Chess Room Newsletter #983 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #983

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #983

August 28, 2021


Table of Contents

Tuesday Night Marathon Round 7 Report

by Abel Talamantez

Veteran IM Elliott Winslow caught up to NM Siddharth Arun by winning his final round game against Kayven Riese to tie for 1st in the top section of the Tuesday Night Marathon. He won his final two rounds, matching Arun who took two half point byes in the final two rounds. Richard Liu finished in 3rd place with 4.5/7, which was a very impressive performance by the high school student, particularly considering he scored draws with the top 2 finishers and took 3 half point byes. 

In the under 2000 section, wins by Samuel Brownlow and Adam Stafford in the final round propelled them to a share of 1st place with Kevin Sun, who drew with Max Hao creating a three-way tie. 

In the under 1600 section, Isaac Sterling ran away with 1st place, securing the top spot last week a full point and a half ahead of the field and put his stamp on the event by winning the final round for a perfect 7/7. Iven Yarovoy finished in 2nd with 5.5/7 and David Nichol took 3rd with 5/7. 

Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to all the players who participated. The event concluded with the final game on Tuesday night with an exciting time scramble in a game between Chelsea Zhou and Kristian Clemens. Click on this link to watch:

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

(4) Riese,Kayven (1900) - Winslow,Elliott (2278) [B99]
Mechanics' Jul-Aug TNM 2000+ San Francisco (7.1), 24.08.2021

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 The old Main Line. [In the 1950s or so it supplanted 6.Be2; (and lesser moves, like 6.g3; and 6.f4 ); In the 1980s 6.Bg5 started to lose its head position in popularity thanks to 6.Be3 , the English Attack.; Or perhaps 6.f3 first, to avoid ...Ng4.; 6.a4 had its interesting adherents; Then more recently a return to 6.h3 , where all kinds of wonderful possibilities have been uncovered in the last few years. And even more recently the explosion in almost every move imaginable!; 6.Rg1; 6.Qf3; 6.Qd3; 6.Bd3; 6.a3] 6...e6 Both players keep to the traditional path. [6...Nbd7 , an old/new move, has captured attention and continues to be advanced. 7.Qe2!?] 7.f4 Be7 No Poisoned Pawn -- or Polugaevsky Variation for that matter! 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 Nbd7 [9...h6 Could be played here or anywhere earlier, but then 10.Bh4 Nbd7 it is well established that the most trouble comes from 11.Be2! The weakened h5-e8 diagonal actually matters in some lines.] 10.Bd3 [10.g4 is at least as often played, but Kayven has shown a preference for the smooth development with Rhe1 and possible knight sacs on d5 and/or f5.] 10...h6 11.Bh4 g5!? Known as the Browne System but really, it was earlier called the Kavelek Variation. The appeal is the e5-square as an outpost; the danger is, of course, the risk that White finds some breakthrough and mates Black all too quickly. 12.fxg5 Ne5 13.Qe2 Nfg4


14.h3 The more positional treatment. [14.Nf3!? hxg5 (14...Nxf3 keeps things more controlled but is less critical.) 15.Bg3 (15.Bxg5!? Bxg5+ 16.Nxg5 Qc5 17.Nf3!? (17.Nh3 b5!? "This has only been played a few times but it appears quite promising." Ftacnik in his Grandmaster Preparation opus on the Sicilian Defense for Black.) 17...Nf2 18.Nxe5 (18.Na4 Nexd3+!) 18...Nxd1! 19.Nxf7 is frightfully complicated.) 15...Bd7 (15...Nxf3) 16.h3 (16.Rdf1; 16.Rhf1) 16...Nf6 17.Nxe5 dxe5 18.Bf2 Bc6 19.Rhf1 Nh5 20.g3 0-0-0 is fine for Black.] 14...hxg5 15.Bg3 [15.hxg4 Rxh4 16.Nf3 Rxh1 17.Rxh1 Bf6 is the sort of game Black looks for in this line.] 15...Nf6 16.Nf3 Here Stockfish starts to express opinions. [>=16.Kb1 and indeed while it's been played a fraction of the time (less than 10%), it scores best.] 16...Nh5! 17.Bh2 Bd7 [17...b5!? "gives Black active prospects on both sides of the board" (Ftacnik).] 18.Kb1 [18.Rhf1!? White got a big, winning advantage before blundering deep in the game; 0-1 (69) Maiti,M (2016)-Winslow,E (2330) Berkeley 2016] 18...0-0-0 SF14 doesn't like it; [18...Nf4= keeps the balance. 19.Bxf4 gxf4] 19.Rhf1 Rh7


Other moves have been played, successfully even. 20.Qd2?!N Both players start showing uncertainty. [20.Qe3 looks best, when a pawn is lost -- but Black will always have at least somecompensation in dark square play. 20...Rg8 21.Be2 f6 22.Nxe5 dxe5 23.Bxh5 Rxh5 24.Bg3 Rf8 25.Rd2 Rh7 26.Rfd1 looks uncomfortable (note 26...Bc6 27.Nd5) ½-½ (61) Rein,A-Mueller,G Germany 1989] 20...Rg7 21.g4 Nf4 Black tried to find a way *not* to give up the pawn but in the end just allowed it to happen. 22.Bxf4 gxf4 23.Qxf4 Rh8 24.Qg3 [White should play 24.Nxe5+/- dxe5 25.Qg3] 24...Rgh7 [Black might try 24...Bf6!?+/=] 25.Rh1 [25.Nxe5+/- dxe5 26.Rf3] 25...Qc5 [Black was just missing the fairly obvious idea of putting the bishop well: 25...Bf6= feels stronger.] 26.Nxe5 Qxe5


Providing White an opportunity to head for a static, passive position. 27.Qxe5?! Long diagonal or not, White should keep the queens on. 27...dxe5 28.Bf1 Bc6 29.Bg2?! [29.Rh2; 29.Rg1] 29...f5!? Black plays to confuse White. 30.gxf5 exf5 31.Nd5 f4 32.c4?! [32.Bf3!=] 32...Bd8! Black has compensation in his passed pawn and two bishops, staying now as they do out of reach of White's knight. 33.Rd3 Bd7 34.b4 Rg7 35.Bf1 Rhg8 36.Rf3? Loses the game. [36.Be2!=/+ keeps from collapsing.] 36...Rg1 37.Rxg1 Rxg1 38.Kc2 Be8 Note the bishops on e8 and d8. 39.h4


Curiously even this passed pawn is a sort of liability; White tries to give it away and activate his rook and bishop, but Black sees through that. 39...Bh5! [39...Bxh4? 40.Rh3=] 40.Bh3+?! Clogging the h-file. [40.Rf2-/+] 40...Kb8-+ 41.Rc3?!


