Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #120, 01/01/2003

"Half the variations which are calculated in a tournament game turn out to be completely superfluous. Unfortunately, no one knows in advance which half."
Jan Timman

1) North American Open

The North American Open, held December 26-29 at Ballys Casino in Las Vegas, saw a big jump in attendance with over 600 players competing, including 17 Grandmasters.  GMs Nikola Mitkov of Macedonia and Ildar Ibragimov, formerly of Russia but now representing the United States, shared first in the Open section with 5 from 6. Tying for third with 4 1/2 were GMs Giorgi Kacheishvili, Jaan Ehlvest, Varuzhan Akobian, Vadim Milov, Alex Shabalov, Valery Filippov  and Vladimir Georgiev.

Bay Area players did well in the lower sections. Adam Lischinsky tied for first in the Under 2000 and Yefim Bukh was second in the Under 1800. Bill Goichberg organized and directed the event for the Continental Chess Association.

2) Karpov featured by US Postal Service

Chess players have been featured on the stamps of many countries, but not the United States. Recently, however, Anatoly Karpov's stay in Lindsborg, Kansas, was recognized by the US Postal Service which featured a special cancellation with his name on it, on December 14, 17 and 18. Individual cancellations can be ordered for $1 each from the Lindsborg Postmaster Sabrina T. Spellman (913) 227-2441 or write USPS, 125 E. Lincoln, KS, 67456-9998.

Newsletter #121, 01/08/2003

"What distinguishes a Grandmaster from a master? Chess-lovers often ask questions like that. To many people it seems that Grandmasters simply calculate variations a little deeper. Or that they know their opening theory slightly better. But in fact the real difference is something else. You can pick out two essential qualities in which those with higher titles are superior to others: the ability to sense the critical moment in a game, and a finer understanding of various positional problems."

1) University of Maryland at Baltimore County B wins Pan-Am

The University of Maryland at Baltimore County B , led by GM Alex Sherzer and IM Eugene Perelshteyn, won the 2002 Pan Am Intercollegiate held in Miami immediately after Christmas. UMBC B's other team members were: FM William Morrison, NM John Rouleau, and Battsetseg Tsagaan. The winners, who were seeded number three, scored 5 1/2 from 6, drawing only with second seed University of Texas at Dallas. UTD, led by GMs Yury Shulman and Marcin Kaminski, tied for second with pre tournament favorite UMBC A (GMs Alex Onischuk, Alex Wojtkiewicz and Pavel Blehm) at 5-1. Because of the rules of the competition, the two University of Maryland schools did not compete against each other. Stanford did not send as strong a team as in years past and finished in the middle of the 30 team field which came from as far away as Peru and Puerto Rico.

2) Three-way tie in Bob Burger Open

Win Aung Ye, Ben Haun and Anthony Rozenvasser tied for first in the Bob Burger Open held January 4 at the Mechanics' Institute. The three winners scored 4 1/2 from 5 to finish on top of the 42 player field. Anthony Corrales directed for the MI.

4) Winter Tuesday Night Marathon started

The Winter Marathon, which started yesterday evening, looks like it will be the best attended event in the series which dates back to the early 1970s. IM Walter Shipman and FM Frank Thornally head the list of 60 pre-registered entrants.

Tuesday Night Marathon + Lecture Series Announcements

Due to the participation of Alex Yermolinsky and John Donaldson in the US Championship the schedule for the next few weeks will be altered.

1. There will be a lecture on Tuesday, January 7, by John Donaldson. There will be no lectures on January 8, 14 and 15. Alex will resume his regular lecture schedule on January 21.

2. Anthony Corrales will direct round two of the Marathon on January 14.

3. The MI will be closed on Monday, January 20, in recognition of the Martin Luther King Junior holiday. Accordingly the pairings for round 3 (January 21) will be posted at noon on the 21st.

4. Steve Brandwein will be updating the pairings and standings for the TNM during Alex's absence. This will be the only new material appearing on the website during this time.

5) Here and there

Bay Area IM Elliott Winslow, who is one of the strongest backgammon players in the world, is now living in Paris, home to American players IM Kamran Shirazi and NM Marty Appleberry. We wish Elliott well in his new home!

Chess FM will host a live interview (conducted by Fred Wilson) with GM Alex Baburin on Tuesday (7th January) at 9:00 PM ET (New York time). A wide range of topics will be discussed, including how to make progress in chess. Everyone is welcome to listen to the show or call in with questions!

Former Bay Area resident and MI member, IM Jeremy Silman, will be the head commentator for the 2003 US Championship. Jeremy is now finishing up a book on the life and games of GM Pal Benko. His website is full of free chess material.

Newsletter #122, 01/15/2003

"Chess is mental torture."
Garry Kasparov

1) US Championship Standings after Round Six

1-3 Kaidanov, Shabalov, Fishbein 4.5/6;
4-15 Gulko, Seirawan, Benjamin, Stripunsky, Yermolinsky, Akobian, Ivanov, Nakamura, Kreiman, Foygel,Mulyar, Muhammad 4;
16-25 Goldin, Christiansen, Fedorowicz, Zaitshik, Browne, Gurevich, Kraai, G. Shahade, Burnett, Sarkar 3.5; 26-36 DeFirmian, Finegold, Serper, Kudrin, Lapshun, Perelshteyn, Paschall, Pixton, J. Donaldson, Lein, Battsetseg 3;
37-44 Ashley, Enhbat, Kriventsov, Kaufman, Baginskaite, Watson, J. Shahade; Bennett 2.5;
45-55 Ippolito, E. Donaldson; Krush, Pruess, Markzon, Hahn, Epstein,
Sagalchik, Ross, Groberman, Shiber 2;
56-57 Tsai, Levina 1;
58 Esserman 0.5.

2) Winter Tuesday Night Marathon

IM Walter Shipman, FM Frank Thornally, NMs Igor Margulis, Russell Wong and David Blohm, Experts Larry Snyder, Alex Setzepfandt and  Peter Grey, and Class A players Victor Todortsev, Thomas McCaughy, Lazar Shnaiderman  and  Benjamin Gross are tied for first at 2-0 in the 78-player MI Winter Tuesday Night Marathon.

Newsletter #123, 01/22/2003

"One of the main aims has been to highlight the differences in approach between a Grandmaster and a weaker player, and to try and narrow the gap. To some extent this comes down to technical matters - more accurate analysis, superior opening knowledge, better endgame technique and so forth; but in other respects the difference goes deeper and many readers will find that they need to rethink much of their basic attitude to the game. One example of this would be the tremendous emphasis which is placed on the dynamic use of the pieces, if necessary at the expense of the pawn structure, or even of material. This is no mere question of style; it is a characteristic of the games of all the great players."
Peter Griffiths, Introduction to Secrets of Grandmaster Chess

1) Shabalov and Hahn win US Championships

GM Alex Shabalov and WIM Anna Hahn took home the titles of US Champion and US Womens Champion at the 2003 US Championships held January 9-18 in Seattle. Organized in exemplary fashion by America's Foundation for Chess, the event featured a record prize fund of $253, 600.

1    Shabalov    6½
2    Kaidanov, Goldin, Gulko, Benjamin, Stripunsky, Ivanov, Fedorowicz    6
9    Seirawan, deFirmian, Christiansen, Yermolinsky, Akobian, Nakamura, Zaichik, Burnett, Sarkar    5½
18    Finegold, Serper, Kreiman, Fishbein, Gurevich, Foygel, Muhammad    5
25    Kudrin, Lapshun, Browne, Mulyar, Kraai, G.Shahade, Enkhbat, Paschall, J. Donaldson, Lein, Kaufman, Krush*, J.Shahade*, Hahn *    4½
39    Ashley, Perelshteyn, Pixton, Ippolito, E. Donaldson *, Watson  4
45    Baginskaite*, Pruess, Markzon, Battsetseg*, Shiber *    3½
50    Kriventsov, Esserman, Epstein*, Ross*, Groberman *    3
55    Bennett, Tsai *    2½
57    Sagalchik*    2
58    Levina * 11/2

Players marked * were contenders for the Womens title.

The 35-year-old Shabalov, who lives in Pittsburgh, was a deserving winner. The leader for much of the event, he lost to Joel Benjamin in the penultimate round, but came right back to win against IM Varuzhan Akobian while his rivals were all drawing. Shabalov received $25,000 for his victory and shared a $10,000 "combativeness" prize with Akobian. Among those on 6 special mention should be made of GM Gregory Kaidanov. Despite being half a point behind "Shaba", Gregory almost the same performance rating (2678 to 2668) due to his playing a higher-rated field - a result of being the top seed. It was good to see the name of John Fedorowicz among the leaders. John was one of the top players in the US in the 1980s and early 1990s and even won the NY Open outright. Plagued by a bad cold he started slowly in Seattle but caught fire in the second half. Hopefully this result will be a catalyst for further excellent performances.

GM Shabalov in his well-spoken closing speech did a good job of pointing out some of the heroes of the Championship. He mentioned Akobian (who missed the GM norm by half a point) and Hikaru Nakamura as two of the brightest US juniors to appear in a long time and to FM Stephen Muhammad as the revelation of the tournament. According to chief Tournament Director Carol Jarecki the 41-year-old Atlanta-based Muhammad faced the highest rated opposition of any player in the Championship being paired up nine times in route to a 5-4 score for a performance rating of 2576. He easily fulfilled the requirements for his third and final IM norm. Another player who Shabalov did not mention, who also did well, was IM Justin Sarkar of New York who would have made his first GM norm if he defeated Alex Yermolinsky in the last round (they drew).

The title of US Womens Champion was decided in a three-way playoff between Jennifer Shahade, Irina Krush and Anna Hahn after they all finished at 50 percent. The vagaries of the Swiss System showed as Shahade (who made her second IM and WGM norms) played by far the strongest field of the three (2466) compared to Krush (2391) and Hahn (2279), but committed the cardinal sin of losing in round nine, while Krush was drawing and Hahn was winning. In the 15 minute game playoffs Anna defeated both her rivals to take the $12, 500 top women prize.

Five MI members played in the US Championship this year. Former Champion Alex Yermolinsky nearly took the title last year, but this time around he was handicapped by a serious cold that plagued him for much of the event. He still managed to make it to 5 1/2 and was pushing to get to 6 which would have given him a share of second. Six-time US Champion Walter Browne of Berkeley was one of the oldest players in the competition at 54 but held his own against several of the top seeds ( Christiansen, Kaidanov, Gulko, deFirmian) before running out of gas at the end to finish at 50 percent. I managed to make a norm a round before the end, but alas it was of the IM rather than GM variety. A slow start and last round loss were counterbalanced by a good run in the middle which also put me on 50 percent. David Pruess made a respectable score in his Championship debut but I know that both he and Camilla Baginskaite will improve on their 3 1/2 scores next year. It was good to see IM John Watson, formerly of Fairfax, but now living in San Diego, participate. This was only John's second event in the last four years after suffering a life-threatening stroke but he played well in scoring four points.

There were no GM norms made this year. FM Stephen Muhammad scored his third and final IM norm. FM Igor Foygel scored his third and final IM norm. WIM Jennifer Shahade scored both her second IM and second WGM norm. Joel Benjamin won the top Paul Albert Jr. Brilliancy Prize ($1000) for his eight round win over Shabalov. I took the second prize for my round seven win over GM Sergey Kudrin and Yasser Seirawan (over Lapshun) and Gregory Serper (over Ippolito) shared the third prize.

Here was the deciding game of the Championship.

A Shabalov - V Akobian
AF4C US Ch, (9)
French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nf3 Qb6 6 a3 Nh6 7 b4 cxd4 8 cxd4 Nf5 9 Bb2 Be7 10 h4 h5 11 Bd3 g6 12 Bxf5 gxf5 13 Nc3 Rg8 14 g3 Bd7 15 Bc1 Rc8 16 Ne2 a5 17 b5 Qxb5 18 Bg5 a4 19 Rb1 Qa5+ 20 Kf1 Bxa3 21 Ra1 Qb4 22 Nf4 Rh8 23 Kg2 b5 24 Bf6 Rh6 25 Re1 Qf8 26 Qe2 Be7 27 Bg5 Rh8 28 Rec1 Rb8 29 Rab1 Bxg5 30 hxg5 Qa3 31 g6 fxg6 32 Nxe6 Bxe6 33 Rxc6 Qe7 34 Rxb5 Kf7 35 Ng5+ Qxg5 36 Rc7+ Qe7 37 Rxe7+ Kxe7 38 Rc5 Rhc8 39 Qa6 Rxc5 40 Qa7+ Ke8 41 dxc5 Rc8 42 Qxa4+ Bd7 43 Qd4 Be6 44 f4 Ke7 45 Qb4 Rc6 46 Kh3Bd7 47 Kh4 Kf7 48 Kg5 Ke7 49 Qb3 Re6 50 Qxd5 Bc6 51 Qa2 Bd7 52 Kh6 Be8 53 Kg7 Bd7 54 Qh2 Rc6 55 Qh4+ Ke8 56 Qf6 Rxf6 57 exf6 Be6 58 c6 g5 59 fxg5 f4 60 g6 fxg3 61 f7+ 1-0

The official site for the Championship can be found at Besides offering all the games in PGN and Java format there is lots of other information including a daily heavily annotated game ( by chief commentator Jeremy Silman, who was taking a rare break from his website duties at

Those looking for even more information can find it at The Week in Chess ( where Mark Crowther has a cross table complete with performance ratings which often gives a truer idea of how players have done in a Swiss. For example on 4 1/2 points the huge swing ranged from 71-year-old veteran Anatoly Lein (defeated only by Yermo) who faced 2510 opposition to IM Larry Kaufman (2353) and Anna Hahn (2279) who essentially played in different tournaments.

On a final note the Seattle Chamber of Commerce should start donating to America's Foundation for Chess. I saw at least a dozen Bay Area players stopping by to take in the Championship including MI Trustees Mark Pinto and Vince McCambridge, former Chess Room Director Jim Eade, Dennis Waterman, Gilbert Chambers and Lloyd Stephenson.

2) Four way tie for first in Winter TNM

IM Walter Shipman, FM Frank Thornally, NM Russell Wong and Expert Alex Setzepfandt are tied for first with perfect scores after three rounds of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon.

3) Kurt Bendit

IM William Addison recently visited the Chess Room to let people know that former Chess Room Director Kurt Bendit has moved to SF Community Convalescent Hospital (Bush at Divisadero) and would appreciate visitors.

4) Here and There

X3D Technologies Corp. and from New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg offices announcing the First F.I.D.E. Official World Chess Championship, "Man Vs. Machine" to take place January 26th through February 7th 2003 in 6 matches. The matches will be broadcast on in Extreme 3D by X3D Technologies, live on the Internet at

About the end of February 2003, the first issue of a new, nationwide chess publication of 64 pages will be making its appearance. It will feature a classy cover, and many articles. It will be issued quarterly and published by Thinkers' Press, famous for their published chess books which can be found in many fine stores. Headlined as a magazine full of pictures and artwork, we think you will find it uptown, upscale, and just right for enjoying the game the way it was meant to be.
It is not patterned after any other chess magazine that we know of, featuring 64 magazine sized pages and writers from the amateur level through Grandmaster.
Rather than publish Internet chess news, politics, and meaningless games, SQUARES will be headed up by an international cast of players and writers, featuring the following articles in the first issue:
1. Louis Paulsen-Early Father of Hypermodern Chess, by Imre Konig.
2. How to Write a Chess Encyclopedia by Ken Whyld.
3. Old Guys by Dr. Ken Colby
4. Playing a Good Game without the Politics by GM Jonathan Rowson.
5. The Konig Memorial in San Francisco with notes by many of the players.
6. The Gambit Club Library featuring an advance review of "The Art of Bisguier," Gambit by Rex Stout, Ansel's Antiques, and Samurai Chess.
7. Hammond and Tykodi... about John Hammond's philanthropy and chess.
8. The King's Indian Defense Remains as Strong as Ever by IM Andrew Martin.
9. Eureka! How Chess Ideas Are Born by Amatzia Avni.
10. Rook Endgames from the International Hamburg City Championship by GM Karsten Mueller.
11. Should You Study Pawn Endings? by Val Zemitis.
12. Essaying John Hilbert, America's Chess Historian by Bob Long.
13. Uncle Fred's Gambit by ICCF-IM Jon Edwards.
14. News Bits.
15. Tournament Schedules.
16. The Lead Editorial... and more.

Also, I find most chess players like chess advertising and we will have that too.
All of this for only $25.00 if you act FAST. If we get your check, money order, or credit card amount for $25 (or multiples of that for your friends!), your first issue will be to you in early March, only a few weeks away if you think about it. After that, subscription rate goes to $30 per four issue. The single copy price is $9.50.
You have several ways of contacting us.
A. Our web site at Go to the Search Engine for catalog number AA00040 (or check out AA00041, AA00042, or AA00043 for variations). You can do secure online shopping right there.
B. You can call us TOLL FREE at 800-397-7117. Have your credit card ready.
C. You can drop us a line and check at SQUARES, Thinkers' Press, 1101 W. 4th St., Davenport, IA 52802 USA.
D. Go to our Thinkers' Press website at Admittedly, this site is still being worked on, so you can send us an e-mail at

Dear Chess Friend,
At the moment Chess Today newspaper has extensive coverage of the Corus tournaments in Wijk aan Zee – IM Yochanan Afek send his daily reports written especially for Chess Today. I will send you the latest Chess Today issue – No. 805. Please feel free to forward it to your chess friends. The paper helps to stay in touch with the latest chess news around the world and also to improve your chess. The annual subscription is only 44 euro/$ - for 365 issues! For more information about the paper please refer to

Newsletter #124, 01/29/2003

"The world championship is a disputed title. You've got a situation like boxing. Speaking as a member of the chess world, it's extremely undignified."
Yasser Seirawan

1) Kasparov leads Deep Junior

Garry Kasparov leads the computer Deep Junior 1 1/2 - 1/2 in their six game match scheduled for January 26th-February 7th, in New York. The prize fund for the match is $1m with a $500,000 fee for Garry Kasparov, the other half being divided: $300,000 to the winner and $200,000 to the loser. Official Live coverage:

2) Anand wins Corus

The 65th Corus Chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee took place January 10th-26th and Viswanathan Anand continued his run of excellent results the past year. Judit Polgar had one of her best ever performances and raised her FIDE rating from 2700 to 2715. Steadily improving Evgeny Bareev had an incredibly combative event with eight decisive results. The failures of two of the four World Championship Candidates, Kramnik and Ponomariov, was noticeable.

Final scores:
1 Anand (India) 8.5/13; 2 Polgar (Hungary) 8; 3 Bareev(Russia) 7.5; 4-8; Van Wely (Holland), Kramnik (Russia), Grischuk (Russia) Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Shirov (Spain) 7; 9-10 Radjabov (Azerbaijan), Topalov (Bulgaria) 6.5; 11-12 Ponomariov (Ukraine), Karpov (Russia) 6; 13 Krasenkow (Poland) 4.5; 14 Timman (Holland) 2.5;

J Polgar - V Anand
Corus 'A', (12)
Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Bf5 5 Ng3 Bg6 6 h4 h6 7 Nf3 Nd7 8 h5 Bh7 9 Bd3 Bxd3 10 Qxd3 Ngf6 11 Bf4 e6 12 0-0-0 Be7 13 Kb1 0-0 14 Ne4 Qa5 15 Nxf6+ Nxf6 16 g4 Nxg4 17 Rdg1 Qf5 18 Qd2 g5 19 hxg6 fxg6 20 Bxh6 Qxf3 21 Bxf8 Rxf8 22 d5 cxd5 23 Qd4 Nf6 24 Rxg6+ Kf7 25 Rhg1 Rc8 26 Rg7+ Kf8 27 Qh4 Ke8 28 Qa4+ Kf8 29 Qh4 Ke8 30 Qa4+ Kf8 draw

3) Seven way tie in Winter Tuesday Night Marathon

There is a seven-way tie for first at 3 1/2 from 4 at the midway point of the Tuesday Night Winter Marathon which features a record 81 entries including 9 players rated over 2200. The leaders are IM Walter Shipman, FM Frank Thornally, NMs Russell Wong, Rodolfo Hernandez and Egle Morkunaite, 12-year-old Expert Alex Setzepfandt who has beaten NM Igor Margulis and drawn NM Wong in the past two rounds, and Class A player George Sanguinetti.

Here is an exciting battle from round four between 13-year-old Expert Nicolas Yap and veteran Master David Blohm where Nicolas plays a new move (15.Nd5). This game reflects well on both players. The first time control was 30 moves in 90 minutes which means the players could have been in time pressure around move 25-30. These notes were written the morning after the game was played and should be considered preliminary.

