman 13178575 1940 ashikuzzaman W60 L7 B--- D12 W19 W16     4.5 9.5  
7 NM Eric Hon 13778105 2202 microbear W44 W6 W9 W11 L5 L4     4.0 15  
8 Arun Dixit 14607904 2199 Limelight2727 W23 W21 L11 W15 L13 W24     4.0 14  
9 Ako Heidari 15206848 1980 oka_ako W42 W33 L7 L24 W20 W29     4.0 12  
10 William Sartorio 14715380 2063 unusualkid W35 D19 W45 L5 D12 W33     4.0 11.75  
11 Nicholas Ruo Weng 15499404 1958 ninjaforce W55 W29 W8 L7 W30 L3     4.0 11.5  
12 Pudur Ramaswamy 16106884 1718 MatnMatt20 L1 W54 W51 D6 D10 W27     4.0 10.75  
13 Nathan Fong 13001390 1954 nathanf314 H--- H--- W44 W17 W8 L2     4.0 10.5  
14 Nitish Nathan 15494283 1941 BreatheChessAlways W54 L1 W28 W29 L2 W31     4.0 10.5  
15 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf W39 L2 W50 L8 W28 W30     4.0 10.5  
16 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1866 mwncklmann H--- H--- W34 W27 W26 L6     4.0 9  
17 Ranen A Lardent 12614986 1803 dashrndrx W51 L25 W48 L13 W46 W26     4.0 9  
18 Ethan Boldi 15088362 2120 etvat W43 L24 W38 W21 H--- H---     4.0 8.5  
19 Vishva Nanugonda 16380312 1829 vish1080 W20 D10 L5 W40 L6 W37     3.5 10.5  
20 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 1033 andrewaballantyne L19 W35 W33 D45 L9 W38     3.5 9.5  
21 Jonah Busch 12469525 1934 kondsaga W58 L8 W31 L18 D23 W43     3.5 8.25  
22 Zachi Baharav 13464604 1813 fastZachi W37 L26 W36 L25 W50 H---     3.5 7.5  
23 Mateo Hansen 14907254 1687 mateosh L8 W58 L27 W59 D21 W40     3.5 6.25  
24 Javier Silva III 16089208 1889 J3Chess24 W34 W18 L2 W9 L4 L8     3.0 11  
25 RIP Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W41 W17 L3 W22 U--- U--- U--- U--- 3.0 10  
26 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1997 kclemens W31 W22 L1 W49 L16 L17     3.0 8.5  
27 Kevin Yanofsky 15901193 1968 kyanofsky W50 L30 W23 L16 W45 L12     3.0 7.5  
28 Ethan Guo 16761994 1664 LightningDragon8 L2 W39 L14 W34 L15 W46     3.0 7.5  
29 Max Hao 16083648 1761 Joseph_Truelsons_Fan W48 L11 W46 L14 W32 L9     3.0 7  
30 Philip Gerstoft 12913356 1724 pgstar3 W57 W27 L4 W32 L11 L15     3.0 7  
31 Marina Xiao 16380642 1556 programmingmax L26 W37 L21 W51 W49 L14     3.0 6.5  
32 Cailen J Melville 14006141 1940 Mangonel W52 L3 W47 L30 L29 W50     3.0 6  
33 Davi Flores Gomez 14799653 1812 PlayerCreate1 W46 L9 L20 W55 W42 L10     3.0 6  
