Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #281

   While you're watching film, you're thinking about ways to beat people, and that's kind of the way it is with chess.Ever move, you're thinking about getting an advantage for yourself. That's how it is with football as well.

Shaun Alexander

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Karpov Interview
3) Andy Soltis on Chess.FM
4) East Bay Chess Club News
5) Shaun Alexander chessplayer
6) AF4C US Championship Qualifier for Juniors
7) Las Vegas Masters
8) Upcoming Events

The MI Chess club will be hosting the 6th Annual Henry Gross Memorial this Saturday starting at 10am. Note that starting in March all MI G/45 events will be rated full K as the USCF is discontinuing the 1/2 K option.

1) Mechanics' Institute Club News

Jennifer Shahade will be giving a reading and talk about her new book, Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport followed by a Q+A session and book signing at the Mechanics' Institute this coming Tuesday, January 31st from 5:15 to 7pm in the Member's Lounge on the 4th floor. This event, which is free to all, will feature light refreshments including cheese and wine. Copies of Chess Bitch will be available for sale for $20, a 25 percent discount off the regular selling price.

Earlier in the day, at 11:30, Jennifer will be a guest on the Ronn Owen show on the KGO (AM 810) radio station. The program is slated to go a half hour and may go even longer.

Drake Wang, Victor Ossipov, Sam Shankland, Daniel Naroditsky and Charles Faulkner are tied for first in the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon with scores of 3-0.

Daniel Naroditsky was first and Ted Castro second in the Winter Blitz Chess Festival organized by Felix German at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. The $30 entry fee probably had a negative effect on attendance - $10-$15 being the normal amount for the area - but organizer German had the satisfaction of discovering a good facility for future events. Located in the C-building at Fort Mason, the room, which could comfortably hold 50-60 players, rents for $40 a hours and with plenty of free parking and public transit nearby.

2) Karpov Interview

This May during the Chess Olympiad it appears that FIDE will have its first contested election in many years. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov , President since 1994, will be running against a ticket headed by Belgian organizer Bessel Kok who played an integral role in the GMA some time ago and has put together many events in Prague since. For awhile it looked like Anatoly Karpov would be in the race as well, but a look at the new election regulations on the FIDE website appear to make it impossible for there to be two candidates from the same federation. Since ILymzhinov and Karpov both are members of the Russian chess federation that would appear to rule Karpov out. A recent interview that Karpov gave with Oleg Pervakov, correspondent of Russian magazine, "64", would appear to indicate that Karpov will be a supporter of Kok this May. The article, which was translated by Steve Giddins, appears on the ChessBase website (

Pervakov: Are you ready to run for FIDE President?

Karpov: It has been suggested, but I have not yet made a final decision...Discussions are still ongoing. I think everybody connected with chess understands that if we allow chess to continue for another four years in its presented terrible state, it will simply disappear from the face of the earth.

Tournaments are shrinking in size, and disappearing altogether from the calendar - this is a huge problem. Linares and Dortmund have significantly reduced the number of participants. Just consider, in the world's five biggest tournaments (that is, the two above, plus Wijk aan Zee, the Poikovsky tournament that bears my name, and Sofia), there are a total of just 41 places! This only leaves open tournaments, which I, for example, would never play in. I am firmly convinced that, for a world class player, playing in open tournaments is a big mistake, because such tournaments destroy one's style.

Pervakov: You presumably already have your own program?

Karpov: What can one say? The problems are clear, and the disappearance of tournaments is one of them. And this itself is connected with another - the lack of a single world champion, a leader of the chess world, a name with which sponsors can identify.

There need to be changes, and serious ones. We need to restore the respect and image of top-flight chess. How can one talk of professional chess organization, when even the players themselves, let alone others, cannot say who the world champion is? Ok, now they have invented this combined system, but one thing is absolutely clear - the knockout system is totally wrong. You have 128 players sitting down - non-chess publications cannot even publish all the results, or report them on TV or radio. So there is no reporting at all outside of specialist chess publications. We know all this from the experience of Tilburg - one of the main reasons for the disappearance of this tournament, which ran for 15 years, was the knockout system...

Pervakov: I noticed that in Tallinn, you were talking with Bessel Kok, who has already announced his candidature [for FIDE President]. Did you discuss these questions with him?

