Chess Room Newsletter #968 | Mechanics' Institute

You are here

Chess Room Newsletter #968

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #968


May 15, 2021

By Abel Talamantez

Table of Contents

Mechanics' Institute Will Reopen For Live Chess Starting in June

It has been a long year, and we are excited to announce plans to reopen live chess at the Mechanics' Institute next month with the Tuesday Night Marathon (TNM). Scheduled to start on June 1st, the TNM will have limited capacity, based on City and County of San Francisco regulations, so please sign up early. We will post event details and COVID precautions soon, along with registration information. The event will be a five-round open section TNM that will be FIDE-rated, as well as USCF-rated. Stay tuned for more details in the coming days, we will announce when registration is open via our Facebook page: and via our email list, which you can join HERE

Mechanics' Institute vs. Hamburg Chess Club Saturday 10am PT

The Mechanics' Institute will face off against the Hamburg Chess Club from Germany in the final match of the Spring Club Match Series. It will be held on Saturday, May 15 at 10am PST on and we will broadcast the match live on our Twitch channel here: The match will be 20 players each side, each player playing 2 games against the same opponent, G/15 +2 with each player playing white and black. Here is the lineup for Mechanics'

1 Kyron Griffith FM 2480 kyrongriffith
2 Jim Tarjan GM 2469 tirantes
3 Josiah Stearman IM 2467 josiwales
4 Andy Lee FM 2337 falsenarwhal
5 Elliott Winslow IM 2278 ecwinslow
6 Ruiyang Yan NM 2242 jij2018
7 Arun Dixit NM 2199 limelight2727
8 Mike Walder NM 2075 flightsoffancy
9 Nicholas Weng 2013 ninjaforce
10 Kristian Clemens 2000 kclemens
11 Jonah Busch 1934 kondsaga
12 Clarence Lehman 1904 frankjamesmarshall
13 Chelsea Zhou 1866 mwncklmann
14 Adam Mercado 1831 a-boy415
15 Barbara Goodkind 1800 eatdiner
16 Allyson Wong WCM 1779 fascimate
17 David Rakonitz 1622 mechanjin
18 Mike Hilliard 1446 echecsmike
19 Sebby Suarez 1400 sebbymeister
20 Andrew J Ballantyne 1200 andrewballantyne


Good luck to the team for this historic club match. Go Mechanics'!


Mechanics' Institute vs. Royal Dutch Chess Club 

The Mechanics' Institute was just edged out in a very close match against the Royal Dutch Chess Club 17-16. The Mechanics' had three trustees representing the team, including GM Patrick Wolff, FM Mark Pinto, and Mike Hilliard, along with many club regulars. This was the third event in our Spring Series Club Matches with the world's historic clubs. We would like to thank Gosse Romkes, Stefan, and all the players from the Royal Dutch Club for helping organize this very entertaining match.

You can watch the broadcast by following this link:

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

(5) Gosse Romkes (GosseRomkes) DD1852 (1917) - FM Mark Pinto (bondtrader) Mechanics' (2218) [A40]
Live Chess, 08.05.2021

1.d4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.c4 Nf6 4.Nc3 d5 James Bond(trader), a.k.a. Mark Pinto plays the sharp Gruenfeld Defense. His opponent decides not to capture on d5 and transpose into a kind of Catalan Opening. 5.g3 0-0 6.Bg2 c6 and now we are in a Neo-Gruenfeld. This is a solid defense which offers equal prospects. 7.cxd5 cxd5 8.0-0 Nc6 9.Bf4 Bf5 10.Qb3

10...Na5 Mark breaks the symmetry with an attack on the white queen. The plan of taking queenside space is aggressive and good. 11.Qa4 a6 12.Ne5 Rc8 13.g4?! [Simpler and safer was the devloping move 13.Rfc1] 13...Be6 [13...Nxg4 14.Nxd5 e6 is also favorable for Black] 14.h3 b5 15.Qb4?!-/+ allowing a tactical opportunity [15.Qa3] 15...Nc6?! [15...Nxg4! 16.hxg4 Bxe5 17.Bxe5 Rc4 18.Qa3 b4 19.Qa4 bxc3 would put White in a hole] 16.Nxc6 Rxc6 17.Rad1 Rc4 Nonetheless Black has an excellent position with the advanced queenside pawns taking territory. 18.Qb3 Qd7 19.Be5 Rd8 20.e3 h6 21.f4 GrosseRomkes charges forward with the kingside pawns. It takes space, but can leave weaknesses. 21...Qc6?! [It seems Black could keep some edge with 21...h5 putting the question to the white pawn front immediately. e.g. 22.Bxf6 Bxf6 23.gxh5 Bxh3 with good play] 22.Rfe1?!-/+ [22.f5 gxf5 23.gxf5 Bc8 24.Rf2 would have been a logical follow-up.] 22...Ne4! 23.Bxg7 Nxc3! 24.bxc3 Kxg7 This nice simplification has left Black with a clear positional edge. White's c3 pawn is weak and the kingside is more loose than threatening. 25.Rc1 f5 [25...Rc8!?] 26.Bf1
26...fxg4!? Black would certainly be better after the simple [26...Ra4 but the exchange sacrifice is also promising] 27.Bxc4 bxc4 [27...dxc4 opens the long diagonal for the black queen] 28.Qd1?!-/+ [28.Qb4! saves a tempo by hitting the black pawn on e7] 28...gxh3 29.Qf3 Bf5
a great positon for Black. Material is even but the bishop on f5 is as strong as a rook. 30.Kh2 Rb8 31.Qf2 Qe6 32.Re2 Qe4 33.Rg1 a5 34.Rg3 a4 35.Rb2 Rxb2 36.Qxb2 h5 37.Qb8? going for it in time pressure. Sometimes you take a risk by playing actively and hope your opponent doesn't see how to put you away. 37...h4 [37...Qc2+ 38.Kh1 Be4+ 39.Kg1 h2+ would have won immediately] 38.Rxh3 Bxh3 [38...Qc2+! 39.Kg1 Bxh3 40.Qe5+ Kf7 41.Qxd5+ Be6] 39.Kxh3 g5? [39...Qh1+ 40.Kg4 Kf7 would be the best way to win the queen ending] 40.Qe5+?-/+ [40.fxg5! Qxe3+ 41.Kxh4 Qe4+ 42.Kh5 should allow White to hold the draw] 40...Qxe5 41.dxe5
41...Kg6 The king ending is winning and Mark securely wraps up the point for the team. 42.Kg4 e6 43.fxg5 h3 44.Kxh3 Kxg5 45.Kg3 Kf5 46.Kf3 a3 47.e4+ dxe4+ 48.Ke3 Kxe5 49.Ke2 Kf4 50.Kf2 e3+ 51.Ke2 e5 52.Ke1 Kf3 53.Kf1 e2+ bondtrader won on time, though it's completely over anyway. 0-1

(6) FM Andy Lee (falsenarwhal) Mechanics' (1887) - DD1852 (1714) [C34]
Live Chess, 08.05.2021

1.e4 e5 The brave (yet risky) King's Gambit. 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 d6 4.Nc3 g5 5.g3 g4 6.Nh4 f3 7.d4 Be7

