Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #286

   So that a game of chess should be concluded in one evening, the time for thought had to be reduced. This was insisted on by people who were interested in making chess more attractive to the public. What they thought was probably this: if the game of chess is shortened you remove what is complicated and intricate from chess, so that even a monkey will be able to understand it. That is, don't raise the level of standard of the of the public, but lower the standard of Grandmasters - that is what the directors of FIDE decided.

Victor Kortchnoi (Chess is My Life, page 204)

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) US Amateur Team Results
3) Chess Smorgasbord in Chicago 
4) RIP Gary Abram (1930-2006) by Ben Finegfold
5) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Club News

For many years (1951-1976) the California Chess Reporter was the official publication for chess in California. During the entire time the driving force behind it the late Guthrie McClain who did so much for chess in the Golden State. A life-long member of the Mechanics', Mr. McClain was instrumental in bringing many GMs to the MI.

The following forgotten games (not in Mega 2006 - only the last in CalBase) played by a young Larry Christiansen show the great talent that would soon allow him to be come a GM without ever holding the IM title. All annotations, unless noted, appeared without attribution in the CCR.

IM David Strauss of San Francisco was Larry's sparring partner in Riverside in the mid- 1970s.

Strauss,D - Christiansen,L [B51]
Training Match Riverside, 1974

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Bb5 e5?! 5.d3 Be7 6.Nd5 Nf6 7.Nxe7! Qa5+?! 8.Nd2! Qxb5 9.Nxc8 Rxc8 10.00 00 11.Nc4 Ne8 12.f4 Qa6 13.Qg4?! f5! 14.exf5 Nf6 15.Qd1 e4! 16.Nxd6 Rcd8 17.dxe4 Nd4 18.e5 Ne4 19.Be3!

19.Nxe4 Fritz likes this for White at first glance but after 19...Ne2+ 20.Kh1 Rxd1 21.Rxd1 Qc4 22.Nd6 Qxc2 23.Be3 Qxb2 24.e6 Nc3 25.Re1 Nd5 it changes its opinion.

19...Ne2+ 20.Kh1 Rxd6! 21.exd6 N4g3+! 22.hxg3 Rf6 23.Qxe2!

23.Qd5+ Kh8 24.Qe6 is an idea of Fritz that needs to be checked. 24...Rxe6 25.fxe6 Qxd6 26.Rad1 - this looks good for White.; 23.Bg1 Rxd6 24.Qe1 (24.Bh2!?) 24...Rh6+ 25.Bh2 Rxh2+ 26.Kxh2 Qh6#

23...Qxe2 24.Bxc5 Qb5 25.b4

25.Ba3?? Qb6

25...b6 26.Bd4 Rxd6 27.c3 Qxf5 28.Rae1 Re6 29.Be5 Qg4 30.Rf3 h5 1/2-1/2

California Chess Reporter, November-December 1975, p.69

The following game is quite remarkable. It's a real four Queens game!

Christiansen,L - Strauss,D [B33]
Training Match Riverside, 1974

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Na3 f5!? 10.Qh5 d5!?

10...b5! is why this line isn't seen today.

11.000 Nd4

11...Bxa3 12.bxa3 fxe4 13.Rxd5 (13.Nxd5 Be6 was seen in G. Treppner-L.Christiansen(!), Germany (youth under 18 event) 1973 13...Qe7 14.Nxe4 Qxa3+ 15.Kd1 Be6 16.Nd6+ Ke7 17.Qg5+ Kf8 18.Qh6+ Ke7 19.Qg5+ 1/11/2 Fischer-Seidler, Buenos Aires (simul) 1971.


12.Nxd5 Bxa3 13.bxa3 Be6 14.Qh6 Rc8 15.Qg7 Rxc2+ 16.Kb1 Qb6+ 17.Nxb6 Bxa2+ 18.Ka1 Nb3# Minev.

