Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #184

"I like to coax my opponents into attacking, to let them taste the joy of the initiative, so that they may get carried away, become careless, and sacrifice material."

   Viktor Kortchnoi

1) US Champion Alex Shabalov at the Mechanics' Institute tonight
2) Upsets galore in round 2 of the Spring TNM
3) IM Odondoo wins 4th Max Wilkerson Open
4) Alan Benson website
5) 3rd SF International 1986 and Paul Masson 1980
6) US Championship dates changed
7) Here and There 
8) Upcoming Events

The next issue of the Newsletter will include coverage of the recently concluded Northern California Scholastic Championships and a review of the new book on Pal Benko by Benko, Jeremy Silman and John Watson. This beautifully produced 668 page hardback has the heft of a New York City phonebook!

1) US Champion Alex Shabalov at the Mechanics' Institute tonight

US Champion Alex Shabalov of Pittsburgh will be a special guest of the Mechanics' Institute this evening. The 36-year-old Grandmaster (2623 FIDE), who has won nearly every important American tournament the past year, will face off with MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky at 5:15 tonight in a Fischer-Random exhibition. Admission is free to all.

2) Upsets galore in round 2 of the Spring TNM

There were upsets galore in the second round as Masters Russell Wong, Batsaikan Tserendorj and Victor Ossipov were knocked off by 1800 players Stephen Krasnov, Henry Plotkin and Victor Ossipov. Nine players remain with perfect scores in the 70-player field with 7 rounds to go.

3) IM Odondoo wins 4th Max Wilkerson Open

Ganbold Odondoo of Mongolia won the 4th Max Wilkerson Open held March 20th at the Mechanic's Institute with a 5-0 score. Fellow IM Ricardo DeGuzman, who lost to Odondoo, was second with 4 points. Alex Yermolinsky directed for the Mechanics'.

4) Alan Benson website

Noted Bay Area tournament director Alan Benson, who organized many of the People's Opens in the 1970s and early 1980s, is offering his collection of chess books and memorabilia for sale. If you go to you will not only see what he is offering, but also be presented with some interesting tidbits on Bay Area chess including Alan's reminiscences of a visit by Vassily Smyslov to Berkeley.

5) 3rd SF International 1986 and Paul Masson 1980

The 3rd San Francisco International was held October 11-30, 1986, and saw tournament organizer Guillermo Rey make an IM norm while tying for second. Only a handful of games from this event made it into local chess magazines and none are in ChessBase. There was a bulletin for this event which will hopefully surface soon. Standings:

1. J. Whitehead 8/10
2-3. Frias and Rey 7.5
4. Remlinger 7
5. Alzate 5.5
6-7. Ramayrat and Buzbuchi 4.5
8-10. Beelby, Lobo and Salvetti 3.5
11. M. Anderson 0

The golden days of Bay Area chess were probably the late 1970s and early 1980s when the "Fischer influence" was still felt and tournament site costs had not yet exploded. One of the great annual events was the Paul Masson Open held at the winery in Saratoga. Thanks to Max Burkett many of the games from the 1980 event (1--5. GMs Browne, Gheorghiu, Tarjan, Christiansen and Biyiasas 3.5/4) were preserved. Here are two that you won't find in any database.

Ayyar,R - Tarjan,J [B84]
Paul Masson Saratoga (1), 1980

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Be2 Be7 7.Be3 a6 8.0-0 Qc7 9.f4 0-0 10.Kh1 b5 11.a3 Bb7 12.Bf3 Nbd7 13.Qe1 Rac8 14.Qg3 Nc5 15.f5 e5 16.Bh6 Ne8 17.Nde2 Kh8 18.Bg5 Bxg5 19.Qxg5 Nf6 20.Ng3 Qb6 21.Rad1 Rfd8 22.Nh5 Nxh5 23.Bxh5 f6 24.Qh4 b4 25.Nd5 Bxd5 26.Rxd5 bxa3 27.bxa3 Qb2 28.Rfd1 Qxa3 29.Rxd6 Rxd6 30.Rxd6 Nd3 0-1

Christiansen,L - Batchelder,W [B42]
Paul Masson Saratoga (2), 1980

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 g6 6.0-0 Bg7 7.c3 Ne7 8.f4 Nbc6 9.f5 exf5 10.exf5 Nxd4 11.cxd4 Qb6 12.Kh1 0-0 13.Nc3 Nxf5 14.Bxf5 gxf5 15.Nd5 Qxd4 16.Ne7+ Kh8 17.Qxd4 Bxd4 18.Nxf5 Bg7 19.Nd6 Kg8 20.Rf5 a5 21.Bf4 Ra6 22.Rc1 Rc6 23.Rxa5 Bxb2 24.Rxc6 dxc6 25.Bh6 1-0

6) US Championship dates changed

SAN DIEGO, Calif." (March 17, 2004) "America's Foundation for Chess (AF4C) and NTC Foundation have set the dates for the 2004 U.S. Chess Championships. The national title tournament will take place from November 24 through December 5, 2004, at the Hilton Torrey Pines in La Jolla.

This will be the fourth year that AF4C has hosted the annual tournamentand its first year doing so with a co-sponsor. Expected to maintainits $250,000 prize fund, the 2004 U.S. Chess Championships will beheld over 12 days and is expected to attract attention from around the world. Chessmaster® is returning as a 2004 corporate sponsor.

