Chess Clubs from Around the Country: Denver Chess Club
by Abel Talamantez
We recently had a regular Mechanics' Institute player move to Denver and play at the Denver Chess Club. He wrote to us to tell us about it. The club is deeply rooted in history and community. Founded in 1859, part of its mission statement reads, "The Denver Chess Club unites people of different ages, different ethnicities, opposite genders, different economic and cultural associations, and it promotes chess in American schools." I received this write up, written by Club Manager James MacNeil and sent to me by President Brian Wall. I thank them both, as well as their team for sending us this as we seek to promote different chess clubs from around the country.
Upon seeing the Rocky Mountains, perhaps the Denver Chess Club began in 1859 when migrants from the eastern states going west on a wagon train stopped in Denver. As an attending member of the DCC since around 1980, I've attended the club at many VFW and church basement locations over the years. Our current location at the Hope Christian church is by far the best location that we've had.
As far as I know, the DCC has never had a permanent site that we could call our own. Attendance at the club as I remember averaged at best 20 or so players per week until about 6 years ago. Since then we have steadily increased our weekly attendance to the current 60-70 USCF tournament players - along with several casual chess players - playing weekly on Tuesday nights.
The DCC format is a monthly USCF rated tournament, with one round each Tuesday. Our time control is G/70 with a 5 second delay. Based on entries after expenses, the monthly prize fund averages around $900, and is divided equally between 3 sections. We payout 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize money and also award a popular Upset prize for each section.
Aside from increasing DCC attendance, I would say our greatest success was putting Denver on the national chess map with the 2019 Denver Open Where we featured several GMs and attracted players from across the United States. We fully intended to follow up that great tournament with an even bigger 2020 Denver Open, but the COVID pandemic put an end to that plan. Our greatest challenge is to have our own building and be open 7 days a week. I can't tell you how much I envy the St. Louis Chess Club.
Learn more about the historic Denver Chess Club by following this link: https://denverchess.com/
The Colorado State Affiliate site is here: http://www.coloradochess.com/
Tuesday Night Marathon Round 4 Report
by Abel Talamantez
The first three rounds of the TNM saw a few upsets from aspiring players looking to swap blows with the cream of the crop. But the TNM is a marathon, not a sprint, and the underdogs learned that the hard way in round 4, a decisive round for many of the favorites in the top section.
FM Ezra Chambers won an impressive game on board 1 against IM Elliott Winslow. Birthday boy Nicholas Weng defeated rising player Sean Kelly to bounce back from a tough loss the previous week against Chambers. Ilia Gimelfarb lost to Guy Argo, and Nathan Fong won a wild and crazy game against Adam Stafford that is worth a look just for the massive swings back and forth. Chambers extends his lead in the TNM to a full point ahead of Fong, Weng, and Ako Heidari.
The top tables frequently get spectators looking on while the overflow are following the games on the big screen from the broadcast. UC Berkeley grads Nathan Fong and Adam Stafford played a wildly exciting game in their round 4 matchup.
In the under 1600 section, the 47-player section has thinned out to three perfect scores: Marty Cortinas, Daniel Wang, and Christopher Dessert are the sole 4/4. Many strong players are right behind with 3 points, including Richard Hack, Sebby Suarez and Andrew Imbens, Stephen Parsons, Aaron Craig, Paul Reed, Matt Long, Adam Ginzburg, and Anton Maliev.
Ilia Gimelfarb ponders his move against Guy Argo. A snapshot of players inside the chess room.
Find the game links to the top boards here: https://chess24.com/en/watch/live-tournaments/tuesday-night-marathon-2021-september/4/1/1
Here are some games from the round, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.
(1) FM Chambers,Ezra (2314) - IM Winslow,Elliott C (2269) [B90]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (4.1), 27.09.2021
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 [We used to see Bay Area GM Jim Tarjan play 4.e5 here. But it's more the psychology of avoiding main lines than seriously attempting an advantage in the opening.] 4...cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Be3 e5 Currently the main battleground. And why not? It's the Najdorf, so play like a Najdorf. [6...e6; 6...Ng4] 7.Nf3 The more positional approach, which somehow takes Black for a loop. 7...Qc7 The older, frankly less interesting line. [7...h6 is too slow to 8.Bc4; Lately it's all about 7...Be7 8.Bc4 (8.h3!? The latest ideas are here. And this can come from 6. h3 as well. 8...b5!? Usually it's premature to send this up without some development, but here White is a bit behind as well. 9.a4 b4 10.Nd5 Nbd7 11.Nxb4 Bb7 does nicely for Black.) 8...0-0 9.0-0 Perhaps White can postpone castling profitably here!? 9...Nc6!? still looking to argue the control of d5 (by ridding the board of White's bishop after 10.Bb3 Na5 (10...Be6 might be better) ] 8.a4! b6?!
