Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter #117

"He, who ventures, should lose. He, who does not venture, loses."

1) Lindsborg Rotary Open
2) Ossipov Leads Fall Marathon
3) MI Christmas Party
4) Holiday Shopping and Chess
5) MI Chess History: Arthur Stamer
6) Upcoming Events

1) Lindsborg Rotary Open

The Lindsborg Rotary Open, held December 17-23, with former World Champion Anatoly Karpov as a special guest of honor, will have several players from the MI competing. Among those making the trip to Kansas are 2000 US Women's Champion Camilla Baginskaite, former US Junior Closed participants David Pruess and Dmitry Zilberstein, Vivek Nambiar and MI Chess Director John Donaldson. Former MI member Mladen Vucic, now living in Las Vegas will be hunting for a GM norm along with fellow IMs William Paschall, Michael Brooks, Jessie Kraai and Melikset Khachiyan. US Championship participant Stephen Mohammed will be looking to make his third GM norm. WGM Anna Zatonskih, who represented Ukraine at the Olympiad in Bled, will be playing away from her new home in Ohio for the first time. Favorites for the event are the GM troika of Alexander Onischuk, Igor Novikov and Yury Shulman.

Go to for more information or look below under upcoming events.

2) Ossipov Leads Fall Marathon

NM Victor Ossipov drew in round eight of the MI Fall Tuesday Night Marathon to maintain a half point lead at 6 1/2 with one round to go. Tied for second at 6 are FM Frank Thornally, NM Russell Wong, Experts Larry Snyder and Michael Becco and A player Victor Todortsev. The next Marathon starts on January 7.

3) MI Christmas Party

The MI annual Christmas Party will be held tomorrow (Thursday) from 5pm to 6:30pm. Among those honored are Chess Room volunteers Jim Clarke, Walter Dorne and Bob Jordan. Reservations are requested for this event (415) 393-0100 which is catered by Cafe 52 and will feature live music. Cost is $5.

4) Holiday Shopping and Chess

Looking for a Christmas gift for a chess player? Consider an MI Chess History CD. The staff of the Mechanics' Institute recently completed the first of a two volume series on the history of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room. The fruits of their research are available on a CD which includes almost 90 pages of text, approximately 10 photos from the MI archives and over 150 games in ChessBase format. Visits of World Champions Lasker (twice), Capablanca, Alekhine (twice), and Euwe, are among the highlights. The price of the CD is $10 + $1 for shipping. To order, send a check payable to the Mechanics' Institute for $11 to: Mechanics' Institute, Room 408, 57 Post Street, San Francisco, CA, 94104.

San Francisco is fortunate to have two fine independent book stores run by MI Tuesday Night Marathon regulars that stock lots of chess books. For new titles, Stacey's, managed by Tom Allen, is the place to go with the latest offerings from Gambit, Batsford and Everyman. It is only a stones throw from the MI on Market.

Chelsea Books (637 Irving in the Inner Sunset), owned by Bryan Bilby, is the center for used chess books in San Francisco. I counted over 100 for sale, on all facets of the game and in several languages, the last time I visited. Bryan is constantly buying new books. Not too long ago he picked up some of IM Elliott Winslow's library.

5) MI Chess History: Arthur Stamer

Shake Hands with The "Old Guard" ------Arthur B. Stamer

It has been remarked to this editor that Arthur B. Stamer is about the oldest living chess player in San Francisco, but Art says, "I'm one of them --, just call me the old guard." Yes, "old guard" he is and so can gather many interesting anecdotes about chess in the bygone days in S.F.

Art Stamer does not prefer to be regarded as a top notch chess player. He did win the Mechanics' Institute chess championship in 1905 and in 1923, but remarka, "Only because the stronger players didn't enter in those years!" He has two unique looking metals for these achievements and when glancing at them reminisces, "I sure was proud to get those medals. Nowadays, all a chessplayer wants is money!"

Mr. Stamer is more noted for his achievements in the various telegraph matches held in the yesteryears. At that time San Francisco had matches with Chicago, Portland, and, of course our rival town of Los Angeles. He was the toast of the town when he defeated the then Western States champ Schraeder of L.A. Another memorable telegraph match was with Perry, also of L.A., over whom he also scored an upset win.

Art is a San Franciscan through and through. He was working with his dad in the restaurant business when the 1906 earthquake and fire hit our city. In 1910 he began working with Uncle Sam's post office here in S.F. and stayed with it until he retired in 1961. He loves to recall the many great events that have happened at the Mechanics' Institute through the years. He believes the most memorable event was when Pillsbury put on an exhibition here in 1902. Pillsbury played 16 games of chess blindfolded while he also played 4 games of checkers and some 6 hands of whist. He won all his whist games and checker games, and all of his chess games but two but two --one of the victors being A.B. Stamer.

