Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #272

   Kasparov is Kasparov because he showed the results he showed over 20 years. If I have these results for the next 20 years, then I can say that I am like Kasparov. Right now, I am Kasparov divided by 20.

Veselin Topalov

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Vladimir Mezentsev wins American Open
3) Americans in Khanti-Mansiysk
4) NM Robert Burns 1948-2005
5) Baltimore wins US Chess League
6) IM James Rizzitano on Chess.FM
7) Susan Polgar on Topalov-Kramnik
8) U.S. - Russia Scholastic Chess Match 
9) Jennifer Shahade in the NY Times
10) Here and There
11) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Club News

IM Ricardo DeGuzman won the 5th Annual Pierre Saint-Amant Memorial with a score of 5-0 on November 19. Tying for second with four points in the 31 player event were NMs Batchimeg Tuvshintugs and Peter Zavadsky, Expert Sam Shankland and A player Scott Abrams. Anthony Corrales directed for the Mechanics'.

NM Igor Margulis leads the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon with 4 from 4 half a point ahead of Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, Arthur Ismakov (formerly Ibragimov) and nine-year-old Daniel Naroditsky.

Once again the Mechanics' Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky has qualified for the US Championship. Congratulations Alex! Other Bay Area players who have qualified so far include 6-time former US Champion Walter Browne and Alex's wife WGM Kamile Baginskaite. This weekend Mechanics' US Chess League team member SM Dmitry Zilberstein will be competing in the final stages of the AF4C's US Championship Internet qualifier. Dmitry got through the preliminaries and will face fellow Western semi-finalist IM Mark Ginsburg on Saturday. The winner plays the Eastern finalist on Sunday. The games are broadcast live on the ICC.

This weekend the MI will be hosting the 5th annual Guthrie McClain Memorial starting at 10 am.

2) Vladimir Mezentsev wins American Open

IM Vladimir Mezentsev rebounded from a second round loss to young NM Joel Banawa reeling off five wins in a row before drawing with GM Alex Wojtkiewicz to win the 41st American Open in Los Angeles this past weekend. A half point behind Mezentsev's 6.5 from 8 score were Wojtkiewicz, fellow GMs Alex Yermolinsky and Boris Kreiman plus IMs Andranik Matikozian, Levon Altounian and Jesse Kraai. MI GM-in-Residence Yermolinsky and his former student Kreiman got the two US Championship spots while Altounian and Kraai were the unlucky ones.

The tournament, organized by Jerry Hanken with Randy Hough as chief director, was well run and a success with 251 entries including 3 GMs and 11 IMs. Go to for complete standings.

3) Americans in Khanti-Mansiysk

Eight Americans (Kamsky, Nakamura, Onischuk, Kaidanov, Shulman, A. Ivanov, Kudrin and Stripunsky) made the journey to Siberia for the World Chess Cup in Khanti-Mansiysk to compete in the 128 player, 7 round knockout and 4 of them made it to the second round. Gata Kamsky beat Yun Zhao of China, Alexander Ivanov advanced over Julio Grand Zuniga, Alex Onischuk defeated Valery Popov and Yury Shulman upset Vadim Zvjaginsev. The latter was a nail-biter going down to sudden death after two regular games (40 in 90 plus 30 second increment) then two 25 minute games and then two 5 minute games - all drawn. Shulman had Black in the final game with 5 minutes to Zvjaginsev's 6 but advanced in the case of a draw and that is the way the game ended.

You can follow the action live at the official website and on the ICC.

4) NM Robert Burns 1948-2005

NM Robert Burns of Mentor, Ohio, who was the 1969 USCF Golden Knights Correspondence Champion, died on October 23rd at the age of 57. Burns, who was rated well over 2300 much of his career, was one of the strongest players in Ohio in the 1970s and a mainstay on the Cleveland teams in the old US Chess League. An excellent analyst and opening theoretician, Burns seconded the late Milan Vukcevich who had a high regard for Bob's knowledge of the Dragon and Accelerated Dragon. Burns worked as a computer programmer long before this was a common occupation. He was not only an chess master but a first rate bridge player. I got to know him a little when I attended high school in Cincinnati my senior year back in 1975/76. Bob was winning many tournaments around that time and he was known for both his sharp tactical style and his witty humor. He stopped playing in USCF tournament by 1990, probably sooner.

Among Robert Burns victims over the board were Grandmasters Walter Browne and Anatoly Lein. Regrettably neither of these games is preserved in ChessBase Mega 2005 and the Ohio Chess Federation has no equivalent to the Chess Dryad website ( with it's 20,000 plus database of event's played in California. I would be most grateful to anyone who could send me some of Bob's games.

