Chess Room Newsletter #985 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #985

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #985

September 11, 2021


Table of Contents

Championship Quads Saturday September 11

Join us this Saturday for our Championship Quads starting at 3pm. This event is for players of all level, from master to novice for 3 rounds of USCF rated G/30;d5 action against similarly skilled players. Register now by following this link:


Chess Clubs and Bringing Communities Together

by Abel Talamantez

I am honored to have been selected to chair the US Chess Clubs Committee for this 2021-2022 year. Our committee, which reports to the US Chess Executive Board, is charged with promoting and developing chess clubs across the country, as well as finding ways to make it easier for people to find chess clubs. I've always felt a chess club is much more than a place for tournaments, or somewhere you lay boards and sets down and play. A chess club reflects the values and ideals of a community and can be a focal point where people feel free to come together and engage, compete, socialize, and become one. It can be quite a valuable thing, adding to the vibrancy of a community's culture. For this reason, we will be committed to promoting chess clubs with this ideal. I believe we have done that at the Mechanics' Institute. I hope that we have continued its August history by putting our own flavor on it for the present, preserving the triumphs of those who came before us while setting the course for what we hope is its storied future. We are truly lucky in San Francisco, because we feel the energy and history in the club, with its people, and we are welcoming many new members regularly. It is largely because of this fusion of the past present and future that makes me excited to help other clubs towards this same ideal. Though all chess clubs will have differences, I believe thinking of them in this way provides a solid foundation for long term success. Anyone can call themselves a chess club or organization, but its sustaiability is predicated on the community beliveing it reflects their values. 

I am especially excited about helping grassroots chess clubs get started, those that will first meet in diners or coffee houses, or seek affordable rentals from a churches or ther like spaces. There are also clubs that gather to raise money or awareness for causes, as well as college chess clubs. The possibilities are endless, and more support is needed for these smaller clubs to be able to sustain, prosper and flourish, and while doing that, elevating their corresponding communities. I remember starting my own chess club nearly a decade ago, with all the struggles and challenges. It is a very exciting time, but also avery tenuous time, and I'm hoping we can provide critical help to these clubs.

In earlier newsletters I wrote about some chess clubs from around the country, and I hope to continue that periodically. I think it is great to showcase different clubs and how and when they meet, all the while learning more about the places they represent. One of the things I'm hoping is for people to reach out with stories about their clubs. If you or someone you know has a story about a chess club that meets, I'd love to hear about it.

Here is one example. WFM Kimberly Liu, who is originally from the Bay Area and now attends Cornell University in New York wrote me this promo regarding the Cornell Chess Club, which resumed meetings recently. There is no greater advocate than Kimmy, who also Twitch streams under the handle kimmyliu18.


The transition from an online 2D board to a real 3D chess board wasn’t easy, but we all took the first step together on August 28, 2021 at the Cornell Chess Club. Over 50 motivated players showed up for a showdown as they battled it out over a board. We actually didn’t have enough boards to satisfy all the demand! Luckily, some players stayed scrappy and played each other on their phones, iPads, or pocket checkers (?) sets.

We couldn’t have been happier with all the energy and positivity in the room. Today, we were reminded of how we’re all connected by a shared love for an ancient board game. We’re all trying to improve, whether it is to get revenge on that friend who kept winning against you 10 years ago, or just to make yourself feel more confident in life. Either way, Cornell Chess Club is here to help you by working on the following points:

-        with this turnout rate, we need 2 rooms to safely accommodate all the people!

-        Room 1: for lectures and educational chess. Lecture topics will be chosen by popular vote and prepared by one of our master / expert players. Materials and optional homework will be posted in our forum so people can review it even if they missed the live lecture.

-        Room 2: casual games with banter and trashtalk ;)

-        if there is sufficient interest and time, we may implement group mentorship programs in which an advanced player volunteers to coach several others who are enthusiastic about improving!

-        outreach programs in which club volunteers have an opportunity to teach and inspire local Ithaca elementary school students through chess :)

Hope to see everyone again next week in Phillips Hall from 6-9pm! Stay on the chess grind ~

Reach out and share your story, perhaps we will share it with our community through our newsletter or perhaps elsewhere. Email me at [email protected] with any stories, comments or questions.

Tuesday Night Marathon 

by Abel Talamantez

The first round of the Tuesday Night Marathon got off to an exciting start. Former MI Chess Director and US Olympiad team coach IM John Donaldson give a lecture prior to the start about his book Bobby Fischer and His World. The turnout was strong, and it is always great to see John back at the club. 

The TNM saw the return of Webster University student FM Ezra Chambers, who is also coaching for Mechanics' for our scholastic programs. He won a hard fought game against Mark Drury, while on board 2, IM Elliott Winslow crusied to victory with a quick win against Anthony Acosta. Congratulations to two players in the top section for grinding out upset wins. Sean Kelly defeated Ako Heidari and Ilia Gimelfarb defeated Kristian Clemens. 

In the under 1800 section, many strong contenders opened with a win, including Teodoro Porlares, Sebby Suarez, and Marty Cortinas. We welcomed a few new players to the Mechanics' Institute, something that is always very exciting to see. 

