Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #219

"Chess is a struggle and a sport to me. But I feel the obviousness of chess as a fusion of science and art ... I am grateful to chess, first of all, because it helped me to understand myself more clearly, to choose my way in life ..."

Garry Kasparov

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) US Championship
3) Hikaru Nakamura Interview
4) East Bay Chess Club News
5) The Readers Write
6) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

Come celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Mechanicsí Institute Chess Room and Institute with a fun-filled day of activities. Highlights will include: Childrenís Chess Class - 10-11amFree simul by teenage stars Nicolas Yap and Ewelina Krubnik - 11am-1pmBlitz Tournament Ė 5 double round Swiss - $10 entry fee if you bring a clock, $15 without. Guaranteed Prizes - $100 first; $60 second, First Under 2000 $40. More per entries. 1-3pmLive analysis of US Championship by International Master John Donaldson. Come watch the games of Bay Area stars Alex Yermolinsky and Walter Browne. 3-5pm Mechanicsí Institute Ė 57 Post Street, 4th Floor, (415) 421-2258,, Montgomery BART

IM Ricardo DeGuzman scored 5-0 to win the 4th Annual Pierre Saint Amant Memorial held November 23rd at the M.I. Tying for second at 4 in the 36-player event were Yefim Bukh, Wesley Chen and Alok Singh. Ewelina Krubnik, who score 3.5 beating two players above her and losing only to DeGuzman, was top under 1800. If you wonder why the M.I. holds's a tournament every year honoring Saint Amant the answer is that he served as the French Consul in San Francisco during the Gold Rush and was the city's first great chess player. A crosstable for the event can be found at

Continuing our look back at the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club as it prepares to celebrate its 150th birthday here are some articles that appeared in the American Chess Bulletin.

San Francisco is a stronghold of American Chess concerning which players in the East hear all too little, except on those rare occasions when a Lasker or a Pillsbury finds his way to that somewhat isolated center. That there are players of some weight out on the Pacific coast is evident from the fact that neither of these two great masters named here have come away unscathed on the occasion of their pilgrimage there. The leading club at the Golden Gate is that of the Mechanics' Institute, the championship tournament of which was recently concluded in favor of Wallace E. Nevill, who secured chief honors with a total score of 12 1/2 points out of a possible 16. The other scores were Martin, 10 to 5; Spaulding, 8 1/2 to 6 1/2; Jones 8 to 8; Thompson, 6 1/2 to 6 1/2; Colesworthy, 5 1/2 to 7 1/2; Cleve, 3 1/2 to 8 1/2; Durkin, 4 1/2 to 8 1/2; Sternberg, 4 to 11. The winner is a native of Victoria, Australia, but, since coming to this country some eleven years ago, has become an American citizen. Mr. Nevill is also quite expert at simultaneous chess and is of a literary mind.

ACB 1904 pages 139-140

The famous chess and checker club connected with the Mechanics' Institute at 57 Post Street, San Francisco, Cal., is again in a flourishing condition, numbering 150 members. Sixteen tables are constantly "working." The club has a well equipped room and many fine players. At the head of this fine club is J. J. Dolan with J. L. A. Jaunet as secretary.

ACB 1911 page 154

Beyond the Mississippi- IV


From time immemorial the general chess center of the GOLDEN GATE CITY has been the Mechanics' Library, located, since the period succeeding the great earth quake, in a fine new building near the front of Post Street. The chess club si a sort of annex to the Library Association and I think there is no official organization. In time past, it numbered a good many strong players, but lately these, on account of gathering years, have mostly retired, and many have resigned to the Pale Master and have passed on. Play is still very active at the Library, however, and on the afternoon of my visit there were twenty-eight boards in operation. I did not find much of what I should call the "chess spirit." Few of the players I met take chess periodicals, or appear to care anything about what is going on in the chess world. They seemed not to take the royal game very seriously and most of the play was on the skittles order, and there is a decided dearth of even moderately strong players. Perhaps the strongest of them is George Hallwegen, who, I believe, is a reporter for the Evening Post. In a few off-hand games, I found him to be a formidable antagonist

There is material and opportunity for a vigorous chess organization in Frisco, if some persistent enthusiast would take hold of the situation and get things going. Some of these days, this is likely to happen, and then we expect to see the metropolis of the Pacific Coast back on the chess map again.

