Chess Room Newsletter #997 | Mechanics' Institute

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Chess Room Newsletter #997

Gens Una Sumus!



Newsletter #997

December 4, 2021


Table of Contents

Follow the World Chess Championship Match between GM Magnus Carlsen and GM Ian Nipomniachtchi at these links:

Current Score: Carlsen 3.5-Nepomniachtchi 2.5

Uptown Chess Club: Follow Up

by Abel Talamantez

I had the pleasure of attending the first meeting of the Uptown Chess Club on the corner of Capp and 17th street in the Mission. It is a self proclaimed dive bar, but the owner, Shae Green, embraces the term lovingly. As I walked in at about 6:30pm on Wednesday, I saw every booth filled with players playing chess, having drinks, and socializing. I ordered a drink, something very much needed after a full day coaching scholastic programs, and I walked around watching some games and meeting new people. I was surprised to learn nearly everyone was not a tournament player or USCF member - they were people who play chess casually on or Lichess, but not really interested in competitively-rated play. While the chess was casual and fun, it was no less competetive as players agonized over missed opportunities and wins and losses. However, at least in the relaxed atmosphere and ambiance, you could smile, have a drink, and play another game. Thanks, Shae, for starting this, it looked and felt like a great success! The club meets the first Wednesday of the month, but I have no doubt chess would be welcome at Uptown anytime!

TNM Round 5 Report

by Abel Talamantez

IM Elliott Winslow survived an opening gone wrong against Adam Stafford, outplaying him after he missed his chance to capitalize and extend his lead in the TNM after 5 rounds with a score of 4.5/5. Christophe Bambou and Daniel Wang drew their game in what was the final game of the evening to put both players at 3.5, along with Nathan Fong, Guy Argo, and Lucas Lesniewski. 

Yuvraj Sawnhey (black) and Sebby Suarez are two young rising stars

In the under 1800 section, Adam Mercado is back on top of the leaderboard after a win against Stephen Parsons. He is the sole leader with 4.5/5. Two rising young players Yuvraj Sawhney and Sebby Suarez played in what promised to be a tough match, and the win went to Yuvraj, putting him in a tie for snd place with 4/5 along with Dean Guo, Adam Ginzburg, and Albert Starr. 

Round 6 of 8 will be next Tuesday. It has been great having our live broadcasts with player commentary for post game analysis. Click here to watch the broadcast:

Here are some games form the round, annotated by GM Nick de Firmian.

(1) Fong,Nathan - Riese,Kayven [B56]
TNM, 02.12.2021

This is a rather one sided game, but the result of good preparation and maximal followup. 1.Nf3 c5 2.e4 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nbd7

Kayven had played this move before and Nathan was prepared with his response. 6.g4! The black knights are stepping on each others squares. The threat of 7. g5 makes Black play a less desireable continuation. 6...h6 7.h4 a6 8.Rg1 renewing the threat of 8. g5. 8...Ne5?! [perhaps 8...d5 9.exd5 Nb6 is best White is still clearly better after 10.Qe2 or (10.Nb3) ] 9.g5 hxg5 10.hxg5 Nh5 11.Be2 g6 12.Be3
White has a big edge and it's tempting as Black to do something to try to change the course of the game. After a reasonable move like 12..Bg7 13. Qd2 White is all ready for action with a position that is easy to play. Kayven decides to try something. 12...Ng7?! unfortunately fianchettoing the knight doesn't help 13.f4 Nc6 14.Nd5!
The threat of 15. Nxc6 and 16. Bb6 is looming. Relativley best is 14...Rb8 though Black is still lost after 15. Qd2 14...Ne6 15.Nb3 [15.Nxe6 fxe6 16.Bb6 is also good] 15...b5?! [15...Bg7 16.f5] 16.Bb6 Qd7 17.f5 ouch 17...Nxg5 18.Nc7+ Qxc7 [White has too much fun after 18...Kd8 19.Nxa8+ Ke8 20.Nc7+ Kd8 21.Nxa6+ Ke8 22.Nc7+ Kd8 23.Nxb5+ Ke8 24.Nc7+ Kd8 25.fxg6 fxg6 26.Qd5] 19.Bxc7 Nxe4 20.Qd5! Kd7 21.Bb6 Nf6 22.Nc5+ Excellent play by Nathan. It should be a very long time before Kayven has a game like this where everything goes wrong. 1-0

(2) Parsons,Stephen - Mercado,Adam [A19]
TNM, 02.12.2021

1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.e4 c5 A good response, contesting the d4 square. Now White should at least play 4. e5 forcing the black knight back to g8. 4.d4?! cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nc6 6.Qd1 Bb4

Black already has an edge since the white queen had to recapture the d4 pawn and was driven back to d1. 7.Bg5 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 h6 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Rc1 0-0 11.Nf3
11...Ne5 This keeps an edge for Black but [11...b6 or; 11...Rd8 12.Qd6 b6 would be even better] 12.Be2 Ng6 13.0-0 Nf4 14.Nd4 d5?! very active, but it gives up a pawn and undoubles the white c-pawns [14...d6!] 15.cxd5 e5 16.Nc2 Qg5 17.Bf3 f5 18.exf5? White needed to play 18. Kh1 to get out of checks. Now the game goes from even to a big edge for Black. 18...Bxf5 19.Ne3 No other move works. White will lose material due to the active black pieces (knight, queen, bishop, rook). 19...Bd3 20.c4 Bxf1 21.Kxf1
21...Nxg2! A surprising shot! The white g-pawn is defended three times, yet Adam just takes it. The white king cannot capture and both the white bishop and knight captures lose a piece back. 22.Bxg2 [22.Nxg2 Rxf3 23.Qxf3 Qxc1+] 22...Qxe3 23.Rc2 Qc5 Blockading the white pawns to take away the advance to dark squares. White should now play 24. d6 anyway to keep some imbalance. Stephen plays safely and goes down without real complications. 24.Qg4 Rf6! 25.Qg3 Raf8 26.Kg1 Qd4 27.Re2 Rf4 28.Rc2? [28.Qe3 Qxe3 29.Rxe3 Rxc4 would be a simple enough win Black anyway] 28...Qd1+ White resigns 0-1

(3) Kaplan,Glenn (1735) - Acosta,Anthony (1787) [A26]
MI Nov-Dec 2021 TNM 1800+ San Francisco (5.13), 30.11.2021

1.c4 f5 The Dutch is becoming a popular opening at the Mechanics'. 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nf3 d6 6.d3 Glenn plays the position like an English Opening rather than transposing to normal lines with [6.d4] 6...Nc6 7.0-0 e5 8.Bg5 h6 9.Bd2 Qe7 10.Nh4 Qf7 11.Nd5 Be6

