Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #388

Some twenty years ago an English journalist complained that in sports, only chess and marbles were above suspicion. One wonders what has happened in the world of marbles.

Hans Ree

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club
2) Nicholas Nip Youngest US Master ever by Michael Aigner
3) FIDE Grand Prix
4) Stockholm Ladies Open

5) Donaldson-Sinanan
6) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club

Former US Champion John Grefe, who tied for top honors with GM Lubosh Kavalek at El Paso in 1973, will be giving a one hour lecture next Tuesday night before the start of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. John's talk, which will run from 5:15 to 6:15, is free to all.

Add the names of IM Walter Shipman and World Under 12 Champion Daniel Naroditsky to the group of Mechanics' members who will be traveling to Tulsa in late March for the US Championship qualifier. Walter played in his first US Championship in 1946!

So far five GMs and 7 IMs have signed up to play headed by GMs Alexander Goldin, Eugene Perelshteyn and Alex Yermolinsky and IM Ben Finegold. Seven spots in the US Championship are up for grabs.

Organizer, sponsor and tournament director Frank Berry asks those attending the event and flying in Thursday to e-mail ( him their flight information to facilitate their pickup. Also... bring set and clock. G-90 + 30 sec (delay or add-on).

He hasn't gotten his picture on the cover of Rolling Stone yet but don't count Daniel Naroditsky out. After winning the World Under 12 Championship Daniel's face appeared on the cover of Chess Life and Chess for Kids. Now he is featured on Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd - .

2) Nicholas Nip Youngest US Master ever by Michael Aigner

The following article comes from Michael Aigner''s excellent blog ( which is the place to go for recent Bay Area chess news.

Nicholas Nip has broken the US Chess Federation's record for the youngest master at the tender age of 9 years and 11 months, shattering the previous record of 10 years and 79 days held by Hikaru Nakamura. His new rating on the MSA website stands at 2207. Nicholas earned the final 20 rating points on March 5 in a G/60 quad tournament at the Mechanics' in San Francisco, defeating FM Ron Cusi (2339) in the climactic game.

The youngest master record is considered one of the most hallowed marks of the USCF. Future World Champion Bobby Fischer was considered a prodigy when he became a master at the age of 13. The rise of computers and prominence of scholastic chess has pushed this record younger and younger. In 1995, two young rivals from the Bay Area earned the master rank before their 11th birthdays. Jordy Mont-Reynaud did it in 10 years and 209 days and then, merely a few months later, Vinay Bhat shaved yet another 33 days off the record. Future Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura lowered the mark almost another 100 days in 1998, a record that nobody has come close to touching until today.

Much of the credit for Nicholas' rapid improvement from a talented yet inexperienced first grader in 2005 to National Master goes to his supportive parents who traveled with him and coaches Liina Vark and Eric Hicks of Academic Chess. The teachers identified his potential in kindergarten and developed it with tender nurturing care over the years. Hicks has told me several times over the years that one reason Nicholas improved quickly is his ability and desire to study on his own, often with the help of a computer. Certainly those of us who have witnessed his meteoric rise first hand can attest to Nicholas' love for the game of chess. He would always be eager to hang around chess players and he quickly became a favorite of many older children at the Mechanics' Institute.

What does the future hold for Nicholas? The fact that he has already defeated nine (9!) different established masters, including this writer, at slow tournament time controls bodes very well. He also has a solid FIDE rating of 2143 which will surely increase over time. Perhaps it is the pedigree of former youngest masters that offers the most hope for the future for young Nicholas. Here's wishing you all the best!

3) FIDE Grand Prix

FIDE published the final list of 21 FIDE Grand Prix participants, as well as a schedule of their participation in six GP tournaments: each player will take part in four events. The sole American participant is Gata Kamsky.

The GP participants are:

From Matches: Kamsky By Rating: Mamedyarov, Leko, Ivanchuk, Aronian, Gelfand, Radjabov

World Cup: Carlsen, Karjakin

From Rating Reserve: Adams, Grischuk

FIDE President Nominees: Svidler, Cheparinov, Bacrot, Wang Yue

Representatives of Host Cities:

Jakovenko, Inarkiev, Navara, Gashimov, Pelletier, Al-Modiahki

Players who had a right to participate in the Grand Prix, but declined are: Anand, Kramnik and Topalov
(Matches), Morozevich (Rating) and Shirov (World Cup). .

