Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #452

The (Dutch) Stonewall is one of only a few openings where Black achieves an immediate advantage in space.

Vladimir Kramnik

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News

2) Max Wilkerson 1925-2009

3) Nakamura and Najer tie for first in World Open

4) Aigner wins in Sacramento

5) Jerry Weikel: Organizer and Player

6) Here and There

7) Upcoming Events

This Saturday the Mechanics' hosts it annual one day free Scholastic tournament made possible by a donation in memory of Martin Wiskemann.

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News

Romulo Fuentes defeated tournament leader Anthony Rozenvasser in round seven of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon to take over first place with 6 points with one round to go. Rozenvasser, Oleg Shakhnazarov, Dante Argishti and Jayakrishnan Ramachandran are half a point behind.

George Sanguinetti reports on the weekly Wednesday Night Blitz:

Last week the Wednesday Night Blitz tournament tied the high to date attendance of 13 players and saw a new 1st place finisher, IM Vladimir Mezentsev. This was Mezentsev's first time to join the tournament; he scored 11 out of 12 losing only to Igor Traub who tied with Felix Rudyak for 3rd. Igor and Felix took it upon themselves to play a playoff for the 3rd place money the game ended in a draw ( !) and before there could finish another one it was closing time. Anthony Rozenvasser did not show up to defend his title from last week, when he went undefeated.

Wednesday Night Blitz Winners for the week of 07-01 are:

1st : IM Vladimir Mezentsev $ 32.50 (11 points)

2nd : Reynaldo Salvatierra $ 19.50 (10 points)

3rd : Igor Traub & Felix Rudyak $ 6.50 each (8 points)

Arrive between 6:00 pm and 6:30 pm to be assured a spot in the weekly blitz

2) Max Wilkerson 1925-2009

Max Wilkerson, the longest serving Chess Director (1980-1996) in the history of the Mechanic's Institute, passed away on July 3. Born October 10th, 1925, in Orange , Texas , Max was best known for his generosity and kindness but he also had a good chess pedigree. A strong Expert for most of his career he was the Denver Open winner in 1954, New Mexico Champion in 1959 and took top honors in the Master/ Expert of the San Francisco Class Championships in 1971. Max was among the winners when Bobby Fischer gave a simul at the Mechanics' Institute on April 13, 1964. Fischer got his revenge three days later in the famous ten board clock simul in Davis .

Tributes to Max will be published in upcoming Newsletters. The next Tuesday Marathon will be called the Max Wilkerson TNM in his honor.

3) Nakamura and Najer tie for first in World Open

GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Evgeny Najer tied for first in the World Open held June 29th to July 5th in Philadelphia . There 7-2 scores were good for a little over $15,000 apiece. Nakamura was not around at the end of the tournament as after beating Najer in round 7 he took byes for the last two rounds which enabled him to fly to San Sebastian for a super strong round robin (he defeated Anatoly Karpov in the first round) . IM Alex Lenderman made his final GM norm (his third in a little more than a month) and with a FIDE rating should become America 's next GM.

Final Standings Over 2400 section:

1-2. GMs Najer and Nakamura 7/9
3-7. GMs Kamsky, Smirin, Stocek,Akobian and Yudasin - 6
8-14. GMs Ehlvest, Mikhalevski,Gareev, Kudrin, Perelshteyn, Bareev and IM Lenderman 6, etc.
(98 players)

GM Jesse Kraai was the top scorer from the Bay Area with 5.5 points. Here is a smooth win by Jesse in his characteristic style which is primarily technical but mixed with tactics when the position calls for it.

Kraai,J (2531) - Bartell,T (2407) [A30]
World Open Philadelphia (2),2009

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nc3 e6 4.g3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0-0 Be7 7.d4 cxd4 8.Qxd4 0-0 9.Rd1 d6 10.Bg5 Nc6 11.Qf4 Qb8 12.Rd2 Ne5 13.Rad1 Rc8 14.b3 a6 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Ne4 Nxf3+ 17.Qxf3 Be7 18.Nf6+ gxf6 19.Qxb7 Ra7 20.Qf3 Rc5 21.e4 Rg5 22.h4 Rg7 23.Qf4 Rd7 24.b4 Qc7 25.Bf1 Kh8 26.Kh2 a5 27.bxa5 bxa5 28.Rb1 Rg8 29.Rb5 Rb8 30.c5 Rc8 31.c6 Qxc6 32.Rh5 1-0

4) Aigner wins in Sacramento

Michael Aigner writes about the traditional July 4th weekend tournament in Sacramento . The annual Sacramento Chess Championship on 4th of July weekend provides a leisurely opportunity to push pawns on a holiday weekend. Even the mild weather was enjoyable this year! The 72 player attendance was down nearly 20% from last year, but that did not decrease the competition in the top section. I was paired with three veteran masters and three talented youngsters who all may be over 2200 by next summer. At the end of three days, I finished at 5.0 out of 6 for undisputed 1st place. NM Zoran Lazetich, NM Richard Koepcke and 11 year old Kyle Shin (rated only 1956 officially) shared 2nd at 4.5, with Kyle earning the top prize for players under 2200.

As a scholastic coach, I focus attention on the many up and coming local juniors. Two earned 2250+ performances in their quests to become masters themselves! 12 year old Yian Liou started out hot with a perfect score after three rounds, beating FM Kenan Zildzic. However, he lost twice to finish with a modest rating gain, leaving him 39 points short of his goal of 2200. Not to be outdone, 11 year old Kyle Shin picked up the slack. After losing badly in the first round, he recovered to win four straight games, including a pivotal victory against Yian. Kyle was even tied for the lead going into the final round, but only was able to draw. With an impressive 2273 performance rating, Kyle gained 48 rating points to 2045, and he may be near 2100 when the ongoing Tuesday Night Marathon is rated next week!

