Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #291

   You know, comrade Pachman, I don't enjoy being a Minister, I would rather play chess like you, or make a revolution in Venezuela.

Che Guevara
Quoted by Ludek Pachman in Checkmate in Prague

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) US Olympiad Teams
3) Yermolinsky and Ehlvest Win in Reno
4) Fred Wilson's Chess.FM
5) Chess is My Life reviewed by John Donaldson
6) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Club News

NMs Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, Albert Rich and Igor Margulis are the top rated among those with perfect scores after two rounds of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. 66 players are competing in the 8 round event.

Peter Sherwood, who has been valiantly entering games from the TNM and other events for the Mi data base passes along the following amusing game from the an unknown MI event:

W (~1500) B (~1700)
1 e4 e5
2 Nf3 Nc6
3 d4 exd4
4 c3 dxc3
5 Bc4 Be7
6 Qd5 Black resigns

He adds: "Should Black have resigned? If not, how can he save himself? The answers are surprising." ( see answer below at the end of the Newsletter.)

Congratulations to Sam Shankland who finished third on tiebreak at 6-1 in the recently concluded National Junior High School Championship in Louisville. Sam's only lost was to NM Evan Ju. The event was won by NM Roy Robson.

2) US Olympiad Teams

Varuzhan Akobian, Ildar Ibragimov, Gregory Kaidanov, Gata Kamsky, Hikaru Makamura and Alex Onischuk are the members of the 2006 US Olympiad team which will play in Turin from May 20-July 4. MI member Kamile Baginskaite, Rusa Goletiani, Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih are playing for the Womens team. The teams are being sponsored in part by the Kasparov Chess Foundation (title sponsor), US Chess Federation and the Internet Chess Club with an an appeal for further donations at .

3) Yermolinsky and Ehlvest Win in Reno

MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky and former World Championship Candidate Jaan Ehlvest tied for first in the Far West Open held April 7-9 at the Sands Regency Hotel and Casino with Jerry Weikel as Chief Tournament Director and Organizer.

I was able to glean the following details from Michael Aigner's (who had a brilliant tournament) posting on the Cal Chess website forum. Crossstables for the event should be up Wednesday at

Open section results.

1st = GM Yermolinsky and GM Ehlvest, 5.0 3rd = GM Kiriakov, GM Serper and IM Sevillano, 4.5 6th = IM Mezentsev, IM Vigorito, FM Tate, FM Raptis and NM Aigner, 4.0

(1) Aigner,M (2279) - Kiriakov,P (2629) [C11] Far West Open (2), 07.04.2006 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 gxf6 7.Nf3 f5 8.Nc3 a6 9.Qe2 b5 10.0-0-0 b4 11.Na4 Qd5 12.c4 Qa5 13.b3 Bd7 14.Qe5 Qxe5 15.Nxe5 Bxa4 16.bxa4 Bf6 17.g3 Bxe5 18.Bg2 Ra7 19.dxe5 Ke7 20.a5 Nd7 21.f4 Nc5 22.Kc2 Rb8 23.Rb1 c6 24.Rhd1 Rc7 25.Rd6 f6 26.Rxc6 Rxc6 ½-½

(2) Vigorito,D (2443) - Aigner,M (2279) [A10] Far West Open (5), 09.04.2006 1.c4 f5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.e4 Nc6 7.Nge2 0-0 8.0-0 Kh8 9.h3 e5 10.Be3 Be6 11.exf5 gxf5 12.Nd5 Qd7 13.Kh2 Rg8 14.d4 Bxd5 15.cxd5 Ne7 16.dxe5 dxe5 17.Bg5 e4 18.f3 exf3 19.Rxf3 Nexd5 20.Nd4 f4 21.gxf4 Ne4 22.h4 Nxg5 23.fxg5 Be5+ 24.Kh1 Nf4 25.Ne2 Qxd1+ 26.Rxd1 Nxe2 27.Re3 Ng3+ 28.Kg1 Rae8 29.Bd5 Rgf8 30.Kg2 Nf5 31.Re4 Bxb2 0-1