12.Nxg6! White has gotten a slight advantage from the opening and now begins the tactics. 12...Qxg6 13.Nxc7+ Kd7 14.Nxa8 Rxa8 With a rook and two pawns for the two knights White holds a slight edge. It's always complicated though when there is a material imbalance. 15.Qb3 [15.b4!] 15...b6 [15...Kc7! 16.Bxc6 bxc6 17.Ba5+ Kc8 is alright for Black] 16.Qa4 e4 17.d4 d5 18.c5 Qe8? [18...bxc5 was needed when White is only slightly better] 19.Rac1 Qc8 20.b4! now White is rolling on the queenside 20...b5 giving this pawn is probably the best defense. White has a clear material edge now. 21.Qxb5 Rb8 22.Qa4 Qb7 23.e3 a6 24.Rfd1 Ne8 25.Bf1 Nc7 26.Rb1 Ke7 27.Rb2 Bd7 28.Qb3 Ke6 29.Rdb1 Qa8 30.Qd1 Nb5 31.a4 Na3 32.Ra1 Nc4 33.Bxc4 dxc4
34.b5! axb5? losing a piece. 34...Ne7 would hold out longer though Black would anyway be in serious trouble. 35.axb5 Qb7
36.Bc3! Ne7 37.c6 Qc7 38.cxd7 Qxd7 39.d5+ Kf7 40.Bxg7 Kxg7 41.Qd4+ Kf7 42.Qxc4 Qxd5 43.Qxd5+ Nxd5 The endgame is easy with the extra exchange and two pawns. 44.Rd1 Ke6 45.Rc1 h5 46.Rc6+ Kd7 47.Rh6 Nc3 48.b6 Ke7 49.b7 Kf7 50.Rc6 Black resigns. Fine aggressive game by Glenn. 1-0

(4) Stafford,Adam (1745) - Winslow,Elliott (2252) [B99]
MI Nov-Dec 2021 TNM 1800+ San Francisco (5.1), 30.11.2021

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Be7 8.Qf3 Qc7 9.0-0-0 Nbd7 10.g4

