Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter #141

Vukcevich is a very imaginative player and is always ready in the post mortem to show the most extraordinary and complicated variations.

    Julio Kaplan, Chess Life (1977)

1) Milan Vukcevich 1937-2003
2) Shabba wins in Chicago
3) Mezentsev victorious in Los Angeles
4) Aigner and MacFarland tie for first in Sacramento
5) Upcoming Events

1) Milan Vukcevich 1937- 2003

The chess world has lost one of its most talented and dedicated devotees with the passing of Milan Vukcevich on May 10 in Cleveland after a long bout with cancer. Chess players tend to be divided into over the board and correspondence players, problemists, and end game composers. Milan was the rare individual who excelled in all forms of the game.

Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, on March 11, 1937 Milan did not have it easy in his youth. He grew up without his father Radoje, who was a liaison officer between the royal army of Yugoslavia and U.S. Forces, and was forced to flee to the United States after incurring the enmity of President Tito. In his book, Chess by Milan (1981), Vukcevich credits his uncle Milan Trivanovic, his brother Ivan Sprung and family friend (and future IM) Trandaphilos Siaperas for installing in him a life-long love of playing chess and composing problems. Also close to Milan were the members of the Belgrade chess club Slavia, which numbered among its members Matulovic, Janosevic, Maric, Sokolov, and Lazarevic. This was a golden time for chess in Yugoslavia and Milan blossomed in the supportive environment.

He earned his Candidate Master title in 1953 and by 1955 was strong enough to win the Yugoslav Junior Championship and draw a match with a young Bent Larsen 3-3. That year he also began his studies at the University of Belgrade where he was affiliated until 1963. During this decade his chess and academic career blossomed. He received the very difficult to obtain Yugoslav Master title by scoring 50 percent in the 1958 Yugoslav Championship (he had missed by a half point in 1957), but it was in 1960 that he attracted the attention of the chess world. Everyone remembers Leningrad 1960 as the scene of the great triumph for the US Student Olympiad team (Lombardy, Kalme, Weinstein, Saidy, Mednis and Hearst) over the Soviets but not too many might recall that Yugoslavia was third and Milan was the key factor. He tied for the best result on second board with the late Charles Kalme with 11 1/2 from 13, only US first board William Lombardy had a better overall result in the competition with an amazing 12 out of 13. Milan's victories over Tringov and Drimer won the best game and best endgame prizes. Later in the year he received a second team bronze medal when he was a member of the Yugoslav team that finished third in the Olympiad in Leipzig.

Milan moved to the United States in 1963 to enter the doctorate program in metallurgy at MIT. He graduated in 1967 and shortly thereafter moved to Cleveland where he taught at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland for six years. When the university pressured him to engage in research not congenial to his nature, Milan refused and left to work in industry, primarily at the General Electric Company in Cleveland.

He played league chess in Boston and Cleveland in the 1960s but it was his first place tie with GMs Benko and R. Byrne at the 1969 US Open that brought him to the attention of the American chess public. In 1975 US Closed championship he had his best ever result, narrowly missing qualification for the Interzonal, when he finished third. The following year he found the perfect vehicle to renew his love for team chess in the newly formed National Telephone League. Competing for the Cleveland Kinghunters he performed exceptionally well year after year. In 1976 he led Cleveland to a third place finish, tying with GM Kavalek for best result on board one with 6 1/2 from 8. His sole loss was to Richard Verber when he lost on time on move 40 after failing to punch his clock in a winning position. His score in 22 games in the NTL from 1976-1979 was a fantastic 16 1/2 points against almost entirely GM and IM opposition.

The demise of the National Telephone League marked the end of Milan's departure from the national chess scene though he continued to play locally in Cleveland in major events in Ohio, helping to raise the standard of chess in the Buckeye State. Among the Cleveland players who benefited from playing him in the late 1960s through 1980s were IMs Calvin Blocker and Dmitru Ghizdavu and NMs Ross Strague, Tom Wozney, Robert Burns, James Schroeder, James Harkins and Richard Noel.

