Chess Room Newsletter #957 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #957

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #957


February 27, 2021

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

February 2021 TNM Report

The final two rounds of the February 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon saw Grandmaster battles that highlighted the precision and technique that make them a cut above all other chess players. GM Gadir Guseinov, no stranger to coming out on top of the TNM, showed his class in this TNM, as he had to defeat FM Kyron Griffith and GM Jim Tarjan en route to taking sole 1st place with 5.5/6. His game with Griffith was sharp, and he was a bit on the defensive, but a misstep by Kyron let Gadir improve his position and come back for the win. His own over Tarjan in the final round received compliments from Tarjan himself, as he congratulated Gadir's strong technical play in even looking positions. Gadir was able to take first by virtue of Tarjan and Lenderman drawing in theri round 5 game, giving Gadir the half point edge in the final standings. 

In the u/1800 section, Sebby Suarez had a rough final two rounds after 4 perfect rounds, saving a draw in round 5, but losing to Aaron Nicoski, allowing Nicoski to leapfrog over him to a tie for first place with 5/6 along with Michael Jannetta. 

It was an exciting ending to the tournament, and the stream was rewarded with bonus coverage at the end. As we were waiting to Chief TD Judit Sztaray to upload the final results, a game popped up on the broadcast. Since I follow the players on to view their games, games in progress just pop up for viewing. All of a sudden, viewers of the broadcast got treated to a G?3+2 game between GM Gadir Guseinov and GM Daniel Naroditsky! It had all the action you would expect, with Gadir getting down to a won endgame, only to lose on time with each player having seconds left. You can view that game, as well as the rest of the broadcast by following this link:

Here are some games from the championship round, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(1) Daniel Lin (SmilyFace4) (2057) - FM Eric Li (kingandqueen2017) (2091) [D00]
MI February TNM (5.3), 23.02.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 The ever-popular London System (perhaps the "Accelerated London" will catch on). Black meets it classically, bringing out his own bishops. 2...d5 [2...g6 is more and more met by 3.Nc3 looking for e2-e4 and a variation of the Pirc that is no longer thought to be harmless! 3...d5 thwarts that, but now White can play calm-style with 4.e3 (or Jobava-style with 4.Qd2) 4...Bg7 5.Be2 c6 when the most recent game is up there: ½-½ (48) Caruana,F (2823)-Giri,A (2764) Wijk aan Zee 2021] 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nd2 Holding off Nf3 could matter if Qb6 and Qb3 happen 5...Bf5 6.Ngf3 Welcome back to the "classic" London 6...e6 7.Qb3 [Here's a game between one of India's next wave of superstars, and the Bay Area's already established current superstar: 7.Bb5 Bd6 8.Qa4 0-0 9.Bxd6 Qxd6 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Qa3 Nd7 12.Nb3 Rfb8 13.0-0 (White could grab the pawn directly with 13.Nxc5) 13...a5 14.Nxc5 Nxc5 15.dxc5 Qc7 16.b3 e5+/=


17.Rac1 Qe7 18.Rfe1 Bd3 19.Qb2 f6 20.Qd2 Be4 21.c4 Qxc5 22.cxd5 Qxd5 23.Qe2 Bxf3 24.gxf3 a4 25.Red1 Qf7 26.bxa4 Rxa4 27.Rd2 h6 28.h3 Rh4 29.Kh2 Qh5 30.Qf1 Qxf3 31.Qg2 Qxg2+ 32.Kxg2 Rc8 33.Rd7 Ra4 34.Rb1 Kh7 35.Rbb7 Rg8 36.Rb2 Rga8 ½-½, Nihal,S (2620) -Shankland,S (2691) Chess24 Banter Blitz Cup Qual-A Sept 5, 2020] 7...Qc8 Trying to keep the pieces on, but it could run into trouble. [Avoiding the queen exchange that either player could initiate after 7...Qb6] 8.c4!? White's play is very principled: pry open the c-file for a rook! [8.Nh4 is the main move] 8...cxd4


[The computer suggests 8...dxc4 and now the unplayed 9.Qxc4!?] 9.exd4 ["Everybody" takes with the knight: 9.Nxd4] 9...Be7 10.c5 Sometimes this pawn structure can go very well for White -- especially if he gets in b4-b5, while holding Black's ...e5 (and maybe ...b6) at bay. [10.Be2 0-0 11.0-0 Na5 12.Qa4 Nxc4 13.Bxc4 dxc4 14.Nxc4 doesn't impress for either side. 1/2-1/2 (22) Rodriguez Fontecha,M (2244)-Van den Bersselaar,J (2211) Calvia 2011] 10...0-0


11.Bd3?!-/+ [More to the position was 11.Bb5 (e5!) 11...Nh5 12.Be3 Qc7 13.Qc3?! (13.0-0=; 13.h3 Nf6 14.0-0=) 13...Nf4 (13...Nf6!=/+) 14.0-0 is very stable, but White lost the way and the game; 0-1 40, Studnicka,T (2341)-Hollan,P (2301) Czech Republic CZE-chT1W 2020.] 11...Nh5?! [Best was 11...Bxd3 12.Qxd3 b6 Pecking away at White's pawns before can become a nuisance.] 12.Bg3? [Certainly better was 12.Be3 but after 12...b6-/+ Black is still gathering momentum. The key is to answer any cxb6 with ...Rb8! and b-file action.] 12...Bg6?!=/+ [(-2.39) The best move was 12...Bxd3 13.Qxd3 b6-+ and White is in trouble, maybe even lost! Black waits for 0-0 before playing ...Nxg3 of course, but then ...Rb8 is on again.] 13.0-0 Nxg3 14.hxg3


14...b6! 15.Bxg6 hxg6 16.cxb6 Rb8! 17.a3?! [17.Qe3= comes fairly close to even 17...Rxb6 18.Nb3 a5 19.Rfc1 Qa6 20.Rc2] 17...Rxb6 18.Qc3 a5 19.Rfc1 Qb7 20.Rab1 Rb8 21.Rc2 Qa6


22.Ne5?! Black has pressure against the b-pawn and d4, but this overreacts. [22.Qe3=/+ keeps cool.] 22...Nxe5 23.dxe5 a4? [23...Rb5! adds the plan of taking over the c-file, and it's close to too much for White.] 24.Rbc1 Bd8 25.Qd4 Rb5?!= [25...g5 26.g4 g6 27.Nf3 (27.g3 is too much copycat: 27...Kg7 28.Kg2 R6b7 adds ...Bb6 to the mix) ] 26.Rc6?! Further slippage; [26.Nf3 Rb3 27.Qd2 Qd3 28.Qf4 keeps the balance] 26...Qa8? [26...Bb6!-/+ 27.Qc3 Qa7 is awkward] 27.R6c2 Bb6 28.Qd3 Ba7 29.Qc3?! [29.Rb1] 29...Qb7 [29...d4! 30.Qc8+ Rxc8 31.Rxc8+ Qxc8 32.Rxc8+ Kh7 33.Rc4 Rxb2 34.Rxa4 Bc5 35.Ne4 d3 36.Ng5+ (36.Nxc5?? Rb1+ 37.Kh2 d2) 36...Kg8 (36...Kh6 37.Nxf7+ Kh5?? 38.Rh4#) 37.Ra8+ Bf8 38.Rd8 keeps it even!] 30.Nf3


30...Rxb2?? Black "cashes in," except -- with over 14 minutes (to White's 6:10), he misses a nasty tail-end checkmate! [Simply 30...Rc5 31.Qd2 Rbc8 sees Black with what little advantage there is.] 31.Rxb2 Qxb2 32.Qxb2 Rxb2


33.Rc8+ Kh7 34.Ng5+ Kh6 35.Nxf7+ Kh5 36.Rh8+ Kg4 37.Rh4+ Kf5 38.Rf4#


Very pretty. 1-0

(2) GM Jim Tarjan (Tirantes) (2459) - GM Aleksandr Lenderman (AlexanderL) (2733) [D85]
MI February TNM (5.1), 23.02.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.c4 English 1...g6 But which English? 2.d4 No, a Queen's Pawn, Modern Defense 2...Nf6 No, back to normal King's Indian channels 3.Nc3 d5 That is, a Gruenfeld! Alex does play everything, but all in one game? 4.cxd5 The Exchange Variation, certainly still one the toughest tests. 4...Nxd5 5.e3 Mouse-slip? (No, of course not.) But note: the computer is not amused. [5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 is the way it usually goes, when it's British soldiers vs. American revolutionaries. That is, big formal center vs. sniping from every direction.; There are moves that try to get e2-e4 in without any softening of the long diagonal: 5.Bd2 This has been popular at the highest level for a while recently, with some fantastic games.; and even 5.Na4 has something to be said for it, get e4 in without allowing the knight trade.] 5...Bg7 6.Bc4!? Not the most common move! [Kramnik has led the way to a simple and logical, if slight advantage: 6.Nxd5 Qxd5 7.Ne2 0-0 8.Nc3 and, of course, the minions have followed. A recent game went 8...Qd6 (8...Qd8 is still the most frequent) 9.Be2 Rd8 10.0-0 Na6 11.Bd2 c5 12.d5! Nc7 (12...Bxc3?! 13.Bxc3 Qxd5 14.Qa4 is full compensation -- not much else, but what there is, is White's.) 13.e4 e6 14.Bc4?!=/+ 0-1 (35), Kryakvin, D (2594)-Tomczak,J (2605) Molodezhka-POL,, May 2020 (14.Bg5!+/=) ] Perhaps Tarjan has been re-reading the old classics? See next note. 6...Nxc3 [6...Nb6 (less common but on the whole far better scoring) was in the introductory chapter of The 1964 Art of the Middle Game by Kotov and Keres; Golombek translated it to English and sneaked in a game of his own to illustrate planning. 7.Bb3 0-0 8.Nf3 Na6 9.0-0 c5 10.a4 Bg4 11.h3 cxd4 12.exd4 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Qxd4 14.a5! 1-0 (24) Golombek,H-Footner,J England 1963.] 7.bxc3 c5


8.h4 Welcome to the 21st Century! Or is this the 19th Century? In any case, White tosses up the h-pawn, like a neural net Romantic. 8...Nc6 [And, it turns out that Tarjan has played this before! Against far lesser competition, but you can't knock success in the form of a quick rout: 8...h5 9.Nh3 0-0 10.Ng5 Qc7 11.0-0 cxd4


