April 2021 TNM
The April 2021 TNM completed rounds 1 and 2 this past Tuesday, and if you watched it, you got to see a great show. There were many exciting games to follow, but definitely the game of the round was between Jonah Busch and IM Josiah Stearman in round 2. Stearman is well known for his inclination for very aggressive play, and quite often produces some of the most exciting games. As a consequence, his looseness with the pieces can get him into some trouble, and it did so on Tuesday against a very solid and patient player. In a completely lost position, Stearman played on, patiently waiting to create chaos and opportunities, like a wolf patiently waiting in the night to pounce on its prey. Jonah fell into time pressure, and Stearman continued to press, and then the opportunity came in a stunning tactical shot that seemd to turn the tide, though later analysis showed the position could still be held. But in serious time trouble against a top master would be too much and Stearman pulled out the win. The moments were captured on the broadcast, and was certainly must see TV.
In honor of this epic game and the drama that played out, Lex Huberts was inspired to produce this poem:
Josiah lashes out, willing white’s King on his tush.
But Jonah judiciously refutes the ‘amBusch’.
The attacker’s strength and initiative dwindle,
Now Rxb3! – the Master’s sensational swindle.
A loss in the books, the game still a gem.
Only heart-broken till Tuesday, when we try again.
No doubt one of the exciting parts about watching events like the TNM on the stream is the ability to watch in real time underdogs get their shot at glory. As most of us reading are underdogs relative to the top players, we know the feeling of excitement and disappointment all too well. But the underdogs always come back to fight another day, improving their game, and waiting for another opportunity to produce the game of their lives. Even these losses inspire memoroes and stories that live on for the underdogs and favorites alike, and the poem captures that feeling very well.
The coverage of this match and the feeling of the opportunity of a major upset was caught here starting at the 1:30:00 mark: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/986752163
At 2:05:30, we see the beginning of the turnaround. Enjoy!
In another exciting game in the top section, IM Brian Escalante and NM Michael Wang played to a draw, and Chelsea Zhou took advantage of a time pressure blunder ny IM Elliott Winslow to score the upset of the round. Top seed GM Gadir Guseinov rolled through his forst two games to also stay perfect, and NM Ruiyang Yan's counter punch style of play came through for her in remaining perfect after 2 rounds.
In the under 1800 section, Mechanics' veteran Sos Hakobyan (SacrificeAndCrush) is among the perfect scores, along with Sebby Suarez, Rajtilak Jagannathan, Michael Xiao, Aryan Renjith, and Ivan Zong. It is exciting for us to see many new names participating in the TNM, particularly in the bottom section. We always welcome new players to take part in our flagship event.
Here are some games from the first two rounds, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.
(13) Jonah Busch (Kondsaga) (2014) - IM Josiah Stearman (josiwales) (2525) [D10]
MI April TNMo Chess.com (2.3), 13.04.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.f3 An unusual move in the Exchange Slav. It does have the point that the game becomes much more dynamic that the usual boring lines. 5...Nc6 6.e4 e6 [probably better theoretically is 6...dxe4 7.d5 Ne5 8.fxe4 e6] 7.e5 Nd7 8.f4 Qb6 9.Nf3 Now we have a position like a French Defense. 9...Be7
[previously seen was 10...f6 11.Na4 Qd8 12.0-0 0-0 13.Be3 Nb6 14.Bf2 Nxa4 15.Qxa4 Bd7 16.Qb3 Na5 17.Qd3 f5 18.Rac1 Qb6 19.b3 Rac8 20.Be3 a6 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.Rc1 Rxc1+ 23.Bxc1 Bb5 24.Qd1 Bxe2 25.Qxe2 Nc6 26.Be3 Qb4 27.Qb2 h6 28.Kf2 a5 29.Bd2 Qb6 30.Bc3 g5 31.fxg5 hxg5 32.h3 g4 33.hxg4 fxg4 34.Nh2 Nxe5 35.Kg3 Ng6 36.Nxg4 Qc7+ 37.Ne5 Bd6 38.Qd2 Bxe5+ 39.dxe5 Qf7 40.Qg5 Romanchuk,V (2258) -Kovalev,D (2487) Lichess.org INT 2021 1/2-1/2] 11.0-0 g5?
This is too aggressive. Safer is [11...a6] 12.Na4! Qc7 13.fxg5 hxg5 14.Bxg5
White is just a pawn ahead with better development. 14...f6 15.exf6 Nxf6 16.Rc1 Ng4 17.Bxe7 Rxh2!?
