Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #222

"It is remarkable what lengths the human mind will go to justify doing what it wanted in the first place."

Peter Svidler

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Nakamura defeats Karajkan
3) Chess Festival in Iowa
4) Here and There
5) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

The Mechanics' Institute will be hosting the Michael Franett Memorial, a Category 4 (+2325 FIDE average) IM norm round robin from January 2-14 along with the East Bay Chess Club. Among those who have already accepted their invitations for the 12-player tournament are IMs Vinay Bhat, Ricardo DeGuzman and Ganbold Odondoo, SM David Pruess, WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs and FMs Frank Thornally and Richard Lobo and Nicholas Yap. There are at least 16 players we would have liked to put in this event but just didn't have room. Now that we have two foreign IMs living in the area we are hoping to have three of these events each year.

Mariusz Krubnik was the convincing winner of the 1st Jim Hurt Amateur Memorial held December 11-12 at the Mechanics'. Krubnik scored 5.5 out of 6 to win the 28-player-event, half a point ahead of Ian Jones. Davis Xu, who scored an undefeated 4.5, was third. A crosstable of the event can be found at Anthony Corrales and John Donaldson directed, assisted by Steve Brandwein.

IM Odondoo Ganbold won last night in round 8 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon and clinched at least a tie for first with 7.5 from 8. Fellow Mongolian, NM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, is second at 6.5 followed by FM Frank Thornally and NM Nicolas Yap on 6. TNM regular Victor Todortsev, who writes a chess column for a San Francisco Russian language newspaper, celebrated his 72nd birthday last night with a victory. Next Tuesday will mark the end of the Fall TNM. The Winter Tuesday Marathon begins January 11.

Thanks to Haluk Akol for his $90 donation for a fourth place in the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon and to Richard Shorman for his gift of Frisco Del Rosario's A First Book of Morphy to the MI library.

The MI Chess Room, and the Institute as a whole, will be closed some days during the upcoming Holidays.

Dec.24 Closes 3pm
Dec.25, 26 and 27(Saturday-Monday) Closed
December 31 Closes 3pm
January 1-3 (Saturday-Monday) Closed

Neil Brennen sends in the following information from one of San Francisco's first chess columns which appeared in the Golden Era.

We have had the pleasure of reading three of the first issues of a chess department in the Golden Era, of San Francisco, California. The first number is excellent, containing all the laws of the game. No.2, the problem is faulty, admitting of a solution in one less move than the stipulation. No.3 contains a beautiful and masterful problem. The composer's name is not given. We cannot give the Era a greater compliment than giving the problem to our readers, which we do with pleasure below. We are happy to see chess so ably sustained in the land of gold. It cannot fail of success.

Winona Republican, April 15, 1859, reprinted from the Golden Era, issue #3 1?0

W-Kh4; Qh5; R's c1 and c7; N's c3 and c5; P's a3 and b6 B- Kd4; N's c2 and c6; Ra6; Bh7

1.Qxh7! (1...Ke5 2.Qe4+ Kf6 3.Qe6#; 1...Nxa3 2.Qe4+ Kxc5 3.Rxc6#)

2) Nakamura defeats Karajkan

Veni Vedi Vici ! Hikaru is on a roll. First 5.5 from 6 score to win the Western States Open in Reno, beating three GMs in a row. Then the title of US Champion in La Jolla after scoring 7 from 9 and beating Alexander Stripunsky in the tiebreaker. Now he has defeated Ukrainian wunderkind Sergei Karjakin 4.5-1.5 in a match played December 9-14 in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Look for Hikaru, who was 2620 FIDE on the October list, to cross the 2650 barrier in January if the USCF office gets the rating reports ASAP.

Nakamura,H (2620) - Karjakin,S (2576)
Cuernavaca (1) 2004

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bb4 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.exd5 0-0 9.0-0 cxd5 10.Bg5 c6 11.Na4 h6 12.Bh4 Re8 13.c4 Bd6 14.Rc1 Rb8 15.b3 Be6 16.cxd5 Bxd5 17.Bc4 Bf4 18.Rc3 Be5 19.Rc2 Qd6 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Bxd5 cxd5 22.Nc5 Be5 23.g3 Rbc8 24.Nd3 Bc3 25.Nf4 d4 26.Qd3 Ba5?

This seems to be the source of Black's future troubles as White now establishes a beachhead on d5 and infiltrates down the b-file.