GM Lubosh Kavalek in a 1973 interview opined that Vukcevich, had he chosen to pursue chess professionally, possessed all the qualities to eventually become one of the world's top thirty. His chess style was characterized by extensive and original opening knowledge, the ability to calculate deeply and accurately, and a penchant for problem-like solutions (exemplified by his stunning ...Ng3!! against Shamkovich). This level of competitive success never came to be, partly because he loved his career as a scientist. As Vukcevich prepared for the 1975 Us Championship he told The Plain Dealer that he did not consider going the route of most chess champions: eking out a living by playing in tournaments, teaching and writing about the subject. "I cannot be just a chess player or just a scientist. I have to be both. I have to get to my lab next week, even though I will be playing in the tournament . . . I have a very happy life, happier than many others."

Another reason that Milan never realized his full potential was that he preferred beauty in chess above all else. In his book "Milan on Chess" he mentions having come to prefer the noncompetitive world of composition to that of tournament chess, and the last twenty years of his life he composed many chess problems. He became the first American to hold the FIDE International Grandmaster of Chess Composition title in 1988. Just before his death he published a second book of his best problems that is available for $35 from Mike Prcic, 2613 Northshore Lane, Westlake Village, CA , 91361-3318. For his career achievements as a chess player and problem composer Milan was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in 1998.

Milan's accomplishments as a scientist were considerable. A Nobel Prize nominee for Chemistry he authored two books and for many years held the title of Chief Scientist at General Electric. He was a professor at the University of Arizona when he passed away.

As much as Milan accomplished as a player, composer and scientist he will best be remembered for his love of life and friendly manner. James Schroeder, writing in the Cleveland Chess Bulletin, relates how Milan never asked for any special treatment despite being the best player in Cleveland in the 1960s and 70. While playing in the 1975 Ohio Chess Congress I had a chance to see first hand what a standup guy Milan was. The overwhelming favorite to win, he was upset early by an A player from Cincinnati by the name of Perry Sill, who beat him with a book trap in the Schliemann variation of the Ruy Lopez in 19 moves. Many players in this situation would have been very angry and stomped out, but Milan congratulated his young opponent and stayed in the tournament for the remaining rounds despite no longer having any chance to win the event.

Tringov,G - Vukcevich,M [C34]
Leningrad 1960

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 h6 4.d4 g5 5.Bc4 d6 6.c3 Nc6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.g3 Bh3 9.Rf2 Nf6! 10.Qc2 Qd7 11.gxf4 gxf4 12.Kh1 0-0-0 13.Bd3 d5! 14.e5 Ne4 15.Bxe4 dxe4 16.Qxe4 Bxe5! 17.Bxf4 Qg4! 18.Ng1 Bxf4 19.Nxh3 Qd1+ 20.Ng1 Rhg8 21.Rg2 Rxg2 22.Qxg2 Ne7! 23.Qe2 Qc1 24.Nd2 Qxd2 25.Qxd2 Bxd2 26.Rf1 f5 27.Nf3 Be3 28.Re1 f4 0-1

Vukcevich,M - Bisguier,A [C78]
US-op Lincoln 1969
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bb7 7.Re1 Bc5 8.c3 d6 9.d4 Bb6 10.a4 Qe7 11.axb5 axb5 12.Rxa8+ Bxa8 13.Na3 Na7 14.Bg5 0-0 15.Nh4 Bb7 16.Nf5 Qd8 17.dxe5 dxe5 18.Qf3 Bc5 19.Rd1 Bd6 20.Nh6+ Kh8 21.Nxf7+ Rxf7 22.Bxf7 Qa8 23.Qxf6 1-0

