Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #68, 01/02/2002

"I am not a chess historian, I am a piece of chess history, which no one can ignore."
Wilhelm Steinitz

1) Onischuk and Kaidanov tie for first in North American Open

Grandmasters Alexander Onischuk of Denver and Gregory Kaidanov of Lexington tied for first in the North American Open held December 26-29 at Bally's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Their undefeated scores of 5-1put them ahead of 13 other GMs. MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky shared third through eighth at 4.5 with fellow GMs Igor Novikov, Gregory Serper, Sergey Kudrin, Ildar Ibragimov and Alexander Goldin. Yermo lost to GM Aaron Summerscale in the quick schedule, but recovered strongly defeating IMs Khacian and Ziatdinov down the stretch.
Peninsula teenager Michael Pearson turned in an excellent result, tying for first in the Expert section with Laura Ross. Yefim Bukh was =5th in the Under 1800, while Drake Wang and Felix Rudyak had 3.5/6 in the Under 2000.
A total of 486 players participated in the annual Continental Chess Association event.

2) Wijk aan Zee

The latest issue of Mark Crowther's TWIC reports lineups for the Wijk aan Zee 2002 tournament are now set with Ukrainians Vasilly Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov withdrawing because they will play in the FIDE WCC final match in January. Vladimir Kramnik also withdrew because of his Man vs. Machine match in February. The participants are:
Group A: Garry Kasparov (Rus), Michael Adams (Eng), Peter Leko (Hun), Evgeny Bareev (Rus), Loek Van Wely (Ned), Alexander Khalifman (Rus), Boris Gelfand (Isr), Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzb), Dreev (Rus), Alexander Grischuk (Rus), Joel Lautier (Fra), Mikhail Gurevich (Bel), Jeroen Piket (Ned) and Jan Timman (Ned).
Group B: Ivan Sokolov (BIH), Pavel Tregubov (Rus), Mikhail Krasenkow (Pol), Friso Nijboer (Ned), Yu (Chn), John Van der Wiel (Ned), Almira Skrypchenko-Lautier (Mol), Stefanova (Bul), Peng (Ned), Harmen Jonkman (Ned), Cuijpers (Ned) and Werle (Ned).

3) Changing of the Guard at the USCF

There were several significant changes at the USCF over the Holidays. Policy Board Members Helen Warren and Doris Barry resigned in mid-term and a special election will be held this summer to replace them. Frank Niro is taking over for George De Feis as Executive Director. The USCF recently put out the following press release:
Frank Niro, currently President of the US Chess Trust (charitable arm of the USCF) has been appointed Interim Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation. Niro, a full time student on a chess and education graduate fellowship at the University of Texas at Dallas, is a USCF life member with more than 30 years experience as a tournament director, organizer, player, journalist, coach and benefactor.
He has served on the USCF Ethics Committee, as a Delegate to the last two annual USCF meetings, has been an active participant in the planning and development of the World Chess Hall of Fame and Sidney Samole museum in Miami, and previously edited Chess Horizons (1984-86).  He is an ICCF (International Correspondence Chess Federation Master who has represented the United States in international correspondence chess competition.
Niro has nearly 25 years nonprofit management experience, having been employed as a hospital administrator and as a management consultant auditor for a national public accounting firm.
Niro is currently working to ensure a smooth transition with outgoing ED & CEO George De Feis, in the national office in New Windsor, NY.

4) UMBC and UTD tie for first at PAN AMs

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (with Alex Wojtkiewicz playing for them!) and the University of Texas at Dallas tied for first place at the 2001 Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, held Dec. 26-29 in Providence, RI. The two winners drew in round four and won all their remaining matches. Stanford and Berkeley both sent teams. We hope to have more complete results next week.

5) Chess in Sacramento

The Sacramento Chess Club, which meets every Wednesday from 5:30 PM to 10 PM at the Hart Senior Center at 915 27th Street, has continuous activity. NM Michael Aigner and Diane Barnard tied for first with 3-0 scores in the G/20 Octos held December 19. The previous weekend a Masters/Experts event was won by Zoran Lazetich ahead of fellow master Robert Sferra. Lazetich was also victorious in a G/1 Minute event held December 12.

6) US Championship

The US Championships takes place January 5th-13th in Seattle. There are 56 players in the nine round Swiss which will feature several players from the Bay Area including GMs Alex Yermolinsky and Waltr Browne, Guillermo Rey and John Donaldson, SM Vladimir Strugatsky and WGM Camilla Baginskaite. Full coverage will be available at

7) A Strange Game

MI Newsletter reader IM Eric Tangborn of Seattle passes on the following curiosity in which five pawns and a knight triumph against a lone queen. The game was from a weekend Swiss in which the then Canadian GM absolutely had to win which helps explain his risky play.

Tom Rowan - Peter Biyiasas
Seattle 1975
1.Nf3 g6 2.g3 Bg7 3.Bg2 c5 4.0-0 Nc6 5.d3 Nf6 6.e4 0-0 7.Nc3 d6 8.Nh4 Rb8 9.f4 Nd4 10.h3 b5 11.g4 e6 12.Nf3 Ne8 13.Rb1 f5 14.exf5 gxf5 15.g5 Bb7 16.Be3 Nc7 17.Qd2 e5 18.Rbe1 b4 19.Nd1 Nd5 20.Bxd4 exd4 21.Kh1 Qd7 22.Nh4 Rbe8 23.Bxd5+ Bxd5+ 24.Kg1 Qf7 25.Rxe8 Rxe8 26.Re1 Rxe1+ 27.Qxe1 Bc6 28.Qe2 a5 29.Kf2 a4 30.b3 a3 31.Ng2 Qd5 32.Kg3 h6 33.h4 Kh7 34.Qf1 Kg6 35.Ne1 Qe6 36.Kf2 Kh5 37.Kg3 Bb7 38.Ng2 Bxg2 39.Kxg2 Qd5+ 40.Kg3 hxg5 41.hxg5 Qe6 42.Qf3+ Kg6 43.Kf2 d5 44.Qe2 Qd7 45.Kg3 Bf8 46.Nf2 Bd6 47.Nh3 Qc8 48.Ng1 Kg7 49.Qh5 Qe6 50.Qe2 Qf7 51.Nh3 c4 52.dxc4 dxc4 53.bxc4 Qc7 54.Qe6 d3 55.Qf6+ Kg8 56.cxd3 b3 57.axb3 a2 58.Qg6+ Kf8 59.Qxf5+ Ke7 60.Qe4+ Be5 61.Qh7+ Kf8 62.Qf5+ Kg7 63.fxe5 Qf7 64.Qf6+ Qxf6 65.gxf6+ Kg6 66.Nf4+ Kf7 67.Kg4 a1Q 68.Kf5 Qa5 69.b4 Qxb4 70.e6+ Kg8 71.f7+ Kg7 72.Ng6 Qc5+ 73.Ne5 Qf2+ 74.Ke4 Qg2+ 75.Kd4 Qb2+ 76.Kd5 Qb7+ 77.Kd6 Qb8+ 78.Ke7 Qb4+ 79.Ke8 Qf8+ 80.Kd7 Kf6 81.Nc6 Qa8 82.d4 Qb7+ 83.Kd6 Qc8 84.d5 Kg7 85.Ne5 Qb8+ 86.Ke7 Kh7 87.Nd7 1-0

Newsletter #69, 01/02/2002

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

1) 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!

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
Known is 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
If 25...a6, then 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 0-1

Newsletter #70, 01/16/2002

"The older I get the more I value pawns"
Paul Keres

1) US Championship
Grandmaster Larry Christiansen is the new US Champion after defeating Nick DeFirmian in a special playoff after they both tied at 6 1/2 at the end of the nine round Swiss held in Seattle from January 5-13. Larry received $15,000 for his efforts, courtesy of the sponsoring Seattle Chess Foundation. The new US Women's Champion is 21-year-old Jennifer Shahade who had an outstanding tournament, playing GMs almost the entire tournament. Her 5-4 score netted her IM and WGM norms.
Most of the Bay Area representatives had excellent tournaments. MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky was always among the leaders and was the only participant to defeat the new champion. The final standings show him tied for third through eighth at 6-3, but fail to point out that he faced the stiffest opposition of those on that point score.
His wife, Camilla Baginskaite, failed to defend her US Women's title, but also played very well. Her final score of 4.5 made her the second placed women, and fell just a half point short of the WGM norm which she richly deserved.
Six-time US Champion Walter Browne showed signs of his old brilliance as he scored 51/2 points. He put Boris Gulko under tremendous pressure in the last round, narrowly missing a win which would have given him a share of third place.
IM Guillermo Rey lost in round one to GM John Fedorowicz in round one, but then bounced back to score 5 out of 8, without the loss of a single game. Congratulations Guillermo!
Vladimir Strugatsky (4 1/2) and John Donaldson (3 1/2) brought up the rear.
This was the second time that the US Championship has been held by the Seattle Chess Foundation and the first time with the new Swiss system format. The organizers did a very good job, but particularly in obtaining widespread press coverage. There were front page features on hometown hero Yasser Seirawan and Jennifer Shahade, as well as a detailed piece on the Seattle Chess Foundation's other main emphasis - scholastic chess. The end of the US Championship was marked by a giant simultaneous exhibition featuring 16 of the tournament participants and over 300 children.
For more on this event go to

2) Bob Burger Open
IM Ricardo De Guzman defeated SM David Pruess and NM Michael Aigner along the way to winning the Bob Burger Open held on January 5. Mariusz Krubnik (1779) had an exceptional result, scoring an undefeated 4 from 5 to tie for second.

3) Winter Tuesday Night Marathon
The Winter Tuesday Night Marathon started last night. There are currently 61 players participating, representing a wide range of playing strength from Master to 1000. There is still time to join the field for round 2 with a first round half point bye.

4) Robert Haines moves to New Mexico
NM Robert Haines and his wife Barbara have recently moved to Albuquerque. Robert is well known as a gifted teacher, with SM David Pruess the best known of his pupils. He hasn't played much in recent years, but in the 1980s and early 90s he was one of the best players in the East Bay. His wry wit was widely appreciated and made sure that things were never dull when he was around. Good luck in New Mexico!

Newsletter #71, 01/22/2002

"Let us depart from science. Chess can never reach its height by following in the path of science…Let us, therefore, make a new effort and with the help of our imagination turn the struggle of technique into a battle of ideas."

1) IM Ricardo De Guzman wins Jessie Jeans
Filipino International Master Ricardo De Guzman won the Jessie Jeans Open held January 19-20 in Santa Rosa. De Guzman's 4-0 score netted him $250. John Jafray and Erik Stuart tied for second in the open section. Cal Magoday and P.J. Vachon won the Reserve group and Conlan Rios was first in the Booster. A total of 48 players participated in the event sponsored and directed by International Arbiter Michael Goodall.

2) Busy Week in the Bay Area
Bay Area players will have their fill of chess activity this week. The action starts tonight at the Mechanics' Institute with MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky giving a free lecture from 5:15 pm - 6:15 pm. Round two of the Tuesday Night Winter Marathon begins right afterwards at 6:30. It's still not to late to enter with a half point bye for round one. Sixty-one players are currently competing in the eight round event making it one of the largest, if not the largest, weekly tournaments in the United States.
Wednesday the MI features another doubleheader. Yermo will be giving a lecture from 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm and at 6:30 pm will face off with Polish GM Alex Wojtkiewicz in a Fischer Random Chess exhibition. Both events are free to all.
The Bay Area Masters, a five round Swiss open to players rated over 2200. Will be held at the MI this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. IMs Rey, Shipman, De Guzman and Donaldson are already signed up to play. Spectators are welcome.
Those rated below 2000 have a special event for them in Hercules this weekend. Full details, including driving instructions, are offered below in Upcoming Events.

3) Frank Niro
We announced in an earlier issue of the Newsletter that Frank Niro is now the interim Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation. The following is his bio from the Kopec Chess Camp brochure where he has served on staff since 1999 (written March 1999 by IM Danny Kopec & NM Hal Terrie):


"Despite a busy career as a hospital administrator, Frank Niro has managed to find enough spare time over the past 27 years to remain involved with chess as a player, journalist, organizer, tournament director, benefactor, teacher and good will ambassador. As a player he has carried as many as 150 correspondence games at a time with a lifetime winning percentage greater than 80%. He won the 1973 American Postal Chess League championship and became a correspondence master in that organization in 1975. He is also active in international correspondence chess through ICCF. Frank is best known in the chess world as a journalist. He was editor of the award winning magazine, CHESS HORIZONS (CH), from 1984 to 1986. During that time,
CH was twice chosen as the best state magazine (Massachusetts) by Chess Journalists of America and Frank earned individual awards for layout, photography and writing. In 1985, he was runner up in the balloting by CJA
for the prestigious Chess Journalist of the Year Award and received Honorable Mention for his efforts. He is presently editor of PRINCETON CHILDREN'S CHESS NEWS, which is dedicated to the development of scholastic chess in New Jersey. He collaborated on the 1988 publication of FORTY YEARS
AT THE TOP, a compilation of games by FIDE Master John Curdo, and edited FM Curdo's most recent booklet, STILL MORE CHESS CAVIAR. He has served on several chess organization Boards and is presently Secretary-Treasurer of the Princeton Children's Chess Foundation. A well-respected and entertaining speaker on many topics, Frank has been invited to give lectures and simultaneous exhibitions in a variety of locations including the Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas as well as chess clubs in New Delhi, India and Cordoba, Argentina."

4) GM and IM Norm Events at Penn State
International Arbiter Jerry Bibuld writes: "I am helping the Pennsylvania State University Chess Club (State College, PA) organize two international norm tournaments (Cat. IV & Cat. X) during the second half of February.  The Cat. IV will end on 26 February, two days before the US Masters, which will be held in Chicago, only a few hundred miles away from State College.  The Cat. X will end on 27 February.  Full details are on the following websites:"
You can contact Jerry at

Either of these events makes a good double bill with the US Masters which runs February 28-March 3. This event will not only be a memorial to Eugene Martinovsky, but will also double as a qualifier for the US Championship with six spots up for grabs. Full details are offered below.

5) Chess Display at Davis Public Library
The Davis branch of the Yolo County Library features a large display of old sets, clocks, books and magazines from around the world courtesy of Val Zemitis.  The exhibition will run through the end of February.  The library is located near the Davis High School and is open seven days a week.  Call (530) 757-5593 for more information.
With National Master Michael Aigner's move from to Stanford University, the Davis Chess Club is no longer in operation, but there are good, active clubs in nearby Woodland and Sacramento.

6) Chess Donations to MI Library
Thanks to MI member Kevan Gross for his generous donation of chess video tapes.  The extensive collection of Foxy Opening videos by GMs Daniel King, Nigel Davies, James Plaskett and IM Andrew Martin will soon be available to check out.
Donations to the MI, which is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, are tax deductible.  The MI acquires new chess books and videos on a regular basis supplemented by donations from the membership.  This has enabled the MI to offer its members one of the largest freely circulating collections of chess material in the country (700+ books and over 50 videos).  However, this policy is now under attack.  Over 25% of the chess books at the MI disappeared from 1996 to 2000, a much greater percentage than any other part of the library collection. These books, which are marked with the MI stamp, can't be resold.  The only rationale for their disappearing is that somebody wants to complete their collection while denying everyone else the use of these materials.  This is not a way to generate good karma!  If this doesn't stop, more and more books will be placed in a locked case and only available for use in the library.

Newsletter #72, 01/30/2002

"Chessplayers are of varying character.  Some, in order to be confident of success, have to see their opponents as a friend, while others must, without fail, feel enmity towards the opponent... There are many more of the second type, and it must be admitted that the author belongs to this group."

Viktor Kortchnoi

1) Bay Area Masters Grand Prix I

IM Ricardo De Guzman won the Bay Area Masters Grand Prix I, held January 25-27 at the Mechanics' Institute. The 3-time Filipino Olympiad team member scored 4-1, including a victory over top seed SM Vladimir Mezentsev. MI Chess Director John Donaldson and NM Adrian Keatinge-Clay shared second with 3 1/2 points. This was a particularly fine performance by Adrian as he scored 1 win and 3 draws against 3 IMs and a SM rated 2550.
Adrian, who has one IM norm to his credit, made only one mistake in the tournament. He forgot to give organizer Guillermo Rey an address to send his prize money. We expect to hear from Adrian soon!  Rounding out the list of plus scores at 3 points, in the 13-player field, were Mezentsev, IM Rey and NM Michael Aigner.
Two other events in this series open to players rated over 2200, will be held May 10-12 and June 14-16. Full details will soon be available on the website. A big thanks goes to IM Guillermo Rey for sponsoring these events which provide a much needed opportunity for the Bay Area's top players to keep in shape and to Anthony Corrales for directing.

2) Winter Tuesday Night Marathon

The Mechanics' Winter Tuesday Night Marathon has four leaders after three rounds. Topping the 66-player field are Victor Ossipov, Larry Snyder, Peter Grey and James Jones. There is still time to enter the eight round event with half point byes for the first three rounds.

3) Western Class Championships

Bill Goichberg's Continental Chess Association returned to Los Angeles the weekend of January 19-21 with the Western Class Championships. The top section saw a tie for first between GM Alex Wojtkiewicz and Armenians Varuzhan Akobian and Meliks Khachiyan at 5 1/2  from 7.  Sharing fourth and fifth at 5 were SMs Cyrus Lakdawala and Levon Altounian.
Several MI members made the trip south. SM David Pruess was in the running for a top prize throughout, but lost in the final round to Akobian to finish with four points. Expert Monty Peckham had a sensational result. The 16-year-old high school student, rated 2057 going into the event, scored 3 1/2 beating 2 masters and drawing with IM Ziatdinov. One of Lithuania's top young female talents, Egle Morkunaite, who is currently living in San Francisco, defeated two masters while scoring 2 1/2 points.

4) Hercules Amateur Championship

Tournament organizer Rico Adkins writes: here is the report from the Hercules Amateur Championship held at the Mechanics Bank Operations Center in Hercules this past weekend.
In the 16 player event, eight players out of sixteen won cash. Larry Snyder finished 4-0 for 1st place. Teri Lagier and Kayven Riese finished tied for 2nd overall and Best B prize with 3 points. Kris MacLennan was the Best and worst A player with 2 1/2 points. Alan Howe and Tom Allen tied for Best C with 2 points and Ben Laufer and Gregory Ihde tied for Best D/below with 1 point. For Gregory, it was his first win as an Unrated player.  Look for the next event planned for April! Flyers will be available at the Mechanics' and Berkeley Chess Club as well as Bay Area chess events such as the 29th Annual Peoples Tournament in Berkeley.

5) Chess Column in the San Francisco Alta (1859)

Sibylle Zemitis has unearthed evidence of a regular San Francisco chess column from 1859. The May 22 edition from that year of the San Francisco Alta features two Morphy-Mongredien games with annotations and a problem by Conrad Bayer.  The column appears to have run every Sunday. We would welcome more information.

6) Bay Area Tournaments this Weekend

The Mechanics' Institute will be hosting the 2nd Annual Henry Gross G/45 this Saturday. Among the early entrants in this five round Swiss are IM Ricardo De Guzman and NMs Egle Morkunaite and Keith Vickers.

IM Guillermo Rey will be hosting the Town School Spring Chess Challenge this Saturday at the Town School (2750 Jackson Street in San Francisco). The event is open to grades K-8 and runs from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM. Contact Guillermo at or (650) 355-0305 for more information.

Newsletter #73, 02/06/2002

“After losing a game I play the next one better, after losing the second game I play like a lion, but after three defeats in a row anyone can beat me!”.
Eduard Gufeld

1) IM De Guzman wins 2nd Henry Gross Memorial

Filipino IM Ricardo De Guzman continued his winning ways by taking first with a 5-0 score in the 2nd Annual Henry Gross Memorial held February 2 at the MI. This was De Guzman's fifth tournament win in 2002! Up and coming junior Monty Peckham moved another step closer to 2200 by taking second with 4 1/2 points, while NM Keith Vickers, junior Ben Haun and improving veteran Mariusz Krubnik shared third with 4. The 42-player event was directed by Anthony Corrales.

2) Ossipov and Snyder lead Winter Tuesday Night Marathon

Experts Victor Ossipov and Larry Snyder lead the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon after four rounds with perfect scores by virtue of defeating Peter Grey and James Jones respectively. Rudy Hernandez is alone in third at 3 1/2 after his defeat of fellow National Master David Blohm. Four rounds remain for the 66 contestants.

3) Vinay Bhat 2002 Falconer Award

International Master Vinay Bhat of San Jose has won the Neil Falconer Award, given annually to the top-rated player in Northern California under age 18, for the third year running. Bhat, who is a 17-year-old high school senior, will receive $2505 (his rating on the December 2001 USCF list). This is Vinay's last year of eligibility and the winner of the 2003 award will be wide open with many Northern California juniors over 2000 USCF trying to raise their ratings quickly!
The Falconer Award is given by longtime Mechanics' Trustee and 1992 US Senior Open winner Neil Falconer. All USCF rated juniors under 18 living in Northern California are eligible to compete for this award. For more details contact MI Chess Director John Donaldson

Newsletter #74, 02/13/2002

"Chess requires total concentration…when I play I try to keep my mind completely on the game…Many people who play chess are using only a fraction of their mind and the rest of their mind is off wandering somewhere."
Bobby Fischer

Winter Tuesday Night Marathon
Larry Snyder defeated Victor Ossipov in a nicely played game last night to take sole possession of first place with 5 from 5 with three rounds to go. A point back are Igor Margulis, Steve Gaffagan, Peter Grey, James Jones, Steven Krasnov, and Chad Sweeney. 12-year-old Ewelina Krubnik (1574) is on 3 1/2, courtesy of an upset win over Mario Samatra (1972).

