Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #301

    Rublevsky is not a sexy player. There are younger and more gifted individuals around and he knows it. Yet he has canniness, which the greenhorns don't. He does not engage the teenagers on the sharp end of opening theory, testing his ailing memory against the freshness of their computer-assisted analysis. Instead he heads a little off the beaten track - not exactly to the jungle, but to lesser-traveled byways where his experience counts.

Nigel Short

The Guardian June 29, 2006

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Susan Polgar wins Women's World Cup
3) DeGuzman victorious in Sacramento
4) Monkey Business at the World Open
5) Yasser Seirawan inducted into US Chess Hall of Fame
6) Susan Polgar: Little Known Feminist Icon by by Alicia Colon
7) Here and There
8) What's Bad for Putin Is Best for Russians  by Garry Kasparov 
9) Australia juniors versus Bay Area juniors this weekend by Michael Aigner
10) Upcoming Tournaments

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Room News

SM Craig Mar defeated WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs in a tense battle last night to take the lead with Expert William Gray with 4 1/2 from 5 in the 8-round MI Summer Tuesday Night Marathon. Gray, who is from Scotland, turned in his second upset in two rounds beating NM Russell Wong after defeating Viktor Ossipov in round four..

Tuvshintugs,B - Mar,C
Ruy Lopez C64
Mechanics' Summer TNM (5)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 4.0-0 Nge7 5.c3 Bb6 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.Re1+ Be6 10.Ne5

10.Bg5 Qd6 11.Nbd2 0-0 12.Nc4 is the main line which is considered better for White.

10...Nde7 11.Bg5?! Qxd4 12.Bxe7

12.Qxd4 Bxd4 13.Bxe7 Bxe5 14.Rxe5 Kxe7 15.Bxc6 bxc6 16.Nc3 Norcia-Canal, Reggio Emilia 1951, was very comfortable for Black.


(a) 12...Qxf2+ 13.Kh1 Qxb2 14.Bxc6+ bxc6 15.Ba3 Qxa1 16.Qa4 0-0-0 17.Qa6+ Kb8 18.Nxc6+ Ka8 19.Nxa7 Bc4;

(b) 12...Qxd1 looks safest 13.Rxd1 Kxe7 14.Nxc6+ (14.Bxc6 bxc6 15.Nxc6+ Kf6 16.Nc3 Rhe8 17.Rd2 is a better try and might be equal. Black has the two Bishops but the Knight on c6 creates a bind.) 14...bxc6 15.Bxc6 Rad8 and Black was doing well in Arribas-Perez, Cuba 1999.

13.Bxc6 Qxf2+ 14.Kh1 Rad8?

14...bxc6 had to be played. Critical is 15.Nxc6+ Kf8 16.Nd2 Bd5 17.Ne4 when Black has extra material but may have trouble consolidating his position.

15.Qc1 f6

15...bxc6 16.Nxc6+ Kd7 17.Rd1+ Kc8 18.Nxd8 Rxd8 19.Rxd8+ Kxd8 20.Na3 and White is better.

16.Ng4 Qh4 17.Bf3 Kf7 18.Rxe6!?

18.Re4! Qg5 19.Ne5+ Kf8 20.Qxg5 fxg5 21.Nc3 is easily winning.

18...Kxe6 19.Qc4+ Ke7 20.Nc3 c6 21.Qe4+ Kf8 22.Qb4+ Kg8

22...c5 is a huge concession giving up d5 but objectively had to be played if Black wanted to continue but White would win easily. Mar's move should lose quickly but offers better practical chances.


23.Qe7! with threats of Ne4 and Ne5 would have ended resistance quickly. Around here White was in extreme time pressure.

23...Kf8 24.g3

24.Qb4+ was the way to get on the right track.

24...Qg5 25.Re1

25.Ne4 Qf5 26.Rf1 h5 27.Be2 Qd5 and Black's Rook and two pawns look very good against White's Knights in the ending.


The Knight is trapped.

26.Ne4 Qf5 27.Qe2 hxg4 28.Bxg4 Qe5 29.Qf1 Qd4 30.Re2

White's flag fell before she could punch her clock.


Congratulations to Nicholas Yap and Batchimeg Tuvshintugs who both made norms ( IM and WGM respectively) at the World Open. This was Batchimeg's second WGM (2400 FIDE performance) this year and she needs one more result and a 2300 FIDE rating to be awarded the Women's Grandmaster title.

The Continental Chess Association website reports the following norms were made at the World Open.

IM Norms - Igor Schneider, Salvijus Bercys, Emory Tate, Bryan Smith, James Critelli, Jake Kleiman, Nicholas Yap, Moulthun Ly (AUS) and Yoshiharu Habu (JPN). WGM Norm Batchimeg Tuvshintugs .

