Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #428
Bad players like to play with their "pretty" pieces. It is the mark of good players that they won't go on an adventure before they solve the problem of their bad pieces.
GM Jesse Kraai (ChessLecture, 12/10/2008)
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Calvin Olson (1946-2009)
3) Julius Loftsson (1941-2008)
4) US Championship
5) Here and There
6) Upcoming Events
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
Draws on the first three boards ( Shipman-Snyder board one) leaves a large group leading the 61-player Tuesday Night Marathon with 2 1/2  from 3. It is still possible to enter the eight round event with half point byes for the first three rounds.
GM Varuzhan Akobian of Los Angeles, the highest rated American player living West of the Mississippi, was in town yesterday to pick up his Russian visa for the upcoming Aeroflot Open ( he will also play in Gibraltar)  and gave a well received lecture on the Tarrasch Defense to the Queen's Gambit to the Tuesday Night Marathon crowd.
Next Tuesday night, January 27, starting at 5.15 pm GM Vinay Bhat will show games from his recent trip to India. Here is one nice effort.
Rahul,Sangma (2322) - Vinay Bhat (2495)

7th Parsvnath International Open,  New Delhi India (7) 2009


1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Ne7 7.Qg4 cxd4 8.Qxg7 Rg8 9.Qxh7 Qc7 10.Ne2 dxc3 11.f4 Bd7


11...Nbc6 12.Qd3 Bd7 13.Nxc3 a6 14.Rb1 Na5 15.h4 Nf5 16.Rh3 0-0-0 17.h5 Nc4 18.h6 Rg6 19.h7 Rh8 20.Ne4 dxe4 21.Qxc4 Qxc4 22.Bxc4 Rxg2 23.Bxa6 bxa6 24.Rc3+ Bc6 25.Rxc6+ Kd7 26.Rxa6 Rxh7 27.Ra7+ Kc8 28.Ra8+ Kc7 29.Ra7+ Kc8 30.Ra8+ draw, Becerra-Bhat, USCL 2008.



12.Qd3 Nf5  13.Rb1 Na6 14.Rg1 Ba4 15.g4 Nc5 16.Qd1?


The critical line was 16.Qxc3 d4 17.Nxd4 Nxd4 18.Qxd4 Bxc2 19.Bb5+ Kf8 20.Be3 Bxb1 21.Qxc5+ Qxc5 22.Bxc5+ Kg7 with unclear play. 


16...Qd8! 17.Ng3 Nxg3 18.hxg3 Ne4 19.Bd3 Qe7 20.Qf3 Nc5 21.Rh1 d4 22.Rh7 0𢠢 23.g5 Bxc2 24.Bxc2 d3 25.Rb5 Rd5 26.g6


26.Rxc5+ Qxc5 27.Bxd3 c2 28.Rxf7 Qc3+ 29.Ke2 Rgd8 winning.


 26...Rxg6 27.Rxc5+ Qxc5 28.Bxd3 Qg1+ 29.Bf1 Rxg3 30.Rh1 Rxf3 31.Rxg1 c2 32.Be2 Rb3 33.Kf2 b5 34.a4 a6 35.Re1 Rb1 36.axb5 axb5 37.Bf3 Rc5 38.Ke3 b4 39.Kd4 Rc7 40.Rh1 b3 41.f5 Rxc1 01

Noted problemist and author Bob Burger writes:


Just to echo what Yuri Shulman wrote at the beginning of Newsletter 426, the chess world in this country not only gets indifference from the general press, but bestows the same kind of indifference on chess PROBLEMS. This past year, the eighth international competition for chess competition, WCCT-8, sponsored by FIDE and held every four years, was completed with the USA in eleventh place, out of some eighty countries, just fractions of a point out of the top ten. The USA is severely handicapped by lack of an organization, which quietly ended after the deaths of Milan Vukcevich and Edgar Holladay a few years back. (I played a small role in the team effort, with fourth prize in the three-move section, giving us 21 points.)