You must admire falsenarwhal's courage. It looks suspect for White, but in fact chances are close to even and the crazy position is probably to his liking. 8.Be3 Bxh4 9.gxh4 Qxh4+ 10.Bf2 Qg5 11.Nd5 Kd8 12.h4?! This gives Black two protected passed pawns. It is still a wild position, but it doesn't seem necessary to give away a decisive endgame advantage (should we get there). 12...Qg7 13.Rg1 h5? [13...Qh6 holds onto the the extra pawns with the advantage] 14.Qxf3! Now White is only one pawn down and the activity more than compensates for that. 14...Nc6 [14...gxf3? 15.Rxg7 Be6 16.Nf4 is a winning endgame for White] 15.Qd3 Nge7 16.Nxe7 Nxe7 17.0-0-0 Bd7 18.Qb3 Kc8 19.Bg2 a5! This takes a bit of queenside space and puts the rook on a8 to use. 20.a3 a4 21.Qc3 Bc6 22.Qd3 d5? This opens up the game and has a tactical flaw that White can win a pawn by capuring on d5 since there is a queen check on f5. 23.Bg3?! [23.exd5! Nxd5? 24.Qf5+] 23...dxe4 24.Bxe4 Ra5 25.Rgf1 f6?! White takes a clear plus after this passive move. There was the oppottunity to play [25...f5 26.Bxc6 Qh6+ 27.Kb1 Qxc6 and Black is only slightly worse] 26.c4 Bxe4 27.Qxe4 Rd8 28.d5 Ng6? This loses the f-pawn. ...f5 would have continued the battle with more chances 29.Qf5+ Kb8 30.Qxf6 Qxf6 31.Rxf6 Rg8 32.Kc2 Rc5 33.Kd3 b5 34.Rc1 bxc4+

35.Kd4! Fine endgame play by falsenarwhal! The king can often be a strong force at the finish and it certainly is here. 35...Rb5 36.Rxc4 Rc8? a blunder, guarding c7 but losing the knight [36...Rg7 37.d6! cxd6 38.Rxd6 Kb7 39.Rd8 would be a winning ending anyway] 37.Rxg6 Black resigned 1-0

(8) Blokje (1911) - FM Kyron Griffith (KyronGriffith) Mechanics' (2379) [B13]
Live Chess, 08.05.2021

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Bd3 Here we see sn Exchange Caro-Kann with advanced opening play. 4...Nc6 5.c3 g6 6.Bf4 Bh6 7.Bg3 [7.Qd2 Bxf4 8.Qxf4 Qb6 would be an interesting alternative] 7...Nf6 8.Nf3 Nh5 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.0-0 Bg4 11.Qb3 Nxg3 12.hxg3 Rb8 13.Rfe1 e6 14.Nf1 Bxf3 15.gxf3

We've seen principled play by both side. Kyron pursues the minority attack with Black while Blokje has the half open e-file and solid pawn structure. 15...b5 16.a3 Na5 17.Qc2 Nc4 18.Kg2 a5?! [safer was 18...Qc7 this allows White an opportunity] 19.f4?! [White had an opportunity on the queenside (where he probably was not looking). 19.a4! bxa4 20.Bxc4 dxc4 21.Rxa4 leaves White with solid pawns and Black with a couple weak ones.] 19...Qc7 20.Nh2 Rfc8 21.Ng4 Bg7 22.Rh1 b4! The thematic minority attack is powerful here. Black takes the initiative on the queenside, 23.axb4 axb4 24.f5?-/+ Looking for counterplay Blokje charges ahead to uncertain complications. Objectively better was [24.Rhc1 with only a slight disadvantage] 24...exf5 25.Bxf5
25...bxc3! This cool defensive move takes all the positional trumps and gives Black a big advantage. [25...gxf5? 26.Qxf5 would give White serious attacking chances, worth the sacrificed piece.] 26.b3 [26.Bxc8 cxb2! 27.Rab1 Qxc8 would be simply winning for Black] 26...Nd2 27.Bxc8 Qxc8 The white knight is attacked, the b-pawn and the d-pawn. Black has won the battle on the queenside and center and that is far more important than the exchange. 28.Ne3?! losing the d-pawn dooms Blokje [28.Nh6+ Bxh6 29.Rxh6 Rxb3 30.Rh4 would give more chances for White] 28...Bxd4 29.Nd1 sadly for White [29.Nxd5 Qb7 30.Ra5 Rd8 loses the knight] 29...Qb7 30.Ra4 Bg7 31.Qd3 d4+ 32.f3 Re8

KyronGriffith won by resignation. White could try to play on with 33. b4 but everything works so harmoniously for Black. 33.b4 Re3 34.Nxe3 Qxf3+ 35.Kh2 Be5 36.Rg1 dxe3 and White can't defend all the threats. 0-1

May 2021 TNM Report

Everyone at Mechanics' Institute is excited that our traditional of in-person chess is returning, albeit gradually given local and state regulations, with our next TNM. While we are glad we were able to continue chess during the closures during a time of turmoil and uncertainty and will continue some virtual tournaments, nothing beats the feeling of being inside the Mechanics' Institute building and chess room with its wooden tables, historic pictures, and memories of games and people. Our online events served as a way for all of us to stay connected during the closures, while welcoming new players to our community. We look forward to seeing old friends and new players in person as we reopen.

Mechanics' Institute is grateful for the partnerships developed with other clubs in this country and around the world, which we plan to sustain and continue utilizing to stay connected to the larger, global chess community as well. Online play will continue to be a part of the Mechanics' Institute. The Thursday Night Marathon Online will continue, as well as some scholastic and regular events online in addition to live.  We will also continue online classes.

At this writing, 70 players are entered in this two section TNM. We always enjoy watching the first two rounds of the TNM in search of upsets, and the first round certainly delivered. Max Hao upset IM Elliott Winslow in the top section and Pranav Pradeep was upset by Adithya Chitta. GM Gadir Guseinov crusied through his first round, but was engaged in a very complex position in round 2 against NM Michael Wang that captivated almost the entire round 2 broadcast. FM Kyron Griffith, FM Eric Li, FM Max Gedajlovic, NM Eric Hon, and Austin Mei also remained perfect in the top section, making for some exciting rounds 3 & 4 matchups next week.

In the under 1800 section, top seed Aaron Nocoski took advantage of a critical blunder by Paul Krezanoski in a king and rook vs. king and pawn on 7th rank endgame to finish with 2/2. Also perfect after two rounds are Joshua Lamstein, Ethan Sun, Mike Hilliard, Sebby Suarez, Adithya Chitta and William Kelly.

Full tournament information can be found here:

To watch the broadcast of rounds 1&2, please click here:

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

(1) NM Michael Wang (coalescenet) (2108) - GM Gadir Guseinov (GGuseinov) (2638) [E71]
MI May TNMo (2.1), 11.05.2021

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3 0-0 6.Bg5 Kotronias in the final volume of his five-book repertoire series on the King's Indian credits this to John Watson's own repertoire book, but it has been seen sporadically for years before. It is a sort of hybrid, akin to the Makagonov Variation (Nf3/h3) as compared to the Classical line (Be2/Nf3). [6.Nf3; and 6.Be3 are more common but not necessarily better.] 6...c5 Heading for some sort of Benoni. [Like in the Averbakh, 6...e5 is suspect: 7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Nd5 Nbd7 10.Rd1! Rf8 11.Nxc7 Rb8 12.f3 is close to winning; there really is no compensation for the pawn, not to mention the troubled development.; 6...Na6 on the other hand is a fair preparation: 7.Bd3 e5 8.d5 c6 9.Nge2 Nc5 10.Bc2 cxd5 11.cxd5 a5 led to a quick draw a very high-level game: ½-½ (19) Kasparov,G (2785) -Kramnik,V (2765) Las Palmas 1996.] 7.d5 a6 [Kotronias goes with 7...e6 when after 8.Bd3 exd5 both of White's pawn recaptures require precise play: 9.cxd5 (9.exd5) ; The immediate Benko Gambit style 7...b5 8.cxb5 a6 allows 9.a4 with good results for White.] 8.Nf3 Hard to give this a question mark, but it's the next move that misses the point. [8.a4 puts ...b5 to rest for a long time, when it's back to 8...e6 A recent and curious game went 9.Bd3 h6 10.Be3 Nbd7 11.Nf3 Re8 12.0-0 a5 13.Qd2 Kh7 14.Nb5 Ra6 15.Rae1 e5 16.Nh2 Nf8 0-1 (37) 81, Ivanisevic,I (2606)-Kovalenko,I (2643) INT 2021.; Even 8.Bd3 makes more sense.] 8...b5 9.cxb5?! [9.Bd3!? bxc4 10.Bxc4+/- actually rates rather high, and has done a lot better.] 9...axb5 10.Bxb5?