12.Qb3! e5? (12...e6 13.cxd4+/-) 13.Ba3 Rd8 14.Bxf7+ Kh8 15.Bxg6 Rd7 16.Qd1 Kg8 17.Bh7+ Kh8 18.Qxh5 Bf8 19.Bc2+ Kg8 20.Bb3+ Kg7 21.Qh7+ Kf6 22.Ne4# 1-0 (22) Tarjan,J (2381)-Johnson,D (1857) PNWCC Online Masters WOO, July 5 2020.] 9.h5


9...Qc7N Lenderman sets up possible c-file threats while keeping certain options open. [Another flash win was 9...Bf5 10.Ne2 Rc8 11.Ng3?! (11.h6 Bf6 12.Bb3 0-0 13.Ng3 is complicated with chances for both sides) 11...cxd4 12.h6?! (12.Nxf5 gxf5 13.exd4 Nxd4 show it has gone bad for White) 12...Bf6 13.Nxf5 gxf5 14.Qh5


14...Ne5? (14...0-0-+) 15.Bb5+ Kf8? (15...Nc6=) 16.exd4+/- Qa5? Perhaps Black thought he was winning? 17.Qxf5! Wrong guy. 17...Qxc3+ 18.Bd2! Qxa1+ 19.Ke2 1-0. Jumabayev,R (2654)-Eynullayev,A (2227) Titled Tuesday 29th Dec, 2020; And then there was also recently 9...cxd4 10.cxd4 b5


11.Bxf7+?! (11.Bd3!; 11.Be2!) 11...Kxf7 12.Qf3+ Ke8? (12...Bf6 13.Qxc6 Rb8+/=) 13.hxg6 (13.Qxc6+! Bd7 14.Qd5+-) 13...Nxd4?! (13...Bb7!? 14.Qf7+ Kd7 15.Rxh7 Rxh7 16.gxh7 Qh8 still won) 14.Qf7+ Kd7 15.exd4+- Bxd4 16.g7 Bxa1 17.Qd5+ Ke8 18.Qh5+ Kd7 19.Qxb5+ Ke6 20.Qc4+ Kd7 21.Rh5 1-0 Napoli,N (2270)-Gonzalez Rivera,E (2092) TCh-Madrid 2014-15, Mar 8, 2015] 10.Bb3?!+/= Too accommodating? [10.Qf3!? 0-0?! (10...Rf8; 10...e6!?) 11.hxg6 hxg6 12.Qe4! Bf5!? (12...e6 13.Qh4+- is probably lost) 13.Qh4 g5!? 14.Qxg5 e6+/= and Black is finally ready to take on d4] 10...Bf5 complicated... 11.Ne2 [11.Qf3!? c4 12.Bd1 Bd3 13.h6; Now would be a good time to commit to 11.h6!]


11...0-0-0! Yes, that option. And he's not just joking -- Stockfish puts this at the top. The king can always step aside if it feels uncomfortable on the c-file. [11...Rd8 is the more mundane play, when Stockfish 13 jumped on 12.Kf1!? (before finally preferring 12.f3) ] 12.Bb2?!=/+ [12.h6 Certainly there's no longer any reason to keep the hxg6 option open...] 12...e5 [12...Ne5!?; and best is 12...Kb8 awaiting developments.] 13.Rc1?! [13.h6] 13...Rhe8


[13...gxh5! when who knows, the g-file could be Black's second path in.] 14.Kf1!?-/+ Not to be outdone, White atypically solves his king position. [14.0-0 gxh5 15.Ng3 Bg4 16.Qc2 h4 could be trouble over there.] 14...Kb8 15.Kg1 gxh5 [15...Qb6! is that last straw to the attack on d4; White has problems. 16.d5?? c4-+] 16.Rxh5 Bg6 17.Rh3 Qb6-/+ There it is after all. 18.Ba1?!


[18.Ba3!?] 18...cxd4 19.cxd4 exd4 20.Nxd4 Nxd4 21.Bxd4 Bxd4 22.exd4 Rxd4


Black has cashed in and is a clear pawn up. But no clear win; Tarjan defends well and Lenderman misses a chance or two. 23.Qf3 Qd6 24.Qc3 a6 25.Re3 Rxe3 26.Qxe3 Re4 27.Qc3 Rh4?


Missing a tactic. [27...Rd4 might be the best try, and at some point ...f6 should be played.] 28.Qc8+? As does White! [28.Bd5!!= gets the bishop to a better diagonal, with a threat (Qc8+ on b7) thrown in, 28...Rb4 with no easy way forward, if any. (and a trap 28...Qxd5?? 29.Qg3+ is winning) ] 28...Ka7 29.Qc7 Rd4 Black should be happy to trade queens; his king is somewhat less safe, whereas then it could participate in making something out of the extra pawn. [29...Qxc7!? 30.Rxc7 f6 31.Bd5 Rb4 32.Re7 a5! looks to untangle, progress.] 30.Qc3 Rightly reconsidering. 30...h5 [30...f5!?] 31.Qe3 Qb6 32.Rc8 Rd6 The biggest think of the game at 5m13s. Making sure he doesn't get mated! 33.Qe8 Qd4 34.Rc4 [34.Ra8+ Kb6 35.Rc8] 34...Qa1+ 35.Kh2 Re6 36.Qc8 Qe5+ 37.f4 Qd6 Finally Black has loosened up White's king position a bit, so White finally accepts going into a R+B ending. 38.Qc5+ Qxc5 39.Rxc5


39...Rf6 40.Kg3 h4+ 41.Kf3 Bf5 42.Rc7 Be6?! [42...Kb6 43.Rxf7 Rxf7 44.Bxf7 Kc5 45.g4!=] 43.Bxe6 fxe6 [43...Rxe6 44.f5 Rf6 45.Kg4 a5 46.Kg5 Rc6 47.Rxf7 Rc2 48.a4 Rxg2+ 49.Kxh4 Ra2 inevitably draws in some rook vs. pawn ending after Black gives up the rook for White's f-pawn. White's king is the farthest away it could be.] 44.Rh7 White almost has an advantage! But that's not going to happen. Lenderman clamps down on the draw. 44...e5 45.Rxh4 b5 46.Ke4 exf4 47.Rxf4 Re6+ 48.Kd3 Re1 49.a4 bxa4 A tough game all the way. It remains to be seen if Lenderman had a way to win somewhere when it was QRB and an extra pawn. In any case, Tarjan kept a clear head and traded sensibly, reaching a drawn rook ending. 1/2-1/2

(3) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2638) - GM Jim Tarjan (Tirantes) (2447) [B17]
MI February TNM (6.1), 23.02.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.c3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bc4 Qc7 8.Qf3 Bg4 [8...e6 9.Bf4 Bd6 10.Ne2 Bxf4 11.Qxf4 Qxf4 12.Nxf4 b6 13.0-0-0 Ke7 14.Rhe1 Rd8 15.Nd3 Bb7 16.f4 Kf8 17.g3 Rac8 18.Ne5 Nd7 19.f5 Nxe5 20.Rxe5 exf5 21.Rxf5 Rc7 22.Rg1 Re8 23.Rgf1 Ree7 24.a4 Bc8 25.R5f4 Be6 1/2-1/2 (25) Guseinov,G (2665)-Bacrot,E (2673) INT 2020] 9.Qg3 Qxg3 10.hxg3 Bf5 [10...e6 11.Nf3 Bd6 12.Ne5 Bf5 13.f3 Nd7 14.Bf4 Nxe5 15.dxe5 Bc7 16.0-0-0 Rd8 17.Bb3 Bg6 18.Rxd8+ Kxd8 19.Bc2 Bxc2 20.Kxc2 Kc8 21.g4 h6 22.Rh5 Rg8 23.Be3 b6 24.f4 c5 25.Kd3 Rd8+ 26.Ke2 Kd7 27.c4 Kc6 28.Rh1 b5 29.cxb5+ Kxb5 30.Rc1 Bb6 31.b3 a5 32.Rc4 Ra8 33.Kd3 Rd8+ 34.Ke2 Rh8 35.Rc3 Ra8 36.a4+ Kc6 37.Rd3 Rd8 38.Rxd8 1/2-1/2 (38) Sutovsky,E (2657)-Harikrishna,P (2672) Wijk aan Zee NED 2010] 11.f3 [11.Ne2 e6 12.f3 Nd5 13.g4 Bg6 14.Nf4 Nxf4 15.Bxf4 Kd7 16.Ke2 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Kxd6 1/2-1/2 (17) Ivanchuk,V (2740)-Karpov,A (2775) Dortmund GER 1995] 11...e6 12.g4 Bg6 13.Ne2


13...Kd7!?N [Predecessor: 13...Bd6 14.Bf4 Ke7 15.Bxd6+ Kxd6 16.Nf4 Nd5 17.Bxd5 cxd5 18.Kd2 f6 19.Rh3 Bf7 20.Re1 h6 21.Nh5 Rhg8 22.Re3 a5 23.Rh1 Rae8 24.Rhe1 Re7 25.R1e2 b6 26.Re1 Ree8 27.R1e2 Re7 28.Re1 1/2-1/2 (28) Zivkovic,V (2358)-Tica,S (2389) Mali Losinj 2017] 14.Bf4 Nd5


15.Bxd5 Rather a surprising decision! But Guseinov was half a point ahead of the field, and was content to "play for two results" -- and he must have know that Tarjan was no has-been but still a dangerous force to be reckoned with (reference Tarjan-Kramnik, Isle of Man 2017!) 15...cxd5 16.Kd2 Be7 17.Be3 b5 [17...h6 to save the bishop against Nf4] 18.a3 a5 Black pursues the Minority Attack, usually one has rooks there first... 19.Nf4 Rhc8 [19...f6!? when White has to grab the bishop now or worry about it stepping to f7.] 20.Nxg6 hxg6 21.Rh7 Rg8= [21...Rh8 is equally equal but a transparent trap: 22.Rah1 (22.Rxg7?? Ke8!-+) 22...Rxh7 23.Rxh7 Rg8= Tarjan might have wanted to have both rooks on the board to keep his own winning chances alive (he was half a point behind Guseinov).] 22.Kd3 Bd6?!+/= [He still has 22...Rh8=; And 22...a4 would be a cold shower to either player's winning chances.] 23.Bd2 [Right away 23.a4! doesn't let Black lock it up 23...b4 24.c4! as in the note below.] 23...Kc6 [Last chance for 23...a4] 24.a4! bxa4 Tarjan thought for over four minutes on this important decision. [Guseinov wanted to be able to meet 24...b4 with 25.cxb4= and a protected passed pawn, (but 25.Rc1!?+/= and c4 is a different sort of endgame activity.) although after 25...Bxb4 26.Bxb4 axb4 27.Rc1+ (27.Kc2!? Rac8 28.Kb3 Kb6 Black keeps getting counterplay.) 27...Kd6 28.b3 Rac8! 29.Rhh1 g5 is a standoff.; 24...Rab8!? 25.axb5+ Rxb5 26.Kc2 e5!? might be Black's best line: 27.dxe5 Bxe5 A bishop on the long diagonal (covering g7, trying to get the R/g8 into the game) isn't permanent, but does White really want to boot it with f4/g5?] 25.Rxa4+/= White now has a pretty good result on the queenside, with various possibilities against the a-pawn and b3/c4 as well. (Note the bishop indirectly aiming at a5!) 25...Rab8 26.Kc2 Kb5 27.b3 Ra8 28.Rh1 Bc7 29.Rha1


