Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter #64

"Geniuses like Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare and Fischer come out of the head of Zeus, seem to be genetically programmed, know before instructed."
     Jack Collins

This weekend the MI will be hosting the 2nd Koltanowski Memorial Masters/Experts (4 rounds)

1) Jack Collins Passes Away
2) FIDE World Championship
3) Paul Gallegos wins Saint Amant Memorial
4) Russell Wong and Steve Gaffagan Lead Kurt Bendit Tuesday Night Marathon
5) American Open Recap
6) Upcoming Tournaments

1) Jack Collins Passes Away

John W. Collins, better known as Jack, passed away last Sunday at the age of 89. Collins was best known for his role in mentoring Bobby Fischer and several other top American players including William Lombardy and the Byrne brothers. The author of My Seven Chess Prodigies and Maxims of Chess, Collins also helped Fischer edited the first collection of his games, Bobby Fischer's Games of Chess, which was published by Simon and Schuster in 1959.

Collins was a strong master and played actively from the 1930s into the 1960s. He was an excellent correspondence player and played in the inaugural World Correspondence Chess Championship. Collins had a regular column in Chess Life when it appeared as a newspaper in the 1950s.

The New York Times ran an excellent obituary by Dylan Loeb McClain on this kind and caring chessmaster which can be accessed at:Click here: John W. Collins, 89, Dies; Was Fischer's Chess Tutor

2) FIDE World Championship

Last week we reported that MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky had won his first round in the FIDE World Championships being held in Moscow. When the Newsletter was being prepared this was what FIDE was reporting on its website. Unfortunately this and much of the other information they were giving was simply wrong. Alex actually lost to GM Vadim Milov in the second set of playoff games after having gone 1-1 in regulation and again 1-1 in the first tiebreaker series.

He was not the only American player to be eliminated in the opening round of the 128 player competition. GMs Benjamin, Christiansen, Goldin, Gulko, D.Gurevich, Kaidanov, A.Ivanov and WIMs Groberman and Shahade all lost in round one. Of the men, only Shabalov, who beat Kaidanov, advanced to round two where he was stopped.

The sole bright spot for America was US Womens Champion Camilla Baginskaite of El Cerrito. Seeded in the bottom half at 2324 FIDE, Camilla had a fantastic run.

Round One
Camilla - WGM Prudnikova (2411) 1-0, 0-1, 2-0

Round Two
Camilla - WGM Bojkovic (2453) 1/2-1/2, 1-0

Round Three
Camilla- WGM Yuhua Xu (2502) 0-1, 1-0, 0-2

It took the 5th seed beating her in a playoff to keep Camilla from reaching the round of 8. Congratulations on an excellent result!

3) Paul Gallegos wins Saint Amant Memorial

National Master Paul Gallegos of Windsor, California, won the Pierre Saint Amant Memorial held December 1 at the MI. Gallegos scored 4 1/2 from 5, drawing only with Filipino IM Ricardo De Guzman. The latter, who also took a half point bye, shared second through fourth with Expert Keith McDaniel and rapidly improving B player Ramesh Mantri at 4. 17-year-old Hungarian exchange student Judit Papp and Monty Peckham tied for fifth with Glen Leotaud who took home the top A prize. Juan Carlos Ventosa was best under 1600 in the 39-player field directed by Anthony Corrales.

4) Russell Wong and Steve Gaffagan Lead Kurt Bendit Tuesday Night Marathon

The Kurt Bendit Tuesday Night Marathon is heading for an exciting finish with two rounds to go. National Master Russell Wong and Expert Steve Gaffagan are tied for first at 5-1.Right behind them at 4 1/2 are NMs David Blohm and Igor Margulis, Experts Victor Ossipov and Peter Grey plus Class A player Dr. Ben Gross.

5) American Open Recap

Last Newsletter we reported the successful qualification of GM Walter Browne, IMs Guillermo Rey and Mladen Vucic and SM Vladimir Strugatsky into the US Championship. This week we were kindly forwarded the crosstable of the American Open from Frank Berry and can now make a more detailed report.

