Chess Room Newsletter #990 | Mechanics' Institute

You are here

Chess Room Newsletter #990

Gens Una Sumus!


Newsletter #990

October 16, 2021


Table of Contents

Importance of Chess Clubs from GM Maurice Ashley and GM Yasser Seirawan

Coach Andy Schley forwarded this video which was part of the St. Louis Chess Club broadcast from the 2021 US Championship and is a Parkside Chat on the importance of chess clubs. A nice shoutout to the Mechanics' Institute occurs at around the 1:20 mark, but the whole video is a great discussion on the importance of chess clubs in briging people.

Enjoy the video here:

Back to the Beginning: Chess Coaching Post Pandemic

by Abel Talamantez

Schools are back in session, and so are enrichment classes in many places. Before the start of the fall session, we had no idea what to expect in terms of what was possible and what additional challenges we would face in providing in-person enrichment classes. We hoped for the best, while preparing for all the uncertainty involved with changing public health policy and doing everything possible to keep everyone safe. 

What we have seen is very promising; a strong interest in chess in schools and an enthusiasm from the kids in learning. I have helped in many of the classrooms in the schools this year, and along with a great team of coaches led by Judit Sztaray, we are building back our scholastic programs from the pause caused by the pandemic and looking to expand our outreach. 

In person classes at our various schools have seen a high interest and enthusiasm for chess

It has been interesting to be back in the classroom. I started by chess journey almost 10 years ago by coaching chess classes in elementary schools, and now finding myself back in the daily hustle of commuting from class to class, preparing assignments and lessons, and interacting with parents and school officials. This all brings back a feeling of youth and energy, of the times when the daily hustle could feel both like a grind and a rewarding experience in making a difference in the lives of children by sparking an interest and curiosity in chess, and feeling the power of chess in bringing communities together. I thought I would share some pictures of our scholastic classes and camps from the beginning of our Fall 2021 season. There is this sense of feeling of going back to the beginning as I go back into classes, but it also instills a sense of hunger of what lead me back into the chess world in the first place, and it is always good to go back to that which fueled the initial fire in the first place.

Coach Colin Shober supervises play at our holiday camp for Indiginious People's Day. Judit Sztaray mixes (pun intended) chess with chemistry at one of our Hillsborough classes

We currently serve more than 20 schools in San Francisco and surrounding communities for in-person classes, as well as having virtual enrichment classes. We are looking for more coaches as we look to expand our programming. If you are interested, please follow this link to learn more about the opportunities coaching chess at the Mechanics' Institute and making a positive difference in the lives of children

Students at West Portal Elementary work on in an class assignment

Tuesday Night Marathon Round 6 Report

by Abel Talamantez

The TNM ended its ultimate round with FM Ezra Chambers needing a win to take clear 1st with a round to go, and he sealed his first TNM win of the year with his victory over Ako Heidari. He is 6/6 and a point and a half ahead of the field. He will take a 0 point bye for the final round as he returns to his studies at perrenial Pan-American collegiate champion Webster University next week. The battel for 2nd place is a tight one, as Sean Kelly is currently in the driver seat with 4.5/6. Close behind are IM Elliott Winslow and Nathan Fong with 4/6. 

In the u/1800 section, Daniel Wang is now the sole leader in the 47-player section with 5.5/6 after a victory over Paul Reed. Marty Cortinas and Christopher Dessert are close behind with 5/6 and Stephen Parsons and John Chan within striking distance at 4.5/6. 

Andrew Imbens who was 4/5 in the u/1800 section emailed me Monday morning that he would be missing the round the next day. This would normally be a bit suprising, since we cannot grant half point byes this late in the tournament, and he was up high near the leaders. He gave perhaps the best excuse in the history of my 3-year stint as Chess Director for missing a TNM round when he said that his father had won the Nobel Prize in economics! Congratulations to his father Guido Imbens of Stanford University and his family for this recognition. 

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

(1) Heidari,Ako (1996) - Chambers,Ezra (2314) [B07]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (6.1), 12.10.2021

1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.Nge2 0-0 7.0-0 e5 Ezra has gone for a Pirc/Philidor setup. Very practical, even if it allows White a bit more freedom of movement. 8.h3 b6 9.Be3 Bb7 10.Qd2 exd4 11.Nxd4