World Champion boxer Lennox Lewis and Chess
Chess and boxing have been compared to each other because in both you can be leading the entire contest only to have the possibility to lose in an instant. World Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis, who is an avid player, shares his views on the similarities:
"It's like boxing: there's a strategy. You have to decide what move to use, or what combination of moves. I'm thinking less when I'm boxing, because the reaction time is a lot quicker, but some people call me the chess boxer because they say I think too much when I'm in the ring. I am taking my time about it and they are not seeing the action they want. Well, that is because I am thinking of the proper strategy to defeat this man. I am thinking and boxing at the same time. Some boxers just go in there and just throw punches and hope to win."

Falconer Award Presentation
International Master Vinay Bhat of San Jose will be presented a check for $2505 on February 21st at 3pm at the Mechanics' Institute by Neil Falconer. The check is Vinay's reward for being the top-rated player under 18 in Northern California. The public is welcome to attend.

Newsletter #75, 02/20/2002

"I have won many games that have not made me happy; and when I lose, I am also not happy.  My friends ask ‘so when are you happy?’.  That's the way chess is; you are happy only rarely; the rest is grief."
GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic

1) Zilberstein and Donaldson tie for first at People's Open

SM Dimitry Zilberstein and IM John Donaldsontied for first in the 29th Annual People's Chess Tournament held February 16-18 on the UC Berkeley campus. The two winners, who finished at 5-1, both beat Filipino IM Ricardo De Guzman and drew with each other and NM Michael Aigner. The latter tied for third at 4 1/2 with Igor Margulis, and had an excellent result. Besides the draws with the two winners, Aigner also drew De Guzman and beat NM Mauro Casadei. This result will put Michael over 2300 for the first time. Congratulations!
This years People's event, directed by Michael Goodall and Richard Kopecke, attracted 155 players, up thirty from last year, which is an excellent turnout. During the Fischer years in the mid-1970s, this tournament routinely attracted 200 plus players, but those were different times and there was no competing US Amateur Team West on the same weekend in Los Angeles. Additionally, 148 kids showed up for a well-run three section scholastic on Monday.
All in all, it was a very encouraging weekend for Bay Area Chess and the large number of flyers for upcoming events bodes well.  Events are scheduled for the next few months in Sunnyvale, Vallejo, Fremont, Sacramento,  San Francisco, Marin City, Hercules and Santa Rosa!  Tom Dorsch has a big Memorial Day event set for the Holiday Inn on Van Ness (easily accessible by BART and MUNI - get off at Montgomery station and take the #38 Geary which runs frequently and drops you off two blocks from the site). Now if we can only find somebody to organize in San Jose!
Results of class sections next week.

2) Five way tie in MI Winter Marathon

NM Igor Margulis of San Francisco defeated Berkeley Expert Larry Snyder to force a five way tie for first at 5-1 with two rounds to go in the MI Winter Tuesday Night Marathon. Joining Margulis and Snyder on the leader board are Victor Ossipov, Peter Grey and Chad Sweeney. Chad (1849) has had an excellent result so far, knocking off several more highly rated opponents and was winning against Ossipov, but lost on time.

3)  Nick DeFirmian ties for first in Copenhagen

The 75th Anniversary of the Copenhagen Chess Union was celebrated with a Category 9 tournament. Chris Ward and US Berkeley grad Nick DeFirmian tied for first.
1.Ward, Christopher g ENG 2486 5.5; 2. DeFirmian, Nick E g USA 2536 5.5; 3. Hector, Jonny g SWE 2507 5.0; 4. Schandorff, Lars g DEN 2545 5.0; 5. Gausel, Einar g NOR 2520 5.0; 6. Brinck-Claussen, Bjorn m DEN 2359 4.5; 7. Hoi, Carsten g DEN 2407 4.0; 8. Jakobsen, Ole m DEN 2405 4.0; 9. Mortensen, Erling m DEN 2441 3.5; 10. Kristensen, Bjarke m DEN 2406 3.0.
Games and Internet coverage are available at: Games in PGN  and .

4) Edmar Mednis 1937  - 2002

Grandmaster Edmar Mednis died suddenly of cardiac arrest during a bout with pneumonia on Wednesday, February 13, 2002 at his home in Woodside, Queens, New York. Mednis, who was best known as the author of many excellent instructional works on the endings, appeared to be in robust health at recent chess events, and his death comes as a shock.

5) Jan Fischer - ???-2002

Longtime MI member Jan Fischer passed away in early February. A musician by training, Fischer loved to spend days in the Chess Room kibitzing and talking about everything under the sun. His life underwent a marked change when he was evicted from his San Francisco apartment and forced to live on the street, but he never complained.

6) 1940 MI Club Championship

The September-October 1940 issue of the American Chess Bulletin reports the results of the MI Club Championship. We notice such familiar names as Master Vladimir Pafnutieff, H. (Bip) Ralston - founder of the California Chess Reporter, noted correspondence player Nicolas Preo and science fiction writer and MI stalwart Carroll Capps.

1.H. Simon 9½; 2.V. Pafnutieff 8; 3.G. Lapiken 7½; 4.H. Ralston 7; 5-6. N. Preo and Wallace Smith 6½; 7-8.L.L. Boyette and C. Capps 6; 9-10. E.Fawcett and E.Tippin 5; 11.C.Howland 4½; 12.C.Hong 3 ½ ; 13. J.F. Yale 3

Newsletter #76, 02/27/2002
"Of all the personal qualities which are important at the board, determination is perhaps the most significant.  Some players…see the gloom ahead of them, with only the distant prospect of at most half a point, and become despondent."
GM John Nunn

Special Announcement - The MI will host it's annual three day Amateur Championship honoring the late A.J. Fink starting this Friday (March 1) at 6:30 PM. Full details below under upcoming tournaments.

1) Winter Tuesday Night Marathon

Igor Margulis and Larry Snyder lead the Tuesday Night Marathon with 6-1 scores with a round to go. David Blohm is third at 5 1/2.

2) David Pruess chess class featured in Berkeley Voice

Senior Master David Pruess and his free Tuesday evening chess class at the Albany Public Library (6-8 pm , 1247 Marin Avenue) were featured on the front page of the February 22 edition of the Berkeley Voice.

3) Russian GM Sergey Makarichev visits MI

Moscow GM Sergey Makarichev and his wife master M. Makaricheva Ostrovskaya visited the Mechanics' Institute yesterday and did some filming for a future episode of their popular weekly chess program that airs on Russian television.

4) Class Prize Winners at People's Open

Expert - Matthew Ho
Class A - Paul Ganem
Class B - Pierre Vachon
Class C-  David Bischel and Juan Ventosa

5) Cal Chess Membership

Cal Chess, the official body representing the United States Chess Federation in Northern California, is becoming increasingly more active under President Tom Dorsch and California Chess Journal Editor Frisco del Rosario and deserves support. Members receive discounts on the entry fee to many chess tournaments in Northern California as well as a subscription to the bimonthly Journal which includes annotations by the likes of GM Alex Yermolinsky.  The cost of a years membership is $15 ($13 for scholastic). Contact Frisco at 126 15th Ave, San Mateo, CA 94402, (650) 574-6029

Newsletter #77, 03/06/2002
"Tenacity is a very important quality for a chess player to develop.  For example, it may mean stubbornly defending a difficult position for a long time… (or) you may be sitting with an advantageous position, but meeting resistance from your opponent.  Then you need to be tenacious in order to nurture your advantage patiently, keep your opponent under pressure, and finally break down his resistance."
GM Paul Motwani

1) 2002 US Masters: Eugene Martinovsky Memorial
Grandmasters Gregory Kaidanov, Alexander Onischuk, Daniel Fridmans, Leonid Yudasin and Alex Wojtkiewicz tied for first in the 2002 US Masters: Eugene Martinovsky Memorial, held February 28 to March 3 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Oak Brook, Illinois. The five winners, who were all undefeated at 5 1/2 - 1 1/2, earned $3,000 apiece for their victory over a 100 player field which included 15 GMs and 15 IMs.
GMs Gregory Serper, Dmitry Gurevich, John Fedorowicz and Anatoly Lein, IMs Nikolay Andrianov, John Donaldson, John Watson, and William Paschall plus NM Jason Doss tied for sixth though fourteen, with Serper, Fedorowicz, Donaldson, Watson, Paschall and the top 4 1/2 on tiebreak, Stanislav Kriventsov, all earning spots in the 2003 US Championship, to be held in Seattle January 9-19. Indiana Master Jason Doss, who rebounded from an opening loss to top finishing junior William Aramil to score 2 from 3 against IMs Donaldson, Rashid Ziatdinov and Fedorowicz down the stretch, could have earned a spot if he had only paid his $75 US Championship qualifying fee in advance of round one. Ditto for the 70-year-old Lein who still has the constitution of an ox. The last day he defeated Penn State math professor IM Edward Formanek and GM Nikola Mitkov of Macedonia in long, grueling battles.
The game with Mitkov was a fitting tribute to the late Dr. Eugene Martinovsky (1931-2000) whose estate helped sponsor this event. Martinovsky, who emigrated from Yugoslavia in the mid 1960s, was one of the top players in Chicago for over three decades and was particularly noted for his tenaciousness. He would have appreciated Lein's endgame technique which allowed him to a win a Queen ending (W-Kg4, Qb6, Ps f2, f 3, and g3 versus B- Qa1, Kg7, Ps h6 and g5) where his King penetrated to f5 as if by magic from a position that looked quite drawn twenty moves before. The way Lein maneuvered his Queen from the center of the board to b6 with a series of checks with only 3 minutes left on his clock drew the admiration of 30 die-hard spectators who stuck around to watch the last game of the event finish at 10:30 on Sunday evening.
Lein was not the only veteran to shine in Chicago.  NM Viktors Pupols of Bremerton, Washington, won the battle of the Latvian-Americans by defeating Chicago SM Andrew Karklins in the final round. Several times Pupols had one of the last games to finish in the round but it didn't seem to bother him.  At 67 he has the energy of man half his age. Be prepared when he asks you to join him for a 12 mile hike!
Phoenix-based Andrianov, who still represents Russia on the FIDE list, won two very impressive games against 2600 FIDE GMs Alexander Goldin and Ildar Ibragimov. He also turned in a very impressive performance in tying for first in the North American Open a couple of years ago and is clearly of GM strength.
The tough luck story of the tournament goes to University of Texas at Dallas top board Yury Shulman who was among the leaders throughout the event before losing a drawish endgame to Kaidanov in round six and then letting Kriventsov escape with a draw in the final round. This was a rare setback of late for Shulman who is currently rated 2596 FIDE putting him right around number 100 in the world. The presence of players like Shulman and Onischuk in American events is a welcome shot in the arm for US chess which hasn't enjoyed an active GM in the 20-30 age group for some time.
The US Masters is the brainchild of Helen and Jim Warren who have held this event since the early 1980s. This year they decided to do something special to honor the memory of Dr. Martinovsky and they succeeded in their aim with the help of tournament directors IA Todd Barre and Tim Just plus bulletin editor NM Alan Watson. This is just the sort of event that Eugene would have wanted to play in.
A list of prize winners follows.  A crosstable of the event can be found at

US Masters Prize List
1st-5th:  GM Gregory Kaidanov, GM Alexander Onischuk, GM Daniel Fridman, GM Leonid Yudasin
              GM Aleksander Wojtkiewicz 5.5-1.5        $3,000 ea.
6th:        GM Dmitry Gurevich, GM Gregory Serper, GM John Fedorowicz, IM John Donaldson 5.0-2.0        $175 ea.
1st-3rd  2400-2499: IM Nikolay Andrianov, IM William Paschall, GM Anatoly Lein  5.0-2.0        $366.67 ea.
1st-2nd  2300-2399: IM John Watson, LM Jason Doss 5.0-2.0  $475 ea.
 Additionally, $1,500 in point pool prizes were split amongst players scoring at least 4.5 points

2) Snyder and Margulis win Winter Tuesday Night Marathon
San Francisco National Master Igor Margulis and Berkeley Expert Larry Snyder tied for first at 6 1/2 - 1 1/2 in the Mechanics' Institute Winter Tuesday Night Marathon held January 22-March 5. Tying for third through sixth with a score of 6-2 were NM David Blohm and Experts Victor Ossipov, James Jones and Igor Traub. A total of 66 players competed in the 8-week long event making it one of the largest, if not the largest, TNM ever held. A complete list of prize winners will appear in the next Newsletter.

3) Osmundo Reyes tops A.J. Fink Amateur
Osmundo Reyes won the 8th Annual A.J. Fink Amateur Championship held March 1-3 at the MI with a score of 4 1/1 - 1/2 to take home the $300 first prize. Tying for second through fifth with four points in the 41-player field were Steven Krasnov, Dante Argishti, Charles Kleiman, Pierre Vachon and Lloyd Stephenson. Alex Yermolinsky and Anthony Corrales directed.

4) Donald Byrne Memorial
The Donald Byrne Memorial, a Category IV (2327) IM norm round robin, was held at Penn State in late February. The event was won by Filipino IM Luis Chiong with a score of 7-2. Philly NM Norman Rogers  and State College SM Stanislav Kriventsov tied for second at 6 1/2 to earn IM norms as did 4th place finisher Pascal Charbonneau at 6.

5) 2001 Cramer Awards
Don Schultz writes:
"Sadly, last year Chess-in-the-Schools discontinued using income from the Cramer quarter-million Dollar bequest to the American Chess Foundation. As a result, the full announcement of 2001 Cramer Awards was delayed. The exception to this was the 2001 Chess Journalist of the Year award won by Hanon Russell. Hanon was the first journalist to win the Cramer Journalist of the Year award by a voting of all journalists belonging to the Chess Journalists of America. He also was the first Cramer Chess Journalist of the Year winner for journalism on the Internet, his Internet website, Chess Café, continues to set the standard of excellence for chess Internet websites.
Now, on behalf of the Cramer Awards committee, I am happy to announce the other three 2001 Awards for Excellence in Chess Journalism:

Best Chess Column – Harold Dondis, Boston Globe
Harold Dondis’ Chess column has been appearing in the Boston Globe weekly since 1964!! Recently, to save space the Globe discontinued it. There was such an uproar over this that the Globe not only brought it back but Harold’s chess column now appears two times a week! When informed of the award, Harold asked that proper recognition be given to NM John Curdo and GM Patrick Wolf who do the game analysis and commentary for his column.

Best State Publication – Illinois Chess Bulletin
The Illinois Chess Bulletin, published six times a year, is the official publication of the of the Illinois Chess Association. It has won numerous Chess Journalist of America Awards and has won the Cramer Award for Best State Publication in 1994 and 1999. During 2001 three different editors shared the honor of serving as editor for this fine publication: Roy Frye, Josh Flores and Bill Brock.

Best Book – Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces by Igor Stohl (318 pages, $24.95)
Igor Stohl is a grandmaster from Slovakia and was a runner-up in the 1982 World Junior. This book is a collection of 50 grandmaster  games, covering the period from Gelfand-Dreev, Tilburg 1993 to Anand-Khalifman, FIDE World Cup, Shenyang 2000. In a Chess Café review by Stephen Ham, the book is described as "Big and Beautiful." Hamm goes on to describe both the quantity and quality of Stohl’s work as being "Great."

Previous winners for these categories are:

Chess Journalist of the Year
1994 – IM John Donaldson
1995 – Shelby Lyman
1996 – Burt Hochberg
1997 – Jerry Hanken
1998 – GM Yasser Seirawan
1999 – Mike Franett
2000 – GM Larry Evans
2001 – Hanon Russell

Best Book
1996 – The Bobby Fischer I Knew by GM Arnold Denker and Larry Parr
1998 – Napier The Forgotten Chess Master by John  Hilbert
           Alekhine’s Chess Games by Leonard Skinner and Robert Verhoeven
1999 – Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy by John Watson
2000 – Soviet Chess 1917-1971 (Historical) by GM Andy Soltis
           The Road to Chess Improvement (Instructional) by GM Alex Yermolinsky
           Chessdon (Memoirs) by Don Schultz
2001 - Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces by Igor Stohl

Best Chess Column
1998 – David Sands (Washington Times)
1999 – GM Lubosh Kavalak (Washington Post)
2000 – GM Robert Byrne (NY Times) and GM Michael Rohde (Chess Life)
2001 – Harold Dondis (Boston Globe)

Best State Magazine
1994 – Illinois Chess Bulletin (Robert Renault) and Atlantic Chess (David Burris)
1995 – floridaCHESS (Don Schultz)
1996 – floridaCHESS (Don Schultz)
1997 – Chess Horizons (Joe Sparks)
1998 – Texas Knights (Selby Anderson)
1999 – Illinois Chess Bulletin (Josh Flores)
2000 – Chess Horizons (Peter Sherwood)
2001 – Illinois Chess Bulletin
Mar-Apr 2000 thru Nov-Dec 2000: Roy Frye
Jan-Feb 2001: Josh Flores
Mar-Apr 2001 thru May-Jun 2001: Bill Brock

6) Tim Krabbe 60  Endgame Composing Competition
We recently received a request to publicize an endgame composing competition honoring the 60th birthday of the noted Dutch writer Tim Krabbe who is known for his work in and out of chess (the movie The Vanishing was based on one of his novels). The MI has a long tradition of producing excellent composers with such well-known names as A.J. Fink, Bob Burger and Victor Baja enjoying a long association with the Chess Room. Maybe a new talent will step forward !?

After nearly half a century of enjoying the beauty of endgame studies and problems, and reproducing many of them in my chess publications, I felt it was time to do something in return: to organize and sponsor a composing tourney - if only because I would like to spend my 60th birthday, 13 April 2003, admiring some fine studies and problems that might otherwise not have been there.

Composers are invited to submit original compositions in two sections:

1) Endgame Studies
2) Problems - direct-mate moremovers

Prizes in both sections will be 400, 200, 100, 2 x 50 and 2 x 25 Euro.

1) Endgame studies.

Themes are free. Entries no later than 31 December 2002 to the Tournament Director, René Olthof, Achter het Schaapshoofd 7, 5211 MC 's-Hertogenbosch, NEDERLAND; e-mail: <>
Judges: Harold van der Heijden and Tim Krabbé.

2) Problems - direct-mate moremovers.

Themes are free. Entries no later than 31 December 2002 to the Tournament Director, Henk le Grand, Heimanslaan 5, 6705 AD Wageningen-hoog, NEDERLAND; e-mail: <>
Judges: Ruud Beugelsdijk and Tim Krabbé.

The awards will be published on Tim Krabbé's website
in his weekly chess column in Algemeen Dagblad, and in EBUR and Probleemblad.

Newsletter #78, 03/13/2002

"One of the most common mistakes a player can make, is to play mindlessly along, repeating known ideas, used before in similar situations.  The player thinks he is playing by the book, but because one or two details are askew, the position is different and should be evaluated differently."
GM Yasser Seirawan

1) Yermo and Browne tie for first in National Open
MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky and six time US Champion Walter Browne tied for first in the 2002 National Open held March 8-10 at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.  The two Bay Area GMs faced tough opposition. Browne defeated GMs Ibragimov and V. Georgiev while Yermo beat GM Blatny and IMs Kraai and De Guzman. The two winners, who drew in the final round, each received $5250 and a spot in the 2003 US Championship. Well done!
There was a five way tie for third through eighth at 5-1 between GMs Gallagher, Pelletier, Blatny and Kudrin, plus IMs Sarkar and Akobian. Sergey Kudrin and Justin Sarkar also qualified for the US Championship and it would appear that IM Ben Finegold and Anna Levina (top woman) also won a ticket to Seattle. This remains to be confirmed, as the Seattle Chess Foundation has not yet put up the qualifiers on its website.
Many Bay Area players competed in the 197 player open section which included 21 GMs and 16 IMs.  Those on 50% or more were: 4 points: IM De Guzman, SM Strugatsky and NM Stearns; 3 1/2 points:IM Rey, IM Shipman, SM Zilberstein, NM Nambiar; 3 points: NM Schiller and NM Morkunaite.
Swiss GM Vadim Milov turned in a sensational performance in the game in ten minutes championship held on March 11.  He scored 7 1/2 out of 8 defeating four GMs en route.  SM Emory Tate and GM Joseph Gallagher tied for second at 6 1/2.  The National Open, organized as usual by Al Losoff, attracted over 700 entries.  A list of Bay Area players in the other sections will follow next week.

2) Bobby Fischer turns 59
Bobby Fischer turned 59 on March 9.  The Chicago native, who grew up in Brooklyn, made two public appearances in the Bay Area during his career.  In July of 1957 he won the US Junior Championship held at the Spreckles Russell Dairy auditorium in the Mission district.  Seven years later, on April 13, Bobby gave a 50 board simul at the MI, where he scored + 38 - 4 = 8.  Among those who participated in the event, and still active today, are NM Bob Burger, Max Willkerson, NM David Blohm, NM Tom Dorsch and Paul Vayssie.

Newsletter #79, 03/20/2002

"I have won many games that have not made me happy; and when I lose, I am also not happy.  My friends ask ‘so when are you happy?’.  That’s the way chess is; you are happy only rarely; the rest is grief."
GM Ljubomir Ljubojevic

1) Sunnyvale

NM Michael Aigner writes:
"The LERA tournament was held March 9-10 in Sunnyvale About 75 players showed up, allowing organizer Rod McCalley to increase the prize fund slightly.  The top section featured six masters, led by IM Vinay Bhat and NMs Robin Cunningham and Michael Aigner.  After the first two rounds, those were the only players with perfect scores.  When the dust settled, Aigner took clear first with 3.5/4, defeating Bhat with white in the last round.  Second place was shared by Cunningham (who also drew Bhat) and underrated junior Akash Deb (whose lone blemish was a loss to Aigner), both at 3.0/4."