Karpov: Yes. Of course, he recognizes the problems, because he was involved with the founding of the GMA and he is very familiar with professional chess life. In the past, he organized some of the very best tournaments ever in Brussels, events which made chess part of the cultural and sporting life of Belgium.

Pervakov: And did he suggest joining forces?

Karpov: Of course, the idea has occurred to him. People who wish to bring about change should work together. At the end of the day, the post of FIDE President sounds great, but what does it actually give one? It gives one the opportunity to restore some order, to bring ideas to fruition. Some people may think it brings personal benefit, bit not to me, and not really to Bessel either - he is a successful businessman. It is just a case of a person who, from love of chess and care about chess players, wishes to do his best to improve the situation. In that respect, I agree with him totally and I support him.

3) Andy Soltis on Chess.FM

Hi folks:

This week's guest on the internet radio show "Chess and Books with Fred Wilson" will be will again be the preeminent American chess author, GM ANDY SOLTIS.

The show runs from 8:00 to 10:00 PM (EST) every Tuesday evening. As always, there will be replays of the show almost immediately afterwards for our chess enthusiasts on the West enthusiasts on the West Coast & elsewhere, and often there will be several replays the following day.

Fred's next guest Tuesday evening Jan. 31st, 2006 will again be the preeminent American chess author, GM ANDY SOLTIS. Andy, co-winner of two US Open Chess Championships, has written over 100 books, ranging from instructional masterpieces like "Pawn Structure Chess" and "Turning Advantage into Victory in Chess" (David McKay, 2005) to his superb historical games collections such as "Soviet Chess", "Frank Marshall, United States Chess Champion", and "Bobby Fischer Rediscovered". Besides discussing his newest work, "How to Choose a Chess Move" (Batsford, 2005), Andy will give his take on the San Luis World Championship, the recent exciting Russian "Super" Championship & Corus Tournaments and much, much more! Please send questions for GM ANDY SOLTIS to".

4) East Bay Chess Club News

Snyder, Voss triumph at EBCC New Year's Swiss

Larry Snyder, who seems to always be among the contenders at the monthly EBCC weekend swisses, showed that perseverance plays off by taking sole first place in the second annual EBCC New Year's tournament. Snyder, who had been on first board in the last round of last year's event (and allowed EBCC director Andy Lee to slip away with a draw and the title), would not be denied this year, winning his final fours games en route to 5/6 points and clear first place. Ian Bourg, an EBCC newcomer took clear second with 4.5/6, and Adarsh Konda, Raleigh Foster, and Devon Brown shared third with 4/6.

Kenneth Voss was the sole winner of the Under-1750 section, winning a crucial fourth round game against tournament favorite Nelson Sowell. He drew last round game against second place finisher Bleys Rose to finish with 5/6 to Rose's 4.5/6. Third place was again a tie, between Anthony Maparara and young Vishal Dasari.

The event drew 34 players and was directed by Jamie Sawhill, Andy Lee, and David Pruess.


Liga (Bay Area Chess League): Round One Summary

The Bay Area Chess League started with a bang on Saturday, as six teams of four players each came to battle it out. The elite battle on board one was between IM Vinay Bhat of UC Berkeley and FM Robin Cunningham of Eight is Enough; although Bhat proved victorious, his team lost on the other three boards and went down to defeat. The second match, Mike's Maters versus the Fighting Knights saw the Maters team captain, NM Michael Pearson, lose to expert Sam Shankland, but the Maters prevailed on the other three boards. The final match, between Power to Pieces and East Bay Chess, followed the same pattern: Larry Snyder continued his hot streak, beating young A-player Davis Xu, but East Bay Chess won on the other boards and scored the final 3-1 victory. Go to for complete results.


EBCC Open Quads

Twenty players came to the EBCC open quads, tying a record for largest turnout to a one-day event. Unlike the above mentioned scholastic quads, no one finished with a perfect 3-0. Daichi Siegrist had a strong showing with 2.5/3 to win the top quad; Sreekar Jasthi got some last round help from Ewelina Krubnik to win the second quad outright with only 2/3, and Berkeley High top board David Knott scored 2.5/3 to win quad number three. The last two quads involved big ties, with Vishal Dasari and Jeffrey Zhang winning the fourth quad with 2.5/3 each, each nicked for a draw only by the other, and Elliott Jardin, Geoffrey Zoehfeld, and Nathan Zhang all tying with 2/3 in the bottom quad. Congratulations all!


