February 13, 2021
By Abel Talamantez
Table of Contents
- Alexey Root
- Twitch Arena
- Weekly Classes
- Online Events Schedule
- Scholastic Corner
- FM Paul Whitehead's Column
- GM Nick de Firmian's Column
- Solutions to FM Paul Whitehead's Column
- Submit your piece or feedback
The February 2021 edition of the TNM started with 60 players, 3 GM's, 2 IM's 2 FM's and plenty of strong competition for this 6-round G/35+2 USCF rated battle. We have an equal balance in sections, as we have as many players in the top section as there are in the u/1800 section. GM Jim Tarjan faced a tough 2nd round battle with Mechanics' regular David Askin, who was able to fight the game out to a draw. IM Josiah Stearman faced a tough 2nd round match with Daniel Lin, but took advantage of a mistake late in the game and under time pressure to get the win. Another upset in the first 2 rounds was a fine win by Vishva Nanugonda, who upset NM Alice Lee in round 1. Alice is the nation's top ranked 11 year old girl and will certainly be a force in women and girls chess in the years to come. In the under 1800 section, six players are at the top with 2/2 headed into next week.
GM Nick de Firmian will join our commentary team starting this Tuesday, as we will need his expertise as we figure to have elite action for rounds three and four. It will be a fun and exciting evening next week, tune in for all the action by following our Twitch channel here: https://www.twitch.tv/mechanicschess
Here are some game from the first two rounds, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.
(1) Lin (SmilyFace4),Daniel (2047) - IM Stearman (josiwales),Josiah (2658) [A45]
MI February TNM Chess.com (2.4), 09.02.2021
1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 d5 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Qb3 c4 [Nowadays keeping the tension with 5...Nc6 6.Nd2 (6.Qxb6 axb6 7.Bc7 is a bit of a scare, but Gelfand has it all under control: 7...Nd7 8.Nf3 e6 9.Bb5 Be7 10.Nbd2 Bd8 ½-½ (67) Grischuk,A (2810)-Gelfand,B (2743) Beijing 2014) 6...e6 is most sensible (6...c4 7.Qc2 Nh5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bh4 g5 10.Be2 Ng7 11.Bg3 Bf5 12.Qc1 e6 was a little something, enough for Magnus: 1-0 (41) Carlsen,M (2832)-So,W (2812) Leuven 2017; 6...Qxb3!? everybody has taken to open the a-file (one of the main points in the London System), but after 7.axb3 e6 Black has scraped up a couple wins (and three draws, no losses) for a fine showing.) 7.Ngf3 Be7 8.Qc2 Bd7 9.Rd1 Rc8 10.Qb1 Another motif -- the d-pawn was threatened! 10...Nh5 11.Bg3 g6 12.Bd3 0-0 13.0-0 Nxg3 And here: waiting for White to castle before exchanging, so as not to give White the h-file for the rook 14.hxg3 Qc7 15.Rfe1 Rfd8 16.a3 b6 17.b4 Bf6 18.Bf1 a5 19.b5 Ne7 20.a4 cxd4 21.cxd4 Qc2 22.Qa1 Qc3 23.Qa2 Qc2 24.Qa1 Qc3 25.Qa2 Qc2 26.Qa1 1/2-1/2 (26) Nihal,S (2620)-Fressinet,L (2635) chess24.com INT 2020] 6.Qc2 g6 7.Nd2 [7.b3!? Bf5 8.Qd1 cxb3 9.axb3 could try to take over the center after castling with c4.] 7...Bf5 8.Qc1 Nc6 Black has nothing to fear now, but with the rating difference he still wants to outplay his opponent somehow. 9.Ngf3 Rc8 10.h3 h5
11.Be2N [11.Nh4 Bd7 12.b3 cxb3 13.axb3 a5 14.Qb2 Bg7 15.Bd3 Na7 16.0-0 Bb5 17.c4 Bxc4 18.Bxc4 dxc4 19.Rfc1 cxb3 20.Rxc8+ Nxc8 21.Nxb3 White recovered the pawn and actually went on to win: 1-0 (30) Bencze,L (2213)-Juhasz,B (2184) Berekfurdo 2010] 11...Bg7 12.0-0 0-0 13.b3 cxb3 14.axb3 Ne4 15.c4 Nxd2 16.Nxd2
16...e5?! [16...dxc4 17.bxc4 e5! since now on 18.c5 (Better here is 18.dxe5 Nxe5 19.e4 (19.Qa3 Rfd8 20.e4 Be6 21.Qxa7 Nxc4 is no worse for Black) 19...Be6 20.Be3 Qc7 21.Rxa7 Nxc4 22.Nxc4 Bxc4 23.Bxc4 Qxc4 24.Qxc4 Rxc4 25.Rxb7 Rxe4 with nothing for either side to play for.) there is 18...Qb4!] 17.dxe5? [17.c5! Qc7 18.dxe5 Bxe5 19.Bxe5 Qxe5 20.Nf3 White has some prospects on the queenside.] 17...Nxe5 Now Black can take this way, with some advantage. 18.Qa3 dxc4? [18...Nd3!?] 19.Bxe5 Bxe5 20.Nxc4
20...Rxc4?! 21.Bxc4 Bxa1 22.Rxa1 Rd8?! [22...a6 23.Qe7 Be6 24.Bxe6 Qxe6 25.Qxb7 Rd8+/=] 23.Qxa7
White is clearly better. 23...Rd1+ 24.Kh2 Qc7+ 25.g3? And Black is back in the game. [25.f4 Rd2 26.Ra2+/- Bc2? 27.Qa4 Qe7 28.Qa5+- White keeps harrassing Black.] 25...Rd2 26.e4?