4) Stockholm Ladies Open

Stockholm Ladies Open

The Stockholm Ladies Open tournament takes place 20th-25th March 2008. The event has got the astonishing entry of 60 WGMs and 47 WIMs and a total of 150 players making it the biggest women's event ever in Sweden and that maybe a world record. IM Anna Zatonskih and WGM Rusa Goletiani will be representing the United States. Go to for more information.

5) Donaldson-Sinanan

John Donaldson – Josh Sinanan [D41]

Collyer Memorial (Spokane) 2008

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.d4

5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Nc7 followed by ...e5 leads to a reversed Maroczy Bind. Yasser had great success with 5.e4 in his younger days while the text is the preferred choice in the Opening for White According to Kramnik series and Pritchett's new book on the English.


5...Nxc3 6.bxc3 g6 7.e4 transposes into the Exchange variation of the Grunfeld.


This leads to the main line of the Semi-Tarrasch variation of the Queen's Gambit which Bobby Fischer employed for Black on more than one occasion. 6.e3 cxd4 7.exd4 Nc6 8.Bc4 (or 8.Bd3 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Re1) 8...Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Re1 lead to standard Isolated Queen Pawn positions but Black does better to delay capturing on d4. For example 6...Nc6 7.Bd3 Be7 8.0–0 0–0 when 9.Re1 is met by 9...b6 and 9. a3 by 9...cxd4. In both cases White is unable to obtain his maximum IQP position.

6...Nxc3 7.bxc3 cxd4 8.cxd4 Bb4+

8...Nc6 allows White the option of 9.a3 stopping ...Bb4+.

9.Bd2 Bxd2+

9...Qa5 10.Rb1! Bxd2+ 11.Qxd2 Qxd2+ 12.Kxd2 might seem to make sense heading for an ending with a queenside pawn majority but White's center and strong pressure on the b and c files make it inadvisable. 12...0–0 13.Bb5! (to force weaknesses) 13...a6 14.Bd3 Rd8 15.Rhc1 led to a classic victory for White in Rubinstein-Schlechter, San Sebastian 1912.

10.Qxd2 0–0 11.Bc4 Nc6

11...b6 (note 11...Nd7 12.0–0 b6 13.Rfe1 Bb7 might be more accurate as 11..b6 12.d5! might be a problem.) 12.0–0 Bb7 13.Rfe1 Nd7 14.a4 Rc8 15.Bd3 a5!? is an interesting idea proposed by GM Comas Fabrego in his book True Lies in Chess. Black stops the plan of a4-a5 in its tracks and advancing d5 or e5 give him many squares. It is not considered by Khalifman and his team in the Opening for White According to Kramnik series.

12.0–0 b6 13.Rad1 Bb7

13...Na5 14.Bd3 Bb7 is considered to be more accurate. Now 15.d5 (? according to Atalik) 15...exd5 16.e5 Nc4 17.Qf4 is Sharavdorj-Atalik, Berkeley 2005. In this exact position the Turkish GM believes that 17...Nb2 is strong(!) as the exclusion of ...Rc8 and Rfe1 favors Black. See his exhaustive notes in Chess Informant 93, game 364.

14.Rfe1 Rc8

14...Na5 gives White the additional option of 15.Bf1 which he would not have had a move before. The Bishop might look modest on its original square but White has d4-d5 coming.

15.d5 .exd5

My knowledge of the variation ended with this move. I remembered 15...Na5 16.Bd3 exd5 17.e5 Nc4 18.Qf4 Nb2 19.Bxh7+! Kxh7 20.Ng5+ Kg6 21.h4 with a winning attack for White in Polugaevsky-Tal, Moscow 1969. A big improvement for Black is 16...Qe7 keeping the tension.


16.exd5 is also good.


Josh, who knew nothing about this line beforehand, finds the best move. Alternatives are not as good:

A. 16...Qc7 17.Qg5 h6 18.Qg4 Rfd8 19.h3 (to provide air for the King and free the back rank) (the immediate 19.Qf5 is met by 19...Nb4 20.Bb3 Nd3! 21.Bxf7+ Qxf7 22.Qxf7+ Kxf7 23.Rxd3 Rxd3 24.Ne5+ Kf8 25.Nxd3 Rc3 26.Ne5 Bxe4!) 19...Nb4 20.Nd4 with a strong attack brewing in Kolev-Delchev, Elenite 1994.;

B. 16...Na5 17.Qf4 Qc7 18.Qf5 Bxd5 19.exd5 was better for White in Spassky-Petrosian from their 1969 World Championship match.


