Chess Room Newsletter #962 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #962

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #962


April 3, 2021

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Mechanics' Institute Organizing Spring/Summer Club Matches Against World's Historic Clubs!

We announced last week our Spring/Summer series of club matches against some of the world's historic chess clubs, starting with our May 1, 2021 match against Zurich Chess Club. We our happy to announce our 2nd match date, which will take place Saturday, May 8 against the Royal Dutch Chess Society "Discendo Discimus" from The Hague Netherlands. Founded in 1852, it is one of the oldest continually-running clubs in the world, just two years ahead of the Mechanics' Institute. We will have more details in the coming weeks, but all our club international matches will be streamed live. We look forward to bringing our communities together through chess and connecting some of history's great chess clubs through sport. Stay tuned!

2021 US Junior Chess Congress Online
a US Chess National Event
Saturday, April 10, 2021 to Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Mechanics' Institute is set to co-organize its largest scholastic event ever!
Along with Chess Weekend based in Chicago, we are proud to bring you the 2021 US Junior Chess Congress, a USCF national championship event. Sections are based on age level, and has both an individual and team component, so players can compete for both prizes. As of this writing, we have over 700 players registered! If you are a scholastic playerand interested in participating in this national event, join us next weekend by registering here:

We will stream the event throughout the weekend on our Twitch channel with live commentary by GM Nick de Firmian, FM Paul Whitehead and Chess Director Abel Talamantez with special guests throughout the weekend. Follow our channel here:

The event will be organized and run by STD/FA Dr. Judit Sztaray, NTD/FA Glenn Panner and NTD/NA Maret Thorpe. We will have a star studded cast of assistant TD's helping throughout the weekend, monitoring Zoom rooms, Slack channels, and helping with customer service. Click below for more information, we look forward to a fun filled weekend for scholastic chess April 10-11!

Platform -- Dates -- Tournament format -- Teams -- Byes -- Fair Play -- Awards

Registration -- Eligibility -- Tournament rules -- Staff -- FAQ -- Side Events

Any questions? Send email to [email protected]

Register Online:

March 2021 TNM Report

The Tuesday Night Marathon concluded this week with rounds 7 and 8, and the final round produced perhaps one of the more dramatic games we have had in our online marathon series. GM Gadir Guseinov, who has led the TNM wire to wire, defeated IM Elliott Winslow in round 7 but took a quick draw with NM Michael Walder in round 8. Guseinov was preparing for a European match, and only IM Brian Escalante could catch him to tie for first, but he would have to defeat FM Max "the axe" Gedajlovic in the final round, and Max had been looking in great form, drawing GM Jim Tarjan in round 7 in a game where he was better for most of it. The round 8 game between Escalante and Gedajlovic went back and forth, a sharp complicated game that was both exciting and gripping given what was at stake. A win by Gedajlovic would give him sole 2nd place, a win by Escalante would give him a tie for 1st with Guseinov. As the clock was ticking down, it seemed Gedajlovic had seized the initiative and achieved a winning position, only to have it suddenly turn around in time pressure, where he walked into a forced mate. It was a thrilling conclusion to the March TNM, where two new players to our event provided an action packed finale. 

GM Gadir Guseinov and IM Brian Escalante share first place with 7/8, with agroup of players sharing 3rd place with 6/8, including GM Jim Tarjan, FM Kyron Griffith, FM Eric Li, NM Mike Walder, and Alan Finkelstein. For the under 2000 prize, Jonah Busch and Sanjeev Anand scored 5.5/8, and for under 1600, Ethan Mei and Adam Stafford scored 5/8. Chelsea Zhou gets top female prize with 4.5/8. 

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

(6) FM Max Gedajlovic (MMSANCHEZ) (2228) - IM Brian Escalante (BrianEscalante) (2446) [A85]
MI March TNMo (8.2), 30.03.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 The Triangle Defense. It looks like Black is locking up d5 with his pawns. 4.e3 Avoiding the following but signalling that there will be no Botvinnik or Moscow Variation (where White gets Bg5 in), and willing to head for the Meran. [4.Nf3 allows the Noteboom Variation: 4...dxc4 (So Black has other intentions with those ...e6 and ...c6 plays, preparing this risky but completely unbalancing pawn grab. 5.e3 b5 6.a4 Bb4 7.Bd2! a5! 8.axb5 Bxc3 9.Bxc3 cxb5 10.b3! Bb7! 11.bxc4 b4 12.Bb2 Nf6 13.Bd3 Nbd7 Black will answer a later e3-e4 with ...e6-e5, and the center will be lit afire; White will always have to watch that ...a4 doesn't set those pawns running!] 4...f5 But no, a Stonewall! Keeping the pawns intact. [4...Nf6 5.Nf3 (5.f4!?) 5...Nbd7 shows both sides moving towards the Meran Variation, one of the earliest queenpawn openings to lead to massive complication, a hundred years ago and still counting.] 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 Bd6 7.Rb1 Rather early, especially since it's still clear where White will put his king. Still, it is worth noting that in the Mega database, this is the best-scoring move (played more than a single time)... [Here's a recent upset with more usual play: 7.0-0 0-0 8.b3 Nbd7 9.cxd5 cxd5 10.Nb5 Be7 11.Qc2 Ne8 12.Bb2 a6 13.Nc3 Nd6 14.Na4 b6 15.Ne5 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Ne4 0-1 (36), Wojtaszek,R (2705)-Kashlinskaya,A (2494) INT 2020] 7...a5 Not necessary but sensible. 8.a3


8...0-0N [Predecessor: 8...dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 Black may be trying for too much at once, but in this game he got away with it: 10.Bd3 b4 11.Na4 Ba6 12.0-0 0-0 13.axb4 axb4 1/2-1/2 (31) Bin Suhayl,I (2208)-Barnes,M (2164) South Normanton 2019] 9.c5 Also sensible now that ...b6 can't recapture with the a-pawn. 9...Bc7 10.b4 axb4 11.axb4 Ne4 12.Ne2 Thinking about the "ideal" counter to the Stonewall: knights on f3 or e5 and another knight on d3. But it's a long trip, the bishop has to redeploy (but where?), and ...Nc3 has to be stopped in the interim as well. [12.Bb2 is fine, in that Black isn't too interested in trading the knight.] 12...Nd7 13.Bb2 g5 Black starts aggressive advances, confident that White's king will be the target. 14.Ne5 g4?! Consistent but too soon. [The computer likes 14...Nxe5 15.dxe5 b6 with equality. But the higher rated Escalante is weighing the risk factor and keeps up the attack. 16.b5? sometimes is a motif, but here 16...bxc5 17.bxc6?? Ba5+ catches the king in the center: 18.Kf1 Nd2+ 19.Kg1 Qb6!] 15.Nf4


Now White has two secure knights! 15...Qf6 16.Bxe4 [16.Ra1!] 16...dxe4 17.Ra1 Rxa1 18.Qxa1 Nxe5 19.dxe5 Qe7?! Black has given up on the attack for now. [19...Qh6] 20.Nh5 And White has gone over to it. A knight on f6 will be close to fatal. 20...Qh4 21.Nf6+ Kf7 22.0-0 [22.b5! puts Black in trouble on both sides] 22...Rd8?! Black hopes to get that bishop into the game -- but where? [22...Kg6!? avoids a lot of nasty tactics, but still great for White.] 23.Bd4 And there will be no rook entry either. [23.b5! could be played right away; 23...cxb5?! 24.c6! bxc6?! 25.Qa7! would be a complete disaster] 23...Qg5


24.b5! White sees the breakthrough! 24...cxb5 [24...f4 is advantageously ignored: 25.bxc6 is winning.] 25.c6! Kg6 down to two minutes... 26.Qa7


[26.Qa8] 26...Rxd4!? Out of the frying pan... but it does scare White, out of noticing just how won he is perhaps! 27.exd4? This makes it harder. [27.Qxd4 wins with minimal trouble: 27...bxc6 28.Qc5 Bxe5 29.Qxe5 Qxf6 30.Qc7 the pawns are coming off.; And 27.cxb7! is best of all; 27...Bxb7 28.exd4! and all Black's bishops are hanging.] 27...e3!


