Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #487

…Confidence wells up as one patiently works on beating players on one level before moving up to the next level. If a player moves up too fast, the mauling he takes from the tigers on the upper levels could easily destroy his confidence and worse, dim his pleasure at playing chess. And one further note. When one plays stronger players prematurely and consequently gets crushed by them, it will be very difficult for that player to forget the thrashing he received. Later, when he does become strong enough to cross swords with those very same players, he may not be able to overcome the fear rooted in his mind as a result of former beatings. He then continues to lose to those self same players, even though his current playing strength may be greater than theirs. One does not practice running a full mile until one has practiced the quarter-mile.

William Lombardy, Guide to Tournament Chess (p.115)

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News
2) GM Robert Hess 2010 Samford Chess Scholar by Allen Kaufman
3) 1963 New York State Championship
4) Robert Karch 1930-2010
5) Here and There
6) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News

Peter Zavadsky is in clear first in the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon after defeating Ed Rosenthal last night. The Slovak NM's score of 4-0 puts him a half point ahead of former US champion John Grefe (=1st in 1973 with Lubos Kavalek) and NMs Russell Wong and Romy Fuentes. NM Andy Lee, scheduled to receive his FM title shortly as his FIDE rating has crossed 2300, leads those on three points (he took half point byes in rounds one and two).

Congratulations to GM Jesse Kraai who won the Far West Open in Reno this past weekend with a score of 5-1. Tying for second at 4.5 were GMs Melik Khachiyan and Alex Yermolinsky, IM Vladimir Mezentsev, and NMs Arun Sharma and Howard Chen. The latter two had to be pleased with their performances. This was the first tournament for Sharma in a decade(!) and Washington state champion Chen played many of the top seeds. Tournament organizer and director Jerry Weikel, assisted by his wife Fran, had to be pleased with the turnout of over 200 players despite snow storms throughout the weekend on Interstate 80. GM Kraai, IM Pruess and NM Sharma were involved in one 30-car-pileup on the drive home that led to their being hospitalized. Fortunately their injuries were not serious and they were released the next day.

FM Daniel Naroditsky autographed his new book during the Far West Open. Check out this article in the Reno Gazette-Journal at

Last week's score of Rosenthal-Shakhnazarov had a few mistakes near the end. Here is the corrected score. Thanks to the efforts of Peter Sherwood games from the current TNM and past ones can be found on the front page of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club web site at

Rosenthal,Ed (2103) - Shakhnazarov,Oleg (2208)

Mechanics' Spring TNM; 30/90, SD/30 San Francisco (3), 30.03.2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.c3 d6 8.Nbd2 Na5 9.Bc2 c5 10.Nf1 h6 11.h3 g5 12.d4 Qc7 13.d5 Nc4 14.a4 b4 15.Qe2 Nb6 16.a5 Nbd7 17.Ne3 b3 18.Bd3 Nf8 19.Nc4 N6d7 20.Ra3 Rb8 21.Nfd2 Ng6 22.g3 h5 23.Qd1 h4 24.Rxb3 hxg3 25.fxg3 Nf6 26.Rxb8 Qxb8 27.Bf1 Nh5 28.Qf3 Nf6 29.Nb6 g4 30.hxg4 Rxh1 31.Qxh1 Bxg4 32.Bxa6 Nh5 33.Nf1 Kd8 34.Be2 Bxe2 35.Kxe2 Nf6 36.Qh3 Qb7 37.Qf5 Nxe4 38.Qxe4 Qa6+ 39.Qc4 Qxa5 40.Na4 f5 41.Nd2 e4 42.Nb3 Qa7 43.Bf4 Bf6 44.Bxd6 Qh7 45.Nbxc5 Qh5+ 46.Kd2 e3+ 47.Kxe3 Bg5+ 48.Bf4 Bxf4+ 49.gxf4 Qh3+ 50.Kd2 Qh2+ 51.Kc1 Nxf4 52.Ne6+ Nxe6 53.dxe6 Ke7 54.Nc5 f4 55.Ne4 f3 56.Qd5 Qh6+ 57.Kc2 Qh2+ 58.Kb3 Qb8+ 59.Kc4 1-0 MI members GM Josh Friedel and IM Sam Shankland played in the Philadelphia Open over Easter weekend and finished just outside the top prizes with 6 from 9. Sam, who has been playing consistently at the FIDE 2500 level the past year, had another near miss for third GM norm losing to Sergey Kudrin with Black in the last round.


