Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #820
March 2, 2018

Yasser, control the e5-square and all good things will flow.

—FIDE Master Robert Zuk (talking to the young Yasser Seirawan)
Source: Learn from the Grandmasters (page 156),
edited by GM Raymond Keene

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Youth triumphed in the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon, as FIDE Masters Josiah Stearman and Ezra Chambers tied for first. The 14-year-old Stearman and 17-year-old Chambers both scored 7–1 to finish at the top of the 139-player field and each took home $650. The winners never met—Stearman took two half-point byes, while Chambers won seven games and lost to International Master Elliott Winslow, who finished alone in third at 6½–1½, good for $350.

While youth carried the day Winslow, who improved his rating from 2312 to 2329, was not the only veteran player to shine. 75-year-old TNM regular Jerry Morgan had a spectacular result. He played up seven of the eight rounds but scored 5–3 to raise his rating from 1449 to 1601. Jackie Cowgill scored 3 out of 8 to go from 916 to a personal best of 1080, beating two players rated over 400 points above her. Congratulations to both players.

The big rating winner was 12-year-old Jamyandagva Zulkhuu, who went from 1175 to 1393, and has raised his rating four hundred points in less than four months. Expect more improvement from Jamyandagva in the near future.

From round 8 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Perepelitsky–Chambers after 22...Na6)Black to move (Kuczek–Shaw after 12 Nf1)
Black to move (Babayan–Argo after 33 Ke1)Black to move (Pryor–Nyangar after 4 e4)
White to move (Clemens–Standen after 18...Qe7)White to move (Casares–Olson after 6...Qxf4)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 8.

The Spring Tuesday Night Marathon, an eight-round, FIDE- and USCF-rated tournament, starts on March 20. Come early that day (5:15 pm to 6:15 pm) to hear the free talk by Grandmaster Sam Shankland, who will also be signing copies of his new book Small Steps to Giant Improvement.

FIDE Master Josiah Stearman, who is close to earning the USCF Senior Master title (he is currently 2395), had another success on February 28, winning the 15-player Wednesday Night Blitz with the excellent score of 11–1. Carlos D’Avila finished second, three points behind Stearman with 8, while National Master Anna Matlin, Jules Jelinek and Felix Rudyak shared third at 7½.

This Saturday and Sunday the Mechanics’ will host its annual A.J. Fink Amateur, open to players rated under 2200. The event honors San Francisco native Adolf (Adolph) Fink (1890–1956), who won the California State Championship in 1922, 1928, 1929, and tied with Herman Steiner in 1945. While Fink was one of the first two Mechanics’ Institute players to earn the title of Master in chess, along with Walter Lovegrove, he is best remembered as a world-class problemist and expert solver.

Photographs of Fink are rare. The best-known is one of him and Capablanca during the latter’s visit to the Mechanics’ in 1916. Here is another that was first published in The Good Companion Two-Mover by George Hume and Alain C. White in 1922.

The Mechanics’ Institute will host a free tournament for women who are new to tournaments on Sunday, March 18, from 11 am to 1 pm. The two rounds will have a time control of G/30. Sets, boards, clocks and scoresheets are provided. Call (415) 393-0110 or email for more information.

2) Tarjan-Saidy, Lone Pine 1972

These recently rediscovered notes by International Master Anthony Saidy appear here for the first time.

Pirc B06
James Tarjan–Anthony Saidy
Lone Pine (7) 1972

A game of see-saw changes, due to a situation in which each wanted to win, so as to have a chance to tie for first. Inexperience meets “over-experience”. I choice the Pirc for its double-edged character; the Sicilian has been so analyzed one can hardly hope to win with it against a knowledgeable White player.

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.c3 d6 4.f4 Nd7!? 5.Nf3 e5


This is dubious because it weakens d4, and Black immediately seizes the initiative. 6.fxe5 dxe5 7.Bc4! exd4 (7...Nb6 8.Bb3 exd4 9.0–0 Nf6 10.e5 Nfd5 11.Bg5 Qd7 12.e6 (12.cxd4 0–0 13.Qd2 favors White.) 12...fxe6 13.Nxd4 Grefe/Waterman.) 8.0–0 Ne7?? 9.Bxf7+.

6...exd4 7.cxd4 c5 8.dxc5

If 8.d5 White enters a known position in the Benoni, but a tempo down. So he acquiesces in the breakup of his pawn center. After eight moves White had spent 30 minutes and Black 50.