2) National Open (Part 2)
The following MI members scored 50 percent or better in the Reserve (1999-1600) and Booster (1599 and below).
Reserve: Lazar Shnaiderman, Marty Cortinas, Paul Ganem and Nikunj Oza all 3.5-2.5.
Booster: Ake Gullmes 3.5-2.5.
Last week I omitted the name of NM Jon Frankle who scored 3.5-2.5 in the open section.

3) Kurt Bendit
Former MI Chess Club Director Kurt Bendit is at Lawton Healthcare 1575 7th Ave. (at Lawton)
(415) 566-1200 and would enjoy hearing from old friends. Kurt is best known for his organizational abilities, but he tied for first in the 1956 Cal Open with 16-year-old Gil Ramirez and Robert Cross.

Newsletter #80, 03/27/2002

"As Bobby Fischer said, you have to go for the truth in chess, and if that requires taking on a risky activity, you have to go ahead and do it."
Edmar Mednis

1) 4th Annual Bay Area Ohlone Tourney

The Ohlone tournament this past weekend in Fremont drew about 90 players, allowing organizer Hans Poschmann to pay the full advertised prize fund. The open section went quite according to the ratings, as the top three seeds took the top three prizes.  IM Ricardo DeGuzman shook off a major scare in round 1 against expert Jim Uren to sweep the tournament 4-0.  He defeated NMs Paul Gallegos and Michael Aigner on the second day.  NM David Blohm gave up half a point in round 1 and then cruised to 3.5 and clear second place.  At 3.0 were Aigner and top under 2100 prize winner Steve Gaffagan.
Curtis Munson won the reserve section with 4-0 and Maximo Fajardo took clear second with 3.5-0.5. Tyler Arnold and Eric Tsai shared top honors in the booster section with 3.5-0.5 each. The team trophy was won by the Mechanics', with the team of Blohm, Monty Peckham, Gary Huang, and Drake Wang.
Thanks to Michael Aigner for this report.

2) Spring Tuesday Night Marathon

The Spring Tuesday Night Marathon started last night. The 57-player field includes 5 Masters led by top seed Egle Morkunaite. It's still possible to enter the event with a half point bye for the first round.

3) Vallejo Open

IM Ricardo DeGuzman and SM Ronald Cusi tied for first place with 3 1/2 - 1/2 in the Vallejo Open held March 16-17. Approximately 20 players participated in the event directed by Rico Adkins.

4) Dos Hermanas

Mechanics' member Eric Schiller did very well in the recent Dos Hermanas/ICC events  averaging 75 percent and getting his rating Internet Chess Club rating up to 2550 These events were played with eight minutes aside and a two-second increment and featured many GMs and IMs. Well done Eric!

Newsletter #81, 04/03/2002

" When your opponent has a strategic advantage and virtually controls the board, or when he attacks
something that cannot be defended by reasonable means, then the 'threat' or 'blackmail' with
nonexistent attacks on the king may induce a mistake".
GM Mihai Suba

1) IM DeGuzman wins Max Wilkerson Open

Filipino IM Ricardo DeGuzman continued his domination of the MI's monthly G/45 events by winning the Max Wilkerson Open on March 30th with a 5-0 score. Among his victims in the 58-player field were Cuban FM Alvaro Blanco and NM Victor Baja (2371). Sharing second with four points were Blanco, Baja, NM Igor Margulis , Expert Alexander Levitan and A players Ben Haun and Felix Rudyak.
Daichi Siegrist and Michael Haun tied for top B with 3 points. The same score gave John
Steele and Vicenzo Pelliccia top C honors and Aviv Adler the D prize. Top E, for the best under 1200, was divided between Mark Altchek, Stephen Wilson, Yuki Siegrist, Dustin Rudiger and Cameron Jackson who each had two points. Max Wilkerson, who served as MI Chess Director from 1980-1996, had an outstanding event drawing masters Margulis and Paul Gallegos. Anthony Corrales directed this event which set an MI G/45 record for attendance.
Please note that checks for prize winners will be not be mailed out until approximately April 12 as the MI's accountant is taking a well-deserved vacation. The next G/45 event at the MI, The 2nd Imre Konig Memorial, will be held Saturday, April 13.

2) Spring Tuesday Night Marathon

Two rounds into the MI Spring Tuesday Night Marathon the following players have perfect scores in the 59-player event: NMs Igor Margulis, Russell Wong, David Blohm and Rudy Hernandez, Experts Victor Ossipov, Larry Snyder, Igor Traub, and James Jones plus A players Victor Todortsev (who upset top seed Egle Morkunaite) and Andrew Mueckenburger (who upset Expert Mingson Chen). It's still possible to enter the eight round event with half point byes for rounds one and two.

3) New Space for the Chess Room

Participants in last night's Tuesday Night Marathon were among the first to get the opportunity to use the Chess Room's new space in Room 407 adjacent to the Directors Office. The MI Chess Room, founded in 1855, is the oldest continuously active chess club in the country, but the space it currently occupies is considerably more recent. The MI moved around a lot in the period 1855-1865, but the following year it found a permanent home in a three story building at 31 Post Street in room 10 where it remained until the earthquake and fire of 1906. A month after these disastrous events the Institute and Chess Room
reopened in temporary quarters. It was not until 1910 that the current building was opened with the Chess.  Room located on the third floor. The expansion of the library eventually led to the Chess Room being moved to the fourth floor in 1923 where it has remained to this day albeit with some minor changes.
Sometime in the next month construction will begin on a long overdue women's bathroom on the 4th floor which will occupy the space where the Chess Room computers are currently occupied. In return for this lost space the Chess Room now has the full-time use of room 407. This second, dedicated room, will allow for much better conditions for Chess Room users as there is now a designated place for skittles and game analysis during tournaments. The Chess Room would like to thank the MI Trustees, Executive Director Jim Flack, Building Manager Michael Savage, Special Events Director Laura Shepherd, Mohammed Shaikh and Anthony Corrales for their help in making this possible. Jim and Michael also note that due to the speedy move there will be about a month while the Chess Room has both it's old and new space making it possible to hold a tournament with over one hundred players without crowding. The attendance record (pre-fire code!) for the Chess Room was set at the 1974 Stamer Memorial with 119 players. The Max Wilkerson Open last Saturday set a one-day record with 58. Will the Imre Konig Memorial on April 13 break it?

4) 6th Charles Linklater Memorial

The 6th Charles Linklater International, an 11-player IM norm round robin, starts this Thursday at 5pm. The field consists of IMs Ricardo DeGuzman, Guillermo Rey and John Donaldson, FMs Ricardo Lobo, Vladimir Mezentsev, Cyrus Lakdawala, Adrian Keatinge-Clay and Frank Thornally plus NMs Shivaji Shivkumar, Chethan Narayan and Vivek Nambiar. This will be the first tournament for Frank Thornally of Marinwood in more than twenty years. He was one of the top Bay Area players in the 1960s and 70s and represented the United States at the World Student Team Chess Championships at Ybbs, Austria, in 1968. Welcome back Frank!
This Linklater is funded entirely by generous donations from Anthony Corrales and Michael Goodall and entry fees from the players. If you would like to make contributions to the Mechanics', which enjoys tax-deductible 501(c) (3) status, please contact Chess Room Director John Donaldson at (415) 421-2258 or

5) Foxwoods Open

GMs Ilya Smirin, Alexander Goldin, Ildar Ibragimov, Gregory Kaidanov, Joel Benjamin and Giorgi Kacheishvili tied for first at 5.5 from 7 in the 4th Annual Foxwoods International held March 28-31 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino & Hotel in Connecticut.  The six qualifiers for the US Championship are Maurice Ashley, Michael Mulyar, Alan Bennett, Alex Stripunsky, Larry Kaufman and Igor Foygel with Marc Esserman as first alternate. Bill Goichberg's Continental Chess Association organized the event.

6) The Turk is coming to town

Do you remember the Turk? No, we are not talking about Grandmaster Suat Atalik of Istanbul, but the famous chessplaying machine of the 18th century which is the subject of a recent book (THE TURK: The Life and Times of the Famous Eighteenth Century-Chess Playing Machine) by Tom Standage. He will be talking about "Thinking about Thinking Machines, 1769-2002" and signing copies of THE TURK in San Francisco on the following dates:

* May 28 @ 7:00 PM: The Booksmith, 1644 Haight Street
* May 29 @ 12:30 PM: Stacey's Booksellers, 581 Market Street

For additional information about the book and/or Tom Standage, please visit

7) Bobby Fischer's newest innovation

The following piece appeared at the ChessBase web site at the beginning of this month.

New Fischer moves
Although the reclusive ex-world champion Bobby Fischer has not played much chess in the last 30 years, he has introduced a number of important innovations into the game. After the Fischer Clock and Fischer Random Chess he is now proposing a further change, the "Fischer move". It was presented to FIDE and will come up for a vote at the Executive Council meeting in Dubai.
Bobby Fischer has already introduced two important innovations that have received a larger or smaller degree of acceptance by the chess community. First came the "Fischer clock", which adds a small time increment after every move, thereby alleviating the brutal time trouble some players tend to get into. Then came "Fischer Random Chess", which scrambles the position of the pieces at the beginning of the game. This is designed to eliminate the very extensive openings preparation that is encountered in top-level chess today.
Now Fischer has turned his sights on what he believes is an unbearable preponderance of tactics in chess. His declared intention is to return the game to its origins and not allow the strategic spirit to be destroyed by "cheapo shots constantly fired by younger players." To this end he has submitted a rule modification, which FIDE is currently considering and will present to the delegates at its next general council meeting
during the Dubai Grand Prix.
Fischer's proposal adds one rule to section 4.1-4.7 ("The act of moving the pieces") in FIDE's "Laws of chess". The new article 4.8 states that: "After a player has registered a move by his opponent he may, as part of his next move, either execute a move in the form stipulated by the rules 4.1-4.7 given above; or instead he may execute the opponent's and his own previous moves in reverse order, replacing any captured pieces onto their original squares, and then execute an alternative move, in accordance with the rules 4.1-4.7 given above."
The new "Fischer move" (which is also referred to as a "retractor") does not change the original flavour of the game ??“ in fact many believe it actually reflects it more completely than the rules practised in tournaments today. The new rule has been extensively tested in informal play, where the advantages of the system are immediately obvious. Games are no longer decided by simple tactical strokes, the outcome depends much more on a painstaking exploratory strategy of "trial and error". The only disadvantage is that games may sometimes last a little longer, especially when a number of Fischer moves are executed.
The new Fischer move rule also provides an interesting solution to the problem of chess playing computers, which are the sharpest tactical entities on the planet. Our own experiments have shown that players who were scoring zero points against the 2750-rated Fritz program were actually winning some of their games when allowed to make extensive use of retractor moves.
FIDE has stressed that a decision in Dubai to adopt the Fischer move rule would not mean that it would be immediately implemented in all tournaments organised or sanctioned by the world chess organisation. "We anticipate that it will take a number of years before the new rule is universally accepted," said a ranking Fide official. "Until then both forms of chess can coexist."
Many players are very enthusiastic about Fischer move games. "Retractor games remove the unnecessary tension of ruining your game with stupid blunders," said one leading grandmaster. "I can be much more daring in my choice of moves." But Judit Polgar, the world's strongest female player, disagrees. "I have my doubts about this new rule, maybe because I am not very good at it. I lost an retractor game in an important tournament once."
I would say this is a pretty good April Fools Joke!

Newsletter #82, 04/10/2002

"Modern chess is too much concerned with things like pawn structure. Forget it. Checkmate ends the game"
Nigel Short

1) Wong, Ossipov and Hernandez lead the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon
NMs Russell Wong and Rudy Hernandez are tied for the lead at 3-0 with Expert Victor Ossipov in the 61-player Spring Tuesday Night Marathon.

2) April FIDE Ratings
FIDE recently released it April ratings which included the People's Open and Bay Area Masters. The following is a list of active local players.

GM Yermolinsky 2583
GM  Browne 2473
IM Donaldson 2430
FM Mezentsev 2400
IM DeGuzman 2372
IM Rey 2358
FM Zilberstein 2337
FM Porter 2309
FM Keatinge-Clay 2284
FM Lobo 2282
IM Shipman 2237
Stearns 2233
Nambiar 2203
Casadei 2169
Schiller 2166
Aigner 2158
Gallegos 2134
Morkunaite 2132
Peckham 2080

3) Northern California State Scholastics
The Mechanics' Institute, coached by Anthony Corrales, won the Elementary and High School Championships at the Northern California State Scholastics, held this past weekend in Monterey. Top scorers in the High School, which was won by IM Vinay Bhat, were Monty Peckham and Michael Pearson with 5, Elisha Garg 41/2 and Michael O'Brien 4. Daichi Siegrist, Anand Kesavaraju (representing the MI) and David Chock tied for first in the Elementary Championship with 6-0 scores. Joining Anand on the winning team were Ben Laufer, Shawn Tse and Davis Xu, each with five points.
We expect to have a full report from Anthony next week.

Newsletter #83, 04/17/2002

"I refused to believe that Black was lost.  Looking at the position, I felt there must be a defense, and looking at the previous play, I liked all of Black’s moves!  Not trying to find a defense for Black would have meant admitting that something was wrong with my concept of chess strategy."
GM Bent Larsen

1) Cyrus Lakdawala wins 2nd Imre Konig Memorial
IM-elect Cyrus Lakdawala of San Diego won the 2nd Imre Konig Memorial held April 13 at the MI with a 5-0 score. Other prize winners were:
2nd and Top A: Egle Morkunaite and Ben Haun
1st Expert: Monty Peckham.
1st B: Mariusz Krubnik, Wesley Chen and Daichi Siegrist
1st C: Joe Davis

2) Spring Tuesday Night Marathon
Russell Wong defeated fellow National Master Rudy Hernandez to take over sole first in the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon with a score of 4-0. Half a point behind are NM David Blohm, Expert Larry Snyder and Steven Krasnov. Sixty-one players are competing in the eight round event.

3) Northern California State Scholastic
MI Scholastic Chess Director Anthony Corrales reports on the recent State Scholastic Championship.
"The 2002 St Ch. in Monterey had more than 1000 participants, a surprise to everyone, including the organizers. In the K-12 Open, IM Vinay Bhat won with 6-0, flagging MI member Michael Pearson (3rd place) with 8 seconds in the final game of the tournament. Ben Haun had 2nd place with 5.5 pts and Monty Peckham had 5pts for 4th place. Elisha Garg (1309) of the MI had 4.5 pts (16th place) to help the MI team win convincingly.
The K-8 Open was won by Daniel Schwarz of Sacramento, followed closely by Nicolas Yap (MI), Ricky Yu, Ankit Gupta, and Drake Wang(MI).With only three players in this section, the MI team came in 4th place overall, only a few points behind 1st. Next year we will have 4 players...
The K-6 Open was won by the MI with 21pts (of 24). There was a three way tie for first, all familiar faces at the MI (Daichi Siegrist, Anand Kesavaraju, and David Chock). Team members Ben Laufer, Shaun Tse, and Davis Xu had 5 pts to score well within the top 20. Aly Patterson, rated 858, had a performance
rating of 1080 for the tournament.
Three members of our Wednseday beginner's class competed in the K-3 premier
section, all scoring 4-1 for a tie for 7-27th place. This was their first tournament, a great showing for Hugo Kitano, Kathryn Nunnally, and Niko Takayesu. Great job to all!!"

Newsletter #84, 04/24/2002

"There are two kinds of equal positions. Equal positions you like to play, and equal positions you can't stand the sight of."
Viswanathan Anand

1) Lakdawala and Mezentsev win 6th Charles Linklater Memorial
Cyrus Lakdawala and Vladimir Mezentsev tied for first in the 6th Charles Linklater Memorial held April 4-21. The two winners, who each scored 7-3 in the Category 4 (2337 FIDE average) roundrobin, also made IM norms. For the San Diego based Lakdawala it was his third and final norm and he will receive his long overdue title at the FIDE Congress in Slovenia later this year. This was the second norm for Mezentsev who needs one more result for the title.
This was the 8th IM or GM norm event held at the club since the end of 1998. A total of 17 IM norms and 1 GM norm have been earned in MI events during this time. One might get the impression that the MI is a title mill, but the reality is quite different. Lakdawala and Mezentsev have both been rated over 2500 USCF and 2400 FIDE for many years. If they lived in Europe they would have been IMs a long time ago, but lacked the opportunities. The list of players who have made norms in MI events reads like a list of some of the best young talent in North America (G. Shahade, Bhat, Krush, Mulyar, Zugic, Kraai and so on). The only player rated below 2450 USCF to make a norm at the MI is Richard Lobo (usually around 2360) who achieved it the hard way in one event. He lost his first three and then scored 5 1/2 from 6! The point is that the MI is just about the only place in the US to try for roundrobin norms.
The credit for this event goes to Anthony Corrales.  He not only organized and directed, but also found the sponsorship.
Other scores: 3. De Guzman 6; 4-5. Lobo and Nambiar 5.5; 6. Rey 5; 7-8. Donaldson and Shivaji 4.5; 9-10. Shivaji and Keatinge-Clay 4; 11. Thornally 2
Special mention should be made of FM Frank Thornally. Playing in his first serious tournament in several decades, Thornally lost his first seven games, but then showed great strength of character to rebound with two wins at the end of the event.

2) Wong and Snyder share lead in Spring Tuesday Night Marathon
Larry Snyder defeated top-seed Egle Morkunaite and Russell Wong drew with fellow NM David Blohm to grab the lead after five rounds of the 61-player Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. 1-2. Snyder and NM Wong 4.5; 3-7. NM Margulis, NM Hernandez, Ossipov, NM Blohm and Jones 4.

3) 5-way tie for first in Edward Levy Memorial Open
The Edward Levy Memorial, held April 19-21 in Denver, finished in a 5-way tie for first at 4-1 between GMs Gregory Kaidanov, Alex Shabalov, Alex Stripunsky, Ildar Ibragimov and Georgi Kacheishvili. The 325-player event, the largest Colorado event in recent memory, was super strong with 15 GMs competing in the 42-player top section. MI member Kayven Reise tied for first in the Under 1800 section at 4-1. Bill Goichberg organized and directed for the Continental Chess Association.

4) Imre Konig Memorial this September
The MI held strong Grandmaster roundrobins events in 1987, 1991, 1995 and 1998, but nothing of this stature since then. We hope to change this state of affairs this September by organizing a special tournament to honor the 10th anniversary of the death of International Master Imre Konig.
National Masters Tibor Weinberger and Mark Pinto have made very generous donations to make this event possible. GMs Alexander Baburin (Ireland), John Fedorowicz (USA), Yury Shulman (Belarus) and Alex Wojtkiewicz (Poland) have already committed to playing along with two of America's top young talents, Varuzhan Akobian and local hero Vinay Bhat. We would like to round out the field with even more strong players, but to do this we need to do more fund raising. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, contact us.

Newsletter #85, 05/01/2002

"It's funny, but many people don't understand why I draw so many games nowadays. They think my style must have changed but this is not the case at all. The answer to this drawing disease is that my favorite squares are e6, f7, g7 and h7 and everyone now knows this. They protect these squares not once but four times!"-
Mikhail Tal

1) Onischuk wins 3rd Karpov International
2002 is turning out to be a very good year for American players. GMs Alex Shabalov and Gregory Kaidanov tied for first in the Aeroflot Open in January and now Alexander Onischuk has won a major tournament. The 3rd Karpov International, a Category XVI (2628) event, was held in Poikovsky, Russia 16th-24th April 2002. Onischuk's performance in this event was around 2750 FIDE.

1. Onischuk, Alexander g USA 2641 6.0; 2. Rublevsky, Sergei g RUS 2657 5.5; 3. Zvjaginsev, Vadim g RUS 2645 5.5; 4. Dreev, Alexey g RUS 2677 5.0; 5. Vaganian, Rafael A g ARM 2664 5.0; 6. Sokolov, Ivan g BIH 2647 5.0; 7. Bologan, Viktor g MDA 2652 4.5; 8. Vescovi, Giovanni g BRA 2611 4.5; 9. Aleksandrov, Aleksej g BLR 2654 4.0; 10. Obodchuk, Andrei m RUS 2435 0.0;

2) Margulis tops Lovegrove
NM Igor Margulis won the Walter Lovegrove Senior Open held April 27-28 at the MI with a score of 3.5 from 4. NM David Blohm was second at 3 followed by IM Walter Shipman, Larry Snyder, Ray Banning and Jim Simpson at 2.5. Simpson, rated only 1436, had a particularly good event as he played up the entire tournament.

3) Baja wins in Hercules
Tournament organizer and director Rico Adkins writes about last weekend's Hercules Open:
"The 23 player event was won by Victor Baja, a master from San Pablo, CA, with a score of 4-0, defeating the young prodigy Alexander Setzepfandt in the last round. Second Place went to Kris Mac Lennan, from Oakland, CA with 3 1/2 points. Third place went to both Steven Gaffagan (Expert prize also!) and Maximo Fajardo with 3 points.  Teodoro Porlares and Maximo Fajardo took first "A" , Michael Haun took first "B", Aaron Wilkowski took first "C", and Eric Tsai took the below /Unr. prize."
Rico is planning another event at the same location in early August.

