Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #478

In the former Soviet Union a cleaning woman (with mop and bucket) once pointed out how I could have defended better in a rook ending.
GM Stuart Conquest ( New In Chess, inside back cover of issue 8 of 2009)
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Americans Abroad
3) Here and There

4) Schoenberg on Parnassus: Schoenberg's Chess, Klee's Jewishness, Benjamin's Obsession, and other puzzles

5) Upcoming Events



1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
A hard fought draw between Dante Argishti and Hayk Manvelyan in round five of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon leaves Argishti remaining in the lead with 4.5 points. Close behind at 4 are FM Frank Thornally, NM Oleg Shaknazarov and unheralded Class B player Charles Kleiman who has knocked off Experts Igor Margulis and George Sanguinetti in consecutive rounds.
Thanks to Alice Wilkerson for the donation of her late husband Max Wilkerson's chess effects. Particularly nice were Max's game scores from many Mechanics' events.
The longest serving chess director in the history of the Mechanics' Institute (1980-1996) defeats the veteran Seattle Master "Dirty Jim" McCormick in the following game.
McCormick,James - Wilkerson,Max
9th Stamer Memorial
San Francisco 1973
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.e3 Be7 7.Be2 0–0 8.0–0 d6 9.b3 e5 10.Nxc6 bxc6 11.Bf3 Qb6 12.Bb2 Be6 13.Bc1 Bad8 14.Qc2 d5 15.cxd5 cxd5 16.Na4 Qb8 17.Qc7 Bd6 18.Qxb8 Bxb8 19.Bfd1 Bc8 20.Be2 Bxc1 21.Bxc1 Bc8 22.Nc5 Bf5 23.Ba6 Bd8 24.Bd3 Bc8 25.b4 Nd7 26.a4 e4 27.Be2 Ne5 28.b5 f5 29.Bd4 g5 30.a5 f4 31.b6 axb6 32.axb6 Nc6 33.Bf6 Bd6 34.Bxg5 f3 35.Ba6 Bf5 36.g3??
 36.Bf4 wins
36...Nb4 followed by ...Rxb6 was equal.
37.Bf4, 37.Bb5 and 37.Ne6 Bxe6 38.Bc8 were all winning. Time pressure likely had a strong influence on the ensuing play.
Max doesn't miss his chance twice.
38.Bf1 Bxb6 39.Nb3?
39.Bd8 Bc6 40.Bb5 Bc8 41.Bf6=
39...Nd3! 40.Bxd3 exd3 41.Nd2 Be4 was better for Black
40.Bd8 Bb7 41.Nd4 Bxd4 42.exd4 Nc2 43.g4 e3!? 44.fxe3 Be4 45.Ba6 Bd7 46.Bf6?? Bd6 0–1


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) Americans Abroad


US Champion Hikaru Nakamura of Seattle gave evidence that he is among the world's elite by turning in outstanding back to back performances in the World Team Championship and Corus this past January. Take a look at the evidence: 6 from 8 at the World Team ( gold medal on board and 2851 performance) and 7.5 from 13 at Corus ( =4th with Anand and a performance of  2777). This was done in 21 games in 26 days against world class players with only three losses ( black versus Aronian and Kramnik and white versus Karjakin). This was a real iron man performance and it says something that other no other elite player tried this difficult double header. One can't help but think Hikaru might have done a little better in the second half of Corus if he had not played the World Team (as it was he was only a point out of first) where his participation was crucial to the US team's second place finish.


Hikaru has also cemented his performance as a team player par excellence. The World Team is the third time he has represented the US in international team competitions and he has three team medal and one individual medal to show for it. His performance down the stretch in helping the US to bronze medals to bronze medals in the 2006 and 2008 Olympiads is near perfect - 5.5 from 6 the last three rounds.


Having picked up 27 rating points this year Hikaru is now equal #15 in the world at 2735 with Leko and Eljanov. He will defend his US Championship this May in Saint Louis and is scheduled to play in a small swiss in that city in April as well.The latter is a thank you to Mr. Rex Sinquefield and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis who very generously stepped in to sponsor the US team when the US Chess Federation backed out at the last minute due to financial problems caused by its ongoing litigation with Susan Polgar and Paul Truong (now resolved).


While the USCF has experienced significant challenges the past few years American teams have continued to shine with the women picking up silver in 2004 and bronze in 2008 and the men taking home three team medals as mentioned previously.


Interestingly the rating favorites have not faired well in the last three worldwide team competitions with Russia (2009 World Cup) the only medalist to be seeded in the top three before hand. The United States, for example, was seeded around number eight to ten in Turin and Dresden and was the fifth seed in Bursa. Fortunately the form charts don't always hold true as playing as part of a team and as an individual are different experiences.