11...Nc5N [11...Re8!= puts the question to the white e-pawn 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bxh6 Bxh6 14.Qxh6 Nxe4 15.Nxe4 Bxe4 16.Nf3 Qf6 17.Ng5 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Qg7 19.Qh4 Nf8 20.Qc4 Re5 1/2-1/2 (20) Visanescu,D (2090)-Popchev,M (2331) Paracin 2014] 12.f3!+/= Re8 13.Rad1 [13.g4!?] 13...d5 14.Qf2?! [14.Bh6!= remains equal.] 14...Qe7-/+ 15.Bg5 [More solid is >=15.Nb3 Nxb3 16.axb3] 15...c6?
[15...dxe4-/+ aiming for ...e3. 16.fxe4 Ncxe4! 17.Nxe4 Nxe4 Discovered Attack 18.Bxe7 Nxf2 19.Rxf2 (19.Bxb7? Nxd1 20.Nc6 Nxb2-/+) 19...Bxg2 20.Kxg2 Bxd4 21.Rxd4 Rxe7] 16.exd5 cxd5 17.Rfe1 Qd7 18.Qd2 a6 19.Re2 The game is back to roughly equal. 19...b5 20.a3 Ne6 21.Be3 Qc7 22.Nxe6 fxe6 23.f4 Rad8 24.Qe1 (here the DGT board failed) 24...Qf7?! somewhat slow [24...Ne4= keeps the balance.] 25.Bd4 Rc8 26.Qf2 [26.h4+/-] 26...Nh5 [26...Bc6+/=] 27.Be5 Ako has played well and has the center under control. 27...Bf8 28.Kh2 Ng7 [>=28...Nf6] 29.Red2 [29.Na2!+/- reroutes the knight to more useful squares] 29...Nf5!+/= 30.Ne2 Nd6! 31.b3 Nf5 [31...Ne4= 32.Bxe4 dxe4] 32.b4 [32.c3+/= covers more dark squares 32...Bxa3 33.b4 a5 34.bxa5 is a small edge] 32...Nd6= 33.Bxd6?! it's sad to trade away the dark-squared bsihop. The tide has turned in Ezra's favor. 33...Bxd6 34.Nd4 Rc3 35.Nb3?
This move loses the game for White. [35.Nf3!=] 35...g5!-+ busting through on the dark squares 36.Rf1 [>=36.Qb6 Rc6 37.Qd4] 36...Rf8 37.Bh1? [37.Rd3 is bad but more resistant. 37...Rxd3 38.cxd3 gxf4 39.gxf4] 37...Qg7 38.Qe2 here (or earlier) the scoresheet failed; eventual win for Black. Black is winning after 38...gxf4. 0-1

(2) Winslow,Elliott (2269) - Weng,Nicholas (2001) [D85]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (6.2), 12.10.2021

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nxc3 7.bxc3 c5 8.Rb1 a6?! Extremely rare, and suspect -- although Israeli GM Lev Gutman can't let it go (and has played it at least half a dozen times). Black will be well advised to get his king out of the center. And watch how, later, the queenside is just weak. [8...0-0+/=] 9.Be2+/- White just sticks to the formula. 9...Qa5 Black wants to play ... cxd4. 10.Bd2 [Most of Gutman's opponents have gone 10.0-0+/- Qxa2 11.Bg5 Qa5 and now 12.Qc1] 10...Qxa2+/= 11.0-0 White is slightly better. 11...Qa5 [11...0-0+/=] 12.Qc1

Similar to the Gutman games, except Black might be loathe to castle there. [White should play 12.h4+/-] 12...h5N [Maybe just 12...0-0 13.c4 Qc7 14.Bf4 Qd7 15.d5 f6? (15...a5!?+/-) 16.Qa3+- Qg4 17.Qe3 g5 18.Nxg5 1-0 (18) Mueller,A-Brunsch,M Karlsruhe 2003; 12...b5!?+/= 13.dxc5!? is the most interesting and unusual continuation.] 13.c4+/- White has the typical strong compensation. 13...Qd8 14.d5 Nd7 [14...e5!?+/- might work better.] 15.Bc3!+- 0-0 16.e5! [16.Bxg7?! Kxg7 17.Qc3+ e5+/-] 16...Qc7 17.Qg5 [17.Qe3! a5 18.e6! busts up Black's kingside.] 17...Re8 18.Bd3 e6?
[18...Nf8 19.Qg3 Bg4 20.Ng5! e6 21.h3 Bf5 22.Bxf5+-] 19.Rfe1 At some point White has to break in, and now was a good time! [19.Bxg6! fxg6 20.Qxg6 is just overwhelming. Perhaps another case of "I meant to do it, but when the moment came I forgot."] 19...Nf8 intending ...exd5. 20.d6 Qd8 21.Qxd8 Rxd8 22.Ba5 Re8 23.Be4 f6 [>=23...g5 24.Nxg5 (24.Bxb7 Rb8+/-) 24...Bxe5] 24.Bxb7 Rb8 25.Bc6 Bd7 26.Be4 f5 [>=26...Rxb1 27.Rxb1 f5] 27.Bb7 Bc8 28.Bxc8 Rexc8 29.Bc7 Rxb1 30.Rxb1 Nd7 31.Rb7 Kf8
32.Ng5?! [This is a good time for 32.g3+- and White stays clearly on top.; And 32.Nh4! Bxe5 (32...Nxe5 33.Nxg6+! Nxg6 34.d7) 33.Nxg6+ Ke8 34.Ra7!+-] 32...Bxe5+/- 33.Nxe6+ Kf7 34.Ng5+ Ke8 35.g3? [35.Ra7!+/-] 35...Ra8!= 36.Nf3 Bf6 Hoping for ...a5. 37.Ba5 Rb8 38.Ra7 Rb1+ 39.Kg2 Ra1 [39...Rc1=] 40.Ra8+ [But not 40.Rxa6? Bd8-+; 40.Bd2+/-] 40...Kf7 41.Bc7 Ra2 42.h4 Ne5
[42...Ra4= remains equal.] 43.Ng5+ [43.Bd8!+/- Bxd8 44.Nxe5+ (44.Rxd8 Nxf3 45.Kxf3 a5+/=) 44...Ke6 45.Nxg6 (45.Rxd8 Kxe5 46.d7 Ke6+/-) ] 43...Bxg5 44.hxg5 Endgame KRB-KRN 44...Rd2! 45.d7 [45.Ra7 is more complex. 45...Ke6 46.d7 Nxd7 47.Rxa6+ Kf7 48.Ra4] 45...Nxd7 46.Rxa6 Rd4 47.Ra4 Ke6 48.Bf4 Ne5? [48...Ke7= and Black stays safe.] 49.Ra6++- Rd6 50.Ra8
50...Nxc4! Best chance 51.Bxd6 Nxd6 KR-KN 52.Kf1? [52.Ra6!+- ties Black down forever (losing the g-pawn would be immediately fatal).] 52...Ne4!+/= Now Black is holding. 53.Ra6+ Kf7 54.Rc6 [54.Ra7+ is similar: 54...Kg8 55.Rc7 Nxg5 56.Rxc5 Ne6 57.Ra5] 54...Nxg5 55.Rxc5 Ne6 56.Ra5 Kf6 57.f3 g5 58.Kf2 h4 [58...g4; 58...f4] 59.gxh4 gxh4= Lomonosov tablebase: Draw 60.Ra8 Nf4 61.Rh8 Ng6 62.Rh5 Ke5 63.Ke3 Nf4 64.Rh6 h3 65.Rh7 [65.Kf2 Kd4 66.Rh4 Ke5 67.Kg3 Ne2+ 68.Kxh3 Nf4+ 69.Kg3] 65...Ne6 66.Rxh3 still drawn, Lom 66...f4+ 67.Kf2 Kf5 68.Rh7 Nd4 69.Rd7
69...Ke5? [69...Nc6+/= 70.Rd2 Ke6; 69...Ne6! also draws] 70.Kg2!+- Only move to win 70...Nf5 71.Kh3 Ke6 72.Ra7 Ne3 73.Kh4 Kf6 74.Ra8 Kf5 75.Kh5 Ng2 76.Ra5+ Kf6 77.Kg4 Ke6 78.Ra2 1-0