8...Nxc5 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.0–0 0–0 11.Be3


11...Ng4 was playable. After 12.Bxc5 dxc5 13.Qe2 Bd4+ 14.Nxd4 Qxd4+ 15.Kh1 Rd8 16.Rad1 Ne3 17.Nb5 looks to be winning, but Black has the surprising resource 17...Bg4!


12.Rb1 Nxd3 13.Qxd3 d5? 14.e5 Bf5 15.Qd2 Ng4 16.b4 Qd8 17.Rbd1 favors White.

12...Re8 13.Bd4


13...Ncxe4 14.Bxe4 Nxe4 15.Re1 Nf6 16.Rxe8+ Nxe8 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Qd4+ Nf6 19.Ne4 Qb6=.

14.Bxf6! Bxf6 15.Qd2

15.f5 Qb6+ 16.Kh1 Qxb2 17.fxe6 Qxc3 (17...Bxe6 improves and is only slightly better for White according to Komodo) 18.exf7+ Kxf7 19.e5 dxe5 20.Ng5+ Kg7 21.Rxf6 winning Grefe and Waterman.


15...Qb6+ 16.Kh1 Qxb2 17.Nd5 Bd8 18.f5 with a powerful attack.

16.bxc3 Qc5+ 17.Kh1 Ng7


18.f5 was more forceful. For example 18...gxf5 19.Qh6 fxe4 20.Ng5 Bf5 21.Bb3 Rf8 22.Bxf7+ Rxf7 23.Nxf7 Kxf7 24.g4 e3 25.Qxh7.

18...f5 19.Rae1 Bd7 20.Bb3+

20.exf5 Bxf5 21.Nxf5 gxf5 (21...Nxf5 22.Bxf5 gxf5 (22...Qxf5 23.Qxd6) 23.Rf3)

Anthony Saidy, Jeremy Silman and James Tarjan in the late 1980s. (Photo: Gwen Feldman)

20...Kh8 21.Nf3 Bb5 22.Rg1 fxe4 23.Ng5 Nf5 24.Qd5

24.Nxe4?? Rxe4 25.Rxe4 Ng3+ 26.hxg3 Qh5 mate.

24...Qxd5 25.Bxd5 e3



26.g4 Nh6 27.Rg3 Bc6=

26...Nh6 ½–½

There is still a lot of play in the position, but both players were short of time.

3) A New Example of the Classical Bxh7+ Sacrifice

Newsletter reader Richard Reich of Madison, Wisconsin, provides this recent game.

London System D02
Mark Paragua–Justin Sarkar
New York State Championship (4) 2017

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 d5 3.e3 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nd2 e6 6.Ngf3 Bd6 7.Bg3 O-O 8.Bd3 b6 9.e4 dxe4?!


10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.Bxe4 Bb7 12.dxc5 Bxc5 13.Qa4


13…Qd7 14.Ne5! Nxe5 15.Qxd7 Nxd7 16.Bxb7 with the bishop pair. 13…Rc8 was best.

14.Bxh7+! 1-0

Source: Empire Chess Fall 2017

3) PRO Chess League Finals Set For San Francisco

San Francisco, Feb. 26, 2018The world’s best chess players will travel to San Francisco to compete in a live championship, the culmination of’s Professional Rapid Online (PRO) Chess League, a season-long competition with the world’s top chess players representing international regions. The 2018 season of the PRO Chess League features 32 teams of chess players from around the world, headlined by the world chess champion, Magnus Carlsen, star of the Norway Gnomes franchise. The former world champion Vishy Anand represents the Mumbai Movers, and two of the top American chess players—Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura—lead teams in the league.

The PRO Chess League is set to conclude its regular season on March 7, with playoff rounds on March 13 and 21 to determine the four teams qualifying for the live final. The on-site chess master commentators will be Grandmaster Robert Hess, International Master Daniel Rensch and Women’s FIDE Master Alexandra Botez.

The final four PRO teams in the seasonal playoffs will gather at the Folsom Street Foundry to play the league semifinals and finals. The two-day event kicks off at 10 am on April 7 at the Folsom Street Foundry and will also be live-broadcast on’s Twitch channel (

Fans of the final four teams will be welcome free of charge at the Folsom Street Foundry to watch the championship weekend, with spectators admitted to the venue as space allows.

For more information on the 2018 PRO Chess League, including schedule, results, and team standings, visit, or contact Simon McNamara, Director of Professional Relations,,, phone: (800) 318-2827

4) This is the end

Bishop vs knight, from a grandmaster game. Can you think like a grandmaster?

White to move

Show solution


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