Now the players, starting to get low on time, trade off blunders right and left! Objectively White is close to winning. 28.h4??-+ Not now though! This dreadful overreaction just loses. And to top it off, it cost White five of his eight minutes. [White did have to find 28.Qa2 to be on top. 28...exf2+ 29.Qxf2 bxc6 and now best is 30.Kh1 -- admittedly not easy to spot, nor to proceed. (30.Ne4 isn't as good: 30...Qd8 31.h3 h5) ] 28...gxh3 29.g4 Qf4??= Black returns the favor! [29...e2! 30.Qa1 Any rook move: ...Qd2. 30...Qf4 is actually mate in nine. (30...exf1Q+ isn't bad either.) ] 30.cxb7?? And again! [30.Qa2! defends for a draw: 30...Qxd4 31.gxf5+ Kg7 (31...Kf7 32.fxe6+ Bxe6 33.fxe3 Qxe5 34.Qc2 Bf5 35.e4 bxc6 36.exf5 Kxf6 37.Qxc6+ Bd6=) 32.Qa3! (32.fxe6 Qxe5!-/+) 32...exf2+ 33.Kh1!=] 30...Qf3 31.gxf5+ exf5 Mate follows. Very exciting for the spectators!! 0-1

(7) IM Brian Escalante (BrianEscalante) (2433) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) (2350) [B13]
MI March TNMo (7.2), 30.03.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.c3 g6 A popular system against the Exchange Caro Kann. 6.Nf3 Nh6 7.0-0 Bf5 8.Bb5 Bg7


9.Bf4N [It is hard to understand the previous game in ths position: 9.Qa4 Qb6 10.Re1 0-0 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Rxe7 Be4 0-1 (12) Cijs,P (2204)-Simon,G (2158) ICCF email 2015. White must have thought his rook was in trouble, but stands better in the final position!] 9...0-0 [9...f6!? to make room for the knight on f7.] 10.Qc1! disrupting the knight. 10...Ng4 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Re1 Rc8 13.b4 White plays to completely throttle Black's counterplay with ...f6/...e5 or ... c5. 13...Re8 14.h3 Nf6 15.Nbd2 Ne4 16.Nxe4 Bxe4 17.Nd2 Bf5 18.Qa3


White's grip on squares lessons a bit with this. [18.Re3 f6 19.Qb2 stops .. .f6 and ...e5 more efficiently.] 18...Qb6?! [18...f6!] 19.Re3 Now it will never happen. 19...Ra8 20.Nb3 Bf8 21.Rae1 Red8 22.Qa5 [22.g4 is no risk, as Black is in no position to attack and so just gets pushed further back.] 22...Qxa5 23.Nxa5 But this has its practical advantages. White now has an endgame advantage that won't go away. 23...Bd7 24.Nb7 Rdc8 25.Nc5 Be8 26.Na6 That was an entertaining knight dance -- and now Black's rooks are caught up. 26...Rd8 27.a4 A queenside advantage. 27...e6 28.a5 Bd7 29.g4 A kingside advantage! 29...Rac8 30.g5 Ra8 31.h4 Rac8 32.Kg2


32...c5?! Kyron in desperation sacrifices a pawn to get his light-squared bishop some scope, but it doesn't really help. 33.Nxc5! [33.bxc5 wins as well] 33...Bxc5 34.bxc5 Now it's bishops of opposite colors, but White's bishop is just too powerful, working in both directions (controlling b8 and the long diagonal to Black's king). 34...a6 35.h5 It's too much for Black to handle. 35...gxh5 [35...Bb5 36.hxg6 crashes through, either on e6 or mate on h8.] 36.Rh1 Ba4 37.Rxh5 Rd7 38.Rh1 Since ...Bc2 would cover h7, White looks like he's working the queenside for a while. 38...Rb7


White 5:23 Black 2:16. 39.g6! Hardly necessary, but Brian played it in a few seconds. And the change of terrain is unpleasant when as short on time as Kyron is. 39...fxg6 40.Rxe6 Bc2 [40...Bb5 41.Be5 threatening Rxg6+! 41...Bd3 might hold for the moment, but White has any of a number of ways in.] 41.Rxa6


There is a bit of a scramble as both players use up all their time and are running on fumes, but now the result is in no doubt 41...Be4+ 42.f3 Rf8 43.fxe4 Rxf4 44.Re1 There would be no perpetual after [44.exd5; or 44.e5] 44...Rbf7 45.e5 R7f5 46.Rf6 Now that's just cruel. 46...Rg5+ 47.Kh3 Rfg4 48.Rf3 Kg7 49.e6 Kh6 50.Re5 White makes repeated use of the defensive technique of threatening to exchange. 50...Rxe5 51.dxe5 Re4 52.a6 g5 53.Kg3 Kh5 54.a7 The pawns rain down. The first of Brian's two exciting games of the finish day! 1-0

(1) GM Jim Tarjan (Tirantes) (2405) - FM Max Gedajlovic (MMSANCHEZ) (2241) [C02]
MI March TNMo (7.3), 30.03.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bd3 Intending to sacrifice the d-pawn. 6. Be2 is the more solid approach. 6...Bd7 7.0-0 cxd4 8.Re1 [Tarjan deviates from Magnus 8.Nbd2 Rc8 9.Nb3 dxc3 10.bxc3 Qc7 11.Re1 Nge7 12.h4 Ng6 13.Qe2 Be7 14.h5 Ngxe5 15.Nxe5 Qxe5 16.Qxe5 Nxe5 17.Rxe5 Bf6 18.Re3 Rxc3 19.Rb1 d4 20.Rg3 0-0 21.Bb2 Rfc8 22.Bxc3 dxc3 23.Rd1 Bc6 24.Bc2 Kf8 25.Re3 b6 26.Nd4 Bd5 27.a4 g6 28.hxg6 hxg6 29.Nb5 Rc4 30.Nxa7 Rb4 31.Nb5 Rb2 32.Rc1 Bg5 33.Nxc3 Bxe3 34.fxe3 Bc6 35.Be4 Bd7 36.Bd3 Bc6 37.Rc2 Rb4 Carlsen,M (2863)-Harikrishna,P (2732) INT 2020 1-0] 8...dxc3 9.Nxc3 Nb4 10.Be3 Bc5


11.Na4N [11.Bxc5 Qxc5 12.Rc1 Qb6 is about equal] 11...Bxa4 12.Qxa4+ Nc6 13.Bxc5 Qxc5 14.Qg4 g6