(3) Kelly,Sean (1786) - Riese,Kayven (1900) [C11]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (6.3), 12.10.2021

1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 a6 8.Qd2 b5 9.g3 The Steinitz Variation of the French Defense. White should consider fighting for the queenside dark squares with [9.a3!+/=] 9...c4

[9...Be7=/+ keeps the tension in the center] 10.Bg2N [10.a3+/-; Predecessor: 10.a3 Nb6 11.Bg2 Bb7 12.0-0 g6 13.Rae1 Ne7 14.Nh4 h5 15.f5 Nxf5 16.Nxf5 gxf5 0-1 (40) Aponte Montes de Oca,O (1721)-Lopez Lazo,A (1686) Bento Goncalves 2010] 10...Bb4?! [10...b4= 11.Ne2 Be7] 11.0-0 Nb6 White is better. 12.Qf2 Bxc3 13.bxc3 Na4 14.Bd2 White has doubled c-pawns but also the bishop pair and a strong central wedge, so has the advantage. 14...Bd7 [14...h5+/- was necessary.] 15.f5!+- exf5
16.Nh4! Ne7 17.g4! A great breakthrough by Sean. Black cannot capture on g4 because of mate on f7 and so must suffer. 17...g6 18.Bg5 [18.gxf5+- gxf5 19.Bh3] 18...Be6?! [18...Nxc3+/- was called for. 19.Rae1 Rg8] 19.gxf5 gxf5 20.Qe3? [Weaker is 20.Nxf5 Bxf5 21.Bxe7 Qxe7+/-; Better is 20.Qd2!+- and White should get his decisive breakthough on the kingside] 20...Qd7? [20...Rg8!= and Black is okay.] 21.Bxe7 Kxe7 [>=21...f4 22.Rxf4 (22.Qxf4 Qxe7 23.Nf5 Bxf5+/-) 22...Kxe7] 22.Qg5+ Kf8 23.Nxf5 White wants to mate with Qg7+. 23...Bxf5 24.Rxf5 h6 25.Qf6 Rh7 26.e6 Qe7 27.Qg6 Rg7
[28.Qxh6+- was the only winning move, but it's quite a crusher: 28...Ra7 29.exf7 and Black has to play 29...Qxf7] 28...Rxf7?? And Black returns the favor! [Black needed the subtlety 28...Qxf7!-+ 29.Qxf7+ Rxf7 30.exf7 Nxc3! (Well, 30...Rd8 wins as well) ] 29.exf7 Kayven must notice now what a mess he's in. 29...Qg5
30.Qg8+ The move that tells your opponent "it's time to resign." [The computer insists that 30.Qc6 Rd8 31.Re1 is even stronger, but nobody cares.] 1-0

(4) Fong,Nathan (2049) - Argo,Guy (1938) [A96]
MI Sep-Oct TNM 1800+ San Francisco (6.4), 12.10.2021

1.Nf3 f5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 d6 7.Nc3 Ne4 [7...a5 is another main line;; But 7...Qe8 will always be move #1. If you happen to play Egyptian GM Bassem Amin online in a blitz game, expect to see it -- he's played it dozens of times.] 8.Qd3 [Why 8.Qc2 is the hugely most common move (800 to 65!) is anyone's guess; 8...Nxc3 9.Qxc3 is just the same thing. (9.bxc3!?) ; But perhaps the 2nd most popular 8.Nxe4!? (300+ games) is the most principled. After 8...fxe4 White has done pretty well with either knight retreat, followed immediately by f2-f3 to get rid of that pawn.] 8...Nxc3 9.Qxc3 Bf6 [Black has done much better with 9...a5!+/=] 10.Rd1 [10.b4!?+/-] 10...c5 [10...Qe7+/=] 11.Qa3+/-