Click here to watch the broadcast of round 1: Part 1:

Part 2:

Here are some games from the 1st round, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian

(1) Weng,Nicholas (2001) - Mercado,Adam (1793) [C02]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (1.4), 07.09.2021

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 cxd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+?! This move is suspect. The dark-squared bishop is a good piece for Black so it shouldn't venture out where is can be traded. 7.Bd2 Nge7 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Bd3 Nf5 10.Bxf5 exf5 11.0-0 Be7 12.Qb3

12...g5?! Black has troubles in any case, so Adam decides to lash out with the kingside pawns. Objectively better was [12...Rb8 13.Nxd5 Be6 14.Nxe7+ Nxe7 when Black has at least control over the central light squares.] 13.Nxd5 g4 14.Nxe7+ Nxe7 15.Ne1 [15.Nh4! is a more active square, which would make it very tough for Black.] 15...Qd7?! [15...Qxd4!] 16.d5? [16.Bb4 is just a good pawn ahead] 16...Qxd5 17.Bc3 Qe4 Adam avoids the trade of queens, which is risky. The endgame would have been fine for Black. 18.Rd1 Be6 19.Qa3 Ng6 20.Rd4 Qxe5!?
Bold play! There is no strong discovered attack for White here. 21.Rxg4?! [21.Nd3] 21...Qe2! 22.Rxg6+?! fxg6? The wrong recapture. White has strong control of the dark squares for the exchange sacrifice, but Black would have a clear edge after [22...hxg6 23.Nf3 Rfd8] 23.Nf3 Rfe8 24.Re1 Qc4?! [24...Qd3 stops White's next move] 25.Qd6! Qd5
26.Rxe6! giving the second exchange turbo charges the White attack. Note the White covers the back rank squares so there is no counter attack for Black. 26...Qxe6 27.Qd4 Qe7 28.Qh8+ Kf7 29.Qxh7+ Ke6 30.Qxg6+ Kd7 31.Qxf5+ White has three pawns for the two exchanges and still an attack on the black king. 31...Qe6 32.Qb5+ Qc6? giving back one exchange leaves Black material down along with the difficult position. More hope is offered with [32...Kc8 33.h4 a5] 33.Ne5+ Rxe5 34.Qxe5 Re8 35.Qd4+ Qd6 36.Qxd6+ The endgame is easily winning with the three passed pawns. 36...Kxd6 37.h4 Ke6 38.g4 Kf7 39.Kg2 Rd8 40.Kg3 Kg6 41.h5+ Kh6 42.Kh4 Rd1 43.g5+ Kh7 44.f4 Rg1 45.f5
The three advanced pawns with the bishop's support are unstopable. 45...Rg2 46.h6 b5 47.Bg7 a5 48.g6+ Kg8 49.Be5 1-0

(2) Sun,Kevin (1622) - Riese,Kayven (1900) [C02]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (1.9), 07.09.2021

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Be2 f6 Attacking the head of the pawn chain is unusual. 6...Qb6 is the most common move. 7.Bf4 White overprotects e5. Simply castling would be a good alternative. 7...Qb6 8.Qd2?!

8...0-0-0?! Kayven plays for wild, open play. The black king is not very safe on the queenside though. Better to play 8...g5! and 9...g4 to disrupt the protectors of the e5 pawn. 9.dxc5 [9.exf6 Nxf6 10.0-0 is safe and good for White] 9...Bxc5 10.0-0 h6? This is just too slow. Black should be first to push the pieces around with pawns - 10...g5! gives him an edge. 11.b4! Be7 12.a4! The white queenside pawns charge toward the black king and gain time on the way attacking other black pieces. 12...g5 13.Be3 Qc7 14.exf6 Bxf6 [14...Nxf6 gets everything developed] 15.b5 Ne5 16.Nxe5 Bxe5 17.g3 [17.a5! Bxh2+ 18.Kh1 Bf4 19.b6 is very strong] 17...Kb8 18.a5 Qd6 19.Re1 Ne7 20.Bd3?! [20.Bd4 Bxd4 21.cxd4 h5 22.Nc3 h4 23.Bg4 Nf5 24.Re5 keeps a good edge. Now Black gets more chances.] 20...Nf5 21.Bxf5 exf5 22.Bxa7+?
22...Ka8? Kevin's bold combination had a fatal flaw (which is difficult to see). [22...Kxa7 23.Qe3+ d4! 24.Qxe5
24...Rhe8! 25.Qxd6 Rxe1+ 26.Kg2 Bc6+ 27.bxc6 Rxd6 would be a winning ending for Black. He would have the exchange up and the pin on the first rank.] 23.Bd4 Now White has snatched a key queenside pawn and comes back to the center. 23...Bxd4 24.Qxd4 Bxb5 25.Na3 Ba6 26.Reb1 [26.Nc2] 26...Rhe8 27.Rb6 Qc7?! White now gets the attack. Black should have looked for a queen trade with [27...Qe5] 28.Nb5 Qb8?! The final mistake. Black is struggling but has chances after [28...Bxb5 29.Rxb5 Re6 30.Rb6 Rdd6] 29.Qf6 Bxb5
30.a6! This fine shot by Kevin destroys the black king's cover. 30...bxa6 31.Rbxa6+ Kb7 32.Rb6+ Kc7 33.Rxb8 Rxb8 34.Ra7+ Kc8 [34...Rb7 35.Qg7+] 35.Qxf5+ Kd8 36.Qxd5+ Kc8 37.Qc5+ A wonderful battle with some very surprising moves! 1-0