[26.Kg1 White can hold] 26...h4! White must be very careful now! 27.exf5 Qxg3+ 28.Kh1 Rxf2
29.Qxf2?? [29.Bxf7+! first; now Black has to let White pick up a couple pawns before the queen sacrifice. 29...Kh7 (29...Kxf7?? 30.Qxb7+ Kf6 31.Ra6+ and White is completely winning!) 30.fxg6+ (30.Bxg6+?? Kh6 31.Qxf2 Qxf2 32.Rg1 Qe3 33.Kh2 Qe5+ 34.Kh1 Qc3 35.Kh2 Kg7) 30...Kh6 31.Qxf2 Qxf2 32.Rg1 Kg7 33.Rg4= is a standstill. Amusingly it's Black who is blockading White, although that's not what is usually meant by a "blockade" in chess.] 29...Qxf2 30.Rf1 Qg3 The h-pawn goes and then Black's passer is a problem. 31.fxg6 Qxh3+ 32.Kg1 Qe3+ [32...Qg3+ 33.Kh1 Qxg6?? 34.Rg1= not a loss, but after what came just now it feels like one.; 32...b5!-+ is a good time for firing the last bullet.] 33.Kh2
33...b5? [33...Qg3+ 34.Kh1 Qh3+ 35.Kg1 b5 is the right moment!] 34.Bxf7+! Kg7
35.Rg1! Even without White's h-pawn, this is a blockade. 35...Qf4+ 36.Kh3 Qe3+ 37.Kh2 Qf2+ 38.Rg2 Qf1 39.Rg1 Qf5 40.Rg2 Qc8 41.Rg1 Kf6 42.Rg2 Ke7 43.Rg1 Qc2+ 44.Rg2 Qc8 45.Rg1 Kf6 46.Rg2 Kg7 47.Rg1 h3 A sort of last try. 48.Rg3 Qf5 49.Rxh3?! Still 0.00, but Josiah has a dream now -- and Daniel's path narrows considerably. A king move, 49.Rc3, even 49.b4 (since the b3 square is locked up) all draw smoothly. 49...Qf2+ 50.Kh1 Kf6
and with 49 seconds left White thinks for all his time and finds 51.Rh6?? [Easiest is 51.b4! which paradoxically gives the rook b3! Again: dead drawn.; Also a safe square is 51.Rh7; and even 51.Rh8 is fine!] 51...Qe1+ An interesting and exciting game from start to finish -- and Daniel Lin was so close to a draw at the end! [Blunter was 51...Qf1+ 52.Kh2 Qf4+ but he resigned in any case.] 0-1
(2) Lenderman (AlexanderL),Aleksandr (2739) - Finkelstein (stratus_junior),Alan (1974) [D10]
MI February TNM Chess.com (1.1), 09.02.2021
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.cxd5 The Exchange Slav might be symmetrical at first, but it would be a mistake to think it's harmless. Imbalances can be brought about, creating chances for an interesting game. And White can't be too complacent either; sometimes it is Black who takes over an initiative. 3...cxd5 4.Bf4 Nc6 5.e3
Like the "Modern" London System. [if the "natural" 5.Nc3 then Black could continue normally -- or "scramble" with 5...e5!?] 5...Nf6 [Seeing how the game goes Black could step up first with 5...a6!? and indeed, this is how Kamsky played back in 2015 against Nakamura in what must have been an important game. 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Bd3 and it's back to a few thousand instances.] 6.Bb5!? In chess school it's "Knights Before Bishops" -- and indeed in the Mega 2020 database there are a whole five games, vs. almost 9000 with the position after 6.Nc3. But very recently even (that is, since then) this extremely early position is being shaken up! [6.Nc3 a6!? (with some transposition games) has become the most popular line now, by over a thousand games -- so "Why not get there first?" is the question inventive players have been asking themselves. Here's an example via that Naka-Gata game: 7.Bd3 e6 8.Rc1 Bd6 9.Bxd6 Qxd6 10.Nf3 0-0 11.0-0 Bd7 12.Na4= Nb4 13.Bb1 Bxa4?! 14.Qxa4 Rfc8 15.Ne5 b5?! 16.Qa5 Ne8? 17.Rxc8 Rxc8 18.a3 f6 19.axb4 fxe5 20.dxe5 Qxe5 21.Qxa6 and White was winning -- but didn't: ½-½ (40), Nakamura,H (2816)-Kamsky,G (2680), Millionaire Open playoff-B match, Las Vegas 2015] 6...e6 [Caruana played 6. Bb5 in a high-profile game last October -- and Lenderman hae already taken it up before this game. 6...Bd7 7.Nc3 e6 (7...a6 8.Bd3 Bg4 9.Nge2 e6 10.0-0 Bxe2 11.Qxe2 Be7 12.a3 0-0 13.Na4 1-0 (94) Caruana,F (2828)-Duda,J (2757) Stavanger Oct 6, 2020. This actually varies on an earlier game from 1999(!).) 