Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter #348

Dvoretsky loves to watch gifted chess minds struggle with his problems. He basks in his power while young champions are slowly drained of their audacious creativity. As a student, I found these sessions to be resonant of Orwell's prison scenes in 1984, where independently minded thinkers were ruthlessly broken down until all that was left was a shell of a person.

Josh Waitzkin from his new book The Art of Learning

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

2) Gata Kamsky advances

3) Frank Anderson- Part One

4) Graham Burgess on Chess.FM by John Henderson

5) Here and There

6) Upcoming Events


1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

The 45th Arthur Stamer Memorial, named for the Mechanics' first chess director, was held June 2-3, and won by Flipino IM Ricardo DeGuzman whose 5 1/2 -1/2 score netted him $400. Tying for second at 5-1 in the upset-filled event were Romulo Fuentes, Felix Rudyak and Murray Newcomb.

A Good Record and a Good Story

Taken from the San Francisco Chronicle October 30, 1943, and sent in by Wm. Asman, Berkeley, California. Reprinted in The Chess Correspondent, January-February 1944, page 13.

REPUTATION: The Mechanics' Institute Chess Club, incidentally , is a very fast league, and its reputation for playing strength is known all over the world. When Dr. Alexander Alekhine, the world's champion, returned to his native Russia after an international exhibition in 1929, he was asked by reporters where he encountered the toughest opposition.

"At a place called the Mechanics' Institute in San Francisco" replied the great master.

SCUFFLE: Next to the affair of 1906 the most sensational catastrophe that ever struck the Chess Club occurred one night during a very tense and important match that was being played with a Chicago chess team.

A newspaper photographer attempted to take a picture of the team in progress, but the first flash powder he tried wouldn't light. He dumped it into a spittoon, tried some new powder, got his shot and left. Half an hour later, a spectator casually dropped a lighted cigar butt into the spittoon. His action was followed by a burst of flame and a roar, and a clatter which was the top of the spittoon hitting the ceiling.

In the ensuing rush for the door, the usually calm and intense chess players scrambled all over each other, knocked each other down and upset chairs. Subsequently, however, they recovered their wits, returned to their games and emerged from their match ruffled but victorious.

Editor: It appears likely that Mr. Asman was referring to the 1922 SF-Chicago telegraph match which the MI won 6 1/2 - 5 1/2 as was reported in the British Chess Magazine of 1922, page 239. Alekhine scored +24, -3, =5 in his 1924 visit to the Mechanics' and +27, +8, =8 on May 11, 1929, which ran from 8:30 pm to 2:30 am! A picture of Alekhine in action in the 1929 simul can be found on the walls of the main room of the Mechanics' Chess Club and one of the Chicago match in room 407 - likely the very same one the photographer took shortly before the explosion.

Pictures of the MI Chess Club from the early 1920s show spittoons on the floor that bear a strong resemblance to high end dog food dishes. A picture of the main playing area from 1930 suggests that spittoons were no longer in use.

We have heard other references to Alekhine praising the opposition he faced at the MI but read France rather than the Soviet Union as they place where he likely made the statement.

The MI will be holding its Summer camps for intermediate players from July 16-20 and advanced July 23-27. Go to and for more information.


2) Gata Kamsky advances

Gata Kamsky defeated Etienne Bacrot in convincing fashion 3 1/2 - 1/2 to advance in the FIDE Candidates Matches. This coming Wednesday he will play Boris Gelfand in a six game match with the winner qualifying for the eight player World Championship tournament in Mexico this fall. Since Bobby Fischer won the title in 1972 only three Americans have qualified for the Candidates - Robert Byrne in 1973, Yasser Seirawan in 1985 and 1987 and Gata in the early 1990s - the latter making it all the way to a title match with Anatoly Karpov.

The match between Gata and Gelfand will be a contrast in styles. Gelfand is known for his deep opening preparation while Gata, especially after his long layoff, prefers to defer the fight to the middle and endgame. Gelfand is seconded by GMs Elyanov and Huzman while Gata is by himself. There is no other player in Elista who has Gata's vast match experience. Hopefully this plus his incredibly tough competitive spirit will make the difference. Go Gata!


3) Frank Anderson- Part One

Can you name the five International Masters that have made San Diego their home? No points for Cyrus Lakdawala - the top player in San Diego for two decades. Knowledgeable chess fans in Southern California should also be able to identify John Watson (now living in Lincoln, Nebraska), Larry D. Evans and Jeremy Silman, but can you name the fifth IM? A couple hints: he was the first IM in San Diego, he taught Jeremy Silman briefly when he was a kid and like Cyrus Lakdawala started his chess career in Canada. He also won gold medals on board two in the 1954 and 1958 Chess Olympiads and should have become the first Commonwealth Grandmaster ( in 1958 - 6 years before Yanosky received the title). Give up? The answer is Frank Anderson who moved to San Diego in 1967 and lived there until his death on September 18, 1980.

