Chess Room Newsletter #998 | Mechanics' Institute

You are here

Chess Room Newsletter #998

Gens Una Sumus!



Newsletter #998

December 11, 2021


Table of Contents

GM Magnus Carlsen Retains Title Against GM Ian Nipomniachtchi 7.5-3.5

Read GM Nick de Firmian's column for more in the newsletter

Guthrie McClain Memorial Report

by Abel Talamantez

We had an excellent turnout for the McClain memorial with 45 players for the four-round, one-day event in honor of Guthrie "Mac" McClain, former editor of the California Chess Reporter and Mechanics' Institute Trustee. We had a particular strong top section for the weekend club event, with many of the Bay Area's talented youngsters participating. Local Mechanics' player Christophe Bambou took the top spot with 3.5/4, with Lucas Lesniewski and Rohan Rajaram tying for 2nd place with 3/4. 

In the under 1800 section, Mechanics' TNM players Aaron Craig and Matt Long tied for 1st place with 3.5/4. Full results can be found below.

We want to thank all the participants for their support of Mechanics'!

SwissSys Standings. 20th McClain Memorial Championship: 1800+

# Place Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Total Prize
1 1 Christophe Bambou 12734479 2089 W18 D2 W7 W5 3.5 264.00
2 2-3 Lucas Lesniewski 17039584 1985 W11 D1 W9 D4 3.0 112.50
3   Rohan Rajaram 15739716 1973 W12 D5 D4 W11 3.0 112.50
4 4-6 Xuli Dai 15931956 2027 D9 W15 D3 D2 2.5  
5   Advay Bansal 16068511 2012 W14 D3 W8 L1 2.5  
6   Patrick Liu 16667410 1955 D16 L8 W13 W15 2.5  
7 7-12 Michael Da Cruz 12554298 2000 W10 W13 L1 U--- 2.0  
8   Sricharan Pullela 15580337 1943 D15 W6 L5 D9 2.0  
9   David Lakata 12789796 1801 D4 W16 L2 D8 2.0  
10   Advik Garg 16429697 1717 L7 L17 X18 W16 2.0  
11   Wentao Wu 16629782 1701 L2 W18 W17 L3 2.0  
12   Dylan Tang 16551237 1694 L3 D14 D16 W17 2.0  
13 13-15 Fredric Dutter 12343420 1900 W17 L7 L6 H--- 1.5  
14   Adam Stafford 14257838 1760 L5 D12 L15 B--- 1.5  
15   Tony Zhou 16147444 1678 D8 L4 W14 L6 1.5  
16 16-17 Ethan Mei 16090467 1683 D6 L9 D12 L10 1.0  
17   Zachary Filler 14040236 1651 L13 W10 L11 L12 1.0  
18 18 Guy Argo 12517167 1885 L1 L11 F10 U--- 0.0  

SwissSys Standings. 20th McClain Memorial Championship: Under 1800

# Place Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Total Prize
1 1-2 Aaron Craig 12872385 1582 D13 W19 W17 W8 3.5 118.50
2   Matt Long 13377410 1426 W15 W3 D8 W6 3.5 118.50
3 3-7 Anvitha Penagalapati 16315087 1524 W21 L2 W18 W11 3.0 13.20
4   Sankash Shankar 12939328 1495 X26 L12 W19 W13 3.0 13.20
5   Pavel Kolesnikov 30194161 1465 D25 D13 W21 W10 3.0 13.20
6   Anton Maliev 30250562 1459 W20 W22 W12 L2 3.0 13.20
7   Samuel Agdamag 14874734 1431 W24 L8 W22 W12 3.0 13.20
8 8-9 Arjun Sankar 14542170 1574 W14 W7 D2 L1 2.5  
9   Albert Starr 12844781 1500 L19 D20 W24 W17 2.5  
10 10-16 Wyatt Binnard 30288726 1409 W23 D17 D11 L5 2.0  
11   Arjun Nathan 15943490 1405 H--- X25 D10 L3 2.0  
12   Katherine Sunny Lu 16425316 1329 W16 W4 L6 L7 2.0  
13   Tobiah Rex 30164211 1289 D1 D5 W16 L4 2.0  
14   Eli Lee 16707438 1261 L8 D24 H--- W22 2.0  
15   Shubhankar Sharan 30358414 unr. L2 L18 W20 W21 2.0  
16   Tj Murphy 30312294 unr. L12 W23 L13 W24 2.0  
17 17-20 John Chan 12561007 1500 W18 D10 L1 L9 1.5  
18   Sebastian Fotouhi 30192020 1198 L17 W15 L3 H--- 1.5  
19   Jeffrey Dallatezza 30264869 1197 W9 L1 L4 H--- 1.5  
20   Steven Pier Hicks 15109093 unr. L6 D9 L15 B--- 1.5  
21 21-23 Swaminathan Sankar 14080777 1249 L3 B--- L5 L15 1.0  
22   Eli Albukerk 30219969 128 B--- L6 L7 L14 1.0  
23   Jiri Zajic 30341311 unr. L10 L16 B--- U--- 1.0  
24 24-25 Eliott Leblond 30332894 unr. L7 D14 L9 L16 0.5  
25   Noah Yang 30371222 unr. D5 F11 U--- U--- 0.5  
26 26 Quinn Koster 30226046 1186 F4 U--- U--- U--- 0.0  

SwissSys Standings. 20th McClain Memorial Championship: Extra Games

# Place Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total Prize
1 1 Abel Talamantez 12465386 1800 W4 W3 L2 2.0  
2 2 Advik Garg 16429697 1717 U--- U--- W1 1.0  
3 3-4 Swaminathan Sankar 14080777 1249 U--- L1 U--- 0.0  
4   Eli Albukerk 30219969 128 L1 U--- U--- 0.0  


TNM Round 6 Report

by Abel Talamantez

Lucas Lesniewski was on board 1 against IM Elliott Winslow for round 6 of the TNM, and he showed courage in bravely going for a victory against the tournament leader. After finding a shot with 27...Ne4+, he arrived at a position where it looked like he could achieve a threefold repetition if he wanted it. As chess players, we have all been there - deciding whether to press on when you think you have an advantage against a higher rated player or be happy with the draw. I was in a similar position a few years back against then expert now IM Ladia Jirasek, where after 4+ hours, I had a pawn advantage in an endgame and could have repeated moves for a draw. I decided to press on and go for the win, and eventually lost the game. He was a stronger player that played more accurately deep into the endgame, and unfortunately for Lucas, the same happened in this game. He adandoned the perpetual with 33...Bxe3+ and went for the win with 3 extra pawns to Winslow's piece. It was an inaccurate decision, but one for which the courage should be admired. That type of mentality will be rewarded with a big win someday, but it was not to be on that Tuesday evening. Winslow showed the accuracy and calmness of an IM finished with a win, keeping him a full point ahead in the tournament with 5.5/6. Christophe Bambou and Nathan Fong also won to stay within distance at 4.5/6. 