This over-reaction is just a wrong pattern. It's more than just slow, it's a long-term weakness that haunts Black for the next few moves. [8...Be7 9.a5 Be6 10.Bb6?! Qc6 followed by ...Nbd7 goes nowhere for White.] 9.Qd3?!
A modern move, but here it can be side-stepped. [9.Nd5! Nxd5 10.Qxd5 Bb7 11.Qb3! all but wins a pawn, what with threats to b6 and f7.] 9...Be6?
[9...Be7 gets ready to guard f7 by castling. Still, 10.Qc4! Qb7! 11.Qb3! Be6! 12.Qxb6 Qc8! Black is ready to launch an initiative with his better developed force (and White's targetable queen), But 13.Bd2! provides a retreat for the queen, with White no worse.] 10.Ng5! Nbd7?!
Black plays with fire. [10...Nc6] 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Qc4?!
[12.g3! is a nice double-purpose move: Bh3, and f2-f4 (and the option of recapturing with the g-pawn) and f5. If you ask the computer White is already winning.] 12...Qxc4 13.Bxc4 Kf7 14.f3!
Solidifying in preparation for handling whatever Black is coming up with. 14...Be7
(Black offered a draw) 15.0-0-0!+/-
White not only (correctly) declines, he plays the most aggressive continuation. Note that with queens off, Castling queenside is often the better way to go; the king might be a target, but it also supports passed pawns on the queenside "if" they appear. 15...Rhc8
But this is maybe a bit too loose. [16.Be2! b5 17.axb5 axb5 18.Nxb5 d5 19.Kb1+/-] 16...b5!
Black grabs the moment to free himself of his weak duo and take an initiative. 17.axb5 axb5 18.Nxb5
18...d5! 19.exd5 exd5 20.Bd3!
After some calculation clearly the best. [20.Rxd5?? Rxc4; 20.Bxd5+ Nxd5 21.Rxd5 Ra1+ 22.Kb2 Rxh1 23.Rxd7 and now Black is somewhat better after one of the three king moves 23...Ke6 (probably best, and maybe more than a bit better!)a)
but not 23...Rxh2?! 24.Nd6+= (24.Bg5 Rxg2
should draw as well, but gives Black some play)
24...Ke6 25.Rxe7+ Kxd6! (25...Kxe7 26.Nxc8++/-)
26.Rxg7 h5=; ] 20...Nc5?!
Now White finds a comfortable ending. [20...Ra2 21.Kb1 Rca8 22.Nc3 R2a3 23.Bc1 (23.Na4 Rb8 24.Kc1 Bb4 25.c3 Be7 26.Kc2 Ra2+ 27.Nb2 Ba3! (27...Ra3
28.Rb1 d4=/+) 23...Ra1+ 24.Kb2 R1a5 25.Na4 Rb8 26.Kc3 Bb4+ 27.Kb2 is another repetition.] 21.Bxc5 Bxc5?!
Trying to find something for the bishop to do, but not the best. [21...Rxc5+/=] 22.Kb2+/- Rab8?
[22...Ra5!? 23.Rhe1 Rca8!? 24.Rb1 (24.Rxe5 Rb8 25.c3 Raxb5 26.Bxb5 Rxb5+/-
is definitely better for the rook and pawns.)
In spite of having more time, it's Black who seems to be fumbling. 24.fxe4 dxe4 25.Be2
White advantage now is overwhelming. 25...Rc6 26.b4 Be7 27.Kb3
Black is unable to offer much resistance. White executes the end phase smoothly. 27...e3?!
