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: https://mechanics-institute.jumbula.com/Tournaments2021/MechanicsChampionshipQuadsSep2021.
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. https://www.twitch.tv/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 chess.com 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WP4JtIYjags
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZplLJnHe64
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
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?!
[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
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?!
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+?
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
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
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
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
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.)
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...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
This lets Black almost completely off the hook! [18.Qc2 Rc8 19.Rac1 Nd5 (19...Rxc4? 20.Nd2! Rc6 21.Ne4
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...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?!
pushing Black into a passive situation. 26...Nb7 27.Rcd2?!
[27.Kf1 -- get back in the game!] 27...f6
[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...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.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
SwissSys Standings. Sep-Oct 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Under 1800
SwissSys Standings. Sep-Oct 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Extra Game
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXpdFWDDro4
Here are the standings after four rounds:
SwissSys Standings. September 2021 Thursday Night Marathon Online: Open
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