2)Susan Polgar wins Women's World Cup

This event took place in Drezden, July 7th-8th. Susan Polgar won the trophy defeating Elizabeth Paehtz in the final match.

Knockout stage results:
Lujan - Socko 2-0
Ushenina - Polgar 0-2
Sebag - Chang 2-0
Kachiani - Paehtz 0-2

Lujan - Polgar ½-1½
Paehtz - Sebag 1½-½
For the 3rd place
Sebag - Lujan 1-1 (1-0)

Final Polgar - Paehtz 1½-½

3) DeGuzman victorious in Sacramento

Filipino IM Ricardo DeGuzman took home $325 for winning the 28-player Open section of the Sacramento Chess Championship held July 7-9. DeGuzman scored 4 1/2 - 1/2 giving up a draw only in the last round to fellow IM Walter Shipman. Teenage Expert David Chock had an excellent result in finishing second with 4, beating NM Zildzic and drawing NMs Aigner and Fuentes. Alonzo McCalley won the 48-player Reserve section.

4) Monkey Business at the World Open

The latest edition of the World Open was arguably the strongest and definitely awarded the most prize money of any of the series. Interestingly the biggest winner did not come from the Open section ( a 9-way tie that yielded Gata Kamsky $7,485 and the others $7,127) but the Under 2200 section where Rhode Island Expert Michael Clark won a whopping $17, 917 for his 8 from 9 score not to mention a tidy gain of 110 rating points. Alongside a well-run event that featured excellent attendance and many well-known GMs, there were also a few strange incidents. This Newsletter is published under the aegis of the Mechanics' Institute. The US being an extremely litigious, we will confine ourselves to well established facts.

Eugene Varshavsky , an Expert from New Jersey rated 2169 going into the World Open, scored 5 from 9 against the field in round order ( bye, + 2366, =2387, +2343, +2471, -2630, +2800, -2697, -2544. Expert, now NM, Varshavsky went from 2169 to 2234 in this event. The USCF MSA has Varshavsky playing his first USCF event in 1992. In 1997 he was rated 1671 . He won the Eastern Class Ch. in 2003 which got him a floor of 2000. The next three years he went up about 150 points. Nothing prior to the World Open indicated such a breakthrough ( performance for rounds 2-7 that of a strong GM) was in the offing. Was such a breakthrough the result of some Maslowian self actualization on steroids or is there another explanation? We note that minus his magic hat Varshavsky lost his last two rounds, but also that they were against GMs. I leave it to the reader to decide.

IM John Bartholmew wrote about his game with Varshavsky on Mig Greengard's Chess Ninja website (

"In our game, Varshavsky came to the board some 20 minutes late. He also took a lot of time in the opening even on 4. ....dxc6. The only strange thing I noticed about his attire was the blue bucket hat he wore that drooped low around his ears. He wore the same hat against Adamson in round 4, Kacheishvili in round 6, and Smirin in round 7 before the TDs made him take it off. Varshavsky sat at the board the entire time, only getting up briefly after time control was reached. I never saw his eyes leave the board.

"The game itself was one of the strangest I have ever played. Varshavsky gave up a pawn on move 14 in a very standard theoretical position (14...b5 is almost universally played). After I played 15.Nxc4, I expected to consolidate the extra pawn, trade pieces, and win in the endgame. However, Varshavsky suddenly put up surprisingly strong resistance. He began playing fast and I had a difficult time finding good squares for my pieces. I was particularly struck by the unpredictability of Varshavsky's moves after move 14. I remember thinking to myself several times that it felt as though I was playing against a computer. I did not even consider moves like 26 ... Ne7, 33 ... Rg8, 41. ... Bxe8, and 49 .... b6 during the game. It was very frustrating."

Bartholomew (2471) - Varshavsky (2169)
Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation
World Open (5) 2006