In the under 1800 section, Adam Mercado win a sharp game against the MI veteran Albert Starr. Starr's unpredictable sharp play against the agressive Mercado delivered an entertaining attack/counter attack matchup, but Mercado prevailed to go to 5.5/6 and holds clear 1st in the section. Yuvraj Sawhney also won to go to 5/6, just a half point behind the leader. Five players are at 4.5, so there is still room for movement with two rounds to go. 

Watch the broadcast from the evening by following this link HERE.

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

(1) Wang,Daniel - Weng,Nicholas [A45]
TNM, 07.12.2021

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 d5 4.f3 Nf6 An interesting choice by Nicholas against the Tropowski. Black has lost a tempo and given White f3 for free, but that may not be a very useful move. 5.e4!?

Daniel charges ahead with this pawn sacrifice. The game is like a Blackmar-Diemer Gambit. 5...dxe4 6.Nc3 exf3 7.Nxf3 c6 8.Bc4 Bf5 9.Qe2 e6 10.0-0-0 Be7 11.h3 Nd5?! [11...Nbd7] 12.Nxd5?! [White could get a good advantage after 12.Bxd5! cxd5 (12...exd5 13.Qe5 Be6 14.Qxg7) 13.g4 Bg6 14.h4 h6 15.Bxb8 Rxb8 16.Ne5] 12...cxd5 13.Bxb8?! dxc4! This correct capture gives Black a clear edge with great control of the light squares. 14.Bf4 Qd5 15.Rde1 0-0 16.g4 Bg6 17.h4 h6 18.h5 Bh7 19.Qe3
Daniel is trying his best to quickly get an attack built up against the black kingside. He has threats with the g-pawn ready to break open lines. The problem is that Black also has attacking chances and that is quicker. 19...c3! White must guard the a-pawn. 20.b3 Qa5 21.Kb1
21...Bxc2+! 22.Kxc2 Qxa2+ 23.Kd3 Qa5 24.Kc2 Qa2+ These moves 23...Qa5 and 24 Kc2 were probably not played (DGT blib). The position is just repeated with this score and gets back to normal. 25.Kd3 Rfc8 Black has three pawns for the knight and the white king is running in the center. A tough defense for Daniel. 26.Ra1 Qxb3 27.Rhb1 Qc4+ [27...Qd5! 28.Kc2 b5 29.Ne5 b4 keeps a big advantage] 28.Kc2 b5?! 29.g5 [29.Qd3! either trades queens or wins the b-pawn] 29...hxg5 30.Bxg5 Bxg5 [30...f6 31.h6 is messy] 31.Nxg5 b4?!
32.Qe4? This threatens check on h7, but that is not much of a threat. White could have played [32.h6! gxh6 33.Ne4 which would suddenly give White the more potent attack] 32...Rcb8 33.Rb3 ...b3+ had to be stopped 33...a5 34.Rab1? 34. h6 had to be played to keep equal attacking chances. Daniel thinks to prevent the black pawns from advancing with his move. 34...a4! 35.Rxb4
35...Qa2+! Black couldn't capture on b4 because of the other rook hanging on a8. Nicholas plays this check instead and it's deadly. 36.Kxc3 [36.R1b2 cxb2 37.Qh7+ Kf8 38.Qh8+ Ke7 goes nowhere] 36...Rc8+ 37.Kd3 Qc2+ 38.Ke3 Rc3+ 39.Kf4 Qh2+! 40.Kg4 Qg3# An exciting attacking game. 0-1

(2) Argo,Guy - Fong,Nathan [A02]
TNM, 07.12.2021

1.f4 Guy always plays interesting chess and here choses the unusual Bird's Opening. 1...c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d3 d5 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.e3 Bg4 6.Be2 Qc7 7.0-0 Rd8 8.h3 Bxf3 9.Bxf3 g6 both sides develop logically 10.Qe1 d4 11.Ne4 Nxe4 12.Bxe4 Nb4 This attack on the c-pawn doesn't gain anything but doesn't hurt either. 13.Qf2 Bg7 14.a3 Nc6 15.Bxc6+ Qxc6 16.e4 c4 17.f5 Now Black could just castle with an even game. 17...cxd3!?

18.fxg6! Qxg6 19.cxd3 Now White is a bit better with the more compact pawn structure. 19...Be5 20.Qf5?! [simply 20.Bf4 to trade off the strong black bishop would keep the white edge] 20...Rg8! 21.g4 Qxf5 22.Rxf5 f6 The endgame gives Black at least even chances. 23.Rh5?!
23...Rc8! Nathan ignores the threat to the h-pawn and concentrates on a queenside rook invasion. The position becomes very dangerous for White. 24.Rxh7? [White needed to try 24.Kf2 Rc2+ 25.Kf3] 24...Rc2 25.Rh5 Kf7 There is no good way for White to stop the combined black forces once the rooks are doubled on the c-line 26.Rh7+ Kg6 27.Rh6+ [27.Rxe7 Rgc8 wins the white bishop] 27...Kg7 28.Rh5 Rgc8 29.Bh6+ Kg6 30.Rf1 Bh2+! 31.Kh1 Bg3 32.Bf4 [White last longer with 32.Rf3 Be5 33.Kg1 Rxb2 34.Rf2 Rb3 though that is still hopeless] 32...Rh2+ 33.Kg1
33...Rcc2! The mate threat on g2 forced White resignation. He is down a whole bishop after 34.Rf3 Rcg2+ 35.Kf1 Rxb2 36.Kg1 Rb1+ 37.Rf1 Rxf1+ 38.Kxf1 Bxf4 0-1

(3) Winslow,Elliott (2252) - Lesniewski,Lucas (1855) [D12]
MI Nov-Dec TNM 1800+ San Francisco (6.1), 07.12.2021