N.Yap - D.Blohm
Accelerated Dragon B35
MI Winter TNM 2003

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 Qa5 8.0-0 0-0 9.Bb3 d6 10.h3 Bd7 11.f4 Qh5 12.Nf3 b5 13.a3 a5 14.Qd3 b4
More commonly seen is 14...a4, but the text might be better.
A new try. 15.Ne2 bxa3 16.Ng3 axb2 17.Nxh5 bxa1Q 18.Rxa1 Nxh5 is an interesting queen sacrifice proposed  by Blohm's teacher GM Roman Dzindzhihashvili;
15.axb4 axb4 16.Rxa8 (16.Nd5 runs into 16...Rxa1 17.Rxa1 Bxh3) 16...Rxa8 17.Ne2 Qa5= Hector-Minzer, La Coruna 1995, allows Black to complete his plan of bringing the Queen back to the queenside.
15...bxa3! 16.Rxa3 Nxd5 puts the onus on White as b2 is hanging. Note that  17.exd5 Nb4 wins serious material for Black.
16.Bc4 bxa3 17.Qxa3 Nxd5
17...Nxe4 18.Nb6 Rad8 19.Nxd7 Rxd7 20.Qxa4 is much better for White.
18.Bxd5 Rab8 19.c3 Rfc8
19...e6 was the best try with the idea 20.Qxd6 exd5 21.exd5 Bxh3 22.dxc6 Rxb2 23.gxh3 Qxh3 White should answer 19...e6 with 20.Ba2 and some advantage.
The immediate 20.Ng5 looks stronger.
20...Be8 21.Ng5 Na5 22.e5 Qe2 23.Bd2 Nc4 24.Qa2
24.Bxc4 Qxc4 25.exd6 exd6 26.Bc1 d5 27.f5=
Fritz suggests the interesting line 24...Nxd2 25.Bxf7+ Bxf7 26.Qxf7+ Kh8 27.Qd5 Qe3+ 28.Kh1 Bxe5 29.Qxd2 Qxd2 30.Rxd2 Bf6 31.Ne6 a3 and Black is doing fine.
25.Bxc4 Rxd2 26.Qxd2?
26.Bxf7+ Bxf7 27.Qxf7+ Kh8 28.Rxd2 Qxd2 29.Qe6 Rf8 30.Nf7+ Rxf7 31.Qxf7 h6 32.Rb1 Kh7 33.Rb8 mating. Now Black gets ample compensation for the lost Exchange.
26...Qxd2 27.Rxd2 Rxc4 28.exd6 exd6 29.Rxd6 Bxc3 30.Rd8 Kf8 31.Ra8 ½-½
Black could consider playing on with 31...h6 32.Nf3 Rxf4.

4) Sevillano wins Western Class Championship

Filipino IM Enrico Sevillano, based out of Las Vegas, won the Western Class Championships held January 17-20 in Los Angeles. Sevillano, who scored 5 1/2 from 7, defeated IM Igor Ivanov and GM Pavel Blatny and drew GM Alex Wojtkiewicz in the last three rounds. Tying for second at 5 were Ivanov, Blatny, Wojtkiewicz, and IMs Melikset Khachiyan  and Tim Taylor.

Several MI members made the trip south and turned in excellent performances. NMVivek Nambiar, playing in the open section, defeated two 2300 players and drew IM Andrianov. 14-year-old Expert Matthew Ho scored 50 percent against 6 masters. Uri Andrews tied for first in the Expert section while Monty Peckham had 4 1/2 and Ricky Yu (playing up a class) had a respectable 3 from 7. Troy Pendergraft tied for first in Class B. Congratulations to all!

A total of 236 players competed in the multi-section event organized by Bill Goichberg's Continental Chess Association. Note that another CCA event will be held in Southern California this weekend (see below under upcoming events). Adventurous souls who like events with quick time controls can play in two events in the Southland this weekend with the start of the doubleheader in Joshua Tree on Saturday (also below under upcoming events).

5) Novikov, Rohde and Shchukin tie for first in Liberty Bell Open

GMs Igor Novikov and Michael Rohde shared first place with NM Sergey Shchukin at 5 1/2 from 7 in the Liberty Bell Open held January 17-20 in Philadelphia. This was yet another triumph for the ultra-consistent Novikov while Rohde had his best result in a while with a victory over GM Ildar Ibragimov and draws with Novikov and GM Alexander Chernin. Shchukin, rated only 2246 going in, dropped a point and a half early but won his last four games to grab a share of top prize despite not playing anyone over 2414.
A total of 346 players competed in the multi-section event organized by Bill Goichberg's Continental Chess Association

Newsletter #125, 02/05/2003

"Chess books should be used as we use glasses - to assist the sight; although some players make use of them as if they thought they conferred sight."
Jose Capablanca

1) Win Aung Ye wins Henry Gross

Win Aung Ye of Burma defeated top rated Andrey Chumachenko in the last round to win the third annual Henry Gross Memorial G/45 held February 1 at the MI.  Teenager Nicholas Yap was half a point behind Ye's perfect score beating NM Victor Baja and drawing NM Robin Cunningham. Tying for third at 4-1 in the fifty player event were Chumachenko, Cunningham, Sean Colure and Jimmy Plumb. Roy Hoppe, who hadn't played a rated game in more than thirty years, scored a very credible 3 1/2 from 5. Anthony Corrales directed for the Mechanics'.

2) Shipman and Thornally tie for lead in Tuesday Night Marathon

IM Walter Shipman defeated up and coming Expert Alex Setzepfandt and FM Frank Thornally beat NM Egle Morkunaite to grab the lead in the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon with a score of 4 1/2 from 5.  Three rounds remain in the 80 player event.

3) Jack Dean 1923-2003

MI Chess Room regular Jack Dean recently passed away at the age of 79 after a stroke.  Jack, who worked professionally as a bookkeeper, was a well liked member of the Chess Room for over three decades.  He was a regular in the Tuesday Night Marathons until his health declined.

4) Ivars Dahlberg 1934-2002

I only recently learned that Ivars Dahlberg passed away last year on February 28 in Los Angeles.  Dahlberg, who held the FIDE Master title, and had a peak FIDE rating of 2480, had not played regularly in two decades.  Born in Latvia, he came to the United States in the early 1950s, settling in Oregon where he won several state championship titles.  He moved to Southern California around 1970, working as a financial planner.  Dahlberg had several excellent results in Futurity tournaments at the Chess Set in Los Angeles in the late 1970s.  At Lone Pine 1981 he was among the leaders with four points after six rounds before fading at the end.

Anyone with more information about Ivars, particularly information on how to contact his relatives, is urged to contact Val Zemitis ( ), who is working on an encyclopedia of Latvian chess players.

5) Khachiyan wins Foothills Open

Melik Khachiyan won the Foothills Open held in Pasadena on February 1 with 4 1/2 from 5.  Khachiyan defeated fellow IMs Tim Taylor and Anthony Saidy en route to victory. Tying for second at 4 were Taylor, Saidy and NMs Lernik Manukyan and Ilia Serpik.  A total of 86 players participated in the three section event organized by Bill Goichberg's Continental Chess Association.

6) Carroll Capps winners

The Carroll Capps Memorial, held each November to honor the longtime MI Chess Room regular, features an impressive list of winners including former World Junior Champion Julio Kaplan and GMs James Tarjan, Walter Browne, Nick deFirmian, Peter Biyiasas and Gustavo Darcy Lima. Here are all the winners except for November 1979, for which information is unavailable.

1971   Julio Kaplan
1972   Craig Barnes
1973   James Tarjan
1974   Walter Browne
1975   David Strauss and Paul Cornelius
1976   Jay Whitehead and Max Burkett
1977   Jeremy Silman and Cicero Braga
1978   Tournament Canceled
1979   (July) Nick deFirmian and (November) ???
1980    John Grefe, Jay Whitehead and Charles Powell
1981   Peter Biyiasas and John Grefe
1982   Jeremy Silman, Peter Biyiasas, Alan Pollard and Vince McCambridge
1983   Peter Biyiasas, Craig Mar and Victor Baja
1984   Charles Powell, Victor Baja and Bill Orton
1985   Nick deFirmian, Peter Biyiasas, Charles Powell and Rudolfo Hernandez
1986   Igor Ivanov and Jay Whitehead
1987   Marc Leski, John Grefe and Gustavo Darcy Lima
1988   Guillermo Rey, Bill Orton and Romulio Fuentes
1989   Vladimir Strugatsky, Charles Powell and Rudolfo Hernandez
1990    Loal Davis
1991    Walter Browne, Jay Whitehead, and Greg Kotlyar
1992    Walter Browne and Renard Anderson
1993    John Grefe, Emmanuel Perez and Adrian Keatinge-Clay
1994  Craig Mar, John Grefe and Rostislav Tsodikov
1995    Enrico Sevillano and Joe Weber
1996    Igor Ivanov and Omar Cartagena
1997    Alexander Baburin
1998    Mladen Vucic, Mark Pinto, Omar Cartagena, Ron Cusi and Jonathan Baker
1999    Russell Wong, Paul Gallegos, David Blohm,  and Larry Snyder
2000    Kenneth Hills and Ryan Porter
2001    Ricardo DeGuzman
2002    Ricardo DeGuzman and Victor Ossipov

The 1978 event was scheduled for the normal dates, the second week of November, but canceled at the last minute. A tournament was held in July of 1979 and another was advertised in Chess Voice to be held in November of that year. All indications are that it was held. We have been unable to find results for this event and ask for assistance.

Newsletter #126, 02/12/2003

"Chess problems demand from the composer the same virtues that characterize all
worthwhile art: originality, invention, conciseness, harmony, complexity, and splendid insincerity.'

Vladimir Nabokov, 'Poems and Problems', 1969

1) Hikaru Nakamura GM at 15

Brazilian GM Giovanni Vescovi won the A section in Bermuda in impressive style, but it was 15-year-old Hikaru Nakamura of White Plains, New York, who was the big story making his third and final GM norm. In doing so Hikaru broke Bobby Fischer's 44-year-old record as the youngest American Grandmaster. Hikaru, who was only half a point from GM norms in Bolivia and San Francisco last year, is well on his way to bigger and better things. We look for him to be crossing the 2600 FIDE barrier shortly. Congratulations also go to chief sponsor Nigel Faulks and chief organizer Nigel Freeman for again putting on a first rate chess festival.

GMA Final Standings: 1. Vescovi, Giovanni g BRA 2592 8.0; 2. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2693 7.5; 3. Markowski, Tomasz g POL 2574 7.0; 4. Motylev, Alexander g RUS 2640 6.0; 5. Miton, Kamil g POL 2544 5.5; 6. Macieja, Bartlomiej g POL 2629 5.0; 7. Movsesian, Sergei g SVK 2663 5.0; 8. Volokitin, Andrei g UKR 2565 5.0; 9. Gershon, Alik g ISR 2571 4.5; 10. Shabalov, Alexander g USA 2613 4.5; 11. Christiansen, Larry M g USA 2562 4.0; 12. Al-Modiahki, Mohamad g QAT 2571 4.0;

GMB Final Standings: 1. Fridman, Daniel g LAT 2572 8.0; 2. Nakamura, Hikaru m USA 2520 7.5; 3. Perelshteyn, Eugene m USA 2442 7.0; 4. Schmaltz, Roland g GER 2529 6.5; 5. Moreno Carnero, Javier m ESP 2508 5.5; 6. Berg, Emanuel m SWE 2527 5.5; 7. Seul, Georg m GER 2437 5.0; 8. Kallio, Heikki g FIN 2474 5.0; 9. Paschall, William M m USA 2444 5.0; 10. Dinstuhl, Volkmar m GER 2416 4.5; 11. Blatny, Pavel g CZE 2475 3.5; 12. Mulyar, Michael A m USA 2446 3.0;

M Mulyar - H Nakamura
Bermuda GM 'B', (11)
Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 Qf3 Nbd7 8 Be2 Qc7 9 0-0-0 b5 10 a3 Bb7 11 Bg5 Rc8 12 Bd3 Be7 13 Qg3 Qd8 14 Bd2 Ne5 15 Kb1 0-0 16 h4 Nfd7 17 Bg5 Rxc3 18 bxc3 Nb6 19 Bc1 Na4 20 Ne2 Qc7 21 f4 Nd7 22 Qe3 Bf6 23 Bd2 Rc8 24 g4 d5 25 e5 Be7 26 Bc1 d4 27 cxd4 Bxh1 28 Rxh1 b4 29 Qe4 g6 30 Ka2 bxa3 31 f5 Rb8 32 c4 Ndc5 33 dxc5 Nxc5 34 Qf3 Qxe5 35 Bxa3 Nxd3 36 Qxd3 Bxa3 37 Nc3 Qa5 38 Qc2 Rb2+ 39 Qxb2 Bxb2+ 40 Kxb2 Qb4+ 0-1

A Volokitin - G Vescovi
Bermuda GM 'A", (5)
Ruy Lopez

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 0-0 9 h3 Bb7 10 d4 Re8 11 Nbd2 Bf8 12 a4 h6 13 Bc2 exd4 14 cxd4 Nb4 15 Bb1 c5 16 d5 Nd7 17 Ra3 f5 18 Nh2 c4 19 Rg3 Nc5 20 exf5 Rxe1+ 21 Qxe1 Nbd3 22 Bxd3 Nxd3 23 Qe6+ Kh8 24 Ng4 Qe8 25 Re3 Qxe6 26 dxe6 Be7 27 Nb3 bxa4 28 Na5 Nxc1 29 Nxb7 Rb8 30 Na5 c3 31 bxc3 a3 32 c4 a2 33 Ra3 d5 34 Ra4 Rb4 35 Rxa2 Nxa2 36 cxd5 Nc3 37 Ne3 Rb1+ 38 Kh2 Rb5 39 Nc6 Bd6+ 40 f4 Nxd5 41 Nxd5 Rxd5 42 e7 Bxe7 43 Nxe7 Rc5 44 Kg3 a5 45 Kg4 a4 46 Kh5 a3 47 Kg6 a2 48 Kf7 Rc7 0-1

3) America's Foundation for Chess

The brightest development in American chess in the past few years has been the emergence of America's Foundation for Chess ( The Seattle based organization has sponsored three US Championships and is a leader in scholastic chess. If you like what this 501(c) (3) organization is doing consider making a donation or just e-mail them and let them know how much you appreciate their efforts.

4) Shipman, Margulis and Hernandez lead Spring Tuesday Night Marathon

IM Walter Shipman and NMs Igor Margulis and Rudy Hernandez lead the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon at 5 from 6 with two rounds to go.

Veteran Victor Todortsev sends in his round five win over longtime MI member David Blohm. It's not easy to pinpoint where White made his final error.

NM David Blohm - Victor Todortsev
Sicilian B59
Mechanics' Institute Spring Marathon 2003

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be2 Be7 9.0–0 0–0 10.Kh1?!
10.f4 is more active.
Black has equalized
11.exd5 Nxd5 12.Nxd5 Bxd5 13.Qd2 f5 14.Rfd1 Bxb3?!
Here 14...Be6 was more exact.
This asks for trouble as it gives Black the d-file. To be preferrred was 15.axb3 when White is doing fine.
15...Raxd8 16.axb3 f4 17.Bd2 Bc5 18.Kg1 e4 19.Bc4+ Kh8 20.Be1 Nd4 21.b4
Here 21.Ba5 with the idea 21...b6 (Better is 21...Nxc2 22.Bxd8 Nxa1 23.Bh4 Nc2 with the advantage)
22.Bc3 Nxc2 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.Rxa7 was worth considering.
21...Bb6 22.Rac1
There is no way out now. as 22.c3 loses to 22...Nc2 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.Rc1 Nxe1 25.Rxe1 e3.
22...f3 23.c3
If 23.Kf1 then 23...e3!
23...Ne2+ 24.Bxe2 fxe2 25.Rxd8 Rxd8 26.Rc2 e3 27.f4
As 27.Rxe2 loses to 27...exf2+ 28.Bxf2 Rd1+
27...Rd2 0–1

5) Chess in the News

Chess has been in the news lately. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an incredibly detailed story about Bobby Fischer's father,  Paul Nemenyi.  (

Garry Kasparov has wrote an article which appeared Monday in the Wall Street Journal under the title Man vs. Machine: Saving chess from IBM.

Amy Harmon wrote an article for the New York Times about chess players and computers called
More Chess Players Use Computers for Edge ( which quotes GMs Bareev and Ashley among others. It makes for depressing reading.

6) Time Controls

The King of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, has been accelerating time controls ever since he took over FIDE. At present he likes G/90 with a 30 second increment each move. The last FIDE World Championship was played with this time control as was the recent Olympiad. A recent poll done by Yasser Seirawan which was published at the ChessBase website ( suggests that many top GMs strongly disagree with King Kirsan.

21 out of the top 80 players (down to 2613 FIDE) responded to Yasser's survey including Kasparov and Kramnik. 15 of the respondents chose choice C and Michael Adams interestingly the traditional choice D. One sometimes wonders if the only reason for choice B was the fact that when it was implemented clocks could not be programmed to only have an increment in the final control.

There are reports that Kirsan hopes to have the next Olympiad again played at G/25 significantly shortening the length of the event from a little over two weeks to five days. Could GM Tkachev's idea of holding the World Championship at a time control of one minute per player be coming soon?

Here are the choices the players were presented:

The following time-controls for Digital Clocks for Professional seven-hour games were given the most consideration:
A) 150 minutes plus 30 seconds for all moves (All/150+30)
B) 40 moves in 100 minutes plus 30 seconds and 60 minutes plus 30 seconds for all moves (40/100+30, All/60 + 30)
C) 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by 20 moves in one hour, followed by 15 minutes plus 30 seconds for all moves (40/2, 20/1, 15+30/All)
D) 40 moves in 2 hours, followed by 20 moves in one hour, followed by 30 minutes for all moves (40/2, 20/1, 30/All).
(The Mechanical Clock time control.)

Choice A, (All/150+30) gives each player two and a half hours to begin the game, and players can use the allotted time however they wish. The additional 30 seconds means that a player would have to make 120 moves before obtaining an additional one hour of thinking time, keeping the game well within the desired seven-hour period.

Choice B, (40/100+30 & 60 + 30/All) keeps a more constant rate of play. Unlike the first time-control (All/150+30), it is unlikely that the two players will consume a great deal of time on a given move and on the reply to it. Choice B is slightly slower than Choice A.

Choice C, (40/2, 20/1, 15+30/All) is the most conventional. The first two time-controls of Choice C are exactly the same as those used for the Mechanical Clock. The third time-control of 15 minutes plus the 30-second bonus increment avoids the undesirable guillotine finish. However, this time-control is the slowest. It would mean that games that last beyond move 90 would probably go beyond the seven-hour playing session.

The fourth suggested time control Choice D is the same for the Mechanical Clock.
These time controls were the ones most discussed. The Committee welcomes suggestions for other Professional Chess time-controls for the Digital Clock. The Committee requests the top two hundred rated players to select the digital clock time control for Professional Chess by a majority vote.

7) Arthur Stamer Memorial Winners

Arthur Stamer was a member of the Mechanics' for over 50 years and served as its first chess director. Here is an honor roll of winners.

1964   William Addison
1965   Earl Pruner
1966   Duncan Suttles
1967   Earl Pruner and Dennis Fritzinger
1968   John Blackstone and Jude Acers
1969   Earl Pruner
1970   Julio Kaplan, Gilbert Ramirez, Dennis Fritzinger and Jairo Gutierrez
1971   James McCormick and David Blohm
1972   Rex Wilcox
1973   Craig Barnes
1974   Clark Harmon
1975   Craig Barnes and C.Bill Jones
1976 Roy Ervin, Jeremy Silman, and Frank Thornally
1977   John Watson
1978 Peter Biyiasas and Paul Cornelius
1979   Peter Biyiasa
1980   Nick deFirmian
1981   Viktors Pupols
1982   Peter Biyiasas
1983   Nick de Firmian and Jeremy Silman
1984   Peter Biyiasas
1985   Zaki Harari
1986 Nick deFirmian
1987   Dov Gorman
1988   Alex Savetti and Sid Rubin
1989   Marc Leski and Elliott Winslow
1990   Gregory Kotlyar
1991 Igor Ivanov, Richard Koepcke, Greg Hjorth and Jim Eade
1992   Walter Browne and Renard Anderson
1993   Nick deFirmian, John Donaldson, Marc Leski and Emmanuel Perez
1994   Emanuel Perez and John Grefe
1995   Dmitry Zilberstein and Paul Enright
1996   William Orton and Romulio Fuentes
1997 Igor Margulis
1998   Walter Shipman
1999   Russell Wong
2000   Walter Shipman, Gennady Fomin and Steven Gaffagan
2001   Walter Shipman, Guenther Steinmueller, Eugene Levin, Andy Lee, Jennie Frenklakh,
          Rey Salvatierra, Steven Gaffagan, Larry Snyder and Monty Peckham
2002   Ricardo DeGuzman and Michael Aigner

Newsletter #127, 02/19/2003

"If your opponent cannot do anything active, then don't rush the position; instead you should let him sit there, suffer, and beg you for a draw"
Jeremy Silman

1) Aeroflot Open

Belorussian GMs Alexei Aleksandrov and Alexei Federov tied with Viorel Bologan of Moldova and Peter Svidler of Russia for first in the  2nd Aeroflot Open. The four winners tied at 7-2 with Bologan apparently winning the event on tiebreak. Gregory Kaidanov, who finished first last year, was once again among the leaders throughout, but lost with Black in the last round to Svidler to end up with six points.  US Champion Alex Shabalov had 4 1/2.

David Gliksman and James Thinssen, who both grew up in Southern California, finished with  4 1/2 and 4 points from 9.  in the B group.

