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Mechanics' Institute Chess Club

57 Post Street

SF, CA 94104  

Don't you ever worry that your concentration on just one side of your character might prove to have been mistake?

I try to broaden myself. I read quite a bit. But it is a problem, because you're king out of touch with real life, being a chessplayer - not having to go to work and deal with people on that level. I've thought of giving it up off and on, but I always considered: what else could I do?

 Bobby Fischer talking to James Burke
(The Listener, July 13, 1972)
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News  

The Mechanics' Institute will be hosting a remembrance of International Master Jay Whitehead this Sunday on the 4th floor. The vegetarian potluckwill run from 1 to 5 pm. All Jay's friends are warmly encouraged to come. 

Nine competitors have perfect scores after two rounds of the 58-player Fall Tuesday Night Marathon.

 FM Andy Lee is among those at 2-0 but his second round game was anything but easy.

Andy Lee - Steven Krasnov

Philidor C41

Fall Tuesday Night Marathon (2) 2011




One problem with the Philidor is deciding what move order to use. Traditional methods via 1.e4 e5 have fallen short. For example: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nd7 (3...Nf6 4.dxe5! Nxe4 5.Qd5 Nc5 6.Bg5 is better for White.) 4.Bc4 c6


a) 4...Be7 5.dxe5 dxe5 6.Qd5 winning.


b) 4...Ngf6 5.dxe5 dxe5 (5...Nxe5 6.Nxe5 dxe5 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qxd8 Bb4+ 9.Qd2 Bxd2+ 10.Nxd2) 6.Ng5 winning.


5.0-0 Be7 6.dxe5 dxe5 (6...Nxe5? 7.Nxe5 dxe5 8.Qh5) 7.Ng5 Bxg5 8.Qh5 and White recovers the piece with the bishop pair providing him a small but pleasant advantage.


Nowadays the Philidor is reached much more commonly via 1...d6.


1...d6 2.e4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7


3...e5 is perhaps even a better way to play for those that don't mind allowing White the possibility of trading queens.  After 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Bc4 Black can choose between 6...Be6, 6...Ke8 and 6...Bb4 all of which have high level GM backing.  




4.f4, 4.Be3 and 4.g4 are more aggressive attempts to try to exploit Black's opening move order.


4...e5 5.Bc4 Be7 6.Bxf7+?!


6.0-0 0-0 is the main tabiya or starting point for the Philidor. The text is best explained by knowing that Andy thought that Steven's move order was bad and that he should be able to exploit it - hence the text.


The bishop sacrifice leads to interesting play but objectively Black should be doing fine. Andy was quite surprised to learn after the game that it was he, and not Steven, that was taking the game into less-chartered territory.


6...Kxf7 7.Ng5+ Kg8 8.Ne6 Qe8 9.Nxc7 Qg6 10.0-0


The greedy capture 10.Nxa8 allows 10...Qxg2 11.Rf1 exd4 12.Qxd4 Ne5 when Black's pieces are extremely active. For example: 13.f4 Nfg4 14.fxe5 Bh4+ winning.


10...Rb8 11.f4


This is the most natural move. Andy wants to activate his queen bishop and open the f-line for his rook.




This move seemingly allows White to realize all his plans. One might think that 11...exd4 and if 12.Qxd4 then 12...d5 was better but Steven has correctly judged that his move 11...exf4 offers more possibilities. 


12.Bxf4 Nb6 13.e5 Bg4 14.Qe1 Nh5?!


14...dxe5 15.dxe5 Nh5 was much stronger denying White the opportunity to capture on d6.


15.N3d5 Nxd5 16.Nxd5 Re8?


This allows Andy to show his fine tactical eye. Steven had to play 16...Bf8!.


17.exd6! Bf8 18.Be5 h6 19.Rxf8+! Kxf8 20.Qb4! a5 21.Qxb7??


What a pity. 21.Qb3! was killing and would have allowed Andy to finish the job he started with 17.exd6. 


21...Bf3! 22.Nf4 Bxb7??


Steven misses the beautiful22...Qxg2+! when 23.Nxg2 Bxb7 leaves White a rook down for an insufficient number of pawns.




And now White is winning again.


23...Kg8 24.Rf1 Kh7 25.Nxh8 Rxh8 26.Rf7 Bd5 27.Ra7 Kg6 28.Rxa5


Five passed pawns on the queenside is way too much for Black to handle.


