Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #454

...Chess is not like a school subject where you accumulate knowledge until you are an expert. Improvement comes mainly from the ability to process and interpret the information that comes your way, and put it to work in practice. Knowing how to translate your knowledge into good decisions over the board is where talent comes in, and if you seriously believe you don't have it, you will have a very difficult road ahead of you.

Joel Benjamin

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News

2) Carl Pilnick

3) Americans Abroad

4) Around the US

5) News from the Anatoly Karpov School in Lindsborg , Kansas

6) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News

Ricardo DeGuzman took first in the 9th Charles Bagby Memorial winning all of his games. Fellow IM Andrei Florean battled to a draw with NM Gregory Young in the last round as both players shared second place a half point back. The 69-player attendance was the second highest in the 9 year series of monthly G/45 events trailing only the 2003 Max Wilkerson Memorial which had 74 participants.

DeGuzman,R - Rozenvasser,A [A48]
9th Bagby Memorial G/45 (4), 2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 h6 5.Bh4 g5 6.Bg3 Nh5 7.e3 d6 8.c3 Bf5 9.e4 Nxg3 10.hxg3 Bg6 11.Qb3 b6 12.d5 a6 13.Nd4 0-0 14.f4 c5 15.N4f3 g4 16.Nh4 Nd7 17.Be2 h5 18.a4 Bf6 19.Nxg6 fxg6 20.Qc2 Kg7 21.Bd3 Qe8 22.Bc4 Rh8 23.Ke2 g5 24.Qd3 h4 25.Bxa6 hxg3 26.Bb5 gxf4 27.Rxh8 Qxh8 [27...Kxh8 28.Rh1+ Kg7 29.e5 wins.] 28.Bxd7 Qh2 29.Kd1 Qxg2 30.Kc2 f3 31.Bxg4 1-0

Congratulations to Mike Goodall who despite taking chemotherapy treatments during much of the last Tuesday Night Marathon still managed to finish among the prize winners with his score of 5.5 from 8. Mike, who is feeling much better now, didn't lose a single game in the event and gained 32 rating points. Well done!

Payam Afkham-Ebrahimi has been on a role of late. He tied for first with Ramen Farzaneh-Far in the Thursday evening Tanaka Invitational at the Mechanics' . The winners scored four from six in the double round robin event with Steve Gaffagan third with 3 and George Sanguinetti fourth at 1. Payam also defeated Michael Askin 4-0 in a match.

For more information on Thursday evening tournament activity at the Mechanics' go to

The House of Staunton has made available a first class reproduction of the famous wooden chess set that graced the tables of the Mechanics' Institute from 1910s to the early 1970s. The set is available in Boxwood and Golden Rosewood, Ebonized Boxwood , and Boxwood and Rosewood: at prices ranging from $199 to $219.

The House of Staunton, in conjunction with the legendary Mechanics Institute Chess Club, is proud to offer the Mechanics Institute Series Chess set. It features a 4.25" King with a 1.875"diameter base. The Chess pieces are hand carved by our master artisans and crafted out of the highest grade woods. The Chess pieces are heavily weighted with luxurious billiard cloth base pads and a rich French Polish finish. These Chessmen are an exact reproduction of the Chessmen that were produced by the Mechanics Institute in 1916 for a simultaneous exhibition by World Champion GM Jose Raul Capablanca. This very unique pattern of Chessmen is as playable as it is durable. Here's your chance to own a piece of Chess history!


Go to for more information.

2) Carl Pilnick

National Master Carl Pilnick has long been known as one of the finest players and greatest gentlemen of Southern California chess. This pieces starts what we hope will be a series of articles devoted to preserving American chess history. We thank Mr. Pilnick for his assistance in providing details of his career and selecting some of his favorite games.

Carl Pilnick, like most of the strong American players of his generation, was born in New York City (December 24, 1923).Carl learned to play when he was 8 or 9 but did not get serious until he was 15 when he joined the Marshall Chess Club. He remembers the late 1930s as a grand time at the Marshall CC. Frank Marshall was still alive and Carl got to play Edward Lasker in various events. Marcel Duchamp came frequently to the club to play but didn't speak much. .

Carl was the Captain of his City College of NYC team in 1942 when he qualified to play in the US Championship Finals. He was not a first hand observer of the famous Reshevsky-Denker incident as he was playing his own game at the time but remembers hearing Denker complaining loudly and that Sammy just walked out. Other participants and spectators supported Denker but to no avail. Pilnick, like many American players of the time, did not have a high opinion of the Tournament Director Walter Stephens who he recalls as "a pompous ass who knew nothing about chess but had money and liked to direct tournaments."