2) GM Robert Hess 2010 Samford Chess Scholar by Allen Kaufman

Contact: Allen Kaufman
(718) 544-5036

NEW YORK-The twenty-fifth annual FRANK P. SAMFORD, JR. CHESS FELLOWSHIP was won by Robert L. Hess II of New York City. Though only eighteen years old, the youthful grandmaster has had considerable success in a variety of chess competitions. Robert was National Champion in the Kindergarten-through-third-grade division (2001), the 2006 U.S. Junior Championship, the 2009 Spice Spring Invitational, and the 2009 SuperNational High School Championship. He also competed in that year's U.S. Chess Championship, tying for second place.

Robert will graduate from Stuyvesant High School in New York City in June and plans to attend college (Yale University) in the fall. He is also a sports enthusiast having played soccer, baseball and football. Math, history and writing are his favorite school subjects.

The young winner credits his coach, Grandmaster Miron Sher, with providing the training necessary for his success. Regular lessons cover openings, endgames and tactics and homework consists of nine problems weekly. Robert says, "Miron is far and away the best coach I could have asked for and his dedication and hard work never cease to amaze me."

The Samford Chess Fellowship was created by the late Frank P. Samford, Jr. of Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. Samford was a distinguished attorney and CEO of Liberty National Life Insurance Company (now Torchmark). He was active in civic, business, political, educational and cultural affairs. Mr. Samford was also an enthusiastic competitor in chess tournaments.

The purpose of the Samford Fellowship is to identify and assist the best young American chessmasters by providing top-level coaching, strong competition and access to study materials. The Fellowship also provides a monthly stipend for living expenses so that the winners may devote themselves to chess without having financial worries.

The winner was chosen by the Samford Fellowship Committee, consisting of Frank P. Samford III (son of Samford Fellowship founder Frank P. Samford, Jr.), former U.S. Chess Champion Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier and International Master John Donaldson. The winner was chosen based on his chess talent, work ethic, dedication and accomplishments.

Robert's term as Samford Fellow will begin on July 1, 2010. The Fellowship is administered by the U.S. Chess Trust with invaluable administrative services provided by Barbara DeMaro.

Generous contributions from Mrs. Virginia Samford and Torchmark Corporation support the Fellowship. The Samford Fellowship is a fitting memorial to an extraordinary man. The dedication, creativity and achievement that marked Mr. Frank P. Samford, Jr.'s life are examples for all chessplayers to admire and emulate.


3) 1963 New York State Championship

The Internet has unquestionably been a boon to chess scholars, providing them with tremendous amounts of information with just a keystroke but caveat emptor -the information is not always reliable. One example is Bobby Fischer's Wikipedia page where the following sentence appears.

In August-September 1963, he won another minor event, the New York State Championship at Poughkeepsie, with 7/7, his first perfect score.

There is no question that Fischer won an event in Poughkeepsie on Labor Day weekend with a perfect score - only the event was the New York State Open (not the state championship held a month earlier in upstate New York). Wikipedia cites Frank Brady's Profile of a Prodigy and Wade & O'Connell's The Games of Robert J. Fischer as sources, but neither is responsible for this error. Interesting the New York State Open, which was organized by Don Schultz, was the last Swiss system event that Bobby played and there are several unanswered questions surrounding it. One is whether a crosstable was ever published. Chess Review, Chess Life and the New York State Chess Association magazine of the time did not run one so there is a serious question as to what order Bobby faced his seven opponents. His game with the Yugoslav journalist Miro Radojcic appears only as a fragment, tucked inside Bobby's notes to his game with Bisguier (from the same event) in My Sixty Memorable Games.

The crosstable for the 1963 New York State Chess Association Championship was published in the New York State Chess Newsletter in 1963 as was the following report and game.

George Mauer of Buffalo and Mitchell Saltzberg of New York City tied for first place in the recently concluded N.Y. State Chess Championship held at Cazenovia, N.Y., July 27-August 4, 1963. Third was Edward Rosenthal of Rochester who won the best played game in the tournament for his resounding win over the redoubtable tournament veteran Dr. Bruno Schmidt of Homer, N.Y.

This Ed Rosenthal is indeed the same fellow who is playing well in our Spring Tuesday Night Marathon 47 years later.