[10.Bd3 was seen earlier in Riese-Winslow (round 4); in fact, the Bay Area has its footprints all over this opening.] 10...h6 [10...b5 is the old main line, when 11.Bxf6 Nxf6 12.g5 Nd7 13.f5 has long been the most pressing continuation, not worrying about dropping a pawn. And now the latest games have Black "castling into it" (maybe!) with 13...0-0!? (13...Nc5 14.f6 (14.h4 b4 15.Nce2 Bb7 16.Ng3 d5 17.fxe6 0-0! transposes into 13...0-0, and a few games in Scandinavia... 18.Qg4 (18.exf7+ Rxf7 19.Ngf5 dxe4 20.Qe3 Nd3+ 21.Kb1 Bc5 22.Bh3 Nf4 23.Bg4 Raf8 24.Qg3 Bc8 25.Ne3 Qa7 26.Nc6 Qb6 27.Ne5 Bxe3 28.Nxf7 Bxg4 29.Rd6 Qb5 30.Qxg4 Rxf7 31.Rhd1 Qe5 32.h5 Rf8 33.Rd8 Bc5 34.h6 e3 35.hxg7 Kxg7 36.R1d7+ Be7 37.Rxf8 Kxf8 38.Qh4 e2 39.Qh6+ Ke8 0-1 (39) Lohou,S (2132)-De Firmian,N (2545) Gjovik 2008) 18...fxe6 19.Nxe6?! Nxe6 20.Qxe6+ Kh8 21.exd5 Rae8 (21...Bd6!-+ was even simpler, when White's two pawns more aren't going to help him.) 22.d6 Qb6 23.Qd7 Bc6? (23...Bxg5+ 24.hxg5 Qe3+ 25.Kb1 Bxh1 26.Nxh1 Qd2! 27.Nf2 Re1! Black gets there first) 24.dxe7! Bxd7 25.exf8Q+ Rxf8 26.Rxd7 Qe3+ 27.Rd2 Rd8 28.Bd3 Qxg3 29.Re2 a5 30.b3 g6 ½-½ was the ancient game Wedberg,T (2435)-De Firmian,N Gausdal 1982.) 14...gxf6 15.gxf6 Bf8 16.Rg1!? (16.Qh5 Bd7 17.a3 Qa5 18.Nb3 Nxb3+ 19.cxb3 Rc8 20.b4 Qb6 21.Kb1 Rg8 22.Qxh7 Rg6 23.Qh4 Rh6 24.Qf4 Qd8 25.Be2 Qxf6 26.Qe3 Rh4 27.h3 Qe5 28.Rhf1 Bh6 29.Qd3 Ke7 30.Bg4 Bg7 31.Qf3 Bf6 32.Rde1 Bg7 33.Qxf7+ Kd8 34.Rc1 Rh8 35.Qf2 Rf8 36.Qh4+ Bf6 37.Qh6 Ke7 38.Qh7+ Rf7 39.Qh5 Qxh5 40.Bxh5 Rh7 41.Bg4 Rc4 ½-½ was even more ancient: Matulovic, M (2490)-De Firmian,N Nis 1981) 16...Bd7 (16...h5!?) 17.Rg7 Bxg7 18.fxg7 Rg8 19.e5 0-0-0 20.exd6 Qb6 21.Ne4 Nxe4 22.Qxe4 Qxd6 23.Qa8+ Qb8 24.Qxa6+ Qb7 25.Qa5 Qc7 26.Qa8+ Qb8 27.Qf3 Qb7 28.Qxf7 Qd5 29.h4 Qxa2 30.Nb3 Qa7 31.Bxb5 Qe3+ 32.Kb1 Bxb5 33.Rxd8+ Rxd8 34.g8Q Rxg8 35.Qxg8+ Kc7 36.Qxh7+ Kd6 37.Qb7 Qg1+ 38.Ka2 Bc4 39.Qb4+ Kd5 40.Ka3 Bxb3 41.Qxb3+ Ke5 42.c4 Kf4 43.h5 Qc5+ 44.Qb4 Qxh5 45.c5+ Ke5 46.Qb8+ Kd5 47.Qd6+ Kc4 48.b3+ Kc3 49.b4 Qf3 50.c6 Kc4+ 51.Ka4 e5 52.Qe6+ Kd4 53.Qd6+ Kc4 54.Qc5+ Kd3 55.Qxe5 1-0 Wolff,P (2380)-Browne,W (2495) World op, Philadelphia 1987. Two locals for the price of one.) ] 11.Bxf6 [Even here, 11.Bh4!? was pioneered by "honorary" Bay Area player Gadir Guseinov, who won almost every Mechanics' online TNM (or was it ever one?) with even positional play. But twenty years ago it was a different style entirely: 11...g5 (11...b5) 12.e5 gxh4!? (12...dxe5 13.fxg5 hxg5 14.Bg3 Bb4 (14...Qb6 15.Nb3 Qc6 16.Qe2 Qxh1 17.Bg2 Qxd1+ 18.Nxd1 Nd5 19.Bxd5 exd5 20.Ne3 f6 21.Nxd5 Bd8 22.Nd4 Kf7 23.Nf5 Nb6 24.Nd6+ Ke6 25.Nxb6 Bxb6 26.Nc4 Bc7 27.Ne3 b5 28.Qf3 Bd7 29.Qf5+ Ke7 30.Nd5+ Kd6 31.Qd3 Be6 32.Nxf6+ Ke7 33.Ne4 Rhd8 34.Qe3 Bd5 1-0 (34) Guseinov,G (2586)-Idrisov,T (2127) Baku 2007) 15.Ne4 Nxe4 16.Qxe4 Nf6 17.Nxe6 Bxe6 18.Qxb4 Nd5 19.Qe4 Nf4 20.Bxf4 exf4 21.Bg2 Rc8 22.Rd2 b5 23.Qd4 Ke7 24.Re1 Qc4 25.Qd6+ Kf6 26.Qe5+ Ke7 27.Bd5 1-0 (27) Guseinov,G (2456) -Peng,Z (2391) Budapest 2001) 13.exf6 Nxf6 14.g5 hxg5 15.fxg5 Nh7 (15...Nh5!?) 16.g6 fxg6 17.Bd3 Nf8 18.Rhg1 Rg8 19.Rdf1 Rg7 20.Bxg6+ Kd8 21.Bh5 Rxg1 22.Rxg1 Qc5 23.Nce2?! (23.Qf7! Qxd4 24.Qe8+ Kc7 25.Qxe7+ Bd7 26.Rf1 Qh8 27.Qxh4 with Black's king more exposed (although it might not be fatal).) 23...e5 24.Qf7 exd4 25.Qe8+ Kc7 26.Qxe7+ Bd7 27.Rg5 Qc6 28.Nf4 Qh1+ 29.Bd1 Re8 30.Qf6 Nh7 31.Rg1 Qxg1 32.Nd5+ Kc6 33.Nb4+ Kc5 34.Nd3+ Kb6 35.Qxd6+ Bc6 36.b4 Ka7 0-1 (36) Guseinov,G (2557)-Kempinski,R (2561) Plovdiv 2003 CBM 098 [Gofshtein,L]] 11...Bxf6 12.h4 Qb6 [12...Nb6!? saw some local play by all-too-brief local resident Kyron Griffith: 13.g5 Bxd4 14.Rxd4 Qc5 15.Rd1 (15.Rd2 Bd7 16.Qd3?! (16.Be2!+/-) 16...hxg5! 17.fxg5 Ke7 18.e5?! Qxe5 19.Rh3 Bb5! Black starts to take over after this. 20.Qf3 Bc6 21.Qf2 Qc5 22.Re3 Raf8 23.Bd3 Nd5 24.Nxd5+ Qxd5 25.b3?! (25.Be4) 25...Qh1+ 26.Kb2 Qxh4 27.Rg3 Qb4 28.c3 Qc5 0-1 Wong,R (2200) -Griffith,K (2455) MI Summer TNM (5), San Francisco June 25, 2019) 15...Bd7 ½-½ Jirasek,L (50)-Griffith,K (2336) 19th Addison Memorial, San Francisco, June 23 2019] 13.Nb3 Nc5 [13...Qc7 14.e5 dxe5 15.f5 Nb6 16.Ne4 exf5 17.gxf5 Bd7 18.Na5 0-0-0 19.Nd6+ Kb8 20.Qxb7+ Qxb7 21.Ndxb7 Rc8 22.Nd6 Rc7 23.Rh3 Ka7 24.Ra3 was one crazy game: ½-½ (43) Shirov,A (2745)-Dominguez Perez,L (2717) Sofia 2009; 13...Be7!? is the subtlety where all the high-level play has led to: 14.Kb1 (14.g5? hxg5 15.hxg5 Rxh1 16.Qxh1 Qe3+) 14...Nc5 15.g5 Bd7 16.f5 hxg5 17.hxg5 0-0-0 18.fxe6 Bxe6 19.Bh3 Bxg5 20.Nd5 Qc6 21.Rdg1 Bf6 22.Rxg7 Bxg7 23.Ne7+ Kc7 24.Nxc6 Nxb3 25.axb3 Kxc6 26.Bxe6 Rxh1+ 27.Qxh1 fxe6 28.Qh7 Rd7 29.Qh8 e5 30.Qc8+ Rc7 31.Qe6 Rd7 32.Qc4+ Kb6 33.Qc8 Rc7 34.Qd8 Kc6 35.b4 Bh6 36.c4 b6 37.c5 dxc5 38.bxc5 Kb7 39.Qd5+ Kb8 40.Qd6 1-0 Guseinov,G (2650)-Kokarev,D (2588) Khanty-Mansiysk 2008. There he is again! (playing the "quieter" 11.Bxf6)] 14.g5 Be7
15.Bc4!?N is not just a new move, but quite a good one! Stockfish makes it *winning*. 15...Bd7 16.g6! fxg6? [Black had to castle into it again, with 16...0-0! but 17.Qh3!+- and the light-square threats can't be met. (17.f5 fxg6!? is good for White, but not as strong at all.) ] 17.Qg4 0-0-0 18.Nxc5 dxc5
19.Rxd7!? [Actually the straight-forward 19.Qxg6! is better. Stafford might have had "brilliancy against the master" on his mind, but he slips up on the next move:] 19...Kxd7 20.Qxg6?! [20.Nd5! Qc6 21.Rd1 would require Black to find the desperate 21...Ke8! 22.Qxg6+ Kf8 when 23.Rg1! exd5! (23...Rg8 24.Nc3 Black comes undone) 24.Qxg7+ Ke8 25.Qxh8+ Kd7 and after a machine-like defense, the evaluation is still "+/- 0.93". Sometimes Life is hard.] 20...Kc7
[20...Kc8 could well be safer.] 21.Bxe6? [21.Qxg7 Qd6 22.e5! Qc6! (22...Qd2+ 23.Kb1 Rhe8 24.Bxe6+/- is turning good for White) 23.Rf1 Rhe8 when after a deep think the "0.00"s show up.] 21...Bf6! Now White has to be careful. 22.Qf7+? And now it goes over to the Dark Side. [22.Bd5 Bd4 is the best try for both, when Black has the edge whether the queens come off or not; in either case White is squarely in it.] 22...Kb8 23.e5?! White has lost the thread entirely. [23.Bd5] 23...Rhf8 24.Nd5 Qc6 It's as good as over. White hopes for an ending miracle, but it's not to be. 25.Qc7+ Qxc7 26.Nxc7 Kxc7 27.exf6 Rxf6 28.f5 g6 29.Rf1 gxf5 30.Bc4 Rd4 31.Bd3 Rxh4 So close! In any case, Adam is no 1745 player! Between his opening preparation and attacking spirit, he'll be banging down the doors with a little more experience and accuracy. 0-1

(5) Wang,Daniel (1700) - Bambou,Christophe (2097) [D11]
MI Nov-Dec 2021 TNM 1800+ San Francisco (5.2), 30.11.2021

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 Bf5 5.Bg2 e6 6.0-0 h6 7.Nc3 Be7 8.Nd2 0-0 The Slav formation is a solid counter to the Catalan. 9.e4 [9.b3!?] 9...dxe4 10.Ndxe4 Nbd7 11.Be3 Nxe4 12.Nxe4 Nf6 13.Nxf6+ Bxf6