White pressures Black's pawns, but Argo didn't have to make it critical. 11...Qe7N [A previous master game saw Black acquiescing immediately: 11...cxd4 12.Nxd4 a6 13.Nb5!+- Nc6 14.Nxd6 (14.Be3!) 14...Nd4 15.Rd2 Temporary contortions, eventually it all clears up 15...Qb6 16.e3 Nc6 17.c5 Qc7 18.e4 Be7 19.exf5 exf5? 20.Bxc6 Qxc6 21.Qb3+ Kh8 22.Nf7+ 1-0, Braga,U (2202) -Costa,E (2040) Rio de Janeiro 2015] 12.Be3
White is better. [12.dxc5 dxc5 13.Ne1 Na6 14.Nd3 Rb8 isn't decisive; 12.b4!?] 12...b6?? Oh no! Opening the long white diagonal. [12...Na6+/- is more resistant.] 13.Ng5 Bb7+- 14.Bxb7 Stanard "overworked piece." 14...Qxb7 15.Nxe6 Re8 16.Nf4 [16.d5! cements the knight on e6] 16...Nc6 17.dxc5 dxc5 18.Nd5 Bd4 19.Rd2 Ne5?
[19...Re4!?; 19...Bxe3 20.Nxe3 (20.fxe3!?) 20...Nd4 exerts some pressure on White's king, but 21.Qd3!+/- seems to keep it at bay.] 20.Qb3 Sufficient to win. [Even better was >=20.Bxd4! Nxc4 when you see that the shot 21.Qf3! works: 21...Re4 22.Rd3 Qxd5 (22...cxd4 23.Rxd4) 23.Bxg7!] 20...Bxe3 21.Nxe3 Qf7 22.Nd5+- g5 Black's attack is too slow and/or ineffective. 23.f4 gxf4 24.gxf4 Ng4 [24...Qg6+ 25.Kh1 Ng4 may be trickier] 25.Qf3?! [25.Qc3] 25...Re4?! [25...Rac8 keeps fighting. 26.Kh1 Qh5] 26.Kh1 [It would be nice to push back the knight with >=26.h3 Nf6 27.Kh1] 26...Rae8 [26...Qh5 is a better defense. 27.h3 Kf7] 27.h3 Ne3+/- 28.b3 Nxd5 29.cxd5 Re3 30.Rg1+ Kh8 31.Qg2 Qf8? [31...Qe7+/- was necessary.] 32.Kh2?? [32.d6!+- is the win, utilizing every asset. 32...Rd8 33.d7 Re7 34.Qc6] 32...Qh6!-+ Suddenly it's Black who's winning! 33.Qf1
33...R8e4? [But only after 33...Rxh3+!-+ 34.Qxh3 Qxf4+ Double Attack 35.Kh1 Qxd2-+ And another double attack! 36.Qxf5 Qh6+ 37.Kg2 Rg8+ and Black catches White's king in one direction or another.] 34.Rg3= Rxf4? A great up and donw battle, but this move hands it to White. [34...Rxg3 35.Kxg3 Re3+ 36.Kh2 Qg7= sets up ...Qc3] 35.Qa1+!+-

ends it. 35...Rd4 36.Rxd4 It's Black in the crosshairs. 36...Rxe2+ 37.Kh1 Rxa2 38.Qxa2 cxd4 39.Qg2 Qf8 40.d6 f4 41.Rg8+ 1-0

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

# Place Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1 FM Ezra Chambers 15191101 2314 W22 W14 W5 W3 W4 W6   6.0  
2 2 Sean Kelly 16962568 1786 W6 D4 W9 L5 W14 W11   4.5  
3 3-4 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2269 W15 D16 W19 L1 D9 W5   4.0  
4   Nathan Fong 13001390 2049 W13 D2 H--- W18 L1 W9   4.0  
5 5-7 Nicholas Weng 15499404 2001 W20 W18 L1 W2 D6 L3   3.5  
6   Ako Heidari 15206848 1996 L2 W22 W16 W12 D5 L1   3.5  
7   Kevin Sun 16898540 1622 W11 L9 D13 W19 L8 W15   3.5  
8 8-13 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1994 L16 L15 W21 W20 W7 L12 H--- 3.0  
9   Guy Argo 12517167 1938 H--- W7 L2 W16 D3 L4   3.0  
10   Steven Svoboda 10451671 1936 L18 L20 W17 W22 W12 U---   3.0  
11   Kayven Riese 12572270 1900 L7 W17 L12 W13 W18 L2   3.0  
12   James Mahooti 12621393 1800 H--- H--- W11 L6 L10 W8   3.0  
13   Samuel Brownlow 12747074 1795 L4 H--- D7 L11 W16 W20   3.0  
14 14-18 Alex Chin 17050697 1992 W17 L1 W20 H--- L2 U--- U--- 2.5  
15   Anthony Acosta 12633251 1818 L3 W8 L18 H--- W19 L7   2.5  
16   Ilia Gimelfarb 17158733 1752 W8 D3 L6 L9 L13 W22   2.5  
17   Joel Carron 16600505 1676 L14 L11 L10 X21 W22 H---   2.5  
18   Adam Stafford 14257838 1665 W10 L5 W15 L4 L11 D19   2.5  
19 19-21 Tony Lama 12328450 1805 H--- X21 L3 L7 L15 D18   2.0  
20   Adam Mercado 16571026 1793 L5 W10 L14 L8 B--- L13   2.0  
21   Glenn Kaplan 12680193 1766 H--- F19 L8 F17 H--- B---   2.0  
22 22 Mark Drury 12459313 1830 L1 L6 B--- L10 L17 L16   1.0  