Knight Errant

ACB 1912 page 259

I don't know who "Knight Errant" was but reading his accounts of West Coast chess that were serialized in the American Chess Bulletin he was clearly someone who quickly formed opinions, many of which were not altogether accurate. Walter Lovegrove, who might possibly have been in Europe at the time of Knight Errant's visit was the strongest Bay Area player from the 1890s until the 1920s when he was eclipsed by A.J. Fink. Both were Masters. The MI. Chess Room has been part of the Mechanics' Institute since 1854.

2) US Championship

The US Championship starts today. Live coverage will be available at the official site - and the ICC. The former has lots of photos up from the opening ceremonies including one of the Bay Area's Dmitry Zilberstein signing boards flanked by GMs Boris Gulko and Gregory Kaidanov. New Mexico IM Jesse Kraai will face Gata Kamsky with White in round 1.

There are many previous US Championship titleholders in the field including:

Joel Benjamin 3 (titles)
Larry Christiansen 3
Nick De Firmian 3
Alex Shabalov 3
Boris Gulko 2
Alex Yermolinsky 2
Alexander Ivanov 1
Gata Kamsky 1

All of the above will be contenders plus the other 17 GMs competing including Olympiad stars Gregory Kaidanov, Alexander Goldin, Alexander Onischuk and Igor Novikov not to mention the number three rated US player and top-rated World for those born after December 1987, Hikaru Nakamura.

Joel Benjamin ( aka Joel Ripkin/Gehrig) will be playing in his record 22nd straight US Championship!

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanks to the vision of one man, the "game of kings" will take front and center on the national stage this month as 64 of the nation's finest chess players go head to head in a nine-day tournament being held at the tony Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines (10950 North Torrey Pines Road, in La Jolla) near San Diego, Calif. Multi-millionaire entrepreneur Erik Anderson, a Seattle resident and devotee of the game, saved the 159-year-old U.S. national championships from extinction four years ago and has since invested millions of dollars of his own money to ensure that the games go on.

This year's "world series" of chess is expected to draw 2,000 spectators a day and an additional 1.2 million others who will keep up with the proceedings thanks to newly developed and complicated Internet technology. The 2005 U.S. Chess Championship will begin on Wednesday, November 24 and continue each day through Sunday, December 5 at which time $250,000 in prize money will be awarded to the best players at an awards ceremony that will be held in the hotel's Scripps Ballroom from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The public is invited to view the competition free of charge.

Anderson secured the rights to the national chess championships in 2000 from the United States Chess Federation and formed the America's Foundation for Chess (AF4C). In addition to sponsoring the national championships, the nonprofit organization mounts an aggressive program called First Move to introduce chess to American grade school children. Studies suggest that youngsters who play chess develop their critical thinking, math and problem solving skills more effectively than those who do not play the game. In conjunction with the nine-day tournament of master players, which will feature the nation's current chess champion, Alexander Shabalov, a number of other activities are being planned. Among the highlights are the Kid's Simul, an exciting interactive event for children ages 5 through 18. Approximately 300 youngsters of all ages and abilities are encouraged to "make their best moves" in simultaneously held games in a massive exhibition of chess-playing abilities. Joining the activity will be 25 U.S. Championship master players who will rove about the arena and offer pointers to the children. The Kids' Simul will be held on Saturday, November 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in downtown San Diego (off Pacific Coast Highway at Gate 4). Those interested in registering may do so by calling Dawn Spears at (619) 226-1491, ext. 110 or via e-mail to

"Chess has been viewed as an extension to the arts, sports and sciences since its inception nearly 1,400 years ago. When I discovered that America's premiere chess championship series was in danger of losing its funding, I knew that something had to be done," said Anderson. "More than any other activity, chess stimulates one's creative and analytical skills and can be used with phenomenal success as a fun and educational tool for children. I am delighted to announce that the 2005 U.S. Chess Championships will, once again, take place and look forward to exposing this amazing game to a new generation of enthusiasts."Among the sponsors of the 2005 U.S. Chess Championship are Chessmaster 10th Edition, ZMD, NTC Promenade, America's Foundation for Chess, Swarovski Crystal and the Anderson Family Foundation.