Josiah is objectively lost so he tries to mix it up. Jonah keeps his cool. 18.Ne5 Ngxe5 19.dxe5 Qxe5 20.Bf6 Qg3 21.Bh5+ Kd7 22.Qf3!
forcing the queen trade into a won ending. We say "won" since it's bishop for a pawn. Josiah isn't close to giving up yet. 22...Qxf3 23.Bxf3 Rh7 24.Nc5+ Kc7 25.Nd3 Bd7 26.Ne5 Kd6 27.Rfe1 Rf8 28.Nxd7 Rxd7 29.Bh4 e5 30.Rcd1 Nd4 31.Rxd4
Giving back the exchange is good here. The position becomes simpler and is still completely winning. 31...exd4 32.Rd1 Rg7 33.Kf1 Rf4 34.Bf2 Kc5 35.Ke2 a5 36.Kd3 Rxg2
This is a good practical chance. If White gets to play Rc1+ and Bxd4 there is little Black could do. 37.Bxg2 Rxf2 38.Rd2 Rf4 39.Re2 Rg4 40.Kd2 Rg3 41.Rf2 a4 42.Bf1?!
42. Bf3 would cut the path of the black rook and be a fairly straight forward technical win. 42...a3! 43.b3?
[(+1.88) The best move was 43.Rf7! b5 44.b3] 43...Rxb3! Josiah does it again! If 44. axb3 a2 queens. The game is even now. 44.Kc1 Re3 45.Re2 Rf3 46.Bg2 Rg3 47.Rf2 b5 48.Bf1 d3 49.Kd2 b4 50.Bxd3 b3! 51.axb3 a2 52.Rf1 Kb4 53.Bc2 Ka3 54.b4 Kb2 55.b5? a time induced blunder, The game would still be a draw after [55.Bd3 Rg2+ 56.Be2 a1Q 57.Rxa1 Kxa1 58.Kd3 Ka2 59.b5 Kb3 60.b6 Rg8 61.Kd4 Rb8 62.Kxd5] 55...Rg2+ ouch 56.Kd3 Rxc2 57.b6 Rc3+ 58.Kd4 Rb3 59.Rf2+ Ka3 60.Rxa2+ Kxa2 61.Kc5 Rxb6 62.Kxb6 d4 White resigned. Another miracle comeback by Josiah.
(10) IM Brian Escalante (BrianEscalante) (2431) - NM Michael Wang (coalescenet) (2100) [B12]
MI April TNMo Chess.com (2.2), 13.04.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.f3 This Fantasy Variation against the Caro-Kann is getting attention these days. 3...dxe4 4.fxe4 e5 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.c3 [Theorists may be interested in this game: 6.Bc4 Nd7 7.c3 Bd6 8.0-0 Ngf6 9.Bg5 0-0 10.Nbd2 b5 11.Bb3 c5 12.dxc5 Bxc5+ 13.Kh1 h6 14.Bh4 Be3 15.h3 Bh5 16.Qe1 Bf4 17.g3 Bxd2 18.Nxd2 Qb6 19.Bc2 Rac8 20.a3 a5 21.g4 Bg6 22.Qe2 Rfe8 23.Kh2 Nd5 24.Bf2 Qb7 25.Rad1 Nf4 26.Qe3 Nc5 27.Bg3 Nce6 28.Nf3 Nc5 29.Nxe5 Rxe5 30.Rxf4 Ree8 31.Re1 b4 32.axb4 axb4 33.cxb4 Qxb4 34.Qc3 Qb7 35.Qe3 Qxb2 Wei,Y (2732)-Ding,L (2791) Chess. com INT 2020 0-1 (68)] 6...Nf6 7.Bc4 Nbd7?! [Stockfish suggests 7...Bh5 8.0-0 Bd6 9.Bg5 Nbd7 10.Nbd2 with a small edge to White; 7...Nxe4? 8.Bxf7+!] 8.0-0?! [8.Qb3! Bh5 9.Ng5 Qe7 10.Qxb7 wins a pawn] 8...b5 9.Be2N Bd6 10.Bg5 Qc7 11.h3 Bh5 12.Nbd2 0-0 13.a4 a6 14.Nh4 Bg6 15.Nf5 Rae8 16.axb5 axb5 17.Bd3 Nh5 18.g4?!
18...Bxf5! 19.Rxf5 f6 20.gxh5
[20.Bh4 Nf4; 20.Be3 exd4 21.cxd4 Bh2+ wins] 20...fxg5 21.Qb3+?!
[21.Qg4 exd4 22.cxd4 Rxf5 23.Qxf5 Bc5 24.Kg2 Bxd4 25.e5 Nf8 is only slightlty better for Black] 21...Kh8 22.Raf1 Rxf5
[22...exd4! 23.cxd4 Bf4 leaves Black in control] 23.Rxf5 exd4 24.cxd4 Bf4 25.Qf7 Rg8
[25...Qd8! 26.h6 Be3+ 27.Kh1 Bxd4] 26.Nf3 Qa7? 27.Kg2?
