Chess Room Newsletter #988 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #988

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #988

October 2, 2021


Table of Contents

Don't Miss the JJ Dolan Memorial Championship (October 2nd) and Championship Quads (October 3rd) Register Below!

20th JJ Dolan Memorial Championship: USCF Rated. October 2, 10AM PT. 4SS G/45;d5:

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


Mechanics' Institute Rapid and Blitz Championship October 9-10!

2021 Mechanics' Institute Rapid Championship. October 9, 10AM PT. 6SS G/15+2:

2021 Mechanics' Institute Blitz Championship. October 10, 11AM PT. 8SS G/3+2:


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:

The Colorado State Affiliate site is here:

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:

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
16.b3? 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) 23...Ke8; b) 23...Kf8; c) 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 repeats) 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.) ] 23.c3!
23...e4? 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, 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

11...a5?! 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.Bd3 (15.0-0-0!+/-) 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?! [15.Bb5+/-] 15...exf4? 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+/-
20...Re8 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? [25...Rc7] 26.Rxf6! 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
31.Bd3! 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
36.Rxf7+! 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?

5.d3? [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
17...Bxh3+?? 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?!

13.Qd1? 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
19.Qxc8+ [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

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1 FM Ezra Chambers 2314 W18 W6 W3 W5       4.0  
2 2-4 Nathan Fong 2049 W19 D8 H--- W14       3.0  
3   Nicholas Weng 2001 W20 W14 L1 W8       3.0  
4   Ako Heidari 1996 L8 W18 W17 W13       3.0  
5 5-9 IM Elliott Winslow 2269 W15 D17 W16 L1       2.5  
6   Alex Chin 1992 W21 L1 W20 H---       2.5  
7   Guy Argo 1938 H--- W9 L8 W17       2.5  
8   Sean Kelly 1786 W4 D2 W7 L3       2.5  
9   Kevin Sun 1622 W12 L7 D19 W16       2.5  
10 10-14 Kristian Clemens 1994 L17 L15 W22 W20     H--- 2.0  
11   Steven Svoboda 1936 L14 L20 W21 W18       2.0  
12   Kayven Riese 1900 L9 W21 L13 W19       2.0  
13   James Mahooti 1800 H--- H--- W12 L4       2.0  
14   Adam Stafford 1665 W11 L3 W15 L2       2.0  
15 15-17 Anthony Acosta 1818 L5 W10 L14 H---       1.5  
16   Tony Lama 1805 H--- X22 L5 L9       1.5  
17   Ilia Gimelfarb 1752 W10 D5 L4 L7       1.5  
18 18-21 Mark Drury 1830 L1 L4 B--- L11       1.0  
19   Samuel Brownlow 1795 L2 H--- D9 L12       1.0  
20   Adam Mercado 1793 L3 W11 L6 L10       1.0  
21   Joel Carron 1676 L6 L12 L11 X22   H---   1.0  
22 22 Glenn Kaplan 1766 H--- F16 L10 F21 H---     0.5  