4) Wong leads Spring Tuesday Night Marathon
NM Russell Wong leads the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon with a score of 5.5 from 6 with two rounds to go. NMs Igor Margulis and David Blohm and Expert Victor Ossipov are tied for second at 5.

5) Field for Konig Memorial
The field for the Imre Konig Memorial, scheduled to start the second week of September, is tentatively set: GMs  Yury Shulman (Belarus), Alexander Baburin (Ireland), Alex Wojtkiewicz (Poland), Suat Atalik (Turkey), Alex Yermolinsky (USA), Nick deFirmian (USA), John Fedorowicz (USA), IMs Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Varuzhan Akobian (USA) and Vinay Bhat (USA). Using ratings from the April list, this field makes for a Category 12 (2525 + FIDE)  event, the same level as the 1991 and 1995 Pan Pacific Internationals.
National Masters Tibor Weinberger and Mark Pinto have generously donated $8,000 for this event, but we are still short of our goal of $14,000. If you would like to help sponsor this tournament please contact MI Chess Director John Donaldson at (415) 421-2258 or All donations are tax deductible.
One of the tournament participants, GM Alex Baburin, is helping the fund raising effort by offering a special deal for new subcriber's to his high quality online daily chess magazine Chess Today. He will donate 40 percent of the subscription price to the Konig Memorial! Cost of a four month subscription is $17. Go to to sign up and tell Alex the MI sent you.

6) MI Chess Camp
The Mechanics' will be hosting it's third annual chess camp from August 12-16 with GM Alex Yermolinsky, IMs John Donaldson and Guillermo Rey and MI Scholastic Director Anthony Corrales as instructors.

7) Manhattan Chess Club 1879-2002?
The nation's second oldest continuously operating chess club, the Manhattan, is in extreme danger of disappearing off the map. Last month the Club, which was located at The New Yorker Hotel, shut its doors. President Jeff Kossak has put the equipment in storage and is searching for a new location. As one might imagine the cost of Manhattan real estate is a big problem.  The Club does not have the group of wealthy backers it once had and it will be difficult to find an acceptable location at a doable rent.
The Mechanics (founded 1854) and the Marshall in NYC  (founded in 1919) have both been blessed with many generous individuals over the years who helped them to own their own buildings. The Manhattan, not enjoying this critical advantage, must have moved at least 20 times in its nomadic history. We wish the Manhattan well in its search for new quarters and remind MI Club members that it is their generosity that helps to run the  programs and tournaments that we hold.

8) Koltanowski Memorial - May 25-27 in San Francisco
Tom Dorsch and CALCHESS are bringing  a special event to San Francisco this coming Memorial Day weekend. May 25-27 the Koltanowski Memorial will be held at the Golden Gateway Holiday Inn at Van Ness at Pine. The six-round event features  $6,375.00 in prizes and $1 from each paid entry will be donated to the Kolty Chess For Youth Foundation.
Premium rental charges by San Francisco hotels and mediocre attendance for the past few events (Firecracker and Uinverse Opens) have discouraged people from putting on big tournaments in the City. Let's change that trend! Support this event and its very reasonable entry fee of $65 and there will be more like it. Just think, you won't always have to get on a plane and fly across the country when you want to play in a big Swiss System event.

9) Missing Years of the American Chess Bulletin at the MI
Donations by Andy Ansel and some recent acquisitions have left the MI with almost a complete run of the American Chess Bulletin which went from 1904-1963. We are now missing only 1944, 1947 and 1956. Can you help?

Newsletter #86, 05/08/2002

"Life is like a game of chess: we draw up a plan; this plan, however, is conditional on what - in chess, our opponent - in life, our fate - will choose to do."
Artur Shopenhauer

1) Wong leads Spring Tuesday Night Marathon
NM Russell Wong defeated Victor Ossipov in round seven of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon to clinch at least a tie for first. Going into the last round Wong has 6 1/2 points, followed by NMs Igor Margulis and David Blohm plus upset king John Lai on 5 1/2.

2) Cal Chess San Mateo Swiss
Complete details are not yet available, but we do know that MI members Larry Snyder and Ewelina Krubnik both did very well in this event held last week at the American Legion Hall in San Mateo. Berkeley-based Snyder won the Expert-A section with a 4-0 score. 12-year-old Krubnik, who is now rated in the top 100 women in the country, was the top C at 3-1 in the B-C section. Approximately 40 players participated in this fund raiser for Cal Chess.

3) Siegrists Shine at National Elementary Championships
MI members Daichi and Yuki Siegrist shined at the National Elementary Championships held in Portland.  Daichi, competing the in K-6 Championship, won 4 and drew 3 with no losses to finish 12th with 5.5 out of 7. Younger brother Yuki had a 4.5 from 7 in the K-3 Championship section. The well-run event attracted over 2000 kids!

4) Walter Korn Exhibit
The MI has recently received some interesting chess memorabilia of the late Walter Korn, courtesy of Muriel Roth, which will soon be exhibited in the Chess Room display case. Korn, who was best known to the chess world as the longtime editor of Modern Chess Openings and as FIDE Judge of Study Composition, was a prolific writer and contributed to the English monthly Chess, Chess Review and Chess Life for over fifty years. This August will mark the fifth anniversary of his passing. In tribute we reprint the following appreciation which originally appeared in the Jewish Bulletin on August 15, 1997.

"Chess Expert, author, Walter Korn dies in Burlingame
by Leslie Katz

Walter Korn, a well-known chess aficionado who fled Czechoslovakia during World War II, died last month in Burlingame at age 89.
A lifelong lover of chess, The San Mateo resident authored several books on the strategic game, including "The Brilliant Touch in Chess", "America’s Chess Heritage" and "The Art of Chess Competition".
Korn, who died July 10, also wrote an 11-page essay on chess for Encyclopedia Britannica and for more than 50 years was a contributing editor to chess publications including Chess Life and the British Chess Magazine.
"He was a brilliant man, but totally loving and warm", says John Burtman, a family friend who considers Korn his grandfather. "he was a wonderful, kind-hearted, good person…very rare in today’s world."
Born in Prague in 1908, Korn fled his homeland for London with his late wife, Herta Klemperer.
Several decades later, in Germany, he directed the U.N. Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, helping to relocate concentration camp survivors. In 1948, he served as national director of ORT in Geneva.
He later immigrated to the United States in 1950 and lived in Detroit, where he worked as a business manager of the Jewish Community Center. From 1960 to 1964, he lived in Israel, working for both the Joint Distribution Committee and the United Jewish Appeal.
After moving to California in the mid-1970s, he spent his retirement years pursuing his passion for chess.
But those who knew Korn call him a cultured man whose interest extended far beyond his favorite game.
Says his doctor George H. Cohen: " I looked forward to his visits and the back-and-forth bantering that always seemed to ensue. Walter never left the office in an instance where I hadn’t learned something new from him."
Korn is survived by his longtime friend Muriel Feiler Roth of San Mateo and her family, as well as a sister-in-law, Hedi Furth of Dusseldorf, Germany and niece Marcella Buldrova of Prague.

Newsletter #87, 05/15/2002

"The art of treating the opening stage correctly and without error is basically the art of using time efficiently.
Svetozar Gligoric

1) Imre Konig Memorial
The field had been finalized for the Imre Konig Memorial, scheduled for September 4-12 later this year. The lineup of GMs Yury Shulman (2591), Alex Yermolinsky (2583), Lubomir Ftacnik (2576), Alex Baburin (2565), Alex Wojtkiewicz (2554), Suat Atalik (2551), Nick DeFirmian (2550), John Fedorowicz (2514) and IMs Varuzhan Akobian (2480) and Hikaru Nakamura (2466) averages out to Category 12 (2543 FIDE). This is higher than the 1991 Pan Pacific (2528) and just a little below the 1995 event, which, with an average rating of 2552, is the strongest ever held at the MI. FIDE will release a new rating list on July 1st, and with rapidly improving juniors Akobian and Nakamura, the Category may go up from 12 to 13. Even as a Category 12 event, the Konig will qualify as the strongest round robin held in the United States since the 2000 US Championship and the strongest international round robin in many years.
Rounds will be held daily from 11 am to approximately 4pm in the Mechanics' main Chess Room and spectators are most welcome. Admission is complementary. IM John Donaldson will provide commentary during some of the rounds. Future Newsletters will detail the exact schedule.
Donations are what make events like this possible. Fund raising to date, through the generosity of National Masters Tibor Weinberger, Mark Pinto and Jim Eade, has generated 60 percent of the tournament budget. Can you help to make up the difference? The M.I. has  501 (c) (3) status, so donations are tax deductible.

2) Bay Area Masters Grand Prix II
UC Berkeley student David Pruess regained his Senior Master rating and won $500 by scoring 4 from 5 to win the Bay Area Masters Grand Prix this past weekend. Pruess, who took a second round bye, was only nicked for a draw by veteran Washington master Viktors Pupols. IM Ricardo De Guzman was second at 3.5,  followed by tournament organzer IM Guillermo Rey and NM Egle Morkunaite at 3. The next Bay Area Masters is scheduled for June 14-16.

3) Margulis, Wong and Blohm win Tuesday Night Marathon
Veterans Igor Margulis and David Blohm used their experience to good effect to win tough games in the last round of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. The two NMs scored 6.5 from 8 to join with Russell Wong in taking the top honors just ahead of Egle Morkunaite, Victor Ossipov and Victor Todortsev on 6. The next Marathon will start on June 4.

4) Cal Chess Swiss Winners
Tournament organizer and Cal Chess editor Frisco Del Rosario has kindly supplied the names of winners of the Cal Chess Swiss held 4-5 in San Mateo.

1 Expert Larry Snyder 4
2 X Jerry Sze 3
1 A Ray Banning 2.5
2 A Bruce Matzner 1.5
1 B Chien Liu 3
2 B Alberto Cisneros 3
1 C Ewelina Krubnik 3
2 C Oren Gazit 3
1 D Stephan Goupille 3.5
2 D Richard Van Gaabeck 3
1 E Yuki Siegrist 2.5
2 E Iris Kokish 2
1 U1000 Herbert Kanner 2.5
2 U1000 Emilia Krubnik 2.5

5) 2nd Charles Powell Memorial this weekend
The MI will be hosting a special G/45 event this Saturday to honor the memory of one of its top players who died much too young. Nationally, Senior Master Charles Powell was best known for winning the Armed Forces Championship several times and being a key member of the Washington Plumbers, winners of the 1976 National Telephone League. A perennial state champion in his native Virginia, he moved to San Francisco in the late 1970s and played in several Northern California State Championships (Bagby Memorials), but will be best remembered for his friendly manner and good sportsmanship. Please come out for this event.

6) Here and There

The Bay Area has a new GM in the area, at least temporarily. Former World Junior Champion Tal Shaked is interning with Intel this summer in Santa Clara, before moving to Seattle this fall where he will pursue a Ph. the University of Washington.

NM Robert Haines, who moved back to Albuquerque from Richmond earlier this year, recently won the New Mexico Senior Championship.

NM Bob Burger of Arcata writes regarding Newsletter #86: "The games you quote from MI championship, 1930, are interesting: Lamb is Willis Lamb, then a student at Cal and member of the Castle CC. He went on to get a Ph.D. in physics and made key discoveries (at Yale, I believe) that led to the invention of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)."

IM Vinay Bhat, several-time winner of the Falconer award for the top junior player in Northern California, will be attending UC Berkeley this fall. He joins a long list of strong players who have gone to Cal including GM Nick deFirmian, IM Vince McCambridge, IM Greg Hjorth, SMs David Pruess, David Glueck and Dmitry Zilberstein,  to mention but a few.

NM Eric Schiller of El Granada has been quite busy of late with various writing and software projects. One of his students, Robert Lau of Hawaii, finished clear second in the recent national scholastic K-5 division. Eric has once again be named Chief Arbiter fort the rescheduled Kramnik-Fritz  match.

MI Chess Room stalwart Lloyd Stephenson showed he is a man of many talents this past weekend by not only helping organize (until the very last minute) the Zippy 5K run in Golden Gate Park, but also placing 19th in a field of 250 with a time of 15:46 which works out to a average of 5:05 a mile! Lloyd was the fifth ranked master runner in the country in 1996. Chess Room Director John Donaldson showed it is not only his chess that needs work as he placed 165th with a time of 21:08 (6:49).

Newsletter #88, 05/19/2002

"Your only task in the opening is to reach a playable middlegame".
Lajos Portisch

1) Baja and Luaces share first in 2nd Charles Powell Memorial

National Master Victor Baja and Expert Juan Luaces shared first place in the 2nd Charles Powell Memorial held May 18 at the Mechanics' Institute. The two winners, who drew with each other in round four, split $300. There was a big tie at 3 1/2 with James Jones, Nicolas Yap, Nelson Sowell, Kevan Gross, John Chan and  Mariusz Krubnik dividing the Under 2200, 2000 and 1800 prizes. Oren Gazit, Aaron Wilkowski and Davis Xu shared top Under 1600 with three points apiece. Anthony Corrales directed the 33-player event.

2) Varuzhan Akobian wins 2002 Samford Chess Fellowship

The sixteenth annual Frank P. Samford, Jr. Chess Fellowship has been won by Varuzhan Akobian of Glendale, California. The Samford is the richest and most important chess fellowship in the United States, offering brilliant young American chessmasters the support necessary to reach their full potential. The total value of the Fellowship is $32,000 per year. The prize is awarded for one year, renewable for a second year.
Akobian, the top-rated American player under 21 at 2480 FIDE, will be playing in the MI's Konig Memorial this fall. UC Berkeley student David Pruess was among the finalists for this year's Samford.

3) Chess Director Donaldson to coach Nakamura and Tsai at Pan Ams

MI Chess Director John Donaldson will be coaching American representatives Hikaru Nakamura and Cindy Tsai in the Pan American Junior Championships this June in La Paz, Bolivia. Donaldson will be spending next Tuesday and Wednesday at the world's largest chess library (the J.G. White collection) in Cleveland researching the club's history. This accounts for the early arrival of Newsletter #89.

4) New Additions to MI Library Chess Collections

The Mechanics' Institute Library is constantly adding both new and older chess materials to its collections. Recent acquisitions include Chess Informants and MI Trustee Vince McCambridge's book on Yasser Seirawan.

Newsletter #89, 05/29/2002

"To study opening variations without reference to the strategic concepts that develop from them in the middlegame, is, in effect, to separate the head from the body".

1) Yermo ties for first in Chicago Open

MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky finished in a 7-way tie for first in the Chicago Open held May 24-27 at the Hyatt Regency Oak Brook. Joining Yermo in the winner's circle in the 805-player event, which featured 19 GMs and 13 IMs, were GMs Gregory Kaidanov, Jaan Ehlvest, Alexander Shabalov, Leonid Yudasin, Ildar Ibragimov and Giorgi Kacheishvili, who all scored 5.5 from 7. Alex defeated Alexander Goldin (second rated in the US at 2702 USCF) with Black in the final round to gain his second big victory of 2002 (he and Walter Browne tied for first in the National Open). Good job Alex!
Several other MI members made the trip east. David Pruess and Shivkumar Shivaji had 3 1/2 from 7 in the open section while Chethan Narayan had 2 1/2. Gennadi Reznikov had 4 in the under 2200, with Steven Gaffagan at 3 1/2 and James Jones on 2 (from 6). Former MI member Mike Maloney, now living in Chicago, finished in the money in the Under 2000 group with 5 1/2 points.
US Championship Qualifiers (per the excellent Continental Chess Association Website): GM Alex Fishbein (5 points), IM Jesse Kraai, GM Anatoly Lein, Stephen Muhammad, Marc Esserman (all 4 1/2 points). Former Bay Area Players IM Mladen Vucic and Renard Anderson tied for 2nd-5th qualifier at 4 1/2 points, but lost out on the tiebreak. Elina Groberman was the qualifying woman.
The attendance for the Chicago, organized by Bill Goichberg's Continental Chess Association, was down slightly from last year, but excellent considering that very few players flew to the event.

2) Field for Imre Konig expanded

Current US Champion Larry Christiansen(2573) and six-time titleholder Walter Browne (2473) have been added to the field for the Imre Konig Memorial. GMs Yury Shulman(2591), Alex Yermolinsky (2583), Lubomir Ftacnik (2576), Alex Baburin (2565), Alex Wojtkiewicz (2554), Suat Atalik (2551), Nick DeFirmian (2550), John Fedorowicz (2514) and IMs Varuzhan Akobian (2480) and Hikaru Nakamura (2466) round out the field. This will be the first time in the history of the Mechanics' that ten GMs have competed together in the same event.
Rounds will be held daily from 11 am to approximately 4pm in the Mechanics' main Chess Room and spectators are most welcome. Admission is complementary. IM John Donaldson will provide commentary during some of the rounds. There will be a WBCA blitz tournament on Saturday, September 7 from 5-7 PM. Simuls pitting children against top players will also be part of the Konig chess festival. Full details will appear in upcoming Newsletters.
Donations are what make events like this possible. Fund raising to date, through the generosity of National Masters Tibor Weinberger, Mark Pinto and Jim Eade and former US Senior Champion Neil Falconer, has generated 60 percent of the tournament budget. Can you help to make up the remaining $9,000? The M.I. has 501 (c) (3) status, so donations are tax deductible.

Schedule for the Imre Konig Memorial
3  7pm drawing of lots
4  rd 1 11am
5  rd 2 11am
6  rd 3  11am
7  rd 4 11 am  (WBCA blitz 5pm -7pm)
8  rd 5 11am
9  rd 6 11am
10 Free Day
11 rd 7  11am
12  rd 8 11am
13  rd 9 11am
14 rd 10 11am
15 rd 11 11am

Newsletter #90, 06/01/2002

"Castle if you will, or if you must, but not when you can".

The Windsor East Bay Chess Academy of Oakland is bringing African-American GM  Maurice Ashley back to the Bay Area!

Saturday, June 15, 2002
10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
PeopleSoft Building
Knowland Park & Zoo, Oakland, CA
General Admission  $5.00
(WEBCA Members Free)


*Q & A Session*

* IGM plays simuls Blindfolded vs 3 Scholastic Club Teams*

*IGM plays simuls vs 20 players selected by raffle drawing*


*Photos and Autographs*

For more information call 510-568-8262 or 510-569-2806

On Friday, June 14, 2002 at Parker Elementary School, 7229 Ney Avenue in Oakland  there is an "Evening with Maurice" planned only for kids who are members of the Windsor East Bay Chess Club.  This will be a private affair for the Club kids, sponsors, special guests, media representatives, and representatives from the schools where my chess classes are being held.  Pizza will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. Following that,  Maurice will talk to and play with the kids..  Of course you are invited to Friday as well as Saturday.

Newsletter #91, 06/01/2002

"The  passed pawn is a criminal, who should be kept under lock and key; mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient".

1) Class Struggle
IM Ricardo De Guzman won the Class Struggle, held in Berkeley this past weekend, with a 3 1/2 - 1/2 score. De Guzman, who had taken a half point bye earlier in the event, won a tough last round game against NM Bela Evans. NM Victor Baja was second at 3-1. MI member Felix Rudyak was among those who tied for first Expert at 2 1/2.
Other section winners were: Class A Juan Luaces; Class B Yefim Bukh, Class C Craig Yamamoto; Class D Joe Wheeler. Richard Kopecke directed the 53-player event for Cal Chess.

2) Koltanowski Memorial
Filipino IM Ricardo DeGuzman won the Koltanowski Memorial with a 5 1/2-1/2 over Memorial Day weekend. The 95-player-event, organized and directed by Tom Dorsch, attracted 95 players. A Labor Day event will be held at the same Holiday Inn in San Francisco.

Newsletter #92, 06/19/2002

"The game of chess is not merely idle amusement.  Several valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it."
Ben Franklin, 1779

1) Tsai and Nakamura shine in Pan Am Junior Championships

National Master Cindy Tsai of Gainesville, Florida, won the Pan American Girls' Under 20 Championship held in La Paz, Bolivia, from June 4-14.  Tsai won the WIM title, a 9-game WGM norm and direct entry into the World Girls' Under 20 Championship.
Hikaru Nakamura, of New York City, tied for first in the Pan American Junior, losing the title in tie-break.  Hikaru will be among the participants in this fall's Imre Konig Memorial to be held in early September at the MI.

2) De Guzman and Aigner tie for first in Stamer Memorial

IM Ricardo De Guzman and NM Michael Aigner shared top honors in the Arthur Stamer Memorial held June 7-9.  This event, which honors the memory of the MI's first Chess Director, attracted 55 entries.

3) Zilberstein wins 3rd Bay Area Masters Grand Prix

SM Dimitry Zilberstein defeated IM Ricardo De Guzman en route to winning the third Bay Area Masters Grand Prix held this past weekend.  De Guzman and IM Guillermo Rey shared second.

4) Thornally, Wong and Blohm lead Summer Tuesday Night Marathon

Three rounds into the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon, FM Frank Thornally and NMs Russell Wong and David Blohm, are the only perfect scores. The Summer Marathon has set a new attendance record with 66 participants.  This is the third consecutive marathon in a row with 60+ players.  It's still possible to enter this eight round event with three half point byes.

5) Pruess and Stein shine in  New York City

Bay Area Masters David Pruess and Alan Stein have shined in the New York Masters Action Tournaments organized by IM Gregory Shahade.  Pruess, who is visiting the Big Apple for the summer, tied for third with GM Alex Shabalov in the June 11 event won by GMs Igor Novikov and Leonid Yudasin.
Stein, who has relocated to NYC, has defeated GM Alexander Stripunsky and drawn with Novikov in recent events.