34 Ian Liao 16738735 1105 victor6688 L24 W43 L16 L28 W57 W45     3.0 5.5  
35 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 fiddleleaf L10 L20 H--- H--- W51 W48     3.0 4  
36 Leon Diaz Herrera 17355661 unr. Aeqetes H--- H--- L22 L42 X59 W49     3.0 2  
37 Elliott Regan 15032065 943 TTVchessmaster L22 L31 W52 D43 W41 L19     2.5 5.75  
38 Ahyan Zaman 15035222 1711 ahyanzaman L3 W52 L18 D54 W39 L20     2.5 5.25  
39 Kevin Sun 16898540 1161 kevin_mx_sun L15 L28 D41 W52 L38 W54     2.5 4.75  
40 Sebby Suarez 16875347 811 Sebbymeister D45 L5 W56 L19 W47 L23     2.5 4.5  
41 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 rimus11 L25 L51 D39 W56 L37 W55     2.5 4.25  
42 Ella Guo 16380657 1556 SunnyCountry L9 L46 W58 W36 L33 H---     2.5 4  
43 Christoph Bradley 16047844 1654 ifyoustayreti L18 L34 W60 D37 W54 L21     2.5 2.75  
44 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 starserika18 L7 W60 L13 H--- H--- H---     2.5 0  
45 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1783 chessappeals D40 W56 L10 D20 L27 L34     2.0 4.5  
46 Ethan Sun 16964125 931 sfdeals L33 W42 L29 W47 L17 L28     2.0 4.5  
47 Linu John Alex 13836822 1652 ibalek L4 W53 L32 L46 L40 W56     2.0 3.5  
48 Bruce Hedman 17344551 unr. Bruce_Hedman L29 W55 L17 L50 W53 L35     2.0 3.5  
49 Nicholas Boldi 15088356 1883 nicarmt W53 L4 W59 L26 L31 L36     2.0 3  
50 Kr Gopalakrishnan 16545130 1506 chessboi2010 L27 W57 L15 W48 L22 L32     2.0 3  
51 Adithya Chitta 16695036 930 adichi L17 W41 L12 L31 L35 W60     2.0 2.5  
52 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 Echecsmike L32 L38 L37 L39 W60 W57     2.0 1  
53 Jeff North 17179258 1043 JeffNorthSF L49 L47 L55 W60 L48 W58     2.0 1  
54 Valerie Jade 17168772 1490 Evariel L14 L12 W57 D38 L43 L39     1.5 2.25  
55 Nicholas M Brown 12446259 1495 nmbrown2 L11 L48 W53 L33 H--- L41     1.5 2  
56 Samuel Tsen Brown 16380615 662 ComfyQueso B--- L45 L40 L41 H--- L47     1.5 0  
57 Cleveland W Lee 30037403 unr. Vincitore51745 L30 L50 L54 W58 L34 L52     1.0 1  
58 Peter Jam Rushton 16453812 1239 pedrojrush L21 L23 L42 L57 B--- L53     1.0 0  
59 Willia Harris III 15953392 1184 15953392 H--- H--- L49 L23 F36 U---     1.0 0  
60 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass L6 L44 L43 L53 L52 L51     0.0 0