Anderson's marriage to Sylvia, the birth of his daughters Carol and Joy, and demanding jobs didn't give Anderson many opportunities to play in San Diego but the Fischer-Spassky match lured him back to the chess world. He wrote nine detailed articles on the match for the The San Diego Union, played a few local tournaments and club matches and gave well received lessons.

The following article by the late Moe Moss, which was published in The Montreal Star on October 24th, 1964, tells Anderson's story. This is the first of a multi-part series on Frank Anderson. I would like to thank Harlo and Sylvia Hunter for their generosity in making Frank Anderson's records available.

Let's Play Chess

Olympic Team is Selected

The Canadian team to the Chess Olympics comprises Frank Anderson, Elod Macskasy, Duncan Suttles, Zvonko Vranesic, Leslie Witt and Abe Yanofsky. In order that readers may know something about the team, a brief biography will appear in this column each week.

International Master Frank Anderson is 36. Born in Edmonton he moved to Toronto at an early age and received most of his schooling there. While at the University of Toronto, he specialized in such courses as honors mathematics, physics, chemistry and statistics.

He learned chess by himself at the age of 16, when he was confined to bed with arthritis; being unable to join a club, he started playing by correspondence. As a member of the CCCA (Canadian Correspondence Chess Association) he was soon playing as many as 50 games at a time with opponents from all over the world. It is no exaggeration to say it was this interest which kept him from despairing over his affliction.

He played his first over-the-board games just a few months before entering the Toronto championship in 1946 in which he placed second. The same year he participated in the Canadian championship at Toronto and came fifth. During the eight or nine years following, he won the Toronto Championship five teams and the Ontario title three times.

In the Canadian championship at Arvida, 1949, he came equal third with Yanofsky; in 1951 at Vancouver, he ranked second after Vaitonis ; in 1953 at Winnipeg he and Yanosky tied for first; and in 1955 at Ottawa, he won the championship outright.

His record in international events is impressive. At the 1954 Olympics in Amsterdam he scored 84 percent on second board. Of the 150 players in his group he was second to Paul Keres and because of this achievement , he won the title "international master".

At the 1958 Olympics in Munich, he again scored 84 per cent on second board. He became ill toward the end of the event and, although his ailment was correctly diagnosed by a foreign doctor, the latter's pronouncement was misunderstood and the wrong treatment was administered. As a result Mr. Anderson was physically unable to play even one more game. The pity of this is that had he played, he would have been awarded the title 'grandmaster' automatically. In order to get the award, one must play a minimum number of games - and Mr. Anderson's results from the first games were so good that even if he had lost that last one he would still have gotten the title. But he was unable to even sit at the table and so did not get the coveted award.

Beat Bondarevsky

He beat Bondarevsky when the latter was in Toronto 10 years ago - the only game the Russian grandmaster lost on his U.S. and Canadian tour. Mr. Anderson holds the world record for tandem play, when he teamed up with Dr. George Berner to take on 100 boards simultaneously at Hart House, Toronto, the two experts scoring 86 per cent. He has played as many as eight games simultaneously blindfolded, winning all of them. He has also played blindfold chess at the rate of 10 seconds per move ( against players with the board in front of them), but doesn't engage in such activities any more.

He spent a few years in Ottawa and is now residing in Montreal. At the University of Toronto he did some work on programming computers to play chess; some rather interesting discoveries came out of this effort, results which are to be published soon.

Mr. Anderson is now with Price, Waterhouse & Company as a management consultant, his speciality being with electronic computers and data processing.


4) Graham Burgess on Chess.FM by John Henderson

Every Tuesday at 9pm Eastern Time, and for 7-days thereafter,
available ONDemand for members at the Internet Chess Club

John Watson, one our most profound theoretical thinkers and authors,
has chronicled the evolution of modern chess strategy in two
fascinating books, Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy. Advances Since
Nimzowitsch (Gambit, 1998), winner of both the USCF & BCF 1999 "Book
of the Year" awards(!), and its superb sequel, Chess Strategy in
Action (Gambit, 2003). John is also a renowned chess book critic, who
over the years has written many book review columns for various
magazines and web sites.

This week (5 June), John’s special guest on the show will be FM
Graham Burgess, Editorial Director of Gambit Publishing. Graham
Burgess is a respected author and editor of chess books, not to
mention the holder of the world record for marathon blitz chess-playing.