[27.Kf2! has the difference that on 27...Qa1 28.Qxd7 Qxb2+ 29.Be2] 27...Qa1!
28.Qxd7 Qxb2+ 29.Kf1 coalescenets active play has resulted in enough counterplay for a draw 29...Qc1+ 30.Ne1 Bd2 31.h6 Qxe1+ 32.Kg2 □ 32...Bf4! now White has to force a draw as his own king is unsafe 33.hxg7+ Rxg7 □ 34.Rf8+ Rg8 □ 35.Rxg8+ Kxg8 □ 36.Qe8+ Kg7 □ 37.Qe7+ Kg8 38.Qe6+ Kg7 39.Qd7+ Kg8 40.Qg4 Qd2+ 41.Be2 Qxd4 42.Qe6+ Kg7 43.Qe7+ Kg6 44.Qe8+ Kg7 45.Qe7+ Kg6 46.Qe8+ Kg7 47.Qe7+ Game drawn by repetition. A great battle and a great result for coalescent to draw Escalante. 1/2-1/2
(11) FM Max Gedajlovic (MMSANCHEZ) (2211) - Kevin Fong (chessappeals) (1561) [E71]
MI April TNMo Chess.com (1.7), 13.04.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0-0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Na6 8.g4 Nc5 9.f3 a5 10.Qd2 [Players of the blacks side should wish to see the following game by the winner of Wijk aan Zee this year: 10.Nge2 Nfd7 11.h4 f5 12.g5 fxe4 13.fxe4 Nb6 14.Ng3 Rf4 15.Be2 a4 16.Qd2 Bd7 17.0-0-0 Qe7 18.Kc2 Bg4 19.Rdf1 Rxf1 20.Rxf1 Qd7 21.Bxc5 dxc5 22.Nd1 Bxe2 23.Qxe2 Qh3 24.Rf3 Qxh4 25.Qf2 Rf8 26.Rxf8+ Bxf8 27.Qf6 Qf4 28.Ne3 Qxf6 29.gxf6 Kf7 30.Ng4 Nd7 0-1 (30) Bartel, M (2648)-Van Foreest,J (2682) chess.com INT 2020] 10...b6 11.Nge2 Ne8N 12.Ng3 White has gotten the edge in the opening. Black needs to open the kingside where White is prepared for the ...f5 break 12...Kh8 13.h4 f5 14.Bg5 Bf6 15.gxf5 Bxg5? This leads to big trouble, opening the h-file. [15...gxf5 16.exf5 Bxf5! 17.Nxf5 Bxg5 18.hxg5 Rxf5 19.g6 Nf6 is only slightly better for White] 16.hxg5 gxf5
[16...Rg8 17.Rh6 Rg7 (17...gxf5 18.Qh2 Rg7 19.g6)
18.f6 is also very bad] 17.g6! Nf6 18.exf5 Qe7 19.Qg5 Qg7 20.Nce4 Ncxe4 21.fxe4
This loses quickly, but there was nothing to do against the wall of white kingside pawns 22.Nxh5 Nxh5 23.Rxh5+ Kg8 24.Rh7 Qf6 25.Qh5
MMSANCHEZ won on time 1-0
(12) Chelsea Zhou (mwncklmann) (1966) - IM Elliott Winslow (ecwinslow) (2240) [A76]
MI April TNMo Chess.com (2.5), 13.04.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]
1.c4 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.d5 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nf3 g6 7.e4 Bg7 8.Be2 Classical development. [8.h3 0-0 9.Bd3 is the Modern System.] 8...0-0 9.0-0 Re8 [More relaxed is 9...Bg4 Black has some over-concentration of forces so forces and exchange.; or first 9...a6 10.a4 Bg4] 10.Qc2 The older line, keeping open hopes of an effective Bf4. [10.Nd2 has taken over as the most popular move.] 10...Na6 [10...Qe7!? is recommended in J.Doknjas' 2020 Benoni repertoire, with some sharp justifications. The text move was seen back in the amazing (but not entirely sound) Averbakh-Tal game in 1958.] 11.a3 [That game went famously 11.Bf4 Nb4 12.Qb1 and now 12...Nxe4?! Tal admitted later that this should have been a problem, but he couldn't resist. 13.Nxe4 Bf5 14.Nfd2 Nxd5 15.Bxd6? (15.Bg3 avoids problems and remains on top 15...Bh6 16.Bb5) 15...Nf6 and Black won brilliantly.] 11...Nc7 12.h3 b5 If Black gets this in without paying a price, then his opening was a success.
[A previous game was odd: 13.Nxb5 Rxe4 14.Ng5 Re7 15.Nxc7 Qxc7 16.Rd1 Rb8 17.Rb1 a5 18.b3 Bb7 19.Bc4 Rbe8 20.Bb5 Rb8 21.Bc4 Rbe8 22.Bb5 Ra8 and White resigned? You can't trust databases. Vingris,M (1641)-Sarauskas,A (1900) Plateliai 2020] 13...a6?!