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.e3 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nh4 Bg6 7.Qb3 [Relevant is the superstar game, even if it was blitz: 7.Nxg6 hxg6 8.Rb1 Nbd7 9.c5 e5 10.b4 Be7 11.b5 Qc7 12.h3 exd4 13.exd4 Nf8 14.Qa4 Ne6 15.bxc6 bxc6 16.Ba6 Nd8 17.Ne2 0-0 18.Bf4 Qd7 19.0-0 Ne8 20.Qa5 Ne6 21.Bb7 Nf6 22.Bxa8 Rxa8 23.Be5 Ne4 24.Rb2 Kh7 25.f3 Nf6 26.Qa6 Nd8 27.Rb8 Rxb8 28.Bxb8 1-0 (28) Nakamura,H (2736)-Vachier Lagrave,M (2763) INT 2021] 7...Qc7 8.Bd2 Nbd7 8...Ne4 is vanishing. ("Vanishing"?) 9.Rc1 [9.cxd5 exd5 10.Nxg6 hxg6 11.0-0-0!? (11.h4!?) ] 9...Nb6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Nxg6 hxg6 12.g3 Qd7 13.a4

13...Rb8N [Black won the previous encounter here, with 13...Qf5 14.Be2 Rb8 15.a5 Nbd7 16.Qc2 Qe6 17.f3 Bd6 18.Kf2 Qh3 19.Rcg1 Qe6 20.Na4 Nh5 21.b4 a6 22.Nc5 Nxc5 23.bxc5 Bc7 24.e4 Nf6 25.e5 Nd7 26.Bd3 Nf8 27.Re1 Qd7 28.e6 Nxe6 29.Bxg6 Kf8 30.Qf5 Re8 31.Bh5 Re7 32.Bg4 Qd8 33.Bc3 Rh6 34.h4 Rf6 35.Qd3 Bxa5 36.Bxa5 Qxa5 37.h5 Qc7 38.f4 Ke8 39.Kg2 Rh6 0-1 (39) Wagner,S (2194)-Ertl,P (2050) Tschagguns 2006] 14.a5 Nc8 15.f3 Bd6 16.Kf2 Qf5 17.Qc2 Qg5 18.Ne2 Qf5 19.Qxf5 gxf5 20.h3 a6 21.Bg2 Bc7 22.g4 Nd6 23.b3 0-0 24.Ng3 fxg4?! [24...g6 25.gxf5 Nxf5 26.Nxf5 gxf5 27.h4+/-] 25.hxg4 Nh7 26.Rh2? This "brilliant plan" is almost the only way to *avoid* winning. [26.Rh4; 26.f4; 26.Bb4; 26.Rh5; 26.Bf1 All "+-" according to our friend Stockfish.] 26...f5 27.Rch1
[27.gxf5 Nxf5 28.f4] 27...Ne4+! 28.fxe4 fxe4+ 29.Kg1 Bxg3 30.Rxh7 Bf2+ 31.Kf1 Bg3+ [31...Bh4+ 32.Ke2! Kxh7! (32...Rf2+ 33.Ke1! Bg3 34.Rh8+ Kf7 35.Rxb8 Rxg2+ 36.Kf1 Rf2+ 37.Kg1 Rxd2 38.Rxb7+ Kf6 39.Rh3) 33.Rxh4+ Kg6 34.Bb4 Rh8 35.Rxh8 Rxh8 36.Kf2+/=] 32.Kg1 Bf2+ 33.Kf1
33...Bxe3+? Better just to take the draw by repetition! 34.Ke2 Bxd4 35.Rh8+ Kf7 36.Rf1+ Ke7 37.Rhxf8 Rxf8 38.Rxf8 Kxf8
39.g5! The light-squared bishop comes into play to take the black pawns. 39...Ke7 40.Bh3 Kd6 [40...Kd8 41.Be3+-] 41.Bf4+ Kc5
42.Bc7! Kb4 43.Bc8 Kb5 44.Bxb7 Bc5 45.Be5 Kxa5?! 46.Bxc6 Bf8 47.Bc3+ Kb6 48.Bxd5 a5 49.Bxe4 1-0

(4) Brownlow,Samuel (1832) - Askin,David (2023) [B10]
MI Nov-Dec TNM 1800+ San Francisco (6.8), 07.12.2021

1.e4 c6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 e5 4.Ngf3 Bd6 5.g3 Nf6 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 Re8 8.Re1 Nbd7 Thus far a very reasonable King's Indian Attack with about equal chances. 9.a4 a5 10.h3 Nc5

11.g4?! The holes outweigh the appearance of aggression (White never quite gets around to Nf1 and Ng3, and anyway ...g6 would probably be the end of that). 11...dxe4 securing the better half of symmetry. [But there is a computer insisting 11...d4!-/+ is the way to go.] 12.dxe4 Bc7 13.Qe2 b6 14.Rd1 Ba6 15.Qe1 Qe7 16.b3 [16.Nf1 Nfxe4 17.N3h2 Nf6 18.Bxc6 Qe6!-/+ dares White to give up his light-squared bishop for a rook.] 16...Ne6! A wonderful concept. [And Stockfish? "Best is" 16...h5! 17.g5 Nfd7 18.Ba3 Nf8 19.Nf1 Nfe6-/+] 17.Ba3
[17.Nf1] 17...c5 Not that there was much choice at this point -- but Black is willing to really relegate his dark-squared bishop to "pawn status" for the sake of all his other pieces til the end of the game. 18.Bf1 Bxf1 19.Qxf1 Rad8 20.Nh2
20...h5 21.f3 hxg4 22.hxg4 Nh7 23.Nc4 Nf4 24.Ne3 Ng5 Nice knight maneuvers by David. Black has a clear edge. 25.Rxd8 Ngh3+ 26.Kh1 Rxd8 27.Rd1 Rxd1 28.Nxd1 Qd6
29.Bc1? Of course a blunder -- [29.Ne3 Qd4-+ is domination as well. That one knight can't be everywhere at once.] 29...Qxd1! 30.Qxd1 Nf2+ 31.Kg1 Nxd1 32.Bd2

32...c4! Opening up ...Bd6 and sunlight! [Admittedly 32...Bd8 also gets that long-dormant extra piece into motion.] 33.Kf1 cxb3 The score sheets end here, but Black is completely winning here and took the point. 0-1