(3) Drury,Mark (1830) - FM Chambers,Ezra (2314) [A03]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (1.1), 07.09.2021

1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3 g6 4.d4 c5 5.c3 Bg7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 The Stonewall, or Dutch Reversed, or Classical Defence to Bird's Opening, or something. 7...b6 8.Qe2 a5 Black forces the exchange of White's better bishop. Not that White's bishop was any glorious attacking piece in the fianchetto defence! 9.a4 Ba6 10.Bxa6 [Relevant: 10.Ne5 Bxd3 11.Nxd3 Nbd7 12.Nd2 Qc7 13.b3 cxd4 14.cxd4 Qc2 15.Nf2 Rfc8 16.Ba3 Bf8 17.Rac1 Qa2 18.Ra1 Qc2 19.Rac1 Qa2 20.Ra1 Qc2 ½-½ (73), Tsoi,D (2321)-Bluebaum,M (2644) Moscow 2019] 10...Nxa6 11.Nbd2 Nc7 12.Ne5 White returns to another main point of the Stonewall: a knight on e5. [12.b3!? right away was better. Not too long from now White will be reconsidering...] 12...Nce8

Black also concentrates on his knight outpost -- but his can't be pushed out by a pawn move like White's can. 13.b3N Modern handling of this sort of position has White going this way with the "bad" bishop, often finding excellent play via the c4 break. [Predecessor: 13.Ndf3 Nd6 14.Bd2 c4 15.Be1 Qc7 16.Bh4 Another signature Stonewall maneuver. 16...b5!? and Black generates queenside play. 0-1 (42), Sharaibi,O (2103)-Bacallao Alonso,Y (2467) Badalona 2009] 13...Nd6 14.Ba3 Rc8 15.Rac1 Nfe4
Black has held on to some plus, but not much. 16.Nef3?! White needed to get on with the break: [16.c4=/+; 16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17.c4=/+] 16...Qd7 Black meanwhile keeps moving forward. 17.Nxe4 Nxe4 18.Nd2? Nd6?! [18...Nxd2 19.Qxd2 c4 20.Qc2 (to hold the a-pawn) 20...cxb3 21.Qxb3 Qe6 22.Rce1 Qe4! As so often: the Stonewall has holes.] 19.Rfd1 Qe6 20.Re1 Rfd8 21.Kf1 [21.Qa6!?] 21...Qf5 22.Qf3 e6 23.g4 Qf6 24.Kg2 Qe7 [24...g5!] 25.Rh1 cxd4 26.cxd4 Bf8 27.Qe2 Qb7
28.Bxd6?! Whatever else happens, Black's bishop will outperform White's knight. 28...Bxd6 [28...Rxd6! does a better job of the c-file.] 29.Nf3 Ba3 chasing the rook off the c-file. Black's edge starts to build. 30.Ra1 [30.Rxc8 Rxc8 31.Rd1 Rc3 32.Rd3 Qa6 33.Ne5 Rxb3 wins a good pawn] 30...Qe7 31.Rhd1? Now Black takes full control. Needed was [31.Qa2 Bb4 32.Rhc1 when White is worse but has chances to hold the draw.] 31...Rc3-+ 32.Rd3 Rdc8 33.Rxc3 Rxc3 34.Qa2 This comes to late. Black owns the c-file. 34...Bb4 35.Kf2 Qc7 36.Kg3 Rxe3 37.Qf2 Qc3 38.Rb1 Bd6
39.Re1 A tactical mistake but it didn't matter anyway. Ezra had White tied up like Capablanca used to do. 39...Rxf3+ 40.Qxf3 Qxe1+ White resigns. Strong, calm play by Ezram but Mark can be happy he kept the game close to even for thirty moves. 0-1

(4) IM Winslow,Elliott C (2269) - Acosta,Anthony (1818) [B01]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (1.2), 07.09.2021

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Bd2

5...Bg4!? We saw this on Board 2 of the previous TNM, where Nicholas Weng edged out Christophe Bambou. 6.f3 Bh5?! [That game featured the topical 6...Bd7!? 7.Bc4 Qb6! and Black even had some advantage, before he grabeed a somewhat poisoned h-pawn and not that long later got mated via the h-file (!).; 6...Bf5 7.g4! can be the same position. after 7...Bg6 (7...Bd7 8.g5! is quite disruptive.) ] 7.Bc4 Most common, [But better is 7.g4! Bg6 when 8.f4 is quite dangerous for Black if White plays accurately. This is in fact all featured in Negi's repertoire book on "Minor Lines," where he makes it look problematic for Black. But it's a lot of gambits and sacrifices!] 7...c6 8.g4 Bg6 9.h4 [9.f4! and engines make it already winning.] 9...h5 10.g5 In fact, here too -- Black's knight doesn't really want to move. 10...Nfd7 [10...b5 When Stockfish says this is the best move, then it's bad. 11.Nxb5 Qb6 12.Nc3+-] 11.Nd5! Qd8 12.Nf4 Black is caught undeveloped. 12...Qc7 [12...Bf5 13.g6! fxg6 14.Ngh3 Nb6 15.Be6! Qxd4 16.Ng5! Qe5+ 17.Kf2 The bind is permanent.] 13.Nxg6 Qg3+ 14.Kf1 fxg6 15.Qe1!? White doesn't mind an ending if it means Black remains stuck. 15...Qd6 [15...Qxe1+ isn't much better a try.] 16.Qe6!? [The computer naturally wants to keep queens on: 16.Qe4] 16...Nb6? [16...Qxe6 17.Bxe6 Na6 isn't much of a better try either.] 17.Qf7+ Kd8 18.Bd3?! [18.Be6!] 18...Nd5?! [18...Qxd4 -- Black might as well at least not be down a pawn also.] 19.Bxg6 b5 20.a4 There is a certain resemblance to Kasparov's last game against Deep Blue -- except White hasn't even given up a piece. 20...Kc8 21.axb5 Nd7 [21...cxb5 22.Qe8+ is no escape.] 22.c4 Nc7 23.bxc6 [Damn the computers, full steam ahead! 23.Ne2 they prefer.] 23...Ne5 24.Qf5+ Kb8 25.Qxe5 Qxg6 26.d5 e6 27.Bf4
These days you can't just play the Center Counter and hope to bring your pieces out; White shakes the tree early. [27.Bf4 Qf7 White intended 28.dxe6 and 29.Qb5+] 1-0