[13...Rb8 and ...a5 has more kick to it.] 14.Bf1
Still, White has consolidated the center, and Black might need a plan forward, else White just brings the remaining forces into the game and eventually breaks with e5. 14...Bb7
trying to stop the advance by pressuring d5 15.Bf4 Rc8 16.Rad1
Probably not at all good, as now White has the c4 square. [16...Qd7 with, again, ... a5; but later doubling on the e-file will again run into e5!] 17.Nb1
Critical move. 17...Nb5
Black tries to apply pressure on the queenside. 18.Bxb5
Making a mess of Black's nice majority but allowing dynamic counterplay. [The computer points out 18.a4!? Nd4 19.Nxd4 cxd4 20.Qd3 and carefully return the knight to the center; Black's d-pawn is ultimately doomed.] 18...axb5 19.axb4 cxb4
Black here starts to burn his clock time: White: 9:07 Black: 6:46. 20.Qd3 Qd7!?
The best move, but here Black used a huge chunk of time trying to make other moves work. Panic must have set in. [20...Rc4?!; 20...Qb6?!] 21.b3
[21...Nh5 22.Bh2 Rc5!?] 22.Nd4?!
White pursues the b-pawn, but there was more housekeeping to do. [Here 22.Nbd2 Rc3 (22...Rce8 23.Rc1)
23.Qb1 stays in touch, when Black doesn't have anything.] 22...Rce8
The game is lit afire, typical of the Benoni. 23.Qxb5?
Black has his chance now, but he messes it up. [Best was 23.f3 in spite of 23...Nxd5 24.Bg3 when one or the other b-pawn goes again, and White has the better structure. But still, Black has succeeded in opening up a bit for his bishops, and can play for more 24...Nf6 25.Qxb5 Nh5=/+] 23...Bxd5?
White: 3:42, Black: 1:04 Short on time, Black loses his way. [23...Rxe4! is a clear advantage after the exchanges die down: 24.Rxe4 Rxe4 25.Qxd7 Nxd7 26.Be3 Bxd4 27.Bxd4 Bxd5 28.Be3 Bxb3 29.Rxd6 Be6] 24.Qxd7 Nxd7 25.Bxd6?!
[25.f3 is solid, and a slight advantage.] 25...Rxe4 26.Rxe4 Rxe4 27.Nf3 Bxb3 28.Rc1
28...Nb6 Around here Black had to admit it's not working, and let the b-pawn go for an even position. 29.Rc6 Nd7? And the thread snaps. [Black could hold on with some tactics: 29...Bd4 30.Nxd4 Rxd4 31.Rxb6 Rd1+ 32.Kh2 Rxb1 33.Bxb4 Ba2 But with seconds remaining he just didn't find it.] 30.Nbd2 Re6 31.Nxb3? White missteps as well! [31.Rc8++- provides an "intermezzo" trade on f8, and White is just up a piece.] 31...Bc3? And here Black had a tactic: [31...Bf8! 32.Bxf8 Rxc6 33.Bxb4 Rb6 34.Nc5 Rxb4 35.Nxd7 Kg7 when White has a nominal advantage: while knights are supposed to play well when just on one side of the board, here there just isn't enough.] 32.Nbd4 Re4 33.Nb5 mwncklmann won on time 1-0
(9) Phillip Gerstoft (pgstar3) (1861) - NM Ruiyang Yan (jij2018) (2118) [B22]
MI April TNMo Chess.com (1.6), 13.04.2021
[de Firmian, Nick]
1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 d6 5.exd6 [more usual is 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4] 5...e6 6.g3 Bxd6 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 Nd7 9.d4 N7f6 This is a little passive. Black could get immediate queenside play with [9...b5] 10.Qe2N [Previously seen was 10.c4 Ne7 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.Nc3 Nc6 13.a3 a5 14.Na4 Be7 15.Be3 e5 16.Nb6 Rb8 17.Nxc8 Qxc8 18.Qe2 Re8 19.Qc2 Qc7 20.Rad1 Rbd8 21.h3 b6 22.Ng5 Bc5 23.Ne4 Nxe4 24.Bxe4 g6 25.Bd5 Ne7 26.Bg5 Rd6 27.Bxe7 Qxe7 28.Kg2 Kg7 29.Rde1 Qg5 30.f4 Qh5 31.g4 Qh4 32.fxe5 Rd7 33.Qc3 Rc7 34.b4 axb4 35.axb4 Bf8 36.Re3 h5 37.Ref3 hxg4 38.Rxf7+ Rxf7 39.Rxf7+ Kh6 Trbojevic,M (2373)-Szabo,B (2414) Bol 2014 1-0] 10...h6 11.Rd1 Qe7 [11...cxd4!] 12.Nbd2?! [more aggressive is 12.c4 Nb4 13.dxc5 Bxc5 14.a3 Nc6 15.Nc3] 12...Bd7 13.Nb3 cxd4 14.c4 Nb6 15.Nfxd4
15...e5 16.Nb5 Bxb5 17.cxb5 Rad8 18.Be3 Rfe8
[better to block the long diagonal right away with 18...e4 19.a4 Nbd5] 19.a4 e4
now the timing is off 20.a5! Nc8 21.Bh3 Bb8 22.Bc5 Nd6 23.Nd4
[23.a6 would nicely fix the a7 pawn as a long term target] 23...Qe5 24.b4 Nd5 25.Rac1 f5?