6) Bhat to play in US - China match

IM Vinay Bhat, a three time winner of the Falconer Award given annually to the top junior under 18 in Northern California, will be representing the United States in its match against China in Shanghai in July.  Good luck, Vinay!

Newsletter #93, 06/26/2002

"To win you have to risk loss."
Jean-Claude Killy

1) De Guzman and Baja tie for first in William Addison Open

IM Ricardo De Guzman and NM Victor Baja tied for first at 4 1/2 - 1/2 in the 38-player  William Addison Open held June 22 at the MI. Ironman Anthony Corrales directed.  A complete list of prize winners follows.

Prize Winners:
1st - 2nd Overall      De Guzman and Baja - $150 each
1st - 2nd Expert       Hammer and Lazar - $45 each
1st "A"                    Argishti - $75
1st through 4th "B": M.Krubnik, Gross, Sowell, E.Perpelitsky - $17.50 each
1st - 2nd                 Garg and Wilkowski - $32.50 each

2) Wong leads Summer Tuesday Night Marathon

NM Russell Wong defeated FM Frank Thornally in the fourth round of the Mechanics' Summer Tuesday Night Marathon to grab the lead at 4-0.  NM David Blohm and Expert Victor Ossipov share second at 3 1/2.  A record 68 players are competing in this eight round event.  This marks the third consecutive Marathon with more than 60 players.

3) GM Sisniega coming to Bay Area

Marc Newman from the Berkeley Chess School writes:
"The Berkeley Chess School is offering scholastic summer camps (grades K-8) in the cities of Berkeley, Fremont, Walnut Creek, and San Carlos.  Featured teachers are GM Marcel Sisniega (coming in from Mexico), IM Elliott Winslow, national master Roger Poehlmann, and high expert Nicholas Proudfoot.
Starting dates are June 24 except for San Carlos and weekly sessions run well into July.
More information can be found here:
We can be reached at (510) 843-0150

4) Robert Haines ties for second in New Mexico Open

Long time Bay Area resident NM Robert Haines, who moved back to his native New Mexico a short while ago, tied for second in last weekends Albuquerque Open, which was won by rapidly improving youngster NM Lior Lapid.

5) Benson library up for sale

Alan Benson, director of innumerable Peoples' Opens and the 1984 US Championship in Berkeley, is putting his library up for sale.  Complete details can be found at Kerry Lawless' website:

Newsletter #94, 07/03/2002

"Spassky was less concerned about the position's evaluation than about the character of the arising struggle. If he liked the character of the battle, he felt absolutely at home and, as a rule, didn't fail to outplay his opponents."
Garry Kasparov

1) Erin Harrington wins Providian Mechanics' Bay Area Scholastic Championship

Erin Harrington won the rated section of the 2002 Providian Mechanics' Bay Area Scholastic Championship held this past Saturday with a 5-0 score. Tying for second at 4-1 in the 34 player section were Erin's brother, Anyon, and Levon Mikhitaryan. A total of 56 players competed in the two section event sponsored by Providian Bank and the Mechanics' Institute. Anthony Corrales organized and directed this free event which saw every child win a trophy or medal and receive a chess book due to the generosity of the sponsors. It is hoped that this will be come an annual event.

2) Wong leads MI Summer Tuesday Night Marathon

Russell Wong defeated fellow National Master David Blohm to increase his lead in the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon to a full point. Wong lead the 69-player event with a 5-0 score.

3) De Guzman triumphs in Jessie Jeans

IM Ricardo De Guzman won the Jessie Jeans Open held this past weekend in Santa Rosa with a 4-0 score. NM Robin Cunningham and up-and-coming junior Alex Setzepfandt shared second at 2 1/2. Michael Goodall directed and organized the two section, 46 player event.

4) Michael Goodall

Last Newsletter I wrote that it was Alan Benson who directed the 1984 US Championship held in Berkeley. In fact it was Michael Goodall who did. Michael also directed the 1975 (Oberlin, Ohio) and 1986 (Estes Park, Colorado) US Championships.

Newsletter #95, 07/10/2002

"Amberly excelled in chess - one mark, Watson, of a scheming mind."
 Conan Doyle - The Adventure of the Retired Colourman

The Konig looks to be a category 12 event. July FIDE ratings for ten of the twelve players are as follows: 1.Ftacnik 2602 2.Yermolinsky 2592 3.Baburin 2580 4.Christiansen 2559 5.Wojtkiewicz 2555 6.DeFirmian 2551 7.Fedorowicz 2509 8.Nakamura 2494 9.Browne 2492 10.Akobian 2486.  These ten players average out to 2542, just shy of category 13 (2551+).  GMs Suat Atalik, of Bosnia and Yury Shulman, of Belarus were not on the initial FIDE July rating list because their federations were arrears in paying their FIDE dues. This situation should be rectified shortly and the average rating of the field will probably go up a little bit.

1) 9-way tie for first at the 2002 World Open

This year's addition of the World Open in Philadelphia was a rousing success.  Over 1300 players spent the July 4 weekend at the Adams Mark Hotel with 9 players tying for first place and 18-year-old Polish IM Kamil Miton winning the special Blitz playoff: 1-9 GM I Smirin (Israel), GM A Onischuk (USA), GM A Yusupov (Germany), GM J Ehlvest (Estonia), GM A Wojtkiewicz (Poland), IM B Finegold (USA), GM J Rowson (Scotland), IM V Akobian (USA), IM K Miton
(Poland) 7/9.
Particularly noteworthy were the performances of IMs Ben Finegold and Varuzhan Akobian.  The Continental Chess Association report on the World Open had not completed its article on norm performances as of press time, but I've read elsewhere that Finegold made a GM norm (long overdue).  I would suspect that Akobian, the top ranked junior in the country, who will be playing in the Konig Memorial this September, also made a GM norm. He beat GM A. Ivanov and IM Lapshun and drew with GMs Smirin, Yusupov, Summerscale and Rowson.
Qualifiers for the US Championship were: IM Perelshteyn at 6 1/2 and on tie-break at 6 were GM Kreiman, IMs Burnett and Lapshun and FM Tegshsuren.  Among those missing out on tie-break were Bay Area SM Vladimir Strugatsky and GM Michael Rhode.  Scores for other Bay Area US Championship aspirants: IM Rey 5 1/2, SM Pruess 5 and NM Shivaji 5.  The women's' seed was Julia Shiver, on tie-break at 4.

2) Vinay Bhat makes GM norm

IM Vinay Bhat, who recently graduated from high school and will be attending UC Berkeley this fall, hasn't played much the past year due to academic responsibilities, but the layoff doesn't seem to have affected his playing in the least.  His father, Subru, reports the following fantastic news:
"I am very much pleased to inform you that Vinay earned his first GM Norm in China yesterday in the open event at the seaside resort Qingdao held from July 3 to 8. He ended the tournament with 5 out of 9."
Well done, Vinay!
We hope to have more information about this outstanding result and Vinay's performance in the USA/China match in the next Newsletter.

3) Sacramento Chess Championship

IM Ricardo DeGuzman continued his domination of Bay Area events, winning the Sacramento Chess Championship held July 5-7.  DeGuzman scored 5 1/2 out of 6, yielding only a last round draw to NM Kenan Zildic, to win $300.  NM Tom Dorsch on Menlo Park had an excellent result in taking second with a score of 5-1.  He beat Zildic and NM James MacFarland, losing only to DeGuzman.  Third place finisher John Barnard also had an excellent result with wins over IM Walter Shipman and NM Michael Aigner among his 4 1/2 points.  MI Juniors Nicolas Yap and Ben Haun both had excellent performances in the Master/Expert section scoring 3 1/2 and 3 points respectively.  A total of 91 players competed in three sections.

4) Margulis, Ossipov and Wong tied for first in Summer Tuesday Night Marathon with two rounds to go

Igor Margulis defeated fellow National Master Russell Wong in round 6 of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon to force a tie at 5-1 between these two players and Victor Ossipov.  A record 69 players are competing in this traditional Mechanics' event which has been held continuously since 1975.

5) Grochol wins Providian/Mechanics' Bay Area Scholastic Unrated Championship

Mike Grochol won the unrated section of the Providian Financial-Mechanics' Institute Bay Area Scholastic unrated section with a score of 5-0.  Ken Wong was second at 4 and Daniel Vasilevitsky third at 3 1/2 in the 22 player section.  Anthony Corrales organized and directed the event for the Mechanics' Institute.

6) Corrections

In the last Newsletter, it was reported that NM Robin Cunningham and Alex Setzepfandt scored 2 1/2 points in tying for second in the Jesse Jeans Open, in fact, they scored 3 points.

Newsletter #96, 07/17/2002

"He, who ventures, should lose."
"He, who does not venture, loses."

1) US loses narrowly to China
The US-China Chess Summit took place July 10th-15th, 2002, in Shanghai with games on the 11th, 12th, 14th, and 15th. Each round consisted of 10 games featuring six of the top male players, two of the top female players, and two of the top junior players from each country. The US led until the final round when a 6-4 loss condemned them to a narrow 20½ - 19½ overall loss.

Individual US results:
Goldin 2 ½ - 1 ½
Seirawan 1 - 1
Christiansen 1 ½ - 1 ½
Gulko 1 - 2
Kaidanov 2 - 2
Benjamin 3 - 1
Shabalov 2 ½ - 1 ½
Schneider 2 - 1
Bhat 1 - 2
Nakamura 1 ½ - ½
Krush 1 - 3
J.  Shahade 0 - 2
E. Donaldson ½ - 2

The standouts of the American team were top board Alexander Goldin and Joel Benjamin.  Goldin, making his debut on the American National Team, scored an undefeated 2 ½ - 1 ½ against China’s top, best player Ye Jiangchuan, rated 2676.  Benjamin, one of the best team players in American chess history, was top scorer with 3 out of 4.

The American men outscored their more highly rated Chinese counterparts as they did last year in Seattle. This time the margin was 13 ½ - 10 ½ .  The US did much better on the Junior boards in 2002, scoring 4 ½ - 3 ½ , partly aided by the fact that last year’s Chinese Junior stars, Bu and Ni, were promoted to the men’s boards this time around.  The difference between the two teams was decided on the women’s boards where the hosts prevailed 6 ½ - 1 ½ .  The absence of Camilla Baginskaite, who scored 2 ½ out of 4 last year in Seattle, was felt.

2) Vinay Bhat, GM norm

As reported in the last Newsletter, 17-year-old MI member Vinay Bhat of San Jose made his first GM norm in a strong Open preceding the US-China match. Vinay drew with GMs Liang Chang (China) , Harikrishna (India),  Shabalov, Goldin, Kaidanov, Barua (India) and won against GM Zhang Zhong (China), IM Chandra Sandipan (India) and lost to GM Larry Christiansen.

3) Margulis leads Summer Tuesday Night Marathon

National Master Igor Margulis leads the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon with one round to go with a score of 6-1. Right behind him at 5 1/2 are FM Frank Thornally and NMs Michael Aigner and David Blohm.

4) FIDE rating list

The newly released July FIDE rating list shows little change at the top.

Top ten: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 2838 (=); 2 V Kramnik (Russia) 2807 (-2); 3 V Anand (India) 2755 (+3);
4. M. Adams (England) 2752 (+8); 5 V Topalov (Bulgaria) 2745 (=); 6 R Ponomariov (Ukraine) 2743 (=); 7 E Bareev (Russia) 2726 (+2); 8 P Leko (Hungary) 2717 (+10); 9 A Morozevich(Russia) 2716 (-2); 10 V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 2711 (=).

Newsletter #97, 07/24/2002

"The best decisions in chess are always those that are supported by accurate calculation."

1) Thornally wins MI Summer Tuesday Night Marathon

FM Frank Thornally of Marinwood won the MI Summer Tuesday Night Marathon by defeating NM Igor Margulis in the last round.  Thornally, who scored 6 1/2 from 8, won $400 for his efforts. Tying for second in the 69 player event together with Margulis were: NMs Michael Aigner, David Blohm, Russell Wong and Expert Victor Ossipov. A complete list of prize winners will be appearing on the MI website shortly.  The next marathon will be starting on August 13.

2) Six way tie for first in 2nd Charles Bagby Memorial

IM Ricardo DeGuzman once again finished in first in the MI's monthly G/45 event, but this time he had company.  Sacramento NM Kenan Zildzic defeated him in the last round to force a six way tie for first at 4-1.  Joining these two in the winners'  circle were: NM Bill Reuter, Anthony Rozenwasser, Martin Marshall and Paul King.  A total of 41 players competed in the event directed by Anthony Corrales.

3) Pixton wins US Junior Closed, Bhat second

Aaron Pixton of upper state New York, won the 2002 US Junior Closed by an impressive margin.  Pixton started with 5 1/2 from 6 and coasted in with three draws to win the event, held at the Dallas Chess Club, with 7 out of 9, a point and a half ahead of the field.  San Jose IM Vinay Bhat, no doubt tired from having traveled back from China just before the start of this event, had a poor start, but finished strongly to take second at 5 1/2.  Stanford undergraduate Philip Wang, of Reno, finished in the middle at 50%.  Other scores were: 3-4. NMs Zaremba and Fernandez 5, 5-7. IM Schneider, Wang and Hoekstra 4 1/2, 8. Rensch 4, 9-10. NMs Siegel and Ritvin 2 1/2

4) Gligoric in SF in 1952

Svetozar Gligoric, young (29) Yugoslav Grandmaster, made quite a few new friends during his stay in San Francisco from April 21 to April 24.  He was dined and shown the sights, and played three exhibitions.  The first engagement was:

Golden Gate Chess Club, April 22.  Six simultaneous clock games at the rate of 40 moves in two hours.  Score: 4 wins, no losses, 2 draws (to R. Currie and W. G. McClain).  The next stop was:

Capital City Chess Club, Sacramento, April 23.  Here the master was in top form.  Score: 21 wins, no losses, 2 draws (to M. O. Meyer and W. G. McClain).  The 23 games were rattled off in a little over three hours.

Mechanics’ Institute, April 24.  Gligoric had a lot of tough games among the 37 played, and required 7 ½ hours to finish.  Score: 24 wins, 4 losses (C. Linklater, F. Arvidson, L. Woolfe (Stockton), and W. Hendricks), 9 draws (L. Grupp (12 years old), C. Svalberg, R. Mathews of Redwood City, H. Gross, C. Bagby, R. Maxwell, R. Currie, P. White and P. Peterson).

The California Chess Reporter  May 1952, p. 217

5) MI Library missing April-May Issue of The California Chess Journal

The MI Library is missing the 2002 April-May issue of The California Chess Journal and is seeking a replacement.

Newsletter #98, 07/31/2002

"If the position after my move becomes more complicated then the game is going in the right direction."
Alex Shabalov

1) Bio on Imre Konig

The following piece was written by IM Imre Konig for the book British Chess:

Konig, Imre R.
IM 1951

I was born on 9th February 1901 in Kula, Hungary, learnt chess at the age often and soon became the best player in the school in which I had enrolled ( Gymnasium; the highest school in Middle Europe). When my interest increased I began to study chess books, first Hungarian, later German ones. Tarrasch's Die Moderne Schachpartie (that time considered the bible of chess) made a great impression on me.

My first real step in chess occurred when at the age of 19 I had gone to study in Vienna, which was really the chess centre of the world as Wolf , Gruenfeld, Spielmann, Dr. Tartakower and Reti lived there. Though there were many chess clubs that organized interclub matches, the main meeting place was the chess room of the Cafe Central, where the international masters met. I had the chance to play many quick games with Dr. Tartakower and Dr. Vidmar. My real teacher was, however , Reti who when returning from tournaments always showed and explained his games to me. It was the time of the start of the' Hypermodern Chess' , of which Breyer and Reti were the main advocates. I was soon carried away with their ideas and my game published by Vukovic in his The Art of Attack is a good example of the fierce attacking style I adopted. The real test came in 1922, with Vukovic and Kmoch, I was invited to play in a tournament. It was my second tournament, but a good way to gain experience. I drew with Bogoljubov, who was one of the Hyper-
moderns, and Dr. Tarrasch, who was still advocating his modern school known for its dogmatic style. I began to realize that it is not schools in chess that make the masters great, but their individual approach, especially when I was able to watch Dr. Lasker who belonged to no chess school.

Chess life in Vienna lost much of its vitality after the death of Reti and the  departure of Dr. Tartakower, who left for Paris. I returned to my native country and chess virtually came to an end for me.

The second great event in my chess career occurred in 1931 when in the company of Dr. Vidmar, Kostic and Pirc I represented Yugoslavia in the Chess Olympiad in Prague. (I became a Yugoslav citizen after the first world war, when the Austro-Hungarian empire was broken up.) We did well and my game with Lundin was considered one of the best in the Olympiad. Watching and analyzing with the great players like Alekhine, Rubinstein, Spielmann and others greatly improved my outlook on chess. Though I represented Yugoslavia in the Chess Olympiad in Warsaw 1935, and Munich 1936, I realized that occasional games do not help one to become competitive in chess.

In 1937 I went to visit Paris. My intention was to learn more about French life and culture, the dream of all Europeans. Chance has helped me to come in contact with chess as at that time not only Dr. Tartakower but also Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Alekhine lived there permanently and Capablanca came to live there. I became a regular visitor to the famous Cafe de la Regence, famous as a visiting place for Napoleon. (The table where he played was still exhibited.) It was the time of the return match of Dr. Alekhine-Dr. Euwe, played in Holland but eagerly watched everywhere. It was a great chance for me to analyse the games with Capablanca. I had heard about him from Reti but I was still surprised by his penetrating look and the way he found  his way in the most complicated positions.

While I was living in Paris in 1937-38 I went to visit England and played in the Hastings and Margate premier reserves tournament. Life in London greatly impressed me and I decided to spend some time in England. Luck helped me again as the war broke out in the meantime and I was saved from the invasion of Paris. In England I regularly played in tournaments. Even in the first year of the war, in 1940, there was great interest in chess -the National Chess Centre was the regular meeting place. When this was bombed out chess came to a stand-still until the war was over. After the war I played in a few tournaments in London and Hastings.

In 1952 1 went to visit the USA and life in California with its eternal sunshine greatly impressed me. My interest in chess was concentrated mainly on writing and my book Chess from Morphy to Botvinnik published in England and the USA fulfilling my aspirations in chess. I live now in Santa Monica, retired but still interested in chess. In retrospect chess was very useful. It helped me to meet many interesting people and live in many different countries

2) Konig Blitz

As part of the Imre Konig Festival, the MI will be holding the Konig Blitz on Saturday, September 7 from 5-7 PM, giving spectators the chance to watch a weekend round and then face some of the participants one-on-one.  This event, which is being conducted through the auspices of the World Blitz Chess Association, will feature a guaranteed prize fund of $500, as well as books and other items.  Entry fee is $15 for WBCA members, $18 for others.  The event will be run as a five, double-round Swiss.

3)  Here and There

Former World Champion, Anatoly Karpov, has just been confirmed as a special guest for the Lindsborg Open, to be held in Central Kansas, right before Christmas.  Full details for the tournament are available below.  This even offers a unique North American opportunity for GM and IM norms.

Los Angeles IM Jeremy Silman, who made his home in the Bay Area from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s, has put together a tremendous, free website.  Check it out!

One of the brightest developments of the past few years has been the rise of full fledged chess programs at the University of Baltimore at Maryland County and the University of Texas at Dallas.  The latter features GMs Yury Shulman and Marcin Kaminski.  UMBC just made a huge upgrade to their program with the addition of America's highest rated player, GM Alex Onischuk, who recently moved from Denver to Baltimore.  He, and GM Wojtkiewicz, give a top two that would be one of the best combinations in  a Chess Olympiad, much less a college Pan Am!

Santa Cruz has a new Senior Master. Donny Ariel, who attended UC Santa Cruz as an undergraduate, is back in town and is now the highest rated, active player in the city, but not the highest rated period.  That honor goes to GM James Tarjan, who works as one of the head librarians for the city of Santa Cruz public library.

Max Burkett, who long ago dropped the moniker "Motorcycle Max," and would be better known today as "Bicycle Max," is moving from Missoula, Montana, to Louisiana.  We wish Max well in his new home and well remember his contributions to California chess, including the publishing of bulletins for many Lone Pine tournaments.

Newsletter #99, 08/07/2002

"Too often amateurs get the impression that GMs are calculating wizards who constantly think 10 and 15 moves ahead. Actually, there are few times in a game where you have to look more than 4 moves ahead."
GM Andy Soltis

Late breaking news: the USCF is moving from New Windsor, NY, to Miami!  More next Newsletter.

1) Zaichik and Najer tie for first in US Open, Pruess qualifies for US Championship

GMs Gennadi Zaichik and Evgeny Najer tied for first in the US Open, held July 27-August 4 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The two winners, who each scored 8-1, received $3750 apiece, with Zaichik not only taking the title on tiebreak but also a spot in the US Championship. Tying for second at 7 1/2 in the 526-player field were GMs Ivan Morovic, Artur Yusupov, Yury Shulman, Miron Sher, Alex Stripunsky plus IMs Rashid Ziatdinov and Nikolay Andrianov.  Each received $500, with Sher also qualifying for the US Championship.

Many players finished on seven points including MI members David Pruess and Michael Pearson. David, who beat GM Alexander Ivanov, qualified for the US Championship, while Michael (who beat three 2300 rated players) just missed out, but looks likely to have gone over 2200. Congratulations to both and to Monty Peckham who numbered the scalp of GM Michael Rohde among his six points. Other scores by MI members include: Mike Goodall 4.5, Ricky Yu 3.5 (from 8) and Paul Vayssie 3.5.

