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Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Newsletter #576


March 19, 2012


Chess no longer seems important, but it remains extremely interesting, and though it may never again feel meaningful, it will always be beautiful.


Retired Scottish Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson (New In Chess #2, 2012, page 11)


This Newsletter is coming out early because Mechanics' Institute Chess Director John Donaldson will play this weekend in Ireland in the 20th Cork Chess Congress.


1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News


International Master Elliott Winslow won the March 14th edition of the Mechanics' Wednesday Night Blitz with a score of 13 from 15 followed by Carlos D'Avila with 11

and Joe Urquhart with 8 ˝ points.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­



The Spring Mechanics' Tuesday Night Marathon is up to 67 entries headed by International Masters Elliott Winslow and Ganbold Odondoo and FIDE Masters Andy Lee and Frank Thornally. It is still possible to enter the 8 round event with half point byes for rounds one and two.



National Master Val Zemitis of Davis has contributed to the Royal Game for over 60 years as a player, writer, teacher, publicist, blindfold specialist, photographer and historian. He has been a good friend of the Mechanics' Institute since settling in California in 1952 to study at the University of California at Berkeley.


Now in the final stage of his life, Val recently contributed several interesting items to Edward Winter's outstanding Chess Notes -


One of them concerns the all but forgotten event Oldenburg 1946 which included players from Germany, Latvia and Lithuania. This was Val's international debut at the age of 21.  


You can find more about this event by going to the MI Chess Club website ( in a day or two as the archived issues there support diagrams and photographs that are not possible in the Newsletter.  


2) Yasser Seirawan King of the Hill at Dordrecht


Yasser Seirawan has once again proven that he possesses one of the quickest minds and some of the fastest hands on the planet by repeating his 2011 win in the marathon blitz tournament at Dordrecht. This time he did it against a field of roughly 200 players including 9 GMs rated over 2600 FIDE. As René Olthof reports, the battle for first place was only decided at the very end when Yasser defeated top seed Arkady Naiditsch 1.5-.5 in the last round, while Eduardo Iturrizaga, who had been in the lead throughout, drew Namig Guliev 1-1.


Top Scores:


1. Seirawan (2647) 24 from 34

2-3. Fressinet (2693) and Iturrizaga (2649) 23.5

4-6. Naiditsch (2702), Bauer (2679) and Sumets (2569) 22.5


For more information go to:



3) Curiosities - The Encircled Pawn


The noted chess researcher and historian Eduardo Bauzá Mercére recently came across the following game which features a dramatically encircled pawn - White pawn on e4 and Black pawns on d6, c5, e3 and f4.


French C15

Nelson Barki- Rodolfo Argentino

18th Cordoba Championship (5) 1968


1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 c5 5.a3 Nc6 6.axb4 cxd4 7.Na4 dxe4 8.Nc5 Nf6 9.b5 Ne7 10.Bg5 Qd5 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.Nb3 e5 13.Ra4 0-0 14.Bc4 Qd6 15.Ne2 Be6 16.Bxe6 Qxe6 17.Ng3 f5 18.0-0 Rfd8 19.Qh5 Qg6 20.Qxg6+ hxg6 21.c4 b6 22.Re1 Nc8 23.f3 e3 24.Kf1 Kg7 25.Ke2 f4 26.Ne4 f5 27.Nc1 fxe4 28.fxe4Nd6 29.Kf3 Nf7 30.Nd3 Ng5+ 31.Ke2 Nxe4 32.Rea1 Nc5 33.Rxa7+ Rxa7 34.Rxa7+ Kf6 35.b4 Nxd3 0-1


This is hardly (!) an everyday occurrence but amazingly Tim Krabbé, the preserver par excellence of chess curiosities, has 43 examples in his files including the following example played in a World Championship match.


QGD Semi-Slav D15

David Bronstein - Mikhail Botvinnik

Moscow (18) 1951


1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.e3 a6 6.Bd3 b5 7.b3 Nbd7 8.0-0 Bb7 9.c5 Be7 10.a3 a5 11.Bb2 0-0 12.Qc2 g6 13.b4 axb4 14.axb4 Qc7 15.Rae1 Rfe8 16.Ne2 Bf8 17.h3 Bg7 18.Ne5 Nf8 19.f3 N6d7 20.f4 f6 21.Nf3 Re7 22.Nc3 f5 23.Ra1 Ree8 24.Ne5 Rxa1 25.Rxa1 Ra8 26.Qb1 Qc8 27.Bxb5 Nxe5 28.fxe5 Bh6 29.Bc1 cxb5 30.Nxb5 Nd7 31.Nd6 Rxa1 32.Qxa1 Qa8 33.Qc3 Bf8 34.b5 Bxd6 35.exd6 Qa4 36.Qb2 Kf7 37.Kh2 h6 38.e4 f4 39.e5 g5 40.Qe2 Kg7 41.Qd3 Nb8 42.h4 Qc4 43.Qh3 Qxb5 44.hxg5 hxg5 45.Qxe6 Qd3 46.Qf6+ Kh7 47.Qf7+ Kh8 48.Qf6+ Kh7 49.Bxf4 gxf4 50.Qf7+ Kh8 51.Qe8+ Kg7 52.Qe7+ Kh8 53.Qe8+ Kg7 54.Qe7+ Kh8 55.Qf8+ Kh7 56.Qf7+ Kh8 57.Qxb7 Qg3+ 58.Kh1 ˝-˝


William Winter and R. G.Wade in their book on the 1951 World Championship match (p. 111), write: This is probably the finest game of this match and one of the most exciting ever seen in a world championship contest.


The topic of the encircled pawn raises the question as to what the rarest of rare positions are. International Master Nikolay Minev has long thought positions in which only pieces occupy all eight squares of a file have to be strong candidates for consideration.


4) Here and There


The UT Dallas Grandmaster Invitational was held as a double round Scheveningen system tournament. Ray Robson showed the best individual result and continues his run of excellent performances the past year.



Grandmaster Team - 29˝

GM Robson (USA, 2606) - 7 out of 10

GM Kacheishvili (GEO, 2612) - 6

GM Lenderman (USA, 2581) - 6

GM Leon Hoyos (MEX, 2569) - 5˝

GM Panchanathan (IND, 2557) - 5



UT Dallas - 20˝

GM Iotov (BUL, 2560) - 5˝

IM Holt (USA, 2499) - 5

GM Sadorra (PHI, 2525) - 4

IM Milos M. Pavlovic (SRB, 2478) - 3



Ted Castro writes:


NorCal House of Chess will be conducting a FIDE-Qualifier Event on March 24 & 25. This events are both USCF & FIDE RATED tournament. The FIDE Qualifier will have 4 Rounds:  Saturday, 11:00 & 4:00 pm, Sunday 10:30 & 3:30 pm with a time-control of 30/90, SD 30 d5. The entry fee for the FIDE Qualifier is $ 80.00. Although we will limit the number of players so those who are interested should email us right away at or


1st place winner - earns a seat at NorCal House of Chess Invitational

Our next IM Norm event will be in May

2nd place winner - earns a seat at the next FIDE QUALIFIER EVENT

3rd place winner - earns a seat at the next FIDE QUALIFIER EVENT