Several other youngsters gained both experience and rating points in the Master/Expert section. Honorable mention goes to Roland Zhu (3.0 points, +14 rating) and 8 year old Tanuj Vasudeva (2.5 points, +26 rating). Kudos to everyone who fought hard!

On a personal note, I must mention how difficult it is to play a serious game against your own students. On one hand, I want the kids to do well and improve; on the other hand, I really hate to lose or even draw! Making matters worse, the kids know my favorite openings, forcing me to improvise. This led to disaster in round 2, when Yian beat me after a stupid blunder--I hung an undefended knight on c6 to a simple fork with Qd5 check. I reentered into the 2-day schedule and was determined to atone for my mistake; unfortunately for Kyle, he was first in line to play an angry fpawn. The fresh start worked out well for me, and luckily Kyle was able to bounce back from the loss.

The 48 player Reserve (under 2000) section saw stiff competition between the A players and the up-and-coming adult B players. With the elite juniors all playing up in the Master/Expert section, this was the opportunity for Sacramento resident Robert Russo to dominate. By scoring 5.5 out of 6, Robert certainly earned his promotion to A player! Mathew Benson (rated only 1646 going in) and Michael Da-Cruz shared second place at 5.0. Amazingly, the only junior to win money in the Reserve section was Ted Xiao at 4.0--who won the "top junior" prize.

USCF rating report
Photo album on Flickr

5) Jerry Weikel: Organizer and Player

Jerry Weikel is well known as an organizer and tournament directors but he has also been one of the best players in Reno for several decades. One of his long time rivals is FM Edwin Straver, a Dutch mathematician who is found of theory but comes a cropper in the following Marshall Gambit duel.

Edwin Straver Jerry Weikel [D31]

Reno Chess Club Championship (prelims) 2008

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Ne2 Na6 9.Bf8 Ne7 10.Bxg7 Nb4 11.Bxh8 e5 12.Qd6

12.Rc1 Nd3+ 13.Kd2 Bf5 14.f3 Qh4 15.g4 000 16.Kc3 Bg6 17.Ng3 Nxc1 18.Qxc1 Rxh8 offered equal chances in Conquest-Korneev, Mondariz 2002.

12...Nc2+ 13.Kd2 Bf5

13...Nxa1 14.Qxe5 Qc2+ 15.Ke3 is good for White.


14.Rd1 Rd8 15.Qxd8+ Kxd8 16.Ng3 Qf4+ 17.Kc3+ Nd5+! 18.Kb3 Nd4+ 19.Rxd4 Qxd4 was winning for Black in Berg-Hector, Aarhus 1993.

14...Qf4+ 15.Kc3 Nxa1

This appears to be a theoretical novelty. I could find no examples of this move being played in Mega Database 2009 or Correspondence Database 2006.

15...Nd5+ 16.cxd5 Qd4+ 17.Kb3 Nxa1+ 18.Ka3 Nc2+ 19.Kb3 Na1+ Gomez Esteban- Illescas Cordoba, Lisbon 1993.


16.Bxe5? suffers a similar fate: 16Qc1+ 17.Kb4 c5+ 18.Qxc5 a5+ 19.Ka3 (19.Kb5 Bd7+ 20.Kb6 Qh6+ 21.Bd6 Ra6+ 22.Kc7 Rc6+) 19...Nc2+ 20.Ka4 Bd7+ mating.

Critical is 16.Qd2 Qxd2+ 17.Kxd2 000+ 18.Kc3 Rxh8 19.Nxf5 Nxf5 20.Bd3 with perhaps a small edge for White who has a Bishop versus Knight and slightly more active King.

16...Qc1+ 17.Kb4 c5+ 18.Kxc5

Or 18.Ka3 Nc2+ 19.Kb3 a5! 20.a4 Nd4+

18...Rc8+ 19.Kb4 Qd2+ 20.Qc3 Qd6+ 21.c5 Nd5+ 22.Ka3 Rxc5 23.Qe1+ Be6 24.Ka4 Nb6+ 25.Kb4 Nc2# 01

6) Here and There

NM Michael Aigner writes:

Rohan Agarwal is in first place at the US Cadet (under 16) Invitational with 2.5/3. He beat Jarod Pamatmat (TX) and Deepak Aaron (NY) and drew with Christian Tanaka (CA/S). All three of his young opponents are rated in the low 2200s. I will provide round-by-round updates on the Twitter feed at the right sidebar of my blog ( For more information, check out this press release:

IM Jack Peters writes:

Your inquiry about chess books at UCLA made me think about another local college's collection. Here's a link to an article about chess at Cal State LA:

By the way, Konstantin Kavutskiy is a former student of mine. He was in a weekly kids' class when he was in second and third grade. He stopped playing for years, but now he's 16 years old (he skipped high school to begin college early) and rated 2100.

Chief Arbiter Frank Berry passes along the list of participants for the US Junior Closed which begins July 13 in Milwaukee .

1.Alex Lenderman (2654)
2.Sam Shankland (2564)
3.Ray Robson (2553)
4.Salvijus Bercys (2503)
5.Elliott Liu (2405)
6.Joel Banawa (2392)
7.Michael Lee (2384)
8.Maxx Coleman from Wichita (2182, winner of the 2008 Junior Open)

IM Enrico Sevillano won the Pacific Southwest Open last weekend in Los Angeles with 5.5 from 6. GM Melik Khachiyan and Joel Banawa shared second with 5 points. John Hillery organized and directed for the Southern California Chess Federation.

7) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Events ( go to for more information)