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

# Place Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1 Daniel Wang 15361305 1581 W32 W23 W21 W4 D2 W8   5.5  
2 2-3 Marty Cortinas 12590374 1720 B--- W36 W7 W20 D1 D4   5.0  
3   Christopher Dessert 15048166 1418 W12 W6 W29 W5 L4 W13   5.0  
4 4-5 Stephen Parsons 16566932 1544 W38 W9 W15 L1 W3 D2   4.5  
5   John Chan 12561007 1500 H--- W18 W16 L3 W34 W19   4.5  
6 6-13 Teodoro Porlares 12773115 1749 W37 L3 W30 L9 W39 W23   4.0  
7   Sebastian Suarez 16875347 1520 W39 W40 L2 W17 L8 W25   4.0  
8   Paul Reed 13373197 1440 W27 W19 L20 W42 W7 L1   4.0  
9   Andrew Imbens 30102682 1318 W34 L4 W45 W6 W14 U---   4.0  
10   Matt Long 13377410 1306 L19 W27 W11 W29 H--- D12   4.0  
11   Deandr Stallworth 30255378 unr. W22 L21 L10 W38 W28 W20   4.0  
12   Benjamin Anderson 30235937 unr. L3 H--- X46 W35 W18 D10 H--- 4.0  
13   Anton Maliev 30250562 unr. L23 W37 W25 W21 W20 L3   4.0  
14 14-19 Nick Casares 10424364 1600 H--- L30 W26 X16 L9 W34   3.5  
15   Aaron Craig 12872385 1451 W17 W42 L4 W40 D19 U---   3.5  
16   Eli Chanoff 30204815 unr. H--- X35 L5 F14 W44 W29   3.5  
17   Dean Guo 30257083 unr. L15 W24 W22 L7 W21 H---   3.5  
18   Adam Laskowitz 30258766 unr. H--- L5 W32 W31 L12 W33   3.5  
19   Adam Ginzberg 30268083 unr. W10 L8 W38 W23 D15 L5   3.5  
20 20-28 Richard Hack 12796129 1543 W26 W25 W8 L2 L13 L11   3.0  
21   Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1538 W33 W11 L1 L13 L17 W39   3.0  
22   Albert Starr 12844781 1500 L11 X46 L17 L33 W31 X42   3.0  
23   Nursultan Uzakbaev 17137317 1389 W13 L1 W39 L19 W40 L6   3.0  
24   Richard Ahrens 16953298 1210 L42 L17 W27 L28 W41 X40   3.0  
25   Jp Fairchild 30150098 1177 W28 L20 L13 W41 W42 L7   3.0  
26   Thomas Gu 17005685 768 L20 W28 L14 X45 L29 X35   3.0  
27   Ian Atroshchenko 30214657 unr. L8 L10 L24 B--- W36 W37   3.0  
28   Harry Elworthy 30256579 unr. L25 L26 B--- W24 L11 W38   3.0  
29 29-34 Romeo Barreyro 17018168 1702 H--- W31 L3 L10 W26 L16   2.5  
30   Jerry Morgan 13159224 1462 H--- W14 L6 L34 W43 U---   2.5  
31   Tobiah Rex 30164211 1173 W44 L29 D34 L18 L22 W43   2.5  
32   Andrejs Gulbis 16741331 1029 L1 H--- L18 L37 B--- X44   2.5  
33   David Nichol 12934283 546 L21 L34 X47 W22 H--- L18   2.5  
34   Elias Colfax-Lamoureux 30242818 unr. L9 W33 D31 W30 L5 L14   2.5  
35 35-42 Lisa Willis 12601676 1583 H--- F16 W44 L12 H--- F26   2.0  
36   David Olson 13913131 1400 W41 L2 L40 L39 L27 W45   2.0  
37   Natan Gimelfarb 16757673 1139 L6 L13 L41 W32 W45 L27   2.0  
38   William Thibault 16716976 983 L4 X41 L19 L11 X46 L28   2.0  
39   Jeffrey Dallatezza 30264869 unr. L7 X47 L23 W36 L6 L21   2.0  
40   Jabez Wesly 30210917 unr. W47 L7 W36 L15 L23 F24   2.0  
41   Ryan Gill 30240310 unr. L36 F38 W37 L25 L24 B---   2.0  
42   Trent Hancock 30174249 unr. W24 L15 W43 L8 L25 F22   2.0  
43 43-44 Ryan Deal 30281032 unr. H--- H--- L42 H--- L30 L31   1.5  
44   Samuel White 30269966 unr. L31 H--- L35 X46 L16 F32 H--- 1.5  
45 45 James Dorsch 30249167 unr. H--- H--- L9 F26 L37 L36   1.0  
46 46 Damien Seperi 16757144 1083 H--- F22 F12 F44 F38 U---   0.5  
47 47 Paul Krezanoski 16897133 1418 L40 F39 U--- U--- U--- U---   0.0  