White has a bit more space but Black is very solid and can aim at the d4 pawn. Chances are equal. 14.f4?! slightly weakening the kingside [14.Qb3=] 14...Qb6 15.g4 White decides this will be no quiet positional buildup, and sends his kingside pawns down the board! 15...Bh7 16.g5 hxg5 17.fxg5 Be7 18.b3?! Rad8 [18...e5!] 19.Qe2 Qa5 20.Kh1 [More solid is 20.h4] 20...Rd7 [20...Bxg5? 21.b4! Qxb4 22.Bxg5 Rxd4 23.Rfc1 Black does get a lot of pawns, but White is still better.] 21.h4 Rfd8
22.Rf2? [22.Rad1 Bf5 23.h5 g6=/+] 22...Qc3? [22...Rxd4!-+ takes Black apart pawn by pawn; White no longer has a defensive Qf2. 23.Bxd4 Rxd4 24.Kg1 Rxh4 25.Rxf7 Bc5+] 23.Rc1 Qd3 [Best to admit the error and go back: 23...Qa5=/+] 24.Qf3= Bb4 25.Rd1 Qf5 26.Qe2 Qa5
27.Rdf1? Qc7? [And again: 27...Rxd4 although it's not as crushing as before: 28.Bxd4 Rxd4 29.Rxf7 Rxh4+ 30.Kg1 Bc5+ 31.R1f2 Bg6! 32.Qxe6 Bxf2+ 33.Rxf2+ Kh7-/+ material is even, but White is suffering.] 28.h5? [28.Bf4 Bd6 29.Qe3 Bxf4 30.Rxf4 Bg6 still favors Black, but White has good chance to draw.] 28...Qg3?
[28...Rxd4! What else! 29.Bxd4 Rxd4 30.Rd1 Rh4+ 31.Kg1 Bf5!-+ For the Exchange: a pawn, two great bishops, threats on f2, pawns falling. (31...Bc5? 32.g6! Bxf2+ 33.Qxf2 Rxh5 34.gxh7+ Kxh7 35.Rd2+/=) ] 29.Qf3? [29.g6! Qh4+ (29...Rxd4 30.Bxd4 Rxd4 31.Rxf7 and somehow, White survives Black's kingside attack and is winning.) 30.Bh3! Qxh3+ 31.Rh2 Qg3 32.gxh7+ Kxh7 33.Bf4 Qc3 34.Be5 gives White a strong attack 34...f6?! 35.h6!] 29...Qxf3 30.Bxf3 a6 [30...Bf5 encourages mass liquidation: 31.d5 cxd5 32.cxd5 exd5 33.Bxd5 Rxd5 34.Rxf5 gets even fast.] 31.Bg4 [31.g6! fxg6 32.Bg4 Re8 33.c5! sets up threats to f8 (via Bxe6+) and give White the advantage finally.] 31...Be4+ 32.Kg1 Bc3?
[32...g6=] 33.Rxf7!+- A great shot! White should be winning now. 33...Bf5 [33...Rxf7 34.Bxe6 Rdf8 35.g6] 34.Rxd7 Rxd7 35.Bxf5 exf5 36.Rxf5 [36.Rd1; 36.g6 Bxd4 37.Kf2] 36...Bxd4 37.Bxd4 Rxd4 38.g6!
38...Rd1+ 39.Kf2 Rd2+ 40.Ke3 Rxa2 41.Kd4 [41.Rf7! immediately threatens the b-pawn and gets the back rank mating threat going] 41...b5?! 42.Kc5?! [42.Rf7! Rh2 43.Rc7 Kf8 44.Ke5!] 42...bxc4 43.Kxc4 a5 44.Kc5 a4
45.Kxc6? [45.b4! Ra1 46.Rf7 Rh1 47.Kxc6 a3 48.Ra7 Kf8 49.b5+- and it's clear why White should have kept both queenside pawns on the board.] 45...axb3 46.Rb5 Rc2+ 47.Kd5 Rd2+ 48.Ke4 Re2+ 49.Kf3 Re8 It's completely drawn now. 50.Rxb3 Rf8+ 51.Kg4 Ra8 52.Rb5 Rf8 53.Kg5 Ra8 54.Rf5 Rb8 55.h6 gxh6+ 56.Kxh6 Ra8 57.Rf6 Rb8 58.g7 Ra8 59.Kg6 Ra6 60.Rxa6 Another 1700 player for not very long. Plenty of slipups, but also some fine moves. 1/2-1/2

(6) Malykin,Erika (1693) - Long,Matt (1478) [E00]
MI Nov-Dec 2021 TNM u1800 San Francisco (5.18), 30.11.2021

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 e6 3.c4 d5 4.e3 Be7 5.Nd2 h6 6.Bf4 0-0 7.Ngf3 Nh5 8.Be5 Nd7 9.Bd3 Nxe5 10.Nxe5 Nf6 11.Rc1 c6 12.0-0 Nd7 13.Nef3 We have a Queen's Gambit Declined position with a small edge to White. 13...dxc4 14.Nxc4 Nb6 15.Nce5 Nd7 16.Nc4 Nb6 17.Ncd2 no draw! 17...Nd5 18.a3 Qb6 19.Nc4 Qd8 20.Nfe5 Nb6 21.Nd2 Nd7 22.Nef3 c5 23.h3 Rb8 24.Ne4 b6 25.Bb1 Bb7 26.Qa4 a6 27.Rfd1 b5 28.Qc2 Bxe4 29.Qxe4 Nf6 Being careful to defend the mate on h7. 30.Qc2 c4 31.Ne5 Rc8 32.Ng4 g6! 33.Nxh6+ Kg7

34.Nxf7?! [34.Ng4 Nxg4 35.hxg4 c3=] 34...Rxf7 35.Qxg6+ Kf8-/+ 36.Qh6+ Kg8 The black king is safe enough due to several black pieces around it, so Black holds the edge. 37.g4 Bf8 38.Qg5+ Rg7 39.Qe5 Qe7 40.Kf1 Rd8 41.Qh2 Qf7 42.f4 Nd5 43.Ke2 Bd6 44.Rf1 Rf8 45.Qf2 Qc7 46.f5?! exf5 47.Bxf5 Qe7?! [47...Re7! gives Black a strong attack] 48.Qf3 Nf4+ 49.Kd2 Nd3?! 50.Qd5+ Kh8 51.Rc2?! [51.Bxd3] 51...Rd8 [51...Nxb2! 52.Rxb2 c3+ 53.Kxc3 Qxe3+] 52.Qc6 Re8 53.Qf3 Rf7 54.e4 Bf4+ 55.Kd1 b4 56.a4 b3 57.Re2 Qb4 58.e5 Qxa4 59.Rd2