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.O-O f6 6.d4 exd4 7.Nxd4 c5 8.Nb3 Qxd1 9.Rxd1 Bg4 10.f3 Bd7 11.Bf4 O-O-O 12.Nc3 c4 13.Na5 Bc5+ 14.Kf1 Ne7 15.Nxc4 Be6 16.Nd2 h5 17.Nb3 Bc4+ 18.Ke1 Bg1 19.Ne2 Bb6 20.Nd2 Bf7 21.Bg3 Be3 22.Nf1 Bc5 23.Bf2 Bd6 24.h4 f5 25.exf5 Nxf5 26.Ne3 Ne7 27.Ng3 Rde8 28.Kf1 Rhf8 29.Kg1 Bg6 30.c3 c6 31.Nc4 Be7 32.Nf1 Bf7 33.Nce3 Rg8 34.Nd5 Bd8 35.Nf4 g5 36.hxg5 Bxg5 37.Nh3 Bh6 38.Ng3 Bg6 39.Re1 Ne5 40.Bd4 Nd3 41.Rxe8+ Bxe8 42.Nf5 Bf8 43.Nf2 Nxb2 44.Re1 Bg6 45.Ne7+ Bxe7 46.Rxe7 Re8 47.Rg7 Bb1 48.f4 Re1+ 49.Kh2 b6 50.Be5 c5 51.g4 Nc4 52.gxh5 Nxe5 53.fxe5 Rxe5 54.Rg8+ Kb7 55.Rh8 Bxa2 56.h6 Kc6 57.Nd3 Re7 58.h7 Rc7 59.Ne5+ Kb5 60.Kg3 Bb1 61.c4+ Ka5 0-1

Smirin (2800) -Varshavsky (2169)
Ruy Lopez Open Variation
World Open (7) 2006

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Be3 Be7 10.c3 Nc5 11.h3 Nxb3 12.axb3 O-O 13.Re1 Qd7 14.Nbd2 a5 15.Nf1 Bf5 16.Ng3 Bg6 17.Qd2 h6 18.Rad1 Rad8 19.Qe2 b4 20.Rd2 Rfe8 21.Qd1 Qe6 22.Nd4 Nxd4 23.cxd4 f6 24.Bf4 fxe5 25.Bxe5 Qd7 26.Rde2 c5 27.Re3 Bg5 28.f4 Bh4 29.Rf1 Rf8 30.Kh2 Rf7 31.Qd2 cxd4 32.Qxd4 Qa7 33.Ne2 Qxd4 34.Nxd4 Be4 35.g3 Re8 36.Rc1 g5 37.f5 Rxe5 38.gxh4 gxh4 39.Re2 Ree7 40.Rf2 Rc7 41.Rcf1 Rf6 42.Rf4 Rg7 43.R1f2 Kf7 44.Rxh4 Ke7 45.Rg4 Rgf7 46.Kg3 Bxf5 47.Rgf4 Bd7 48.Re2+ Kd6 49.Rh4 Rg7+ 50.Kh2 Rg5 51.Rd2 h5 52.Re2 Rf1 53.Rd2 Be8 54.Rg2 Rxg2+ 55.Kxg2 Rd1 56.Kf2 Rd3 57.Ke2 Bg6 0-1

Such peculiarities were not confined to the Open section. If you look for the name of Steve Rosenberg in the crosstable of the Under 2000 section of the World Open you will not find him. This might seem strange to spectators who attended the World Open for all but the last day. Rosenberg was leading the Under 2000 section with a score of 7.5 in 8 rounds and was in excellent position to win close to $20,000. Instead he was thrown out of the tournament during the last round. Tournament directors discovered that the supposed hearing aid he was wearing beneath his headphones was actually an audio reception device and threw him out of the tournament. Rosenberg's results were stricken entirely from the tournament scores. All seven of the opponents he defeated were given half-point byes. The one player he drew plus his last round opponent were given forfeit wins. Those two players ended up tied for first place and each won $13,258.50.

We also note that Steve Rosenberg won his three previous events, all with perfect scores. He scored 19-0 combined in these three tournaments, thereby raising his rating from 1731 to 1974. The USCF has not taken action on these events, but don't be surprised if they do for Rosenberg is a certified USCF tournament director who directed the events . He has directed 200 plus USCF Rated tournaments. His results in many of these tournaments are to put it politely, at odds with statistical probability.

Some cheating at chess has always been around though it was and still is small potatoes compared to almost every other sport. One reason is that until recently for most players there was little money involved. There are always a few individuals around who try to raise their ratings by artificial means but what really brings the cheaters out of the woodwork is big class prizes. The rise of technology in the form of chess playing programs and audio devices makes the chance of a big score more tempting than ever to a certain type. Technology of this sort is here to stay and large class prizes will always be a necessity in lieu of sponsorship but clearly something must be done.