[41.Rf1 Rg3 42.Be6] 41...Bxh4? Note the bishops on h5 and h4. [41...Rh1 sets up ...f3 and wins immediately.] 42.c5 Bd1+ 43.Kb2 intending c6. 43...Be1 And now there they are on e1 and d1! 44.Rd3 [44.Rc1 wouldn't be a whole lot better after 44...Bd2 45.Rb1 f3!] 44...Be2 Black is clearly winning. 45.Ra3 Bd2


...Bc1+ is the strong threat. [45...f3] 46.Ra5 [46.Kc2 Be1! (46...Bc1 47.Rc3 is messy.) ] 46...Bd3 Threatening mate! 47.Nc3 Rg3 48.Bd7?! Bxc3+ Leave it to the computer to point out all the better moves Black had. 49.Kxc3 Bb5+ Kd4. Weighted Error Value: White=0.68/Black=0.32 0-1

(5) Weng,Nicholas (2013) - Bambou,Christophe (2121) [B01]
Mechanics' Jul-Aug TNM 2000+ San Francisco (7.2), 24.08.2021

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 The old main line, still the most common. [Nowadays one sees Tiviakov's 3...Qd6; and the anti-commital 3...Qd8] 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bd2 [And here, much more common is 5.Nf3; while 5.Bc4 may or may not transpose.] 5...Bg4!? To take f3 from White's knight. [Mostly one sees 5...c6 to provide the universal hideout on c7 for the queen. (Note that she can get there from a5,d6, and d8 -- so there are a lot of transpositions!) 6.Bc4 when there is a slight problem -- if Black continues with the orderly development so popular in the Center Counter, 6...Bf5 then 7.Nd5!? creates doubled pawns for Black. Double-edged!] 6.f3 Bd7 [6...Bf5!? continues to be provocative, encouraging g2-g4.] 7.Bc4 [7.f4!? is the computer suggestion, still looking for Nf3] 7...Qb6! 8.Nge2 White rolls with the times and keeps developing. 8...e6 9.Bb3 as played by Anand against van Wely, Wijk aan Zee 2013, but more pertinent plans have overtaken it in practice. [9.0-0 is most popular, and it's hard to see why it hasn't scored as well.; The fairly rare 9.a4!?+/= looks to harass the queen and has done the best.; while 9.Be3!? reorganizes to patch up the dark squares and has done well.] 9...Be7 [9...Nc6 10.Be3 Na5 11.0-0 Nxb3 12.axb3 Black took the time to eliminate a bishop for a knight; Anand found an interesting way to reorganize: 12...Be7 13.Nf4 0-0 14.Re1 Rfd8 15.Nd3 Qd6 16.Bf2 Bc6 17.Ne4 Nxe4 18.fxe4 f5?! 19.exf5 exf5 20.c4 and out of nowhere, the center was all White pawns. 1-0 (37) Anand,V (2772)-Van Wely,L (2679) Wijk aan Zee 2013.] 10.Be3 0-0 11.Qd2


11...c5!?N Black doesn't let passivity infect him, and attacks White's key point in the center. [In the one game to have reached this position, Black prepared such play with 11...Na6 12.0-0 Rfd8 13.Bf2 c5 14.Qf4 Rac8 15.d5 exd5 16.Nxd5 Nxd5 17.Bxd5 Bf6 0-1 (38) Orlovska,M (2021)-Ramiro Ovejero,J (2370) Cambados 2008. It worked out well but the knight seems a bit lost on a6.] 12.d5?! [Stockfish 14 settles on 12.0-0-0=] 12...exd5=/+ Black comes out of the central play well. 13.Bxd5 [13.Nxd5 Nxd5 14.Qxd5 (14.Bxd5 Qxb2 15.0-0 Bc6 Black is fine with his extra pawn) 14...Be6 15.Qe4 Bxb3 16.Qxe7 Na6!-/+ takes nice advantage of White's loose position (and here the knight on a6 does just fine). 17.axb3 Rae8 18.Qg5 h6 19.Qf4 Nb4! 20.0-0-0 Qg6! 21.Rd2 Qa6! Quite a complicated line! But Black's attack is worth more than the piece.] 13...Rd8


14.Qc1?! [14.0-0-0=/+ shouldn't be too bad: 14...Bc6 15.Nf4 g5!? 16.Qe1! gxf4 17.Bxf4 Kf8 when it's White sacrificing a piece for a strong initiative. (17...Bf8? 18.Qg3+ Bg7 19.Bc7) ] 14...Nc6 [14...Bb5! stops castling for now 15.Bb3 Bxe2 16.Nxe2 Bd6-/+ as in the game.] 15.0-0 Nd4 [15...Bd6 and ...Be5 first perhaps.] 16.Nf4?! [16.Bc4 Bf5 17.Ng3 Bxc2 18.Nce4 isn't really promising enough.] 16...Bd6 Black just keeps improving his pieces' positions, and White gets into more and more trouble. 17.Re1 [17.Kh1-/+ Bxf4 18.Bxf4 Bb5 19.Nxb5 Nxd5] 17...Qc7


[17...Re8-+ ...Bxf4 is the strong threat. 18.Be4 Nxe4 19.fxe4 Qd8 (19...Bxf4 20.Bxf4 Bc6 is also problematic for White.) 20.Bxd4 cxd4 21.Ncd5 Bc6 22.Qd2 Rc8 At least White has d5 for a knight, but the computers make this excellent for Black otherwise.] 18.Ne4! White was worried (pacing the room even) but fights back, and sets a trap. 18...Nxd5?! [18...Bf5 19.Nxf6+ (19.Nxd6 Rxd6) 19...gxf6 20.c4 Nc2 21.Nh5 fights back with a mess; 18...Nxe4!? 19.fxe4 Ba4 20.b3 Bc6 White has his share of central control, but not quite equality.] 19.Nxd5=/+


19...Bxh2+?! Now Black will be off-balance. [19...Qc6!= 20.c4 Bf8 followed by ... Be6.] 20.Kh1+/= Qe5 21.Bxd4! Qxd5!


[Much worse is 21...Qxd4 22.Qg5+-] 22.Bxg7!+/- The game turns! Quite surprising to see that it's Black's dark squares that end up in trouble. 22...Kxg7 23.Kxh2 Rac8? [Black needed to cover those squares better: 23...Qh5++/= 24.Kg1 Qe5] 24.Qf4+- +- Now that White has gotten there, the problems become insurmountable, in practice certainly as well as in fact. 24...Qh5+ [24...Qf5 25.Qg3+ Qg6 26.Qe5+ Kg8 27.Nf6+ Kf8 28.Rad1 and in the end, it's the original weaknesses in Black's camp (the bishop on d7, the pawn on c5) that cost him. 28...Be6 29.Rxd8+ Rxd8 30.Qxc5+] 25.Kg1 Rc6 26.Rad1!