12...Bxa3 13.bxa3 Qa5 14.Rxd4! exd4 15.Bb5+! axb5 16.Re1+ Kd8!

TN : (JD - there are no games in Mega 2006 with this position) 16...Be6 was seen before.

17.Qh4+ Kc7 18.Re7+ Kc6! 19.Qf6+ Be6!

19...Kc5? 20.Ne4+

20.fxe6 dxc3 21.exf7+ Kc5 22.Rxb7! Rac8!

22...Qxa3+ 23.Kd1+- Rac8 (23...Rhc8 24.f8Q+! Rxf8 25.Qe7+) 24.Rc7+!; 22...Rad8 23.Qe7+ Kc6 24.Ra7 Qb6 25.Qf6+ Kc5 26.Qxc3+ Kd6 27.Qb4+ Kc6 28.Re7+-.


23.Qe7+ with the idea 23...Kc6 24.Ra7 should be checked.

23...Qxa3+ 24.Kd1 Qb2 25.Qd6+ Kc4 26.Qxd5+ Kb4 27.Qd6+! Rc5 28.a3+! Kxa3! 29.Qxc5+ Ka2 30.Qd5+?


30...Kb1 31.Rb7 Qxc2+ 32.Ke1 Qc1+ 33.Ke2 Qb2+ 34.Kf3 c2 35.Rxb5 c1Q 36.Qf5+ Qcc2 37.f8Q

A position for a diagram (JD)!

37...Rxf8 38.Rxb2+ Kxb2 39.Qxf8 Qc6+ 40.Ke3 Qb6+ 41.Kd3 Qg6+ 42.Kd4 Qxg2 43.Qb8+ Ka2 44.Qg3 Qc6 45.Ke5 Qe8+ 46.Kf6 Qf8+ 47.Kg5 Qe7+ 48.Kh6 Qe4 49.f4 Qf5 50.h4 Kb1 51.Qg5 Qf7 52.f5 Ka2 53.f6 Ka3 54.Qg7 Qd5 55.Qe7+ Ka4 56.f7 Qd2+ 57.Kg7 Qd4+ 58.Qf6 Qg4+ 59.Kh8 10

California Chess Reporter November-December 1975, p. 70.

Christisnsen,L - Mohan,R [B30]
Canadian Open Montreal, 1974

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.00 Nge7 5.Re1 a6 6.Bf1 Ng6 7.c3 Be7 8.d4 cxd4 9.cxd4 d5 10.e5 00 11.Nc3 f6 12.exf6 Bxf6 13.Be3 e5?! 14.dxe5 Ngxe5 15.Nxe5 Bxe5 16.Qxd5+ Qxd5 17.Nxd5 Bxb2 18.Rab1 Bd4?! 19.Ne7+ Kh8 20.Bxd4 Nxd4 21.Rb4! Rd8

21...Nf5 22.Nxc8; 21...Nc2 22.Ng6+!

22.Rxd4! Rxd4 23.Nc6! 10

California Chess Reporter, November-December 1975, page 70.

Christiansen,L - Blackstone ,J [B51]
American Open Santa Monica (8), 1974

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.d4 a6 5.Bxd7+ Bxd7 6.dxc5 dxc5 7.Nc3 e6 8.00 Nf6 9.Bg5 Bc6 10.Qe2 Be7 11.Rad1 Qc7 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Nd5! Qa5!? 14.Nd2! Bb5 15.Nxf6+ gxf6 16.Nc4?!


16...Qc7 17.a4! Bxc4 18.Qxc4 Ke7 19.f4 Rhd8 20.f5 Qe5 21.fxe6 fxe6 22.Qb3! Qxe4 23.Rde1 Qd5 24.Qh3 h5 25.c4! Qd4+ 26.Kh1 Qg4 27.Qe3 Rd4 28.h3! Qg8 29.Qf3!+- f5 30.Qxf5 Rc8 31.Qf6+ Kd6 32.b4 b6 33.Rd1 Qh8 34.bxc5+ bxc5 35.Rxd4+ cxd4 36.c5+! Kd5!? 37.Qf3+ Kc4?