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

# Place Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Total Prize
1 1-2 Brendyn Estolas 12869947 2052 U--- W25 U--- U--- U--- U--- W3 2.0  
2   Noah Chambers 16694473 unr. U--- W22 U--- L8 U--- W10 U--- 2.0  
3 3 Samuel Agdamag 14874734 1448 U--- U--- U--- D18 L10 W25 L1 1.5  
4 4-17 Gaziz Makhanov 16828914 1893 U--- W21 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
5   Marty Cortinas 12590374 1720 W22 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
6   ROMEO BE BARREYRO 17018168 1702 W24 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
7   JERRY MORGAN 13159224 1462 W26 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
8   Natan Gimelfarb 16757673 1090 U--- U--- U--- W2 U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
9   Richard Ahrens 16953298 1088 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- W28 U--- 1.0  
10   Pratyush Hule 16317000 825 U--- U--- U--- L12 W3 L2 U--- 1.0  
11   Judit Sztaray 14708926 807 U--- W27 U--- L16 U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
12   Thomas Gu 17005685 768 U--- U--- U--- W10 U--- L14 U--- 1.0  
13   David Nichol 12934283 546 U--- U--- W23 U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
14   Zian Hu 30297435 unr. U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- W12 U--- 1.0  
15   Samuel White 30269966 unr. U--- U--- U--- W24 U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
16   Ian Atroshchenko 30214657 unr. U--- U--- U--- W11 U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
17   Benjamin Anderson 30235937 unr. U--- U--- W29 U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
18 18-20 Joel Carron 16600505 1676 U--- U--- U--- D3 U--- U--- U--- 0.5  
19   Eli Chanoff 30204815 unr. U--- D20 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.5  
20   Jeffrey Dallatezza 30264869 unr. U--- D19 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.5  
21 21-29 Alex Silvestre 15446526 2131 U--- L4 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
22   TONY A LAMA 12328450 1805 L5 L2 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
23   Cesar Tamondong 12439091 1600 U--- U--- L13 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
24   NICK CASARES JR 10424364 1600 L6 U--- U--- L15 U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
25   Albert Starr 12844781 1500 U--- L1 U--- U--- U--- L3 U--- 0.0  
26   JOHN CHAN 12561007 1500 L7 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
27   William Thibault 16716976 983 U--- L11 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  
28   Andrejs Gulbis 16741331 889 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- L9 U--- 0.0  
29   Angad Sharma   unr. U--- U--- L17 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  

Mechanics' Institute Thursday Night Chess Triathlon Online Blitz Leg Week 2

The Blitz leg of the Thursday Night Triathlon brought fast paced action, wild finishes, and a few new strong players who joined in to take part even though they missed out last week. IM Elliott Winslow, NM Mike Sailer and Sean Kelly were the new entries for the week, trying to make up some points from tournament leader Adam Mercado, who went 5.5/6 in the rapid portion last week. Sean Kelly ended up winning the blitz leg with a score of 7/9. However, Triathlon leader Adam Mercado kept good pace, scoring 5.5/9 including a key win over Sean Kelly to keep his lead with a combined 2-week score of 11/15. Mansoor Mohammad is close behind with a combined score of 10/15 as is Mark Drury. The final leg is next week with 6 round of Fischer Random. 

Full blitz results can be found here:

Watch the broadcast of the wild rounds with the Mechanics' team here:

To really get a sense of the wildness of blitz, watch starting from 1:24:30 and the final seconds of the last game of the tournament.

Tony's Teasers

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


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 November/December TNM: FIDE Rated. Nov 2- Dec 21, 6:30PM PT. G/120;d5:

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

20th Carroll Capps Memorial Championship: USCF Rated. November 7, 10AM PT. 4SS G/45;d5:

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]

A little chess in California and Virginia, 1997

In mid-1997, 37 years old, I moved with my wife and two daughters to Staunton, Virginia, and started a new life.  Right before leaving I thought to myself: “Why not give chess another shot, and see if I still enjoy playing?”

It had been seven years since I’d played a tournament game, and that had been a close shave against former MI Chess Room Director IM John Donaldson at the Peoples' Tournament in Berkeley:

Naturally I made my way down to the Mechanics’ Institute where it all began, and signed up for the 34th Arthur Stamer Memorial.  This classic 5-round tournament was directed by my old friend Mike Goodall.  Looking back at the cross-table here: It is a nice trip down memory lane.  A bunch of the club’s old-timers are there, and though some are gone they are not forgotten: Peter Grey, Dr. Benjamin Gross and MI trustee Neil Falconer participated, as did that recently departed club stalwart, Felix German. 

Other players, young and old, are still playing in tournaments here to this day. I remember the tournament as relaxed, easy-going. Playing chess wasn’t knocking my socks off like it did when I was 12, but it wasn’t as bad as sitting in the dentist’s chair either, as I had feared.  I was rusty, but not too bad, and a score of +3 =2 -0 put me in a 10-way tie (!) for second place behind the sole winner NM Igor Margulis, who finished with 4.5.

In the last round I pushed a little, and won with a tricky sacrifice against NM Larry Snyder:

Whitehead – Snyder, 34th Stamer Memorial 1997.

Not certain how to proceed against black’s long and careful defense, I speculated with 1.Nxb7!? Nxb7 2.Qxa6 and was immediately rewarded for my nerve. Black erred with the natural 2…Qc7? when instead 2…Nd8! followed by …Ne6! gives enough counter play for a sure draw. But in the game after 3.Qa7!! black was all pinned up on his 2nd rank with no defense. 3…Qc8. As good as anything else. 4.a6 1-0.

Sharing my prize, among other familiar names, was IM Walter Shipman and a young expert by the name of David Pruess.