17.e5 Nd8 18.Bxb7 Nxb7 19.Nd4 g6 20.f4 Rc5 21.Qe3 Nd8 22.f5 as in Bocharov-Bologan, Warsaw 2005, may well be stronger.


17...Rc7 18.Nh4 Qe5 is an untested suggestion of Bondarevsky.


It was hard to choose between the text and 18.Nh4. 18.e5 was another move that I considered trying to put a Knight on d6 but didn't see how to do it. For example. 18...Nd8 19.Bxb7 Qxb7 20.Nh4 g6 (20...Ne6 21.Qg3 g6 22.Nf5 is just what White wants) 21.Qg3 Kh8 22.Nf3 Ne6.


This is necessary as 18...Rc7 19.Ng5 g6 20.Qf4 Ne5 21.Qh4 h5 22.Qg3 leaves White with a strong initiative.

19.Qg4 Rcd8

One idea of keeping the Queen on the h3-c8 diagonal is to control d7 as can be seen in the variation 19...Nb4 20.Bxb7 Qxb7 21.e5 Nxa2 22.Rd7 Rc7? 23.Rxc7 Qxc7 24.Qa4 picking up a piece.


Another possibility here, and maybe an improvement, was 20.Re3. The idea is to prepare Ng5 and use the Rook for the attack. Also, on e3 it is never potentially hanging after ...Bxd5.


This is the first real mistake by Josh who has played very well up to this point. Instead 20...Nb4 21.Bxb7 Qxb7 22.Rxd8 Rxd8 23.Qg5 (23.e5 Qe7) 23...Re8 24.e5 was only slightly better for White. The problem with the text is that Black really never has the possibility to trade on d5 in a satisfactory way.


A strong alternative was 21.h5 for example 21...Bxd5 22.exd5 Qd6 (one of the reasons I played Qf4 was not to give Black this blockading square but it doesn't solve all of his problems) 23.Qh4 Rxe1+ 24.Rxe1 Qxd5 25.hxg6 fxg6 26.Ng5 h5 27.Ne6 Rd7 28.Qg3 winning at least the Exchange.


Played to guard the dark-squares around Black's King but 21...b5 22.h5 Nc4 might have been a better try in view of what happens. If 21...Bxd5 then 22.exd5 Qd7 23.Ne5 is strong.

22.h5 h6 23.hxg6 fxg6

Now Black's King is more exposed and his second rank is vulnerable.


24.Rc1 Rc8 25.Rxc8 Rxc8 26.Qg4 Rd8 27.Nd4 was an attractive alternative. The idea behind the text is to grab the long diagonal and double rooks on the c-file.


Josh was running low on time here. More stubborn was 24...Kh7 25.Qb2 Qg7.

25.Nd4 Rf8 26.Qb2 Kh7 27.Rc1

Black's offside Knight really tells. He has no satisfactory answer to White invading with his Rooks along the c-file.


This stops White's idea but after...


the upcoming ending is untenable for Black.


Or 28...Bd7 29.Ne6! with a winning ending.

29.Qc7+ Qg7 30.Qxg7+ Kxg7 31.Rc7+ Kh8 32.Rec1 a6 33.Nc6 1–0

6) Upcoming Events

Events at the Mechanics'

Max Wilkerson Open - March 29
Walter Lovegrove Senior Open - April 5-6
Imre Konig Memorial - April 26