28...Be6 29.b3 Nf6 30.Bxf6 Kxf6 31.c4 Rd8 32.Ra6 Bc8 33.Ra8 Ke6 34.c5 Re8 35.Ra7 Rg8 36.Kf2 g5 37.Ke3 h5 38.Ke4 Re8 39.d5+ Kf6+ 40.Re7! Rxe7+ 41.dxe7 Kxe7 42.Ke5 Ba6 43.c6 Bf1 44.g3 Bd3 45.b4 Bb5 46.d6+ Kd8 47.Kd5 1-0


It's still possible to enter this nine-round event with byes for rounds 1 and 2.  


 2) San Francisco Mechanics' 2 - Dallas Destiny 2 in Week 9 of USCL Action   

The Mechanics' had a very tough time this past Wednesday as neither they nor Dallas could afford a loss in the battle for the last two playoff spots in the Western Division of the US Chess League.

Dallas Destiny   San Francisco Mechanics 
IM Salvijus Bercys: 2576 0.0 1.0 GM Vinay Bhat: 2555 
GM Julio Sadorra: 2561 0.0 1.0 GM Jesse Kraai: 2567 
IM Conrad Holt: 2520 1.0 0.0 IM David Pruess: 2414 
WFM Patrcyja Labedz: 2141 1.0 0.0 Todd Rumph: 2159 
Avg Rating: 2450    Avg Rating: 2424 
Dallas Total -------  2.0 2.0 ------- San Francisco Total

  The Mechanics' got outstanding efforts from its top two boards.   



Bercys (2576) - Bhat (2555)

Nimzo-Indian E39

Dallas - San Francisco 2011


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Na6 7.c6!?


White had a multitude of choices here including 7.Bd2; 7.a3; 7.g3; 7.e3; 7.Bg5 and; 7.Bf4 The text is an idea of Morozevich to unbalance the pawn structure. He introduced it in 2008 and scored 4 1/2 from 6 with it against 2700+ opposition.




This isn't forced. Ponomariov once captured with the d-pawn and Ivanchuk tried 7...d5!?


8.a3 Bxc3+ 9.Qxc3 Nc5 10.Be3


This looks like a novelty. 10.Qc2 a5 11.Be3 has been played a couple of times.


10...Nce4 11.Qc2 d5 12.Nd2


White would like to fianchetto his king bishop and castle but 12.g3 is strongly met by 12...Ng4.


12...Ba6 13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.c5


White could consider the pawn sacrifice 14.g3 Bxc4 15.Bg2 f5 16.0-0 when he has finally finished his development. The only problem with this is that Black is a pawn up with no visible compensation for the first player beyond the bishop pair which at present are doing nothing special.


14...f5 15.g3 e5


15...Rb8 was a worthy alternative planning...Qa5+ just before White has time to castle kingside..




White has castled but whether his king is safe is another matter.


16...Rb8 17.f3 Nf6


17...Ng5 18.f4 (trying to grab the dark squares) 18...Ne4! 19.fxe5 Bc4 offers Black excellent compensation for the pawn as does the play in the game.


18.Qxf5 Qe7 19.Qc2 Bc4


Imagine having to defend this position which would certainly be no fun. Then add to it that you have only a few minutes left and you have to give IM Bercys great credit for hanging on long enough until Vinay was also low on time. The play soon becomes great entertainment for the spectators and torture for the players.


20.b4 a5 21.Bd2 axb4 22.axb4


22.Bxb4 , keeping the a-file closed, was another possibility, but 22...Qe6 (or maybe thestraightforward 22...Rb7 23.e3 Bxf1 24.Rhxf1 Rfb8) 23.e3 Bxf1 24.Rhxf1 e4 25.f4 Rb5 looks pretty good for Black - but so does the game continuation.


22...Ra8 23.Bc3 Ra2


Part of Vinay's problem here is there are so many attractive possibilities. He had around a minute at this stage to choose between the text and 23...Bb5, 23...e4 and 23...Ra3.


24.Bb2 Rb8 25.Qc3 Qf7 26.e3 Bxf1 27.Rhxf1 d4!


27...Qa7 was also strong but text is very thematic (bringing the knight into play) and should be decisive.


28.exd4 Nd5 29.Qb3 Qa7 30.Rf2 Rxb4 31.Qd3 Qa4


Not surprisingly, with White's king so exposed, Black has more than one way to win. Besides the text 31...exd4 32.Bxd4 (32.Re2 Ne3 33.Rxe3 Qxc5+ 34.Bc3 Ra1+ 35.Kc2 Rb2+ 36.Kxb2 Qa3+ 37.Kc2 Qa4+ 38.Kb2 Qa2#) 32...Rxf2 33.Bxf2 Qa2 would have done the job.


32.dxe5 Rc4+ 33.Kb1 Rb4?!