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 1-3 Marty Cortinas 1720 B--- W38 W6 W5       4.0  
2   Daniel Wang 1581 W46 W20 W19 W4       4.0  
3   Christopher Dessert 1418 W15 W18 W30 W14       4.0  
4 4-12 Stephen Parsons 1544 W41 W9 W7 L2       3.0  
5   Richard Hack 1543 W22 W21 W8 L1       3.0  
6   Sebastian Suarez 1520 W24 W27 L1 W26       3.0  
7   Aaron Craig 1451 W26 W28 L4 W27       3.0  
8   Paul Reed 1440 W42 W12 L5 W28       3.0  
9   Andrew Imbens 1318 W17 L4 W43 W18       3.0  
10   Matt Long 1306 L12 W42 W25 W30 H---     3.0  
11   Anton Maliev unr. L20 W40 W21 W19       3.0  
12   Adam Ginzberg unr. W10 L8 W41 W20       3.0  
13 13-17 Nick Casares 1600 H--- L32 W22 X34       2.5  
14   John Chan 1500 H--- W16 W34 L3       2.5  
15   Benjamin Anderson unr. L3 H--- X45 W31     H--- 2.5  
16   Adam Laskowitz unr. H--- L14 W46 W33       2.5  
17   Elias Colfax-Lamoureux unr. L9 W23 D33 W32       2.5  
18 18-29 Teodoro Porlares 1749 W40 L3 W32 L9       2.0  
19   Georgios Tsolias 1538 W23 W25 L2 L11       2.0  
20   Nursultan Uzakbaev 1389 W11 L2 W24 L12       2.0  
21   Jp Fairchild 1177 W29 L5 L11 W44       2.0  
22   Thomas Gu 768 L5 W29 L13 X43       2.0  
23   David Nichol 546 L19 L17 X47 W37       2.0  
24   Jeffrey Dallatezza unr. L6 X47 L20 W38       2.0  
25   Deandr Stallworth unr. W37 L19 L10 W41       2.0  
26   Dean Guo unr. L7 W39 W37 L6       2.0  
27   Jabez Wesly unr. W47 L6 W38 L7       2.0  
28   Trent Hancock unr. W39 L7 W35 L8       2.0  
29   Harry Elworthy unr. L21 L22 B--- W39       2.0  
30 30-36 Romeo Barreyro 1702 H--- W33 L3 L10       1.5  
31   Lisa Willis 1583 H--- F34 W36 L15       1.5  
32   Jerry Morgan 1462 H--- W13 L18 L17       1.5  
33   Tobiah Rex 1173 W36 L30 D17 L16       1.5  
34   Eli Chanoff unr. H--- X31 L14 F13       1.5  
35   Ryan Deal unr. H--- H--- L28 H---       1.5  
36   Samuel White unr. L33 H--- L31 X45     H--- 1.5  
37 37-44 Albert Starr 1500 L25 X45 L26 L23       1.0  
38   David Olson 1400 W44 L1 L27 L24       1.0  
39   Richard Ahrens 1210 L28 L26 W42 L29       1.0  
40   Natan Gimelfarb 1139 L18 L11 L44 W46       1.0  
41   William Thibault 983 L4 X44 L12 L25       1.0  
42   Ian Atroshchenko unr. L8 L10 L39 B---       1.0  
43   James Dorsch unr. H--- H--- L9 F22       1.0  
44   Ryan Gill unr. L38 F41 W40 L21       1.0  
45 45-46 Damien Seperi 1083 H--- F37 F15 F36       0.5  
46   Andrejs Gulbis 1029 L2 H--- L16 L40       0.5  
47 47 Paul Krezanoski 1418 L27 F24 U--- U---       0.0  

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

# Place Name Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Total Prize
1 1-13 Brendyn Estolas 2052 U--- W22 U--- U--- 1.0  
2   Gaziz Makhanov 1893 U--- W18 U--- U--- 1.0  
3   Marty Cortinas 1720 W19 U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
4   ROMEO BE BARREYRO 1702 W21 U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
5   JERRY MORGAN 1462 W23 U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
6   Natan Gimelfarb 1090 U--- U--- U--- W12 1.0  
7   Judit Sztaray 807 U--- W24 U--- L11 1.0  
8   Thomas Gu 768 U--- U--- U--- W25 1.0  
9   David Nichol 546 U--- U--- W20 U--- 1.0  
10   Samuel White unr. U--- U--- U--- W21 1.0  
11   Ian Atroshchenko unr. U--- U--- U--- W7 1.0  
12   Noah Chambers unr. U--- W19 U--- L6 1.0  
13   Benjamin Anderson unr. U--- U--- W26 U--- 1.0  
14 14-17 Joel Carron 1676 U--- U--- U--- D15 0.5  
15   Samuel Agdamag 1448 U--- U--- U--- D14 0.5  
16   Eli Chanoff unr. U--- D17 U--- U--- 0.5  
17   Jeffrey Dallatezza unr. U--- D16 U--- U--- 0.5  
18 18-26 Alex Silvestre 2131 U--- L2 U--- U--- 0.0  
19   TONY A LAMA 1805 L3 L12 U--- U--- 0.0  
20   Cesar Tamondong 1600 U--- U--- L9 U--- 0.0  
21   NICK CASARES JR 1600 L4 U--- U--- L10 0.0  
22   Albert Starr 1500 U--- L1 U--- U--- 0.0  
23   JOHN CHAN 1500 L5 U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
24   William Thibault 983 U--- L7 U--- U--- 0.0  
25   Pratyush Hule 825 U--- U--- U--- L8 0.0  
26   Angad Sharma unr. U--- U--- L13 U--- 0.0  

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:

Full tournament information is here:

Tony's Teasers

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


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:

20th JJ Dolan Memorial Championship: USCF Rated. October 2, 10AM PT. 4SS G/45;d5:

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

2021 Mechanics' Institute Rapid Championship. October 9, 10AM PT. 6SS G/15+2:

2021 Mechanics' Institute Blitz Championship. October 10, 11AM PT. 8SS G/3+2:


Mechanics' Institute Class Schedule

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

Scholastic Chess Bulletin

The scholastic news is covered in a dedicated publication:
Mechanics' Institute Scholastic Chess Bulletin

Scholastic Chess Bulletin #5 is out!