An annoying pin! 26...Rg6 27.Kf2 Safety first (avoiding any ...B/Qh3 tries) but also with a devious attacking idea -- which in fact comes to fruition. Note that Black's taking the h-pawn made this possible. 27...c4 28.Rh1 Qa5


29.Rxh7+!! A nice, classic deflection sacrifice! Black falls apart. 29...Kxh7 30.Qxf7+ Kh6 31.Rh1+ Qh5 32.Qf4+ Rg5 33.Qxg5+ A superlative comeback by Nicholas from an uncomfortable position! And Bambou is to be credited for his sophisticated early play, until he was lured away by the h-pawn. 1-0

(1) Mercado,Adam (1879) - Uzakbaev,Nursultan"] (1513) [B15]
Mechanics' Jul-Aug TNM u2000 San Francisco (7.11), 24.08.2021

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6?! 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 e6 6.Nf3 White is a tempo up over a usual French Defense since Black played ...c6 and then ...c5. 6...h6 7.Bd3 c5 8.0-0 Nc6


9.f5! Charging ahead while Black lags in development. The risk for White is that the central pawn chain becomes weak. 9...cxd4? [Black needed to play 9...exf5 10.Bxf5 cxd4 11.Nxd5 Nc5 which avoids any big trouble] 10.fxe6 dxc3


11.exf7+! Much better to take the pawn than the knight! White gets a ferocious attack. 11...Ke7 12.Qe1? many other moves are winning, but this allows Black a chance 12...Nc5 [12...cxb2! 13.Bxb2 (13.Qh4+ Kxf7! works for Black despite the riskly appearance) 13...Qb6+ 14.Kh1 Qxb2 15.Qh4+ g5 16.Nxg5 Ndxe5! looks dangerous but seems quite ok for Black] 13.Bg6 [13.Nh4!] 13...Be6


[13...cxb2!] 14.b4! A shot from the other side of the board gives Black too much to handle. 14...Na4 15.b5 Nb4?! [15...Qb6+ 16.Be3 Qxb5 17.Rb1 Qa5 18.Rxb7+ Kd8 19.Nd4 Nxd4 20.Qh4+ Kc8 21.Re7! gives White too many threats] 16.a3 Now White gets the piece back along with the raging attack. Black is done for. 16...Nxc2 17.Bxc2 Nb6 18.Nd4 Bxf7 19.e6 Qb8 20.exf7+ Kd7 21.Qe6+ Black resigns. It seems Adam was in a very violent mood for this round! 1-0

(2) Perlov,Daniel (1555) - Stafford,Adam (1473) [D09]
Mechanics' Jul-Aug TNM u2000 San Francisco (7.7), 24.08.2021

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 The aggressive Albin Counter Gambit. Always good for a lively game. 3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.g3 Be6 6.b3 [A better way to defend the c-pawn is with the developing 6.Nbd2] 6...Qd7 7.Bg2 Bh3 8.0-0 Bxg2 9.Kxg2 0-0-0 10.Bb2 Bc5 [Black should consider 10...h5; or 10...Nge7] 11.Qc2 [11.a3!] 11...f6 12.exf6 Nxf6 13.Na3 Rhe8 [13...h5 14.h4 Rhe8] 14.Rad1 Qe7 15.Nb5 [15.Qf5+! Kb8 16.Nb5 gets rid of the powerful black d-pawn and gets a clear advantage] 15...Qe4!


Now Black guards the d-pawn and has equal chances in the ending 16.Qxe4 Rxe4 17.Rfe1 a6 18.Na3 Rde8?! [18...Bb4 19.Nd2 Re6 20.Nc2 Bc3 is a more active continuation] 19.Nc2 Rxe2 20.Rxe2 Rxe2 21.Bxd4 [Here 21.Rd2! Rxd2 22.Nxd2 leaves White with the advantage as the black d-pawn is weak being so close to the white king] 21...Nxd4 22.Ncxd4?! [Better to take with the other knight - 22.Nfxd4 Bxd4 23.Nxd4 Rxa2 24.Ne6] 22...Rxa2 23.Rd3?! Ng4?! [23...Ne4! 24.Ne6 Rxf2+ 25.Kh3 Be7 26.Nxg7 Rb2 puts White in real trouble] 24.Ne6! Be7 [24...Rxf2+? 25.Kh3 threatens both the knight and mate on d8] 25.Rd2 Rxd2 26.Nxd2 Bf6 27.h3 Ne5 We have reached an endgame of even material. The battle is just getting started. 28.Ne4 Kd7?! offering the h-pawn to get the black knight in the corner. An aggressive and interesting idea, but White has a good continuation. 29.Nxf6+?! [29.Nf8+ Ke7 30.Nxh7 is just good for White] 29...gxf6


30.Nf8+? now Daniel plays into Adams idea and this just doesn't work for Black. 30...Ke7 31.Nxh7


31...Nxc4! [31...Kf7 trapping the knight is also good. Adam makes use of the white knight being out of play to win on the queenside.] 32.f4 [32.bxc4 a5 just runs and makes a queen. Neither the white king or the white knight can get back to stop the a-pawn.] 32...Nd2 33.b4 c5! once again trying to get a passed a-pawn, 34. bxc5 a5 just queens. White is in a desperate situation. 34.Kf2 cxb4 35.Ke2 Ne4 36.g4 b3 37.Kd3 b2?! This makes winning much more difficult. With [37...a5! Black can defend the advanced b-pawn while the knight on e4 cannot be taken due to queening.] 38.Kc2 Nf2?! [38...Kf7 39.g5 f5 40.Kxb2 Kg7 wins easily] 39.Kxb2?! [39.g5! would be a good try 39...f5 40.Nf6 Nxh3 41.Nd5+ gives White serious drawing chances] 39...Nxh3 40.g5 fxg5?! giving White serious chances again for a draw [40...f5! wins the f-pawn for free] 41.fxg5 Kf7 42.Kb3 Kg6 43.Nf6? [43.Nf8+! Kxg5 44.Ne6+ Kf6 45.Nc5 would win a pawn and make a draw] 43...Nxg5 44.Nd7 Ne6 45.Kb4 Kf7 46.Ka5 Ke7 now Black is in control again 47.Nb8 Nc7? [47...Nc5! 48.Kb6 Nd7+! 49.Kxb7 Nxb8 wins] 48.Kb6! Kd6 49.Kxb7 a5 50.Nc6 a4 51.Kb6 a3


52.Nb4? The last mistake. White could draw with [52.Nd4 a2 53.Nc2 Nd5+ 54.Ka5 Kc5 55.Ka4 Nb4 56.Kb3] 52...Nd5+ 53.Kb5 Nxb4 54.Kc4 a2 55.Kb3 a1R White resigned. A great endgame struggle! Both players probably learned a lot from playing this game. 0-1

(3) Sterling,Isaac (1236) - Zirbel,Dominic (1481) [D02]
Mechanics' Jul-Aug TNM u1600 San Francisco (7.10), 24.08.2021

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 c5 4.0-0 Nc6 5.d4 A Grunfeld Reversed! That's quite a good and aggressive opening for White. 5...Bf5 6.c3 [6.c4! dxc4 7.Qa4 would put Black under pressure.] 6...e6 7.Nh4 Be4 8.f3 Bg6 9.Nxg6 hxg6 10.b3 cxd4 11.cxd4 Rc8 12.Bb2 Nb4 13.Na3?! [Just the natural 13.Nc3 followed by 14. a3 would make Black's knight move seem useless] 13...a6 14.e4 dxe4 15.fxe4 e5?!