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 W18 W15 W7 D16 W11 W10     5.5
2 Christophe Bambou 12734479 2097 L10 W23 W25 W8 D12 W11     4.5
3 Nathan Fong 13001390 2032 H--- W10 D8 H--- W16 W9   H--- 4.5
4 Nicholas Weng 15499404 2001 L11 W28 H--- W22 D5 W12   H--- 4.0
5 Kristian Clemens 13901075 1954 W20 D14 L9 W7 D4 W16 H---   4.0
6 David Askin 13776967 2023 W28 D12 L16 W18 L9 W19     3.5
7 Edward Lewis 12601629 2017 H--- W22 L1 L5 B--- W21     3.5
8 Gaziz Makhanov 16828914 1917 H--- X26 D3 L2 W25 D13     3.5
9 Guy Argo 12517167 1884 H--- W21 W5 L11 W6 L3     3.5
10 Lucas Lesniewski 17039584 1855 W2 L3 D12 W14 W15 L1   U--- 3.5
11 Adam Stafford 14257838 1745 W4 H--- W14 W9 L1 L2     3.5
12 Daniel Wang 15361305 1700 W17 D6 D10 W15 D2 L4   H--- 3.5
13 Joel Carron 16600505 1670 D16 D19 L15 W26 W23 D8 H---   3.5
14 Brandon Estolas 12869947 2003 W23 D5 L11 L10 H--- X25     3.0
15 Ako Heidari 15206848 1955 W27 L1 W13 L12 L10 W23 U--   3.0
16 Kayven Riese 12572270 1900 D13 W24 W6 D1 L3 L5     3.0
17 Steven Svoboda 10451671 1914 L12 W20 X19 H--- U--- U---     2.5
18 James Mahooti 12621393 1867 L1 D27 W21 L6 H--- H---     2.5
19 Samuel Brownlow 12747074 1832 H--- D13 F17 H--- W22 L6     2.5
20 Glenn Kaplan 12680193 1735 L5 L17 L23 H--- W26 W24     2.5
21 Marty Cortinas 12590374 1706 D29 L9 L18 B--- W28 L7     2.5
22 Andre Persidsky 12545869 1814 H--- L7 W26 L4 L19 D27     2.0
23 Ilia Gimelfarb 17158733 1760 L14 L2 W20 W24 L13 L15     2.0
24 Teodoro Porlares 12773115 1746 H--- L16 H--- L23 W27 L20   H--- 2.0
25 Charles Faulkner 12559529 1720 H--- H--- L2 W28 L8 F14     2.0
26 Anthony Acosta 12633251 1787 H--- F8 L22 L13 L20 W28   H--- 1.5
27 Kevin Sun 16898540 1744 L15 D18 L28 H--- L24 D22   H--- 1.5
28 Tony Lama 12328450 1800 L6 L4 W27 L25 L21 L26     1.0
29 Krish Matai 16444206 1937 D21 U--- U--- U--- U--- U---     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 W31 W5 D25 W12 W15 W10     5.5
2 Yuvraj Sawhney 17095004 1593 D13 D29 W32 W25 W11 W9     5.0
3 Romeo Barreyro 17018168 1649 W32 W11 W10 L15 D5 W16     4.5
4 Adam Ginzberg 30268083 1540 W34 W28 D14 H--- W18 H---     4.5
5 Aaron Craig 12872385 1491 W51 L1 W44 W29 D3 W18     4.5
6 Matt Long 13377410 1478 L14 W20 W46 W24 D22 W15   U--- 4.5
7 Timothy Bayaraa 15616166 1149 H--- H--- H--- W41 W25 W23     4.5
8 Jim Ratliff 11163831 1632 H--- H--- W13 L11 W31 W30     4.0
9 Dean Guo 30257083 1549 W50 W26 W27 H--- H--- L2     4.0
10 Albert Starr 12844781 1500 W44 W41 L3 X26 W28 L1     4.0
11 Sebastian Suarez 16875347 1474 W45 L3 W21 W8 L2 W29   H--- 4.0
12 JP Fairchild 30150098 1229 W53 H--- W19 L1 D27 W33   H--- 4.0
13 Ian Atroshchenko 30214657 1135 D2 X53 L8 X47 H--- W28     4.0
14 Eli Chanoff 12898987 839 W6 W16 D4 L18 D17 W27     4.0
15 Stephen Parsons 16566932 1611 W49 W17 D18 W3 L1 L6     3.5
16 John Chan 12561007 1500 H--- L14 W52 W39 W33 L3     3.5
17 Richard Hack 12796129 1500 W20 L15 W38 L28 D14 W35     3.5
18 Samuel Agdamag 14874734 1448 W35 W23 D15 W14 L4 L5     3.5
19 Andrew Imbens 30102682 1400 H--- W52 L12 H--- W37 D20   H--- 3.5
20 Prasanna Chandramouli 30279272 921 L17 L6 W42 W49 X47 D19     3.5
21 Ambrogino Giusti 30223021 unr. H--- H--- L11 D32 W36 W38 H---   3.5
22 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 H--- H--- H--- X37 D6 U---     3.0
23 Nursultan Uzakbaev 17137317 1542 W42 L18 L29 W44 W34 L7     3.0
24 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1511 W43 L27 W49 L6 L29 X45     3.0
25 Ronald Allen 30086796 1501 W30 W33 D1 L2 L7 H---     3.0
26 Michael Hilliard 12279170 1447 W36 L9 W45 F10 L30 W44     3.0
27 Ashwin Vaidyanathan 30205719 1444 W37 W24 L9 H--- D12 L14   H--- 3.0
28 David Olson 13913131 1400 W38 L4 W36 W17 L10 L13     3.0
29 Tobiahs Rex 30164211 1278 H--- D2 W23 L5 W24 L11     3.0
30 Thomas Gu 17005685 997 L25 L39 W50 X40 W26 L8     3.0
31 Cloe Chai 16315197 1254 L1 L44 W43 W45 L8 D34     2.5
32 Noah Chambers 16694473 1219 L3 X51 L2 D21 F49 W46     2.5
33 Benjamin Anderson 30235937 1172 W39 L25 W40 H--- L16 L12   H--- 2.5
34 Maria Obrien 15300977 1036 L4 L36 W51 W46 L23 D31   H--- 2.5
35 Christian Brickhouse 30261226 452 L18 L49 B--- H--- W48 L17   H--- 2.5
36 Marcus Casaes 30290420 unr. L26 W34 L28 H--- L21 W48     2.5
37 Vittorio Banfi 30308530 unr. L27 W42 W39 F22 L19 H---     2.5
38 Christopher Hallacy 30310731 unr. L28 B--- L17 H--- X41 L21   H--- 2.5
39 Nick Casares Jr 10424364 1600 L33 W30 L37 L16 L44 W50     2.0
40 Daniel Massop 30328281 1600 H--- H--- L33 F30 F45 X52     2.0
41 Deandre Stallworth 30255378 1399 W46 L10 H--- L7 F38 H---     2.0
42 Richard Ahrens 16953298 1091 L23 L37 L20 W51 L46 W49     2.0
43 William Thibault 16716976 1014 L24 L46 L31 W50 W52 U---     2.0
44 Pratyush Hule 16317000 970 L10 W31 L5 L23 W39 L26     2.0
45 Cathal Dayton 12930548 784 L11 W50 L26 L31 X40 F24     2.0
46 Juan Elias 30325735 unr. L41 W43 L6 L34 W42 L32     2.0
47 Enile Ahmed 17110092 1356 H--- H--- H--- F13 F20 U---     1.5
48 William Deegan   unr. H--- H--- H--- U--- L35 L36     1.5
49 Don Chambers 16694467 1219 L15 W35 L24 L20 F32 L42     1.0
50 Natan Gimelfarb 16757673 1125 L9 L45 L30 L43 X51 L39     1.0
51 Andrejs Gulbis 16741331 845 L5 F32 L34 L42 F50 B---     1.0
52 Maxwell Fleming 30329285 unr. H--- L19 L16 H--- L43 F40     1.0
53 Charles Faulkner 12559529 1720 L12 F13 U--- U--- U--- U---     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 Total
1 Alexander Pa Chin 17050697 1859 U--- U--- W18 U--- U--- W17 2.0
2 Erika Malykin 12910007 1693 U--- U--- W22 W19 U--- U--- 2.0
3 Christopher Hallacy 30310731 unr. U--- W24 U--- U--- W25 U--- 2.0
4 Gaziz Makhanov 16828914 1917 D14 W21 U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.5
5 Edward Lewis 12601629 2017 W15 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0
6 Georgios Tsolias 17266862 1511 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- W15 1.0
7 Albert Starr 12844781 1500 U--- U--- U--- W26 U--- U--- 1.0
8 John Chan 12561007 1500 W29 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0
9 Alex Langrog 12636476 1489 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- W23 1.0
10 Anton Maliev 30250562 1459 U--- U--- U--- U--- W27 U--- 1.0
11 Prasanna Chandramouli 30279272 921 U--- U--- U--- U--- W28 U--- 1.0
12 Christian Brickhouse 30261226 452 U--- U--- W24 U--- U--- U--- 1.0
13 William Deegan   unr. U--- U--- U--- W28 U--- U--- 1.0
14 Andre Persidsky 12545869 1814 D4 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.5
15 Daniel Massop 30328281 1600 L5 D16 U--- U--- U--- L6 0.5
16 Ian Atroshchenko 30214657 1135 U--- D15 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.5
17 Brandon Estolas 12869947 2003 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- L1 0.0
18 Steven Svoboda 10451671 1914 U--- U--- L1 U--- U--- U--- 0.0
19 Abel Talamantez 12465386 1800 U--- U--- U--- L2 U--- U--- 0.0
20 Teodoro Porlares 12773115 1746 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0
21 Charles Faulkner 12559529 1720 U--- L4 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0
22 Enile Ahmed 17110092 1356 U--- U--- L2 U--- U--- U--- 0.0
23 Drew H Clark 30178041 1339 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- L9 0.0
24 Timothy Bayaraa 15616166 1149 U--- L3 L12 U--- U--- U--- 0.0
25 Natan Gimelfarb 16757673 1125 U--- U--- U--- U--- L3 U--- 0.0
26 Thomas Gu 17005685 997 U--- U--- U--- L7 U--- U--- 0.0
27 Cathal Dayton 12930548 784 U--- U--- U--- U--- L10 U--- 0.0
28 Judit Sztaray 14708926 749 U--- U--- U--- L13 L11 U--- 0.0
29 Maxwell Fleming 30329285 unr. L8 U--- U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0

