Mechanics Institute Chess Room Newsletter #325

As for the principles of how to improve your game, they can be stated very simply: a) Immerse yourself in chess culture; b) Analyze your own games, avoiding self deception; c) Play in the best tournaments you can get. And that's it.

Nigel Davies

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News 
2) Kraai and Milman tie for first in East Bay GM Swiss 
3) Cheating in Chess 
4) Gross-Currie, 1957 
5) Upcoming Events 

1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News

The Holidays are traditionally a quiet time at the Mechanics', and with this year being no exception, it seems appropriate to look back at a few of the highlights of 2006.

First would have to be the visit by Boris Spassky this past fall. Having Spassky at the M.I.makes the list of World Champions to visit the Mechanics' from Lasker to Kasparov lacking only Botvinnik and Garry K.

A close second would have to be the Mechanics' winning the 2006 US Chess League. Team members IMs Josh Friedel, Vince McCambridge, Vinay Bhat, David Pruess and Dmitry Zilberstein, National Masters Mark Pinto and Sam Shankland and Expert Daniel Naroditsky went undefeated through the 12 match season which ran from August to November. Well done!

Three key members of the team enjoyed considerable individual success as well. Josh Friedel relocated to the Bay Area from New Hampshire in September. It is difficult to overestimate the positive effect Josh has had in the few months he has been here. A rock on board one for the Mechanics' in the USCL, Josh at age 19 is on the verge of becoming a GM. The Bay Area has had many promising juniors over the years but never a player of Josh's strength under 21.

Vinay Bhat graduated from UC Berkeley this spring and is now working a demanding job but he used the few months of freedom he had to play a lot of chess in Europe and make his second GM norm. Vinay, like Josh and Sam Shankland were named to the US Chess League All Star team.

Yet another member of the US Chess League team, IM David Pruess, made his mark - first by winning the Samford Scholarship for the most promising player under 25 in the US and then by tying for first in the American Open to qualify for the 2007 US Championship.

David will not be the only Bay Area player competing in this event as Michael Aigner of Davis won a spot this past Summer by tying for second in the US Open this past summer.

Both Bay Area female representatives in the US Championship this past March collected scalps. Batchimeg Tuvshintugs made a spectatcular debut defeating three GMs while Kamile Baginskaite beat defending champion Hikaru Nakamura.

On the literary front several Bay Area authors had books appear in 2006 including Calvin Olsen, Alex Yermolinsky and John Donaldson.

Nicholas Nip, Daniel Naroditsky and Gregory Young made it a hat trick for Bay Area Scholastic players as they are the number players in the USCF top 100 age list for eight, ten and eleven on the December 2006 list.

2) Kraai and Milman tie for first in East Bay GM Swiss

IMs Jessie Kraai and Lev Milman tied for first in the East Bay Chess Club's 2nd Fide Swiss held December 16-23, 2006 with scores of 7.5 from 10. Josh Friedel was third at 7 in the 16-player Swiss. We hope to have more news on this event in Newsletter #326.

3) Cheating in Chess

It seems that the only times chess makes the news these days is when a World Champion is defeated by a computer but guess again. The following story which appeared on the ChessBase website ( made it into the sports section of USA Today on December 28.

India: player gets ten year ban for cheating

Umakant Sharma is an Indian chess player who had performed at a steady 1900 level for many years. Then suddenly his rating climbed to 2484, after a series of spectacular tournament successes. A spot search revealed: he was using a bluetooth device stitched into his cap to receive external computer assistance. Now all players are being scanned for hidden devices.

25-year-old Umakant Sharma has been under observation for a while now, together with his colleague IM D.P. Singh, who was the hero of our story The Swiss King of India, published in August this year. In fact our glowing report led to a few very strong Indian players writing in to ask whether we did not think that such rapid ascents - D.P. Singh had climbed from 2350 to 2500 - were cause for suspicion. We did, and started to monitor the situation through the eyes of colleagues in the Indian chess scene.

For Umakant Sharma things came to a head at the Air Marshal Subroto Fide rating tournament at Delhi recently, where a hidden bluetooth device was found stitched into his cap. After a thorough investigation the All India Chess Federation slapped a ten year ban on him at its Central Council meeting on December 26, 2006 at Chennai. The cap and device were exhibited at the meeting by Mr.Bharat Singh Chauhan, Treasurer - AICF.

In the case of D.P. Singh, against whom complaints have been filed by the Chess Player's Association of India (CPAI) for alleged cheating, one of our confidants informs us that this player appears to be "clean". Since December 17, 2006, D.P. has been playing in the Indian National Championship, and with one round to go he was in joint 5-16th position with a score of 6.5/11. During the tournament all the precautions measures were being taken, like metal detector and frisking.

4) Gross-Currie, 1957

Kerry Lawless sends in the following two games that first appeared in the Precita Chess Herald in February of 1957. We recognize the names of NM Henry Gross and Bob Currie but wonder if a reader might know in what event the games were played - or was it a match?

Gross,H - Currie,R [C13]
San Francisco Bay Area, 1957
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 a6 7.Qg4 Kf8 8.f4 c5 9.Nf3 Nc6 10.0-0-0 h5 11.Bxe7+ Nxe7 12.Qh3 b5 13.g4 Qa5 14.Kb1 b4 15.Ne2 hxg4 16.Qxg4 Nf5 17.Rg1 g6 18.Qh3 c4 19.c3 Rb8 20.Rc1 bxc3 21.Nxc3 Nb6 22.Qh2 Kg7 23.Bh3 Nxh4 24.Nxh4 Rxh4 25.Qg3 Rh5 26.Bg4 Rh8 27.Rh1 Bd7 28.Bh5 Na4 29.Nxa4 Bxa4 30.Bxg6 fxg6 31.Rcg1 Bc2+ 32.Kxc2 Rxb2+ 33.Kxb2 Qd2+ ½-½

Currie,R - Gross,H [D36]
San Francisco Bay Area, 1957
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 Nbd7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.e3 Be7 8.Bd3 Nf8 9.Qc2 Ne6 10.Bh4 g6 11.0-0 0-0 12.Rab1 Ng7 13.b4 a6 14.a4 Bf5 15.Ne5 Bxd3 16.Qxd3 Nf5 17.Bg3 Nxg3 18.hxg3 Bd6 19.Nf3 Qe7 20.b5 axb5 21.axb5 Ra3 22.Qc2 Rfa8 23.bxc6 bxc6 24.Rb6 Qc7 25.Rfb1 Ra1 26.Qb2 Ng4! 27.e4 dxe4 28.Nxe4 Rxb1+ Resigns due to the winning 29.Qb1 Qb6! 0-1

5) Upcoming Events

Mechanics' Events

Bob Burger Open - January 20
Henry Gross Memorial - February 10
A.J. Fink Amateur - March 3 and 4
Max Wilkerson Open - March 24

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