Pilnick felt the incident was typical of Reshevsky who would take any advantage he could get. When Pilnick swindled Sammy into a stalemate later in the tournament (Qf2!) the latter slammed down ...Qxf2 and immediately rushed out of the room. No hands were shaken nor scoresheets signed.

Immediately after the US Championship Carl was inducted into the US Army and served in the Army Air Corp from 1942-46. He completed college and started working in the late 1940s. During this time Carl's chess development was aided by his nearby neighbor Arthur Bisguier, like Carl a resident of the Bronx

Pilnick married in 1951 and has two children. With the notable exception of the 1952 US Open in Tampa he rarely played outside of the Eastern seaboard and mostly confined himself to events in NYC until moving to Los Angeles in 1961. His best results were tying for first with Santasiere in the 1953 Marshall Chess Club Championship and sharing top honors at the 1971 American Open (he won on tiebreak over Evans, Browne and a couple of other players). The victory in the American Open earned him a Chess Life cover (March 1972), almost 30 years to the month that he appeared on the cover of Chess Review ( April 1942).

Carl's favorite game is his win over Mednis in a Queen versus two Rooks ending. His favorite players that influenced him the most were the top Soviets in the late 1940s and 50s.He subscribed to both Chess Review and the American Chess Bulletin throughout the 1940s and 50s and generally read whatever he could get his hands on, especially in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He found Modern Chess Openings and Basic Chess Endings quite useful.

Herman Steiner – Carl Pilnick

Grunfeld D70

U.S. Open Tampa (10) 1952

Larry Evans won this 76-player event with an undefeated 10 from 12. Carl Pilnick was fifth on tiebreak with 8 points.& nbsp;

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Bb5+ c6 7.Ba4 Nxa4 8.Qxa4 Bg7 9.Ne2 Nd7 10.Be3 0–0 11.Nd2 e5 12.Qc2 exd4 13.Nxd4 c5 14.Ne2 b6 15.0–0–0 Qe7 16.h4 Ne5 17.Nc4 Nxc4 18.Qxc4 Be6 19.Qc2 Qb7 20.Kb1 Qa6 21.Nc3 Rfd8 22.Nd5 Rxd5 23.Rxd5 Bxd5 24.exd5 Re8 25.Qd2 Qb5!

The threats of ...Rxe3 and ...Bxb2 are too much for White to handle.

26.Re1 Bxb2 27.Qxb2 Qd3+ 28.Qc2 Rxe3 29.Rxe3 Qxe3 30.Qd1 Qd4 31.Qxd4 cxd4 32.Kc2 Kf8 33.Kd3 Ke7 34.Kxd4 Kd6 35.g4 f5 36.Kc4 a6 37.h5 Ke5 38.hxg6 hxg6 39.f4+ Kd6 40.gxf5 gxf5 41.a3 b5+ 0–1

Carl Pilnick- Arnold Denker

Closed Sicilian B24

Marshall vs. Manhattan 1955

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 e6 6.Be3 Nd4?!

Denker made this same mistake against Smyslov in the USA-USSR match in 1946. It's strange he repeats himself.

7.Nce2! d5

Denker tried 7...d6 against Smyslov. His "improvement" also lands him in hot water.

8.c3 Nxe2 9.Nxe2 dxe4 10.Bxc5 exd3 11.Nf4 Qc7 12.Nxd3 Bd7 13.Qb3 Bc6 14.Bxc6+ Qxc6 15.0–0–0 Rd8?

15...0–0–0 was indicated.

16.Rhe1! Ne7

16...Rxd3 doesn't work because of the variation 17.Rxd3 Qxc5 18.Qxb7 Nf6 19.Qa8+ Ke7 20.Qb7+ Kf8 21.Rd8+ Ne8 22.Qb8 Bh6+ 23.f4 Qe7 24.Red1

17.Bxe7 Kxe7 18.Qa3+ Kf6 19.f4 Qf3 20.Ne5 Rxd1+ 21.Rxd1 Qe3+ 22.Kc2 Kf5 23.Qe7 Qe4+ 24.Kb3 Qe2 25.Qxf7+ Bf6 26.g4+ Ke4 27.Rd4+ Ke3 28.Nc4+ Kf3 29.Qxf6 Rc8 30.Qe5 Qxe5 31.Nxe5+ Ke3 32.Nc4+ Kf3 33.g5 b5 34.Ne5+ Ke3 35.h4 Rg8 36.h5 Rf8 37.h6 Rxf4 38.Rxf4 Kxf4 39.Nc6 e5 40.Nxa7 e4 41.Nxb5 1–0

