Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #520

I don't see anything really meaningful in chess, it's not medicine or growing wheat, but on the other hand humanity needs entertainment, which was known about back in Ancient Rome. As for the prospects of increasing the popularity of chess, I've had a countless number of arguments with other chess players and I don't have one consistent opinion. On the one hand, they show such idiotic and stupid shows on TV that you think: but surely chess (well filmed and commentated upon, which, by the way, still hasn't been done once!) can't be worse! But on the other hand: it's true after all that if you don't know the rules you won't enjoy watching chess, while coming to terms with the rules of chess can't be done so quickly.

Alexander Grischuk

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) 2011 Berkeley International
3) A Chess Poem by Dennis Fritzinger
4) Here and There
5) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

IM Walter Shipman and FM Robin Cunningham are among those playing in the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon which started last night. It is still possible to enter the 8-round event with a half point bye for the first game.

FM Daniel Naroditsky made his second IM norm this past December in Groningen and with a FIDE rating over 2400 needs only one more norm for the International Master title. You can read about his performance at the USCF website

Ricardo DeGuzman and MI Chess Director John Donaldson tied for first at 4.5 from 6 in the New Year Open held December 31- January 2 in Santa Clara. Fellow IM Emory Tate was third with four points in the event organized by Dr. Salman Azhar for Bay Area Chess with Tom Langland directing.

Mechanics' members did well in the annual North American in Las Vegas. GM Josh Friedel, who led for much of the event, was unlucky on the last day, but NMs Greg Young and Arun Sharma had excellent results in tying for third and winning top Under 2400 and Under 2300 prizes respectively. High School student Young, who has been concentrating on his studies, is now very close to 2400 USCF. Sharma, who was a talented junior growing up near Indianapolis in the 1990s, was playing in his second serious tournament in over a decade and his excellent calculating ability was used to good effect.

This Saturday the Mechanics' Institute will host the 11th Annual Bob Burger Open to honor the well-known author, master and world-class problem composer.

2) 2011 Berkeley International

Dutch GM Loek Van Wely is leading the 2011 Berkeley International after 6 rounds with 5.5 points. Fellow 2600 Sergey Erenburg is right behind him with 5 points in the strongest Swiss ever held in Northern California with 10 GMs and 14 IMs.

Caissa is smiling on Arun Sharma who is wearing many hats for this event as organizer, sponsor, transportation coordinator, publicity director and more. He has put together a first class event.

The tournament runs through Saturday with rounds at 4pm on January 5th and 6th, an 11 am start on the 7th with the final round starting at 10 am on the 8th. There will be a strong blitz tournament, open to all, starting at 5:30 pm on the 8th.

Visit the action in person at the Hillside School, home of the co-sponsoring Berkeley Chess School, at 1581 Le Roy Ave. in Berkeley or check out the action at the tournament website

3) A Chess Poem by Dennis Fritzinger

new game

a Christmas chess set
under the tree, and now
learning how to play.
first reading the rules:
we figure out some of them,
but not castling
and not en passant.
we plunge into the game
with renewed vigor
after feasting on
eggnog and plates of baked goods.
thoroughly engrossed
we set up the men,
somehow get the corner square
right, and start to play.
of all the pieces,
the knight mystifies us most:
that's why we like it.
pawn casualties
we ignore. but the queen is
another story.
when a pawn reaches
the 8th and promotes, it can't
be captured just yet
(that wouldn't be fair),
we have to wait a full move.
that's how the game went,
as we both made up
our own version of the rules,
merrily pushing
wood or plastic here,
there, thither and yon,
across the chessboard
as we chased the king
from one corner to the next,
before we caught him.

4) Here and There

January 2011 FIDE Top 20:

1. Carlsen (NOR) - 2814
2. Anand (IND) - 2810
3. Aronian (ARM) - 2805
4. Kramnik (RUS) - 2784
5. Karjakin (RUS) - 2776
6. Topalov (BUL) - 2775
7. Grischuk (RUS) - 2773
8. Mamedyarov (AZE) - 2772
9. Ivanchuk (UKR) - 2764
10. Nakamura (USA) - 2751
11. Ponomariov (UKR) - 2744
12. Radjabov (AZE) - 2744
13. Gashimov (AZE) - 2736
14. Wang Yue (CHN) - 2734
15. Nepomniachtchi (RUS) - 2733
16. Gelfand (ISR) - 2733
17. Wang Hao (CHN) - 2731
18. Svidler (RUS) - 2730
19. Kamsky (USA) - 2730
20. Wojtaszek (POL) - 2726

Two Americans are in the top 25. Anna Zatonskih is number 19 at 2493 and Irina Krush is 23rd at 2483.

