Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #485

Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine (31 October 1892 - 24 March 1946) has been called a 'genius of chess combinations'. However, his fantastic combinative vision was based on a solid positional foundation, and was the fruit of strong, energetic strategy. Therefore Alekhine can safely be called the pioneer of the universal style of play, based on a close interweaving of strategic and tactical motifs.

Garry Kasparov - My Great Predecessors: Part I, page 340

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News
2) US Blitz Championship
3) Olaf Ulvestad
4) John Alexander
5) Saint Louis versus Quincy 1859-60
6) Upcoming Events

The Max Wilkerson G/45 will be held at the Mechanics' Institute this Saturday.


1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News

The 54-player Spring Tuesday Night Marathon is led by former US Champion IM John Grefe who defeated 12-year-old soon to be Expert Daniel Liu last night. It is still not too late to enter the eight round event with half point byes for rounds one and two.

John Grefe - Daniel Liu
Spring Tuesday Night Marathon (2) 2010
Sicilian Dragon A04
1.Nf3 c5 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Nc6 6.Nb3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0-0 8.0-0 d6 9.h3 Be6 10.e4 Nd7 11.Nd5 f5 12.exf5 Bxf5 13.Re1 Nf6 14.Bg5 Kh8 15.g4 Bd7 16.c3 Nxd5 17.Bxd5 Qb6 18.Be3 Qc7 19.Qe2 Ne5 20.Nd4 Qa5 21.Bb3 Nc6 22.Ne6 Bxe6 23.Bxe6 Rad8 24.Rad1 Qe5 25.Qc4 Qf6 26.f4 Qh4 27.Bf2?! 27.Kg2 preserved a clear advantage for White. The text unnecessarily complicates the situation.
27...Qxh3 28.g5 Qh5? 28...Qf3! would have put White's idea of sacrificing his h-pawn to the test.
29.Rd3 Ne5 29...Be5 fares no better. 30.fxe5 Nxe5 31.Qd4 Qxg5+ 32.Rg3 winning.
30.fxe5 Qxg5+ 31.Rg3 Qd2 32.Qe2 Qxe2 33.Rxe2 Bxe5 34.Bd4 Bxd4+ 35.cxd4 Rf4 36.Rg4 Rxg4+ 37.Bxg4 h5 38.Bf3 Rd7 39.Re6 Rc7 40.Rxg6 Rc1+ 41.Kh2 Rf1 42.Bxb7 Rf4 43.d5 Rb4 44.Bc6 Rxb2+ 45.Rg2 Rxg2+ 46.Kxg2 Kg7 47.Bd7 Kf6 48.Kg3 Ke5 49.Be6 Kd4 50.Kh4 a5 51.Kxh5 a4 52.Kg6 a3 53.Kf7 Kc3 54.Kxe7 Kb2 55.Kxd6 Kxa2 56.Kc7 1-0

FM Daniel Naroditsky made the front page of section E in yesterday's (March 23) San Francisco Chronicle. The online version of Steve Rubenstein's excellent article can be found at

We would like to thank to Lyman Johnston for donating his chess library to the Mechanics' Institute. Book and equipment donations to the Mechanics' are always welcome and such donations are tax deductible due to the M.I.'s 501(c) (3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that has 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.

John Blackstone found the following information about the 1911 Mechanics' Institute Championship in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle of July 27, 1911. Hermann Helms had the chess column for that paper for decades and it is an invaluable source of information about American chess, especially pre-1933.

Note the following is a condensed version of the original.

Ernest J. Clarke, former champion of the Queens County Chess Club and predecessor of Dr. Lasker as chess editor of the Evening Post, who went West for his health several years ago, proved to be the winner of the recent open tournament for the Pacific Coast championship at the rooms of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club of San Francisco. J. Drouillard was second, followed by A.J. Fink in third with A.W. Gruer, L. Rosenblatt and W. Nevill sharing fourth place.

IM Vladimir Mezentsev won the March 17 edition of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Wednesday Night Blitz. Mezentsev scored 13-1, losing only to Arthur Ismakov in a field composed of Experts and Masters. Ismakov, Carlos D'Avila and Jorge Lopez tied for second place.