59...Nxb2+ [59...Bxe5! 60.dxe5 Rxe5 is crushing] 60.Ke2 Bxd2?! [60...Nd3 61.Bxd3 cxd3+ 62.Qxd3 Ref8] 61.Kxd2? [61.g5!! gets checks on the black king and lets White squirm out with a draw] 61...Qb4+ 62.Qc3 Rb8 63.e6 Re7 64.d5+ Qxc3+ 65.Kxc3 Rd8?! [65...Na4+] 66.Kxb2 Rxd5 67.Kc3 Rb5 68.Kxc4 b2 69.Rb1 Rc7+ 70.Kd4 Rb8 71.h4 Rc1 draw agreed, though Black is still better. An intense batlle! 1/2-1/2

SwissSys Standings. Nov-Dec 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: 1800+

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total
1 Elliott Winslow 10363365 2252 W20 W19 W14 D11 W6       4.5
2 Christophe Bambou 12734479 2097 L5 W21 W23 W10 D7       3.5
3 Nathan Fong 13001390 2032 H--- W5 D10 H--- W11     H--- 3.5
4 Guy Argo 12517167 1884 H--- W17 W9 L6 W13       3.5
5 Lucas Lesniewski 17039584 1855 W2 L3 D7 W18 W19       3.5
6 Adam Stafford 14257838 1745 W8 H--- W18 W4 L1       3.5
7 Daniel Wang 15361305 1700 W15 D13 D5 W19 D2     H--- 3.5
8 Nicholas Weng 15499404 2001 L6 W26 H--- W24 D9     H--- 3.0
9 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1954 W25 D18 L4 W14 D8   H---   3.0
10 Gaziz Makhanov 16828914 1917 H--- X29 D3 L2 W23       3.0
11 Kayven Riese 12572270 1900 D12 W22 W13 D1 L3       3.0
12 Joel Carron 16600505 1670 D11 D16 L19 W29 W21   H---   3.0
13 David Askin 13776967 2023 W26 D7 L11 W20 L4       2.5
14 Edward Lewis 12601629 2017 H--- W24 L1 L9 B---       2.5
15 Steven Svoboda 10451671 1914 L7 W25 X16 H--- U--- H---     2.5
16 Samuel Brownlow 12747074 1832 H--- D12 F15 H--- W24       2.5
17 Marty Cortinas 12590374 1706 D28 L4 L20 B--- W26       2.5
18 Brandon Estolas 12869947 2003 W21 D9 L6 L5 H---       2.0
19 Ako Heidari 15206848 1955 W27 L1 W12 L7 L5       2.0
20 James Mahooti 12621393 1867 L1 D27 W17 L13 H---       2.0
21 Ilia Gimelfarb 17158733 1760 L18 L2 W25 W22 L12       2.0
22 Teodoro Porlares 12773115 1746 H--- L11 H--- L21 W27     H--- 2.0
23 Charles Faulkner 12559529 1720 H--- H--- L2 W26 L10       2.0
24 Andre Persidsky 12545869 1814 H--- L14 W29 L8 L16       1.5
25 Glenn Kaplan 12680193 1735 L9 L15 L21 H--- W29       1.5
26 Tony Lama 12328450 1800 L13 L8 W27 L23 L17       1.0
27 Kevin Sun 16898540 1744 L19 D20 L26 H--- L22     H--- 1.0
28 Krish Matai 16444206 1937 D17 U--- U--- U--- U---       0.5
29 Anthony Acosta 12633251 1787 H--- F10 L24 L12 L25     H--- 0.5

SwissSys Standings. Nov-Dec 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Under1800

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total
1 Adam Mercado 16571026 1746 W34 W9 D26 W21 W7       4.5
2 Yuvraj Sawhney 17095004 1593 D22 D20 W43 W26 W16       4.0
3 Dean Guo 30257083 1549 W49 W33 W17 H--- H---       4.0
4 Adam Ginzberg 30268083 1540 W35 W18 D25 H--- W11       4.0
5 Albert Starr 12844781 1500 W37 W41 L6 X33 W18       4.0
6 Romeo Barreyro 17018168 1649 W43 W16 W5 L7 D9       3.5
7 Stephen Parsons 16566932 1611 W48 W27 D11 W6 L1       3.5
8 John Chan 12561007 1500 H--- L25 W51 W46 W28       3.5
9 Aaron Craig 12872385 1491 W53 L1 W37 W20 D6       3.5
10 Matt Long 13377410 1478 L25 W24 W40 W32 D13       3.5
11 Samuel Agdamag 14874734 1448 W29 W15 D7 W25 L4       3.5
12 Timothy Bayaraa 15616166 1149 H--- H--- H--- W41 W26       3.5
13 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 H--- H--- H--- X39 D10       3.0
14 Jim Ratliff 11163831 1632 H--- H--- W22 L16 W34       3.0
15 Nursultan Uzakbaev 17137317 1542 W50 L11 L20 W37 W35       3.0
16 Sebastian Suarez 16875347 1474 W38 L6 W30 W14 L2     H--- 3.0
17 Ashwin Vaidyanathan 30205719 1444 W39 W32 L3 H--- D21     H--- 3.0
18 David Olson 13913131 1400 W31 L4 W44 W27 L5       3.0
19 Andrew Imbens 30102682 1400 H--- W51 L21 H--- W39     H--- 3.0
20 Tobiahs Rex 30164211 1278 H--- D2 W15 L9 W32       3.0
21 JP Fairchild 30150098 1229 W52 H--- W19 L1 D17     H--- 3.0
22 Ian Atroshchenko 30214657 1135 D2 X52 L14 X42 H---       3.0
23 Thomas Gu 17005685 997 L26 L46 W49 X47 W33       3.0
24 Prasanna Chandramouli 30279272 921 L27 L10 W50 W48 X42       3.0
25 Eli Chanoff 12898987 839 W10 W8 D4 L11 D27       3.0
26 Ronald Allen 30086796 1501 W23 W28 D1 L2 L12       2.5
27 Richard Hack 12796129 1500 W24 L7 W31 L18 D25       2.5
28 Benjamin Anderson 30235937 1172 W46 L26 W47 H--- L8     H--- 2.5
29 Christian Brickhouse 30261226 452 L11 L48 B--- H--- W45     H--- 2.5
30 Ambrogino Giusti 30223021 unr. H--- H--- L16 D43 W44   H---   2.5
31 Christopher Hallacy 30310731 unr. L18 B--- L27 H--- X41     H--- 2.5
32 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1511 W36 L17 W48 L10 L20       2.0
33 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1447 W44 L3 W38 F5 L23       2.0
34 Cloe Chai 16315197 1254 L1 L37 W36 W38 L14       2.0
35 Maria Obrien 15300977 1036 L4 L44 W53 W40 L15     H--- 2.0
36 William Thibault 16716976 1014 L32 L40 L34 W49 W51       2.0
37 Pratyush Hule 16317000 970 L5 W34 L9 L15 W46       2.0
38 Cathal Dayton 12930548 784 L16 W49 L33 L34 X47       2.0
39 Vittorio Banfi 30308530 unr. L17 W50 W46 F13 L19       2.0
40 Juan Elias 30325735 unr. L41 W36 L10 L35 W50       2.0
41 Deandre Stallworth 30255378 1399 W40 L5 H--- L12 F31 H---     1.5
42 Enile Ahmed 17110092 1356 H--- H--- H--- F22 F24       1.5
43 Noah Chambers 16694473 1219 L6 X53 L2 D30 F48       1.5
44 Marcus Casaes 30290420 unr. L33 W35 L18 H--- L30       1.5
45 William Deegan   unr. H--- H--- H--- U--- L29       1.5
46 Nick Casares Jr 10424364 1600 L28 W23 L39 L8 L37       1.0
47 Daniel Massop 30328281 1600 H--- H--- L28 F23 F38       1.0
48 Don Chambers 16694467 1219 L7 W29 L32 L24 F43       1.0
49 Natan Gimelfarb 16757673 1125 L3 L38 L23 L36 X53       1.0
50 Richard Ahrens 16953298 1091 L15 L39 L24 W53 L40       1.0
51 Maxwell Fleming 30329285 unr. H--- L19 L8 H--- L36       1.0
52 Charles Faulkner 12559529 1720 L21 F22 U--- U--- U---       0.0
53 Andrejs Gulbis 16741331 845 L9 F43 L35 L50 F49       0.0

