January 2, 2021
By Abel Talamantez
Table of Contents
- Happy New Year
- Mechanics' TNM Report
- IM John Donaldson Championship
- Twitch Arena
- Weekly Classes
- Online Events Schedule
- Scholastic Corner
- FM Paul Whitehead's Column
- GM Nick de Firmian's Column
- Submit your piece or feedback
We look forward to 2021 as the Mechanics' Institute will continue to organize premier online events and classes, find new ways to bring communities and cultures together through chess, and fine new innovative ways to engage children and underrepresented groups to chess. We hope we see a return of all the things we love about the Mechanics' Institute and its historic chess room, and we hope the experiences of the past year create an even greater passion and appreciation for live play, and the positive social/emotional benefits of engaging in competititon, recreation, friendship and companionship through chess for many years to come. Our team is here for you, staying active and engaged and we will see you all in 2021 either online, and hopefully soon, live at the Mechanics' Institute in downtown San Francisco. See you soon!
2020-2021 Pan-American Intercollegiate Online Chess Championships Organized by the Mechanics' Institute Starts Monday!
The biggest collegiate team championship is coming to the Mechanics' Institute starting Monday January 4, 2021, and going through Wednesday, January 6, 2021, as the 2020-2021 Pan-American Intercollegiate Online Chess Championships will kick off at 9:00am Pacific time, with live coverage for all three days and all nine rounds of the event. We will have 60 colleges and universities participating, with more than 240 players, representing schools from the Unites States, Canada, and Mexico. Time control for the games is G/25+5, and we will broadcast games on our Twitch channel with commentary by GM Nick de Firmian, FM Paul Whitehead, WIM Ivette Garcia Morales, and Abel Talamantez. We will also have special guests throughout the tournament on the broadcast, including GM Sam Shankland, GM Patrick Wolff, IM Kostya Kavutskiy, WGM Carla Heredia, WIM Dr. Alexey Root, FM Kyron Griffith, and many more.
The Red Raiders of Texas Tech University will be looking to defend their title against top college chess teams like Susan Polgar's Webster University team, University of Texas @ Dallas, Saint Louis University, Princeton, Harvard, CalTech, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and over 50 other teams. Follow the action on our channel to see who will come out on top: https://www.twitch.tv/mechanicschess.
For full event schedule, registered teams and players, click the event page here: https://www.milibrary.org/chess-tournaments/2020-2021-pan-american-intercollegiate-championship-online
Special thanks to our amazing team of organizers and TD's, which make up some of the top talent in the country. FA Judit Sztaray is our Chief Organizer, with NTD/FA Glenn Panner as the Chief Tournament Director. Assistant Chief Tournament Director will be NTD/IA Brian Yang, with NTD/FA John McCumiskey running the pairings. We will also be assisted by a talented staff of assistant TD's in the back room, monitoring nearly 500 cameras behing the scenes and making sure the event is coordinated smoothly.
Follow the action next week starting at 9:00am Monday!
The final two rounds of the 2020 December Tuesday Night Marathon were held on December 22, 2020 with GM Gadir Guseinov holding solidly with two draws to finish in clear first with 7/8. FM Kyron Griffith finished strong with 2 wins to take clear second place with 6.6/8. In a tie for third place with 6/8 were IM Elliott Winslow, NM Mike Walder, NM Arun Dixit, and Nicholas Weng. Full results as well as the under prizes can be seen on the event page here: https://www.milibrary.org/chess-tournaments/december-2020-tuesday-night-marathon-online
Here are a few games from the final two rounds, annotations by GM Nick de Firmian.
(1) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2600) - NM Michael Walder (FlightsOfFancy) (2075) [B77]
Mechanics' TNMO Chess.com (7.1), 22.12.2020