Mechanics' Institute Thursday Night Marathon Report

Here are the standings after 5 rounds of the Thursday Night Marathon. Congratulations to GM Gadir Guseinov, who won his final round game to pass Pranav Sairam and win clear first. For more information, click on the event page here:

SwissSys Standings. Thursday Night Marathon Online: Open

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total Prize
1 GM Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2600 gguseinov H--- W8 W29 W4 W3 4.5 180.00
2 NM Allan G Savage 10014999 2200 duchamp64 W15 W10 L4 W7 W12 4.0 39.60
3 Pranav Sairam 15424820 2084 chesspilot01 W30 W14 W18 W9 L1 4.0 39.60
4 NM Michael Walder 10345120 2075 FlightsOfFancy W13 W16 W2 L1 X9 4.0 39.60
5 NM Richard W Koepcke 10493269 2200 rkoepcke H--- W22 D7 W25 W11 4.0 39.60
6 Eric Hon 13778105 2186 microbear W11 W32 H--- H--- W10 4.0 39.60
7 Stewart Katz 12458563 1835 knvsback W27 W31 D5 L2 W19 3.5  
8 Thomas F Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf H--- L1 W28 W21 W18 3.5  
9 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W20 W19 W12 L3 F4 3.0  
10 Roger V Shi 16191192 1753 1-h4-1-0 W24 L2 W13 W23 L6 3.0 18.00
11 Rama Krish Chitta 17350313 1475 draidus L6 W26 W24 W16 L5 3.0 18.00
12 Ako Heidari 15206848 1980 oka_ako W35 W36 L9 W17 L2 3.0  
13 Ya Dancig Perlman 16280288 1428 noydan100 L4 W37 L10 W26 W28 3.0 18.00
14 Jeff C Andersen 11296106 1643 zenwabi W34 L3 L23 W36 W20 3.0 18.00
15 Nursulta Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 rimus11 L2 L23 W38 W24 W27 3.0 18.00
16 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 fiddleleaf X--- L4 W27 L11 W23 3.0 18.00
17 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass L29 W33 W32 L12 W25 3.0 54.00
18 Adam Mercado 16571026 1831 A-boy415 W23 W25 L3 D20 L8 2.5  
19 Alexander Huberts 16419664 1794 cccalboy W37 L9 D21 W22 L7 2.5  
20 Marina Xiao 16380642 1545 programmingmax L9 W38 W31 D18 L14 2.5  
21 Nicholas Reed 16154827 1416 nxbex H--- H--- D19 L8 W30 2.5  
22 Lisa Willis 12601676 1583 LittlePinkCorvette H--- L5 W33 L19 W31 2.5  
23 Paul Krezanoski 16897133 1238 pjkrizzle L18 W15 W14 L10 L16 2.0  
24 Ethan Sun 16964125 1180 sfdeals L10 W30 L11 L15 W33 2.0  
25 Richard Hack 12796129 1569 Kaline340Green W33 L18 W36 L5 L17 2.0  
26 Ian Liao 16738735 1105 victor6688 L32 L11 W34 L13 W36 2.0  
27 Stephen Zhu 16412414 1347 chesspoki L7 W34 L16 X32 L15 2.0  
28 Rahim Dharssi 12693378 595 rahimftd H--- H--- L8 X35 L13 2.0  
29 RIP Felix German 12624534 1976 FelixGerman W17 H--- L1 U--- U--- 1.5  
30 Jacob S Wang 17083655 1434 jacobchess857 L3 L24 W37 D31 L21 1.5  
31 Danny Du Uy Cao 16939797 863 caodanny X--- L7 L20 D30 L22 1.5  
32 Timothy Horng 13282721 1730 aYzz W26 L6 L17 F27 U--- 1.0  
33 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 470 Vincitore51745 L25 L17 L22 W34 L24 1.0  
34 B J Day 12586048 unr. mrbillstunes1 L14 L27 L26 L33 W37 1.0  
35 Andrew Nicho Paul 14232850 1385 chessplayer3740 L12 H--- H--- F28 U--- 1.0  
36 Robert H Frank 10498325 1200 cyber-droid X39 L12 L25 L14 L26 1.0  
37 Bruce Hedman 17344551 870 Bruce_Hedman L19 L13 L30 X38 L34 1.0  
38 Willia Fitzgerald 17048414 537 OlympusMons00 H--- L20 L15 F37 U--- 0.5  
39 Mohammad Amir Ali 30029248 1565 Deshbondhu F36 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  

Overview on Chess Platforms 

by Judit Sztaray

It’s time to take a quick look at what’s out there in the virtual chess platforms world. The basic concept is the same everywhere: play chess against someone online. There are important differences between websites about which players should be aware though.

The main platforms we’ll be comparing are:, LiChess, Chess24, Tornelo and ICC. We all know and LiChess, being the two most popular sites, ICC is gaining more popularity. Chess24 is a popular platform in Europe and around the world, and the newest in the game is Tornelo, developed by an amazing Australian guy, David Cordover.

Pre-move is when a player makes a move on the opponent’s time before the opponent has completed their previous move. If the player makes a legal pre-move, the host system shall execute it immediately upon completion of the opponent’s move. It is extremely popular in blitz and bullet chess. Different platforms handle pre-moves very differently!

On players can make up to five pre-moves on the opponent's turn. They will be played in the order you made them, subject to the limitations described above. On LiChess, Chess24 and ICC players can only make one pre-move only. Making another pre-move cancel the previously selected one. On Tornelo currently players cannot make pre-moves, but it’s coming soon though!

Chess clocks are displayed for each player’s screen and maintained by the host system. Platforms handle chess clocks differently. On and ICC the clock starts automatically as soon as the game starts, before making the first move. On Lichess & chess24 the clock starts only after making the first move. On Tornelo the tournament director can actually decide and set for each tournament specifically.

Draw Claims: Platforms automatically declare draws at certain scenarios, for example: stalemate, triple occurrence, 50-move rule, insufficient material to continue, insufficient material to win on time., Lichess, ICC & Chess24 automatically rules the game a draw. On Tornelo it has to be set manually, can be automatic or through the Arbiter.