Shamkovich,L - Vukcevich,M [B79]
Phone League (5) 1976
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.Bb3 Qa5 11.0-0-0 Rfc8 12.h4 Ne5 13.Nde2 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.h5 Nxh5 16.g4 Ng3!! 17.Nxg3 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qa3+ 19.Kb1 Be6 20.Qh2 Kf8 21.Rd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 Qxc3 23.Bh6+ Ke8 24.Ne4 Rb4+ 25.Kc1 Qa3+ 26.Kd2 Rc8 27.Ke2 Rxc2+ 28.Nd2 Qa6+ 29.Kf2 Qxa2 30.Kg3 Qxd5 31.Re1 e6 32.Re2 Rbb2 33.Be3 h5 34.gxh5 gxh5 35.Qg2 Kd7 36.Kh2 Qe5+ 37.Kg1 h4 38.Qg8 Qg3+ 39.Qxg3 hxg3 40.Kg2 a5 0-1

2) Shabba wins in Chicago

US Champion Alex Shabalov took home top honors in the Chicago Open held May 23-26 at the Hyatt Regency in Oak Brook, Illinois. The Pittsburgh resident scored 6-1, beating GMs Gregory Kaidanov and Pavel Blatny and IMs Mark Ginsburg and Mark Bluvshtein. His two draws, yielded in the middle rounds of the event, were against GM Walter Browne and IM Jan Van der Mortel.

There was a large group tying for second on 5 1/2, including GMs Jan Ehlvest, Alexander Goldin, Alexander Stripunsky and Nikola Mitkov and IM Ben Finegold. Close behind, a half point back, were MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky and fellow GMs Kaidanov, Igor Novikov, Ildar Ibragimov, Yury Shulman plus IM Eugene Perelshteyn. The latter two qualified for the 2004 US Championship. Curiously, unlike Foxwoods where all the top Americans under 2650 USCF paid the $75 US Championship Qualifier fee, here only 4 players over 2500 did. Since the list of seeded players from the rating list will only be determined at the end of the this year it may be that several individuals intend to raise their rating soon!

Several Northern California players played besides Yermo. Six-time US Champion Walter Browne had 4 from 6, SM Dmitry Zilberstein 4 from 7, Vladimir Strugatsky 3 1/2 from 7, Ron Cusi 3 from 7 and Paul Gallegos 3 from 7. The latter was an excellent result by Gallegos, who rated around 2200, faced opposition averaging over 2400.

Over 20 GMs played in this event organized and directed by Bill Goichberg, driving force of the Continental Chess Association.

3) Mezentsev victorious in Los Angeles

Mountain View SM Vladimir Mezentsev won the Lena Grumette Memorial in Los Angeles over Memorial Day Weekend. Mezentsev, who has two IM norms, scored 5 1/2 from 6. After yielding a draw in round one he came back strong, beating 2300s Abrahamian and Salimbagat and top-seed IM Enrico Sevillano in the final three tounds. Andranik Matikozian was second at 5 followed by fellow IMs Jack Peters, Melik Khachiyan and Sevillano on 4 1/2. MI junior Monty Peckham turned in a strong performance with 3 1/2 from 5, including a victory over IM Tim Taylor. There were 139 players in the multi-section event, excluding scholastic and one day sections.

4) Aigner and MacFarland tie for first in Sacramento

NMs Michael Aigner and James MacFarland tied for first in the 2nd Koltanowski Memorial held May 24-26 in Sacramento. The two winners, who drew with each other in round 5, scored 5-1. A point back were up-and-coming juniors Ben Haun, Nick Yap and Ben Tejes. Daichi Siegrist took the Reserve section with 5 1/2 from 6. 63 players competed in the two section event organized by the Sacramento Chess Club.