Right now the penalties appear to be minimal - Rosenberg is still listed as a member of the USCF and as a TD. His 19-0 streak is still on the record - but not his World Open performance. Clearly action needs to be taken to circumvent similar incidents.. One step might be more active policing on the tournament floor, but this usually means more TDs which adds to the cost of holding events which are often run on very small margins. It is also not 100 percent clear all cheaters would be caught but I suspect it would definitely cut down on funny business. Another key factor as pointed out by Mig Greengard, is the lack of a credible deterrent. At present the penalties for cheating are not that serious except for the shame factor. To put it another way the risk reward ratio is favorable for cheaters right now. Maybe they risk $1000 for entry fee, hotel and travel for a shot at close to $20,000. A serious ban from tournament play might make some would be schemers give matters a second thought. Not to be left out of the equation, and undoubtedly a reason for caution on the part of the USCF, is the fear of misjudging an innocent party or being sued by the alleged cheater. Throughout the years the USCF has been sued by enough chessic wing nuts that it usually goes out of its way to avoid litigation so much so that it almost always caves in if pushed. One example being the incident in the American Open last fall where a spot was up for grabs in the US Championship and one player was charged with having sold a game to enable another to qualify for San Diego this year. There were plenty of witnesses in the form of TDs and other players but no "smoking gun" . The alleged "buyer" was allowed to play in San Diego but such action was potentially not without cost as all indications were that the US Championship sponsor, America's Foundation for Chess, was not at all pleased.

5) Yasser Seirawan inducted into US Chess Hall of Fame

GM Yasser Seirawan was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in a special ceremony held during the Chess Olympiad in Turin. Among those attending the induction, which was held during an Internet Chess Club reception, were the 2006 US Olympiad team, GM Joel Benjamin - many-time teammate of Yasser's, Executive Board members Don Schultz and Robert Tanner. Tim Redman represented the US Hall of Fame and performed the induction.

GM Seirawan may have officially retired from serious competitions but he still maintains his 2630 + FIDE rating in the Dutch Team competitions. He has also worked closely for several years with one of Holland's top young prospects Daniel Stellwagen, who is zeroing in on 2600 FIDE. Yasser is very active with ChessBase doing commentary work. You can listen to some of his recent efforts for free at or just going to .

6) Susan Polgar: Little Known Feminist Icon by by Alicia Colon

The woman I met two years ago at the Congress of Racial Equality's annual Martin Luther King gala certainly deserves to be a feminist icon. Yet when I checked the Web site of the National Organization for Women for anything on Susan Polgar, I found nothing. Instead, the Web site promptly spit back, "Do you mean Susan Pleasure?" Surely a woman who had broken the gender barrier time and time again and had developed a foundation for young girls that would improve their self-esteem and assuredness deserved some notice by this women's group. Alas, Ms. Polgar's achievements are in the male dominated world of chess - that great game of cerebral excellence and strategy - not politically correct issues

On June 25 the city hosted the highest-rated round robin chess competition in America's history - the Mayor's Cup. In spite of Ms. Polgar's stellar record of four World Women's Championships, five Olympic gold medals, and Grandmaster status, the Hungarian-American mother from Queens went into this event under low expectations. I asked her about the difficulty of the event. She said, "Before the event, I was unsure of my performance because it is incredibly hard to combine being the organizer of the event, a devoted chess mom, and being one of the players at the same time. This is a very big handicap. In addition, there was a lot of pressure being the only woman in the highest rated ever chess tournament in U.S. history. If I do well, it is a big boost for women's chess in America. However, there are many critics who were just waiting for me to fail so they can say that a woman has no business competing against top-level male players." What little I know about the world of chess has been derived from headlines about the eccentricity of Bobby Fischer and feature films of other child prodigies. Historically, chess champions are also predominantly male Europeans. I also know that Ms. Polgar competed in other events playing simultaneous opponents and scored a spectacular win record (see How did she do, I asked? She told me, "I was the lowest rated player in this tournament. Many people said the odds of me winning this tournament is like the odds of winning the lottery. Many believed that I would finish in last place by a significant margin. I gave it my best shot and I was one half point away from winning the strongest tournament in U.S. history." Ms. Polgar competed against Grandmaster Ildar Ibragimov and the reigning U.S.Champion Grandmaster Alexander Onischuk for the first time. She beat them both ( Ed. She drew Onischuk twice and beat Ibragimov in both games) . Gata Kamsky, now ranked no. 1 U.S. male, won the competition. Raise your hand if you've never heard of Ms. Polgar but have heard of Annika Sorenstam's failed attempt to qualify for the PGA tournament. Yet Ms. Polgar's demolishment of gender barriers in the last 25 years has actually reduced the chauvinism in chess competition. Speaking of her battles, she said, "One of the most painful experiences was in 1986. I was the first woman in history to qualify for the 'Men's' World Chess Championship but I wasn't allowed to compete. The official reason was I am a woman and no woman is allowed. Luckily by the end of that same year, because of my case, the International Chess Federation changed the rule by deleting the word 'Men's' from the name of the event. Since then women, if they qualify, can compete for the overall world title. I have stood up for the rights of women chess players around the world in the past three decades and I will not give up until we have the same rights and conditions as our male counterparts." Ms. Polgar started playing when she was just 4 years old and soon won the championship of Budapest in her native Hungary with a perfect score (10-0). She was a hyperactive child who discovered that chess enabled her to focus for hours. Why not chess instead of Ritalin, I asked? Susan agreed that chess is certainly more fun than medication and added, "I strongly believe that chess can help all children educationally and chess will give them many incredible benefits throughout their lives. This is even more important for girls as it can help enhance their self-confidence and self-esteem." The women I truly admire are those who face enormous wrath for telling the truth, as Phyllis Chesler did when she spoke of the feminist hypocrisy ignoring the plight of battered Islamic women; and women like Susan Polgar who break down gender barriers without demanding that they be altered or lowered.