[It was time to break out with 25...e3 26.fxe3 Ne4 to get active play right away.] 26.a6!
Now White takes over the queenside and has a decisive edge 26...Ne7
[26...b6 27.Nc6] 27.axb7 Nxb7 28.Bxe7 Rxd4
[28...Qxe7 29.Nxf5] 29.Rxd4 Qxd4
[30.Qa2+ Kh8 31.Qf7! would finish the game quickly. Now Black gets chances.] 30...Qe5?!
[30...Nxc5 31.bxc5 e3!] 31.Be3 Nd6 32.Bf1 Qe7 33.Bc5 Qf6 34.Qa2+ Kh8 35.Bxa7 Bxa7 36.Qxa7 f4 37.Rc6?
[Black is getting activity but White could keep a big advantage with the accurate 37.Qa1! Qf7 38.Qd4] 37...e3!
jij2018 won on time [The game is messy now and White needs to be accurate to keep equality 37...e3 38.Qa2! would hold, but not (38.fxe3 fxg3 39.hxg3 Qf3!) ] 0-1
To watch the broadcast from Tuesday night, follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98ixTzV-em8
SwissSys Standings. April 2021 TNM: 1800+
SwissSys Standings. April 2021 TNM: u1800
Thursday Night Marathon
Three rounds of 5 are complete in the April 2021 Thursday Night Marathon, and 4 players remain with perfect scores, including GM Gadir Guseinov, IM Elliott Winslow, NM Michael Walder, and Adam Mercado. There are some strong players right behind at 2.5 inclusing FM Kyron Griffith, FM Richar Koepcke, Kristian Clemens and Cailen Melville. Here are the current standings as we head into round 4 next week.
SwissSys Standings. TempTnmt: Open
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: https://marshallchessclub.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=8d1c41bb7086f1137fd9939ba&id=3a3fc8e77f.
To see their list of events, click this link: https://www.marshallchessclub.org/tournaments/upcoming
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: https://www.twitch.tv/mechanicschess
GM Nick de Firmian/FM Paul Whitehead Arena: Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, 4/20: https://www.chess.com/live#r=1105510
See you in the arena!
Mechanics' Institute Regular Online Classes
Monday's 4:00-5:30PM - Mechanics' Chess Cafe
Ongoing casual meeting to talk about chess, life, and pretty much everything else of interest. Join 3-time US Champion GM Nick de Firmian and FM Paul Whitehead as they give a lecture and class in a fun casual atmosphere where you can discuss games, learn strategy, discuss chess current events and interact in a fun casual atmosphere. Enter our Monday chess café for the pure love of the game. Class suitable for ALL level of players and FREE for MI members.
FREE for Mechanics' members. $5 for non-members.
More information: https://www.milibrary.org/chess/chess-cafe
Monday's 6:00-7:00PM -- 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: https://www.milibrary.org/chess/modern-chess-openings
Wednesday's 5:00-6:30PM - Free Adult Beginner Class for Mechanics' Members
Next session starts on
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: Next class starts June. Free for MI members. Members will have to register online to secure their spot and to receive an email confirming the Zoom link: https://mechanics-institute.jumbula.com/2021OnlineClasses/FreeAdultBeginnerClassforMechanicsMembersJuneJuly2021
More information: https://www.milibrary.org/chess/free-adult-beginner-class-mechanics-members
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: https://www.milibrary.org/chess/art-defense-fm-paul-whitehead
New course will set to start April 21 and go until May 26 - The Art of Attack with FM Paul Whitehead
More information: https://www.milibrary.org/chess/art-attack-chess-fm-paul-whitehead-2021-spring
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:
Past Club Tournament results are here:
Before playing in our online tournaments, be sure to do the following:
Any questions? [email protected]
By Judit Sztaray
2) USCF Online Rated Tournaments on the weekends
4/18 Sunday - 8SS G/5+2 affecting USCF Online Blitz rating.