And this pawn is now lost. 28.Rhf1 Re6 29.Rf3 Re5 30.Nd4 Rb6 31.Nc2
31...Ke8 32.Rxe3 Rxe3 33.Nxe3 Re6 34.Bb5+ Kf8 35.Nf5 g6 36.Nxe7 Kxe7 37.Bf1 Ne4 38.c4 Nf2 39.Rd2 Re3+ 40.Kb2 Ng4 41.Re2 Rxe2+ 42.Bxe2 Nxh2 43.Kc3 Kd6 44.Kd4 h5 45.Ke3 g5 46.Kf2
With this win Chambers runs ahead of all competitors, having beat Winslow and Weng (who beat Kelly). Still, with three rounds to go things can happen, but all bets are on Ezra to take this one. 1-0
(2) Weng,Nicholas (2001) - Kelly,Sean (1786) [B90]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (4.2), 27.09.2021
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 [This move order avoids 6.Be3 Ng4 but does commit White in other ways, for example f2-f4 costs two moves.] 6...e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.Be3 Be6 9.Qd2 [9.g4? permits standard "meeting a wing attack with a counter in the center": 9...d5!-/+ A coming check on h4 will fix White's king in the middle.] 9...h5 10.Nd5 This has become the main response to the ...h7-h5 restraint. [You still see 10.0-0-0 Even just one month ago to the day, in a high-level game: 10...Nbd7 11.Kb1 b5 12.Nd5 Nxd5 13.exd5 Bf5 14.Na5 Qc7 15.Nc6 Bf6 16.Bd3 Bxd3 17.cxd3!? (Supporting c6 is everything!) 17...Nb6 18.Bxb6 Qxb6 19.Rc1 a5 20.Rhe1 0-0 21.g4 1-0 (39), Aronian,L (2782)-Van Foreest,J (2698) Aimchess US Rapid Prelim, Chess24.com 2021.] 10...Bxd5 How Black takes is a matter of taste [but 10...Nxd5 11.exd5 Bf5 is tastier by quite a bit (8 to 1 over 700 games), and has been seen in games by Carlsen against Nakamura even.] 11.exd5
Sometimes this works but here it's too much. [Everybody, including Giri and Nepo, go 11...Nbd7+/= ready to man the c-file, and harass the d-pawn with ...Nb6.] 12.a4
As per the only game reaching this position.
[Or 12.Bb5++- Nbd7 13.a4] 12...0-0N
[Predecessor: 12...Nbd7 13.Qd3?! (
Computers like 13.Bb5! 0-0 14.c4!?
seemingly trapping the bishop on b5! But White will be breaking with c5, or even a knight move and b4, when it (the bishop) is in a useful post.)
13...0-0 14.Qb5 Qc7?! Right square wrong piece (14...Ne8!
and a prepared ...Nc7 will reduce White's plus. 15.Qxb7 Rb8 16.Qa6 Bg5
is a typical Sicilian pawn sacrifice for excellent play (note the still centralized king).)
15...Nc5 16.Nxc5 dxc5 White was better until a mistimed g2-g4 cost him the game; 0-1 (42), Kulashko,A (2387)-Froehlich,P (2421) Auckland 2003] 13.Be2
Modest -- b5 still has more going for a bishop square. 13...Nbd7
[13...Na6!? 14.Nxa5 Nb4 is interesting.] 14.0-0 h4
[Computers like 14...Nb6 15.c4 Nbd7 just to seal off b5 for that bishop!] 15.f4?!
Promoting White's rook play. [15...Ne4= 16.Qe1 h3 would be consistent.] 16.Rxf4
[Nicholas has a habit of sliding his pieces, so people watching this on the Internet might have wondererd what 16.Rf2?? f3?? was about!] 16...Nh7
Black will now try, unsuccessfully, to take advantage of White's rook in the center. 17.Raf1 Bg5 18.Rd4
[18.Rg4] 18...Bf6 19.Rg4 Ne5 20.Rgf4+/-
Thinking of shots on the e-file, but there is exposure as well. 21.Nd4?
[21.Bb5! Re7 22.Nd4! Bg5 23.Nf5!] 21...Bg5! 22.Rf5??
[After all this White's best is *still* 22.Bb5! Bxf4 23.Bxf4 giving up the exchange but for various compensations. (Stockfish 14 makes it "0.00"!)] 22...Bxe3+?
Both players lose their way! [22...Nc4! was a strong forcing line... 23.Bxg5 Nxd2 24.Bxd8 Nxf1 25.Bxh4 Ne3 and the more you look at it, the better it gets for Black. Here also the computer just leaves the rook on f5! But Black is winning regardless. With queens off the rooks will rule.] 23.Qxe3 Qb6
[23...Nc6!? trades off the knight via some tactics, when White's advantage is less significant. 24.Nxc6 Rxe3 25.Nxd8 Rxe2 26.Nxf7 (26.Nxb7 Rb8! 27.Nxd6 Rxb2)
26...Rxc2 27.Nxd6 Rxb2 A long line, with counterplay for Black.] 24.Qf2! Re7?!
[Might as well take that not-so-poisoned pawn: 24...Qxb2+/=] 25.Qxh4
Finally the h-pawn goes, almost coincidentally, with an attack on e7 and close to a won game. Black's next move seals the deal though: 25...Nf6?
