Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #187

"The most important years for a developing chess player are between 12 and 14. What I learned in an hour then now takes me a week of study."

   Alex Shabalov - during a recent talk at the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club

1)  Northern Californians dominate Far West Open by Michael Aigner
2)  Ildar Ibragimov wins Foxwoods Open on tiebreak
3)  Walter Shipman tops Lovegrove Senior Open
4)  Larry Snyder leads Spring Tuesday Night Marathon
5)  Banawa and Andrianov tops in Burbank
6)  Weekly blitz returns to the MI
7)  Internet Chess Cheating
8)  FIDE World Championship 
9)  Arthur Dake Memorial
10) US Womens Championship
11) Northern California Chess History
12) MI Chess Camps
13) Upcoming Events

1) Northern Californians dominate Far West Open

MI Newsletter reader NM Michael Aigner, who is profiled in the most recent issue of Chess Life, reports on last weekends Far West Open.

The 4th Far West Open was held over Easter weekend in Reno, Nevada. Intended to be a sister tournament of the annual Western States Open in October, this tournament was also hosted by the Sands Regency Hotel & Casino. 198 people came to Reno to gamble at the chess board, which ensures that this event will happen again next year! The kudos for organizing a fine tournament once again go out to Jerry Weikel and his family.

The Open section was headed by GMs Alex Yermolinsky, Gregory Serper, Sergey Kudrin, and Walter Browne, plus GM-elect Melikset Khachiyan and a number of strong IMs. Each of these GMs ended up tied for first at 4.5 out of 6. They were joined by two local masters: Vladimir Mezentsev and Tigran Ishkhanov. After an entertaining blitz playoff that ended early on Monday morning, GM Serper emerged with the trophy.

Other local players joined Yermolinsky, Browne, Mezentsev, and Ishkhanov at the cashier's cage. They included Ricardo DeGuzman and Dmitry Zilberstein, who each scored 4.0 in the Open section. Tied for second under 2300 at 3.5 were Victor Ossipov and Michael Aigner. Also at 3.5 but sharing the top expert prize was Alexander Setzepfandt. Many of the prize winners in the class sections were also from Northern California, including A section champion Yefim Bukh.

I expect that complete standings will be posted later this week at

Michael Aigner

2) Ildar Ibragimov wins Foxwoods Open on tiebreak

Grandmaster Ildar Ibragimov, formally of Kazan, Russia, and now representing the United States, was the winner of the 2004 Foxwoods Open on tiebreak. Ibragimov, whose 7-2 score was matched by fellow GMs Julio Becerra, Jan Ehlvest and, I believe, Giorgi Kacheishvili (the CCI report on Foxwoods is down as I write). Ibragimov was a deserving winner as he played the top seeds facing by far the strongest opposition, but even he needed a little luck in round 3 as Berkeley's David Pruess had him completely beat with an extra piece and a big time advantage to boot, before letting things get out of hand. It would have been a fantastic double-header for Pruess had he converted because in the previous round he beat GM Yury Shulman. Another Bay Area player, Alan Stein, was in the running for an IM norm right up until the end. I'm not sure whether he made it or not. I will have a full report on Foxwoods next week.

3) Walter Shipman tops Lovegrove Senior Open

International Master Walter Shipman won the 4th Annual Walter Lovegrove Memorial Senior Championship held at the Mechanics' on April 3rd-4th. Shipman, who came into the event as the second seed, defeated National Master Victor Ossipov in the penultimate round and then drew with Expert Larry Snyder to score 3.5 from 4 to take home the $200 first prize. Tying for second at 3 - 1 were Ossipov, Snyder, Oleg Shakhnazarov and Peter McKone. The latter, rated 1770, defeated top-rated NM Igor Margulis in the last round. MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky directed the 20-player event.

4) Larry Snyder leads Spring Tuesday Night Marathon

Larry Snyder defeated Victor Todortsev in round 5 to merge as the only perfect score left in the nine round event. A point behind the Berkeley Expert are FM Frank Thornally, NMs Russell Wong and Nicolas Yap, and Experts Alex Setzepfandt and Peter Grey.