In this issue:

  • 2021 Fall Enrichment - Report on the Start
  • 2021 Fall & Winter Holiday Camps
  • Special Event: Halloween Tournament @ Mechanics' Institute on Oct 30
  • Understanding Tournaments - Byes & Forfeits
  • Upcoming Tournament Schedule
  • ​Tournament Results & Featured games analyzed by GM Nick de Firmian

Please click the following LINK to read our latest edition.
Interested in reading the past issues? Click here to see the list of all issues.

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]

The Meltdown Championship

As I write this column it happens to be a rest day in the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. This is the final tournament of the Champions Chess Tour, and speaking quite frankly folks, I can’t keep up.  Every week (every day!) there’s big-time chess on the Internet.  Where top players used to play (maybe) a tournament once every month or two, now it’s non-stop action.  The entertainment value is high: different time controls, Armageddon games, trash-talk on social media, streaming on Twitch and YouTube.  If you can throw a bell or whistle into the mix, then it’s a go, go, go! for all concerned.

Where Bobby Fischer played (roughly) 700 tournament games over a (roughly) 20-year span, Carlsen has more than tripled that in the same amount of time.  I myself have played 11-year old kids who have played more tournament games than I have done, or ever will.

Playing strength has improved over time, but that’s a given - it always has.  Computer assisted Grandmasters seem to be less error-prone and better defensive players than in the past, but is that really true?  Let’s go back to Fischer, who only had a handful of recorded blitz games.  When you don’t play zillions of games, maybe each game you DO play counts just a little bit more:

Victor KorchnoiRobert Fischer, Herceg-Novi 1970. World Blitz Championship.

King’s Indian Defence

1.d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4  d6 5.Be2 O-O 6.Nf3 e5 7.O-O Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.Nd2 c5 10.a3 Ne8 11.b4  b6 12.Rb1 f5 13.f3 f4 14.a4 g5 15.a5 Rf6 16.bxc5 bxc5 17.Nb3 Rg6 18.Bd2 Nf6 19.Kh1 g4 20.fxg4 Nxg4 21.Rf3 Rh6 22.h3 Ng6 23.Kg1 Nf6 24.Be1.

24…Nh8!! 25.Rd3 Nf7 26.Bf3 Ng5 27.Qe2 Rg6 28.Kf1 Nxh3 29.gxh3 Bxh3+ 30.Kf2 Ng4+ 31.Bxg4 Bxg4.  0-1.

Of course Carlsen has played many beautiful blitz games, but I can’t help but wonder what Fischer or other World Champions from the past would have thought of 1.f3 e5 2.Kf2 - as played by Carlsen against So in a “Banter Blitz” game from 2020, or 1.e4 e6 2.Ke2 – the so-called “Bong-Cloud” opening as Nakamura has played.

On to the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021, which was supposed to take place in San Francisco this month, but alas the Global Pandemic… now it’s a “hybrid event” with a few players in Oslo and the rest scattered around the globe.  You can find the rules, etc. on-line.  Basically it’s four 15-minute Rapid games followed by two 5-minute Blitz games, and then 5-minute to 4-minute Armageddon games where white gets the extra minute but black has draw-odds.

As you can see, I’ve titled this tournament the “Meltdown Championship”, and I think it’s with good reason.  The players are woozy from too much chess and it shows.  At the moment Carlsen and Nakamura share the lead, although Carlsen is the sure overall winner of the Tour.  Carlsen’s play has been loose but uncompromising as usual.  The fast time-controls suit Nakamura: he has been pragmatic, and he’s in good form.

 Let’s get down to the action – and, in some cases, the lack of action:

Anish Giri – Hikaru Nakamura, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.1.

White has just played 21.b4 with an obvious threat… 21…Nb2? …which black completely overlooked. After 22.b5! the bishop is lost on e7 if the attacked knight moves, so Nakamura threw more wood onto the fire before giving up: 22…Bc5 23.bxc6 Bxf2+ 24.Kxf2 Bxc2 25.Qxc2 Nd3+ 26.Kg1 Nxf4 27.Nf5 Kh8 28.Qe4. White has a strong attack AND an extra piece. 28…Nd5 29.Ng5 g6 and 1-0.

