Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #223

"Chess pieces are the block alphabet, which shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chessboard, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem."

Marcel Duchamp

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Lindsborg Open
3) Monterey Open 1973 - Franett and Blohm tie for first
4) US tournament Attendance
5) Michael Aigner writes
6) Chess from the Past
7) Here and There
8) HB Global Chess Challenge
9) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

The final round of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon saw IM Ganbold Odondoo defeat NM Nicolas Yap to win the event with the convincing score of 8.5 from 9. Fellow Mongolian, WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, was second at 7.5, FM Frank Thornally third at 7 and veteran Victor Todortsev fourth at 6.5 in the 72-player field. Incidentally Ganbold is featured in the final chapter of the new book Test Your Chess with Daniel King (Batsford 2004). In the chapter entitled Wizard , King asks if Ganbold wasn't in The Lord of the Rings. He then describes him as a very erratic player, who when he is in the mood can create some fantastic games. King then annotates the following effort in his book. Below are notes by GM Luke McShane from ChessBase that have been abbreviated.

Ganbold,O (2405) - Banikas,H (2540) [B41]
Istanbul ol) (3) 2000

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Qc7 6.Nc3 a6 7.Be2 Nf6 8.0-0 Bb4 9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.Qc2 Bc5 11.Kh1 Bd4 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bh4 g5 14.Bg3 e5 15.Rad1 d6 16.Rxd4!?

A sacrifice so bold that it deserves to work, even if it shouldn't. Banikas must have felt quite confident once he had settled down to life a rook up, only to be bowled over by a stunning piece of brute force tactics. Seriously considering such a brave course of action during a game deserves rewards in itself. Most players wouldn't consider a move like this even during analysis!

16...exd4 17.c5 dxc3 18.Bxd6 Qd8 19.Qxc3 Rg8

White has a mighty bishop on d6, untouchable for the moment at least, but it cannot give mate on its own. The black king is caught in the center and White controls all the dark squares, but something must be done before these advantages wane.

20.f4! gxf4 21.Rxf4 Rg6 22.Bh5!! Rg5 23.Rxf6 Rxh5 24.Rg6!! Rg5 25.Qh8+ Kd7 26.Qh7 Qe8 27.Rf6 Kd8 28.Rxf7 Bd7 29.Re7 Re5 1-0

2) Lindsborg Open

GMs Ildar Ibragimov and Alex Moiseenko tied for first in the Lindsborg Open at 7-2. IM Renier Gonzalez made a GM norm, his second. A rapid tournament is being played today with 16 GMs participating headed by Milov, Onischuk, Goldin and Ehlvest. There will be a full report next week.

3) Monterey Open 1973 - Franett and Blohm tie for first

This tournament, held during the Fischer boom, looks like it caught the organizers off guard. It attracted 128 participants and they must have run out of scoresheets because Michael Franett's scores, which are xeroxes, are from regular sheets of paper with no move numbers on them.

Michael was seeded eighth with an artificially low USCF rating of 2143. During this time he very rarely played outside of the Northwest which probably accounts for the low USCF grading when he was over 2300 on the Northwest rating system.

Michael won all five of his games in the upset-plagued event and tied for first with NM David Blohm at 5-0, good for a two-way split of $375 according to the California Chess Reporter

Franett,M (2143) - Montchalin,M (2000) [A79]
Monterey Open (4), 1973

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 d6 4.Nc3 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.Be2 0-0 7.Nf3 e6 8.0-0 exd5 9.cxd5 Re8 10.Nd2 Na6 11.f3 Nc7 12.a4 b6 13.Nc4 Ba6 14.Rb1 Nh5 15.g4 Bd4+ 16.Kh1 Ng7 17.Bf4 Bxc4 18.Bxc4 a6 19.Ne2 Bf6 20.Qd3 Qd7 21.Nc3 Reb8 22.e5 dxe5 23.Ne4 Qd8 24.g5 exf4 25.Nxf6+ Kh8 26.d6 Nce6 27.Bxe6 Nxe6 28.Qd5 h6 29.h4 hxg5 30.hxg5 Kg7 31.Ne4 Qh8+ 32.Kg2 Kf8 33.Rbd1 Ke8 34.Nf6+ Kd8 35.Rh1 Qf8 36.Rh7 Nxg5 37.Qxg5 Kc8 38.Qd5 Rb7 39.Rdh1 1-0

4) US tournament Attendance

The past few years US tournament attendance for adult events has been in a decline. One bright spot has been the MI's Tuesday Night Marathon series which has been consistently drawing 70-80 players.