Snyder, a retired anesthesiologist who teaches chess in the Berkeley Chess School program, is threatening to regain the Master's title he held briefly in 1997. Currently ranked 2085, he has a good number of points coming to him from strong performances in the last TNM, the Lovegrove, and an event in Southern California.

5) Banawa and Andrianov tops in Burbank

Southern California newcomer Jouaquin Banawa of the Philippines and IM Nikolay Andrianov of Phoenix shared first place with 4.5 out of 5 in the 2nd Western Pacific Open held April 2-4 in Burbank. Tying for third in the 54-player top section, which featured one GM and 11 IMs, were Melikset Khachiyan, Andranik, Matikozian, Enrico Sevillano and Kong Deng. Bay Area IM Ricardo DeGuzman won the blitz tournament with a perfect score. John Hillery organized and directed for the Southern California Chess Association.

6) Weekly blitz returns to the MI

Weekly blitz tournaments will be returning to the Mechanics' Institute every Wednesday evening starting April 21st. The events will be held starting at 7 PM immediately after GM Alex Yermolinsky's weekly lecture (starting time 5:15). Entry fee for the events is $5 with all money collected returned in prizes. The format for the events will be round robin or Swiss depending on entries. The tournaments will run approximately 1 1/2 hours.

7) Internet Chess Cheating

GM Alex Baburin's Internet chess daily, Chess Today, is getting better and better. Recently, it featured two interesting articles on the topics of Internet chess cheating and upcoming FIDE championship. It is definitely one of the best sources of chess content on the Internet. I concur with the sentiments offered below by Peter Tamburro:

"You guys ought to advertise in Chess Life similar to the way I describe on my website your site: If you look at Chess Today as a monthly chess magazine, you get 30 deeply annotated games by either an IM or GM, you get a database of hundreds of games, you get up to the minute chess news, great interviews, a whole bunch of chess problems and people with a sense of humor. Take 30 days of Chess Today, print them out, staple them and try to compare any monthly magazine in the world with that result. Chess Today wins every time! Pete Tamburro, USA"

The following piece written by Martin Fischer, tournament director for, is especially timely in view of what happened at the recent Dos Hermanas Internet Tournament where the two winners, rightly or wrongly, were both disqualified.

"Indeed, I believe, if we allow enginehelp, Internet-Chess would simply die very soon and we will have no more interesting Internet-Tournaments.

It is possible to see if a human played alone or with the help of an engine: In my opinion most players, especially grandmasters, overestimate their abilities in comparison to an engine, at least in Blitz-Chess (which is mostly played in the Internet). And, as a consequent follow up, they underestimate the chance to see if a human has played a tournament or an engine or a human with engine help. Let me explain my point of view: Almost any game of blitz-chess will be decided by tactics. If any player makes a tactical mistake in a game against an engine, he is lost. And even the strongest grandmasters are not able to play to play a higher number of blitzgames against equal, or almost equal, opponents without committing a tactical mistake (enough, to lose against an engine). If anyone does not believe me, he may have a look at several Big Databases and go over the blitz games with an engine. No one even reaches ten games in a row in a blitz tournament without serious tactical mistakes (if he/she plays worthy opponents). The reasons for these are quite simple: Chess is so rich that humans are not able to see anything relevant in a chess game in five minutes. They simply have to trust their intuition and have to take a chance (or they will overstep the time-limit). Sooner or later they take the wrong chance. In addition, humans get tired, engines do not. Humans are open to emotions, engines do not. Humans are vulnerable to psychological influences, engines do not. Therefore humans can't play like an engine during a tournament. They may do it in a single game, even two or three. However, after several games the 'fingerprint' of an engine can't be hid. Of course, the same applies to the human 'fingerprint'.