The a-pawn is a definite problem. 29...Rh8?! Counterplay, but it turns out to be not enough. [Better defensive chances were to be had with 29...Kc6+/=; or 29...Ra7+/= 30.c4+ dxc4 31.bxc4+ Kc6 32.Bxa5?? Rga8-+] 30.c4+ Kc6 31.Bxa5 Bxa5 32.Rxa5 Rxa5 33.Rxa5 dxc4 [33...Rh2 34.Ra7 Rxg2+ 35.Kd3 f6 36.Re7! Kd6 37.Rxg7 (so that c5+ is a free move) is getting to be won for White.] 34.bxc4 Rh2 [34...Kb6 35.Ra2 lets White hold g2] 35.Ra7 f5 36.Rxg7 fxg4 37.Kd3 [37.fxg4? Rxg2+ 38.Kd3 Rxg4=] 37...Rxg2 38.Rxg6 gxf3 39.Rxe6+ with a standard win 39...Kd7 40.Rf6 f2 41.Ke3 Rg3+ 42.Kxf2 Rc3 43.c5 Rd3 44.Rd6+ Kc7 45.Ke2 Rc3 46.Kd2 Ra3 47.Kc2 Rh3 48.Rb6 Rg3 49.Rb3 Rg1 50.Kd3 Rc1 51.Ke4 Rh1 52.Kd5 Rg1 53.Rh3 Rg5+ 54.Kc4 Rg1 55.Rh7+ 1-0

(4) FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2313) - GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2626) [E76]
MI February TNM (5.2), 23.02.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 Kyron has some experience with the Four Pawn King's Indian: 3-0 in play. But... 5...0-0 6.Nf3 Nobody has played 6...e5!?


against him. This is a Guseinov specialty, with five or so games played with it since 2015. [Opening lore has for ages said Black has to prepare ...e5 with 6...Na6 and indeed Guseinov played this a couple times back in 2013 or so, with a win and a loss, both against Nguyen.; 6...c5 7.d5 e6 is the more traditional reaction, and could come from the Benoni move order.] 7.fxe5 Being an odd-numbered round the pairing was up for a day, and Kyron could have seen that there was a good chance this is how Guseinov would play. So is this a preparation? If so, it was the sort that could easily backfire. [7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 (8.Nxe5 Qxd1+ 9.Kxd1 Na6 10.Be2 Rd8+ 11.Kc2 Nxe4 12.Nxe4 Bf5 13.Bf3 Nc5 14.Re1 Bxe5 15.fxe5 Rd4 16.Kc3 Rd3+ 17.Kc2 Rd4 18.Kc3 Rd3+ 19.Kb4 Na6+ 20.Ka5 b6+ 21.Kxa6 Bc8+ 22.Kb5 Bd7+ 23.Ka6 Bc8+ 24.Kb5 Bd7+ 25.Ka6 ½-½ (25) Mamedyarov,S (2752) -Svidler,P (2746) Fide GP, Baku 2008) 8...Rxd8 9.Nxe5 Na6 10.Be2 resembles the Exchange Variation of the Classical King's Indian (5.Nf3/6.Be2), but Black does pretty well afte 10...Nc5 11.Bf3 Be6 (or 11...Nfd7!?) 12.Nd5 (12.Be3!?) 12...Nfxe4N (12...Nfd7 is mostly seen, very well for Black) 13.Nxc7 Bxe5 14.Nxe6 Bxb2 15.Bxb2 fxe6 and on to a quick win: 0-1 (26) Potterat,M (2129)-Guseinov,G (2643) Zuerich Chess Challenge op 6th, 2017] 7...dxe5 8.d5 White tries to keep a lid on the center, but it's hard to make something of it. It's no surprise that Guseinove plays the highest-scoring line -- or is it the highest scoring line because Guseinov plays it! 8...Na6 Often reached via the 6...Na6 move order, so there are a few hundred games here. 9.Bd3 Computers favor this slightly over 9.Qc2; [9.Be2 c6 10.0-0 Nc5 (10...cxd5 Varying from his own 11.cxd5 Qb6+ 12.Kh1 Ng4 13.Qe1 Bd7!?N 14.h3 Ne3 15.Bxe3 Qxe3 with an easy game: 0-1 (38) Suleymanli,A (2032) -Guseinov,G (2645) AZE-ch 71st, Baku Mar 19, 2016) 11.Nd2 a5 12.Kh1 a4 13.Rb1 cxd5 14.cxd5 Bd7 15.b4 axb3 16.axb3 b5 17.b4 Na4 18.Nxa4 Rxa4 19.Bd3 Black was doing okay but started to drift; 1-0 (44) Jobava,B (2603)-Guseinov, G (2665) World op 48th (online) ICC Aug 8, 2020] 9...c6


The East German tactician and GM Rainer Knaak gave this a "!" in an article in 1995, and Guseinov has stayed loyal to it. 10.0-0 cxd5 [He did vary with 10...Nh5 in a blitz game: 11.Kh1 Bd7 12.Be3 Qe7 13.Qd2 Nc5 14.Bc2 Na6 Not very convincing! 15.a3 b6 16.b4 with a won game for White -- but Gadir won anyway: 0-1 (33) Johannessen,L (2487)-Guseinov,G (2646) EU Blitz ch, Minsk 2015] 11.cxd5 This is typical King's Indian: the computers make White the high side of plus over equal, +0.55 or so. But in practice Black so often breaks out in a tactical firefight that it turns into anyone's game. Guseinov tries to play the standard Grandmaster playbook: as White, slight advantage in clearcut positions, as Black, head for murky complications. 11...Ne8 Played 29 years ago, in a game mentioned in that Knaak article. And it's not surprising: Black logically heads for the ideal outpost d6, and frees the f-pawn to advance. [Very noteworthy is this fairly recent sample, in a big tournament, against an already established up-and-coming superstar: 11...Nc5 12.Be3 b6 13.Kh1 Bg4 14.h3 Bxf3 15.Rxf3 Nxd3 16.Qxd3 Ne8 17.Raf1 Nd6 18.Nb5 Qd7 19.Nxd6 Qxd6 20.g4 Rac8 21.Kg2 Rc7 22.R1f2 Qb4 The longer they look the less the computers think White has here, definitely something -- but Gadir held the draw, by sending in confusion: 23.Bg5 Rd7 24.Rc2


24...f5!? 25.gxf5 gxf5 26.Rxf5 Rxf5 27.exf5 Qd4 Still: computers +-, human draw.½-½ (72), Dubov, D (2690)-Guseinov,G (2666) WCh (rapid), Moscow Dec 27, 2019; Gadir tried 11...Qd6 a few years ago: 12.Kh1 Bg4 (12...Bd7 13.Nd2 Rac8 14.Nc4 Qe7 15.Bg5 h6 16.d6 Qe6 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Na5 Bg5 19.Nxb7 Nc5 20.Nxc5 Rxc5 21.Bc2 Rc6 22.Bb3 Qxd6 23.Ba4 Qxd1 24.Raxd1 Rxc3 25.Rxd7 Rc4 26.Rxa7 Rxe4 27.Bb3 Re2 28.Raxf7 Rxf7 29.Bxf7+ Kg7 30.b4 e4 31.Bc4 Rb2 32.Rf7+ Kh8 33.Rf8+ Kg7 34.Rf7+ Kh8 35.Rf8+ Kg7 36.Rf7+ Kh8 37.Rf8+ 1/2-1/2 (37) Riazantsev,A (2628)-Iljiushenok,I (2539) Sochi 2020) 13.h3 Bd7 14.Be3 Nh5 15.Kh2 f5 16.Nd2 f4 17.Bf2 Kh8 18.Nc4 Qe7 19.Qb3 Nc5 20.d6 Qg5 21.Bxc5 Qg3+ 22.Kh1 Bxh3 23.Qc2 Be6 24.Bf2 Qg5 25.Nd5 Ng3+ 26.Kg1 Qh4 27.Bc5 Qh1+ 28.Kf2 Qh4 29.Kg1 Rac8 30.b4 Qh1+ 31.Kf2 Qh4 32.Kg1 b6 33.d7 bxc5 34.dxc8Q Rxc8 35.Nd6 Rd8 36.Nb7 Rxd5 37.Nxc5 Bg4 38.Rac1 Qh1+ 39.Kf2 Qh4 40.Kg1 Rd8 41.b5 Qh1+ 42.Kf2 Qh4 43.Kg1 Bf6 44.Bc4 Qh1+ 45.Kf2 Qh4 46.Kg1 Qh1+ 47.Kf2 Nxf1 48.Rxf1 Bh4+ 0-1 (48) gmmoranda (2727)-Guseinov,G (2689) 2018] 12.Kh1?! [12.Qe2 (The only move in Knaak's article) 12...Nc5 went five wins for Black and a draw, so players are looking elsewhere.; 12.Be3 looks stronger and was played not so long ago: 12...Nd6 13.Qa4 Nc7 14.Qa3 b6 15.Nd2 (15.Rae1!?; 15.Rac1!?) 15...Re8 16.Qb3 f5 17.a4 f4 18.Bf2 g5 Massive storms are ahead: 1-0 (41) 78, Indjic,A (2523)-Damljanovic,B (2566) Subotica 2014. White should strike now with 19.Nc4 Bf8 20.a5 and again: some degree of advantage, but Black is still with resources.] 12...Nd6 13.Bg5 f6 14.Bh4 Qe8


