Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #309

Few sports have such a deep and complicated world that is completely closed to outsiders. One of the reasons chess has such an intellectual reputation is because if you don't understand chess, you don't understand it at ALL, and this also makes it more attractive to us, the members of the club. It's like speaking a foreign language or liking cauliflower, it puts you into a special group of people that understand something that those out of the group can't.

Mig Greengard

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) US Chess League
3) Northern  California Championship
4) Tournament Results around the US
5) Upcoming Tournaments

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

Three rounds into the Paul Vayssie Tuesday Night Marathon there are only five perfect scores in the 61-player field. Leading the way are FM Frank Thornally, NMs Batchimeg Tuvshintugsand Russell Wong, plus Experts Sam Shankland and Josh Gutman.

The Mechanics Summer FIDE Rating tournament was won by Sam Shankland and Felix German with 9.5 from 11! The 15-year-old Shankland from Orinda, is now close to 2200, while Rudyak, who has played well but erratically in the past, gained a whopping 142 points to put him solidly in the Expert class. Tying for third in the 12-player round robin with 8 points were Kimani Stancil and Josh Gutman. The remaining plus scores were Larry Snyder, fifth at 7.5 and Gregory Young, sixth with 7. Thanks to Anthony Corrales for making this event possible.

Former World Champion Boris Spassky and his wife Marina will be guests of the Mechanics' Institute from September 28 to October 3. During this time Spassky will give a clock simul, lectures, answer questions, work with junior players and sign books. He will give a clock simul on Saturday, September 30 on 25 boards. Cost for the simul will be $100 (The same as the past two years in Reno). The simul starts at 2:00 PM. Their are a handful of boards still available. Spassky will also be doing a free talk and book signing on Sunday from 2pm to 3:30 pm which is open to all.

Long-time MI member Mike Goodall, doing much better after his car accident, has moved again and welcomes visitors. Contact Mike at:

5th Ave Health Care Center
1601 5th Ave
San Rafael
(415) 491-1269

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) US Chess League

Mechanics' defeat Sharks 3-1 Round two of the US Chess League saw the San Francisco Mechanics' defeated the Miami Sharks 3-1 in what is quickly turning into a traditional rivalry. Both teams feature top heavy lineups with titled players on the top three boards and Experts on board four making for competitive match ups throughout and this match was no exception.

15-year-old Sam Shankland, making his debut on the MI team, scored first despite he and his opponent playing more moves than any other game. Credit this to Sam having 47 minutes on his clock at the end ( time control for this match was G/60 with a thirty second increment). Next to score was MI Trustee IM Vince McCambridge with a crisp attack after Black's Queen was misplaced. GM Julio Becerra, one of the highest rated players in the league brought the score to 2-1 but by that time it was clear that IM David Pruess was winning for San Francisco. A analysis of the games shows the match was closer than the final score indicates and although Miami has dropped to 0-2 in the standings expect them to bounce back in the next few weeks.

Miami vs San Francisco

1. GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs IM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0 2. IM Vince McCambridge (SF) vs IM Alejandro Moreno Roman (MIA) 1-0 3. FM Marcel Martinez (MIA) vs IM David Pruess (SF) 0-1 4. Sam Shankland (SF) vs Luis Barredo (MIA) 1-0

Becerra,J (2624) - Friedel,J (2513) [C78]
USCL Miami vs San Francisco Internet Chess Club (2), 06.09.2006

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Rb8 8.axb5 axb5 9.c3 d6 10.d4 Bb6 11.Na3 0-0 12.Nxb5 Bg4 13.Be3

This move is not as popular as 13.d5 or 13.Re1 which was seen in DeFirmian-Friedel, 2004 US ch., where White had a pull after 13...exd4 14.Nbxd4 Bxd4 15.cxd4 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Nxd4 17.Bxf7+ Rxf7 18.Qxd4.

13... exd4 14.cxd4 Nxe4

14...Qe8 is an alternative.


This looks to be a new move which is not without venom. Previously attention was focused on 15.Bd5 Qe8 15.h3 Bd7.

15... Qe8 16.Ba4 Bd7 17.Nc3 f5?!

