Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #289

   If you want to become a better player, you need better habits, and you cultivate better habits through training. The best training is the kind that pushes you up against the edges of your comfort zone, where you force yourself to take responsibility for difficult decisions. It is so much easier to read books that give strategic guidelines, hints and tips, etc., but what you need is "know how" and that means learning by doing.

Jonathan Rowson writing in Chess for Zebras

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News 
2) Peter Manetti by Bleys Rose
3) Larry Christiansen on Chess. F.M.
4) Igor Ivanov and Erik Osbun
5) Here and There
6) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Club News

The Spring Tuesday Night Marathon starts this Tuesday evening. It will run eight weeks with each player allowed up to 3 half point byes for the first six rounds. One of the nice things about this event is that we often see old timers deciding to make a comeback in these events as the one game a week format is more comfortable than four or five games on a weekend.

As a matter of policy I don't include book reviews in the Newsletter but am making an exception for MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky's latest effort.

Chess Explained: The Classical Sicilian (Gambit 2006 -, 112 pages, figurine algebraic, paperback, $19.95) by Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky is the first in a series of new opening books by Gambit. Judging from this volume the series is something different. This is not your traditional heavy duty theoretical work with lots of analysis and little explanation, rather it seeks to impart the essentials without dumbing down the material to the level of many introductory opening books.

Yermolinsky, whose previous book, The Road to Chess Improvement was well received by critics and public alike, shares his experiences on the Black side of the Classical Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6) acquired from several decades testing it against strong Grandmasters. He does this by presenting 25 deeply annotated games which examine each of White's tries including 6.g3, 6.f3, 6.Be3, 6.Be2 and the two most principled systems 6.Bc4 and 6.Bg5. In each of the games Yermo not only points out the theoretical niceties of the variation, but also takes special care to explain common middlegame themes such as the doubled f-pawn for two Bishops structure seen in some lines of the Richter-Rauzer (6.Bg5) . There is more explanatory prose than variations given, but the commentary is insightful enough that the reader is quickly keyed into what is important.

As GM Yermolinsky points out in his introduction the Classical Sicilian is not as popular at the top levels as it was 15 years ago. This objectivity extends to Yermo's evaluation of individual lines where it is clear that he feels the Richter-Rauzer is White's most testing response. He doesn't hide the fact that in many lines Black is looking for improvements. Not for nothing Yermo calls the sequence 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0-0-0 Bd7 9.f4 b5 10.Bxf6 gxf6 the Kozul Suicide Variation for the Croatian Grandmaster who has passionately but not always successfully championed the Black side. Prospective Classical Sicilian defenders can take heart in the numerous suggestions and improvements that GM Yermolinsky offers.

Can this book teach you enough to play the Black side of this opening? I believe the answer is an unequivocally yes for all rated from 2000-2400. Those below may find it a bit too detailed and will need to work harder to keep up. Experts and Masters will find this book just right. I think it may find an audience among stronger players, particularly those thinking of taking up the Classical Sicilian who are looking for some orientation before plunging into heavy duty study.

2) Peter Manetti by Bleys Rose

Memorial services for Peter Manetti, a Guerneville artist and local chess master, will be held Saturday.

Manetti was 66 when he died March 10 of prostate cancer at a convalescent center in Sebastopol.

While working as a landscaper, he was also an artist who often sold his woodcarvings and sketches in San Francisco.

Having taken up chess at a young age, he played in California's first international tournament in Lone Pine in 1972. He was an acclaimed chess master who tutored many schoolchildren the game and could often be found in Sonoma County coffeehouses giving chess lessons.

He was born in Germany and his father died in World War II. His mother brought him to New York at the age of 12.

He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and became fluent in several languages through his international travels.

He attended art school in New York and came to California in the mid-1960s in search of rural and alternative lifestyles. Still searching for country atmosphere, his family said he moved from Berkeley to Russian River area in the mid-1970s

Separated from his wife, Generosa Manetti of Santa Rosa, he raised three daughters in the Guerneville and Pocket Canyon area.

In addition to his former wife, he is survived by his daughters, Barbara Schilling of Santa Rosa, Diana Manetti of Colorado and Xhana Manetti of Sonoma County, and four grandchildren.

"He was a great father who could love the Three Stooges, the works of Dutch painter Vermeer, Hitchcock's movie Vertigo and anything to do with world history and share it all with his girls," said daughter Barbara Schilling.