[14...Qd7!? Since Black is intending ...Nc5, ...b6 and ...Ba6, this could be the better square; Stockfish solves the last undeveloped piece with just 14...Bg4 and not so far off equality in its evaluation.] 15.Qe2N White somewhat fumbles here and lets Black coordinate. [Previously 15.Nd2 Nc5 16.Nc4 got rid of the key offensive/ defensive knight on d6 with some advantage: 16...Qe7 (16...Nb5!? 17.Nxb5 Qxb5 18.a4 Qb3 19.Qxb3 Nxb3 20.Ra3 Nc5 21.Bc2 and Black still hasn't developed nor equalized) 17.Nxd6 Qxd6 18.Nb5 Qd7 19.d6?! (19.Rc1!+/-) 19...Kh8 20.Rc1 1/2-1/2 (20) Gretarsson,H (2544)-McShane,L (2438) Reykjavik 2000] 15...Nc5 16.Bc2?! [16.Nb5 remains even after some exchanges.] 16...b6=/+ 17.b4 Ba6 [17...Ncb7!?] 18.Qd1?! [18.Qd2=] 18...Nd7 Guseinov spent an unheard-of six minutes on this move! [18...Ncb7 in fact is a good alternative, but how many pieces can go to c4?] 19.Bd3 Bxd3 20.Qxd3 Rc8?! [20...a6=/+ and Black is ready for aggression, with ...f5, ...Bh6, ...Rc8 in some order.] 21.Nb5! Now White is no worse 21...Nxb5 22.Qxb5 Bh6=


23.a4 Rf7 24.a5 bxa5 25.Rxa5 Rb8?! [25...Nb6 26.Qxe8+ Rxe8 remains solid, if currently all defense.] 26.Qa4 [26.Qc4!?; 26.Qc6!? even] 26...Bf8 27.Rb1 Nb6 28.Qa2 Nc8 29.Ra6 Nd6 There is always a knight on d6 and the e-pawn attack. 30.Nd2=


30...Rbb7? Various counterattacks were preferable: [30...Qb5; 30...Rc8] 31.Nc4?? (after not quite 3 minutes) White had almost twice the time (18:26 vs. 10:35) but finds the wrong way to increase the attack on the key square d6, overlooking or miscalculating the subsequent tactics. [31.Bf2! Heading for c5 with no loose pawns! Black is uncomfortable still, to say the least.] 31...Nxe4 Of course. 32.Qc2 f5 33.Re6 Qc8! [33...Qb5 also imperils the knight and the d-pawn, but White has resources: 34.Rxe5 (34.Nxe5 Rfc7 35.Rc6 Bd6 36.Bd8 Rxc6 37.Qxc6 (37.dxc6?? Qxe5-+ threatens mate!) 37...Bxe5 38.Qe6+ Rf7 39.Qxe5 Qd3=/+ 40.Re1 Qc3 41.Qxc3 Nxc3 42.Be7 Nxd5=/+ isn't so bad) 34...Rfc7] 34.Rc6 Qb8-/+


Black attacks White's weak pawns now. 35.Bg3?! [35.Rd1!? Rxb4 36.d6! and White's d-pawn wins material! Black still has an advantage though: 36...Qe8 37.Nxe5 Qxe5 38.d7 Rb8! 39.d8Q (39.Rc8 Rxd7 40.Qa2+ (40.Rxd7 Rxc8 41.Qxc8 Qa1+) 40...Rf7 stays a piece up) ] 35...Rxb4 36.Rc1 Rfb7 37.Na5 [37.Bxe5 Rxc4 38.Bxb8 Rxc2 39.R1xc2 Rxb8 will win with some care.] 37...Rb2 38.Qd1 Rd2 39.Qxd2 Out of frustration, but it isn't close. 39...Nxd2 40.Nxb7 Qxb7 41.Bxe5 Qb5 42.Bd4 Nb3 One can learn a lot about the King's Indian, and attack and defense, through study of this game. Guseinov didn't buckle, and (with a bit of tactical magic) grabbed the moment when it was offered. Griffith kept up the pressure until finally stumbling. 0-1

(5) John Hartmann (john_hartmann) (1661) - Nicholas Weng (ninjaforce) (1980) [D85]
MI February TNM (6.9), 23.02.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Bb5+ This move is becoming popular in the Exchange Grunfeld. It leads to early tactics. 8...Nc6 9.d5 Qa5 10.Rb1 Bxc3+ 11.Bd2


Black has snatched a pawn but must deal with the pin on the c6 knight. 11...a6 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.dxc6 Be6 14.Bxc3 [Previously seen was 14.Rc1 Bb4 15.0-0 Bxd2 16.Qxd2 Qxd2 17.Nxd2 0-0-0 18.Nb3 Bxb3 19.axb3 Rd6 20.Rxc5 Kc7 21.Ra1 Rb8 22.e5 Rxc6 23.Rxc6+ Kxc6 24.Rxa6+ Kd5 25.Ra7 Rxb3 26.f4 Ke6 27.Ra6+ Kf5 28.Ra7 Kxf4 29.Rxe7 Rb1+ 30.Kf2 Rb2+ 31.Kg1 Rb1+ 32.Kf2 Rb2+ 33.Kg1 Rb1+ 34.Kf2 Rb2+ 35.Kg1 Rb1+ 1/2-1/2 (35) Andreikin,D (2726)-Vitiugov,N (2722) Sochi 2020] 14...Qxc3+ 15.Qd2 Qxd2+?! Now White gets a pleasant endgame. Preferable was [15...Qc4 causing White trouble to castle. Chances would be about even.] 16.Kxd2


16...Rc8N [White scored a quick victory after 16...Bxa2 17.Rb7 Be6 18.Rc1 Bc8 19.Rxc5 f6 20.Rb6 a5 21.c7 Kd7 22.e5 Rf8 23.e6+ 1-0 (23) Korinek,J (1721)-Salazar Moran,A (1503) LSS email 2011] 17.Rb6 Kd8 18.Rxa6?! This lets Black off the hook. [18.Kc3! Kc7 19.Rb7+! Kxc6 20.Rhb1 Kd6 21.Ra7 would be a clear advantage for White. The rook on the 7th is stong and the black king is in danger, being surrounded by the white forces.] 18...Kc7 19.Rc1 Ra8 20.Rxa8 Rxa8 21.Rxc5 Rxa2+ 22.Ke3 Ra3+ 23.Ke2 Bg4 24.Rc2 h5 25.h3 Bxf3+ 26.gxf3 Ra6 Now we are headed for an even pawn king endgame. 27.Ke3 e5 28.Rc1 Rxc6 29.Rxc6+ Kxc6 30.f4 exf4+ [30...Kd6 is also just even] 31.Kxf4 Kd6 32.e5+ Kd5 33.h4 Kd4?!


[Black is playing agressively and gets into some trouble. Perhaps he didn't see White's next move. 33...Ke6 34.Ke4 f6 35.f4 fxe5 36.fxe5 Kf7 37.Kf4 (37.Kd5 Ke7 38.e6 g5 39.hxg5 h4) 37...Ke6 is an easy draw] 34.e6! fxe6 35.Kg5 now the white king invades and Black is on the edge 35...Ke4 36.Kxg6


36...Kf4? [36...Kf3 37.Kxh5 Kxf2 38.Kg5 e5 39.Kf5 Kf3! holds the draw. Black either supports his own pawn after 40. h5 e4 or wins the last white pawn after 40. Kxe5 Kg4] 37.Kxh5 Kf5 38.Kh6 Kf6 39.f4 White will get a pawn through to queen. An excellent king ending by John Hartmann. 1-0

(6) Sebby Suarez (SebbyMeister) (1770) - Michael Jannetta (GM_Fobby_Bischer) (1725) [B22]
MI February TNM u1800 (5.1), 23.02.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2! [Better than 5.d4 Nf6 6.Be3 cxd4 7.cxd4 Bxf3 8.gxf3 e6 9.Nc3 Qa5 10.Bb5+ Nc6 11.0-0 Bb4 which was very comfortable for Black in Katz,A (2427)-Quesada Perez,Y (2568) Las Vegas 2019] 5...e5 6.h3 Bh5 7.g4 Bg6 8.Qb3?! [Better is to advance in the center now with 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 Bb4+ 10.Nc3 and White has the opening advantage] 8...Qxb3 9.axb3 Nc6 10.Bb5 Bd6!N


[Better than 10...Be4?! 11.Ke2 Bd6 12.d3 Bxf3+ 13.Kxf3 Nge7 14.Nd2 0-0 15.Ne4 with a big advantage for White, De Oliveira,W (1335)-Brusamolin,V (1969) Curitiba 2018] 11.Na3 Nge7 12.Nc4?! [White is ok after 12.Nh4 Be4 13.Rg1 Bd5 14.d3] 12...0-0-0! 13.Na5?! [13.Nh4] 13...Nxa5 14.Rxa5 a6 15.Be2 h5 [It would have been strong to centralize here with 15...Rhe8 16.d3 e4 17.dxe4 Bxe4] 16.gxh5 Bxh5 17.d3 Rdg8 18.Be3 f5 19.Ng5 [19.Bxc5 Nc6 20.Bxd6 Nxa5 21.Nxe5 Nxb3] 19...Nc6 20.Ra4 Bxe2 21.Kxe2 Black has a clear advantage in the ending with his forces working together better and White isolated h and f pawns. 21...Rh5 22.Nf3 f4 23.Bd2 Kd7 24.Raa1 g5 25.Rag1 Ke6 26.Rg4 Be7 27.Rhg1 [27.h4? Rgh8 makes use of the pin] 27...Kf5?! [27...Rxh3 28.Nxg5+ Bxg5 29.Rxg5 Rxg5 30.Rxg5 Rh1 would have kept a good edge for Black] 28.h4! making the weak h-pawn useful 28...Na5 29.hxg5?! [29.b4 cxb4 30.cxb4 Nb3 31.hxg5] 29...Nxb3 30.g6?! [better to challenge on the h-file with 30.Rh4 though Black is still better after 30...Rgh8! 31.Rxh5 Rxh5 32.g6 Rh8] 30...Rh3! 31.Ng5 Rxg6 32.Nxh3?! [32.Rxf4+ exf4 33.Nxh3 f3+ 34.Kd1 Rxg1+ 35.Nxg1 Nxd2 36.Kxd2 Kf4 is still very good for Black as the white knight is stuck] 32...Rxg4 33.Rxg4 Kxg4 34.Ng1 Nxd2 35.Kxd2 Black is simply winning this endgame 35...b5 36.c4 bxc4 37.dxc4 Bf6 38.b3 e4 39.Ke2 Bd4 40.Ke1 e3 41.fxe3 Bxe3 42.Ne2 f3 43.Nc3 Kg3 44.Kf1 Kf4 45.Nd5+ Ke4 46.Ke1 Kd3 47.Kf1 Bd4 48.Nc7 a5 49.Ne6 Kc3 50.Ke1 f2+ [50...Be3] 51.Kf1 Kxb3 52.Nxd4+ cxd4 53.c5 d3 54.Kxf2


54...Kc2?? A tragedy! [54...d2 55.Ke2 Kc2 56.c6 d1Q+ is very simple] 55.c6 55...d2 56.c7 d1Q Critical move. 57.c8Q+ Kb2 58.Qh8+ Kb1 59.Qg7?! Qd2+?! [59...a4] 60.Kf3 a4 61.Qb7+ Qb2 62.Qe4+ Ka2? [The last chance was 62...Qc2 holding onto the a-pawn] 63.Qxa4+ Qa3+ 64.Qxa3+ Kxa3 Game drawn. Quite a struggle! 1/2-1/2

Final standings are here. Congratulations to all the participants and to the winners!