8.Nf3 Be7 9.h3 0-0 10.0-0 Rc8 11.Rc1 h6 12.Bd3 a6 13.Qe2 Qa5 14.a3 b5 15.Ne5 Rfd8 16.Bb1 b4 17.axb4 Bxb4 18.Qf3 Be7 19.Nxd7 Nxd7 20.Rfd1 Qb4+/- 1-0 (33) Lenderman,A (2624)-Wheeler,C (2398) chess.com Jan 6, 2021] 7.Nc3 Bd6 After the dark-square bishops trade off, (and a case can be made for it happening on d6, f4, or g3) Black will have a "bad bishop" -- but with a little care it shouldn't make too much of a difference. 8.Nge2!? Knights don't always have to go to B3 (Bishop Three -- old-style "Descriptive Notation")! 8...0-0 9.0-0 Bxf4 10.Nxf4 Qd6 [There's nothing wrong with 10...Bd7] 11.Bxc6
11...bxc6?! Weak pawn (c6), weak square (c5) -- even if Black gets in ...e5. 12.Rc1+/- Ba6 13.Re1 Nd7 14.Qa4 c5?! [Better to retreat the bishop 14...Bb7 15.Nd3 Rfc8 16.Nb1! and c5 is locked up. 16...c5? 17.Qa3 as in the game] 15.Qa3 and White wins the pawn 15...Qc6 [15...Bb7 16.Nd3 Qa6!? 17.Qxa6 Bxa6 18.Nxc5 Nxc5 19.dxc5 Rab8 20.b3 Rfc8 21.Na4 hangs on to the booty.] 16.dxc5 Rfc8 17.Red1 g5?!
An unhealthy provocation! [17...Bb7] 18.Nfxd5! exd5 19.Nxd5 Qe6 20.c6+- White wins back a rook for knight when it's rook and a lot of pawns for bishop and knight. 20...Nb8 21.Ne7+ Kg7 22.Nxc8 Bxc8 23.Rd8 Nxc6 24.Qf8+ Kg6 25.Rd6 AlexanderL won by resignation. An interesting game for opening theory, and a lesson in premature liberation. 1-0
(3) GM Jim Tarjan (Tirantes) (2435) - David_Askin (2035) [B10]
Live Chess Chess.com, 09.02.2021
1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.cxd5 cxd5 4.exd5 This variation against the Caro-Kann opens up the game and gets a more dynamic position at the cost of an isolated queen-pawn. 4...Nf6 5.Nc3 Nxd5 6.Bc4 Nb6 7.Bb3 Bf5 8.Nf3 e6 9.d4 Nc6 10.0-0 Be7
David is not intimidated by his grandmaster opponent and has gotten everything developed to good squares. The position is fully equal for Black and he could even gain the advantage if White can't generate play to compensate the isolated d-pawn. 11.d5!? Eliminating the problem of the isolated pawn, but simplifying into a game that is hard to win. It's hard to believe that Tarjan was satisfied with this positon having the white pieces. 11...Nxd5 12.Nxd5 exd5 13.Qxd5 Qxd5 14.Bxd5 0-0 Can grandmaster Jim grind down his lower rated opponent from this simple symmetrical position? 15.Bg5 Rab8 16.Rac1 Bxg5 17.Nxg5 Nb4 18.Bb3 Nd3?! This complicates the game by allowing the white rook to the seventh. Simply equal was [18...Nc6] 19.Rc7 Bg6 20.Rd1 [20.f4! would gain some edge. 20...Rfc8 21.Re7 Kf8 (21...Re8 22.Rxf7!) 22.Re3 gives Black troubles] 20...Rfc8 21.Rxc8+ Rxc8 22.h3?! [22.Kf1] 22...Rc1 23.Rxc1 Nxc1 24.Bd5 Nd3 simplifying, but [24...b6! may even be better for Black] 25.Bxb7 Nxb2 26.Nf3 Kf8 27.Ne5 Bb1 28.Bd5 f6 29.Nc6 a6 30.Kf1 Bd3+?! [30...Ke8 is more useful to bring the black king to the battleground] 31.Ke1 Bb5 32.Kd2 Nc4+ 33.Kc3 White is getting some chances in this simple endgame as his king is more active. 33...Nb6 34.Bf3 Ke8 35.Kb4 Kd7 36.Nd4 Bf1 37.a3 [More aggressive is 37.a4 g6 38.a5 Nc4 39.Be2 Bxe2 40.Nxe2 Nd6 41.Kc5 with play against the a6 pawn. This is of course much easier to see in the post-mortem with the computer than with live with little time.] 37...Nc4 38.Bg4+ Kd6 [38...Kc7 39.Ne6+ Kb6 40.Nxg7 a5+ 41.Kb3 Nd2+ 42.Kc2 Nc4 holds the draw] 39.Bf3 [39.Nf5+ Kc6 40.Ng3! Bd3 41.Kc3 Ne5 42.Bd1 Bg6 43.f4 Nd7 44.Kd4 still keeps the edge] 39...Ne5 [39...a5+! 40.Ka4 Nd2 41.Ba8 Kc5] 40.Be4 Kc7? [40...Nd3+!] 41.f4? [41.Ne6+ Kd6 42.Nxg7 wins a pawn with excellent chances to convert] 41...Nd3+ 42.Bxd3 Bxd3 43.Ne6+ Kd6 44.Nxg7 Bf1?!
