Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #376

I believe chess can bring me closer to the spiritual part of the world in a way that simple material stuff can’t.

Irina Krush (King’s Gambit by Paul Hoffman, page 191)

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

2) Gata!

3) Bay Area International next December by David Pruess

4) Bay Area Chess Players

5) US Championship Qualifier

6) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

2007 was a very good year for Mechanics' players. Here are some of the highlights in no particular order:

Daniel Naroditsky won the World Under 12 Championsip in Turkey.

Vinay Bhat made his final GM in Spain this summer.

Dana Mackenzie started a great blog (

Tuesday Night Marathon regular Dan Litowsky turned 90.

David Pruess made his first two GMs, both in France.

Richard Shorman was honored by the USCF for his more than 40 years of volunteer work.

The Berkeley Chess Club was resurrected and its Sunday Marathon is going strong.

Greg Young tied for first in the National Junior High in Sacramento.

GM Suat Atalik won the 2nd Imre Konig Memorial Scheveningen in July. Atalik's performance for the event, sponsored by Tibor Weinberger, was well over 2600 FIDE.

Alex Yermolinsky, David Pruess, Josh Friedel and Michael Aigner flew the Bay Area flag in the US Championship.

Camille Baginskaite and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs represented the MI in the US Womens Championship

2) Gata!

Gata has done it! By defeating Alexey Shirov 2.5-1.5 Gata has earned the right to play a match against Veselin Topalov - the winner facing the victor of Anand-Kramnik. Gata's performance in Khanty-Mansiysk, where he spent almost a month, was outstanding. Rated 2714 going in, he won 6 games and drew 10 against opposition averaging 2676 - a performance rating of 2816.

3) Bay Area International next December by David Pruess

First-class chess tournament coming!

From December 14-23, 2008, an international chess tournament will be held in Berkeley, California, where California's best will meet the nation's best, and the nation's best will meet top players from around the world. Further details will be released as they are available, but this first announcement will allow players to put this event on their calendars well in advance.

The tournament will be open to anyone with a fide rating over 2200. It will be a 10 round swiss, with games daily at 2 pm. The time control will be 40/2, G/1. International title norms will be possible. Before, during, and after the tournament, there will be events where local chess players may meet some of the elite competitors.

Entry is free to all Grandmasters. The tournament will also cover travel expenses and provide rooms for some (depending on entries and sponsorship). Non-grandmasters will pay an entry fee based on their fide rating and date of registration. That schedule can be found at .

Here is the current prize fund, based on our present sponsorship commitments, and a projected 30 players. As more sponsorship and entries come in, this will be increased!

Overall: 1400, 1100, 900, 700
Under 2500: 700
Under 2400: 600
Under 2300: 600

As we have a target ratio of Grandmasters to non-Grandmasters, we currently have:
Airfare/board for the next 4 Grandmasters to register.
Room for 19 more non-Grandmaster entries in the tournament.
This will also be updated over time.

For questions or entry, contact David Pruess (

4) Bay Area Chess Players

Mike Nolan has done some great work for the USCF. One can mention the ability to track players playing histories back to 1991 as one highlight. Another is the statistical data he has extrapolated from the USCF membership.

Want to know how many women are USCF members? Here is the answer broken down by age.

12/below, 5491 of 29,791 or 18.4%.

13-15, 1121 of 9031 or 12.4%.

16-19, 629 of 6771 or 9.3%.

20-24, 129 of 2208 or 5.8%

25-64, 1085 of 28,932 or 3.8%.

65+, 23 of 2172 or 1.1%

Overall: 8592 of 84,572 or 10.2%.

The most active area (percentage wise) for junior players. Mike Nolan writes:

Here is the latest set of ranked metropolitan areas for junior
membership categories (young adult, scholastic, youth, family), using
the 2005 Census Bureau estimates of population. Brownsville TX remains
far in front.

MSA Area 2005 Pop Members Per 10K
-------------------------------------------------- -------- ------- -------
Brownsville-Harlingen, TX 387717 1802 46.5

How is the Bay Area doing? Michael Aigner writes ( I have done some editing for space):

John Donaldson and I have been wondering a bit about the decline of adult players in USCF rated
tournaments around the Bay Area. Many people say that adult players have simply quit chess
completely. However, it is my belief that these players have not disappeared, but rather simply
choose not to play in tournaments because they are no longer attractive to them.