(3) Ehlvest,J (2676) - Aigner,M (2279) [C90] Far West Open (6), 09.04.2006 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.d3 d6 9.c3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.Nbd2 Rb8 12.Nf1 b4 13.Ng3 Nc6 14.h3 a5 15.Be3 Ne8 16.Ba4 Bd7 17.Rc1 Bf6 18.Nh5 Ne7 19.Bb3 Ng6 20.d4 bxc3 21.bxc3 Be7 22.dxc5 dxc5 23.Rb1 c4 24.Bxc4 Rxb1 25.Qxb1 Qc8 26.Qd3 Nd6 27.Bd5 Bb5 28.Qc2 Qa6 29.Ng3 Nc4 30.Bc1 Na3 31.Qd1 Nc4 32.Nf5 Rc8 33.h4 Bf6 34.a4 Be8 35.h5 Nf8 36.Bxc4 Rxc4 37.Nd6 Bxa4 38.Qd5 Rc7 39.Nxe5 Bxe5 40.Qxe5 Ne6 41.Ba3 Bb3 42.h6 1-0

4) Fred Wilson's Chess.FM

Hi folks:

This week's guest on the internet radio show "Chess and Books with Fred Wilson" will be replays of the last three excellent shows!

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!

The following three shows will be replayed all day Tuesday, April 11th, 2006, from noon to midnight:

Peter J. Tamburro, Jr. (popular chess author, teacher & creator of "Chess Openings for Amateurs")

GM Larry Christiansen (talking about in detail his terrific showing in the recent US Championship)

GM John Fedorowicz (candidly discussing his addmittedly "so-so" result in the US Championship which, however, did not occur for "want of trying")

Fred's next two live guests, appearing respectively on April 18th & April 25th, will be GM's Max Dlugy & Andy Soltis. You may start sending questions for either or both of these important chess personalities to now!

Best in chess, Fred Wilson

5) Chess is My Life reviewed by John Donaldson

Chess is My Life
Edition Olms 2005 ( and in the US
226 pages
Figurine algebraic
CD with 4280 of his Korchnoi's games

Ask a knowledgeable chess fan to list the strongest players never to become world champion and the names that are going to come up again and again are Akiva Rubinstein, Paul Keres and Viktor Korchnoi. Change the question to the strongest players over 60 years old and the list will be Emanuel Lasker, Vassily Smyslov and once again Viktor Korchnoi. There can be no doubt that Korchnoi is one of the most unique and compelling figures in chess for the last half century. Fortunately he is not just a great player but has a burning desire to share his insights. The past few years have seen him share his legacy through two books of his best games (both published by Olms) and two DVD's produced by ChessBase.

An earlier book with the same title - Chess is My Life - was written by Korchnoi nearly 20 years ago but it bears little relation to the present work which is unique in chess literature. It's not so much that it covers all of Korchnoi's life from his formative years when he lived through the terrible blockade of Leningrad during the Second World War to the three epic matches with Karpov. No, what makes this book unique is Korchnoi's frankness. He tells things as he sees them and doesn't mince words. For example when discussing the character of Dutch Grandmaster Jan Hein Donner, who he clearly despised, Korchnoi quotes Bent Larsen about Donner: 'Everything that he said was exceptionally interesting, bit it was all untrue!'

More than a few of Korchnoi's colleagues from his Soviet days come in for harsh criticism, but Viktor Lvovich doesn't grant himself immunity. He tells of the traditional "Friends and Rivals" match between the USSR and Yugoslavia held in Leningrad in the summer of 1957. The Yugoslavs complained throughout the event about the poor service and poor food as well as the difficulty of sleeping through the white nights. Gligoric was the only one to play well. Korchnoi then writes: 'He won against me with Black. Apparently this loss greatly upset me. In his memoirs Gligoric recalls that on his last day, accompanying him to the railway station, in the conversation I kept returning to our game and promised to beat him next time. Frankly speaking, not very hospitable...'

Chess is My Life makes for fascinating reading as Korchnoi touches upon almost every important chess event in the last 50 years from the Soviet Championships, Curacao, the matches with Spassky and Petrosian, to the current system for running the World Championship. Every chess player of a certain age knows about Tal getting hit with a bottle in a Cuban bar during the 1966 Olympiad but here you get the details and ramifications. Despite having the absolute best score in the Olympiad - 9.5 from 11 - Tal was punished and how. Two years later, just before departing for the Olympiad in Lugano, the team was gathered together and at the last moment Tal was told he wasn't going. The beneficiary, the enigmatic Smyslov, who on several occasions used his "blat"( Russian for influence and power) to push his way to the front of the line.