TNM 2000

March-May 59
May-July 62
July-September 49
September-November 50
November-January 45

TNM 2001

February-March 46
April-May 56
June-August 56
August - October 58
October-December 53

TNM 2002

January-March 66
March-May 61
June-July 69
August-October 72
October-December 72

TNM 2003

Jamuary-February 80
March-May 76
June-July 81
August-September 78
October-December 77
January-February 80

TNM 2004

January-February 79 March-May 72 June-July 85 August-October 77 October-December 71

5) Michael Aigner writes

Dear fellow board members and others interested in Northern California chess,

I am sad to have to write today that my time serving CalChess has come to an end. It has been a really interesting experience for me. During my first two years, the Board struggled with the loss of funding from the USCF and writing a new set of bylaws. Various issues related to the state scholastic championship and difficulties arising from the change in magazine editor have dominated the agenda over the last two years.

What saddens me the most is that the CalChess that I agreed to serve for in 2001 is so much different from the CalChess today. At the beginning of the new millenium, CalChess was a small organization with about 400 members, mostly adults and higher rated juniors who played in adult tournaments. The annual budget was very tight, with barely enough money to publish the magazine on a regular schedule. But it came out regularly, with 5 or 6 quality issues every single year. The board often struggled to find people willing to serve, and the elections at the annual meeting were never filled with great anticipation. Board meetings typically took less than an hour and normally were scheduled during the lunch break at adult tournaments where a majority of the board members were either playing or directing. The emphasis was clearly on adult chess, except for hosting the annual state scholastic championship.

Today, CalChess is a much larger organization with 1500 members, the vast majority of those being juniors who had to purchase membership at the state scholastic championship. The annual budget is a bit murky to me, but the most telling number is the $26,000 that was in our bank account before it was removed for "safekeeping." The magazine has seen its second editor change within a year, and only two issues have come out in 2004 (with a third issue ready any day now). The board still struggles to find willing members, but that seems to me to be a consequence of the extremely politicized environment at the annual meeting. Board meetings now drag on for three hours or more and most controversial decisions lead to lengthy and heated debates. Today, the board's attention is dominated by scholastic chess issues, and coping with the conflicts arising from the frictions between various scholastic chess entities.

Maybe the three-fold growth in membership and five-fold (or more!) growth in annual budget are signs of progress. If so, CalChess is definitely feeling the growing pains. Additional money brings with it conflicts of interest, or even merely the appearance of such conflicts. A lot of controversial actions and decisions bring accusations of improprieties, in most cases by competitors in the business world. Sadly, *all* factions of the CalChess political (scholastic) landscape are guilty of this.

My resignation today may be interpreted as a vote of no confidence in the leadership and direction taken by the CalChess President and Vice President. I feel that these "growing pains" are still growing, with no treatment in sight. This resignation was triggered by a specific personal incident involving the CalChess leadership that, in my opinion, underscores how feelings hurt by the deep conflicts in CalChess have taken a role in relatively benign topics such as editing a section of the website.

Please note that nobody asked me to resign. This is my personal decision. In fact, several board members have specifically asked me not to resign, saying that I can do more good by voicing my opinions on the board. Unfortunately, whenever I voice my opposition, certain individuals inevitably question my motives. As one board member recently wrote: "I have the feeling that we are being manipulated by someone who is not on the board." I've seen the writing on the wall for a while now. Today is just the time to act.

Please also note that my decision is NOT related to the ongoing efforts to return the missing $26,000 to the CalChess bank account.