[10.Bxf6 is the sort of move White should feel sick making, but it's probably the way to go.] 10...Nxe4! A stock combination in similar positions, leading to a clear advantage. Here the bishop on g5 threatening e7 is an unusual feature, but that capture will always be just too dangerous. 11.Nxe4 Qa5+ 12.Nc3 Bxc3+ 13.bxc3 Qxb5 14.Qe2 White isn't castling in any case. 14...Qxe2+ 15.Kxe2 Nd7
Black wants to go after the d-pawn. 16.Kd3N [This has all happened before! Then White even won, but the fact is Black is well on top now. 16.Kd2 Nb6 (16...Re8-+; 16...f6-+) 17.Bxe7 Re8 18.Rhe1 Bf5?! (18...Bb7!) 19.Kc1?-/+ 1-0 (68), Reis,T (2209)-Gendler,J Bayern 2014] 16...Ba6+ 17.c4 Nb6 18.Bxe7 [18.Nd2 Nxd5] 18...Bxc4+ 19.Kc2 Rfe8 20.Rhe1 Bxd5 21.Bxd6 Be4+-+ Material is even but Black has a lot of trumps: dangerous c-pawn, and especially ongoing attack on White's king. 22.Kb3 c4+ 23.Kb4 Nd5+ Black has various excellent continuations [The computer notices 23...Rec8! when 24.Rxe4? loses to 24...Nd5+ 25.Kb5 Nc3+] 24.Kc5 Nc3 This could get away from the GM in Baku. [24...Rac8+ 25.Kd4 Red8] 25.Be5
[25.a4!?] 25...Na4+! 26.Kxc4 Bc2 [26...f5! is better, but regardless, the king's exposed state will be the death of him.] 27.Nd4 Rec8+ 28.Kb4 Ra7
Black sets up a "rook-roller" just like in chess school, first lesson. 29.Rac1 Rb7+ [29...Nc3!] 30.Nb5 Nc5 31.Re3
31...Nd3+! A nice flurry of tactics ends the game. 32.Rxd3 Rxb5+! 33.Kxb5 Bxd3+ 34.Kb4 Rxc1 35.a4 Bf1 36.g3 Bxh3 37.a5 Bf1 Michael's opening choice could have worked out very well, but right away he fell into a shot and never recovered. 0-1

(2) Ako Heidari (Ako_H) (1872) - FM Eric Li (kingandqueen2017) (2169) [C11]
MI May TNMo (1.3), 11.05.2021

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Ng3 passive [6.Bxf6 is standard.] 6...0-0 7.Nf3 b6 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.Ne5 [9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.Be4 keeps an even keel.] 9...Nbd7 10.Qe2 h6

[10...Bxg2?! 11.Rg1 just asks for trouble] 11.h4?! Nxe5? [11...hxg5? 12.hxg5 is even worse trouble; Black should classically meet the "attack" with a counter in the center: 11...c5!=/+] 12.dxe5+/- Now the attack is real. 12...Nd5
13.Bxh6? [13.Qe4! is too easy. White is just winning. 13...f5 14.exf6 Bb4+ 15.Kf1 Nxf6 16.Qxb7 hxg5 17.hxg5 Qd5 18.Qxd5 Nxd5 19.Ne4+-] 13...gxh6 14.Qe4 [14.Qg4+!? Kh8 15.Nf5 Rg8! 16.Qh5 Qf8 17.Nxh6+/- with lots of pawn and a king target.] 14...f5 15.exf6 Rxf6 This also feels desperate, but somehow Black hangs on 16.Qh7+ Kf8 17.Bg6? [17.Nh5! is some plus] 17...Rxg6 18.Qxg6 Bf6? [18...Nf6 19.Qxh6+ Kf7 sets up a winning defense.] 19.Qxh6+ Kf7 20.Qh5+ Ke7 21.Qh7+ Kf8 White has a perpetual but tries for more... 22.0-0-0?! Qe7 23.Qxe7+ White used half his remaining ten minutes in a fruitless attempt to find an attack, finally conceding the exchange. For the rest of the game it's an up and down unbalanced mess, with Eric Li coming out on top. 23...Kxe7 [23...Bxe7 keeps the bishop safe] 24.Ne4 [24.Nh5! Bh8 25.Rhe1 is still good for Black but not that much so.] 24...Rg8? [24...Nf4! 25.Nxf6 Kxf6-/+ and White's pawns lose out to Black's minor piece pressure.] 25.g3! Bg7 26.Rhe1 Bh6+ 27.Kb1 Rf8 [27...Rg4!] 28.c4? Nf6? [28...Ne3! when again, the "extra" piece is working: 29.Rd4 c5 30.fxe3 cxd4 31.exd4 Kd7-+] 29.Ng5 [29.Nxf6 Rxf6 30.f4 Bf3 31.Rd3 Bg4 stymies the pawns.] 29...Bc8? [29...Bxg5 30.hxg5 Ne4-/+] 30.f4 Nh5 31.Re3+/- Now White looks good 31...Ng7 32.Rde1 Bd7 33.Kc2 [33.c5! and White is pressing] 33...Rh8 34.Re5 Rf8 35.Kb3 Rf6 36.R1e3 Nf5 37.Rd3 Nd6 38.Ne4 Nxe4 39.Rxe4 Be8 40.Rde3 c5 41.Re5? [Last chance to mobilize those pawns: 41.g4! Bxf4 42.g5 Rf8 43.Rxe6+ Kd7 44.R3e4 and even the bishops won't save White.] 41...Bg6 Now it's even, but Black wears White down in time pressure. 42.Kc3? [42.Ka4=] 42...Bg7 [42...Bf5! with the blockade: Black better.] 43.Kd2 Bf5 Got it. 44.Ke1? Kf7 45.Kf2? Rg6 winning the Exchange, and it's all but over. The rest is just time trouble, no time to find the "resign" button. 46.h5 Rg4 47.Rxf5+ exf5 48.Kf3 Bxb2 49.Re2 Bd4 50.Rh2 Rg8 51.h6 Rh8 52.Rh5 Kg6 53.Rg5+ Kf6 54.Rh5 a6 55.g4 fxg4+ 56.Kxg4 Kg6 57.f5+ Kh7 58.Kf4 b5 59.cxb5 axb5 60.Rh3 Ra8 61.Rg3 Kxh6 62.Rg6+ Kh7 63.Kg5 Rg8 64.Rxg8 Kxg8 65.Kf4 b4 66.Ke4 Kf7 67.Kd3 Kf6 68.Kc2 Kxf5 69.Kb3 Ke4 70.a4 bxa3 71.Kxa3 Kd3 72.Ka2 Bf2 73.Kb1 Kd2 74.Kb2 c4 A dangerous attack that got away from Ako, followed by a complicated and unbalanced queenless middlegame. 0-1

(3) Giorgios Tsolias (GiorgiosTsolias) (1679) - FM Max Gedajlovic (MMSANCHEZ) (2195) [C02]
MI May TNMo (2.4), 11.05.2021