[44...Kd5] 45.Nh5? [45.Nf5+! Ke6 46.Ne3 Be2 47.g4 is a winning position. White has and extra pawn and the black king can't cause trouble here.] 45...Bxg2 46.Nxf6 Bxh3 47.Nxh7 The extra pawn isn't enough here as there are only two white pawns left and the black bishop works well on both sides of the board. 47...Bf1 48.Ng5 Ke7 49.Ne4 Ke6 50.Ka5 Bb5 51.Nc5+ Kf5 52.Nxa6 Be2 53.Nc5 Kxf4 54.Kb6 Ke5 55.a4 Kd6 56.a5 Ke7 57.a6 Bxa6 1/2-1/2
(4) Lardent (dashrndrx),Ranen (1805) - IM Winslow (ecwinslow),Elliott (2253) [A27]
MI February TNM Chess.com (2.6), 09.02.2021
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 [2...d6 is another way to prepare the aggression: 3.Nf3 (3.d4!? tries to take advantage of Black's lazy ...d6, but: 3...exd4 (3...Nd7) 4.Qxd4 Nf6 (4...Nc6 right away is fine) 5.g3 Nc6 6.Qd2 Be6 7.Nd5 Ne5 8.b3 Ne4 9.Qe3 Nc5 10.Bb2 c6 11.Nf4 Ng4 12.Qd4
12...Ne4! 13.Bh3 Qa5+ 14.Kf1 Ngxf2 0-1 (28) Huebner,R (2605) -Kasparov,G (2715) Hamburg 1985) 3...f5!? (the most popular move here!) 4.d4 e4 (when at least there is no 5.d5 or knights going to h4)] 3.Nf3 [In the old days it was like the Closed Sicilian (Reversed): 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7] 3...f5!? [3...g6?! 4.d4!; 3...Nf6 is the Four Knights English with ongoing theoretical disputes even almost fifty years after Korchnoi-Karpov games.] 4.d4! The principled response. 4...e4 5.Bg5 [5.d5!? exf3 6.dxc6 fxg2 (6...bxc6!? what a mess) 7.cxd7+ Qxd7 8.Qxd7+ Bxd7 9.Bxg2 c6 (9...0-0-0) 10.Bf4 is a curious line with suspect pawns or both sides. 10...Bb4!?N and Black is almost better.; 5.Ng5 has come out on top in the theoretical battle.] 5...Nce7?!
Of the over fifty games in the database with 5.Bg5, this was played ... once. But with a high pedigree. [5...Be7! 6.Bxe7 Ncxe7! is the line everybody knows. And they know 7.Ng1! as well, with another foreign English landscape that has done pretty well for White.; 5...Nf6!? 6.Nd2 (Nobody has tried 6.Nh4!? here) 6...h6] 6.Nh4! [6.Nd2 h6 7.Bxe7? (7.Bh4! g5 8.Bg3 and White's ready to bust Black up. 8...f4? 9.e3! Ng6 10.Qh5 Kf7 11.Ndxe4 fxg3 12.fxg3! with a big attack (Bd3, 0-0+)) 7...Nxe7? (7...Bxe7 8.e3 Nf6= or even a bit for Black) 8.e3 White is better as in many lines of this opening, but slipped up later: 8...g6 9.g4! Bg7 10.gxf5 Nxf5 11.Qg4 Ne7 12.Qxe4 0-1 (31) Lautier,J (2658)-Petrosian,T (2600) Paris 2009] 6...h6? [6...g6 7.f3 exf3 8.gxf3 White takes over the center with an eventual e4] 7.Ng6! hxg5 8.Nxh8 If Black thought he was going to pick up that knight... 8...g6
9.h4! g4 10.h5! gxh5 11.Rxh5 Nf6 12.Rh1
Black is quite lost. 12...e3!? The threat of Qd2-g5 was more than Black could stand, so the dice are rolled. 13.Qc1! f4 14.fxe3 d5
A crazy position, but really? Still lost. 15.exf4 [15.e4! Nxe4 16.Nxe4 dxe4 17.Qxf4 is disaster on f7 or f6 17...Be6 18.Qf6 Qd7 19.Rh7 or e7!] 15...Bf5 16.e3 Bg7 17.cxd5 Nexd5 18.Bc4 c6 19.e4? Both players had over 18 minutes left, so it's hard to explain what madness afflicted White here. [19.Qd2+- Time to get that extra rook into the game!] 19...Nxe4 It seems that Black is now drawing, if the "0.00" means anything from Stockfish. 20.Rh5? and now it passes to Black. [20.Bxd5 cxd5 21.Qe3 Qb6 22.Rd1 (22.0-0-0?? Rc8 and the knight never got out. (or right away 22...Qf6) ) ] 20...Nexc3 [20...Qe7!? 21.Rxf5 Qh4+ 22.Kd1 Qh1+ 23.Kc2 Qxg2+ 24.Ne2 Qf3 is still trouble] 21.bxc3 Qf6 Black humanly focuses on the knight. 22.Bxd5 cxd5 23.Qe3+?!
