Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter #357

It's far more important not to do anything stupid than to create brilliant combinations.

GM Larry Evans

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

2) GM Onischuk ties for first in Biel

3) GM Khachian wins Edmonton International

4) Here and There

5) Upcoming Events


1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

With deep sadness we note the passing of long-time Mechanics' member Mario Samatra who passed in late July of prostate cancer. Mario, whose rating fluctuated between Expert and Class A for many years, was a fixture in the Tuesday Night Marathons the past decade where his good spirit was always appreciated. He will be sorely missed.

Mike Nolan of the USCF, who has done so much to modernize the Federation's computer systems, provides the following data for the top 10 youngest experts (since 1992) in the US. MI member Nicholas Nip narrowly missed breaking the record and joins some famous names including two other Bay Area players.

9 years 8 days 12910173 LUO, BRIAN J
9 years 1 month 22 days 12743305 CARUANA, FABIANO
9 years 2 months 2 days 13062538 NIP, NICHOLAS

9 years 9 months 22 days 12770589 ARNOLD, MARC TYLER

9 years 10 months 9 days 12641216 NAKAMURA, HIKARU
9 years 11 months 6 days 12945617 YANG, DARWIN

9 years 11 months 9 days 12847250 ROBSON, RAY S
9 years 11 months 22 days 12551720 BHAT, VINAY S
10 years 7 days 12540667 MONT-REYNAUD, JORDY
10 years 1 month 20 days 12550676 STEIGMAN, A J

Author, arbiter and chess master Eric Schiller of Moss Beach, who suffered a stroke last year, is now doing much better and plans to play in the Nor Cal Championship, the Cal Chess Masters and the Western States Open in Reno. Welcome back Eric!

FM Jim Eade and NM Mark Pintol head a group of Mechanics' Chess Club members who will travel to the Palm Springs area in a few days to play in the US Senior Open in La Quinta.

SM Craig Mar heads the list of entrants in the 68-player Ben Gross Tuesday Night Marathon which started last night. It is still possible to enter the nine round event with a half point bye for the first round.

The Mechanics' will be hosting its 7th Annual Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial G/45 this Saturday starting at 10am.

2) GM Onischuk ties for first in Biel

2006 US Champion Alex Onischuk continued his series of excellent results ( 2nd in the US Championship, =3rd in the super strong Aerosvits International) the past few months by tying for first in Biel and is moving forward toward 2700 .


Magnus Carlsen

(Norway, 2710)




Alexander Onischuk

(USA, 2650)




Yannick Pelletier

(Switzerland, 2583)




Judit Polgar

(Hungary, 2707)




Alexander Grischuk

(Russia, 2726)




Teimour Radjabov

(Azerbaijan, 2746)




Bu Xianghzi

(China, 2685)




Loek van Wely

(Netherlands, 2679)




Alexander Motylev

(Russia, 2648)




Boris Avrukh

(Israel, 2645)




3) GM Khachian wins Edmonton International

The 2nd Edmonton International, a Category 4 (2346 FIDE average) IM norm round robin held August 2-6 at the Edmonton Chess Club, was won by GM Melik Khachian of Los Angeles in convincing fashion with 7.5 from 9. IM Jessie Kraai , who will receive his GM title this September, started slowly with only one point from his first three games but finished very strongly. The IM norm for the event was 6. Vlad Rehkson, assisted by Micha Hughey, organized and directed the event.

Final Standings:

1. GM Khachian (USA) 7.5
2. GM (elect) Kraai ( USA) 6.5
3. IM Donaldson (USA) 6
4-5. GM Aveskulov (UKR) and IM Bachmann (PAR) 5.5
6-7. FM Huber (CAN) and Li (HKG) 3.5
8. Yanayt (USA) 3
9.-10. Reeve (CAN) and Haessel (CAN) 2


IM Axel Bachmann- GM Melik Khachian

Edmonton (8) 2007

Notes by GM Khachian

1.e4 e5 2.Ne2

I didn't have much time to prepare,but still this move was absolutely unexpected.

2...Nf6 3.Nbc3 Nc6 4.g3 Bc5

4...d5!? 5.exd5 Nd4 6.Bg2 Bg4 was another approach. I spent about 10 minutes here trying to remember the variation, but I guess I was just little bit tired and in the end decided just to play more solidly

5.Bg2 a6 6.d3 d6 7.0-0 0-0 8.h3 Be6 9.Kh2?!