This is the sort of move Weng doesn't miss. 26...gxf6 27.Kh1!
Freeing the knight from the pin so it can settle into f5! 27...Qd8
There really is no defence. 28.Nf5 Rc7 29.Qh6 Qf8 30.Qxf6 Ng6
Black's position is a house of cards; a breath in the form of the h-pawn will now blow it away. [or 31.h4! first] 31...Rd7 32.h4 Kh7 33.h5 Qh8 34.Qg5!
No trade of queens here! 34...Kg8 35.Nh6+ Kg7
Very well done by Weng (with a bump or two -- and a slide)! Kelly just couldn't find his comfortable piece placement, and Nicholas pounced when the opportunity arose. 1-0
(3) Elworthy,Harry - Ahrens,Richard [C41]
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.h3!? A trappy move. 4...Nxe4?
[White could win a piece with 5.Qa4+! Nc6 6.Qxe4 d5 7.Qa4 and Black has insufficient compensation for the piece.] 5...Nf6
Now Black is just a clear pawn ahead 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Nbd2 0-0 8.Be2 Nd5
Nicely looking to trade White's active pieces. 9.Ne4 f5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Ng3
[11.Qb3 c6 dosen't help White] 11...Nf4 12.d4!? Nxg2+ 13.Kf1 Nh4
[13...Nf4! is a more powerful square] 14.Bc4+ Kh8 15.Nxh4 Qxh4 16.Qf3 f4 17.Ne4
Oh no! Just a miscounting. Black had it all going his way. With simple development (17...Nc6) it's all under control with an extra pawn and a good position. 18.Rxh3
White gets not only the piece for Black's two pawns, but also a strong attack on the kingside. 18...Qd8 19.Qh5
[19.Rxh7+! Kxh7 20.Qh5#] 19...h6 20.Ng5 d5
[20...Qf6 21.dxe5 dxe5 22.Nf7+ is lost anyway] 21.Ne6 Qf6 22.Nxf8 dxc4 23.Ng6+ Kh7 24.Nxe5
A rook ahead with a strong knight on e5 is enough 24...Nc6 25.Re1 Re8
An oversight. Not much left to say here. 26.Qxe8 Qf5 27.Qh5 Qc2 28.Nxc6 bxc6 29.Re6 Qc1+ 30.Kg2 f3+ 31.Rxf3 Qg5+ 32.Qxg5 hxg5 33.Rxc6 1-0
(4) Thibault,William - Stallworth,Deandr [C00]
San Francisco San Francisco (4), 28.09.2021
1.e4 b6 Owen's Defense is an unusual but respectable opening for Black. 2.d3 Another unusual choice, but also logical. William transposes into a King's Indian Attack where ...b6 is not always played. 2...Bb7 3.g3 e6 4.Nd2 Nf6 5.Ngf3 d5 6.e5 Nfd7 7.Bg2 c5 8.d4?! Nc6 [8...cxd4 is direct in trying to break the white center] 9.c3 Be7 [9...Ba6 trying to stop castling can be met by 10.Qa4 Qc8 11.Bf1 Bxf1 12.Kxf1 Be7 13.Kg2] 10.0-0 Ba6 11.Re1 cxd4 12.Qa4 Nc5?!
better to be brave with [13.Qxc6+! Kf8 14.cxd4 Rc8 when White loses the queen but gets more than enough compensation - 15.Qxc8 Qxc8 16.dxc5 bxc5 17.Nb3 with a clear edge] 13...dxc3 14.bxc3 Nd3 15.Nd4?!
[15.Re3 Nxc1 16.Rxc1 is a pawn down but the better choice] 15...Ndxe5?
taking a center pawn is usually good, but here it is a tactical mistake. [15...Nxd4 16.cxd4 Nxe1 is a clear exchange and pawn ahead] 16.Rxe5
even better is 16. Qa4! which wins a whole piece as Black must guard both knights and the bishop on a6. One of them is lost. 16...Nxe5 17.Qa4+ Kf8
[17...Qd7] 18.Qxa6 Qc8
[White could try to stay in the middlegame with 19.Qe2! since 19...Qxc3? 20.Qxe5! Qxa1? loses the queen to 21.Nxe6+ fxe6 22.Qxa1] 19...Rxc8 20.Bb2?