Vinay's position is winning but he was living on the increment already. Every move he would go down to 5 seconds and after Bercys, who was also low on time played his move quickly; there was no time for a good think. Here 33...Rxb2+! 34.Kxb2 (34.Rxb2 Nc3+ 35.Kc1 Nxd1+) 34...Qb5+ was a clear win.


34.Kc1 Rb3 35.Qe4 Qa5?


Missing another win with  35...Ra1+ 36.Bxa1 Qxa1+ 37.Kd2 Qa5+ 38.Kc1 Qa3+ 39.Kd2 Re3 40.Qd4 Qa2+ The text not only overlooks another win it should in fact lose.




36.Rxd5 wins. For example: 36...cxd5 (36...Ra1+ 37.Bxa1 Qxa1+ Had Bercys any time left he would have undoubtedly found the win. 38.Kd2 Rb2+ 39.Ke3 Qc1+ 40.Rdd2) 37.Qxd5+ Kf8 38.Qxb3.




36...Rba3! (tripling on the file!) wins immediately.


37.Qd4 Ra4 38.Rc4 Ra2 39.e6!


Vinay's teammates were in the initial stages of cardiac arrest at this point but he, at least to outward appearances, was his usual unflappable self.


39...Qa7 40.Qxe3?


40.Rb4! with the nasty idea of Rb8+ and meeting 40...h6 with the pretty overload 41.Rb8+ Kh7 42.Ra8 was winning. Vinay not switches from chess to checkers and wins with a triple jump.


40...Ra1+ 41.Bxa1 Qxa1+ 42.Kd2 Qxd1+ 0-1


This brings Vinay's 2011 individual USCL record to 2.5 from 4 against GMs Shulman, Khachiyan and Becerra plus IM Bercys and he had black in all four games.


His current USCF rating of 2555 makes him only the 31st ranked player in the league but the USCL has its own special arena and here he really shines.  


Before this season Vinay had scored 21 points from 32 games in the USCL for a performance rating of2644. It appears that only Hikaru Nakamura (2704), Julio Becerra (2677), Larry Christiansen (2650) and Joel Benjamin (2648) have better performance going into this season for those who have played at least twenty games in the USCL.


The following effort by Jesse was selected The Game of the Week by the USCL judges. 


Kraai (2567) - Sadorra (2561)

B48 Sicilian Taimanov

San Francisco-Dallas 2011




One thing that makes GM Jesse Kraai hard to prepare for is that while he normally plays 1.Nf3 and 2.c4 every so often he slips in 1.e4 to keep his opponents off balance.


1...c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 a6 7.Bd3 Nf6 8.0-0 h5 9.h3 b5 10.Nxc6 Qxc6 11.Re1


This move is not commonly seen. Instead 11.a3; 11.Be2 and 11.e5 all have been extensively tested.


11...b4 12.Ne2 Bb7


Black can capture the pawn but after 12...Nxe4 13.Nd4 Qd5 14.a3 (to open lines) White has full compensation in his better development. Jesse is good at setting problems for his opponents where the comparatively fast time control (G/75 with a 30 second increment) favors the player with the initiative. Sadorra did a lot of thinking at this stage of the game and soon found himself battling the clock as well as the position on the board.


13.Nd4 Qc7 14.Bg5 Qe5?!


Here 14...Bc5 looks more solid. The following pawn grab might just be playable but Black will have to defend very carefully. 


15.Nf3 Qxb2


Having attacked the pawn Black is more or less obliged to follow through. After 15...Qc7 16.Rc1 intending c3 or 16.Qd2 Bc5 17.a3 bxa3 18.b4 Bb6 19.Rxa3 both favor White. Once the first player succeeds in opening up the position it becomes clear there is no happy home for Black's king. 


16.a3 a5


16...bxa3?? 17.Rb1 catching the bishop on b7 is but one point of Jesse's play.


17.Bd2 Bc5 18.Rb1


18.Bf4 d6 19.Bb5+ Ke7 20.e5 was a very interesting alternative.


18...Qxa3 19.Ne5  


19.Ra1 Qb2 20.Rb1 is just a draw.




White was threatening Ra1 and Nc4 trapping the queen. The text meets that threat but overlooks a clever "backward" move by White. Critical was 19...Rc8 when Houdini offers the following crazy line. 20.Nc4 Qa4 21.Ra1 Qc6 22.Nxa5 Qb6 23.Qf3 Ng4 24.hxg4 hxg4 25.Qe2 Bxf2+ 26.Qxf2 Rh1+ 27.Kxh1 Qxf2 28.Nxb7 Qxd2 29.Nd6+ Kd8 30.Nxc8 Kxc8 The Silicon Oracle says equal chances in this highly unbalanced position.