This is a lot of action, but not the right time. Black should get developed and castled before opening the center. 16.Qf3?! [16.Nc4! exd4 17.e5 would be trouble for Black] 16...Rc7? [16...Nc6! 17.dxe5 Bxa3 18.Bxa3 Nxe5] 17.dxe5! Now Black is in trouble, having lost control of the central squares. 17...Bc5+ 18.Kh1 Nh5 19.Rad1 Qg5?!


Black is threatening to win with 20...Nxg3+ 20.g4! The only move to keep the advantage. This wins a piece and stops the Black threats. 20...Qh4 21.gxh5 Rxh5 22.h3 g5 23.e6! f6


24.Bxf6! White crashes through with a mating attack. Black never gets a chance to play ...g4 to trouble the white king. 24...gxf6 25.Qxf6 Nc6 26.Qg6+ Ke7 27.Qf7# Nice attack from Isaac! 1-0

Here are the final results:

SwissSys Standings. Jul-Aug 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: 2000+

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1-2 IM Elliott Winslow 2278 W7 D10 H--- H--- D3 W6 W9 5.0  
2   NM Siddharth Arun 2253 W13 D6 W4 D3 W10 H--- H--- 5.0  
3 3 Richard Liu 1824 H--- W8 W6 D2 D1 H--- H--- 4.5  
4 4-5 Nicholas Weng 2013 H--- W5 L2 W9 H--- L7 W6 4.0  
5   Chelsea Zhou 1879 B--- L4 L11 D12 W13 H--- W7 4.0  
6 6-9 Christophe Bambou 2121 W9 D2 L3 W11 W7 L1 L4 3.5  
7   Kristian Clemens 1997 L1 W13 D9 W14 L6 W4 L5 3.5  
8   Ako Heidari 1964 H--- L3 D12 D13 W11 L9 W14 3.5  
9   Kayven Riese 1900 L6 B--- D7 L4 W12 W8 L1 3.5  
10 10-12 Abhi Penagalapati 2078 W11 D1 W14 H--- L2 U--- U--- 3.0  
11   Andrew Guo 1885 L10 H--- W5 L6 L8 D12 W13 3.0  
12   Andre Persidsky 1828 H--- L14 D8 D5 L9 D11 B--- 3.0  
13 13-14 Guy Argo 1928 L2 L7 B--- D8 L5 W14 L11 2.5  
14   Anthony Acosta 1818 H--- W12 L10 L7 B--- L13 L8 2.5  

SwissSys Standings. Jul-Aug 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Under2000

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1-3 Samuel Brownlow 1795 D8 W10 W13 W3 L2 W14 W9 5.5  
2   Kevin Sun 1517 W25 W15 W7 H--- W1 D3 D4 5.5  
3   Adam Stafford 1473 W26 W6 W21 L1 W14 D2 W8 5.5  
4 4-5 Max Hao 1761 H--- H--- H--- W12 D9 X18 D2 4.5  
5   David Rakonitz 1622 H--- L8 W16 H--- W21 D9 X10 4.5  
6 6-8 Adam Mercado 1879 D10 L3 W17 L7 W22 D11 W13 4.0  
7   Leon Quin 1611 W17 W14 L2 W6 W18 U--- U--- 4.0  
8   Daniel Perlov 1555 D1 W5 W11 D18 H--- H--- L3 4.0  
9 9-13 Ted Porlares 1789 D12 H--- H--- W11 D4 D5 L1 3.5  
10   Joel Carron 1610 D6 L1 L22 B--- W12 W15 F5 3.5  
11   Nikhil Pimpalkhare 1577 W23 H--- L8 L9 W16 D6 H--- 3.5  
12   Stephen Parsons 1532 D9 L18 W24 L4 L10 W17 W19 3.5  
13   Nursultan\ Uzakbaev 1513 W24 H--- L1 L15 W20 W21 L6 3.5  
14 14-17 Amitoj Singh 1819 W20 L7 W19 W21 L3 L1 F18 3.0  
15   Marty Cortinas 1720 W22 L2 L18 W13 H--- L10 D16 3.0  
16   Jerry Morgan 1483 L19 H--- L5 X24 L11 W20 D15 3.0  
17   Aaron Craig 1408 L7 B--- L6 L19 X24 L12 W21 3.0  
18 18-20 Luiz Uribe 1856 L21 W12 W15 D8 L7 F4 F14 2.5  
19   Frederick Hope 1646 W16 F21 L14 W17 H--- U--- L12 2.5  
20   Nick Casares Jr 1600 L14 H--- H--- H--- L13 L16 B--- 2.5  
21 21-22 Albert Starr 1609 W18 X19 L3 L14 L5 L13 L17 2.0  
22   Anvi Penagalapati 1485 L15 D24 W10 H--- L6 U--- U--- 2.0  
23 23 James Mahooti 1800 L11 H--- H--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
24 24 Gregory Rousso 1745 L13 D22 L12 F16 F17 U--- U--- 0.5  
25 25-26 Glenn Kaplan 1776 L2 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
26   Jim Cohee 1612 L3 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  

SwissSys Standings. Jul-Aug 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: u/1600