5) Upcoming Events

Upcoming Tournaments at the MI

Full details at

Stamer Memorial: June 6-8
William Addison: June 28

Scholastic Quads: May 31

West Coast National Events

Championship Qualifier A Heritage Event!
An American Classic Event!
June 13-15: 2003 National Open WGPP: 200Q Nevada 6SS, 40/2, SD/1 (scholastic and unrated sections 12-RDSS G/90). Riviera Hotel and Casino, 2901 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas, NV 89109. $53,000 Prize Fund is Fully Guaranteed and will not be reduced. Championship. $$G: $5000-2500- 1200-600-300-150-150-150-150-150, U2500 $1100, U2400 $1000, U2300 $900. The winner of the Championship section receives a replica of the Edmondson Cup. 5 points wins at least $500, 4-1/2 wins at least $200. Under 2200: $$G: $2500-1200-600-300-150-75-75-75-75-75, U2100 $900. Under 2000: $$G: $2500-1200-600-300-150-75-75-75-75-75, U1900 $900. Under 1800: $$G: $2500-1200-600-300-150-75-75-75-75-75, U1700 $900. Under 1600: $$G: $2500-1200-600-300-150-75-75-75-75-75, U1500 $900. Under 1400: $$G: $1500-700-350-200-100-50-50-50-50-50, U1300 $600. Under 1200: $$G: $1000-500-250-150-100-50-50-50-50-50, U1100 $400, U1000 $200. Unrated: Open to players with no published USCF (or convertible international) rating. $500-250-125-75-50. Unrated prizes are USCF Gift Certificates. Scholastic Under 1200: Open to players in grades K-12 rated under 1200. Trophies to top 10 and top 5 in each 100 point rating group. All Sections: 5 points in any section (10 in unrated) wins at least 10% of first prize. Plus score bonus ($$G 8000) in addition to any other prizes: every player who finishes with 3-1/2 points (6-1/2 in unrated or scholastic section) or better wins a $25 USCF gift certificate. Plus score certificates will be given on site only. EF: (except scholastic and unrated) $95 by 5/26, $125 by 6/11, $150 on site. $30 off advance entry fee only for Juniors under 20 or Seniors over 65. Scholastic EF: $49 by 5/26, $69 by 6/11, $85 on site. Unrated EF: $65 by 5/26, $80 by 6/11, $100 on site. This is an open tournament - you may play in any section at or above your rating level, unrated players may play only in Championship, Unrated or Scholastic section (if age eligible). CCA minimum ratings may be used if higher than USCF June Supplement. Reg: 6-8 pm. Thursday June 12, 9-10:30 a.m. Friday June 13. Rds: 12-7, 10-5, 10-5. Late schedule: rounds 1 and 2, G/60, at 7 and 9:30 Friday. Add $1 to EF for this option. Not available in scholastic and unrated sections. Half point byes available in any round, but 5th or 6th round 1/2 point byes must be requested before the start of round 2. Add 50 cents to advance EF for 1st round 1/2 point bye only. Chess sets and boards provided for tournament play only; not for skittles. Please bring chess clocks! Many free extras and surprises! Free parking. Free airport shuttle for players only. Blitz tournament Thursday evening, June 12th, 80% of EF returned as prizes. Chess Camp Thursday June 12th. Free raffle with great prizes. Free lectures by GM Ron Henley. Free analysis of your games. Come early for Grandmaster SIMULS Thursday at 3:30 p.m. New LOW room rates! HR: $69 single or double includes free tickets to one of three Mardi Gras Riviera Las Vegas Shows Wednesday or Thursday. 1-800-634-6753 or (702) 734-5110. Don't be shut out; make your reservations early and be sure to ask for the chess rates; the Riviera sells out most weekends. Cutoff for special hotel rate is May 26th. Special $69 rates after cutoff only if rooms available! Credit card or one night room deposit will be required to hold reservation, refundable if reservation canceled 72 hours in advance. For travel discounts check our website or contact Classic Travel at Email: or (630) 980-7900. Tournament Registration: U.S. Chess Federation, 3054 RTE 9W, New Windsor, NY 12553, Attention: National Open Entries. Credit card entries accepted 8am-9pm Eastern at 1-800-388-KING Info: Alan Losoff (847) 858-7778, evenings central time, Email:, or Web: W. FIDE.