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Guseinov is fond of this second move, often venturing into rare lines. 2...Nc6 3.Nf3 heading back towards the Open Sicilian [3.Bb5!? , the Tiviakov System, has been in Guseinov's repertoire.; White could also play 3.g3; as well as the Grand Prix: 3.f4] 3...g6 [3...e5!? 4.Bc4 Be7 is hard to believe, what with that hole on d5, but it's a developed system, even recommended by some grandmasters -- and as so often, played with quite a bit of success at the highest levels by Carlsen.] 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 [The other big line is 7...Qa5 8.0-0 0-0 9.Bb3 (The older 9.Nb3 Qc7 10.f4 d6 11.Be2 looks like the pre-Yugoslav Attack Dragon days) 9...d6 10.h3 Bd7 and now the more sophisticated 11.Re1 has taken over (11.f4 was the original procedure) ] 8.Bb3 d6 9.f3 Bd7 10.Qd2 Nxd4 An option Black has via this move order -- This is similar, but much older [than the Topalov Variation 10...Rc8 11.0-0-0 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5] 11.Bxd4 b5
12.a4 A long think by Guseinov's standards! Since White hasn't castled yet (compared to the Topalov Variation) he has certain advantages: the a-pawn will be guarded twice (after Black's next move), plus White could castle kingside (or stay in the center!) and in general play more positionally. [12.h4 a5 13.a4 (13.a3) ; 12.a3!? a5 13.h4 h5 14.Rd1!? is an interesting middle-of-the-road containment strategy.] 12...b4!? [12...bxa4 used to be the main move, but not any more (Carlsen might have something to do with that).] 13.Nd5 the standard move, but the various retreats have a lot to be said for them. 13...Nxd5 14.Bxg7 [14.exd5 discourages what follows 14...Bxd4 15.Qxd4 Qa5 16.h4!? (16.0-0 Rac8 has been seen in three games of Guseinov's (he was Black!) already, plus a quick Anand game: 17.Rfe1 Rfe8 18.Kh1 Qc5 19.Qh4 1/2-1/2 (19) Anand,V (2790)-Carlsen, M (2810) Wijk aan Zee 2010; 16.Kf2!? was Negi's alternative, also tricky for Black.) 16...e5 17.dxe6 Bxe6 18.0-0-0 was in Negi's Grandmaster Repertoire 1.e4 series, quoting 1-0 (51) Navara,D (2692)-Malakhov,V (2715) Sibenik 2009.] 14...Kxg7 15.exd5 Qb6!? The idea is to wait until White castles queenside, then shift the queen to a5 and pick off the a-pawn. [15...a5 might be a bit static, but noteworthy again from another Anand-Carlsen game: 16.h4 e5 17.dxe6 Bxe6 18.0-0-0 Bxb3 19.cxb3 Re8 20.h5 Qf6 1/2-1/2 (31) Anand,V (2800)-Carlsen,M (2826) Kristiansund 2010] 16.g4!? Sensible to inhibit ...h5 as a defensive move, but it costs a tempo -- precious in the Dragon -- and hasn't been seen since the beginning days of this line. [16.h4 has been met successfully by 16...h5 (16...h6 hasn't done as well) 17.0-0-0 Qa5 when the vast majority of games have drawn! 18.g4 (18.Qd4+!? eliminates the defense seen in this game, but almost every game has seen a draw.) 18...Bxa4!? was a more recent wild game that went Black's way: 19.Kb1 (19.Qd4+) 19...Bxb3 20.cxb3 Rh8 21.Rc1 Rae8 22.Rc6 Qb5 23.Rc7 a5 24.g5 a4 25.Qd4+ Kh7 26.bxa4 Qxa4 27.Re1 Rhf8 28.Ra7 Qb5 29.f4 Kg8 30.f5 gxf5 31.Kc2 b3+ 32.Kd1 Rc8 33.g6 Rc5 0-1 (33) Vachier Lagrave,M (2796)-Giri,A (2771) Stavanger 2017; The one time Guseinov has had White here previously, he played 16.Qf2 and the game was immediately drawn: Guseinov-Zavgorodniy, Alushta 2011.]
16...Rac8N [Predecessor: 16...f5 17.0-0-0 (17.g5!?) 17...fxg4 18.fxg4 Bxg4 19.Rde1 Rf7 20.Qg5 Bf5 21.Rxe7 Raf8 22.Re2 1/2-1/2 (22) Spassov,L-Schoeneberg,M Ybbs 1968; Maybe Black should be thinking about the e-file: 16...Rae8!?; or 16...e5!?] 17.h4 [17.0-0-0!? Qa5 18.h4 Bxa4 19.Kb1 is typical, but White's pawns have yet to make contact.] 17...f5! Black, not completely atypically, starts play on the f-file! And succeeds in throwing his far higher rated opponent off. Mike has really been bringing his best to his games with Gadir, only losing his way after establishing excellent, even just winning positions. [17...h6 18.h5 g5 19.0-0-0 prepares f3-f4 with further inroads.] 18.h5 Maximum contact! [18.g5 allows 18...f4 with the f5 square freed for Black's bishop] 18...fxg4
19.hxg6? [19.0-0-0 had to be tried, but 19...Rxf3!? (aw well as 19...Bf5!?) 20.Rde1 (20.Kb1 Bf5-+) 20...Kf6!! and it's Black's time now.]
19...h5!! taking advantage of White's king's over-long stay in the center! 20.0-0-0 Too late! But [20.Rxh5? Qg1+ 21.Ke2 gxf3+ 22.Kd3 Qxg6+ picks off the rook.] 20...Rxf3! 21.Rde1 [21.Rxh5 Qe3! White can't allow the queens to come off with that monster g-pawn still on the board.] 21...Kxg6!
Stopping all of White's attacking play. But -- with this move Walder offered a draw! After the game on the Twitch broadcast he said he was still spooked by losing to Guseinov after winning a rook in their previous game. But he had a good 18 minutes on the clock (as usual Guseinov had almost 30 minutes left!), and ...Bf5 is going to be an overwhelming counterattack. Indeed White is lost, and Guseinov was happy to accept. 1/2-1/2