SwissSys Standings. Nov-Dec 2021 Tuesday Night Marathon: Extra Games

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Rd 7 Rd 8 Total
1 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 U--- U--- W19 W16 U---       2.0
2 Christopher Hallacy 30310731 unr. U--- W20 U--- U--- W21     H--- 2.0
3 Gaziz Makhanov 16828914 1917 D12 W18 U--- U--- U---       1.5
4 Edward Lewis 12601629 2017 W13 U--- U--- U--- U---       1.0
5 Alexander Pa Chin 17050697 1859 U--- U--- W15 U--- U---       1.0
6 Albert Starr 12844781 1500 U--- U--- U--- W22 U---       1.0
7 John Chan 12561007 1500 W25 U--- U--- U--- U---       1.0
8 Anton Maliev 30250562 1459 U--- U--- U--- U--- W23       1.0
9 Prasanna Chandramouli 30279272 921 U--- U--- U--- U--- W24       1.0
10 Christian Brickhouse 30261226 452 U--- U--- W20 U--- U---     H--- 1.0
11 William Deegan   unr. U--- U--- U--- W24 U---       1.0
12 Andre Persidsky 12545869 1814 D3 U--- U--- U--- U---       0.5
13 Daniel Massop 30328281 1600 L4 D14 U--- U--- U---       0.5
14 Ian Atroshchenko 30214657 1135 U--- D13 U--- U--- U---       0.5
15 Steven Svoboda 10451671 1914 U--- U--- L5 U--- U--- H---     0.0
16 Abel Talamantez 12465386 1800 U--- U--- U--- L1 U---       0.0
17 Teodoro Porlares 12773115 1746 U--- U--- U--- U--- U---       0.0
18 Charles Faulkner 12559529 1720 U--- L3 U--- U--- U---       0.0
19 Enile Ahmed 17110092 1356 U--- U--- L1 U--- U---       0.0
20 Timothy Bayaraa 15616166 1149 U--- L2 L10 U--- U---       0.0
21 Natan Gimelfarb 16757673 1125 U--- U--- U--- U--- L2       0.0
22 Thomas Gu 17005685 997 U--- U--- U--- L6 U---       0.0
23 Cathal Dayton 12930548 784 U--- U--- U--- U--- L8       0.0
24 Judit Sztaray 14708926 749 U--- U--- U--- L11 L9       0.0
25 Maxcwell Fleming 30329285 unr. L7 U--- U--- U--- U---       0.0


Mechanics' Thanksgiving Gobbler Open Report

The inaugural Mechanics' Gobbler Open brought 40 players together for a three-day Thanksgiving chess celebration for our community. The FIDE-rated event was in three sections, and we would like to thank all the participants who played. I want to also thank IM John Donaldson for signing copies of his book, three of which we gave away over the weekend as raffle prizes. Congratulations to section winners IM Elliott Winslow and NM Austin Mei who tied for 1st in the top section, Alexander Su in the 1600-1999 section, and Muradhan Sabyrov in the under 1600 section. 

IM Elliott Winslow and NM Austin Mei played on board 1 during round 4 on Saturday

One player we will be following is Tianmu Wang. This 9-year old has been rising sharply over the last few months and had an impressive overall performance scoring 2.5 and raising her rating to 1088. 

Tianmu Wang could be a future force in girls chess in the Bay Area and beyond

We want to thank the entire chess community for their continued support of our events, and we hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.

SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Thanksgiving Gobbler Open: Open 

# Place Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total Prize
1 1-2 IM Elliott Winslow 10363365 2252 W8 H--- W5 D2 W4 W7 5.0 250.00
2   NM Austin Mei 16090452 2201 W4 W5 W6 D1 W7 D3 5.0 250.00
3 3-4 Christophe Bambou 12734479 2097 H--- H--- W7 L4 X6 D2 3.5 87.50
4   Lucas Lesniewski 17039584 1855 L2 W8 H--- W3 L1 W5 3.5 87.50
5 5 Ethan Mei 16090467 1640 W7 L2 L1 D6 B--- L4 2.5 75.00
6 6 Pranav Senthilkumar 14020007 2035 H--- W7 L2 D5 F3 U--- 2.0  
7 7 Sam Sloan 11115292 1900 L5 L6 L3 B--- L2 L1 1.0  
8 8 James Mahooti 12621393 1867 L1 L4 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  

SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Thanksgiving Gobbler Open: 1600-1999 

# Place Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total Prize
1 1 Alexander Su 12857329 1756 D5 W8 W2 W4 W3 W6 5.5 200.00
2 2-3 Daniel Perlov 16465203 1533 W4 W7 L1 D3 D6 H--- 3.5 100.00
3   Kian Jamali 16761438 1446 L10 B--- W5 D2 L1 W9 3.5 100.00
4 4-7 Scott Caldwell 11466435 1732 L2 X11 W8 L1 D7 D5 3.0 25.00
5   Wentao Wu 16629782 1678 D1 D9 L3 W7 D8 D4 3.0 25.00
6   Tom Boyd 10495768 1600 H--- H--- D7 W9 D2 L1 3.0 25.00
7   Axel Joseph 30240086 1442 B--- L2 D6 L5 D4 W8 3.0 25.00
8 8-9 Aaron Craig 12872385 1491 W11 L1 L4 B--- D5 L7 2.5  
9   Branislav Radakovic 15064653 1449 H--- D5 H--- L6 B--- L3 2.5  
10 10 Gary Bagstad 10924031 1700 W3 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0  
11 11 Nelson Sowell 11103405 1727 L8 F4 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0  

SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Thanksgiving Gobbler Open: Under1600 

