Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #297

   As Rousseau could not compose without his cat beside him, so I cannot play chess without my king's bishop. In its absence, the game to me is lifeless and void. The vitalizing factor is missing, and I can devise no plan of attack.

Siegbert Tarrasch

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Milov and Akobian tie for first in San Marino Open
3) Nicholas Nip National K-3 Champion by Michael Aigner
4) John Donaldson on Chess.FM
5) Here and There
6) Upcoming Events

Mea Culpa - I wrote the last Newsletter not long after a 22 hour trip from Turin to Berkeley via Milan and Newark and lack of sleep showed. Magnus Carlsen is certainly a magus but as fine a player as Levon Altounian is he is not Levon Aronian. No we didn't play Norway twice - could we have won the gold if we did!?. That was Denmark in the middle of the tournament. Larry Snyder was the mystery Expert from Berkeley.

1) Mechanics' Institute Club News

SM Craig Mar has come out of retirement to play in the Mechanics' Institute Summer Tuesday Night Marathon. The long-time Oakland resident is the top seed at 2419 followed by WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs and FM Frank Thornally. It is still possible to enter the eight round event with a half point bye for round one.

The two MI Chess Camps, to be held in late July and early August are filling up rapidly. Those interested in attending will find all the necessary information under upcoming events below.

Book and equipment donations to the Mechanics' are always welcome. All donations to the Mechanics' are tax deductible due to the M.I.'s 501(c) (3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that have been lying around unused for some time consider donating to the Mechanics'. You will not only get a tax write off but also the satisfaction of seeing things put to good use.

2) Milov and Akobian tie for first in San Marino Open

GM Vadim Milov of Switzerland won the San Marino Open on tie-break from Los Angeles GM Varuzhan Akobian. The event, which was held immediately after the Olympiad, was super-strong with close to 40 GMs in the 148 player field. Akobian's performance rating for the event was 2796. Two other American players participated. Jaan Ehlvest, formerly of Estonia, shared 4th place and turned in a 2700 performance while IM Vinay Bhat, recently graduated from UC Berkeley, scored 5.5 from 9 to tie for 28th-44th.

Final Standings: 1-2. GMs V. Milov (SUI) and Akobian (USA) - 7½/9 and 7,500 euro each;
3. GM Gagunashvili (GEO) - 7 and 3,500 euro;
4-11. GMs Tiviakov, Ehlvest, Pantsulaia, Torre, Sulava, Epishin, Kuzubov and Ivanisevic - 6½, etc.

I was not able to find many of Vauzhan's games from this event online but this one was available.

Jovanic,O (2473) - Akobian,V (2575) [E11] San Marino Open 2006 (4), 07.06.2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Nbd2 b6 5.a3 Bxd2+ 6.Bxd2 Bb7 7.Bg5 d6 8.e3 Nbd7 9.Bh4 h6 10.Qc2 g5 11.Bg3 Ne4 12.Bd3 f5 13.d5 Ndc5 14.Nd4 Qf6 15.Bxe4 fxe4 16.dxe6 Nd3+ 17.Kd2 0-0-0 18.Qc3 a6 19.h4 g4 20.Kc2 Rhf8 21.Rhd1 h5 22.Rd2 Rde8 23.Rad1 Rxe6 24.Nxe6 Qxe6 25.Kb1 Bc6 26.b3 Kb7 27.Ka1 Rf5 28.Rb1 Ra5 29.Ra2 Qf7 30.Rf1 Rf5 31.b4 Ka7 32.Qd4 Bb7 33.Rc2 a5 34.b5 a4 35.Bf4 Rc5 36.g3 Qf8 37.Rc3 Kb8 38.Kb1 d5 39.Ka1 Rxc4 40.Bxc7+ Rxc7 41.Ka2 Rxc3 42.Qxc3 Qc5 43.Qh8+ Ka7 44.Rb1 d4 0-1

3) Nicholas Nip National K-3 Champion by Michael Aigner

The recent CalChess success at national level scholastic chess tournaments continued at the Burt Lerner Elementary Championship on May 12-14 in Denver, CO. A small contingent of only 30 players competed against a field of nearly 2000 to bring home a share of two national titles and an assortment of lesser honors. Two youngsters deserve special commendation: 2nd grader Nicholas Nip took first place in the K-3 section on tiebreaks and 5th grader Rahul Desirazu shared the top honors in the K-5 section (second place on tiebreaks). Local scholastic guru Dr. Alan Kirshner commented that it has been about time that "Nor Cal is back in the national spotlight."

