Chess Room Newsletter #959 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #959

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #959


March 13, 2021

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

The Mechanics' Institute is partnering with the Thompson Family Foundation, founded by Klay Thompson and his family,
with the mission of enriching the lives of youth through fitness and education.

Program: Saturday March 13, 2021

The Mechanics' Institute is proud to partner with the Thompson Family Foundation with the Think, Move, Play initiative. Join us next Saturday for an afternoon of FREE fun, friendship, and competition in a celebration of the power of chess in bringing communities together. 

3PM - 5PM: FREE tournament for scholastic players on
5 rounds of G/10+2 game
Players must be part of the Mechanics' Institute Scholastic Club on​

5:30-6:30PM: 60-minute G/5+2 game Arena
with very special guests participating.

The event will be broadcast live via Mechanics' Twitch channel:
with commentary by 3-time US Champion GM Nick de Firmian, FM Paul Whitehead and Chessroom Director Abel Talamantez, and Chief TD will be Dr. Judit Sztaray.
We will have special guests on throughout the tournament and the arena, stay tuned for more details.

Special event teeshirt for the first 100 participants.
Special chess set for all participants.
All materials will be picked up after the event at announced dates.

This event is limited to 250 players. To register, click HERE

Join us next Saturday for this very special online event at the Mechanics' Institute!

March 2021 TNM Report

The March 2021 TNM began its true marathon tournament this past Tuesday as the 8-round open section tournament fielded its highest turnout to date at 73 players! As always for our online TNM, time control is G/35+2, two games played per evening. Since it is an open tournament, the first two rounds had pairings that gave underdogs an opportunity to compete against much stronger players, and we saw a couple of games where opportunities were converted and others lost. The most intriguing game of the first round was between Vedant Talwalkar (1644) and IM Brian Escalante (2544). After Escalante blundered the exchange in the middle game, it looked like Talwalkar was in control of the game, surely at least to secure a draw. But time pressure, IM technique and experience prevailed, as Escalante slowly clawed his way back to take advantage in a rook and pawn endgame and win the match. Another escape artist was IM Josiah Stearman (2505), who in round 2 was locked in a tight battle against Jeffery Wang (1878). After arriving at a drawn looking endgame with 2 rooks and a few pawns on the board, Wang blundered walking into mate in 2. Such is the challenge of the open section, hungry challengers taking their shot. One player that did cash in on the opportunity was Tyler Wong, an unrated scholastic player who was in a losing position in his first round game against Bryan Lynch (1769) when he took advantage of a blunder in a 2 rooks and bishop vs. queen ending to pull off the upset. 

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

(6) Vedant Talwalkar (serverbusy) (1822) - IM Brian Escalante (BrianEscalante) (2354) [C07]
MI March TNMO (1.2), 09.03.2021

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.Ngf3 [4.exd5 is the other main move, when Black can recapture on d5 either way, both with long history.] 4...cxd4 5.Nxd4 [5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Bc4 is still a complicated battle with chances for both players.] 5...Nf6 [Also common is 5...Nc6 when the maneuver 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.Bd3 is a nice finesse, but Black is okay anyway.] 6.exd5 Qxd5 White can't get Bc4 in so has to do something else. 7.c3 Not really the time for this. [White players with big ratings have been 7.Nb5!? (Michael Adams played it in 1993 but it took another decade or so before it took off) 7...Na6 (7...Qd8 was MVL-Caruana, a Black win, but very lost in the middle.) 8.Nc3 (8.a3!?) 8...Qd8 9.a3 Be7 10.Qf3 Nc7 (10...0-0?? 11.Bxa6 1-0! Tzermiadianos,A (2437)-Sigalas,F (2195), Greece Team ch 2013 and Carlsen,M (2881)-Caruana,F (2791) Flor & Fjaere 2014! Note that that is Aggelos not Andreas (author of "How to Beat the French Defense" (2008) where 5. exd5 was recommended. If Aggelos had written the book it might have been a lot shorter! But the more interesting story is that other game -- Carlsen-Caruana? 1-0 11?? Okay, it was a blitz game. But still!) 11.Bd3 Ncd5 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Ne4 Bd7 14.Nxf6+ Bxf6 15.Be4 Qc4 16.Qe2 Rc8 17.Qxc4 Rxc4 was nothing special, ½-½ (81) Priyadharshan,K (2425)-Lenderman,A (2539) Saint Louis 2013] 7...Nc6 8.N2f3 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Bc5 10.Bb5+ Ke7 The king is cozy here. 11.Qxd5 Nxd5 12.0-0 Rd8 13.Re1 a6 14.Bf1 b5 [14...f6 to get the center pawn going (and the king to f7) is the shady side of even.] 15.g3 [15.a4] 15...b4? [15...f6; 15...Bb7] 16.Bg2 [16.Ne5! Bb7 17.Nd3! puts Black in a pickle; White's extra pawn on the queenside is mattering more than Black's central pawn, and in fact White might just be winning the b-pawn.] 16...bxc3 17.Ne5?! [17.bxc3! and the pawn is poison! So 17...Ra7=] 17...cxb2 18.Bxb2 Bb7 [18...Kf8 with a light advantage] 19.Rab1 Rab8 20.Nd3


White is getting the pawn back, it seems... 20...Ba7?? After almost eleven minutes off the clock the International master blunders, losing back the exchangeinstead with a far worse, probably lost position! [20...Bd6 lets White just win back the pawn, 21.Bxg7 when 21...Ba8 22.Rbc1 Rbc8 and it's nothing much for either side. But in an early round Black could still hope to outplay his far lower rated opponent in the queenless middlegame..] 21.Be5 Somewhere between a pin and a removal of the guard -- the rook is frozen, else the bishop goes with check. 21...Ba8 22.Bxb8 Bxb8 Black does have certain compensations: a pawn, both bishops, a great knight on d5. But those factors look better on paper than actually: White should win. 23.Nc5 Ba7 24.Nxa6?! Too soon, letting Black direct counterplay at f2. [Most decisive is 24.Rec1+- keeping Black's knight from becoming troublesome.] 24...Nc3 White is still better, but the threats get the better of him. 25.Bxa8? [25.Rb2? Nd1 For example.; 25.Rbc1 (or 25.Rb3, the same) 25...Rd2! 26.Bxa8! Bxf2+ 27.Kf1 Bxe1 28.Rxc3 Rxa2 29.Kxe1 Rxa6 30.Bf3+/- when only White can win (a selling point in itself), but it's going to be hard.] 25...Nxb1 26.Rxb1 Rxa8