Z Efimenko - G Kaidanov
Aeroflot Open 'A', (5)
Open Lopez

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Nxe4 6 d4 b5 7 Bb3 d5 8 dxe5 Be6 9 Be3 Be7 10 c3 0-0
11 Re1 Na5 12 Bc2 Nc4 13 Bc1 Bc5 14 Nd4 Nxf2 15 Kxf2 Qh4+ 16 Kg1 Bg4 17 Re2 Bxe2 18 Qxe2 Bxd4+ 19 cxd4 Qxd4+ 20 Qf2 Qxf2+ 21 Kxf2 Nxe5 22 Bf4 Rfe8 23 Nc3 Rad8 24 h3 d4 25 Ne4 Ng6 26 Bg5
Rd5 27 h4 d3 28 Bb3 Rf5+ 29 Ke3 Rfe5 30 Kxd3 Rxe4 31 Rf1 Nh8 32 Bd5 Re1 33 Rxe1 Rxe1 34 b4 Ng6 35 Kd4 h6 36 Bd2 Rd1 37 Kc3 Nxh4 38 Bb7 Nf5 39 Bxa6 Nd6 40 Kd4 0-1

A Aleksandrov - A Lugovoi
Aeroflot Open 'A', (6)
Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 cxd5 exd5 7 Nge2 c6 8 0-0 Re8 9 f3 c5 10 a3 Bxc3
11 bxc3 Nc6 12 Ra2 Qc7 13 Ng3 Be6 14 Bb1 Rac8 15Raf2 Qd7 16 Qd3 h6 17 Rd1 Rc7 18 Bb2 Na5
19 e4 dxe4 20 fxe4 Bc4 21 Qf3 Ng4 22 Rfd2 Bb3 23 Nf5 Bxd1 24 Rxd1 h5 25 h3 Nf6 26 e5 Nh7 27 Nd6 Rf8 28 d5 b5 29 c4 Nxc4 30 Nxc4 bxc4 31 e6 fxe6 32 Bxh7+ Kxh7 33 Qxf8 exd5 34 Be5 Rc8 35 Rxd5 1-0

A Fedorov - M Sorokin
Aeroflot Open 'A', (8)
Petroff's Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 d4 d5 6 Bd3 Nc6 7 0-0 Be7 8 c4 Nb4 9 Be2 0-0 10 Nc3 Be6
11 Ne5 f6 12 Nf3 Kh8 13 a3 Nxc3 14 bxc3 Nc6 15 Nd2 Na5 16 cxd5 Qxd5 17 Re1 Rfe8 18 Bb2 Qc6
19 Bd3 Bf7 20 Qc2 h6 21 c4 Bf8 22 d5 Rxe1+ 23 Rxe1 Qd7 24 Bf5 Qd6 25 Bg6 Bg8 26 Qc3 b6 27 Ne4 Qd8 28 Re3 Nb7 29 Rh3 Bh7 30 Bxh7 Kxh7 31 Qd3 Kg8 32 Rxh6 gxh6 33 Nxf6+ Kf7 34 Qf5 Nc5 35 Ne4+ Ke8 36 Qg6+ Kd7 37 Nxc5+ Kc8 38 Qc6 1-0

2) People's Open

IMs Ricardo DeGuzman and John Donaldson tied for first in the Open section of 30th People's Open held February 15-17 on the UC Berkeley campus. The two winners, who drew in round three, scored 5 from 6, to take home $425 apiece. Teenager Monty Peckham of Oakland was clear third at 4 1/2 and should go over 2200 as a result. 13-year-old Alex Setzepfandt, also of Oakland, had an excellent result in tying for fourth at 4-2 with FM Richard Kelson of Clayton.

While overall attendance was excellent with 157 players in the main event and 112 scholastic players, the Open was weaker than normal with only three IMs and 5 other masters in the 22-player section. Don Shennum  did an excellent job directing the event and has already posted a list of all prize winners, as well as crosstables from each section, at

People's Open Winners: 1974-2003

1974  Ruben Rodriguez (held in Hayward with 199 players)
1975  Walter Browne (over 100-held in Hayward)
1976  Peter Biyiasas, Walter Browne and John Grefe (Berkeley from 1976 to present - 220 players)
1977  Walter Browne (168)
1978  Larry Christiansen and Nick deFirmian  (142)
1979  Eugene Meyer (216)
1980  Paul Cornelius, John Donaldson and Charles Powell (196 players)
1981  James Tarjan (209)
1982 Jeremy Silman and John Grefe (111)
1983  Jeremy Silman (209)
1984 ???
1985  Igor Ivanov and Kamran Shirazi
1986  ???
1987 Cris Ramayrat and Jay Whitehead
1988 Nick deFirmian, Cris Ramayrat, Marc Leski and Dov Gorman  (about 180)
1989 Nick deFirmian (213)
1990  Nick deFirmian and Vince McCambridge (close to 200)
1991  John Donaldson, John Grefe, Marc Leski, Larry Remlinger, and Vladimir Strugatsky
        (219 with 29 masters)
1992 Walter Browne (193)
1993  Nick deFirmian and Renard Anderson (+200)
1994 ???
1995  John Donaldson (210)
1996 ???
1997 John Donaldson, Robin Forman and Walter Shipman (160)
1998 Tigran Ishkhanov and Vinay Bhat (170)
1999 Vinay Bhat (141)
2000 Camilla Baginskaite (130)
2001  Mauro Casadei (131)
2002  John Donaldson and Dmitry Zilberstein (160)
2003  Ricardo DeGuzman and John Donaldson (157)

Does anyone know who won in 1984, 1986, 1994 and 1996?

3) MI Winter Tuesday Night Marathon

Only one round remains in the Winter Tueday Night Marathon but the battle for first remains very unclear. Four players are presently tie for first at 5 1/2 from 7 (IM Walter Shipman, NMs Russell Wong and Igor Margulis and Burmese Expert Win  Aung Lee)  and there is a large group half a point behind. Incidentally the 80-player field ties the attendance record for a TNM, equaling the turnout for the  MI Winter Marathon  of 1973. According to the January-February 1974 issue of the California Chess Reporter that twelve round event was won by NM Peter Cleghorn at 10 1/2 with NM Dennis Waterman second at 10. Three of the players (Peter Grey, Paul Vayssie and Max Wilkerson)  who participated in that Marathon are also playing in the current one thirty years later!

4) MI Chess History CD: Volume 1

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.

Newsletter #128, 02/26/2003

"Chess is a sea in which a gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe"
Hindu proverb

The A.J. Fink Amateur Championship, open to all players rated below 2000, will be held this weekend starting Friday night at 6:30 PM.

1) Linares

The seven player double round robin in Linares has already witnessed one big upset with 15-year-old Teimur Radjabov defeating Garry Kasparov with the black pieces. Standings after 4 rounds.  Note: (3) means three games played so far.

+1 Kramnik (4), Anand (3) and Leko (3)
= Radjabov (4), Vallejo Pons (3)
-1 Kasparov (3)
-2 Ponomariov (4)

G Kasparov - T Radjabov
Linares, (2)
French Defense

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 f4 c5 6 Nf3 Nc6 7 Be3 a6 8 Qd2 b5 9 a3 Qb6 10 Ne2 c4 11 g4 h5 12 gxh5 Rxh5 13 Ng3 Rh8 14 f5 exf5 15 Nxf5 Nf6 16 Ng3 Ng4 17 Bf4 Be6 18 c3 Be7 19 Ng5 0-0-0
20 Nxe6 fxe6 21 Be2 Ngxe5 22 Qe3 Nd7 23 Qxe6 Bh4 24 Qg4 g5 25 Bd2 Rde8 26 0-0-0 Na5 27 Rdf1 Nb3+ 28 Kd1 Bxg3 29 Rf7 Rd8 30 Bxg5 Qg6 31 Qf5 Qxf5 32 Rxf5 Rdf8 33Rxf8+ Nxf8 34 Bf3 Bh4 35 Be3 Nd7 36 Bxd5 Re8 37 Bh6 Ndc5 38 Bf7 Re7 39 Bh5 Nd3 0-1

2) Six-way tie for first in Winter TNM

There was a six-way tie for first at 6-2 in the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon with IM Walter Shipman, NMs Russell Wong, Igor Margulis, and Victor Ossipov plus Experts Win Aung Ye and  Nicolas Yap taking top honors. The next Marathon begins March 18.

3) NM Michael Pearson winner of 2003 Falconer Award

NM Michael Pearson is the winner of the 2003 Falconer Award given annually to the highest rated player under 18 in Northern California. Michael, who is 15 and lives in San Mateo, narrowly missed qualifying for the US Championship at last years US Open. His prize for winning the Falconer is $2,201 which matches his rating of 2201 at the end of December 2002. The Falconer award is named after its benefactor, MI Trustee and former US Senior Champion Neil Falconer.

Falconer Award Winners

2000 Vinay Bhat
2001 Vinay Bhat
2002 Vinay Bhat
2003 Michael Pearson

4) Maurice Ashley returns to the Bay Area

On February 27th GM Maurice Ashley will be at Contra Costa College in SanPablo, CA in conjunction with the Windsor East Bay Chess Academy.  We would like contact local chess clubs to see if they are interested in sending one or two teams of players to play GM Ashley on the 27th between 2:00 and 4:00pm at the college.  Please forward to chess clubs in the West Contra Costa County area or let me know how I can contact them.  Thanks!

Jennifer Ounjian-Auque
Student Life Center Supervisor
Contra Costa College
(510) 235-7800 ext. 4407

5) Midwest Amateur Team Championship

MI and Berkeley Chess Club member Andy Lee, who is attending college in the Heartland, sends in the following report.

My collegiate team (Carleton College in Minnesota) won the Midwest Amateur Team Championship on President's Day Weekend with a 5-0 score.  We were big underdogs, since our 1884 team rating made us the 13th seed in a field of
about 40 teams.  I went 5-0 on board one which was matched by our 3rd board.

Here's my game from the last round:

SM Mehmed Pasalic (2419) NM Andy Lee (2202)

1. e4 e6 2. d3 d5 3. Nd2 c5 4. Ngf3 Nc6 5. g3 Bd6 6. Bg2 Nge7 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1 Qc7 9. Qe2 f6 10. c3 b5 11. Nh4 Rb8 12. f4 d4 13. c4 a6 14. Bh3 Qa5 15. Nhf3 Bc7 16. a3 Qb6 17. Kh1 Qa7 18. Rg1 Ba5 19. cxb5 axb5 20. b4 Bxb4 21. g4 Bc3 22. Rb1 Ng6 23. Nf1 Qc7 24. f5 Nf4 25. Bxf4 Qxf4 26. Ng3 Ne5 27. Nxe5 Qxe5 28.Nh5 h6 29. Rbf1 c4 30. Nf4 Rf7 31. Ng6 cxd3 32. Qxd3 Qd6 33. g5 fxg5 34. e5 Qc6+
35. Bg2 Qc4 36. Qg3 Qc7 37. h4 Bd2 38. Qg4 exf5 39. Qxd4 Kh7 40. h5 Qc3 41.Qd5 Bb7 42. Qxb7 Rfxb7 43. Rxf5 Rb6 44. Rgf1 Bf4 45. Nxf4 gxf4 46. R1xf4 Rd8 47.Rf7 Rd1+ 48. Kh2 Rd2 49. Rg4 Qxe5+ 50. Kg1 Rd1+ 51. Bf1 Rxf1+ 0-1

Well done Andy!

6) Here and There

The FIDE Man vs. Machine World Chess Championship, between Gary Kasparov and the computer Deep Junior is scheduled to re-air on ESPN2 Wednesday, March 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET.

GM Yasser Seirawan of Seattle is on the fast track to becoming a peace negotiator for the United Nations.  A few years he played a big role in rescuing the US Championship and more recently he has volunteered large amounts of time to try to reunify the World Chess Championship crown. As you might guess this has been a truly thankless task! To learn more about his efforts and the difficulties faced check out the new interview he did with GM Mikhail Golubev which is posted at GM Square site. The interview first appeared at GM Alex Baburin's well regarded online daily Chess Today  No 836.

IM John Donaldson won the 11th David Collyer Memorial held February 22-23 in Spokane with a 5-0 score. Kevin Korsmo organized and directed the 54-player event.

Newsletter #129, 03/05/2003

"For me, chess is life and every game is like a new life. Every chess player gets to live many lives in one lifetime"
GM Eduard Gufeld

1) Walter Browne inducted into Hall of Fame

Six-time US Champion Walter Browneof Berkeley was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame this past weekend in Miami along with fellow GM Lev Alburt. This was a richly deserved honor for Browne who has probably won more tournaments than any player in American history in a career dating back to the 1960s. Walter is also the founder of the World Blitz Chess Association and the editor of its excellent quarterly magazine Blitz Chess. Congratulations!

2)  Linares

Standings: 1 V Kramnik (Russia) 5/8; 2 P Leko (Hungary) 4.5/7; 3-4 G
Kasparov (Russia), V Anand (India) 4.5/8; 5-6 T Radjabov (Azerbaijan), R
Ponomariov (Ukraine) 3/8; 7 F Vallejo Pons (Spain) 2.5/7.

P Leko - T Radjabov
Linares, (8)
French McCutcheon

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Bb4 5 e5 h6 6 Bd2 Bxc3 7 bxc3 Ne4 8 Qg4 g6 9 Bd3 Nxd2 10 Kxd2 c5
11 h4 Bd7 12 h5 g5 13 f4 Nc6 14 fxg5 Qa5 15 dxc5 d4 16 Nf3 0-0-0 17 Rab1 dxc3+ 18 Ke2 Rhg8 19 Qe4 Qc7 20 g4 Ne7 21 Bb5 hxg5 22 Rb3 Nd5 23 Rhb1 Bc6 24 Bxc6 Qxc6 25 Nd4 Qa6+ 26 Ke1 Rd7 27 c6 Rc7 28 Rxb7 Rxb7 29 Rxb7 Nb6 30 Qh7 Rf8 31 Qg7 Qa3 32 Qxf8 1-0

3) IM Shipman leads March Masters

IM Walter Shipman leads the March Masters which runs daily until Friday with rounds starting at 1pm.
1. IM Shipman 2/2; 2. FM Thornally 1/1; 3-4. NMs Pinto and Margulis 1/2 from 2,  5. NM Thiel 0/1.

4) Lopez and Bukh win A.J. Fink Amateur Championship

Jacob Lopez and Yefim Bukh tied for first at 4 1/2 - 1/2 in the 53-player A.J. Fink Amateur Championship held February 28-March 2 at the Mechanics' Institute.

5) San Leandro

IM Vinay Bhat took a break from his studies at UC Berkeley and tied for first in a one day event held in San Leandro on February 22.  Vinay, who defeated NM Sertic and IM-elect Ron Cusi, was  held to a draw by rapidly improving junior Uri Andrews of San Jose. The 17-year-old Andrews, who only earned his experts rating this past June, may have come close to going over 2200 with his last round victory over 2300 NM Emmanuel Perez. Hans Poschmann directed the 3-section event which attracted 63 players.

Newsletter #130, 03/12/2003

"When a chess player looks at the board, he does not see a static mosiac, a still life, but a magnetic field of forces charged with energy - as Faraday saw the stresses surrounding magnets and currents as curves in space; or as Van Gogh saw vortices in the skies of Provence."
Arthur Koestler

1) Leko and Kramnik tie for first in Linares

Peter Leko and Vladimir Kramnik tied for first in Linares with Leko taking the title on tiebreak (more decisive results). Their victory marked the end of  Garry Kasparov's record-breaking ten consecutive elite tournament victories stretching from Wijk aan Zee 1999 through to Linares 2002. As expected, Kasparov fought to the bitter end in his last round game against Vishy Anand but could only draw.

A major incident occurred during the prize giving when the tournament's youngest participant, 15-year-old Teimour Radjabov, was controversially awarded (in a vote decided by journalists) the tournament's 'beauty prize' for his win against Kasparov . While the Baku teenager - with his proud mother videotaping the proceedings - was being handed the prize, an enraged Kasparov stormed up to the microphone and said, "I don't believe that this was the best game of the tournament. It has been selected only because it was the only game that I lost and I consider this to be a public insult and humiliation."

While everyone looked on in shock, Kasparov went after a group of journalists and worked his rage up to shouting level. "This is the worst insult you have ever done to me in my life! It is an insult to me and to chess! You consider yourselves chess journalists? If you think this was the most beautiful game of Linares, you are doing a great deal of damage
to chess with your reports and articles. Radjabov was completely lost in that game!"

Readers with good memories might recall the strong words that were heard when Kaparov-Nikolic won over Rogers-Milos and Shabalov-Smirin as the best game of the 1992 Olympiad in Manila. Kasparov's victory might have been the best, but his refusing to remove himself from the jury that judged the prizes left many shaking their heads.

Final Standings:
1-2. P Leko (Hungary) and V Kramnik (Russia) 7/12
3-4. V Anand (India) and G Kasparov (Russia) 6.5
5. R Ponomariov (Ukraine) 5.5
6. F Vallejo Pons (Spain)  5
7. T Radjabov (Azerbaijan) 4.5

V Kramnik - P Leko
Linares, (14)
Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 e5 4 Bc4 d6 5 d3 Be7 6 0-0 Nf6 7 Ng5 0-0 8 f4 exf4 9 Bxf4 h6 10 Nf3 Be6 11 Nd5 Bxd5 12 exd5 Na5 13 Nh4 Nxc4 14 dxc4 Nxd5 15 Qxd5 Bxh4 16 Rad1 b6 17 Bxd6 Be7 18 Be5 Bg5 19 Bd6 Be7 20 Bf4 Bf6 21 c3 Qxd5 22 cxd5 Rad8 23 Bxh6 Bxc3 24 bxc3 gxh6 25 Rfe1 Rd7 26 c4 a6 27 a4 b5 28 axb5 axb5 29 cxb5 Rb8 30 d6 Rxb5 31 Re7 Rbb7 32 Rxd7 Rxd7 33 Kf2 Kg7 34 Kf3 Kf6 35 Rd5 draw

2) Shipman and Thornally tie for first in MI March Masters

IM Walter Shipman and FM Frank Thornally tied for first with undefeated scores of 3-1 in the MI March Masters held March 3-7. Rounds were held daily from Monday through Friday at 1pm with a time control of 30/90 followed by G/60. A similar event is planned for later this month. If you are rated over 2200 USCF and are interested in participating contact John Donaldson at

1-2. IM Shipman and FM Thornally 3; 3-4. NMs Thiel and Margulis 1.5; 5. NM Pinto 1.

3) Ludek Pachman 1924-2003

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) - Ludek Pachman, a chess grandmaster and author of dozens of chess textbooks, died Thursday. He was 78, the news agency CTK reported Monday.
It said the Czech-born Pachman died in Passau, Germany. The report did not give the cause of his death.
Pachman, an internationally known seven-time Czechoslovak chess master and a devoted communist until the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion that crushed democratic reforms known as Prague Spring, emigrated to Germany in 1972.
He returned to Prague after the demise of communism in late 1989, but in 1998 moved to Germany again.
He was the author of a number of chess textbooks, such as ``Modern Chess Strategy,'' or ``Decisive Games in Chess History.''
Pachman also took part in many international chess tournaments.

4) 2003 US Open in Los Angeles

The US Open will return to the West Coast from August 3-15 at the LAX Radisson. The 12-round tournament features the second highest guaranteed  prize fund ($55,000) in the history of the event. This will be only the seventh US Open hosted in California (Long Beach 1955, San Francisco 1961, Palo Alto 1981, Pasadena 1983, Los Angeles 1991 and Concord 1995) and promises  to be the strongest ever. Full details are available in Chess Life and at

Newsletter #131, 03/19/2003

"When you play human beings they could make a mistake, and some of your moves could scare your opponents to death. A computer is very powerful and calculates like God within its limits."
Gary Kasparov

1) Win wins 74-player Wilkerson G/45

Win Aung Ye of Burma won the 3rd annual Max Wilkerson G/45 Open held March 15 at the MI with a 5-0 score. SM Andrey Chumachenko of Davis was second at 4 1/2, taking a last round bye. The event, held to honor former MI Chess Director Max Wilkerson, shattered the one day attendance record for MI events with 74 players (the old record was 58). Anthony Corrales directed for the MI. The next one day G/45 will be held April 26.

2) Spring Tuesday Night Marathon

FM Frank Thornally, NM Peter Thiel and IM Walter Shipman are the top seeds in the 75-player Mechanics' Institute Spring Marathon which started last night. The international field includes players from as far away as Burma and Turkey.

3) USCF Executive Board Meeting

The USCF Executive Board met on March 15-16, 2003 in New Windsor, New York. One of the more important pieces of legislation that passed was the revision of existing eligibility requirements for the US Championship. A motion passed to the effect that the waiting period would be reduced to one year for persons with a green card or other acceptable proof of permanent residency and two years for persons with non-permanent status.  The exception for full time students under the age of 20 remains unchanged. Exact language has yet to be written. The new regulations will probably appear in the July Chess Life. Previously, three years of residence were required but with a much more lenient definition of what defined residency.

4) Here and There

A. This is an invitation to an exhibition match between Irina Krush and Jennifer Shahade, two of the top women players in the United States, on Thursday, March 20th. The match will be held at the Viewing Gallery at 114 17th St. between 6th and 7th avenues, just a few blocks from the Marshall Chess Club! The match will begin at 7:00 pm and will last until 9:30 pm.  The Viewing Gallery is an art gallery, featuring the abstract paintings of Hector Leonardi. Wine will be served and feel free to invite friends! If you have any questions either email me at or call at 917-294-1338!
Location - The Viewing Gallery 114 17th St. between 6th and 7th avenues
Time – March 20th       7:00 – 9:30
Format – 25 minutes per player with 10 second increment.