27.Rc4! Rxc4 28.bxc4 Qe5 29.Rb1 Bc3 30.Rb7 Re7 31.Rb5 Qd6 32.Nd5 Re6 33.Rb7 Re8 34.Qf3 Rf8 35.Rxa7 Bb4 36.Qf5 Bc5 37.Rc7 Ba3 38.c5 Bxc5 39.Rxc5 g6 40.Nf6+ Kg7 41.Ne4 1-0

Nakamura,H (2620) - Karjakin,S (2576)
Cuernavaca (5) 2004

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.f4 g6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.e5 Nc6 7.Bb5 Nd7 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.e6 Nf6 10.exf7+ Kxf7 11.Nf3 h6 12.Ne5+ Kg7 13.Nxc6 Qc7 14.Nb4 e5 15.Qf2 Qc4 16.a3 a5 17.Nba2 Bf5 18.b3 Qe6 19.0?0 d5 20.h3 Bd6 21.Re1 Rhf8 22.fxe5 Bxe5 23.Bxh6+ Kxh6 24.Qe3+ Kg7 25.Qxe5 Qxe5 26.Rxe5 Bxc2 27.Nxd5 Nxd5 28.Rxd5 Bxb3 29.Rd3 Bxa2 30.Rxa2 Rad8 31.Rg3 Rd1+ 32.Kh2 Rfd8 33.Rc2 R1d3 34.Rg4 R8d4 35.Rg5 Rd5 36.Rxd5 Rxd5 37.Rc4 Kf6 38.Ra4 g5 39.Kg3 Kf5 40.Kf3 Rb5 41.Re4 Rb3+ 42.Re3 a4 43.g4+ Kf6 44.Ke4 Rxe3+??

GM Ruslan Scherbakov, who annotated this game extensively for ChessToday (, had this to say about Karjakin's fatal mistake.

This terrible move was probably caused by the illusion that Black can achieve the position with his king in front of White's passed g-pawn - however, it is impossible here! Black should have kept his rook on the bfile: 44...Rb1 45.Kd4 ¦Rb8 46.Kc3 Rd8+ 47.Kc5 Rb8 although White could still try to exchange to take the a4-pawn by the cost of his h3-pawn - in this case Black had to be ready to get his king close to the g4-pawn...

45.Kxe3 Ke5 46.Kf2 Kf6 47.Kg3 Ke6 48.h4 gxh4+ 49.Kxh4 Kf6 50.Kh5 Kg7 51.Kg5 Kh7 52.Kf6 Kh6 53.g5+ Kh7 54.Kf7 Kh8 55.Kg6 1-0

The match looks to have been very well organized. Both the official site,, which offered commentary by GM Marcel Sisniega, and the ChessBase website had complete coverage. The average game of this fighting match was 52 moves! It's a pity that the USCF does not organize similar events. A lack of funds is not an answer. The Federation spent somewhere between $5000 and $10,000 to send a delegation to Calvia, Spain, to the FIDE Congress. Some of the individuals paid their own way while others air, hotel and meals were covered. I do not know if the big dinner that included some of the FIDE politicos like Makropoulis was paid for privately or out of USCF funds, but would guess the latter if long-standing tradition was followed. Considering that the USCF motion to toss out Kirsan had considerably less chance to succeed than George W. Bush carrying the vote in Berkeley, I would say two representatives are more than sufficient to represent US chess interests. When you add the cost of things like the Olympiad junket to money wasted on Executive Board meetings where members are flown in from all over the country to one location for a weekend, when phone or teleconferencing are considerably less expensive, you can easily make money available for high level events.

The current USCF Executive Board's lack of interest in top chess was also shown by their absence from the US Championship in La Jolla. America's Foundation for Chess rescued the US Championship in 2000 when a floundering USCF said they had no money to run the event. Since then the AF4C has done a fantastic job of running the Championship, one of the core responsibilities of the USCF, without any expense to the USCF. Unfortunately it seems that the AF4C's expertise is seen as a threat by the current EB.

3) Chess Festival in Iowa

Mechanics' Institute Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky recently attended Bob Long's annual Chess Festival in Iowa. Long founded the book and equipment selling company Chessco and its publishing department, Thinkers Press, in the early 1970s.

GM Yermolinsky writes:

It gave me great pleasure to participate in the Annual Chess Festival in Iowa organized by Bob Long. For a tournament circuit traveler it was an unusual experience. Instead of fighting for prize money, which always leaves most people unsatisfied, it was a nice change of pace to do something where everybody wins!

The program consisted of lectures, simuls and simply chess chat.

The participaring celebraties offered a nice mix of learning activities and fun.

IM Igor Khmelnitsky talked about his unique teaching methods based on his recent book "Chess Test". He distributed the worksheets beforehand to give us a chance to think, and then went over the positions on the demo board. It turned out nobody had a perfect score, but the subsequent discussion got everybody involved.

IM Andrew Martin's witty performance dealt with unusual and even bizarre occurances in tournament practice. Some of the positions were simply hard to believe. Andrew's dry British humor kept us all in stitches.