It is possible to detect the 'engine fingerprint' and to see who is cheating:On we have developed software able to analyze any blitz game and look for the above mentioned 'engine-fingerprints'. The software uses games from GMs like Adams, Seirawan, Dr. Hebner, just to mention a few, and (of course) Fritz 8 and other engines - as the basicsample. The software is updated in short intervals. The software compares the game in questions with the data from the sample and realizes indicators for 'engine-play'. A 'fingerprint' is defined when the software sees several serious indicators for an engine (ab)use. As these fingerprints may be a coincidence you need, like in real-live forensic, more than one hint (in our case: game). Just to mention some numbers: The recent 2nd German Internet championship (with $2,600 in prizes) is a good example. Levon Aronian won that tournament. The software indicated an engine fingerprint in one of his games (21 games were played in total). As he recently won a very strong OTB blitz-tournament in Reykjavik ahead of Kasparov, Short and Karpov, he is for sure one of the strongest blitz-players around and need no engine help to win the German Championship. The same number of 'engine-fingerprints' we had in the games of Dr. Hebner, who played in our office in Hamburg. On the other hand: We disqualified a player, who later on confessed that he was using an engine for advice, as we found 12 'engine-fingerprints' in 21 games of his. So, we have a clear difference between players who played honestly and a player who cheated. Of course, for blitz-games only. In addition, before we will take any action against any player we will crosscheck the games with experts and only when we have surpassed the level 'beyond any reasonable doubt' a player will be disqualified and banned from the server.

Final remarks: Internet Chess Tournaments are possible and interesting. An efficient cheating control is possible, if the tournament is a blitz-tournament and has an endurance-factor (higher number of games). If using an engine is prohibited and money is at stake the (ab)use of an engine is not a peccadillo or some kind of a joke, it is simply a criminal act. Any player, who is thinking about engine help, may keep these in his/her mind."

Martin Fischer, Tournament director

For more information on Chess Today, please refer to

8) FIDE World Championship

The following extract, from the new player's association headed by French GM Joel Lautier, was recently published in Chess Today and illustrates how FIDE continues to act in a very unsavory manner.

The FIDE World Championship will be held from June 18 until July 13 in Tripoli (Libya) and Valetta (Malta). Qualified players have been asked by the FIDE Secretariat to sign a copy of the "Player's Undertaking", before the 21st of April 2004, as presented on the FIDE website. This document does not constitute a proper contract between the participants and FIDE, for the simple reason that it only describes the player's obligations towards FIDE, whereas no mention is made of FIDE's obligations toward the players. Moreover, the undertaking is to be signed only by the participant and bears no signature from any FIDE representative, thus relieving FIDE of any legal responsibility. This means that should a dispute arise, FIDE will have a signed commitment from the participant to produce in court, while the latter is left empty-handed.

Among several contentious points, we would like to draw your attention to the obligation for the players to stay in the official hotels, either in Libya or in Malta. Although highly unpopular, this compulsory measure is once more imposed on the participants, and this time without any mention of the expected prices for accommodation.

9) Arthur Dake Memorial

National Master Clark Harmon of Oregon is familiar to many older MI members. Clark won the California Junior Open title many years ago and in 1974 won the largest tournament ever held at the Mechanics', a 119 player Stamer Memorial with a nice first prize of $700. Clark was a longtime friend of the late Arthur Dake and is planning to honor his memory with a series of International events in Oregon. I just got the following email from Clark which is an update on the flyer that appears below. Players interested in norm opportunities or obtaining a FIDE rating should contact him at:

" We have the IM/GM spots pretty much tied down. We look OK for the foreign players, but can always use a reserve. I do have openings for 2 more non-titled FIDE rated players, and 2 more FM's or lower rated IM's.

As you know I have been traveling to Budapest, which takes me away from my business and home, not to mention the cost! I have funding from my company to hold about two or three Cat II to Cat IV tournaments per year. The Dake Memorial is the first, of course. The plan is to eventually offer a Cat IV to VII GM tournament with FIDE rating type tournaments to help with the funding. We won't be as ambitious as the First Saturday guys, but hope to create some opportunities for West Coast players."