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1 Isaac Sterling 1236 X--- W2 W4 W3 W5 W9 W8 7.0  
2 2 Iven Yarovoy unr. W26 L1 H--- X17 W7 W3 X9 5.5  
3 3 David Nichol 435 B--- W18 W8 L1 X22 L2 W11 5.0  
4 4-6 Sebastian Suarez 1433 W16 W14 L1 W20 X15 H--- U--- 4.5  
5   Paul Reed 1322 W6 H--- W7 W22 L1 U--- W14 4.5  
6   Trent Hancock unr. L5 L15 B--- W18 D14 X22 X13 4.5  
7 7-12 Samuel Agdamag 1586 L14 W29 L5 W16 L2 X28 W20 4.0  
8   Dominic Zirbel 1481 W15 W11 L3 W27 L9 W19 L1 4.0  
9   Claudio Bastiani-Fonck 1377 W23 D30 W11 H--- W8 L1 F2 4.0  
10   Andrew Imbens 1296 H--- H--- D16 W29 H--- L11 W21 4.0  
11   Andrew Ballantyne 948 W13 L8 L9 X--- W12 W10 L3 4.0  
12   Ian Atroshchenko unr. D31 H--- L20 W21 L11 X27 X19 4.0  
13 13-17 Richard Hack 1569 L11 L16 H--- W23 W29 W20 F6 3.5  
14   Tobiah Rex 1013 W7 L4 X--- L15 D6 X24 L5 3.5  
15   Romeo Nehme 795 L8 W6 W18 W14 F4 U--- H--- 3.5  
16   Thomas Gu 660 L4 W13 D10 L7 L18 B--- W26 3.5  
17   Yuri Meseznik unr. H--- H--- H--- F2 L24 W29 X22 3.5  
18 18-21 David Olson 1400 W28 L3 L15 L6 W16 L21 W29 3.0  
19   William Thibault 1050 L30 D23 B--- W24 H--- L8 F12 3.0  
20   Pratyush Hule 825 H--- H--- W12 L4 W27 L13 L7 3.0  
21   Elias Colfax-Lamoureux unr. H--- H--- U--- L12 W26 W18 L10 3.0  
22 22-24 Valerie Jade 1490 W27 H--- X30 L5 F3 F6 F17 2.5  
23   Tyler Johnson unr. L9 D19 L29 L13 B--- L26 X27 2.5  
24   Tony Kachakji unr. L25 W26 H--- L19 W17 F14 U--- 2.5  
25 25-28 Charles James 1368 W24 H--- H--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 2.0  
26   Richard Ahrens 1228 L2 L24 L28 B--- L21 W23 L16 2.0  
27   Andrejs Gulbis 826 L22 W28 B--- L8 L20 F12 F23 2.0  
28   Jabez Wesly unr. L18 L27 W26 H--- H--- F7 U--- 2.0  
29 29-30 Thomas Dobbs unr. H--- L7 W23 L10 L13 L17 L18 1.5  
30   Ambrogino Giusti unr. W19 D9 F22 U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.5  
31 31 Peter Borah 1232 D12 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.5  

SwissSys Standings. Jul-Aug 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Extra Games - JulyAugTNM

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1 Abel Talamantez 1800 U--- L12 W33 W27 U--- U--- W24 3.0  
2 2 Ian Atroshchenko unr. U--- U--- U--- U--- D6 W30 W31 2.5  
3 3-4 Alex Chin 1811 U--- U--- W21 W23 U--- L8 U--- 2.0  
4   Trent Hancock unr. U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- W35 W32 2.0  
5 5-6 Tobias Rex 1013 U--- U--- D20 U--- U--- W25 U--- 1.5  
6   David Nichol 435 W34 U--- U--- U--- D2 U--- U--- 1.5  
7 7-17 Stuart Collins 1940 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- W36 U--- 1.0  
8   Max Hao 1922 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- W3 U--- 1.0  
9   Kayven Riese 1900 U--- W11 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
10   Anthony Acosta 1818 U--- U--- U--- U--- W31 U--- U--- 1.0  
11   Juan Cendejas 1718 W22 L9 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
12   Albert Starr 1609 U--- W1 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
13   Andrew Ballantyne 1467 U--- U--- U--- W32 U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
14   Sebby Suarez 1294 U--- U--- U--- U--- W26 U--- U--- 1.0  
15   Andrejs Gulbis 826 U--- U--- W17 U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
16   Kevin Nguyen unr. U--- W29 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
17   Yuri Meseznik unr. U--- U--- L15 U--- U--- U--- W28 1.0  
18 18-20 TONY A LAMA 1805 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- D19 0.5  
19   David Rakonitz 1622 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- D18 0.5  
20   William Thibault 1050 U--- U--- D5 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.5  
21 21-36 Guy Argo 1928 U--- U--- L3 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
22   Chelsea Zhou 1866 L11 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
23   Joel Carron 1676 U--- U--- U--- L3 U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
24   Nick Casares Jr 1600 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- L1 0.0  
25   Samuel Agdamag 1504 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- L5 U--- 0.0  
26   Aaron Craig 1416 U--- U--- U--- U--- L14 U--- U--- 0.0  
27   Richard Ahrens 1210 U--- U--- U--- L1 U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
28   JUDIT SZTARAY 853 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- L17 0.0  
29   Pratyush Hule 825 U--- L16 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
30   Thomas Gu 744 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- L2 U--- 0.0  
31   Tyler Johnson 659 U--- U--- U--- U--- L10 U--- L2 0.0  
32   Iven Yarovoy unr. U--- U--- U--- L13 U--- U--- L4 0.0  
33   Tony Kachakji unr. U--- U--- L1 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
34   Benjamin Grant unr. L6 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
35   Anton Maliev unr. U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- L4 U--- 0.0  
36   Harry Elworthy unr. U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- L7 U--- 0.0  

Bernardo Smith Memorial Report

by Abel Talamantez

The Mechanics' Institute held its first two-day FIDE rated weekend event in over a year and a half with the 15th Bernardo Smith Memorial. We had 47 players in total, which was an outstanding turnout considering the event was held on the same weekend as the Central California Open in Fresno. Special shoutout to Mechanics' player Cailen Melville, who won the under 2100 section there and $1000. We will forgive his choice of event last weekend. 

In the top section, FM Baasansuren Erdene won sole 1st place with 4.5/5, winning his final round game against Advay Bansal and getting help from Abhinav Penagalapati, who defeated Christophe Bambou, whom he was tied with headed into the final round. Abhinav finished in sole 2nd place with that win at 4/5 and Christophe and Alan Finkelstein finished tied for 3rd with 3.5/5. 

In the 1600-1999 section, Teodoro Porlares had an outstanding tournament, surviving a time scramble and a few long games to take clear first with 4.5/5. Neil Bhaduri and Greg Zhou shared 2nd and 3rd place with 3.5/5. 

In the under 1600 section, Kian Jamali was tops in the section with 4.5/5 and clear 1st, followed by Jashith Karthi and Axel Joseph, who finished at 3.5.5. 