(2) Nicholas Weng (ninjaforce) (1958) - NM Tom Maser (Talenuf) (1900) [C60]
Mechanics' TNMO Chess.com (7.9), 22.12.2020
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 Maser has been playing the Steinitz Defense Deferred since way before Weng was born. 5.0-0 Bd7 6.c3 Nf6 7.Re1 g6 8.h3 An unnecessary move, even if some superstars have played it. [8.d4 Qe7 (8...b5 9.Bb3 (9.Bc2) ) 9.d5 (9.Nbd2 Bg7 10.Nf1 0-0 11.Ng3) 9...Nb8 10.c4 intending Nc3, b4 gets queenside play going right away.] 8...Bg7 9.d4 0-0 10.Nbd2 Qe8 A slightly stylish maneuver, guarding h5 further along. [Here's a recent game: 10...Re8 11.Bb3 h6 12.a3 Nh5 13.dxe5 dxe5 14.Nf1 Nf4 15.Ne3 Na5 16.Bc2 Be6 17.Nd2 Nd3 18.Rf1 h5 19.b4 Nc6 20.Nb3 Nxc1 21.Rxc1 Bh6 22.Qe2 b6 23.Rcd1 Qg5 24.Kh1 Ne7 25.Nd2 Qf6 26.Bb3 Red8 27.Bxe6 Qxe6 28.Ndc4 Bxe3 29.Nxe3 Qb3 30.Qc4 Qxc4 31.Nxc4 f6 32.h4 1-0 (100), Nakamura,H (2736)-Artemiev,V (2716) Speed Chess Super Swiss KO, chess.com 4.10/0 ] 11.Bc2 Nh5 12.Nf1 f5 13.exf5 gxf5
Black's early expansion leaves him loose and prone to tactical device, but with dynamic chances. Still, one must remain diligent. 14.Ne3N [14.Nh4 Ne7 15.Bg5 Nc6 16.d5 Nd8 17.g4 Nf7 18.Bc1 fxg4 19.hxg4 Qd8 20.g5 Nf4 21.Bxf4 exf4 22.Kh1 Qxg5 0-1 (43), Montilla Carrillo,E (2350)-Castaner Harster,X (2205) Sant Boi 1998] 14...Bf6?? Tom just forgot about his f-pawn. There isn't much else to this game. [14...Kh8 15.Nd5 (15.Nh4 Ne7) 15...Rc8=] 15.Nxf5+- Kh8 16.Bh6 complicating, when keeping it simple just wins. 16...Rg8 17.Qd2 Rg6?! But this doesn't work at all. 18.N5h4! Rxh6?! [18...Bxh4 19.Nxh4 Rg8] 19.Qxh6 Qf7 20.Ng6+ [After 20.Ng6+ Kg8 White has a big choice of wins, including various captures on e5, or just back to h4. 21.dxe5! is the most overpowering.] 1-0
(3) FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2470) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (2278) [B90]
Mechanics' TNMO Chess.com (8.2), 22.12.2020
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 [6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.0-0-0 Be7 10.f4 b5 11.f5 Bc4 12.Kb1 h5 13.Bd3 Qc7 14.a3 0-1 (48) Svidler,P (2750)-Karjakin,S (2725) Nice 2010] 6...e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 h5 9.Qd2 [9.Nd5!?] 9...Nbd7 10.0-0-0 Rc8 This could end up being committal -- see Black's 15th. [10...Be7 11.Kb1; 10...Qc7] 11.Kb1 Be7 12.f4 In fact, White has played 14 (!!) different moves here. [12.h3 b5!? (12...h4 13.Bd3 b5 14.f4) ; Relevant: 12.h4 b5 13.a3 0-0 14.Bg5 Re8 15.g4 hxg4 16.fxg4 Bxg4 17.Re1 d5 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.exd5 Bf5 20.Bd3 e4 21.Nd4 Bxg5 22.hxg5 exd3 23.Rxe8+ Qxe8 24.Nxf5 dxc2+ 25.Ka2 Qe4 26.Ne7+ Qxe7 27.Qh2 c1N+ 28.Ka1 Nb3+ 29.Ka2 Nc1+ 30.Ka1 Nb3+ 31.Ka2 Nc1+ 1/2-1/2 (31) Wei,Y (2732)-Giri,A (2764) Chess.com INT 2020; Other than 12.Rc1 (1-0!) 12...0-0 (12...b5!) 13.Nd5 Bxd5 (13...Nxd5 14.exd5 Bf5) 14.exd5 1-0 (52) Szalanczy,E (2242)-Marosi,L (2185) Budapest 2014; Stockfish has a fondness for 12.Rg1 -- humans haven't fared so well with it (3-7).; 12.a3!? (Now that's prophylaxis!) has done the best, over all of seven games.] 12...b5 13.f5 Bc4 14.Bd3 [14.Bxc4?! bxc4! (14...Rxc4) 15.Nc1 Qc7-/+ Black's queen will be excellently situatied on b7; 14.a3] 14...Qc7 [14...Nb6!? 15.h3 h4 16.Qf2 Na4 17.Nxa4 bxa4 18.Bxc4 Rxc4 19.Nd2 Nxe4 20.Nxe4 Rxe4 21.Qf3 Qa8 22.f6 gxf6 23.Bf2 Qc6 24.Rd2 Rc4 25.Qd3 d5 26.Rhd1 d4 27.Qf5 Rg8 28.Bxh4 Rg6 29.g4 Qe6 30.Qh5 Qc6 31.Qf5 Rg8 32.Bf2 Qb5 33.b3 Rc6 34.h4 Qc5 35.Qf3 a3 36.h5 0-1 (36) Zakhartsov,V (2452) -Khismatullin,D (2617) Sochi 2016] 15.a3
15...0-0? And this is definitely committal! A major lesson in the Najdorf, and in general, is to recognize when the king is safe enough in the center, for now, and the tempo is better spent elsewhere. [15...Rb8! is to the point -- Black wants to get his counterplay moving. Now ...b4 is available. 16.Qe2 Bxd3 17.Qxd3 b4! 18.axb4 Rxb4 19.Bg5 (19.Qxa6 0-0! 20.Bg5 (20.Nd5 Nxd5 21.exd5 Rc8) 20...Rb6 21.Qe2 Ra8 and Black triples on the a-file. 0-1 (70) Compagnone,G (2307)-Cade,S (2369) ICCF email 2017) 19...0-0 20.g4 hxg4 21.h3 g3 22.Qxg3 Rc8 23.Qg2 Kf8 24.Rhg1 Ke8 The king on e8 is safer, now that the rook is into play on c8.0-1 (48) Svidler,P (2750)-Karjakin,S (2725) Nice 2010] 16.g4 hxg4 17.Rdg1 d5 A sort of desperation 18.h3 g3 19.Rxg3 Nh5!?