White has given back the exchange, and gone under on the clock (5:59 to 6:22). As often happens, the endgame gets a bit wild. 27.Rb7+ Kd6 28.Rxf7 Bb6 29.Nb4 Ra4 30.Nd3 [30.a3 Rxa3 31.Rxg7 Rf3 32.Rxh7 is similar] 30...Rxa2 31.Rxg7 Rd2 32.Nf4 Rxf2 33.Kh1 e5 34.Nh3 After all the excitement it should be a draw, but with the clocks winding down (0:50 to 1:07) the better (faster) player is favored. [34.Rxh7 exf4 35.gxf4 is always a thought, but not only is rook and bishop versus rook daunting (worth the time to learn something about, though!), also White's king looks like it could be trapped (even if it can't be).] 34...Rb2 35.Rxh7 Be3 36.Rh4 Kd5 37.Ra4 e4 38.Ra3 One-move threats are a recipe for losing endings (although not yet). [How about 38.Ra8 to get the rook behind the pawn and maybe even push the g-pawn. Stockfish still makes it 50%.] 38...Kd4 39.Ra4+ One-move threat to the king... 39...Kd3 40.Ra3+ Another... 40...Ke2 41.Ng1+ Dangerous but still holding on... 41...Bxg1 42.Kxg1 e3 vs. 0:06.4 (!) 43.h4?? Played instantly: and there it is. Rook or king needed to be improved: [43.Kg2; 43.Ra1 or any other rook move along the a-file (not Ra2!) would draw. White has to be ready to check Black's king off of f3.] 43...Kf3 It's over (if Black doesn't lose on time). Black will win the rook for the e-pawn, when White's pawns won't matter. 44.h5 Rg2+ 45.Kf1 [45.Kh1 Rxg3 46.Kh2 Rg5] 45...Rh2 [45...Rxg3 is the win: 46.h6 Rh3 47.Kg1 Rxh6 Okay, the White pawns did matter. But now they don't. Now it's the "Can't Get the 'Philidor Position' Position" and a win for Black. The point is that the pawn on e3 stops side checks, and White can't get to the checks from behind in time (if only the rook had one diagonal move!).] 46.Kg1 Rxh5 [46...Rg2+] 47.Rb3 Rook up the board at least took ten moves longer. 47...Rh3 and here rook to the queenside was a bit faster. 48.Rc3 Rxg3+ 49.Kf1 Rh3 Here this was the only move to win. 50.Kg1 Rh8 51.Rb3 Rg8+ 52.Kf1 Rh8 53.Kg1 Rd8 0:13.1 vs. 0:13.0. Black doubled his time with the repetitions and the increment, and now it's over. 54.Rc3 Rd1+ 55.Kh2 Kf2 56.Rc2+ e2 57.Rxe2+ Kxe2 Talwalkar put up an admirable fight and was even on top for a while but succumbed eventually. As for Escalante, this his first game in the Tuesday Night Marathon should warn him that it won't be easy! 0-1

(7) GM Jim Tarjan (Tirantes) (2449) - Chelsea Zhou (mwncklmann) (1937) [A20]
MI March TNMO (2.4), 09.03.2021

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 Nf6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.Nf3 d6 6.0-0 0-0 Black's development is rather bland. Consider that this is a Sicilian Reversed: would you play like that against the Sicilian? Is being down a move grounds for playing so quietly? And yet, some books call this the Karpov System. 7.a3 a5 8.e3 h6 9.b3 Re8 10.d4 exd4 11.exd4 Bb6 12.h3 Bf5 13.g4?! The fact is, the Karpov System is not a pushover. This move provides targets for Black at some point. And if in some deep future Black gets a bishop and a queen on the b8-h2 diagonal... [13.Kh2 is the preferred computer move, still a wait and see approach.] 13...Bh7 14.Be3 Black's bishop on b6 (soon to be a7) will be out of play for quite a while; White has to see if he can make something out of his "extra" piece. But the pressure on d4 and control of e4 (and don't overlook the bishop bearing on b1!) keep Black with full counterplay. 14...d5?! Not this way. Now it's going to be that much harder to get the bishop into the game. 15.c5 White doesn't have to cut the tension; [15.Re1 keeps the options on the queenside.] 15...Ba7 That bishop is in deep hibernation. 16.Rc1 [16.Qc1! looks for Qb2 and b4, and maybe a sacrifice on h6!?] 16...Qd7?! 17.Re1?! [17.Ne5! and the pawn can't be taken: 17...Nxe5? (17...Qe6 18.Nb5 Bb8 19.f4+/-) 18.dxe5 Rxe5 19.c6! bxc6 20.Bxa7 and the rooks get queen forked.] 17...Ne4 18.Ne2 [18.b4!?] 18...Rab8


Slowly breaking out, when [18...b6 tries right away; or 18...f6] 19.b4! Tarjan sees a tactical resolution and grabs it. 19...axb4 20.axb4 Nxb4 else White rolls forward. 21.Ne5 Rxe5?! This provides scant relief; some queen move had to be played. Now White has an exchange along with the bind . [21...Qb5? 22.Bxe4 Bxe4 23.Nc3 Qa6 24.Ra1 wins; 21...Qd8 22.Qa4 Na6 gives White terrific compensation for a pawn] 22.dxe5 Qe7 23.Qa4 Nc6! 24.Nd4! Bxc5 Losing a piece, but there wasn't a defence. 25.Nxc6 bxc6 26.Bxe4 Good enough, but the computer notes that the other way [26.Bxc5 Nxc5 27.Qa3 is cleaner. Why quibble! White is up a rook!] 26...Bxe4 27.Bxc5 Qxe5 28.Qd4 Qg5 29.Qe3 Qg6 30.f3 Bc2 31.Re2 Bd3 32.Rd2 Bc4 33.Bd4 Rb3 34.Qf4 Rb1 35.Rxb1 Qxb1+ 36.Kh2 Three completely blocked pawns do not come close to a rook. Tarjan never quite felt threatened the whole game. Perhaps this Karpov System is just too sophisicated and subtle for younger players. Is there a Yugoslav Attack Reversed? 1-0