SwissSys Standings. 2021 February TNM: 1800+

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 GM Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2673 gguseinov W31 W6 W23 D2 W9 W4 5.5
2 GM Aleksandr Lenderman 12787646 2704 alexanderl W13 W10 W22 D1 D4 W6 5.0
3 Daniel Lin 15176393 2009 smilyface4 W17 L22 W16 W24 W5 D9 4.5
4 GM Jim Tarjan 10991820 2469 tirantes W28 D7 W14 W5 D2 L1 4.0
5 FM Eric Li 15688436 2344 kingandqueen2017 W29 W25 W9 L4 L3 W15 4.0
6 Arthur Liou 12906142 2034 artliou W21 L1 W19 W12 W11 L2 4.0
7 David Askin 13776967 2023 david_askin W8 D4 W10 L9 D15 W14 4.0
8 Max Hao 16083648 1761 joseph_truelsons_fan L7 W28 L11 W19 W24 W12 4.0
9 FM Kyron Griffith 12860484 2504 kyrongriffith W11 W24 L5 W7 L1 D3 3.5
10 Alan Finkelstein 14958842 2066 stratus_junior W20 L2 L7 W25 W18 D11 3.5
11 Jeffery Wang 16291100 1890 twangbio L9 W26 W8 W23 L6 D10 3.5
12 Cailen Melville 14006141 1940 mangonel W27 L23 W25 L6 W26 L8 3.0
13 Jonah Busch 12469525 1934 kondsaga L2 L14 W29 L26 W25 W27 3.0
14 Guy Argo 12517167 1928 GuyArgo H--- W13 L4 D17 W27 L7 3.0
15 Javier Silva 16089208 1889 j3chess24 L22 W21 D17 W27 D7 L5 3.0
16 John R Hartmann 12552251 1765 john_hartmann H--- H--- L3 D28 D17 W24 3.0
17 Sanjeev Anand 14436451 1757 chessp1234 L3 W29 D15 D14 D16 D18 3.0
18 Chelsea Zhou 15239016 1869 mwncklmann H--- H--- L24 W21 L10 D17 2.5
19 Ranen Lardent 12614986 1820 dashrndrx L23 W31 L6 L8 D21 W26 2.5
20 Alexander Perlov 16465198 1803 TNM2021 L10 H--- L27 H--- W29 H--- 2.5
21 Philip Gerstoft 12913356 1767 pgstar3 L6 L15 W31 L18 D19 W28 2.5
22 IM Josiah Stearman 14006506 2491 josiwales W15 W3 L2 U--- U--- U--- 2.0
23 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2278 ecwinslow W19 W12 L1 L11 U--- U--- 2.0
24 Nicholas Weng 15499404 2056 ninjaforce W26 L9 W18 L3 L8 L16 2.0
25 Vishva Nanugonda 16380312 1817 3ke31-0 W30 L5 L12 L10 L13 W29 2.0
26 Kevin Fong 17254586 1783 chessappeals L24 L11 W28 W13 L12 L19 2.0
27 David Rakonitz 12931024 1622 mechanjin L12 B--- W20 L15 L14 L13 2.0
28 Stewart Katz 12458563 1835 knvsback L4 L8 L26 D16 B--- L21 1.5
29 Adam Mercado 16571026 1831 a-boy415 L5 L17 L13 B--- L20 L25 1.0
30 NM Alice Lee 16059648 2200 powerofapoint L25 H--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.5
31 NM Tom Maser 10490936 1900 talenuf L1 L19 L21 H--- U--- U--- 0.5

SwissSys Standings. 2021 February TNM: u/1800

# Name ID Rating Fed Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total
1 Aaron Nicoski 12797931 1789 kingsmasher35 D2 W26 W12 D3 W6 W4 5.0
2 Michael Jannetta 15172933 1166 gm_fobby_bischer D1 W28 W25 W24 D4 W5 5.0
3 Marina Xiao 16380642 1493 programmingmax W30 W18 F20 D1 W11 W9 4.5
4 Sebby Suarez 16875347 1183 sebbymeister W11 W19 W9 W5 D2 L1 4.5
5 Patrick Donnelly 12716964 1635 thedarkbishop W14 W6 W7 L4 W18 L2 4.0
6 Daniel R Perlov 16465203 1463 Daniel_Perlov W22 L5 W30 W20 L1 W17 4.0
7 Jahaan Ansari 21004356 1446 jah23 W17 W12 L5 L18 W26 W13 4.0
8 Ethan Sun 16964125 1337 sfdeals W27 L9 L22 W15 W24 W18 4.0
9 Nursultan Uzakbaev 17137317 1513 rimus11 W21 W8 L4 D11 W12 L3 3.5
10 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 1151 andrewaballantyne L12 W17 L11 D21 W29 W22 3.5
11 Rajtilak Jagannathan 30109752 unr. rtindru L4 W16 W10 D9 L3 W20 3.5
12 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1679 giorgostsolias W10 L7 L1 W22 L9 W21 3.0
13 Paul Krezanoski 16897133 1293 pjkrizzle L18 W29 H--- H--- W25 L7 3.0
14 Bruce Hedman 17344551 1037 bruce_hedman L5 L22 W29 L17 W30 W25 3.0
15 Justin Brunet 30055583 1026 night_breeze L25 L23 W28 L8 W31 W24 3.0
16 Adithya Chitta 16695036 976 adichi L19 L11 W27 L25 W23 W26 3.0
17 Shiv Sohal 30032729 861 dribbler23 L7 L10 W31 W14 W19 L6 3.0
18 Austin Bourdier 30032406 unr. austin809 W13 L3 W26 W7 L5 L8 3.0
19 Nicholas Brown 12446259 1495 nmbrown2 W16 L4 F23 H--- L17 W29 2.5
20 Michael Xiao 16380636 1363 swimgrass W23 W25 F3 L6 D22 L11 2.5
21 Jerry Li 16551291 977 figsnoring L9 W27 L24 D10 X28 L12 2.5
22 Sean Wu 16802870 907 dum2020areeews L6 W14 W8 L12 D20 L10 2.5
23 Samuel Brown 16380615 673 comfyqueso L20 W15 F19 H--- L16 W28 2.5
24 Reka Sztaray 14656444 1533 coachreka H--- H--- W21 L2 L8 L15 2.0
25 Maximillian Katz 13994425 1515 malletpercussion W15 L20 L2 W16 L13 L14 2.0
26 Ian Liao 16738735 1190 victor6688 W31 L1 L18 W30 L7 L16 2.0
27 Abhirup Mukherjee 17149023 672 phantom_beast23 L8 L21 L16 L29 B--- W30 2.0
28 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1446 echecsmike D29 L2 L15 W31 F21 L23 1.5
29 Cleveland Lee 30037403 812 vincitore51745 D28 L13 L14 W27 L10 L19 1.5
30 Charvi Atreya 16816706 944 charvii L3 W31 L6 L26 L14 L27 1.0
31 Aidan Cumbo 30118987 unr. worsepot L26 L30 L17 L28 L15 B--- 1.0

February Blitz Championship Report

We began the first of our new monthly blitz championship last Saturday night, with most of the registrants joining just houra before it was to start. Though we had 23 players, it was very top heavy, as GM Aleksandr Lenderman, FM Jason Liang, FM Eric Li, FM Kyron Griffith, and NM Mike Sailer were among the participants. Time control was G/5+2 and 8 rounds, and GM Aleksandr Lenderman was the winner with 7.5/8. Fortune and skill were definitely on Lenderman's side, as he escaped near defeat at the hands of FM Eric Li to turn things around and win. He also saved a draw against FM Jason Liang, where he was worse for most of the game, taking advantage of Liang's time pressure. 

Here are the games, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(7) GM Aleksandr Lenderman (AlexanderL) (2779) - FM Eric Li (kingandqueen2017) (2330) [D00]
MI February Blitz ch, 20.02.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 The bishop travels one square further than the London System, and makes the game a sharper battle. 2...d5 3.e3 c5 This is the aggressive, principled move. More consevative is 3...e6. 4.Bxf6 gxf6 5.dxc5 e6 6.Nf3 [6.c4 dxc4 7.Qc2 Nc6 8.Bxc4 Qa5+ 9.Nd2 Qxc5 10.Rc1 Bg7 11.Ngf3 0-0 was equal in Fedoseev-Abdusattorov, Moscow 2019.] 6...Bxc5 7.Be2 Nd7 8.0-0 b6N [Also reasonable is 8...Bf8 9.Nbd2 Bg7 10.e4 dxe4 11.Nxe4 0-0 12.c3 f5] 9.Nbd2 Bb7 10.c4 dxc4 11.Nxc4 Qe7?! This leaves the bishop on c5 unable to retreat if needed, Simply 11..0-0 was fine. 12.Nd4 Ne5 13.Nxe5 fxe5 14.Bb5+?! [14.Qa4+ Kf8 15.Nb3 Rg8 16.g3 Kg7 17.Rad1 was a better setup for White] 14...Kf8 15.Nc6 Qc7 16.b4