Your editor found the following game during a recent visit to the John G. White Collection in Cleveland. Walter Lovegrove and Adolf Jay (A.J.) Fink were the top two Mechanics' players for several decades but we have few games played between them.

Walter Lovegrove- A.J. Fink
San Francisco, 1935
Ruy Lopez C77
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.h3 Bd7 7.c3 g6 8.Bg5 Bg7 9.Nbd2 h6 10.Be3 0-0 11.Nf1 Qe7 12.Qd2 Kh7 13.Bc2 Ng8 14.g4 Nd8 15.d4 Ne6 16.h4 c5 17.d5 Nc7 18.h5 Bxg4 19.hxg6+ fxg6 20.N3h2 Bf3 21.Nxf3 Rxf3 22.Ng3 b5 23.0-0-0 c4 24.Rh2 a5 25.Rdh1 b4 26.Nf5 gxf5 27.exf5 Rxe3 28.f6+ Rd3 29.Bxd3+ cxd3 30.Qxd3+ Kh8 31.Qg6 Qxf6 32.Rxh6+ Nxh6 33.Rxh6+ Bxh6+ 0-1 Source: North American Correspondence Chess League Official Reporter-Bulletin, January 1936, page 4.

MI member GM Jesse Kraai played below his normal level in the recently concluded Spice Cup in Lubbock, Texas, but we expect him to bounce back with a fine result in the US Championship this May.

1. GM Julio Becerra- 6.5
2. IM Gergely Antal and GM Ben Finegold-5.5
4. IM Dean Ippolito-5
5-6 IM Gabor Papp and IM Davorin Kuljasevic-4.5
7- FM Darwin Yang-4
8. IM Irina Krush-3.5
9-10. FM Eric Hansen and GM Jesse Kraai-3


2) US Blitz Championship

The folks in Saint Louis are continually outdoing themselves. Sponsors of the 2009 and 2010 US and Womens Championships, the US silver medal winning squad at the World Team Championship, organizers of the 2010 US Junior Closed and now they are putting on a US blitz championship like nothing seen before.

by Mike Wilmering

The full version of this article can be found at

SAINT LOUIS-- Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, the first African-American GM in the history of chess, will provide expert analysis and commentary at the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship, set for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis May 13-25. Ashley was featured on ESPN in 1996 when he provided commentary for the Man vs. Machine match (Garry Kasparov vs. IBM's super-computer Deep Blue) and again in 1997 for the Kasparov vs. Deep Blue rematch. Ashley earned the title of grandmaster in 1999. He and WGM Jennifer Shahade will provide in-depth commentary throughout the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship.

Fans are also invited to play with the best in a $10,000 Open Blitz tournament held on Monday, May 24, at the Khorassan Ballroom in the Chase Park Plaza.

The U.S. Championship Blitz Open will feature a $7,000 prize fund in the open section and a $3,000 prize fund in the reserve, U2000 section. The nine-round Swiss will begin at 8 p.m. and will feature a game-in-five-minute (G/5) format. Pre-register at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis until 6:30 p.m the day of the tournament. On-site registration is available at the Khorassan Ballroom from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. The entry fee is waived for GMs, $50 for non-annual club members and $40 for annual members. More details, including prize breakdown, will appear on the CCSCSL website soon.

This year's innovative championship format will culminate in a "Final Four" quad from May 22-24. The 2010 edition will also feature the strongest Swiss field in history and the richest per capita prize fund. Fans from all over the world are invited to Saint Louis to participate in the blitz, watch GM Ashley's commentary and see the quad finals.

Prospective spectators just need to become a CCSCSL member. Student rates are $5/month or $30/year and adult memberships cost only $12/month or $80/year. A family membership costs only $120/year for the entire household. Those who purchase an annual membership, or existing annual members who renew their membership, will receive one complimentary pass to either the opening or closing ceremony.

For more information, please call 314-361-CHESS (2437) or visit


3) Olaf Ulvestad

The following information about the eclectic Seattle master who made his home in Europe for several decades comes from the January-April 1941 (page 11) issue of the New York State Chess Association Bulletin. Ulvestad who went 1-1 against David Bronstein in the 1946 USA-USSR match and is remembered for his analysis of offbeat opening lines may have been the first master to visit Alaska.