This article originally appeared in the New York Sun on July 7, 2006

7) Here and There

Last call to vote in the USCF Election for two Executive Board Members and your Northern California Delegates. There have been some problems in getting ballots out. I had to personally request a replacement ballot and would be interested to hear from other USCF members in Northern California who did not receive ballots. Remember your vote must be received in Crossville by July 19. Among those running for the Executive Board are California native sons Randy Hough and Mike Goodall.

The July issue of Chess is just out, the second featuring the "new look". It appears that there are supporters for both the new look and long-time columnists like Andy Soltis and Larry Evans who were axed in the makeover. We note that the photos are more plentiful, better chosen and crisper than in the past but to this old dog the blue and white diagrams without borders are just too funky and hard on the eye. We would be interested in hearing from other Newsletter readers on this matter, pro or con.

For up to date information on what is going on in the chess world there are few better sources than the online daily Chess Today ( - 15 euros for three months) by Irish GM Alex Baburin. The issue this past Tuesday ran the following interview ( translated from Russian) entitled Rublevsky Speaks Out

Our colleague, IM Vladimir Barsky, conducted an interview for the website with the winner of the Foros tournament, GM Sergei Rublevsky. In particular, problems of the Russian team were discussed. Rublevsky stated that in his opinion "a pessimist" [i.e. GM Dolmatov] should not rule the national team, and that the team needs another coach, whoever would play for it in the future. He also added that this opinion is shared by four other members of the Russian team: Svidler, Morozevich, Grischuk and Bareev. Rublevsky also opined that players should be given the possibility to propose candidates for the coaches' position.

Earlier, Bareev revealed the team's long-term dissatisfaction with the work of the coach Dolmatov in the interview for "Shakhmatnaya Nedelya" - after which Dolmatov called Bareev's interview "treasonous" in "64 - Chess Review". In one more interview, given to "Sport-Express" newspaper, Dolmatov, who had health problems before and during the Olympiad, said that he should not go to Turin from a medical point of view, but he wanted to make the feat. Dolmatov's professional future most probably will be decided at the Russian chess federation meeting on the 21st July.

We note that since 1986 the USCF has wisely chosen a system in which the players directly choose their Captain.

Johan Hellsten is performing sensationally in the Swedish Championship currently being held in Gothenburg. He leads with 8 from 10 but has not yet clinched first as fellow GM Emmanuel Berg is close behind him. Her is a an exciting Hellsten victory from round ten.

Eriksson,J - Hellsten,J Nimzo-Indian E39 Swedish ch 2006

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 c5 5.dxc5 0-0 6.a3 Bxc5 7.Nf3 b6 8.Bf4 Bb7 9.0-0-0 Nc6 10.e3 Rc8 11.Bd3 Be7 12.e4 Na5 13.e5 Nh5 14.Bxh7+ Kh8 15.Be3 g6 16.Bxg6 fxg6 17.Qxg6 Qe8 18.Qh6+ Kg8 19.Bg5 Rf5 20.Bxe7 Qxe7 21.g4 Rxf3 22.gxh5 Rxc3+ 23.Kb1 Be4+ 24.Ka2 Qxa3+! 25.bxa3 Rc2+ 26.Kb1 Rd2+ 27.Ka1 Nb3 mate!

The 7th Marseille open tournament took place from 30 June - 7 July. Final standings:1-2. Fridman (2562) and Prie (2475) -7½ 3. Kosten (2504) - 7 4. Jedynak (2444) - 6½, etc.

There was also organised an IM title tournament, won by the Ukrainian GM Stanislav Savchenko and the women's GM title tournament, where WGM Anna Zatonskih (USA) shared first place with the Romanian WGMs Cristina Foisor and Elena-Luminita Cosma.