3) Hikaru Nakamura Interview

There is a fascinating interview at Chess Cafe ( by Howard Goldowsky entitled A Conversation with Hikaru Nakamura and His Stepfather, Sunil Weeramantry. The interview reveals Hikaru to be remarkable insightful for a 16-year-old. Here are a few excerpts.

HG: You have progressed very quickly. How much of an importance do you put on rating, and if you donít put a lot of importance on rating, how do you generate a metric to determine your progress?

HN: Thatís very difficult. If you donít look at the rating at all, itís hard to set goals. Otherwise, youíre just playing a game and thereís really no purpose. So there is definitely some emphasis on the rating. But usually, I just try to play better, keep improving. If your rating goes up, great. If it stays the same, thatís just what happens. Basically, it just comes down to trying out your stuff, playing everything, and just trying to improve.

HG: So I take it that you donít have a big fixation on your rating?

HN: No, not really.

SW: [laughing] And I suppose when you donít fixate on it you tend to do well. I was just joking with Hikaru before you came, and it looks like the MSA site right now has him at 2698 (USCF), and there are a number of tournaments that he has won lately that have not been rated. [Most notably, Nakamura won the Reno Western States Open in late October, where he defeated Wojtkiewicz, Kudrin, and Yermolinsky, in succession.] So heís easily over 2730. He seems to have very quietly done that. He has certainly won his share of tournaments Ė very quietly.

HG: As your Dad says, youíve snuck up on a lot of people on the rating list. Do you feel any pressure at all, getting so good, so fast? Do you feel people are out to get you now, now that youíre on the radar screen?

HN: Not really. I havenít felt pressure. Why should I feel pressure? You know, Iím not the top player, soÖIíve slowly climbed up. I havenít won any big tournaments.

HG: Do you feel any rivalry with other top juniors throughout the world, like Radjabov?

HN: Most of them I havenít played, actually. So no, not reallyÖSW: Radjabov is what, nine months older, right? Right now on the rating list, if you look at Hikaruís age, it is pretty clear that he is number one at his age and below.

HG: In general, do you think that being a nice guy, having too much empathy, is a handicap for being a good chessplayer?

HN: Thatís a difficult question. If you look at Anand, heís the nicest guy around as far as grandmasters go. You probably wonít find someone nicer. But it has hurt him. It seems that the nice guy is never really the top player. [laughs] You look at any sport, and it always seems to be that way. It probably is a handicap because if you have all this empathy towards people you probably arenít as aggressive in the way you play.

HG: Do you have any favorite chess books that youíve read over the years?

HN: I think when I was younger, around 2000 (USCF), I looked at Fischerís 60 Memorable Games. Iíve looked at some other ones, but not many. I think I read a Tarrasch book once, but I canít remember. Lately, I really have not looked at chess books at all. Now I just use my computer.

4) East Bay Chess Club News

SM David Pruess writes:

The Opening Season of the Bayareasliga Call for Players

2005 will see the first season of a chess league in the Bay Area. In its first year the league will have 8 teams in both an adult and a scholastic section. The league will function as an 8 team round robin, with one match about every month for the first seven calendar months. These matches will be over 4 boards, and will all be hosted in this first year at the East Bay Chess Club in Berkeley. Teams can have as many alternates as they like in order to field 4 players for each match. The teams can represent pretty much anything, for example a city, company, school, organization...

Several people have already expressed an interest in organizing teams. However there is still room for a couple more team captains, as well as players to fill the teams already envisioned. If you are interested in playing in the league or in organizing a team, please get in touch with David Pruess of the East Bay Chess Club as soon as you can. I will be glad to fill you in on more details. Email

As with our Monday tournament, some games from this event will be broadcast on the ICC.

