Mechanic's Institute Chess Room Newsletter #41

"Chess is 99% tactics."
   Richard Teichmann
1) Haessler leads FIDE Rating Tourney A 
2) Summer Marathon Starts 
3) US Championship 
4) Kostic at the MI 
5) Chess Camps 
6) Upcoming Tournaments 

1) Haessler Leads in MI Summer FIDE Rating Tournament A

Portland master Carl Haessler leads the MI Summer FIDE Rating Tournament with one game remaining. The lowest rated player in the field, Haessler scored an excellent 4-2 in the four player double round robin. He split with SM David Pruess and NM Ryan Porter and won both games against top seed Bela Evans, but Haessler is still nor assured first place or even a share of the top spot, as Pruess has 3 1/2 from 5 and one game left to play with Evans. This has been a nightmare tournament for Bela who is coming off a long layoff, but he is to be commended for his good sportsmanship in staying the course when many other players would drop out claiming illness.

Rating tournaments B and C, both 11 player round robins, have started. Standings will appear in the next Newsletter.

2) Summer Tuesday Night Marathon Starts

The MI Summer Marathon started last night with 53 players including Masters David Blohm, Kenneth Hills, Russell Wong and Rudy Hernandez. The eight round event, played every Tuesday evening, has been running for over 25 years! It's is still not to late to enter the event and receive a half point bye for round one.

3) 2002 US Championship in Seattle

Have you ever wanted to play in the United States Championship but don't have a USCF rating over 2600? You might have your dream fulfilled! Seattle Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan just announced the details for the 2002 US Championship and they are a significant change from years past.

Dear Chess Friends,
Apologies for the delay in getting to you details of the forthcoming US Championships. As you will appreciate the United States Chess Federation (USCF) and the Seattle Chess Foundation (SCF) are doing their best to insure that the US Championships are and will become the premiere tournament in the country. To do this the USCF and the SCF have agreed to a significant change to the event itself. This change of format has brought a bevy of details which effected everything from player needs, hotel rooms, venue, staffing and fund raising. We now believe that we have confirmation on a number of things and so here are those details.

Before continuing, I'd like to pause for a moment and thank Erik Anderson, Scott Oki and Michelle Anderson and her staff as well as George Defies and his staff for making these changes a reality. A really special note of thanks to Erik & Sherilyn Anderson for their commitment. Erik spent a good deal of the weekend including Father's Day making sure the US Championships are better than ever.


The most significant change to the US Championships is that both Men and Women will play together. The tournament will feature a 56 player field. It will be a 9 game Swiss. (Future tournaments may see the field expand.)


The tournament will be played January 4th-14th 2002, in Seattle at the Northwest Rooms of the Seattle Center under the shadow of the Space Needle. While we think this venue is 90% certain, there is still a little wiggle room for another eye catching venue. Certainly, the tournament will be in Seattle. January 4th will be the arrival day. January 5th the tournament begins. We play nine games in a row. No free days! The Closing ceremony will be held Sunday January 13th. Attendance is required. Players depart January 14th or after the closing ceremony.

The time control will be one hour and 40 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for the next 20 moves, followed by 10 minutes for the rest of the game with a thirty second bonus for each move made. (Thanks to Jim Eade for getting FIDE to agree to exempting this event from the new FIDE time control requirement.)


There will be 20 seeded players. 11 Top players by the USCF rating formula, 8 Top Women by the USCF rating formula, the US Junior Champion. The seeded players will stay at the Westin Hotel in downtown Seattle. The room rate is a special one of $95. The SCF will subsidize each players room for $50 so that the players will pay the remaining $45 and additional taxes. Those that double up together will have very little lodging charges. Seeded players will have to pay their own travel this year. Qualifiers will not have their lodging subsidized.

There will be 36 qualifiers. These 36 players will come from three tournaments, the 2001 US Open, the 2001 American Open and the 2001 National Chess Congress. Each tournament will qualify 12 players. Out of the 36 players, a minimum of 4 Women will qualify. The US Open will qualify 10 top finishers and the 2 top Women. While the American Open and National Chess Congress will qualify 11 top players and 1 top Woman from the Open sections of their tournament. In case of ties for qualifying places, a tie breaking system will be used and in place before the tournaments begin. (The tie breaking detail is being solved.)

