Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #492

Once you have reached your destination, you start looking back rather than looking at new peaks. You don't have to search for big challenges or goals. Doing what you do a little better is a challenge in itself.

World Champion Viswanathan Anand - from an interview with Siddartha Mishra in the Indian Express.

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

2) Bill Hook (1925-2010)

3) Red Carpet Opening for 2010 U.S. Chess Championship

4) Chess Legs: A poem by Dennis Fritzinger

5) Here and There


1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

IM Ricardo DeGuzman and NMs Gregory Young, Romy Fuentes and Yian Liou tied for first at 4-1 in the 10th Charles Powell Memorial. NM Michael Aigner headed the list of those on 3.5 in the 32-player event held May 8th.

George Sanguinetti passes along results of the Mechanics' Institute Wednesday Night Blitz held on May 5th.

1. Arthur Ismakov 10/12
2. Romy Fuentes 8
3. Jules Jelinek 7.5
4. Jorge Lopez 7

The Summer Tuesday Night Marathon, an eight round Swiss, starts on May 25. IM Mikhail Baturin, formerly of Belarus but living for many years in San Leandro, will be coming out of retirement to play in this event.

The Mechanics' Institute would like to thank FM Eric Schiller for his recent donation of chess books.

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) Bill Hook (1925-2010)

Bill Hook, the artist and chess master, died on May 9 at the age of 84 of congestive heart failure in the Washington D.C. area. Hook and his wife Mimi visited the Mechanics' just a few months ago as part of a West Coast trip that took them through California and up to the Northwest. Bill will be remembered in the chess world for his participation in Olympiads for the British Virgin Islands from 1968-2008 (including a gold medal in 1980), his wonderful photography (some of it featured in his reminiscences Hooked on Chess) and for his wit, generosity and sense of fair play. Bill Hook will be missed.


3) Red Carpet Opening for 2010 U.S. Chess Championship

SAINT LOUIS, May 5, 2010--The red-carpet opening ceremony of the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship on Thursday, May 13, will feature the theatrical premiere of Changing of the Guard: The 2009 U.S. Championship and a ribbon cutting to unveil 10 chess tables in the Old Post Office Plaza downtown.

Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis Founder and President Rex Sinquefield, Saint Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay and the 24 contenders to the 2010 U.S. Championship crown are among the honored guests. The evening will also feature the drawing of the colors (white or black pieces), which determines round one face-offs.

The night will conclude with the premiere of Changing of the Guard, a documentary film produced by Spectrum Studios. Changing of the Guard features the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship, the first of many elite events held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL). The documentary film profiles players such as defending champion Hikaru Nakamura, who has recently moved to Saint Louis to be at the new epicenter of American chess.

Other players prominently featured in the documentary include 18-year-old Robert Hess, who shocked the chess world during the 2009 U.S. Championship with his second-place finish, two-time U.S. Women's Champ Irina Krush, the only woman in the 2010 event, and reigning U.S. Junior Champ 15-year-old Ray Robson, the youngest player in this year's event.

"Changing of the Guard highlights the changing dynamics of American chess culture," said CCSCSL Executive Director Tony Rich. "We are proud to be a part of it and to showcase it at the opening of America's premier chess event." A DVD of Changing of the Guard is available for purchase on the CCSCSL website by clicking the link here.

The event begins at 6 p.m. Tickets to the event are $25 and will include hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. You can purchase tickets by clicking the link here.

The Old Post Office Plaza is located at the corner of 9th Street and Locust Street in downtown Saint Louis. The 10 chess tables will be open to the public, and players can bring their own pieces or check chess pieces out at the library located across the street.

The full schedule of U.S. Championship events includes daily rounds at 2 p.m. Central time, a live, human chess game at noon on May 21 (the players' rest day), Quad Finals from May 22-24, and a $10,000 U.S. Championship Blitz Open on May 24.

The 2010 U.S. Chess Championship is open to the public and will feature live grandmaster commentary by GM Maurice Ashley and WGM Jennifer Shahade.

Spectators can access the event by purchasing a membership to the CCSCSL, which costs just $5/month for students and $12/month for adults.

Don't miss your chance to be a part of the most prestigious event in U.S. Chess!

For more information, contact:

Mike Wilmering

Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

314.361.CHESS (2437)


4) Chess Legs: A poem by Dennis Fritzinger

chess legs

when you go to sea
it takes a while to get
your sea legs;
when you return to chess
it takes a while to get
your chess legs.
it took me exactly four rounds
to wake up and start playing
the way i used to.
or maybe it was the frappuccino.


5) Here and There

IM Walter Shipman, one of the class acts of American chess, considers Hermann Helms, editor of the American Chess Bulletin from 1904 to 1962, to be the most honorable man he has known. During the MI's Walter Lovegrove Senior Championship last month Shipman, who knew Helms and once represented him in a legal case, shared a few stories and observations about the US Chess Hall of Fame member which we share.

Sometime in the 1950s a banquet was held in Helms' honor and a check was given to him for $1000 to help the ACB which was always hanging on by a thread. Helms refused the money on the grounds that he was not sure the magazine would continue to be published.