[23.Qa3] 23...Kf8?? [23...Kd7! was the way to do it! Black's king can head to the queenside for safety.] 24.Kd2! Re8
25.Qf2? [25.Qg3 puts key pressure on the g-pawn: 25...Bxh8 26.Re1! Rxe1 27.Qxe1 Black still has 27...Bg6! 28.Rxd5 Qb6 and White is under fire even after 29.f5 Bf7] 25...Bxh8 [25...Be4!] 26.Rah1 [26.Re1 Be4 27.Qg3 Bg7! 28.Qxg4 Qb6 It's White's king again.] 26...Bg7 27.Rg5 Be4 28.Rxg4 Qa6 29.Qg3 Qxa2+ 30.Ke3 Bxg2+ 31.Kd3 Qe2# ecwinslow won by checkmate 0-1
(6) Maximillian Katz (malletpercussion) (1541) - Michael Xiao (swimgrass) (1452) [C10]
Live Chess Chess.com, 09.02.2021
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 The Rubenstein Variation of the French. Black gets free development at the cost of giving White a little space in the center. 4...Be7 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Nxf6+ Bxf6 7.Bc4 Nc6 8.c3 0-0 9.0-0 e5 A good break to open the diagonal for the light-squared bishop and even the battle for the center squares. 10.dxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxe5 Bxe5
12.Qf3? This is a mistake [Interesting was 12.Bxf7+!? Kxf7 13.Qh5+ Ke6 14.f4 Bd6 15.c4 and the black king's position in the center will likely require Black to return the piece.] 12...Qd6? [12...Qh4! 13.g3 Qxc4 simply wins the bishop] 13.g3 Rb8 14.Rd1 Qg6 15.Bf4? A serious oversight. [15.Qe3 gets out of the threatened skewer and attacks a7] 15...Bg4 16.Qe3 Bxf4 17.Qxf4 Bxd1 18.Rxd1
18...Rbd8! Not worrying about the c7 pawn is the right decision. Activating the forces lets Black keep control. 19.Rxd8 Rxd8 20.Qxc7 Rd1+ 21.Kg2 Qc6+! 22.Qxc6 bxc6 swimgrass has simplified to "just" one extra point - exchange for pawn. Yet this is a straightforward win with good technique. The black rook is clearly more powerful than the white bishop. 23.Kf3 Rd2! 24.b4 Rc2 25.Bb3 Rxc3+ 26.Ke4 Kf8 The last important thing for Black to do is activate the king, and swimgrass does that. 27.f4 Ke7 28.Kd4 Rf3 29.Kc5 Rc3+ 30.Kd4 Rc1 31.g4 f6 32.h4 Rf1 33.Ke3 Rh1 34.h5 Kd6 35.Ke4 Re1+ 36.Kf5 Re3 37.Bg8 h6 38.Kg6! Re4! malletpercussion has done a fine job to try for counterplay with the active white king on g6. It's just not enough though. The hungry black rook gets the white pawns. 39.Kxg7 Rxf4 40.Kxh6 Rxg4 41.Bf7 Ke7 42.Bg6 Kf8 43.Kh7 Rxb4 44.h6 Rg4 45.Bf5 Rg5 Careful technique makes it easy. The white king is confined to the h-file so the white pawn can't advance. 46.Bd7 c5 47.Kh8 c4 48.Ba4 c3 49.h7 f5 50.Bc2 f4 51.a4 f3 52.a5 f2 53.Bd3 c2 swimgrass won on time 0-1
SwissSys Standings. 2021 February TNM: 1800+ (Standings (no tiebrk))
|#||Name||ID||Rating||Fed||Rd 1||Rd 2||Total|
|1||GM Aleksandr Lenderman||12787646||2704||alexanderl||W25||W10||2.0|
|2||GM Gadir Guseinov||17343590||2673||gguseinov||W26||W12||2.0|
|3||FM Kyron Griffith||12860484||2504||kyrongriffith||W15||W11||2.0|
|4||IM Josiah Stearman||14006506||2491||josiwales||W16||W13||2.0|
|5||FM Eric Li||15688436||2344||kingandqueen2017||W28||W19||2.0|
|6||IM Elliott Winslow||10363365||2278||ecwinslow||W18||W14||2.0|
|7||GM Jim Tarjan||10991820||2469||tirantes||W27||D8||1.5|
|23||NM Alice Lee||16059648||2200||powerofapoint||L19||H---||0.5|
|26||NM Tom Maser||10490936||1900||talenuf||L2||L18||0.0|
SwissSys Standings. 2021 February TNM: u/1800 (Standings (no tiebrk))
|#||Name||ID||Rating||Fed||Rd 1||Rd 2||Total|
|13||Daniel R Perlov||16465203||1463||Daniel_Perlov||W20||L1||1.0|
GM Gadir Guseinov won the Jan-Feb Thursday Night Marathon after securing a draw against NM Mike Walder in the final round. That draw for Walder also put him in a tie for 2nd place with 4/5, along with IM Elliott Winslow and Vishva Nanugonda, who capitalized by a blunder from Arthur Liou from a losing position to turn things around and win. Congratulations also to under prize winners Bryan Hood, Marina Xiao, and Kevin Sun.