(1) IM Josiah Stearman (josiwales) (2595) - Patrick Donnelly (thedarkbishop) (1782) [B24]
MI March TNMO (1.3), 09.03.2021

A tough pairing for Patrick. Black against Josiah in no picnic. 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 Nf6 6.f4 d6 7.Nf3 0-0 We have a classic Closed Sicilian. Josiah plays like Spassky did to win the Candidate's matches (2 times). Patrick has a perfectly good setup - like an English reversed. 8.0-0 a6 [8...Rb8 to get the rook out of the long diagonal and still support ...b5 is the usual plan.] 9.h3 Qc7 10.g4 b5 11.f5 Bb7 12.Ne2 Rac8 13.Nf4 Nd4 14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Rf2


[15.g5 is also reasonable if White wishes to avoid the game complications. (Josiah though feels no need to do that.)] 15...g5!? 16.Ne2 Qxc2?! This doesn't really win a pawn. Black would do better to hold the kingside with [16...h6] 17.Bxg5 Qxb2? Insisting of taking a dangerous pawn. Black should instead trade into a slightly worse endgame with [17...Qxd1+] 18.Ng3 Qa3 19.Bc1! Retreating the bishop allows the white pawns to advance to tear up the kingside. 19...Qa5? [19...Qc5 keeps the black queen more in play, but Black would still be in trouble.] 20.g5 Nd7


21.f6! exf6 22.gxf6 Rxc1 Trying to slow the powerful White attack, but it is not enough. 23.Qxc1 Nxf6 24.Nf5 The white pieces create many threats. There is no good defense. 24...Qc3


25.e5! dxe5 [25...Bxg2 26.Rxg2 Nh5 27.Rxg7+ Nxg7 28.Qg5 Qxa1+ 29.Kh2 Qxa2+ 30.Kg3 and g7 can't be guarded.] 26.Bxb7 Qxd3 27.Nxg7 Kxg7 28.Kh2 White is a rook ahead. The game is over. 28...Ne4 29.Bxe4 Qxe4 30.Qg5+ Qg6 31.Qxe5+ f6 32.Qxd4 Rf7 33.Rg1 1-0

(2) Aaron Nicoski (KingSmasher35) (1806) - FM Eric Li (kingandqueen2017) (2116) [A45]
MI March TNMO (2.5), 09.03.2021

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 Playing this King's Indian setup against the London System is one of the most aggressive things Black can do. At least the center doesn't get locked up with these lines. 3.e3 Bg7 4.Nf3 0-0 5.Be2 d6 6.h3 Nbd7 7.c4 This is a good move, but the truly classic London System play would be 7. c3 and then expand on the queenside. With the pawn on c4 Black has the chance to try to loosen the central dark squares. 7...b6 8.Nc3 Bb7 9.0-0 Re8


10.d5!? Again, not bad at all yet 10. Bh2 is a more "London" move. 10...e6 11.e4 Nc5 12.Bd3 This exposes the white bishop to the black knight. I would prefer [12.Qc2] 12...exd5 [12...b5! would start a lot of central action. Black is not sacrificing a pawn with that.] 13.exd5 Nh5 14.Be3 Bxc3!? A positionally aggressive move, giving up the fianchettoed bishop to give doubled pawns. 15.bxc3 Ng7 16.Qc2 Bc8 17.Nd4 Bd7 18.Rfe1 Qc8 19.Bf4 Ba4 20.Qd2 The game is still roughly balanced. 20...Qd7 21.Bc2 Rxe1+ 22.Rxe1 Re8 23.Rxe8+ Qxe8 24.Bxa4 Qxa4


25.Qe2 [White has more winning chances in a middle game than an endgame. Sharper is 25.Bh6 Qe8 (25...Qxc4? 26.Qg5! wins) 26.g4] 25...Qe8 26.Kf1 f6 27.Qxe8+ Nxe8 28.Ke2 Kf7 29.g4 Ne4 30.Bd2 a6 31.f3 Nc5 32.Nb3 Nd7 33.f4?! Nc5 34.Nxc5?! Black starts to gain a little edge. It would still be equal keeping the knights on with [34.Nd4] 34...dxc5


35.Kf3? losing a pawn [35.f5 gxf5 36.gxf5 Nd6 37.Bf4 Nxc4 38.Bxc7 Ke7 is better for Black but White has decent drawing chances 39.Kd3?! Kd7! 40.Kxc4? Kxc7 41.Kd3 Kd6 is a winning king and pawn ending] 35...Nd6 36.Ke2 Nxc4 37.Kd3?! A pawn down king and pawn ending is bad news. It would objectively still be lost, but White has more practical chances after [37.Be1] 37...Nxd2 38.Kxd2 b5 39.c4 Ke7 40.Kc3 Kd6 41.a3 g5 42.fxg5 fxg5 43.Kb3


43...c6! 44.dxc6 Kxc6 Now it's an easy win 45.cxb5+ axb5 46.Kc3 Kd5 47.Kb3 Kd4 48.a4 bxa4+ 49.Kxa4 c4 0-1

(8) NM Mike Walder (FlightsOfFancy) (2092) - Ethan Mei (erm999) (1796) [C00]
MI March TNMO (1.9), 09.03.2021