The qualifiers from the U.S. Open are:
GM Gennadi Zaichik
GM Miron Sher
David Pruess
IM Dean Ippolito
FM Gregory Markzon
WFM Olga Sagalchik

The first alternate is IM Greg Shahade, and the women's alternate is Laura Ross.

2) DeGuzman wins John Easterling Memorial

IM Ricardo DeGuzman continued his winning ways by defeating NM Victor Baja in the last round of the John Easterling Memorial held July 3-4 in Hercules. DeGuzman scored 4-0 to win $231. Berkeley Expert Larry Snyder finished second at 3.5 in the 33-player field to take home the second prize of $165 with Baja, Anthony Rosenvasser and Teodoro Porlares sharing third at 3.  Rico Adkins organized and directed this event which set a record for attendance in Hercules.

Newsletter #100, 08/14/2002

"It's far more important not to do anything stupid than to create brilliant combinations."
Larry Evans

1) Continental Open

The Junior invitees for the Konig Memorial have been setting a hot pace this summer.  Varuzhan Akobian tied for first in the World Open in July, making his first GM norm in the process.  Now, IM Hikaru Nakamura, age 14, just won the Continental Open, defeating Grandmasters Strupinsky, Shabalov and Blatny along the way to a 5 1/2 - 1/2 score.  The event was held last weekend in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

2) Imre Konig Tuesday Night Marathon

The Imre Konig Tuesday Night Marathon started last night. FM Frank Thornally heads the 67-player field, followed by NMs Russell Wong, Igor Margulis and David Blohm.

3) Here and there

Congratulations to Camilla Baginskaite of El Cerrito who has been selected to play on the US  Women's Olympiad Team this October-November in Bled, Slovenia.  The Men's Team will consist of Grandmasters Gregory Kaidanov, Boris Gulko, Yasser Seirawan, Larry Christiansen, Joel Benjamin and Alexander Ivanov.  The Men's captain is GM Nick DeFirmian.

One of the best content new chess websites is long-time Bay Area resident Jeremy Silman's site. It's free and can be accessed at:

Alex Setzepfandt will be representing the United States this fall in Greece in the World Youth Championships.  Way to go, Alex!

Newsletter #101, 08/21/2002

"Concentrate on material gain. Whatever your opponent gives you, take, unless you see a good reason not to."
Robert J. Fischer

1) 2nd Vladimir Pafnutieff  Memorial Open

Filipino IM Ricardo DeGuzman once again took top honors in the Mechanics' monthly game-in-45 minutes event.  DeGuzman scored 5-0 in the second Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial Open held August 17.  National Master Michael Aigner and soon to be master Monty Peckham tied for second at 4 1/2.  The Pafnutieff set a record for a one day event at the MI with 56 entries.  Anthony Corrales directed.

2) Imre Konig Tuesday Night Marathon

Top seeded Frank Thornally (2360 USCF) is among those with two points after two rounds.  The 69 participants in this event equal the all time high for the Marathon set in the last event.  Entries are still trickling in so the first 70+ player event looks just around the corner.

3) IMs Jack Peters and Enrico Sevillano tie in San Luis Obispo

International Masters tied for first place with 4 1/2 points from 5 in the San Luis Obispo Open held August 17-18.  The two winners drew with each other in the third round.

Newsletter #102, 08/28/2002

"Your body has to be in top condition. Your chess deteriorates as your body does. You can't separate body from mind."
Bobby Fischer

GM Alex Baburin writes: "I would like to help the Konig fund raising by making a special offer on new subscriptions to my daily Internet chess magazine Chess Today - rates ($19 for 4 months, $25 for 6 months and $44 for one year) and encourage them to subscribe. When they subscribe, in the reference field they should write 'Imre Konig' and I will give 50% of their subscription to the tournament." Go to for more information on one of the best chess magazines in the world and help support the Konig!

1) Konig Memorial

The Imre Konig Memorial starts a week from today, Wednesday, September 4 at 11 AM. Rounds are daily except the free days which are being held on September 6,10 and 13. The event has been cut back from 12 to 10 players as Larry Christiansen and Lubomir Ftacnik were forced to withdraw for personal reasons. Larry will be with the tournament in spirit, if not in person, as he has donated $500 to the tournament. I don't know the last time a reigning US Champion has done that. Thanks Larry!
The field will consist of GMs Suat Atalik, Alexander Baburin, Walter Browne, Nick DeFirmian, John Fedorowicz, Yuri Shulman, Alex Wojtkiewicz and Alex Yermolinsky plus America's top two young players IM Varuzhan Akobian and IM Hikaru Nakamura.  The prize fund for the category 12 (2538 FIDE average) will be $9,450 with $9,050 in place prizes and Oscar Samuels Best Game Prize $200 and Henry Gross Best Game Prize $200 made possible by Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass. Samuels was MI Champion twice in the 1890s, while Gross was a standard bearer for Northern California chess for over fifty years. The two IMs will not only be competing for prize money. They will also both be trying to make their second GM norm, which for this event is 5 1/2 points.

Rounds will start each day at 11 AM and run through approximately 4 PM. IM John Donaldson will provide commentary daily from noon to 1:30 PM. Admission is free to all. There will be a blitz tournament on Saturday, September 7 from 5-7 PM. Full details are given below.

2) Shakhnazarov and Margulis lead Imre Konig Tuesday Night Marathon

National Master Igor Margulis defeated Expert James Jones and Oleg Shakhnazarov upset top seed Fide Master Frank Thornally to emerge as the only perfect scores after three rounds of the Imre Konig Tuesday Night Marathon. The event, which has set an attendance record for TNMs, was 72 players. It's still open for entry. Those wishing to participate with half point byes for the first three rounds should contact the Chess Room by Friday, noon.

3) Sergey Karjakin becomes a GM at age 12

Sergey Karjakin (pronounced 'car-yack-kin'), following his earlier GM results this year in Moscow and Alushta, made his final qualification norm at Sudak in the Crimea Peninsula last week; his unbeaten score of 10/13 in the category 7 tournament (average rating: 2405) there also giving him third place.  Aged just 12-years
seven months, he smashed the previous record held by China’s Bu Xiangzhi by more than a year.

Fischer set the record for youngest GM at age 15½ in 1958, and held it for over 30-years before Judit Polgar bettered his record by over a month in 1991.  Since then a steady stream of prodigies have continually lowered the record.

Timeline of youngest GM’s down the years: Bobby Fischer (15 years, 6 months, 1 day), Judit Polgar (15y, 4m, 28d), Peter Leko (14y, 4m, 22d), Etienne Bacrot (14y, 2m, 0d), Ruslan Ponomariov (14y, 0m, 17d), Bu Xiangzhi (13y, 10m, 13d), Sergey Karjakin (12y, 7m, 2d).

4) Here and There

Congratulations go to WIM Camilla Baginskaite who has qualified to play on the 2002 US Womens Olympic Team. Camilla played for the US in Istanbul in 2000 with distinction and was the top American female scorer in the 2001 China/USA match.

Santa Fe IM Jesse Kraai, the strongest player in the history of New Mexico chess, is aiming his sights at the GM title. His recent performance at the third John Rowell Invitational in Glendale should push his FIDE rating closer to 2500, one of the two criterion to become a GM. Results: 1.Kraai 7; 2. Altounian 6 1/2; 3. Matikozian 6; 4. Ambartsoumian 5 1/2, 5. Kretchetov 5; 6-7. Akopian and Casella 3 1/2; 8. Taylor 3; 9-10. Hermansen and Hanley 2 1/2

Housing prices are not the only thing going up in Seattle.  Our neighbor to the North recently gained a new Grandmaster, former World Junior Champion Tal Shaked, who will be doing graduate work at the University of Washington. Greater Rain City can also boast GMs Yasser Seirawan, Gregory Serper plus IMs Nikolay Minev, Georgy Orlov and Eric Tangborn.

This weekend Richard Koepcke will be holding the 2002 CalChess Labor Day Festival at the Golden Gate Holiday Inn in San Francisco. This event deserves your support. Richard and Tom Dorsch have both been trying to bring back large weekend Swisses to the Bay Area at considerable time and money. We can't save their time but by supporting their tournaments we can make sure they don't lose money and that events of this type will continue to be held in Northern California. Full details are given below.

Newsletter #103, 09/04/2002

"Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do."

1) Konig starts today

The category 12 Imre Konig Memorial starts today. Pairings for the first round are as follows:

Round 1, Sept.4

Play starts at 11 AM.

2) Baburin wins North American Open

GM Alex Baburin of Ireland won the North American Open held in Stillwater, Oklahoma over Labor Day weekend. The Dublin resident scored an undefeated 8 1/2 fro 10 to take top honors. Sharing second and third were IMs Michael Brooks and John Donaldson at 8. GM Yury Shulman was fourth at 7 1/2 followed by NMs Sonny Kanberi and Mikhail Langer at 7. A total of 80 players participated in the event organized and directed by Jim and Frank Berry.

3) Wojtkiewicz, Blatny and Novikov tie for first in Chicago

GMs Wojtkiewicz, Blatny and Novikov tie for first in Chicago over Labor Day weekend.

4) Southern California Open ends in 6-way tie for first

Andranik Matikozian won the Southern California Open on tiebreak at 5-1 over fellow IMs Jesse Kraai and Jack Peters, 13-year old Tatev Abrahamyan, 16-year old Pieta Garrett, and top expert Roger Norman.

5) Tie for first in Konig Tuesday Night Marathon

Four rounds into the Konig Tuesday Night Marathon a large number of players are bunched up at 3 1/2 out of 4.  The leader board reads: Shakhnazarov, Margulis, Blohm, Wong, Ossipov, Grey and Davies.  The latter, rated only 1380, has now defeated three 1900 players and drawn one master!

Newsletter #104, 09/11/2002

"A thorough understanding of the typical mating continuations makes the most difficult sacrificial combinations leading up to them not only not difficult, but almost a matter of course".

Honor Roll of Imre Konig Memorial donors:

Tibor Weinberger, Mark Pinto, Jim Eade, Neil Falconer, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, Larry Christiansen, John Keker, Toshio Imai, Vince McCambridge, Vivek Nambiar, Bryan Bilby, Bear Stearns, Tom Allen, Max Wilkerson, John Cannon, Mervyn Field, Dr. Joe Wagner, Haluk Akol, Mike Goodall, Dr. Ben Gross, Smartchess, Alex Baburin, Peter Stevens, Kevan Gross and anonymous.

1) Atalik, Baburin, De Firmian and Nakamura lead Konig

Five rounds into the Konig, GMs Suat Atalik, Alexander Baburin and Nick De Firmian are tied for the lead with 14-year-old IM Hikaru Nakamura at 3-2. GMs Alex Yermolinsky and Alex Wojtkiewicz and IM Varuzhan Akobian are at fifty percent (2 1/2),  followed by GMs Yury Shulman and John Fedorowicz at 2 and GM Walter Browne at 1 1/2.  All the games played so far, including 5 well-annotated ones, are available at the MI Chess Room website ( Round five starts at 11 am today, with play held daily through Sunday with the exception of Friday the 13th.

2) DeGuzman wins Labor Day event

Filipino IM Ricardo De Guzman turned in an outstanding result to win the CalChess Labor Day Festival held August 31-September 2 at the Holiday Inn off Van Ness. De Guzman's score of 5.5 from 6 include victories over the third, fifth and sixth seeds (Chudnovsky - 2413, Zilberstein - 2392 and Pruess - 2365) and a draw with second seed Craig Mar (2436) in the final round. Dmitry Zilberstein was second at 4 1/2 with NMs Ron Cusi, David Pruess and Eric Schiller tied for third with up-and-coming Expert Michael Pearson at 3 1/2. Schiller and Pearson both had exceptional results racking up several upsets (Schiller downed two 2300s and Pearson beat Mar and a 2300).

1. De Guzman 5.5
2. Zilberstein 4.5
=3-6. Cusi, Pruess, Schiller and Pearson 4
7-11. Mar, Chudnovsky, Aigner, Mackenzie  and Andrews 3.5

The Class sections were dominated by youngsters:

Expert: 1st  Ilan Benjamin 5-1
Class A: 1st Edward Perepelitsky (rated only 1659 and playing up,  he was the bottom seed in the section!) 5.5
Class B: =1st Wesley Chen and Prashant Periwal 5
Class C Aaron Garg 5
Class D/E  Simon Rubinstein-Salzedo and Sathvik Tantry 5

A total of 28 players competed in the open section including 16 masters. The event, organized by Richard Koepcke, was particularly well-attended with around 200 entries. This was particularly heartening as both Richard and Tom Dorsch have suffered some disappointing turnouts the past two years. Their persistent has paid off.

3) Nakamura wins Konig Blitz

Blitz 1. Nakamura 9 $250 =2-3. Akobian and Bhat 8.5 $75 each; 4. Cusi 7.5 5-7. DeGuzman, Zilberstein, and Vachon 7 8-12. Wojtkiewicz, Baja, Nambiar, Bukh, Rudyak 6...  38 players.

2 GMs, 4 IMs, 2 SMs, 12 over 2200 participated.

Top Under 2200 Vachon, Top Under 1800 Daichi Siegrist

Newsletter #105, 09/18/2002

"You must not allow your ambition to win to turn chess into a game of chance."
Nikolay Krogius

1) Akobian wins Konig Memorial

The lowest rated player in the Imre Konig Memorial, 18-year-old Varuzhan Akobian of Glendale, won the event and made a Grandmaster norm!  Konig, who was a great supporter of promising players, would have been doubly pleased as the other young talent in the event, IM Hikaru Nakamura, narrowly missed his second GM norm in tying for second.
Many thanks to all the donors who helped make this event happen, in particular Tibor Weinberger and Mark Pinto. The Chess Room staff would also like to thank volunteer Walter Dorne who manned the demos boards for much of the event

2) Wong leads Konig Tuesday Night Marathon

NM Russell Wong defeated Expert Peter Grey in round six of the Konig Tuesday Night Marathon to grab the lead with five points. A half point back, with two rounds to go, are FM Frank Thornally, NMs Oleg Shaknazarov, David Blohm, Igor Margulis, Experts Michael Becco and Victor Ossipov, as well as Alex Setzepfandt, Victor Todortsev and Jonathan Shockley. 72 players are competing in the event which features a first prize of $425.
The Fall Marathon, which starts October 22, will be a nine rounder (instead of the usual 8) due to Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve falling on Tuesdays this year. Entry fee for the event, which ends December 17, remains a very affordable $30.

Newsletter #106, 09/25/2002

"At the basis of every combination there shines an idea, and though combinations are without number, the number of ideas is limited."

1) Eduard Gufeld 1936-2002

Los Angeles-based Grandmaster Eduard Gufeld passed away a few days ago. Below are personal remembrances by Sam Sloan and Georgy Orlov of one of Caissa's greatest devotees.

Chess Grandmaster Eduard Gufeld has died.

Grandmaster Eduard Gufeld died Monday afternoon, September 23, 2002, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

He had suffered a massive stroke two weeks earlier and had been in a coma since. He had been at Midway Hospital but then had been transferred to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on September 22.

Eduard Gufeld was born in Kiev on March 19, 1936. By the late 1950s, he had established himself as one of the strongest players in the world. He defeated Tal, Spassky, Smyslov, Korchnoi, Bronstein and just about ever other strong Soviet player. In an era where most strong players adopted a slow positional style, Gufeld went in for tactics and mixed it up with the strongest players in the world.

Gufeld later became much better known as a writer, journalist and world traveler. He wrote more than 100 chess books. There is debate as to whether he wrote the most chess books of anybody, but he was certainly in the top two or three. He moved to the Republic of Georgia and lived there for more than a decade, where he became the trainer of Woman's World Chess Champion Maya Chiburdanidze.

This, however, was the great mystery about Eduard Gufeld. In an era of dour, tight lipped Soviet Grandmasters, Gufeld was always available for a comment or a quote about any subject. He seemed to be able to travel the world freely. He went to Japan and many other countries where other Soviet chess players almost never went. In an era where it
was almost impossible to get out of the Soviet Union and where Soviets who traveled abroad were accompanied by a KGB Agent, Gufeld seemed to be able to come and go anywhere he wanted without escort.

Yet, Gufeld denied to his dying day that he was a KGB Agent. If he was, his secret died with him.

Whatever connection he had, it enabled him to become the world's most flamboyant chess grandmaster. I first met him at the 1986 World Chess Olympiad in Dubai, where he was giving daily free lectures to large audiences on the most interesting games of the round. I remember telling him during a break in his lecture that Kasparov had a lost
position in his game against Seirawan. The game was still going and Gufeld did not believe me, but I was right and Kasparov resigned later, after the game had been adjourned.

Gufeld was such a superstar that after the breakup of the Soviet Union he went to Hollywood, where he continued to write books, travel, teach, lecture and play in chess tournaments. Even though he was no longer a world class player, he won many tournaments, including the US Senior Championship.

He often asked me to co-author a book with him. His idea was that the book would be about Woman Chess Players of the East vs. Woman Chess Players of the West. He would write in his half of the book about Maya Chiburdanidze and Nona Gaprindashvili and I would write about in my half of the book about the Polgar Sisters. He would say that his were
best. I would say that mine were best.

Unfortunately, I never had time to work on this project and now the book will never be written.

Sam Sloan

I knew Edi since 1987. At one time we worked together at the press-center of the Women Candidates Tournament in Batumi, Georgia, in 1988. It was a lot of fun watching Edi pitch his material to several newspapers at the same time. He would demand of me "Come on young man, tell me what move is good here, I have got to send the report to "Sovietsky Sport"! (Leading Soviet sports newspaper.) Edi was master of long toasts and enjoyed a good party.

Edi was not a saint and he had a temper. He could not stand a loss and he lost to me twice. Ironically, we were both born in the USSR, but played only two games, both outside the old country, in 1988 in Belgrade and 1999 in Vancouver, B.C. Edi lost both in a mad time-scramble and made a scene in both cases. Funny thing, we spoke the next day like nothing happened. Edi would always lose his temper, but always apologize. He loved chess like a child and the game was everything to him. He remembered a large number of phenomenally beautiful games and compositions and was great at showing them to the crowd at chess events. Edi loved crowds and knew how to make them happy.

He had a sense of humor and loved his food.  The legend has it Edi once won a bet which he accomplished by eating the entire contents of the menu in a small restaurant. I remember before the start of Canadian Open in 1999 Edi and I had lunch in the Delta Hotel in Richmond, B.C. I have not seen him in a while and remember he was very upset about the sad state of Georgia, the republic he spent a great deal of time in and truly loved. He said: "How could they do this to such a beautiful country"? Tony Saidy joined us at some point and advised Edi against the order of a steak. Edi said" : Bull! In my lifetime sugar was bad, then is it was good for you, now it's bad again. Butter was good  and bad and good and now it's bad again. I love steak, I enjoy it and the hell with the doctor!".

Edi was a great coach. He knew how to motivate his pupils and had a tremendous confidence in their success. Maya Chiburdanidze was one of his pupils and perhaps the greatest one.

Edi was a character. People loved him or hated him, but nobody ignored him and he was always there.  World Championships and Olympiads, Opens and matches, all continents and many cities. Edi loved Caissa and she loved him back. She knows he was a good and loyal soldier.

So long Edi. Our third game has been adjourned. I promise to buy your book from you when I see you again. Yes, I will not be a coward and will finally face your King's Indian.

Georgi Orlov

2) Wong leads Tuesday Night Marathon

National Master Russell Wong held on to his lead by defeating FM Frank Thornally in round seven of the Imre Konig Tuesday Night Marathon. The final round will be played next Tuesday night.

3) DeGuzman wins Donnelly

Filipino IM Ricardo DeGuzmam continued his domination of the MI's monthly Game in 45 Minutes events by winning the Howard Donnelly Memorial held this past Saturday.

Newsletter #107, 10/02/2002

"You will never avoid oversights by grim determination; what is needed is a trained eye."

1) Wong and Ossipov tie for first in Konig Tuesday Night Marathon
2) Yermo to play FIDE World Cup in Hyderabad
3) Kasparov leads FIDE Rating List
4) Upcoming Events

1) Wong and Ossipov tie for first in Konig Tuesday Night Marathon

Russell Wong drew in the final round of the Imre Konig Tuesday Night Marathon with fellow National Master Igor Margulis to enable Victor Ossipov to force a tie for first at 6 1/2 from 8. Ossipov gained his share of the top prize by beating National Master David Blohm in the final round. Tying for third through sixth in the 72-player event, which ran from August 13 to October 1, were NMs Margulis and Rudy Hernandez, Expert Peter Grey and B-player Jonathan Shockley who turned in a stunning upset in the last round by defeating top seed FM Frank Thornally.

The next Marathon will start October 22 and will run 9 rounds, ending December 17. Advance entry fee remains a modest $30 which has to be one of the better bargains out there.

2) Yermo to play FIDE World Cup in Hyderabad

Mechanics' Institute Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky will again be representing the club in an elite competition. He will be among the participants in the 2nd FIDE World Cup which starts October 9 in Hyderabad, India. Top seeds for the event, which has a first prize of $46,000, are Anand, Morozevich and Ivanchuk. Yasser Seirawan will be the other US participant.

3) Kasparov leads FIDE Rating List

Garry Kasparov is still far ahead of everyone on the FIDE October rating list. Alexander Onischuk is the top American at number 40 (2649) followed by Gregory Kaidanov (#42 at 2646), Alexander Goldin (#57 at 2630), Yasser Seirawan (#58 at 2629), Alex Shabalov (#68 at 2621) and Joel Benjamin (#84 at 2609). Perennial US Grand Prix Champion Alex Wojtkiewicz is listed for the first time as representing the United States.