2) Calvin Olson (1946-2009)
Noted chess historian Calvin Olson died suddenly on January 14th at the age of 62. Though he lived in Vallejo, Cal was a frequent visitor to the Mechanics' Library, using it to research his two volume history of chess. The first volume, published in 2006, The Chess Kings Volume One: History, Politics, and the Fine Art of Mythmaking in Chess, goes through the history of chess through 1940, primarily from the 18th century onwards. Cal  was just on the verge of putting out Volume 2 of The Chess Kings, which covers the history of chess from 1940 to the present, when he passed away. 

Calvin Olson learned chess in 1958 at age 11 and began playing tournament chess some 11 years later. While working, he earned a degree in Art with a specialty in Art History, which  may explain the wonderfully-designed cover on The Chess Kings. Cal  was a USCF Expert and a Correspondence Chess Master. He was also a chess teacher and active in youth chess for many years. He was a chess magazine editor  (Orange Knight), and of course a writer.


Cal first got the idea of writing what became The Chess Kings in 1969, and spent almost 30 years studying chess books before starting with serious research and writing in 1996. After ten years of work, the first volume appeared. During the last 40 years, he has read over 3000 chess books.


IM John Watson, who provided much of the biographical material above, interviewed Cal twice on his show on the Internet Chess Club. The ICC is putting the second interview up on their free ChessFM website (, with this link: . They are also including a section about him.


3) J鷏韚s Loftsson (1941-2008)
SM and FM J鷏韚s Huxley Eyj髄fur Loftsson was born in 1941 in Reykjavik, Iceland, but spent most of his life in California. He and his mother moved to Berkeley in 1958 following his sister whose husband had landed a teaching position at UC Berkeley. It soon became clear to local players that although Julius was young he was hardly a beginner. A regular at the Friday night tournaments held at the Oakland YMCA directed by George Koltanowski, Loftsson showed he was near Master strength when he finished second to Art Wang at the 1960 Oakland Invitational. He was a regular at the Mechanics's Institute from the late 1950s until he moved to Los Angeles in 1962.
Southern California was to be Loftsson's home for the rest of his life. He never traveled further than neighboring states but took advantage of the increased chess activity in California brought on by the Fischer boom in the 1970s to reach his peak playing strength in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Loftsson tied for first in the 1979 Southern California Championship with Vince McCambridge scoring 11 1/2 - 3 1/2 and played in five Lone Pine tournaments drawing all of his games in 1974! This is where I met him in 1978. The citizens of Lone Pine, a very small town, would invite groups of players to private homes for dinner and I was paired with him and Larry Christiansen. The dinner was memorable and I still remember him as an interesting conversationalist able to  talk on many subjects.
Loftsson was a dependable member of the Los Angeles Stauntons in the US Telephone League in the late 1970s and also played for his employer, JPL ( Jet Propulsion Labaratory at Cal Tech) with Masters Diane Savereide and Sid Rubin as team mates. Loftsson, who achieved his peak FIDE rating of 2365 in 1982, retired from competitive chess a few years later but continued to follow the game avidly until his passing on September 16, 2008.
One pity is that so few of Loftsson's games have been preserved. MegaDataBase2009 mostly has only Lone Pine games and a few odds and ends from the 1961 and 1971 US Opens. CalBase (at has a much better selection but regrettably few from Loftsson's best period in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Unlike Northern California the Southland had no Max Burkett producing bulletins on all the important events.
The following game is a good example of Loftsson's rock solid positional style. 

Loftsson, - Tisdall

Lone Pine , 1976


1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 00 5.d4 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.00 Nc6 8.Nc3 Nb6 9.e3 e5 10.d5 Na5 11.e4 Bg4 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 Nac4 14.b3 Nd6 15.Ba3 Qd7 16.Rac1 Rac8 17.Qe2 Rfe8 18.Rfd1 Bf8 19.Bb2 Bh6 20.Rc2 c6 21.dxc6 Qxc6 22.a4 Red8 23.h4 Bg7 24.Rcc1 Qe8 25.a5 Na8 26.Ba3 Qe6 27.Bxd6


 27.Nd5 or  27.Qe3 were more incisive ways of capitalizing on White's considerable positional advantage. Now Loftsson has to win the game a second time but proves equal to the task.