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Bd7 5.Nf3 Qb6 French Defense, Advance Variation, Wade Defense. Black solves the problem of his bad bishop before anything else. The problem is that it takes time away from developing the other pieces. 6.Be2 [6.a3!? at least doesn't have to worry about a quick . ..c4 and ...Nc6-a5-b3 (or does he?)] 6...Bb5

[6...cxd4!? 7.cxd4 Bb5 prevents the possibility on the next move, at the cost of clarifying the center and giving White c3 for a knight.] 7.0-0 [7.c4!? Bxc4 (7...dxc4 8.d5! is the idea -- White breaks through in the center and hopes to catch Black's king there. It's been fairly successful.) 8.Bxc4 Qb4+ 9.Nbd2 dxc4 10.a3 Qb5 Black can't really hold onto his ill-gotten gains, with White castling or Qe2 first.] 7...Bxe2 8.Qxe2 Qa6! And this is the rest of the point. Black fights for the light squares. 9.Re1 Qxe2 10.Rxe2
10...Nh6?!N Black forgets that two can play at that bad-bishop-elimination game! [Just development and setting up ...Rc8: 10...Nc6 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.b4 Be7 0-1 (38) Lewis,D (1583)-Gamble,R (1870) Hull 2018 (12...Bb6!?) ] 11.Bxh6! gxh6 12.dxc5! Bxc5
13.Nd4?! [13.Nbd2! fights for a piece on d4, with an advantage.] 13...Nc6 14.Nxc6 [When the computer prefers 14.Nf3 then something is off.] 14...bxc6 Now Black has another half-open file and the c-pawn to harass White. 15.Nd2 Rb8 16.b4 Be7 17.Nb3 Kd7 18.a3 Rhg8 19.Rd1 Kc7 20.Re3 Rg7 21.f4 Rg4 22.Rf1 Rbg8 23.g3 c5
24.f5! Bg5 [24...Kc6 looking to invade on the light squares] 25.Ref3 [25.Re2! holds up e5] 25...cxb4 26.fxe6 fxe6 27.Rf7+ [27.axb4!] 27...Kb6 Black is doing fine now. 28.cxb4?! [28.axb4] 28...Rc8?!
[28...Be3+ 29.Kg2 R8g5] 29.Nc5?! Shorter on time (four minutes to fourteen) White loses the way. [29.Kg2 Be3 30.R1f6; Or even 29.Kh1 is a better try. 29...Be3 30.Re7 Rc3 Stockfish 8 64 0.16/28 ] 29...Be3+ 30.Kg2 Bxc5 31.bxc5+ Double rook endings are hard to orient, and often head to a draw if there are wholesale exchanges. 31...Rxc5 [31...Kxc5!? 32.Rxa7 Kd4 33.Rxh7 Kxe5 34.Rxh6 is even.] 32.Rb1+ Ka6 33.Rxh7 d4? [33...Rc2+ 34.Kf3 Re4 secures a path for the Black king] 34.Rbb7? [34.Re1! hangs on to the e-pawn, with some advantage for White.] 34...Rxe5? [34...Re4! gets that rook back into the game right away 35.Rxa7+ Kb5 just nudges Black's king to support the central pawns] 35.Rxa7+ Kb5
36.Rhd7? [With under three minutes White doesn't quite go far enough. 36.Rhc7! draws, cutting off the king.] 36...Rd5? [36...Kc4! when the extra support of the king makes it winning for Black.] 37.Rxd5+? [Again: 37.Rdc7!=] 37...exd5 Doubled or not those pawns are a problem for White. 38.Rd7
38...d3? [38...Kc4! is more threatening: 39.Kf3 Re4 40.Rc7+ Kd3] 39.Rxd5+? [39.Kf2! Re4 40.Rxd5+ Kc4 41.Rd6 is adequate to hold.] 39...Kc4 40.Rd8 Rd4 41.Rc8+ Kb3 White lost on time in a hopeless position. Another difficult ending, highlighting that so many points can be won or saved by developing a feel for these simplified but hardly simple positions. 0-1

(4) Aaron Nicoski (KingSmasher35) (1737) - Paul Krezanoski (pjkrizzle) (1594) [D00]
MI May TNMo u1800 (2.1), 11.05.2021

1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 c6 3.c3 Qb6 4.Qb3 Bf5 In the popular London System, Black decides on the very same moves. Neither side wants to trade queens and give the other player the rook file and a nice pawn to advance. 5.e3 Nf6 6.Be2 Nbd7 7.h3 e6 8.Nf3 Ne4 Black is the first to cross the frontier line, but it means nothing. 9.0-0 Be7 10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.Nd2