# Place Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Total Prize
1 1 Muradhan Sabyrov 30028106 965 W18 W14 D4 W16 W3 W5 5.5 200.00
2 2 Austin Jin 17144712 1207 D11 W19 W18 L3 W15 W9 4.5 125.00
3 3-6 Tobiah Rex 30164211 1278 W15 W12 W13 W2 L1 L4 4.0 43.75
4   Ivan Zhou 17352346 1209 W6 D16 D1 L5 W12 W3 4.0 43.75
5   Henry Lien 15156603 1068 W7 L13 W6 W4 W11 L1 4.0 43.75
6   Kairat Sabyrov 30362207 unr. L4 W20 L5 W18 W16 W11 4.0 43.75
7 7-8 Albert Starr 12844781 1500 L5 L11 W17 D10 W19 W15 3.5  
8   Danny Cao 16939797 1064 L16 H--- W19 D12 W14 H--- 3.5  
9 9-12 Sebastian Fotouhi 30192020 1204 L12 D15 D10 W19 W13 L2 3.0  
10   Pratyush Hule 16317000 970 U--- H--- D9 D7 W20 D13 3.0  
11   William Leber 30346394 unr. D2 W7 D16 W13 L5 L6 3.0  
12   Brandon Shien 30352643 unr. W9 L3 D14 D8 L4 W16 3.0  
13 13-15 Hoa Long Tam 16919862 1299 W20 W5 L3 L11 L9 D10 2.5  
14   Vinesh Jethva 30035667 1284 W17 L1 D12 L15 L8 W18 2.5  
15   Tianmu Wang 16996027 425 L3 D9 W20 W14 L2 L7 2.5  
16 16-17 Deandre Stallworth 30255378 1399 W8 D4 D11 L1 L6 L12 2.0  
17   Max Nurko 14822541 786 L14 L18 L7 W20 H--- H--- 2.0  
18 18-19 Andrew Ballantyne 17079795 1361 L1 W17 L2 L6 H--- L14 1.5  
19   Thomas Gu 17005685 997 H--- L2 L8 L9 L7 W20 1.5  
20 20 Andrejs Gulbis 16741331 845 L13 L6 L15 L17 L10 L19 0.0  

SwissSys Standings. Mechanics' Thanksgiving Gobbler Open: Extra Rated 

# Place Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Total
1 1 Abel Talamantez 12465386 1800 W4 W5 U--- U--- 2.0
2 2-3 Christophe Bambou 12734479 2097 U--- U--- U--- W6 1.0
3   Sam Sloan 11115292 1900 U--- U--- W7 U--- 1.0
4 4-7 Scott Caldwell 11466435 1732 L1 U--- U--- U--- 0.0
5   Nelson Sowell 11103405 1727 U--- L1 U--- U--- 0.0
6   Ethan Mei 16090467 1640 U--- U--- U--- L2 0.0
7   Aaron Craig 12872385 1491 U--- U--- L3 U--- 0.0


Tony's Teasers

Tony is back and ready to challenge you to solve this problem: white to move and draw!


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:

Guthrie McClain Memorial Championship. December 4, 10AM. 4SS G/45;d5:


Mechanics' Institute Championship Quads. December 11, 3PM. 3 Games G/30;d5:

IM John Donaldson Championship. December 18-19, 10AM FIDE Rated. 5SS G/90+30:

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

Fresh New 
Scholastic Chess Bulletin #7 is out!

In this issue:

  • Monthly Scholastic In-Person Tournament - 2021 November Report 

  • Mechanics' Institute Thanksgiving Gobbler Kids - Friday, November 26 @ 9:30AM

  • Chess Enrichment Highlight: Alice Fong Alternative School

  • Upcoming Chess Camps

  • Why I like Quads by Andrew Ballantyne 

  • Understanding Tournaments: Moves, moves, moves

  • 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

[email protected]

Problems in the Opening, Part Three

Last week I touched on a few different ways to approach the opening, and here’s another idea for you: play something you’ve never tried before!  Playing an opening for the first time (even with just a cursory look at a few lines) is a great way to get psyched into a game.  You get a fresh look, the configuration of the pieces on the board is different than what you’re accustomed to, there are new problems to be solved – chess feels new again.

Of course one must be careful.  Trotting out the King’s Gambit without studying a thing about it is a sure-fire way to land in hot water.

A few years ago I was paired with a strong master in the Tuesday Night Marathon. I played black, and I knew that he liked to play g3 systems against the King’s Indian.  Fair enough, I feel comfortable in those positions. But there was no doubt that he was far more booked up than I, and I wanted to make the game a fight that was not based on who knew more theory.  I noticed he played 2.Nf3 on the second move rather than the more common 2.c4, and that gave me an idea: I’d take him out of his book on move two!  And that’s what happened.

Derek O’Connor – Paul Whitehead, Fall TNM 2017.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 b5!

You could call this the Reversed Orangutan. Karpov was fond of this move. The best thing was that it completely took my opponent by surprise: he started to take a lot of time. It turned out that he was on unfamiliar ground as well. 3.g3. Of all white’s tries here, 3.e4!? is the sharpest. 3…Bb7 4.Bg2 e6 5.0-0 c5 6.a4 b4 7.Nbd2 cxd4 8.Nb3 Be7 9.Nbxd4 0-0.

The opening has been a success for black. The pawn structure resembles a superior Sicilian Defense.

10.Re1 d5 11.Ne5 Nfd7 12.Nd3 Nc6 13.Nb3 Na5 14.Nxa5 Qxa5 15.Bd2 Rac8 16.e3 Ba6 17.Bf1.

17…Bxd3?! Unnecessary. I was worried about 17…Qb6 18.a5 Qb7 19.Ra4, but 19…Bb5 deals, and black is better. 18.cxd3 Qc7 19.d4 a5 20.Ba6 Ra8 21.Rc1 Qa7 22.Bd3 Rfc8 23.b3 Qb7 24.e4!

Opening the game for the 2 bishops. Now black must be careful. 24… Rxc1 25.Bxc1 Rc8 26.exd5 Qxd5 27.Be4 Qd6 28.Bf4 Qb6 29.Be3?! Faltering. Now was the right time for 29.d5! 29…Nf6! The start of a clever trap. 30.d5?! Qd8 31.Bg5?! Somehow I knew white would play this way, but three dubious moves in a row is too much. White should settle for an inferior position a pawn down and try 31.Bf3. 31…Nxe4 32.Bxe7 Qxd5!

Like 2…b5! I could tell this had taken white by surprise. His game is now lost, and despite some uneven play in mutual time-pressure I brought home the point: 33.f3 Nd2 34.Kg2 Nxb3. Even stronger was 34…Nxf3! 35.Qe2 Qc4 36.Qf2 Nd4 37.Bg5 Qc2 38.Bd2 Nb3 39.Re2 Nxd2 40.Rxd2 b3 41.Kh3 Qf5+ 42.g4 Qf4 43.Qc5 Qxf3+ 44.Kh4 Rf8 45.Qxa5 Qe3 46.Rd8 g5+ 47.Kh5 Rxd8 48.Qxd8+ Kg7 49.h4 b2 50.hxg5. An amusing line is 50.Qb8 Qe4! 51.Qxb2+ e5 52.Qb6 Qg6+ 53.Qxg6+ hxg6+ 54.Kxg5 f6# which deserves a diagram:

Instead this happened: 50…Qh3#.