Draw Offer: players can offer a draw to their opponents using a dedicated button on the platform close to their board. On and ICC draw can be offered before the first move. On Lichess & Chess 24 both player has to make one move before draw can be offered to the opponent. On Tornelo it is a manual setting, again.

When it comes to drawing by insufficient material, does not follow US Chess or FIDE rules, but has a combination of rules that best serves the players. Their implementation is designed to provide the best experience for the players, who mostly play blitz and bullet, almost no classical games.
The following combinations will result in draws for insufficient material and will be automatically claimed by the server:

  • K vs K
  • K vs K+N or K vs K+B
  • K vs all the pieces flag (timeout vs insufficient material)
  • K vs K+N+N
  • K+N / K+B vs K+N / K+B (K+minor vs K+minor, even with opposite colored bishops)
  • K+N vs K+P or K+B vs K+P if the player with the pawn flags, any pawn including a and h pawns!

As far as functionality goes, here are the uniqueness of the platforms. Since we use, I’ll skip this platform since many of you are well aware of the functionality.

Tornelo is a great new platform that has an amazing tournament functionality, where arbiters can be connected to players and have control over many traditional arbiter functionalities. However, you can’t just go online and practice and play a few games.

Lichess is open source, and requires no money to use the site to full potential or to get rid of annoying ads. It has functionality for simultaneous exhibition and their study collection feature is every coach’s dream.

ICC is one of the oldest out there, having been around for more than 25 years, launched in 1995! Their newest improvement is direct uploading of swisssys pairing files, and the system starts the games: this would combine the manual pairing by TD and the platform automatization, which is a great potential for scaling any event.

Hope this little comparison of platforms help you make a choice or get interested in new platforms to try out. Do you have any opinion about any of the platforms? Let us know @ [email protected]


2nd Annual IM John Donaldson Championship December 19-20, 2020

The Mechanics' Institute will hold the 2nd annual IM John Donaldson Championship the weekend of December 19-20th. It will be played on over two days, three rounds per day with a time control of G/60+5. There will be a $2000 prize pool based on 50 entries. Join us in closing out 2020 with one of our largest prize pool events in honoring former MI Chess Director and current US Olympiad Captain John Donaldson. GM's and IM's free. For information and registration, please follow this link:


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 advancement. 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, 12/22:

See you in the arena!

Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Classes

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

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) - Last class this Monday!

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
New session starts on January 27, 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 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:

Mechanics' Chess - Scholastic Tournaments

Saturday, December 19: 6SS G/15+2 - USCF Online rated tournament starts at 3PM
Register for the tournament:

Sunday, December 20: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:30PM

5SS G/5+5:

Monday, December 21: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:30PM

4SS G/15+0:

Tuesday, December 22: starts at 4:00PM - join from 3:30PM

5SS G/5+5:

Wednesday, December 23: starts at 4PM - join from 3:30PM

4SS G/20+0:

Thursday, December 24: starts at 4PM - join from 3:30PM

5SS G/5+5:

Friday, December 25: starts at 4PM - join from 3:30PM

4SS G/10+5: OFF

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 19, @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' Scholastic Enrichment

Winter Camps - Dec 21-24 and Dec 28-31


This week's theme: Heating up for the Holidays with IM's at MI. 

First week of Winter Camp we won't be looking at famous grandmaster games but International Masters only!
Monday we will be hanging out with reindeer? Comet, Prancer, and Rudolf! We will kick the week off seeing some games from IM Anna Rudolf. Tuesday we will Rosen the temperature even more by diving into traps with games by IM Eric Rosen. On the last day of camp before holiday break we will see some games from Papa "Polar" Bear himself as you may know him on but others know him as IM Danny Rensch. Hope you can all attend Heating up for the Holidays with IM's at MI.

Tentative Schedule
9-9:15 warmup puzzle or games on while wait for everyone to show up on zoom.
9:15-10: first lecture
10-10:30 in-camp tournament
10:30-10:45 break (bathroom, snacktime)
10:45-11:00 warmup puzzle or games while wait for everyone to get back to computer
11-11:30 second lecture
11:30-12:00 tournaments/games/puzzle competition

Register Online for the regular virtual chess camps:

Camp Registraiton Fee: 3 hours for $39/daily fee

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.