20.Qg2?N This could have let Black off the hook! [20.Rg2! isn't winning -- that would be too strong a claim -- but it was just fine: 20...d4 21.Nxd4! exd4 22.Bxd4 Qd6 23.Bxc4 Rxc4 24.Nd5 Rxd4 25.Qxd4 Re8?! (25...Rc8!?; 25...Ne5!?) 26.Rhg1 Bf8 27.Rg5! Qc5 28.Qd2 (28.Qd3!) 28...Ndf6 29.Nxf6+ Nxf6 30.Qg2 Kh831.Rxg7!! Qxg1+ 32.Qxg1 Bxg7 33.Qa7 Rxe4 34.Qxa6 1-0, Kuhne,D (2393)-Arbrile,G (2338) ICCF email 2018]
20...f6?? Black used less than four of his remaining 15:41 to come up with this unfortunate defense. Freeing the f7 square for the rook but taking f6 away from -- well, Black had a lot of pieces that might have wanted to go there! [20...Nxg3!? 21.Qxg3 f6 works a lot better -- no lame knight on h5. 22.Nxd5! Bxd5 23.exd5 Bc5 24.Bc1! White has advantage, and Black continues to be concerned about his king.; But more pertinent was 20...Qd6 which appears to hold: 21.Bxc4 bxc4 22.Rxg7+ Nxg7 23.Rg1 Bf6 24.Na5! (24.Bh6?? Kh7! 25.Bxg7 Rg8-+) 24...d4 25.Nb7 Qc6 (25...Qb6!? 26.Nd5 dxe3 27.Nxb6 Nxb6= keeps the game going.) 26.Na5 is a repetition!] 21.Bxc4 Kyron suspected there was something up, and finally had a Big Think (better late than never -- and he had the time, 27 minutes, to afford it). 21...dxc4 22.Nd5 Qd8 White: 15:29 Black: 8:33 23.Na5 [23.Rg6! could well be even better.] 23...Rf7?! Black used over half his remaining time on this. [23...Nxg3 24.Nb7 Nxh1!? 25.Nxd8 Bxd8 Somehow Black miscounted or something, since this would at least give him hope.] 24.Nb7 This is hopeless. 24...Qe8 25.Rg6! c3?! 26.b4 "Human move" -- Squelching counterplay. [26.Qg4; 26.Rg1] 26...Rc4 27.Na5 Qc8 28.Rg1 Bf8 29.Rh6 Nf4 30.Bxf4 exf4 31.Qg6 Re7 32.Nxe7+ Bxe7 33.Qxg7# KyronGriffith won by checkmate 1-0
(4) William Sartorio (unusualkid) (2063) - Asjik Uzzaman (ashikuzzaman) (1940) [B72]
Mechanics' TNMO Chess.com (8.6), 22.12.2020
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 a6 The "Dragodorf!" 7.f3 b5 [7...Bg7 8.Qd2 h5 could be a bit too far. But still, 9.a4 b6 10.Bc4 Bb7 11.0-0 Nbd7 12.Rad1 Rc8 13.Ba2 Ne5 14.Qe2 Qc7 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.Bxd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 Qc4 0-1 (36) Khanin,S (2584)-Fedoseev,V (2678) Lichess.org INT 2020] 8.Qd2 Bb7 9.Nb3!? in the spirit of one of the modern lines against the Najdorf (5...a6 6.Nb3!?), but so far only played in games by Experts. [9.0-0-0 seems rather hardheaded in the face of Black's already advanced b-pawn. 9...Nbd7; 9.g4!? hasn't been played as much but scores well,; as has 9.Be2!?; 9.a4! was Negi's preferred line in the Grandmaster Repertoire series.] 9...Nbd7 10.0-0-0 [The computers like 10.Nd1!? Admittedly Na5 will be annoying!; 10.Be2 and 0-0 is indicated.] 10...Rc8 11.g4 [11.Kb1 Bg7 12.Bh6 Bxh6 13.Qxh6 b4 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.exd5 Nf6 16.Bd3 Qb6 17.Rhe1 Bxd5 18.Re2 Kd7 19.Be4 Bxe4 1/2-1/2 (19) Brinck Claussen,B (2323)-Skaanning Pedersen,K (2198) Esbjerg 2007] 11...Ne5
12.Be2N [Last game reference: 12.Qf2 Bg7 13.Bd4 Nfd7 14.h4 h5 15.gxh5 Rxh5 16.Be2 b4 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.exd5 a5 19.Kb1 Qc7 20.Bb5 Kf8 21.f4 Ng4 22.Bxg7+ Kxg7 23.Qe2 Ndf6 24.Rdg1 Nh6 25.Bd3 a4 26.Nd4 Qc5 27.Rxg6+ Kh8 28.Rxf6 Qxd4 29.Rxf7 Nxf7 30.Qxh5+ Kg7 31.Qg4+ 1-0 (31) Chigaev,M (2145)-Chernyavsky,A (2210) Dagomys 2009] 12...Nc4 [Black could catch up on development: 12...Bg7] 13.Bxc4 Rxc4?!
[13...bxc4 14.Nd4 at least sets up later play on the b-file.] 14.e5?! [14.Nc5!+- wreaks havoc in Black's setup.] 14...Nd7 15.exd6 Bxf3 16.Nd5? [16.Na5! is a tactical sequence that leads to an advantage after 16...Bxh1 17.Nxc4 Bf3 18.dxe7 Bxe7 19.Nd6+ Bxd6 20.Qxd6 Qe7 (20...Bxd1? 21.Nd5) 21.Qd4 f6 22.Rd2] 16...e6?! [16...Bxh1! 17.Rxh1 Ne5=] 17.Bg5!