It was a fun event and great to see many familiar faces. All sections were FIDE rated. We look forward to the next big weekend event next month with the Howard Donnelly Memorial, information can be found here: 

Here are the final standings:

SwissSys Standings. 20th Smith Memorial Championship: Open

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total Prize
1 1 FM Baasansuren Erdene 2294 W16 W4 W2 D3 W10 4.5 300.00
2 2 Abhinav Penagalapati 2096 W7 W13 L1 W8 W3 4.0 200.00
3 3-4 Christophe Bambou 2099 W11 W15 W5 D1 L2 3.5 87.50
4   Alan Finkelstein 2025 W18 L1 W10 D6 W12 3.5 87.50
5 5-7 NM Michael Aigner 2206 H--- W8 L3 D7 W13 3.0  
6   Theodore Coyne 2136 D10 D17 W14 D4 H--- 3.0  
7   Sricharan Pullela 1919 L2 W16 H--- D5 W15 3.0 75.00
8 8-12 Nicholas Weng 2006 W14 L5 W15 L2 D11 2.5  
9   Aditya Naganath 1979 H--- L10 W13 L12 W17 2.5  
10   Advay Bansal 1929 D6 W9 L4 W11 L1 2.5  
11   Rithwik Narendra 1927 L3 W18 W17 L10 D8 2.5  
12   Sadia Qureshi 1900 L13 H--- W18 W9 L4 2.5  
13 13-15 Nathan Fong 2049 W12 L2 L9 W14 L5 2.0  
14   Adway Sane 1874 L8 B--- L6 L13 W18 2.0  
15   Nikunj Oza 1851 B--- L3 L8 W17 L7 2.0  
16 16 Lucas Lesniewski 1966 L1 L7 H--- L18 B--- 1.5  
17 17-18 Max Hao 1922 H--- D6 L11 L15 L9 1.0  
18   Alan Bokiev 1886 L4 L11 L12 W16 L14 1.0  

SwissSys Standings. 20th Smith Memorial Championship: 1600-1999

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total Prize
1 1 Teodoro Porlares 1749 W13 W6 H--- W8 W4 4.5 200.00
2 2-3 Neil Bhaduri 1471 L11 B--- D7 W12 W10 3.5 100.00
3   Greg Zhou 1389 W9 D5 D11 D7 W8 3.5 100.00
4 4-7 Vikrant Ganesan 1546 L7 W13 W6 W11 L1 3.0 25.00
5   Kevin Sun 1521 W14 D3 H--- H--- D7 3.0 25.00
6   Nursultan Uzakbaev 1446 W15 L1 L4 W14 W11 3.0 25.00
7   Anish Dara 1420 W4 D11 D2 D3 D5 3.0 25.00
8 8-10 Adam Mercado 1793 H--- W12 W10 L1 L3 2.5  
9   Stephen Parsons 1543 L3 W15 H--- L10 W14 2.5  
10   Aaron Craig 1416 H--- W14 L8 W9 L2 2.5  
11 11 Jeff Andersen 1643 W2 D7 D3 L4 L6 2.0  
12 12-13 Tom Boyd 1631 H--- L8 W15 L2 U--- 1.5  
13   Ross Gordon 1527 L1 L4 L14 W15 H--- 1.5  
14 14 Adam Stafford 1662 L5 L10 W13 L6 L9 1.0  
15 15 Lisa Willis 1583 L6 L9 L12 L13 U--- 0.0  

SwissSys Standings. 20th Smith Memorial Championship: Under 1600

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total Prize
1 1 Kian Jamali 1283 W7 W10 W3 W6 D4 4.5 200.00
2 2-3 Jashith Karthi 1429 W5 D6 W12 D3 H--- 3.5 100.00
3   Axel Joseph unr. W11 W4 L1 D2 W9 3.5 100.00
4 4-6 Dominic Zirbel 1481 D9 L3 W10 W12 D1 3.0  
5   Andrew Imbens 1288 L2 W8 W11 L9 W12 3.0 50.00
6   Danny Cao 896 B--- D2 W9 L1 D8 3.0 50.00
7 7-9 John Chan 1546 L1 L9 W13 W10 H--- 2.5  
8   Adithya Chitta 1260 L10 L5 B--- W11 D6 2.5  
9   Tobiah Rex 1178 D4 W7 L6 W5 L3 2.5  
10 10-11 Albert Starr 1500 W8 L1 L4 L7 B--- 2.0  
11   Michelle Hamdani unr. L3 B--- L5 L8 W13 2.0  
12 12-13 Andrew Ballantyne 1467 H--- W13 L2 L4 L5 1.5  
13   Joshua Hua 157 H--- L12 L7 B--- L11 1.5  

SwissSys Standings. 20th Smith Memorial Championship: Extra Games in the Smith Memorial

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
1 1-2 Nikunz Oza 1851 W2 U--- 1.0
2   Abel Talamantez 1800 L1 W5 1.0
3 3-4 JUDIT SZTARAY 853 U--- D4 0.5
4   Joshua Hua 157 U--- D3 0.5
5 5 Albert Starr 1500 U--- L2 0.0

TD Corner

by Abel Talamantez

We had a situation during the Bernardo Smith Memorial where there was uncertainty to the organizers (Mechanics' Institute staff) on the result of a game. A very common thing we are starting to see, and I imagine it is happening in many areas with live over-the-board play with many new players playing for the first time, is newer and/or younger players learning to notate. While it is required to notate, there is some flexibility and TD discretion on this, as there is an understanding that there is a learning curve for newer or younger players. Two issues that result from this are first, how do you reconcile the unfair advantage a player not notating has with regards to the clock (since they are not taking time to notate). Secondly, what happens when there is a dispute regarding the result? Here are our answers.

The FIDE rule is here: 8.1 In the course of play each player is required to record his own moves and those of his opponent in the correct manner, move after move, as clearly and legibily as possible, in the algebraic notation (See Appendix C), on the scoresheet prescribed for the competition. 

In the case of a player not knowing or is learning to notate, we lean on the USCF rule a bit and give some discretion for newer players. Here is the USCF rule regarding players unable to keep score:

15A1. Players unable to keep score. a. Players determined by the director to be unable to keep score due to physical handicaps may have assistance in scorekeeping as described in 35F, Rules for visually impaired and disabled players, and should be excused from scorekeeping if such assistance is unavailable. b. Players determined by the director to be unable to keep score for religious reasons may be excused from scorekeeping or permitted to have assistance as in 35F, Rules for visually impaired and disabled players, at the director’s discretion. c. Beginners who have not learned to keep score may be excused from scorekeeping, at the director’s discretion. Players excused from scorekeeping are not entitled to make claims that require scoresheets; those who have assistance retain such rights. TD TIP: Directors often deduct time from the clocks of players at the start of the game whom they excuse from keeping score (the most common example would be that of a player excused from keeping score for genuine religious reasons). Their opponents will need to give up thinking time in order to keep score, which the excused player need not do. A good rule of thumb is to deduct 5% of the total game time allotted for each individual player, up to 10 minutes, from the player’s clock that is excused from keeping score.

So in the case if a player unbale to keep score, we can deduct time at the start of the game following the USCF good rule of thumb, to make up for the fact that the notating player is taking time to notate. What we usually do is make a player mark on a scoresheet that a move has been played with a checkmark. This at least keeps track of the number of moves and imposes a requirement to mark the scoresheet. This however does not allow for draw claims, as we need recorded moves for that. We do explain to newer players the value and necessity of notating, which leads to the next case.