Mar. 21-23 Reno Far West Open VIII GPP: 150 Enhanced Nevada

5 Sections. F.I.D.E. 40/2,20/1,G/30. Sands Regency Hotel/Casino, 345 N. Arlington Ave., Reno, NV. 8950. 1-866-FUNSTAY, HR: Sun-Thurs $27!, Fri-Sat $54 (Code CHE 320). $$25,000 b/250 ($16,500 Gtd.); Rds.: 12-7, 10-6, 9:30-4:30. Open Section: EF: GM/IMs free (must enter by Mar.1 or pay late fee), Masters/Experts- $119, (1999-below)- $201, $$2,000-1,200-1,000-800-700-600-500-400-400-400, (2300-2399)-$1,000-500, (2299-below)- $1,000-500; (2199/below)- $1,000-500-300-200-100; "A" Section (1800-1999)- EF: $118, $1000-500-300-200-100-100-100-100-100-100; "B" Section (1600-1799)-EF: $117, $1,000-500-300-200-100-100-100-100-100-100; "C" Sect.(1400-1599) EF: $116, $900-500-300-200-100-100-100-100-100-100; "D/under" Sect. (1399/below) EF: $115, $800-400-300-200-100-100-100-100-100-100; (1199-below) $500-$300-$200-$100; Top Sr. (65+) $200, Club Champ. $400-200. Top Unrated 1 yr USCF membership; Unrated free entry but must join USCF for 1 yr. thru this tournament (Adults-$49, Sr.-$36, Jrs.U25-$25, U16 -$19, U13-$17). Discounts- Sr (65+) and Jrs. (under 20)-$10. Players may play up. Side Events: Thurs. 3/20 (6:00-7:15pm) GM Larry Evans Lecture (Free), GM TBA Simul 7:30pm ($15), Blitz (5 min)Tourney 7:30 pm EF: $20 (80% of entries returned as prizes), Sat (3/22) GM Larry Evans Clinic Game/Position Analysis (Free) 3-4:30pm, Sun (3/23) Quick Tourney (G/25) ($20) 5Rd Swiss, (80% of entries returned as prizes) Reg. 11-11:30am, Rds-12-1-2-3-4pm. Enter: Send checks and make out to Sands Regency at above address postmarked by Mar.1 ($11 late fee after 3/1), ($22 late fee at site). Do not mail after Mar.14. Questions and enter by e-mail or phone to Jerry Weikel at (775-747-1405) or ( Credit card +$5. W. NS. (775-348-2200). JGP.

Bay Area organizer Salman Azhar writes

Thanks for your regular newsletters… they have become my main source of local chess information. I would appreciate any comments or suggestions you have on a Journal that my son and I plan to publish every quarter. You can see the first attempt at

I will be running the following events in the first half of 2008.

Mar. 8 Bay Area Chess Tournament (Adult/Regular)

4SS G/60. 3003 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95054. EF: $39, Juniors $35. $16 more after 3/4, $1 Cal Chess Discount, Additional discount if combined with other tournament entries. $850 b/40: Open 200-100, U1800 50, highest rating increase 50. Reserve (u1600): 200-100 U1400 50, U1200 50, highest rating increase 50. Reg: Sat 9:15-9:45 AM, Rds: 10:15-12:15, lunch, 12:50-2:50 PM, 3:00-5:00 PM, 5:10-7:10 PM. Ent: Online at or mail to Azleena Azhar, 1551 Garvey Pl. San Jose, CA 95132. Payable to Azleena Azhar or paypal to Info: NS NC W

May. 24 Bay Area Chess Tournament (Adult/Regular)

4SS G/60. 3003 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95054. EF: $39, Juniors $35. $16 more after 5/20, $1 Cal Chess Discount, Additional discount if combined with other tournament entries. $850 b/40: Open 200-100, U1800 50, highest rating increase 50. Reserve (u1600): 200-100 U1400 50, U1200 50, highest rating increase 50. Reg: Sat 9:15-9:45 AM, Rds: 10:15-12:15, lunch, 12:50-2:50 PM, 3:00-5:00 PM, 5:10-7:10 PM. Ent: Online at or mail to Azleena Azhar, 1551 Garvey Pl. San Jose, CA 95132. Payable to Azleena Azhar or paypal to Info: NS NC W

May. 24-26 or 25-26 Bay Area Chess Tournament (Adult/Regular)

6SS 30/90 G/60 (2-day option first 3 rounds G/60 merges in round 4). 3003 Scott Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95054. EF: $55, Juniors $49. $16 more after 5/20, $1 Cal Chess Discount, Additional discount if combined with other tournament entries. $1475 b/55: OPEN 300-150, u2000 100-75, u1800 100-75, highest rating increase 50. RESERVE (u1600): 200-100 u1400 100, 75, u1200 100, 75, highest rating increase 50. Reg: Sat 10-10:30 AM, Sun 8:15-8:45 AM, Rds: 3-day = 5/24 11am, 4pm; 5/25 11am, 4:30pm; 5/26 10am, 3pm. 2-day = 5/25 9:20, 11:30am, 2pm, round 4 merges with 3-day schedule. Ent: Mail to Azleena Azhar, 1551 Garvey Pl. San Jose, CA 95132. Payable to Azleena Azhar or paypal to Info: NS NC W



You too may qualify for the 2008 U.S. Chess Championship! Seven invitations will be up for grabs in a special Qualifier Open tournament slated for March 28-30, 2008, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In recent years the system allowing any player to win qualification into the U.S. Championship via other major tournaments throughout the year has been quite popular. Last year over half of the 36 championship contenders were qualifiers.

