Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter #69

"You have a chance to become a good chess player if you travel to play chess, not play chess to travel."
   Ivan Sokolov

Neil Falconer

This is a special edition of the Newsletter to honor longtime Mechanics' Institute member Neil Falconer. Neil first entered the Chess Room in 1939 while he was a Berkeley High School student and has been associated with the Institute ever since. During the 1950s he was often found on one of the top boards for Northern California in their annual match with the South and was also a frequent contributor to the California Chess Reporter.

Neil's responsibilities as a lawyer and family man prevented him from ever realizing his true potential as a player, but he still collected a number of significant titles. His most prominent victory was in the 1992 US Senior Open where he took top honors defeating Grandmaster Arthur Dake in the last round.

Neil has served as a Trustee at the MI for over 30 years. He is still very much involved with the Chess Room and is a regular at Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky's weekly lectures on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. If you hear a voice piping up in the back asking Yermo the specifics of a concrete variation, chances are, it's Neil!

The following four games are also included in a ChessBase attachment.

Due to the US Championship, you're getting two newsletters this week. The next edition will appear on January 16.

Neil Falconer - John Tippin
Ruy Lopez C71
Oakland (Castle Chess Club) 1940

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.c4 f5?!
The move ...f5 is popular after 5.c3, but here White has Nc3.
6.d4 fxe4 7.Nxe5 dxe5 8.Qh5+ g6
8...Ke7 9.Bxc6 Qxd4 10.Qe8+ Kd6 11.Be3 Qxc4 12.Nc3 Bg4 13.Rd1+ 1-0, Book-Andersson, Warsaw (ol) 1935.
9.Qxe5+ Kf7 10.Bxc6 bxc6 11.Qxh8 Nf6 12.Nc3 Qd7?

This game first appeared years ago in the San Francisco Chronicle where the late George Koltanowski asked "why not 12...Qd4 with good possibilities?" He looks to have been right as the logical sequence 13.Be3 Qxc4 14.Bg5 Bg7 15.Qd8 Bg4 16.Qxa8 (16.Qxc7+ Nd7 17.Qf4+ Bf5 18.Rd1 with equal chances is the right way to play) 16...Nd5 wins for Black!
13.Nxe4 Nxe4 14.Qxh7+ Bg7 15.Bh6 Qxd4 16.0-0 Qf6 17.Rae1 Ng5 18.Re7+ Kxe7
Or 18...Qxe7 19.Qxg7+ Ke8 20.Qg8+ Kd7 21.Rd1+
19.Bxg5 Qxg5 20.Qxg7+ Kd6 21.Rd1+ Kc5 22.Qd4+ Kb4 23.Qc3+ 1-0

Neil Falconer - F. Hildebrandt
French Winawer C19
San Francisco (US Open) 1961
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 Ne7 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.Nf3 Qa5 8.Bd2 Qa4 9.Bd3 Nbc6
More logical is 9...c4.
This gives White the use of the important d4 square. The tripled c-pawns are not so important.
10...Qa5 11.0-0 Qxc5 12.Qe2 Ng6 13.h4! d4?!
Here 13...h5 looks safer. For example:14.Bxg6 fxg6 15.Qd3 Ne7 16.Bg5 Nf5 17.Nd2 b6 (17...0-0 18.c4) 18.Ne4 with interesting play.
14.cxd4 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 Qxd4 16.Bb5+ Bd7 17.Bxd7+ Qxd7 18.Bb4!?
White fixes Black's King in the center at the cost of a pawn.
18...Nxh4 19.Rfd1 Qc6 20.f3 Nf5 21.g4 Qb6+ 22.Kh2 Nd4?
22...Ne7 was essential. Hildebrandt puts his head into the mouth of the lion and quickly pays the price.
23.Rxd4! Qxd4 24.Rd1 Qf4+ 25.Kg2 f6
25...a6 26.Qd3
26.Qb5+ Kf7 27.Rd7+ Kg6 28.exf6 h5 29.Rxg7+ Kxf6 30.Bc3+ e5 31.Qd7 Qxf3+
32.Kxf3 hxg4+ 33.Kxg4 1-0

Neil Falconer - E. Lien
Boden-Kieseritsky Gambit C42
Oakland 1983
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Nxe4 4.Nc3
The Boden-Kieseritsky Gambit.
4...Nxc3 5.dxc3 f6
Accepting the challenge. 5...Be7 6.Qd5 0-0, returning the pawn, is fine.
6.0-0 Qe7
6...d6 or 6...Nc6 is the normal way to stop the threatened Nxe5.
7.Nh4 is another way of treating the position.
7...Nc6 8.b4 Nd8 9.Nd4 d6 10.f4 Be6
10...c6 looks more accurate.
11.Nxe6 Nxe6 12.Qg4
White's lead and development and Bishop pair offer excellent value for the pawn.
12...Nd8 13.fxe5 dxe5 14.Be3 Qd7 15.Qh5+ g6 16.Qf3 Qg7 17.Rad1 c6 18.Qh3 Rb8
18...Qc7 might have held out longer, but Black's position is very difficult.
It's a matter of taste between the text and19.Bg5! fxg5 (19...h6 20.Bxf6 Qxf6 21.Qd7#) 20.Rxe5+.
Black had no way to guard e5 satisfactorily.
20.Bh6 Bc5+ 21.bxc5 Qc7 22.Bg5 Rf8 23.Rxe5+ fxe5 24.Rxd8+ Rxd8 25.Qe6+ 1-0

Tigran Petrosian - Neil Falconer
Nimzo-Indian E43
San Francisco (simul) 1978
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.e3 Bb7 6.Bd3 0-0 7.0-0 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Ne4 9.Ne1 f5 10.f3 Nf6 11.Nc2 d6 12.Qe2 Nbd7 13.e4 fxe4 14.fxe4 e5 15.Bg5 Qe8 16.Rae1 Qg6 17.Bh4 Nh5 18.d5
This is a terrible move for White to have to make, but alternatives are no better.
18...Nf4 19.Qd2 Nc5
Black has a dream Nimzo-Indian against one of the great positional players of all time.
20.Rxf4 exf4 21.Nd4 f3! 22.Bg3 fxg2 23.Nf5 Rae8 24.Bc2 Bc8 25.Bb1 Nxe4 26.Rxe4 Bxf5 1-0

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