Art joined the Mechanics' Institute in 1901 and is now the chess club director of this organization. He has watched them come and go and knows so many interesting facts of the past one would need a book to relate them. He has seen the many changes. "At one time," he relates, "there would at least be four games of checkers going on besides chess games but rarely do you see a checker game here now." In the old days physicians and lawyers would come in and during their lunch hour, get involved in chess games and forget to get back to their offices. "Oscar Samuels, Stewart's dad, quit chess," laughs Art, "because his business was going to pot!" Yes, times have changed but Mr. Stamer, though not the player he used to be, does his best keeping up with the changes. He's still a solid player, and, of course, --, the "old guard!"

Chess Herald 1957; Volume 2, No. 4 published by the Precita Valley Chess Club, edited by Jim Reynolds

6) Upcoming Events

Note: The MI will be starting monthly scholastic quads on Saturdays starting in January. See below.

Upcoming Tournaments at the MI

Guthrie McClain Memorial: December 21 
 Bob Burger Open: January 4, 2003 
 Henry Gross Memorial: February 1, 2003 
 A.J. Fink Amateur: February 28, March 1-2, 2003 
 Max Wilkerson Open: March 15, 2003 
 Walter Lovegrove Senior Championship: April 12-13, 2003 
 Imre Konig Memorial: April 26, 2003 

 Scholastic Quads: January 18 and February 22. 

National Events

2nd Annual

Lindsborg Rotary Open Chess Tournament
Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas
December 17-23 or December 20-23
GM & IM norms are available; FIDE rating and evaluation guaranteed for 7-day option!
$3,000 guaranteed prize fund!
3 sections:
FIDE: 9SS, 40/2, SD/1 (4-day option, rounds 1-5 G/50). First two rounds accelerated pairing.
1st - $800, 2nd - $400, 3rd - $200, 4th - 150, 5th - 100
U2400: $100 - 75; U2200: $100 - 75
Open: 9SS, G/120
1st - $150
U2000: $100 - 75 - 50; U1800: $100 - 75 - 50
U1600: $100 - 75 - 50; U1400: $100 - 75 - 50
Scholastic (12/22): G/30. Trophies for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each HS, MS, ES categories
Entering fees: GMs & IMs free. Membership at Kansas Chess Association is required (dues can be paid on site).
Before 11/1/02 Before 12/1/02 At site
FIDE Section
FIDE 2300 $70 $80 $90
FIDE, USCF 2200 $80 $90 $100
FIDE 2200 $90 $100 $110
non-FIDE rated, USCF 2200 * $120 $130 $140
Open Section $50 $55 $60
Scholastic Section $15 $20 $25
Credit cards OK. Online entry at
* Number of non-FIDE rated players will be limited in this category

FIDE Session:
7-day: 12/17-12/20 1:00 pm; 12/21 & 22 9:00 am & 5:00 pm; 12/23 9:00 am
4-day: 12/20 (G/50) 4:00 pm, 6:30 pm, 9:00 pm; 12/21 9:00 am, 1:00 pm, & 5:00 pm;
12/22 9:00 am & 5:00 pm; 12/23 9:00 am
Open Sessions (G/120):
4-day: 12/20 4:00 pm; 12/21 9:00 am, 1:30 pm, 7:00 pm; 12/22 9:00 am, 1:30 pm, 7:00 pm;
12/23 9:00 am, 1:30 pm
Scholastic Session (G/30):
12/22 10:00 am, 11:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:00 pm, 5:30 pm
1/2-pt byes OK at ALL. Limit 3. Last bye must commit before round 5.
Special Event - 12/20 at 8:00 pm GM Igor Novikov will play simul games with 20 people. $20.
Hotel rates: $49 - $80 at Swedish Country Inn (1-800-231-0266), $36 - $56 at Coronado Motel (1-800-747-2793), $65 - $150 at Rosberg House B&B (1-888-215-5234), $65 - $95 at Smoky Valley B & B (1-800-532-4407), and $60 - $120 at C&W Ranch Bed & Breakfast (785-668-2352). Reserve by 11/15 or rates may increase.
Ent: Lindsborg Chamber of Commerce (for the chess tournament), 104 E. Lincoln, Lindsborg, KS 67456. 1-888-227-2227; For more information please contact Mikhail Korenman at 785-227-3380, ext.8164 or

International Events


The 1st Pan American Amateur Championship will be held at the elegant Fairmont Southampton from 27th January to 5th February 2003. It will be nine rounds plus a rest day and will be held alongside two GM Invitational Tournaments (Cat XV and X). The rate of play will be 150 plus 30 seconds per move. It is open to players under 2000 FIDE or no FIDE rating at all. Each Federation in the Americas is allowed to nominate two players who do not have to pay an entry fee, otherwise entry fee is $150 per player. It will be followed by the 20th Bermuda Open from 6th to 9th February.

Rooms are $125 per night plus taxes etc. for one or two people, a third person in a room would be an extra $30 plus taxes. etc To book rooms contact the Fairmont Southampton on 1-800-441-1414 or 1-441-238-8000, mentioning "PanAmerican Amateur Chess."

Details/Info: or Nigel Freeman 441-234-2322, or Carol Jarecki 917-690-8566,

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