Thus the final field of 56 players will be composed of at least 12 Women and 44 Men.

Everyone who is a USCF member is eligible to play in the three qualifying tournaments. A player must declare their eligibility BEFORE the tournament begins by paying a voluntary $50 fee upon registration. These monies are earmarked for the SCF and its US Championship budget. Any player who wants to play in the three events and not pay the $50 is welcome to do so. Players who don't pay the $50 are not eligible to qualify to the US Championship.

In future years we expect to have at least four regional qualifying tournaments played on the Memorial Day weekend. This year was an awkward year and we chose three asynchronous events. This means that if you are not a seeded player, you will have two chances to qualify for the US Championship. In future years this will not be the case. The USCF will inform the seeded players based on rating by a cutoff date in either September or October and I'll ask George Defies to firm up this detail.

The US Championship is a national event restricted to American players or those players who meet the eligibility requirements of the USCF. Winners of the US Championship will represent the US in the FIDE Championships.


Saving the best for last, Erik has committed the SCF to paying $200,000 in prizes. Everyone in the tournament will win a prize. The breakdown of the prize fund will be sent shortly.

Separately, I will write to you and ask for your help on a few issues that I think will be of importance to us all as we endeavor to make the US Championship a marvelous event. Erik & Sherilyn Anderson, Scott & Lauri Oki, Michelle Anderson and George Defies share a vision of making the US Championship evolve into a million dollar tournament. For this to happen, we will need YOUR help and support. We are sure to make mistakes so forgive us in advance and help us make the Championship an event of which we can all be proud.

Also a word of appreciation for both Bill Goichberg and Jerry Hanken for their help with the qualifiers and the many details that had to be sorted out.

Please consider this message an advance notice and look for the actual press releases for concrete details on the USCF and SCF websites as well as the pages of Chess Life magazine.



4) Kostic at the MI

The Serbian Grandmaster Boris Kostic (1887-1963) was one of the greatest travelers in chess history, circling the globe in the days before the beginning of commercial aviation. Among the places he visited was the Mechanics' Institute in August of 1915. The American Chess Bulletin from 1915 (page 195) writes about Kostic's exploits.

Boris Kostics and his Movements

Boris Kostic, of Budapest, proposes to become thoroughly acquainted with chess players of the United States and especially so in the far West, where he has been since the middle of July. After leaving Chicago, early in the month, he traveled by way of St. Louis, Kansas City, Topeka, Lincoln, Omaha, Denver, Colorado Springs to California, where he stopped in turn at San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento. Wishing to visit the Yellowstone Park, the Hungarian master invested in a special tour, which took him first northerly by way of Portland, Seattle and Vancouver to Spokane, Butte and Yellowstone Park, and from there back to San Francisco by way of Salt Lake City.

He made another protracted stay at the Golden Gate and in addition to giving his usual exhibitions, he met, among others, such strong players as Dr. Lovegrove, S. Mlotkowski, N.T. Whitaker, S. Rubinstein and G. Hallwegen. All went down to defeat before the powerful play of the visitor, whose extraordinary brilliancies have captivated chess lovers wherever he went. Kostic was so well pleased with San Francisco that he prolonged his sojourn there far beyond the time originally intended. Consequently, points in the South which had been notified of his coming were disappointed at his nonappearance. His itinerary will take him though portions of Texas to New Orleans, after which he will come North again by way of Lafayette, Nashville, Memphis, Louisville, Lexington, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, and then proceed to Milwaukee, Madison, St. Paul and Minneapolis before returning to Chicago. His continental tour will be concluded with visits to Saginaw, Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

5) Chess Camps

A camp for intermediate and advanced youngsters will be held July 30-August 3 and a camp for beginners and novices from August 6-August 10. Information about these camps is available at the Chess Room website under programs for children. Mechanics' Chessroom

6) Upcoming Events at the MI

July 21
Charles Bagby Memorial (5 rounds G/45 at 1/2 K)

August 18
Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial (5 rounds G/45 at 1/2 K)

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