1.e4 d6 2.d4 e6!? Mike is known for his opening preparation, but is this taking things too far? 3.c4 g6 4.Nc3 Bg7 5.Nf3 Ne7 Heading for the Hippo! It has hardly caught on at the top levels, with a famous and extreme exception: down two games after eleven in the 1966 World Championship match, Spassky answered 1.Nf3 with 1...g6, 3...d6, 4...Nd7 and 5...e6 (while Petrosian had grabbed the center just like Walder has here), and filled in the rest of the moves shortly. The game was in fact drawn after a lot of excitement (and White was certainly winning), and Spassky won the next game and another after a few draws, but then it was Petrosian to the finish for the first time a world champion had defended his title decisively since the death of Alekhine. Did the hippo have anything to do with that? Probably not. 6.Be2 b6 7.0-0 0-0 8.Be3 Nd7 9.Qd2 Bb7


It's a full-bore Hippopotamus Defense. Black adopts a "come and get me" stance. The problem is, White can also just make good moves and see what Black is going to do. And if you're not Spassky, what he does is probably just going to get in trouble. 10.Bh6 Okay, that's a bit of a something -- maybe the dark squares will fall apart, and White will get an attack on the king. 10...e5


[Often Black hits with 10...f5 but in this position there are problems with it: 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.e5? (12.Ng5 Rf6 13.f4! turns out to be deadly) 12...d5? (12...dxe5 and White's e5-pawn is going to be in trouble) 13.Ng5 dxc4 14.Nxe6+ 1-0 (14) Schwabeneder,A (2004)-Ardelt,H (1732) INT 2020] 11.Bxg7N [11.Rad1 was a somewhat recent game in 2014 -- White had the standard space and squares but somehow the lower rated player held on for a draw. 11...Nc6 12.dxe5 Ndxe5 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.Nd4 Nxd4 15.Qxd4 Kg8 16.f4 Nc6 17.Qe3 f6 18.Bg4 Bc8 ½-½ (69), Sajka,M (2217)-Kolakovic,K (2052) Gelsenkirchen 2014.] 11...Kxg7 12.dxe5 Nxe5 13.Nd4 N7c6 14.Nxc6 Bxc6 15.f4 Nd7 16.Rae1 Re8 17.Bf3 Rc8? Watch how ineffective this rook turns out to be. You can't waste moves! [17...f6 maybe?] 18.e5!


White grabs the moment to open things up with tactics. Maybe the pawn doesn't fall immediately, but it will eventually. 18...Bxf3 19.Rxf3 Qh4?! [19...Qe7!? 20.Rd1 Funny: Black puts the queen in line with the rook -- and the rook moves away! White will often do best by pausing the d6 capture, improving his position first (b3, Rd3, Nb5) -- Black of course can't do anything about it.] 20.Rh3! White spent the longest think of the game on this move, 3:49 -- and it's decisive, going after something bigger than a pawn. Now Black has to worry about his king as well. 20...Qg4 21.f5!


Walder's attacking play is crisp. 21...h5 And here Black took his longest think, four and a half minutes -- but that time would have been better spent before when it was critical. Now it's just too late. [21...Nxe5 22.Qh6+ Kf6 23.Nd5+ Kxf5 24.Ne3+ is nice; 21...Rxe5 is similar after 22.Rxe5 (or 22.Qh6+) ] 22.f6+ Kh7 23.Re4 Qe6 Around now the computers start favoring various ways of giving up the queen to delay mate. [23...Qf5 24.g4!] 24.Rxh5+! gxh5 25.Qg5 Nxf6 26.exf6 Qxf6 27.Qxf6 Rxe4 28.Nxe4 Rg8 29.Qxf7+ Rg7 30.Nf6+ Kh8 31.Qxh5+ Rh7 32.Qxh7# Not just another first-round mispaired crush, but an instructive and attractive win against an opening that can be difficult for White without a plan. 1-0

Watch the exciting broadcast of our forst two rounds here:

Standings are here after two rounds:

SwissSys Standings. March 2021 TNM: Open

# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total
1 GM Gadir Guseinov gguseinov 17343590 2738 W39 W24             2.0
2 IM Brian Escalante BrianEscalante 16836558 2544 W40 W29             2.0
3 GM James Edwa Tarjan tirantes 10991820 2469 W41 W31             2.0
4 FM Eric Yuhan Li kingandqueen2017 15688436 2344 W42 W25             2.0
5 IM Elliott Winslow ecwinslow 10363365 2278 W43 W33             2.0
6 Austin R Mei TitanChess666 16090452 2149 W44 W35             2.0
7 FM Max Gedajlovic MMSanchez 14947382 2141 W45 W34             2.0
8 Nicholas Ruo Weng ninjaforce 15499404 2055 W48 W38             2.0
9 Jonah Busch kondsaga 12469525 1934 W50 W52             2.0
10 IM Josiah Stearman josiwales 14006506 2505 W55 W30             2.0
11 Pranav Sairam chesspilot01 15424820 2084 X47 W36             2.0
12 Abhi Penagalapati Qing29 15467440 2082 X59 W37             2.0
13 Arthur Liou artliou 12906142 2037 W61 W22             2.0
14 Nathan Fong nathanf314 13001390 2015 W62 W26             2.0
15 Daniel Lin SmilyFace4 15176393 2000 W63 W21             2.0
16 NM Michael Walder FlightsOfFancy 10345120 2127 W46 D19             1.5
17 FM Kyron Wa Griffith KyronGriffith 12860484 2500 H--- W23             1.5
18 Alan Finkelstein stratus_junior 14958842 2054 D53 W58             1.5
19 Pranav Sathish championps 16464655 1770 W71 D16             1.5
20 Adam Mercado A-boy415 16571026 1831 H--- W53             1.5
21 Sebastian Suarez Sebbymeister 16875347 1343 W27 L15             1.0
22 Ian Liao victor6688 16738735 1205 W28 L13             1.0
23 Adam For Stafford aanval22 14257838 1014 W32 L17             1.0
24 Kapil Karunakaran kapilank 15495877 1907 W56 L1             1.0
25 Aaron Mic Nicoski KingSmasher35 12797931 1789 W57 L4             1.0
26 Rajtilak Indrajit rtindru 30109752 unr. W54 L14             1.0
27 David Askin David_Askin 13776967 2023 L21 W63         H--- H--- 1.0
28 Cailen J Melville Mangonel 14006141 1940 L22 W61             1.0
29 Thomas F Maser talenuf 10490936 1900 W64 L2             1.0
30 Jeffery Wang twangbio 16291100 1878 W65 L10             1.0
31 Chelsea Zhou mwncklmann 15239016 1875 W66 L3             1.0
32 Christian Jensen Christianjensen23 12780890 1844 L23 X62             1.0
33 Ranen A Lardent dashrndrx 12614986 1815 W67 L5             1.0
34 Max Hao Joseph_Truelsons_Fan 16083648 1785 W68 L7             1.0
35 Kevin M Fong chessappeals 17254586 1783 W69 L6             1.0
36 Sos Hakobyan SacrificeandCrush 14452712 1771 W70 L11             1.0
37 Sanjeev Anand chessp1234 14436451 1753 W72 L12             1.0
38 Ethan Guo LightningDragon8 16761994 1726 W73 L8             1.0
39 Georgios Tsolias GiorgosTsolias 17266862 1679 L1 W65             1.0
40 Vedant Talwalkar serverbusy 16408266 1644 L2 W64             1.0
41 Kenneth S Wells shoshonte 14960218 1626 L3 W66             1.0
42 David Rakonitz MechAnjin 12931024 1622 L4 W69             1.0
43 Joel Carron bigchampionofchess 16600505 1610 L5 W67             1.0
44 Nursulta Uzakbaev rimus11 17137317 1513 L6 W71             1.0
45 Marina Xiao programmingmax 16380642 1484 L7 W68             1.0
46 Ethan R Mei erm999 16090467 1482 L16 W72             1.0
47 Jahaan Ansari jah23 21004356 1446 F11 W70             1.0
48 Pranav Pradeep ppra06 15871762 1445 L8 W73             1.0
49 Paul Krezanoski pjkrizzle 16897133 1293 H--- H---             1.0
50 Leon Diaz Herrera Aeqetes 17355661 1175 L9 W60             1.0
51 Justin Brunet night_breeze 30055583 933 H--- H---             1.0
52 Tyler Wong tdubchess 30135235 unr. W60 L9             1.0
53 Ethan Sun sfdeals 16964125 1417 D18 L20             0.5
54 Roman Gurovich heyitsroman 14173406 1716 L26 D56             0.5
55 Patrick Donnelly thedarkbishop 12716964 1635 L10 D57             0.5
56 Michael Jannetta GM_Fobby_Bischer 15172933 1165 L24 D54             0.5
57 Sean Han Wu dum2020arEEEWS 16802870 952 L25 D55             0.5
58 Nicholas M Brown nmbrown2 12446259 1495 H--- L18             0.5
59 Michael Hilliard Echecsmike 12279170 1446 F12 H---             0.5
60 Bryan Lynch nycsheep 15493651 1769 L52 L50             0.0
61 Michael Xiao swimgrass 16380636 1363 L13 L28             0.0
62 Prescott Yu prescott00000 16009618 1296 L14 F32             0.0
63 Andrew Ballantyne andrewaballantyne 17079795 1206 L15 L27             0.0
64 Shiv Sohal dribbler23 30032729 1102 L29 L40             0.0
65 Bruce Hedman Bruce_Hedman 17344551 1032 L30 L39             0.0
66 Charvi Atreya Charvii 16816706 1020 L31 L41             0.0
67 Adithya Chitta adichi 16695036 966 L33 L43             0.0
68 Cleveland W Lee Vincitore51745 12814843 826 L34 L45             0.0
69 Samuel Tsen Brown ComfyQueso 16380615 739 L35 L42             0.0
70 Aaron Peredia GoodKnightmyQueens 16443747 486 L36 L47             0.0
71 Ivan Zong ivanzong 30131397 unr. L19 L44             0.0
72 Austin Bourdier austin809 30032406 unr. L37 L46             0.0
73 Rehaan Malhotra MrRap9 30118209 unr. L38 L48             0.0

 Thursday Night Marathon Report

The Thursday Night Marathon has completed 3 rounds and there are still 4 perfect scores remaining, top seeds GM Gadir Guseinov, IM Elliott Winslow, Theo Biyiasas and NM Michael Walder. There are 2 more rounds left, current standings are here:

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 W21 W25 W6     3.0
2 IM Elliott Winslow ecwinslow 10363365 2278 W11 W19 W15     3.0
3 Theo Biyiasas tabiyiasas 13989054 2175 W22 W9 W10   H--- 3.0
4 NM Michael Walder FlightsOfFancy 10345120 2107 W12 W26 W16     3.0
5 Adam Mercado A-boy415 16571026 1831 H--- W37 W20     2.5
6 Arthur Liou artliou 12906142 2034 W33 W27 L1     2.0
7 Kristian Clemens kclemens 13901075 1997 W13 L16 W30     2.0
8 Ako Heidari ako_h 15206848 1980 W32 L15 W24     2.0
9 Kagan Uz uzkuzk 16434922 1812 W35 L3 W31     2.0
10 Alexander Huberts cccalboy 16419664 1794 W41 X17 L3     2.0
11 Patrick Donnelly thedarkbishop 12716964 1635 L2 W41 W25     2.0
12 Nursultan Uzakbaev rimus11 17137317 1513 L4 W35 W27     2.0
13 Yali Dancig-Perlman noydan100 16280288 1442 L7 W38 W28     2.0
14 Akshaj Pulijala Loltheawesomedude 16497860 1392 D18 D29 W26     2.0
15 Adam For Stafford aanval22 14257838 831 W29 W8 L2     2.0
16 Austin Bourdier austin809 30032406 unr. W40 W7 L4     2.0
17 Brandon Xie swift_breeze 14961610 2130 W31 F10 H---     1.5
18 NM Thomas F Maser talenuf 10490936 1900 D14 L24 W34     1.5
19 Robert Smith III maturner 12463327 1853 W34 L2 D21     1.5
20 David Flores playercreate1 14799653 1812 H--- W39 L5     1.5
21 Jeff C Andersen zenwabi 11296106 1643 L1 W32 D19     1.5
22 Jacob S Wang jacobchess857 17083655 1629 L3 D33 W39     1.5
23 Marina Xiao programmingmax 16380642 1511 L25 D36 W40     1.5
24 Rama Chitta draidus 17350313 1475 H--- W18 L8     1.5
25 Jonah Busch kondsaga 12469525 1934 W23 L1 L11     1.0
26 Aaron Mic Nicoski KingSmasher35 12797931 1789 W36 L4 L14     1.0
27 Roger V V Shi 1-h4-1-0 16191192 1776 W42 L6 L12     1.0
28 Leo Wang mu3tang 16061785 1765 H--- H--- L13     1.0
29 McCarty-Snead-Cal doctorbanner 14948275 1700 L15 D14 D36     1.0
30 Jason Romsak zer0chills 12841181 1681 H--- H--- L7     1.0
31 Bryan Hood fiddleleaf 12839763 1574 L17 W42 L9     1.0
32 Nicholas Reed NXBex 16154827 1416 L8 L21 W41     1.0
33 Michael Xiao swimgrass 16380636 1363 L6 D22 D37     1.0
34 Kevin Sun kevin_mx_sun 16898540 1356 L19 W40 L18     1.0
35 Kevin M Chui Kchui999 16998580 1290 L9 L12 W42     1.0
36 Katherine Sunn Lu 2Nf31-0 16425316 938 L26 D23 D29     1.0
37 Danny Cao caodanny 16939797 895 H--- L5 D33     1.0
38 Judit Sztaray juditsztaray 14708926 827 U--- L13 H---     0.5
39 Tyler Wong tdubchess 30135235 unr. H--- L20 L22     0.5
40 Christopher Nelson ludimagisterjosephus 13742111 1700 L16 L34 L23     0.0
41 Charvi Atreya Charvii 16816706 944 L10 L11 L32     0.0
42 Jake Chi Hang Li TanFlatPupet 17144246 866 L27 L31 L35     0.0

