Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #320

There should be as many world champions as there are players, because every chess player lives in his own world.

Elliott Winslow

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Northern California Championship 1949
3) FIDE Norm Swiss at East Bay Chess Club
4) Upcoming Events

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

IM Ricardo DeGuzman continued his domination of the Mechanics' Institute's monthly G/45 events, winning the 6th Annual Pierre Saint Amant Memorial held November 18th with a score of 4.5 from 5. Newly minted Master Sam Shankland drew DeGuzman in round 4 but was then beat by 12-year-old Expert Gregory Young in the last round. Young shared second at 4-1 with Ted Belanoff and Jason Gurtovoy. The latter picked up close to 60 rating points for an excellent result which included a big upset over WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs.

Half way through the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon NM Sam Shankland leads with a 4-0 score followed by WIM Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, NM Igor Margulis and Experts Victor Ossipov and Larry Snyder on 3 1/2.

Next Wednesday, November 29th, the Mechanics' Institute will meet the Marshall Chess Club in the championship match of the US Chess League. The two teams face off at 6pm PST. Come to the Mechanics' that evening to support the team and listen to onsite commentary by GM Alex Yermolinsky.

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. If you want to make a donation that counts for your 2006 taxes it needs to be made before Christmas,

The staff of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Remember the Institute is closed both Thursday and Friday.

2) Northern California Championship 1949

Thanks to Peter Grey more news from California's past has emerged. A scorebook that Peter has preserved for many years has almost all the games from the 1949 Nothern California Championship. The double-round robin event was a qualifier for the state championship held later in the year.

Final standings:

1. Robert Konkel 7.5/10; 2. Earl Pruner 6; 3. Leslie Boyette 6; 4. Clark Jonas 4.5; 5.Howard Donnelly 4; 6.Carl Bergman 1.5

The following game was neither player's best from the event but turned out to have a big impact on the final standings. Earl Prunner, like Clark Jonas, was a teenager in 1949. Raised in San Francisco, he was later to become a strong master who was rated close to 2400 at one point. Robert Konkel was one of the Bay Area's best players in the late 1940s but seems to have stopped playing soon after. Does anyone know what happened to him?

Earl Pruner - Robert Konkel

Ruy Lopez C81

San Francisco (3), 1949

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Qe2

White's plan is often to follow this move up with a quick Rd1 and c4.


9...Be7 and 9...Bc5 are more often played here.

10.Rd1 Be7 11.Nbd2

11.Nd4 0-0 12.f3 is another possibility driving the Knight from the center without allowing the possiblity of a trade on d2.


11...Nxb3 12.axb3 Nxd2 13.Bxd2 0-0 14.Nd4 c5 15.Nc6 Qc7 16.Nxe7+ Qxe7= Goloshchapov-Mamedyarov, Izmir 2004.

12.Nd4 0-0 13.c4

This move appears to have only appeared in Earl Pruner's practice. Alternatives haven't offered White anything special:

(a) 13.Nxe6 fxe6 14.Qg4 Qe8 15.Nf3 h5 16.Qd4 Qg6 17.Ng5?? Nc6 18.Qe3 Nxb3 19.cxb3 Nb4 20.Qg3 Nc2 21.Rb1 Nd4 0-1 Wallace-Varavin, Budapest 1995.

(b) 13.c3 Ncxb3 14.N2xb3 Nxb3 15.axb3 c5 16.Nc6 Qc7 17.Nxe7+ Qxe7= Visser-Smeets, Hilversum 2006.

(c) 13.f4 Ncxb3 14.axb3 Bc5 15.N2f3 Nc6 16.Be3 Nxd4 17.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 18.Rxd4 c5= Winslow-Cleghorn,Paul Masson op 1977.

13...bxc4 14.Nxc4 dxc4?!