Ed Rosenthal - Bruno Schmidt [C84]
Cazenovia (6) 1963

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d4 exd4 7.Re1 0-0 8.e5 Nd5 8...Ne8 is considered more reliable. 9.Nxd4 Nb6 10.Nf5!? This is a forgotten novelty - 10.Bb3 invariably being played here. 10...Nxa4 11.Qg4 Bf6?! 11...g6! 12.Nh6+ Kg7 13.Qxa4 Bg5 14.Ng4 Bxc1 15.Rxc1 d6 16.exd6 Qh4 is a much tougher test of White's idea. 12.Nxg7?! 12.exf6 Qxf6 13.Nh6+ Kh8 14.Qxa4 gxh6 15.Nc3. 12...Kh8? 12...Nxe5! 13.Rxe5 d5! was the hard to found but convincing answer to White's 12th move. The text loses without a fight.(13...Bxe5 14.Ne6+). 13.exf6 Qxf6 14.Ne8! Perhaps Black missed this move. How often do knight's make it to the enemy back rank? 14...Qd4 15.Bf4 d6 16.Qh4 Bf5 17.Be5+! Qxe5 18.Rxe5 Raxe8 19.Rxe8 Rxe8 20.Nc3 Nxc3 21.bxc3 1-0

4) Robert Karch 1930-2010

Washington Chess Federation secretary Gary Dorfner reports that Robert Karch died on March 23, one day short of his 80th birthday. He had been in poor health for many years.

Active in organized chess for over 60 years, starting with his days at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Karch served in the United States Army in military intelligence from the 1950s to the early 1970s. During this time he was stationed around the world but this did not prevent him from finding time to promote the game, particularly in developing rating systems in several places. He worked briefly for B.H. Wood at Chess in England in 1972 (see his picture on the cover of the April 1972 issue) but soon found himself back in the Pacific Northwest opening a full-time chess center in Seattle during the Fischer boom. His American Chess Service facility only lasted a few years but hosted many events where players like the young Yasser Seirawan and future IM Eric Tangborn gained valuable experience. Peter Biyiasas, reigning Canadian champion at the time, won many Karch organized events in the early to mid 1970s.

The greatest promotional event Bob Karch organized was undoubtedly the match he played with Yasser Seirawan. The battle between Fischer and Spassky might have been played a year before but the effects of the " Fischer Boom" were still being felt in Seattle when the 43-year-old Karch and the 13-year-old Seirawan squared off in a six-game match in August of 1973. Karch, who normally a Class A player but occasionally slipped over 2000, was the reigning " Seattle City Champion" while Yasser was 13 and rapidly improving. They were far from the best players in the area at the time but the newspapers didn't realize that. What they saw was a study in contrasts.

Lew Peterson, writing in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer at the time, described the scene." Yasser, who ranges in age from 11 and 13 years depending on your sources, showed up for the highly publicized game in yellow cutoffs, a red-gaucho hat and a well-tanned bare chest. His older opponent was dressed slightly more conservatively in slacks, dress shirt and tie". Yasser won the match, which attracted large stories in the P.I. for each of the games, 4-2.

Robert Karch served as the editor of Northwest Chess several times in the 1970s and 1980s (second only to Dan Wade in longevity in the over 60-year run of this publication). He was also the editor of the correspondence chess magazine Chess International for several years in the late 1980s. Correspondence chess was a life-long interest for Karch who served five years as the US Secretary to the ICCF. He also served in various administrative posts for the Washington Chess Federation and as USCF secretary for a short time. Throughout his life Karch taught classes teaching thousands of people how to play chess.

Typically wearing a suit and a tie Bob was certainly more conservative than your average chess player but outward appearances could belie the dreamer that lay beneath. One need only look at the American Chess Service calendar for 1973, with close to (50!) weekend events on the calendar spread across hundreds of miles of the Northwest to realize that he was putting on the local version of Goichberg's Continental Chess Association tour but with an infinitely smaller player base. These generous prize funds kept many semi-pros going but it was good that Bob had his military pension to fall back on when events lost money. Even still these tournaments had to do better than the full-time chess center he ran in 1972-74. Bob was definitely a dreamer ahead of his time and true to his Northwest roots. This ambition was good as an individual organizer but it sometimes to lead to problems in the 1980s when Bob served in various capacities for the Washington Chess Federation and almost ran the organization ashore.

Like everyone Bob had his quirks. The curious ways he sometimes structured his prize funds were creative to say the least and some of the articles he wrote were unintentionally funny ("Preparing to Play Walter Gentala" is one that comes to mind), but he could laugh at himself - he was the editor of NWC when it ran Bruce Harper's parody of the Gentala article - "Preparing to Beat the Freak Attack".

Bob Karch will be missed.

For a picture of Bob (with GM Gufeld) go to

5) Here and There

Michael Khodarkovsky and GM Alexander Chernin are the lecturers at FIDE Chess Trainers seminar that will be held in Atlanta from May 5 - 7 alongside the National Elementary Championships. For more information contact Mr. Khodarkovsky at

IM Tony Saidy passes on an interesting link about the director Stanley Kubrick who was a passionate chess player. Go to