I am resigning all of my roles and duties in CalChess except for the Clearinghouse position. I am happy to continue serving in that capacity as long as I can do so independent of the CalChess leadership. Please keep sending tournament listings and results to and I'll post them on the website.

Thank you everyone for the time we spent together and, in most cases, the positive relationships which we have forged. I sincerely wish CalChess the best of luck, and if I can be of assistance in a non-controversial capacity, then I am definitely willing to help out.

Michael Aigner

6) Chess from the Past

Try to guess when the following was written.

The game of Chess has of late become so popular among all classes in this country, that any statement of its attraction is almost superfluous. Coming to us as it has, invested with every dignity and importance that antiquity can give, it has kept pace for more than five centuries with the most rapidly advancing civilization. Never forgotten in any country where it has once set foot, it has only been neglected where art, science and every intellectual pursuit have been neglected also. It has been for centuries the favorite recreation of the greatest minds; it has survived every political change and every distraction of fashion, and it is, today, more widely known and practiced than any other game in the world. Who, in view of these facts, and making the slightest claim to culture, can afford to neglect it?

That it is an extremely difficult game, and that its study involves no small expenditure of time, must be admitted; but these cannot be regarded as drawbacks. No knowledge or proficiency, easily acquired, could be held in such high and general esteem; and the time involved may, especially in the case of young students, be looked upon as well spent. It constitutes a mental training of the greatest possible value, and promotes a taste which can only be elevating. An interest in Chess once roused, the fascination of games of chance, with their inseparable temptation to gambling, is lost forever.

R.F. Green in the introduction to his primer Chess (December 1889!)

7) Here and There

Last week in the Newsletter I wrote "Since then the AF4C has done a fantastic job of running the US Championship, one of the core responsibilities of the USCF, without any expense to the USCF." A reader writes in: "Well that was a bit of an understatement. The USCF MAKES MONEY on the US Championships. The AF4C pays the USCF $7,500 for each event. The idea was that the USCF would be able to "afford" to send a representative Unfortunately none of the USCF Executive Board made it to La Jolla.

GM Jaan Ehlvest won the Marshal Chess Club Championship with 7 from 9. Tying for second in the 20-player field were GMs Alex Stripunsky and John Fedorowicz and IM Jayson Gonzales. Go to for more information.

The Far West Open will be held in Reno March 18-20.

Iceland has offered a residency visa to Bobby Fischer, to help him get out of jail in Japan. For more information go to

In this week's Sports Illustrated (December 20) on page 24 in the Scorecard Q + A section--Garry Kasparov is featured.

NM Ron Hermansen won the 6th annual Joseph Illeto Memorial held December 11-12 in Monterey Park with a score of 4.5 from 5.

8) HB Global Chess Challenge

NM John Langreck writes:

I had a question regarding the HB Global Chess Challenge organized by GM Ashley. There are two incentives for prospective players. First, if you join with a friend by 1/1/05, the EF is $295 ($50 discount). Second, if you join as part of a club and 5 people sign up, the 6th EF is free. I'm thinking about playing. Anyone else from Mechanic's that might play so we can take advantage of these discounts?


Interested parties can contact John at

9) 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.


Dear Chess Friends,

Brunei Darussalam , a small beautiful country of 300,000 population is organising an open chess tournament from 14th to 20th Jan 2005.

Brunei Darussalam is situated in the North of the Borneo island. Unspoiled sandy beach and abundant untouched rainforest can be found all over Brunei and the neighbouring countries. To the East of Brunei is the State of Sabah where Mount Kinabalu is situated and being the highest in South East Asia. To the West of Brunei is the state of Sarawak where the largest caves in Mulu can be found. For more information about Brunei visit

Please extend our invitation to all chess players in your federation wishing to visit Brunei and participate in the above event. Below, please find the revised tournament details and regualtion. Total cash prize has now gone up to more than US$ 5000. In addition, first 10 GM/WGM register before 31st December will be provided with full board and lodging and first 10 IM/WIM register will be provided with twin room sharing and breakfast.

Further information can also be access via our website

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