12...Nf6?! So it appears that Black doesn't accept that bishops might be worth a bit more than knights after all. [12...Bg6 stays calm; or 12...g5 13.Bh2 Bg6 with possible further kingside pawn advances.] 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Rfd1 c5?!
Finally there is some change to the pawns! But it might not work out so well for Black. [Trading off one of the two might not be a bad idea here: 14...Bd6 is close to equality.] 15.Qxb6 [15.dxc5!? presents Black with a difficult choice of recapture.] 15...axb6 16.f3 Nf6 17.g4 Played a la Steinitz, restricting the knight to accentuate the value of the bishops. 17...c4 Dreaming of queenside expansion 18.a3 White stops things before they even get started. 18...h6 19.Kf2 Nh7 20.Bg3 f5 Looking for some activity (not to mention thoughts of White's king on the f-file) 21.Kg2 fxg4?!
[21...b5 defending c4 again -- that d-pawn might be needed elsewhere.] 22.fxg4? [22.hxg4! Capturing towards the center, keeping the pawns in one mass, maintaining control of e4 with a pawn...] 22...Bg5? [22...Ng5!= returning to e4 is fine.] 23.e4! The pawns get targeted. 23...b5? 24.e5? [24.exd5 exd5 25.Bf3 Rfd8 (25...Nf6?? 26.h4; 25...Rad8 26.Re1 Bf6 27.h4 Again, containment! 27...Kf7 28.a4! Finally switching back to the queenside, with a win) 26.Re1 Bf6 27.h4 Kf7 and even here, White can play to open up the queenside with b2-b3.] 24...Rf7 25.Rf1 White trades the rooks before Black's doubling becomes annoying. 25...Nf8?! [25...Rxf1 26.Rxf1 Rf8] 26.Rxf7 Kxf7 27.Rf1+ Kg6?! 28.h4 Be7 29.h5+ Giving Black's bishop a square (g5). [29.Be1 sets up 29...Kh7 30.g5!? hxg5 31.h5! looking for open lines (the pawn is easily recovered on the way).] 29...Kh7 30.Bd1 Kg8 31.Bc2 Bg5 32.Bf4 Be7 33.Bc1 b6?! This could be a useful tempo lost in some later ending. 34.Kh3 Ra7 35.Rg1
White is poised to open lines everywhere, g4-g5, a3-a4, b2-b3. Black has his hands full keeping an eye on them all. 35...Nh7 36.Bg6 [36.Bxh7+!? Kxh7 37.g5 hxg5 38.Bxg5 Bxg5 39.Rxg5 Black is stuck. 39...Re7 40.Rg6 White can run his king over to a2 and play a3-a4!] 36...Ng5+?! [36...Bg5!? 37.Bxh7+?! Kxh7 38.Bxg5 hxg5 when Black can hold.] 37.Bxg5! Bxg5 38.Rf1
Both side's pawns are targets for the other player's bishop, but White can get to them faster. 38...Re7 39.Ra1 It's White's king that should be setting up the pawn breaks, it's doing nothing on h3. 39...Ra7 40.Be8? Impatient, a crime in the endgame! And Black is alert: 40...b4! 41.cxb4 [41.Rf1 is the road to complete equality.] 41...Be3 Now Black is very much in the game. 42.Rd1 c3? Played in a few seconds when Black had over 14 minutes on the clock. [42...Ra8 43.Bg6 Rf8 gives White something to think about. 44.b3! cxb3 45.Rd3 Rf3+ 46.Kg2 b2 47.Rc3 Rf4! is a hair-raising line that doesn't quite lead anywhere for either player. 48.Kg3 (48.Rxe3? Rxg4+ 49.Kf1! (avoiding ...Rh2+ in a few moves) 49...Rxg6 50.Rb3 Rg5 51.Rxb2 Rxh5 nonetheless favors Black) 48...Bxd4 49.Rc6 Bxe5 50.Rxe6 b1Q 51.Bxb1 Rxb4+ 52.Rxe5 Rxb1 53.Rxd5 Rb3+ and White holds.] 43.bxc3 Rxa3 44.Rd3 Bg5 [44...Bc1 45.Rf3 Bb2 46.Bf7+ Kf8 47.Bxe6+ Ke7 48.Bxd5 Rxc3 leads to one of those bishops of opposite colors endings that can't be won.] 45.Rf3 Ra7 46.Bg6 Rc7 47.Kg2 Bd2 48.Kg3
48...Bxc3? [48...Be1+ keeps the king off f4 later] 49.Bf7+ Kh7 50.Bxe6 Bxd4 51.Bf5+ [51.Kf4!] 51...Kg8?! [51...Kh8 52.e6 Kg8] 52.e6? [52.Be6+ Kh7 53.Kf4! Black's king is boxed in.] 52...Be5+ 53.Kf2 Bd6 [53...Kf8 54.Be4+ Ke7 55.Bxd5 Rc2+ 56.Ke3 Rc3+ trades rooks with another drawn bishop ending.] 54.Ra3
54...Bxb4? If only there weren't a lure in the b-pawn, Black would find the right move. [Black has to get out while he can: 54...Kf8!] 55.Ra8+ Bf8 56.Bg6! White wins the exchange. Black can still put up a fight with the extra pawns, but it's hard to see a certain draw. 56...b5? [56...Re7! would force White to decide. 57.Bf7+ (57.Bf5 g6!? 58.hxg6 Kg7 59.Rd8!+- The rooks on the board make the difference.) ] 57.Bf7+ White is down to four minutes. [57.Rb8! b4 58.Ke3 Re7 59.Rb6] 57...Rxf7+ 58.exf7+ Kxf7 59.Ke2 Be7 60.Kd3?! [60.Ra5! wins a pawn while he can] 60...Ke6 61.Rb8 b4?! [61...Ke5! 62.Rb7 (62.Re8 Kd6; 62.Rxb5 Kf4 63.Rb7 Bf6 64.Rb4+ d4) 62...Bg5! 63.Rxg7 Kf4 can't lose once all White's pawns go.] 62.Rb6+ Ke5
63.Rg6?? [63.Rb7! Ke6 64.Ke3!] 63...Bf6! (2:55 - 4:53) Suddenly Black is winning! 64.Kc2 d4 65.g5 hxg5 66.h6 gxh6 67.Rxh6
67...Ke4? Black loses it. There was only one way to the win. [But it's there: 67...g4! 68.Kd3 g3 69.Rg6 (69.Ke2 b3; 69.Kc4 Bg5 70.Rh1 Be3) 69...Bh4! 70.Rg4 Kf5! 71.Rxh4 g2 and touchdown.] 68.Rxf6 At least it's still a draw (2:00 - 3:49) 68...d3+? Not any more! [68...g4! draws against all tries.] 69.Kd2 Now it's very, very lost. 69...g4
70.Rb6? Going after the wrong pawn! Now it's drawn! Three other rook moves win: [70.Rd6 and Rxd3 stops either knight-pawn that tries to queen; 70.Rg6 Kf5 71.Rg8 (or 71.Rd6) ; Even 70.Re6+ wins but it's more complicated.] 70...b3? [70...g3 is the only move that makes the draw!] 71.Rxb3 g3 72.Rb4+? and it's drawn again! [72.Rxd3 wins of course. 72...g2 73.Rg3] 72...Kf3= 73.Kxd3 g2 74.Rb8 Kf2 [74...g1Q just forces king vs. king] 75.Rf8+

75...Kg1?? and that's it. The other two king moves are nothing for White. [75...Kg3; 75...Ke1] 76.Ke2 Kh2 77.Rh8+ Kg3 78.Rg8+ Kh2 79.Kf2 Kh1 Hoping for 80.Rxg2?? 80.Rh8# What an epic battle! And a lesson to study basic endgames for both players! It's incredible that Black had a win in there! 1-0

SwissSys Report: 2021 May Tuesday Night Marathon Online

SwissSys Standings. 2021 May Tuesday Night Marathon Online: 1800

# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total Prize
1 Gadir Guseinov gguseinov 17343590 2661 W21 W9         2.0  
2 Kyron Griffith KyronGriffith 12860484 2493 W25 W11         2.0  
3 Eric Li kingandqueen2017 15688436 2350 W12 W10         2.0  
4 Max Gedajlovic MMSanchez 14947382 2195 W26 W18         2.0  
5 Eric Hon microbear 13778105 2191 W22 W13         2.0  
6 Austin Mei TitanChess666 16090452 2149 W27 W17         2.0  
7 Michael Walder FlightsOfFancy 10345120 2155 D8 W19         1.5  
8 Pranav Sathish championps 16464655 1787 D7 W23         1.5  
9 Michael Wang coalescenet 13605850 2098 W14 L1         1.0  
10 Ako Heidari Ako_h 15206848 1980 W15 L3         1.0  
11 Rohan Das TETRA_Wolf 15263634 1979 W16 L2         1.0  
12 Ethan Guo LightningDragon8 16761994 1877 L3 W27         1.0  
13 Max Hao Joseph_Truelsons_Fan 16083648 1804 W20 L5         1.0  
14 Sos Hakobyan SacrificeandCrush 14452712 1771 L9 W24         1.0  
15 Jason Ochoa barok44 12440572 1759 L10 W26         1.0  
16 Aditya Arutla harshu27 16207801 1718 L11 W25         1.0  
17 Vedant Talwalkar serverbusy 16408266 1691 W23 L6         1.0  
18 Georgios Tsolias GiorgosTsolias 17266862 1679 W24 L4         1.0  
19 Shravan Sriram Ragingbeast360 15894655 1655 B--- L7         1.0  
20 Elliott Winslow ecwinslow 10363365 2278 L13 H---         0.5  
21 Chelsea Zhou mwncklmann 15239016 1883 L1 D22         0.5  
22 Philip Gerstoft pgstar3 12913356 1788 L5 D21         0.5  
23 Cailen Melville Mangonel 14006141 1940 L17 L8         0.0  
24 Jonah Busch kondsaga 12469525 1934 L18 L14         0.0  
25 Jeffery Wang twangbio 16291100 1879 L2 L16         0.0  
26 Sanjeev Anand chessp1234 14436451 1796 L4 L15         0.0  
27 Kevin M Fong chessappeals 17254586 1783 L6 L12         0.0  