TD Corner: FIDE vs. USCF Rule Differences

by Abel Talamantez

Judit and I have both previously written about differences in rules that govern FIDE versus USCF events and USCF events, and how these differences can cause confusion at the board.

According to the USCF rulebook: 14E. Insufficient material to win on time. The game is drawn even when a player exceeds the time limit if one of the following conditions exists as of the most recently determined legal move. 

14E2. King and bishop or king and knight. Opponent has only king and bishop or king and knight, and does not have a forced win. 

This means that if an event is USCF-rated, the following position would be drawn if white ran out of time. 

This is because black does not have the requisite material to force mate. 

However, FIDE sees it differently, since the material on the board is such that a mate can be constructed, as in this example.

The corresponding FIDE rule is the following:

5.2.2  The game is drawn when a position has arisen in which neither player can checkmate the opponent's king with any series of legal moves. The game is said to end in a 'dead position'. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the position was in accordance with Article 3 and Articles 4.2 - 4.7.

In the case above, it is possible to achieve checkmate, however, it is just not a forced checkmate.

Such nuances are important for players to remember. I was directing a People's Tournament on the UC Berkeley campus where it was king and rook vs. king and knight, and the player with king and rook ended up flagging while trying to desperately achieve a mate on the board. The player did this thinking the worse that could happen is the game would be drawn. Players should take time to read these little differences, as many have to learn it the hard way.

Another rule that often affects the TNM games is accounting for the time elapsed when both players have not arrived at the start of the round. Based on USCF rules, the elapsed time between the start of the round and the time when the first player shows up must be split between the two players.

16K. Both players late. If both players arrive late, the first to arrive must split the elapsed time before starting the opponent’s clock. For example, if the first player to arrive is 40 minutes late, the clocks should be set to reflect 20 minutes of elapsed time on each side.

The FIDE rule on this is different, all elapsed time is subtracted from white's clock:

6.6 At the time determined for the start of the game White's clock is started.

In smaller tournaments the arbiters start all clocks.
In tournaments with many players the arbiter announces the start of the round and states that White's clock is started. The arbiter then goes round the room checking that White's clock has been started on all boards.

In the case of FIDE, there is no splitting of times, the pressure is on white to show up and make a move and black's time only starts after white makes the first move.

In another incident that is good for club players to know is what happens when an ilegal move is made and the original position before the illegal move is not certain. This occurred towards the end of the evening during the Tuesday Night Marathon, a board 10 matchup between Glenn Kaplan and Teodoro Porlares. Porlares made an illegal move with 2 seconds on his clock and both players were not notating. There was difficulty restoring the original position since the record of the game was not being kept and both players were not certain on the original position. I had to lean on the following FIDE rule:

7.6 If, during a game it is found that any piece has been displaced from its correct square, the position before the irregularity shall be reinstated. If the position immediately before the irregularity cannot be determined, the game shall continue from the last identifiable position prior to the irregularity. The game shall then continue from this reinstated position.

Both players agreed upon the last position and play resumed from there, after adding 2 additional minutes to Kaplan for Porlares' illegal move.

I encourage players to flip through both rulebooks, as a little bit of knowledge can go a long way in a critical moment in a game. As always, get an arbiter if there are any issues during a tournament game, please do not try to resolve rule issues yourself at the board.

Check out the USCF Rulebook by clicking HERE.