37...Kxc5 38.Qb7!

38.Rc1+ Kb4 39.Qb7+ Ka5 40.Qb6+ 10

California Chess Reporter November-December 1975, p. 71

2) US Amateur Team Results

One of the biggest weekends of the year for chess players in the United States is President's Day Weekend and this year was no exception as the four Amateur team events brought out many. The following information comes from the USCF website and was prepared by Joan Dubois. A special congratulations to Bay Area Masters Shikumar Shivaji and John Langreck who were one half of the winning team from the Midwest event

Chess Team Caltech Wins
2006 U.S. Amateur West Championship

Winners of the 23rd Annual U.S. Amateur Team West, held from February 18-20 at the Marina San Pedro Hotel, were Caltech (Patrick Hummel, Eugene Yanayt, Howard Liu, and Joshua Gutman) with 5 1/2 -1/2. This is Caltech's third victory in four years (they also took first in 2003 and 2004), but their dynasty is in jeopardy, as the core of their team will be graduating this spring.

Second with 5-1 went to a team of visitors form Arizona, The Knight the King Smacked My Bishop (Robby Adamson, Leonardo Martinez, Jonathan Cox, and Sean Higgins). Third on tiebreak at 4 1/2 were Good Knight and Good Rook (Michael Casella, Mike Zaloznyy, Gevorg Vardanyan, and Chris Lee), which also received a special prize for best team name.

Earning Board prizes Allan Pleasants (1), Eugene Yanayt (2), Gevorg Vardanyan (3), Joshua Gutman (4), and Aldrich Ong (Alternate).

Also worthy of note was the return of GM William Lombardy, a veteran of the 1960 World Student Team Championship, playing first board for A Priest and a Bishop. Though clearly a bit rusty, he had many tales to tell of the "good old days."

Forty-six teams competed in the main event, along with a near-record 33 in the one-day Scholastic Team. John Hillery and Elie Hsiao directed. Complete standings are available at

Shivaji, Langreck, Dean and Kistler Win
2006 US Amateur Team Midwest Chess Championship

The 2006 US Amateur Team Midwest was held Feb. 18-19 at the Doubletree Oakbrook Hotel in Oakbrook, Illinois. Winning team (on tie breaks)with 4 points: 2 FMs and 2 Losers [Shivkumar Shivaji, John Langreck, Jim Dean, & Les Kistler], which was the top rated team at 2188. 2nd place: CICL [Gustavo Garzon, Peter Stein, Yuri Fridman, & Robert D Morris]. Also scoring 4 points Top U2000 (with a team rating of 1992): Team G [GM Dmitry Gurevich, Zach Kasiurak, Eric Rosen, Sam Schmakel, & Douglas Baird].

Top Team in the Reserve section with 4.5 points: Title Bout [Patrick Lacey, Dan Gannon, Mark Hamilton, Jeff Paykin, & Mases Hagopian], which was the top rated team at 1798. Tied at 4 points were (2nd on tie break): Team Wisconsin [Benjamin Weaver, Andy Applebaum, Juan Hernandez, & Robbie Kleinmuntz], and none of the team members are from Wisconsin. Top team 1400-1599 at 4 points: Meet the Forkers [Michael Failor, Nick Hyslop, Jonathan Doran, & Michael Bartus]. 3rd place with 4 points: A Master and Three Patzers [Glen Gratz, Mike Barkdoll, Jacek Rejdych, & Don Ward].

In the Scholastic Section 3 teams finished with 4 points. Winning on tie break was Pushy Pawns [Wilmette Jr High], 2nd was, & 3rd was Nichols Lions.

The prize of 4 "Bad Bishop" chess CDs for Best Team Name went to: Brokeback Maters.