It is easy to be a Thursday morning quarterback but 17...Nxc3 18.bxc3 Ne7 might have been more prudent. Now White develops a strong initiative and Black never quite equalizes.

18.Nd5 Na5 19.Bxd7 Qxd7 20.b4 Nb7 21.Rfc1 Kh8 22.Nxb6 cxb6 23.d5 Rfc8 24.Qd3 Rxc1+ 25.Bxc1 Nd8 26.Nd4 Qe8 27.Bb2 Qg6 28.Ra7 Rc8 29.Nc6 Nxc6 30.dxc6 Nf6 31.Qxd6 Qe8 32.h3 Rxc6 33.Qd3 f4 34.Qf3 h6 35.Bxf6 Qe1+ 36.Kh2 Rxf6 37.Qg4 1-0

McCambridge,V (2502) - Moreno Roman,A (2437) [A03]
USCL Miami vs San Francisco Internet Chess Club (2), 06.09.2006

1.f4 Vince has never played this move before and after the game offered no clue as to what inspired him. Could it be the view of Alcatraz from his home in the Presidio?

1...d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.b3

Local Bird aficionado Michael (F-pawn) Aigner usually prefers to play the Bird as a Stonewall or Leningrad Dutch reversed.

3...c5 4.e3 Bg4 5.h3 Bxf3 6.Qxf3 Nc6 7.Bb2 e6 8.Bb5 Rc8 9.Nc3 a6 10.Bxc6+ Rxc6 11.0-0 Be7 12.g4 0-0 13.g5

So far play has been within normal bounds but Black's next move, the pseudo-aggressive 13...Ne4, lands him in hot water if not followed up precisely.


13...Nd7 or 13...Ne8 were more prudent.

14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.Qxe4 Qxd2 16.Rad1 Qb4 17.c4!

This strong move cuts off Black's Queen, putting it far from the action in the center.


This is the losing move. As MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky pointed out in his delayed commentary down the hall, 17...Rd6 was forced.


The threats to capture on b7 and more importantly e7, are decisive.

Qxa2 19.Rf2 Re8 20.Rxe7! Rxe7 21.Qe5! f6 22.gxf6 Qb1+ 23.Kh2 Rec7 24.f7+ 1-0

As 24...Kxf7 25.Qxg7+ Ke8 26.Qg8+ Ke7 27.Rg2 is curtains.

Martinez,M (2415) - Pruess,D (2459) [D31]
USCL Miami vs San Francisco Internet Chess Club (2), 06.09.2006

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4

The ever dangerous Marshall Gambit which Dmitry Zilberstein used with deadly effect in round one against Igor Schneider.

4...dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 Ne7 9.Qd2 Ng6 10.Nh3

White wants to castle queenside but doesn't wish to allow the trade of queens with ...Qf4.


In this razor sharp line exact move orders are critical. Here 10...f6 11.0-0-0 Kf7 was preferred. One critical game in this line is Fridman-Moroz, Pardubice 2005, which continued in sharp fashion with 12.g4 c5 13.Bxc5 Nd7 14.Ba3 Re8 15.Rhe1.

11.0-0-0 f6 12.Bd3?

Yermo, who has a good nose for such positions, pointed out this move was bad because it allows to Black to untangle with ...e5. White should instead have played 12.f3 with the point 12...Qh4? loses immediately to 13.Qd8+ Kf7 14.Rd7+. So 12...Qe5 is forced when 13.Bd6 Qh5 14.f4 yields a strong initiative.

12...Qh4 13.Bd6 e5

Now Black gets his pieces out and the tide changes.

14.Rhe1 Kf7 15.Re3 Rd8 16.Ng1 Rxd6 17.Bxg6+ hxg6 18.Qxd6 Qxc4+ 19.Kd2 Qxa2 20.Qa3 Qd5+ 21.Kc1 Qxg2 22.Nf3 Be6 23.Rg1 Qxf2 24.Nxe5+ Kg8 25.Nf3 Bf5 26.Qb3+ Kh7 27.Rg3 Qf1+ 28.Re1 Nc5 29.Rxf1 Nxb3+ 30.Kd1 Rd8+ 31.Ke1 Nc5 32.Nh4 Be4 33.Rh3 g5 34.b4 Nd3+ 35.Ke2 Kg8 White resigns 0-1