Our next Thursday Night Marathon will begin February 25th, and will go on until March 25th. To register, please follow this link:
Tentative final results are below
SwissSys Standings. Jan-Feb 2021 Thursday Night Marathon: Open (Standings (no tiebrk))
|#||Name||ID||Rating||Fed||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 3||Rd 4||Rd 5||Total||Prize|
|1||GM Gadir Guseinov||17343590||2700||gguseinov||W13||W4||W5||W2||D3||4.5||136.00|
|2||IM Elliott Winslow||10363365||2278||ecwinslow||W14||W10||W11||L1||W7||4.0||63.47|
|3||NM Mike Walder||10345120||2106||FlightsOfFancy||W20||W17||D6||W16||D1||4.0||63.47|
|8||NM Thomas Maser||10490936||1900||talenuf||L23||W22||W15||W18||D5||3.5|
|13||Jeff C Andersen||11296106||1643||zenwabi||L1||W33||L28||W26||W25||3.0|
|16||FM Allan G Savage||10014999||2200||duchamp64||W15||W12||D7||L3||L10||2.5|
|19||Jacob S Wang||17083655||1560||jacobchess857||H---||W37||W29||L11||L6||2.5|
|24||Linu John Alex||13836822||1652||ibalek||L28||W26||L21||X31||F15||2.0|
|37||Jared Michael Ruiz||30106002||unr.||jpoka1||H---||L19||L31||L30||F38||0.5|
|38||Jake Chi Hang Li||17144246||946||TanFlatPupet||L17||L20||L26||L34||F37||0.0|
WIM Dr. Alexey Root has released an article highlighting positions from four games from the recently concluded US Amateur Team West Championship. There were tactics galore in that event, and we are proud that Alexey has given readers the opportunity to enjoy some more games from that event. Read her article by following this link:
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 extraordinaire FM Paul Whitehead.
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: https://www.twitch.tv/mechanicschess
Check out the times here:
FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 2/16: https://www.chess.com/live#r=943710
GM Nick de Firmian Arena Thursdays 5pm-6pm, 2/18: https://www.chess.com/live#r=943711
See you in the arena!
Monday's 4:00-5:30PM - Mechanics' Chess Cafe
Ongoing casual meeting to talk about chess, life, and pretty much everything else of interest. 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: https://www.milibrary.org/chess/chess-cafe
Monday's 6:30-8:00PM - Game Review Class with FM Paul Whitehead
Course Dates: Starting Feb 1 - Monday
Registration Fee: $20/class for Mechanics' member, $25/class for non-member
More information: https://www.milibrary.org/chess/game-review-class-fm-paul-whitehead
Wednesday's 5:00-6:30PM - Free Adult Beginner Class for Mechanics' Members
New session started 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: https://www.milibrary.org/chess/free-adult-beginner-class-mechanics-members
Wednesdays 6:30-8PM -- NEW Class: The Art of Defense! with FM Paul Whitehead
Course Dates: March 3 through April 7 (6 classes)
We all want to attack, but to be comfortable and skillful at defense is just as important.
Learn how to safeguard your king and drum up counter play using chapters and examples taken from The Art of Defense in Chess, by Polugaevsky and Damsky (1988).
Stalemate, Blockade, Trench Warfare, Counterattack, Traps: these are just a few of the concepts we will take up in this six-week course.
Be prepared for a little homework - and become a chess player who's hard to beat!
$150 Mechanics' members. $180 for non-members. Few single class registrations are available -- Registration is needed to receive the zoom link.
More information: https://www.milibrary.org/chess/art-defense-fm-paul-whitehead
The Mechanics' Institute Chess Club will continue to hold regular online events in various forms. Here is the upcoming schedule for players:
Format: 6SS G/35+2
Join Now! Starts February 25: February/March 2021 Thursday Night Marathon
Format: 5SS G/60+5
Any questions? [email protected]
By Judit Sztaray
Presidents Day Chess Camp - Learn about the games of our Presidents!
We are gearing up for another fun 1-day chess camp on Monday, February 15, to celebrate our Presidents and study their chess games! Camps are 3 hours long in the morning from 9AM until 12PM and we have a fun combination of game analysis, discussion, puzzles, tournaments and more.
