Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #423
It has been said that man is distinguished from animal in that he buys more books than he can read. I should like to suggest that the inclusion of a few chess books would help to make the distinction unmistakable.
 Edward Lasker


1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

2) Here and There

3) B. Kraft- G. Stearns by NM Aaron Stearns

4) Upcoming Events


1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News


Oleg Shakhnazorov has won the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon with a round to go by defeating Expert Evan Sandberg last night. Shakhnazorov has 8 from 9 with Expert Larry Snyder second at 6.5 followed by a large group on 6.


IM Ricardo DeGuman won the 38th Carroll Capps Memorial held November 8-9 with a score of 5.5 from 6 to take home the $400 first prize. George Sanguinetti was second at 5 in the 59 player field followed by Keith Vickers, Gary Huang, Evan Sandberg, Michael Lin and Nikunj Oja on 4.5.


Rapidly improving Michael Askin won the 27-player Jim Hurt Memorial Under 1800 this past weekend scoring 5 from 6 to  pick up 150 rating points and $200.


Visiting Australian GM Ian Rogers gave a well-received endgame seminar to top Bay Area Juniors IM Sam Shankland, FM Daniel Naroditsky, NM Gregory Young and Expert Yian Liou last Saturday.


NM Sam Shankland of Orinda is the 2009 Falconer Award winner. The dollar award, given by former US Senior Champion Neil Falconer to the highest rated Bay Area player under 18 in the preceding year, is equal to the youngster's rating - in Sam's case 2425.

Previous winners:

2000 SM Vinay Bhat
2001 SM Vinay Bhat
2002 SM Vinay Bhat
2003 NM Michael Pearson
2004 NM Nicholas Yap
2005 NM Matthew Ho
2006 NM Matthew Ho
2007 NM Nicholas Yap 
2008 NM Sam Shankland

2009 SM Sam Shankland  


By the way there is a great interview with Sam at US Chess Live ( ) where he annotates all his games from his bronze medal winning performance at the World Under 18 Championship in Vietnam.


Book and equipment donations to the Mechanics' are always welcome. All donations to the Mechanics' are tax deductible due to the M.I.'s 501(c) (3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that have been lying around unused for some time consider donating to the Mechanics'. You will not only get a tax write off but also the satisfaction of seeing things put to good use.


2) Here and There


International Master Nikolay Minev has a new book out. Rudolf Spielmann: Fifty Great Short Games is available through The Chess Library ( ) for $18.25 as a book or $11.25 for an e-book in PDF format.


Congratulations to El Cerrito Chess House elder GM Jesse Kraai who won the UTD IM norm tournament in late November. Jesse will be one of a number of  GMs competing in the Berkeley International December 14-23. Go to for GM Josh Friedel's pre-tournament report on the event.



3) B. Kraft- G. Stearns by NM Aaron Stearns


NM Aaron Stearns annotates the following game played by his father Gary against the well-known Shakespearean actor and Expert Barry Kraft. Aaron asks if you have any games played by his father in the 1970s to please send them to him at . 


Barry Kraft – Gary Stearns

Golden Gate Experts Open

San Francisco , 1977

Nimzowitch Defense


I found this interesting game in one of the free chess databases on the internet.  I pushed it through FRITZ-7 blunder check and then added few points of my own as I humanized the language.


 1.    e4           Nc6

 2.   Nc3           Nf6

 3.    f4            d5

 4.    e5            d4

 5.  Nce2           Nd5

 6.    c4           Nb6

 7.    d3            h5

 8.   Ng3            h4

 9.   Ne4           Bf5

10.   Qe2            e6

11.   Nf3           Be7

12.    a3            a5

13.    b3           Nd7

14.  Nfd2           Nf8

15.   Bb2            b6

16.   Rg1            g5

17.    g3           Ng6

18.   Bg2           Qd7

19.   Qf3           Rd8

20.  Nf6+         Bxf6

21.  exf6         Nge5

22.  fxe5         Nxe5

23.   Qb7         Nxd3+

24.   Kf1           Kf8

25.   Ra2         hxg3

26.  hxg3            e5


      According to FRITZ-7, this is the first serious misstep in the game.  White now has a usable edge (.69).  Instead, FRITZ-7 suggests the following long line, evaluated as even: 26... Qd6 27. Ne4 Qe5 28. a4 Nxb2 29. Rxb2 d3 30. Rd2 Qa1+ 31. Kf2 Qd4+ 32. Kf1.  I am not convinced.