Also another news item:

6 tied for first in the EBCC Monday Night MiniMarathon
After 2 rounds, there are already no perfect scores in the EBCC Monday Night
tournament. 6 players stand at 1.5/2, but there have certainly not been any short
draws! Catch rounds 3 and 4 on ICC in the next two weeks (handle: EastBayChess).

This weekend those not venturing south for the American Open, where GMs Jaan Ehlvest and Pavel Blatny will be top seeds, can play at home as the East Bay Chess Club will be hosting a Thanksgiving Weekend event.

Nov. 26- Nov. 28 East Bay Chess Club Thanksgiving Swiss. 5SS, 40/2, SD/1. EBCC 1940 Virginia St., Berkeley CA 94709. EF: $35, $40 after 11/16. $5 EBCC discount. $$1200b/50, 2 sections. Open: 200-150-100, u2100 100, u1900 100. Reserve Section: 150-100-50, u1500 75, u1300 75. Reg: 5-5:45 Fri, with 1st rd bye, 9-9:45 Sat. Rds: Fri 6 pm, Sat 10-4:30, Sun 10-4:30. Info:;; 510 845-1041

5) The Readers Write

Grandmaster Yury Shulman writes:

I played blitz in Brooklyn college today (Sunday November 21) . Guess how many GM's were there with a first prize of $300? 7! Results: 1.GM Miton 11/13, 2-3.GMs Kamsky and Shulman 10.5/13; 4-5. GMs Wojtkiewicz and Yudasin 9.5, ... GM Sagalchik, GM Rohde, WGM Fierro, IM Lapshun.

Rusty Miller writes of the recent program on Bobby Fischer.

I woke up for some reason at 4am Thursday so grabbed a quilt and went out into our TV room and watched almost the whole program, commercials and all. Seemed accurate, a number of recent interviews with chess people, Former USCF Pres- Don Schultz, GM Arthur Bisquier, Frank Brady, Al Lawrence, Fischer lawyer Paul Marshall plus others including the authors of BOBBY FISCHER GOES TO WAR. One fellow who was labeled a friend of Fischer gave a name to Fischer's illness. Lots of film from the past, including an interview with Fischer from years ago. They showed him getting THE KEY TO NEW YORK CITY in 1972 several times. There was film from both matches with Spassky. The cost of the tape is $19.95. The program that aired at 4am on Thursday Nov 18, 2004 on cable channel A&E about Bobby Fischer will be available for purchase/shipping Dec 30, 2004. Type "Fischer" in the Search the Store box at A&E.

CalChess, the governing body for chess in Northern California, has been going through some hard times of late do due some serious shrinkage in their treasury caused by the organization's last treasurer, but is taking steps to make things better. Chess in the Bay Area has been blessed by a series of excellent publications dating back to the late 1940s and early 1950s (California Chess News and Chess Digest), 1951-1976 (The California Chess Reporter), 1970s and 80s (Chess Voice) and the 1980s to present (California Chess Journal.

The magazine has been coming out very infrequently since Fisco Del Rosario stepped down after spoiling us with his reliablity. Now FM Eric Schiller has kindly stepped in and volunteered his services to produce an online magazine.

He writes:

If you can, send me a write-up of tournaments for CalChess. I'm putting together an electronic magazine to send out soon, as we still don't have the funds to do the printed one. Because we are electronic, we can include as much as you can send, including games, photos, whatever. You can contact Eric at . His website is .

Class A player Felix German (1935) is looking to play a match with players rated 1950+. Interested parties contact him at .

Frank Berry played in the Northwst East Chess Fall Getaway in Marlborough, Masschusetts, last weekend and passes along the following results: 1. GM Ildar Ibragimov 4 from 5. Shared second IM Igor Foygel and Joshua Bakker 3.5. There were 91 players in nthe multi-section event.