White has better development and the cramping e-pawn for the pawn sacrifice. That's fair compensation. 15.a3 h5 16.Qf4 Qe7 17.b4 Nh6 18.b5 Na5 Critical move. 19.Rac1 Nb3 20.Rc3 Nc5! The black knight does its job to block the c-file. 21.Bb1 Nf5 22.h3 h4 23.Nh2 d4!? This advance starts the action. The d-pawn is a force, but now Black's pawn chain is not as solid. 24.Rc4 d3 25.Ng4 Rd8 26.Nf6+?! There's no real benefit from the check. The white knight stands well at c4. 26...Kf8 27.Rd1 b6 28.Qf3 Qc7 29.Ng4 [29.Qf4] 29...Qd7 30.a4 Qd5 31.Qf4 Nd4!? [31...Kg7 is safer] 32.Qf6! Rh5!? [32...Qxc4 33.Qxd8+ Kg7 34.Qf6+ Kg8 35.Qd8+ is equal] 33.Ne3?! [33.Bxd3! Rf5 (33...Nxd3? 34.Rc7!) 34.Qxh4 gives White the edge] 33...Qd7 34.Kh1 Qe7 35.Bxd3 Qxf6 36.exf6 Nf5 37.Ng4 Nh6 38.Be2 Rxd1+ 39.Bxd1 Nxg4 40.Bxg4 Rd5 41.Bf3 Rf5 42.Kh2? [White could keep pawns even with 42.Rxh4 Rxf6 43.Rh8+ Kg7 44.Ra8 Nxa4 45.Rxa7] 42...g5 43.Rd4 Rxf6 44.Rd8+ Kg7 45.Ra8?! [45.a5! bxa5 46.Ra8 e5 47.Rxa7 e4 48.Bh5 Rxf2 49.Rxa5 is a pawn up for Black but the b-pawn gives White chances] 45...Nxa4 46.Rxa7 Nc3 47.Kg1 Nxb5


Now Black should be winning this ending. 48.Rd7 e5 49.Bd5 Nd4 50.Kf1 b5 51.Rb7 Kf8 52.Ke1 Ke8 53.f3 Kf8 54.Kd2 Kg7 55.Kd3 Ne6? giving away the b-pawn and reaching a drawn rook ending. Accuracy was now required - [55...Rf4 56.Re7 b4 57.Rxe5 Kf6 58.Re8 Nf5 59.Ba2 Rd4+] 56.Bxe6 Rxe6 57.Rxb5 Kf6 58.Ke4 Ra6 59.Rb2 Ra4+ 60.Ke3 Kf5 61.Rc2 f6 62.Rb2 Ra3+ 63.Kf2 Rc3 64.Ra2 Rd3 65.Rb2?


[(-0.31) The best move was 65.Ra6! Rd2+ 66.Kf1 Kf4 67.Rxf6+ Kg3 68.Rf5 Rf2+ 69.Ke1 Rxg2 70.Rxg5+ Kxf3 71.Rxe5 should draw] 65...Rd6? [65...Kf4 66.Re2 f5 67.Ra2 e4 68.fxe4 fxe4 has good winning chances] 66.Ra2?! [66.Rb4!] 66...Ke6? Last chance to take down the grandmaster! [66...Kf4 67.Ra4+ Rd4 68.Ra2 f5 69.Ra5 e4 70.fxe4 fxe4 71.Ra3 Rd3 72.Ra4 Rd2+ 73.Kf1 Kg3-+] 67.Ke3 f5 68.Ra8 Rb6 69.Ra2 Rb3+ 70.Kf2 e4 71.fxe4 fxe4 72.Ra5 Kf6 73.Rc5 Rb2+ 74.Kf1 e3 75.Rc3 Rf2+ 76.Kg1 Re2 77.Kf1 Rf2+ 78.Kg1 Re2 79.Kf1 Rf2+ An endgame escape from Tarjan. 1/2-1/2

(2) GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2626) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (2251) [B47]
MI March TNMo (7.1), 30.03.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.g3 Qc7 7.Bg2 Nf6 8.0-0 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 Bc5 10.Bf4


The Taimanov Sicilian. This position arose in the 1971 Fischer-Taimanov match. 10...d6 11.Qd2 h6 12.Rad1 e5 13.Be3 Be6 14.Bxc5 dxc5 15.f4 0-0 16.Nd5 Bxd5 17.exd5 exf4 18.d6 Qb6 19.c4 Rad8 20.Rxf4 Rfe8!


21.b4N After over eleven minutes thought! A possible record amount of time on one move for our esteemed online visitor from Baku. [The sacrifice is possible. 21.Rxf6 gxf6 22.b3 Re6 23.d7 f5 24.Qf4 is about equal] 21...Re6?! [21...cxb4+ 22.Qd4 Qxd4+ 23.Rfxd4 b6 is uncomfortable with that passed pawn so close to queening -- but Stockfish 13 thinks if anyone has any advantage at all, it's Black. 24.d7 Re2] 22.bxc5 Qxc5+ 23.Qd4


It looked like a critical position at the time! But again, the computer just makes it 0.00 in three different ways. 23...Qxd6= [23...b6=; 23...Qa3=] 24.Qxd6 Rexd6 25.Rxd6 Rxd6 26.Bxb7 Still, allowing White this bishop and passed c-pawn seems a bit crazy. 26...Rb6! 27.Bf3 Nd7?! [27...Rb1+ 28.Kf2 Rc1!= 0.00/0 ] 28.Rf5 [28.Rd4!+/= and Black is a bit uncomfortable (but should draw).] 28...Rf6? A horrendous move. Black should hold onto his only long-range piece. [Still the right plan is 28...Rb1+ 29.Kf2 Rb2+ 30.Ke1 Rxa2 31.c5 Ra1+ 32.Kd2 Ra2+ since if 33.Kc3?! Nxc5! 34.Bd5 Ra5 35.Kd4 Nb3+! 36.Kc3 Nc5=] 29.Rxf6 White gets his king to d4 and essentially decides the game. 29...Nxf6 30.Kf2 Kf8 31.Ke3 Ke7 32.Kd4 Kd6 33.c5+ Kc7 34.Be2 Kb7?! [slighly better was 34...a5 35.Bc4 Ng4 36.h4 f6 37.Be2 Ne5] 35.Bc4 Ng4 36.h4 f6 37.h5 Ne5 [37...a5 right away gives a few more chances, e.g. 38.Be2 Ne5 39.Kd5 Kc7 40.Bb5 g6 41.hxg6 Nxg6 42.Ke6 Ne5 43.Kxf6 Ng4+ though White would likely win anyway] 38.Bd5+ Kc7 39.Be4 Kd7 40.Kd5 a5 41.a4 Kc7 42.Ke6 the white king invades and it's all over 42...Nd7 43.Kf7 Nxc5 44.Bc2 Kd6 45.Kxg7 Ke7 46.Kxh6 Ne6 47.g4 Nd4 48.Bd3 Ne6 49.Kh7 Kf8 50.h6 Nc5 51.Bc4 GGuseinov won by resignation 1-0

(3) Jonah Busch (Kondsaga) (2049) - Pranav Sairam (chesspilot01) (2272) [B12]
MI March TNMo, 30.03.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3!? The Fantasy Variation. This is unusual but not bad. It can surprise an unwary opponent because they are unprepared for it. 3...dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3 Dealing with both the threat of 5...Qh4+ and 5....Qxd4. 5...exd4?! This move is natrual but risky. Black can hold back the white attack best with [5...Be6 which prevents 6. Bc4 and has the rejoiner 6. Nxe5?! Qh4! to win back the e-pawn.] 6.Bc4 Bb4+?! This check is based on a false premise that Black can take the pawn after 7. c3. 7.c3 Now the black bishop must retreat to a5, leaving White clearly better. 7...dxc3?


8.Bxf7+! Kxf7 chesspilot goes for the most testing and interesting line. White would have a huge advantage after the more defensive [8...Ke7 9.Qb3 cxb2+ 10.Qxb4+ Kxf7 11.Bxb2 Nf6 12.Qc4+ Ke8 13.0-0 with a big lead in development and the black king stuck in the center] 9.Qxd8 cxb2+ 10.Kd1!


