Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #474

I was born and grew up in the USA. But at some point it became clear that for a professional chess player it is better and more convenient to live in Europe. Here all important and strong tournaments take place. Everything is very close; you don't have to waste time for travels and acclimatization.
Fabiano Caruana ( interviewed during the 2009 FIDE World Cup) 
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) London Chess Classic
3) FIDE Drug Testing
4) Here and There
5) 2010 US Masters by Michael Bacon
6) Upcoming Events 
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
The Mechanics Institute will be open regular hours during the holiday season with the following exceptions:
Thursday, December 24, the Mechanics' will close at 3pm. The Institute will be closed all day December 25, 26 and 27. Thursday, December 31, the Mechanics' will close at 3pm. The Institute will be closed all day on January 1 but will reopen January 2.
NM Valdemars (Val) Zemitis, who has been a key supporter of chess for over 60 years, has just finished a massive two-volume encyclopedia on Latvian chess players which includes not only ethnic Latvians but also those who lived ( Nimzovitch and Tal to name two). This project took the better part of a decade.
Arthur Ismakov continued his string of successes in the Mechanics' Wednesday Night Blitz series, winning the event held December 16 with an undefeated 10 from 11. Second place finisher Yefim Bukh, one of two players to draw Ismakov, was a point back with Carlos d'Avila third at 8.
The residents of the Chess House on the Richmond/El Cerrito border have been writing up a storm for Chess Life Online the past month. Go to read the words of wisdom from House elder GM Jesse Kraai. IM Sam Shankland recounts his European adventures at while GM Josh Friedel gives an insiders view of the World Cup at . GM Vinay Bhat recounts a successful road trip to Spain at his blog at
Mechanics' Chess Director John Donaldson's book on former Canadian Chess Champion Frank Anderson was recently published by Moravian Press.
2) London Chess Classic
The recent London Chess Classic, won by Magnus Carlsen and impressively organized by Malcolm Pein, was the rare top level tournaments held in a Western European capital in many years. An article written by Jonathan Clegg which ran in the Wall Street Journal on December 9 gives some interesting information on the financial structure at the top of the chess world. Here is an excerpt.
Although a group of private investors has agreed to sponsor the London Chess Classic, the purse of €100,000 ($148,520)—a record for a British tournament—is indicative of the sport's struggle to translate its popularity into cash.
Corporate sponsorship has proved elusive, while lucrative endorsement deals are rare, even for the sport's leading stars. Last year, Mr. Carlsen spent 200 days on the road playing and earned roughly $250,000 after expenses, his father says.
Those earnings will increase following his rise to the top of the rankings, but even for the world's leading player, it is clear chess can't compete with the riches on offer in mainstream sports. Even more galling for chess organizers, it now fails to generate the revenues of other "mind sports."
While the winner of this month's World Chess Cup will receive $120,000 in prize money, this year's World Series of Poker champion pocketed about $8.5 million.
"Chess has simply failed to tap into its enormous potential: We have too many people shooting ourselves in the foot, or in the head if you like, and we're not enough progressive enough as a sport," says Nigel Short, a former world championship challenger and current British No. 1.
He blames the International Chess Federation, known by its French acronym FIDE, for failing to leverage the sport's enormous global reach. With 158 member nations, FIDE is the second largest world-wide sporting organization after FIFA, the governing body of world football.
"At the grassroots level, chess is huge but on the top level it doesn't translate into anything," Mr. Short says. "There are hundreds of millions of chess players around the world, so the money's there, but FIDE has failed to put chess in the mainstream."
3) FIDE Drug Testing
FIDE has recently issued a meaty tome the size of a small phone book detailing the dos and don't of its drug testing policies which have been adapted from the IOC regulations. Below are the key points in a nutshell. The good news for mortals is that men under 2649 and women under 2449 are not part of FIDE's registered test pool.
5.5.1 FIDE shall identify a Registered Testing Pool of those Players who are required to comply with the whereabouts requirements of the International Standard for Testing, and shall publish the criteria for Players to be included in this Registered Testing Pool as well as a list of the Players meeting those criteria for the period in question.  FIDE shall review and update as necessary its criteria for including Players in its Registered Testing Pool, and shall revise the membership of its Registered Testing Pool annually in accordance with the set criteria.  Each Player in the Registered Testing Pool (a) shall advise FIDE of his/her whereabouts on a quarterly basis, in the manner set out in Article 11.3 of the International Standard for Testing; (b) shall update that information as necessary, in accordance with Article 11.4.2 of the International Standard for Testing, so that it remains accurate and complete at all times; and (c) shall make him/herself available for Testing at such whereabouts, in accordance with Article 11.4 of the International Standard for Testing. The ultimate responsibility for providing whereabouts information rests with each Player, however, it shall be the responsibility of each Member Association to use its best efforts to assist FIDE in obtaining whereabouts information as requested by FIDE.