One of the reasons the magazine had such a hard time is that Helms never wanted to raise the subscription price which started at $1 for June-December 1904, was raised to $2 for a yearly sub in 1905, raised once more in the 1920s to $3, then lowered back to $2 in the late 1930s never to change price again . The full year started at $2 in 1905 and ended with the same price nearly 60 years later. This is one record that will never be challenged!

The last issue was published by his devoted helper Catherine Sullivan who went to work for him around 1907 and stayed the course to the end. Helms died on January 6, 1963, one day after his 93rd birthday. Miss Sullivan, aged 74, died exactly a year to the day Helms passed away, struck by a car as she stepped into traffic.

IM Shipman also mentioned the curious case of Larry Friedman of Cleveland who won the 1946 and 1947 US Junior Championships against strong opposition including several future GMs and IMs, He then stopped playing only to reappear out of nowhere and win the 1958 New Jersey Open whereupon he seems to have retired permanently. Does any reader know what happened to Friedman, who according to IM Shipman, bore a strong resemblance to the teenage Tal Shaked in the late 1940s?

The late Milan Vukcevich was a man of many talents - a world class scientist and problemist and a player strong enough to compete for the 1960 Yugoslav Olympiad team which took third at Leipzig and to finish third in the 1975 US Championship.

Here is a game Vukcevich played against a New England legend while studying at Harvard.

The following game comes from an unidentified newspaper clipping which reads: The winner of the 1964 Massachusetts State Championship was Milan Vukcevic, formerly of Yugoslavia, who scored 4.5-.5 to win the title.Here is a victory over a strong Massachusetts master.

Vukcevich writes in Chess by Milan (Burton, Ohio, 1981): In 1964, I won the state championships of Massachusetts and Maine. The chess-life was simply great! Strong players and perfect organizers: Curdo, Scheiffer, Eberlein, Wagner, Dover, Keyes, and, of course, Harold Dondis. There was even another problemist - Michael Lipton, who came to MIT. However, the school-work soon got heavier. Only a couple of schemes ended as finished problems. As compensation, I got my degrees: in 1965, Master of Science and in 1967, Doctor of Science. After this came my appointment to the faculty of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Vukcevich,Milan R - Curdo,John

Massachusetts State Championship, 1964

Ruy Lopez - Anti Marshall C90

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.c3 Nd7 11.d4 Bf6 12.d5 Ne7 13.axb5 axb5 14.Rxa8 Qxa8 15.Na3 Nc5 16.Nxb5 Rd8 17.Bc4 c6 18.Nc7 Qc8 19.dxc6 Bxc6 20.Nd5 Qb7 21.Ng5 Nxd5 22.exd5 Bb5 23.Bxb5 Qxb5 24.Ne4 Nxe4 25.Rxe4 Ra8 26.Rb4 Qa5 27.Be3 h6 28.h3 Qa2 29.Qf3 Qb1+ 30.Kh2 Qd3 31.Bc1 Qb1 32.Bxh6 Ra1 33.Be3 Qg6 34.Qg4 Qxg4 35.hxg4 g5 36.Rb6 e4 37.g3 Be7 38.Rb4 1-0

Aidan Woodger's authoritative book on Reuben Fine (McFarland & Company, Inc. 2004) gives the score for this exhibition as (+13, =1) and presents Fine's draw with Chapman. The following game was not included in the book and differs from many simul efforts in that both players acquit themselves well.

Reuben Fine- Trousdale

Sacramento (simul) September 4, 1940

Queen's Gambit Semi-Slav D46

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 b6 8.b3 Bb7 9.Bb2 Nbd7 10.Qe2 Bd6 11.Rad1 Qc7 12.e4 dxe4 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Bxe4 Nf6 15.Bb1 Rfe8 16.Ne5 c5 17.f4 a6 18.h3 Rad8 19.Kh2 Nd7 20.Rd3 f6 21.Rg3 Nf8 22.Qf2 cxd4 23.Ng4 Kh8 24.Bxd4 Bc5 25.Bxc5 bxc5 26.Ne3 Bc8 27.Nd1 f5 28.Nb2 Rd4 29.Nd3 Ng6 30.Qe3 Bb7 31.b4 Rxc4 32.Nxc5 Rxb4 33.Bxf5 Bc8?

Here 33...Nxf4! 34.Nxe6 Nxe6 35.Bxe6 Bxg2 36.Kxg2 Rb2+ 37.Kg1 Qc2 38.Rf2 Qxf2+ 39.Qxf2 Rxf2 40.Kxf2 Rxe6 leads to an ending where Black is nominally better but a draw likely.

34.Bxg6 hxg6 35.Rxg6 Rf8 36.Nxe6 Bxe6 37.Rxe6 Rbxf4 38.Rxf4 Rxf4 39.Qg3 a5 40.Ra6 Kh7 41.a4 Kh8 42.Ra8+ Kh7 43.Rf8 g5 44.Rf5 1-0

Source: Sacramento Chess Club Bulletin 1940