A fascinating position. This has been seen before and presumably Kondsaga was aware of this. 10...Ne7N [A previous game continued 10...bxa1Q 11.Ng5+ Kg6 12.Qe8+ 1-0 (12) Ojer Lora,I (2085)-Forjan Jimenez,P (2032) Navarra 2016, since 12...Kh6 13. Ne6+ g5 14. Bxg5 is mate.; 10...Nf6 is also a fair try since 11.Qxh8? (11.Qc7+! Nbd7 12.Bxb2 wins with extra material) 11...bxa1Q is good for Black.] 11.Ng5+ Kg6 12.Qxh8 Bg4+


13.Kc2! The winning move! [13.Nf3? bxa1Q 14.Qe8+ Kf6 is quite fine for Black] 13...bxa1Q 14.Qe8+


14...Kf6 [14...Kh6 15.Ne6+ g5 16.Bxg5#] 15.Qf7+ Ke5 only legal move 16.Qxg7+ Kd6 17.Qxa1 The wild complication are over (slowly exhale} and White has a queen for a bishop. This is simply winning now if nothing shocking happens. 17...Nd7 18.Qd4+ Kc7 19.Qxb4 Ng6 20.h3 Be2 21.Ne6+ Kc8 22.Qd6 Black resigns. An opening trap and an incredible tactical battle! 1-0

(4) Leon Diaz Herrera (Aeqetes) (1436) - Ethan Sun (sfdeals) (1649) [C25]
MI March TNMo (8.26), 30.03.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 This Vienna Game is somewhat more sound than the King's Gamibit as White's second move begins with more central control. 3...exf4 4.Nf3 Be7 5.d4 Bh4+ 6.Ke2


An interesting position with the white king moving up in the center so early in the game. White has pluses to make up for this - the center pawn duo controls the middle. 6...g5?N A mistake, ruining Black's kingside pawns. [6...d6 7.Bxf4 Bg4 8.Qd3 Bf6 is roughly equal] 7.Nxh4 [even better was pushing the black knight away first with 7.d5!] 7...gxh4 8.Bxf4 d5 9.Kd2?! [9.Qd2 Nge7 10.Re1 Be6 11.Kf2 would keep a big edge] 9...dxe4?! [Somewhat better was development with 9...Nf6 10.e5 Ne4+ 11.Nxe4 dxe4 12.c3 Be6] 10.d5 Nf6


[10...Nce7 11.Kc1 Ng6 12.Qd4 Qf6 13.Be3 is also good for White] 11.Bg5?! [11.Kc1! is strong. e.g. 11...Ne7 12.Qd4 Nf5 13.Qe5+ Qe7 14.Nxe4 Qxe5 15.Bxe5 and White wins material] 11...Ne5?! [more active is 11...Rg8 12.Bxh4 Qd6 since 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.dxc6?! Bg4 15.Qe1 Qg5+ 16.Qe3 0-0-0+ is very comfortable for Black] 12.Kc1 [also strong is 12.Bb5+ c6 13.Kc1! cxb5 14.Nxe4 Neg4 15.Nxf6+ Nxf6 16.Qe1+ Kd7 17.Qxh4] 12...Rg8 13.Bxh4 Rg4 14.Bg3 Qe7 15.Be2 Rg8 [15...Rxg3 16.hxg3 Bg4 was a defensive idea. Black has given a little material but gets everything out.] 16.Rf1 Bg4 17.Bxg4?! This makes it easy on the loose black position. More testing is [17.Bb5+! c6 18.Qd4 with real problems for Black] 17...Nexg4 18.Qd4 Nh5 19.Qxe4?! [White should stay in the middle game with 19.d6 Qg5+ 20.Kb1 Nxg3 21.hxg3 and keep some advantage] 19...Qxe4 20.Nxe4 we reach an even ending 20...Nxg3 21.Nxg3?! [21.hxg3! keeps the pawns even] 21...Nxh2 22.Re1+ Kd7 [22...Kf8!] 23.Nf5 Rae8 24.Rxe8 Kxe8 25.b3 Rxg2 26.Kb2 Re2 [26...Rf2 to displace the active white knight would give Black more chances to convert the extra pawn] 27.Rg1! Nf3?! [27...Rf2!] 28.Rg8+ Kd7 29.Rg7 Ne5 30.Rxh7 we are back to a completely level endgame 30...Rf2 31.Nd4 Kd6 32.Nb5+ Kxd5 33.Nxc7+ Kc6 34.Ne8 b5 35.Rh6+ Kc5 36.Rf6 Rd2 37.Rf5 Kd4 38.Nd6 a6


39.Nxf7? [39.Rf4+ Kd5 40.Nxf7 Nxf7 41.Rxf7 Kc6 is a drawn ending, but a pawn up nonetheless] 39...Nd3+! 40.Ka3 Rxc2


41.Rf6 There is no way out of the mating net. 41...b4+ sfdeals won by resignation. Next move is 42...Rxa2 mate 0-1

Full results are here, congratulations to the winners and thank you to all the players!

To watch the stream of the final two rounds, please click here:

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 Prize
1 GM Gadir Guseinov gguseinov 17343590 2738 W54 W45 W9 W4 W2 D3 W8 D6 7.0 367.50
2 IM Brian Escalante BrianEscalante 16836558 2544 W29 W46 W22 W5 L1 W13 W3 W9 7.0 367.50
3 FM Kyron Wa Griffith KyronGriffith 12860484 2500 H--- W21 W11 W13 W32 D1 L2 W18 6.0 42.00
4 GM James Edwa Tarjan tirantes 10991820 2469 W63 W24 W14 L1 D6 W29 D9 W11 6.0 42.00
5 FM Eric Yuhan Li kingandqueen2017 15688436 2344 W30 W26 W44 L2 W23 D22 D7 W14 6.0 42.00
6 NM Michael Walder FlightsOfFancy 10345120 2127 W20 D28 W25 W14 D4 D8 W16 D1 6.0 42.00
7 Alan Finkelstein stratus_junior 14958842 2054 D40 W38 D28 D26 W35 W17 D5 W13 6.0 42.00
8 IM Elliott Winslow ecwinslow 10363365 2278 W37 W34 W16 L32 W44 D6 L1 W29 5.5  
9 FM Max Gedajlovic MMSanchez 14947382 2141 W56 W27 L1 W36 W15 W32 D4 L2 5.5  
10 Nicholas Ruo Weng ninjaforce 15499404 2055 W65 W18 L32 D29 D24 D30 W28 W25 5.5  
11 Jonah Busch kondsaga 12469525 1934 W58 W62 L3 D19 W12 W24 W22 L4 5.5 105.00
12 Sanjeev Anand chessp1234 14436451 1753 W76 L14 W21 D16 L11 W37 W44 W22 5.5 105.00
13 Austin R Mei TitanChess666 16090452 2149 W55 W35 W15 L3 W33 L2 W23 L7 5.0  
14 Abhi Penagalapati Qing29 15467440 2082 X64 W12 L4 L6 W54 W36 W15 L5 5.0  
15 Nathan Fong nathanf314 13001390 2015 W50 W53 L13 W39 L9 W42 L14 W35 5.0  
16 Daniel Lin SmilyFace4 15176393 2000 W43 W41 L8 D12 W48 W25 L6 D17 5.0  
17 Jeffery Wang twangbio 16291100 1878 W59 L32 D37 W42 W19 L7 W48 D16 5.0  
18 Ethan Guo LightningDragon8 16761994 1726 W72 L10 W70 L44 W50 W33 W46 L3 5.0  
19 Cal McCarty-Snead DoctorBanner 14948275 1700 H--- H--- W57 D11 L17 D26 W58 W33 5.0  
20 Ethan R Mei erm999 16090467 1482 L6 W76 L24 W68 W27 L34 W62 W36 5.0 87.50
21 Adam For Stafford aanval22 14257838 1014 W75 L3 L12 L55 W43 W54 W56 W44 5.0 87.50
22 Pranav Sairam chesspilot01 15424820 2084 X39 W36 L2 W27 W46 D5 L11 L12 4.5  
23 David Askin David_Askin 13776967 2023 L41 W43 W30 W28 L5 W39 L13 D27 4.5  
24 Chelsea Zhou mwncklmann 15239016 1875 W60 L4 W20 W50 D10 L11 L29 W49 4.5 $70
25 Adam Mercado A-boy415 16571026 1831 H--- W40 L6 W38 W49 L16 W30 L10 4.5  
26 Aaron Mic Nicoski KingSmasher35 12797931 1789 W51 L5 W56 D7 L29 D19 W40 D31 4.5  
27 Max Hao Joseph_Truelsons_Fan 16083648 1785 W73 L9 W58 L22 L20 W41 W39 D23 4.5  
28 Pranav Sathish championps 16464655 1770 W68 D6 D7 L23 W56 D44 L10 W53 4.5  
29 Vedant Talwalkar serverbusy 16408266 1644 L2 W67 W45 D10 W26 L4 W24 L8 4.5  
30 David Rakonitz MechAnjin 12931024 1622 L5 W74 L23 W59 W45 D10 L25 W48 4.5  
31 Michael Jannetta GM_Fobby_Bischer 15172933 1165 L45 D48 L38 W64 W66 D35 W47 D26 4.5  
32 IM Josiah Stearman josiwales 14006506 2505 W49 W17 W10 W8 L3 L9 U--- U--- 4.0  
33 Cailen J Melville Mangonel 14006141 1940 L57 W66 W63 W53 L13 L18 W49 L19 4.0  
34 Ranen A Lardent dashrndrx 12614986 1815 W61 L8 L41 W43 W55 W20 U--- U--- 4.0  
35 Kevin M Fong chessappeals 17254586 1783 W74 L13 D65 W37 L7 D31 W50 L15 4.0  
36 Sos Hakobyan SacrificeandCrush 14452712 1771 W71 L22 W62 L9 W41 L14 W42 L20 4.0  
37 Joel Carron bigchampionofchess 16600505 1610 L8 W61 D17 L35 W70 L12 W52 D45 4.0  
38 Nicholas M Brown nmbrown2 12446259 1495 H--- L7 W31 L25 D40 L58 W68 W60 4.0  
39 Jahaan Ansari jah23 21004356 1446 F22 W71 W47 L15 W69 L23 L27 W61 4.0  
40 Ethan Sun sfdeals 16964125 1417 D7 L25 L49 W51 D38 W45 L26 W58 4.0  
41 Sebastian Suarez Sebbymeister 16875347 1343 W23 L16 W34 L46 L36 L27 W70 W62 4.0  
42 Paul Krezanoski pjkrizzle 16897133 1293 H--- H--- X75 L17 W47 L15 L36 W54 4.0  
43 Andrew Ballantyne andrewaballantyne 17079795 1206 L16 L23 W74 L34 L21 W72 W69 W56 4.0  
44 Arthur Liou artliou 12906142 2037 W66 W57 L5 W18 L8 D28 L12 L21 3.5  
45 Kapil Karunakaran kapilank 15495877 1907 W31 L1 L29 W66 L30 L40 W51 D37 3.5  
46 Thomas F Maser talenuf 10490936 1900 W67 L2 W55 W41 L22 H--- L18 U--- 3.5  
47 John R Hartmann john_hartmann 12552251 1765 H--- H--- L39 W58 L42 W57 L31 D50 3.5  
48 Roman Gurovich heyitsroman 14173406 1716 L53 D31 W64 W65 L16 W52 L17 L30 3.5  
49 Patrick Donnelly thedarkbishop 12716964 1635 L32 D51 W40 W52 L25 W53 L33 L24 3.5  
50 Prescott Yu prescott00000 16009618 1296 L15 X75 W73 L24 L18 W69 L35 D47 3.5  
51 Sean Han Wu dum2020arEEEWS 16802870 952 L26 D49 L69 L40 W64 W63 L45 W65 3.5  
52 Aidan Cumbo worsepot 30118987 unr. H--- H--- H--- L49 W65 L48 L37 W67 3.5  
53 Rajtilak Indrajit rtindru 30109752 unr. W48 L15 W54 L33 H--- L49 W65 L28 3.5  
54 Georgios Tsolias GiorgosTsolias 17266862 1679 L1 W59 L53 W67 L14 L21 W57 L42 3.0  
55 Nursulta Uzakbaev rimus11 17137317 1513 L13 W68 L46 W21 L34 L62 L60 W70 3.0  
56 Marina Xiao programmingmax 16380642 1484 L9 W73 L26 W62 L28 W68 L21 L43 3.0  
57 Ian Liao victor6688 16738735 1205 W33 L44 L19 L69 W61 L47 L54 W72 3.0  
58 Leon Diaz Herrera Aeqetes 17355661 1175 L11 W69 L27 L47 W74 W38 L19 L40 3.0  
59 Bruce Hedman Bruce_Hedman 17344551 1032 L17 L54 W72 L30 L68 L61 W74 W69 3.0  
60 Charvi Atreya Charvii 16816706 1020 L24 L63 L68 W73 L62 W74 W55 L38 3.0  
61 Adithya Chitta adichi 16695036 966 L34 L37 L66 W72 L57 W59 W63 L39 3.0  
62 Tyler Wong tdubchess 30135235 unr. W69 L11 L36 L56 W60 W55 L20 L41 3.0  
63 Kenneth S Wells shoshonte 14960218 1626 L4 W60 L33 L70 H--- L51 L61 W73 2.5  
64 Michael Hilliard Echecsmike 12279170 1446 F14 H--- L48 L31 L51 W73 L66 B--- 2.5  
65 Pranav Pradeep ppra06 15871762 1445 L10 W72 D35 L48 L52 W70 L53 L51 2.5  
66 Michael Xiao swimgrass 16380636 1363 L44 L33 W61 L45 L31 L67 W64 D68 2.5  
67 Shiv Sohal dribbler23 30032729 1102 L46 L29 X71 L54 H--- W66 U--- L52 2.5  
68 Ivan Zong ivanzong 30131397 unr. L28 L55 W60 L20 W59 L56 L38 D66 2.5  
69 Bryan Lynch nycsheep 15493651 1769 L62 L58 W51 W57 L39 L50 L43 L59 2.0  
70 Justin Brunet night_breeze 30055583 933 H--- H--- L18 W63 L37 L65 L41 L55 2.0  
71 Aaron Peredia GoodKnightmyQueens 16443747 486 L36 L39 F67 U--- U--- B--- L72 W74 2.0  
72 Rehaan Malhotra MrRap9 30118209 unr. L18 L65 L59 L61 W73 L43 W71 L57 2.0  
73 Cleveland W Lee Vincitore51745 12814843 826 L27 L56 L50 L60 L72 L64 B--- L63 1.0  
74 Samuel Tsen Brown ComfyQueso 16380615 739 L35 L30 L43 B--- L58 L60 L59 L71 1.0  
75 Christian Jensen Christianjensen23 12780890 1844 L21 F50 F42 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
76 Austin Bourdier austin809 30032406 unr. L12 L20 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  

SwissSys Standings. March 2021 TNM: Extra Games

# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total
1 Judit Sztaray JuditSztaray 14708926 827 W7 W8 W6 3.0
2 Pranav Sairam chesspilot01 15424820 2084 W4 U--- U--- 1.0
3 Paul Krezanoski pjkrizzle 16897133 1293 W5 U--- U--- 1.0
4 Abhi Penagalapati Qing29 15467440 2082 L2 U--- U--- 0.0
5 Shiv Sohal dribbler23 30032729 1102 L3 U--- U--- 0.0
6 Cleveland W Lee Vincitore51745 12814843 826 U--- U--- L1 0.0
7 Samuel Tsen Brown ComfyQueso 16380615 739 L1 U--- U--- 0.0
8 Aaron Peredia GoodKnightmyQueens 16443747 486 U--- L1 U--- 0.0


 Thursday Night Marathon

The Mechanics' Institute April Thursday Night Marathon started with a record 45 players for the longer time control version of our marathons, with FM Kyron Griffith making his ThNM debut. There is still time to join for round 2 next week, if you woud like to register, please click HERE. Full tournament information can be found by clicking INFO.