16...a6! 17.bxc5? [17.Ba4 b5 18.Na5 Bxb4 19.Nxb7 Qxb7 20.Rb1! Be7 21.Qh5 is only slightly worse for White] 17...axb5 18.Nb4 bxc5 19.Rc1 Qe7? [19...Rg8 20.g3 c4 maintains the extra pawn. Black would have a winning position with the powerful bishop on b7.] 20.Nd3 c4 21.Nxe5 Qg5 22.Nf3 Qg4?! [22...Qd5! 23.Qxd5 Bxd5 24.Nd4 b4 would still be a great endgame for Black. Now Lenderman gets to stay in a muddled middlegame.] 23.Qd6+ Kg8 24.Ne1 h5 25.f3 [25.Qb6!] 25...Qg5 26.Nc2 h4 27.h3 Rh6 28.Rf2?! Rg6 29.Kh1? [29.Qc7 Bxf3 30.g4! is the best defense now] 29...Qg3! 30.Qxg3 hxg3 31.Rd2 Rxa2 32.Rd8+ Kg7 33.e4 Rb2 34.Ne3 Rh6? [getting this rook quickly over to the queenside would win routinely - 34...Rg5 35.Rb8 Bc6 36.Nc2 Rc5! and the black pawns are ready to run] 35.Kg1? [35.Rb8! Ba6 36.Nxc4] 35...Rh8 36.Rd7 Bc8 37.Rd6 Kf6 38.Ng4+ Ke7 39.Rc6 Bd7 40.Rc7 Rc8 41.Ra7


41...f6? This makes it complicated. Black can win with the direct [41...c3 42.Ne5 Rd2] 42.e5! fxe5 43.Nxe5 [43.Rd1 Rd8 44.Nxe5 c3! 45.Nc6+ Ke8 46.Nxd8 c2 47.Rc1 (47.Raxd7 Rb1!) 47...Kxd8 wins] 43...Rd2 44.Kf1 c3 45.Ke1 Rd5 46.Ng6+ Kf6 47.Nf4


47...Rd2?? a terrible oversight from kingandqueen after having played such a great game. Black loses the critical c3 pawn now. He would be winning easily after [47...Re5+ 48.Kd1 Be8 49.Kc2 Kf5 50.Nd3 Re2+ 51.Kb3 Rxg2] 48.Rxc3! Rxc3 49.Kxd2 now pawns are even and White has the edge with the mobile knight 49...Rc4 50.Nh5+ Kg5 51.Nxg3 Bc6 Critical move. 52.Rc7 Bxf3? [Black should still draw after 52...b4 53.Rg7+ Kh6 54.Rg4 Rxg4 55.hxg4 Kg5 56.Kd3 Bd5] 53.Rxc4 bxc4 54.gxf3 Kh4


can White hold onto one of the pawns to get the whole point? Alex shows us how. 55.Ne4 Kxh3 56.Ke3! Kg2 57.Nc3 Kg3 58.Ne2+ Kg2 59.Nf4+ Kg3 60.Nxe6 c3 61.Nd4 There it is. The white knight stops the c-pawn. The rest needs no comment. 61...Kh4 62.Nc2 Kg5 63.Ke4 Kf6 64.Kd3 Ke5 65.Kxc3 Kf4 66.Nd4 Ke3 67.Kc4 Kf4 68.Kd5 Kg5 69.Ke5 AlexanderL won by resignation1-0

(8) GM aleksandr Lenderman (AlexanderL) (2778) - FM Jason Liang (Marty435) (2586) [D07]
MI February Blitz ch, 20.02.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.cxd5 Bxf3 5.gxf3 Qxd5 6.e3 e6 7.Nc3 Bb4 8.Bd2 Bxc3 9.bxc3 The Chigorin Defense gives Black active play and quick development at the cost of White;s bishop pair and pawn center. It is slightly dubious but a tricky defense. 9...Nf6 10.e4?N


[10.Rb1!] 10...Nxe4! 11.Qb3 [11.fxe4 Qxe4+ 12.Qe2 Qxh1] 11...Nxd2 12.Qxd5 exd5 13.Kxd2 0-0-0


Black is a clear pawn up with better pawn structure. The endgame should be winning with best play. 14.Rg1 g6 15.f4 Ne7 16.Re1 Rhe8 17.Bh3+ f5 18.Bg2 c6 19.Re5 White makes a fight of it by posting the rook on the strong e5 square. 19...Ng8 20.Rge1 Kd7 21.Rb1 b6 22.Bf3 Nf6 23.h4 Kd6 24.h5 Nd7 25.Rxe8 Rxe8 26.hxg6 hxg6 27.Rh1 Nf6 28.Rh6 Rg8 29.a4 Ke6 30.Rh1 Kf7


31.c4! Playing actively gives the best chances for defense. Lenderman makes the white bishop a better piece. 31...Rc8 32.Rc1 Ke6 33.a5 dxc4 34.Rxc4 Nd5 35.axb6 axb6 36.Rc1 Nxf4?! trading the doubled pawn for a good one on c6 37.Rxc6+ Rxc6 38.Bxc6 Kd6 39.Be8 g5 40.Ke3 Nd5+ 41.Kd3 Nf4+ 42.Ke3 Kd5 43.Bf7+ Kd6? Marty435 allows a draw by 3 time repetition. He would still have many winning chances after [43...Kc6] 44.Be8! Drawn by repetition 1/2-1/2

Watch the stream of the February Blitz Championship here:

Full results are here:

Mechanics Monthly Blitz Championship - February 2021

# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total Prize
1 GM Aleksandr Lenderman AlexanderL 12787646 2704 W14 W3 W4 W18 D2 W7 W10 W9 7.5 1st Place: $70
2 FM Jason Liang Marty435 16041488 2406 W9 W5 W7 L4 D1 W18 W6 W10 6.5 2nd Place: $52.5
3 NM Mike Sailer MikeSailer 12451516 2233 W13 L1 W21 W6 D5 D4 X W7 6.0 3rd Place: $35
4 FM Eric Yuhan Li kingandqueen2017 15688436 2344 W6 W20 L1 W2 W8 D3 L7 D5 5.0  
5 Alan Finkelstein stratus_junior 14958842 2058 W17 L2 L6 W11 D3 W15 W12 D4 5.0  
6 Ethan Mei erm999 16090467 1482 L4 W16 W5 L3 W12 W13 L2 W8 5.0 1st u2000: $52.5
7 Austin Mei TitanChess666 16090452 2149 W11 W19 L2 W9 W18 L1 W4 L3 5.0  
8 Stewart Katz knvsback 12458563 1835 U--- W23 W15 W12 L4 L9 W14 L6 4.0  
9 David Flores PlayerCreate1 14799653 1812 L2 W13 W19 L7 L10 W8 W16 L1 4.0  
10 Nicholas Weng ninjaforce 15499404 2045 U--- U--- W17 W21 W9 W11 L1 L2 4.0  
11 Sanjeev Anand chessp1234 14436451 1753 L7 W22 W20 L5 W14 L10 W13 L15 4.0 1st u1800: $35
1st u1600: $35
4-way split of $70:
$17.5 each
12 Adam Mercado A-boy415 16571026 1831 W22 W14 L18 L8 L6 W19 L5 W16 4.0  
13 Jose Pacheco pachewise 17095177 1454 L3 L9 W23 W15 W20 L6 L11 W19 4.0 1st u1800: $35
1st u1600: $35
4-way split of $70:
$17.5 each
14 Sebby Suarez SebbyMeister 16875347 1358 L1 L12 W16 W19 L11 W17 L8 W22 4.0
15 Adam Stafford aanval22 14257838 831 W16 L18 L8 L13 W22 L5 W17 W11 4.0
16 Patrick Donnelly thedarkbishop 12716964 1635 L15 L6 L14 B--- W21 W22 L9 L12 3.0  
17 Nathaniel Andaya nathanieI 30054738 1274 L5 L21 L10 W23 W19 L14 L15 B--- 3.0  
18 FM Kyron Griffith KyronGriffith 12860484 2480 W21 W15 W12 L1 L7 L2 U U--- 3.0  
19 Andrew Ballantyne andrewaballantyne 17079795 1093 B--- L7 L9 L14 L17 L12 W22 L13 2.0  
20 Michael Takahashi ElDiabloTener 14333301 2134 W23 L4 L11 W22 L13 U--- U--- U--- 2.0  
21 Glenn Kaplan kapalovich 12680193 1776 L18 W17 L3 L10 L16 B--- U--- U--- 2.0  
22 Maximillian Katz malletpercussion 13994425 1515 L12 L11 B--- L20 L15 L16 L19 L14 1.0  
23 Kevin Fong chessappeals 17254586 1783 L20 L8 L13 L17 B--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  

 Thursday Night Marathon Report

The Thursday Night Marathon kicked off its first round on Thursday, and we are happy to announce we will now also provide live coverage of the Thursday Night Marathons on our Twitch channel! You can watch the coverage of the first round by follow ing this link:

Here are the current standings after round 1:

SwissSys Standings. Open (Standings (no tiebrk))

# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 GM Gadir Guseinov gguseinov 17343590 2680 W23         1.0
2 IM Elliott Winslow ecwinslow 10363365 2278 W24         1.0
3 Theo Biyiasas tabiyiasas 13989054 2175 W25       H--- 1.0
4 Brandon Xie swift_breeze 14961610 2130 W26         1.0
5 NM Michael Walder FlightsOfFancy 10345120 2107 W27         1.0
6 Arthur Liou artliou 12906142 2034 W28         1.0
7 Kristian Clemens kclemens 13901075 1997 W29         1.0
8 Ako Heidari oka_ako 15206848 1980 W30         1.0
9 Jonah Busch kondsaga 12469525 1934 W31         1.0
10 Robert Smith III maturner 12463327 1853 W32         1.0
11 Kagan Uz uzkuzk 16434922 1812 W33         1.0
12 Alexander Huberts cccalboy 16419664 1794 W34         1.0
13 Aaron Mic Nicoski KingSmasher35 12797931 1789 W35         1.0
14 Roger V V Shi 1-h4-1-0 16191192 1776 W36         1.0
15 Adam For Stafford aanval22 14257838 831 W21         1.0
16 Austin Bourdier austin809 30032406 unr. W22         1.0
17 NM Thomas F Maser talenuf 10490936 1900 D19         0.5
18 Rama Chitta draidus 17350313 1475 H---         0.5
19 Akshaj Pulijala Loltheawesomedude 16497860 1392 D17         0.5
20 Danny Cao caodanny 16939797 895 H---         0.5
21 McCarty-Snead-Cal doctorbanner 14948275 1700 L15         0.0
22 Christopher Nelson ludimagisterjosephus 13742111 1700 L16         0.0
23 Jeff C Andersen zenwabi 11296106 1643 L1         0.0
24 Patrick Donnelly thedarkbishop 12716964 1635 L2         0.0
25 Jacob S Wang jacobchess857 17083655 1629 L3         0.0
26 Bryan Hood fiddleleaf 12839763 1574 L4         0.0
27 Nursultan Uzakbaev rimus11 17137317 1513 L5         0.0
28 Michael Xiao swimgrass 16380636 1493 L6         0.0
29 Yali Dancig-Perlman noydan100 16280288 1442 L7         0.0
30 Nicholas Reed NXBex 16154827 1416 L8         0.0
31 Marina Xiao programmingmax 16380642 1399 L9         0.0
32 Kevin Sun kevin_mx_sun 16898540 1356 L10         0.0
33 Kevin M Chui Kchui999 16998580 1290 L11         0.0
34 Charvi Atreya Charvii 16816706 944 L12         0.0
35 Katherine Sunn Lu 2Nf31-0 16425316 938 L13         0.0
36 Jake Chi Hang Li TanFlatPupet 17144246 866 L14         0.0
37 Raven Davis-Bailey RavenStreetChess 30103361 unr. U---         0.0