The 2004 Arthur Dake Memorial IM will be held June 5th-13th at US Fiberglass, Inc. offices at 117 NE 5th Street, Suite D,McMinnville, OR 97128.

It will be a 10 player round robin and a FIDE rated CAT II to CAT IV event .

Time Control 40/2 SD60

Rounds: Daily at 5:30 PM. Last round at 10:30 AM

Players Meeting: 2:00 PM June 5th. Pairings Drawing at 2:30 PM. Clocks and sets furnished.

Entry Fees: $50 deposit must be received by May 10th, balance at players meeting. Checks and all credit cards accepted. Note: there are 6 player slots available, some have to be foreign players, and a FIDE rating average of at least 2275 must be achieved for CAT II. If you are not selected the deposit will be returned on June 5th.

FIDE Rating   USD
2100-2149   $450
2150-2199   $350
2200-2249   $250
2250-2299   $200
2300-2349   $150
2350-2399   $100
2400+   $ 50

IM/GM title holders will get "conditions."

Clark Harmon
10320 SE Hillview Drive
Amity, OR 97101

1-503-472-1285 (US Fiberglass, Inc.)
1-800-711-7336 (US Fiberglass, Inc.)
1-503-474-1147 (Fax)
1-503-868-7027 (Home) 1-503-312-7278 (Cell)

10) US Womens Championship

The USCF recently issued the following information:

The 2004 United States Women's Championship will be held June 17-26 at St. John's University in Manhattan. An International round robin Tournament will be playing there concurrently. The top seven rated women and the 2003 champion (Anna Hahn) are invited to this event. If any players decline their invitations, further invitations will be sent to players in order of their April USCF ratings, but no one rated below 2200 will be invited. If seven or eight players accept their invitations, the tournament will be a round robin. If six or fewer accept, it will be a double round robin. The prize fund will total at least $8000. The Swiss system Championship scheduled for this fall in San Diego will be held as planned, but will be titled the 2005 US Championships and will include those who qualify from the preliminary tournaments plus seeded players. Besides the title of the 2004 US Women's Champion, the tournament will also determine the fourth player for the 2004 US Women's Olympiad Team. The three top women by rating, Polgar, Zatonski and Krush have already qualified for the 2004 US Women's Olympiad Team by virtue of the rating formula criteria. The winner of this tournament will be the fourth player for the US Women's Olympiad Team. In the event of a tie for first including more than one than one candidate for qualification, a playoff will be held immediately after the tournament to determine the qualifier. If the Championship is won by one or more of the Olympiad Team qualifiers (Polgar, Zatonskih or Krush), a four game match will be held immediately after the US Championship between the top two finishers who are not already qualified Olympiad Team members. The winner of this match will be the fourth member of the 2004 US Women's Olympiad Team. In case of a multiple tie by the top finishers not already qualified for the team, they will play a double round robin immediately after the event to determine the fourth member of the US Women's Olympiad Team.

11) Northern California Chess History

Thanks to Bay Area chess historian Andy Ansel of Walnut Creek who passes on the following two games which appeared in the California Chess News and News of the Pacific Coast , a short lived predescessor of the The California Chess Reporter.

Bean,S - Johnson,L
Atascadero CA North vs South mt (24), 1948

It is interesting that White is both blind and deaf.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 d6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Bd7 7.Bxc6 Bxc6 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Qf3 0-0 11.Re1 Nd7 12.Ne2 Ne5 13.Qg3 f5 14.Nd4 Bh4 15.Qb3+ Kh8 16.Ne6 Qf6 17.Nxf8 fxe4 18.Re2 Rxf8 19.Be3 Qg6 20.Kh1 c5 21.Rf1 h6 22.Bd2 c4 23.Qh3 Be7 24.Bc3 Rf5 25.Bxe5 Rxe5 26.Qc8+ Kh7 27.Qxc7 Qe6 28.Qxa7 d5 29.a4 Bd6 30.Re3 Rh5 31.h3 Qe5 32.Rg3 Qxb2 33.Qf7 Qe5 34.Qg6+ Kh8 35.Qg4 Rg5 36.Qh4 d4 37.Re1 Qa5 38.Rxe4 Bxg3 39.Re8+ Kh7 40.fxg3 Qf5 41.Qxd4 Qxc2 42.Rc8 Rxg3 43.Qd5 c3 44.Qg8+ Kg6 45.Rc6+ Kh5 46.Qd5+ Rg5 47.Qf3+ 1-0

California Chess News and News of the Pacific Coast, Vol 1, No 8.