(5) Ahrens,Richard (1210) - Hancock,Trent [E11]
MI Sep-Oct TNM u1800 San Francisco (1.26), 07.09.2021

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 b6 4.e3 Bb7 5.Be2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qe7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Nc3 c5 9.a3 Bxc3 10.Bxc3 Na6

11.dxc5!? Nxc5 12.Bxf6! Qxf6?! Black just loses the d-pawn, whether intentional or not. 13.b4 Ne4 14.Qxd7 Nc3?! 15.Qxb7! Nxe2+ 16.Kh1+- White has grabbed the pawn and seems is getting away with it. 16...Rfb8 [16...Qb2!?] 17.Qe4 [17.Qa6!?] 17...Nc3
18.Qe5? This lets Black almost completely off the hook! [18.Qc2 Rc8 19.Rac1 Nd5 (19...Rxc4? 20.Nd2! Rc6 21.Ne4 wins) 20.Qe4 (20.h3; 20.Rfd1) 20...Ne7 21.Kg1 with the extra pawn and a dominating position] 18...Qxe5?! [18...Rc8! 19.Qxf6 gxf6 The weakened kingside is less of a concern with queens off. 20.Nd2 a5+/= /= -- White will come under fire via some file or another.] 19.Nxe5+/- Rc8 20.Rfc1 Ne4 21.Kg1? [21.f3!+/- f6 Both sides should be, in classic Steinitzian form, kicking the knights out of their respective central squares. 22.fxe4 fxe5 23.Kg1] 21...Rc7?! [21...f6! 22.Nf3+/= (22.f3 Nd6) ] 22.Rc2?! [22.f3] 22...Rac8?! [22...f6] 23.Rac1 Nd6+-
If White had let it slip away, it is now back. 24.b5? Woops! It's bad enough that it cripples White's extra-pawn majority -- but it also has an instant tactical refutation. White Black misses: [24.c5!; 24.Rd2!] 24...Rc5? [24...Nxb5!-/+ turns it right around.] 25.Nc6!+/- Rc7?! [25...Ra8] 26.Rd1+- pushing Black into a passive situation. 26...Nb7 27.Rcd2?! [27.Kf1 -- get back in the game!] 27...f6
28.Nd8 [28.Rc2 admits the mistake.] 28...Nxd8 29.Rxd8+ Kf7 30.R8d7+ Kg6?! [30...Kf8] 31.Rxc7 Rxc7 32.Rc1 Kf5?! [32...a6!? 33.bxa6 Ra7 although even here White has real chances.] 33.f3 [33.Kf1! heads directly for d3, freeing the rook: still good winning chances.] 33...Ke5 34.Kf2 Kd6 35.Ke2 Kc5 36.Kd3
36...f5? [36...a6 again, to get some play via the a-file; or even 36...a5; 36...Rd7+?! 37.Kc3] 37.g3?! Now Black can get in ...Rd7, ...e4, ...Rd3 37...Rd7+ 38.Kc3
[38.Ke2 e5 39.g4 g6 40.g5=] 38...g5? [38...e5! 39.Rf1 g6! maintains total equality. (39...e4?? 40.fxe4 fxe4 41.Rf5+) ] 39.h3?! [39.f4! is the best of many **STILL**-winning moves.] 39...h5?! [39...h6!+/-] 40.a4 e5?!