More information: https://www.milibrary.org/chess-tournaments/uscf-online-rated-scholastic-tournaments-2021-chesskidcom
Register online: https://mechanics-institute.jumbula.com/2021OnlineTournaments/ScholasticOnlineRatedTournamentApr18SUN
Scholastic Game of the Week: Annotations by GM Nick de Firmian
(3) zzng (1463) - NextWhiteFirebird (1066) [B04]
Live Chess ChessKid.com
[de Firmian, Nick]
1.e4 Nf6 2.Nf3 Woops! That pawn is hanging! [The move you usually see is 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 (3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6) 3...d6 4.Nf3 (More aggressive is 4.c4 Nb6 5.f4 (5.exd6 is the "middle road") ) ] 2...Nxe4 3.Qe2 Nf6
[Usually Black quietly mobilizes but sometimes there is a drastic and sudden end: 4.d4 g6 5.Bg5 Bg7 6.c3 0-0 7.Qe3 Ng4 8.Qe4 d5 9.Qxe7? Re8 10.Bd3 Rxe7+ 11.Bxe7 Qxe7+ 0-1 (11) Burbano Garcia,J-Montano Velasco,M (1354) Chess.com INT 2020] 4...h6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Nc3 Nb4 7.Qd1 d6 8.a3 Nbd5 9.Nxd5 Nxd5 10.Bc4 Nf4 11.0-0
How can this be wrong? 12.c3
[12.d4! is an ongoing shot, playing on the knight on f4.] 12...e4
[12...d5! 13.Ba2 e4 puts the extra pawn to good use] 13.Re1 f5
[13...d5!] 14.Qb3 Be7
[14...d5! snuffs out any danger.] 15.Bf7+??
[15.d3! Nxd3 16.Bxd3 exf3 17.Bc4 back to the diagonal -- with some advantage!] 15...Kf8 16.Nd4 c5
[16...d5! would have taught that bishop a lesson.] 17.Ne6+ Bxe6 18.Bxe6
Black has done well with his big extra center pawn, but now starts to fumble. 18...Nd3
[18...d5! 19.Bxf5 Nd3 20.Rf1 (
or 20.Re3 c4
20...c4! About White's permanently entombed rook and bishop.. .] 19.Re3 Nf4?!
[19...g6! guards the f-pawn and gives the king g7.] 20.Bxf5 Qe8?
and that finishes it. [20...d5 puts up a better fight, although 21.c4 g6 22.Bg4 and what should have been a proud pawn center will soon be ruins.] 21.Bxe4 Qh5 22.Rf3 Qe5 23.d3 Bf6 24.h3
Perhaps White didn't notice that 23.d3 was also a discovered attack!? 24...Ne2+ 25.Kf1 Nxc1 26.Rxc1 Qh2
White remembers f7, and it's over! 27...Qh1+ 28.Ke2 Qxc1 29.Qf7#
zzng won by checkmate 1-0
Finishing Tactics from the World Championship Matches 10: Lasker – Janowski 1910
FM Paul Whitehead
Lasker’s next title defense was against the Polish born David Janowski, now a Frenchman and a strong player with a wealthy patron, Leo Nardus. Lasker had already played two exhibition matches with his challenger: the first held in early 1909 drawn at +2 -2 =0, and the second later that year won by Lasker +7 -1 = 2. Now the optimistic challenger had another shot – third time lucky? Janowski had great confidence in his play, and had said of the World Champion: "Lasker's game was not chess, but dominoes." But it was not to be. With a large purse in hand donated by Nardus, Lasker crushed Janowski in a one-sided brawl +8 -0 =3.
Lasker’s play was a bit shaky sometimes, and he extricated himself out of some lost positions. Perhaps he was ‘playing down’ to his opponent’s skill level. Nevertheless, it was often Janowski himself who overreached, and in the very first game made an atrocious blunder:
Lasker – Janowski, 1st Match Game 1910. 
Black played 1…Rd6?? and the vulnerability of the back rank was clearly felt after the simple 2.Rxd5 Rxd5 3.Qxd5! Janowski played one more move 3…Qxb4 and resigned after 4.Rxc6 1-0.
Not an auspicious start!
1. Janowski – Lasker, 4th Match Game 1910.
Black moves. How did Lasker deal with the looming kingside threats?
2. Lasker – Janowski, 5th Match Game 1910.
White moves. Black threatens the knight on d4, therefore…
3. Janowski – Lasker, 8th Match Game 1910.
Black moves. Can you boil it down?
4. Lasker – Janowski, 9th Match Game 1910.
White moves. 1.gxh5 Bxf5 and black can fight. Does white have better?
5. Janowski – Lasker, 10th Match Game 1910.
White moves. 1…Rd7 is threatened. Can he find a way to survive?