Ulvestad, who played in the championship section in last summer's state tournament, was born in 1912 in Tacoma, Wash. In 1937 he undertook a journey to Alaska, visiting Fairbanks and Kodiak.

Since December 1938 he has resided most of the time in or around New York City. His present address is Plainsfield, Mass.

He was a former member of the Seattle, Wash. Chess Club and is now a member of the Marshall Chess Club. His record is as follows: won Puget Sound Championship, Washington State, 1933, was Washington State Champion in 1934 and 1935.

In the Ventnor City Tournament of 1939 he shared 5th and 6th prizes for most interesting chess played. He also received a special prize for a draw with Reinfeld. In the American Chess Federation Tournament of 1939 he tied for 9th and 10th places with W.W. Adams. In the 1940 Ventnor City Championship he tied with Santasiere and Donovan for 4th, 5th and 6th places.


4) John Alexander

The noted San Diego organizer John Alexander, who's Steiner Chess Group played a key role in San Diego in the 1950s and 1960s, could also play a nice attack as the following game shows.

John Alexander - Gilson
San Diego County Ch 1950
French Tarrasch C07
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 Nc6 6.Bc4 Qd8 7.0-0 Nxd4 8.Ne4 Nxf3+ 9.Qxf3 Bd7 10.Rd1 Qc7 11.Bf4 Qc6 12.Rxd7! Qxd7 13.Rd1 Qc6 14.Rd6! Bxd6 15.Bb5! Qxb5 16.Nxd6+ Ke7 17.Nxb5 1-0 This game was published in the Los Angeles Times on March 26, 1950.


5) Saint Louis versus Quincy 1859-60

Saint Louis has long played a prominent role in American chess. The following two games, played 150 years ago, come from a notebook that was sold by the noted book dealer Dale Brandreth to the John. G. White Collection in 2001. The manuscript contains games played between 1859 and 1891, primarily by a Mr. Tilson (probably from Quincy, Illinois) who appears to be the author of the work.

Both sides agreed in advance to play the Evans Gambit. Quincy split a two game match against Chicago in 1859 which was also played by telegraph.

Quincy - Saint Louis
Telegraph Match (1), 28.12.1859
Evans Gambit C52
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.0-0 Nf6 8.e5 d5 9.exf6 dxc4 10.fxg7 Rg8 11.Re1+ Be6 12.Bg5 Qd5 13.Nbd2 f5 14.Bf6 Kd7 15.Ne5+ Kc8 16.Nxc6 Qxc6 17.Bxd4 Bd5 18.Qh5 Qg6 19.Qxg6 hxg6 20.Re5 c6 21.Rae1 b5 22.Nf3 Kb7 23.Re7+ Ka6 24.Ne5 c5 25.Bxc5 Bxc3 26.Re3 b4 27.Nxg6 Kb5 28.Rxc3 Kxc5 29.Rc2 Rae8 30.f3 Rxe7 31.Nxe7 0-1 Saint Louis - Quincy
Telegraph Match, 13.01.1860
Evans Gambit C51

There are two scores for this game in the notebook with different dates when it was played. One score has it played January 13 and the other the 30th.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Bc5 6.0-0 d6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 Bb6 9.d5 Nce7 10.e5 Bg4 11.Bb2 dxe5 12.Bxe5 Nf6 13.Qb3 0-0 14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Nbd2 Ng6 16.h3 Bxf3 17.Nxf3 Qd6 18.Rae1 Rae8 19.Rxe8 Rxe8 20.Re1 Rxe1+ 21.Nxe1 Ne5 22.Qg3+ Kh8 23.Bb3 c5 24.Nd3 Bc7 25.Nxe5 Qxe5 26.Qxe5 Bxe5 27.Bc4 Kg7 28.Kf1 a6 29.a4 Kf8 30.Ke2 Ke8 31.Kd3 Kd7 32.Kc2 Kc7 33.a5 Kd7 34.Kb3 Bd6 35.Bd3 h6 36.Bf5+ Kc7 37.Bd3 0-1