At his request, services for family and friends will be private.

3) Larry Christiansen on Chess. F.M.

Hi folks:

This week's guest on the internet radio show "Chess and Books with Fred Wilson" will be the fantastic attacking player GM LARRY CHRISTIANSEN.

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 Coast & elsewhere, and often there will be several replays the following day.

You can access it at the following website:, ONLY IF YOU ARE AN ICC MEMBER (a decision with which I disagree). However, if you visit you can sign up for a one week FREE trial membership, listen to my show that week, and access the other good stuff on while you're at it!

"Fred's next guest on Tuesday evening, May 13th, 2006 will be one of the foremost attacking players of our time, three time American Chess Champion GM LARRY CHRISTIANSEN. First & foremost, Larry will discuss his terrific US Championship result in San Diego, tying for first in Group B with GMs Shulman & Kamsky only to lose out in not qualifiying for the final against GM Onischuk because of "tie-breaks". Larry, who has also played on nine olympic chess teams, captained two others and won over twenty international tournaments, will also give his "take" on the changing contemporary American chess scene along with his current work as a lecturer and teacher. And, of course he will discuss how he came to write his already much admired manual on attacking play, "Storming the Barricades". Please send questions for GM Larry Christiansen to".

Best in chess, Fred Wilson


Fred Wilson Chess Books
80 East 11th Street Suite 334
New York, NY 10003
Hours: Noon-7:00 P.M.,
Monday through Saturday
Phone: (212) 533-6381

4) Igor Ivanov and Erik Osbun

Here is my second game with Igor Ivanov played at the National Open in Las Vegas on April 30, 1994, in round 4 at board 12. This long and exhausting game heavily affected our results in the tournament. I understand that it knocked Igor out of the prize money. I was so tired by the extended session without adjournment that lasted overnight until the wee hours of the morning that I played weakly the next day losing both games. No notes, but you will undoubtedly notice my opening inaccuracies considering your experience with this line. These inaccuracies must have encouraged Igor, but that my position was basically sound lengthened the game. If I have anything to be proud of in this game, it was my exchanging ( or avoidance of ) tactics and then seeing how to force the draw.

White: Erik Osbun Black: Igor Ivanov

1.e4 c5 2.d4 cd 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 Be6 11.Rc1 Qa5 12.f3 Rfc8 13.Nd5 Qxd2+ 14.Kxd2 Kf8 15.b3 Nd7 16.Rhd1 a5 17.Nb6 Nxb6 18.Bxb6 Bb2 19.Rc2 Ba3 20.Bd4 Bc5 21.Bc3 f6 22.a4 Bd7 23.Bd3 Kf7 24.Kc1 g5 25.Kb2 h5 26.Re1 h4 27.h3 Rc6 28.Ra1 Be3 29.Ka3 Ke6 30.Re1 Bc5+ 31.Kb2 Bb4 32.Rd1 Bxc3+ 33.Kxc3 Ke5 34.Bf1 Rc5 35.Rd5+ Kf4 36.R2d2 Bc6 37.R5d4 Re5 38.Bd3 Rc8 39.Bc2 b5 40.ab Bxb5 41.Rd5 Be8 42.Bd1 Bf7 43.R5d4 Be8 44.Rd5 Bd7 45.Ra2 Rc5 46.Rd4 Bc8 47.R2d2 Rc7 48.Rd5 Ba6 49.Ra2 Rc5 50.Rd4 Bb7 51.R2d2 Rc7 52.Ra2 Bc8 53.Rd5 Rxd5 54.exd5 Kg3 55.Kd4 e5+ 56.dxe6 Bxe6 57.Re2 Bf7 58.Bc2 a4 Rxc4+ 60.Kd3 Rc5 61.Kd4 Bc4 62.Bd3 Bd5 63.Rb2 Bc6 64.Bb5 Ba8 65.a5 f5 66.a6 g4 67.hg fg 68.fg Kxg4 69.Bd7+ Kg3 70.Ra2 Bxg2 71.Rxg2+ Kxg2 72.a7 Ra5 73.Bc6+ Draw.

5) Here and There

The annual Poikovsky Cup in Siberia, with a FIDE average rating approaching 2700 was won by Alexei Shirov. Further down the list, at minus two, was US Champion Alex Onischuk who played in San Diego and Siberia back to back. We hope he now gets a little vacation after playing 20(!) games in a little over three weeks.