27.   Qc6           ...


      FRITZ-7 is unhappy with this choice, giving black now the plus (-0.91).  The machine lists the following way to keep the .69 advantage: 27. Rh1 Rxh1+ 28. Bxh1 Nc5 29. Qf3 Qe6 30.Kg1 g4 31. Qe2 Qxf6.


27.   ...         Qxc6

28.  Bxc6           Rd6

29.   Be4           ...


      White continues the downward spiral, according to FRITZ-7: he now stands at -2.00.  Continuing with 29. Bg2 would keep him closer (-1.03). 

      I am not too sure.  I can see why the defender would want to trade down material.  Yet, white’s white-squared bishop is a pretty nice defensive piece. 


29.   ...         Rxf6

30.  Bxd3         Bxd3+

31.   Kg2         Rfh6

32.   Nf3           ...


      According to FRITZ-7, this is a serious blunder, giving black a huge advantage (-4.72).  However, after the following suggested improvement, FRITZ-7 still gives black a winnable edge (-2.62): 32. Kf2 c5 33. a4 Rh2+ 34. Rg2 e4 35. Nf1 Rh1 36. Rg1 Bxf1 37.Kxf1 Rxg1+.


32.   ...            f6


      FRITZ-7 catches this one dead on: the pin 32... Be4 looks pretty devastating and it is the reason behind the almost 5 point evaluation.  This is the complete suggested line: 32... Be4 33. a4 g4 34. Kf1 Bxf3 35. Bc1 Rd6 36. Rf2 e4 37. Bf4 Rd7.  I can see nothing better.  The major tries to prevent the win of the knight run aground pretty quickly:  33. g4 Rh2+ and 33. Kf2 Rf6.

      Of course, black is still winning after the game move (FRITZ-7 says -2.03), but it will be much more of a struggle.  I get the feeling that time trouble was at play in this phase of the game.


33.   Kf2            c5

34.   Bc1            e4

35.   Ne1           e3+

36.  Bxe3         Rh2+

37.   Ng2         dxe3+

38.  Kxe3           Bg6

39.   Rd2           Ke7

40.   Re1           Re8

41.  Kf2+           Kf8

42. Rxe8+         Kxe8

43.   Kg1           Rh3


      Better than 43…Rh6.  ;-)  (The version of the score in the online database mistakenly had the rook moving to the wrong rank.)


44.  Re2+           Kd7

45.   Re3           Rh8

46.   Rf3           Rf8

47.    g4           Be4

48.   Re3           Re8

49.   Kf2           Re6

50.   Ne1           Kd6

51.    a4            f5

52.  gxf5         Bxf5

53.   Rg3           Rf6

54.   Ke3         Re6+


      FRITZ-7 somehow evaluates the position as dead even with this continuation.  However, I do not see it.  Further, FRITZ-7 lists no more “blunders” for either side, yet black wins in a few more moves.  This doesn’t quite add up…

 My best guess is that the computer was seeing the upcoming (second) repetition of positions (same as after White’s 53rd move).  This does not totally wash since Black can vary—which he then does—and keep the plus as long as he avoids a third repeat.

Here is the suggested continuation, for whatever it is worth: 54... g4 55. Ng2 Ke5 56. Nf4 Rd6 57. Nd5 Be6 58. Ne7 Rd1 59. Ke2 Kf4; with advantage to black (-1.31).

55.   Kf2            g4

56.   Nd3           Re4

57.   Nc1           Rd4

58.   Rc3           Rd1

59.   Kg3           Re1

60.   Kf4           Ke6

61.   Nd3         Rf1+

62.   Kg5           Rf3

 The game seems pretty well wrapped up.  White’s only reasonable attempt is 63. Nf4+ Ke5 64. Nd5 Rxc3 65. Nxc3.  However, black can then simply divert the knight by pushing the g-pawn and then scoop up all the queen-side pawns with his bishop.


4) Upcoming Events

Guthire McClain Memorial - December 13
Bob Burger Open - January 10
Henry Gross Memorial - February 7
A.J. Fink Amateur Championship - March 14-15
Max Wilkerson Open - March 28
Walter Lovegrove Senior Open - April 4-5
Imre Konig Memorial - April 18