SwissSys Standings. 2021 May Tuesday Night Marathon Online: u1800

# Name Handle ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total Prize
1 Aaron Nicoski KingSmasher35 12797931 1789 W25 W15         2.0  
2 Joshua Lamstein aveevu 15487526 1632 W30 W17         2.0  
3 Ethan Sun sfdeals 16964125 1494 W31 W18         2.0  
4 Michael Hilliard Echecsmike 12279170 1446 W32 W19         2.0  
5 Sebastian Suarez Sebbymeister 16875347 1422 W20 W23         2.0  
6 Adithya Chitta adichi 16695036 749 W14 W12         2.0  
7 William Kelly wkelly 30161947 unr. W16 W13         2.0  
8 Marina Xiao programmingmax 16380642 1547 D26 W22         1.5  
9 Rajtilak Indrajit Jagannathan rtindru 30109752 1484 D10 W26         1.5  
10 Jerry Li figsnoring 16551291 999 D9 W28         1.5  
11 Nursultan Uzakbaev rimus11 17137317 1513 L18 W31         1.0  
12 Charles James chuckchess 12448028 1368 W33 L6         1.0  
13 Michael Xiao swimgrass 16380636 1363 W21 L7         1.0  
14 Pranav Pradeep ppra06 15871762 1354 L6 W32         1.0  
15 Paul Krezanoski pjkrizzle 16897133 1346 W27 L1         1.0  
16 Prescott Yu prescott00000 16009618 1296 L7 W33         1.0  
17 Adam Stafford aanval22 14257838 1288 W24 L2         1.0  
18 Ivan Zong ivanzong 30131397 1081 W11 L3         1.0  
19 Bruce Hedman Bruce_Hedman 17344551 1043 W28 L4         1.0  
20 Jonathan Disenhof GoldenBearMe 12906711 869 L5 W29         1.0  
21 Rehaan Malhotra MrRap9 30118209 810 L13 B---         1.0  
22 Samuel Brown ComfyQueso 16380615 723 B--- L8         1.0  
23 Nikhil Pimpalkhare MyKwazowski 30179081 unr. W29 L5         1.0  
24 Jj Ziebart TomatoSoupGirl 30166361 unr. L17 W30         1.0  
25 Andrew Ballantyne andrewaballantyne 17079795 1251 L1 D27         0.5  
26 Sean Wu dum2020arEEEWS 16802870 1173 D8 L9         0.5  
27 Anton Bobkov texfan 30162536 unr. L15 D25         0.5  
28 Nicholas Brown nmbrown2 12446259 1495 L19 L10         0.0  
29 Gabriel Ngam boozerrip 13553308 1350 L23 L20         0.0  
30 Ian Liao victor6688 16738735 1203 L2 L24         0.0  
31 Charvi Atreya Charvii 16816706 1032 L3 L11         0.0  
32 Justin Brunet night_breeze 30055583 982 L4 L14 H--- H---     0.0  
33 Arumin Ravisankar aruminchess 30025152 869 L12 L16         0.0  

 Thursday Night Marathon Report

The Thursday Night Marathon concluded round 1 with 41 players. Players wishing to join for next week in round 2 may do so with a half point bye for round 1. Time control is G/60+5, 5 rounds in total with games starting at 6:30PM PT. If you wish to register, please follow this link:

Here are the standings after round 1.

SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Institute May-June 2021 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 W31         1.0
2 IM Elliott Winslow ecwinslow 10363365 2278 W32         1.0
3 NM Michael Walder flightsoffancy 10345120 2155 W33         1.0
4 Pranav Sairam chesspilot01 15424820 2103 W34         1.0
5 Nathan Fong nathanf314 13001390 2004 W35         1.0
6 Kristian Clemens kclemens 13901075 1997 W36         1.0
7 Jason Ochoa barok44 12440572 1759 W37         1.0
8 Jeff Andersen zenwabi 11296106 1643 W38         1.0
9 Samuel Agdamag sirianluv 14874734 1621 W39         1.0
10 Marina Xiao programmingmax 16380642 1547 W40         1.0
11 Nursultan Uzakbaev rimus11 17137317 1513 W41         1.0
12 Adam Stafford aanval22 14257838 1288 W26         1.0
13 Charvi Atreya charvii 16816706 1032 W27         1.0
14 Katherine Sunny Lu 2nf31-0 16425316 1008 W28         1.0
15 Joshua Lu probablyjosh 30127073 unr. W29         1.0
16 William Kelly wkelly 30161947 unr. W30   H---     1.0
17 Jeff Rosengarden jrosengarden 30105422 unr. B---         1.0
18 Mark Drury birdorbust 12459313 1873 H---         0.5
19 Robert Smith maturner 12463327 1853 D24         0.5
20 Alexander Huberts cccalboy 16419664 1794 D25         0.5
21 Aaron Nicoski kingsmasher35 12797931 1789 H---         0.5
22 Bryan Hood fiddleleaf 12839763 1574 H---         0.5
23 Ian Liao victor6688 16738735 1203 H---         0.5
24 Suhas Indukuri suindu12 16887781 1181 D19         0.5
25 Ivan Zong ivanzong 30131397 1081 D20         0.5
26 NM Thomas Maser talenuf 10490936 1900 L12         0.0
27 Leo Wang mu3tang 16061785 1765 L13         0.0
28 Matthew Chan hip_hop_99 12541333 1659 L14         0.0
29 Jacob Wang jacobchess857 17083655 1612 L15         0.0
30 Ethan Sun sfdeals 16964125 1494 L16         0.0
31 Kevin Sun kevin_mx_sun 16898540 1491 L1         0.0
32 Akshaj Pulijala loltheawesomedude 16497860 1487 L2         0.0
33 Daniel Marcus radio_on 12905558 1458 L3         0.0
34 Nick Reed nxbex 16154827 1416 L4         0.0
35 Michael Xiao swimgrass 16380636 1363 L5         0.0
36 Gabriel Ngam boozerrip 13553308 1350 L6         0.0
37 Christopher Harris charris6260 15496280 1017 L7         0.0
38 Andrejs Gulbis andrejsg 16741331 826 L8         0.0
39 Cleveland Lee vincitore51745 12814843 581 L9         0.0
40 Tobiah Rex tobiahsrex 30164211 unr. L10         0.0
41 Pratyush Bhingarkar greenninja2019 30015889 unr. L11         0.0


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, 5/18:

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:

Wednesday's 5:00-6:30PM - Free Adult Beginner Class for Mechanics' Members
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: Current class is full.
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:
More information:

Wednesdays 6:30-8PM -- New offerings start next week: Advanced Attacking Techniques by FM Paul Whitehead
Course Dates: April 28 through June 2 (6 classes)

Special class for players with 1800+ USCF rating to learn, discuss and improve on their attacking skills.
$150 Mechanics' members. $180 for non-members. Few single class registrations are available -- Registration is needed to receive the zoom link.
More information:

Wednesdays 7-8PM - Tactics for the Developing Players
Course Dates: March 31 through June 2 (10 classes)

IM (International Master) Elliott Winslow will be teaching this course, which will go over one of the greatest players (world champions, groundbreakers, players who advanced chess theory and practice) per week, including some of the history of the player and the time period in which they made their mark, and use their games to instill basic tactical and positional thinking to those in the class. The class will also conduct a weekly game analysis of at least one game from the star of the week, and show how to find tactics in that game and through puzzles, and at the end of class either leave time open to go over games sent by the participants ahead of class, or for the students to play some games.

More information:

  1. Sundays 10AM - 12PM -- Free Women's Online Chess Class by FIDE Trainer Sophie Adams

    Come join us on Sundays as we are offering a free class for women from 10am-12pm(noon) online.
    Coached by FIDE Trainer Sophie Adams, this class is for women and girls looking to develop their chess skills with a community of women. Knowledge of piece movements and mates is expected. Registration is required so we may send the links for players to join. Zoom will be required to participate, and we will include optional links to participate in online platforms like if players would like to play with each other online.