1. Shirov, Alexei g ESP 2709 6.0; 2. Ponomariov, Ruslan g UKR 2723 5.0; 3. Zvjaginsev, Vadim g RUS 2664 5.0; 4. Dreev, Alexey g RUS 2697 5.0; 5. Bareev, Evgeny g RUS 2698 5.0; 6. Sokolov, Ivan g NED 2689 4.5; 7. Najer, Evgeniy g RUS 2652 4.5; 8. Rublevsky, Sergei g RUS 2665 4.0; 9. Onischuk, Alexander g USA 2650 3.5; 10. Bologan, Viktor g MDA 2661 2.5;

The Women`s World Chess Championship 2006 took place in Ekaterinburg, Russia from 10th-25th March 2006. 64 player knockout. 29 year old Xu Yuhua won the final by beating Alisa Galliamova 2.5-0.5 both her wins came with black. The defending champion from 2004 Antoaneta Stefanova was eliminated in round 2. The sole US representative, IM Irina Krush, also went out in this round.

The final standings of the 13 round Turkish Championship: 1. Gurevich, Mikhail g TUR 2633 10.5; 2. Atalik, Suat g TUR 2618 10.0

Congratulations to Vassily Smyslov and Viktor Korchnoi who turned 85 and 75 respectively this past weekend.

For the seventh year running the VII internet Chess Tournament "Ciudad de Dos Hermanas" was held on the Internet Chess Club playing zone ( This event is clearly one of the most important Internet chess tournaments in the world, regarding both the number and the level of the participants. Over 1700 players participated for the prize fund of 6.100 euros, with a first prize of 1.800 euros.

As in previous editions, the playing system was follows: twelve 12-round Swiss qualifiers using the Fischer System playing rate: 4 minutes + 1 seconds. Qualifiers were held twice a day from March 17th to 22nd. March 23rd was a rest day and the finals were held on March 24th and 25th. The 12 qualifier winners plus the 20 best scores qualified to the 32 KO final. More information can be found at the Dos Hermanas web site

Prize winners

Here are the prize winners. Note that player norival was disqualified for rules violations, and everyone of his opponents moved up one round.

1st FabsiD GM Fabian Doettling(DEU) EUR 1,800
2nd Oligarkh GM Baadur Jobava(ESP) EUR 900
3rd/4th bxz GM Bu Xiangzhi(CHN) EUR 600
3rd/4th TINTIRITO GM Petrosian Tigran L.(ARM) EUR 600
5th-8th B-Savchenko IM Boris Savchenko(RUS) EUR 250
5th-8th sunshine GM Surya Sekhar Ganguly(IND) EUR 250
5th-8th Magnus GM Magnus Carlsen(NOR) EUR 250
5th-8th chaozz GM Sergei Movsesian(CZE) EUR 250
9th-16th Talion GM Gata Kamsky(USA) EUR 150
9th-16th gorato GM Goran Todorovic(SCG) EUR 150
9th-16th Gela GM Tamaz Gelashvili(GEO) EUR 150
9th-16th Smallville GM Hikaru Nakamura(USA) EUR 150
9th-16th Petrushka18 GM Eljanov Pavel(UKR) EUR 150
9th-16th scodaoctavia GM Pawel Jaracz(POL) EUR 150
9th-16th DJShrek GM Zviad Izoria(GEO) EUR 150
9th-16th zpx GM Zhang Pengxiang(CHN) EUR 150

Thanks to Duncan Oxley of Marina, California, for the above information. Duncan served as the main administrator for the event.

6) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Institute

Walter Lovegrove Senior - April 1 and 2
Imre Konig - April 15
Charles Powell - May 6

East Bay Chess Club Quads
On Sunday, April 9th, 2006
Open to Players of all Ages and Strengths

How it Works: A three game USCF-rated tournament, in sections of four players each determined by USCF rating.

Entry fee: $20 if mailed before 4/2/06, $25 at site. $5 discount for EBCC Members Prizes: $40 to the top finisher in each quad. Registration/Check-in: 10-10:45 AM the day of the tournament. Rounds: 11 AM, 2:30 PM, and 5:30 PM Time control: G/90 Questions or Comments? or call (510) 845-1041

For more info and to signup:


East Bay Chess Scholastic Quads
Sunday, April 2nd, 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.

Entry fee: $10 if mailed before 3/26/06, $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 Questions or Comments? or call (510) 845-1041

For more info and to signup:

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