Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #203

"We cannot say that we are anxious to see exhaustive printed analyses of the openings. The way to learn the openings is to seize the spirit or strong characteristic points of them, and to perceive the principles on which each salient feature of attack or defence is based; to rely upon knowing the book replies to every move is certain to produce a poor player. "

   Samuel Boden
The Field

1) David Pruess wins Mark Pinto International 
2) Paul Vayssie 1924-2004 
3) Nick DeFirmian and Irina Krush Shine 
4) DeGuzman wins Wednesday Night Blitz 
5) Stock Exchange Chess 
6) Are USCF Experts Stronger than Russian IMs? 
7) Here and There 
8) Upcoming Events

1) David Pruess wins Mark Pinto International

FM David Pruess of Berkeley won the Mark Pinto International in convincing fashion. Pruess, who was coached for many years by NM Robert Haines, easily made his second IM norm. His undefeated score of 9-2 in the Category 3 (2323) FIDE average - USCF 2374) event exceeded the norm by 1.5 points. International Masters took the next three places with Enrico Sevillano second at 8 followed by Odondoo Ganbold and Ricardo DeGuzman at 7. FM Dmitry Zilberstein was fifth at 6 followed by WFM Batchemeg Tuvshintugs at 5.5, a point over the WIM norm.

Other scores in the event, named in honor of longtime MI benefactor Mark Pinto:

7. FM Alan Stein 5; 8. NM Michael Aigner 4.5; 9-10. FM Richard Lobo and NM Shivkumar Shivaji 4; 11. FM Bela Evans 3.5; 12. FM Frank Thornally 3.

The games from the Pinto are available at the MI website at

2) Paul Vayssie 1924-2004

Paul Vayssie, a Mechanics' Member since the early 1960s, died over the weekend in San Francisco. A fireman by profession, Vayssie was a longtime participant in MI tournaments, but stopped playing in club events in the mid-1990s. Though he no longer played he still came by regularly to catch up on news and kibittz. The last week of his life Paul visited the club and seemed to be in good health. He was his normal friendly self.

Paul was a regular at US Opens playing in 27 including pretty much everyone the past two decades. His rating fluctuated between Class A and B, but he could be dangerous in the individual game as witnessed by the following upset over National Master Donato Rivera at the 1965 National Open.

Rivera-Vayssie (C89)
Las Vegas 1965
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.Bxd5 cxd5 13.d4 Bd6 14.Re3 Qh4 15.h3 f5 16.Qb3 Bb7 17.Nd2 Qh5 18.Nf3 g5 19.Re6 g4 20.Rxd6 gxf3 21.Bf4 fxg2 22.Kxg2 Rf7 23.Qd1 Rg7+ 24.Kh2 Qh4 25.Bg3 Qg5 26.h4 Qe7 27.Qe1 f4 28.Re6 fxg3+ 29.fxg3 Qf7 30.Qe2 Rf8 31.Re1 Qf2+ 32.Qxf2 Rxf2+ 33.Kg1 Rgf7 34.R1e2 Rxe2 35.Rxe2 Kg7 36.Kg2 Bc8 37.Re5 Kf8 38.a3 Bf5 39.Kf3 Be4+ 40.Kg4 Rf6 41.h5 Kf7 42.Kh3 Rf2 43.g4 Rxb2 44.g5 Rc2 45.g6+ hxg6 46.hxg6+ Bxg6 47.Rxd5 Rxc3+ 48.Kg4 Rxa3 49.Kf4 b4 50.Rd6 b3 51.Rb6 Bc2 52.d5 Ra2 53.Rb7+ Ke8 54.Ke5 b2 55.Ke6 Kf8 56.Kf6 Kg8 0-1

3) Nick DeFirmian and Irina Krush Shine

UC Berkeley grad Nick DeFirmian tied for first in the recently concluded Politiken Cup in Copenhagen defeating Alexander Beliavsky in the last round. This is the third time that Nick has defeated " Big Al" as the always fighting but not too tall Beliavsky is known to colleagues on the circuit. Their lifetime score is 4-2 in Nick's favor.