Winning board prizes in the Open were: Bd1 IM Angelo Young [5 points], Bd2 John Langreck [5 points], Bd3 Yuri Fridman, Bd4 Robert D Morris, Alternate Bryon Chen.

This press release was submitted by Lawrence Cohen, Organizer of this years event. Details for an online playoff between the winners of Amateur Team East, Midwest, South and West will be announced soon.

Excalibur Electronics Excels Everyone at
US Amateur Team South Chess Championship

Captained by Gil Luna, the Excalibur Electronics team won the 2006 US Amateur Team South Championship convincingly with a 5-0 record. The team had been disappointed in 2005 by losing out on tiebreaks when five teams had finished tied at 4-1 and brought in a new star, 16-year old Javier Gonzalez to play 3rd board. This seemed to do the trick, as thanks to Gonzalez (4?-?) and GM Julio Becerra (5-0), the team won every match. Their full lineup was: GM Julio Becerra (2624), Charles Galofre (2111), Javier Gonzalez (2027), and Gil Luna(1961) giving the team a 2181 rating.

Finishing 2nd (on tiebreaks) was Masters and Masters (2197) [ Daniel Ludwig (2312), John Nardandrea (2211), Larry Storch (2204), and David Masters ]. Third was Goldilocks and the Four Bears (2177) [ Wilmer Chavira (2222), Corey Acor (2216), Peter Dyson (2196), Steve Chakis (2073), and Chuck "Goldilocks" Hall (2033) ]. Both teams finished with 4-1 records losing only to Excalibur. Of note is that the 2nd boards of both these teams finished at 5-0 the only perfect scorers besides Becerra.

Under 2000 was taken by Brian Goldstein's team on tiebreaks over three other teams. Clermonts' Hopkins Hopping Knights and Chess Pains? Call 1-800-ASK-GARRY won the Under 1800 and Under 1600 prizes respectively tied at 2?-2?.The computer had to go to the 3rd tiebreak to determine that the Under 1400 prize was won by Mating Masters.

Board Prizes: 1. Becerra, 2. Nardandrea (on tiebreaks), 3. Gonzalez, 4.Timothy Woodard (on tiebreaks).

The closest and hardest contest was for the "Best Name" Award as several teams presented creative names. It was narrowed down to two names, and after many agonizing hours, the mental coin flip went to "Philidor's 5th Grade Symphony" over "Cheney-Winchester Attack, Closed Variation with ... 0-0".

In the Scholastics Team event Morphy's Law (1148) also swept the field finishing 5-0, but they also won all four board prizes : 1. Jeffrey Aye (1373), 2. Michael Fang (1308), 3.Patrick Ledzian (1015) (on tiebreaks), 4. Chase Jaycox (896)

Bainshanski's Boys (Harrison Leven, Corey Smith, Brandon Trueba, and Quincy Sklar) was second. Terminators (Tommy Mirchandani, Benchamin Chin, Christopher Gomez, Tyler Rhodes, and Steven Rogers) was third.

IQ Zone "A" (Manuel De Freitas, Alex Paez, Miguelangel Hernandez, and Alejandro Rodriguez) was top Under 1000, while St. Barnabas #1 (Cameron Tucker, Nacho Fernandez, Caeland Hickman, and Laura Schwanebeck) became top Under 800.

The Checkmare Experience won the Scholastic "Best Name" Award.

(This press release was submitted by Harvey Lerman.) The event was held Feb. 17-19 at the Travelodge Hotel in Orlando, FL.

My G8 Predecessors Wins
2006 U.S. Amateur Team East Chess Championship

1088 chess enthusiasts made up 272 teams to compete in the 2006 U.S. Amateur Team (USATE) Chess Championship held at the Parsippany Hilton Feb. 18-20 in Parsippany, New Jersey. In addition to chess being the ultimate entertainment at this event one of the highlights is the costume competition. Even if you are not one to experience the thrill of the chess competition+being a spectator could just be one of the most exciting times you've ever had at a chess championship!