Alekhine,A - Pelouse,F
Portland simul, 1924

Played in a simultaneous exhibition Portland Oregon, March 1924

1.d4 e6 2.e4 c5 3.d5 d6 4.Nc3 a6 5.a4 Be7 6.f4 Bf6 7.Nf3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 exd5 9.exd5 Nf6 10.Be2 0-0 11.0-0 Bf5 12.Rb1 b6 13.c4 Nbd7 14.Bd3 Bxd3 15.cxd3 Re8 16.Bd2 Rb8 17.h3 h6 18.g4 Nh7 19.Bc3 Ndf8 20.Qd2 Qd7 21.f5 Qd8 22.Qf4 Ng5 23.Nxg5 hxg5 24.Qd2 f6 25.Kf2 Rb7 26.Rfe1 Rxe1 27.Rxe1 Qd7 28.Ra1 b5 29.axb5 axb5 30.Ra6 b4 31.Ba1 Ra7 32.Qa2 Rxa6 33.Qxa6 Kf7 34.d4 Qc7 35.Ke3 Nd7 36.Kd3 cxd4 37.Bxd4 Ne5+ 38.Bxe5 fxe5 39.Qb5 Qc5 40.Qd7+ 1-0

California Chess News and News of the Pacific Coast, Vol 1, No 8.

12) MI Chess Camps

5th Mechanics' Institute Chess Camp for Beginners and Novice Players (below 1200 USCF)

This is a camp for players that want to learn how to play or who know the bare rudiments and would like to increase their understanding of the game. Instructor Anthony Corrales has a wealth of experience teaching youngsters. During this camp students will build up a solid core of knowledge. This will include learning all the basic checkmates, mastering the fundamentals of opening play, implementing middlegame plans and understanding simple endgames. Pupils will also learn how to take chess notation and to play using a chess clock.
Who: Open to youngsters 5-15
When : June 28 - July 2, from 10pm to 3pm daily
Where: 57 Post Street, 4th floor (Montgomery BART station) Cost: $300 for Mechanics' members, $335 for non-members. Non-members will receive a one year membership in the MI. There is a limit of 20 players for this camp. If you can't attend the whole camp there is a drop in fee of $75 a day

Advanced Players (1200-2200)

This is not a camp for players that want to jump two rating classes in five days. You won't learn how to win against the Sicilian every time using the Grand Prix Attack. So why our camp and not others? At the MI camp you will get a look inside a GM's laboratory and get a feel for how they work on their game from the ground up. You will learn not only the importance of analyzing your own games, but also how to do it properly. You will learn to identify the critical points of the game and to understand when and why things went wrong. You will learn how to use ChessBase and Fritz efficiently as part of a daily training program as well as utilizing resources on the Internet such as TWIC and the Internet Chess Club. Today chess books are cranked out at an incredible rate. Some of them are very good, many are quite bad. We will help students learn to select that which is truly useful. On the fun side our instructors have unique experience in international competition. Expect to hear stories and anecdotes about what it's like to play against Kasparov and defend first board in a Chess Olympiad. Instructors: Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky, International Master John Donaldson, and MI Scholastic Director Anthony Corrales.

Who: Open to all ages from 8 and up.
When : August 2-6, from 10 am to 5 pm
Where: 57 Post Street, 4th floor (Montgomery BART station)
Cost: $320 for Mechanics' members, $355 for junior (under 21) non-members, $405 for adult non-members. All non-members will receive a one year membership in the MI. There is a limit of 40 players for this camp. If you can't attend the whole camp there is a drop in fee of $80 a day.