Levon Aronian – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.1.

Did I say the players were burning out?  This position was reached after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 cxd5 cxd5 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 Ne4 8.Nd2 Nf6 9.Nf3 Ne4 10.Nd2 Nf6 11.Nf3. It’s a 3-time repetition and agreed drawn on the 11th move!

Anish Giri – Hikaru Nakamura, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Blitz. Rd.1.

Nakamura probably needed another swig of his Red Bull, otherwise how do you explain 45…Bxa5?? 46.Ne7+. 1-0.

Levon Aronian – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Armageddon. Rd.1.

I guess Levon and Maxime decided to leave all the action for their Armageddon game, but 81.Qb2?? was over the top: 81…Rxb2. 0-1.

This fascinating position arrives after 14 moves by way of 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.dxe5 Nxb5 7.a4 Nbd4 8.Nxd4 Nxd4 9.Qxd4 d5 10.exd6 Qxd6 11.Qe4+ Qe6 12.Qd4 Qd6 13.Qe4+ Qe6 14.Qd4 Qd6, and was agreed drawn by 3-time repetition in three of Nakamura’s games, and 3 of So’s games:

Hikaru Nakamura – Teimour Radjabov, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.2.

Wesley So – Hikaru Nakamura, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.4.

Hikaru Nakamura – Wesley So, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.4.

Anish Giri – Wesley So, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.5.

The tournament is not over, so maybe this complex “tabiya” will show up again!

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – Magnus Carlsen, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.2.

In this dangerous position Carlsen overplayed his hand with 9…Qxa2? when 9…Qb5 would have been the safe alternative. After 10.Ra1! Qc4 11.Ra4! Qc5 12.Nxf6+ Bxf6 13.Rxa6! bxa6 14.Bxa8 Bxb2, he had 3 pawns for a piece but it was not enough, and 1-0 after 45 moves.

Another 2 games draw by 3-time repetition, this time after 19 moves: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.a3 c5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.dxc5 Nxc5 11.Be5 Bf5 12.Be2 Bf6 13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Qd4 Qd6 15.Rd1 Rad8 16.Qd2 Qf6 17.Qd4 Qd6 18.Qd2 Qf6 19.Qd4 Qd6. Maybe you can guess the players involved…

Hikaru Nakamura – Teimour Radjabov, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.2.

Teimour Radjabov – Hikaru Nakamura, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.2.

Teimour Radjabov – Hikaru Nakamura, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Blitz. Rd.2.

Even the strongest players need reminding of the basics, like the opposition: 48.Kd2?? was a horrible blunder (48.Kc3! draws) and Nakamura had a simple win after 48…Ke5! 49.Kd3 Kd5. 0-1.

Magnus Carlsen – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Blitz. Rd.2.

Down a pawn, Carlsen tries to fight his way out of a jam by giving up the exchange with 24.Rxd5!? and instead of the obvious and best 24…Bxd5! Mamedyarov implodes with 24…Rxc3?? completely overlooking 25.Rxg5+! and 1-0.

Magnus Carlsen – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.3.

This position arose after that zany 2.Nc3 and 3.Bb5+ line against the Sicilian – a variation Carlsen does very well with. But here he over-reacted with 9.e5? losing a pawn and eventually the game after 9…Qc7!

An interesting moment occurred in Levon Aronian - Hikaru Nakamura, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.3.

With both sides about to queen Aronian erred with the natural 47.Kg6? and couldn’t hold on to the extra pawn after 47…Kxa2 48.f5 Kb3 49.f6 a2 50.f7 a1=Q 51.f8=Q Qg1+! and drawn a few moves later. Instead he could have held on to the f-pawn with a theoretical win (I think!) with 47.Kg4!

In Magnus Carlsen – Vladislav Artemiev, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.4.

the World Champion made a poor judgement call in trying to unbalance the position with 29.Nc7? instead of the boring 29.Bxe6. White was simply lost in the ensuing rook vs 2 minor piece ending: 29…Bxb3 30.Nxa6 bxa6 31.Rc8+ Kh7 32.a5 Bc4 33.Kf2 Bb5 34.Rc2 Nc4 35.Ra2 Kg6 36.Kf3 Kf5 37.g4+ Ke5 38.h3 g5 39.Kf2 f5 40.gxf5 Kxf5 41.Ra1 Ke5 42.h4 g4 43.Rc1 h5 44.Rd1 Nd6 45.Rc1 Bc4 46.Rb1 Nf5 47.Rb7 g3+ 48.Kg1 Nxh4 49.Rh7 Be2 50.Rg7 and 0-1.