5) Baltimore wins US Chess League

Led by league MVP Pascal Charboneau Baltimore convincing won the US Chess League Championship last Wednesday. Go to for the complete story.

6) IM James Rizzitano on Chess.FM

Fred Wilson writes: My guest on my internet radio show at on Tuesday, Nov. 29th, 2005, at 8:00 PM, with again be IM JIM RIZZITANO, author of "How to Beat 1. d4".

7) Susan Polgar on Topalov-Kramnik

Susan Polgar has a very interesting and active blog where she covers all aspects of the chess world. One of her more hard hitting recent pieces was on the Topalov - Kramnik match discussions. As someone who has had differences with FIDE over the years Polgar's remarks have a special weight. A lot of reader feedback on the ChessBase website was pro Kramnik and down on Topalov for trying to sidestep a match, but none of the writers mentioned several of Polgar's points, specifically that Kramnik ducked Kasparov after beating him and that he got the match with Kasparov through the back door (ie. after losing to Shirov).

Childish Games by Susan Polgar

Isn't it obvious that FIDE does not trust Kramnik and they really don't care about any type of unification match with Kramnik? They know that even if Kramnik wins, there is no guarantee that he will defend his title under FIDE auspices in the future. If he loses, he may blame the entire negotiation process. The bottom line is MONEY and EGO. If Kramnik can find big money and pay FIDE 20% fees then most of the problems are solved. If not, don't expect much.

FIDE is confident that they will continue to find sponsors for their cycles, whichever format that will be. Like it or not, FIDE is the only organization that can find money consistently. They don't need Kramnik. They don't care for Kramnik. They made that clear. They have the money of Ilyumzhinov and friends.

Kramnik decided to jump from FIDE in 2000 for a shot at Kasparov and cash when he did not even qualify for this match. He lost badly to Shirov (the one who unfairly lost the most). Ah yes, the magic word, CASH! Please don't insult the intelligence of all chess players now by telling us that he cares so much about chess and he wants this match in the best interest of chess. Kramnik is for the best interest of Kramnik. There is nothing wrong with that. Just say it straight out. He would gain more respect that way.

He is ready to defend his title? Huh? FIDE has already shown that they really do not care so much about this title and they are not going to let Kramnik hijack the World Championship title. So what is he defending? Kramnik desperately wants FIDE and Topalov to recognize his title. FIDE for sure will not fall for this trap again. Topalov is in no hurry to rescue Kramnik. So we have a stalemate just like the past few years.

If Kramnik is confident that he can organize a championship cycle on his own then he would have done it long ago. If he cannot and wants to crawl back to FIDE for this match then don't insult the other two parties. Isn't that obvious? Does he really expect Topalov and FIDE to go down on their knees and accept his offer? What school of negotiation does this come from? This is not in the best interest of chess and it will hurt him more. This is just as bad as the excuse of the Brissago affect. He wants to feel that he is in the same class as Kasparov. I am sorry but only Kasparov is in the class of Kasparov, good or bad.

Everything could have been avoided if Kramnik had the courage to offer Kasparov a rematch a few years ago, especially when Kasparov basically took him under his wing. But he wanted to avoid this match at all costs. This is Kramnik's battle. Have you seen even one top GM jumping in to vigorously defend Kramnik? No. That is because no one cares. I have seen many top GMs offering the opposite view. He made his mess. Now he needs to fix his own mess. History will be will be the judge and I can assure you that many people have considered him a coward for ducking Kasparov.

I could not care less one way or another. Chess professionals have bigger problems to deal with than having to worry about Kramnik. As I said many times in the past, I like his game. I admire his style of play. Kramnik is a wonderful player and I have nothing against him on a personal level. I just think that he has made a series of blunders which are bad for chess after defeating Kasparov.

This is my take. Any professional chess player has a number of options if they don't like FIDE:

1. Bolt like Kasparov did and find his own sponsors and money

2. Work to change the leadership of FIDE

3. Do nothing and take the money

4. Leave the game

5. Complain, complain, complain but do nothing

I am sure that this game is not over. In the mean time, expect more insults from all parties. I truly hope this will not be the case for the sake of chess but I will not hold my breath. Welcome to the world of chess 2005.

