Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter #395


Chess has no social purpose. That, above all else, is important.

Marcel Duchamp 



1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

2) Saint Amant in San Francisco

3) 16-year-old Alisa Melikhina makes IM norm

4) 1850s San Francisco Chess 

5) Here and There

6) Upcoming Events


1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News


The Mechanics' Institute will be hosting the 2nd Ray Schutt Memorial blitz tournament this Sunday. The tournament will start at 2pm with registration beginning at 1pm. Thanks to the generosity of the Shutt family there is a guaranteed prize fund of 1st $300, 2nd $200, 3rd $100, 4th $75, 5th $50 with books prizes ( from Ray's library)  for all participants. Entry fee for the five double round Swiss ( every player faces five opponents twice) is $10. Light refreshments will be served from 1pm to 2pm. Spectators are welcome. Don't miss this event!


The Spring Tuesday Night Marathon is turning into a two player show. 16-year-old NM Sam Shankland, who will make his debut in the US Championship in a few weeks, and World Under 12 Champion Daniel Naroditsky, have 6 from 7 - Sam having taken two byes and Daniel a forfeit loss due to illness. They will face off in the last round next Tuesday.


Last night International Arbiter Mike Goodall, who directed several US Championship in the 1980s, showed some of the form that won him a Castle Chess Club Championship in scoring an upset win over the always tough Steven Krasnov.



Goodall,Mike - Krasnov,Steven [B25]
Spring TNM (7), 30.04.2008


1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.d3 d6 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.f4 Bd7 7.Nf3 Rb8 8.0-0 b5 9.Ne2 e6 10.c3 Nge7 11.d4 b4 12.dxc5 bxc3 13.Nxc3 dxc5 14.e5 Nf5 15.Ne4 Rb4 16.Qc2 c4 17.Kh1 Qb8 18.Rd1 Na5 19.Nd6+ Nxd6 20.Rxd6 Bf8 21.Ra6 Ba4 22.Qe4 c3 23.Nd4 cxb2 24.Bxb2 Rxb2 25.Rxa5 Bd7 26.Nc6 Qb6 27.Rxa7 Bxc6 28.Qxc6+ Qxc6 29.Bxc6+ Kd8 30.Rd1+ Kc8 31.Rdd7 Bc5 32.Ra5 Be3 33.a4 g5 34.Rxf7 gxf4 35.Bb5 Kb8 36.Bc6 Kc8 37.Ra8+ Rb8 38.Bb7+ 1-0


13-year-old NM Gregory Young won the 8th Annual Imre Konig Memorial G/45 last Saturday with a score of 4.5 from 5, defeating NM Michael Pearson and drawing with WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs. Tying for second at 4 in the 37-player field were IM Ricardo DeGuzman (a draw with Pearson and a first round bye), Tuvshintugs, Romulo Fuentes and Daniel Quan.


2) Saint Amant in San Francisco


Every year the Mechanics' holds a tournament to honor the great Pierre Saint-Amant who served as French consul for California during the Gold Rush. It's long been theorized, but with no concrete evidence, that he must have played chess during his stay in San Francisco. Now NM John Blackstone has uncovered the proof and the beginning of what was quite possibly the first formal chess club in San Francisco ( The Mechanics' wasn't formed until a couple years later.)



 From the Daily Alta California, November 26, 1851 

A Chess  Club— A new Club has been formed in our city, called the. San Francisco Chess Club. The room is at No. 38 Merchant street, upstairs, and it will be
thrown open tomorrow evening, at seven o'clock, when those persons who have given in their names, and others desirous of joining the Club, are invited to
attend. Mons. St. Amant, the successor to La Bourdonais, will commence ! to play a match of fifteen games with an amateur. Chess is the most
intellectual of game and merit every encouragement in California,  where all are conscious of the deficiency of recreations.....



Three days later the Alta reported:

The New Chess Club— The Chess Club, No. 32 Merchant street, was opened last evening, when several of our most respectable residents attended and were much
pleased with the comfort and elegance of the arrangement. It will be recollected that a match had been made of fifteen games, between an amateur and Mons. St. Amant

The conditions were as follows :Five of  them were to be at even ; five giving the pawn and move : and live games giving the pawn and two moves. Last evening three of the

games were played. Strange to say, Mons. St. Amant won the two games giving the odds, and lost the even game. The latter was a very well contested game. The interest in the
match increases and affords a good opportunity to amateurs to study this noble game. The match will be continued each evening, and at the same time Mons. St.Amant will 

afford opportunity to other players to play with him.


We hope to have more on Saint-Amant's activities in San Francisco.


3) 16-year-old Alisa Melekhina makes IM norm


Philadelphia high school student Alisa Melekhina made history in making WIM, WGM and IM norms in the 10th North American FIDE Invitational which just ended in Chicago. She became one of a handful of American women to make an IM norm and probably the youngest after Irina Krush. Alisa, whose rating has shot up almost 150 points in the last year, to near 2300, will be a strong contender for one of the two final spots on the US Womens Olympiad team in Dresden. Sevan Muradian organized this event. Contact him at if you would like to play in one of his future events.

Final Standings:

1st place - (7.0/9.0)

IM Young

2nd place - (6.5/9.0)

WFM Melekina (WIM, WGM, and IM norms scored!)