Seeking revenge two games later, Carlsen let loose the howler of the event so far, hanging his queen when he spurned a perpetual check: Magnus Carlsen – Vladislav Artemiev, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.4.

51.Qxc5+?? (51.Qe7+ keeps it even) 51…Qxc5. 0-1.

An amazing turnaround, and the most unexpected and stunning move of the event so far occurred on the 35th move in the game between Maxime Vachier-Lagrave – Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.4.

In a winning position simply 35.d7! followed by 36.d8=Q will win, but the Frenchman got fancy with 35.Qe7?? Who could blame him for overlooking the brilliant 35…Qh5!! threatening 36…Qxh2 mate, while 36.Bxh5 is met by 36…Rf1 mate! White found no perpetual check after 36.h4 Qxe2 37.Qe8+ Kh7 38.Qe4+ Kh8 39.Qe8+ Kh7 40.Qe4+ Kg8. 0-1. If 41.Qe8+ Rf8.

White’s game is maybe not so great in Wesley So – Anish Giri, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.5. However, it became a whole lot worse after he blundered a rook with 29.Rxf5?? Nxf5 30.Rf1 and now 30…Rd5! defended, and 0-1.

Two rounds later it’s time for Anish to blunder in Wesley So – Anish Giri, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.5. Black’s queen is attacked, and if he moves it with 24…Qg5! he’ll pick up the exchange with either …Nxb1 or …Ne2+ with great prospects. Instead, he tried to get fancy with the immediate 24…Ne2+? and was stunned by 25.Qxe2! After 25…Qxd4 (25…Bxe2 26.Rxh4 is simply a piece down) 26.Qxa6! meant white kept two powerful bishops for a rook. The game did not last long: 26….Qd2 27.Bd4 Rc1+ 28.Rxc1 Qxc1+ 29.Qf1 Qd2 30.Bd5 Rd8 31.Bb3 Rc8 32.Kg2 Rc1 33.Qb5 Qe1 34.Qe8+ Kh7 35.Bc2+. 1-0. If 35…Rxc2 36.Qe4+.

This next tactic, from Shakhriyar Mamedyarov – Vladislav Artemiev, Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021. Rapid. Rd.5. is right out of the textbooks.  Black holds a nice edge, with a dominating knight and a seemingly safe king position.  24…Nf4 looks good. However, black tried the obvious and active 24…Ra4?? and was gunned down on the streets of the Internet with 25.Qxf8+!! Kxf8 26.Rc8 mate!

The Meltwater Champions Chess Tour Finals 2021 resumes tomorrow.  Draw your own conclusions, but I think I’m going to go take a walk in the park.


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

World Class Chess in San Francisco

Magnus was supposed to be here now. They were going to have the finals of the Meltwater Grand Chess Tour right here in our city. That plan went a bit awry, perhaps due to the protracted COVID-19 pandemic, but maybe it was never firmly set in place. The Grand Chess Tour has rules and schedules that are hard to follow and seem open to change. I’m not complaining (too much) about this entertaining event that has filled the year with top level chess. It’s only that this first year of the event seems rather haphazard, and the games are mostly quick play and blitz. That’s fun but usually a lower artistic level than the classical time control tournaments. Plus the finals were supposed to be in San Francisco!

The Pro Chess finals held at the Folsom Street Foundry two years ago was the last great chess event in the city, and allowed us to have a wonderful rapid event at the Mechanics’ club with Fabiano Caruana and many super grandmasters. Still, the last time a world champion played classical chess at the club was in the 90’s when Mark Pinto, Jim Eade and Neil Falconer organized the Pan Pacific events. We give below one of the classic games from the second of the three Pan Pacific tournaments. Such players as Viktor Korchnoi, Women’s world champion Xie Jun, Hubner, Nunn and others came to town for these two week events. The game below features Australia’s best ever chess player against our favorite visitor, former world champion Tal. We give another game, from the current Meltwater Grand Chess Tour Finals. It should have been played here in San Francisco, and with some luck we will get the world’s top players here in the next year or two.

(1) Tal,Mikhail (2570) - Rogers,Ian (2545) [C10]
San Francisco San Francisco (8), 1991

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 The Rubinstein Variation of the French Defense is very solid. White must play very actively to get any edge against it. 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bd3 c5 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.Qe2 0-0 10.Bg5 Qa5+?! This is a little too direct. 10...h6 is better. 11.c3 Be7 12.Ne5 b6?!