Carl Pilnick - Edmar Mednis

French Winawer C18

Marshall Chess Club Championship (4) 1955-56

This event was won by Herbert Seidman with 11 from 15. Edmar Mednis and Anthony Santasiere shared second with 10 1/2. Pilnick had 8 1/2 points. This game is=2 0in Chess Base (presumably from a Spence bulletin) but only the first third of it is given.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qc7 7.Nf3 Bd7 8.Be2 Ba4 9.0–0 Nd7 10.c4 Ne7 11.Bg5 Nb6 12.dxc5 Qxc5 13.Be3 Qc7 14.c5 Nd7 15.Rb1 Nf5 16.Rb4 Bc6 17.Qd2 Qa5 18.Nd4 Nxe3 19.Qxe3 Qxc5 20.Qg5 0–0 21.Nxc6 bxc6 22.Rg4 g6 23.Bd3 Rfb8 24.h4 Qa5 25.h5 Nf8 26.Qh6 Qc7 27.f4 c5 28.c4 Rb3 29.Rd1 Rd8 30.hxg6 fxg6 31.Bc2 Rc3 32.Bb1 Rxc4 33.Rf1 Qe7 34.Rg5 Rb8 35.f5 exf5 36.Bxf5 Qg7 37.Qh2 Rb6 38.e6 Rb7 39.Rg3 Re7 40.Bd3 Rd4 41.Rgf3 Rxd3 42.Rxf8+ Qxf8 43.Rxf8+ Kxf8 44.Qf4+ Kg7 45.Qe5+ Kh6 46.Qf6 Rxe6 47.Qxe6 c4 48.Qe2 a5 49.a4 Kg5 50.Kf2 Kf4 51.g3+ Kf5 52.Qe1 Kg4 53.Qe6+ Kh5 54.Ke2 h6 55.Qf7 Rxg3 56.Qxd5+ Rg5 57.Qxc4 Rf5 58.Ke3 Kg5 59.Qc1 h5 60.Ke4+ Kf6 61.Qh6 Kf7 62.Qh8 Rg5 63.Kf4 Rc5 64.Kg3 Rg5+ 65.Kh3 Rc5 66.Kh4 Rd5 67.Qh7+ Kf6 68.Qa7 Re5 69.Qb7 Ke6 70.Qg7 Re4+ 71.Kg5 Rg4+ 72.Kh6 Rxa4 73.Qxg6+ Kd5 74.Qc2 Rd4 75.Qa2+ Ke4 76.Kxh5 a4 77.Kg4 Ke5+ 78.Kf3 Kd6 79.Ke3 Kc5 80.Qa1 Rb4 81.Kd2 Kb5 82.Kc2 Rb3 83.Qd4 Ka5 84.Qc4 Rb5 85.Qc7+ Ka6 86.Qc6+ Ka5 87.Kc3 Rb6 88.Qd5+ Ka6 89.Kc4 Ka7 90.Qd7+ Kb8 91.Kc5 Ra6 92.Kb5 Ra7 93.Qd8+ Kb7 94.Qb6+ Ka8 95.Qc6+ Kb8 96.Kb6 1–0

Sources: This score is from a Herman Helms column dated January 21, 1956, but with no indication of the newspaper. It was likely either the NY Times or the NY Sun. The first two games were entered using Pilnick's scoresheets.

3) Americans Abroad

Hikaru Nakamura turned in one of the finest recent in recent American chess by winning a strong round robin in San Sebastian this past week by defeating Ruslan Ponomariov 2-0 in a blitz playoff after sharing first place in the regular tournament. This performance lifted Hikaru into the top 20 players in the world at 2730.

1-2. Ponomariov and Nakamura – 6˝
3. Svidler - 5˝
4-5. Vallejo and Kasimdzhanov – 5
6-7. Movsesian, Vachier-Lagrave -4˝
8. Granda Zuniga – 3˝
9. San Segundo – 2˝
10. Karpov - 1˝.

A few top tournaments have finished since publication of the July FIDE rating list. Here is how things look factoring these results in.

1. Topalov 2813
2. Anand 2788
3. Carlsen 2772
4. Kramnik 2771
5. Aronian 2768
6. Jakovenko 2764
7. Gelfand 2764
8. Leko 2759
9. Radjabov 2756,6
10. Morozevich 2751
11. Svidler 2741
12. Ponomariov 2740
13. Gashimov 2740
14. Shirov 2734
15. Wang Yue 2733
16. Grischuk 2733 0
17. Nakamura 2730
18. Ivanchuk 2725
19. Dominguez 2720
20. Karjakin 2717

FM Daniel Naroditsky scored 5.5 from 9 in the Leiden Chess Tournament including a win over Ukrainian GM Vovk ( 2567).