De Firmian,N (2537) - Beliavsky,A (2679) [C88]
Politiken Cup 2004 Copenhagen (10), 31.07.2004
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4 b4 9.d3 d6 10.a5 Be6 11.Nbd2 Rb8 12.Nc4 Nd7 13.Be3 Bf6 14.c3 bxc3 15.bxc3 Rb7 16.Qc2 Na7 17.d4 Qb8 18.d5 Bg4 19.Nfd2 h6 20.h3 Bh5 21.Ba4 Nb5 22.Na3 Nc5 23.Bxc5 dxc5 24.Reb1 Nxa3 25.Rxa3 Rxb1+ 26.Nxb1 c4 27.g4 Bg6 28.Nd2 Qa7 29.Nxc4 Bh4 30.Ra2 f6 31.Qd3 Bg5 32.Rb2 Qc5 33.Kg2 Rd8 34.Rb7 h5 35.Bd1 Be8 36.Ne3 Bb5 37.c4 Bxe3 38.fxe3 Bxc4 39.Qc2 hxg4 40.hxg4 c6 41.d6 1-0

Irina Krush recently played in a super-strong all women round robin in Russia. She finished with a fifty percent score and defeated the recently crowned FIDE Women's World Champion in spectacular style in the last round. IM Almira Skripchenko of France won the event.

Krush,I (2459) - Stefanova,A (2527) [D11]
North Urals Cup Krasnoturinsk (9), 01.08.2004

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Qb3 Qc7 6.Ne5 Be6 7.Nc3 Nbd7 8.Nxd7 Qxd7 9.cxd5 Nxd5 10.e4 Nxc3 11.Qxc3 f5 12.f3 Bf7 13.Bc4 Bxc4 14.Qxc4 fxe4 15.fxe4 Rd8 16.Be3 Qg4 17.Qc2 e5 18.0-0 exd4 19.Qc4 Qd7 20.Bg5 Rc8 21.Rf5 Bd6 22.Raf1 b5 23.Qb3 h6 24.Bh4 g5 25.Rf7 gxh4 26.Rxd7 Kxd7 27.Rf7+ Be7 28.Qb4 c5 29.Qxb5+ Kd8 30.e5 Re8 31.e6 Rc7 32.Qb8+ Rc8 33.Qd6+ 1-0

4) DeGuzman wins Wednesday Night Blitz

International Master Ricardo DeGuzman won the Wednesday Night Blitz on July 28th scoring 7 from 9 in the ten-player round robin. Yefim Bukh and NM Batsikhan Tsrendorj shared second at 6-3.

5) Stock Exchange Chess

Michael Greengard (aka Mig) is a well-known chess personality on the Internet but few locals know that he grew up in the East Bay in El Sobrante. His excellent Chess Ninja site had an interesting article on July 30 on how Garry Kasparov sees the play of Vladimir Kramnik.

Stock Exchange Chess

Garry Kasparov, no doubt with a few sour grapes underfoot, coined that term to describe the conservative, play-the-percentages chess style epitomized by the man who took away his world championship title in 2000, Vladimir Kramnik. The basic precepts are:

1) Don't lose. That sounds obvious, but it means not risking a loss, or playing what the Russians call "for two results," win or draw only.

2) Save energy to maximize advantages. Don't tire yourself out playing for a win if you get an equal or even a better position with black. Take the draw asap so you are fresher when you have the white pieces. This combines the advantages of energy and the first move.

3) Don't press too hard. If you lose the advantage with white, offer a draw immediately. Again, maximize advantages. Don't risk overpressing just because you have white. Be pragmatic. This is contrary to the old conventional wisdom - still followed by many players - that you need to press hard to win with white even if your opening advantage is gone.

4) Play the position, never the player. Ignore factors like opponent's tournament standing or rating, etc. These can interfere with your best judgment at the board, and it's not pragmatic to waste time and energy considering them.