Here are the standings after the first round:

SwissSys Standings. Mechanics Institute 2021 April ThNM: 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 2700 W30         1.0
2 FM Kyron Griffith kyrongriffith 12860484 2490 W31         1.0
3 IM Elliott Winslow ecwinslow 10363365 2278 W32         1.0
4 NM Michael Walder flightsoffancy 10345120 2135 W33         1.0
5 Pranav Sairam chesspilot01 15424820 2084 W34         1.0
6 Cailen Melville mangonel 14006141 1940 W35         1.0
7 Adam Mercado a-boy415 16571026 1831 W36         1.0
8 Aaron Nicoski kingsmasher35 12797931 1822 W37         1.0
9 Kagan Uz uzkuzk 16434922 1809 W38         1.0
10 Alexander Huberts cccalboy 16419664 1794 W39         1.0
11 Bryan Lynch nycsheep 15493651 1769 W40         1.0
12 Leo Wang mu3tang 16061785 1765 W41         1.0
13 Callaghan McCarty-Snead doctorbanner 14948275 1700 W42         1.0
14 Jeff Andersen zenwabi 11296106 1643 W43         1.0
15 Joel Carron bigchampionofchess 16600505 1610 W44         1.0
16 Bryan Hood fiddleleaf 12839763 1574 W45         1.0
17 Charvi Atreya charvii 16816706 984 W28         1.0
18 Justin Brunet night_breeze 30055583 unr. W29         1.0
19 Jaryd Saevitzon thejuicerisloose 30144616 unr. B---         1.0
20 NM Richard Koepcke rkoepcke 10493269 2200 H---         0.5
21 Kristian Clemens kclemens 13901075 1997 D26         0.5
22 NM Thomas Maser talenuf 10490936 1900 H---         0.5
23 Jacob Wang jacobchess857 17083655 1623 H---         0.5
24 Nursultan Uzakbaev rimus11 17137317 1513 D27         0.5
25 Nick Reed nxbex 16154827 1433 H---         0.5
26 Adam Stafford aanval22 14257838 1014 D21         0.5
27 Joshua Lu probablyjosh 30127073 unr. D24   H---     0.5
28 Robert Smith maturner 12463327 1853 L17         0.0
29 Marina Xiao programmingmax 16380642 1512 L18         0.0
30 Akshaj Pulijala loltheawesomedude 16497860 1455 L1         0.0
31 Kevin Sun kevin_mx_sun 16898540 1443 L2         0.0
32 Michael Xiao swimgrass 16380636 1363 L3         0.0
33 Darren Yin dareonion 12846430 1323 L4         0.0
34 Bruce Hedman bruce_hedman 17344551 1035 L5         0.0
35 Jerry Li figsnoring 16551291 999 L6         0.0
36 Katherine Sunny Lu 2nf31-0 16425316 978 L7         0.0
37 Jake Chi Hang Li jakech1123 17144246 946 L8         0.0
38 Danny Cao caodanny 16939797 887 L9         0.0
39 Andrejs Gulbis andrejsg 16741331 826 L10         0.0
40 Cleveland Lee vincitore51745 12814843 619 L11         0.0
41 Ivan Zong ivanzong 30131397 unr. L12         0.0
42 Pratyush Bhingarkar siciliandragon2009 30015889 unr. L13         0.0
43 Sean Liu seanyliu 30149285 unr. L14         0.0
44 Jeff Rosengarden jrosengarden 30105422 unr. L15         0.0
45 Kaori Nguyen sillybunnyy 30156281 unr. L16         0.0

Grandmaster Chef: Vladimir Kramnik, by NM Mike Walder

Our very own Mike Walder has written the next installment of Grandmaster Chef for Chessbase, focusing on a dish favored by former world champion GM Valdimir Kramnik. Want to learn how to make the dish in the picture? This is something Kramnik feasted on, and you can also. Click here to read the article, from our very own National Master Chef Mike Walder!

Reciprocity Partnership With Marshall Chess Club

The Mechanics' Institute and the Marshall Chess Club entered into a partnership last year in which we agreed to recognize each organization's 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 courses at the Marshall member rate. Marshall has also promoted this reciprocity agreement with Mechanics' Institute 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!

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:

GM Nick de Firmian/FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 4/6:

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 6:00-7:00PM -- NEW 6-week Specialty Class: Modern Chess Openings (MCO) with GM Nick de Firmian with FM Paul Whitehead
    Course Dates: April 5 - May 10, 2021

    Modern Chess Openings was a revolutionary text, and it has come back to life as it was featured in The Queen's Gambit. Mechanics' Institute Grandmaster in Residence GM Nick de Firmian was the editor of several editions of that book and now it will come to life as a class! This will be club players of various strengths and will focus on about 5 key openings. He will cover open game openings that reinforce fundamentals such as piece development, control of the center and king safety, and he will also cover more complex openings that need deeper understanding such as the Sicilian, Queen's Gambit, and Ruy Lopez. The purpose of this class is to gain a better understanding of the ideas behind playing these openings and what to look for. The class will be interactive and engaging. FM Paul Whitehead will also be on to facilitate the class. The class will be fluid and interaction in the class is encouraged. We hope to enlighten the student on what it means to play openings and hpw they can lay the foundation for the course of the entire game. More information:

  3. Wednesday's 5:00-6:30PM - Free Adult Beginner Class for Mechanics' Members
    New session starts on April 7, 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 -- Last week of: 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:

    New course will set to start April 21 and go until May 26 - The Art of Attack with FM Paul Whitehead
    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:

4/13 Tuesday - April 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon
Format: 6SS G/35+2

Join Now! Starts April 1, 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

Spring Classes started week of March 22
Spring Camps
Upcoming Tournament Schedule
Scholastic Game of the Week

Spring Session of our Virtual Chess Classes are starting
March 22 through May 31
Not too late to join - Prorating is available!

  • All Girls Class with Coach Colin -- Mondays 4-5PM - Register HERE - 2 spots left
  • Intermediate Class with Coach Andrew -- Tuesdays 3-4PM - Register HERE
  • Intermediate Class with Coach Andrew -- Thursdays 4-5PM - Register HERE - 1 spot left
  • Advanced Class with Coach Andy -- Thursdays 5-6PM - FULL
  • Tactics, Tactics, Tactics with Coach Andrew for players rated 1000+ (ChessKid rating) -- Friday 3-4PM - Register HERE - 3 spots left!