IM Dmitry Zilberstein scored 6.5 from 9 in the recently concluded Canadian Open in Edmonton to tie for ninth place in the 203 player field. Among those on his scoregroup were Chinese 2700 Ni Hua. The event was won by Canadian GM Mark Bluvstein on tiebreak over IM Edward Porper whose playing career has been given a new life since settling in Alberta ( he trains the young talent FM Eric Hansen) from Israel. Rated below 2500 FIDE, Porper had an incredible finishing kick at the Canadian Open that would have done Dave Wottle proud. The last four rounds of the Canadian Open he defeated GMs Ganguly and Mikhalevski and drew with Shirov and Adams!!

4) Around the US

GM Jesse Kraai, the wise man of the El Cerrito chess commune, continues to improve. Witness his outstanding result at the recent New Jersey Futurity where he score an undefeated 7.5 from 10 in the double round robin competition. We hope to have games from this event shortly.

1. GM Jesse Kraai 7.5

2. GM Joel Benjamin 6.5

3. GM Leonid Yudasi 5.5

4. IM Milos Scekic 5.0

5. IM Dean Ippolito 4.5

5. FM Evan Ju 1.0

IM Ray Robson won a strong US Junior in Milwaukee last week with an impressive 6 from 7 a point ahead of second place finisher IM Sal Bercys.

Other scores in that event organized by Alex Betaneli and directed by Frank Berry were:

3. GM-elect Alex Lenderman 4

4-5. IM Sam Shankland FM Michael Lee 3.5

6. FM Joel Banawa 3

7. FM Eliott Liu 2.5

8. Max Coleman 0.5

5) News from the Anatoly Karpov School in Lindsborg , Kansas

106 S. Main Street, Lindsborg , Kansas 67456

Photos Available - Yes

Contact: Wes Fisk - 785-342-1009

Tom Brownscombe, Director of the Anatoly Karpov International School of Chess, won the coveted title of Kansas State Chess Champion at the Kansas Open Chess Championship held July 11-12 at Lindquist Hall on the Bethany College campus. This is the second championship for Brownscombe; in 2007, he won the championship shortly after arriving in Lindsborg. The two-day event drew players from Kansas and surrounding states. Players from as far away as Iowa and New York played in the tournament.
"I’m greatly pleased that our chess school director has won the Kansas State Championship," said Marck Cobb, president of the International Chess Institute of the Midwest . "We believe we offer some of the best chess instruction available at our camps, and we are pleased to have Tom as our director."
Browncombe narrowly edged out Tim Steiner, Kansas City , and Christopher Purdy, Oxford , Kansas , who tied for second place with four out of a possible five points. Brownscombe scored four wins, giving up only one draw (tie) with Kansas City area chess teacher Tim Steiner in the final round.
Browncombe defeated 2008-2009 Kansas Chess Association President Ron Pasik, eastern Kansas chess teacher David Blair, Wichita area chess teacher Jason Wawrzaszek, and 2008 US Cadet Champion Conrad Holt. "I’m thrilled," said Brownscombe. "Conrad is becoming very strong, and it’s getting more difficult to beat him."
The Kansas Chess Association and the Anatoly Karpov International School of Chess jointly sponsored the tournament. Tony Dutiel directed the tournament.
The Kansas Chess Association held their annual business meeting during the tournament between rounds three and four. The membership elected Tom Brownscombe KCA president. Ron Pasik was elected vice-president and newsletter editor. Laurence Coker was elected Secretary-Treasurer. Each year, the membership elects a state delegate to represent Kansas at the annual U.S. Chess Federation’s delegates meeting. Brownscome will represent Kansas at the 2009 annual meeting in Indianapolis , Indiana .
Immediately after the tournament, Brownscombe returned to the Karpov Chess School for the start of the 9th Annual Karpov Chess Camp that is currently underway in Lindsborg through July 24.

The annual Anatoly Karpov Chess Camps are underway in Lindsborg. I'm attaching a release; however, please feel free to call me to arrange photos and interviews while the camps are progress - now through the July 24.

106 S. Main Street , Lindsborg , KS 67456

Release: Immediate

Photos Available - Yes

Contact: Wes Fisk – 785-342-1009

Top Chess Grandmaster Returns to Lindsborg

Students from throughout the United States have gathered this week and next to participate in the chess camps offered by the Karpov Chess School in Lindsborg. About 60 students, including some as far away as Indiana , Tennessee and New Mexico , came to Lindsborg to study at the internationally recognized chess school. Several students from Kansas are also participating. Grandmaster Varuzhan Akobian, who is ranked as one of the top Grandmasters in the United States , has returned to Lindsborg as the lead instructor for back-to-back chess camps that commenced on July 12 and will end on July 24.