That tradition continues for 2008, but without qualification events throughout 2007 the championship committee has announced a new format — a single special QUALIFIER OPEN, 7-round Swiss System, at which seven players will earn an invitation to the 2008 Frank K Berry U.S. Chess Championship.

These 7 qualifiers will join 17 top-rated GMs and seeded players including defending champion GM Alex Shabalov to form a field of 24 contenders at the 2008 FKB U.S. Chess Championship to be held May 13-21 in Tulsa. Also, the top female finisher in the Qualifier Open will receive an invitation to the 2008 Frank K. Berry U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, to be held alongside the U.S. Championship.

To win a qualification spot a player must be eligible to play in the U.S. Championship, of course, which means he/she must be a U.S. citizen or resident with federation listed by FIDE as "USA". (American USCF players without FIDE rating are also eligible.)

Unlike some previous years there is no additional $75 fee to be considered for qualification. Players simply enter and compete in the Qualifier Open just as in any regular large event (see details below).

The top 7 finishers each receive $1000 (Guaranteed) plus a qualification spot (which is itself of value in addition to its prestige; remember that all players in the Championship receive prize money there.).

The event is open to all players, regardless of rating, though of course it is to be expected that masters will be the primary contenders for the top spots. There are also prizes of $1000 (Guaranteed) for top U2400, top U2200, top U2000, and top female finishers.

The Entry Fee is $25 for all masters, $100 for experts, and $200 for anyone rated below 2000. But to get this low EF your entry must be received in advance by March 13. All EFs received after that or at the door cost $100 more. Send entries to: Frank K. Berry, 402 S. Willis St, Stillwater, OK 74074.

The venue is the Best Western Trade Winds Central, ($55/60; 918-749-5561 or 800-685-4564) with free airport shuttle available. See It is expected that the hotel will sell out, but note that there are three other motels within a very short walking distance of the venue — the Ramada ($60; 918-743-9811), the Howard Johnson ($55; 918-794-5156), and the Trade Winds East ($45; 800-254-7449). Ask for the chess rate.

The Time Control for the Qualifier Open will be Game/90, with 30-second delay. Two half-point byes are available for rounds 1, 2, or 5, if requested in advance. Of course, if there are players tied for the qualification places the prize money will be split normally but the qualification spots themselves will be awarded by mathematical tiebreaks.

Additional info on the Qualifier Open will be available online at or in Chess Life TLA announcements. Please direct questions to

As far as is known, this is the first time a dedicated Qualifier Open event of this type has ever been held for the prestigious U.S. Championship. We are hoping for an exciting event!

Further details on the 2008 Frank K Berry U.S. Chess Championship, including the details of the new venue and the participant lists, etc., will be forthcoming. It will be a 9-round Swiss, with 24 players and at least a $50,000 prize fund. The 2008 FKB U.S. Women’s Chess Championship will be held at the same time and place, as a 10-player round robin. (The organizing committee for the championship is Frank K. Berry, Jim Berry, and Tom Braunlich)

March 28-30
6th Annual Western Pacific Open
5-SS, 3-day 40/2, SD/1, 2-day rds. 1-2 G/75 then merges. LAX Hilton, 5711 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
$$10,000 b/200, 50% of each prize guaranteed. In 3 sections:
Open: 1600- 1000-800-400-200, U2400 300-200, U2200 700-500-300. EF: $83 if received by 3/28, $95 door.
Premier (U2000): $$ 700-500-300-100, U1800 400- 200-150, U1600 400-200-150. EF: $83 if received by 3/28, $95 door.
Amateur (U1400/Unrated): $$400-200-100, U1200 100, Unr 100, unrated may win unrated prize only. EF: $67 if received by 3/28, $80 door.
On-line entry: No checks or credit card entries at door.
All: $25 Best Game prize, all sections eligible. One halfpoint bye if requested with entry, rds 4-5 cannot be revoked. SCCF membership req. of S. Cal. res., $18 reg, $10 junior.
Reg.: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Fri., 9-10 a.m.
Sat. Rds.: 3-day 7 p.m., 11-5:30, 10-4:30. 2-day: 10:30-1:30 (G/75), then merges.
HR: $109, (310) 410-4000. Be sure to mention Western Chess. Parking $10/day.
Web site:
Ent: SCCF, c/o John Hillery, 835 N. Wilton Pl. #1, Los Angeles CA 90038.
NS. NC. F. GP: 40. State Championship Qualifier.