[12...Qc7 would leave White the opening advantage, but would at least avoid the melee that is to come.] 13.Bb5! The black queen is suddenly in danger.14. Nc6 threatens to trap it. 13...a6 14.Bc6 Ra7 15.b4 Qa3 16.Qc2 Black must do something immediately to meet the terrible threat of 17. Bc1 16...Nd5 17.Bxd5 exd5 18.Bc1 Bf5!
A wild position. Both queen's are attacked. White cannot play 19. Qxf5 Qxc3 check, but Tal finds a different tactical continuation. 19.Bxa3 Bxc2 20.Nc6! Bf6! Not going down without a fight! [20...Rc7 21.Nxe7+ Rxe7+ 22.Kd2 Ba4 23.b5 skewers the rooks and wins in easy technical fashion. Rogers sacrifices a rook to chase the white king around.] 21.Nxa7 Bxc3+ 22.Ke2 Re8+ 23.Kf3 A crazy position. Black has two terrific bishops (which can easily win an exchange) and attacking play on the white king. Yet he is a whole rook down in the endgame. 23...Re6 [23...Be4+ 24.Kg3 Be5+ 25.f4 Bxa1 26.Rxa1 d4 27.b5 should win with the extra piece] 24.Rhc1 Be4+
25.Ke2! bravely stepping into the discovered check is the route to victory 25...d4 [25...Bxg2+ 26.Kd3 d4 27.Rxc3! dxc3 28.Kxc3 Re7 29.Rd1! h5 30.Rd8+ Kh7 31.Nc8 is a knight for a pawn without any real complications] 26.f3 Bf5+ 27.Kf2 Re3 28.Rab1! Bringing the last white piece into the game clarifies everything. Black can take the rook, but 28. Bxb1 29. Rxb1 is just a piece up endgame. Otherwise the rook can come to b3 and sacrifice for the other bishop. Rogers threw in the towel here. A marvelous game. 1-0

(2) Carlsen,Magnus - Duda,Jan-Krzysztof [D41]
Meltwater Chess Tour Finals, 26.09.2021

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.Nf3 c5 6.e3 A Semi-Tarrasch Queen's Gambit Declined. Reasonable opening for both sides. 6...cxd4 7.exd4 Nxc3 8.bxc3 Qc7 9.Rb1!? What's with Magnus? He thinks he's Tal offering such a speculative pawn sacrifice. 9...Nd7 [9...Qxc3+ 10.Bd2 Qc7 11.Bb5+ Is fair compensation for a pawn, so Duda feels safer declining the offer.] 10.Bd3!? Qxc3+

Now it's just too juicy to decline the proferred pawn, You get the pawn with check and White needs to move the king! 11.Kf1 Be7?! Duda makes the most natural developing move but fails to anticipate White's followup. With [11...Bd6 12.Qe2 0-0 13.h4 Qc7 White would not have the g3 square avaliable for the rook and this would lessen the attack.] 12.h4! 0-0 13.Rh3
Now all the white pieces are in play and the attack is dangerous. 13...Nf6?! [retreating immediately with 13...Qc7 would hold back the storm better] 14.Ne5! threatening 15. Bxh7+. The black queen must retreat anyway. 14...Qa5 15.Rg3 Kh8?! another "natural" move from Duda, yet probably the last innacuracy Magnus needs to win the game. [The odd looking 15...Ne8 would prevent an immediate breakthrough] 16.Bg5 h6

[There is no defense anymore against the white onslaught. See how every piece is aggressively placed to attack the king. On 16...Qd8 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Qh5 g6 (18...h6 19.Rg6! threatening 20 Rxh6+ 19...fxg6 20.Qxg6 is mate next on h7) 19.Bxg6! fxg6 20.Nxg6+ Kg7 21.Nxf8+ Kxf8 22.Qxh7 is the end] 17.Bxh6! gxh6 18.Qf3 Duda resigns. Magnus' final move is very accurate to keep the black knight on f6 (else white has 19. Nxf7+). There is absolutely no defense to 19. Qf4 and 20. Qxh6+ (18....Qd2 19. Rd1). A great game by Magnus (probably inspired by seeing old Tal games). 1-0

Solution to Tony's Teaser

Best Play: 1. d4  Kh5  2. Qd3  Kg4  3. Qh3#


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