Newsletter #108, 10/09/2002

"The essence of a chess master’s art consists of the ability to analyze chess positions".

1) Man versus Machine

Vladimir Kramnik is leading Fritz 2 1/2 -1/2 with game four scheduled tomorrow. The official site is Live coverage is offered. For NM Eric Schiller's take on the match and how Fritz came to be selected as Kramnik's opponent visit

2) GM Kavalek reports on Konig Memorial in The Washington Post

One of the best chess columns in the country appears each week in The Washington Post. Written by GM Lubosh Kavalek, it features a mixture of news and annotated games. This week Lubosh covers the recently concluded Imre Konig Memorial. It can be found at

3) MI Chess History 1953

International Master Imre Konig, recently settled in San Francisco, gave a simultaneous exhibition at the Mechanics' Institute on January 31. Meeting 31 players, Mr. Koenig won 24 games, lost 2 and drew 5. Dr. Frank Ruys of Redwood City and Honario Abella of San Francisco defeated Mr. Konig.

The San Francisco Argonaut (The Chess Player by Dr. H.J. Ralston) February 1953

The following brilliant miniature was played by noted master and problemist Robert Burger who is still going very strong today at age 71.

A.J.Fink - Robert Burger
Ponziani C44
San Francisco (Mechanics' vs. U.C. Berkeley) 1953

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 d5 4.Qa4 Nf6 5.Nxe5 Bd6 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.e5 Bxe5 8.d4 Bd6 9.Be3 0-0 10.Be2 Ng4 11.Bxg4 Bxg4 12.Qxc6 Re8 13.0-0 Re6 14.Qa4 Bxh2+! 15.Kxh2 Qh4+ 16.Kg1 Bf3! 17.Nd2 Bxg2 18.Kxg2 Qg4+ 19.Kh2 Rg6 20.Bg5 Rxg5  0-1

The California Chess Reporter 1953, pp.144-145

4) Here and There

The Bay Area will be well-represented at the upcoming Chess Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia, in late October. 2001 US Women's Champion Camilla Baginskaite of El Cerrito will be playing for the US Womens team while UC Berkeley graduate Nick DeFirmian will Captain the US Mens team. Elizabeth O'Shaughnessy, founder of the Berkeley Chess School, will represent her native Ireland.

The October Fide rating list has posted the following Bay Area events as rated: Charles Linklater Memorial, Bay Area Grand Prix 2 and 3 (all MI events), Class Struggle (Berkeley) and Jesse Jeans Open (Santa Rosa).

The American Chess Bulletin of 1919 reports that a new magazine, The Western American Chess and Checker Bulletin, is being edited and published by Professor C.C. Kanaga of 515 Jones Street in San Francisco. The 16 page bulletin offers 13 pages on chess and 3 on checkers. Kanaga is said to be the former chess and checker editor of the Denver Times and the San Francisco Bulletin. Can anyone provide more information?

Davis is best known for its University but is rapidly becoming a center of chess activity with a strong scholastic chess program. Several high-rated players have recently taken up residence including Senior Master Andrey Chumachenko and National Masters Zoran Lazetich and Michael Aigner.

Alex Yermolinsky will begin play in the FIDE Grand Prix in Hyderabad, India, tomorrow. The website at is out of date (for example Yasser Seirawan who declined his invitation long ago is still listed as participating) but hopefully will catch up when the action begins.

5) Appeal for Konig Games and Stories

MI Chess Director John Donaldson is working on a book on Imre Konig and welcomes any games or stories about him. Donaldson has all the material published in The California Chess Reporter. It appears that IM Koenig's last tournament game was against Tibor Weinberger (North-South Match 1962). Did he play in any events after this, particularly after moving to Santa Monica in 1971? Does anyone know anything about his 1954 match with John Alexander? If you have any information you would like to contribute you can reach John at

Newsletter #109, 10/16/2002

"When computers start playing chess well, interest in chess will increase. I am convinced that chess will gain, and so will the Grandmasters."
Mikhail Botvinnik

The 20th Western States Open is being held this weekend in Reno (see details below). Part of the WSO's tradition is its team competition. If you would like to play for the MI (with any prize money going to the MI Chess Room to promote special events) contact team captain John Donaldson in Reno before the first round on Friday morning.

1) Kudrin wins Governor's Cup

Sergey Kudrin won the 7th Governor's Cup Chess Tournament held October 11-13 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The 43-year-old Grandmaster from Morristown, New Jersey, scored 4 1/2 from 5 to take home the first prize of $1200.  GMs Alex Wojtkiewicz, Pavel Blatny, Yury Shulman and Marcin Kaminski plus NM Brian Wall tied for second at 4-1, each earning $580. The three section event, organized by David and De Knudsen and directed by Phil Smith, attracted 149 players with another 94 playing in a concurrent scholastic tournament.

2) DeGuzman first in J.J. Dolan Memorial

Filipino IM Ricardo DeGuzman won the J.J. Dolan G/45 on October 12 at the Mechanics', defeating NM Victor Baja in the last round.  Baja, Dante Argishti and Yefim Bukh shared second at 4-1 in the 28-player event.

3) Here and There

NM Eric Schiller would like to extend an invitation to MI members to beta-test Cardoza's new chess program. They should contact for download instructions if they have broadband, or me if they need a CD. Eric was recently awarded the FIDE International Organizer title and should receive his long overdue FM title at the FIDE Congress in Bled. Congratulations Eric!

Fans of  chess and movies can find one stop shopping at IM Jeremy Silman's free website
Jeremy is just putting the final touches on a massive book on the life and games of Pal Benko.

Newsletter #110, 10/23/2002

"It is a mistake to think that a combination is solely a question of talent, and that it cannot be acquired."

1) Novikov Wins 20th Western States Open

Brooklyn Grandmaster Igor Novikov won the 20th Sands Regency Western States Open in convincing fashion as he scored 5-1 against a field of two GMs and four IMs. As usual the field was very strong with eight GMs and 10 IMs competing in the top section. Bay Area players did very well. Walter Browne was battling for first all the way. He began with three consecutive wins and then drew top seeds Novikov and Ildar Ibragimov before losing to Alex Wojtkiewicz in the last round. Ricardo De Guzman had a strong event defeating Vladimir Strugatsky and drawing with Hikaru Nakamura en route to a tie for second. His only loss was as Black versus Ildar Ibragimov. Dmitri Zilberstein really shined while playing up almost the entire event. He defeated GM Alex Stripunsky, and had draws with GM Alexander Ivanov and IM Nakamura among others. Ron Cusi also had a very good tournament drawing several titled players including GM Gregory Serper as Black.

The Mechanics' A Team tied for second with Seattle behind Reno in the team competition. The team was composed entirely of players who compete in the Tuesday Night Marathon and was headed by Victor Ossipov and Yefim Bukh. I hope to have more on the results of lower sections next week.

The 20th Western States Open, which attracted close to 400 players, was made possible by the team of Fran andJerry Weikel in combination with Barbara Woodward and the Sands Regency Hotel.  The Western States Open Chess Festival featured not only the main tournament but also a variety of side events including lectures by GM Larry Evans, two simuls, a WBCA blitz extravaganza, chess movies and much more. It was especially dedicated to the memory of the late Edmar Mednis who came regularly to Reno every October.

1. GM Igor Novikov 5-1

2- 8. GM Ildar Ibragimov, GM Alex Wojtkiewicz, GM Gregory Serper, IM Hikaru Nakamura, IM Enrico Sevillano, IM Melikset Khachiyan, and IM Ricardo DeGuzman 4 ½ - 1 ½

9-16. GM Sergey Kudrin, GM Alexander Stripunsky, GM Walter Browne, GM Alexander Ivanov, IM Nikolay Andrianov, IM Jesse Kraai, SM Vladimir Strugatsky, and NM Dmitri Zilberstein  4-2

You can order the bulletin of the event from Tom Dorsch for $6 (

2) Fall Tuesday Night Marathon Begins

The Fall Marathon started last night with a bang as 12-year-old Ewelina Krubnik (1650) drew with veteran Master David Blohm (2235). This result should help move Ewelina even higher in the USCF Girls Under 13 standings where she is currently ranked number five in the country. At present 66 players are competing in this Marathon. It is still not to late to join with a half point bye for round one. This Marathon is a nine-rounder which will finish on December 17.

3) Here and There

Well-known book dealer Fred Wilson is offering some rare items on his web site. Remember the valuable Honus Wagner baseball card produced by a tobacco company? Fred has unusual antique chess tobacco trading cards at much more reasonable prices featuring the likes of Alekhine and Rubinstein among others. You can take a peak at

Congratulations to MI Tuesday Night Marathon stalwart Brian Bilby. The Bay Guardian, in its annual Best of San Francisco issue, recognized his Chelsea Bookstore ( 6th and Irving in the Inner Sunset) as the best place to buy used chess books in San Francisco.

Newsletter #111, 10/30/2002

"Ninety per cent of all chess books you can open at page one and then immediately close again for ever. Sometimes you see books that have been written in one month. I don't like that. You should take at least two years for a book, or not do it all".
Lev Polugaevsky

1) US Women tied for first after four rounds in Chess Olympiad

The US Womens team, which includes MI member Camilla Baginskaite, is tied for first with China, after four rounds of the Chess Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia. This is the best-ever start for a US Womens team (seeded #11) by a wide margin and includes victories over perennial medal contenders Georgia and Yugoslavia.

The US Mens team, seeded 10th, has only suffered one defeat so far and tied for 16th.

If you would like Olympiad results delivered to you directly along with annotated games from the event you may wish to take advantage of the special offer being made by Chess Today founder GM Alex Baburin. In a recent email from Alex, we learned that during the Olympiad currently taking place in Bled you can receive Chess Today free! This offer is only to receive Chess Today while the Olympiad is going on, but if you have never experienced this high quality electronic chess magazine, here is your chance to do so with no risk at all. Follow the results, get annotated games from Bled along with other great news. Interested? You may sign up at the free trial list by going to:

2) 11-way tie for first after two rounds of Fall Tuesday Night Marathon

Longtime MI member Ben Gross nicked top-seed FM Frank Thornally for a draw in round two of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon. This leaves 11 players tied for first at 2-0 in the 69-player event. There is still time to enter this Marathon which goes for another seven weeks, ending December 17.

3) Here and There

Congratulations to NM Alan Stein who tied for first at 3-1 in the most recent Marshall Masters (10/29) with GMs Igor Novikov, Alexander Stripunsky, Leonid Yudasin and Maurice Ashley. Among Alan's victims was IM Yury Lapshun.

MI Member Andy Ansel of Walnut Creek is well-known as a tremendous collector of chess books. He shares his knowledge about collecting via a regular column on the Chessco website. His latest piece can be found at

The great Yugoslav GM Svetozar Gligoric, who gave simuls at the MI in the 1950s and 1970s, has written an outstanding collection of his games entitled I Play Against Pieces. The book is published by Batsford and ably translated by the husband and wife team of Zoran and Biljana Ilic. Some of you may remember Zoran from his participation in the 2000 Val Zemitis International.

Noted chess author and book dealer Fred Wilson began hosting a new free live Chess Internet radio talk show on last night. The show runs for one hour, each Tuesday, starting at 9PM EST. It may be rebroadcast a couple of times during the week.  It will be called "Chess and Books with Fred Wilson."
Fred writes, "The show will usually consist of four segments: First, I will personally review one or more new and/or current chess books or products.  Then, we will always have an interview with an important chess personality--usually either a GM or IM, author, teacher, or chess business entrepreneur.  Then I will have a short segment attempting to answer listeners' questions, which will be received either through email, or live over the telephone. Finally, time permitting, I will attempt to address the different problems beginning or intermediate players encounter while attempting to improve
their game."

Newsletter #112, 11/06/2002

"A lot of the difference between an IM and GM is a seriousness to the game. The GM is willing to go through all this. He's willing to put up with anything. This shows his dedication. One other thing is the GMs superiority in tactics. For example Christiansen can find tactics in any position. If you're a GM you should be able to overpower the IM tactically. The GM will often blow out the IM in this area. "
Nick deFirmian

1) US women tied for third in Bled after 10 rounds

The US Women's team, with El Cerrito's Camilla Baginskaite on board two, is tied for third with Russia with four rounds to go. Georgia and China hold the first two places. This is by far the best showing ever by American women.

2) Margulis, Shakhnazrov and Hills lead Fall Tuesday Night Marathon

Igor Margulis, Oleg Shaknazarov and Kenneth Hills are the only perfect scores after three rounds of the MI Tuesday Night Fall Marathon. It is still possible to join the seventy player field with a score of 1.5 points (three byes) and six rounds left to play.

3) Western States Open Recap

As reported before in an earlier Newsletter IM Ricardo DeGuzman had an excellent Western States Open and tied for second with 4 1/2 points. Dmitry Zilberstein also had an outstanding event. His 4-2 result included a win over GM Stripunsky and draws with GM A. Ivanov and IM Hikaru Nakamura. Walter Browne also did very well. His 4-2 score was marked by a 3-0 start and draws with tournament 1-2 seeds Novikov and Ibragimov, before losing as Black with Wojtkiewicz in the last round. Walter had a tough last day with a double Black against two GMs averaging around 2600 FIDE.

SM Ron Cusi and IM Walter Shipman  also did well with 3 1/2 scores. Cusi drew with GMs Serper and A. Ivanov and lost only to Wojtkiewicz. Shipman defeated SM Emory Tate in the final round.

Yefim Bukh, in his swan song as a Class B player, was the top MI money winner in the Western States Open held at the Sands Regency Hotel and Casino in late October. Bukh scored 5 1/2 points to finish as the top B player. Pierre Vachon of Oakland won the A section. We predict he will soon be a Master. Northern California players dominated this section as Lev Pisarsky of Sunnyvale and Royce Reece of  Sacramento shared second at 5.

Congratulations go to veteran Victor Ossipov who regained his Master rating by tying for fourth in the Expert class with an undefeated 4 1/2 points. Tom Allen won prize money in Class C with a 4-2 score.

Newsletter #113, 11/13/2002

"That which attracts me now in chess, I would call a creative moment. This is the search for a correct way, a decisive idea, illustrating the beauty of logic."
Svetozar Gligoric

1) Russia and China win in Bled

Russia and China won the gold medals in the recently concluded Chess Olympiad held in Bled, Slovenia. The US men finished 41st on tiebreak with every team member losing rating points except second board Yasser Seirawan who scored 6 1/2 from 9 for a performance rating of 2689. The women had their best ever result, finishing ninth on tiebreak and having had the satisfaction of beating the gold medal winners from China in their individual match. First board Irina Krush carried the team, scoring an undefeated 9 from 13 (2533 performance rating) and narrowly missing an individual bronze medal.

2) Ossipov and DeGuzman tied for first in the Carroll Capps Memorial

NM Victor Ossipov and IM Ricardo De Guzman tied for first at 4 1/2 - 1/2 in the 32nd Carroll Capps Memorial held November 8-10 at the Mechanics' Institute, each winning $325. Anthony Corrales and John Donaldson directed the 53-player event.

3) Margulis leads Fall Tuesday Night Marathon

NM Igor Margulis defeated Kenneth Hills in round four of the MI Fall Tuesday Night Marathon to remain the only perfect score.

4) Jones and Saidy tie for first in US Senior Open

IM Anthony Saidy and NM Stephen Jones tied for first at 5 1/2 - 1/2 in the US Senior Open held November 6-11 in Ventura, California.

Newsletter #114, 11/20/2002

"I admit to being impulsive. My capacity to remain steady over a long period was, and is, underdeveloped"
Garry Kasparov

1) Camilla Baginskaite receives WGM title

Camilla Baginskaite of El Cerrito recently received her WGM title at the Fide Congress in Slovenia. Camilla, who was World Girls Under 20 Champion in 1987 while representing her native Lithuania, has long been of Womens Grandmaster strength but technical problems with her application caused a delay.

Since moving to the United States Camilla has become a major force in US Womens chess, winning the championship in 2000 and playing on the past two Olympic teams. She has managed to do this while also pursuing a Masters degree in landscape architecture and raising a young son (Eddie) with her husband MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky.

Congratulations Camilla!

2) Margulis and Ossipov lead Fall TNM

Victor Ossipov defeated fellow NM Oleg Shaknazarov to move into a tie for first at 4 1/2 - 1/2 with NM Igor Margulis. Four rounds remain to sort out the standings in the 72-player Swiss.

3) Bobby Fischer in the News

Bobby Fischer seems to be popping up everywhere these days. The December issue of the Atlantic has a 15-page article by Rene Chun, which confirms that Bobby does indeed have a young son. The Philadelphia Inquirer broke a front page story alleging that Fischer's father was not Mr. Fischer. There is conclusive evidence that the FBI spied on Bobby and was particularly concerned about his 1958 visit to Moscow. Check out,0,1782221.story?coll=ny-nationalnews-headlines for more information. If your looking for more  Fischer stories go to

4) Here and There

The rematches between Ali and Frazier had nothing on Kasparov and Karpov who met in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1990. Now they are getting back together.  According to the sponsors the two-day match - to be held 19-20 December at the ABC News building in Times Square, New York - will see the two legendary world champions playing four games in "Extreme 3D," presenting Kasparov and Karpov as though they were floating in space inside and in front of the

Karpov will be coming directly to New York from Lindsborg, Kansas, where he will be opening the 2nd Annual
Lindsborg Rotary Open. Among the confirmed participants for this event, which features opportunities for GM and IM norms, are GMs Onischuk, Novikov and Shulman and IMs Brooks, Kraai, Vucic, Charbonneau and Donaldson. More details are given below under upcoming events.

A hearty congratulations to Yasser Seirawan who won the silver medal on board two at the recently concluded Olympiad in Bled.

The November 18 issue of Sports Illustrated points out that Ruslan Ponamariov is not the only Ukrainian chessplayer with a punch. The Klitschkos, Vitali and Vladimir, 6' 8'' and 6' 7'' respectively and weighing in at 250 each, are first rate pugilists who will soon be getting a shot at Lennox Lewis. This won't be their first encounter with a world champion as they have already faced Garry Kasparov in a simul.

The 2002 King's Island Open located just north of Cincinnati Ohio took place Nov 15-17. The tournament was well attended with over 390 entries this year. The Open section, with 50 players, was dominated by GM Maurice Ashley, who beat GMs Ildar Ibragimov and Alexander Goldin on his way to 4.5 out of 5, clear first and a $2580 first prize. Tying for 2nd with 4-1 were GMs Alex Stripunsky, Alex Wojtkiewicz, Dimity Gurevich, Ibragimov, and IM Ben Finegold, who took home $516 each.

Alex Setzepfandt of Oakland is representing the United States in the 2002 World Youth Chess Championships in Heraklio, Greece. The event, which runs from November 15th-24th 2002, has over 800 chessplayers (categories under 18, 16, 14, 12, 10 for boys and girls) from 71 countries competing. Alex started with 1 from 4 and a bye.

Stanford student Etan Ilfeld recently competed in the First Saturday tournament series in Budapest. A report can be found at

Those wishing to improve their game may want to check out the site Chessaid developed by Polish GMs Marcin Kaminski and Pavel Blehm. They offer a free diagonostic test. Go to

Newsletter #115, 11/27/2002

"Intuition is the first move I see in the position."
Viswanathan Anand

1) CD of MI Chess History: Volume One (1854-1953)

The staff of the Mechanics' Institute recently completed the first of a two volume series on the history of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room. The fruits of their research are available on a CD which includes almost 90 pages of text, approximately 10 photos from the MI archives and over 150 games in ChessBase format.  Visits of World Champions Lasker (twice), Capablanca, Alekhine (twice), and Euwe, are among the highlights.  The price of the CD is $10 + $1 for shipping.  To order, send a check payable to the Mechanics' Institute for $11 to: Mechanics' Institute, Room 408, 57 Post Street, San Francisco, CA, 94104.

2) Ossipov leads Fall Tuesday Night Marathon

Victor Ossipov defeated fellow National Master Igor Margulis in round six of the fall Tuesday Night Marathon to grab the lead.  The 71-year-old Ossipov, who is currently rated number 24 for players over 65 in the United States, has 5 1/2 points.  Right behind him is NM David Blohm with a score of 5-1.

3) Win Aung-Ye upset winner of Pierre Saint Amant Memorial

Visiting Burmese Expert Win Aung-Ye was the upset winner of the Pierre Saint Amant Memorial, held November 23 at the Mechanics' Institute. He defeated National Master Victor Ossipov in round 4 and held on to draw in the last round when Senior Master Ron Cusi ran out of time in a position in which Win only had a bare King left. Tying for second at 4-1 in the 48-player tournament, which featured seven Masters, were Cusi, Ossipov and National Masters Emmanuel Perez, Michael Aigner, and Mark Pinto.  Top seed IM Ricardo DeGuzman, who has dominated the MI's monthly Game/45 series this year, showed strong character in completing the event after scoring only one point in his first three games.  Junior player Drake Wang knocked him off in round 2.  Another junior, Ben Haun, defeated NMs Perez and Victor Baja.  This was one of the strongest and best attended Game/45s ever held at the MI and was smoothly directed by Anthony Corrales.

4) Alex Setzepfandt does well in Crete

MI member Alex Setzepfandt of Oakland scored 7 points from 11 games to finish 25th in the Boys Under 12 at the World Youth Championships in Heraklio, on the island of Crete.  Well done, Alex!  Below is the USCF press release for the event:
November 14-25th, Heraklio, Crete, Greece

A record breaking eight hundred and sixty players from eighty-two different countries gathered in Heraklio, Crete to compete in the 2002 World Youth Chess Championships. Nineteen of these were some of the top-rated youths in American chess including FIDE Master (FM) Fabiano Caruana, who had won his right to attend by winning a gold medal in the Pan-American Youth Chess Festival earlier this year. The team's coaches were Grandmaster (GM) Joel Benjamin, GM John Fedorowicz, and FM Aviv Friedman.