When there is a dispute on the result, the scoresheet is absolutley key. Also, the scoresheet is the property of the organizer, not the player. Here is the FIDE rule, which is also the USCF rule:

8.3 The scoresheets are the property of the organisers of the event.

This also comes to play when a player on their own time asks to see the opponents scoresheet to correct notation. A player may refuse to allow that (not typically done), but the organizer may allow it and the player must comply. More importantly, the scoresheet is used as the determinant of a result. 

8.7 At the conclusion of the game both players shall sign both scoresheets, indicating the result of the game. Even if incorrect, this result shall stand, unless the arbiter decides otherwise. 

I've seen cases where players refuse to sign scoresheets, which I consider bad sportsmanship and I personally don't understand why someone wouldn't unless there was a physical incapacity or inconvenience to do do. In those cases however, I'll sign the scoresheet to verify the result and let things go.

Things get complicated however when it is uncertain what the result of a game was, or if there are two differing accounts as to what happened. In the case of last weekend, there was confusion on our part as to the result of a game, because the result was not marked and neither player kept score. We contacted both players and the result was verified, but Judit and I once had a situation where two players disputed the result of a game, and one player had notated while the other did not. Since the result was marked and that scoresheet signed, that result stood, despite the fact that playing the gane out on the scoresheet suggested the result may have been different than was marked. 

So please, keep accurate notation and make sure the correct result is marked before signing. We encourage players to take the time after the game to get a signature on the scoresheet, or at least have the TD sign and verify. For mor einformation on the FIDE and USCF rules, follow these links:

Tony's Teasers

Tony challenges you to solve this problem, white to move and mate in 2.

Mechanics' Institute Events Schedule

The Mechanics' Institute will continue to hold regular and online events. Here is our upcoming schedule for players:

Mechanics' Institute September ThNM Online. September 2-September 16, 6:30PM PT.  6 Games G/35+5:

Mechanics' Institute September/October TNM: FIDE Rated. September 7-October 19, 6:30PM PT.  Games G/120;d5:

Mechanics' Institute August Quads: September 11, 3PM PT. 3 Games G/30;d5:

20th Howard Donnelly Memorial Championship: FIDE Rated. September 18-19, 9AM PT. 5SS G/120;d5:

Mechanics' Institute Class Schedule

Click HERE to see our full slate of specialty chess classes, we offer something for everyone!

Scholastic Bulletin

The scholastic news will be covered in a dedicated publication:
Scholastic Chess Bulletin

Please click the following LINK to read our latest edition.
All of us at Mechanics' Institute would like to thank you for your support of our scholastic chess programming.

FM Paul Whitehead's Column

[email protected]

Finishing Tactics from the World Championship Matches 22: Tal – Botvinnik 1961

Their return match in 1961 was a triumph for “Mr. Soviet Chess” (Mikhail Botvinnik( over the “Magician from Riga” (Mikhail Tal).  The final score of +10 -5 =6 meant that Botvinnik had now won the World Championship three times, while drawing twice and losing twice. 

Would this ever end?

Tal hardly sparkled in 1961, but heavy drinking and heavy smoking, plus a kidney operation will slow down even the most talented genius.  The games were tense and hard fought, but seemed to lack that glamorous pizzazz Tal usually brought to the table.  Full credit must go to Botvinnik for de-clawing his wild opponent. 

Tal said: “I think I lost to him because he beat me!” A neither here-nor-there statement of fact, and a cheeky tongue-in-cheek acceptance of one’s fate.

Tal brought back to life the Advance Variation 3.e5 against the Caro-Kann Defense, and the following position arose five times in the match after 3…Bf5 4.h4:

In this position Botvinnik played 4…h6 three times, and 4…h5 and 4…c5 once.  Why not 4…e6?


1. Tal – Botvinnik, 2nd Match Game 1961.

White moves.  Precision needed.


2. Botvinnik – Tal, 7th Match Game 1961.

White moves.  Dispel all hope.


3. Tal Botvinnik, 8th Match Game 1961.

White moves.  Do you see the follow-through?


4. Tal – Botvinnik, 12th Match Game 1961.

White moves.  A classic theme.


5. Tal – Botvinnik, 14th Match Game 1961.

Black moves.  Extrication needed.


6. Botvinnik – Tal, 21st Match Game 1961.

White moves.  It’s all over.


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

Sinquefield Cup

The strongest tournament of the year in the United States is close to the finish. The Sinquefield Grand Chess Tour in St. Louis is like a grand slam tournament in tennis – an event with top players and highest quality games.  These relatively rare American round robin classical tournaments are special events, often with historical significance.  The great New York tournaments of the 1920’s are very well remembered and players today love to play through the games those events. Capablanca, Lasker and Alekhine battling the other top players of a century ago produced a trove of chess classics. In the 1980’s and 90’s the great international round robin tournaments in the US were the Pan-Pacific events organized by the Mechanics’ Institute. These are well and fondly remembered by our club players to this day.

Yet St. Louis has the great advantage over the rest of the country with its billionaire sponsor Rex Sinquefield, who has transformed top level American chess. The current Sinquefield Cup has world top players Maxim Vachier-Lagrave, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, Peter Svidler and six other top grandmasters. The new “Sinquefield” age has many American players at the top of the world rating list, and hence the Americans are placing well, with Caruana, So and Lenier Dominguez pushing for the top spot. The leader though (at this writing) is the Frenchman, Vachier-Lagrave, who would gain further top status with a victory here.

We may be forgiven for rooting for our local hero, Sam Shankland. Unfortunately Sam is not winning this event, being stuck behind the leaders after a slow start. He will probably finish even in rating points, yet we hoped for more after his recent successes. Below we give a game of his against Mamedyarov and the encounter between So and Svidler.