This was an important moment. White need to play 9.Kh1 to avoid any possible discovery check from the Black knight on f6. I was surprised that my opponent played his King to h2 so fast.

9...d5! 10.Bg5?!

10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxd5 Bxd5 12.Nc3 Bxg2 13.Kxg2 with equality is White what should have done. He obviously didn't see the Black's response.

10...d4! 11.Bxf6

Here I was surprised once again when my opponent declined my proposal of a draw.The tournament situation was O.K for me and thought the draw would be fine for me in the penultimate round.. But after some deep thinking my opponent refused the offer.

11...Qxf6 12.Nb1 Qh6!?

To control the h6-c1 diagonal and also eye the h3 pawn.


13. Qd2 still offered White good chances to equalize the game since the position is locked and hard to break open.

13...Bd6 14.a3 b5 15.Ng1 Ne7 16.Bf3

Trying to trade white color bishops,but the position still remain very unpleasant for White.

16...c5 17.b3 Bc7 18.Qe2 Ba5 19.Rfd1 Rfc8 20.Nf1 c4 21.b4

The Bishop must be on the diagonal f8-a3 in order to attack the a3 and b4 pawns.

21...Bc7! 22.Bg4 a5 23.a4

Desperation,but White still in big trouble.

23...axb4 24.axb5 c3 25.Rdb1 Bd6 26.b6 Rab8 27.b7 Rxb7 28.Ra6 b3!

This this tactical blow is going to finish White off.

29.Bxe6 Qxe6 30.cxb3 Rxb3 31.Rxb3 Qxb3 32.Rxd6 c2 33.Qd2 Qb8 34.Rd8+ Rxd8 35.Qxc2 Rc8 36.Qa4 Qb1 37.Nd2 Qxd3 38.Ngf3 f6 39.Qd7 Kf7 40.Kg2 Rc2 41.Qb7 Rxd2 42.Nxd2 Qxd2 43.Qb3+ Kg6 0-1

Jesse Kraai - Axel Bachmann

Edmonton (7) 2007

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. e4Bg7 6. Be3 d6 7. Nc3 Nf6 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Bd7 10. Re1 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Bc6 12. Bd3 a5 13. Qd2
Nd7 14. Bxg7 Kxg7 15. Re3 Nc5 16. Rh3 h5 17. f4 f5 18. Re1 fxe4 19. Bxe4 Nxe4 20. Nxe4 Bxe4 21. Rxe4 e5 22. Rb3 Rf7 23. Qd5 a4 24. Rxb7 Rxb7 25. Qxb7+
Kh6 26. Re2 exf4 27. Re6 Rb8 28. Qf7 Qg5 29. h4 Qg3 30. Re7 Qxh4 31. Qg7+ Kg5 32. Re6 Kg4 33. Rxg6+Kf5 34. Qf7+ Ke4 35. Qd5+ 1-0


John Donaldson - Zhichao Li
Edmonton (5) 2007

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. c4 Bf5 5. cxd5 cxd5 6. Qb3 Qc8 7. Nc3 e6 8. O-O Nc6 9. d3 Be7 10. Bf4 O-O 11. Rac1 Qd7?!

This walks into a well-known shot. A better move was 11...Bg6 meeting 12.Ne5 with 12...Nd7 and only a small advantage for White in Kortchnoi-Karpov, Final Candidates, Moscow 1974.

12. e4! dxe4 13. dxe4 Nxe4 14. Nxe4 Bxe4 15. Ne5 Nxe5 16. Bxe4 Nc6 17. Rfd1 Qc8 18. Qa4

White recovers his pawn with a positional advantage.

18... Rd8 19. Rxd8+ Qxd8 20. Bxc6 bxc6 21. Qxc6 a5!

21...h6 22.Be5 Bg5 23.Rc4 Qd1+ 24.Kg2 Rd8 25.Qf3 Qxf3+ 26.Kxf3 Bf6 27.Bxf6 gxf6 28.Ke3 and White won in convincing fashion in short order in Barcza-Smyslov, Moscow (ol) 1956;

21...Bf6 22.b4 Bd4 23.Bd6 h5 24.a4 g6 25.Rc4 e5 26.b5 with a big advantage for White in Donaldson-Rey, Berkeley 1999.