The endgame was almost even before this move, which loses time and thus a pawn. [20.Bf1 Rxc3 21.Bb2 Rc8 22.Ba6 Rc7 23.Nxe6+ fxe6 24.Bxe5 is just a bit better for Black] 20...Nd3 21.Bc1 Rxc3 22.N2b3 Nxc1 23.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 24.Nxc1
The endgame has clarified and Black is on top with a rook and three pawns for the two knights. 24...h5 25.Nce2 a6 26.Nc6 Bd6 27.f4 g6 28.Ned4 Kg7 29.Kf2 Bc5 30.Kf3 Rc8 31.Nxe6+?
losing the last hope. With 31. Bf1 White keeps two pieces for the rook and pawns and has chances for tricks or a blockade. Now the material imbalance is too much. 31...fxe6 32.Ne5 Bd4 33.Bf1 Bxe5!
simplifying makes it even easier to win 34.fxe5 b5 35.Bd3 Rc3 36.Ke2 Rxd3
It's hard to argue about trading into a two pawn up king and pawn ending. Of course keeping the exchange was also good. 37.Kxd3 Kh6 38.Kd4
[38.h4 g5] 38...Kg5 39.h3 h4 40.gxh4+ Kxh4 41.Kc5 Kg5 42.Kb6 d4
The pawn queens, so White resigned. 0-1
(5) Riese,Kayven (1900) - Brownlow,Samuel (1795) [B45]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (4.6), 27.09.2021
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.Ndb5 a6?! Black could have played instead 6...d6 7. Bf4 e5 transposing into the Sveshnikov Variation, or play 6...Bc5 as Gadir likes to do. This move forcing the white knight to d6 gives White the opening edge. 7.Nd6+ Bxd6 8.Qxd6 Qe7 9.Bf4! e5?! This is the most challenging move. It gives White trouble to deal with the attacks, but ultimately it works poorly for Black. 10.Qxe7+ Kxe7 11.Bg5 Nb4
guarding the d5 square and threatening a fork on c2 12.0-0-0! h6 13.Bxf6+ Kxf6 14.a3
There is the problem - Black gets forced back and then it's White's turn to jump forward with the knight. 14...Nc6 15.Nd5+ Kg6 16.Nb6 Rb8 17.Nxd7
[even stronger is 17.Rd6+ f6 18.Bc4 delaying the win of the pawn and keeping a strong initiative] 17...Bxd7 18.Rxd7 Rhd8
White is a clear pawn up in the ending and neither side has weakenesses. This should be one of those win or draw positions for White, yet complications can always arise. 19.Rxd8 Rxd8 20.c3 f5
active play, but it gives Black an isolated e-pawn 21.exf5+ Kxf5 22.Be2 Rd7
very professional. Kayven seeks to trade down with the material advantage. 23.Rd1! Rc7
It is a reasonable choice to give up the file to avoid the exchange of rooks. The bishop vs knight ending should be lost for Black. This keeps some complications at least. 24.Bd3+ Ke6 25.Bc2 Na5 26.Rd8 Nc4 27.Bb3 b5 28.Ra8 Rc6 29.Rb8 g5?!
It's a tough position to play, but Samuel would do better to step out of the pin with 29....Kf6 30.a4! Rc5?
The last mistake. Black would still have hopes for a draw after 30...bxa4 31.axb5 axb5
32.Rxb5! Kd5 Black resigned. (32...Kd5 looks to be a DGT board move). In any case all the pieces get traded off and White has a two pawn up king and pawn ending. This was an impressive performance by Kayven, playing the ending like Capablanca. 1-0
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
Mechanics' Institute Thursday Night Triathlon Online Begins October 7th!
We thought we would experiment with a new online tournament format that would be fun to broadcast and showcase a player's diverse skill set in one event. We came up with our 1st online triathlon, which will feature a rapid leg, blitz leg, and Fischer random leg over three weeks, with prizes based on cumulative scores. Specifically, the first week will be 6SS rapid G/10+2 USCF online rated, the second week 10SS G/3+2 USCF online rated, and the third week 6SS G/10+2 Fischer Random non-rated. Standings and prizes will be based on 22 total rounds of play, with the winner taking the covveted unofficial title of Mechanics' greatest athlete. We will broadcast the event on our Twitch channel starting at 7pm PDT, with rounds starting at 6:30pm. One entry fee for three weeks of exciting chess action! Register now by following this link: https://mechanics-institute.jumbula.com/2021OnlineTournaments/MechanicsInstituteOnlineTriathlon
Full tournament information is here: https://www.milibrary.org/chess-tournaments/mechanics-institute-online-triathlon
Tony challenges you to solve this problem, white to move and mate in 3.