Reciprocity Partnership With Marshall Chess Club

The Mechanics' Institute and the Marshall Chess Club entered into a partnership last year where we agreed to recognize each others members so that our players can enjoy the benefits our respective clubs. Now that there are so many course offerings and USCF online rated events, we wanted to let our chess community know again that if you are a member of the Mechanics' Institute, meaning you have a membership card and paid the annual fee, you may enjoy playing at Marshall or taking one of their course at the Marshall member rate. Marshall has also promoted this reciprocity agreement with Mechanics' in their newsletter the Marshall Spectator. To subscribe to their newsletter, please follow this link:

To see their list of events, click this link:

If you are a member and wish to be added to the list of members to participate in Marshall events, please send an email to [email protected] and list your USCF number. We will verify membership and place you on the list.

We look forward to this partnership between our two historic clubs in an effort to continue bringing communities together through chess!

Grandmaster Chef: Boris Gulko by Mike Walder

NM Mike Walder has written his first installment of Grandmaster Chef for Chessbase, caarying on the series started by WIM Alexey Root. In it he writes about GM Boris Gulko and his favorite dish. To read about what it is as well as the recipe, click on this link:

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 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:

Check out the times here:

FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 3/2:

GM Nick de Firmian Arena Thursdays 5pm-6pm, 3/4:

See you in the arena!

Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Classes


  1. 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:

  2. Monday's 6:30-8:00PM - Game Review Class with FM Paul Whitehead
    Course Dates: Starting Feb 1 - Monday and ongoing
    Registration Fee: $20/class for Mechanics' member, $25/class for non-member
    More information:

  3. 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:

  4. STARTING NEXT WEEK: Wednesdays 6:30-8PM -- NEW 6-week Specialty 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:


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:

2/23 Tuesday - March 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon
Format: 8SS G/35+2

Join Now! Starts February 25: February/March 2021 Thursday Night Marathon
Format: 5SS G/60+5

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]


Scholastic Corner

By Judit Sztaray

Scholastic Chess Town Hall - March 3rd, Wednesday 6:00-7:30PM Pacific Time
Question & Answer session for the 2021 San Francisco Scholastic Chess Championship Online

Join us Wednesday, March 3rd at 6PM Pacific Time to hear a brief presentation about the upcoming 2021 San Francisco Scholastic Online Championship, a free event for any K-12 player. Have an opportunity to ask any questions regarding the event, sections, platforms and fair play.

You'll also have an opportunity to share any feedback about online scholastic chess, online rated chess, and engage in a community discussion about what our scholastic players need, and how to move forward towards a common goal.

Join Mechanics' Institute Chessroom Director Abel Talamantez, who have been leading Mechanics' Institute and Dr. Judit Sztaray, member of the USCF Scholastic Council and part of the USCF Online Play Task Force, that developed the USCF Chapter 10 rules for Online chess. We have been organizing online rated events on the state and national level for almost a year and we would love to share our experience in answering any questions.

We hope that this townhall and the 2021 San Francisco Scholastic Championship will serve as an opportunity to celebrate the power of chess in bringing communities together.
More information with tentative rough agenda:

2021 San Francisco Scholastic Championship Online
March 20 - Saturday - All day event
via ChessKid and Chesscom

Continuing the tradition and a Mechanis' Institute heritage event: the annual San Francisco Scholastic Championship goes online this spring again to gather scholastic players from the Bay Area and beyond. Join us online for this FREE Event, where players can choose to play in a non-USCF rated section based on their grades, or compete in the Championship sections based on their rating and have their games USCF online rated.
Chess Director, Abel Talamantez, and GM Nick de Firmian and FM Paul Whitehead will be covering the event live on our twitch channel!

More information:

Virtual Chess Classes - Spring Session
March 22 through May 31

  • All Girls Class with Coach Colin and Coach Abel -- Mondays 4-5PM - Register HERE
  • Intermediate Class with Coach Andrew -- Tuesdays 3-4PM - Register HERE
  • Intermediate Class with Coach Andy    Thursdays 4-5PM - Register HERE
  • Advanced Class with Coach Andy    Thursdays 5-6PM - Register HERE
  • Tactics, Tactics, Tactics with Coach Andrew for players rated 1000+ (ChessKid rating)    Friday 3-4PM - Register HERE

Spring Break Virtual Chess Camp
Monday through Friday, 
Two weeks: Mar 29 - Apr 2 and Apr 5-9
9AM - 12PM



Tournament Player Highlight - Dallas Pak

Please meet Dallas Pak from Sourthern California, one of our newest member of the Mechanics' Institute scholastic community. 
On a family road trip last August, his iPad lost its battery.   As chess was the only game available to him on his father's cellphone, Dallas was introduced to chess on the drive home and immediately enjoyed playing.
Dallas and his parents found Mechanics' offerings online, and joined the weekend online tournament early January. His enthusiasm shines through and he earned two trophies during his first two tournaments! We held off mailing his medals, because they were set to visit Northern California and planned on picking up the trophies in person.
During their recent visit to San Francisco, Dallas enjoyed getting to see the Mechanics’ Institute in person. Reviewing the history of the Mechanics’ Institute, the family felt honored to be able to walk through the building during this pandemic. He relayed to us that he hopes that being featured will inspire other children and encourage them to learn and play chess.
Congratulations Dallas, keep up the good work!

Upcoming Tournaments

Players have to be part of Mechanics' Group on ChessKid. Need help how to join? Watch the tutorial here:

1) Free daily non-rated tournaments on
Tournaments start at 4PM and players can join the tournaments 30 minutes before the tournament.

2) USCF Online Rated tournaments - Event registration and USCF membership is needed!
More information:
2/27 - Saturday 3PM: 4SS G/20+10

3) NEW: Monthly Scholastic Blitz Online Championships - run on & LIVE BROADCAST via
More information:
3/5 - Friday 6:30PM PT: 8SS G/5+2

4/1 - Friday 6:30PM PT: 8SS G/5+2

Scholastic Game of the Week: Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian


(9) KeenUpbeatClock (1532) - NeevGBayAreaChess (1540) [A22]
Live Chess
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 d6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.e4 The Botvinnik System, where White clamps down on the d5 square but loses some control over d4 and other darks squares. GM Jim Tarjan is a fan of White's setup. 5...0-0 6.d3 c6 7.h3 This is a little slow in developing. 7. Nge2 is usual. 7...Be6 8.Be3?!

[8.Nge2 develops and is better preparation for Black's central action. "Knights before Bishops!"] 8...Nbd7?! [8...d5! hits in the center, trying to open the game while Black has a lead in development. 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.exd5 Nxd5 is simply better for Black.] 9.Nge2 Nb6N 10.b3 h6 [10...d5!] 11.0-0 Nh7 12.f4 White is getting play in the center now with all the pawns there in play. 12...exf4 13.gxf4 f5 14.e5 [14.Nd4! would also cause some trouble for Black] 14...dxe5 15.fxe5 Bg5 16.Qd2 Bxe3+ 17.Qxe3 Qg5?!
18.Qxg5! The endgame is surprisingly excellent for White. Black is in serious trouble due to the white center pawns. 18...Nxg5 [18...hxg5 19.d4 Rad8 20.Rad1 and the white pawns roll in the center] 19.d4 Rad8 20.h4 Nf7 21.Rad1 Rfe8 22.Nf4 Bc8 23.h5

A great position for White. Note how the h-pawn holds up the black kingside pawns while the white center pawns are passed and soon ready to advance. 23...Ng5 24.Ng6 Nd7 25.Rxf5 Nf8 26.Nxf8?? Oh no! After a brilliant positional game KeenUpbeatClock forgets about his rook. White is winning after just [26.Rxf8+ Rxf8 27.Nxf8 Kxf8 28.d5 cxd5 29.cxd5 Bg4 30.Re1 Bxh5 31.Nb5 and the white pawns march up the board] 26...Bxf5 27.Ng6 Bxg6 28.hxg6 Re6 29.Re1?! Rxg6 30.d5?! 30. Kf2 is better but it is quite lost anyway 30...Nf3+ Knight fork. NeevGBayAreaChess won by resignation 0-1

FM Paul Whitehead

[email protected]

Finishing Tactics from the World Championship Matches 3: Steinitz – Gunsberg 1890


The match with Isidor Gunsberg, held at the Manhattan Chess Club, proved to be a tough test for Steinitz.  He suffered from a nasty cold in the earlier stages, and with characteristic stubbornness kept to a dubious opening or two.

Gunsberg was a worthy opponent, however.  He had drawn Chigoran a match in Havana, and had defeated both Bird and Blackburne in matches as well.

Yet the final score of +6 -4 =9 in Steinitz’s favor seems about right. 

Steinitz was the “Father of Modern Chess” after all, and his challenger had confessed his own play lacked maturity.

Isidor had his moments, though, as you can see from the examples below.


1. Gunsberg – Steinitz, 2nd Match Game 1890.

Black moves.  Win something.


2. Steinitz – Gunsberg, 5th Match Game 1890.

Black moves.  Checkmate Steinitz.


3. Gunsberg – Steinitz, 6th Match Game 1890.

Black moves.  Blow away the defenses.


4. Steinitz – Gunsberg, 7th Match Game 1890.

White moves.  A famous finish.


5. Gunsberg – Steinitz, 12th Match Game 1890.

White moves.  Put black out of his misery.


6. Gunsberg – Steinitz, 16th Match Game 1890.

White moves.  Force resignation.


7. Gunsberg – Steinitz, 18th Match Game 1890.

Black moves.  Find the winning sequence.