B. The Chess Journalists of America recently announced its call for submissions for excellence in American chess journalism. Full details are available at

C. FIDE norm hunters some regulations have been modified in the last year.

1. Norms are good for life and have been for more than one year.

2. There is a current rule that you require 24 games if you have a round robin or Olympiad norm or 30 games if relying solely on Swisses. This rule will be changed to 27 and it does not matter what type of event from 1 July 2003.

Newsletter #132, 03/26/2003

" The World has gone downhill since I was young. When I look around me nowadays, I am glad that I myself am going downhill."
Geza Maroczy 1947

2) MI Tuesday Night Marathon

Yefim Bukh, once the most feared B player on the West Coast, has been steadily making his way to 2000 and upward the past few months. Last night he defeated veteran NM David Blohm to join the log jam of players on two points after two rounds of the 75-player Spring Marathon.

3) GM Ken Rogoff and the IMF

Players who were active in  the 1970s will well remember the name of  Ken Rogoff.  A participant in the 1976 Interzonal in Biel, Rogoff was awarded the Grandmaster title in 1977. A few years later he retired from chess to devote himself to economics where he has risen to the top of the field. The London Daily Telegraph of March 20th quotes him in an article about the failings of the IMF.

IMF admits its policies seldom work

By Simon English in New York

"The International Monetary Fund, the Washington-based bank set up to police the financial globe and assist the Third World, yesterday made the startling admission that the policies it has been pursuing for the last 60 years do not often work. In a paper that will be seized on by IMF critics across the political spectrum, leading officials reveal they can find little evidence of their own success.
Countries that follow IMF suggestions often suffer a "collapse in growth rates and significant financial crises", with open currency markets merely serving to "amplify the effects of various shocks".
Kenneth Rogoff, the IMF chief economist who is one of the report's authors, called the findings "sobering".

4) Here and There

Youngsters in the Half Moon Bay area no longer need to travel for chess activity thanks to the Coastside Chess Chess Club. Their website can be found at

The Quarterly for Chess History, Volume 6, produced by Moravian Chess Publishing, features a 9-page article  by Stephen Brandwein and John Donaldson on Lasker at the MI that draws heavily from the recent MI Chess History CD (see #6 below).  The MI has a copy in its library. Personal copies can be obtained Chess Cafe.

Newsletter #133, 04/02/2003

"Those who say they understand chess, understand nothing"
Robert Huebner

1) April FIDE Ratings out

Garry Kasparov continues to head the FIDE rating list at 2830, followed by Kramnik 2789, Anand 2764, Leko 2746, Shirov 2735 and Topalov 2735. Top Americans are Onischuk 2647, Kaidanov 2640, Seirawan 2626 and Goldin 2611.

2) Seven way tie for first in Spring TNM

There were several upsets in round three of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon with Expert Peter Grey defeating IM Walter Shipman and former "King of the Class B's" Yefim Bukh defeating Russell Wong for his 2nd Master scalp in two weeks. The remaining perfect scores are: NMs Margulis, Morkunaite, Thiel and Ye, Experts Grey and Ossipov, plus Bukh.

3) Ray Cuneo

Longtime Mechanics' member Ray Cuneo recently passed away at the age of 96.  Interestingly Ray didn't start playing until he was 40. That didn't stop him from becoming a Mechanics regular for almost half a century!  Ray came regularly to the club right up until his death. Many of our older members in their 70s and 80s considered him a source of inspiration due to his physical vitality, mental agility and genial manner. If they had known he was also still actively participating in a bowling league in Alameda they would have been even more impressed. Ray was well liked by all and we will miss him very much.

Those with stories about Ray are encouraged to write to his granddaughter Karen Gomez.

Karen Gomez
1356 Graymill Court
Rohnert Park, Calif. 94928

4) Lubeck wins 2002-2003 Bundesliga

Congratulations to Grandmaster Nick deFirmian for helping his team win the prestigious Bundesliga competition. A graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in Physics with longtime ties to the Mechanics', Nick is currently based in Copenhagen.

5) Chess from the Past

John Hilbert, one of the hardest working researchers in the field of chess history, shares the following game from the early days of Southern California chess.

Winner of the special prize for the most brilliant "Cunningham" in the recent Southern California Correspondence Tourney, our old contributor, Walter Bennett, Esq., of Phoenix, Arizona Territory, vs. D.F. Sheldon

Bennett,W - Sheldon,D [C35]
Southern California Corres. Tourney, 1895

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 Be7 4.Bc4 Bh4+ 5.Kf1 d5 6.Bxd5 Nf6 7.Nc3 Nxd5 8.Nxd5 0-0 9.Nxh4 Qxh4 10.d3 Nc6 11.Bxf4 f5 12.e5 g5 13.Bg3 Qh6 14.d4 f4 15.Bf2 f3 16.h3 Bg4 17.g3 Bxh3+ 18.Kg1 g4 19.Qd3 Qg7 20.Re1 Rad8 21.Qe4 Qd7 22.Nf6+ Rxf6 23.exf6 Nxd4 24.Rd1 c5 25.c3 Ne2+ 26.Kh2 Qc7 0-1

New York Clipper, March 16, 1895 (Miron Hazeltine, ed.); taken from the New Orleans Times-Democrat (J.D. Seguin, ed.)

Newsletter #134, 04/09/2003

“Objectivity consists in understanding that the only one who
never makes a mistake is the one who never does anything.”
Vladimir Kramnik

1) Thornally wins 2nd March Masters

FM Frank Thornally won the 2nd March Masters held March 24-April 4 at the MI with an undefeated score of 4 1/2 - 1 1/2. NM Peter Thiel was second in the four player double round with 4 followed by NMs Igor Margulis and Mark Pinto with 2 and 1 1/2 points respectively.

The following players have announced their intention of playing in the Thursday Masters Tournament starting April 17.

Roger Poehlmann
Adrian Keatinge-Clay
Frank Thornally
Mark Pinto
Bela Evans
Peter Thiel
Eric Schiller (tentative)

This event was envisioned as a 6 player round robin, but there is no reason we can't have two running concurrently.

Thursday afternoon USCF rated chess for non-Masters will also start on April 17. Each Thursday interested players with similar ratings will be paired. There is no cost for this activity.

The MI will be running a Master/Expert event on May 3-4.

2) Margulis and Ossipov leads Spring Tuesday Night Marathon

Veterans Igor Margulis and Victor Ossipov share the lead with fellow National Master Egle Morkunaite of Lithuania at 4-0 with four rounds remaining in the Tuesday Night Marathon.

3) Vox Populi

Tuesday Night Marathon stalwart Larry Snyder passed out a questionnaire last evening at the TNM polling players as to their preference for a 2 week (current practice) or 1 week break between TNMs. The people have spoken, but somewhat inconclusively.  28 for a 1 week break, 22 for 2 weeks, 6 no preference, and 18 non-voters out of 76 people playing last night is a much higher percentage than voted in the last Presidential election. Thought is being given to having alternating one week and two week breaks between TNMs.

4) Our Man in Europe - Nick deFirmian

Last week's Newsletter mentioned that Nick was a winning member of the Luebeck team in the Bundesliga. Here is one of his efforts from that competition.

De Firmian - Van Beek
Ruy Lopez C72
Bundesliga 2002-3

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.0-0 Bd7 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 Nxd4 8.Nxd4 exd4 9.c3 d3 10.Qxd3 Be7 11.Qg3 Bf6 12.f4 Ne7 13.Nd2 0-0 14.Nf3 Ng6 15.Bd2 c5 16.f5 Ne5 17.Bd5 Bc6 18.Bxc6 Nxc6 19.Bf4 Re8 20.Rad1 Ne5 21.Rd5 Qc7 22.Rfd1 Rad8 23.Nxe5 dxe5 24.Bg5 Rxd5 25.Rxd5 Bxg5 26.Qxg5 Qb6 27.Qe3 Qa5 28.a3 Qa4 29.Qd3 b4 30.cxb4 cxb4 31.Qc4 a5 32.h3 h5 33.Kh2 h4 34.Rd6 Ra8 35.f6 g6 36.Rc6 Re8 37.b3 Qxa3 38.Rc8 1-0

Nick is currently playing in the Gaudal Chess Classics where he is running away with the top section. He has 6 1/2 from 8 with three rounds remaining.

6) Three-way tie at Central California Chess Congress

Filipino IMs Ricardo De Guzman and Enrico Sevillano and IM-elect Ron Cusi shared first place at 3 1/2 - 1/2  in the Central California Chess Congress held March 29-30 in Stockton.

7) Here and There

GM Alex Baburin's award winning online daily Chess Today is coming up fast on its 1000th issue.

MI Chess Director John Donaldson will be the featured guest on Fred Wilson's weekly show next Tuesday night (April 15) on Chess FM starting at 6:30 PM (PST). You can hear the interview at The show will be immediately rebroadcast at 8:00 PM (PST) and then again at 9:00 AM the next morning (PST).

Francisco Sierra, who ran so many chess events in San Jose in the 1970s and 80s is still alive and very well. The San Jose Mercury News of April 1, 2003, in its reporting of the Mercury News 10 K (6.25 miles) race lists the winner of the Mens 70 and over division as Francisco Sierra with a time of 51:51. Well done Francisco!

Newsletter #135, 04/16/2003

'It is one of the insights of modern players, and especially of the best ones, that one has to play the position itself, not some abstract idea of the position.'
John Watson

1)  Wojtkiewicz and Rensch win Western Pacific Open

Top-seed GM Alex Wojtkiewicz took care of business in the inaugural Western Pacific Open held April 11-13 at the Radisson Hotel  at LAX in Los Angeles, but he had company at the top. Sharing first place at 4 ½  - ½  and $1650 in prize money was Phoenix high school student Daniel Rensch. Only seeded 16th at 2274, Rensch defeated three International Masters (Taylor, Khachiyan, plus  Sevillano) and drew with another (Donaldson) for a USCF performance of  over 2800 against titled players.

Rensch was not the only youngster to make head headlines. His teammate, NM Pieta Garrett, defeated IM Nikolay Andrianov and 2300 rated Tibor Weinberger to grab a share of second at 4-1 along with GM Edhi Handoko of Indonesia, IM John Donaldson of the Mechanics’, SM Levon Altounian of  Tucson and NM Rico Salimbagat  of the Philippines.

This new event, which fills the gap in Southern California chess between the Amateur  Team West in February and the Lena Grumette Memorial over Memorial Day weekend, attracted 143 players including two GMs and 4 IMs. John Hillery directed for the Southern California Chess Association with assistance from Mike Carr and Randy Hough. Complete standings are available at

2)  Margulis leads Spring Tuesday Night Marathon

NM Igor Margulis defeated Victor Ossipov to grab the lead with a perfect score after five rounds of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. Right behind at 4 ½ - ½ are NM Egle Morkunaite of Lithuania and the amazing Yefim Bukh.  Bukh, until recently only  had his sights set  on being the strongest B player of  all time.  Now that the USCF has floored him at 1800, due his winning several large B prizes, he has changed his ways with a vengeance numbering NMs Blohm and Wong and Expert Larry Snyder among his victims in the current TNM. Not bad for a player rated 1868! We expect him to earn his Master’s title in the next year. Credit Stacey’s manager Tom Allen for being the first TNM regular to appreciate Bukh’s true strength.

3)  Shipman and Ossipov share first in Lovegrove Senior Open

IM Walter Shipman and NM Victor Ossipov shared top honors in the 3rd annual Walter Lovegrove Senior Open held April 12th and 13th at the Mechanics’ Institute with 3 1/2 from 4. GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky directed for the M.I.

5)  Talent and Courage Tournament

DESPITE such a rich chess heritage and having some of the brightest talents in the game, Hungary has, in recent years, failed to organize an elite tournament to help better showcase their talents.

Not any more. As part of the celebrations to commemorate the 130th anniversary of Budapest, birthplace of chess superstars Peter Leko and Judit Polgar, a new top level event featuring 10 world-class competitors
is now taking place in the Hungarian capital. The patron of the event is Hungarian Prime Minister Dr. Peter Medgyessy, and the event, billed as the "Talent and Courage" tournament, is sponsored by the Hungarian
government in conjunction with the Hunguest Hotels Co.

Running 11-20 April, the event, a round-robin category 17 (average rating 2663) tournament, aims to give opportunities on home soil for the most talented young Hungarian grandmasters in order to acquire greater

The Hungarian line-up is made up of their successful silver-medal winning Olympiad squad that last year in Bled took the Russians to the wire: Peter Leko, Judit Polgar, Peter Acs, Zoltan Almasi and Ferenc
Berekes. Making up the field is five foreign grandmasters: Boris Gelfand (Israel), Nigel Short (England), Sergei Movsesian (Slovakia), Christopher Lutz (Germany) and Viktor Korchnoi (Switzerland).

The home fans had plenty to cheer about in the opening round, as in-form Judit Polgar turned on the style to beat the venerable Viktor Korchnoi in an eye-catching game.

V Korchnoi - J Polgar
Hunguest Hotels, (1)
Queen's Indian Defence

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 b6 3 Nc3 Bb7 4 d4 e6 5 Bg5 h6 6 Bh4 g5 7 Bg3 Nh5 8 e3 Nxg3 9 fxg3 Bg7 10 Bd3 Nc6 11 0-0 Qe7 12 a3 0-0-0 13 Rc1 h5 14 c5 g4 15 cxb6 gxf3 16 bxc7 Kxc7 17 d5 Qg5 18 dxc6 Qxe3+ 19 Kh1 fxg2+ 20 Kxg2 Bxc6+ 21 Be4 Bxc3 22 Bxc6 Qd2+ 23 Kh3 h4 24 Rxc3 hxg3+ 25 Kg4 Rhg8+
26 Kf3 dxc6 27 Qxd2 Rxd2 28 hxg3 Rxb2 29 Ke4 f5+ 30 Ke5 Rg6 31 Rh1 Re2+ 32Kf4 Re4+ 33 Kf3 Reg4 34 Kf2 e5 35 Rf3 Kd6 36 Rh7 a6 37 Ra7 Ra4 38 Rd3+ Ke6 39 Rc3 Kd5 40 Rd7+ Rd6 41 Rf7 f4 42 Rb7 Rc4 43 Rd3+ Kc5 44 Rdb3 Rd2+ 45 Kf3 fxg3 46 Kxg3 Rdc2 0-1

John Henderson - The Scotsman

6)  Louie Ladow Passed Away

April 7, 2003

Louie Ladow, a colorful San Francisco cab driver, chess expert, and fearsome blitz player, died in his sleep last night in Brisbane, CA. He leaves behind his wife, Sue, and daughters Emily and Mary.

In the 1970s, Louie was the scourge of the blitz afficionados at the Meat Market coffeehouse on 24th Street in the San Francisco community of Noe Valley. That community also included masters Paul Whitehead, Jay Whitehead, Bob Atlas, Doug Sailor, Nick Carlin, Mike Arne, Jerry Lehrman and the MI's own Steve Brandwein.

In the early 1980's, Louie staked a small claim in chess history, authoring the first electronic chessbook, the Najdorf Sicilian, for Enlightenment, Inc.'s Living Chess Library (TM). His opus was viewed on IBM, Apple, and Commodore 64 computers by thousands of chessplayers in 20 countries around the world, almost half a decade before the first appearance of Chessbase.

In the 1990's, Louie became active in local politics. He ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the city council of Brisbane, and argued vehemently in many committee meetings with SF Supervisor Gavin Newsom over cab driver medallion issues in the 2000's. His view was that new medallions should be given to those who had driven cabs the longest, rather than being dispensed into the cab companies' existing patronage system.

Several people in the chessplaying community will have their own memories of Louie Ladow. They will remember that he was crusty and could sometimes be quick-tempered. What I will always remember was Louie at the top of his wit one day in 1976 at the Meat Market cafe. He emulated Cyrano de Bergerac, rhyming a continuous string of improvisational poetry while running off eleven blitz victories in a row.

Louie would not have wanted to be remembered as a nice person. He would have wanted to be remembered as his own person.

Martin Marshall

NOTE: A blitz tourney in Louie's honor will be held at the MI in early June. Full details will be published in the Newsletter shortly.

Newsletter #136, 04/23/2003

"Chess is the art which expresses the science of logic just as music is the art which expresses the science of acoustics."
Mikhail Botvinnik

1) Smirin wins Foxwoods

Isreali GM Ilya Smirin won the annual Foxwoods Open held April 17-21, taking home $7,000 for his efforts. The two qualifiers for the 2004 US Championship were GMs Hikaru Nakamura and Sergey Kudrin. MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky narrowly missed qualifying, pressing his last round opponent GM Dmitry Gurevich for over 100 moves in a Rook + f and h pawn ending before finally agreeing to a draw. Congratulations to NM Michael Casella of Los Angeles for an excellent result in the 128 player open section which included 22 GMs and 11 IMs.

For more information go to:

1 Ilya Smirin        2802  6
2 Gregory Kaidanov   2743  5½
3 Igor Novikov       2686  5½
4 Ildar Ibragimov    2667  5½
5 Hikaru Nakamura    2632  5½
6 Yury Shulman       2615  5½
7 Sergey Kudrin      2597  5½
8 Pavel Blatny       2558  5½
9 Jaan Ehlvest       2705  5
10 Alexander Goldin   2683  5
11 Alex Yermolinsky   2622  5
12 Alexander Ivanov   2615  5
13 Gennadi Zaitshik   2590  5
14 Alexander Fishbein 2571  5
15 Dmitry Gurevich    2541  5
16 Michael Casella    2318  5

2) Short first in Budapest

English GM Nigel Short won the "Talent and Courage" tournament to bring his rating close to a personal all time high around 2700. The event was sponsored by the Hungarian government in conjunction with the Hunguest Hotels Co.

Final standing: 1 N Short (England) 6.5/9; 2 J Polgar (Hungary) 5.5; 3 P
Leko (Hungary) 5; 4-6 B Gelfand (Israel), C Lutz (Germany), P Acs
(Hungary) 4.5; 7-8 V Korchnoi (Switzerland), S Movsesian (Slovakia) 4; 9
F Berkes (Hungary) 3.5; 10 Z Almasi (Hungary) 3.

N Short - B Gelfand
Hunguest Hotels, (6)
Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be2 e5 7 Nb3 Be7 8 0-0 0-0 9 Kh1 Nc6 10 Be3 Be6 11 Qd2 a5 12 Rfd1 a4 13 Nc1 Qc8
14 f3 Rd8 15 Bb6 Rd7 16 Nd5 Bd8 17 Bxd8 Qxd8 18 Bb5 Qa5 19 c4 Qxd2 20 Rxd2 Rdd8 21Nb6 Ra5 22 Ne2 a3 23 b3 Kf8 24 Rad1 Ke7
25 Kg1 Ne8 26 Nc3 Nc7 27 Bxc6 bxc6 28 b4 Ra7 29 c5 Ne8 30 b5 Rc7 31 g4 Kf8 32 Nba4 cxb5 33 Nxb5 Rb7 34Nac3 Rc8 35 cxd6 Bd7
36 Rb1 Rc6 37 Kf2 f6 38 Nxa3 Rxb1 39 Naxb1 Nxd6 40 a4 Ke7 41 Nd5+ Kf7 42 Rb2 Ra6 43 Rb6 Rxb6 44 Nxb6 Bc6 45 Nc3 Nb7 46 Ke3
Ke6 47 Kd3 Na5 48 Nb5 Nb3 49 Kc4 Nd2+ 50 Kc5 Bb7 51 Nc4 Nxf3 52 Ncd6 1-0

3) Margulis  leads TNM

Igor Margulis drew with fellow NMEgle Morkunaite to maintain his lead in the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon with 5 1/2 from 6 with two rounds to go. Tied for second, half a point back, are IM Walter Shipman, Morkunaite, NMs Wing Aung Ye and Victor Ossipov plus Yefim Bukh.

4) Thursday Masters

The first round of the Thursday Masters, which runs one game week until late May, saw NM Roger Poehlmanngrab the lead with a win over FM Adrian Keatinge-Clay.

Standings for the 7-player round robin.

1. NM Poehlmann 1
2-5. FM Thornally, FM Evans, NM Pinto, NM Schiller 1/2
6. Keatinge-Clay 0
7. Thiel bye

5) Fink-Lovegrove

Chess Historian and database maven Andy Ansel recently unearthed the following curiosity from 1935.

San Francisco Mechanics offhand game
Fink - Lovegrove

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c4 Be7 7. Nc3 O-O 8.Ne2 Ne8 9. c5 f5 10. exf5 Bxf5 11. Qb3+ Kh8 12. Qxb7 Nd4 13. Nfxd4
{which Knight not specified.}
13... exd4 14. Nxd4 dxc5 15. Nc6 Qxd3 16. Nxe7 Bg4 17. f3 Rxf3 18. gxf3 Bxf3 19. Qxf3 Qxf3 20. Bc6 Qf6 21. Bxa8 Qxe7+ 22. Kf2 1/2 - 1/2

A recent offhand contest at the Mechanic Institute Chess Club at San Francisco, California, started at 4 PM with an agreement to stop at 5 and if unfinished call it a draw. The agreement turned a win for Fink into a draw as the game was
unfinished at 5.