A better try, 14...Naxb3 was played four rounds later, albeit with the same final result: 15.axb3 Qe8 16.Na5 Rb8 17.Nac6 Rb6 18.b4 Nb7 19.Rxa6 Bd7? (19...Rxa6 20.Qxa6 Nd8 21.Nxe7+ Qxe7 22.Qa7±) 20.Rxb6 cxb6 21.Qc2 Bd8 22.f4 g6 23.f5 g5 24.f6 Bxc6 25.Nxc6 h6 26.Bxg5 hxg5 27.Qf5 1-0 Pruner-Bergman, San Francisco 1949.

14...Nxc4 15.Bxc4 Qe8 looks safest with equal chances.

15.Nxe6 Qc8

15...fxe6 16.Rxd8 Raxd8 17.Bc2 Nd3 offers some but probably not enough compensation for the Queen.

16.Nxc5 cxb3 17.axb3 Bxc5 18.Rxa5 Be7 19.Rad5 Qe6 20.Bf4

20.f4 aiming for f5 looks more to the point.

20...Rab8 21.Qc2 Rb4 22.Bg3 c6 23.Rd7 Rfb8 24.f4 f5

If 24...Rxb3? then 25.f5 wins a piece.

25.Rc7 Bf8 26.Re1

26.Rxc6 Qxb3 27.Qxb3+ Rxb3 28.Rxa6 Rxb2 produces a position where White has about equal chances of winning or drawing.

26...c5 27.Bf2 Rxb3 28.Rb1 Qb6 29.Rxc5

The text doesn't promise a simple solution to White's problems but nor did 29.Qc4+ Kh8 30.Rd7 Rxb2 31.Rxb2 Qxb2 32.h3 Qb4 when Black is better in the ending.

29...Bxc5 30.Bxc5 Qe6 31.Ba3 Rc8 32.Qe2 Qb6+ 33.Qf2 Qxf2+ 34.Kxf2 Rcb8 35.Rd1 R3b6 36.Kg3 Rg6+ 37.Kf2 Rb7 38.Rd3 Rc7 39.Rd6 Rc2+ 40.Ke3 Rc1 41.Rd2 Rc7 42.Kd4 Rgc6 43.Kd5 Kf7 44.Rd3 Rb6 45.Rd2 Rc8 46.Bd6 Rb5+ 47.Kd4 Ke6 48.b4 Rd5+ 49.Ke3 Rc3+ 50.Ke2 Rxd2+ 51.Kxd2 Ra3 52.Ke2 Kd5 53.h3 h5 54.h4 g6 55.Kf2 Ra2+ 56.Kf3 Rb2 57.Kg3 Re2

57...Rd2 58.Kf3 Rd3+ 59.Kf2 Ke4 looks more to the point.

58.Kf3 Re4 59.Be7 0-1

This seems a curious time to resign.

3) FIDE Norm Swiss at East Bay Chess Club

East Bay Chess Club's 2nd Fide Swiss
December 16-23, 2006.

The event will be a 9 or 10 round norm-governed swiss tournament for players with FIDE ratings over 2200 (the organizers may make a few exceptions). GM and IM norms will be possible, as well as the chance to play against strong opponents. We will be using accelerated pairings for the first 2 rounds so as to maximize norm-seekers' chances. Last year Friedel made a GM norm and Pruess an IM norm, and three other players could have achieved a norm with last round victories. The time control will be 40/2, SD/1.

The prizes (based on 20 paid entries) are as follows:

  • Overall: $900-700-500-400
  • U2400 FIDE: $500-250
  • U2300 FIDE: $500-250
The prize fund may be increased/expanded depending on entries/sponsorship! The entry fees are as follows:

GMs: Free

  • Non-GMs over 2400 FIDE: $175
  • Non-GMs 2300-2399 FIDE: $250
  • Non-GMs 2200-2299 FIDE: $325

The first 3 GMs to register will receive appearance fees. Non-GM entry fees increased by $50 after 11/16.