Boys Under 10: FM Fabiano Caruana of Brooklyn, NY placed sixth, scoring 8 out of a possible 11 points; Marc Tyler Arnold and Micheal Thaler, both of New York City came in 17th and 18th, both scoring 7 points.

Boys Under 12: Alexander Setzepfandt of Oakland, CA came in 25th place with 7 points and Sarkis Agaian from Staten Island, NY finished 56th with 5.5 points.

Boys Under 14: FM Igor Schneider of New City, NY placed 30th with 6.5 points, Max Enkin of Peabody, MA came in 51st with 5.5 points, and Alex Lenderman of Brooklyn, NY placed 54th with 5.5 points.

Boys Under 16: FM Aaron Pixton of Vestal, NY took 7th place with 8 points and Josh Friedel of Goffstown, NH took 54th with 5.

Boys Under 18: International Master Dmitry Schneider from New City, NY came in 6th place with 7.5 points.

Girls Under 10: Karsten McVay of Saddle River, NJ, with 5.5 points and Anjali Datta from Lawrence, KS with 5.5 points, came in 43rd and 49th respectively.

Girls Under 12: Women's FIDE Master (WFM) Alisa Melekhina from Philadelphia, PA came in 28th place with 6 points, and Marina Asami of Irvine, CA came in 64th place with 4 points.

Girls Under 14: WFM Laura Ross from Forest Hills, NY took 9th place with 7.5 points, and Shirley Ben-Dak of New Rochelle, NY came in 55th place with 4.5 points.

Girls Under 16: Vanessa West of Gardenia, CA scored 5 points to come in 41st.

Girls Under 18: Anna Levina from Fayetteville, NY placed 40th, earning 5 points.

Newsletter #116, 12/04/2002

"Modern day technique is nothing other than the games of the past, old discoveries, that have been
classified and become customary."
Igor Zaitsev

1) Blatny and Shulman tie for first in American Open

The 38th American Open, held November 28-December 1 in Los Angeles, ended in a tie for first between GMs Pavel Blatny and Yury Shulman with scores of 6-2. Tying for third at 5 1/2 in the 47 player Open section, which included 5 GMs and 9 IMs, were GMs Alex Yermolinsky and Gregory Serper, IMs Varuzhan Akobian and Melikset Khachiyan and SM Armen Ambartsoumian.

MI member Matthew Ho had an excellent result. The young San Jose Expert drew IM Tim Taylor and scored 1 1/2 from 2 vs. 2300s on the way to a 4-4 score.  Another MI member, Oleg Shakhnazarov, scored 5-3 to tie for 7th in the Expert section. Complete details for the event, organized and directed by Jerry Hanken and Randy Hough, can be found at
By the way the record for most American Open titles goes to IM David Strauss of San Francisco who won 7 times from 1971 until 1992.

2) DeGuzman wins Jim Hurt Memorial

Filipino IM Ricardo DeGuzman continued his winning ways by taking first place in the Jim Hurt Memorial held November 28 through December 1 at the Holiday Inn on Van Ness in San Francisco with a score of 7-1. DeGuzman won $1000 for defeating top seed Vladimir Mezentsev (2540) and IM Walter Shipman. His two draws were with IM John Donaldson and SM Dmitry Zilberstein who took second and third with 6 1/2 and 6 points respectively.

The event was held to honor the memory of Jim Hurt (1918-2000) who organized and directed LERA tournaments for over thirty years. Hurt was also very active in teaching chess to children and was honored for his work by the USCF at a special ceremony held during the US Open in Reno in 1999. What isn't so well-known about Jim is that he was an active and successful player in his youth. While studying at the University of Washington in the 1930s and early 40s he won four Washington State titles in five tries, placing second the one time he didn't win.

The 80-player  multi-section memorial was organized and directed by Tom Dorsch and Carolyn Withgitt for Cal Chess.

3) Five-way tie for first in National Chess Congress

The National Chess Congress in Philadelphia, held November 29-December 1, saw GMs Igor Novikov, Alex Shabalov, Alex Stripunsky, Gennady Zaichik, and Leonid Yudasin tie for first at 5-1 in the 92 player top section. NM Alan Stein, formerly of Palo Alto but now living in New York, beat Polish GM Pavel Blehm in round five before losing to Novikov in the money round.

4) San Jose expert Uri Andrews looking for matches

There is very little non-scholastic chess in San Jose, despite its status as the largest city in Northern California with a population of over 1,000,000. The situation is sad enough that it may well be that IM Vinay Bhat has never played an adult tournament in his hometown! Now another up and coming San Jose player, Expert Uri Andrews, finds himself in the same situation and is eagerly looking for opponents rated over 2000 for matches and quads. Interested players can contact Uri at

5) Ossipov leads MI Fall Tuesday Night Marathon

NM Victor Ossipov leads the MI Fall Tuesday Night Marathon with a score of 6-1 with two rounds to go, but half a point back are FM Frank Thornally, and Experts Michael Becco, Peter Grey and Larry Snyder.

6) Robert Felt ( 1953-2002)

Robert Felt, who was a fixture at the MI in the mid-1990s, recently died of a heart attack. Though Felt was a USCF rated Expert, he was even stronger at Scrabble, competing successfully in the Scrabble World Championship in Australia two years ago. He is remembered at the MI as bright and friendly guy who loved a good conversation.

7) Raymond Rotor (1955-2202)

Another former MI member, Raymond (Ray) Rotor passed away on November 25 in San Francisco at the age of 47. A longtime Expert, who quit playing in tournament chess in 1995, Rotor could often be found playing blitz at the "Slab" at 5th and Market where he had many friends among the regulars.

Newsletter #117, 12/11/2002

"He, who ventures, should lose. He, who does not venture, loses."

1) Lindsborg Rotary Open

The Lindsborg Rotary Open, held December 17-23, with former World Champion Anatoly Karpov as a special guest of honor, will have several players from the MI competing. Among those making the trip to Kansas are 2000 US Women's Champion Camilla Baginskaite, former US Junior Closed participants David Pruess and Dmitry Zilberstein, Vivek Nambiar and MI Chess Director John Donaldson. Former MI member Mladen Vucic, now living in Las Vegas will be hunting for a GM norm along with fellow IMs William Paschall, Michael Brooks, Jessie Kraai and Melikset Khachiyan. US Championship participant Stephen Mohammed will be looking to make his third GM norm. WGM Anna Zatonskih, who represented Ukraine at the Olympiad in Bled, will be playing away from her new home in Ohio for the first time. Favorites for the event are the GM troika of Alexander Onischuk, Igor Novikov and Yury Shulman.
Go to for more information or look below under upcoming events.

2) Ossipov Leads Fall Marathon

NM Victor Ossipov drew in round eight of the MI Fall Tuesday Night Marathon to maintain a half point lead at 6 1/2 with one round to go. Tied for second at 6 are FM Frank Thornally, NM Russell Wong, Experts Larry Snyder and Michael Becco and A player Victor Todortsev. The next Marathon starts on January 7.

3) MI Christmas Party

The MI annual Christmas Party will be held tomorrow (Thursday) from 5pm to 6:30pm. Among those honored are Chess Room volunteers Jim Clarke, Walter Dorne and Bob Jordan. Reservations are requested for this event (415) 393-0100 which is catered by Cafe 52 and will feature live music. Cost is $5.

4) Holiday Shopping and Chess

Looking for a Christmas gift for a chess player? Consider an MI Chess History CD. The staff of the Mechanics' Institute recently completed the first of a two volume series on the history of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room. The fruits of their research are available on a CD which includes almost 90 pages of text, approximately 10 photos from the MI archives and over 150 games in ChessBase format.  Visits of World Champions Lasker (twice), Capablanca, Alekhine (twice), and Euwe, are among the highlights.  The price of the CD is $10 + $1 for shipping.  To order, send a check payable to the Mechanics' Institute for $11 to: Mechanics' Institute, Room 408, 57 Post Street, San Francisco, CA, 94104.

San Francisco is fortunate to have two fine independent book stores run by MI Tuesday Night Marathon regulars that stock lots of chess books. For new titles, Stacey’s, managed by Tom Allen, is the place to go with the latest offerings from Gambit, Batsford and Everyman. It is only a stones throw from the MI on Market.

Chelsea Books (637 Irving in the Inner Sunset), owned by Bryan Bilby, is the center for used chess books in San Francisco. I counted over 100 for sale, on all facets of the game and in several languages, the last time I visited. Bryan is constantly buying new books. Not too long ago he picked up some of IM Elliott Winslow's library.

5) MI Chess History: Arthur Stamer

"Shake Hands with The "Old Guard" ------Arthur B. Stamer"

It has been remarked to this editor that Arthur B. Stamer is about the oldest living chess player in San Francisco, but Art says, " I'm one of them --, just call me the old guard". Yes, "old guard" he is and so can gather many interesting anecdotes about chess in the bygone days in S.F.

Art Stamer does not prefer to be regarded as a top notch chess player. He did win the Mechanics' Institute chess championship in 1905 and in 1923, but remarka, "Only because the stronger players didn't enter in those years!" He has two unique looking metals for these achievements and when glancing at them reminisces, "I sure was proud to get those medals. Nowadays, all a chessplayer wants is money!"

Mr. Stamer is more noted for his achievements in the various telegraph matches held in the yesteryears. At that time San Francisco had matches with Chicago, Portland, and, of course our rival town of Los Angeles. He was the toast of the town when he defeated the then Western States champ Schraeder   of L.A. Another memorable telegraph match was with Perry, also of L.A., over whom he also scored an upset win.

Art is a San Franciscan through and through. He was working with his dad in the restaurant business when the 1906 earthquake and fire hit our city. In 1910 he began working with Uncle Sam's post office here in S.F. and stayed with it until he retired in 1961. He loves to recall the many great events that have happened at the Mechanics' Institute through the years. He believes the most memorable event was when Pillsbury put on an exhibition here in 1902. Pillsbury played 16 games of chess blindfolded while he also played 4 games of checkers and some 6 hands of whist. He won all his whist games and checker games, and all of his chess games but two but two --one of the victors being A.B. Stamer.

Art joined the Mechanics' Institute in 1901 and is now the chess club director of this organization. He has watched them come and go and knows so many interesting facts of the past one would need a book to relate them. He has seen the many changes. " At one time, " he relates, "there would at least be four games of checkers going on besides chess games but rarely do you see a checker game here now." In the old days physicians and lawyers would come in and during their lunch hour, get involved in chess games and forget to get back to their offices. "Oscar Samuels, Stewart's dad, quit chess", laughs Art, "because his business was going to pot!". Yes, times have changed but Mr. Stamer, though not the player he used to be, does his best keeping up with the changes. He's still a solid player, and, of course, --, the "old guard"!"

Chess Herald 1957; Volume 2, No. 4 published by the Precita Valley Chess Club, edited by Jim Reynolds

Newsletter #118, 12/18/2002

"Intuition is significately more important than knowledge!"

1) Fischer in San Jose Mercury News

Sean Evans writes that Bobby Fischer was in the San Jose Mercury News  on December 7. The article has quotes from Bobby's brother-in-law Russell Targ, who lives in Palo Alto, and his nephew Alexander . They dispute the recent suggestion that Hans-Gerhardt Fischer was not Bobby's father.

2) von der Lasa in San Francisco

Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa (1818-99), usually known as von der Lasa, was a man of many talents. During his long life he was an active player, chess historian, diplomat, chess book collector (over 2,700 volumes at his death) and author. In 1887, he traveled round the world adding to his large chess library.  From recent information that we have been sent by Canadian Chess Federation President Peter Stockhausen, we know that he arrived in San Francisco in late December 1887 or early January 1888 (coming from Australia) and stayed for a few weeks. By early February 1888 he was in Cuba.  Peter, who is working on a book on von der Lasa with Dr. Divinsky, kindly supplied the following game which was published in the Deutsche Schachzeitung.

The San Francisco Argonaut is supposed to have published a chess column during the first half of 1888.  Have any of our readers ever gone through the chess columns in the Argonaut?  It does not seem to be available at the SF Public Library, but the online records of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, indicate they have it.

In the following game, played between one of the strongest Mechanics' members of the 1880s and von der Lasa, Black plays a line in the Two Knight's Defense that is still seen today, albeit with 12...Qd8 instead of 12...Bd6.

H. Heinemann. - von der Lasa
Two Knights Defense C59
San Francisco 1888

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6. 5.6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Be2 h6 9.Nf3 e4 10.Ne5 Qd4 11.f4 Bc5 12.Rf1 Bd6 13.c3 Qb6 14.b4 Nb7 15.Nc4 Qc7 16.Nxd6+ Nxd6 17.Na3 Be6 18.Nc2 0–0 19.Ne3 Nd5 20.Qc2 a5 21.bxa5 Rxa5 22.g3 23.a3 Nb6 24.Kf2 Ndc4 25.Nxc4 Nxc4 26.Bxc4 Bxc4 27.Re1 28.Rb1 Rad5 29.Rb4 Qa7+ 30.Kg2 Qc5 31.Re3 Kh7 32.Kf2 Rd3 33.Ke1 Qd5 34.Qa4 Rxd2 35.Rxc4 Rd1+ 36.Kf2 Rxc1 37.Rd4 Qa2+ 38.Re2Qa1 39.Rxd8 Rf1+ 40.Kg2 Rg1+ 41.Kh3? Qf1+ 42.Kh4 Qxe2 0–1

3) Here and There

Congratulations to 15-year-old Hikaru Nakamura who made his second GM norm in the Dominican Republic recently. Hikaru beat FIDE 2600+ GM Tkachev in the last round. We are confident his third GM and the title will soon be forthcoming.

Those looking for a super strong event to play in may wish to check out the Aeroflot Open which will be held in Moscow from February 10-20, 2003 with a prize fund of $150,000. The organizers are offering attractive air/hotel packages. For more information go to

In Newsletter #116 we reported IM David Strauss of San Francisco as the record holder for most American Open victories with 7. Longtime tournament organizer Jerry Hanken reports that this was true when David registered his last victory in 1992, but now six-time US Champion Walter Browne of Berkeley hold the record with 8 wins.

There was a typo in the piece on Arthur Stamer in the last Newsletter. In the sentence that went "In 1910 he began working with Uncle Sam's post office here in SF and stayed with it until he retired in 1961," it should have stated he retired in 1951.

4) Holiday Shopping and Chess

Looking for a Christmas gift for a chess player? Consider an MI Chess History CD. The staff of the Mechanics' Institute recently completed the first of a two volume series on the history of the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room. The fruits of their research are available on a CD which includes almost 90 pages of text, approximately 10 photos from the MI archives and over 150 games in ChessBase format.  Visits of World Champions Lasker (twice), Capablanca, Alekhine (twice), and Euwe, are among the highlights.  The price of the CD is $10 + $1 for shipping.  To order, send a check payable to the Mechanics' Institute for $11 to: Mechanics' Institute, Room 408, 57 Post Street, San Francisco, CA, 94104.

San Francisco is fortunate to have two fine independent book stores run by MI Tuesday Night Marathon regulars that stock lots of chess books. For new titles, Stacey’s, managed by Tom Allen, is the place to go with the latest offerings from Gambit, Batsford and Everyman. It is only a stones throw from the MI on Market.

Chelsea Books (637 Irving in the Inner Sunset), owned by Bryan Bilby, is the center for used chess books in San Francisco. I counted over 100 for sale, on all facets of the game and in several languages, the last time I visited. Bryan is constantly buying new books. Not too long ago he picked up some of IM Elliott Winslow's library.

Newsletter #119, 12/25/2002

"Nowadays, when you're not a grandmaster at 14, you can forget about it."
Viswanathan Anand

1) Karpov beats Kasparov

Anatoly Karpov defeated Garry Kasparov 2.5-1.5 in an action chess match held December 21-22 in New York City. Karpov spent the week preceding the match training in Lindsborg, Kansas, with GMs Ivan Morovic and Alex Onischuk.

A Karpov - G Kasparov
X3D Rapid Match, (3)
Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bf4 dxc4 6 Rc1 0-0 7 e3 Nbd7 8 Bxc4 c5 9 dxc5 Nxc5 10 0-0 Be6 11 Bxe6 Nxe6 12 Be5 Qxd1 13 Rfxd1 Rfd8 14 Kf1 Nd7 15 Bxg7 Kxg7 16 Nd5 Nb6 17 Nxb6 axb6 18 a3 Rxd1+ 19 Rxd1 Rc8 20 Ke2 Kf6 21 Ne1 Rc4 22 Rd7 Nc5 23 Rc7 b5 24 f3 e5 25 b4 Na4 26 Rxb7 Rc6
27 e4 Ke6 28 h4 h5 29 Nd3 Rc2+ 30 Ke3 f5 31 g3 fxe4 32 fxe4 Rg2 33 Rxb5 Rxg3+ 34 Kd2 Rg2+ 35 Ke1 Nc3 36 Rb6+ Ke7 37 Nxe5 Re2+ 38 Kf1 Rxe4 39 Nxg6+ Kf7 40 Kf2 Nd5 41 Rc6 Nxb4 42 axb4 Rxb4 43 Ne5+ Kg7 44 Rc4 Rb5 45 Nd3 Kf6 46 Rc5 1-0

2) Onischuk and Donaldson tie for first in Lindsborg

GM Alex Onischuk and IM John Donaldson tied for first with 6.5 from 9 in the 2nd  Lindsborg Rotary Open held December 17-23 in Lindsborg, Kansas, at Bethany College.  Donaldson made his first GM norm and Anna Zatonskih made her second IM norm, narrowly missing a GM norm by half a point.

The rest of the MI contingent, Vivek Nambiar, David Pruess, Dmitry Zillberstein and Camilla Baginskaite, all finished at 50 percent. Zilberstein won the strong blitz tournament held mid-event with Pruess finishing third (IM Melik Khachiyan of Los Angeles was second).

The tournament, which featured widespread community support, was a rare opportunity for American players to compete for international titles. To put it in perspective the only other chances offered this year were the US Championship, World Open and Imre Konig Memorial. Chief organizer of the 2nd Lindsborg Rotary Open was the tireless Mikhail Korenman with Frank K. Berry directing.

1. GM Alex Onischuk 2649 USA 6.5
2. IM John Donaldson 2418 USA  6.5
3. GM Yuri Shulman 2566  BLR  6
4. WGM Anna Zatonskih 2421 UKR   6
5. GM Igor Novikov 2592  USA  6
6. IM Mladen Vucic 2396  USA  6
7. FM Stephen Muhammad 2368  USA  5.5
8. IM Ron Burnett 2437  USA   5.5
9. IM William Paschall  2463  USA  5
10. IM Jesse Kraai 2443  USA   5
11. IM Melikshet Khachiyan 2481  ARM   4.5
12. IM Osmand Palos 2327  BIH  4.5
13. FM Dmitry Zilberstein 2330  USA  4.5
14. Vivek Nambiar 2246  IND  4.5
15. David Pruess 2351  USA  4.5
16. Deepyaman Datta 2000  USA   4.5
17. WGM Kamile Baginskaite 2365  USA   4.5
...27 players, 9 round Swiss

Onishuk - Novikov D31
Lindsborg 2002

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qxd4 7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 Na6 9.Bc3 Ne7 10.Bxg7 Rg8 11.Bf6 Qf4 12.Bc3 Rxg2 13.Nf3 Nf5 14.Be5 Qh6 15.Qd2 Qxd2+ 16.Nxd2 Rg6 17.Ne4 Ke7 18.h4 c5 19.h5 Rh6 20.Bf4 Bd7 21.f3 Bc6 22.Kf2 e5 23.Bxh6 Nxh6 24.Rhg1 Bxe4 25.fxe4 Nc7 26.Rad1 Ne6 27.Bf1 Nd4 28.Bh3 Ng8 29.Rg5 Kd6 30.Rg7 Ke7 31.h6 Nxh6 32.Rxh7 Ng8 33.Rh8 Rf8 34.Ke3 Nc2+ 35.Kd3 Nd4 36.Rg1 Nf6 37.Rxf8 Kxf8 38.Rg5 Nc6 39.a3 Nh7 40.Rh5 Nf6 41.Rh8+ Ke7 42.Bc8 Nd8 43.b4 cxb4 44.axb4 b6 45.Bf5 Ne8 46.c5 Nc7 47.Rh6 bxc5 48.bxc5 Nb7 49.Kc4 Na5+ 50.Kb4 Nb7 51.Bc8 Nd8 52.Rd6 Nde6 53.Bxe6 Nxe6 54.Kc4 Nc7 55.Rd1 1–0

3) Thornally, Ossipov and Becco share first in Fall Tuesday Night Marathon

FM Frank Thornally, NM Victor Ossipov and Expert Michael Becco tied for first at 7-2 in the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon which finished December 17. Tying for fourth at 6.5 were NMs Igor Margulis, Russell Wong, Expert Igor Traub and George Sanguinetti. The next Tuesday Night Marathon starts on January 7.

4) Cusi and Ye tie for first in Guthrie McClain Memorial

The 2nd Annual Guthrie McClain Memorial set an MI Saturday G/45 attendance record with 56 players. Tying for first at 4.5/5 in the event, directed by Anthony Corrales, were SM Ron Cusi and Expert Wing Aung Ye of Burma.

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