GM Nick de Firmian
Vegas Baby! US Chess returns live in June
The National Open in Las Vegas has always been one of the biggest annual tournaments on the US chess calendar, often drawing over a thousand participants. It is scheduled this year June 16-20 and the organizers are preparing for the triumphant return of over-the-board tournament play. Many of our Mechanics’ Institute players are planning to play, including former MI President Vince McCambridge. The $100,000 prize fund and showtime atmosphere are enticing many chess players to finally venture out from the pandemic lockdown. Of course you must decide if the world is safe enough for the travel and hotel venue (the Westgate, where Elvis used to stay). The tournament organizers and hotel staff are implementing safety measures, such as spraying the room between rounds, but everyone has their own individual measure of what is risky these days.
Of the tens of thousands of chess players who have played in the National Open chess festivals over the years there is one player that springs to mind who completely embodied the spirit of Las Vegas chess and gaming: Walter Browne. Browne was a six-time US Chess Champion who dominated US chess in the 1970s and was also a professional poker player. He was born in Australia but came to the US as a teenager and settled in the Bay Area in his twenties. His frenetic activity would see him playing intense time scrambles in the classical games, followed by scores of his beloved blitz chess and topped off by late night poker sessions. Walter died in Las Vegas in June 2015 at the age of 66 after completing the National Open and a poker tournament. We give below a couple of his games these Las Vegas events.
(1) Browne,Walter S (2450) - Georgiev,Vladimir (2560) [B07]
Las Vegas National op Las Vegas (5), 10.03.2002
In 2002 Browne was past his prime as a chess player, but still a force to be rekoned with even by the top seeds of the tournament. 1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 e5!? 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Bc4 Be6 7.Bxe6 fxe6
This opening was a popular defense for a time. The black e-pawns cover important central squares so it is difficult for White to achieve much advantage. 8.Be3! Bb4 9.0-0-0+ Nbd7 10.Nge2 Ke7?!
[Georgiev sees that 10...Ng4 11.Bg5+ Be7 12.Bxe7+ Kxe7 13.f3! Nf2? 14.Rxd7+ Kxd7 15.Rf1 wins material for White. Still, this line would be an improvemnet for Black if he would just retreat on move 13 with ...Nf6.] 11.f3 a6 12.Rd3
Walter has a solid setup and now proceeds to slowly build on his edge. 12...c5 13.a3 Ba5 14.Rhd1 Rhc8 15.g4! c4 16.R3d2 Rc7 17.h3 h6 18.f4!
To break through White must allow Black to undouble the pawns. Yet White gets more squares after the pawn exchange. 18...exf4 19.Bxf4 e5
[20...exf4 21.gxf6+ Nxf6 22.e5! wins due to the knight fork on d5] 21.Bxg5 Kf7 22.Rd6 Nc5?
[22...Rh8 would keep Black in the game. Now Browne gets through to the black king,] 23.Bxf6 gxf6 24.Rf1 Rh8 25.Rfxf6+ Ke8 26.Rd5 Bxc3 27.Nxc3 Nd7 28.Re6+ Kf7 29.Rdd6 Rxh3 30.Nd5
material is even, but the white forces work beautifully together to attack 30...Rh1+ 31.Kd2 c3+ 32.bxc3 Nc5 33.Rf6+ Kg7 34.Rg6+ Kh7 35.Nxc7 Nxe4+ 36.Ke3 Re1+ 37.Kf3 Nxd6 38.Rxd6 Ra1 39.Rb6 Rxa3 40.Nd5
The piece up ending is an easy win. 40...Ra2 41.Rxb7+ Kg6 42.Ke4
Georgiev resigned. 1-0
(2) Browne,Walter S - Grefe,John A [B46]
Las Vegas op Las Vegas (6), 15.03.1973
This is a meeting of these two icons of Bay Area chess John Grefe was US Champion in 1973, yet Browne was even more of a force in the 1970s. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.g3 Nge7 Grefe's favorite line in his Taimanov Sicilian 7.Nb3! avoiding exchanges to keep Black cramped 7...Na5 8.Qh5 Nec6 9.Bg2 Be7 10.0-0 d6 11.Nxa5 Nxa5 12.e5 d5 13.Qg4 Kf8 14.Bf4 Bd7 15.Rad1 Rc8 16.Qh5
The exchange sacrifice looks excellent in the short term as the white pawn structure is crippled on the queenside. Yet in the long term Black will have to pay a price for a lower valued piece. 17.bxc3 Bb5 18.Rfe1 Bc4 19.Rd4 Kg8?!
[20...gxh6? 21.Qxh6 simply wins since the white rook attacks from the fourth rank] 21.Qg4 b5 22.Bh3 Qd7
[22...Qc7? 23.Qxe6! fxe6?! 24.Bxe6#] 23.Rf4 Nc6 24.Qf3 Nd8 25.Rb1 Qc7 26.Re1 a5 27.a3 a4 28.Bg4
White has a big advantage but it's not easy to break through. Grefe loses patience and finally grabs the "loose" white a-pawn. 28...Bxa3?