LAX Radisson 6225 W. Century Blvd. · Los Angeles, CA 90045 · (310) 670-9000 $89 Chess Rate - Lowest in years!

A USCF National Championship

A Heritage Event!

Tournament Format
A one-section tournament with class prizes.
12 Round Swiss System. Several Schedules Available!
Traditional Schedule: One round daily at 7:30 pm 8/43-8/8 & 8/10-8/15.
Matinee 1st half: One round daily at 11 am 8/3-8/8, then 7:30 pm 8/10-8/15. Merges with Traditional after Round 6; 8-day option: All games 40/2, SD/1. Rounds 8/8-8/11 at 11 am and 7:30 pm, 8/12-15 at 7:30 pm. 6-day option: Rounds 1-7 are G/60. Rounds 8/10 12:30-3-6-9, 8/11 10:30-1:30-4, 7:30, 8/12-8/15 7:30 pm. 8-day and 6-day both merge with others after Round 7. Busy person special: Play only rds 7-12 at 7:30 pm 8/10-15. Over 2399 starts with 4 pts, 2200-2399 3.5, Expert 3, Class A 2.5, Class B 2, Class C 1.5, Class D 1, Under 1200 0.5, Unrated 0.5. Time Control 40/2, SD/1 except 1st 7 rounds of 6-day schedule are G/60. The August rating list will be used. 1/2 point byes are available. Maximum 2 byes available rds. 1-10. Half-point byes available in round 1, and in any round if player would have been rated above opponent. Bye counts zero if player would have been rated below opponent. Round 2-9 byes must be requested at least 3 hours before round; round 10 byes must be requested before round 9 and are irrevocable. No byes last 2 rounds. Players may not receive more bye points during the first 6 rounds than the busy player score for their class.

$55,000 unconditionally guaranteed - second largest ever prize fund ever at a U.S. Open. Top places: $8000-4000-3000-2000-1500-1200-1000-800-600-400.
Qualifier for the 2004 U.S. Invitational Championship.
2449-2300: $2000-1000. 2299-2200: $2000-1000.
Expert: $2000-1000-600-500-300.
Class A: $2000-1000-600-500-300.
Class B: $2000-1000-600-500-300.
Class C: $2000-1000-500-400-300.
Class D: $1500-1000-500-400-300.
Class E: $1000-500-400.
Under 1000: $1000-400.
Unrated: $1000-400.
Unrateds are ineligible for Expert through Under 1000 prizes.
Elegant trophy for each class winner.
Biggest upset by non-prizewinner: $100.
Best games: $200-100-100 (one reserved for non-master).


If mailed by 7/26 or paid by phone, fax or online with credit card by 7/30.
$190 Traditional
$189 Matinee 1st half
$187 8-day
$186 6-day
$185 Busy Player
On site $220.
Registration closes 2 hours before 1st round in each schedule.
USCF Membership is required and must be current. You may pay USCF membership with your entry or on site. Regular Adult Memberhip, $49/year includes CHESS LIFE (12 issues) Senior Membership Age 65 & over, $36/year includes CHESS LIFE (12 issues) Youth Membership Age 19 and under, $25/year includes CHESS LIFE (12 issues) Scholastic Membership Age 14 and under, $19/year, includes CHESS LIFE (5 issues + Yearbook) Other membership categories available. Advance entries must include player's name and all fees to be accepted. Mail Entries to
U.S. Open Championship
U.S. Chess Federation
3054 RTE 9W
New Windsor, NY 12553.
Make Checks payable to USCF.
To enter by phone call (800) 388-KING.
Secure On Line Registration will be available soon.
All entries received will be posted here.
Advance registration is strongly encouraged.

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