The surge in scholastic results began within the past year when Daniel Naroditsky won the K-3 national championship and seven months later won the top honors in the country for 4th grade. He has since earned the #1 rating for his age in the country (currently 2031 USCF) and represented the United States at the World Junior Championship. Moreover at the National K-12 Championship a month ago, David Chock of Saratoga nearly walked away with the top high school honors, defeating two of the top three seeds and losing only on the top board in the last round. Both David and his school team earned top 4 place trophies.

This short history of success sets the table for the events of last weekend. As scholastic coach Eric Hicks explained recently, the success of Daniel Naroditsky has inspired other local juniors to reach for the stars--that success on the national level is indeed possible. No doubt several youngsters flew to Denver with dreams of being the next CalChess junior to claim a big first place trophy. And for some, their dreams became reality.

Nicholas Nip (1671 USCF) of San Francisco is no stranger to success. He holds the #1 rating for age 7 and under in the country and has tasted success at the state level and at adult tournaments. Now he was competing in the primary section against kids as old as 3rd grade, despite only being a 2nd grader himself. The odds were long! But after five rounds, Nicholas was sitting pretty with a 5-0 score. He drew games in rounds 6 and 7 against some of the very best 3rd graders in the nation. A total of nine participants ended up tied for first with a 6-1 result. Young Nicholas had played against five of those nine, defeating three and drawing two! Consequently his tiebreaks far exceeded his rivals and Nicholas Nip can now call himself National K-3 Champion! See the photo below for Nicholas' contagious smile as he stands with a trophy as tall as himself. Bravo!

The other local champion took a different route to victory. Rahul Desirazu (1575 USCF) of San Jose was not one of the favorites in the K-5 section, rated below a large number of A and B players. After drawing a 1300 in round 2, certainly a national championship was not very likely. But Rahul got hot and the rest was history. He defeated strong opponents from Massachusetts, New York and Arizona in the final three rounds. He finished with 6.5 out of a possible 7, sharing first place with the section's top rated player, Ryan Moon (1876 USCF) of Georgia. The tiebreaks favored Ryan and Rahul took home the second place trophy. Perhaps Dr. Kirshner saw something in his crystal ball when he confidently wrote after a tournament last November that Rahul "will achieve many more successes." He was right!

Certainly Nicholas and Rahul were the big winners, but many other local juniors can be proud of their results. Two deserve a sentence for their outstanding play. 3rd grader Jerome Sun (1349 USCF) finished with 5.0 in the K-3 section, losing to two much higher rated opponents who both finished part of that nine-way tie for first. He got a 16th place trophy. 6th grader Partha Vora (1617 USCF) competed in a very difficult K-6 section, finishing with 5.5 and the 10th place trophy only after losing to the top seed in the final round. Partha's success also came at the expense of another junior previous named in this article: he defeated Daniel Naroditsky in the fifth round.

Lest anyone think that the national scholastic chess championships are merely an opportunity for the top rated players to trumpet their stuff and take home trophies, that is far from the truth. More often than not, the top seeds do not win their sections. Lower rated players beat opponents over 400 points higher with alarming frequency. Partha Vora proved this in Denver. The winner of the K-1 section in Denver was rated 435 and defeated opponents rated over 1000 points higher! Even at the high school level, David Chock and his teammate Jeff Young proved it when both defeated 2450 rated opponents last month. Rocky Balboa would be proud of the role of the underdogs at the national chess championships.

Although the Burt Lerner Elementary Championship is an individual tournament, team honors take a significant role as well. A typical team has one or two strong players who compete for individual trophies while the lower rated teammates try to enjoy themselves, learn some chess and even contribute to the team's total score. A group of 17 children and parents from Mission San Jose Elementary School flew to Denver to taste the national scene. They came away with three individual trophies and four team trophies. The K-3 team of Jerome Sun, Hemang Jangle, James Kwok and Andrew Zhou took home the 4th place trophy while the K-6 squad of Arthur Liou, Kevin Hsu, Vincent Tian and Shoker Gurman won 5th place. The school also took home 17th place in each K-1 and K-5. Congratulations to all of the players and especially coach Joe Lonsdale for all of the hard work over the past year!