Nick de Firmian’s Column

Magnus needs to fight

(This article was written prior to game 6 on Friday)

The World Championship in Dubai has started out with many draws (again). The 2018 World Championship had all twelve classical games drawn, and the 2016 match before that had 10 draws from 12 games. Why can’t Magnus, a super world champion, win games? I must put forth the theory that he isn’t risking enough – he doesn’t play these matches with the brash, fearless energy of his youth or the hallmark courage of Tal, Fischer, or Alekhine.

You may ask who am I (or anyone else for that matter) to tell Magnus what he should do to retain his title when he has been the king of the last decade and survived every challenge. It is true that Magnus knows more about chess than anyone on the planet. I say this isn’t enough for a world champion. The champion has millions of fans following the quest to be king and one needs to show them a fascinating fight for the good of chess.
What good to be champion if fans lose their interest and don’t watch?

Alright, it is hard to always put yourself at risk and besides there are two players in a game. Yet the challenger feels happy just to be in the match and a true champion embraces the fight. Magnus doesn’t need to choose super risky lines. He just needs to not avoid risks, and also (probably the most important) to fight to the bitter end. We give below the two first match games in which Magnus had White where we would expect him to show his worth.

(1) Carlsen,Magnus - Nepomniachtchi,Ian [E05]
World Chp., 27.11.2021

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 The Catalan is certainly a fair fighting opening. Magnus naturally wants to surprise Nepo in the opening. One thing is to have a terrific novelty that gets a big advantage. That's rare in a world championship match. The other plan is to confuse your opponent with rare lines. 4...Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 b5 8.Ne5!?

This move is not common - 8. a4 being the usual choice. No doubt it is deep opening preparation by Carlsen's team. Is it really good though? 8...c6 9.a4 [9.Nxc6 Nxc6 10.Bxc6 Rb8 is just equal] 9...Nd5 10.Nc3 f6! Typical aggressive Nepo play. He needs to challenge the center and doesn't worry about a slight weakeness on e6. 11.Nf3 Qd7 12.e4 Nb4 13.Qe2 Nd3 This knight deep in the white camp means Black has fully equal chances from the opening. 14.e5 Bb7 15.exf6 Bxf6 16.Ne4 Na6 The knight can jump to good squares from here. 17.Ne5?! A bit too direct. 17...Bxe5 18.dxe5 Nac5!
19.Nd6!? An interesting and aggressive continuation, sacrificing the exchange. No faulting Magnus for creativity, but we ask again if the move is really good. 19...Nb3 20.Rb1 Nbxc1 21.Rbxc1 Nxc1 22.Rxc1 Rab8! 23.Rd1 [23.axb5 cxb5 24.Nxb7 Rxb7 25.Bxb7 Qxb7 is just a pawn ahead for Black with no complications] 23...Ba8 24.Be4 c3?! Nepo had gained an edge from the opening battle, but decides to give back a pawn which evens the chances. 24...Qe7 was a little better for Black. 25.Qc2 g6 [25...cxb2?! 26.Bxh7+ Kh8 27.Bg6 leaves the black king in danger] 26.bxc3 bxa4 27.Qxa4 Rfd8 28.Ra1 c5 29.Qc4 Bxe4 30.Nxe4 Kh8 31.Nd6
Black is a clear exchange ahead yet White has the monster knight on d6, which is nearly as good as a rook. 31...Rb6 32.Qxc5 Rdb8 33.Kg2 a6 34.Kh3 Rc6 35.Qd4 Kg8 36.c4 Qc7 37.Qg4
37...Rxd6 A good practical decision by Nepo. Giving back the exchange simplifies the position to a drawable ending. Leaving the white knight on the board would have left Black with difficult decisions in the coming time pressure. 38.exd6 Qxd6 39.c5 Qxc5 40.Qxe6+ Kg7 41.Rxa6 Rf8! This moves brings the black rook closer to the king. 42.f4 The only move to keep White's edge, but it allows a trade into a well known rook and pawn drawn ending. 42...Qf5+ 43.Qxf5 Rxf5 44.Ra7+ Kg8 The players continue, though both know there is no real chance for White to win. 45.Kg4 Rb5 46.Re7 Ra5 47.Re5 Ra7 48.h4 Kg7 49.h5 Kh6 50.Kh4 Ra1! 51.g4 Rh1+ 52.Kg3 gxh5 53.Re6+ Kg7 54.g5 Rg1+ 55.Kf2 Ra1 56.Rh6 Ra4 57.Kf3 Ra3+ 58.Kf2 Ra4 1/2-1/2

(2) Carlsen,Magnus - Nepomniachtchi,Ian [C42]
World Chp., 29.11.2021

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 Oh no, Petrov's Defense! Admittedly this leads to a more solid game and makes it a hard job to win. Bobby Fischer though never let the solid openings prevent him from pressing forward. 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Bd6 This and 6...Be7 are both very respectable lines. 7.0-0 0-0 8.c4 c6 9.Re1 Bf5 10.Qb3 Qd7

11.Nc3! Nxc3 12.Bxf5 Qxf5 13.bxc3 [13.Qxb7 Qd7 is equal since 14.Qxa8? Na4 15.c5 Na6 wins for Black] 13...b6 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.Qb5 Qd7 16.a4 Naturally White can't take the pawn on d5. Magnus plays for a slight endgame edge, just as Fischer would have done. To win you should play the best move no matter where it leads to. 16...Qxb5 17.axb5 a5! The only move to keep White's advantage very small. 18.Nh4!? [18.bxa6 Nxa6 19.Rb1 Rfb8 20.Ne5 b5] 18...g6 19.g4 Nd7 20.Ng2 Rfc8 [20...Nf6 21.Bh6 Bxh2+ 22.Kh1 Rfe8 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8 24.Ne3 Bc7 25.g5 Ne4 26.Nxd5 wins the pawn back] 21.Bf4! Bxf4 22.Nxf4 Rxc3 23.Nxd5 Rd3
24.Re7! Nf8 25.Nf6+ Kg7 26.Ne8+ Kg8 27.d5 The white d-pawn is guarded becuse of the knight fork. Both sides have passed pawns in a complex ending. 27...a4 28.Nf6+ Kg7 29.g5 a3 30.Ne8+ Kg8 31.Nf6+ Kg7

What to do here? What would Bobby Fischer have played? The black a-pawn is very dangerous, but the white rooks and knight have chances for a mating attack with the black king hemned in. 32.Ne8+ Kg8 33.Nf6+ Draw? Even commentator Peter Leko (super solid reputation) was disturbed by this finish. You cannot claim to be the best chess player in history when you leave so much play in a game. This may be a very practical match decision to keep the score leveled, but spectators want more. White could have continues on move 32 with 32. Kg2 or 32. h4 and is certainly not worse, though there are risks for both sides. Maybe someone must lose a game before the real fighting begins. 1/2-1/2

Solution to Tony's Teaser

1. Nc7!! b1=Q 2. Nb5+ Ke3 3. Rf3+ Kd2 4. Rf2+ Ke1 5. Re2+!! Kf1 6. Rf2+ Kg1 7. Rg3+ Kh1 8. Rh2+ (Any knight fork winning the black queen is a draw).


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