Top 10 Women:

1. Ju.Polgar (HUN) - 2686
2. Koneru (IND) - 2607
3. Hou Yifan (CHN) - 2602
4. T.Kosintseva (RUS) - 2570
5. N.Kosintseva (RUS) - 2552
6. Dzagnidze (GEO) - 2550
7. Stefanova (BUL) - 2546
8. A.Muzychuk (SLO) - 2529
9. Cmilyte (LTU) - 2526
10. Harika (IND) - 2520

5) Upcoming Events

MECHANICS' TOURNAMENTS (go to for more information)

2011 Events

Bob Burger Open - January 8
Henry Gross Memorial - February 5
A.J. Fink Amateur Championship - March 12-13
Max Wilkerson Open - March 19
Imre Konig Memorial - April 9
Walter Lovegrove Senior Open - April 16-17
Charles Powell Memorial - May 7
Arthur Stamer Memorial - June 4-5
William Addison Open - June 11


Jan. 14-17 or 15-17 2nd Annual Golden State Open GPP: 150 Enhanced California Northern 7SS, 40/2, SD/1 (3-day option, rds. 1-2 G/75). 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. Prizes $40,000 based on 320 paid entries (re-entries & U1300 Section count as half entries), minimum guarantee $30,000 (75% of each prize). In 6 sections. Open, open to all. $3000-1500-1200-800-600-500-400, clear or tiebreak winner $200, top U2400/Unr $1800-1000. FIDE. Under 2200: $2400-1200-1000-700-500-400-300. Under 2000: $2400-1200-1000-700-500-400-300. Under 1800: $2400-1200-1000-700-500-400-300. Under 1600: $2000-1000-800-600-400-300-200, top Under 1400 $800-400. Under 1300: $800-500-400-300-200- 100-100, top Under 1100 $400-200. Unrated (0-3 lifetime games rated) may enter any section, with maximum prize U1300 $300, U1600 $500, U1800 $700, U2000 $900. Top 5 sections EF: 4-day $154, 3-day $153 mailed by 1/6, all $155 online at by 1/11, $160 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 1/11 (entry only, no questions), $180 at site. GMs free; $130 deducted from prize. Under 1300 Section EF: $4-day $74, 3-day $73 mailed by 1/6, $75 online at by 1/11 (entry only, no questions), $80 phoned to 406-896-2038 by 1/11, $100 at site. All: Special 1 yr USCF dues with magazine if paid with entry. Online at, Adult $30, Young Adult $20, Scholastic $15. Mailed, phoned or paid at site, Adult $40, Young Adult $30, Scholastic $20. Re-entry (except Open) $60. Mailed EF $5 less to CalChess members. 4-day schedule: Late reg. ends Fri 6:15 pm, rds. Fri 7 pm, Sat 11 & 6, Sun 11 & 6, Mon 10 & 4:30. 3-day schedule: Late reg. ends Sat 10:15 am, rds Sat 11, 2:30 & 6, Sun 11 & 6, Mon 10 & 4:30. Byes: OK all, limit 3; Open must commit before rd 2, others before rd 4. Unofficial ratings usually used if otherwise unrated. Foreign player ratings: See HR: Rate of $99-99 has been reduced to about $93-93, even lower for seniors 62 or over, 925-827-2000, for details see, reserve by 12/31 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 Chess Magnet School JGP.

Feb. 19-21 or 20-21 2011 37th Annual People?s Tournament GPP: 40 Enhanced California Northern 6SS, 30/90 G/60 (2-day sched rds 1-3 G/60). Marriott, 46100 Landing Pkwy., Fremont, CA 94538. Hotel rate $89. $8,000 b/137 entries (80% guaranteed). 6 sections: Open (2100+) $1000-500-200-100-100. XA (1900-2099), AB (1700-1899), BC (1500-1699), CD (1300-1499), DE (under 1300): $700-300-100- 100-100 each. The 5th place prize in the 2 largest sections only. Unrated prize limit of $200 except in Open section. EF: $99 3-day & 98 2-day mailed by 2/15, online by 2/16, Onsite +$25, Play-up +$20. 5% off before 1/18. GMs/IMs free: EF subtr from prize. Re-entry $40. EF Econ Opt: EF minus $30 & 1/2 of computed prize. Feb 2011 Supp, CCA min & TD discretion used to place players accurately. TD/Org: Koepcke/Azhar. 3-day sched: Reg. Sat 10-11, Rds. Sat/Sun 11:30-5:30, Mon 10-3:30. 2-day sched: Reg Sun 9-9:30, Rds. Sun 10-12:30-2:45-5:30, Mon 10-3:30. Max two 1/2-pt byes & must commit bef rd 3. Ent: Bay Area Chess, 1590 Oakland Rd., Suite B213, San Jose 95131. $20 for refunds. T: 408-786-5515. E:, Info/Form/Entries: NS, NC, W. Chess Magnet School JGP.