complete results:
K-1 ChampionshipMission San Jose Elementary = 17th place team
K-3 ChampionshipNicholas Nip = 1st place (national champion)
Jerome Sun = 16th placeMission San Jose Elementary = 4th place team
K-5 ChampionshipRahul Desirazu = 2nd place (co-champion)
Andrew Yeh = 22nd place
David Ma = 2nd place U800
Mission San Jose Elementary = 17th place team
K-6 ChampionshipPartha Vora = 10th place
Arthur Liou = 15th place
Daniel Naroditsky = 18th place
Kevin Hsu = 2nd place U1000
Mission San Jose Elementary = 5th place team

4) John Donaldson on Chess.FM

Fred's guest Tuesday, June 13th, 2006 will again be the highly regarded chess author, coach, historian, and captain of our terrific Olympic Men's Chess Team, IM JOHN DONALDSON. John will discuss in detail how he guided our superb team of GM's Kamsky, Nakamura, Onischuk, Ibragimov, Akobian and Kaidanov to a Bronze medal at the just completed International Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy. John will describe how well this group of talented players came together to help & support one another during this arduous competition, culminating in their fantastic 3 1/2-1/2 victory over a strong Norwegian team in the last round! John will also give his take on Armenia's surprising victory, the relative failures of the powerful Russian & Ukrainian teams, along the question on everyone's mind, namely "who the heck is GM Gabriel Sargissian anyway?"! Please send good questions for IM John Donaldson to as Fred will use many of them during the show".

5) Here and There

Duncan Oxley passes along the following item which appeared in Sports Illustrated, June 12, 2006, page 27.

It used to be only tough guys could say they knocked out Lennox Lewis. But last week at Washington Square Park in New York City, four ordinary-and sedentary-Joes got the best of the former heavyweight champ in a speed-chess tournament. (Lewis played 18 matches.) Each won $1,000. and a certificate stating I KO'D LENNOX LEWIS. Said Lewis, who often played chess while training for fights, "{Chess and Boxing} are similar in that it's one-on-one." OCF 25th NAO FIDE Open

The OCF 25th NAO FIDE Open was held 27th-29th, May 2006 in the Holiday Inn at Stillwater, Oklahoma USA. Organizer, Sponsor and Chief Arbiter was Frank Berry. Supervising IA was Mike Goodall. Assisting TDs were Jim Berry, Alex Relyea, Nita Patel and Steve Wharry. The event attracted 90 players from 16 states. Many players achieved FIDE rating norms: Courtney Jamison, Bond, Schuller, Hall, Graham, Thoma, Glascock, Madison, Coleman, Wharry, Wallace, Winters, Lee, Strain and Huff. Hopefully now Glascock, Thoma, Coleman and Courtney will be FIDE rated. IM Boskovic, IM Vavrak, GM Kudrin and FM Smith tied for 1st with 5.5 pts from 7. Two players actually drove 800 miles down from Chicago in spite of the Chicago Open being held at the same time as the NAO. A car load of Iowa players (550 miles away) also made it for the 2nd year in a row. My thanks to Frank Berry for this report.

Official site:

1. Drasko Boskovic m SCG 2432 5.5 from 7.0
2. Peter Vavrak m SVK 2408 5.5
3. Sergey Kudrin g USA 2553 5.5
4. Bryan G. Smith f USA 2384 5.5
5. Danny Fernandez m USA 2432 5.0
6. Movses Movsisyan f USA 2294 5.0
7. Atakan Sirin TUR 2070 5.0
8. Ron Luther USA 2150 5.0
9. Thomas Gossell USA 2237 5.0
10. Tim Mc Entee USA 2177 5.0
11. Pete Karagianis USA 2226 5.0
12. Michael Langer f USA 2308 4.5
13. Sergey Galant USA 2212 4.5
14. Alex Chua USA 2208 4.5
15. Tom Braunlich USA 2178 4.5
16. Tim Bond 4.5
17. John Schuller 4.5
18. Odell Hall 4.5
19. Shaun Graham 4.5
20. Mike Crockett 4.5
21. Phil Thoma 4.5
22. Ramon Colorado 4.5
23. John Cope 4.5
24. Jim Berry USA 2123 4.5
90 players

6) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Institute

William Addison - June 17
Charles Bagby - July 1
Vladimir Pafnutieff - August 5
Bernardo Smith Amateur - August 19 and 20

6th Mechanics' Institute Chess Camp for Beginners and Novice Players (below 1200 USCF)

This is a camp for players that want to learn how to play or who know the bare rudiments and would like to increase their understanding of the game. Instructor Anthony Corrales has a wealth of experience teaching youngsters. During this camp students will build up a solid core of knowledge. This will include learning all the basic checkmates, mastering the fundamentals of opening play, implementing middlegame plans and understanding simple endgames. Pupils will also learn how to take chess notation and to play using a chess clock.
Who: Open to youngsters 5-15
When : July 17 - 21, 2006 from 10pm to 3pm daily
Where: 57 Post Street, 4th floor (Montgomery BART station) Cost: $300 for Mechanics' members, $335 for non-members. Non-members will receive a one year membership in the MI. There is a limit of 20 players for this camp. If you can't attend the whole camp there is a drop in fee of $75 a day

6th Annual Mechanics' Institute Chess Camp for Intermediate and Advanced Players (1200-2200)

This is not a camp for players that want to jump two rating classes in five days. You won't learn how to win against the Sicilian every time using the Grand Prix Attack. So why our camp and not others? At the MI camp you will get a look inside a GM's laboratory and get a feel for how they work on their game from the ground up. You will learn not only the importance of analyzing your own games, but also how to do it properly. You will learn to identify the critical points of the game and to understand when and why things went wrong. You will learn how to use ChessBase and Fritz efficiently as part of a daily training program as well as utilizing resources on the Internet such as TWIC and the Internet Chess Club. Today chess books are cranked out at an incredible rate. Some of them are very good, many are quite bad. We will help students learn to select that which is truly useful. On the fun side our instructors have unique experience in international competition. Expect to hear stories and anecdotes about what it's like to play against Kasparov and defend first board in a Chess Olympiad. Instructors: Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky, International Master John Donaldson, and MI Scholastic Director Anthony Corrales.

Who: Open to all ages from 8 and up.
When : July 31 - August 4, 2006 from 10 am to 4 pm
Where: 57 Post Street, 4th floor (Montgomery BART station)
Cost: $320 for Mechanics' members, $355 for junior (under 21) non-members, $415 for adult non-members. All non-members will receive a one year membership in the MI. There is a limit of 40 players for this camp. If you can't attend the whole camp there is a drop in fee of $80 a day

A Heritage Event!
July 1-4 46th Annual Pacific Southwest Open GPP: 30 S. California
7SS, LAX Radisson, 6225 W. Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045. $$8,000 b/240, half of all prize guaranteed. Choice of 2 schedules: 3½ day schedule plays all rounds at 40/2, SD/1. 2½ day schedule plays first 3 rds at G/1, others at 40/2, SD/1. 2 sections: Open, $$1400-700-400-300-200, U2200 $600-300-150, U2000 $600-300-150. Amateur, open to U1800/Unr, $$600-300-150, U1600 500-250-150, U1400 400-250, U1200 150, Unr. 150. Unr. may win Unrated prize only. All, EF: $59 if rec'd by 6/29, $69 at site. SCCF memb. req'd of So. Californians ($14, jrs. U18 $9, includes Rank & File magazine). Reg: 9-10 a.m. (3½ day), 9-9:30 a.m. Sunday (2½ day). Rds: 10:30-4:30, 10:30-4:30, 7, 10-4:30 (2½ day sched. plays Rds 1, 2, 3 at 10, 12, 2 Sunday, then merges). One or two 1/2-pt. byes rds. 1-5 with advance notice. HR: $99, (310) 670-9000 or toll-free at (800) 333-3333, mention Pacific Southwest Open, on line at, use promotional code CHESS. Parking $5/day. Info: On-line ent: Ent: SCCF, c/o John Hillery, 835 N. Wilton Pl. #1, Los Angeles CA 90038. NS. NC. F. State Championship Qualifier.