3rd place - (6.0/9.0)

FM Pasalic

4th place - (5.0/9.0)

IM Amanov

5th - 6th place - (4.5/9.0)

FM Stamnov
FM Shankar

7th - 8th place (4.0/9.0)

FM Chow
IM Vishnuvardhan

9th place (2.0/9.0)

WFM Yuan

10th place (1.5/9/0)

FM Monokroussos


4) 1850s San Francisco Chess 


NM John Blackstone has discovered  more gold from the early days of California chess in the Daily Alta California. John recommends going to and using the advanced search function for those who are interested in learning more about the early days of California chess.

The following article appeared in the Alta in April 1857.


"The Sacramento Chess Club has challenged the San Francisco Pioneer Chess Club to play a match of chess. The challenge has been accepted and the preliminaries
arranged. The match will consist of the best two in three game.   The medium of communication of the S.F. Pioneer Chess Club will be the Daily Alta California, and the
Sacramento Chess Club the Sacramento Daily Union


The first game will be commenced today, and the second game on the first day of May next, after which date a move will be made in each game on alternate days."

Here are two games from a match between two rival San Francisco clubs.



SF Pioneer CC - SF German CC [B32]
Match San Francisco, CA (1), 1857

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nf3 f5 6.Bc4 d6 7.Nc3 h6 8.Qd5 Qd7 9.exf5 Nf6 10.Qd1 Qxf5 11.Nb5 Kd8 12.Be3 a6 13.Nc3 Kc7 14.Qe2

Nb4 15.0-0 Qxc2 16.Bd2 Qh7 17.Rac1 Kd8 18.Nd5 Nbxd5 19.Bxd5 Nxd5 20.Rfd1 Be6 21.Nxe5 Qf5 22.Nf3 Qf7 23.Ba5+ b6 24.Rxd5 bxa5 25.Ne5 Qb7 26.Rd2


Rc8 27.Re1 Rc5 28.f4 Bf7 29.Nxf7+ Qxf7 30.Qxa6 Qc4 31.Qb6+ Kd7 32.Rde2 Qb5 33.Qa7+ Kc6 34.Qf7 Qb7 35.Qg6 Kb6 36.Re8 Ka7 37.h3 h5 38.Qd3 Qxb2


39.Ra8+ Kxa8 40.Qa6+ Kb8 41.Re8+ Kc7 42.Qc8+ Kb6 43.Qb8+ Kc6 44.Qxb2 1-0


SF Pioneer Chess Club - German Chess Club [B32]
Match San Francisco, CA (3), 1857


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 Bc5 7.Nc3 d6 8.h3 h6 9.0-0 a6 10.Nh2 Ne7 11.Qf3 Be6 12.Be3 Ba7 13.Bxa7 Rxa7 14.Qe3 Ra8 15.f4 0-0 16.f5 Bd7 17.Ne2 d5 18.Ng4 Nxg4 19.hxg4 f6 20.exd5 Nxd5 21.Bc4 Bb5 22.Qb3 Bxc4 23.Qxc4 Kh8 24.Qb3 Qb6+ 25.Qxb6 Nxb6 26.Kf2 Rac8 27.c3 Na4 28.Rab1 Rfd8 29.Ke3 Nb6 30.Rfd1 Nc4+ 31.Kf2 Rxd1 32.Rxd1 Nxb2 33.Rd7 b5 34.Ng3 Rxc3 35.Nh5 Nd3+ 36.Kg1 e4 37.Rxg7 Ne5 38.Kf1 Rc1+ 39.Ke2 Rc2+ 40.Kf1 e3 41.Ke1 Nd3+ 42.Kd1 Rd2#


5) Here and There  


We wrote about the 1952 US Championship match between Larry Evans and Herman Steiner in Newsletter #384 and wondered where game 11, scheduled for San Francisco, was played. The answer is that it was contested June 28, 1952 at the Hotel Cecil (545 Post Street near Taylor Street) with  Henry Gross serving as organizer and tournament director. This is the only US Championship game played in San Francisco.


Organizer Richard Koepcke has some good news for Bay Area chess fans. The Berkeley Open will be held May 31-July 1 at the Hillside School (1581 Leroy) and the Fremont Open on August 2-3 at the Fremont Adult Schol (4700 Calveras Ave.)


6) Upcoming Events



Events at the Mechanics'

2nd Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz - May 4
Charles Powell Memorial - May 10
Arthur Stamer Memorial - June 14-15
William Addison Open - June 21
Charles Bagby Memorial - July 19
Bernardo Smith Amateur - August 16-17


May 3-4
10th Annual Los Angeles County Championship
5-SS, 30/85, SD/30 (1st 3 rounds), 40/2, SD/1 (last 2 rounds). Sierra Vista Rec Center, 311 N Rural Drive, Monterey Park, CA 91755.
$1100 guaranteed: $300-200, U2200, U2000, U1800, U1600 each $100, U1400, U1200 each $75, Unrated $50.
EF: $30 if rec'd by 5/1, $40 at door. Special option for HS/below: $10, 5 trophies only.
SCCF membership req'd of So. Californians: $18, $10 jrs.
Reg: 9-9:40 am,
Rds: 10-2-6, 10-4.
Info: Randy Hough (626) 282-7412,
Ent: SCCF, PO Box 205, Monterey Park, CA 91754.
GP: 10. State Championship Qualifier.