13) Upcoming Events

Upcoming Tournaments at the MI

Imre Konig Memorial - April 24
Charles Powell Memorial - May 15
Arthur Stamer Memorial - June 12-13
William Addison Open - June 26
Charles Bagby Memorial - July 17

Mechanics' Institute Scholastic Quads 2004 Tournaments: April 17, May 8, June 19 and July 24 Open to players age 18 and under (Limited to first 80 players) Game/45

Rounds : 10:30am, 12:15pm, 2:00pm Late Registration: 9:30am - 10:15am Open: to the first eighty players Note: Quads based on rating. USCF Rated. Unrated players face each other. You must be a USCF member to play in the quads. Time Control: Game in 45 minutes Entry Fee: $20 / $30 day of tournament/ $15 for MI members Checks payable to Mechanics' Chess Club Prizes: Trophies for the winners of each quad

Canadian Events this summer

Jul 9-18 Western Canadian Open, Place: Vancouver Airport Conference Resort, Rds: 10, Type: single section Swiss, Times: Rds 1-9: 6pm; Rd 10: 9am, TC: 40/2, 20/1, SD 15, EF: Before Dec. 31, $79; before Mar. 31, $99; before June 30, $125; at door, $150; GM/IM/FM: free entry; juniors: 25% discount, Prizes: $$BEN; see website, Reg: through website; onsite on July 9, 2004, Org: BCCF, PO Box 15548, Vancouver, BC V6B 5B3, Misc: FIDE rated.

CANADIAN OPEN 2004 Kapuskasing Ontario July 10-18

10 round swiss double accelerated:

The 2004 Canadian Open will feature a time control of 40/120: SD 60. By mutual agreement, the players may use their digital clocks with 40 moves in 100 min + 40 min to complete game with 30 sec of incrementation.

Sectional prizes CDN$:

Open (guaranteed): 5000,3000,2000,1500,1200,1100,1000,900,800,500

+ 2 womens prizes of 600 and 400

Projected prizes:

U2400: 1500,1000,700,500,300

U2200: 1500,1000,700,500,300

U2000: 1500,1000,700,500,300

U1800: 1000,700,600,400,300

U1600: 800,600,500,400,200

U1400: 800,600,500,300,200

A bottle of good quality wine will be awarded to the two seniors whose performance most exceeds their ratings. Unrated players can win prizes in the Open section only. Women's prizes of 400$ in every section from U2200 to U1400.

Entry fees:

Adults, CFC members: Before June 1rst - 95; before July 1rst - 110; afterwards - 140

Youth, CFC members: 60 70 90

Non CFC: add ten dollars

Registration (before July 1rst): 2212 Gladwin Crescent E-1, Ottawa ON, K1B 5N1

(after July 1rst): 88 Riverside Dr. Kapuskasing ON, P5N 1B3; checks to KEDT chess


Every day, games start at 4pm; Sunday the 11th: 10am and 6pm; Sunday the 18th: 10am


Three 1/2 pt byes max allowed from rounds 1-9 when requested by 12 noon July 10th. After this time 1/2 pt byes allowed for rounds 1-4 only,and rounds 5-9 are 0 pt byes.


Lectures by GM Larry Christiansen and GM Kevin Spraggett;

Simul with WGM Anna Zatonskih and GM Mark Tseitlin

Midnight madness blitz tournaments scheduled.

Non-chess: road hockey, soccer, hikes... Bring a tie for Charles Graves Day!


Confirmed: Moiseenko 2624,Epishin 2615, Baklan 2608, Huzman 2597,Fridmans 2594, Nataf 2569, Kudrin 2565, Mikhalevski 2560, Spraggett 2560, Christiansen 2531, Le SiPge 2513, Arencibia 2508, Tyomkin 2503, WGM Zatonskih 2436, Tseitlin 2426, Jonkman 2421,WGM Goletiani, 2336, WGM Fierro 2310. More to be announced.

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