Click HERE for the FIDE rulebook.

Tony's Teasers

Tony is back and ready to challenge you to solve this problem: white to move and mate in 4

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 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 Four

There’s one opening that we all know, for better or worse: the King’s Indian Attack (KIA).  As played successfully by Karjakin in his must-win victory over Shankland in the World Cup 2021, the simple sequence of moves 1.Nf3, 2.g3, 3.Bg2 and 4.0-0 – no matter what black plays! – seems to guarantee the perfect answer to that never-ending question: how do I get out of the opening alive? 

Apart from being a safe beginning to the game, the King’s Indian Attack is also a way to take the game into your own territory:

“You thought you were playing a French after 1.e4 then 1…e6?  Well, then 2.d3! Take that!”


“Nice Sicilian Defense you got there, pal. We wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to it now, would we? 1.e4 c5 2.d3!”

Here’s the above-mentioned game:

Karjakin – Shankland, World Cup 2021.

1. e4 e6 2. d3.

Avoiding main-stream theory - here we go!

1…d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. Ngf3 Be7 5. g3 a5 6. Bg2 a4 7. a3 c5 8. O-O Nc6 9. Re1 O-O 10. e5 Nd7 11. Nf1 b5 12. h4 Bb7 13. h5 h6 14. Bf4 Qb6 15. Qd2 Rfc8 16. g4 Qd8 17. N1h2 Ra6 18. Kh1 b4 19. Rg1 Nf8 20. axb4 cxb4 21. d4 Na5 22. g5 Nc4 23. Qc1 hxg5 24. Bxg5 b3 25. Bxe7 Qxe7 26. Bf1 a3 27. Rxg7+!!

This is what it’s all about.

Kxg7 28. Ng4 f5 29. exf6+ Qxf6 30. Nxf6 axb2 31. Qg5+ Kf7 32. h6 Ng6 33. Nh4 bxa1=Q 34. Qxg6+ Ke7 35. Qg7+ Kd6 36. Qd7# 1-0

Trailing his opponent by a game, this victory essentially put Karjakin into the next Candidate’s Tournament.


However, The King’s Indian Attack is not suitable as an opening if your intention is to just play some moves and think you don’t have to worry about anything.  Chess doesn’t work that way, as many have found out:


Nezhmetinov – Korchnoi, 21st USSR Championship 1954.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d3 Nf6 4. Nbd2 g6 5. g3 Bg7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O d5 8. Re1 e6 9. c3 b6.

Black is using one of numerous possible setups against the KIA.

10. e5 Nd7 11. d4 f6 12. exf6 Qxf6 13. Qe2 Bb7. If white now goes for the e-pawn he loses the d4 pawn and gets nothing. But giving up the center completely, as he now does, is worse. 14. dxc5 Nxc5 15. Nb3 Ba6 16. Qe3 Ne4 17. Nbd2 Nc5 18. Nb3 Ne4 19. Nbd2 Nxd2 20. Bxd2 e5.

White’s drifting play has landed him in hot water, and “Victor the Terrible” turns up the heat: 21. Ng5 Rad8 22. f4 e4 23. Nh3 Rfe8 24. Nf2 Na5 25. b3 Bf8 26. g4 Bc5 27. Qg3 e3 28. Rxe3 Bxe3 0-1

If 29.Bxe3 Qxc3, etc.

All well and good you might say: what an insipid opening! But die-hard advocates of the King’s Indian dream of conducting incredible mating attacks like this:


Petrosian – Pachman, Bled Yugoslavia 1961.

Annotations by Bobby Fischer.

1.Nf3 c5 2.g3 Nc6 3.Bg2 g6 4.O-O Bg7 5.d3 e6 6.e4 Nge7 7.Re1 O-O 8.e5 d6 9.exd6 Qxd6 10.Nbd2 Qc7 11.Nb3 Nd4 12.Bf4 Qb6 13.Ne5 Nxb3 14.Nc4. Very nice tempo move.

14…Qb5 15.axb3 a5 16.Bd6 Bf6 17.Qf3 Kg7 18.Re4. Now Petrosian is preparing for a very beautiful finish. 18… Rd8.

19.Qxf6+! Kxf6 20.Be5+ Kg5 21.Bg7!! This is a real problem move. 1-0

Black cannot avoid mate.

Already a steady user of the KIA, Fischer produced his own immortal version six years later:


Fischer – Myagmarsuren, Sousse Interzonal 1967.

1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. g3 c5 5. Bg2 Nc6 6. Ngf3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. e5 Nd7 9. Re1 b5 10. Nf1 b4 11. h4 a5 12. Bf4 a4 13. a3.

This odd move, slowing down black’s queen-side attack considerably, is Fischer’s patent.

12…bxa3 14. bxa3 Na5 15. Ne3 Ba6 16. Bh3 d4 17. Nf1 Nb6

18. Ng5 Nd5 19. Bd2 Bxg5 20. Bxg5 Qd7 21. Qh5 Rfc8 22. Nd2 Nc3

23. Bf6!

What follows is a model white attack, precise and elegant in its execution.

13…Qe8 24. Ne4 g6 25. Qg5 Nxe4 26. Rxe4 c4 27. h5 cxd3 28. Rh4 Ra7 29. Bg2! Setting the stage. 29…dxc2 30. Qh6 Qf8 31. Qxh7+!! 1-0

Another explosive finish. 31…Kxh7 32.hxg6+ Kxg6 (32…Kg8 33.Rh8#) 33.Be4#!


But for all of these brilliancies, there’s always a cold shower somewhere for white, and another example of pointless play ruthlessly punished:


Ljubojevic – Kasparov, Niksic Yugoslavia 1983.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3 Nc6 4.g3 d5 5.Nbd2 g6 6.Bg2 Bg7 7.O-O Nge7 8.Re1 b6 9.h4 h6 10.c3 a5 11.a4 Ra7.

A very dynamic set-up for black in this opening. 12.Nb3 d4 13.cxd4 cxd4 14.Bd2 e5 15.Nc1 Be6 16.Re2 O-O 17.Be1 f5 18.Nd2 f4.

White is already lost, and the axe falls over and over again, without mercy:

19.f3 fxg3 20.Bxg3 g5! 21.hxg5 Ng6! 22.gxh6 Bxh6 23.Nf1 Rg7 24.Rf2 Be3 25.b3 Nf4 0-1

Absolutely horrible.

Finally, I must confess: I too, from time to time, have come under the hypnotic sway of this opening.  But only out of laziness and cowardice – my games with white have resembled those of Nezhmetdinov and Ljubojevic, not those of Petrosian and Fischer, I’m afraid. 