The following are Members of the FIDE Registered Testing Pool:

The top male Players with the ELO rating over 2650 to a maximum of 10 players

The top female Players with the ELO rating over 2450 with a maximum of 5 players

Including the current male and female World Champions and the current male and female winners of the World Cup

The FIDE Medical Commission can include any other Player participating at an International Event, by written notice to the NCF and the Player according to the provisions of the International Standards for Testing.

4) Here and There
Next year's World Championship match was signed in Sofia by FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the President of the Bulgarian Chess Federation, Stefan
Sergiev. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov was present at the signing. The prize fund for the match is 2 million euros and the dates are 23 April (1st round) to 12 May 2010
(possible tie-breaks).

After the London Classic tournament the FIDE top-10 list looks as follows:
1. Carlsen 2809,6
2. Topalov 2805,1
3. Anand 2789,7
4. Kramnik 2787,5
5. Aronian 2781,3
6. Gelfand 2761,3
7. Gashimov 2758,8
8. Wang Yue 2751,1
9. Ivanchuk 2748,7
10. Mamedyarov 2741,3
Interestingly the only country with two players in the top ten is Azerbaijan!
Azerbaijan will be the highest rated squad in the World Team Championship that will be held January 4-13 in Bursa, Turkey. US Chess Online has a story on the American entry at its front page at The team, the youngest ever fielded by the United States, is sponsored by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and will consist of GMs Nakamura, Onischuk, Shulman, Akobian, Hess, Robson and captain IM Donaldson.  
5) 2010 US Masters by Michael Bacon

2010 US Masters

It is the time of year when a chess player begins to consider tournaments he would like to attend next year. I was surprised, and elated, to learn the 2010 US Masters will be returning to Hendersonville, NC! I would like EVERY chess player to give strong consideration to attending this tournament! I say every player because there will also be a tournament for 'sub-masters', those who do not qualify for the US Masters proper, and also a 'sub-sub-masters' for the triple digit set! This will make it a real 'Chess Festival'! You can read the particulars here:

If you cannot make it to play in the tournament, be held March 13-21 ( 9 rounds), I urge you to consider a trip to the mountains as a spectator. You will enjoy 'rubbing shoulders' with the Masters, and I'm sure you will enjoy the visit!

I happened to live in Hendersonville when two previous US Masters, 2006 & 2007, were held in this beautiful mountain city. Both tournaments were exceptional events. I attended as a spectator and heard absolutely no derogatory comments concerning either tournament. As a spectator, I was able to talk with many players, particularly recalling a conversation with Victors Pupols, who came all the way from the Great Northwest. He said he did not care for large cities, and loved the mountains, so Hendersonville was the place to be!
The tournament will be directed by Kevin Hyde, now a lieutenant colonel, who has done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a fine man and one cannot find a better TD! His wife and children will be there to make it a family affair, ensuring everyone enjoys some down home 'Southern hospitality'. The tournament will be held in early spring, before the 'snowbirds' arrive, so the room rates are very reasonable, with chess players having run of the place. There is nothing like the cool, crisp mountain air!
6) Upcoming Events 
MI Events - got to for more information.
Local Events

Jan. 1-3 or 2-3, GPP: 30 California Northern

NorCal Open 2010 6SS 30/90 G/60 (2-day option, rounds 1-3 G/60).

Hotel: Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, 5101 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054. 4-star rooms @ $99. Free parking. Prizes: $6,007 129 paid entries.

7 sections.

Master/Open (FIDE rated): $$ Gtd. 700-300-201 (u2300: 200 100)

EXPERT: $400-200-101 (u2100: 100-100)

A: $400-200-101 (u1900: 100-100)

B: $400-200-101 (u1700: 100-100)

C: $400-200-101 (u1500: 100-100)

D/E: $400-200-101 (u1200: 100-100).

Unrated may enter any section but prize limit of $200 in all u2200 sections;

balance goes to next player(s) in line.

EF: $85 3-day, $79 2-day mailed or online by 12/20. Add $5 for 12/21-23, 12/24-26 $15

(no mailed entries after 12/26), add $25 onsite, add $19 for play-up, subtract $45 for BayAreaChess Pass.

GMs & IMs free before 12/20 (entry fee deducted from prize).