Mechanics' Institute Defeats Edinburgh Chess Club (Scotland) In a Match of Two Historic Clubs

The Mechanics' Institute was victorious in a club match friendly with the Edinburgh Chess Club from Scotland. They claim to be the 2nd oldest chess club in the world, founded in 1822. Schachgesellschaft Zürich is the oldest, founded in 1809, with Mechanics' Institute not far behind (1854). The match was played on in club match format, players palying 2 games of G/10+2 against the same opponent, onw white, one black. We had 13 players on each side, and the final match score was 15-11 in favor of Mechanics'. Congrats to our players! 

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

(3) Austin Mei (TitanChess666) (2339) - thebalernobull (2242) [C33]
Mechanics' vs. Edinburgh, 06.03.2021

1.e4 e5 2.f4 The brave, fearless (yet risky) KIng's Gambit. 2...exf4 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d4 Nf6! Aggressive development is the best way to meet the King's Gambit. You have to be sure of your steps though. 5.Nc3 [5.e5 Ne4 6.Nf3 d5 is quite fine for Black.] 5...Bb4 6.Nge2! f3! [6...Nxe4 7.0-0 Nxc3 8.Nxc3 Bxc3 9.bxc3 d5 10.Bd3 Be6 11.Bxf4 is active play for the pawn. Chances are objectively about even, though this is the type of game White is looking for and TitanChess666 would surely be happy here.] 7.gxf3 d5


Hitting at the center avoids trouble for Black that can occur in this opening. 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.0-0 Nxc3 10.bxc3 Bd6 11.Ng3 0-0 12.Ne4 Ne7 The computer likes Black here (computers don't like the KIng's Gambit much). A human though may be happy with White's game if he/she likes open, active play. 13.Kh1 Ng6 14.Bg5 Be7 15.Bd2 Bh3 16.Rg1 Qd7 17.Qe2 Rae8 18.Qd3 c6 Black has the advantage with the more solid pwan structure. 19.a4 Bf5 20.Rae1 Kh8 21.Be3 Qc7 [21...Bd8! would clear the lanes and keep a small edge for Black] 22.Bf2 Bd6 23.Bg3 Bf4 24.Re2 b6 25.Qd1 Be6 26.Bb3 Qd7 27.c4 f5 28.Nc3 Bh6 [Black is backing up a bit. Again, it would be good to clear the e-file - 28...Bg8!] 29.d5 Bg8 30.Rge1 f4 This is a good square for the black pieces but now a pawn occupies it. [30...Rxe2 31.Rxe2 Bf4] 31.Bf2 [31.Rxe8 Rxe8 32.dxc6 Qxc6 (32...Qxd1 33.Nxd1) 33.Rxe8 Qxe8 34.Bf2 Bg5 35.c5] 31...Rxe2 [Here Black could try the active 31...Re3! 32.Bxe3 fxe3 33.Rxe3 Bxe3 34.Rxe3 Nh4 with a good, active position] 32.Qxe2 Bg5 33.Ne4 Be7?


[33...Bh4 is equal chances] 34.d6! The turning point of the game. TitanChess666 makes use of a tactic to get a monster pawn on d6 and start queenside play. 34...Bd8 [34...Bxd6? 35.Rd1 wins material] 35.c5! b5? This gives White a winning duo of passed pawns. [35...bxc5 36.Bxg8 Kxg8 37.Bxc5 h6 38.c4 is a big edge to White but Black would still have a fighting chance.] 36.axb5 cxb5 37.Bxg8 Kxg8 38.Qd3 Ne5 39.Qd5+ Nf7 40.Kg2 Kh8 41.c6


Black resigned. The final position is a picture of pawn power. 1-0

(4) Daniel Lin (SmilyFace4) (2075) - BoutrosBoutrosGhali (2014) [A45]
Mechanics' vs. Edinburgh, 06.03.2021

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Qd2 c6 6.0-0-0 SmilyFace4 is not messing around. This aggressive (and good) opening play aims for the attack. 6...Qa5 7.Nf3 b5?! 8.e5! b4? A usual counter stroke to battle for the center squares. It fails here due to a surprising tactic. Black should instead play [8...Nh5] 9.exf6 bxc3 10.Qxc3