Source: The White Bear Press, Nov 8, 1935

6) Krabbe turns 60

Rene Olthof, the jack of all trades who helps keep New in Chess running smoothly, passes on the following information about one of the renaissance men of chess, Tim Krabbe. Krabbe wrote The Vanishing which was made into successful Dutch and American movies. His book, The Rider, is a cycling classic which I can warmly recommend - JD.

On April 13 Tim Krabbé, author, chess player and cyclist, celebrated his 60th birthday.For many, many years now chess players all over the world have been enjoying his articles on chess in general and chess curiosities in particular.

At the moment Krabbé, a celebrated author some books of whom have been turned into motion pictures both in the Netherlands and abroad, maintains one of the most attractive free chess sites of the world.

On this site you can find the provisional award of two unique tourneys for chess composition, initiated by Krabbé on the occasion of his 60th birthday. One section for chess problems (moremovers) and one for endgame studies. The (provisional) winners are the Polish composer Andrzej Jasik and Emil Melnichenko from New Zealand, a colourful personality (see photograph attached), who was born in Salzburg (Austria) in 1950 and has been active and successful in the world of chess composition for more than 25 years.

The Provisional Award  of the endgame study section can be downloaded (in English and in Dutch) as a PDF-file under or

For both sections Palview pages have been created. Here you can play over the problems and studies online or download them as PGN-files.

The complete set of links is as follows:

René Olthof
Tourney Director TK60-JT
Endgame Study Section

7) Pullen-Pupols

Kent Pullen, who tied for first in the 1969 and 1985 Washington State Championships, recently passed away at the age of 60.

A Battle in the Meran:  Remembering Kent Pullen

The following game was played in the 1969 Washington State Championship. The event was held at the Seattle Chess Club which was located in Fremont at that time. Kent and Jim McCormick tied for first with 6 from 7, with Viktors Pupols half a point back. McCormick won the title by winning the one game playoff.

The game was published in the March 1970 issue of Chess Life and Review (p.143) in the column Games by USCF Members by John Collins. Annotations  are by him unless otherwise noted. When both he and I have made comments to the same move I have noted as such.

Kent  Pullen - Viktors Pupols
QGD: Meran D48
Washington State Championship 1969

Annotations by John Collins and  John Donaldson

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 c6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 a6 9.e4 c5 10.d5 c4 11.dxe6 fxe6
Back in 1984, in the  3rd Seattle Futurity held at the Seattle Chess Center, I played the alternative 11...cxd3 and Kent introduced the interesting piece sacrifice  12.exf7+ . This line was later taken up in Grandmaster practice and tested in games between Seirawan and Kortchnoi and Kortchnoi and Van der Wiel in 1989. (JD)
12.Bc2 Qb6
This little-played move was a Pupols favorite at one point in his career. (JD)
13.e5 Ng4 14.0–0 Ngxe5 15.Re1 Bd6 16.Nxe5 Bxe5 17.Qh5+ g6 18.Bxg6+ hxg6 19.Qxg6+ Kf8 20.Rxe5 Nxe5 21.Bh6+ Ke7 22.Qg5+ Ke8 23.Nd5 Qd6 24.Nf6+ Kd8 25.Ne4+ Qe7 26.Qd2+ Qd7 27.Bg5+ Kc7 28.Qf4 Qd4 29.Bf6 Rh5 30.g4 Bb7! 31.Re1 Rg8 was the exciting game T.Taylor-Pupols, Lone Pine 1974, which eventually ended in a draw. (JD)
13...Bb7 14.e5
Sharp. A pawn is sacrificed to get at the uncastled King. (JC)
14.Qe2 was tried in Christiansen-Nikolac, Wijk aan Zee 1976 (CI - 21/490).  (JD)
If 14...Nd5 15.Ng5! or 15.Ne4
15.h3 Ngxe5 16.Nxe5 Nxe5 17.Qh5+ Nf7 18.Be3 Qc7
Hoping for comparative safety with 19...0–0–0.
19.Rad1 Bd6 20.a4 b4 21.Ne4
I evaluated this position as unclear in 1986 while writing a book on the Meran Defense. My feeling is that this evaluation still holds and Black's mistake comes on the next move. (JD).
On  21...Bxe4 22.Bxe4 0–0–0 23.Qg4 regains the pawn. (JC).  21...Rd8 is much better. Black has some questions regarding what to go with his King, but his pieces are quite active. The game continuation should lead to real trouble. (JD)
22.Bc1 ?!
Momentary, simple protection is best. If  22.Bd4 0–0–0 and if 22.Ng5 g6. (JC).  22.f4! looks much stronger with the point that  22...Bxb2? runs into (better is  22...g6 though after  23.Qg4 Bxb2 24.Qxe6+ Qe7 25.Qxe7+ Kxe7 26.Bc5+ Ke6 27.Nd6 White is better) 23.Nd6+ Kf8 24.Nxf7 Qxf7 25.Bc5+ Kg8 26.Qxf7+ Kxf7 27.Rd7+ winning.
If 22...0–0?? 23.Nf6+ Bxf6 24.Qxh7# (JC). 22...b3 23.Bb1 Rd8 was an interesting alternative with Black trying to hide his King on b8 and utilize his well-placed pieces. For example: 24.Rxd8+ Kxd8 25.Rd1+ Kc8 26.Qg4 Re8 (JD)
23.Qg4 0–0 24.h4
Continuing the attack is the right course. 24.Qxe6 Rae8 would activate all the Black pieces.
Black is in bad shape. Possibly 24...Qe7, or 23...Rae8 would hold better. (JC) 24...Rad8 25.h5 Rxd1 26.Rxd1 b3 27.Bb1 Kg7 28.hxg6 hxg6 29.Nc5 is one example of the power in White's position. (JD)
25.h5 Ne5 26.Qxe6+
Now the capture of the pawn beings about an even stronger attack or a distinctly favorable ending.
If 26...Kh8 27.Nd6 or 27.f4 follows. On  26...Rf7? 27.Ng5 or  26...Nf7? 27.hxg6.
27.Ng5! Qxe6 28.Nxe6 Rf6 29.Nxg7 Kxg7 30.Rfe1 Nf7 31.Re7 Bc8
Not 31...Bc6? 32.Bg5 and White wins the Exchange.
If 32.Rd8 (threatening 32.h6 mate) 32...Re6 provides a defense. The game continuation is very good for White, but the alternative 32. Rd8 also looks promising. After 32...Re6 White has 33.h6+ Kf6 34.Rxe6+ Kxe6 35.Rd4 Ne5 36.f4 Nd3 37.Rxc4 Nxc1 38.Be4 winning:  (FRITZ)
32...Bf5 33.h6+ Kf8 34.Bxf5 Rxf5 35.Rc7 Re8
A pawn is lost. If 35...Ra5 (or 35...Rh5) 36.Ree7.
36.Rxe8+ Kxe8 37.Rxc4 a5 38.Be3 Kd7 39.Rc5!?
A move which poses some questions. Less committing are  39.Bb6! (threatening 40.Rc7+) and 39.Kf1.
"Black would have had better drawing chances by playing 39...Rxc5 40.Bxc5 Kc6!" - Pullen.
40.Rxf5 Nxf5 41.Bb6 Kc6 42.Bxa5 Kc5 43.Kf1 Nd4
Or 43...Kc4 44.Bb6 Kb3 45.a5 and White wins.
44.Ke1 Kc4 45.Kd1 Kb3 46.Bb6 Nc6 47.a5 Nb8 48.Kc1 Kc4 49.Kc2 Kb5 50.Kd3 h5
50...Nc6 51.b3 Nxa5 52.Bxa5 Kxa5 53.Kc4 h6 54.Kc5 h5 55.f4 h4 56.Kc4 and Black is in zugzwang.
51.Ke4 Nd7 52.Kd5 g5 53.Ke6 Nxb6
The King and Pawn ending is quite lost, but if  53...Kc6 54.Kf5 and White wins the g and h pawns.
54.axb6 Kxb6 55.Kd5 h4? 56.f3!
But not  56.Kc4 g4 57.Kxb4 h3 and Black wins.
56...b3 57.Kc4 Kc6 58.Kxb3 Kd5 59.Kc3 Ke5 60.Kd3 Kf4 61.Ke2 g4
Or  61...h3 62.gxh3 Kg3 63.b4 Kxh3 64.b5 and White wins.
62.fxg4 Kxg4 63.Kf2 Kf4 64.Kg1 Ke3 65.Kh2 Kd3 66.Kh3 Kc4 67.Kxh4 Kb3 68.g4 Kxb2 69.g5  1–0
One pawn is enough. A game in the Tarrasch, classical, style.

Newsletter #137, 04/30/2003

"Chess is work."
Walter Browne

1) Shipman, Morkunaite and Ossipov lead TNM

IM Walter Shipman and Masters Egle Morkunaite and Victor Ossipov are tied for first with 6 from 7 with one round to go in the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon.

2) DeGuzman and Mezentsev win Konig Memorial

Top seeds IM Ricardo De Guzman and SM Vladimir Mezentsev tied for first with 4.5 from 5 in the 3rd Annual Imre Konig Memorial held April 26. Anthony Corrales directed the 51 player event for the Mechanics'.

3) Evans and Poehlmann lead Thursday Masters

FM Bela Evans and NM Roger Poehlmann are the early leaders in the Thursday Masters round robin which ends in late May.

4) National and International Events

American players have been active the past month. Nick DeFirmian won a Category 8 (2426 +) GM round robin in Norway and IM Jesse Kraai of New Mexico scored 5 from 12 in the April First Saturday Tournament in Budapest. Yesterday the very strong 4th Karpov Tournament finished in Poikovsky, Russia with Alexander Onischuk of Maryland in 5th place.

Final Standings: 1. Svidler, Peter g RUS 2713 6.0; 2. Lautier, Joel g FRA 2666 6.0; 3. Rublevsky, Sergei g RUS 2670 5.5; 4. Zvjaginsev, Vadim g RUS 2664 5.5; 5. Onischuk, Alexander g USA 2647 5.0; 6. Vescovi, Giovanni g BRA 2615 4.5; 7. Bologan, Viktor g MDA 2663 4.0; 8. Pelletier, Yannick g SUI 2623 3.5; 9. Lputian, Smbat G g ARM 2638 3.0; 10. Obodchuk, Andrei m RUS 2417 2.0.

IM Eugene Perelshteyn looks all but certain to make his first GM norm in the Generation Chess International being held in New York City at the Marshall Chess Club.  Perelshteyn has 5.5 from 6 and needs only one draw from his final three games against GMs Ehlvest and Christiansen and IM Simutowe. Complete standings and games can be found at .

5) US Championship Qualifying Information

John Henderson passes along the following information.

"ONE of the richest prizes in the game is that of U.S. Champion, thanks to the generosity of patron Erik Anderson and his Seattle-based
America's Foundation for Chess (AF4C).
Since taking over the ailing title in 2000, the AF4C have revitalized the 'sleeping giant' with some innovative ideas - most prominent being the increase of the prize fund to $250,000. Another novelty was the opening up of what was once a closed event with players qualifying from some of the big U.S. Opens.
In 2004, the field for the Championships will be increased to the "natural" chess figure of 64; of which only 17 players will be seeded: 7
top rated players including 2003 Champion Alexander Shabalov, 6 top rated women players including 2003 Women's Champion Anna Hahn, the 2002 and 2003 Grand Prix winners, and the 2003 and 2004 US Junior Champions.
Two players will have wildcard spots as determined by the AF4C, and two will come from a new online tournament of US State Champions.
43 players, with 10 spots reserved for women players, will qualify from 11 US tournaments in the period April 2003 through August 2004 - these include:  Foxwoods 2003 and 2004, Chicago Open 2003 and 2004, National Open 2003 and 2004, World Open 2003 and 2004, U.S. Open 2003 and 2004, and the 2003 North American Open."

6) Master/Expert this weekend

The Mechanics' will be hosting a Master/Experts open this weekend. The event, which is open to open to current and former Masters and Experts, will be both USCF and FIDE rated. Advance entrants include IM Walter Shipman and FM Bela Evans.

7) Exhibition game: Yermolinsky-Shulman on May 7

MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky will face off with Dallas GM Yury Shulman on May 7. The game will start at 5:15 and last approximately two hours. The two players will be located in different parts of the club with a runner ferrying moves. During the game the two Grandmasters will explain their thoughts to the audience. Admission is free for all.

8) Ansel and Zimmerman donations

The MI Chess Room would like to thank Andy Ansel and Ian Zimmerman for their generous donations of barrister bookcases and chess books which are much appreciated. Remember, all donations to the Mechanics' (including your annual membership dues) are tax deductible due to the M.I.'s 501(c) (3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that has been lying around unused for some time consider donating to the Mechanics'. You will not only get a tax write off but also the satisfaction of seeing it put to good use.

Newsletter #138, 05/07/2003

"An art appearing in the form of a game".
- entry on chess in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia

1) Exhibition game: Yermolinsky-Shulman Today

MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky will face off with Dallas GM Yury Shulman this evening, May 7. The game will start at 5:15 and last approximately two hours. The two players will be located in different parts of the club with a runner ferrying moves. During the game the two Grandmasters will explain their thoughts to the audience. Admission is free for all.

2) Shipman wins Spring Tuesday Night Marathon

Experience triumphed over youth as IM Walter Shipman defeated NM Egle Morkunaite in the last round of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. The 73-year-old Shipman, ranked number 11 in the country for players  65 or over at 2259, scored 7-1 to become the oldest winner ever of the Marathon. Morkunaite, a student from Lithuania, would have been the first female to win this event if she had won.

Second place was taken by another veteran, 65-year-old NM Igor Margulis (#13 in the US on the 65 or over list), who defeated NM Peter Thiel in the last round to finish on 6 1/2. His only lost was to Shipman in round 7. Veterans would have made a clean sweep, but for top-seed FM Frank Thornally, who defeated 71-year-old NM Victor Ossipov (#24 in the US at 2202) in the last round. This win created a log jam at 6 points, with Thornally, Ossipov, Morkunaite, NM David Blohm, NM Win Aung Ye and Expert Peter Grey sharing third place.

The Summer Marathon starts on May 27.

3) Mezentsev first in Mechanics' Masters/Expert Open

Senior Master Vladimir Mezentsev won the Mechanics' Masters/Expert Open held May 3rd and 4th. Mezentsev scored 3 1/2 from 4 to take home $425. He won first two games, drew with FM Adrian Keatinge Clay in round three and defeated NM Richard Koepcke in the money round. Tying for second at 3-1 were IM Ricardo De Guzman, FMs Bela Evans and Adrian Keatinge-Clay and Expert Anthony Rosenvasser. NM Koepcke finished out of the money at 2 1/2 but had an excellent result defeating top seed DeGuzman and drawing IM Walter Shipman. Complete standings for the 20-player event can be found at Anthony Corrales and John Donaldson directed for the Mechanics'.

4) Perelshteyn wins the Generation Chess International

John Henderson writes in his excellent column in The Scotsman:

"The Generation Chess International tournament at New York's famed Manhattan Chess Club was won by American International Master Eugene Perelshteyn, who dominated the novel event aimed at eradicating from the
game the farce of the 'grandmaster draw'.
Despite a last round loss to Estonian top seed Jaan Ehlvest, Perelshteyn's margin of victory over his nearest rivals was a full point - a performance that also secured the University of Maryland Baltimore County student and team captain a grandmaster norm.
The new-styled event prohibited players from making draw offers before move 50; the only caveat being that of a repetition (or even stalemate), of which the tournament only had five.  Most of the games from the tornament turned out to be hard-fought encounters as many of the players were forced into "re-discovering" the endgame in chess.  By its conclusion, nearly 80% of the games (with an average of 51 moves per game) proved decisive compared to the more usual figure of 50% in such events.
The worst offending tournament on record for the abuse of GM draws was the 1999 Petrosian Memorial,  where the ten players "competing" found a fitting way to pay tribute to the 9th world champion Tigran Petrosian - they managed 42 draws from 45 games, and at an average of just 26 moves!

Final standings: 1 IM E Perelshteyn (USA) 6.5/9; 2-4 IM I Krush (USA),GM J Ehlvest (Estonia), GM L Christiansen (USA) 5.5; 5 GM L Yudasin (Israel) 5; 6-7 IM A Simutowe (Zambia), IM V Akobian (USA) 4.5; 8 IM M Bluvshtein (Canada) 3.5; 9 FM S Muhammad (USA) 2.5; 10 IM W Paschall 2.

E Perelshteyn - J Ehlvest
Generation Tournament, (9)
Accelerated Dragon

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 g6 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nxd4 Nc6 6 Be3 Nf6 7 Bc4 0-0 8 Bb3 d6 9 f3 Bd7 10 Qd2 Nxd4 11 Bxd4 b5 12 0-0-0 a5 13 a4 bxa4 14 Nxa4 Qb8 15 Kb1 Bxa4 16 Bxa4 Rc8 17 Qd3 Nh5 18 Qb3 Qc7 19 Bb6 Qc4 20 Rd5 Qe2 21 Rg1 Nf4 22 Rxa5 Rxa5 23 Bxa5 Ra8 24 Qb6 Bd4 25 Qxd4 Rxa5 26 b3 Nxg2 27 Qd1 Nf4 28 h4 Qf2 29 Qe1 Qb6 30 Ka2 Ne6 31 Rg4 h5 32 Rg2 Nc5 33 Rg5 Ra8 34 Ka3 Rb8 35 Qc3 Qa6 36 Rd5 Rc8 37 Qd2 Qf1 38 Qd1 Qf2 39 Rd2 Qe3 40 Qe2 Qc3 0-1

JD adds - IM Irina Krush narrowly missed her second GM norm in this event, drawing in the last round with IM Stephen Muhammad. IM Varuzhan Akobian of Glendale, bounced back from defeats in the first two rounds to finish on 50 percent.

5) Chess in San Francisco 1856

Well-known chess historian keeps making amazing discoveries about chess in old San Francisco. Here he uncovers a gave played just a few years after the end of the Gold Rush.

Grotjan,T - Schleiden,P [C44]
San Francisco, 1856

Played in 1856 (but never before published) between Professor Schleiden, president of the German Chess Club, San Francisco, and T.J. Grotjan, of the Pioneer Club. The German Club had won a supper in a match by correspondence with the Pioneer Club, and this game was played over the board for another supper, each club selecting a player.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4
This is not a very usual move, 4.Nxd4 is usually played. Mr. Stiebel played Mr. Home (London Chess Monthly, Vol. II, page 114) 4.Bc4 followed by Ng5 with great success.
4...Bc5 5.c3 Nge7 6.cxd4 Bb6 7.Nc3 d6 8.0-0 0-0 9.a3
We think this move rather weak, we prefer 9.Be3.
9...Bg4 10.Be3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3
Rather than lose the d-pawn, we should have prefered to have taken with g-pawn.
11...Nxd4 12.Qd1 Ne6 13.Bxb6 axb6 14.Qg4 c6 15.f4 d5
This is not a good move, as it affords White to open a very strong attack; ...b5 trying to drive the White bishop out of the line we think would have been better or ...Kh8.
16.Rad1 Nc7 17.f5 Kh8 18.f6
White pushes the game in brilliant style.
18...gxf6 19.Rxf6 Rg8 20.Qf3 Ng6 21.Bf1 Rg7 22.exd5 Qg8 23.dxc6 bxc6 24.Rxc6 Ne5 25.Qf6 Nxc6 26.Qxc6 Ne6 27.Ne4 Nf4 28.Qf6 Qb8 29.Nd6 Nh3+ 30.Kh1 Ng5 31.h4 h6 32.hxg5 hxg5 33.Nxf7+ Kg8 34.Rd8+ Qxd8 35.Nxd8 Kh7 36.Bd3+   1-0
Black fought the end bravely, but the White attack was irresistible. Baltimore Sunday News, March 25, 1883; annotations by J.B. Muncy

6) Here and There

Hanon Russell's Chess Cafe has made available audio and text of a radio interview Alekhine gave back in 1938. Check it out at

Congratulations to IM Dmitry Schneider winner of the 2003 Samford Scholarship.

FM Bela Evans and NM Roger Poehlmann continue to lead the Thursday Masters. Evans has 2 from 3 and Poehlmann 1 1/2 from 2 (plus a bye).

Very best wishes from the MI staff to NM Vivek Nambiar of Milpitas on his upcoming marriage on May 15 in his native India. Vivek ( invites all his friends at the MI to attend.

The London Financial Times (4/30/03) reports that the International Monetary Fund announced that Ken Rogoff, its chief economist, would be leaving the Fund in autumn to return to academia. He will be returning to Harvard to reach and do research. Grandmaster Rogoff played in several US Championships and was a participant in the 1976 Interzonal in Biel.

Newsletter #139, 05/14/2003

"You have, let us say, a promising politician, a rising artist that you wish to destroy. Dagger or bomb are archaic, clumsy and unreliable - but teach him, inoculate him with chess."
H.G. Wells

GM Yury Shulman will be giving a special lecture tonight starting at 5:15 pm. Admission is free. This Saturday the 3rd Annual Charles Powell Memorial will be held starting at 10 am.