(My G8 Predecessors secured first place and will represent the USATE in an online playoff against the other three winners from the: 2006 U.S. Amateur Team Mid-West (USATMW), 2006 U.S. Amateur Team West (USATW) and 2006 U.S. Amateur Team South (USATS). Details for the playoff will be announced soon.

1st Place: My G8 Predecessors
2nd Place: UTD White
3rd Place: Mike Khodarkovsky's Tycoons
4th Place: The Fed Express
5th Place: Hikaru Wins the Games

Top Teams in the Under
U2100: Hot Pastrami Saemich
U2000: ICA Dads
U1900: Chessketeers
U1800: Topalov Potion #9
U1700: 3 Kings & a Wise Guy
U1600: Quadrunks
U1500: I Fawk You
U1400: Rosetree Media School District
U1300: Apples and West Oranges
U1200: Metuchen Team D
U1000: St. Joe's Brothers

Top College: UTD Orange
Top High School: Gotham Youth
Top Middle School: The Digs
Top Elementary School: Fantastic Four
Top 2 Scholastic Teams: Guess Who's the Ju & Anti-Socialist Party
Mixed Doubles: 25% FOB
Seniors: Fun with Nick and Jay
Military: Black Knights
Company Team: Torre Attack
Old Timers Trophy: Dean Bisguiers Dreadnoughts
Family: Murden Clan

Connecticut: Which Came First: The Chedkin or the Egg
Delaware: Delaware Chess Teens
Maryland: Putting Fish(er) on Ice
Massachusetts: My G8 Predecessors
New Jersey: ICA Dads
New York: The Fed Express
Pennsylvania: Floorward Bound
Virginia: Team that Beat Us
Ethel Collins Perseverance Award: St. Joseph's Fifty Sixers

6 - 0 Scores:
Glenn Hart Alt.
Iosif Sandler Bd 3
Manan Pandya Bd 4
Ilya Krasik Bd 3
Jayson Lian Alt.
Nowell Sheinwald Bd 4
Harry Cohen Bd 3
Alan Price Bd 1
Anna Zatonsikih Bd 1
Charles Musselman Bd 3
Joey Gasis Bd 4
Andrei Zaremba Bd 3

Details for an online playoff between the winners of Amateur Team East, Midwest, South and West will be announced soon.

3) Chess Smorgasbord in Chicago

Congratulations to Sevan A. Muradian who has prepared a chess extravaganza this April 18-22 at the AmeriSuites Hotel in Schaumburg. He provides the following information.

Please note these are ratings from the Jan 2006 rating list. The April 2006 rating list is to be used for the event. As a result, required scores for norms could change up or down depending on flucuations in participant ratings.

GM-A; Average rating of the event 2493; 6/9 for GM norm

GM Y. Shulman - USA - FIDE 2581
GM V. Mikhalevski - ISR - FIDE 2570
GM N. Mitkov - MKD - FIDE 2552
IM B. Finegold - USA - FIDE 2563
IM S. Smetankin - BLR - FIDE 2485
IM J. Freidel - USA - FIDE 2455
IM S. Kriventsov - USA - FIDE 2449
IM R. Martin del Campo - MEX - FIDE 2433
IM-elect A. Zatonskih - USA - FIDE 2433
IM-elect J. van de Mortel - NED - FIDE 2412

GM-B; Average rating of the event - 2421; 7/9 for GM norm, 5/9 for IM norm

GM V. Golod - ISR - FIDE 2577
GM V. Georgiev - MKD - FIDE 2539
GM D. Gurevich - USA - FIDE 2503
IM R. Burnett - USA - FIDE 2397
IM I. Scekic - SCG - FIDE 2395
IM E. Lawson - CAN - FIDE 2383
WGM R. Goletiani - USA - FIDE 2378
IM A. Almeida - MEX - FIDE 2369
IM D. Kopec - USA - FIDE 2362
FM P. Bereolos - USA - FIDE 2307