10...Qf5 The only way not to lose a piece. Too late BoutrosBoutrosGali sees that [10...Qxc3? 11.fxg7! is game over.] 11.fxg7 Qxf4+ 12.Kb1 Black has saved the piece but is down in development with his king stuck in the center. 12...Rg8 13.d5 [13.Bb5 Bd7 14.Ba4 Rxg7 15.Rhe1 Rg8 16.Qa5 would be a winning position with everything developed against Black's scattered forces] 13...c5 14.h4 h5 15.g3 Qf6 16.Qxf6 exf6 Still, this is an excellent endgame for White. 17.Nd2! f5 18.Nc4 Kd7 19.Bg2 Ba6 20.Nd2 [20.Na5 Rxg7 21.Rhe1 Rg8 22.Re3 Re8 23.Rde1 Rxe3 24.Rxe3 is winning.] 20...Rxg7 21.c4 Bb7 22.Rhe1 Na6 23.a3 Rgg8 24.Re3 Rae8 25.Rde1 Nc7 26.Bf1 f6 27.Bd3 Re5 28.Nf3 Rxe3 29.Rxe3 Ba6


30.Ne1 Kd8 31.b3 Bc8 32.Ng2 finding a powerful plan. The threat of Nf4 makes Black weaken the kingside. 32...g5 33.Rf3 f4 34.gxf4 g4 [34...gxh4 35.Nxh4 Rg4 36.Nf5 Ne8 is very bad for Black but could offer more hope] 35.Re3 Bd7 36.f5! Ne8 37.Nf4 Ng7 38.Ne6+ Kc8 39.Kb2 a5 40.Kc3 Bxe6 41.dxe6 Kd8 42.Be4 Ke7 43.Bd3 Rb8 44.Re1 Ne8 45.f3?! this is hasty [45.Rg1 and a timely break with f3 would surely take the point] 45...gxf3 46.Rf1 Nc7 47.Rxf3 Rg8 48.Be4 Rg4 49.Bc6 Rxh4 50.Rg3 Rg4 [50...Kf8 51.Rg6] 51.Rxg4 hxg4 52.Kd3 Na6 53.Ke3 g3 54.Kf3 d5? ditching this pawn gives up all hope for drawing the game. [54...g2 55.Kxg2 Nc7 and it's not so easy for White to break through the blockade, e.g. 56.Kg3 Na6 57.Kg4 Nc7 58.Kh5 Na6 59.Kg6 Nc7 60.Kg7 Na6 61.Bd5 Nc7 62.Bb7 Ne8+] 55.Bxd5 Kd6 56.Kxg3 Nc7 57.Kf4 Ne8 58.Bf3 Nc7 59.Be2 Ne8 60.Bf3


How to break through? Smilyface4 finds the right plan. 60...Nc7 61.Bd5 Ne8 62.Ke3 Nc7 63.Kd3 Ne8 64.Kc3 Nc7 65.b4! That does it. There is no defense here. 65...axb4+ 66.axb4 cxb4+ 67.Kxb4 Na6+ 68.Kb5 Nc7+ 69.Kb6 Ne8 70.Bc6 1-0


Full match results are here:

To watch the bradcast of this club match, follow this link:


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!

WIM Dr. Alexey Root

WIM Dr. Alexey Root has a great new article out in SparkChess warning players not to turn wins into draws. We just had a discussion in a recent broadcast how endgame technique is so important in a players development, because many points are left on the table from players who do not know how to convert won games. Alexey wrote in her article about one example of proper technique from a round in our Thursday Night Marathon she viewed while watching our broadcast. Read the article here :


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:

GM Nick de Firmian/FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 3/16:

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. 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:

3/16 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

Two FREE Special Events in March
Spring Classes starting week of March 22
Spring Camps
Tournament Report from last weekend
Upcoming Tournament Schedule

Scholastic Game of the Week

Mechanics' Institute is organizing two very special events for the scholastic community free of charge for the players. 

March 13, Saturday @ 3PM - Think, Move, Play - Special event with the Thompson Family Foundation
 - Read all about it at the top of this Newsletter!

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

Continuing the tradition and a Mechanics' Institute annual event: the 2021 San Francisco Scholastic Championship will be hosted virtually again this spring for 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, GM Nick de Firmian, and FM Paul Whitehead will be covering the event live on our twitch channel!
More information:

Have questions about the event? Join us:
Scholastic Chess Town Hall - March 17th Wednesday 7:00-8:00PM Pacific Time
Question & Answer session for the 2021 San Francisco Scholastic Chess Championship Online
Click the link for more information! Zoom link will be posted on the page on 3/17.

Spring Session of our Virtual Chess Classes are starting
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

Sign your child up for some fun virtual chess camp during their spring break!
Monday through Friday, 
Two weeks offered: Mar 29 - Apr 2 and Apr 5-9
9AM - 12PM


Last weekend's USCF Online Rated event

We had 18 players participating last Sunday's USCF online rated tournament. Players had 6 rounds of G/10+2 games, and created some super intersting and intense positions. Congratulations to our two new players, Alexander and Nivaa, who places 1st and 3rd places, and of course some of our regular, Ethan, Jashith Shlok, Dallas and others for winning awards.

Detailed regults are here:
USCF cross table is here:

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) 3/14 - Sunday 3PM: 6SS G/15+2 - USCF Online Rated tournaments - Event registration and USCF membership is needed!
More information:

3) 4/1 - Friday 6:30PM PT: 8SS G/5+2: Monthly Scholastic Blitz Online Championships
More information:

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

(5) LightIris (1307) - Nightimeninja (1419) [C50]
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.d3 d6