"I think it’s fantastic that Grandmaster Varuzhan Akobian, winner of the U.S. Open, is coming to Lindsborg to be the lead instructor in our camps," said Karpov Chess School Director Tom Brownscombe. "He is a fantastic player and a fantastic instructor."

" We feel very fortunate to have Grandmaster Akobian returning to Lindsborg to lead our chess camp," said Marck Cobb, president of the International Chess Institute of the Midwest . "We’re looking forward to another successful summer of chess camps." The International Chess Institute of the Midwest operates the famed Karpov Chess School .

Akobian is one of the rising stars on the world chess scene, winning several prestigious tournaments in the past few years, including the World Open in 2007. He recently competed in Dresden , Germany in the World Chess Olympiad, winning fourth place. Varuzhan Akobian was born November 19, 1983, in Yerevan , Armenia . He began playing chess at age 5 when his family moved to Mongolia . Due to the inordinately harsh weather conditions there, "Var" and his sister were encouraged to stay indoors and play chess. In this unusual circumstance, Varuzhan's intense love of chess was born.

Var and his family returned to Armenia when he was seven and he began studies at a chess academy created by the Armenian Ministry of Education specifically for talented chess players. Here, Var received instruction from his first real chess coaches, Gagik Sargissian and IM Ashot Nadanian. Vahag Grigorian, a high-ranking Minister in the Armenian government, provided financial support that enabled Varuzhan to compete in tournaments outside of Armenia .

In 1992, Var qualified to play in his first rated tournament, the Armenian Junior Chess Championship; the most prestigious chess tournament in Armenia in which he earned 3rd place in the under 10 (years) section. In 1993, Varuzhan defeated every player in his section and earned 1st place in the event; a feat he would accomplish three times. At age 9, he participated in the World Chess Championship in Czechoslovakia , his first appearance on an international stage and where he tied for 8th in a field of 50 participants.

In 1994 and 1996, Var competed in the European Junior Championship where he placed 4th each time. In 1995, he won the tournament in the under 12 section and took 3rd place in the World Rapid Chess Championship held in Paris . In 1997, Varuzhan played in one of chess's most prestigious tournaments: the Kasparov Cup in Moscow . Only the top 2 players from any given country may participate in the event. Var took 2nd place, ceding 1st to Levon Aronian, now among the top 10 players in the world. Varuzhan's performance at the Kasparov Cup earned him a monthly scholarship which allowed him to procure exceptional coaching and attend chess retreats conducted by world renowned Grandmasters. In 1999, Var earned the National Master title at the age of 15 and at 16, became a FIDE International Master. In 2001, he moved to the US and 1 week after his 20th birthday in November 2003, earned FIDE’s highest title, International Grandmaster.

Var was the 2002 Samford Fellowship recipient, an honor given annually to the most promising chess player in the US and in 2005, he was the Alajuela Open Champion with 8 of 9 points and was undefeated. In 2006, Varuzhan became a Bronze Medalist, competing on the US team at the Chess Olympiad. That same year at San Marino , he tied for 1st Place with a performance rating of approximately 2800. In 2007, Varuzhan continued his success by tying for 3rd Place in the 2nd Chess Festival in Spain with draws against former World Champion Anatoly Karpov and GMs Bacrot and Sokolov (who tied for 1st Place ). He then became World Open Champion for the second time since 2004. He immediately followed up his victory with another 1st place at the Continental Championship in Colombia ; a performance that qualified him for the 2007 World Cup. Earlier in 2007, Var was featured in an MTV program titled: "True Life: I'm a Genius" which followed him through his daily life as a chess grandmaster. In, 2008, GM Akobian won the Doeberl Cup; the largest and strongest open tournament organized in Australia in the past 46 years. He followed up that victory with another huge win by becoming the 2008 Chicago Open Champion.

6) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Events ( go to for more information)

Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial - August 8
Bernardo Smith Memorial - August 22-23

July 26
2009 Westwood Summer Open

5-SS, G/40. Los Angeles Chess Club, 11514 Santa Monica Blvd. , LA , CA 90025, 2nd floor (4 blocks West of 405 Fwy).
$$1500 b/50, 80% of each prize guaranteed.
In two sections:
Open: $400-200-50, U2200 125, U2000 125.
Reserve: (U1800): $$200-125, U1600 $100, Under 1400/unrated $100, U1200 $75.
EF: $47 if received by 7/25, $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 req. w/entry.
Reg.: 9-9:45 a.m.
Rds.: 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.
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