This show will be made available for 7-days ONDemand for members.
Chess FM page on our website

5) Here and There

IM Tim Taylor won the G/45 Joshua Tree Open held June 2 with a score of 4.5 from 5. IM John Donaldson and NM Joel Johnson tied for second with 3 1/2. Organizer Mark Muller has been holding tournaments in Joshua Tree, just outside the National Park, for over decade attracting the likes of the late GM Igor Ivanov and IMs Enrico Sevillano and Emory Tate on a regular basis but rising gas prices have been steadily cutting into tournament attendance.

John Blackstone sends in the following game played in the Bay Area fifty years ago.

Rossolimo,N - Gross,H [D21]
Simultaneous Rossolimo Sf Bay Area, 1957

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 a6 4.a4 Nf6 5.e3 Bg4
6.Bxc4 e6 7.0-0 c5 8.Qb3 Bxf3 9.gxf3 Nc6 10.dxc5 Bxc5
11.Rd1 Qe7 12.Bf1 0-0 13.Nc3 Rfd8 14.Bd2 Ne5 15.Be2
Ng6 16.Be1 Nd7 17.Ne4 f5 18.Nxc5 Nxc5 19.Qb6 Rdc8
20.Qd6 Qg5+ 21.Qg3 Qe7 22.b4 Nd7 23.Qd6 Qg5+ 24.Kh1
Ndf8 25.f4 Qf6 26.Qd4 e5 27.fxe5 Nxe5 28.Qd5+ Kh8
29.Rac1 f4 30.Rxc8 Rxc8 31.Qxb7 Rc2 32.Qxa6 Qh4 33.Qd6
Neg6 34.Bf3 Rxf2 35.Bg2 f3 36.Bxf3 Rf1+ 37.Kg2 Rxe1
38.Qg3 Rxe3 39.Qxh4 Nxh4+ 40.Kg3 Rxf3+ 41.Kxh4 Rf4+
42.Kg3 Rxb4 43.a5 Ra4 44.Rd8 Kg8 45.Ra8 Kf7 0-1

Put a dozen chess players in a room and your likely to get many opinions on any topic. Make the topic chess politics and the players polled ones with titles and asking for unanimous agreement would seem by definition impossible - and yet 8 of Southern California's top players ( GM Varuzhan Akobian, GM Melikset Khachiyan, IM Armen Ambartsoumian, IM Andranik Matikozyan, IM Jack Peters, IM Anthony Saidy, IM Enrico Sevillano and IM Jeremy Silman) have agreed to endorse three of the ten candidates running for office. If you are curious who they are write to Jack Peters at . Your ballot is coming in the June issue in the next few weeks. Don't forget to vote!

This weekend many Bay Area players will be traveling to Las Vegas to play in the National Open. If you aren't making the trip and would like to play close to home check out Richard Koepcke's Bent Creek Winery Open in LIvermore. Support your local tournaments and be a green chess player.

6) Upcoming Events

MI Events - go to for more information

William Addison Open - June 23rd


4-SS, SD/2 Bent Creek Winery, 5455 Greenville Rd, Livermore, Ca. $$B 80 paid entries (not counting unrated entries ). Three Sections: Open $300-$150-$75 U2200 $200-100; Reserve (U2000) $200-100-50; U1800 $200-100; Booster (U1600) $200-100-50 U1400 $200-100 Unr: Trophy First. EF: postmarked by 6/5 $50, $60 at site. Unrateds $20 in the Booster section or may play up to the Open section for the regular fee. $2 discount to CalChess members. USCF memb. req’d. May play up for add’l $10, add’l $50 if U1600 playing in the Open Section. Reg: Sat 6/9 8:30-9:30 am. RDS.: Sat. 10:00-3:00; Sun. 10:00-3:00; One 1/2 pt bye available if requested in advance (bye in rds. three or four must be requested before rd. 1). 2007 June Ratings List, CCA minimums and Directors discretion will be used to place players as accurately as possible. Please bring clocks and equipment. INFO: Richard Koepcke (650)-964-2640. Ent: Richard Koepcke, P.O. Box 1432, Mountain View, CA 94042. No Phone entries.

A Classic Event!
Jun.16 14th California Classic Championship California, Northern

5SS G/45. 3003 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95054. EF: $29. $15 more after 6/12, $2 Cal Chess Discount.. $750 b/50: Open 200-100-50 U2000 30, Reserve: 200-100 U1600 30, U1400 30, U1200 30. Reg: Sat 8:30-9:30 AM, Rds: 10:00-11:30, 11:45AM-1:15 PM, 1:45-3:15PM, 3:25-4:55PM, 5:00-7:00 PM. Ent: Salman Azhar, P.O. Box 730934, San Jose, CA 95173-0934, Payable to Salman Azhar or paypal to Info:

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