The highlight of the event was a courageous performance of CCGM Jonathan Berry who faced 12 players in a blindfold simultaneous exhibition. The whole thing lasted for over 6 hours and at the end Jon simply wore them down!

As for myself, I gave a lecture on the hot topic of the recently concluded World Championship Match between Kramnik and Leko. Many probing questions were asked, and the conclusion was that in order to play good chess every game has to be played to the last pawn.

On the last day, the titled players split in two tandem teams and took on all comers. This concluded the enjoyable three days I spent in the Quad Cities area.

I certainly hope to be back in the future.

4) Here and There

Congratulations to America's newest International Master, David Vigorito of Henderson, Nevada. Thanks go to FIDE Qualification Chairman Mikko Markkula of Finland who helped David receive his title. FIDE requires that players typically score 3 norms (2450+ FIDE) results totaling 27 or more games against international fields as defined by the FIDE Handbook. Also required is that the player must have had a rating of 2400 or over at one time. IM Vigorito had been close on several occasions but never had a published rating over 2400. Mr. Markkula, on his own initiative, was able to pinpoint that David had been over 2400 at a point in between rating lists which met the rating criteria requirement. This episode is quite typical of FIDE. Many of the skilled volunteers who serve on various committees are quite dedicated, generously giving their time and paying for expenses out of pocket. It's only when you get very close to the top that the unsavory aspects of the organization start to come into play. Witness the recent Dubai debacle where the organizers dropped out of the running to put on the Kasparov-Kasimzhanov match. Hopefully the Turks will be able to host this match on short notice.

Filipino IM Jayson Gonzales is the early leader at 3.5 from 4 in the Edward Lasker Memorial and 88th Annual Marshall Chess Club Championship which is being played December 11-19. Several GMs are competing for the $2000 first prize including Alexander Stripunsky and Jaan Ehlvest who are tied for second at 3 points in the 20-player field. Go to for current results.

Marshall Championship 2004 (4)

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. e3 a6 6. b3 Bb4 7. Bd2 O-O 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. O-O Qe7 10. Qc2 dxc4 11. bxc4 e5 12. Nh4 g6 13. f4 Ng4 14. Nf3 Bxc3 15. Qxc3 e4 16. Bc2 exf3 17. gxf3 Ngf6 18. e4 Nh5 19. Kh1 Re8 20. Rg1 Nf8 21. f5 Qh4 22. Bd3 c5 23. d5 Qf6 24. Qc1 Nd7 25. Be2 Qe7 26. a4 Ne5 27. Ra3 Ng7 28. f4 Nxc4 29. fxg6 Nxa3 30. gxh7+ Kh8 31. Bf3 c4 32. Bc3 f6 33. e5 Rf8 34. d6 Qf7 35. exf6 Nf5 36. Rg7 Nxg7 37. fxg7+ Kxh7 38. Qe1 Bg4 39. gxf8=N+ Rxf8 40. Bxg4 Qd5+ 41. Kg1 Qc5+ 42. Kg2 Qd5+ 43. Kg1 Qc5+ 44. Kg2 Qd5+ 1/2-1/2

Gonzales - Sarkar
Marshall Championship 2004 (4)

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. d4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 g6 7. Qb3 Bg7 8. e3 O-O 9. Be2 Nd7 10. O-O b6 11. a4 Qc7 12. a5 Rb8 13. axb6 axb6 14. Bb2 Bb7 15. Ra7 Ra8 16. Rfa1 e6 17. Nd2 Rxa7 18. Rxa7 Ra8 19. Qa4 Rxa7 20. Qxa7 cxd4 21. exd4 Qf4 22. Bc1 Bc6 23. g3 Qb8 24. Qxb8+ Nxb8 25. Nc4 Nd7 26. Bf4 Nf6 27. Nxb6 Ne4 28. Bf3 Nxc3 29. Bxc6 Ne2+ 30. Kg2 Nxf4+ 31. gxf4 Bxd4 32. Nc4 Kg7 33. Ne5 Bc5 34. Kf3 Bd4 35. Be8 Kf8 36. Ba4 Ba7 37. h3 Bd4 38. Kg3 Ba7 39. Bb5 Bd4 40. Nf3 Bc3 41. Ng5 h6 42. Ne4 Bb4 43. Nf6 Bc3 44. Ng4 Kg7 45. Kf3 Bd2 46. Be8 Kf8 47. Ba4 Kg7 48. Ne5 Kf8 49. Bd7 Ke7 50. Bc8 Kf6 51. Ba6 Kg7 52. Bb5 Kf8 53. Ng4 Kg7 54. Bd7 Bc3 55. Ke3 Bb2 56. Ne5 Kf8 57. Bxe6 fxe6 58. Nxg6+ Kg7 59. Ne5 h5 60. Ke4 Kf6 61. Nd7+ Ke7 62. Nc5 Kf6 63. Nd7+ Ke7 64. Nb6 Kf6 65. Nc4 Bc3 66. Ne3 Be1 67. Kf3 Kg6 68. Nf1 Kf6 69. Ke3 Kf5 70. Ng3+ Kg6 71. Kf3 Bd2 72. Ke4 Be1 73. Ke5 Bxf2 74. Ne4 Be3 75. Nd6 Bc1 76. Nb7 Bd2 77. Nd8 Bc3+ 78. Kxe6 Bf6 79. Nc6 Bh4 80. Ne5+ Kg7 81. Nd7 1-0