20.Bxa6 Rxa6  21.Nd3!


Retreating moves are often missed. The knight not only attacks the bishop it also covers b2 so Ra1 threatens to trap the queen.




This seemingly answers both threats. Now the coup de grace comes.


22.c3! bxc3


22...Bxc3 23.Bxc3 Qxc3 (23...bxc3 24.Rb8+) 24.Rc1 picks up a rook. Jesse finishes in convincing fashion.


23.Rb8+ Ke7 24.Bc1 Qa2 25.Rxh8 Rd6 26.e5 Bxe5 27.Rxe5 Qb1 28.Re3 Nd5 29.Re1 1-0


3)  Here and There   

Yasser Seirawan turned in a 2710 performance in tying for first in the Category 14 (2578 average) Magistral Casino Barcelona GM round robin

1-2. GMs Salgado Lopez (ESP, 2614) and Seirawan (USA, 2652) - 5/8,
3. Spraggett (CAN, 2576) - 5
4-5. GMs Smirin (ISR, 2678) and De La Riva (ESP, 2541) - 4, etc.

This performance netted Seirawan 6 points and brings his FIDE rating to 2658, number 4 in the US.   

The US continues to have two players among the top twenty in the world on the FIDE rating list. Below are the players current ratings, their recent rating chamnge and number of games played. 

1. Carlsen 2825.8 +2.8 10
2. Anand 2811 -6 10
3. Aronian 2805.9 -1.1 11
4. Kramnik 2799.6 +8.6 6
5. Radjabov 2781 +29 15
6. Ivanchuk 2775 +10 26
7. Topalov 2768 0 0
8. Karjakin 2763.2 -8.8 15
9. Morozevich 2762.4 +25.4 17
10. Nakamura 2757.8 +4.8 10
11. Svidler 2752.1 +12.1 24
12. Grischuk 2751.6 -5.4 21
13. Gashimov 2746.8 -9.2 13
14. Gelfand 2744.4 -1.6 4
15. Tomashevsky 2740.3 +30.3 22
16 Wang Hao 2736.4 +3.4 6
17. Mamedyarov 2732.5 -13.5 11
18. Kamsky 2732.3 -23.7 16
19. Nepomniachtchi 2729.9 +11.9 11
20. Jakovenko 2728.7 +12.7 23

The US will have two entrants in the top section
of the Tata Steel Tournament (formerly Corus) next

Carlsen NOR 2823
Aronian ARM 2807
Karjakin RUS 2772
Topalov BUL 2768
Ivanchuk UKR 2765
Gashimov AZE 2756
Kamsky USA 2756
Nakamura USA 2753
Radjabov AZE 2752
Gelfand ISR 2746
Giri NED 2722
Caruana ITA 2712
Navara CZE 2705
Van Wely NED 2689

Today chess players in the northern East Bay rely on the Berkeley Chess Club on fridays nights and the International house (at the top of Bancroft near the football stadium).

Back in the early 1970s things were busier with the Hardcastle Coffee House (2516 Telegraph) and East Asia Book and Game Center (5897 College) two centers of activity.


4) Upcoming Events

At the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club
Other Events
Oct. 29-30   2011 U.S. Junior Chess Congress   California Northern
(Blitz on October 28). Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Pkwy., Santa Clara, CA 95054. Free parking. Hotel rate $99 only. Hotel: Hyatt Regency, 5101 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054. Main Event: Trophies to top 20 players and top 10 teams, including ties, in each section. Participation medals to all entrants. 7 Sections based on age: Ages 5 & under, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, and 16-18. Onsite Registration: Saturday/Sunday 7:30-8:00am. Round Times: Saturday & Sunday 9am, 12:15, 3:15pm for all sections except Ages 5 & under is Saturday 9, 10:45, 12:15, 1:45, 3:15pm and Ages 6-7 is Sunday 9, 10:45, 12:15, 1:45, 3:15pm. Time Controls: All rounds will be G/75 except sections Ages 5 & under and 6-7 will be G/30. EF by 10/21: 1-day $48, 2-day $60, Play-up +15. Late fee (10/22-27) +$20, Onsite only after 10/27: +$40. Side events: Blitz (Fri Reg: 5:30-6pm, Games 6:30-8:30p) and Bughouse (Sat Registration: 5:30-6pm, Games 6:30-8:30p) in 3 sections (7 & under, 8-10, 11-18). EF: Blitz $15, Bughouse $15. Late fee (10/22-27) +$2, Onsite only after 10/27: +$5. USCF Membership required for bughouse and all sections except ages 7 & under. October 2011 Supplement & TD desc to place players accurately. Reg early to save. Organizers/ TDs: S. Azhar, R. Koepcke, T. Langland, & J. McCumiskey. More info & flyer: BayAreaChess.com/usjr11. Register online at: BayAreaChess.com/my/usjr11. Quest: ask@BayAreaChess.com. NS, NC, W. Chess Magnet School JGP G/75 rounds.