Shankland,S (2106) - Barredo,L (2160) [C17]
USCL Miami vs San Francisco Internet Chess Club (2), 06.09.2006

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Qg4 Ne7 6.Nf3 Nbc6 7.a3 Qa5 8.Bd2 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.Qxd4 Nc6 11.Bb5 Bxc3 12.Bxc6+ bxc6 13.Bxc3 Qb6 14.Qg4 0-0 15.0-0 c5 16.b4 Ba6 17.Rfe1 Rfc8 18.Bd2 Qd8 19.Bh6 Qf8 20.Re3 f5 21.exf6 Qxf6 22.Qxe6+ Qxe6 23.Rxe6 Bb5 24.Bf4 cxb4 25.axb4 Rxc2 26.Re7 Re8 27.Rxe8+ Bxe8 28.Rxa7 Rc4 29.g3 Rxb4 30.Be5 Rg4 31.f4 h5 32.Kg2 Bf7 33.Kf3 Rg6 34.Ra8+ Kh7 35.Rf8 Bg8

Despite the reduced material this position is still tricky and Black was way behind on the clock. During the game spectators felt that 35...Be6 was more accurate and active with the idea that 36.f5 would be met by 36...Rg5 as on 37.Kf4 Black has 37...Rg4+ but White has the pretty move 37.g4! hxg4+ 38.Kf4 winning.

36.f5 Rg4?

This looks to be the losing move. Why not 36...Ra6 or 36...Rb6?


Now the Rook is trapped.

37...d4 38.h3 Bd5+ 39.Kf2 Rxf4+ 40.gxf4 Be4 41.f6 Kg6 42.f5+ Kh7 43.Rh8+! Black resigns 1-0

2006 Standings After Round Two

6.0 (75%)
Boston 2.0
5.5 (69%)
New York 1.0
3.0 (38%)
Philadelphia 0.0
3.0 (38%)
Carolina 0.0
2.5 (31%)

Seattle 2.0
7.0 (88%)
San Francisco 2.0
6.0 (75%)
3.0 (38%)
Tennessee 0.5
2.0 (25%)
Miami 0.0
2.0 (0%)


Final MVP Rankings
1. FM Tegshsuren Enkhbat (BAL) 9
2. IM Eric Tangborn (SEA)
3. IM Larry Kaufman (BAL) 5
4. FM Oleg Zaikov (CAR) 5
5. GM Gregory Serper (SEA)

Formula for MVP points:
a win on board 1 is worth 4 points, a loss on board 1 is worth -4 points
a win on board 2 is worth 3 points, a loss on board 2 is worth -3 points
a win on board 3 or 4 is worth 2 points, a loss on board 3 is worth -2 points
if you draw or win with the black pieces you receive 1 bonus point.

Ties are broken by 1. Total games played
2. Overall Team Record
3. Avg Board Number. 1st beats 2nd and so on.

* - The top 5 players will be listed above each week, however if there is a tie for 5th place all players involved in the tie will be shown. ** - You must have played at least half of your teams matches to be listed. To win the MVP award you must play at least 5 matches for your team

Next Wednesday the Mechanics' plays against the Philadelphia Masterminds. Watch the games live at the Mechanics' with delayed commentary by Yermo or on the Internet Chess Club.

3) Northern California Championship

Labor Day weekend is traditionally when many state's hold their championships and Northern California is no exception. In what is turning out to be a tradition the 165 player event was held as usual at the Holiday Inn on Van Ness and organized by NM Richard Koepcke. GM Alex Yermolinsky and newly arrived IM Josh Friedel tied for first at 5-1 in the Open section. Yermo beat Friedel but drew with IMs Vladimir Mezentsev and David Pruess while Friedel defeated both of them. Mezentsev and Pruess shared third at 4.5.

Jason Drake, visiting from Minnesota, took the Expert section with 5 from 6 while several of the Bay Area under 12 crowd gave him a run for his money. Eight year-old Nicholas Nip and 11-year-old Gregory Young tied for second at 4.5. For their efforts the two youngsters are now rated over 1900 and 2000 respectively.