Spring Break Virtual Chess Camp

Second week - Apr 5 - Apr 9
9AM - 12PM
Sign your child up for some fun virtual chess camp during their spring break!
Monday through Friday, 


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 on the weekends

4/3 Sunday - 6SS G/10+2 affecting USCF Online Quick rating.
More information:
Register online:

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

(5) KindMagneticFist (1543) - AdityaKBayAreaChess (1686) [C55]
Live Chess
[de Firmian, Nick]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Transposing into a version of the Four Knights' Game. The most testing move here is the classic [4.Ng5; while safe and simple is 4.d3] 4...Nxe4! 5.Nxe4 d5 The fork trick opens the center and brings Black immediate equality. 6.Bd3 dxe4 [not so good is the delayed capture of the piece 6...f5?! 7.Nc3 e4 8.Bb5 exf3 9.Qxf3] 7.Bxe4 Bd7?! This is not precise. Black shouldn't worry about doubled c pawns. [Previously seen was 7...Bd6 8.0-0 0-0 9.Re1 Bg4 10.h3 Bh5 with a good active position. This high level game continued 11.g4 Bg6 12.d3 f5 13.gxf5 Bxf5 14.Bxf5 Rxf5 15.Be3 Bc5 16.Bxc5 Qd5 17.Nd2 Qxc5 18.Ne4 Qe7 19.c3 Raf8 20.Qb3+ Kh8 21.Qxb7 Nd8 22.Qb4 Qh4 23.Ng3 Rf4 24.Re4 Ne6 25.Rxf4 exf4 26.Re1 a5 27.Qe4 Ng5 28.Qe7 Kg8 29.Re4 Nxh3+ 30.Kg2 Ng5 0-1 (30) So, W (2780)-Mamedyarov,S (2801) Saint Louis 2018] 8.d3 [8.0-0! threatening 9 Bxc6 and 10 Nxe5 8...Bd6 9.d4 exd4 10.Bg5 f6 11.Bh4 0-0 12.Nxd4 is a nice edge as the white pieces are more active] 8...Bd6 9.Be3?! The bishop is somewhat unstable at this spot since Black has the f-pawn ready to advance up the board. 9. 0-0 is more flexible. 9...0-0

10.h3N [10.0-0 f5 11.Bd5+ Kh8 is equal; 10.Bxh7+? Kxh7 11.Ng5+ Kg8 12.Qh5 Bf5 doesn't work here] 10...f6 [10...f5 11.Bd5+ Kh8 is aggressive and good. Black has better control of the center.] 11.0-0 Qe7 12.Nh4?!
12...f5! 13.Bd5+ Kh8 14.Qh5?

trickly but this should lose a piece. Retreating the knight on h4 would save it. The critical point of the game has been reached. White has moved the pieces out for the kill, but there are many black pieces that can defend. Consider this position a puzzle - what should Black play? 14...f4?? oh no! [14...Be8! 15.Qg5 f4! would win a piece for Black] 15.Ng6#! KindMagneticFist won by checkmate 1-0


FM Paul Whitehead

[email protected]

Finishing Tactics from the World Championship Matches 8: Lasker – Tarrasch 1908

 “I have only three words for Lasker: check, check, and mate!”

So said that incurable optimist, the Prussian-born Siegbert Tarrasch on the eve of the 1908 World Championship match.  However, like so many of Lasker’s opponents, his hopes were dashed in decisive fashion, and the final tally ended heavily in Lasker’s favor +8 -3 =5.  In the 16th and final game, Tarrasch woozily dropped a piece, compounding a rather error-prone match performance overall:

Tarrasch – Lasker, 16th Match Game 1908.

In this unbalanced position with chances for both sides, white brought his knight ‘back into play’ with 1.Nd4?? but had to resign after 1...Bxd4, as 2.Rxd4 allows the back-rank penetration with 2…Re1+ and mate next move.


1. Lasker – Tarrasch, 1st Match Game 1908

White moves.  Find the way forward.


2. Tarrasch – Lasker, 2nd Match Game 1908.

Black moves.  How to break-through?


3. Lasker – Tarrasch, 3rd Match Game 1908.

Black moves.  Tarrasch cashes in on his pre-match boast.


4. Tarrasch – Lasker, 4th Match Game 1908.

Black moves.  Tarrasch plans to recover his rook with a large positional advantage.  However…


5. Lasker – Tarrasch, 13th Match Game 1908.

White moves.  Be careful, yet resolute.

GM Nick de Firmian

The Difficult Opponent

There are some opponents you like to play against and often you have a very good score against them. Other opponents may be difficult to play against and you tend to lose, even though they are not at all better at chess than you (sometimes clearly worse). This can be because your styles match up oddly (e.g. your aggression blunted by their natural defensive tendency) or that the openings that you both play aren’t quite in your favor. It can also be simply a streak of bad luck. After a few loses though against such an opponent you may feel psychological difficulty when you meet them over the board. This can compound the problem when you feel obliged to be too aggressive or too timid and not play what the position dictates.

You may think that the great players are immune to this, but even they tend to have a “bete noire” who makes their life difficult over the board. Magnus Carlsen has dominated chess this last decade, yet against Ian Nepomniachtchi he has a losing score of 4-1 in classical chess. Of course this may not count as much since this score starts with their first game 19 years ago when they were both boys in the European Under 12 championship. Nepo is the one player in the world who seems truly to have no fear at all against Carlsen, and always plays his active aggressive moves just as if the World Champ was anybody else. As Nepomiachtchi is the favorite in the Candidates Tournament (resuming in two weeks after a year’s break) we may well see a World Championship match between these two. We give two examples below of that battle that may come.

What to do when you are facing your “bete noire” again? I can only offer you (and Magnus) the example of Bobby Fischer. Fischer started with a terrible score against some of the great Soviet players – 0-4 against Mikhail Tal, losses against Geller, Spassky and others. Yet Fischer remained true to his style and simply improved his game. When years later Geller (with White) offered him an early draw in the interzonal, Fischer just laughed and ground him down in a long ending. The scores also turned around against Tal and Spassky and the rest was history.

(1) Magnus Carlsen (2802) - Ian Nepomniachtchi [B92]
Tata Steel Group A Wijk aan Zee NED (10), 26.01.2011

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 A classic 6. Be2 Najdorf Variation. Nepomiachtchi plays the variation actively and precisely with black and equalizes against the World Champion. 9.Kh1 Nc6 10.f4 b5 11.Be3 Bb7 12.a4