    Be sure to be a part of the Mechanics' Women's Chess Club on

    More information:
    Class is free, but must register to receive class 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:

5/18 Tuesday - May 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon
Format: 6SS G/35+2

Join Now!  May/June 2021 Thursday Night Marathon (May 13-June 10)
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 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

Intermediate Class with Coach Andrew -- 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

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

More information:

5/16 Sunday - 8SS G/5+2 affecting USCF Online Blitz rating.
Register online:

5/22 Saturday - 6SS G/10+2 affecting USCF Online Rapid rating.
Register online:

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

(7) chunky_tofu_icecream (1459) - WildItchyContest (1709) [B13]
Live Chess

1.e4 c6 The Caro-Kann is an excellent defense played by such great players as Karpov and Kyron Griffith. 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.Nc3 In this exchange variation of the Caro-Kann White usually plays 4. Bd3 and 5.c3. The great Bobby Fischer had success with that. 4...Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 [It's often nice to get the bishop outside the pawn chain before locking it in. 5...Bg4 6.Be2 e6 would be very reasonable] 6.Bf4 a6 7.Bd3 Bd6 8.Bg3 Bxg3 9.hxg3 h6 10.Qe2 Nc6 11.0-0-0 Bd7

White has developed the pieces very efficiently and is ready for action. How to go forward? 12.Ne5? Sadly this loses the important central pawn on d4. Instead [12.g4 Nxg4 13.Nxd5 would keep many possibilities for active play with material equality] 12...Nxd4! Sometimes it takes courage to jump on your opponents mistakes. Grabbing the pawn here is very good. 13.Qe3 Nc6 14.Nxc6 Bxc6 Now it's hard for White to do something with the black center pawns stopping any advance of the pieces. 15.Qd4 Qc7 16.Rhe1 0-0-0 [16...0-0 was also fine] 17.Qa7 Qb8 18.Qb6 Nd7 19.Qe3 Nf6 20.Ne2 Rhe8 21.Ng1?! This is passive and lets Black come forward. More chances were to be had with [21.f4 Qd6 22.Nd4] 21...d4! 22.Qe2 Bxg2! Again we see courage from WildItchyContest. It looks as if the black bishop could get trapped, but there are resources to save it. 23.f3 Qxg3 24.Rd2
24...Nd5! The black knight comes to f4 to defend the bishop. Black is three pawns ahead right now so chunky-tofu decides to take something back. 25.Qxg2? oops, there is a problem 25...Qxe1+ 26.Rd1 Qxd1+! Anything else would be winning, but this ends it immediately. 27.Kxd1 Ne3+ WildItchyContest won by resignation 0-1

Finishing Tactics from the World Championship Matches 14: Alekhine – Bogoljubov 1934

FM Paul Whitehead

[email protected]

The 1934 rematch between these old drinking buddies was hardly taken seriously by the chess world at the time.  Up and comers like Botvinnik, Keres and Fine would have given Alekhine a much harder time, not to mention Capablanca (who Alekhine continued to dodge).  Even the aging Lasker would have fared better in this boozy brawl of a match . The final lopsided score of +8 -3 =15 in Alekhine’s favor doesn’t tell the full story – Bogoljubov found a way to lose some winning positions, for example:

Bogoljubov – Alekhine, 21st Match Game 1934.

Here, instead of playing the obvious 1.Bxb7 Rxb7 2.Rxb7 Qxb7 3.Bxa5 with a winning endgame, Bogoljubov played the atrocious 1.Rb5?? (“I really don’t know what he was thinking of.” – Kasparov) and found himself the exchange down and dead lost after 1…Rxb5 2.Bxa6 Rxc5 3.dxc5.

Despite the criticisms leveled at the players, some pretty little combos and tactics came out of this match – chess itself prevailed!


1. Alekhine - Bogoljubov, 2nd Match Game 1934.

White moves.  One of Alekhine’s celebrated combinations.


2. Alekhine – Bogoljubov, 4th Match Game 1934.

White moves.  Another example of Alekhine’s ‘long combinations’


3. Alekhine – Bogoljubov, 16th Match Game 1934.

White moves.  Yet another long and forcing sequence.


4. Bogoljubov – Alekhine, 17th Match Game 1934.

Black moves.  A charming ‘bank shot’ effectively wins it.


5. Alekhine – Bogoljubov, 24th Match Game 1934.

Black moves.  White’s position is a house of cards – blow it down.


6. Bogoljubov – Alekhine, 25th Match Game 1934.

Black moves.  The very last move of the match.


GM Nick de Firmian

Team Chess. The Bundesliga

The Mechanics’ Institute has had great team matches with the other historic chess clubs of the world these last months. This is a benefit of the pandemic and online chess, as it seems our players thoroughly enjoy these team events. The responsibility of playing for your club instead of just yourself gives a different kind of engagement to the battle. You do not worry so much about your individual game except as it matters to the overall match. You are part of a group where each player plays for the good of the team. You can do your part by drawing a higher rated player or holding on in a bad position for the match victory. If it all goes wrong you can at least commiserate together at the end.

This Saturday we play against Hamburg Chess Club, another of the oldest clubs in the world. I have some fond memories of that chess club which was also the opponent of my club more than a decade ago when I played the “Bundesliga” for the Lubeck Chess Club. Lubeck is the farthest north of the German Clubs and we would meet Hamburg for a match twice a year. Of course these were the traditional over the board matches and the club would travel by cars or train. (Once a year we would do a long trip to the very south of Germany and that would take all weekend.)  These were very serious games, but friendly rivalries between the clubs. The Hamburg Chess Club was particularly friendly as they were “neighbors” to Lubeck, only 30 miles away. I still recall Hamburg’s excellent and friendly club leaders.

The Bundesliga has been the premier chess league in the world for several decades as the clubs pay for hired guns at the very top of the world rating list. Anand, Kramnik, and other world champions have been on their roster.  We give below a game of Anand’s from his job at the club of Baden Baden, a famous city for chess. I include also a game of my own from the Bundesliga. It’s not so special, but gives me fond memories of slowing doing my part for my team.

(1) Anand,Viswanathan (2788) - Kempinski,Robert (2616) [B85]
Bundesliga 0910 Germany (11.1), 28.02.2010

Anand was the World Champion at this time. Naturally his job is to win for his team, especially with the white pieces. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.a4 Nc6 9.Be3 0-0 10.f4 Qc7 11.Kh1 Re8 12.Bf3

This is a favorite way for Anand to play against the Najdorf. He believes in White's side here and has reached this exact positon several times, including his victory against Kasparov in their 1995 World Championship match (played at the top of the World Trade Tower). 12...Nd7?! This is a little too defensive. Black should do better with 12...Bd7. 13.Qe1 Bf8 14.Qf2 Rb8 15.Rad1 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 b6 17.e5!
Anand immediately challenges the black setup, as he has a lead in development. It's complicated here and Black has difficult choices. 17...d5 closes the game but leaves White with the strong e5 pawn to develop the kingside attack. Kempinski chooses to open the game. 17...dxe5?! 18.fxe5 Bc5 [18...Nxe5? loses immediately to 19.Bh5 since 19...Ng6 20.Bxg6 hxg6 21.Be5 Qxe5 22.Qxf7+ is the end; 18...Re7 was perhpas the best defensive chance] 19.Bh5! Rf8 20.Bxf7+ Kh8 21.Ne4 Nxe5? [21...Bxd4 22.Rxd4 Qxe5 is unpleasant for Black but perhaps he could survive] 22.Nxc5 bxc5 23.Bxe5 Qxe5
24.Bg6 Black has a lot of trouble on the back rank. 24...Rg8 25.Bxh7! Kxh7 26.Qh4+ Kg6 27.Rd3 Qh5 28.Rg3+ Kempinski resigned. After 28...Kh6 29. Qf4+ Kh7 30. Qxb8 he is well behind in material and still under a strong attack. 1-0