July 7-9 2006 Sacramento Chess Championship GPP: 6 California, Northern 5SS, Full-K. SITE: Best Western Expo Inn, 1413 Howe Avenue, Sacramento, CA. ON-SITE REG: 7/7 - 5:15-6pm; 7/8 - 8:45-9:45am. RDS: 3-day: 7/7 - 6:15pm, 7/8 - 10 & 4, 7/9 - 10 & 3:30. 2-day: 7/8 - 10, 1, & 4, 7/9 - 10 & 3:30. TC: 3-day: 30/90 G/1. 2-day: Rounds 1-2, G/75, Rounds 3-5, 30/90 G/1. 5-second delay on all time controls. SECTIONS: Master/Expert (above 1999), Reserve (Under 2000) EF: 3-day $65 (Juniors $35) postmarked by 6/30. $75 (Juniors $40) after 6/30. 2-day $66 (Juniors $36) postmarked by 6/30. $76 (Juniors $41) after 6/30. IMs/GMs free. Entrants may play up one section for $10. $5 discount to CalChess members. Reentry after round 1 of the 3-day schedule: $40. PRIZES: 1st Place in each section $325 & trophy (1st prize guaranteed in the Master/Expert section). Prize fund of $2570 based on 75 full paid adult entries and 10 full paid junior entries overall (with 60 full paid adult entries and 10 full paid junior entries, the prize fund will be $1,900). HR: Best Western Expo Inn, (916) 922-9833 or 1-800-643-4422. Ask for the Sacramento Chess Club rates. ADV. ENT. & INFO: John McCumiskey (TD), 6700 50th St, Sacramento, CA 95823-1306; e-mail:; phone: (916) 524-9479, checks payable to Sacramento Chess Club. Full flyer and advance entries: under Weekend Events. OTHER INFO: NS, NC, W. 06/06 rating list only. Please bring clocks and equipment. Maximum of two ½ point byes and are available in all rounds, maximum 2 byes per entry. ½ point byes for rds 4 & 5 must be requested prior to rd 1. July 20-23, 21-23 or 22-23 11th Annual Pacific Coast Open GPP: 100 S. California 6SS, 40/2, SD/1 (2-day option, rds 1-3 G/60). Renaissance Agoura Hills Hotel, 30100 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills CA 91301 (US-101 to Reyes Adobe Road exit). Adjacent to the Santa Monica Mountains, 26 miles west of Burbank, 12 miles from Malibu, 28 miles from Ventura. Free parking. Prizes $30,000 based on 280 paid entries (unrateds, U1200 Section players, re-entries count as half entries), minimum $20,000 (2/3 each prize) guaranteed. In 7 sections. Open: $3000-1500-700-500-300, 2300-2399 $1200, U2300/Unr $1200. FIDE. Under 2200: $2000-1000- 500-300-200. Under 2000: $2000-1000-500-300-200. Under 1800: $2000-1000-500-300-200. Under 1600: $2000-1000-500-300-200. Under 1400: $1700-900-500-300-200. Under 1200: $1000-500-250-150-100. Unrated may play in any section, with maximum prize U2200 $1200, U2000 $1000, U1800 $800, U1600 $600, U1400 $400 U1200 $200; balance goes to next player(s) in line. Top 6 sections EF: 4-day $144, 3-day $143, 2-day $142 mailed by 7/12, all $141 online at by 7/17, $150 phoned by 7/17 (406-896-2038, entries only, no questions), $160 (no checks, credit cards OK) at tmt. SCCF membership ($14, jrs $9) required for rated Southern CA residents. Special EF: All $60 less for rated players in U1200 Section. All $90 less to unrateds in any section U1200 through U2200. Re-entry (except Open) $80. Advance EF $10 less if paid with $49 USCF dues. 4-day schedule: Reg Thu to 6:30pm, rds Thu 7 pm, Fri 7 pm, Sat 12-7, Sun 10-4:30. 3-day schedule: Reg. Fri to 11am, rds Fri 12-7, Sat 12-7, Sun 10-4:30. 2-day schedule: Reg Sat to 9 am, rds Sat 10-1-4-7, Sun 10-4:30. All schedules: Bye all, limit 2, Open Section must commit before rd 2, other schedules before rd 4. HR: $78-78-78-78, 818-707-1220, reserve by 7/6 or rate may increase. Car rental: Avis, 800-331-1600, use AWD #D657633. Ent: Continental Chess, PO Box 249, Salisbury Mills NY 12577. $10 charge for refunds. Questions:, 845-496-9648. Advance entries posted at

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