Korchnoi has his own memories of certain events but no one's can be perfect and certainly not for all the details. When discussing the boycott by Soviet and East European players of certain events he was participating in after his defection, Korchnoi shares some mixed memories on pages 158 and 163. He writes: ' As for the Soviet boycott, its origins were revealed when Romanishin and Yusupov accidentally arrived at the tournament in Lone Pine, when I was already there. A multi-stage exchange of telegrams and letters were required and finally the central organ of power in the USSR, the Communist Party, graciously allowed the Grandmasters to participate side by side with me in the tournament. These documents were redeemed by me from the office of he Communist Party Central Committee in 1994.'

The actual story, which I remember because I played at Lone Pine 1981, and confirmed with published accounts of the time, is Yusupov and Romanishin arrived in Lone Pine on the bus from Los Angeles International Airport with most of the players the day before the first round. There were rumors but no Korchnoi at the players meeting that evening, but the next morning he miraculously appeared. He had arrived at 1:45 in the morning on a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles and was lucky to run into the tournament travel coordinator Jerry Hanken, who was having a late night blitz session with fellow Master James Thinnsen. Hanken tried to get Korchnoi a room but found that everything was sold out in Lone Pine that weekend due to skiers stopping over on the way from Los Angeles to Mammoth Lakes. Fortunately Jerry remembered that Lev Alburt had a double room and the fellow defector was happy to host Viktor for the night. So Korchnoi was definitely in Lone Pine after rather than before Romanishin and Yusupov who were stuck in the middle of things. Korchnoi had called the Soviet government's bluff as it would have looked silly asking its two players to fly all the way back home without playing. As a practical matter there was no Soviet official willing to make a decision on a few hours notice. That was how the boycott was broken and when Korchnoi and Yusupov played they shook hands. Viktor won a very nice game.

Besides the lively writing another nice thing about this book is the wonderful photos throughout. There are images of Korchnoi at different stages of his life, from when he was a kid to the present. Some of them are quite surprising like the one with Viktor K. and Jimmy Carter - taken not when the latter was President but Governor of Georgia. Remember, Korchnoi played his Candidate's match with Mecking in Augusta. Another plus are the eight annotated games and the high quality example of chess composition (game 9).There is a preface by Garry Kasparov and a foreword from St. Petersburg Grandmaster Sergey Ivanov. Last but not least the purchaser gets a nice little bonus, a CD with 4280 of Korchnoi's games. Of course most of these are on Mega2006 but I counted about 60 that were not, about half before 1950.

This is a tremendous book that every chess player will find compelling reading. You may not agree with all of Kortchnoi's observations but the chess world is much richer for his having put pen to paper.

Highly Recommended

6) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Institute

Imre Konig - April 15
Charles Powell - May 6

April 14-16 4th Annual Western Pacific Open
5-SS, 3-day 40/2, SD/1, 2-day rds. 1-2 G/75 then merges.
LAX Hilton, 5711 W. Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045. $$10,000
b/200, 50% of each prize guaranteed.

EBCC April Scholastic Swiss
Saturday, April 22nd through Sunday, April 23rd, 2006
USCF-rated tournament in 2 sections!

Sections: K-5 and K-12 (note that K-5 players can play up into the K-12 section) Rounds:
K-12 Section: 11 AM, 1:30 PM, and 3:30 PM on Saturday and Sunday.
K-5 Section: 11 AM, 12 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM on Saturday only.

Entry fee: $25 mailed before 4/15; $35 at site. $5 discount to EBCC members.
Prizes: Trophies to the top 15 in each section. Also a free lesson with an East Bay Chess instructor to the top 2 in each section.

Registration: 10-10:45 AM on Saturday, April 22nd
Time control: K-12 Section: G/60 ; K-3 Section: G/30
Info:, (510) 845-1041

For more info and to signup:


East Bay Chess Club April Swiss
Saturday, April 29th through Sunday, April 30th, 2006
A USCF rated 4-round Tournament in 2 sections

Prizes: (Based on 40 full entries, but top 3 prizes guaranteed)
Open Section $150, $100, $50; 1st U2000: $100
Reserve (U1800) Section $100, $75, $50; 1st U1600: $75; 1st U1400: $75
Entry fee: $35 if mailed before 4/22/06, $40 at site; $5 discount for EBCC members

Registration/Check-in: 10-10:45 AM on Saturday
Rounds: 11 AM and 4:00 PM on both days
Time control: 30 moves in 90 minutes, followed by Sudden Death in 1
hour. Questions or Comments? or call (510) 845-1041

For more info and to signup:

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