17...f6? [17...Bxd1!? 18.Rxd1 (18.Bxd8? Rxc2+=/+) 18...f6 19.Nxf6+ Nxf6 20.d7+ Kf7 21.Rf1+/=] 18.Nxf6+! Nxf6
19.Bxf6?? [19.d7+!+- Qxd7 (19...Kf7? 20.Rdf1) 20.Bxf6 Qxd2+ 21.Nxd2!] 19...Qxf6 20.d7+ Kd8 and now it's Black with the chances. 21.Qa5+ Rc7 22.Qb6
22...Bxd1?? At first glance a key defensive resource, but in fact it overlooks a real one. [22...Bd5?? fails: 23.Rxd5 Qf4+ 24.Rd2; But 22...Qf4+! first: 23.Kb1 The best of a bad situation 23...Bd5! Now White's best shot is 24.Rxd5!? exd5 25.Re1 but 25...Qf7! when the advantage is with Black -- it's only a question of how big it is. (25...Kxd7?? 26.Qe6+ Kd8 27.Qe8#; 25...Be7 26.Qb8+ Kxd7 27.Qxh8 Qxh2 is just equal) ] 23.Rxd1 Actually it's pretty clear now that White is winning. 23...Bh6+ 24.Kb1 Bf4
25.Qb8+? There it goes again! Either knight move towards c6 would be very good, [while 25.g5!! smashingly takes advantage of the overloaded queen and bishop.] 25...Ke7 26.d8Q+ Rxd8 27.Qxd8+ Kf7 Incredibly, Black is holding after all this. 28.Rd7+ Rxd7 29.Qxd7+ Qe7
30.Qxe7+? Not a good ending; the bishop rules both sides. 30...Kxe7 31.h3 Kd6 [31...e5! should win] 32.c3 e5 33.Kc2 e4 34.Kd1 Kd5 35.Ke2 Bg5 36.Nd4?! [36.Na5] 36...Bc1 37.b4 Kc4 38.Nb3 Bf4 39.Nc5 e3? [39...Kxc3 40.Nxa6 Kb2 wins] 40.Nxa6 Kxc3 41.Nc5 Now White can draw 41...g5 42.a3 Kb2 43.a4 bxa4 44.Nxa4+ Ka3 45.Nc5 Kxb4 46.Ne6 Kc4 47.Ng7 Kd5 48.Nf5 Ke4 49.Nh6 Bg3 50.Nf5 Bf2 51.Nh6 Bh4 52.Nf5 Bf2 53.Nh6 Ke5 54.Kf3 Kd4
55.h4?? White maybe knows too much, and tries to get a famous draw. [It so happens that White can lock up a draw with 55.Ke2 Ke4 56.Ng8 Kf4 57.Nf6 h6 58.Nh5+ (or 58.Ng8 Kg3 59.Nxh6 Kxh3 60.Kf3= as long as White doesn't try to take on e3, but just holds the line.) ] 55...gxh4?? and Black lets it happen! [55...Kd3! 56.Nf5 (56.Nf7!? e2 57.Ne5+ Kd2 58.Nc4+ Ke1!-+) 56...e2 57.Kxf2 Kd2-+] 56.Nf5+ Kd3
57.Nxe3! Bxe3 58.Kg2 Bg5 59.Kh1 It's fun to watch Stockfish giving Black a huge plus score here, when we humans know about bishop and wrong rook pawn(s). Many a game has been saved by heading for this paradoxical ending, often the opponent does a doubletake before remembering what's happening. 59...Ke2 60.Kg2 Ke3 61.Kh1 Kf3 62.Kg1 Kxg4 63.Kh1 Kf3 64.Kg1 Ke2 65.Kh1 Kf1 66.Kh2 Be3 67.Kh1 Bf2 68.Kh2 Bg1+ 69.Kh1 h3 A wonderful up-and-down battle! 1/2-1/2
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||Prize|
|1||GM Gadir Guseinov||17343590||2600||gguseinov||W31||W26||W25||W8||W3||W2||D5||D7||7.0||1st Place: $336|
|2||FM Kyron Griffith||12860484||2470||KyronGriffith||H---||W42||W20||W11||W7||L1||W14||W3||6.5||2nd Place: $252|
|3||IM Elliott Winslow||10363365||2278||ecwinslow||W36||W27||W43||W5||L1||W6||W8||L2||6.0||3rd Place: $168;
3-way split: $56 each
|6||Nicholas Ruo Weng||15499404||1958||ninjaforce||W38||W17||W4||L7||W18||L3||W28||W12||6.0||1st u2000: $84|
|7||NM Eric Hon||13778105||2202||microbear||W22||W14||W12||W6||L2||L5||W13||D1||5.5|
|8||NM Kireet Panuganti||13843374||2138||kkpanu9||W24||W28||W29||L1||W26||W13||L3||D5||5.5|
|15||Chelsea Zhou||15239016||1866||mwncklmann||H---||H---||W49||W19||W25||L14||W10||L4||5.0||Best Female: $56|
|16||Davi Flores Gomez||14799653||1812||PlayerCreate1||W33||L12||L40||W38||W53||L11||W45||W27||5.0|
|17||Max Hao||16083648||1761||Joseph_Truelsons_Fan||W51||L6||W33||L26||W27||L12||W46||W25||5.0||Best u1800: $84;
2-way split: $42 each
|21||Ranen A Lardent||12614986||1803||dashrndrx||W50||L43||W51||L13||W33||W25||D11||L10||4.5|
|27||Cailen J Melville||14006141||1940||Mangonel||W48||L3||W32||L18||L17||W47||W34||L16||4.0|
|28||Thomas F Maser||10490936||1900||talenuf||W39||L8||W47||L4||W24||W18||L6||U---||4.0|
|29||Javier Silva III||16089208||1889||J3Chess24||W49||W10||L8||W12||L5||L4||L18||W42||4.0|
|30||Kevin M Fong||17254586||1783||chessappeals||D42||W54||L11||D40||L19||L49||W57||W48||4.0|
|32||Linu John Alex||13836822||1652||ibalek||L5||W57||L27||L33||L42||W54||W50||W49||4.0|
|33||Ethan Sun||16964125||931||sfdeals||L16||W53||L17||W32||L21||L24||W47||W45||4.0||Best u1600: $84|
|34||Leon Diaz Herrera||17355661||unr.||Aeqetes||H---||H---||L35||L53||X59||W44||L27||W46||4.0|
|38||Nicholas M Brown||12446259||1495||nmbrown2||L6||L51||W57||L16||H---||L37||X58||W52||3.5|
|39||Kevin Sun||16898540||1161||kevin_mx_sun||L28||L24||D37||W48||L36||W58||W52||L22||3.5||Best u1400: $56;
4-way split: $14 each
|43||RIP Felix German||12624534||1976||FelixGerman||W37||W21||L3||W35||U---||U---||U---||U---||3.0|