IM Melikset Khacian, formerly of Armenia and now living in Los Angeles, won this year's American Open held over Thanksgiving weekend. Khacian scored an undefeated 6 1/2 from 8 in a tough field. His key win was over Czech GM Pavel Blatny. Tying for second through fifth at 6 were Blatny, Polish GM Alex Wojtkiewicz, IM Igor Ivanov and SM Armen Ambartsoumian. There was a huge tie at 5.5, which produced many happy US Championship qualifiers and some unlucky souls: GMs Serper and Browne, IMs Vucic, Saidy, Rey, Kraai, Szuk, Matikozian, Ziatdinov, SMs Kretchekov, Strugatsky, Mikhailuk, Akobian, Altounian, NMs S. Jones and Casella (bolded players qualified). The MI did very well placing Browne, Rey, Kretchetov and Strugatsky in the top 21.

Just outside the magic score was 2001 US Junior Closed runnerup David Pruess with 5, a score also achieved by fellow Bay Area Master Jon Frankle. IM Walter Shipman of San Francisco had 4 1/2 as did fellow MI members Shikumar Shivaji, Vivek Nambiar, David Steel and Ricky Grijalva.

Longtime MI member Ian Zimmerman of Oakland dominated the Class A section winning 7 games in a row before drawing in the last round. Another MI member from Oakland, Mike Maloney, tied for second with six points. Well done!

6) Upcoming Tournaments

The modern day equivalent of the California Chess Reporter, The California Chess Journal, is going very well under the editorship of Frisco del Rosario. Membership in Cal Chess, which includes a subscription to the Journal, is available for $15 a year for adults and $13 for juniors. Mail to: CalChess, 2030 Mills Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025. For Additional Information E-Mail:

We are very happy to list new events in Palo Alto and Hercules this coming January. Look below for more information.

MI Tournaments go to ( for complete details

December 8-9
2nd Koltanowski Memorial Masters/Experts (4 rounds, open to 2000 and over)

January 5
Bob Burger Open (5 rounds G/45 at 1/2 k)

January 25 - 27, 2002.
Bay Area Masters Spring Grand Prix I (*)
Prizes: 1st $1000 2nd $500 3rd $200
Based on 22 paid entries.
Site: Mechanics' Institute Chess Room, 57 Post St.
4th Floor, San Francisco, Ca. 94104
Dates: January 25, 26 and 27, 2002.
Schedule: 5 round Swiss
Open to players rated 2200 USCF and above (December 2001 rating list) USCF and FIDE rated.
Time control: 30/90 + 30/1 + SD/15.
Rounds: Friday 1/25 at 5pm. Saturday 1/26 and Sunday 1/27 at 11 am and 5pm.
Entry fee: $100, if received by 1/22, $120 thereafter. GMs and IMs free.On site registration 1/25 4-4:30pm.
Send entries to: Guillermo Rey, 435 Firecrest Ave, Pacifica, Ca. 94044. Info: Guillermo at 650-355-0305 or
Organized by IM Guillermo Rey and directed by Mechanics' Institute Chess Room staff.
* Two other similar tournaments will be held during the first half of the year as part of the Grand Prix. The player who scores the most total points in all three tournaments will receive an additional $300. Tournaments dates will be announced soon.( Before the end of 2001).


PaloAlto Open Chess Festival
Sunday January 6, 2002
6 round G/30 event rated 1/2 K
Prizes based on 60 entries: Open:500-250, X:300, A:250, B:220, C:200 D/Unr: 180
Entry Fee: $50 if sent by 11/15, $60 if sent by 1/3, $65 at doors. Make checks payable to Lev Grzhonko 440, 9th ave, #3, San Francisco, Ca, 94118
Registration: 9am-10am
Rounds: 10am-11:30am-1pm-2:30pm-4pm-5:30pm
Where: Rollnick Auditorium, 655 Arastradero Rd, Palo Alto, Palo Alto Jewish Community Center. 3 blocks away from El Camino Real
For More Information email

Hercules Amateur Championship

January 26th and 27th One section U2200, 5 rounds, G/2 $$1,200 (based on 45) 350-250-150, Best A $130, B $120, C $100, D/E/Unr. $100 E.F $35.00 If postmarked by 1/18/01 after $40.00 at site. Send entries to: Rico Adkins, Tourn Director 15696 Crestwood Dr. #172 San Pablo, CA 94806

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