1) Wood Green Wins 4 NCL

Irish GM Alexander Baburin, who has played in many MI events, helped lead his team to victory in the 4 Nations Chess League by winning all three of his games on the last weekend of competition. John Henderson reports in his daily column in The Scotsman.

"IT'LL never work."   That was the usual advice Chris Dunworth was given when in 1993 he embarked on creating a UK-wide professional chess league based on the model of the successful German Bundesliga.
Now, some ten years on, the 4 Nations Chess League (4NCL) has become Britain's premier team competition.  As ever, the highlight of the 4NCL season is the 'Finals Weekend', played over the May Bank Holiday at the West Bromwich Moat House Hotel.
In previous years, Wood Green have been regarded as the perennial bridesmaids of the tournament, having been strong contenders in the past four seasons only to be pipped to the post by the likes of big-spending teams such as Slough and Index IT.  However, as the opposition lost many of their star players through financial difficulties, Wood Green held on to their super-club status thanks to the unstinting support from club stalwarts Peter Sowray, IM Paul Littlewood and club captain Brian Smith.
With a star-studded line-up for the finals weekend that included the likes of Michael Adams, Nigel Short, Jon Speelman, Alexander Baburin and Bogdan Lalic, Wood Green took no chances going into the final three rounds of the weekend, and were odds-on to win their first 4NCL Div.1 title with a 100% score on 16 points out of 16 and a 2-point lead over their nearest rivals, Guildford and Barbican.
Easily outrating the opposition, Wood Green took no prisoners in the first two rounds of the final weekend with emphatic 7-1 and 8-0
victories, respectively, over and Perceptron Youth. On firepower alone, the only opposition they had came in the final game of the season, when they played Guildford.  Despite being held to a 4-4 draw - a result that deprived them of being the only team in the history of the competition to win the title with a 100% score - at long last assured Wood Green of the title.

Final standings, Div.1: 1 Wood Green 1 21/22; 2 Guildford-ADC 1 19; 3 Barbican 4NCL 1 18; 4 15; 5 Wood Green 2 12; 6 Richmond 11; 7 The ADs 1 10; 8 Slough 9; 9 Barbican 4NCL 2 6; Relegated - 10 Perceptron Youth 6; 11 S Wales Dragons 3; 12 Bristol 1 2.

A Baburin - R Pert
4NCL, (9.4)
Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 g3 d5 5 cxd5 Nxd5 6 Bg2 Nb6 7 Nc3 Nc6 8 e3 0-0 9 0-0 Re8 10 d5 Na5 11 Nd4 Bd7 12 e4 c6 13 Bf4 cxd5 14 exd5 Rc8 15 Rc1 Nac4 16 b3 Nd6 17 Qd2 Rc5 18 Rfe1 Nbc8 19 Be3 Rc7 20 Nce2 Nf5 21 Nxf5 Bxf5 22 Nd4 Bd7 23 h4 h5 24 Nf3 Bg4 25 Ng5 Rd7 26 Qb4 Nb6 27 Qf4 Bf6 28 Bd4 Kg7 29 Rc5 Qb8 30 Be5 Qd8 31 Re3 Bf5 32 d6 Bxe5 33 Qxe5+ f6 34 Qxf5 gxf5 35 Ne6+ Kf7 36 Nxd8+ Rdxd8 37 dxe7 Rd1+ 38 Kh2 f4 39 gxf4 Rxe7 40 Rxe7+ Kxe7 41 Rxh5 Rd2 42 Rh7+ Ke6 43 Rxb7 Rxf2 44 Rxa7 Rxf4 45 Kg3 Rd4 46 h5 Rd3+ 47 Kf4 1-0

2) Here and There

Garry Kasparov, who recently turned 40, was the surprise winner of the 2002 Chess Oscar with 3082 points, finishing well ahead of Peter Leko (2668 points), Vishy Anand (2453), Ruslan Ponomariov (2145), Vladimir Kramnik (1471), Evgeny Bareev (1132), Veselin Topalov (964), Judit Polgar (771), Anatoly Karpov (741) and Alexander Grischuk (706).

SM David Pruess will be leaving his native Berkeley soon in search of opportunities in New York City. We wish him well.

The exhibition game between GMs Alex Yermolinsky and Yury Shulman, held last Wednesday at the MI, ended in a hard fought draw. Look for the game, with annotations by both players, to be up on the MI website sometime next week.

FM Bela Evans and NM Roger Poehlmann continue to lead the Thursday Masters with scores of plus one. The event concludes May 27.

3) Games from Recent MI Events

FM Keatinge-Clay - SM Mezentsev [E74]
MI Master/Expert (3), 2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 0–0 5.Be2 c5 6.d5 d6 7.Bg5 h6 8.Be3 b5 9.e5 dxe5 10.Nxb5 Nbd7 11.f3 Ne8 12.Qd2 Kh7 13.Bd3 Nd6 14.Nc3 f5 15.Nge2 e4 16.fxe4 Ne5 17.b3 fxe4 18.Bc2 Qa5 19.Nxe4 Qxd2+ 20.Kxd2 Nexc4+ 21.bxc4 Nxc4+ 22.Kd3 Nb2+ 23.Kd2 Nc4+ ½–½

IM Shipman - NM Margulis  [A45]
Spring Tuesday Night Marathon (7), 2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.g3 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Be7 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.h3 Bd7 8.a4 0–0 9.Nd2 Ne8 10.g4 Bg5 11.Nc4 g6 12.Bd3 Bxc1 13.Qxc1 Qh4 14.Ne3 Na6 15.Ng2 Qe7 16.Qh6 Nb4 17.Ne3 Rc8 18.Bb5 f6 19.Bxd7 Qxd7 20.f4 Qg7 21.Qxg7+ Kxg7 22.f5 Rf7 23.Kd2 b6 24.a5 Rb8 25.axb6 Rxb6 26.Nc4 Ra6 27.Rxa6 Nxa6 28.Ra1 Nb8 29.Nb5 a6 30.Nbxd6 Nxd6 31.Nxd6 Rd7 32.Nc4 h5 33.Ra5 Rc7 34.Ke3 Kh6 35.Kf3 hxg4+ 36.hxg4 Kg5 37.Kg3 gxf5 38.gxf5 Kh5 39.Ra1 Kh6 40.Kf3 Kg7 41.b3 Kf8 42.Ra5 Kf7 43.Ke3 Kf8 44.Kd3 Rc8 45.Nb2 Ke7 46.Na4 Nd7 47.Rxa6 Rh8 48.d6+ Kf7 49.Ra7 Rh3+ 50.Kc4 Ke8 51.Nxc5 1–0

Newsletter #140, 05/21/2003

"The passion for playing chess is one of the most unaccountable in the world. It slaps the theory of natural selection in the face. It is the most absorbing of pastimes, the least satisfying of desires...It annihilates a man."
H.G. Wells

1) Charles Powell Memorial

IM Ricardo De Guzman defeated SM Vladimir Mezentsev in the last round of the 3rd Charles Powell Memorial to take top honors.. Finishing half a point behind De Guzman's 5-0 score was Burmese NM Win Aung Ye. Sharing third at 4-1 in the 44-player-field were Mezentsev, Monty Peckham and Yefim Bukh. Anthony Corrales directed the event which was held May 17 at the MI.

2) Shulman Lecture

Dallas GM Yury Shulman gave a lecture at the Mechanics' on May 14 and showed two of his games that bring back memories of the classic attacks of the past. Check out 20.Qxf5+!!  in the game with IM Ginsburg.

Shulman- Marciano
Ubeda (5) 1997

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 exf4 4.Nf3 g5 5.h4 g4 6.Ng5 h6 7.Nxf7 Kxf7 8.Bc4+ d5 9.Bxd5+ Kg7 10.d4 Nf6 11.Bxf4 Bb4 12.Bxc6 bxc6 13.0-0 Rf8 14.Qd2 Ng8 15.Be5+ Kh7 16.Rxf8 Qxf8 17.Rf1 Qe7 18.Qf4 Be6 19.Nd5 Bd2 20.Qxd2 cxd5 21.Qf4 c6 22.exd5 cxd5 23.c4 Qd7 24.h5 Ne7 25.Qf6 Rg8 26.Qf7+ 1-0

Shulman- Ginsburg
Las Vegas (5) 2001

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.Be3 Nbd7 8.0-0 Qe7 9.Qc2 c6 10.Rfe1 Ng4 11.Bg5 f6 12.Bh4 h5 13.h3 Nh6 14.Rad1 Nf7 15.Bg3 Kh7 16.Nh4 Bh6 17.f4 exf4 18.e5 f5 19.Nxg6 Kxg6 20.Qxf5+ Kg7 21.Bd3 Rh8 22.Qg6+ Kf8 23.e6 Rg8 24.Bh4 Rxg6 25.Bxe7+ Kxe7 26.exd7+ Re6 27.dxc8Q 1-0

3) Prague Agreement in trouble

John Henderson reports in The Scotsman that there seems no end in sight to the divided chess throne.

"Last week marked the first anniversary of the so-called ‘Prague Agreement’, a Unity Plan devised by America’s Yasser Seirawan that
promised much to end the bitter schism that divided the chess world with two rival world titles, yet so far has failed to deliver.
Last year in Prague, both warring parties faced up to the reality outlined in Seirawan's plan that unification was the only way forward
for the good of the game, and a timetable to accommodate this with a winner-takes-all showdown between the two champions scheduled for November being agreed to.  Unfortunately, the peace process looks (for now) to have been derailed as both the FIDE world title match in Argentina between Kasparov and Ponamariov, and the Einstein world title match (as yet to be announced) between Kramnik and Leko, has been beset by problems.
In reality, one of the biggest problems is that there doesn't seem to be anyone coordinating both camps with the same vigour and enthusiasm as there was in bringing the rival groups to the negotiating table in the first place.  Last year in Prague, despite all his valiant efforts to reunite the chess world, Seirawan had to sit back in despair at seeing the fruits of his many months of diplomacy and tender negotiations being 'hijacked' by others."

4) Ulvestad in Northern California in 1948

The Seattle master Olaf Ulvestad, who had a sister living in Palo Alto, was a frequent visitor to the Bay Area in the late 1940s. Andy Ansel has unearthed two of his games from the California Chess News and News of the Pacific Coast, a short-lived predecessor of the California Chess Reporter.

San Francisco 1948

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nbd2 g6 4. c4 Bg7 5. e3 O-O 6. Qb3 c5 7. dxc5 Na6 8.cxd5 Nxc5 9. Qa3 Qxd5 10. Bc4 Qh5 11. Nd4 Nfe4 12. Nxe4 Nxe4 13. Qxe7 Qa5+ 14.b4 Qb6 15. O-O Nd6 16. Bb3 Nf5 17. Nxf5 Bxf5 18. Ba3 Bf6 19. Qc5 Qxc5 20.bxc5 Bxa1 21. Rxa1 Rfd8 22. Bb2 Rd2 23. Bc3 Rd7 24. Ba5 Be4 25. f3 Bc6 26. Kf2 Re8 27. e4 Rd3 28. Bc4 Ra3 29. Be1 Rd8 30. Rc1 Ra4 31. Ke3 Be8 32. Bb3 Rad4 33.Ba5 Rd3+ 34. Kf4 R8d4 35. Bc3 Rd8 36. Bc4 Rd1 37. Rc2 Ba4 38. Rb2 Bc6 39. Ba5 R8d7 40. Bb3 Rc1 41. Bb4 Kg7 42. g4 f6 43. g5 fxg5+ 44. Kxg5 Rd3 45. Rf2 Rg1+ 46.Kf4 Kf6 47. e5+ Ke7 48. Ba3 g5+ 49. Kf5 Rd4 50. Bc1 Rxc1 51. Kxg5 Rg1+ 0-1

Informal game @ 40 moves per hour. Source: California Chess News and News of the Pacific Coast, Vol 1, No 10.

H.J. "Bip" Ralston was a major figure in California chess half a century ago, being one of the driving forces behind the California Chess Reporter.

Andy A. writes; "Here is another game--it is undated as it was sent in by the loser (with his notes) and is featured as the Game of the Month (thus I am assuming 1948)--also it may be a simul (not noted)".

Ulvestad - Daugherty
Palo Alto 1948

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. cxd5 cxd4 5. Qa4+ Bd7 6. Qxd4 exd5 7. Qxd5 Nc6 8. Bg5 Nf6 9. Bxf6 Qxf6 10. Nf3 O-O-O 11. e3 Bb4 12. Rc1 Kb8 13. Be2 Bh3 14.Qxd8+ Rxd8 15. gxh3 Ne5 16. Nxe5 Qxe5 17. h4 Qd5 18. O-O Qe5 19. Rfd1 Bd6 20.Bf3 Qxh2+ 21. Kf1 Qxh4 22. Rd4 Qf6 23. Bg2 Rc8 24. Rcd1 Bc7 25. Rd7 Rd8 26. Rxd8+ Bxd8 27. Rd7 Bc7 28. Nd5 Qa6+ 29. Kg1 Ba5 30. Rxf7 Qd6 31. Rxg7 a6 32.Rxh7 Bd8 33. b4 Qe5 34. a4 Qa1+ 35. Kh2 Qe5+ 36. f4 Qf5 37. Rxb7+ Kc8 38.Bh3 Qxh3+ 39. Kxh3 Kxb7 40. b5 1-0

Source: California Chess News and News of the Pacific Coast, Vol 1, No 5.

5) Bay Area Juniors Shine

Bay Area Juniors shined in the National Elementary Championships held May 11-13 in Nashville. Satchel Genobaga scored  4 out of 7 in the K-1, Aviv Adler was 19th in the K-6 and MI Wednesday afternoon regular Hugo Kitano was 16th in the K-3 Open with 5 1/2 from 7, losing only to the
eventual section winner.

Newsletter #141, 05/28/2003

"Vukcevich is a very imaginative player and is always ready in the post mortem to show the most extraordinary and complicated variations."
Julio Kaplan, Chess Life (1977)

1) Milan Vukcevich 1937- 2003

The chess world has lost one of its most talented and dedicated devotees with the passing of Milan Vukcevich on May 10 in Cleveland after a long bout with cancer. Chess players tend to be divided into over the board and correspondence players, problemists, and end game composers. Milan was the rare individual who excelled in all forms of the game.

Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, on March 11, 1937 Milan did not have it easy in his youth.  He grew up without his father Radoje, who was a liaison officer between the royal army of Yugoslavia and U.S. Forces, and was forced to flee to the United States after incurring the enmity of President Tito. In his book, Chess by Milan (1981), Vukcevich credits his uncle Milan Trivanovic, his brother Ivan Sprung and family friend (and future IM) Trandaphilos Siaperas for installing in him a life-long love of playing chess and composing problems. Also close to Milan were the members of the Belgrade chess club Slavia, which numbered among its members Matulovic, Janosevic, Maric, Sokolov, and Lazarevic. This was a golden time for chess in Yugoslavia and Milan blossomed in the supportive environment.

He earned his Candidate Master title in 1953 and by 1955 was strong enough to win the Yugoslav Junior Championship and draw a match with a young Bent Larsen 3-3. That year he also began his studies at the University of Belgrade where he was affiliated until 1963. During this decade his chess and academic career blossomed. He received the very difficult to obtain Yugoslav Master title by scoring 50 percent in the 1958 Yugoslav Championship (he had missed by a half point in 1957), but it was in 1960 that he attracted the attention of the chess world. Everyone remembers Leningrad 1960 as the scene of the great triumph for the US Student Olympiad team (Lombardy, Kalme, Weinstein, Saidy, Mednis and Hearst) over the Soviets but not too many might recall that Yugoslavia was third and Milan was the key factor. He tied for the best result on second board with the late Charles Kalme with 11 1/2 from 13, only US first board William Lombardy had a better overall result in the competition with an amazing 12 out of 13. Milan's victories over Tringov and Drimer won the best game and best endgame prizes. Later in the year he received a second team bronze medal when he was a member of the Yugoslav team that finished third in the Olympiad in Leipzig.

Milan moved to the United States in 1963 to enter the doctorate program in metallurgy at MIT. He graduated in 1967 and shortly thereafter moved to Cleveland where he taught at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland for six years. When the university pressured him to engage in research not congenial to his nature, Milan refused and left to work in industry, primarily at the General Electric Company in Cleveland.

He played league chess in Boston and Cleveland in the 1960s but it was his first place tie with GMs Benko and R. Byrne at the 1969 US Open that brought him to the attention of the American chess public.  In 1975 US Closed championship he had his best ever result, narrowly missing qualification for the Interzonal, when he finished third. The following year he found the perfect vehicle to renew his love for team chess in the newly formed National Telephone League. Competing for the Cleveland Kinghunters he performed exceptionally well year after year. In 1976 he led Cleveland to a third place finish, tying with GM Kavalek for best result on board one with 6 1/2 from 8. His sole loss was to Richard Verber when he lost on time on move 40 after failing to punch his clock in a winning position.  His score in 22 games in the NTL from 1976-1979 was a fantastic 16 1/2 points against almost entirely GM and IM opposition.

The demise of the National Telephone League marked the end of Milan's departure from the national chess scene though he continued to play locally in Cleveland in major events in Ohio, helping to raise the standard of chess in the Buckeye State. Among the Cleveland players who benefited from playing him in the late 1960s through 1980s were IMs Calvin Blocker and Dmitru Ghizdavu and NMs Ross Strague, Tom Wozney, Robert Burns, James Schroeder, James Harkins and Richard Noel.

GM Lubosh Kavalek in a 1973 interview opined that Vukcevich, had he chosen to pursue chess professionally, possessed all the qualities to eventually become one of the world's top thirty. His chess style was characterized by extensive and original opening knowledge, the ability to calculate deeply and accurately, and a penchant for problem-like solutions (exemplified by his stunning ...Ng3!! against Shamkovich). This level of competitive success never came to be, partly because he loved his career as a scientist. As Vukcevich prepared for the 1975 Us Championship he told The Plain Dealer that he did not consider going the route of most chess champions: eking out a living by playing in tournaments, teaching and writing about the subject. "I cannot be just a chess player or just a scientist. I have to be both. I have to get to my lab next week, even though I will be playing in the tournament . . . I have a very happy life, happier than many others.'

Another reason that Milan never realized his full potential was that he preferred beauty in chess above all else. In his book "Milan on Chess" he mentions having come to prefer the noncompetitive world of composition to that of tournament chess, and the last twenty years of his life he composed many chess problems. He became the first American to hold the FIDE International Grandmaster of Chess Composition title in 1988. Just before his death he published a second book of his best problems that is available for $35 from Mike Prcic, 2613 Northshore Lane,  Westlake Village, CA ,  91361-3318. For his career achievements as a chess player and problem composer Milan was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame in 1998.

Milan's accomplishments as a scientist were considerable. A Nobel Prize nominee for Chemistry he authored two books and for many years held the title of Chief Scientist at General Electric. He was a professor at the University of Arizona when he passed away.

As much as Milan accomplished as a player, composer and scientist he will best be remembered for his love of life and friendly manner. James Schroeder, writing in the Cleveland Chess Bulletin, relates how Milan never asked for any special treatment despite being the best player in Cleveland in the 1960s and 70. While playing in the 1975 Ohio Chess Congress I had a chance to see first hand what a standup guy Milan was. The overwhelming favorite to win, he was upset early by an A player from Cincinnati by the name of Perry Sill, who beat him with a book trap in the Schliemann variation of the Ruy Lopez in 19 moves.  Many players in this situation would have been very angry and stomped out, but Milan congratulated his young opponent and stayed in the tournament for the remaining rounds despite no longer having any chance to win the event.

Tringov,G - Vukcevich,M [C34]
Leningrad 1960

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 h6 4.d4 g5 5.Bc4 d6 6.c3 Nc6 7.0–0 Bg7 8.g3 Bh3 9.Rf2 Nf6! 10.Qc2 Qd7 11.gxf4 gxf4 12.Kh1 0–0–0 13.Bd3 d5! 14.e5 Ne4 15.Bxe4 dxe4 16.Qxe4 Bxe5! 17.Bxf4 Qg4! 18.Ng1 Bxf4 19.Nxh3 Qd1+ 20.Ng1 Rhg8 21.Rg2 Rxg2 22.Qxg2 Ne7! 23.Qe2 Qc1 24.Nd2 Qxd2 25.Qxd2 Bxd2 26.Rf1 f5 27.Nf3 Be3 28.Re1 f4 0-1

Vukcevich,M - Bisguier,A [C78]
US-op Lincoln 1969

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Bb3 Bb7 7.Re1 Bc5 8.c3 d6 9.d4 Bb6 10.a4 Qe7 11.axb5 axb5 12.Rxa8+ Bxa8 13.Na3 Na7 14.Bg5 0–0 15.Nh4 Bb7 16.Nf5 Qd8 17.dxe5 dxe5 18.Qf3 Bc5 19.Rd1 Bd6 20.Nh6+ Kh8 21.Nxf7+ Rxf7 22.Bxf7 Qa8 23.Qxf6 1–0

Shamkovich,L - Vukcevich,M [B79]
Phone League (5) 1976

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0–0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.Bb3 Qa5 11.0–0–0 Rfc8 12.h4 Ne5 13.Nde2 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.h5 Nxh5 16.g4 Ng3!! 17.Nxg3 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qa3+ 19.Kb1 Be6 20.Qh2 Kf8 21.Rd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 Qxc3 23.Bh6+ Ke8 24.Ne4 Rb4+ 25.Kc1 Qa3+ 26.Kd2 Rc8 27.Ke2 Rxc2+ 28.Nd2 Qa6+ 29.Kf2 Qxa2 30.Kg3 Qxd5 31.Re1 e6 32.Re2 Rbb2 33.Be3 h5 34.gxh5 gxh5 35.Qg2 Kd7 36.Kh2 Qe5+ 37.Kg1 h4 38.Qg8 Qg3+ 39.Qxg3 hxg3 40.Kg2 a5 0–1

2) Shabba wins in Chicago

US Champion Alex Shabalov took home top honors in the Chicago Open held May 23-26 at the Hyatt Regency in Oak Brook, Illinois. The Pittsburgh resident scored 6-1, beating GMs Gregory Kaidanov and Pavel Blatny and IMs Mark Ginsburg and Mark Bluvshtein. His two draws, yielded in the middle rounds of the event, were against GM Walter Browne and IM Jan Van der Mortel.