The schedule for the tournament is:

  • Saturday, Dec 16: 10 AM and 4:30 PM
  • Sunday, Dec 17: 1 PM (if 10 rounds, 12/17 will have 10-4:30 games)
  • Monday-Friday, Dec 18-22: 1 PM
  • Saturday, Dec 23: 11 AM

The event will also be USCF-rated. Games will be played at the East Bay Chess Club in Oakland (near San Francisco). The club is located just a few minutes drive from the Oakland airport.

If you're interested (or have questions), please contact the East Bay Chess Club at

4) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Events

Guthrie McClain Memorial - December 2
Jim Hurt Amateur - December 16 and 17

Nov. 25-26 California Classic Thanksgiving Chess Festival GPP: 10 California Northern
4SS, G/45. University of San Francisco-Cupertino, 20085 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA 95014. 3 Sections: Expert, Reserve, Booster. All entry must be received by 11/18/2006. All Prizes Guaranteed. Expert (1800+) Grand Prix section, Prizes: $$670; 1st $320-2nd 150-3rd 50. Top U2100, U2000, U1900-$50 each. Available 1-Day Option. 30/90 G/1, 30/90 G/30. Rds: Sat: 10am-3pm. Sun: 1:45pm-5:45pm. On-site Reg: 8:30am-9:30am. Reserve (1200-1800) Prizes: $720; 1st-$320-2nd-$150. Top U1700, U1600, U1500, U1400, U1300-$50 Available 1-Day Option. 30/90 G/1, 30/90 G/30, Rds: Sat: 10am-3pm; Sun: 1:45pm-5:45pm. On-site Reg: 8:30am-9:30am. Booster (U1200): Prizes: Trophies to Top 5 overall. Top U1000, U900, U800, U700- all receive trophies. Max: 1 Trophy/Player. G/45. Available 1-Day Option. Rds: Sun: 10:00am, 12:15am, 2:00pm, 3:45 pm. All Entries To: Jason Gurtovoy, 34249 Fremont Blvd. #158 Fremont, CA 94555 On-site Reg: 8:30am -9:30am. Standard USCF Tie-Breaks will be used for trophies. For More Information: Jason at for info/advance entries. E-mail: Web Site: Entry: Discounts on Entry Fee for entering Multiple Events in Festival. Please download flyer from for more information. NS, NC, W.

November 23-26 American Open A 42-year tradition, Southern California's premier tournament offers a large prize fund, eight rounds of quality chess, choice of 4- or 3-day schedule, one or two half-point byes if you need them, around-the-clock videos, and free lectures by GMs -- this year, former US champ Alex Yermolinsky and Ian Rogers (who witnessed the recent world championship match in Elista), as well as the ever-popular IM Jeremy Silman. For full details and to enter online, please visit our website:

Nov. 25-26 Scott Kittsley Quick Chess Festival (QC) GPP: 15 Wisconsin 8SS, G/29, QC. Best Western Hotel, 5105 S. Howell Ave, Milwaukee WI 53207. Free shuttle from airport, free parking. Prizes $3,600 based on 80 paid entries per section. OPEN: $1,000-500-300, u2200 $250, u2000 $200. Under1800: $450-250, u1400 $175, u1200 $150, unrated $100, K-12 $125-100. EF: $50 if postmarked by 11/18, $70 later. $5 off advance EF per player if 5 or more enter together, $20 off advance EF per K-12 player if 5 or more teammates enter together. Cash only at site. Re-entry $30. Reg: Sat 10-11:30am, Rds: Sat 12-2-3:30-5, Sun 10-12-1:30-3:00. Bye all, limit 4, must commit before rd 2. HR: $65, 414-769-2100, reserve early. Ent: Ashish Vaja, Chief Director; 6822 N.Crestwood Dr; Glendale, WI 53209. Checks payable to Ashish Vaja. $5 charge for refunds. Questions:, 608-233-0923.

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