2006 Olympiad
1. Armenia
2. China
3. USA

2008 Olympiad
1. Armenia
2. Israel
3. USA

2009 World Team Championship
1. Russia
2. USA
3. India 


3) Here and There

Casey Bush, the author of Grandmaster from Oregon, a biography and game collection on the late Arthur Dake, has written a very nice piece for the Oregon encyclopedia on one of the all-time great gentlemen of the chess world which can be found at:  
Newsletter #476 reported the sad news of the ending of Lubosh Kavalek's long-running chess column in the Washington Post. GM Joel Benjamin's column for Chess Life Online didn't have such a long run but it will be missed. Check out his last piece at  where Joel shows an amazing double with two of his games on the black side of the Philidor.
USCF tournament rules changes for the past decade are available at 

4) Schoenberg on Parnassus: Schoenberg's Chess, Klee's Jewishness, Benjamin's Obsession, and other puzzles


Sunday, February 7, 2:00 pm
Special Performance at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street, SF (between 3rd & 4th)
Schoenberg on Parnassus:

Schoenberg's Chess, Klee's Jewishness, Benjamin's Obsession, and other puzzles

In its American premiere, London opera star Loré Lixenberg headlines a performance adaptation of
Carl Djerassi’s genre-bending book Four Jews on Parnassus—a Conversation <> , featuring the imagined posthumous conversations of Arnold Schoenberg, Walter Benjamin, Gershom Scholem and Theodor Adorno, as well as songs by Schoenberg, some rap music, and the art of Paul Klee.

This production, directed by Vienna-based Isabella Gregor, features Equity actors Gerry Hiken, Kay Kostopolous, Rush Rehm, Ken Sonkin, and Bill Wolak.

Co-sponsored by the Stanford Institute for Creativity in the Arts and the National Center for New Plays at Stanford. Marketing partner, the Mechanics’ Institute Library & Chess Room.
Members of MI & CJM $30.00: Public $35. For information call (415) 655-7800
Laura Sheppard
Director of Events
Mechanics' Institute
57 Post Street, Room 406
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 393-0114






5) Upcoming Events


A Heritage Event!
Feb. 13-15 or 14-15, GPP: 80 (enhanced) California Northern
36th Annual Peoples Tournament 6SS, 30/90 G/60 (2-day opt rounds 1-3
G/60). Hotel: Crowne Plaza, 45 John Glenn Dr., Concord, CA 94520. Chess
rate $79. Free parking. Prizes: $7,001 b/129. 6 sections. Open (FIDE
rated): $$ Gtd. 1000-500-201 (u2300: 200 100). 1900-2099: 500-200-100-
100-100. 1700-1899: 500-200-100-100-100. 1500-1699: 500-200-100-100-
100. 1300-1499: 500-200-100-100-100. Under 1299: 500-200-100-100-100.
Unrated prize limit of $200 in all sections except Open. EF: $99 3-day & $98
2-day mailed/online by 2/11, Onsite +$25 Play-up +$19. GMs IMs free - EF
subtr from prize. Re-entry $45. EF Econ Opt: Deduct $30 from EF & agree to
donate back 1/2 of prize money won. February 2010 Supp, CCA min & TD
discretion will be used to place players accurately. 3-day sched: Reg Sat
10-11, Rds Sat/Sun 11:15 4:45, Mon 10, 3:30. 2-day sched: Reg Sun 9-9:45,
Rds Sun 10, 12:10, 2:20, 4:45. Mon 10, 3:30. Max two 1/2-pt byes - must
commit bef rd 3. Ent: Bay Area Chess, 4423 Fortran Ct., Ste. 160, San Jose,
CA 95134. $20 charge for refund. Quest:, Tel
408-786-5515. Info & Entries: NS, NC,

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

February 13-15
27th Annual U.S. Amateur Team Championship 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.
EF: $132 per team if received by 2-12, $36 individual (on line only), $148 at site, under age 18 or HS/below $96 by 2-12, $110 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 50), U1200. Clocks to best score each board, alternate, and any 6-0. Gift certificate prizes for best team names (1st/2nd).
Reg.: 9-10 a.m. 2-13.
Rds.: 11-6, 11-6, 10-4:30.
On-line entry, help in forming teams, advance entry list:,
HR: $119, 800-228-9290, ask for Western Chess. Reserve by Jan. 20 or rates may go up. Parking $6.
Ent: SCCF, c/o John Hillery, 835 N. Wilton Place #1A, Los Angeles, CA 90038.

February 15
AT Hexes
3-SS, G/90. Warner Center Marriott, 21850 Oxnard Street, Woodland Hills, CA 91367.
Six-player sections by rating.
EF: $20 if rec. by 2-12, $25 door.
$$40-20-10 each section.
Reg.: 9:30-10:15 a.m.
Rds.: 10:30-1:30-4:30.
Ent: SCCF, c/o John Hillery, 835 N. Wilton Place #1A, Los Angeles, CA 90038, on line at
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.