Re-entry $39. TD may assign ratings.

3-day schedule: Reg.: Fri 10-10:30a, Fri/Sat 11:30a 4:45p, Sun 10a, 3:15p.

2-day sched: Reg.: Sa 9-9:30a, Sat 10, 12:10, 2:20, 4:45p. Sun 10a, 3:15p.

Byes must commit before rd 3. Max 2 byes.

Hotel $99 BayAreaChess rate, 800-233-1234. reserve by 12/18 or rate may increase.

Ent: BayAreaChess, 4423 Fortran Ct., Ste. 160, San Jose, CA 95134.

$20 service charge for refunds.

Questions:, Tel 408-786-5515.

Info & Entries:




Jan. 15-18, 16-18 or 17-18   Golden State Open   GPP: 200 Enhanced   California Northern

7SS, 40/2, SD/1 (3-day option rds. 1-2 G/75, 2-day option rds. 1-4 G/35, no 2-day Open Section.) Under 900 Section plays separate 2-day schedule Jan 17-18 only, G/35. At 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. $$60,000 based on 450 paid entries (re-entries & U900 Section count as 1/3 entries), minimum guarantee $40,000 (2/3 each prize). Open, open to all. $$4000-2200-1300-1000-800-700-600-500-400-400, clear or tiebreak winner $300, top U2400 $2000-1000. FIDE. Under 2200: $3000-1500-800-700-600-500-400-300-200-200. Under 2000: $3000-1500-800-700- 600-500-400-300-200-200. Under 1800: $3000-1500-800-700-600-500-400-300-200-200. Under 1600: $2500-1300-700-600-500-400-300-300-200-200. Under 1400: $2000-1000-700-500-400- 300-200-200. Under 1200: $2000-1000-700-500-400-300-200-200. Under 900: $800-400-200-150-100-80-70. Prize limits: 1) Unrated (0-3 lifetime games rated) may enter any section, with maximum prize U900 $200, U1200 $400, U1400 $600, U1600 $900, U1800 $1200, U2000 $1500. 2) Players with under 26 lifetime games rated may not win over $400 in U900, $800 in U1200 or $1200 in U1400. 3) If more than 30 points above section maximum on any list 1/09-12/09, prize limit $1000. 4) Balance of any limited prize goes to next player(s) in line. Top 7 sections EF: 4-day $174, 3-day $173, 2-day $172 mailed by 1/7, all $175 online at by 1/12, $180 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 1/12 (entry only, no questions), $200 at site. GMs free; $150 deducted from prize. Under 900 Section EF: $52 mailed by 1/7, $55 online at by 1/12 (entry only, no questions), $60 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 1/12, $70 at site. All: 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 $5 less to rated CalChess members. 4-day schedule: Reg. ends Fri 6:15 pm, rds. Fri 7 pm, Sat 11 & 6, Sun 11 & 6, Mon 10 & 4:30. 3-day schedule: Reg. Sat to 10:15 am, rds Sat 11, 2:30 & 6, Sun 11 & 6, Mon 10 & 4:30. 2-day schedule: Reg Sun to 9:15 am, rds Sun 10-12-2-4-6, Sun 10-4:30, not available for Open Section. Under 900 schedule: Reg. Sun to 9:15 am, rds. Sun. 10-12-2-4, Mon. 10-12-2. Byes: OK all; Open must commit before rd 2, others before rd 4; limit 3 byes in Open. Unofficial ratings based on 4 or more games usually used if otherwise unrated. Foreign player ratings: See HR: $99-99-109, 925-827-2000, reserve by 1/1 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.