[40...Rg7+/- 41.g4; 40...Rh7 41.Rg1!+-] 41.h4? [41.Rf1] 41...gxh4 42.gxh4 e4!= 43.f4?? Losing a precious tempo in the rook activation race. [43.fxe4 fxe4 44.Rg1 Rd3+ 45.Kc2 White has enough counterplay going on with Rg7 or Rg5+ to keep the balance.] But now Black is way ahead: 43...Rd3+ 44.Kb2 Rxe3 45.Rc3 Rf3! Convincing. Quite a battle, and hopefully a lesson in handling pawns. 0-1

Here are the current standings:

SwissSys Standings. Sep-Oct 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: 1800

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1-9 FM Ezra Chambers 2314 W15             1.0  
2   IM Elliott Winslow 2269 W16             1.0  
3   Nathan Fong 2049 W17             1.0  
4   Nicholas Weng 2001 W18             1.0  
5   Alex Chin 1992 W19     H---       1.0  
6   Sean Kelly 1786 W11             1.0  
7   Ilia Gimelfarb 1752 W12             1.0  
8   Adam Stafford 1665 W13             1.0  
9   Kevin Sun 1622 W14             1.0  
10 10 Glenn Kaplan 1766 H---             0.5  
11 11-19 Ako Heidari 1996 L6             0.0  
12   Kristian Clemens 1994 L7           H--- 0.0  
13   Steven Svoboda 1936 L8             0.0  
14   Kayven Riese 1900 L9             0.0  
15   Mark Drury 1830 L1             0.0  
16   Anthony Acosta 1818 L2     H---       0.0  
17   Samuel Brownlow 1795 L3             0.0  
18   Adam Mercado 1793 L4             0.0  
19   Joel Carron 1676 L5         H---   0.0  

SwissSys Standings. Sep-Oct 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Under 1800

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1-19 Teodoro Porlares 1749 W28             1.0  
2   Marty Cortinas 1720 X21             1.0  
3   Daniel Wang 1581 W29             1.0  
4   Stephen Parsons 1544 W30             1.0  
5   Richard Hack 1543 W31             1.0  
6   Georgios Tsolias 1538 W32             1.0  
7   Sebastian Suarez 1520 W33             1.0  
8   Aaron Craig 1451 W34             1.0  
9   Paul Reed 1440 W35             1.0  
10   Christopher Dessert 1418 W36             1.0  
11   David Olson 1400 W37             1.0  
12   Nursultan Uzakbaev 1389 W38             1.0  
13   Andrew Imbens 1318 W39             1.0  
14   Jp Fairchild 1177 W40             1.0  
15   Tobiah Rex 1173 W41             1.0  
16   Deandr Stallworth unr. W24             1.0  
17   Jabez Wesly unr. W25             1.0  
18   Adam Ginzberg unr. W26             1.0  
19   Trent Hancock unr. W27             1.0  
20 20-23 Lisa Willis 1583 H---             0.5  
21   Damien Seperi 1083 H---             0.5  
22   James Dorsch unr. H--- H---           0.5  
23   Adam Laskowitz unr. H---             0.5  
24 24-41 Albert Starr 1500 L16             0.0  
25   Paul Krezanoski 1418 L17             0.0  
26   Matt Long 1306 L18       H---     0.0  
27   Richard Ahrens 1210 L19             0.0  
28   Natan Gimelfarb 1139 L1             0.0  
29   Andrejs Gulbis 1029 L3             0.0  
30   William Thibault 983 L4             0.0  
31   Thomas Gu 768 L5             0.0  
32   David Nichol 546 L6             0.0  
33   Jeffrey Dallatezza unr. L7             0.0  
34   Dean Guo unr. L8             0.0  
35   Ian Atroshchenko unr. L9             0.0  
36   Benjamin Anderson unr. L10           H--- 0.0  
37   Ryan Gill unr. L11             0.0  
38   Anton Maliev unr. L12             0.0  
39   Elias Colfax-Lamoureux unr. L13             0.0  
40   Harry Elworthy unr. L14             0.0  
41   Samuel White unr. L15 H---         H--- 0.0  

SwissSys Standings. Sep-Oct 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Extra Game

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Total Prize
1 1-3 Marty Cortinas 1720 W4 1.0  
2   ROMEO BE BARREYRO 1702 W5 1.0  
3   JERRY MORGAN 1462 W6 1.0  
4 4-6 TONY A LAMA 1805 L1 0.0  
5   NICK CASARES JR 1600 L2 0.0  
6   JOHN CHAN 1500 L3 0.0  

Thursday Night Marathon Report

by Abel Talamantez

Round 3 of the Thursday Night Marathon Online saw two big matchups on the top two boards, with GM Gadir Guseinov defeating FM Max Gedajlovic and IM Bala Chandra Dhulipalla winning a very exciting game against FM Ezra Chambers. Both of the defeated players would come back with wins in round 4, and GM Guseinov and IM Dhulipalla drew their game, which was a theoretical improvement by the IM from a similarly played game from the previous ThNM. Lookout for Casimir Dudek and Bryan Hood as the move up the standings, they will no doubt face stiff competition next week in the final 2 rounds.

Watch the broadcast from rounds 3&4 by following this link:

Here are the standings after four rounds:

SwissSys Standings. September 2021 Thursday Night Marathon Online: Open

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Total Prize
1 Gadir Guseinov 17343590 2563 W12 W9 W4 D2 3.5  
2 Bala Chandra Prasad Dhulipalla 30100858 2475 W19 W8 W3 D1 3.5  
3 Ezra Chambers 15191101 2314 W21 W5 L2 W12 3.0  
4 Max Gedajlovic 14947382 2264 X13 W6 L1 W7 3.0  
5 Casimir Dudek 30101045 1649 W24 L3 W19 W16 3.0  
6 Bryan Hood 12839763 1574 W18 L4 W22 W11 3.0  
7 Sheel Dandekar 12604772 2034 W14 W20 D16 L4 2.5  
8 Matthew Chan 12541333 1658 W23 L2 D14 W18 2.5  
9 Stewart Katz 12458563 1856 W15 L1 H--- H--- 2.0  
10 Robert Smith 12463327 1853 L16 W17 H--- H--- 2.0  
11 Kevin M Fong 17254586 1750 D17 D16 W21 L6 2.0  
12 Joseph Flowers 12691490 1494 L1 W15 W25 L3 2.0  
13 Charles James 12448028 1426 F4 H--- D17 W23 2.0  
14 Katherine Sunny Lu 16425316 1390 L7 W26 D8 D19 2.0  
15 Stephen Sikes 13058987 1339 L9 L12 W24 W22 2.0  
16 Austin Jin 17144712 1318 W10 D11 D7 L5 2.0  
17 Ian Liao 16738735 1161 D11 L10 D13 W21 2.0  
18 Victor Beauchamp 30154650 889 L6 B--- X20 L8 2.0  
19 Aaron Craig 12872385 1451 L2 W23 L5 D14 1.5  
20 James Hamlett 12374510 1561 W26 L7 F18 U--- 1.0  
21 Jimolee Gray 30172836 1442 L3 W24 L11 L17 1.0  
22 Alex C Durig 12729479 1290 H--- H--- L6 L15 1.0  
23 Bruce Hedman 17344551 1087 L8 L19 X26 L13 1.0  
24 Rehaan Malhotra 30118209 1055 L5 L21 L15 W25 1.0  
25 Cleveland W Lee 12814843 524 H--- H--- L12 L24 1.0  
26 Francisco Ostolaza 30266747 unr. L20 L14 F23 U--- 0.0  


Tony's Teasers


Tony challenges you to solve this problem, white to move and mate in 3.

White to move and mate in 3

In honor of Tony Lama, we are offering this additional mate in three moves problem which is rumored even to have stumped Steinitz and Capablanca. Take your shot at solving it, solution at the end of the newsletter.

White to move and mate in 3. Dietrich E.L. Wassman, 1863

Mechanics' Institute Events Schedule

Don't Miss our Exciting Upcoming Events!!

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

Scholastic Bulletin #4 is out!

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]

Refresh Your Chess

For those starting out, and for those who think they know everything.

In the following diagrams you will be given two tasks. First you need to define the issue(s) and figure out what is required in the position: it might be how to force the win of material, queen a pawn, or even to deliver checkmate.  It may simply be a continuation that maintains the equilibrium or forces a draw.  There may be more than one road to follow – chess is a complicated game!

Secondly, you are given three or four choices – call them “candidate moves” or possibilities - on a sliding scale of excellent to disastrous.  You may even come up with a perfectly fine - or horrible – move of your own!  Chess gives us a dizzying array of choices, and separating the wheat from the chaff is our responsibility.

Were you able to fulfill the requirements of the position?

The answers are given below.

Choose wisely!


1. This may be the most important position in chess, literally reached thousands of times a day around the world!

Black moves.  What is your task?  What is your move?

A)  1…Kd8

B)  1…Ke8

C)  1…Kf8


2. This position arises from Philidor’s Defense after 1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3.d4.

Black moves.  What is your task?  What is your move?

A)  3…g6

B)  3…Nf6

C)  3…exd4

D)  3…Bg4


3. From a game of one of my students.  White has just jumped in with 1.Ne5.  These kinds of positions can seem very confusing.

Black moves.  What is your task?  What is your move?

A)  1…Bxe5

B)  1…Nxe5

C)  1…Ne4


4. This position arises out of the Cambridge Springs Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.cxd5 exd5.

White moves.  What is your task?  What is your move?

A)  5.Nf3

B)  5.Nxd5

C) 5.e3

D) 5.Bxf6


5. In the endgame precision is needed, and the result – win, loss, or draw - can hang on every move.

Black moves.  What is your task?  What is your move?

A) 1…Kc2

B) 1…Kd3

C) 1…Kd4


6. Precision is also needed in the conduct of an attack on the king.  White is a piece down and needs to get something going.

White moves.  What is your task?  What is your move?

A) 1.Qh8+

B) 1.Qh7+

C) 1.Qg6

D) 1.g6


7. Making direct threats is a big part of the game, but again we must try to discern the best possible way forward.

White moves.  What is your task?  What is your move?

A) 1.g5

B) 1.Nb5

C) 1.Nd5

D) 1.e5


8. Another typical position arising out of the opening, in this case a Ruy Lopez: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.d4.

Black moves.  What is your task?  What is your move?

A) 9…Bg4

B) 9…Be6

C) 9…Nb8

GM Nick de Firmian's Column

The Greats

In all sports, the competition is always for the best. There are always excellent players that compete for championships, and each year we spectators enjoy rooting for our favorites. Yet about once in a generation there arises a truly great champion who seems to be above all others like a superhuman. Just now we have the US Open in Tennis being played. This is one of the four Grand Slam events of the year. One thinks it will be a battle between the best players to win the event, but that is not so. It is a battle of Novak Djokovic (tennis #1) against everyone else. Djokovic has won the last three Grand Slams and is favored to win this US Open. In golf there was Tiger Woods in his heyday and Arnold Palmer a generation (or two) before that. They simply dominated everyone else. Boxing saw Muhammad Ali and Lenox Lewis (who is a fine chess player). Team sports are a little different as a superman like Lebron James may still lose to a better team (like the Warriors for three years).