(1) Shankland,Sam - Mamedyarov,Shak [C65]
Sinquefield Cup, 22.08.2021

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Our man Sam decides not the allow the "Berlin" endgame that arises after 4. 0-0 Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 4...Bc5 5.c3 d5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Bc4 Qd8 8.Bg5 h6 The white bishops are active so Shak decides to push this one back. As usual he plays actively and dosen't worry much about his pawns going forward causing loose pawn structure. 9.Bh4 g5 10.Bg3 e4 11.Qe2 Qe7 12.dxe4 Nxe4 13.Nbd2 Nxg3 14.Qxe7+ Bxe7

15.fxg3!? Sam makes the unusual capture away from the center. This opens the f-file which he makes good use of. 15...Bf5 16.0-0 Bg6 17.Bb5!? Another creative choice, planning to give up both bishops and play with two knights. 17...0-0-0 18.Bxc6 bxc6 19.Nb3 Rd5 20.Rae1 Bf6 21.Nfd4 [21.Nh4!? gxh4 22.Rxf6 was also a good continuation.] 21...Bxd4+ 22.Nxd4 White has made Black trade one of the bishops, so there is not the worry of playing against the dreaded bishop pair. This position is just a slight edge for White. 22...Kb7 [22...c5 23.Nc6! gives the knight some good squares] 23.Nb3 Kb6?! [23...Rhd8! would have kept it close to equal] 24.c4! Rd7?! not the best square due to Sam's reply 25.a4! White now threatens 26. a5+ followed by a knight fork on c5. 25...a5 26.Rf6 Ra8 27.Re5!
The white rooks pressure the queenside. White will win a pawn now. 27...Rd1+ 28.Kf2 Ra6 29.Rb5+ Ka7 30.Rxa5 Rxa5? Black needed to play 30...Rb1 to fight for a draw. This gives the white knight a tempo and Sam wins two pawns now. 31.Nxa5 Rd2+ 32.Kf3 Rxb2 33.Nxc6+ Ka8 34.Ne5! Bc2 35.Nxf7 both sides take pawns, but White stays ahead by two of them 35...h5 36.Nxg5 Bd1+ 37.Ke3 Re2+ 38.Kd4 Rxg2 39.a5 Rxh2 40.Ne6 h4 41.Nxc7+ Kb8 42.Nb5 hxg3 43.a6!
Advancing the a-pawn gets it closer to queening and here also threatens 44. Rf8 mate. 43...Rh8 Black resigned after playing this move. White picks up the g-pawn with 44. Rg6 and wins without effort on the queenside. A powerful performance by Sam against one of the world's top players. 1-0

(2) So,Wesley - Svidler,Peter [A37]
Sinquefield Cup, 19.08.2021

Wesley So is afraid of no one in the world. He meets the great Peter Svidler, eight time Russian champion. Yet Wesley has no respect. 1.c4 g6 2.Nc3 c5 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 Nc6 We start out with a symmetrical English Opening, which is a rather quite, positional beginning. Don't be fooled though, So is out for blood. 5.Nf3 e5 This Botvinnik set-up against the English was popularized by Swedish GM Tom Wedberg 40 years ago. Now it is very popular. Black is a bit weak on the light squares and strong on the central dark squares. 6.a3 a5 7.d3 Nge7 8.Nd2!

Instread of routinely castling Wesley keys in on the important central d5 square. This knight maneuver is the most effective plan here for White. 8...d6 9.Nf1 0-0 10.Ne3 Rb8 11.Rb1 Nd4 12.Bd2 Bd7 13.0-0 Bc6?! Usually you want to keep your fianchettoed bishop near your king. Here though the trade will highlight Black's light square weakenesses. 14.b4 axb4 15.axb4 cxb4?! A concession giving Black an isolated b-pawn which White can target. 16.Rxb4 Bxg2 17.Kxg2 Qd7 18.Ned5 Nec6 19.Rb6 White has great squares on the queenside. Black doesn't have anything to target in the white camp. May as well try for a kingside advance yes? 19...f5 20.f3 keeping pawns on white squares and slowing any Black plans on the kingside 20...Rf7 21.Be3 h5 22.Qd2 Ne6 23.Rfb1 Kh7 24.h4 f4?!
It was hard to resist this move - it goes forward and seems to attack things on the kingside. The drawback is that White now gets another great square for a knight. The black bishop is a bad piece as it only runs into the black pawns and can't fight the white knights. 25.gxf4 exf4 26.Bf2 Ncd4 27.Bxd4! Trading this good bishop for a knight allows So to complete his strategy of completely controlling the central light squares. 27...Bxd4 28.Ne4!

The two fantastic white knights dominate from the middle of the board. Black cannot capture the rook on b6 due to the royal fork on f6. If 28...Be5 White has 29. Rxd6!, again because of the knight for on f6. After looking for a bit, Svidler resigned, not seeing any good way to continue. This was another powerful performance by Wesley So, making Svidler look almost like an amateur. 1-0

Solution to FM Paul Whitehead's Column

1. Tal – Botvinnik, 2nd Match Game 1961.

White simultaneously wins a piece and the dangerous b-pawn with 1.Qa4! 1-0.  If 1…Qxa4 2.Bxa4 Nb6 3.Bxb3 Kf7 4.Ba4 Ke7 5.Bc6 +- Or 1…Qe1+ 2.Bf1 Nc7 3.Qxb3 +-.


2. Botvinnik – Tal, 7th Match Game 1961.

White squelched all hope with 1.R1a4! 1-0. The twin threats of 2.Rb4# and 2.R7a5# are just too much for black.


3. Tal Botvinnik, 8th Match Game 1961.

The splendid 1.Nd7+! 1-0 wins in all variations: If 1…Kc7 2.b6+ then 3.cxb7 +-. The pretty line arises after 1…Bxd7 2.cxd7 Rd8 and now 3.Rc8+! Rxc8 4.Ra8+! is a sequence worth remembering.


4. Tal – Botvinnik, 12th Match Game 1961.

White used the “desperado” tactic 1.Qxh8! to go ahead the Exchange after 1…Rxh8 2.Bb2! when the black queen is lost. Careful technique brought Tal the full point: 2…Qxf3+ 19.gxf3 Ng6 20.h4 Ngxe5 21.h5 Nf7 22.f4 Nd6 23.Rb3 Ne4 24.Ke1 Rh6 25.Be2 Be8 26.Rd3 Nf6 27.Bxd4 Nxd4 28.Rxd4 Bxh5 29.Rd3 Rh7 30.Rdh3 Bg6 31.Rxh7+ Nxh7 32.Rh6 Nf8 33.Rh8 Nd7 34.Rg8 Bf7 35.Rg7 Be8 36.Re7 Kd8 37.Rxe6 Bf7 38.Rh6 Ke7 39.Bd3 Be6 40.Rh5 Nf6 41.Rg5 1-0.


5. Tal – Botvinnik, 14th Match Game 1961.

Ignoring white’s threats, black boldly counter-attacked with 1…Rxb2! 2.Nf5+ Kf6 3.Nxh6 Rdd2! White sidestepped with the clever 4.Kg1 Rxf2 5.Rf1 but black still kept the jump on him with 5…Rxf1+ 6.Kxf1 Kg7! and the lost minor piece was regained. After 7.Rxa7 Kxh6 8.Rxf7 the players split the point 1/2-1/2.


6. Botvinnik – Tal, 21st Match Game 1961.

The match ended not with a bang, but a whimper: 1.d6+ 1-0. If 1…Kb7/c6 then 2.Be4+ Or 1…Kd8 2.Rxf8+.


Solution To Tony's Teaser

1. Qb3!!  Rxb3  2. Ne3#



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