Are there really 1200+ adult members in the Bay Area and another 250 in the Sacramento-Stockton
area? That would certainly be news to those of us who attend local tournaments. These days it
seems that 40 adults is a crowd, except for Labor Day and the People's Tournament which draw more.
In fact, the vast majority of "adult" tournaments in the Bay Area draw at least as many kids as

Mike Nolan of the USCF kindly did a search for various USCF membership types in different radii
around the center of the Bay Area, which we approximated as Oakland International Airport. A 50
mile radius covers most of the greater Bay Area, from Santa Rosa down to San Jose. The parameters
of this search were to identify USCF members as of November 30, 2007 who had played in at least
one tournament since December 1, 2005.

Here are some quick observations from these statistics.

1. There are approximately 1300 adult members and 1900 scholastic members in the Bay Area. Of
these, about 500 adults (39%) and 1700 kids (89%) have played in a recent tournament. In some
cases, these tournaments were out of our area, such as in Reno, Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

2. Only half (49%) of adult members who pay a yearly membership fee (adult, senior or sustaining
categories) have played in a recent tournament. Over 400 adults pay an annual fee but do not play

3. The statistics are worse for life members, only 17% of who have played in a recent tournament.
That's another 350 adults who are official members but do not play actively.

4. On the other hand, scholastic members play in tournaments almost exclusively (over 90%). No
wonder that local organizers love to cater to children and their parents. I would assume that
many kids actually joined at a tournament while signing up.

Perhaps it would be in the interest of CalChess to find out what, if anything, might bring these
hundreds of players back into the chess scene? Low cost tournaments? Slow time controls?
Restricting kids, especially the youngest ones, from some adult tournaments? These are just a few
ideas that I've heard over the years; there may be others.

However, there is no uncertainty that nearly 4% of USCF members live in the Bay Area and that a
whopping 1300 of those members are adults.

Michael Aigner
CalChess Clearinghouse

Mike Nolan writes that for many years it has been common for half of all USCF life members to be inactive.

Another factor to consider is the large growth in chess online. For some this has eliminated the need to play face to face. Still, with the right tournament in the right location it would seem possible to get 250 to a Bay Area event.

5) US Championship Qualifier

Mar. 28-30, GPP: 120 Oklahoma

2008 Frank K. Berry U.S. Championship - Qualifier Open Seven(7)

Official Qualification Sports to be awarded here for the 2008 FKB U. S.

Championship (May 13-21) in Tulsa, OK. ALSO one (1) “Wild Card” spot in

the 2008 FKB USA Women’s Championship will be awarded to highest

finishing USA female. (see eligibility below):

7-SS. G/90 (+30sec), Tulsa Best Western - Trade Winds Central, 3141 E.

Skelly Dr, (I-44 at Harvard), Tulsa OK 74105. (918) 749-5561 or 800-685-

4564 HR: $55 (1-4) Eligibility for Qualification slots: All USCF

members who have FIDE Federation as USA. USCF members without FIDE

ratings also eligible. EF: (if $ received by March 13, 2008 – keyword: $

RECEIVED) 2200+ - $25, 2000-2199 - $100, 1999 and below - $200. All $100

more after March 13. Reg.: 10 – 11:30 AM Fri the 28th. OCF memberships

availble $10, Rds.: Noon-4:30, 9-2:30-7, 9-2. Two Half pt byes available rds

1 or 2 or 5. $$ Prizes ($11,000 guaranteed): 1st thru 7th place =

each $1,000 plus Qualification Spot. Math tie-breaks determine spots if ties

(prize $$ split normally). U2400 - $1,000, U2200 - $1,000, U2000 - $1,000,

Highest female - $1,000, Free Shuttle from/to Tulsa airport. Free parking,

Wi-Fi, Info:, Advance

Entrees: Frank K. Berry, 402 S. Willis St, Stillwater, OK 74074. LS, W. JGP

6) Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Events at the Mechanics'

Bob Burger Open - January 12
Henry Gross Memorial - February 9
A. J. Fink Amateur Championship - March 1
Max Wilkerson Open - March 29
Walter Lovegrove Senior Open - April 5
Imre Konig Memorial - April 26

Northern California

I will be running USCF rated chess tournaments in Cupertino ! Events for scholastic (K-12) players will be on Nov 25, Dec 22, Jan 12, and Feb 16. These will all be
trophy prize quads. Please note the earlier start time of 2pm. Please check in before 1:45pm. I will also have an Adult tournament on Nov 24. These are octos, 3-SS. I expect some masters to play in this one. The players will be distributed into sections of 8 each. This allows a first prize of $100 for each section. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Albert Rich
USCF Tournament Director
USCF National Master