NM Michael Aigner writes about the Bay Area's promising crop of youngsters:

I would like to join Salman Azhar in singling out the juniors who played up a section and ended up with phenomenal results. 11 year old Gregory Young continues to move up, this time shaking off a first round loss to perform well in the expert section. 9 year old Yian Liou took on all challengers in the B section, stunning his opponents, parents and coach with the result. Not to be outdone by the youngest kids, teenager Aaron Garg faced opponents consistently rated about 200 points higher in the A section. All three of these kids finished with 4.5/6 and tied for second place in their divisions.

However, the biggest news came from the ever cheerful young boy in the expert section. Eight year old Nicholas Nip sent a message to CalChess and to the nation by finishing an impressive second place in the expert section! He played four opponents rated over 2100, beating two of them and drawing a third in an extra rated game. He will now be rated over 1900 and has his sights squarely on the USCF's youngest master record. For those of you unfamiliar with this record, Bobby Fischer became a master at age 13. His record was broken by local juniors Jordy Mont-Reynaud and Vinay Bhat in 1994 and 1995. The current record lies in the hands of Hikaru Nakamura at 10 years and 79 days. This gives Nicholas Nip nearly a full two years to break the mark. In fact, at this rate he might make short work of this hallowed record!

Read more about the youngest master record:

4) Tournament Results around the US

Ildar Ibragimov and Joel Benjamin were rated head and shoulders above the field in the New York State Championship held over Labor Day in Albany and the final result confirmed their superiority. The two GMs scored 5.5 from 6, drawing only with each other to take first in the 198 player event directed by Steve Immitt for the Continental Chess Association.

18-year-old Bulgarian IM Valentin Iotov won the So Cal Open held at the Pechanga Hotel and Casino in Temicula with a score of 5-1. Tying for second at 4.5 were GMs Varuzhan Akobian and Melik Khachiyan and NM Joel Banawa. Continuing the downward trend in tournament attendance in Southern California only 137 players participated. Since this area boasts one of the largest populations in the country and has several first rate organizers this drop is both puzzling and disturbing.This year's event was new, and not close to Los Angeles, but it is seldom that Northern California draws more players on Labor Day than its cousin to the South.

Columbian GM Gildardo Garcia took top honors in the Florida State Championship held in St.Petersberg over Labor Day. Garcia's score of 5.5 from 6 included a key win over Florida's top player, GM Julio Becerra, who finished second with five points.

The Berry brothers and Tom Braunlich put together the Okie Chess Chess Festival in Tulsa over Labor Day weekend. FM Michael Langer of Austin, Texas, was the convincing winner of the eight-player Master section, scoring 5.5 from 7. German FM Christian Remling was second with four points. There was a four way tie for first in the Challengers with organizer Braunlich, Ryan Butros of Turkey, Bill Orton and Bob Holliman sharing first with 4.5 from 7 in the eight player round robin.

Two important events were held the weekend before Labor Day. The traditional Atlantic Open in Washington D.C. almost featured a huge upset. University of Baltmore at Maryland student Katherine Rohonyan beat IM Larry Kaufman and SM Stephen Muhammad and drew GM Alex Shabalov before losing to newly minted GM Eugene Perelshteyn in the final round. Perelshteyn took first with 4.5 from 5 while Shabalov and Emory Tate (who drew each other in the last round) were joined in second by SM Thomas Bartell with four points. This Continental Chess Association event, directed by Steve Immitt, attracted 340 players.

That same weekend one of the strongest events ever held in Arizona saw Mechanics' Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky win the ACE (American Chess Events) invitational with an undefeated score of 3.5 from 5. SM Daniel Rensch was second on home ground with 3 points in the 6-player round robin held at the Arizona State University's Student Union in Tempe. IMs Mark Ginsburg and Levon Altounian shared third and fourth with 2.5 points followed by IM Josh Friedel at 2 and NM Phillip Ponomarov on 1.5 Steve Kamp organized and Myron Lieberman directed.

5) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Events

Howard Donnelly Memorial - September 23
J.J. Dolan Memorial - October 28
Carroll Capps Memorial - November 11 and 12
Saint-Amant Memorial - November 18
Guthrie McClain Memorial - December 2
Jim Hurt Amateur - December 16 and 17

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