IM Vinay Bhat, recently graduated from UC Berkeley, is enjoying a summer in Europe before joining the working world. He is currently playing in the Andorra Open where he has 3 from 5.

GM Nick deFirmian, another UC Berkeley grad, divides his time between New York and Copenhagen. Nick captained the Bermuda team in Turin and his update of Capablanca's classic Chess Fundamentals was recently published by McKay.

The Association of Chess Professionals recently released published the final rankings for the season 2005/2006. A quote from the detailed final report: "The top 7 finishers of the Tour were determined even before the end of the World Open in Philadelphia. There was some uncertainty about the 8th spot: Viorel Bologan had 799 points, but Hikaru Nakamura (720, 10th place) could surpass him in case of showing a favourable result in the World Open. After 7 rounds Nakamura was half a point behind the leading group, but in the end he failed to catch up with them, collecting just 18 Tour points. So, Bologan took the 8th spot in the yearly rankings."

Top 20:
1. Aronian (5 events) - 2128 points
2. Anand (7) - 1752
3. Rublevsky (4) - 1425
4. Harikrishna (8) - 1225
5. Naiditsch (7) - 1055
6. Shirov (8) - 926
7. Bareev (4) - 818
8. Bologan (6) - 799
9. Nakamura (6) - 755
10. Radjabov (3) - 747
11. Volokitin (4) - 719
12. Svidler (3) - 703
13. Van Wely (6) - 690
14. Sasikiran (4) - 657
15. Grischuk (4) - 628
16. Bacrot (5) - 576
17. Motylev (3) - 566
18. Gelfand (3) - 556
19. I.Sokolov (7) - 520
20. Eljanov (2) - 464

(Note that some of the world's top players: Topalov, Ivanchuk, Ponomariov, Karpov are not ACP members as of yet.)

GM Mikhail Golubev writes in Chess Today: While analyzing the FIDE rating list, the editor of TWIC, Mark Crowther, writes: "Another surprise was FM Vladimir Afromeev's entry into the list with a rating of 2620, initially his April rating was given as 2558 but this must have been corrected at some point to 2612, he gained a further 8 points from a tournament in Tula to become the only non-GM in the list, especially surprising as he was born in 1954."

In the Russian-speaking chess world, Afromeev is more known as an organizer than as a player. His latest achievements have provoked ironical comments by the editor of the website. Some background information (also in Russian) can be found at .

8) What's Bad for Putin Is Best for Russians by Garry Kasparov

When observing the West's conciliatory dealings with Russia, I'm reminded of a quotation often attributed to Winston Churchill: "However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results."

For five years, President Bush has been talking about maintaining an open dialogue with Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, and about how hard he has worked to convince the Russian leader that "it's in his interest to adopt Western-style values and universal values." This sounds reasonable, but we don't have to go on theory. There's a track record - one that clearly shows that persuasion and appeasement toward Russia have failed.

It is long past time for Western leaders to take a tougher stand if they want their rhetoric about democracy to be credible. A perfect opportunity awaits at this week's meeting of the Group of 7 leaders in St. Petersburg. I say "Group of 7" rather than "Group of 8" because I continue to hope that the West will find its collective backbone and make Russia's participation contingent on its actually being a democracy.

The St. Petersburg meeting offers the visiting heads of state a chance to see for themselves how bad things here have become. The right of Russians to elect their governors and parliamentary representatives is steadily eroding, with more and more influence accruing to the executive. Even Aleksandr Veshnyakov, the chairman of the Central Electoral Commission who has rubber-stamped the results of every election under President Putin, recently said that if all the new legislation proposed by Mr. Putin's United Russia Party were passed, elections here "would be a farce." Opposition activists and journalists are routinely arrested and interrogated. The Kremlin, in complete control of the judiciary, loots private businesses and then uses state-controlled companies to launder the money abroad.

Mr. Bush and Europe's leaders apparently believe it is best to disregard such unpleasantness for the sake of receiving Russia's cooperation on security and energy. This cynical and morally repugnant stance has also proven ineffective. Just as in the old days, Moscow has become an ally for troublemakers and anti-democratic rulers around the world. Nuclear aid to Iran, missile technology to North Korea, military aircraft to Sudan, Myanmar and Venezuela, and a budding friendship with Hamas: these are the West's rewards for keeping its mouth shut about human rights in Russia.

It's time to stop pretending that the Kremlin shares the free world's interests. The high energy prices the Putin administration requires to keep its hold on power are driven by the tensions that come with every North Korean missile launching and Iranian nuclear threat. It's no surprise that Russia continues to block United Nations sanctions against these rogue states. The mystery is why the West continues to treat Russia like an ally.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, State Department representatives are scheduled to attend the Other Russia conference in Moscow. Organized by the opposition umbrella group of which I am a founder, the conference will bring together politicians and nongovernmental organizations from all over Russia and from every part of its political spectrum.