It doesn't take examples to realize that following these rules leads to lots and lots of draws, many of them short and without interest as chess games. GMs today make very few mistakes, so being good at avoiding mistakes and punishing errors does not guarantee tournament success. UNLESS you are in a match situation like a FIDE KO or a tournament with a format like this year's Dortmund. Then, by never losing, you win!

I should point out that I have tremendous respect for Vladimir Kramnik as a chessplayer. He has created things on the chessboard that will stand forever as brilliancies. In a way, that makes results like his current results in Dortmund even more disappointing. Here is this massive talent drawing eight consecutive games, four of them against players he out-rates by a wide margin.

It's not just the results, it's the innocuous games themselves. Anand, Kasparov, Shirov, and Morozevich draw too, it's the nature of the high level of the modern game. But you can see from the games that they are usually making every effort to outplay their opponent and will risk to do so instead of being 100% sure that a move cannot backfire. Today nobody plays each game to the death the way Fischer and Larsen did in the 60's. Now it's all "professionalized." Do they think the profession will last long with games like these?

Peter Leko reinvented his game a few years ago, playing risky chess after years of drawishness. Lately he seems to have backslid a bit, but it's hard to tell if he's just being cautious before his match with Kramnik. Still, seeing them play a combined 16 consecutive draws in Dortmund is painful.

Kramnik, thanks to winning some blitz games, is now in the final match against Anand, starting tomorrow. If they draw both games and Kramnik wins in rapid or blitz he could become the first player ever (?) to win first prize in a tournament without winning a single game! Then get ready to hear that old refrain, "you can't criticize the winner." Join me for a beer?

6) Are USCF Experts Stronger than Russian IMs?

It use to be common knowledge that Russian Experts were stronger than American players with USCF ratings of 2400, but has the tide turned? Recently Expert Andrei Blokhin of Maryland (currently rated 2138 USCF/ 2395 FIDE) received the title of International Master in recognition of IM norm performances achieved in round robin events in Moscow in late 2001 and early 2002. Mr. Blokhin, who has played in several Under 2200 sections in World and Chicago Opens without ever winning top prizes is not a sandbagger. His USCF rating, based on plenty of activity, has floated between 2081 and 2167 for the period 1993-2002. Shortly after making his norms he scored 3.5 from 6 against USCF 2100s in Chicago. Does this mean that things have changed and USCF Experts would be 2400 IMs in Russia?

7) Here and There

The latest on the Bobby Fischer saga has him still detained by Japanese immigration. Facing deportation to the United States Fischer is actively pursuing the possibility of asylum to a third country. Germany, where his father was a citizen, was one country that he was considering. Since both his parents are Jewish there was a theoretical possibility of Israel, but considering his history it was unlikely Fischer would make that request. Now GM Bozidar Ivanovic has been quoted as saying that Montenegro is willing to offer him sanctuary. Stay tuned for more.

Many MI youngsters are on the August USCF top 100 10-15 age group lists. Apologies to anyone inadvertently left out of the following list.

Age 8: Daniel Naroditsky is #2
Age 9 Hugo Kitano is #8 and Gregory Young is #44
Age 11 Davis Xu is #40
Age 13 Louiza Livshitzb #49
Age 14 Alex Setzepfandt is #10, Nicolas Yap is #10, and Drake Wang is #13, Daichi Siegrist is #44, and Ewelina Krubnik is #78
Age 15 Matthew Ho is #9 and Ankit Gupta is #17

Congratulations to Varuzhan Akobian of Glendale who was recently awarded his Grandmaster title.

Thanks to IM Jay Whitehead for this week's quote. Jay doesn't play much these days but he is hard at work collecting games and articles from players from the time of Morphy.

8) Upcoming Events

Upcoming Tournaments at the MI

Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial - August 21
Howard Donnelly Memorial - Sept. 18
J.J Dolan Memorial - October 2
Carroll Capps Memorial - November 6-7
Pierre Saint-Amant - November 20
Guthrie McClain Memorial - December 5 (Sunday)
Jim Hurt Under 1800 - December 11-12

Mechanics' Institute Scholastic Quads 2004 Tournaments: 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.