|54||Samuel Tsen Brown||16380615||662||ComfyQueso||B---||L30||L42||L37||H---||L32||W60||L44||2.5|
|56||Peter Jam Rushton||16453812||1239||pedrojrush||L9||L23||L53||L60||B---||L57||W59||L51||2.0|
|59||Willia Harris III||15953392||1184||15953392||H---||H---||L44||L23||F34||U---||L56||L55||1.0|
|60||Cleveland W Lee||30037403||unr.||Vincitore51745||L18||L47||L58||W56||L49||L48||L54||L50||1.0|
Our 2nd Annual IM John Donaldson Championship capped off a fine year of chess at the Mechanics' Institute, with this two-day, three-section championship event. There were dramatic moments and games, and very competitive sections. In the top section, the top two seeds GM Gadir Guseinov and GM James Tarjan tied for first with 5/6, though both getting there by different means. Though they both drew their game against each other, GM Guseinov blundered in his round 1 game against Alan Finkelstein and was in a losing position. But the veteran found all the right moves in defending his position, holding on for a draw and playing solidly the rest of the tournament. Tarjan had a requested bye in round 4, and was cruising in his final round game againt Alan Finkelstein. However, Finklestein showed great resilliency and set up an incredible opportunity to possibly mate Tarjan, but Tarjan found an escape and held on for the win. Shaaket Sivakumar and Alan Finkelstein shared third place with 4/6.
In the under 2000 section, Ako Heidari and Rithwik Narendra won their final round games to share first place with 4.5/6. In the under 1600 section, Adrien Cheng bounced back from a round 2 loss to win the rest of his games and take sole first place with 5/6.
We were treated to a very special event after the first day of action, as IM John Donaldson participated in a one hour arena and joined the broadcast providing banter. It was a fun and entertaining event, where John showed his game is still very strong, going undefeated. You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JExkl9jEg64
Full results can be found on our event page here: https://www.milibrary.org/chess-tournaments/2nd-annual-im-john-donaldson-championship-online
Here are some games from the event, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.
(5) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2634) - Alan Finkelstein (stratus_junior) (1906) [C07]
Mechanics' 2nd Donaldson 2000+ Chess.com (1.1), 19.12.2020
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 An active variation against the Tarrasch French. The board becomes very open. 4.Ngf3 cxd4 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Bc4 Qd7 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Nb3 Nf6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 a6 White has won his pawn back as the players have followed theory. Guseinov tries to get an edge from his slight lead in development. 11.Bg5 Be7 12.Re1 h6 13.Bh4 b5 14.Bb3 Bb7 15.Bxf6?! played with the continuation of the next move in mind, but White would do better with 15. Qd3 15...Bxf6
16.Nxe6? Such action with this piece sacrifice that Gadir couldn't restrain himself. It's not good though. 16...Qxd1 17.Nxg7+ Kf8 18.Raxd1 Kxg7 19.Rd7
19...Rhe8! Using the back rank mate threat to get the pieces out. 20.Rxf7+ Kg6 21.Rxe8 Rxe8 22.f3 Re7! 23.Rxe7 Bxe7
Here we will take stock of the position, as this was the logical outcome of White's piece sacrifice on move 16. White has 3 pawns for the bishop but is much worse and has almost no winning chances. The black bishops can easily restrain and also attack the white pawns. Gadir is struggling against his young opponent. 24.Kf2 Bg5 25.c4 Bc1 26.cxb5 axb5 27.Bc2+ Kf6 28.b3 b4 This one pawn holds up two on the queenside. 29.Kg3 Bc8 30.Kh4 Bg5+ 31.Kh5 Bd7 32.g3 Be8+ 33.Kg4 h5+ 34.Kh3 Bd7+ 35.Kg2 Be3 Note how the Black bishops push around the white king. 36.h4 Bc6 37.Bd3 Bd7 38.Kf1 Bf5 This lets the white king to help out somewhat. Black would have good winning chances with [38...Be8 39.Ke2 Bb6 when if 40.f4 now 40...Bg6! would be good as trading here would let the black king in.] 39.Ke2 Bc5 40.Bb5 Bd6 41.f4 Bb1 42.Kd2 Bc5 43.Be2 Bf2? [43...Kg6! 44.g4 hxg4 45.Bxg4 Bd6 should win the game. Black needs to keep the b-pawn alive.] 44.Bxh5 Bxg3 45.Kc1 Just in time the white king comes to the queenside 45...Bg6 [45...Bxa2? 46.Kb2] 46.Bxg6 Bxf4+ 47.Kb1 Kxg6 48.a3 bxa3 49.b4!