The idea of the text is to prevent White from playing a4, b4 and b5 fixing a7 as a target.

22. b3 Ba3?!

22...Bb4 of Barcza-Malich, Kecskemet 1968, looks more solid.

23. Rc4 Qd1+ 24. Kg2 Rd8

The follow up to 22...Ba3 is this attempt to activate the Rook but the plan is too ambitious.

25. Bg5! Rd7??

This end the game right away but 25...Rf8 26.Be3 with 27.Rd4 to follow leaves White dominating the central files.

26. Qa8+ Bf8 27. Qxf8+ Kxf8 28. Rc8+ 1-0


4) Here and There

GM Vassily Ivanchuk won his game against Harikrishna in the last round and thus became the sole winner of the 8th Montréal Empresa
(Category 16) tournament and will see his rating reach a personal best of around 2775 on the next FIDE list this fall.

1 Ivanchuk - 7.0
2 Tiviakov - 6.0
3 Harikrishna - 5.5
4 Kamsky - 5.0
5 Eljanov - 5.0
6 Sutovsky - 4.5
7 Miton - 3.5
8 Bluvshtein - 3.5
9 Charbonneau - 3.0
10 Short - 2.0


Monroi Womens Chess Grand-Prix

This roundrobin held in Montréal in late July saw the winner received $4,500 CAN. US Womens Champion Irina Krush had a rare sub par result.

1. GM Pia Cramling (SWE, 2533) - 5/7
2-3. WGMs Javakhishvili (GEO, 2460)
and J. Houska (ENG, 2401) - 4½
4-5. WGMs Arakhamia Grant (GEO,
2418) and I. Rajlich (POL, 2406) – 4
6-7. WGMs Krush (USA, 2479) and C.
Foisor (ROM, 2372) - 3
8. Roy (CAN, 1925) – 0.

The annual Politiken Cup, held in the Danish capital of Copenhagen late July saw a former MI member share top honors.

Five players tied for the 1st place with 8/10, three of them were the Elo-favorites of the tournament – GMs Vladimir Malakhov (Russia,
2676), Gabriel Sargissian (Armenia,2667) and Michael Krasenkow (Poland,2660). They were joined by Nick deFirmian (USA), who defeated another favorite, Peter-Heine Nielsen (2646), with the Black pieces in the last round, and also by the Swedish GM Emanuel Berg.

Here are two of Nick's wins.

Sorensen,T (2375) - De Firmian,N (2540) [A37]
Politiken Cup 2007 Helsingor (6.5), 25.07.2007

1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.a3 a5 7.Rb1 Nge7 8.d3 0-0 9.0-0 d6 10.Bg5 f6 11.Bd2 Kh8 12.Ne1 Be6 13.Nc2 d5 14.cxd5 Nxd5 15.b4 cxb4 16.Nxd5 Bxd5 17.Bxd5 Qxd5 18.axb4 a4 19.b5 Nd4 20.Nxd4 exd4 21.Rb4 a3 22.Qb3 Qxb3 23.Rxb3 Rfc8 24.Ra1 Bf8 25.Ra2 Ra4 26.Kg2 Kg8 27.Rb1 Kf7 28.Kf1 Ke6 29.Ke1 Kd5 30.Kd1 h5 31.h3 Bd6 32.Bf4 Be7 33.Bd2 g5 34.e4+ dxe3 35.fxe3 f5 36.Ke2 Bd6 37.Kf3 h4 38.Be1 g4+ 39.Kg2 gxh3+ 40.Kxh3 hxg3 41.Kg2 Rh8 42.Kf3 Rh2 43.Rba1 Rxa2 44.Rxa2 Kc5 45.Ra1 0-1