12...exf4 13.Rxf4 Ne5! The counterattack on the e4 pawn is the active continuation and keeps Black fully equal. 14.Qd4 Nc6 15.Qd2 Ne5 16.Qd4 Nc6 17.Qd2 Ne5
18.axb5 Black is probably a little better after this continuation. Magnus didn't want to repeat the position and make a draw. Why? The best reason is that he just wants to play and win, yet there was probably also some pschological motivation to show that he is better than Nepo. 18...axb5 19.Re1 [19.Rxa8 Qxa8 20.Bxb5 Nxe4 21.Nxe4 Bxe4] 19...Ng6 20.Rff1 is very active for Black, particlularly because of the powerful bishop on e4 20...b4 Black is the one pressing the initiative. Nepo is not afraid to go forward against his illustrious opponent. 21.Nd5 Nxe4 22.Nxe7+ Qxe7 23.Qxb4 Nh4! eyeing the vulnerable g2 pawn. Black has a clear initiative now. 24.Bf3 Nxf3 25.gxf3
25...Qd7! 26.Bf4 [26.fxe4? Ra4 27.Qd2 Bxe4+ 28.Kg1 Qg4+ 29.Kf2 Qg2#] 26...Ra4 27.Qb6 Nf6 28.Qxd6 Qg4 29.Nd4 Rxd4 30.Qxd4 Bxf3+ 31.Rxf3 Qxf3+ 32.Kg1 The dust has settled for a while and we have a position with even material. Black has a clear advantage though since his king is much safer having three pawns to protect his majesty. 32...Qg4+ 33.Kh1 Qc8 34.Qf2 Qb7+ 35.Kg1 Ne4 [35...Qxb2?! 36.Be5 Qb4 37.Bxf6 gxf6 loses the advantage] 36.Qd4 Re8 37.Re2 h6 38.h3 Re6 39.Kh2 f5 40.b4? [40.Qc4 Qf7 41.Qd5 keeps the black pieces from becoming fully active and looks for a queen trade. This was Magnus's last good chance to save the game.] 40...Kh7 41.Re3 Rg6 Now the white king is in constant danger. 42.Re2 Qb5 43.Re1 Rc6!
Black controls the board thanks to the powerful knight on e4. Magnus decides he has to get rid of it even for material loss. 44.Rxe4 fxe4 45.Qxe4+ Rg6 46.Bg3 Qd7 Black is winning. Nepo wraps it up with accurate technique. 47.h4 h5 48.c4 Qd2+ 49.Kh3 Qc3 50.Qf4 Qxb4 51.Qf5 Qxc4 52.Qxh5+ Rh6 This is a known winning position with the exchange ahead. 53.Qf3 Qe6+ 54.Kh2 Rf6 55.Qd3+ Rf5 56.Qc2 Qd5 57.Bf2 Kh6 58.Be3+ Kg6 59.Bf2 Kf6 60.Bg3 Rf1 61.Bf2 Rd1 62.Qc3+ Qe5+ 63.Qxe5+ Kxe5 64.h5 Kf6 65.Bh4+ Kf5 66.Be7 Rd7 Black wins the white h-pawn. Magnus had enough and resigned. 0-1

(2) Carlsen,Magus - Nepomniachtchi,Ian [D24]
Magnus Carlsen Invitational Peniscola ESP, 19.03.2021

This was a rapid game in the semi-final match of the recent Magnus Carlsen Invitational. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.e4 b5!? As usual Nepomniachtchi plays actively. Even against the champ he aims for sharp lines. 6.e5 Nd5 7.Nxb5 Nb6 8.Be2 Nc6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Qd2 Bb7 11.Rd1 Qd7 12.Nc3 Nb4

Black has doubled isolated c-pawns but good squares and open lines for his pieces. Chances are about equal. 13.a3 N4d5 14.Ne4 Qc6 looking for play on the long a8-h1 diagonal. White has to be careful not to slip up and get mated from the black queen and bishop. 15.Re1 0-0-0 16.Bf1 f5 Charging ahead even though the black kingside pawns become a bit loose. 17.exf6 gxf6 18.Qe2 [Here Magnus could have gotten the edge with the aggressive 18.Nc5! Bxc5 19.dxc5 Qxc5 20.Rxe6 when the black pawns are something of a mess and White has the threats covered.] 18...Kb8 19.Bd2 Rhg8 20.Rac1 Bd6 21.g3 f5 22.Nxd6 cxd6 23.Bg2 [23.Qxe6 f4 24.Bg2 Qb5 is good play for the pawn] 23...Rde8 24.Nh4 Qb5 25.Rb1 Qb3 26.Bc3?
26...Nf4! 27.gxf4 [27.Qd1 Nxg2 28.Qxb3 cxb3 29.Nxg2 Be4 is a much better endgame for Black, but perhaps a better choice] 27...Rg4! winning the piece back with superior pawn structure 28.h3 Rxh4 29.Bxb7 Kxb7 30.Qf3+ Ka6! 31.d5? Desparate to make the white pieces active (particularly the c3 bishop) Magnus gives up some material. Better was [31.Kh2] 31...Nxd5 32.Rxe6 Rxe6 33.Qxd5 Rg6+ 34.Kf1 Qb5!

Nepo is focused and acccurate with his technique. White has no way to save the game. 35.Rd1 Qxd5 36.Rxd5 Rxf4 37.Bd4 Rf3 38.Be3 f4 39.Rf5 Re6 40.Bd4 Re4 41.Kg2 Rd3 42.Bc3 d5 43.Rf6+ Kb5 44.Rf7 d4 45.Bb4 Re2 White resigned. Nepo went on to win the match against Magnus and advance to the finals. 0-1


1. Lasker – Tarrasch, 1st Match Game 1908

1.Rxe8+! was the culminating stroke in this master-class ending.  Knight, king and pawn combine to dominate the black rook, and the World Champion’s technique is precise to the very end: 1…Kxe8 2.g7 Kd7 3.Nh4! Threatens 4.Ng6. 3…Rxg7 Forced. 4.Kxg7 Ke6 5.Nf3 Kf5 6.Kf7 Ke4 7.Ke6! Kd3 Taking the knight was hopeless as well. 8.Kd6 Kc3 9.Kxc6 Kxb3 10.Kb5! 1-0.


2. Tarrasch – Lasker, 2nd Match Game 1908.

1…f3! Allows the bishop to move, unleashing the rooks.  White resigned after 2.gxf3 Bg5! 0-1. But not 2…Bf4? when white has 3.Qxe7+!


3. Lasker – Tarrasch, 3rd Match Game 1908.

1…g5+! was the final bow in this wonderful king-hunt. White opted for losing his queen to a knight-fork, and resigned after 2.Kxg5 Nf7+.  His only other option was 2.Kxe5, when 2…Qc3! is checkmate!


4. Tarrasch – Lasker, 4th Match Game 1908.

1…Rxf4!! was Lasker’s stunning refutation.  Tarrasch chose 2.gxf4, as 2.Qxf4 Rd1+ 3.Kf2 Qxf4+ 4.gxf4 Nd5, or 2.exf6 Rxf3 3.Rxf3 Rd1+ are both lost for him as well. 2…Qg6+! The point. Black is able to side-step with his queen, keeping a material and positional advantage.  Tarrasch is unable to save the game: 3.Kh1 Qb1+ 4.Kg2 Rd2+ 5.Re2 Qxa2 6.Rxd2 Qxd2+ 7.Kg3 a3! Passed pawns must be pushed! 8.e6 Desperation. 8…Qe1+! Lasker is accurate to the end. 9.Kg4 Qxe6+ 10.f5 Qc4+ 11.Nd4 a2 12.Qd1 Nd5 13.Qa4 Nxc3 14.Qe8+ Kh7 15.Kh5 a1Q 0-1.


5. Lasker – Tarrasch, 13th Match Game 1908.

Black is hoping for 1.fxe3? Rxe3, etc. However 1.b6! takes the wind out of black’s sails. Now Tarrasch had a fighting chance with 1…Nxd1 2.bxa7 Nxf2! 3.Kxf2 Qc5+ 4.Kg2 Qxa7 with a rook and 3 very weak pawns vs bishop and knight, but instead chose the weaker 1…Bxb6? 2.fxe3! Now this is playable, as the bishop hangs at b6. White gradually converted the extra piece: 2…Rxe3 3.Qxb6 Rxf3 4.Qxa5 Qc4 5.Qd2 f5 6.Rc1 Qg4 7.Qxd5 f4 8.Nd2 Re3 9.Rf1 Re6 (9…fxg3 10.Qxf7+ Kh8 11.Qf8#) 10.Rxf4 Qd1+ 11.Kg2 b6 12.Qd7 Qe2+ 13.Rf2 Qh5 14.Nf3 h6 15.Nd4 Re5 16.Qd8+ Kh7 17.Qf8 1-0.


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