White just manages to disrupt the protection of Black's last pawn by pushing the passers. Great defense by Gadir and a near miss by stratus junior. 1/2-1/2
(6) NM Ruiyang Yan (jij2018) (2242) - Vishva Nanugonda (vish1080) (1829) [B32]
Mechanics' 2nd Donaldson 2000+ Chess.com (2), 19.12.2020
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 This has now become quite a respectable variation of the Sicilian. 5.Nb5 d6 6.N1c3 [6.c4 is a slower paced game where White tries to keep a grip on the center] 6...a6 7.Na3 Be7 [7...Nf6] 8.Nc4 repositioning the knight on the rim is very logical and gives White chances for an edge 8...Be6 9.Ne3 [9.Be3 Nf6 10.Nb6 Rb8 11.Be2 Nxe4 12.Nxe4 d5 13.Nc5 d4 14.Nxe6 fxe6 allows Black to win the piece back, but White may wish to try this after 15.Bd2 Qxb6 16.Bd3] 9...Nf6 10.g3!? 0-0 11.Bg2 Nd4 12.0-0 b5?! [12...Rc8 immediately would give White worries about the c2 pawn when the Nc3 moves] 13.Ncd5! Rc8?! Now Black gets pushed back. It was better to try [13...Nxd5 14.Nxd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 though White holds an edge with the bishop pair] 14.c3 Nc6 15.a4
A picture perfect setup for White in this opening. He controls the d5 square and now starts to pry open the queenside. 15...Rb8 16.Bd2 Bxd5 17.exd5 Na5 18.axb5 axb5 19.b4 Nc4 20.Nxc4 bxc4 21.Qe2 Qc7?! [21...Qc8 is better defensively as it guards the c4 pawn and prevents the coming Ra6] 22.f4 [22.Ra6!] 22...exf4 23.Rxf4 Rfc8 24.h3 Bf8 25.Ra6 Qb7 26.Rc6! This rook is major trouble for Black as it sits deep inside his camp and has the support of the pawn and g2 bishop. Black is losing the c4 pawn and tries something desparate. 26...Nxd5? 27.Bxd5 Rxc6
28.Rxf7! Ouch! This is a killer. 28...Qb6+ It doesn't help to give up the queen as a rook goes too - [28...Qxf7 29.Bxf7+ Kxf7 30.Qf3+ Kg8 31.Qxc6] 29.Be3 Qb5 30.Qf3 With crushing threats. Black resigned. 1-0
(7) Alan Finkelstein (stratus_junior) (2469) - GM Jim Tarjan (Tirantes) (2058) [A90]
Mechanics' 2nd Donaldson 2000+ Chess.com (6.2), 20.12.2020
1.d4 f5 Grandmaster Tarjan chooses the Dutch Defense, which is not as solid as the Nimzo-Indian or QGD but ensures an unbalanced, fighting game. 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 d5 5.Bg2 Bd6 6.0-0 0-0 7.b3 c6 8.Bb2 Nbd7 9.Qc2 Qe7 10.Nc3 b6 11.cxd5 A very reasonable time to open up the position. White could also maintain the tension with [11.Rfc1] 11...cxd5 12.Nb5 Ba6 13.Nxd6 Qxd6 So White has won the bishop pair and in return Black has gotten free movement for his pieces. 14.Rfc1 Rac8 15.Qd1 Ne4 16.Ne1 f4 17.Rxc8 Rxc8
18.Bxe4?! giving up the light-squared bishop is suspect as it is a strong defender of the kingside. White could have gained an opening edge with [18.f3 Nef6 (18...Nc3 19.Bxc3 Rxc3 20.Qd2 Qc7 21.gxf4 snags a pawn) 19.g4 This looks somewhat strange, but the white pieces and pawns work well in this position.] 18...dxe4 19.e3? This is just a terrible mistake, turning a roughly even game into a lost position. 19...f3! Black is now positionally winning with the f3 pawn providing mating threats. Also good though was [19...fxe3 20.fxe3 Rf8] 20.Rc1 Rxc1 21.Qxc1 Qd5 22.h3 Nf6 23.Qc7 Qb5! The deadly threat of ...Qf1+ forces White to go into a pawn down ending 24.Qc4 Qxc4 25.bxc4 Bxc4 26.a3 Bb3!