 27...Rxd6 28.Rxd6 Qxd6 29.Bh3 Qa3 30.Qe3 Rf8 31.h5 Rd8 32.h6 Bf8 33.Nd5 Qxa5 34.Qg5 Rxd5 35.exd5 Qxd5 36.Rc8 Nb6 37.Rd8 Qc5 38.Bf1 Qc6 39.Qxe5 f6 40.Qb8 Nd7 41.Bc4+ Qxc4 42.bxc4 Nxb8 43.Rxb8 b6 44.Rc8 a5 45.Rb8 a4 46.Rxb6 Kf7 47.Ra6 a3 48.Kf1 10

4) US Championship
USCF President Bill Goichberg reports that the 24 player US Championship, to be held in St. Louis in May, will be composed as follows:
13 based on rating
2 women based on rating
1 defending champ
1 junior champ
1 us open champ
1 ICC state champs winner 
5 wild cards
More details should soon be forthcoming. Keep an eye out at .
5) Here and There
The past decade has witnessed the demise of many chess clubs in the United States, the Manhattan in New York the most prominent, but some cities are bucking the trend. IM John Watson reports that the Lincoln Chess Foundation has a full-time physical place for the first time in years, to meet, host the tiny Lincoln Chess Club, and run events and lectures. The late Alexander Liepnieks, who put Lincoln on the chess map by hosting two US Opens and the 1955 US Junior ( Bobby Fischer's first tournament outside of the East Coast), would be proud.
Americans players are off to a good start at the Corus Chess Festival. Gata Kamsky is tied for the lead in the A group with 2.5 from 4 and Fabiano Caruana ( representing Italy) shares top honors in the B Group with 3 from 4.
A speedy report on, the website of the US Chess Federation, up shortly after the completion of the event, reports on the 2009 Liberty Bell Open. Here is a brief excerpt and a very impressive effort by the tournament winner.
The overall turnout at the Liberty Bell was larger than usual, 445 players in eight sections compared to 374 in 2008 and 330 in 2007. TD Sophia Rohde said she was not that surprised and that local, affordable chess events actually do well during recessions. 
The 20-year-old Grandmaster Timur Gareev won clear first in the event with 6 out of 7. Gareev, originally from Uzbekistan, moved to America to attend college, first the University of Texas at Brownsville and now University of Maryland Baltimore County, where he studies economics.  The game of the event was Gareev's victory over GM Sergey Kudrin, which featured a pure exchange sacrifice.
Mention is also made of WIM Iryna Zenyuk who just crossed the  2300 rating barrier.
Liberty Bell Open, Philadelphia, 2009
Gareev, Timur
Black: Kudrin, Sergey

6) Upcoming Events

MI Events - full details at

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

Northern California 

People's Open ( Berkeley) February 15-16

Hans Poschmann Memorial ( Fremont) March 21-22

Southern California

January 25

2009 Westwood Winter Open
5-SS, G/40. Los Angeles Chess Club, 11514 Santa Monica Blvd, LA, CA 90025, 2nd floor (4 blocks West of 405 Fwy).
$$1500 b/50, 80% of each prize guaranteed.
In two sections:
: $400-200-50, U2200 125, U2000 125.
(U1800) $$200-125, U1600 $100, Under 1400/unrated $100, U1200 $75.
: $47 if received by 1/24, $55 at site.
SCCF memb. ($18, under 18 $10) req. for rated S. CA residents. No checks or credit cards at site. Half point byes: limit 1, must be requested with entry.
: 9-9:45 a.m.
: 10-11:30-1:30-3:15-4:45.
2 Free Parking lots on the SW corner of Santa Monica & Purdue, or in the building basement ($3).
Ent: SCCF, c/o John Hillery, 835 N. Wilton Place #1, Los Angeles, CA 90038. On-line entry:
GP: 10. State Championship Qualifier.