To register: https://mechanics-institute.jumbula.com/2021OnlineClasses/PresidentsDayChessCamp
Save the date: Mar 29 - Apr 2 - Spring Break Camp - Register: https://mechanics-institute.jumbula.com/2021OnlineClasses/SpringBreakChessCamp
Players have to be part of Mechanics' Group on ChessKid. Need help how to join? Watch the tutorial here: https://youtu.be/kEeMKhpecGY
1) Free daily non-rated tournaments on chesskid.com: https://www.milibrary.org/chess-tournaments/scholastic-online-tournaments-every-day-chesskidcom
Tournaments start at 4PM and players can join the tournaments 30 minutes before the tournament.
- Saturday Feb 13: 4SS G/10+5: https://www.chesskid.com/play/fastchess#t=304397
- Sunday, Feb 14: 5SS G/5+5: https://www.chesskid.com/play/fastchess#t=304398
- Tuesday, Feb 16: 5SS G/5+5: https://www.chesskid.com/play/fastchess#t=336403
- Wednesday, Feb 17: 3SS G/20+0: https://www.chesskid.com/play/fastchess#t=336404
- Thursday, Feb 18: 5SS G/5+5: https://www.chesskid.com/play/fastchess#t=336405
- Friday, Feb 19: 4SS G/10+5: https://www.chesskid.com/play/fastchess#t=336406
2) USCF Online Rated tournaments on chesskid.com: https://www.milibrary.org/chess-tournaments/uscf-online-rated-scholastic-tournaments-2021-chesskidcom
2/15 - Monday 3PM: 6SS G/10+2 Special Event: 2021 Presidents Day Scholastic Championship
2/21 - Sunday 2PM: 8SS G/5+2
Scholastic Game of the Week
Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian
(5) BestMiddleSun (1595) - KindMagneticFist (1435) [D20]
Live Chess ChessKid.com
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 e5 4.Bxc4 exd4 5.exd4 Nf6 6.Nf3 White has the isolated queen pawn but nice active pieces. A common situation for the Queen's Gambit Accepted. 6...Bf5?! This should lead to trouble. Much better is to develop the other bishop to e7 and castle to safety. 7.0-0 This is good, but [7.Qb3 really puts on the pressure. 7...Qe7+ 8.Kd1 Ne4 9.Bg5 Nxg5 10.Re1 Ne6 11.Qxb7 would win material for White.] 7...Bd6?! [7...Be7 8.Qb3 0-0 9.Ne5 would be trouble for Black anyway. The game move should just lose a tempo for development.] 8.Nc3?! This automatic developing move gives Black time to get out of trouble. [8.Re1+! and Black should play 8...Be7 having given White a free developing move 9.Qb3 0-0 10.Ne5 would be even better than the previous note.] 8...0-0 9.Be3 c6 10.Qd2 Re8 11.Rad1 b5 12.Bb3 Na6 13.a3 b4 14.axb4 Bxb4?
25.Nc6! A great move, using all the active pieces to force a quick finish. 25...Nf6 26.Rd8+ Ng8 27.Qe8 Qxc6 28.Qxg8# BestMiddleSun won by checkmate 1-0
Finishing Tactics from the World Championship Matches.
1. Zuckertort - Steinitz 1886.
I am always fascinated by technique in chess: how games are won. I am never tired of watching a slow grind with a miniscule advantage, or the flashy game-stopping shot.
Apart from everything else – hard work, talent, naked ambition – the World Champions possess the finest technique. The very best endgame players, with only a few exceptions, are the World Champions from Paul Morphy to Magnus Carlsen.
The 1st World Championship Match was a bloody affair. After 20 games Steinitz had won 10, lost 5, and 5 were drawn. Steinitz was clearly the better all-round player, but perhaps not tactically. At times he shot himself in the foot:
Solutions at End of Newsletter
Steinitz - Zuckertort, 4th Match Game 1886.
Steinitz played 1.Nxc4?? thinking the d-pawn was pinned? but after 1…dxc4! Qxb7 loses instantly to 2…Rxd1#. The game ended rudely in yet another way: 2.Rxd8 Nxd8. The black queen is defended! After 3.Qe2 Ne6, white resigned.
The following puzzles are not too tough. Test your chess, and learn how to polish off your challenger – or defeat the champion!
1. Steinitz - Zukertort, 2nd Match Game 1886.
Black moves. Hand Steinitz his hat.
2. Zukertort - Steinitz, 3rd Match Game 1886.
White moves. Remove the defender.
3. Zukertort - Steinitz, 5th Match Game 1886.
White moves. Remove the defender!
4. Zuckertort – Steinitz, 7th Match Game 1886.
Black moves. Show Zukertort the door.
5. Zukertort – Steinitz, 13th Match Game 1886.
White moves. Keep it simple.
6. Steinitz – Zukertort, 20th Match Game 1886.
White moves. Black really should have castled…
The Undeserved Win
The great World Champion’s were tremendous competitors and relentless opponents who would wear down an opponent by sheer force of will. Yet they were also artists of the chessboard and would seek through beautiful logic to create elegant themes that led them to victory. Capablanca, Alekhine, Karpov and Fischer left behind a treasure trove of masterful creations.