"The national title championship is a prestigious event in the world of chess," said Erik J Anderson, president and co-founder of AFC4. "San Diego is an ideal site, with wide appeal to players,spectators and the media. I believe locating the tournament inSouthern California will allow us to take our efforts to promote chess to the next level."

Countdown Already Started for 2004 Championships

Already half of the 64-player field has been seeded directly into the championship as the nation's top players on the February 2004 United States Chess Federation Rating List, or have won through byqualifying from the 2003 cycle of major U.S. tournaments. Next month sees the start of the 2004 qualifying cycle with a further 32-playerslooking to do battle over the chessboard in the coming months for the honor of completing the line-up. Further details of who hasqualified so far and which events make-up the 2004 cycle can be foundat

Event Offers Something for Chess Fans and Non-Chess Players Alike

The 2004 tournament will highlight not only the elite chess competition,but also offer valuable educational activities sure to make chessmore accessible to the general public. Promoting chess as a learningtool that is fun, engaging and available to people young and old,novice or master

"We anticipate 12 days of tournament play and complimentary events,compelling children and adults to have an active role in thechampionship," said Murray Galinson, chairman of the NTC Foundation Board of Directors. "AF4C is determined to inject excitement intothe game and recruit new players and fans."

During this year's Kids Simul event, more than 400 children will be given an opportunity to play against America's finest chess players, with one grand master playing against 25 children at one time. Otherevents will range from chess demonstrations, opportunities to meetthe masters and a fund-raising party.

About NTC Foundation

The NTC Foundation, a private 501(C)3 nonprofit corporation, is charged with the preservation and renovation of 26 historical buildings that are part of the historic core of the former Naval Training Center in San Diego, California. NTC Promenade will be a newflagship for arts, culture, science and technology that will reflect, advance and strengthen San Diego as a center for innovation andcreativity.

About America's Foundation for Chess

Founded on the hope of making chess a subject taught in every school in theUnited States, AF4C, a nonprofit organization, is committed to making chess a larger part of America's cultural fabric "accessible in schools and in popular culture. By organizing events such as the U.S. Championships, AF4Chopes to elevate the profile of chess in America so that it will soon become a regular part of every child's classroom experience."

7) Here and There

Tripoli, Libya, will be hosting the FIDE World Championship from June 18 till July 13 under the patronage of the Leader of the Libyan Jamahirya, H.E. Moammar Al Gathafi, who also provides the prize fund for the Championship. The rumor mill has it that Gary Kasparov will be playing the winner of this event in a unification scheduled to be held in Pyongyang, North Korea (just kidding)!

The authors of Bobby Fischer Goes To War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time, David Edmonds & John Eidinow, will be giving a talk at the Mechanic's Institute, on Friday, April 2, at 12:30 PM. The event is free for members and $5 for the public. Go to for more information.

The authors of Wittgenstein's Poker have turned their prodigious talent to a new book, Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of all Time. Returning to the scene of the most notorious confrontation in chess history, Edmonds and Eidinow brilliantly recreate the 1972 Fischer/Spassky world chess championship. Event is with David Edmonds only. This free event will be held at the store, located at 1010 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. 650.324.4321.

GM Larry Christiansen, who has long standing Bay Area ties, has a new book out: Rocking the Ramparts: A guide to Attacking Chess (Batsford 2003). Like his earlier work, Storming the Barricades the reader gets plenty of sharp attacking chess and some colorful stories. I particularly enjoyed Hector-Christiansen, Reykjavik 1998 (pages 122-125) where Larry shows how to put up maximum resistance, both chessically and psychologically, in a difficult position.

8) Upcoming Events

Upcoming Tournaments at the MI

Lovegrove Senior - April 3-4
Imre Konig Memorial - April 24

The Mechanics' Institute Scholastic Quads Tournaments: February 21, and March 13 Open to players age 18 and under (Limited to first 80 players) Game/45

American chess players have two double headers coming up in early April. Those on the East Coast will go for the Millennium Open in Virginia Beach and Foxwoods while West Coast players have events in Burbank and Reno. Go to for details of the LA area event.

Ernest Hong reports that information is up for Jerry Weikel's Reno Far West Open scheduled for April 9-11.

The website is and the printable PDF flyer is at

$25,000 PRIZE FUND!!! for this Six Round Swiss in Five Sections (based on 300 paid players, $16,250 Guaranteed). Large prize fund made possible by the generosity of the Sands Regency Casino Hotel. ADDITIONAL PRIZES! Top Senior (65 & over) and Top Club Money Prizes. Trophies awarded to top three places in sections A through D, top unrated player in section D. Free entry to main tournament for GMs and IMs. Free entry with a one-year USCF membership for unrated players (but ineligible for cash prizes).ADDITIONAL EVENTS: FREE lecture by GM Larry Evans on Thursday evening. FREE game/position analysis clinic by GM Larry Evans on Saturday afternoon. GM Sergey Kudrin Clock Simul on Thursday night. Five Minute Blitz Tournament on Thursday night. HOSTED BY THE SANDS REGENCY CASINO HOTEL in Reno, Nevada. Site of the 1999 100th U.S. Open. Coffee and coffee cakes served each morning. SPECIAL HOTEL RATES. Discounted rates are Sunday-Thursday $19 (nineteen!!). Friday or Saturday $45, single or double occupancy, plus 13.5% room tax. To guarantee hotel reservation with credit card by telephone call 1-800-648-3553, group code CHE 408. (Please, no tournament entries by telephone.)

Contact chief organizer and head TD Jerry Weikel at .

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