This brings us to chess, where we always have an official world champion but don’t always have a superman at the top. We appreciate the marvelous games from the former World Champions Euwe, Smyslov, Petrosian, Anand, Kramnik and others, yet these tremendous players didn’t give us the feeling they were superhuman. Petrosian described himself as “first among equals.” That modest self evaluation was rather accurate as Petrosian was often not the favorite to win a tournament even when he was World Champion. That is a different kind of World Champion than Alekhine, who won the great San Remo 1930 tournament with 14 points in 15 games against most of the world’s best players.

The current World Chess Champion though is one of those superhumans. When Magnus plays in any event it is an upset if he doesn’t win it. The battle will always be fierce against the top competitors, but Magnus will usually end on top. He has held the #1 ranking for 11 years now and isn’t letting up. He just won the Aim Chess Tournament (US event of the Grand Chess Tour), beating one of the best veteran players (Aronian) in the semi-finals and crushing one of the best young talents (Artemiev) in the finals. He will be here in San Francisco in later September for the final of the Grand Chess Tour. Your Mechanics’ Institute staff will give you more details on this as soon as we get them.

(1) Aronian,Levon - Carlsen,Magnus [C88]
Aimchess Semifinal, 01.09.2021

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4 This Anti-Marshall move is safer than 8. c3 d5 when Black gets the intitiative for a pawn. 8...Bb7 9.d3 Re8 10.Bd2!? looking at the queenside squares. The move seems a little passive however. 10...b4 11.Bg5 Na5 12.Ba2 h6 13.Bh4 d6 14.Nbd2 c5 15.Bxf6!? Bxf6 16.Nc4 Nxc4 17.Bxc4

An interesting idea from Aronian. He has given the bishop pair to get more light-square control. He may hope to trade light-squared bishops and get good knight against bad bishop. Magnus plays to accentuate Black's positives. 17...a5 18.g3?! [18.c3 was probably a better plan. White looks for kingside squares but loosens the king shelter.] 18...g6 19.h4 h5! 20.Nd2 Bg7 21.Nf1 Bh6 So both Black bishops are working well. 22.Qf3 Rf8 23.Ne3
23...Ra7! This wonderful move is like Petrosian or Nimzovich. White controls the d5 square which is some advantage, but Black looks to the opening of the kingside which is more important. 24.Nd5 Kg7 25.Rf1 f5 Black has taken over the initiative. The d5 square is not enough for White to control the game. 26.exf5 Rxf5 27.Qe2 Bc6 28.Rae1 Qa8!
Aronian has only made a few passive moves and he is now forced to the defensive in a difficult position. Magnus has played like the hyper-moderns with pressure from the flanks. 29.Ne3 Bf3 30.Qd2 d5 31.Ba2 Rf8 32.c3 There's nothing to be done about ..d4. Black is winning a piece. 32...d4 33.cxd4 exd4 34.Qc2 dxe3 35.fxe3 Rc7 36.Qc4 Bg4 Black has a winning material advantage. Aronian looks for shots, but there are none. 37.Rxf8 Qxf8 38.d4 Kh7 39.e4 Bg7 40.Rf1 Bxd4+ 41.Kg2 [41.Qxd4 Qxf1+ 42.Kxf1 cxd4] 41...Qc8 42.Rf7+ Rxf7 43.Qxf7+ Bg7 All is safe for Black now. The extra bishop easily decides. 44.e5 Qf5 0-1

(2) Carlsen,Magnus - Artemiev,Vladislav [B92]
Aimchess Final, 03.09.2021

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 g6 The Dragon-dorf. A kind of hybrid Dragon-Najdorf. Many players on the White side get confused on how to meet this variation. 7.g4! h6 8.Be3 Bg7 9.f3 White simply has more space on the kingside. 9...b5 10.a3 Bb7 11.Qd2 Nc6 12.0-0-0 b4?!

Aggressive, but White can handle the queenside threats because of better development. 13.Nxc6! Bxc6 [13...bxc3 14.Qxc3 Qc7 15.Na5 Qxc3 16.bxc3 is a pawn up (even if doubled) along with more control of the queenside] 14.axb4 Qb8 15.Nd5 Control of the center means White can handle the queenside threats. White is simply a pawn ahead. 15...Bxd5?! [15...Nxd5 16.exd5 Bb5 gives more hope] 16.exd5 a5 17.b5 of course White must keep the queenside closed with his king over there 17...a4 18.Bd4 0-0 19.Kb1 a3 20.b3 simple. Keep it blocked near your king. 20...Qc8 21.c4 a2+ 22.Ka1 Re8 23.Rhe1 e5 trying to break through. That's hard to do with all the white queenside pawns. 24.dxe6 Rxe6 25.Bd3 d5 26.Qb2! dxc4 27.Bxc4 Rxe1 28.Rxe1
It may seem that Black should have compensation for just one pawn with the troublemaker down on a2. Yet the white pieces control the center and there is little Black can do. 28...Qd8 29.h4 g5 30.hxg5 hxg5 31.f4 gxf4 32.g5
32...Qxd4! The best try. This is a real "Dragon" move to make trouble on the long dark diagonal. 33.Qxd4 Ng4
34.Bxf7+! The flaw in Black's setup. He can't properly follow through with his threats due the the counter checks. 34...Kf8 [34...Kxf7 35.Re7+ Kxe7 36.Qxg7+ is easy] 35.Re8+! Rxe8 36.Qxg7+ Kxg7 37.Bxe8 After all the flurry of tactics White is up only a simple pawn, yet it is completely winning as the white bishop can deal with passed pawns better than the slower black knight. 37...f3 38.b6 Ne3 39.b7 Nc2+ 40.Kxa2 Nb4+ 41.Ka3 Na6 42.Bb5 Nb8 43.Bd3 Nd7 44.Kb4 f2 45.Kb5 Kf7 46.b4 Ke6 47.Ka6 Kd6 48.Ka7 Kc7 49.g6