The year 1978 was my best in chess: I tied for 1st in the American Open and the US Junior, and won the Northern California State Championship held at the Mechanics’ Institute, tying with my brother Jay.  I also got lucky a few times, as a quick look at the following gruesome game will show:


Whitehead – Kennedy, No. California State Ch. / Bagby Memorial 1978.

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 b6 3.Bg2 Bb7 4.0-0 e6 5.d3 Be7 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.e4 d6 8.Re1 c5 9.c3 Qc7 10.a4 Nc6 11.Nc4 Rad8 12.Qe2 Rfe8.

Black’s opening set-up has been a success, while white’s moves are pretty pointless. The trend continues. 13.Bh3 a6 14.b4? cxb4 15.Be3 Nd7 16.cxb4 Nxb4 17.Rec1 Nc5 18.Ra3 Bc6 19.a5 bxa5 20.Nxa5 Nbxd3.

21.Qxd3? Ridiculous. White sacrifices his queen for three minor pieces and a lost game. 21.Nxc6 Nxc1 22.Nxe7+ Rxe7 23.Bxc1 Nxe4! was unappealing, but white has 2 bishops vs a rook and 3 pawns. The a-pawn is weakish and the rooks are not doing much. Unclear? But that was better than the game. 21…Nxd3 22.Rxc6 Qb8 23.Rb6 Qa8 24.Rxd3 Qxe4 25.Ne1 Rb8 26.Bg2 Qf5?! 26…Qxe3! wins on the spot. Now white equalizes. 27.Rxb8 Rxb8 28.Nc6 Re8 29.Nxe7+ Rxe7 30.Rxd6 h5 31.Nd3?! Misplacing the knight, which would have more potential on f3. 31…a5 32.h3?! This pawn belongs on h4. 32…Re8 33.Kh2 Rb8. Black’s failure to play …h4! breaking up white’s king position here or sometime in the next few moves is puzzling. Time pressure for both sides is taking a toll. 34.Bc6 Rb3 35.Nf4 Kh7 36.Be8 Rb1 36…h4! 37.Bc6 Qe5 38.Rd7 f6?! 39.Re7! Rd1? Last chance for 39…h4! Now white takes over, and the minor pieces swarm in.  40.Rxe6 Qc3 41.Be4+ f5 42.Bxf5+ Kg8 43.Re8+ Kf7 44.Bg6+ Kf6 45.Re6+ Kg5 46.h4+. Missing mate in one: 46.Nd3#! 46…Kg4 47.f3+ 1-0.

After 47…Kxf3 48.Bxh5#.

The King’s Indian Attack is like a piece of chocolate cake: sweet, but don’t eat too much.

Nick de Firmian’s Column

Long Live the King!

Magnus Carlsen has retained his title at the World Championship match in Dubai. (Technically it’s not over at this writing, but it’s over and will probably be official by the time you read this.) He strengthens his already impressive legacy among world champions, having defended his title four times. You may recall that the great Capablanca never had a successful defense of his title.  He beat Lasker in 1921 and lost his first challenge to Alekhine in 1927. Kasparov beat Karpov and Anand in title defenses then lost to Kramnik.  Alekhine won several matches defending his title (lost to Euwe but trounced him in the rematch). He and Fischer had the distinction of going to their deaths with the claim of champion, but avoiding the strong challengers make that claim weak. Botvinnik held the title for 15 years but is not in the running for greatest world champion as he never won a match against a challenger (a tie with Bronstein and a tie with Smyslov). To his credit he won the rematches against Smyslov and Tal, though he seems to have benefitted from a favorable system to keep the title that long. Lasker kept the title an astounding 27 years and we must pay him his due even though the world (and chess world) was a very different place then.

Magnus dispatched Nepo with relative ease in this 4rth title defense. How long can he keep it up? Already people are looking ahead to the next world championship match and wondering if young Firoujza or a re-energized Caruana can finally dethrone Carlsen. One can only wait and see, though I wouldn’t bet against the king. He showed all the qualities of a great champion in Dubai while his opponent didn’t match his skill, determination and experience. Below we give two games with key moments of the match.

(1) Carlsen,Magnus - Nepomniachtchi,Ian [D02]
World Chp, 03.12.2021 Game 6

This was the most important game of the match. It went back and forth in the opening/early middle game and then settled into a long, hard battle which tested both players stamina and determination. 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.b3 A slow move instead of the usual 6. c4 Catalan continuation. 6...c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.c4 dxc4 9.Qc2 Qe7 10.Nbd2!? Magnus offers a pawn sacrifice. 10...Nc6 Nepo chooses saftey and declines the offer. On [10...cxb3 11.Nxb3 Bd6 12.Na5 White has good compensation] 11.Nxc4 b5 12.Nce5 Nb4 13.Qb2 Bb7 14.a3 Nc6 15.Nd3 Bb6 16.Bg5 Rfd8 17.Bxf6 gxf6 Black has doubled pawn but the bishop pair in compensaton. Chances are equal. 18.Rac1 Nd4 19.Nxd4 Bxd4 20.Qa2 Bxg2 21.Kxg2 Qb7+ 22.Kg1 Qe4 23.Qc2 a5 24.Rfd1 Kg7 25.Rd2