2021 Winter & Spring - Enrichment Classes

Class schedule and registrations is updated and open on:​
Classes are starting on the second week of January.

If you would like us to offer virtual chess classes at your child's school, please reach out to us and we can make it happen!

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:

12/22 Tuesday - December Tuesday Night Marathon
Format: 8SS G/35+2
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]

Felix German, a short remembrance

I’d known Felix for a quite a while before we played a few games in the 3/2 Blitz Arena that precedes the TNM and bears my name.  He always seemed a bit shy somehow, and very passionate about chess.  Like many of the Russian expatriates he was a bit of a mystery to me: does being strong at chess come with an Eastern European accent?  Lately it seems he had made a breakthrough in his chess, playing hyper-aggressively against the stronger players – it seemed only a matter of time before he landed some big fish.

But time was not on his side. 

I think this victory over me showed another side of his chess: patient and opportunistic, with good technique.  Maybe right now he’s honing his chess skills with the stars of the game he loved so much: with Fischer and Morphy, Capablanca and Tal.

I think that’s where he’d like to be.

(1) FM Paul Whitehead (chessmonster666) (2132) - Felix German (FelixGerman) (1930) [B01]
Live Chess, 29.09.2020

1.e4 d5 The dreaded Center-Counter Defense! I do well against it (usually), but never feel I get enough out of the opening. 2.exd5 [I got my revenge a couple of months later with the insipid 2.d3!? c5 3.Nd2 d4 4.Ngf3 Nc6 5.a4 e5 6.Nc4 Qc7 7.g3 Nf6 8.Bg2 Be7 9.0-0 0-0 10.c3 Bg4 11.h3 Bh5 12.g4 Bg6 13.cxd4 cxd4 14.Bd2 Nxe4 15.dxe4 Bxe4 16.Re1 Bxf3 17.Qxf3 f6 18.Rac1 Rac8 19.Qd5+ Kh8 20.Be4 Bb4 21.Qb5 Bxd2 22.Nxd2 a6 23.Qd3 g6 24.Bxc6 bxc6 25.Qxa6 Qd6 26.Qc4 h5 27.Kg2 Kg7 28.f3 h4 29.Ne4 Qc7 30.b4 f5 31.Ng5 e4 32.Ne6+ 1-0 (32) chessmonster666 (2266)-FelixGerman (1916) 2020] 2...Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bg5 c6 6.Qd2 Bf5 7.Nf3 e6 8.Bd3 Bg6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Rad1 0-0

White is better, with a nice centralized position and more space. 11.Bxg6 hxg6 12.Rfe1 Nbd7 13.Ne5 Rad8 14.a3 Qc7 15.Qe2 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Nd5 17.Nxd5 cxd5 18.Bxe7 Qxe7 19.Qb5?! A silly move. 19...Rc8 20.c3 Rc5
Now white plays on the kingside, while black uses the classic minority attack. Chances are equal. 21.Qb4 Rfc8 22.g3 Qc7 23.Qg4 Rc4 24.Qe2 a6 25.f4 b5 26.h4 a5 27.h5 gxh5 28.Qxh5 b4 29.axb4 axb4 30.Re2 bxc3
In this sharp position white has a draw at best. Playing for more (or just plain confused) white soon slides downhill. 31.Rh2 Kf8 32.Qh8+ Ke7 33.Qh4+? Chasing the safety! [33.Qxg7] 33...Kd7 34.bxc3 Qc5+ 35.Kh1 Qe7 Maybe too cautious. [35...Rxc3 or; 35...Qe3 switching to attack were better.] 36.Qxe7+? Capitulation. [36.Qg4! threatening both 37.Rxd5+ and 37.Qxg7 would make it a fight. Trading queens leads to a hopeless endgame.] 36...Kxe7 37.Ra2 Rxc3 38.Ra7+ R8c7 39.Rxc7+ Rxc7 40.Kg2 f6
From here on in black plays what is essentially a flawless technical wrap-up, giving me absolutely no chance. 41.exf6+ gxf6 42.g4 Rc4 43.Kf3 Kd6 44.g5 fxg5 45.fxg5 Ke7 46.Rg1 Kf7 47.g6+ Kg7 48.Ke3 Rh4 49.Kf3 Rh6 50.Ra1 Rxg6
51.Kf4 Kf6 52.Ra8 e5+ 53.Ke3 Rg7 54.Rf8+ Rf7 55.Rd8 Ke6 56.Re8+ Kf5 57.Rd8 d4+ 58.Kd3 Kf4 59.Rd6 Ra7 60.Rf6+ Kg5
61.Rf8 Ra3+ 62.Ke4 Re3+ 63.Kd5 d3 64.Rf1 e4 65.Kd4 Re2 66.Kc3 Kg4 67.Kd4 Kg3 68.Ra1 d2 69.Rd1 e3 70.Kd3 Re1