GM Nick de Firmian

More Swindles

Three-time US Champion Larry Christiansen is well known for his aggressive attacking style. His books “Storming the Barricades” and “Rocking the Ramparts” are classics showing virtuoso performances of attacking chess. He is also known for his amazing and surprising tactics, where he finds inventive sequences of variations that others couldn’t dream of.

There is no better time to find shocking tactics than when you are lost and desperately in need of a game changer. This should be something any chess player tries to do, but in practice there are few who can do this with any routine expectation. The great Mikhail Tal was one of those players and America’s Larry Christiansen is another. I think the main ingredient needed (besides oodles of talent) is the belief that if you look hard enough you will find something undiscovered that lies hidden. The strange idea waits for you to show it to the rest of the world if you really search (and you will also win your chess game). May these two examples below from Christiansen inspire you to the art of swindling.

(1) James L Burden - Larry Mark Christiansen [B07]
North American Open Las Vegas, NV USA (4), 01.1992

James Burden is a chess master and this game was from the swiss-system tournament played at the end of the year in Las Vegas. 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3 c6 Christiansen plays a fluid Robatsch Defense, hoping to get winning chances with the Black pieces against his lower rated opponent. 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.f3 0-0 7.Qd2 d5 8.Bb3 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.fxe4 e5 11.d5? A blunder from Burden, overlooking Black's next move winning the e-pawn. 11...Qh4+ 12.Qf2 Qxe4 13.0-0-0 Now Black has an extra pawn and Christiansen probably thought he would cruise to victory now. He soon lets his guard down. 13...a5 14.a3 a4 15.Ba2 Bg4?! [15...Qf5] 16.Ne2 Nd7??

17.Ng3! Oops! The black queen is trapped. Black is hopelessly lost here and could resign with a clear conscience. Yet Christiansen decides it too early to go to the bar and plays on. 17...Qxe3+ 18.Qxe3 Bxd1 19.Rxd1 c5 White has a queen for a rook and pawn plus a great passed d-pawn and good pieces. Note though that Black's last move was the best he could do, trying to keep the game closed where material difference doesn't show itself as quickly. 20.Ne4 b6 21.Rf1 f6 22.Qh3 f5 23.Ng5 Nf6 24.d6+ Kh8 25.Nf7+ Rxf7 26.Bxf7
This looks ever more hopeless than 10 moves ago when Black lost the queen. White has a queen for knight, the passed d-pawn and threatens 27. Bxg6. Watch now as Christiansen begins to work his magic. 26...Ng4 27.Kb1 [27.Bxg6? Bh6+ 28.Kb1 hxg6] 27...Nh6 28.Bc4 Ng4 29.Qd3 Rd8 30.d7 e4 31.Qd6 The white d-pawn looks set to win a piece, but Christiansen finds a way to hold on longer. 31...Be5 32.Qe7 Bf6 33.Qe8+ Kg7 34.Qf7+ Kh6 35.h3
Can it get any worse? 35...Ne3 36.Qxf6 Rxd7 37.Qe6 Now White is a full queen ahead. At least the pesky white d-pawn is gone. 37...Rd4 38.Re1 Nxg2! [38...Nxc4 39.c3 Nd2+ 40.Kc2 Rd3 41.Rd1 allows for simplification, so Christiansen calmy plays a full queen down instead.] 39.Rg1 Nf4 40.Qg8 e3 41.Qf8+ Kh5 42.h4?! Finally a mistake from Burden. Of course he is still completely winning, but 42. Qg7 would probably have ended it right away. 42...Rxc4 43.Qf6 [43.Rg5+ Kxh4 44.Qh6+ Nh5] 43...Kh6 [43...h6 44.Rg5+!] 44.Qg5+ Kg7 45.Qe7+ Kh6 46.Qxe3 This is a very natural human move. The computer finds mate in 9 but getting rid of the advanced e-pawn shouldn't be wrong. Yet Black is still alive here with a knight for the queen. 46...Re4 47.Qf2 Nh3 48.Qd2+ Kh5 49.Re1 Rxe1+! The best chance, even though it simplifies more. 50.Qxe1 f4 51.Qe7 h6 52.Qf6 g5
Looking at the diagramed position one actually gets the idea that maybe Black has hope. Yes, it is objectively completely lost but there are two connected passed black pawns and the black king isn't worried now about immediate mate. Some improvement from the situation 36 moves ago when Black lost the queen. 53.hxg5 hxg5 54.Qxb6 f3 55.Qxc5 Kg4 56.Qe3 Kg3 57.c4 Kg2 58.c5 f2
White is still winning but has to be precise now as the black pawns run quickly. 59.Qe4+? [59.Qc1! f1Q 60.Qxf1+ Kxf1 61.c6 would win] 59...Kh2! Black should be able to hold the draw now 60.Qf3 g4! 61.Qe2 [61.Qxf2+? Nxf2 62.c6 Ne4 63.c7 Nd6] 61...g3 62.c6? [62.Ka2 g2 63.Qe5+ Kh1 64.Qh5 would hold the draw; 62.Qd2] 62...g2
Incredibly White is lost now. Christiansen used everything he had and the black knight and passed pawns have gotten maximum use. 63.Qe5+ Kh1 64.c7 g1Q+ 65.Kc2 f1Q
Now Black is a queen ahead. There is nothing White can do. 66.Kc3 [66.Qe4+ Qgg2+ 67.Qxg2+ Qxg2+ 68.Kc3 Qc6+] 66...Qc1+ 67.Kb4 Qb6+ 68.Kxa4 Qcc6+ 69. Qb5 Qxb5 is mate. Something amazing about this game was how long it took to progress. It wasn't just one or two horrible oversights from Burden, but a gradual transformation from resignable to hopelessly lost to only lost, then drawing and winning. I hope this game inspires the swindler (or fighting spirit) in all of you. 0-1

(2) Alexander Beliavsky - Larry Mark Christiansen [E11]
Reggio Emilia 1987/88 Reggio Emilia ITA (2), 28.12.1987

Swindles shouldn't just be against lower rated opponents. The true trickster will even confuse a higher rated opponent, perhaps the best in the world. Here Larrry Chistiansen battles with Alexander Beliavsky, who was number 3 in the world at this time. Things go wrong for Black and Christiansen again finds himself in dire straits. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Qe7 5.Bg2 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 d6 7.Nc3 Black has a solid position from this Bogo-Indian, though White has a small edge from the spatial advantage. 7...0-0 8.Nf3 e5 9.0-0 Re8 10.e4 Bg4 11.d5 Bxf3 12.Bxf3 Nbd7 13.b4 a5 14.a3 Ra6 15.Nb5 Nb6?! [15...Rc8 keeps it close to level] 16.Rac1 axb4 17.axb4 Qd7 18.Qd3 Ra4 19.Qb3 Rea8 20.Rfd1 h5 21.h4 g6 22.Rb1 Ng4 23.Be2 Qe7 24.Rbc1 c6 25.dxc6 bxc6

26.c5! Avoiding Black's nice trap - [26.Nxd6? Ra3 27.Qb1 Nxf2! 28.Kxf2 Qf6+ 29.Kg2? Re3 30.Qb2 Raa3 would win for Black] 26...dxc5 27.bxc5 Nd7 28.Nd6 Ndf6? [28...Rd4 was needed] 29.Bc4 Black is losing the important f7 pawn and is lost here. Christiansen tries for complications. 29...Nxf2!? 30.Kxf2 Ra3 31.Bxf7+ Kg7 32.Qe6 Well played by Beliavsky. White has an extra piece and keeps all his forces centralized to be sure they factor in the game. Christiansen is clearly lost, but not done fighting. 32...Ra2+ 33.Kg1 R8a3! 34.Ne8+! Not falling for [34.Qxe7? Rxg3+ 35.Kh1 Rh3+ 36.Kg1 Rg3+ 37.Kf1 Rf3+ with perpetual check. The white queen maintains control over h3 so it can take a rook there.] 34...Kh6! 35.Nxf6 Rxg3+ 36.Kh1
Two pieces down against the worlds #3 player. Almost everyone else would lose hope. 36...Qxf7! 37.Rd7 Not falling for 37. Qxf7 Rh3+ with perpetual again. Beliavsky presses, seeing 37...Qxe6 37. Rh7 is mate and he continues to guard the h3 square. Time to resign for Black? 37...Qxf6!

Beliavsky sees he can prevent the perpetual check and finally goes wrong. He could have won by 38. Rh7+, but he didn't envision that Christianen had also another diabolical swindling plan. 38...Rh2+!! And here a draw was agreed. Beliavsky saw there will be a stalemate after 39. Kxh2 Rg2+ 40. Kg1 Rg1+! 41. Rxg1. Another great escape from Houdini Christiansen. 1/2-1/2

Solutions to FM Paul Whitehead's Column

1. Gunsberg – Steinitz, 2nd Match Game 1890.

1…Nc3! won the exchange, and with it the game.


2. Steinitz – Gunsberg, 5th Match Game 1890.

Gunsberg found the brilliant 1…Na4+! and after  2.Kxa4 Rd4+ 3.b4 Rxb4+ 0-1. It’s mate in 2 moves.


3. Gunsberg – Steinitz, 6th Match Game 1890.

Steinitz tore apart the defenses with 1…Bxf3! 2.gxf3 Qh2! White is helpless, and the game ended quickly after 3.Qd7 Qh1+ 4.Bg1 Qxf3+ 5.Bf2 Ng3+ 0-1.


4. Steinitz – Gunsberg, 7th Match Game 1890.

1.Qxa8! was the winning shot. The white pawns marched in after 1…Qxa8 2.Rc8+ Rg8 3.Rxa8 Rxa8 4.e6 1-0.


5. Gunsberg – Steinitz, 12th Match Game 1890.

1.Na8! was the “Fischer Random” like-move.  Black loses material, and was destroyed after 1…Rxa8 2.Qxa8 Kd8 3.Rxd7+! Kxd7 4.Rd1+ 1-0.


6. Gunsberg – Steinitz, 16th Match Game 1890.

1.Ne4! wins the black queen 1-0. If 1…Qe3 2.Bf1, etc.


7. Gunsberg – Steinitz, 18th Match Game 1890.

1…Bxf2+! is the “petit combination” that basically ended the match.  2.Kxf2 Nd3+ 3.Ke3 Nxc1 4.Nxc1 Rd1! was the killing follow up.  5.Ne2 a4 6.Nfd4 c1(Q) 7. Nxc1 Rxc1 0-1.


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