Dec. 31-Jan. 2 or Jan. 1-2,   GPP:  50 (enhanced) California Northern
New Year Open
6SS 30/90 sd/60 (2-day rds 1-3 G/60 merge in rd 4). Hyatt Regency, 5101 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA. Hotel $79! free parking. $6,000 b/97 (80% guar). 3 sects. Open (2000+ FIDE rated): $Gtd 1000-500-200, top u2300 200-100, top u2100 100-100. 1500-1999: 700-300-100, top u1800 400-200, top u1600 200-100. Under1500: 700-300-100, top u1300 300-200, top u1100 100. Unr max $200 except in Open. EF: $99 3-day, $98 2-day mail by 12/27, online by 12/28, Onsite +$25, Play-up +$20. Re-entry $40. EF Econ Opt: EF-20 & 2/3 of calc prize (not avail in Open). GMs/IMs free: prize-EF. Dec 2011 Supp, CCA min & TD discr to place players. Sched: 3-day Reg Sat 10-11, Rds Sa/Su 11:30-5:30, Mo 10 3:30; 2-day Reg Su 9-9:30, Rds Su 10-12:30-2:50-5:30, Mo 10-3:30. Max two 1/2-pt byes & commit bef rd 3. Ent: BayAreaChess, 1590 Oakland Rd., Ste B213, San Jose, CA 95131. Rfnd fee $20. T:408-786-5515. E: ask@BayAreaChess.com, Info/Form: BayAreaChess.com/ny12. NS, NC, W. Chess Magnet School JGP.

A Heritage Event!
Feb. 18-20   29th Annual U.S. Amateur Team Championship West   California Northern
(Blitz/Scholastic Feb. 20 only.) Main event: 6SS, 30/90 sd/60. Hyatt Regency, 5101 Great America Pkwy., Santa Clara, CA 95054. Free Parking! Hotel: Free Parking! $109 call             800-233-1234       for chess rate. Reserve by Feb. 4 or rates may increase. Four-player teams plus optional alternate, average rating of four highest must be under 2200, difference between ratings of board 3 & 4 must be less than 1000. January 2012 Supp, CCA min & TD discretion to place players accurately. Main Event Prizes: Exclusive commemoratively inscribed digital clocks to each player and trophy to the team for top 3 overall teams, top team u2000, u1800, u1600, u1400, and u1200; top "industry" team (all players from the same company), top "family" team (siblings, cousins, parents, uncle/aunts, grandparents), top junior team, and top school team; top scorer on each board (1-4). Gift certificates for best 3 team names. Main Event EF: $188/team or $47/player by 2/14, 2/15-17: $197/team, $56/player, Onsite: $217/team, $66/player. Main Event Sched: Registration: Sat 9:30-10:30am. Rounds: Sat 11:30 5, Sun 11:30 5, Mon 10, 3:30. Info/flyer: www.BayAreaChess.com/usatw12. Scholastic Side Event: 5SS G/30. Four-player teams plus optional alternate, may be from same or different schools. Jan 2012 Supp, CCA min & TD discretion to place players accurately. Prizes: Trophies to each player in Top 3 teams overall, Top team u900, u800, u700, u600, u500, u400, u300, u200, Top scorer on each board (1-4). EF: $156/team or $39/player by 2/14, 2/15-17: $175/team, $48/player, Onsite: $185/team, $58/player. Registration: Mon 8-9am. Rounds: 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, 2:30pm, 4pm. Info/flyer: BayAreaChess.com/usatws12. Blitz Event: Registration Mon 7-8pm, Rounds 8:30-10:30pm. EF: $12. 75% of entry fees returned as prizes. Info/flyer: www.BayAreaChess.com/usatw12. Help in forming teams: a player and see www.bayareachess.com/events/12/usatw12 or email teamhelp@BayAreaChess.com for teams seeking players & players seeking teams. Contact: For all these events, online entry atwww.BayAreaChess.com/my/usatw12 and contact Bay Area Chess, 1590 Oakland Rd., Ste B213, San Jose 95131. T:             408-786-5515      . E:ask@BayAreaChess.com. NS, NC, W, F. Chess Magnet School JGP.











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