Black resigns 1-0

Solutions To Tony's Teaser

1. Bc5!!  Bxd7  2. Bxb4  Qxc8  3. Be7#

1. Bc5!!  Rxd7+  2. cxd7  Bxd7  3. Rxb4#


1. Qd1!!  Kd6  2. Qxa4  (mate on d7 next move.

1. Qd1!! Ke6  2. Qxa4  Kf7  3. Qe8#

1. Qd1!!  Kc6  2. Qg4  Kb7  3. Qc8#

Solutions to FM Paul Whitehead's Column


Your task is to stop the white pawn from queening, and B) 1…Ke8! takes the “opposition” and does the trick. After 2.Kd6 (Or 2.Kf6 Kf8! – not 2…Kd8?? 3.Kf7 and wins – 3.e7+ Ke8 4.Ke6. Stalemate.) 2…Kd8! 3.e7+ Ke8 4.Ke6. Stalemate. A) 1…Kd8?? Is a bad mistake and white forces a new queen with 2.Kd6 Ke8 3.e7 Kf7 4.Kd7. Black loses in the same way if he chooses C) 1…Kf8?? 2.Kf6, etc.


Your task is to develop your pieces, but A) 3…g6? Trying to develop the bishop on g7 simply drops a pawn after 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Nxe5. B) 3…Nf6 attacking the white pawn at e4 and C) 3…exd4 trading in the center are both good moves. D) 3…Bg4?! was played in the famous “Opera Game” with Paul Morphy as white against the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard in consultation. It develops a piece yes, but contributes inevitably to white’s development. The game featured a spectacular conclusion: 4.dxe5 Bxf3 (forced, if black doesn’t want to lose a pawn, and the problem with black’s 3rd move) 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 (threatens 7.Qxf7 mate) 6…Nf6 7.Qb3! Qe7 8.Nc3 (spurning the gain of a pawn with 8.Qxb7 Qb4+ allowing black to trade queens) 8…c6 9.Bg5 (white’s pieces leap out of the box) 9…b5 10.Nxb5! cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.0-0-0 Rd8 13.Rxd7! Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+!! (a brilliant finish) 16…Nxb8 17.Rd8 mate.


Your task is to expel the knight that sits on e5 and cramps your game, but B) 1…Nxe5?? was not the way to do it, and after 2.dxe5 the bishop at d6 and knight at f6 were forked and black lost a piece. A) 1…Bxe5?! is better, but is a needless trade. C) 1…Ne4! Is positive and looks right: black occupies the center himself and prepares to boot out the knight with …f6.


Your task is to develop, and to look before you leap. A) 5.Nf3 brings the knight out, and alternatively C) 5.e3 would be good to develop the bishop at f1. D) 5.Bxf6?! accomplishes nothing and only helps black to develop after 5…Nxf6, and the tempting  B) 5.Nxd5?? falls into a famous trap after black unexpectedly releases the pinned knight with 5…Nxd5! 6.Bxd8 Bb4+ (The point) 7.Qd2 (forced) 7…Bxd2+ 8.Kxd2 Kxd8. Black has won a piece for a pawn.


Your task is to stop the pawn from queening, and A) 1…Kc2? is clearly apropos of nothing. B) 1…Kd3? at least staggers in the right direction, but also fails after 2.h5. Only C) 1…Kd4! does the trick. The black king moves into the “square” of the pawn and captures it.


Your task is to checkmate the black king. Both A) 1.Qh8+? and B) 1.Qh7+? are tempting but fail as the black king escapes after 1…Kf7. C) 1.Qg6? trying for 2.Rh7 leads to nothing after 1…Bxg5 eliminating the dangerous g-pawn, which might lead you to D) 1.g6! as the correct move. The pawn assists in the attack, and to prevent 2.Qh7 mate black must play 1…Nf6 but then comes 2.Qh8 mate.


Your task is to win material, and only D) 1.e5! forking the knight and bishop, works. White wins. B) 1.Nb5? Bb8 leaves white with the problem of how to defend the pawns at e4 and g4, while C) 1.Nd5+? Nxd5 2. exd5trades into an inferior ending: the pawn at d5 is weak and the bishop is superior to the knight here. A) 1.g5 does little after black simply moves away with 1…Nh5.


Your task is to finish your development, and the simple A) 9…Bg4 accomplishes that with no problems.  B) 9…Be6?? is a blunder, walking into a pawn fork with 10.d5 winning for white, while with C) 9…Nb8? Black is confusing this position with the Breyer Variation, and is down a pawn with zero compensation after 10.dxe5.



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