A nice game by Felix, who took full advantage of my indecisive play. 0-1

GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Peter Biyiasas - Grandmaster of the Bay Area

My colleague Paul often writes about the old days, and since the “Queen’s Gambit” reminds us of the chess world of the 1960s, I decided to also revisit the past. This week we also look back in time to the Bay Area chess scene of the 1970s and 80s. The thriving scene had Walter Browne, Jim Tarjan, John Grefe and many strong chess masters. One player that should not be forgotten is the affable Greek, Canadian transplant Peter Biyiasas. He landed in Canada and became the top player along with Soviet defector Igor Ivanov (who walked away from the Russian plane that was refueling in Canada) and Canadian grown talent Kevin Spragget. Peter played in four Olympiads for Canada and two Interzonals in the 1970’s. He was the best player in the Pacific North-west and beat Yasser Seirawan the first 6 games they played. (This taught Yasser a lot and he eventually turned the tables.)

Peter moved to the US in 1979 and settled in the Bay Area. He married Ruth Haring, who herself played in the Chess Olympiad for the US Women’s team. Many know of Ruth as the former president of the USCF. (She tragically passed away two years ago, likely affected by the terrible air of that fire season.)

Mechanics’ Institute tournament players will recognize the name of their son, Theodore Biyiasas, who became a strong chess expert.

Peter once applied for the job of chess club director at the Mechanics’ Institute, but Max Wilkersen was chosen instead. That was probably fortunate for Peter as he then started a fine career as a programmer for IBM. He hasn’t played much chess in the last two decades but is fondly remembered by the old guard. Once a chess player, always a chess player!

(1) Peter Biyiasas - Jan Timman [B50]
Hoogovens Wijk aan Zee NED (6), 22.01.1980

Here Peter battles against the best western chess player of the 1980's - Jan Timman. Timman was the #3 player in the world for much of the 80's and is very famous in his home country, the Netherlands. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 a6 4.g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 g6

8.e5! This shocking move opens the game for the bishops and gains a big advantage. 8...dxe5?! 9.Qxc6+! bxc6 10.Bxc6+ Qd7 11.Bxd7+ Kxd7 Material is even but White has much the better pawn structure. The black pawn on c5 is a target and the doubled black e-pawns reduce Black's activity. 12.Na4 Kc6 13.b3 e6?! Black needs to shore up the long diagonal quickly. He would keep better chances with [13...f6] 14.Bb2 f6 15.0-0-0 Bd6 16.Rde1 Ne7 17.Re4! The rook jumps into the battle from this square. 17...Nf5 18.Rc4 Rab8 19.Re1 Rb4 20.Ree4 Rhb8 21.Ba3 R4b5 22.c3 Bf8 23.Re2 Kd5
24.g4! This will win material. Either the black c5 pawn will go or the e5 pawn will be undermined 24...Nd6 [24...Nh4 25.g5! fxg5 26.Rce4 Nf3 27.R4e3 and Black cannot hold the position together] 25.Rxc5+ Rxc5 26.Bxc5 Bh6 27.Kc2 Bf4 28.Be3 g5 29.d4 exd4
30.Bxf4 gxf4 31.c4+! Black's position collapses. 31...Nxc4 32.bxc4+ Kxc4 33.Rxe6 d3+ 34.Kd2 Rb4 35.Re4+ 1-0


(2) Jay E Whitehead - Peter Biyiasas [C44]
Lone Pine Lone Pine, CA USA (3), 22.03.1977

