Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter #118

"Intuition is significately more important than knowledge!"

This week's Newsletter is coming early as M.I.Chess Room Director John Donaldson will be in Kansas next week for the Lindsborg Rotary Open.

1) Fischer in San Jose Mercury News
2) von der Lasa in San Francisco
3) Here and There
4) Holiday shopping and Chess
5) Upcoming Events

1) Fischer in San Jose Mercury News

Sean Evans writes that Bobby Fischer was in the San Jose Mercury News ( on December 7. The article has quotes from Bobby's brother-in-law Russell Targ, who lives in Palo Alto, and his nephew Alexander . They dispute the recent suggestion that Hans-Gerhardt Fischer was not Bobby's father.

2) von der Lasa in San Francisco

Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa (1818-99), usually known as von der Lasa, was a man of many talents. During his long life he was an active player, chess historian, diplomat, chess book collector (over 2,700 volumes at his death) and author. In 1887, he traveled round the world adding to his large chess library. From recent information that we have been sent by Canadian Chess Federation President Peter Stockhausen, we know that he arrived in San Francisco in late December 1887 or early January 1888 (coming from Australia) and stayed for a few weeks. By early February 1888 he was in Cuba. Peter, who is working on a book on von der Lasa with Dr. Divinsky, kindly supplied the following game which was published in the Deutsche Schachzeitung.

The San Francisco Argonaut is supposed to have published a chess column during the first half of 1888. Have any of our readers ever gone through the chess columns in the Argonaut? It does not seem to be available at the SF Public Library, but the online records of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, indicate they have it.

In the following game, played between one of the strongest Mechanics' members of the 1880s and von der Lasa, Black plays a line in the Two Knight's Defense that is still seen today, albeit with 12...Qd8 instead of 12...Bd6.

H. Heinemann. - von der Lasa
Two Knights Defense C59
San Francisco 1888

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6. 5.6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Be2 h6 9.Nf3 e4 10.Ne5 Qd4 11.f4 Bc5 12.Rf1 Bd6 13.c3 Qb6 14.b4 Nb7 15.Nc4 Qc7 16.Nxd6+ Nxd6 17.Na3 Be6 18.Nc2 0-0 19.Ne3 Nd5 20.Qc2 a5 21.bxa5 Rxa5 22.g3 23.a3 Nb6 24.Kf2 Ndc4 25.Nxc4 Nxc4 26.Bxc4 Bxc4 27.Re1 28.Rb1 Rad5 29.Rb4 Qa7+ 30.Kg2 Qc5 31.Re3 Kh7 32.Kf2 Rd3 33.Ke1 Qd5 34.Qa4 Rxd2 35.Rxc4 Rd1+ 36.Kf2 Rxc1 37.Rd4 Qa2+ 38.Re2Qa1 39.Rxd8 Rf1+ 40.Kg2 Rg1+ 41.Kh3? Qf1+ 42.Kh4 Qxe2 0-1

3) Here and There

Congratulations to 15-year-old Hikaru Nakamura who made his second GM norm in the Dominican Republic recently. Hikaru beat FIDE 2600+ GM Tkachev in the last round. We are confident his third GM and the title will soon be forthcoming.

Those looking for a super strong event to play in may wish to check out the Aeroflot Open which will be held in Moscow from February 10-20, 2003 with a prize fund of $150,000. The organizers are offering attractive air/hotel packages. For more information go to

In Newsletter #116 we reported IM David Strauss of San Francisco as the record holder for most American Open victories with 7. Longtime tournament organizer Jerry Hanken reports that this was true when David registered his last victory in 1992, but now six-time US Champion Walter Browne of Berkeley hold the record with 8 wins.

There was a typo in the piece on Arthur Stamer in the last Newsletter. In the sentence that went "In 1910 he began working with Uncle Sam's post office here in SF and stayed with it until he retired in 1961," it should have stated he retired in 1951.

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) 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,

Return to Article Index