This position has been seen at least thousands of times. Both sides get their pieces out. The extra tempo that White has doesn't mean much in this position. 6.Bg5 Be6 This contests the d5 square and develops, so is a very reasonable move. Black would also be happy with [6...h6 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Nd5 Qd8] 7.Bb3 h6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Nd5 Bxd5 11.exd5?! This is the start of White's troubles. The d5 pawn blocks the bishop on b3 so it is less active. It's better to play [11.Bxd5 with a completely even game.] 11...Nd4 12.Nxd4 Bxd4 13.c3 Bc5 [13...Bb6] 14.d4? Just an oversight to lose a pawn. We'll see what a difference a pawn makes. 14...exd4 15.Qd2 dxc3 16.bxc3 Rfe8 17.Rae1 Rxe1 18.Qxe1?!
The white rook should capture instead. "Rooks belong on open files." 18...Kf8! Putting everybody to work! The black king helps the rook take over the e-file, increasing Black's advantage. 19.h3 Re8 20.Qd2 Qg5 21.Qxg5 hxg5 Black has an extra pawn plus the active rook which controls the only open file. If the black rook can invade the white camp then the position will be winning for Black. The bishops of opposite color help White's drawing chances. 22.Bc2 [22.Rc1 Re2 23.Rc2 Bxf2+ 24.Kf1 Rxc2 25.Bxc2 Bc5 is probably winning as White is two pawns down. Even here though the bishops of opposite color would make Black's task to take the full point difficult. (It's much better for the defense to have the rooks off the board).] 22...g6 [22...Re2!] 23.Kh2 [23.Bd3! stops the rook from coming in for now] 23...Kg7 [23...Re2] 24.Rb1 b6 25.Ba4 Re2
The black rook invades and wins a second pawn. Nightimeninja wraps it up with good technique. 26.f3 Rxa2 27.Bb3 Ra3 28.Kg3 a5 29.Bc4 Rxc3 30.Ba2 Rc2 31.Bb3 Bf2+ 32.Kh2 Rc3 33.Bd1 Rd3 34.Bc2 Rxd5 35.Rc1?! Rc5! This pin wins even more material. Very alert play by Nightimeninja. 36.g4 Be3 37.Re1 Rxc2+ 38.Kg3 Bf2+ Nightimeninja won by resignation 0-1

FM Paul Whitehead

[email protected]

Finishing Tactics from the World Championship Matches 5: Lasker – Steinitz 1894


The World Champion, 58 years old, finally met his doom in the guise of a young Prussian, Emanuel Lasker.  The 25-year-old challenger skillfully took Steinitz into queen-less middlegames and dry technical endgames, and the match was won by a score of +10 -5 =4 with hardly a spectacular combination played.  At one point in the match Steinitz lost 5 consecutive games, yet bravely fought on.


1. Lasker – Steinitz, 1st Match Game 1894.

White moves.  A nice one-two punch.


2. Steinitz – Lasker, 2nd Match Game 1894.

White moves.  Remove the you-know-what.


3. Lasker – Steinitz, 3rd Match Game 1894.

White moves.  Find the quickest way.


4. Lasker – Steinitz, 7th Match Game 1894.

White moves.  A simple sequence, and it’s over.


5. Steinitz – Lasker, 10th Match Game 1894.

Black moves.  Win something.


6. Steinitz – Lasker, 16th Match Game 1894.

Black moves.  Find the “little combination”.

GM Nick de Firmian

Nick's column will return next week

Solutions to FM Paul Whitehead's Column

1. Lasker – Steinitz, 1st Match Game 1894.

1.f4! The black rook has no good squares. After 1…Rxg4 2.Rxg4 Rxd3 3.c5! was the deadly follow up. The passed pawn created here will cost black a piece. Steinitz struggled on for a while before resigning: Re3 4.Rc4 d3 5.Rg1 d2 6.Rd1 bxc5 7.b6 Bd4 8.b7 Re8 9.Kc2 Rb8 10.Rb1 Kf7 11.Ra4 1-0.


2. Steinitz – Lasker, 2nd Match Game 1894.

1.Rxg6! destroying the defenses was the Steinitz of old, the “Austrian Morphy”. Black was routed in short order after 1… Kxg6 2.Qf5+ Kf7 3. Qxh5+ Kg8 4. Qxc5 Qe5 5. Be3 a6 6.a4 Rfe8 7.axb5 axb5 8.Qxe5 Rxe5 9.Ra6 Rc8 10.Ng4 Re7 11.Bc5 Ree8 12.Ne3 Bf8 13.Bd4 Kf7 14.h5 Be7 15.Bb3+ Kf8 16.Nf5 1-0.


3. Lasker – Steinitz, 3rd Match Game 1894.

1.Rxd3! dispelled black’s hopes. White went about utilizing the f-pawn after: 1…cxd3 2.Nxf6 Rxb5 3.Ne8 Kc6 4.f6 d4 5.Ng7 dxc3 6.Bxc3 Rg5 7.f7 1-0.


4. Lasker – Steinitz, 7th Match Game 1894.

Black lost his queen by force after 1.Qg1+ d4 2.Qg5+ Qd5 3.Rf5. Steinitz gave up the ghost after 3… Qxf5 4.Qxf5+ Kd6 5.Qf6+ 1-0.


5. Steinitz – Lasker, 10th Match Game 1894.

1…Nd4! won a pawn and put white in a hopeless position. Steinitz held on for a bit: 2.Bxd4 exd4 3.Bd3 dxc3 4.g4 Ba3+ 5.Kc2 Bc6 6.Kb3 Bc5 7.Nh3 Be3 8.Bc2 Bd2 9.Nf2 Rd4 10.Ka3 Be8 11.Nd3 Rxe4 12.Nb4 Rd4 13.Bb3 a5 14.Nc2 b5 0-1.


6. Steinitz – Lasker, 16th Match Game 1894.

1…Rxb7! got rid of the dangerous passed pawn. Black seemed to be winning, but… 2.Bxb7 Ne2+ 3.Kf3 Nxc1 4.Kxe3 Nxa2 5.Kd4? Loses. Robert Huebner spotted 5.f5! simplifying and ridding white of a weak pawn - with a probable draw. If 5…exf5? then 6.Bd5+.  5…Kf6 6.Kc5 Nc3 7.Kc4 Ne2 8.Kb5 Nxf4 9.Kxa5 Ng6 10.h5 Nf4 11.Bf3 Kf5 12.Kb4 e5 13.Kc3 e4 14.Bd1 e3 15.Bf3 Kg5 16.Kc2 Kh4 17.Kd1 Kg3 0-1.


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