There is the other way to gain a victory – by any means necessary. I don’t mean cheating as would some of the Soviets in the old days or online trolls today. I mean cheap threats or slimly plans that your opponent might overlook. In short, a swindle. We have recently seen FM Kyron Griffith play a whole queen down for 20 moves, calmly waiting for his opponent to leave open the door of opportunity. Kyron won 250 euros for that best swindle. Now with more online chess and faster time controls there are more of these tricky victories. Paul Whitehead said he had never tried to win like this before but recently also joined the dark side and tried queen on queen - attacking his opponents undefended queen with his undefended queen. He was completely lost and figured this was his best shot. His unwary opponent didn’t consider such a ridiculous move and promptly lost the queen and the game. “It felt good” said Paul, who hopefully won’t continue on the path to evil.
Before the reader passes complete moral judgement I will give two more examples of these “cheap” victories. The first from just a few days ago by the World Champion himself. Magnus is usually very principled on the chessboard, but apparently not always. The second, from long ago, is my most memorable swindle. Perhaps it shows a defect in my moral character, but even 35 years after the game the finish still makes me laugh.
(1) Carlsen,Magnus - Nakamura,Hikaru [D37]
Champions Tour Euro Opera, 07.02.2021
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.a3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 This is a fairly common variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. It has never offered White much chance for an opening advantage, but it's the kind of playable position with good scope of play that Magnus likes in rapid play. 8.b4 Be7 9.e3 a5 10.cxd5 Nxd5 [10...axb4 11.d6!] 11.Nxd5 exd5 12.b5 Nd7 13.Be2 Nc5 14.0-0 a4! Black has full equality despite the isolated pawn. There are good squares for the black pieces. 15.Be5 Nb3 16.Ra2 Be6 17.Nd4 Bd6 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Bb2 Rc8 20.g3 Qd7 21.Bd3 Qf7 22.e4 Bc5 23.exd5 exd5 [23...Bxf2+ 24.Kg2 Nd2 25.Bd4 e5! was interesting. It's still about equal after 26.Rxd2 Qxd5+ 27.Kh3 Qe6+ 28.Kg2 Qd5+] 24.Be5 Rce8 25.Bf4 h6 26.Qg4 Re6 27.h4 h5 28.Qd1 Rf6 29.Kg2 g6 This is somewhat loosening. Black had an interesting exchange sacrifice instead - [29...Rxf4!? 30.gxf4 Nd4] 30.Bh6 Re8 31.Bg5 Rfe6 32.Bc2 The computer doesn't like this move, clearly preferring 32. Bb1 with a slight edge to White. There is no logical reason to keep the white rook on a2 blocked. Yet Magnus has not managed to break down Nakamura's defense by decent logical moves and so plays it cheap, offering him the extremely tempting invasion. 32...Re1?
(2) De Firmian,Nick E (2540) - Chernin,Alexander (2495) [C19]
Tunis Interzonal Tunis (16), 1985
This game sticks in my memory as a moment I couldn't resist the dark side and played it cheap. It was the Interzonal in Tunis and thus a tournament where each game feels important. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 Ne7 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.Nf3 Nbc6 8.Be2 Qa5 9.Bd2 Bd7 10.0-0 Qc7 11.Re1 c4 12.Bf1 h6 13.g3 0-0-0 14.Bh3 Kb8
It was a shock to poor Chernin that now he is getting mated in 2 moves. Surprisingly the white bishop on g2 has joined in the attack. 42...Kb8 43.Qd6+ Black resigned as 43...Ka7 44.Qb6 is mate. An undeserved victory but I was happy anyway. 1-0
1. Steinitz - Zukertort, 2nd Match Game 1886.
1…Bxf3! is perfectly timed. 2.g4 (2.Rxf3 d2!) Be2 3.Ng2 d2 4.ne3 cxb3 46.axb6 Bxg4 0-1. The d-pawn costs white a piece.
2. Zukertort - Steinitz, 3rd Match Game 1886.
1.Rxf6! opened the road in for the white queen. 1-0. If 1…Rxf6 2.Qh4, and mate shortly.
3. Zukertort - Steinitz, 5th Match Game 1886.
1.Rxg7! The target is e6, and 1-0. After 1…Rxg7 2.Rxg7 Kxg7 3.Nxe6+ and 4.Nxc7. White has won a piece.
4. Zukertort - Steinitz, 7th Match Game 1886.
After 1…Be5+ 2.f4 Bxf4+! was the exquisite shot… 3.Qxf4 Qh1+ 4.Kg3 Qg1+! …that sets up this precise finish, and 0-1. After 5.Kh4 Qe1+ 6.Qg3 g5+ white loses the queen.
5. Zukertort - Steinitz, 13th Match Game 1886.
White cashed out with 1.g6+ Kf8 (1…Kf6 is met by the same reply) 2.Rxe7! 1-0.
6. Steinitz - Zukertort, 20th Match Game 1886.
1.Bxh6 Nxh6 2.Rxh6! was a simple combination to end the match. After 2…gxh6 3.Nxf6+ Kf8 4.Nxg4 1-0.
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