IM-C; Average rating of the event - 2292; 6.5/9 for IM norm for all players except Pasalic and Sorkin; 7/9 for Pasalic and Sorkin with 1 point short for cutoff for 6.5/9

GM M. Sher - USA - FIDE 2431
GM A. Bisguier - USA - FIDE 2256
CM M. Pasalic - GER FIDE 2363
CM I. Sorkin - ISR - FIDE 2365
FM R. Hess - USA - FIDE 2328
FM I. Tsyganov - USA - FIDE 2281
CM A. Rios - MEX - FIDE 2244
CM P. Karagianis - USA - FIDE 2226
FM A. Chow - USA - FIDE 2220
CM A. Vishnuvardhan - IND - FIDE 2205

4) RIP Gary Abram (1930-2006) by Ben Finegfold

IM Ben Finegold recently posted this tribute on his site (

Former Michigan chess player and World Class Correspondence Player Gary Abram died yesterday, Thursday, February 23, 2006. Gary was a member of the Wayne State University Chess Team over 40 years ago, along with Michigan Masters Wes Burgar and Ron Finegold. OTB, Gary was 1900-2100 strength, but his ICCF rating was 2558, and he was clearly one of the world's strongest correspondence players. Although he did not play the last few years of his life, he was ranked =317th in the World on the ICCF rating list, but, clearly, he was one of the top 100 players in the World. Gary became an ICCF IM in 1991 and was the 1963 Golden Knights Champion. Gary became ill a few years ago with Parkinson's disease, and as a result no longer played chess. Gary moved to the NYC area and lived the last few years of his life in Kearny, NJ.

Here are two of his better efforts from "Postal Chess" as he knew it.

Hesse,Guenter - Abram,Gary [C84]W-ch14 sf corr, 1987
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 a6 6.Ba4 Be7 7.Qe2 f5 8.dxe5 0-0 9.Be3 d5 10.exd6 Bxd6 11.Nbd2 Nxd2 12.Bxd2 Qf6 13.Rfe1 Bd7 14.Ng5 Qg6 15.f4 h6 16.Nf3 Rae8 17.Qf2 Re4 18.Bb3+ Be6 19.Nh4 Qf7 20.Bxe6 Qxe6 21.c3 b6 22.Kh1 Bc5 23.Qg3 Rd8 24.Nf3 a5 25.h3 a4 26.Qh4 Rd3 27.b4 Be7 28.Qf2 Bf6 29.Rac1 Qxa2 30.Ra1 Qd5 31.Rxa4 Bxc3 32.Bxc3 Rxc3 33.Nd2 Rxe1+ 34.Qxe1 Rxh3+ 35.Kg1 Qd4+ 0-1

Abram,Gary - Peli,Giora [B93]olm11 corr8796, 1987
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f4 Qc7 7.Bd3 e5 8.Nf3 b5 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.Kh1 Bb7 11.a4 bxa4 12.Rxa4 Be7 13.fxe5 dxe5 14.Bg5 0-0 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.exd5 Nc5 17.Rc4 e4 18.Bxf6 exd3 19.Bd4 Qa5 20.Bxc5 Bxc5 21.Qxd3 Be7 22.Ne5 Qb5 23.b3 Bd6 24.Nxf7 Rxf7 25.Rxf7 Kxf7 26.Qf5+ Kg8 27.Qe6+ Kh8 28.Qxd6 Qe8 29.h3 h6 30.Qg3 Qf8 31.Rc7 Rd8 32.c4 Qf6 33.Kh2 h5 34.Rc6 Qd4 35.Qg5 Rf8 36.Qxh5+ Kg8 37.Qg5 a5 38.Rc7 Rf1 39.Rc8+ Kf7 40.Qh5+ 1-0

5) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Institute

Max Wilkerson - March 18
Imre Konig - April 15
Charles Powell - May 6

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