White's position is completely hopeless now. His king and knight can't get into play and even the bishop is restricted. 27.g4 Nd5 [27...g5 would keep White in a box on the kingside] 28.h4 h6 29.Kh2 Kf7 [A quick win is 29...Nxe3 as 30.fxe3 (30.Nxf3 Nd1) 30...f2 makes a queen] 30.h5 Kf6 31.Kg3 Kg5?! 32.Nxf3+! seizing a chance out of nowhere 32...exf3 33.e4 Ne7 34.e5
from a completely dead lost position White has conjured the terrible threat of 35. Bc1 mate! What can Black do? 34...Nf5+! Tarjan had this resource to get our of trouble. White must take the knight. 35.gxf5 Kxf5 36.Kxf3 Kg5 37.Bc3 Kxh5 We are back to the material count of one more pawn for Black. It looks like White should have drawing chances with the bishops of opposite color, but his d and e pawns are blocked by the e6 pawn and black bishop so practically Black is two pawns ahead. 38.Kg3 Kg5 39.Bd2+ Kf5 40.f3 g5 41.Be3 Bd5 42.Bg1 [42.Bd2 h5 43.Bb4 would be a better defense, though wouldn't hold the game anyway. Blacks powerful bishop and ability to get passed pawns on both wings is enough to win.] 42...h5 43.Bh2 b5 44.Bg1 h4+ 45.Kf2 a5 0-1
(8) Sebby Suarez (SebbyMeister) (1358) - Adrien Cheng (ricechessmaster1) (1433) [C56]
Mechanics' 2nd Donaldson u1600 Chess.com (6.1), 20.12.2020
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.0-0 A tricky move in this age old line. It puts the opponent on their own without the book continuation. 6...d5?! This gives White the initiative. Best to be brave and grab the center pawn with [6...Nxe4! 7.cxd4 d5 8.dxc5 dxc4] 7.exd5 Nxd5 8.cxd4 Be7 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.Qb3?! [White would have a serious initiative after 10.d5 Nb8 11.Bf4] 10...0-0 11.Ne5 Qe8 [Black would be fine with the aggressive 11...Nxd4 12.Bxf7+ Kh8 13.Qd1 c5] 12.Nxc6 Qxc6 13.Be3 a6 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.Bxd5 Qf6 16.Rac1 c6 17.Bf3 Bd6 18.h3 a5 [on 18...Bxh3 19.Qxb7] 19.a3?! This is the start of trouble. The white queen gets driven away from the b-file 19...a4 20.Qc3
20...Bxh3! 21.d5 Be5 22.Qd2 Bd7 23.dxc6 Bxc6 24.Bxc6 bxc6 So Black has won a pawn. The position is open with play over the whole board. 25.Rc2 Rab8 26.Bg5 Qg6 27.Rd1?! This square is not as good as [27.Re1] 27...f6 28.Be3 Qh5 29.g3 Bxb2 [29...Qf3] 30.Bc5 [White could try for a very active position with 30.Rxc6 Bxa3 31.Qc2] 30...Rfe8 31.Re1? Rxe1+ 32.Qxe1 Be5 33.Bb4 Rd8 34.Rd2 Rxd2 35.Qxd2 Qe8?! [35...h6!] 36.Qc2 h6 37.Qxa4 Bd4 38.Qb3+ Kh8 39.Qf3 c5 40.Bc3 Qa4 41.Bxd4 Qxd4
Black still has the extra pawn though we have now reached a queen ending. Can he convert it? 42.Qf5?! [42.Qe3! woud be a strong defense since Black would lose if queens get traded here. There would be excellent drawing chances.] 42...Kg8 [42...c4!] 43.Qh5 c4 44.Qe8+ Kh7 45.Qc8 Qd3! This fine move covers all the checks and prepares to run the c-pawn. Black is winning now. 46.a4 c3 47.a5 c2 48.a6 Qd1+ 49.Kg2 c1Q 50.Qf5+ Kg8 51.Qe6+ Kf8 52.a7
52...Qd8 safe and secure. White can do nothing with the a-pawn now, but ...Qh1 mate was quick. 53.Qe4 Qcc8 54.Qb4+ Kg8 55.Qb3+ Kh8 56.Kg1 Qa8 57.Qa4 Qc7 58.f4 Qcxa7+ 59.Qxa7 Qxa7+ 60.Kg2 g5 61.f5 h5 62.g4 hxg4 63.Kf1 Qe3 64.Kg2 Kg7 65.Kh1 Qe2 66.Kg1 Kf7 67.Kh1 Ke7 68.Kg1 Kd6 69.Kh1 Ke5 70.Kg1 Kf4 71.Kh1 Kg3 72.Kg1 Qg2# 0-1
(9) Adam Mercado (A-boy415) (1831) - Rithwik Narendra (rukja) (1820) [C56]
Mechanics' 2nd Donaldson 1600-1999 Chess.com (3), 19.12.2020
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.e5 d5 6.Bb5 Ne4 7.Nxd4 Bc5 8.0-0 0-0 9.Bxc6 bxc6 10.Be3 Bxd4 11.Bxd4?! White now gets pushed backwards. The game would be level after the better [11.Qxd4 c5 12.Qd3] 11...c5 12.Be3 d4 13.Bc1 Bb7 14.f3 Ng5 15.f4?! Ne4!
The knight jumps back to where it was before and this time Black permanantly owns the e4 square. The bishops of opposite color ensure that Black has serious attacking chances. 16.Nd2 f6 17.Nxe4 Bxe4 18.Qe2 Qd5 19.Re1 f5
This position is worth a diagram. Black has control of the long white diagonal and the central squares d4 and e4. White is strategically lost. 20.b3 a5 21.a4 Rab8 22.Ba3 Rb6 23.Rad1?! [The last chance was to play the endgame after 23.Qc4 Qxc4 24.bxc4 Rc6 even though that's a miserable position] 23...Rg6 Black wins material 24.Rd2 [24.g3 Bf3] 24...Rxg2+ 25.Qxg2 Bxg2 26.Rxg2 Re8 27.Rg5 h6 28.Rxf5?! losing the rook, but there was no hope anyway 28...Qe6 29.Bxc5 Qxf5 30.Rf1 Re6 31.Bxd4 Rg6+ 32.Kf2 Qxf4+ 33.Ke2 Qxd4 34.Rf5 Qe4+ 35.Kd2 Qxf5 36.e6 Rxe6 37.c3 Qd5+ 38.Kc1 Re1+ 39.Kc2 Qd1+ 40.Kb2 Re2+ 41.Ka3 Qa1# 0-1