Wednesday Night Action

The Wednesday night action tournaments have come back into bloom at the EBCC. NM Andy Lee has won the last two, dethroning the previous champ, NM Kimani Stancil. If you want a chance to try to knock out a master at a quick time control, come by and try it out!

5) Shaun Alexander chessplayer

The New York Times ran a big article by Dylan Loeb McClain on January 28th entitled Dazzling Moves on Field and Chessboard ( on Seattle Seahawk great Shaun Alexander which covered his and other professional sports stars interest in chess and Alexander's involvement with supporting chess for children and his close connection with the Seattle based America's Foundation for Chess.

6) AF4C US Championship Qualifier for Juniors

This past weekend Sarkis Agaian, Josh Bakker, Jouaquin Banawa, Salvijus Bercys, Xiao Cheng, Brianna Conely, Zhi-Ya Hu, Trevor Jackson, Aaron Kahn, Matthew Klegon, Elliott Liu and Ruixin Yang competed in a online blitz tournament to decide two qualifiers for this weekends playoff. These Champions came from the US Cadet Championship, the 2005 Supernational K-12, the Denker High School Championship and the Polgar Girls Invitational.

The winners of the blitz event were Zhi-Ya Hu and Elliott Liu who will play this weekend for a spot in the US Championship.

Thanks to Duncan Oxley for providing this information.

7) Las Vegas Masters

Hi John,

I am going to be organizing a 9-round FIDE swiss tournament in Las Vegas to run from the Saturday through Wednesday before the National Open. The Las Vegas Masters is going to be open to players rated FIDE 2200 or over and will be a good opportunity for people to obtain GM and IM 'norms'. Due to the venue, entries will be limited to the first 36 entries received. There is a projected prize fund of $3,800. It would be appreciated if you would be able to advertise the event for me and provide people with the link to the official site at


Chris Bird
Clark County Chess Club

The size of the tournament venue is limited to 36 players and so entry into the tournament will be on a "first come, first served" basis. As players confirm their participation in the event, then we will commence providing a list of the confirmed participants and their current ratings.

Confirmed Participants as of January 30th.

No. Name Rating Country
#1 GM Golod, Vitali 2577 ISR
#2 GM Mikhalevski, Victor 2570 ISR
#3 GM Kiriakov, Petr 2555 RUS
#4 GM Fontaine, Robert 2524 FRA
#5 IM Gonzalez, Renier 2470 USA
#6 IM Friedel, Joshua 2455 USA
#7 IM Kraai, Jesse 2443 USA
#8 IM Donaldson, John 2409 USA
#9 IM Vigorito, David 2359 USA

8) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Institute

Henry Gross - February 4
A.J. Fink Amateur - March 4 and 5

East Bay Chess Scholastic Quads
Sunday, February 5th, 2006
USCF rated; open to players 18 years old or younger

How it Works: A three game USCF-rated tournament, in sections of four players, each determined by USCF rating. Non-USCF members will be paired in separate unrated quads.

Entry fee: $10 if mailed before 1/29/06, $15 at site. $5 discount for EBCC Members
Prizes: Trophy to the top finisher in each quad.
Registration/Check-in: 9-9:45 AM the day of the tournament.
Rounds: 10 AM, 12 PM, and 1:30 PM
Time control: G/45
Online info and signup:

The 33rd annual People's Tournament
B and Reserve sections: Feb 11-12, 2006
Open/Expert and A sections: Feb 18-20, 2006
Hosted by the East Bay Chess Club

The Reserve and B sections will play five rounds on February 11-12, which is the weekend before President's Day. The Open/Expert and A sections will compete in the usual six round format on February 18-20. If you register before February 4th, the entry fee is $35 for U1800 and $40 for 1800+. It goes up $5 for on-site registration.

Location: East Bay Chess Club; please note the event is NOT at UC Berkeley this year!

UNDER 1800 on February 11-12:
Rounds: 10 AM, 2 PM, and 6 PM on Saturday; 11 AM and 3 PM on Sunday
Time control: 40/90 + SD/30
Prizes: B Section: $190, $110, $70
Prizes: Reserve Section (U1600): $170, $105, $45; U1400: $75, $35

OVER 1800 on February 18-20:
Rounds: 10 AM and 4:00 PM on all 3 days
Time control: 40/2 + SD/1
Prizes: Open/Expert Section: $400, $300, $200, $100; U2200: $160, $80, $40
Prizes: A Section: $220, $110, $60

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