Tournament Director René Olthof passes on news of the 10th ARVES study competition held in the Dutch town of Vught. Some familiar FIDE over the board titled players were among the top finishers. Swedish IM Axel Ornstein took first and English GM Jonathan Mestel shared third. Here is one of the easier(!) ones

W-Kc7, B's b4, c4, Pg5
B- Kh7, B's f8, g8 (7 total)

1.Bd3+ Kg7 2.Bc3+ Kf7 3.Kd7

3.Bc4+? Kg6=; 3.g6+ Ke6 4.Bc4+ Kf5 5.Bxg8 Kxg6=


3...Bg7 4.g6+ Kf8 5.Bb4#; 3...Bc5 4.g6+ Kf8 5.g7+ Kf7 6.Bc4+ Kg6 7.Bxg8 Be3 8.Be6 winning

4.g6+ Kf8 5.Be2

Not 5.g7+? Kf7 6.Bc4+ Kg6 7.Bxg8 Bf6=; 5.Bd4 Bg5 (5...Bb3 6.g7+ Kf7 7.Bh7) 6.g7+ Kf7 7.Bc4+ Kg6 8.Bxg8 Bh6 9.Ke6 Bxg7=]

5...Bg5 6.g7+ Kf7 7.Bh5# 1Ė0

6) Upcoming Events

Upcoming Tournaments at the MI

Guthrie McClain Memorial - December 5 (Sunday)
Jim Hurt Under 1800 - December 11-12

Mechanics Institute Scholastic Quads 2004 Tournaments:

December 18
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.

Northern California Events

Nov. 26 - Nov. 28 East Bay Chess Club Thanksgiving Swiss. 5SS, 40/2, SD/1. EBCC 1940 Virginia St., Berkeley CA 94709. EF: $35, $40 after 11/16. $5 EBCC discount. $$1200b/50, 2 sections. Open: 200-150-100, u2100 100, u1900 100. Reserve Section: 150-100-50, u1500 75, u1300 75. Reg: 5-5:45 Fri, with 1st rd bye, 9-9:45 Sat. Rds: Fri 6 pm, Sat 10-4:30, Sun 10-4:30. Info:;; 510 845-1041.

Southern California

A Heritage Event!
An American Classic!
Nov. 25-28 or 26-28 40th Annual American Open GPP: 80 S. California 8SS, 40/2, SD/1. LAX Renaissance Hotel, 9620 Airport Bl, Los Angeles, CA 90045. $$30,200, 60% of each prize guaranteed. 8 sections (Unr. must play in U1000/Unr. or Open). Open: $3000-1500-700-500-300, U2450/Unr $1200-600, U2300/Unr $600. U2200: $2000-1000-500-300-200. U2000: $2000-1000-500-300-200. U1800: $2000-1000-500-300-200. U1600: $2000-1000-500-300-200. U1400: $1700-900-500-300-200. U1200: $1000-500-250-150-100. U1000/Unr: Trophies to top six. EF: Sections 1-7, $129 if rec'd by 11/23, $30 less for jrs. Under 15 if playing up, $50 more for players rated under 2000 playing in Open. Section 8, $39 if rec'd by 11/23. All: $20 more at door. SCCF memb. req'd ($12, $7.50 jrs. Under 19, includes Rank & File magazine), OSA. Elegant trophy each section winner. Best game prizes gtd: $100-50-50 (one must be from Sections 2-8). No checks at door - cash, credit card, or money order only. 4-day schedule: Reg closes noon 11/25, 12:30-7:30, 12:30-7:30, 10:30-5, 10-4:30. 3-day schedule: Reg closes 11:30am 11/26, 12-2:30-5-8 (G/1), schedules merge in Rd 5 & compete for common prizes. Byes (2 max) with advance notice. CCA minimum ratings & TD discretion will be used to protect you from improperly rated players. October Rating Supplement used. Sturdy, reliable Saitek clock provided for top boards. HR: $89, (310) 337-2800, mention chess. Info: Chief TD Randy Hough (626) 282-7412, Ent: American Open, PO Box 205, Monterey Park, CA 91754 or NS, W, FIDE Rated.

National Events

Mark these two events down on your calendar. The PAN AM Intercollegiate will be held in Kansas right after Christmas.Email Mikhail Korenman for more information at

4th Annual Lindsborg Open December 17-22

GM & IM norms are available; $4,000 guaranteed prize fund!

Rapid Knock-out Tournament Lindsborg, Kansas December 23-25, 2004 $11,500 guaranteed prize fund! 9SS;

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