29.Rxc4! bxc4 30.Qf6 Bf8 This avoids mate, but at the cost of a rook. 31.Bxf8 Kxf8 32.Qxh8+ Ke7 33.Qf6+ Ke8 34.Ra1 1-0
1. Janowski – Lasker, 4th Match Game 1910.
The World Champion found the stunning 1…h5!! and white’s position fell apart like a house of cards: 2.Qxh5 Nf4! The point: black wins the exchange. 3.Qg4 Nxe2+ 4.Qxe2 exf5 5.Qh5 Bd5 6.Rd3 f6 7.Rh3 fxe5 8.Qh7+ Kf7 9.Qxf5+ Ke8. Cool as a cucumber. 10.Qh5+ Bf7 11.Qxe5+ and 0-1. After 11…Qe7 or 11…Re7 white has run out of gas.
2. Lasker – Janowski, 5th Match Game 1910.
The challenger had a won game just a few moves earlier, but you can’t let the Big Fish off the hook. Lasker delivered a roundhouse blow with the exchange sacrifice 1.Rxf6! gxf6 and then muscled his way into the c6 square with 2.Bf3! Qe5 3.Nxa7+ Kc7 4.Naxc6 for a crushing knockout: 4…bxc6 5.Rxc6+ Kb8 6.Rb6+! Kc8 7.Qc1+ Kd7 8.Nxe6 fxe6 9.Rb7+ Ke8 10.Bc6+ 1-0. If now 10…Kf8 11.Qh6+ and mate next move.
3. Janowski – Lasker, 8th Match Game 1910.
Lasker forced the queens off with 1…Qe3! into a winning knight ending. White could not resist, for example: 2.Qf7 Nf3+ 3.Kg2 Qe2+ 4.Kh3 Ng5#. White decided to go with the program: 2.Qxe3 Nf1+! 3.Kh3 Nxe3 4.Nd4 Kg5 5.Nb3 Nc4 6.g4 Kf4 7.Kh4 Ke3 8.Kg5 Ke3 9.Kxg6 Kc3. Black’s knight easily deals with the g-pawn by itself. 10.Kf6 There is nothing better. 10…Kxb3 11.g5 Kc3 12.g6 Nd6. If now 13.Ke6 (13.g7 Ne8+ and 14…Nxg7) Ne8 14.Kf7 b3! 15.Kxe8 b2 16.g7 b1(Q) 17.g8(Q) Qb8+ wins, so Janowski resigned. 0-1.
4. Lasker – Janowski, 9th Match Game 1910.
Lasker interposed the pawn-fracturing desperado 1.Nxg7! and black’s 2 bishops were not enough: 1…Bxg4 2.Nxh5 Bxh5 3.R1d2 h6 4.Rd7! Forces the exchange of queens, after which black’s many weaknesses will tell against him. 4…Qb6 5.Qxb6 Rxb6 6.Rd8 c5 7.f5! Lasker goes straight for the attack, in this case the surest way to win. 7…cxb4 8.Rg2+ Kh7 9.Rxf8 b3 10.Rgg8! 1-0. Black can avoid mate only by terrible loss of material.
5. Janowski – Lasker, 10th Match Game 1910.
Under a bit of pressure, Janowski played the pointless 1.h4?? weakening the kingside and recklessly disregarding black’s threat. He stood little chance after 1…Rd7! with the clean win of the e4 pawn. As usual, Lasker’s technique is superb, ruthless: 2.Nb5 (2.Nc8+ Kd8 3.Nd6? Kc7 -+) 2…Nxe4 3.Kb3 Nf6 4.Rc6 Rd3+ 5.Rc3 Rxc3+ 6.Nxc3 Ke6. Knight endings are as Pawn endings. So the saying goes. 7.Kc2 Kf5 8.Kd3 Kg4 9.Ke3 Kg3! 10.h5 gxh5 Leaving white without a glimmer of hope. 11.Nb5 h4 12.Nd6 Kxg2 13.Nf5 h3 14.Nh4+ Kg3 15.Nf5+ Kg4 0-1.
With a little more grit, Janowski could have saved himself with the stubborn 1.Ra6! marking time. Now after 1…Rd7 2.Nc8+! gives white just enough counterplay against the black e-pawn to hold the balance. There are many possibilities. For example: 2…Kd8 3.Na7! Nxe4 4.Nc6+ Kc7 5.Nxe5 Rd2+ 6.Kb3 Rxg2 7.Ra7+ Kd6 8.Nc4+ and 9.Rxh7. White’s knight works miracles.
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