The primary aim of the conference is to document our national crisis for the Russian government, the Russian people and the widest possible international audience. It is equally important to discuss what is to be done and to make it clear that it is not too late. Our citizens must refuse to be bought off with a fleeting oil windfall and the false impression of a return to superpower status. Western leaders must live up to their rhetoric about human rights by stating in no uncertain terms that Russia's status as a trading partner, security ally and G-8 member are all at risk if the country continues its slide into dictatorship.

Just days ago, dozens of activists en route to Moscow to attend the conference were arrested, some beaten. Possession of opposition literature is being defined as an attempt to "overthrow constitutional order." Will the Western delegations sit silently? Will the American president say nothing?

Perhaps silence is the best option if the most Mr. Bush has to offer are weak expressions of concern and remarks about his personal relationship with Mr. Putin. President Ronald Reagan's hard public line on the Soviet Union let us know that someone out there was aware of our predicament and was fighting for us. Now this American president seems to be saying that Iraqis and Afghans are deserving of democracy, but Russians are not.

The darkest days of Communist rule are now a generation behind us. Between the end of the Communist dictatorship and the crackdown under President Putin, there was a period of freedom. It was brief and it was flawed, but it could have served as a foundation for a democratic Russia. Since 2000, however, Mr. Putin has done everything possible to dismantle that fragile edifice. In dealing with Russia, please don't confuse what's good for the Putin regime with what's best for the Russian people.

Garry Kasparov is the co-chairman of the All-Russia Civil Congress and the chairman of the United Civil Front of Russia

This article appeared on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times on July 10, 2006.

9) Australia juniors versus Bay Area juniors this weekend by Michael Aigner

Hello CalChess team,

The Australia match is going ahead as planned on Saturday at 5pm. I hope all of you can make it!


Date: Saturday, July 15 at 5:00 PDT
Location: Internet Chess Club (ICC) at
Teams: 12 players U12 and 12 players U18, at least two in each category must be girls Format: Play two games 45 5 (note change!!!) against same opponent on opposing team. After the first game, take a break of up to 10 minutes and then play the second game (colors reversed). Younger players who move faster will probably finish in 1.5 hours while the most competitive matches can take up to 3 hours.

I currently have 11 players committed for both U18 and U12 and I'm currently asking a couple more people about their availability. If you know anyone else who might be interested, please tell them to contact me ASAP. I would like to have one or two alternates if possible. I will find a way for the alternates to play someone as well.

Just so that everyone understands: On Saturday, please log into ICC before 5pm from your home (or anywhere else). You do not have to go to Mechanics or any other specific physical location. When you log in, you should say hello to me "tell fpawn hi!" so that I know you are online. I will send more detailed instructions, including who your opponents are, later this week.

More later! See the list of players below, updated using the latest USCF ratings as of yesterday evening.

Michael Aigner
"fpawn" on ICC

1. Drake Wang (2256)
2. Daniel Schwarz (2217) -- maybe
3. Sam Shankland (2162)
4. Mike Zhong (2006)
5. Matt Zavortink (1950)
6. Charles Sun (1926)
7. Ted Belanoff (1835)
8. Jonathan Soo Hoo (1799)
9. Steven Liu (1768)
10. Alan Naroditsky (1742)
11. Rebekah Liu (1277) (w)
12. Jessica Connor (671) (w)

U12 1. Daniel Naroditsky (2055)
2. Gregory Young (1988)
3. Sam Bekker (1660)
4. Kyle Shin (1616)
5. Yian Liou (1512)
6. Jennifer Livschitz (1474) (w)
7. Alex Grossman (1357) -- might play for Australia
8. Andrew Chen (1355)
9. Jackie Connor (1092) (w)
10. Aditya Kumar (1075)
11. Caleb Morin (979)

10) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Events

Vladimir Pafnutieff - August 5
Bernardo Smith Amateur - August 19 and 20

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

3rd California Classic Championship! South Bay - Cupertino, CA July 29: Blitz, Bug; July 29-30: 2-Day Adult; July 30: 1-Day AdultNote: This is not a scholastic event! However, Juniors may sign up provided they can observe the decorum of adult tournaments.20085 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA TDs: Salman Azhar, Jason Gurtovoy Sponsored by USF Chess Club, Alan KirshnerPLACE: University of San Francisco, 2nd floor, 20085 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA (between De Anza Blvd & Wolfe Rd) DIRECTIONS: From I-280 N/S take De Anza exit & go South; Take left on Stevens Creek; U-turn @ Blaney & arrive 20085 Stevens Creek. Enter from the parking lot side (North) of the building. AMPLE PARKING AVAILABLEEVENT & SCHEDULE: Three sections: Expert (above 2000), Reserve (U2000) and Amateur (U1600) in a one or two-day schedule. USCF rated four-round Swiss. Ratings will be based only on the June 2006 USCF rating supplement. Registration: 7/29 - 8:30 am - 9:30 am. 7/30 - 7:30am - 8:30am.Rounds: 2-day: 7/29 - 10 & 3:00, 7/30 - 1:30 & 6:30, 1-day: 7/30 - 9, 11:10, 1:30, & 6:30. (1-day and 2-day events merge in round 3).Time controls: 2-day, 30/90 G/60 all rounds. 1-day, Rounds 1-2, G/60; Rounds 3-4, 30/90, G/60. ENTRY FEE: $49 postmarked by 7/24/2006; $64 postmarked after 7/24/2006 & on-site. IMs/GMs free. USCF membership required. Entrants may play up one section for $10. Reentry after round 2 of the 2-day schedule into the 1-day schedule: $20. $5 discount for Juniors (U18) or Seniors (65+). $5 discount for postmark before 7/14. Team: Four or more individuals may compete for a club, team, or school. Multiple club teams allowed. Team discount of $5 per entry. All (four or more) entries must be in 1 package or not counted. Teams may form on-site, but won't receive discount. BYES: ½ point byes available in any round and must be requested before the start of round 1. Maximum one ½ point bye per entry. PRIZES: Expert (2000 and up): 1st - $400 , 2nd - $150, 3rd - $100 Reserve (U2000): 1st - $400 , 2nd - $150, U1900 - $50, U1800 - $50 - U1700 - $50Amateur (U1600): 1st - $400 , 2nd - $150, U1500 - $50, U1400 - $50 - U1300 - $50Club or Team 1st- 3rd receive Club TrophyTop Junior (U18) Highest Score between Juniors - $50 for main event. Blitz Prize 1st - $50, 2nd - $35, U2000 - $20, U1800 - $20, U1600 - $20, U1400 - $20Bughouse Prize 1st - $50, 2nd - $40, 3rd- -$30 4th - $20 (per team) Overall prize fund based on 70 fully paid adult entries. Blitz prize fund based on fully paid 20 entries. Bughouse prize fund based on fully paid 12 teams. Prize fund and/or number of prizes will be increased or decreased based on total entries in each event. Additional Events-Blitz: Blitz Championship (Open) in a 5 round Swiss format. Each game will be played with both colors (10 games played total). Both sides will have 5 minutes to make all moves. This is a G/5 rated event. Event will start following the conclusion of 2nd round play or 8:00pm. Bughouse: Bughouse Championship (Open) in 5 round swiss. Each game will played with both colors (10 games played total). Both sides will have 5 minutes to make all moves. Unrated Event will start following conclusion of Blitz or 9:00pm. (May Sign up individually and td will partner to avoid late fee) (You may pay in advance and then form a team at the tournament.) OTHER: Bring chess clocks and sets (Black chooses equipment); few provided!! Registration will close as scheduled to allow round 1 to start on time. Late entries will be given a ½ point bye or paired against another late entry at the TD's discretion. No computer entries accepted. Wheelchair access to site. USCF rated. MORE INFO: E-mail: 2006 California Classic Entry FormName: USCF ID # Rating: . Address: Expiration Date: . City & State: Zip: Phone: ( ) - . E-mail Address: Requested ½ point bye (if any), round . Circle the section being entered: o Expert o Reserve o AmateurMark all that apply: 2-day: $49 postmarked by 7/24/2006 , $64 postmarked after 7/24/2006 & on-site 1-day: $49 postmarked by 7/24/2006 , $64 postmarked after 7/24/2006 & on-site Play up one section for $10. Discount (maximum 2 discounts [$10] per entry) Team Discount of $5 per member. Team Name: ! $5 discount for Juniors (U18) or Seniors (65+). $5 discount Early Registration Postmarked by 7/14/2006 for main event. $10 Bughouse Championship Entry Partner: postmarked by 7/24/2006, $20 after & on-site $15 Blitz Championship Entry postmarked by 7/24/2006, $25 postmarked after 7/24/2006 & on-site Re-Entry 1-day schedule for $20. TOTAL (Make checks payable to Jason Gurtovoy)Mail entries to: Jason Gurtovoy, 34249 Fremont Blvd. #158 Fremont, CA 94555

Return to Index