Heartened, I played in the 7th Charlottesville Open almost immediately upon my arrival in Virginia, and to my amazement I won the darned thing!  See here for the cross-table:

OK, it wasn’t the strongest tournament (I was the only rated Master), but confidence means a lot to a chess player, and with that confidence I went to the ‘Capitol of the Old South’, Richmond VA, a month later - determined to show everyone that there was a new kid in town.

This time I was in direct competition with some formidable opposition, but in this ‘Action Chess’ format (game in 30 minutes) I made a bit of my own luck by offering FM Leonid Filatov a draw in this position (accepted). Black certainly is better, but he was way behind on the clock:

Whitehead – Filatov, Richmond VA 1997.

Then I outplayed the top-seed, IM Alexander Reprintsev, in a time-scramble from this rather even position with white to move (the score is lost):

Whitehead – Reprintsev, Richmond VA 1997.

Not wanting to push my luck, I accepted a draw from a position of strength against the legendary IM Emory Tate.  Back should win quite handily with 37…c3.

Tate – Whitehead, Richmond VA 1997.

The final result was like a fairy tale, a triumph of my return to competitive chess:

However life is no fairy tale, and as time wore on it seemed the Royal Game couldn’t really hold me.  I had some chops, I knew a few moves, but I lacked the passion and drive.  It was an old story with me.

I played in a few more tournaments in Virginia, but with indifferent results.  Continuing to throw my hat in the ring every so often, I did tie for 1st place in the Charlottesville Open in 2007 – ten years after winning it outright:

I have seen many, many people returning to chess after long absences, and this never-ending return to the game embodies the spirit of the chess player, who has the heart of a fighter and will not give up. I like to think I have that spirit - if only sometimes!


GM Nick de Firmian's Column

The US Championship October 5-19

The biggest chess event of the US year is in full swing as our star players face off against one another in St. Louis. The US Championship is such a world class event nowadays. It is stronger than the Russian Championship – a concept that would have been laughable in the Soviet days and also the times of Kramnik and Kasparov. Yet now we Americans have more of the world’s top players than anyone else, so the world eagerly watches our championship.

Here in the Bay Area we take particular interest in how our local heros perform. I was personally hoping for another Sam Shankland victory as he did in 2018. That seems unlikely this year as Sam has a minus score, and the tournament is in the second half. We count Daniel Naroditsky also as a local even though he moved to Charlotte. Daniel grew up and learned chess here, and we hoped for a good result this time as his first two appearances in the US Championship were rather rough. This year Daniel also started slowly, but bounced back with a great win over Fabiano Caruana in round 5.

At of this writing the leaders are Alex Lenderman, who plays in our MI online events, along with Wesley So and Sam Sevian. Fabiano Caruana was the pre-tournament favorite (along with Wesley So) but has had a difficult start and has lost his world #2 ranking. He came back in round 7 win a great endgame win, so perhaps he will make a run at the end and win the championship again. We have a new entrant in the championship, former Cuban Bruzon Batista. Seems we have taken Cuba’s top two players to add to our already world leading field. Thank you Rex Sinquefield for the sponsorship that brings top chess players to American!

The Women’s Championship is showing young star Carissa Yip as a leading force in US women’s chess as she battles with 8 time champion Irina Krush to take this year’s title. There should be great excitement in both the women’s and overall event as we get to the final rounds with close races to follow.

(1) GM Caruana,Fabiano - GM Naroditsky,Daniel [C79]
US Championship, 11.10.2021

Before this game one thinks young Daniel will be struggling with Black against the number 2 player in the world. Certainly a tough asignmnet. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 The Steinitz Defense Deferred to the Ruy Lopez is not so popular now, but it is as good as any of the other variations. 5.0-0 Bd7 6.c3 [I always preferred the direct 6.d4] 6...Nf6 7.Re1 g6 8.d4 Bg7 9.Nbd2 exd4 10.cxd4 0-0 11.h3 Nb4 12.Bxd7 Qxd7 13.Qb3 a5 [13...Nc6 may be better] 14.a3 Nc6 15.Nf1 a4 16.Qd3 Na5 17.Bg5 Nb3 18.Rad1 h6 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.N1d2

White has gotten a slight advantage out of the opening with the center duo of e4, d4. Just a slight edge, but that's often enough for Caruana. 20...Na5 21.Nb1 b5 22.Qc2 Bg7 23.Nc3 c6 24.e5 Rfe8 25.Ne4 Nc4 26.exd6 [26.Nfd2 would keep the pawn on e5] 26...Nxd6 [26...f5!?] 27.Ne5 Qf5 28.g4 Qe6 29.Nc3?! [29.Nxd6 Qxd6 30.Nxc6 keeps the edge] 29...Rac8 30.Re2 Qb3 Daniel goes for the endgame, which has even chances. The advanced pawn on b3 may be a little weak but it also gives dynamic potential. 31.Qxb3 axb3 32.Kg2
32...c5! making the bishop on g7 more powerful by loosening the center 33.dxc5 Nc4 34.Nxc4?! Rxe2
35.Nxe2? This natural move gets White into trouble. [35.Nb6! Bxc3 36.Nxc8 Bxb2 37.Rb1 Bxa3 38.c6 Bc5 39.Rxb3 is a little better for Black but White should be able to draw] 35...bxc4 Now Black has tremendous pressure from the bishop on the long diagonal combined with the advanced pawns on c4 and b3. 36.Rc1 Bxb2! [36...Rxc5?! 37.Nc3 stops Black's activity] 37.Rxc4 Bxa3 38.c6 b2 39.Nc3 Bf8 40.Nb1 Bg7 41.Kf3 Kf8 The black king comes into the battle to corral the white pawn on c6. Meanwhile the black pawn on b2 keeps the white knight completely on the defensive. 42.h4 Ke7 43.h5 Kd6 44.hxg6 fxg6 45.Rb4 Rxc6 46.Rb7 Be5 47.Nd2 Rc2 48.Ke3 Kc6 49.Rb3 Rc3+! Daniel sees the extra pawn with the good bishop against knight is a win. 50.Rxc3+ Bxc3 51.Nb1 Bb4 52.f4 Kd5 53.Kd3 h5 The last thing needed is another passed pawn. White cannot defend. 54.f5 hxg4 55.fxg6 Ke6 56.Ke4 g3 57.Kf3 Bd6 White resigned. The final postion shows the difference between a bishop and knight. The two black pawns are distant enough so the white king must stop one while the knight must stop the other. That leaves the black king free to roam the board, pick up the white pawn and come back to help the black b-pawn. An important victory by Daniel. 0-1