California Events

Aug. 28 & 29: Sacramento Chess Club Weekend Swiss #13 GPP: 6 N. California
4SS, 30/90, G/1, SD/5, Full-K. The Learning Exchange, 1111 Howe Avenue, Suite 125, Sacramento, CA. Reg: 8:30-9:30am 8/28/04. Rds: 10 & 3:30. Sections: Master/Expert (2000+), Reserve (1600-1999), Amateur (Under 1600). EF: $45 (Juniors $30) postmarked by 8/21. $55 (Juniors $35) after 8/21. IMs/GMs free. Entrants may play up at $10 per section. $5 discount to CalChess members. Prizes: 1st Place Master/Expert $175 (guaranteed) & trophy, 2nd Place Master/Expert $125 (guaranteed). $$1,570 b/o 50 full paid adult entries and 10 full paid junior entries overall. HR: Best Western Expo Inn, (916) 922-9833 or 1-800-643-4422. Ask for the Sacramento Chess Club rates. Adv. Ent./Info: John McCumiskey (TD), 6700 50th St, Sacramento, CA 95823-1306; e-mail:; phone: (916) 428-5532, checks payable to Sacramento Chess Club. Full flyer including complete prize list at on the Weekend Events page. Other Info: 8/04 rating list only. Please bring clocks and equipment. ? point byes available all rounds. ? point byes for round 4 must be requested prior to round 1. Players may only have one bye (? or 1 point) in the event. W.

A Heritage Event!
Sept. 4-6 26th Annual Southern California Open GPP: 100 S. California
40/2, SD/1, 2?-day schedule rds 1-2 G/60. Burbank Airport Hilton, 2500 Hollywood Way, Burbank CA 91505 (adjacent to Burbank Airport). $$20,000 b/300, 50% of each prize guaranteed, U1400/unrated count as 2/3 entry. In two sections: Open: $$T+3000-2000-1600-900-600-400-200, U2400 800-500, U2300 500, U2200 1000-500, U2000 $$1000-500. $200 (G) bonus to clear first. Amateur (Under 1800): $$T+1500-750-500-300, U1600 $$1000-600-300-200, U1400 $$500-300, U1200 300, Unr 250. Unr. may win Unr. prize only in Amateur. Best game prize $50, all sections eligible. All: half-point byes available in rounds 1-4 if requested with entry, limit 2. SCCF membership req. ($12, jr. $7.50), OSA. No checks or credit cards at door. SCCF Annual Membership Meeting: 2:30pm Sept. 5. Reg: 3-day 8-9:30am 9-4, 2?-day closes 6pm 9-4. Rds: 3-day 10:30-5 Sat, 10-4:30 Sun-Mon, 2?-day: 6:30-8:45pm 9-4, then merges. EF: $99 if rec?d by 9/2, $101 on line at, $120 door; U1400/unrated $64 by 9/2, $66 on line, $80 door. Ent: SCCF, c/o John Hillery, 835 N. Wilton Pl. #1, Los Angeles CA 90038. HR: $89, (818) 843-6000 or (800) 840-6450. Be sure to mention Western Chess. Parking $7/day. Info: W, FIDE. State Championship Qualifier.

National Events

Sept. 3, 4, 5, 6 23rd North American FIDE Open GPP: 150 Oklahoma 8SS, G/90+30 sec, Holiday Inn (Holidome) 2515 W. 6th Ave (Hwy-51) Stillwater, OK 1-405-372-0800. HR: 60-60-60-60. EF: $50. Free to FIDE rated players. Reg: Fri 11am-12:30pm. Rds: 1-6, 11-4, 11-4, 9-2. $$G 9,900 will not be lowered. $$G$1,500, $1,300, $1,100, $900, $700, $500. 11 plaques. $$G 600 each class X-E & below. Unr $200-$100. 2 byes rds 1-6. OCF req. Free Parking. Ent: Jim Berry PO Box 351 Stillwater, OK 74076. 1-405-624-2281. LS, W. FIDE. Acc pairings may be used

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