February 14-16
26th Annual U.S. Amateur Team West
6-SS, 40/2, SD/1. Warner Center Marriott, 21850 Oxnard Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367.
Four-player teams plus optional alternate, average rating of four highest must be U/2200, diff. between bds. 3 & 4 may not exceed 1000. Dec. list used.
: $118 per team if received by 2-13, $30 individual (on line only), $136 at site, under age 18 $86 by 2-13, $100 site.
Trophies and 4 clocks to top 3 teams, U2100, U2000, U1800, U1600, U1400/unr. Trophies (1 large, 4 small) to top college, industrial, junior (under 18), Senior (over 55), U1200. Clocks to best score each board, alternate, and any 6-0. Gift certificate prizes
for best team names (1st/2nd).
.: 8:30-10 a.m. 2-14.
.: 11-6, 11-6, 10-4:30.
: $119, 800-228-9290, ask for Western Chess. Reserve by Jan. 23 or rates may go up. Parking $6.
Ent: SCCF, c/o John Hillery, 835 N Wilton Place #1A, Los Angeles, CA 90038. On-line entry, help in forming teams, advance entry list:
2009 U.S. Amateur Team Playoff will be held March 21, 2009 on ICC.

Mar. 6-8 or 7-8   Western Chess Congress   GPP: 100 Enhanced   California Northern

5SS, 40/2, SD/1 (2-day option, rds. 1-2 G/75; U1100 & U900 sections are 6SS, 3/7-8 only, G/65). Concord Hilton Hotel, 1970 Diamond Blvd, Concord CA 94520 (I-680 Willow Pass Rd exit). Free shuttle between hotel and Concord BART station. Free parking. In 8 sections. $$G 20,000. Premier, open to all over 1950 and juniors under 18 over 1800: $1600-900-500-300, clear or tiebreak winner $100, top U2300 $800-400. FIDE. Under 2100: $1400-700-400-300. Under 1900: $1400-700-400-300. Under 1700: $1400-700-400-300. Under 1500: $1200-600-300-200. Under 1300: $1200-600-300-200. Under 1100: $600-300-200-100. Under 900: $600-300-200-100. Unrated must play in U1900 or below with maximum prize U1900 $600, U1700 $500, U1500 $400, U1300 $300, U1100 $200, U900 $100; balance goes to next player(s) in line. Top 6 sections EF: 4-day $119, 3-day $119, 2-day $118 mailed by 2/26, all $120 online at by 3/3, $125 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 3/3 (entry only, no questions), $140 at site. U1100, U900 Sections EF: $57 mailed by 2/26, $60 online at by 3/3 (entry only, no questions), $65 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 3/3, $70 at site. All: FREE TO UNRATED. Unofficial ratings based on 4 or more games usually used if otherwise unrated. Special 1 yr USCF dues with Chess Life if paid with entry: online at $30; mailed, phoned or paid at site $40. Re-entry (except Master) $60. Mailed EF $7 less to rated CalChess members. 3-day schedule: Reg. Fri to 6:30 pm, rds Fri 7:30, Sat 11-6, Sun 9-3:30. 2-day schedule: Reg Sat to 10 am, rds Sat 11-2:30-6, Sun 9:30-4. U1100 & U900 schedule: Reg. Sat to 11:30 am, rds. Sat. 12-3-6, Sun. 9-12:30-3:30. All schedules: Byes OK all, limit 2, must commit before rd 3 and have under 2 pts. HR: $99-99-109, 925-827-2000, reserve by 2/20 or rate may increase. Car rental: Avis, 800-331-1600, use AWD #D657633. Questions:, 845-496-9658. Ent: Continental Chess, c/o Goichberg, Box 661776, Arcadia CA 91066. $15 service charge for withdrawals. Advance entries posted at WCL JGP.

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