(2) GM Caruana,Fabiano - GM Robson,Ray [A25]
US Championship, 13.10.2021

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 Bb4 4.e4 Nc6 5.Bg2 d6 6.h3 Be6 7.d3 Nd7 8.Nge2 f5 9.0-0 0-0 10.f4

10...Bxc3?! Probably Robson shouldn't trade away his bishop so quickly. He will come to regret this many moves later. 10...Bc5+ would have been about equal chances. 11.Nxc3 fxe4 12.Nxe4 h6 13.g4 exf4 14.Bxf4 d5 15.cxd5 Bxd5 16.Qd2 White has just a slight edge from the opening due to the bishop pair. 16...Nd4 17.Rae1 Ne6 18.Bg3 Rxf1+ 19.Rxf1 Ndc5 20.Qc3 Nxe4 21.dxe4 Bc6 [21...Bxa2 22.Ra1 gives the bishop a problem 22...Nd4 23.Kh2 Ne2 24.Qxc7 Nxg3 25.Qxd8+ Rxd8 26.Kxg3] 22.Qb3 Qd4+ 23.Kh2 Re8 24.Rd1 Qa4 25.Qxa4 Bxa4 26.Rd5 Bc6 27.Re5
It is instructive to see a great player work with the two bishops. Caruana may be having an off tournament but he is still truly one of the very best players of our time and has world championship like endgame skills. 27...g5 28.Bf1 Kg7 29.Kg2 Kf6 30.Kf2 Nf4 31.Rxe8 Bxe8 32.Ke3 Ke5 33.Be1 Ne6 34.Bc4 Bg6 35.b4 a6 36.a4 Nf4 37.Bc3+ Kd6 38.Bg7 h5 39.Bf1 hxg4 40.hxg4 Ne6 41.Bf6 Kd7 42.a5 Kd6 43.Bc4 Kd7 44.Bd5 c6 45.Bc4 Bh7 46.Bd4 Bg6 [46...Nxd4 47.Kxd4 is lost for Black since all the queenside pawns are on white squares, like the bishops.] 47.Bf6 Bh7 48.Bf1 Ke8 49.Bd3 Bg6 50.Bc4 Kd7 51.Bd4 Bh7 52.Ba7 Bg6 53.Bb3 Ke7 54.Bc2 Kd7 55.Kf3 Bh7 56.Be3 Bg6 57.Bd3 Ke7 58.Ke2 Ke8 59.Kd2 Kf8 60.Bc5+ Kg7 61.Ke3 Kg8 62.Bc4 Bf7 63.Be7 Kg7 64.e5 Kg8 65.Kd2 Kg7 66.Bd3 Kg8 67.Bf5 Kg7 68.Kd3 Nf4+ 69.Kd4 Many moves later White has made some progress against good defense. It's still very hard to win though. 69...Ne6+ 70.Kc4 Kg8

71.Bxg5! Caruana chooses to make the breakthough now with a piece sacrifice. His king is far better than the black counterpart. 71...Nxg5+ 72.Kc5 Bd5 73.Bc8 Ne6+ 74.Kd6 The white pieces dominate. Though he has only one pawn for the knight Caruana is winning. The black queenside pawns fall. 74...Kf7 75.Bxb7 Bc4 76.Bxc6 Nd4 77.Bd5+ Bxd5 78.Kxd5 Three pawns for the knight is an easy win here. The slow black king and knight can't deal with all the passers. 78...Nb5 79.g5 Ke7 80.g6 Nc3+ 81.Kc6 Na2 82.b5 axb5 83.Kxb5 Nc3+ 84.Kc4 Na4 85.Kb4 Nb2 86.a6 Nd3+ 87.Kb5 Nf4 88.g7 Kf7 89.a7 Nd5 90.g8B+! Fine engame play by Caruana. This victory still gives him some chance to catch the leaders. 1-0

Solution to Tony's Teaser

1. Bf8!! (threatens Qa1 mate) Bxb2  2. Bxh6#

if ...1 Nxd3, then 2. Qc2 #


Submit your piece or feedback

We would welcome any feedback, articles or "Letter to the Editor" piece. Submit yours today through this Google Form:

You can browse through our archived newsletters using the "next" and "previous buttons".

Want to save this newsletter for reading at a later time? Click here to learn how.

Want to be notified when the next newsletter is published? Join Our Email List →