The University of Texas at Dallas is hosting a Category X (2481 FIDE) tournament 7th-15th December 2004. GM Yury Shulman is leading with 4/5. Other top scores: 2-3. GM Novikov (USA) and IM Mahesh (IND) 3.5; 4-6. GM Moiseenko (UKR) , IM Vavrak (SLO) and GM Ramirez (CRC) 2.5.

The 2nd Ahdod International in Israel was super strong and featured rare American International representation. 1-4. GMs Smirin (ISR), Avrukh (ISR), Rozentalis (LIT) and Gelfand (ISR) 3; 4-6. Kaidanov (USA) and Sutovsky (ISR) 1.5

Vietnamese IM Ngoc Toungson Nguyen made his third and final GM norm by winning the December First Saturday event. American IM William Paschall of Boston has 3.5 from 10 with one round left to play.

The Seattle Chess Club, which has had at least 20 homes in its vagabond existence, is celebrating its 125th birthday this weekend.

A new chess club is meeting Fridays 7-10pm in the party room at the Castro Valley McDonalds. Adults and Kids are welcome. A one hour lecture on tactics and opening traps blitz is held each week. Afterwards a blitz tournament is held for which the entry fee is $5. 90 percent of entries are returned in prizes. Please bring sets and clocks. Call Cisco at (510) 828-6105 for more information.

5) Upcoming Events

Upcoming Tournaments at the MI

Bob Burger Open - January 8
Henry Gross Memorial - February 5th
A.J. Fink Amateur - March 5-6
Max Wilkerson Open - March 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.

East Bay Chess Club December Swiss

December 18th and 19th, 2004

A USCF rated 4-round Tournament in 3 sections

Location: 1940 Virginia St., Berkeley, CA
(cross street Milvia, only a short walk from Downtown and North Berkeley BART)

Registration/Check-in: 10-10:45 AM on Saturday the 23rd.
Or save time by filling out the form below, but make sure to show up before the first round begins! Current USCF membership is required and, if needed, can be purchased at the Club. Rounds: 11 AM and 4:30 PM on Saturday; 11 AM and 4:30 PM on Sunday If you need a bye for any round, please make a note on your entry form.

Time control: 30 moves in 90 minutes, followed by Sudden Death in 1 hour. Entry fee: $30 if mailed before 12/11, $35 at site. $5 discount for East Bay Chess Club Members or juniors (18 and under).
Print out the entry form here.
Please mail completed entries to:
East Bay Chess
1940 Virginia Street, Box C
Berkeley, CA 94709

Please make checks payable to "East Bay Chess." If you submit the online form, it will count as though mailed to the Club on day submitted. Prizes: (Based on 40 full entries)
Open: 1st = $150, 2nd = $100, 3rd = $50
1500-2000: 1st = $125, 2nd = $75, top under 1750 = $50
Less than 1500: 1st = $125, 2nd = $75, top under 1200 = $50
Directors: David Pruess, Vinay Bhat, Andy Lee Questions or Comments? Send an email to

Southern California

A Heritage Event!
December 11-12
6th Annual Joseph Ileto Memorial
5-SS, rds 1-3 30/85, SD/30, rds 4-5 40/2, SD/1.
Sierra Vista Park, 311 N Rural Dr at E Emerson,
Monterey Park, CA 91755.
EF: $30 received by 12/9, $40 at door. Special EF: $10
for juniors not competing for cash prizes (trophies to
top 5).
$$1300: $300-200-100, U2200 125, U2000 125, U1800 125,
U1600 125, U1400 125, Unrated 75.
$50 best game prize donated by Bill Conrad in memory
of Ursula Foster; legible scoresheets only.
SCCF membership required ($12 reg, $7.50 jr.), other
states accepted.
Reg 8:30-9:30.
Rds 10-2-6, 10-4.
Up to 2 half-pt byes if requested w/entry.
Inf: Randy Hough, (626) 282-7412,
Ent: SCCF, PO Box 205, Monterey Park, CA 91754.
NS. NC. W. State Championship Qualifier. GP: 10

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;

Return to Index