8) U.S. - Russia Scholastic Chess Match

American scholastic players will have the opportunity to travel to Russia to compete in the first scholastic chess match between American and Russian scholastic chess players. The Karpov International School of Chess (Lindsborg, KS), in cooperation with the U.S. and Russian Chess Federations, are organizing the match. The match will be held in Moscow from March 25 - April 1, 2006 at the site of the Aeroflot-Open tournament (Hotel Izmailovo). Four-time Women's World Champion and 5-time Gold Olympiad winner, Grandmaster Susan Polgar, will lead the American delegation to Moscow.

The Russian Chess Federation, an official partner for the event, will help with organizing housing (double-occupancy), three meals a day, a tour of Moscow (including a tour of the Kremlin), air transportation from New York and Los Angeles to Moscow, travel visas, and insurance.

The total cost for the trip, including the above, is $1,450 from New York and $1,530 from Los Angeles if paid in full by December 31, 2005. After that date the cost will be $1,600. A non-refundable deposit of $150 is to be paid by December 31, 2005. The total amount for the trip is to be paid by February 10, 2006.

There will be no special selection criteria for the trip. Any USCF scholastic chess player can sign up for the trip. Those under 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, while those over the age of 14 may travel with teams and coaches. Accompanying persons may participate in all activities other than the tournament.The match-tournament (non-rated) will have 5 rounds, G/60.

For trip registration and questions please e-mail or call 785-227-2224.

9) Jennifer Shahade in the NY Times

Chess is all over the news these days. Last Sunday there were two pieces in the New York Times . One, entitled Sex and Chess. Is She a Queen or a Pawn? by Dylan Loeb McClain writes about GM Tkachiev's World Chess Beauty Contest and related topics .

The other article is by former US Womens Champion Jennifer Shahade ( whose new book Chess Bitch (Siles Press 2005) has received positive reviews in and out of the chess world.

Published: November 27, 2005

CHESS in America is having a crisis. There were no American contenders in the recent world chess championship tournament in San Luis, Argentina, which was limited to the world's top eight players. The closest American candidate for the tournament was Hikaru Nakamura - a 17-year-old who is ranked 42nd in the world. But Nakamura - who at 15 became the youngest American grandmaster, breaking Bobby Fischer's record - says that he might give up pro chess because there is so little money in it. Losing Nakamura would be devastating for American chess.

How can chess save itself? No doubt it would make purists protest, but chess should steal a few moves from poker. After all, in the past few years, poker has lured away many chess masters who realized that the analytical skills they've learned from chess would pay off in online card rooms.

And that's a shame. There are plenty of smart people playing poker (and I love playing it myself), but there's no denying that when it comes to developing mental acuity, chess wins hands down, so to speak. Dan Harrington, a former world poker champion who quit chess because there wasn't enough money in it, laments that poker is thin and ephemeral in comparison.

So here are some poker-inspired ideas for chess:

Teach it more. Web sites and TV programs that explain the rules of poker abound. Chess needs to do the same. Programs like Chess-in-the-Schools in New York and the American Foundation for Chess, in Seattle, are improving chess literacy by teaching the game to schoolchildren.

But there are very few opportunities for adults to learn the basics. Chess Web sites, like that of the United States Chess Federation, should include interactive tutorials on how the pieces move. Chess tournaments, which are now closed gatherings of devotees, should include more basic commentary and instruction.

Treat it as a sport. Poker players are now respected as athletes, and tournaments are covered as major sporting events, with extensive ESPN coverage. Why not chess?

Tournaments are adrenaline-fueled competitions, and top grandmasters lift weights and jog to prepare themselves for the pressure of clutch games. After a long chess game, I'm hungrier and more tired than I am after my cardio-kickboxing class. Funny, lively announcers can make the moves dramatic - and there's no question that chess is full of eccentric and engaging characters with made-for-TV stories. It's too bad that the matches that are most widely reported usually involve a grandmaster playing against a computer.

Make its tournaments more exciting. Poker tournaments, the center of the poker boom, are "knockouts," meaning that players are eliminated one by one until the champion has all the chips. Most chess tournaments are now arranged so that everyone keeps playing till the end, and whoever amasses the most points is champion.

As a result, the most important games are often played in the middle of the tournament, making the actual finish an anticlimax. For instance, at the world championship tournament in Argentina, the winner, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria, virtually clinched the world title a week before the event was over.

Organizers of the 2006 American chess championship, to be held in San Diego, are moving in the right direction. They plan to split the 64-player field into two tournaments, and on the last day, the two winners will face off in a match for the title, guaranteeing a thrilling finale. But they should go even further, and run the championship as a knockout.