Nielsen,P (2637) - De Firmian,N (2540) [E17]
Politiken Cup 2007 Helsingor (10.3), 29.07.2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.0-0 0-0 7.d5 exd5 8.Nh4 c6 9.cxd5 Nxd5 10.Nf5 Nc7 11.e4 Nba6 12.Re1 Re8 13.Qg4 g6 14.Nh6+ Kg7 15.Nc3 d6 16.Qf3 f6 17.h4 Nc5 18.h5 N7e6 19.hxg6 hxg6 20.Nf5+ Kf7 21.Nh6+ Kg7 22.Nf5+ Kf7 23.b4 Nd7 24.Nh4 Bf8 25.e5 Nxe5 26.Rxe5 dxe5 27.Qg4 Ke7 28.Be3 Bg7 29.Rd1 Qc7 30.Qxg6 Rad8 31.Nf5+ Kf8 32.Rxd8 Rxd8 33.Nxg7 Nxg7 34.Qxf6+ Kg8 35.Ne4 Rd1+ 36.Kh2 Qf7 37.Qh4 Nf5 38.Nf6+ Kf8 39.Qh8+ Ke7 40.Bg5 Ke6 41.Ng4 Re1 42.Be3 Qg7 43.Qe8+ Ne7 44.Qh5 Ba6 45.Bh3 Bf1 46.Bh6 Qh8 47.Nxe5+ Bxh3 48.Qxh3+ Nf5 49.Nf3 Re2 50.Ng5+ Ke7 51.Qxf5 Qxh6+ 52.Kg2 Re1 53.Nh3 Qe6 54.Qh7+ Kd8 55.Ng5 Qd5+ 56.Nf3 Re7 57.Qh8+ Kc7 58.a3 c5 59.Qc3 c4 0-1

Final standings:

1-5. Krasenkow, Berg, Sargissian, de Firmian, Malakhov – 8 points

6-17. Agrest, Brynell, Khenkin,Nyback, Godena, Lie, Zude, A.-S. Rasmussen, Bulski, Stripunski, Hector, C.-K. Pedersen – 7½

At the Cherry Hill, New Jersey Executive board meeting, the new USCF board elected 2007-2009 officers. Votes for all positions were unanimous.

Chairman: Susan Polgar
President: Bill Goichberg
Vice President: Jim Berry
Vice President – Finance: Randy Bauer
Vice President – Marketing and Communications: Paul Truong
Vice President – Business Development: Joel Channing
Vice President- Secretary: Randy Hough

Hello. My name is Blas Lugo. I am an international chess master with one grandmaster norm. As president of Miami International Chess Academy ( ) ( I am working on the organization of the " The Miami Chess Open" which will be held in the city of Miami Florida USA at the end of September of this year 2007.There is going to be 100,000 dollars award The objective of this letter is to ask for your support when it comes to spreading the word about our coming event by placing a banner of our event in your web. We would like to bring back memories like the ones all you had while playing in the late New York Open only with the amenities characteristic of sunny Miami Florida . Thank you for the support towards the " The Miami Chess Open".


5) Upcoming Events

MI events - go for more information

Vladimir Pafnutieff - August 11th
Bernardo Smith Amateur - August 18th and 19th

Northern California

Sacramento Chess Club Weekend Swiss #18

August 25 & 26, 2007

4 Round Swiss, 30/90, G/1, d/5 at The Learning Exchange, 1111 Howe Avenue, Sacramento. Entry Fee: $45 (Juniors $35) postmarked by 8/18/2007, $55 (Juniors $40) after 8/18. Two sections, Master/Expert/A and Reserve (Under 1800). $1600 prize fund based on 50 adult and 10 junior full paid entries. Master/Expert/A 1st Place $200 and 2nd Place $150 are guaranteed. Registration 8/25, 8:30-9:30, rounds 10:00 and 3:30 both days. Entries payable to the Sacramento Chess Club and mail to Sacramento Chess Club, c/o 6700 50th Street, Sacramento, CA 95823-1306. Contact information: TD John McCumiskey, 916-524-9479 or e-mail Check the Weekend Events page of the Sacramento Chess Club website, for a tournament flyer with additional information and the advance entry list.