This is a battle of two of the top players of the Bay Area scene in the 1970's and 80's. Many MI members are familiar with Jay Whitehead, Paul's brother. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3 d3 safe and practical but allowing White an edge in the opening. Peter would usually choose such opening paths as he didn't want to get into an opening argument with his opponent, prefering to battle in the middle game and endgame. 5.Bxd3 Bc5 6.0-0 d6 7.b4 Bb6 8.a4 a5 9.b5 Ne5 10.Nxe5 dxe5 11.Ba3?! This looks aggressive but it would have been better for White to put the knight here and head for the c4 square. 11...Be6 12.Qe2 Qh4 direct and aggressive. 13.Kh1?

Jay just doesn't want to develop his knight, which is begging to get out! After 13. Nd2 White is doing fine, but now he gets in real trouble. 13...Nf6! Sometimes a simple developing move is very powerful. Peter has chosen to bring his knight out and the extra piece on the kingside makes all the difference. The threat of ...Ng4 is tremendous. 14.g3 [14.h3 Bxh3 15.gxh3 Qxh3+ 16.Kg1 Ng4 Is the end.] 14...Qh3 15.f3 0-0-0 16.Bc2 Nh5 17.Rg1 trying hard to defend by offering the exchange 17...Rd7! Another simple, powerful developing move. Morphy would be proud. Peter simply brings all his pieces into play and there is no defense. 18.Rg2 [18.Nd2 Rhd8 19.Nf1 Bxg1 20.Kxg1 Nxg3! 21.hxg3 Bc4 22.Qg2 Bxf1 23.Rxf1 Qxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Rd2+ 25.Rf2 Rxf2+ 26.Kxf2 Rd2+ 27.Ke3 Rxc2 is a trivial endgame win] 18...Rhd8 19.Bc1
19...Bc4! 20.Qe1 [20.Qxc4 Rd1+ 21.Bxd1 Rxd1+ 22.Rg1 Nxg3#] 20...Bf1! Jay resigned. It is mate in 4 moves. 0-1


(3) Vladimir Kovacevic (2510) - Peter Biyiasas (2485) [A45]
Hoogovens Wijk aan Zee NED (11), 28.01.1980

This is another game from the famous Wijk aan Zee tournament. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 g6 Peter allows the doubled pawns for the bishop pair. A fair enough trade. 3.Bxf6 exf6 4.e3 Bg7 5.h4 h5 6.Nh3 d6 7.Nf4 Bh6 8.Qf3 Nd7 Both players were likely happy with their positions. This is out of theory and each side has pluses and minuses. 9.Bc4 c6 10.Nd2 f5 11.e4?!

This looks like a sensible opening break, but it goes against the usual plan of White's position which is to keep the game static and let the knights find good posts. In an open position the bishops can be very powerful. 11...Nf6! 12.e5 Ne4 13.0-0-0 [13.Nxe4 fxe4 14.Qxe4 d5 15.Nxd5 Bf5! is a huge edge for Black.] 13...d5 14.Bb3 a5 15.a4 Qb6 Black has the very strong e4 square and prospects on the queenside. It is hard for White to generate any play. 16.Nf1?! Qb4! 17.Ne3 Be6 18.Kb1 Bxf4 19.Qxf4 b5! Now the Black attack is rolling and it's very hard to offer White any good advice. 20.Rd3 bxa4 21.Ba2 Rb8 22.Nd1 c5 23.Qe3 c4 24.Ra3

24...Nxf2! a little combination that wins material 25.Rxa4 [25.Qxf2 Qxa3] 25...Qxa4 26.Qxf2 0-0 27.Qf4 Rb6 28.Rh3 Rfb8 29.Kc1 desperation 29...Qxa2 30.Ra3 Rxb2! The queen sacrifice wraps it up efficiently. White has no way out. 31.Rxa2 Rxa2 32.Kd2 a4 33.Qg5 Ra1 34.Qe7 Rbb1 35.Nc3 Rb8 36.Qd6 Re8 37.Nb5 Rc8 38.Kc3 Rb1 39.Nc7 a3 40.Nxe6 a2! 41.Qa6 a1Q+ 0-1

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