Of course, there are limits to how much chess can, or should, learn from poker. A Chris Moneymaker can come out of nowhere to win a poker championship, but an unknown will never beat Topalov in a single game. Because there is no luck in chess, gambling at tournaments is unfeasible - after all, why would an amateur with no chance to win contribute to a chess pot?

Further, Internet chess cheating, already a problem because dishonest players can use sophisticated computer programs to decide their moves, would balloon out of control if money were at stake. (Online card rooms don't have the same problem, because poker computers are still too weak to dominate human opponents.)

But if more exciting tournaments lead to more television coverage, big sponsors and money will follow. While chess may not have poker's illicit glamour, it does enjoy a reputation as symbolic of intelligence and good taste. With a few tweaks, chess can compete with poker.

But we need to move fast before we lose a generation of chess talent. An average poker professional can earn six figures and become a television personality, but Nakamura, the biggest American chess hope since Fischer, cannot. To raise the stature of chess in America, we'll have to do what chess players are best at - calculate many moves ahead.

Jennifer Shahade, the United States women's chess champion in 2002 and 2004, is the author of a recent book about women in chess.

10) Here and There

Nicolas Yap, Daniel Schwarz, Adarsh Konda and Michael Aigner tied for first in the East Bay Chess Club Thanksgiving tournament with 4.5/6. The three section event drew 71 players. Go to for the crosstable.

IM Vinay Bhat writes: the East Bay Chess Club will be hosting a GM/IM Swiss which runs runs from December 17-23, with 2 rounds apiece on the weekend days, and one round per day during the weekdays. The time control is 40/2, SD/1. The prizes are laid out on the web flyer: . Like the Koltanowski Memorial you held at the Mechanics in 2000, we'll be running it with accelerated pairings to help norm-seekers' . Among those already signed up to play include GMs Yermolinsky, Ehlvest and Fedorowicz and IMs Freidel Kraai and Bhat.

IM Gregory Shahade is at it again. As if qualifying for the US Championship, being elected to the USCF Executive Board and founding the US Chess League weren't enough the former Philly Whiz kid, who now calls New York home, has started a special program to help promising young American players who have had the opportunities. Shahade writes on the homepage of his new venture( - Welcome to the homepage of the United States Chess School! This is a new chess training program designed for the strongest players in the nation. A few times per year, some of the most talented chess players in the country will be given a free week long training session with GM Gregory Kaidanov in Lexington, Kentucky. For now there will be two groups of students, one comprising of younger kids in the 9-12 age group and one that is aimed towards older players. The first session is already scheduled for January 2nd-8th!

The Miami International closed tournament took place on 16-20 November in the World Chess Hall of Fame in Miami, Florida.

Final standings:

1-3. GM Becerra (USA 2549), GM de Firmian (USA 2552) and IM Martin del Campo (MEX 2416) - 6/9,

4. IM Perelshteyn (USA 2523) - 5½.

5-7. Matikozian (ARM 2486), FM Marcel Martinez (USA 2402) and GM Alonso Zapata (COL 2485) - 4,

8. Dr. Moskow (USA 2238) - 3½.

9-10. IMs Lugo (USA 2406) and Young (PHI 2416) - 3.

Ildar Ibragimov, Alexander Goldin and Jaan Ehlvest tied for first at 5/6 in the National Chess Congress held over Thanksgiving Day weekend in Philadelphia. Sharing fourth place at 4.5 were Emory Tate, Igor Schneider, Yury Lapshun, Alex Shabalov and Bryan Smith. Goldin and Tate got the two US Championship spots.

11) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Institute

Guthrie McClain - December 3
Jim Hurt Under 1800 - December 10-11



St. George Chess Club North American Warm-up 5SS, G/60
Location: St George Chess Center, 354 E. 600 S. #301, St George, Utah 84770.

Date: December 18, 2005
Entry Fee: $35
GMs and IMs free entry. $100 appearance reward for IMs and GMs.
Free Room and Board for Titled Players.

Prize fund: $1200 absolutely guaranteed.
Registration: Friday 17th, 6:30- 7:30, Saturday 18th 8:00 to 8:45 am.

Rounds: 1st round 9:00 am. Next rounds ASAP.
Byes must be submitted before the 2nd round for a half a point.
Award Ceremony: there will be an Awards Ceremony immediately after the last round.
All cash prizes are unconditionally guaranteed.

What to bring: chess clocks and a pen.
You can also register and have questions answered at 435-656-2117

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