There was a large group tying for second on 5 1/2, including GMs Jan Ehlvest, Alexander Goldin, Alexander Stripunsky and Nikola Mitkov and IM Ben Finegold.
Close behind, a half point back, were MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky and fellow GMs Kaidanov, Igor Novikov, Ildar Ibragimov, Yury Shulman plus IM Eugene Perelshteyn. The latter two qualified for the 2004 US Championship. Curiously, unlike Foxwoods where all the top Americans under 2650 USCF paid the $75 US Championship Qualifier fee, here only 4 players over 2500 did. Since the list of seeded players from the rating list will only be determined at the end of the this year it may be that several individuals intend to raise their rating soon!

Several Northern California players played besides Yermo. Six-time US Champion Walter Browne had 4 from 6, SM Dmitry Zilberstein 4 from 7, Vladimir Strugatsky 3 1/2 from 7, Ron Cusi 3 from 7 and Paul Gallegos 3 from 7. The latter was an excellent result by Gallegos, who rated around 2200, faced opposition averaging over 2400.

Over 20 GMs played in this event organized and directed by Bill Goichberg, driving force of the Continental Chess Association.

3) Mezentsev victorious in Los Angeles

Mountain View SM Vladimir Mezentsev won the Lena Grumette Memorial in Los Angeles over Memorial Day Weekend. Mezentsev, who has two IM norms, scored 5 1/2 from 6. After yielding a draw in round one he came back strong, beating 2300s Abrahamian and Salimbagat and top-seed IM Enrico Sevillano in the final three tounds. Andranik Matikozian was second at 5 followed by fellow IMs Jack Peters, Melik Khachiyan and Sevillano on 4 1/2. MI junior Monty Peckham turned in a strong performance with 3 1/2 from 5, including a victory over IM Tim Taylor. There were 139 players in the multi-section event, excluding scholastic and one day sections.

4) Aigner and MacFarland tie for first in Sacramento

NMs Michael Aigner and James MacFarland tied for first in the 2nd Koltanowski Memorial held May 24-26 in Sacramento. The two winners, who drew with each other in round 5, scored 5-1. A point back were up-and-coming juniors Ben Haun, Nick Yap and Ben Tejes. Daichi Siegrist took the Reserve section with 5 1/2 from 6.  63 players competed in the two section event organized by the Sacramento Chess Club.

Newsletter #142, 06/01/2003

"There is no easy way to develop tactical skill. I learned tactics from simple trial and error and continuous inspection of combination books like Fred Reinfeld's 1001 Sacs and Combinations.  Blitz games can be a useful way to cram as much chessboard experience as possible into a short amount of time and a good way to become familiar with tactical patterns. Reviewing classic games with a chessboard is another good way to grasp essential tactical points. All players at GM level are extremely proficient tactically (some more than others) and can deduce basic combinations and tactics almost instantly."
GM Larry Christiansen in his book: Storming the Barricades, p. 27

1) Thornally, Poehlmann and Evans lead Thursday Masters

The field in the Thursday Masters is tightly bunched with everything depending on the remaining game between Roger Poehlmann and Mark Pinto scheduled for next Tuesday.
1-2. FMs Thornally and  Evans 3/5; 3. NM Poehlmann 2.5/4; 4. NM Schiller 2.5/5; 5. FM Keatinge-Clay 2/5; 6. NM Pinto 1/4.

2) Summer Tuesday Night Marathon

The Summer Marathon started last Tuesday with FM Frank Thornally as top seed. The event which runs eight consecutive weeks, has 75 players entered so far. This marks the fifth consecutive TNM with 70 or more players dating back a year (72, 72. 80 and 76). It is still possible to enter the competition with a half point bye for the first round.

3) Sokolov wins in Sarajevo

John Henderson writes about the Sarajevo event in his daily column in The Scotsman.

"The 33rd Bosna-2003 supertournament, which ran 18-27 May at the Dom Armije Concert Hall in downtown Sarajevo, was won by returning local hero Ivan Sokolov, who kept his nerve in the final few rounds of the tournament to successfully fend off the challenge from the chasing pack.
Fourth seed Sokolov, a former Bosnian who now plays under the Dutch flag, went through the tournament undefeated to record one of the
biggest wins of his career. Sokolov's winning score of 6.5/9 gave him a winning margin of half a point over last year's winner Sergei
Movsessian, top seed Alexei Shirov and Rust Kasimdzanov, who all finished second equal on 6.
One highlight of the tournament was the return of the King's Indian Defence, with 13 of the 45 games featuring it. The honours were even at the end of the tournament with 6.5-6.5, however the reintroduction made or some highly-entertaining play - much like today's last round effort between Russia's Evgeny Bareev and Azerbaijani prodigy Teimour Radjabov.

There was some entertaining fireworks with 24 ..Rxf2! before the game fizzled out to a draw - accepting the sacrifice was just too dangerous: 25 Kxf2 Bd4+ 26 Be3 Nf5 27 c5 Qf4 with winning chances.

Final standings: 1 I Sokolov (Netherlands) 6.5/9; 2-4 S Movsesian (Slovakia), A Shirov (Spain), R Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan) 6; 5 T Radjabov (Azerbaijan) 5; 6-7 B Kurajica, (Bosnia), E Bareev (Russia) 4.5; 8 Z Kozul (Croatia) 3; 9 B Damljanovic (Yugoslavia) 2; 10 E Dizdarevic (Bosnia) 1.5.

E Bareev, - T Radjabov
Bosna-2003, (9)
King's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 Be2 e5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 b4 Nh5 10 Re1 f5 11 Ng5 Nf6 12 Bf3 c6 13 Rb1 h6 14 Ne6 Bxe6 15 dxe6 fxe4 16 Nxe4 Nxe4 17 Bxe4 d5 18 Bc2 Qd6 19 Qg4 h5 20 Qh3 e4 21 Be3 b6 22 b5 d4 23 Bg5 d3 24 Bb3 Rxf2 25 Rxe4 Raf8 26 Qe3 Re2 27 Bxe7 Rxe3 28 Bxd6 Rxe4 29 Bxf8 Bd4+ 30 Kh1 Kxf8 31 bxc6 Rxe6 32 c7 draw

4) Seirawan interview

Former US Champion Yasser Seirawan has given a very interesting interview which appears on IM Jeremy Silman's website. Below is a brief excerpt. The full interview can be found at .

Capablanca said that one should study endgames first. Others insist that tactics are all that matters. Positional concepts for beginners are more or less ignored. And most seem to be addicted to memorizing opening moves. What do you think a beginning player should study? A class “C” (1400-1599)? An expert (2000-2199)?

Capablanca is right. Endings for everyone. Memorizing openings is a serious waste of time. Only with endgame knowledge can one have chess understanding. A good endgame player will recognize the long-term deficits and advantages of any opening variation. Why study the Zaitsev Spanish if a player plays the Exchange Spanish and beats you every time in an equal ending? The problem is that studying the endgame has been so dry and sterile that players would rather stop playing chess then study the ending. Teachers who can make endgame study sparkle and hold interest are rare and vital. I was quite fortunate in that my earliest chess teachers made me enjoy this facet of the game. Consider that my admired players include Kortchnoi, Timman and Minev, all great endgame specialists.

Newsletter #143, 06/11/2003

"Chess is really 99 percent calculation"

1) Ehlvest wins CCA International in Vermont

Former Candidate Jaan Ehlvest of Estonia won the Continental Chess Association International held at the Stratton Mountain Inn near Manchester, Vermont from June 4-8.  Ehlvest, who is currently enrolled at the University of Baltimore at Maryland County, scored an undefeated 7 1/2 from 10 to take home the $4,000 first prize. Tying for second in the 30-player event, which included seven GMs and nine IMs, were GMs Peter Kiriakov and Alex Wojtkiewicz and IMs Varuzhan Akobian and John Donaldson.  Kiriakov and Wojtkiewicz were both undefeated and among the leaders throughout the event.  Akobian started slowly, which prevented him form playing the necessary foreigners required for GM norm possibilities, but had the satisfaction of avenging his last round US Championship defeat to Alex Shabalov.  Donaldson turned in a 2630 FIDE performance, defeating GM Blatny and IMs Firman and Andrianov, drawing with GMs Kiriakov and Ivanov, as well as IMs Akobian and Perelshteyn.  His only loss was in round two to Ehlvest.  This result was good for his second Grandmaster norm.  He needs one more result to qualify for the title.

Making IM norms were Emory Tate and Robby Adamson.  Tate had a particularly eventful tournament scoring 3 out of 4 against two GMs and two IMs the first four rounds of the event, then managing only one point from his next five games before rallying to win his final game and make a norm.

Continental Chess Association founder Bill Goichberg is best known for his high profile events like the World, Chicago, and North American Opens, but he has also run many smaller events the past 35+ years to help promote chess all over America and provide opportunities for US players to earn International titles.  It's hard to imagine where American chess would be without him.

Final standings: 1. GM Jaan Ehlvest 7.5/10; 2-5. GMs Peter Kiriakov and Alex Wojtkiewicz, IMs Varuzhan Akobian and John Donaldson 7; 6. GM Idar Ibragimov 6.5; 7-10. GM Alexander Shabalov, GM Alexander Ivanov and IM Ron Burnett 6; 11-16. IM Nikolay Andrianov, IM Eugene Perelshteyn, GM Pavel Blatny, FM Rodion Rubenchik and FM John Bick 5.5

For more information and a selection of games go to: CCA INTERNATIONAL

The following game, played in round 8, was a key one for me. My opponent, who is one of the top young players in the Ukraine with a FIDE rating of 2505, will undoubtedly become a strong GM soon, but he was not having a good tournament in Vermont.  I was able to put him under strong pressure very quickly and won a miniature .

Donaldson - Firman
Leningrad Dutch A87
Vermont International (8) 2003

1.Nf3 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.0–0 Bg7 5.d4 0–0 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 Qe8
This variation of the Leningrad has replaced 7...c6 and 7...Nc6 as the main line in this opening. It offers Black good chances to play for a win, albeit with some strategic risk.
8.d5 Na6 9.Rb1 c6
More solid is 9...Bd7 10.b4 c6 11.dxc6 Bxc6. Donaldson-Onischuk, Lindsborg 2002, saw White try the novelty 12.c5!? which led to a sharp but short draw: 12... Ne4 13.Qb3+Qf714.Nxe4 Bxe4 15.cxd6 Bxb1 16.dxe7 Qxb3 17.exf8Q+ Rxf8 18.axb3 Be4 19.Be3 b6 20.Rd1 Nxb4 21.Rd7 Nc2  22.Bf4 ½–½
10.dxc6 bxc6 11.b4 Bd7 12.a3 h6!?
The move, envisoning ...g5 and action on the kingside is a popular plan in the Leningrad, but 12...Nc7, planning to redeploy the Knight to e6, to support ...f4, looks more reliable. For example 12...Nc713.Bb2 Rb8 14.Ba1 Ne6 15.e3 a5 16.Na4 axb4 17.axb4 with only a slight advantage for White.
13.Bb2 g5 14.c5!
14.e3 Nc7 15.Qe2 e5 16.Rfd1 e4 17.Nd4 Rd8 18.b5 c5 19.Nb3 f4 led to a Black win in Hebden-Firman, Lausanne 2000. The text is much more to the point. White opens the a2-g8 diagonal and prepares to blockade on the central dark-squares.
This move is a positional mistake as Black will never be allowed to play ...e5.
Black has two more critical tries:
(a) 14...dxc5 15.Ne5 Rd8 16.Nxd7 Qxd7 17.Qa4 cxb4 18.Qxa6 bxc3 19.Bxc3 Qe6 20.Rb7 gave White compensation for the pawn in Cvitan-Borge, Manilla (ol) 1992,  but I see nothing wrong with 16.Qa4 Nc7 17.Nxc6 following by b5 with a big advantage.;
(B) 14...g4 (risky but perhaps justifying the plan of ...h6 and ...g5) 15.Nd4 dxc5 (15...e5? is met by 16.Ndb5! cxb5 17.Qxd6!) 16.Qb3+ Kh8 17.Ne6 Bxe6 18.Qxe6 cxb4 19.axb4 Nxb4 with Black having a pawn for his troubles.
Now White has a big advantage.
15...Be6 16.Qa4 Nb8
Unfortunately there is no other way to protect the Knight and guard c6.
Striking at the base of Black's pawn chain, White weakens Black's control of d5.
On 17...Ne4 White has 18.Nxe4 cxb5 19.Qb3 fxe4 20.Bxe4 with much the better chances.
18.Qxb5 Nbd7??
The final mistake. Black had to play 18...Ne4 though 19.Qxe8 Rxe8 20.Nxe4 fxe4 21.f3 exf3 22.Nxf3 Nc6 23.Bxg7 Kxg7 24.e3 with Nd4 to follow gives White a nice advantage.
19.Qc6 1–0
Resignation was not premature as d5 was falling leaving Black with a terrible position as well as a material deficit.

2) Keatinge-Clay tops Stamer

FM Adrian Keatinge-Clay won the 39th annual Arthur Stamer Memorial held June 6-8 at the MI.  Keatinge-Clay's score of 4 1/2 from 5 put him a half point ahead of IM Ricardo DeGuzman. Tying for second at 4 were IM Ricardo DeGuzman, NM Roger Poehlmann, and Experts Anthony Rozenvasser and Dana Mackenzie.  A total of 47 players participated in the event held June 6-8. Anthony Corrales and Alex Yermolinsky directed for the Mechanics'.

3) Tatum takes Ladow Memorial Blitz

Up-and-coming Junior Kofi Tatum finished ahead of several Masters to win the Louie Ladow Memorial Blitz Tournament held June 1st at the Mechanics' Institute.  Tatum scored 8 1/2 from 10 in the five double-round Swiss System event, a half point ahead of NM Oleg Shakhnazarov.  Other top scorers were:3. Anthony Rozenvasser 7 1/2; 4-7. Richard Koepcke, Joe Tracy, Igor Traub and Martin Marshall 7; 8. Ewelina Krubnik 6.  Steve Brandwein directed the event which was sponsored by Martin Marshall.

4) Tuesday Night Marathon

Three rounds into the TNM, there are five remaining perfect scores in the 77-player field: NM David Blohm and Experts Anthony Rozenvasser, Ben Haun, Nicolas Yap, and Anthony Gross.  It's still possible to enter the eight round event with half point byes for the first three rounds.

Newsletter #144, 06/18/2003

"Chess holds its master in its own bonds, shackling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom of the very strongest must suffer."
Albert Einstein

1) National Open

This year's edition of the National Open, held June 13-15 in Las Vegas, ended in an eight-way tie for first at 5-1 between GMs Alex Wojtkiewicz, Sergei Kudrin, Peter Kiriakov, Gregory Serper, Hikaru Nakamura, Alex Shabalov, Ildar Ibragimov and Jaan Ehlvest. GM Joel Benjamin and FM Michael Casella earned the US Championship Qualifying spots with scores of 4.5 . The top Bay Area scorers in the Open Section were: GM Alex Yermolinsky 4.5; GM Walter Browne 4; IM Walter Shipman 3.5; FM David Pruess 3 (out of 5) and NM Michael Aigner 3. MI Trustee Vince McCambridge had 2.5 from 3. Promising Bay Area teenager Gary Huang won the Under 2200 section with a score of 5.5 from 6.

2) Yap and Rosenvasser lead Tuesday Night Marathon

Nicolas Yap and Anthony Rozenvasser lead the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon at the halfway mark with scores of 4-0. Tied for third at 3.5 are Victor Ossipov, Russell Wong and Alex Setzepfandt. This Marathon has set an all time record for the series with 81 participants, one more than the previous high set in 1974 and equaled earlier this year.

3) MI and other Bay Area Chess Camps

The MI is hosting camps for beginners (June 16-20) and intermediate players (July 14-18) this summer. All ages are welcome.
The Berkeley Chess School (  is running a series of camps in the East Bay and San Francisco this summer while
Know Chess ( is holding camps  in the South Bay and the Peninsula.

Newsletter #145, 06/25/2003

"If your opponent offers you a draw, try to work out why he thinks he's worse off."
Nigel Short

1) Nicolas Yap leads Tuesday Night Marathon

San Francisco high school student Nicolas Yap is leading the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon with a perfect score after five rounds. The teenager has defeated NMs David Blohm and Russell Wong the past two rounds to give him a half point lead over another youngster, Alex Setzepfandt, and Anthony Rozenvasser. Three rounds remain for the 81-player field.

2) Americans in Budapest

American players turned in fine performances in the June First Saturday tournament. FM David Vigorito made a long overdue final IM norm by tying for first with 8-3 in the Category 2 (2292) IM norm section. David who lives in Las Vegas but has strong ties to Boston, needs only to raise his rating to 2400 FIDE to receive the title.

IM Jesse Kraai of Santa Fe, New Mexico, tied for third at 5.5 from 9 in the Category 7 (2404) GM section while Boston IM Joseph Fang finished with a respectable score of 4-5.

Berczes,D - Vigorito,D
Slav D17
FSIM June Budapest HUN (4), 10.06.2003

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 Na6 7.f3 Nd7 8.Nxc4 e5 9.e4 exd4 10.exf5 dxc3 11.bxc3 Qf6 12.Qc2 0–0–0 13.Be2 Bc5 14.Rb1 Rhe8 15.Kf1 Qh4 16.g3 Qh3+ 17.Ke1 Qg2 18.Rf1 Nf6 19.Qb2 Nb4 0–1

3) International News

As revealed in this column some two week's ago, the on-off-on again FIDE title match between Garry Kasparov and Ruslan Ponomariov now looks set for a change of venue from Buenos Aires in Argentina to Yalta in the Crimea region of the Ukraine.
It's now reported Ukrainian sources that both players have received official confirmation of the switch of venue from FIDE, and the match
date now looks set to be in early September.
Yalta is famed for a world summit held there in the dying days of the Second World War between the "big three" of Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, which endeavored to unify the world.  Hopefully the new Yalta summit match may yet lead to unity in the chess world!
Worryingly, however, the proposed dates look likely to clash head-on with the annual Eurotel Trophy match in Prague - yet another Bessel Kok and Serge Grimaux extravaganza - which is believed to be a six-game "Battle of the Sexes" classical match between world number three Vishy Anand and top female player Judit Polgar.

4) Here and There

The Monterey Chess Center, which has been in operation since 1966, and it its present location on Alvarado Street since 1972, will be closing its doors at the end of this month. Open six days a week (closed Mondays), the Chess Center is the creation of Ted Yudacufski who has kept it running since day one. If you find yourself near Monterey the next few days check it out.

Can anyone provide information on the late Sandor Tresz (1912-1988) who was an MI member for many years?

SM David Pruess will be playing in an IM norm event in Montreal later this month before relocating to New York. Good luck David!

MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky and MI Chess Director John Donaldson will be playing in the World Open next week so there will be no lectures next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Newsletter #146, 06/30/2003

"The books say that it is not so serious to lose time in a closed position; I am lucky, since these comments have not harmed me too much."
Bent Larsen

Note this Newsletter is going out early as John Donaldson will be playing in the 5-day schedule at the World Open. Alex Yermolinsky is playing in the 7-day schedule so there will be no lectures this Tuesday and Wednesday.

1) Mezentsev wins 3rd William Addison G/45

SM Vladimir Mezentsev (2522) won the 3rd Annual William Addison G/45 held June 28 at the Mechanics' Institute. Mezentsev scored 4.5 from 5, drawing with up-and-coming Expert Nicolas Yap in round 3 and defeating NM Emmanuel Perez (2340) in the money game. Tying for second at 4-1 in the 47-player field were NMs Perez, Ron Cusi, Michael Pendergast, plus Expert John Glass and A-player George Sanguinetti. Anthony Corrales directed for the M.I.

2) Pruess leads in Montreal

Recent UC Berkeley grad David Pruess is off to a rocket start in a Category 3 (2304) round robin being held in Montreal. Pruess has 5 from 5 including wins over the top 3 rated players (number one seed IM Jean Hebert) and needs only 1 1/2 from 4 to make his first IM norm. Go David!

3) Summer Tuesday Night Marathon

The sixth round of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon will be held this evening. Nicolas Yap leads with 5-0.
The following game was played in round eight of the last Tuesday Night Marathon.