Spring Chess Festival
February 27-28, 2010
Sponsored by
Atlantis Business Insurance Solutions, LLC
$9,000 Prize Fund b/150 paid entries.
One of the BIGGEST tournaments of the year at the recently renovated 8,000 sq.f. facility!!!
6 rounds of exciting chess action in 6 sections!
Location: 415 Grand Ave 3rd floor, South San Francisco, CA 94080
Entry Fee: Advanced Entries are $80 for entries postmarked by February 14th. Entry at the
tournament site is $100. Players may play up one section for additional $20. IMs and GMs have
free entries ($50 will be deducted from the prize). Unrated players can play up in Master’s section
or Unrated section. Cash only at site.
Time Control: Game in 90.
Regestration & Schedule: Registration: 8:30-9:45 am on 02/27. Rds: 10 am, 1:30 pm, 5:00 pm
both days.
Prizes: Open Section: $700-$500-$300, Top U2300/Unr $300, Under 2200: $600-$400-350,
Under 2000: $600-$400-350, Under 1800: $600-$400-350, Under 1600: $600-$400-350, Under
1400: $600-$400-350, Top U1200 $300. Unrated may not win over $150.
Questions? - Call TD Felix German at (415) 335-0900 or email:
Join our group on Facebook: Bay Area Chess Tournaments
Mail advance entries to: 723 Camino Plaza, PMB #170, San Bruno CA 94066. Make checks
payable to: Felix German.
I want to play/play up in a section [ ] Open, [ ] Expert, [ ] A, [ ] B, [ ] C, [ ] D/E. My rating is_____
I need a bye in round: [ ] 1, [ ] 2, [ ] 3, [ ] 4, [ ] 5, [ ] 6, - max. 2 half pt byes, must commit prior
to rd 1.
Name: _________________________________________, USCF ID#______________________
Check enclosed for [ ] $80 Advanced Entry fee + [ ] $_____ Play up Fee = $_____ Total



Regional Events


January 8-10
2010 Century West Open
5-SS, 3-day 40/2, SD/1, 2-day rds 1-2 G/60 then merges. LAX Hilton, 5711 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90045.
$$10,000 b/200, 50% of each prize guaranteed. In 3 sections:
Open: $$1500-1000-800-400-200, U2400 200, U2300 200, U2200 750-500-300, U2100 200, U2000 200. EF $83 by 1/8, $95 door.
Premier (U1900: $$750-500-300-100, U1700 500-300-200. EF $83 by 1/8, $95 door.
Amateur (U1500): $$400-250-100, U1300 100-50, U1100 100, Unr 100. EF $67 by 1/8, $80 door.
Reg: 5:30-6:30 1/8, 9-10 a.m. 1/9.
Rds: 3-day: 7, 10:30-5, 10-4:30. 2-day: 10:30-1 (G/1), then merges with 3-day at 5.
All: SCCF membership req. ($18 re, $10 jr). $25 Best Game prize, all sections eligible. 1 half-point bye rds 1-4 if requested at least 1 round in advance, rd. 5 must be requested with entry.
HR: $99, (310) 410-4000, use Group Code CWO. Parking $8/day.
Info: Web site, on-line entry:
Ent: SCCF, c/o John Hillery, 835 N. Wilton Pl. #1, Los Angeles, CA 90038.
NS. NC. F. GP: 40. State Championship Qualifier.

National Events

Feb. 12-14 or 13-14  
2010 U.S. Amateur Team Championship - North   Wisconsin
Two sections: Open and Scholastic (Saturday only). Open: 5SS, G/90+30/move/increment (G/120 if digital clocks not available; 2-day: rd.1-2 G/60). Crowne Plaza Hotel Milwaukee Airport, 6401 South 13th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53221. 1-414-764-5300. $79.99 chess rate, please reserve early. Open to 4 player teams with one optional alternate. Team average (4 highest ratings-2009 Annual Rating List) must be under 2200. EF: 3-day $140, 2-day $141 per team if received by February 9th, $180 thereafter. Individuals wishing to play, send $35 and request to be put on a team. Team changes on site $20. Check out official website All advance entries will be posted on February 10th. Prizes: Awards to top two teams, top teams with average rating u1900, u1600, and u1300. Winning team qualifies for national play-offs. Prizes to best team composed of juniors (high school and younger). Prizes to top score on each board. Rounds: 3-day: on-site registration/check-in 5:30-6:30pm, rds.: 7pm, 11:00am & 5:00pm, 10:00am & 3:30pm. 2-day: on-site registration/check-in 9:00-10:30am, rds. 11:00am & 2:00pm then merge with 3-day. **Saturday Only** Scholastic section. 4SS, G/60. Open to 4 player teams with one optional alternate. Team average (4 highest-2009 Annual Rating List) must be under 1600. EF: $120 per team if received by February 9th, $150 thereafter. Individuals wishing to play, send $30 and request to be put on a team. Team changes on site $20. All advance entries will be posted on on February 10th. Prizes: awards to top team overall, top three High School Teams, top three Middle School Teams, top three Elementary School Teams. Prizes to top score on each board. Rounds: on-site registration/check-in: 9:00am-10:30am; rds.: 11:00am, 1:30pm, 3:45pm, 6:00pm. Checks made payable to and send to: VICA, 6822 North Crestwood Dr., Glendale, WI 53209. Please include Team's name and roster, captain's email and phone number, and desired schedule. Info:,, 608-334-2574, 414-234-1005. WCL JGP.