(2) Heissler,Jakob (2455) - De Firmian,Nick E (2534) [B92]
Bundesliga 0203 Germany (14.8), 29.03.2003

Here is one of my own games against a German International Master. I had the black pieces but my job for the club was to see if I could grind out a win. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nf3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Bg5 White plays a very solid line against the Najdorf. My opponent would be quite satified to draw and tries for a good, but safe positional approach. 9...Be6 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.Nd5

Here begins the job of a professional chess player. White owns the d5 square and has no weakenesses. What is required for the team is a long, calm approach to find a soft spot somewhere in the white position. 11...Nd7 12.c3 Rc8 13.Qd3 Bxd5 14.Qxd5 Qb6 15.Rab1 Be7 16.Nd2 Nf6 17.Qd3 Rfd8 18.Bf3 Black has developed everything, but it's still rock solid for White. 18...Qc6 19.Rfd1 Rd7 20.a3 Bd8 21.Nf1 Bb6 22.Ne3 Bxe3 23.Qxe3 h6 24.Rd2 Kf8 If you want to win you have to put everybody to work. The black king thinks about helping out in the center or being centralized for a potential endgame. 25.Rbd1 Ke7 26.g3 Qc5 27.Qe2 Rc6 28.Bg2 b5 29.Ra1 a5 30.Bf1 Rb7 31.Qf3 Qb6 32.Qe2 Rc4 33.Bg2 Rbc7 34.Rad1 R7c6 35.Rd3 b4 Achieving the thematic queenside break. White is still quite ok but has to worry about targets on the queenside. 36.axb4 axb4
37.cxb4? finally a mistake as time control approaches! [37.Rxd6 Rxd6 38.Rxd6 Qc7 39.Rd2 bxc3 40.bxc3 Rxc3 would be dead equal] 37...Qxb4 38.Rc3?! [38.h3 Rc1 leaves White suffering but at least material remains even for a while] 38...Rxc3 39.bxc3 Rxc3 40.Qa6 My opponent seemed happy with the activity after the time control, but he is just a pawn down. The professional's task is to take the point for the team. 40...Qc5 41.Qb7+ Qc7 42.Qa8 g6 43.Bf1 Qb6 44.Ra1 Rc7 45.Ra6 Qb1 46.Ra7 Rxa7 47.Qxa7+ Kf8 48.f3 Kg7 49.Qc7 Qb4 Black has an extra pawn with all pawns on the kingside. The knight is better than the bishop when you play on only one side of the board. 50.Kg2 Qc5 51.Qb7 Qc2+ 52.Kg1 g5 53.g4 Qc5+ 54.Kg2 Qc2+ 55.Kg1 d5 56.exd5 Qc5+ 57.Kh1 Nxd5 58.Qb2 Nf4 59.Qd2 Qa3 60.Be2 Qa1+ 61.Bd1 Qd4 The endgame will be winning for Black with or without the queens on. 62.Qxd4 exd4 63.Kg1 Kf6 64.Bb3 Ke7 65.Kf2 f6 66.Ke1 Kd6 67.Kd2 Ke5 68.Bf7 Ng2 69.Bg6 Nh4 70.Be4 Kf4 71.Ke2

71...d3+ My opponent resigned and I headed off to meet my teammates at the restaurant, mine being the last game to finish. 0-1

Solutions to Paul Whitehead's Column

1. Alekhine - Bogoljubov, 2nd Match Game 1934.

1.Rc8+! (But not 1.Qxe5?? Qxg2#) 1…Kf7 (Bogoljubov says ‘show me’. If 1…Bxc8 2.Qxe5 wins handily) 2.Qh5+ (The king-hunt is on.) 2…g6 3.Qxh7+ Kf6 4.Rf8+ Kg5 5.h4+ Kf4 6.Qh6+ g5 7.Rxf5+!! Rxf5 8.Qd6+ Kg4 9.Bxf5+ 1-0. If 9…Kh4 10.Qh6#.


2. Alekhine – Bogoljubov, 4th Match Game 1934.

The finish is like clockwork: 1.Rxe7+! Rxe7 2.Bh4 Kf7 3.Bxe7 Kxe7 4.Rc7+ Rd7 5.f6+! Ke8 (Or 5…Kd8 6.f7! wins) 6.Bg6+ Kd8 7.f7! Kxc7 8.f8=Q f3 9.Qxb4 Rd6 10.Bd3 1-0.


3. Alekhine – Bogoljubov, 16th Match Game 1934.

1.e6! Rdxg7 (Otherwise 2.e7 wins) 2.Nxg7 Rxg7 (Now what?) 3.Rxd5! cxd5 4.Rf8+ Kc7 5.Rf7+ Kd6 6.Rxg7 Kxe6. White has won the exchange, and the Champ’s technique is up to the task: 7.Rg6+ Ke5 8.Kg2! Wisely bringing the king over to deal with a possible passed d-pawn. 8…b5 9.a5 d4 10.Rxa6 b4 11.Kf3 c3 12.bxc3 bxc3 13.Re6+! The simplest. 13…Kxe6 14. Kxe4 1-0.


4. Bogoljubov – Alekhine, 17th Match Game 1934.

1…Bxa3! steals TWO crucial queenside pawns, as both 2.bxa3 Qc3+ and the amusing 2.Rxa3 Qxb2! lose on the spot. Bogoljubov gamely played on, but lost it at the end: 2.0-0 Bxb2 3.Rae1 Bf5 4.g4 Be4 5.f5 Nb7 6.Nf4 0-0-0 7.Qg3 g5 8.fxg6 fxg6 9.Bd1 Qc3 10.Ne6 Rde8 11.Rf6 Re7 12.Ref1 Rhe8 13.Nf4 Nd8 14.Qf2 Qa3 15.Bf3 Bxf3 16.Qxf3 g5 17.Ne2 Re6 18.Rf5 Qd3 19.h4 Rg6 20.h5 Rge6 21.Qf2 c5 22.Rf3 Qc2 23.Qe1 Nc6 24.R1f2 Qe4 25.Ng3 Qxg4 26.Kg2 Bxd4 0-1. Black has five passed pawns on the queenside!


5. Alekhine – Bogoljubov, 24th Match Game 1934.

This was not Alekhine’s finest moment, and Bogoljubov ripped him apart with 1…Nxd5! 2.Rfe1. There is no solace in 2.Nxd5 Bxb2 3.Rxc4, as 3…Qxd5! wins a piece. The rest is just horrible: 2…Nf4 3.Qe3 Nd3 4.Qxc5 Rxc5 5.Ba1 Bg5. Alekhine could have resigned here, but perhaps the challenger’s erratic play in the match gave him some hope of a turnaround. It was not to be. 6.Ncb1 fxe4 7.Bc3 Nxc1 8.Rxc1 Bxa4 9.Kg1 Bc6 10.Re1 b5 11.Nf1 Rd5 12.Ng3 Rd3 13.Ne2 Be3+ 14.Kh1 Red8 15.Ng1 Bf2 16.Rf1 e3 0-1.


6. Bogoljubov – Alekhine, 25th Match Game 1934.

The match ended with a simple tactic: 1…Rxf1+! 0-1.

Submit your piece or feedback

We would welcome any feedback, articles or "Letter to the Editor" piece. Submit yours today through this Google Form:


You can browse through our archived newsletters using the "next" and "previous buttons".

Want to save this newsletter for reading at a later time? Click here to learn how.

Want to be notified when the next newsletter is published? Join Our Email List →