Sept. 1-3 2007 CALCHESS LABOR DAY CHAMPIONSHIPS GPP: 15 California Northern

6SS, 30/90, SD/1 (2-day option rds. 1-3 G/60). Golden Gateway Holiday Inn, Van Ness at Pine, San Francisco. $$ b/160 paid entries (not counting free or unrated entries). Six Sections: Master: $725-$375-$200; U2400 $300; Expert $430-$230-$110. "A": $375-$200-$120. "B": $375-$200-$120. "C": $375-200-120. "D/E": $375-$200-$120; U1200 $250. Unr: Trophy first. Trophy to top finisher (State Champion) in each section. All, EF: postmarked by 8/27, $70 (Jrs. $60), $80 at site (Jrs. $70). Unrateds $20 in the D/E section or may play up to the Master section for the regular fee. $5 discount to CalChess members. USCF memb. req’d. May play up one section for add’l $10 (Jrs. $5). GM/IM free entry. Reg.: Sat. 9/1 8-9:30 am, Sun. 9/2 8:15-9:15 am. RDS.: Choice of schedules- 3-day, 2-day merge at round 4, all compete for the same prizes. 3-day schedule: Sat. 10:00-4:00, Sun. 11:00-4:45, Mon. 10:00-3:30. 2-day schedule: Sun. 9:30-11:45-2:00-4:45, Mon. 10:00-3:30. 1/2 pt. bye(s) any round(s) if requested in advance (byes rds. 5-6 must be requested before rd. 1). 2007 August Ratings List, CCA minimums and Directors’ discretion will be used to place players as accurately as possible. Please bring clocks and equipment. HR: Golden Gateway Holiday Inn (415)-441-4000. INFO: Richard Koepcke (650)-964-2640. Ent: CalChess, P.O. Box 1432, Mountain View, CA 94042. No phone entries. Master Section FIDE Rated.

A Classic Event!
Oct. 6 California Classic Championship 18 California , Northern

4SS G/60. 3003 Scott Blvd. , Santa Clara , CA 95054 . EF: $39, Juniors $35. $16 more after 10/2, $2 Cal Chess Discount, $4 discount if combined with 11/10 Classic. $850 b/36: Open 200-100 U2000 50, Reserve: 200-100 U1600 50, U1400 50, U1200 50, U1000 50. Reg: Sat 9:00-9:30 AM, Rds: 10:00-12:00, lunch, 12:30-2:30 PM, 2:40-4:40 PM, 4:55-6:55 PM. Ent: Salman Azhar, 1551 Garvey Pl. San Jose , CA 95132 . Payable to Salman Azhar or paypal to Info: NS NC W

A Classic Event!
Nov. 10 California Classic Championship 20 California , Northern
4SS G/60. 3003 Scott Blvd. , Santa Clara , CA 95054 . EF: $39, Juniors $35. $16 more after 11/6, $2 Cal Chess Discount, $4 discount if combined with 10/6 Classic. $850 b/36: Open 200-100 U2000 50, Reserve: 200-100 U1600 50, U1400 50, U1200 50, U1000 50. Reg: Sat 9:00-9:30 AM, Rds: 10:00-12:00, lunch, 12:30-2:30 PM, 2:40-4:40 PM, 4:55-6:55 PM. Ent: Salman Azhar, 1551 Garvey Pl. San Jose , CA 95132 . Payable to Salman Azhar or paypal to Info: NS NC W

Southern California

September 1-3
27th Annual Southern California Open
6-SS, 3-day 40/2, SD/1, 2-day rds. 1-3 G/60 then merges. LAX Hilton, 5711 W. Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
$$10,000 b/200, 60% of each prize guaranteed.
In 2 sections:
Open: $$T+1700-1000-800-450-300, U2400 400, U2300 200, U2200 600-300, U2000 $$600-300.
Amateur (U1800): T+750-400-200-150-100, U1600 $$500-300-200-100, U1400 $$300-150, U1200 100, Unr 100.
All: Half-pt bye available in rds 1-4 if requested with entry, limit 2. SCCF membership req. of S. Cal. res., $14 reg, $9 junior. No credit card entries or checks at door. SCCF Annual Membership Meeting: 2:30 p.m. Sept. 3. $25 Best Game prize, all sections eligible.
Reg: 3-day 9-10 a.m. 9-1, 2-day 8:30-9:30 a.m. 9-2.
Rds: 3-day: 10:30-5 Sat-Sun, 10-4:30 Mon. 2-day: 10-12:15-2:30 Sun., then merges.. EF: $83 if received by 8/31, $95 door. Special EF: U1400/unrated $67 adv, $80 door.
HR: $95 (310-410-4000, use group code SOU). Reserve by 8-26 or rates may rise. Parking $8/day.
John Hillery.
Ent: SCCF, c/o John Hillery, 835 N. Wilton Pl. #1, Los Angeles CA 90038 or on-line at
NS. NC. F. GP: 50. State Championship Qualifier

Return to Index