Chances are still equal and the spectators may have expected another draw. The players are in a fighting mood however. 25...Rac8!? This trades two rooks for the white queen. Now the game is imbalanced. 26.Qxc8 Rxc8 27.Rxc8 Qd5 28.b4 a4 29.e3 Be5 30.h4 h5 31.Kh2 Bb2 32.Rc5 Qd6?! 33.Rd1?! [33.Rcc2! Bxa3 34.Nf4 Qxb4?! 35.Rd7! gives White a strong attack and a big advantage] 33...Bxa3 34.Rxb5 Qd7 35.Rc5 e5?! [35...Bxb4! 36.Rcc1 Be7 leaves Black with a big advantage] 36.Rc2 Qd5 37.Rdd2 Qb3 38.Ra2 e4 39.Nc5 Qxb4 40.Nxe4 Qb3 41.Rac2 Bf8 42.Nc5 Qb5 43.Nd3 a3
The game is still roughly even yet there is lots of play in the position with the imbalanced material. 44.Nf4 Qa5 45.Ra2 Bb4 46.Rd3 Kh6 47.Rd1 Qa4 48.Rda1 Bd6 49.Kg1 Qb3 50.Ne2 Qd3 51.Nd4 Kh7 52.Kh2 Qe4?!
53.Rxa3! Now White will have all the chances. The black queen is not as powerful with all the pawns on one side of the board. 53...Qxh4+ taking the h-pawn instead of the exchange is likely best 54.Kg1 Qe4 55.Ra4 Be5 56.Ne2 Qc2 57.R1a2 Qb3 58.Kg2 Qd5+ 59.f3 Qd1 60.f4 Bc7 61.Kf2 Bb6 62.Ra1 Qb3 63.Re4 The white e-pawn is weak and it's very hard to make progress. Magnus shows his character by being extremely patient. 63...Kg7 64.Re8 f5 65.Raa8 Qb4 66.Rac8 Ba5 67.Rc1 Bb6 68.Re5 Qb3 69.Re8 Qd5 70.Rcc8 Qh1 71.Rc1 Qd5 72.Rb1 Ba7?! the bishop is not well placed on the seventh rank. Better would be [72...Bc5] 73.Re7 Bc5 74.Re5 Qd3 75.Rb7 It still hard to make progress but the white rooks are getting strong 75...Qc2 76.Rb5 Ba7 77.Ra5 Bb6 78.Rab5 Ba7 79.Rxf5 Qd3
now what? If either rook to e5 there comes anyway 80...Bxe3+! 80.Rxf7+! Kxf7 81.Rb7+ Kg6 82.Rxa7 now White has a rook, knight and two pawns for the queen. The is no win in sight but Black will be struggling to draw for a long time. 82...Qd5 83.Ra6+ Kh7 84.Ra1 Kg6 85.Nd4 Qb7 86.Ra2 Qh1 87.Ra6+ Kf7 88.Nf3 White must retreat to stop the checks. 88...Qb1 89.Rd6 Kg7 90.Rd5 Qa2+ 91.Rd2 Qb1 92.Re2 Qb6 93.Rc2 Qb1 94.Nd4 Qh1 95.Rc7+ Kf6 96.Rc6+ Kf7 97.Nf3 Qb1 98.Ng5+ Kg7 99.Ne6+ Kf7 100.Nd4 Qh1 101.Rc7+ Kf6 102.Nf3 Qb1 103.Rd7 Qb2+ 104.Rd2 Qb1 105.Ng1 Qb4 106.Rd1 Qb3 107.Rd6+ Kg7 108.Rd4 Qb2+ 109.Ne2 Qb1 110.e4! Finally a move forward! 110...Qh1 111.Rd7+ Kg8 112.Rd4 Qh2+ 113.Ke3 h4 114.gxh4 Qh3+ 115.Kd2 Qxh4 116.Rd3 Kf8 117.Rf3 Qd8+ 118.Ke3 Qa5?! [118...Qb6+ 119.Nd4 Qb1] 119.Kf2 Qa7+ 120.Re3 Now the white king is safe and White can look to moving forward again. 120...Qd7 121.Ng3 Qd2+ 122.Kf3 Qd1+ 123.Re2 Qb3+ 124.Kg2 Qb7 125.Rd2 Qb3 126.Rd5 Ke7 127.Re5+ Kf7 128.Rf5+ Ke8 129.e5! Qa2+ 130.Kh3 White is rolling ahead. The white king finds shelter on the side so the pawns move forward. 130...Qe6 131.Kh4 Qh6+ 132.Nh5 Qh7 133.e6!
White wins by tactical themes 133...Qg6 134.Rf7! Kd8 [134...Qxe6 135.Ng7+ Kxf7 136.Nxe6 Kxe6 137.Kg5 is a winning ending with just the one pawn] 135.f5 Qg1 136.Ng7 Nepomniachtchi resigns since the white king escapes checks by running up the board to g8. This was a game of will where Magnus showed true grit and determination. It was not just the win of one point. The effect of this marathon game began to break Nepo's spirit. 1-0

(2) Carlsen,Magnus - Nepomniachtchi,Ian [C43]
World Chp, 05.12.2021 Game 8

A match will usually have some mistakes (and even blunders) from both participants. Nepo was down in the match and had to remain steady. It seems he was still suffering from the grueling 136 move defeat and couldn't stay completely focused. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 Petrov's Defense is a good match weapon - just trying to draw with Black. 3.d4 Nxe4 4.Bd3 d5 5.Nxe5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.Nd2 Nxd2 8.Bxd2 Bd6 9.0-0 h5!?

[an interesting choice, avoiding 9...0-0 10.Qh5 It provoked a long think from Magnus.] 10.Qe1+ Kf8?! [10...Qe7 11.Bg5 Qxe1 12.Rfxe1+ Kf8 is only a tad better for White. This would be great drawing chances.] 11.Bb4! Qe7 12.Bxd6 Qxd6 White has a small middle game edge after the exchange of dark-squared bishops. 13.Qd2 Re8 14.Rae1 Rh6 15.Qg5 c6 16.Rxe8+ Bxe8 17.Re1 Qf6 18.Qe3 Bd7 19.h3 h4 20.c4 dxc4 21.Bxc4 White is a little more active with a slightly safer king. Now 21...Kg8 would be best. Instead Nepo makes a miscalculation. 21...b5?
22.Qa3+! Kg8 Black must lose a pawn. [22...Qd6 23.Qxa7 bxc4? 24.Qa8+ is mate in two.] 23.Qxa7 Qd8 24.Bb3 Rd6 25.Re4 Be6 26.Bxe6 Rxe6 27.Rxe6 fxe6 28.Qc5
White has an extra pawn and better pawn structure in the queen ending. There is no one in the world that is likely to save the game against Magnus - the best endgame player on the planet. 28...Qa5 29.Qxc6 Qe1+ 30.Kh2 Qxf2 31.Qxe6+ Kh7 32.Qe4+ Kg8 White is two pawns ahead but must be careful to avoid perpetual checks. Magnus played slowly and carefully, realizing the game was his if he would be very accurate. 33.b3 Qxa2 34.Qe8+ Kh7 35.Qxb5 Qf2 36.Qe5 Qb2 37.Qe4+ Kg8 38.Qd3 Qf2 39.Qc3 Qf4+ 40.Kg1 Kh7 41.Qd3+ g6 42.Qd1! safegaurding the back rank to stop checks. The white pawns are ready to march forward 42...Qe3+ 43.Kh1 g5 desparetely going for counterplay 44.d5 g4 45.hxg4 h3

46.Qf3! White is 3 pawns up and stops the checks. Nepo resigned. 1-0

Solution to Tony's Teaser

1. Rb7!! Kd5 2. Nd8 Kc5 3. Be5!! Kd5 4. Rb5#

If 2...Kd6 3. Bd4 Kd5 4. Rd7#

If 1...Kf5 2. Rb6 Kf4 3. Kf2 Kf5 4. Rf6#

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 →