Peter Grey - George Sanguinetti
Tarrasch D34
Spring TNM (8)2003

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.0–0 Nf6 6.c4 Be7 7.cxd5 exd5 8.Nc3 0–0 9.Bg5 cxd4 10.Nxd4 h6 11.Be3 Re8 12.Rc1 Bf8 13.Nxc6 bxc6 14.Na4 Qa5?
This very plausible looking move is a serious mistake  yet continues to be played today, two decades after San Francisco IM David Strauss first showed its failings. 14...Bd7 is necessary.
15.Rxc6 Bd7 16.Bd2! Qb5
16...Bb4 17.Rc5 Qxa4 18.Qxa4 Bxa4 19.Bxb4; 16...Qd8 17.Rc1 Bxa4 18.Qxa4 Rxe2 19.Qd1± Ribli-Barle, Portoroz-Ljubljana 1985
17.Rxf6 gxf6 18.Nc3 Qa6
18...Qxb2 19.Nxd5 Rac8 20.Bc3 Rxc3 21.Nxf6+ Kh8 22.Qxd7 Re7 23.Qf5 and White won shortly in Strauss-King, British Championship 1985.
19.Nxd5 Rac8 20.Bc3 Bg7 21.Qd4 Bb5 22.Qf4 Bxe2 23.Re1 Bh5 24.Rxe8+ Rxe8 25.Nc7 Qe2 26.Nxe8 Qd1+ 27.Bf1 Be2 28.h4 Qxf1+ 29.Kh2 Bg4 30.Nxf6+ Bxf6 31.Qxg4+ Kf8 32.Bb4+ Be7 33.Bxe7+ Kxe7 34.Qb4+ Ke8 1–0

4) 2002 Bled Olympiad gold medalist Sam Collins visiting Bay Area

Irish FM Sam Collins, who was the top reserve player in the 2002 Bled Olympiad, is teaching at Berkeley Chess School Camps through July 15. He is available for private lessons and can be reached at .

5) 1939 California State Championship

Rusty Miller of Chelan, Washington, recently unearthed two games from the 1939 California State Championship won by 19-year-old Philip Woliston.

Woliston,P - Koltanowski,G D90
California State Ch. Los Angeles, 1939
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.Qb3 Nxc3 7.bxc3 0–0 8.Ba3 Nd7 9.e3 Re8 10.Bc4 e6 11.0–0 a6 12.Rac1 c5 13.Bxc5 Nxc5 14.dxc5 Bf8 15.c6 bxc6 16.Rfd1 Qc7 17.Rb1 Bc5 18.Qa4 a5 19.Ne5! Qxe5 20.Qxc6 Bd7 21.Rxd7 Rab8 22.Rdb7 Rbc8 23.Qf3 Rf8 24.Rd1?! [24.Qg4] Qxc3? [24...Bd6 25.Qg3 Rxc4 26.Rxd6 Rxc3] 25.Bxe6! fxe6 26.Qh3 Rf7 27.Rxf7 Kxf7 28.Rd7+ 1–0

Woliston,P - Steiner,H E11
California State Ch. Los Angeles, 1939
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Qe7 5.a3 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 d5 7.Nc3 0–0 8.e3 Nbd7 9.Qc2 c6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Bd3 Re8 12.0–0 Ne4 13.Bxe4 dxe4 14.Nd2 Nf6 15.h3 Nd5!? 16.Nxd5
16.Ndxe4? Bf5; 16.Ncxe4? Bf5
16...cxd5 17.Rac1 Qg5 18.Kh2 Bd7 19.Qc7 Bc6 20.Nb3 Rac8 21.Qg3 Qd8
21...Qxg3+ 22.Kxg3 b6 23.Nd2 Bb5=
22.Rc3 Re6 23.Rfc1 Rg6 24.Qf4 b6 25.Nd2 Qd7 26.Nf1 Re8 27.Ng3 Rf6 28.Qh4 Rh6 29.Nh5 Ree6
29...Qf5 30.Rxc6 Rxh5 31.Rc8 Rxc8 32.Qxh5
30.Qg5± Rhg6 31.Qf5 Qd6+ 32.Kg1 Qd8?
33.Nf4+- Ref6 34.Qe5 Rh6 35.Nh5 Re6?? 1-0

On the 31st move Steiner had a full 20 minutes but then thought so long that he only had 10 seconds for the remaining 9 moves.

Newsletter #147, 07/09/2003

"I am still a victim of chess. It has all the beauty of art and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position."
Marcel Duchamp

1) Jaan Ehlvest wins 31st World Open on tiebreak

The world's biggest open tournament ended in a multiple tie for first place this past Sunday, as ten titled players shared the spoils at the 31st World Open held at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Philadelphia. GMs Jaan Ehlvest (Estonia), Ilya Smirin, Alexander Onischuk (USA), Leonid Yudasin (Israel), Alexander Goldin (USA), Alex Shabalov (USA), Alex Wojtkiewicz (USA), Gennadi Zaitshik (USA), GM Babakuli Annakov (Turkmenistan) and IM Nazar Firman (Ukraine) all scored 7/9 from to take home $2,250. Jaan Ehlvest won the special playoff for the title of World Open Champion and an additional $500 by beating GM Smirin in a blitz playoff.
MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky was the top Bay Area scorer, sharing 11th place with 6.5. MI Chess Director John Donaldson had 5.5 while NM Shivkumar Shivaji finished on 5 and NM John Langreck of Sacramento had 4, including draws with GMs Zaichik and Kiriakov. MI Tuesday Night Marathon regular Arthur Dembling had 4.5 in the Under 1800.
With a total entry of 1462 spread over eight different tournaments, organizer Bill Goichberg came within just 144 of breaking the world-record set during the 1986 event.  The World Open also acted as a main qualifying event for the 2004 US Championship, and the top two places on tiebreak ahead of five others who finished on 6/9 went to IM Yury Lapshun and FM Matthew Hoekstra. 19-year-old Irina Zenyuk of New York took the women's spot. A list of those who made norms had not yet been posted but it appears that Igor Tsyganov of Chicago made his first IM norm, scoring an undefeated 5-4 against a strong field.

M Ginsburg - L Yudasin
31st World Open, (7)
English Hedgehog

1 c4 c5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nc3 b6 4 e4 d6 5 d4 cxd4 6 Nxd4 Bb7 7 Bd3 Nbd7 8 0-0 e6 9 Qe2 Be7 10 b3 0-0 11 Bb2 a6 12 f4 Re8 13 Rad1 Qc7 14 Kh1 Bf8 15 Nf3 g6 16 Bb1 Rad8 17 Ng5 Bg7 18 e5 dxe5 19 fxe5 Nxe5 20 Rxd8 Rxd8 21 Nb5 axb5 22 Bxe5 Qe7 23 cxb5 h6 24 Nf3 Qc5 25 Qc4 Qxc4 26 bxc4 Rc8 27 Bd3 Nd7 28 Bd6 Nc5 29 Bxc5 Rxc5 30 Nd2 Rc8 31 Nb3 Rd8 32 Rd1 Bf8 33 Be2 Ra8 34 Rd2 Bb4 35 Rb2 Be4 36 Bf3 Rd8 37 Kg1 Bd3 38 c5 bxc5 39 b6 Bc3 40 Rf2 c4 41 Nc5 Bd4 42 Nxd3 Bxb6 43 Kf1 Bxf2 44 Nxf2 c3 45 Be4 Rd2 46 Ke1 f5 47 Bd3 Rxa2 48 Bc4 Rxf2 0-1

V Mikhaleviski - G Kafka
31st World Open, (1)
Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 a4 Bf5 6 Ne5 Nbd7 7 Nxc4 Qc7 8 g3 e5 9 dxe5 Nxe5 10 Bf4 Nfd7 11 Bg2 g5 12 Ne3 gxf4 13 Nxf5 fxg3 14 hxg3 0-0-0 15 Qc2 Nf6 16 a5 a6 17 Kf1 Nc4 18 Rh4 Ne5 19 Rf4 h5 20 Rh4 Ng6 21 Rc4 Qd7 22 Rd4 Qc7 23 Nb5 axb5 24 a6 Rxd4 25 Nxd4 bxa6 26 Qf5+ Kd8 27 Nxc6+ 1-0

There were many side events held during the World Open and GM Alex Wojtkiewicz won most of them. One of the few to escape his grasp was the  Masters and Future Masters event that was won by IM Rashid Ziatdinov of Florida.

Final Standings: 1 IM R Ziatdinov (USA) 4/5; 2-3 GM J Ehlvest (Estonia), GM D Sadvakasov (Kazakhstan) 3.5; 4-5 GM A Wojtkiewicz (USA), M Fouts (USA) 3; 6-7 GM P Blatny (Czech Rep) , IM N Firman (Ukraine) 2.5; 8-9 G Geyler (USA), B Gershenov (USA) 1; 10 F Caruana (USA) 0.

2)  Philip Wang victorous in 2003 Sacramento Chess Championship

NM Phillip Wang of Stanford won the 2003 Sacramento Class Championship held over the July 4-6 weekend, scoring 5 from 6 in the top section. His only loss was to second place finisher Nicolas Yap who had 4.5 points. Yap in turn lost only to Alex Setzepfandt who shared third place at 4-2 with NM Zoran Lazetich. A total of 88 players competed in the three section event. Crosstables are available at

3) Andranik Matikozian wins Pacific Southwest Open

IM Andranik Matikozian won the annual Pacofic Southwest Open held July 4-6 at the Crowne Plaza hotel at LAX with a score of 5.5 from 6. Tying for second at 5 in the 87 player open section were SM Levon Altounian, NM Eduardo Ortiz and Experts Takashi Kurosaki and Elliott Lum. MI juniors Matthew Ho and Monthy Peckham had 4 points. Ho had a particularly good event with wins over IM Tim Taylor and 2300 rated Rico Salimbagat. A total of 161 players competed in the two section event.

4) David Pruess dominates in Montreal

Recent Berkeley graduate David Pruess dominated in a Category 3 (2304 FIDE) event held in Montreal in late June and early July, scoring 8 1/2 from 9!  This result easily fulfilled the requirements for David's first IM norm and he is gunning for number two in the Quebec Open which starts this coming Saturday. Good luck! David will be teaching a one week class from August 18-22 in Berkeley. Interested parties can contract him at
The crosstable for David's victory in Montreal can be found at

5) Nicolas Yap leads Summer Tuesday Night Marathon

Nicolas Yap defeated Anthony Rozenvasser in round seven of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon to maintain his lead with 6.5 from 7 with a round to go.

Newsletter #148, 07/16/2003

"Man is a frivolous, a specious creature, and like a chess-player cares more for the process of attaining his goal than for the goal itself."

1) Thornally, Wong and Yap tie for first in MI Summer Tuesday Night Marathon

Experience triumphed over youth in the final round of the MI Summer Tuesday Night Marathon as veterans Frank Thornally and Russell Wong defeated teenagers Nicolas Yap and Alex Setzepfandt. Thornally and Wong caught up to Yap, sharing first with 6.5 from 8. Setzepfandt, who like Yap was among the leaders all the way, finished tied for fourth at 6 in the 81-player-event. The next Marathon, which will be 9 rounds, starts August 5.

2) Qui and Young win MI San Francisco Scholastic Championships

Ramon Qui won the top section of the MI San Francisco Scholastic Championship held July 12 with a score of 4.5 from 5. Tying for second at 4 were Joseph Aiken and Arnav Shah. Jeff Young took the Reserve section with 5 from 5. At total of 50 players competed in the event directed by Anthony Corrales.

3)  Here and There

Congratulations to MI G/45 regular Jahangir Ahmed  who tied for first in the Under 2000 at the World Open and to David Chock who went 6-0 in the reserve group at the Sacramento Championship over the July 4 Weekend.
The nation's second oldest continuously operating chess club, the Franklin Mercantile of Philadelphia, traces its origins back before 1886. It recently moved to an excellent address a short distance from Rittenhouse Square at 2012 Walnut Street. Former Bay Area player Maarifa Roho is one of the driving forces behind the club.
The Continental Championships for the Americas will be held in Argentina the second half of August. MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky is the defending Champion.
Among those scheduled to play in the US Open in Los Angeles are the 2002 and 2003 US Champions, Larry Christiansen and Alex Shabalov.
Chess.FM will be rebroadcasting its interview of noted book collector and data base guru  Andy Ansel of Walnut Creek at 5pm ET today (July 16).Tune-in to the broadcast at
Outspoken veteran master James Schroeder, who has supported chess for prisoners for over 30 years, is offering his Confidential Chess Lessons ($5 for over 40 pages) and books for sale. Write to him at 3011 E. 15th Street, #15, Vancouver, WA 98661.
Grand Prix events are few and far between in Bakersfield but this weekend the Continental Chess Association will be hosting one. Details are given below under upcoming tournaments.
This weekend also marks the start of the 2003 Southern California State Championship. The 10-player round robin is headed by IMs Jack Peters, Cyrus Lakdawala, Melik Khachiyan and Andranik Matikozian plus SMs Levon Altounian and Armen Ambartsoumian. National Masters Andre Kretchetov, Michael Casella, Greg Small and Ilya Serpik round out the field.

Newsletter #149, 07/23/2003

"As for me, I am unfortunate enough not to posses a happy temperament like Najdorf, who views every happening in a rosy light and avoids any possibility of self-criticism. I am one of those unlucky skeptics who never overlook the dark side of even the happiest experience."
Savielly Tartakower

1) Marinello, Hanke, and Schultz elected to USCF Policy Board

Results for the 2003 USCF Policy Board election are now in.  The top three join the board at the US Open in Los Angeles this August.  This was the second time that a mail ballot was used and approximately 40,000 USCF members were eligible to vote.  Critics of the new system will note that less than 5% of those eligible actually voted, while proponents will point to a marked increase in the number of voters and the fact that the percentage who did participate was typical for organizations the size of the US Chess Federation.

40,000 ballots mailed

1,822 returned = 4.555%

Beatriz Marinello 1,004 Elected
Tim Hanke 883 Elected
Don Schultz 864  Elected

Joe Wagner 704
Sam Sloan 653
Mikel Petersen 598

2) DeGuzman and Mezentsev tie for first in Charles Bagby Memorial

IM Ricardo DeGuzman and Vladimir Mezentsev tied for first in the Third Annual Charles Bagby Memorial held July 19 at the Mechanics' Institute.  The two winners scored 4.5 from 5, DeGuzman drawing with NM Roger Poelhmann in round 4 and Mezentsev taking a first round bye.  Tying for third in the 56-player event were NMs Haim Waisman and Michael Aigner, Experts Nicolas Yap, Dale Hammer, and Robert Chan, plus A Players Jahangir Ahmed, Jacob Lopez, and Daniel Schwartz. Anthony Corrales directed for the MI.  The next MI Game/45, the Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial, will be held August 23.

3) Sasikiran leads Politiken Cup

Indian GM Krishan Sasikiran leads the Politiken Cup in Copenhagen with 8 from 9 and two rounds to go.  Tied for second a point back are GMs Beliavsky, Sakaev, Nielsen, Yusupov, Ward, and the Bay Area's Nick deFirmian. You can follow the event at

4) Altounian and Kretchetov lead Southern California Championship

Levon Altounian and Alexander Kretchetov are tied for first with slightly over half of the 2003 Southern California Championship completed.  The two leaders are both undefeated with 3.5 from 5.  Right behind them is IM Andranik Matikozian with 3 from 4 and one postponed game.  Other scores in the 10-player round robin are:
4.IM Khachian 3/5  5.IM Lakdawala 2.5/5  6. SM Ambartsoumian 2/4  7. NM Serpik 2/5  8-9 NMs Small and Casella 1.5/5  10. IM Peters 1/5

Games for this event can be found at

The following slugfest is up and down. Look for LA Times Chess Editor Jack Peters to bounce back next week.

Peters,J (2454) - Matikozyan,A (2430) [E70]
Southern California Ch. Costa Mesa (5), 20.07.2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 0–0 5.Bg5 d6 6.Qd2 c6 7.f3 a6 8.Bd3 b5 9.Nge2 Nbd7 10.Rd1 e5 11.d5 bxc4 12.Bxc4 Nb6 13.Bb3 c5 14.h4 Rb8 15.g4 a5 16.Rb1 Ba6 17.Ng3 Qc7 18.h5 Rb7 19.Nf5 gxf5 20.gxf5 Rfb8 21.Bh6 Qe7 22.Qg2 Ne8 23.f6 Qxf6 24.Bg5 Qxg5 25.Qxg5 h6 26.Qg2 a4 27.Bxa4 Nxa4 28.Nxa4 Bd3 29.Rd1 c4 30.Rd2 Kf8 31.Rg1 Bf6 32.Qg8+ Ke7 33.Qh7 Rb4 34.Nc3 Rxb2 35.Qxh6 Bh4+ 36.Kd1 Rb1+ 0–1

5) Alexander Ivanov wins Bradley Open

Alexander Ivanov won the Bradley Open held in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, July 18-20, scoring 4.5 from 5.  His only draw was with fellow GM Ildar Ibragimov who shared second with NM Nelson Castaneda at 4/1.  Total attendance for this multi-section Continental Association event was 173. Crosstables for the various sections can be found at .

6) Tejes and Landaw tie for first in Bakersfield Open

Several MI members drove down I-5 last weekend to play in a rare Grand Prix event in BakersfieldMonty Peckham and Gary Huang tied for third in the 16-player top section with 3.5 from 5 just behind the winning score of 4 achieved by Benjamin Tejes and Maximilian Landaw.  Interestingly enough only one player over 2200 played. Ricky Yu tied for third at 3.5 in the under 2000 group while Tom Allen achieved the same score and placing in the under 1600.  This Continental Chess Association event attracted a respectable turnout of 64 players and one hopes that this will not be the last CCA event at this location. One would guess that any season but summer should draw much better. Crosstables for the various sections can be found at .

Newsletter #150, 07/30/2003

"When I am down in material and do not have a plan, I simply develop in the hope of finding one later on."
Max Dlugy

1) Altounian and Matikozian tie for first in Southern California Championship

IM Andranik Matikozian and SM Levon Altounian tied for first in the Southern California State Championship with the excellent score of 7-2. Sharing third at 5.5 in the 10 player round robin which ended last Sunday, were IM Melik Khachiyan and FM Alexander Kretchetov. Other scores in the event, which was probably the strongest ever Southern California State Championship with 6 players rated over 2500 USCF, were: 5. SM Ambartsoumian 4.5; 6-7. NM Small and IM Lakdawala 3.5; 8-9. IM Peters and NM Casella 3; 10. NM Serpik 2.5.

2) Politiken Cup

Indian GM Krishnan Sasikiran won the Politiken Cup in Copenhagen with a score of 9 points from 11. Tied for seventh in a strong field was the Bay Area's Nick DeFirmian who won a key last round game against English Dragon specialist Chris Ward.

Nick De Firmian,N (2553) - Chris Ward,C (2531) [B76]
Politiken Cup København (11), 25.07.2003

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0–0 9.0–0–0 d5 10.exd5 Nxd5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bd4 e5 13.Bc5 Be6 14.Ne4 Rb8 15.Bc4 f5 16.Bxf8 Qxf8 17.Ng5 e4 18.c3 e3 19.Qd3 Rxb2 20.Kxb2 Bxc3+ 21.Qxc3 Nxc3 22.Bxe6+ Kg7 23.Rd7+ Kh6 24.h4 Na4+ 25.Kc2 Qc5+ 26.Kb3 Qb5+ 27.Ka3 Qc5+ 28.Kxa4 Qb5+ 29.Ka3 Qc5+ 30.Kb2 Qe5+ 31.Kb1 1–0

3) Karpov Chess School comes to Lindsborg, Kansas

Mikhail Botvinnik once pointed out that it was just as important to have great organizers as great players. The United States is lucky to have gained a great organizer in Mikhail Korenman who has put chess in Kansas on the map like never before. Following on Korenman's hugely successful 2001 and 2002 Lindsborg Chess Festivals, Anatoly Karpov recently  announced the opening of the first Karpov International School of Chess in the United States

The following press release from Wes Fisk tells more.

"It gives me great pleasure to announce the opening of the first Karpov International School of Chess in the United States, said Anatoly Karpov. The school in Lindsborg, Kansas will join my network of 14 existing Karpov chess schools throughout the world.  I have decided to open the school in Lindsborg because of the extraordinary support given to chess by the Lindsborg Chess Club, the city officials, the State of Kansas, and the people in the Lindsborg community.
Anatoly Karpov, who lives in Moscow, Russia, won the title of World Chess Champion in 1975 when then champion Bobby Fischer refused to defend his title.  Karpov successfully defended his title until 1985, and then regained it in 1993 when he again won the world championship.
Karpov established his 14 chess schools throughout the world, including schools in Europe, Scandinavia and the Middle East.  He selected Lindsborg, Kansas to be the site of his first school in the United States, and the school instructors will provide instruction in chess tactics and theory, and it will also sponsor a number of major tournaments each year.  It¹s probably befitting that Karpov should establish his first school here in Lindsborg (aka Little Sweden, U.S.A.),  said Mikhail Korenman, director of the new school, after all, Karpov established his first school in Sweden.
Karpov will work with other grandmasters to develop the curriculum for the school in Lindsborg.  Anatoly Karpov is in the process of networking his school throughout the world, so students can communicate and receive additional instruction over the Internet, said Mikhail Korenman.
Grandmaster Yury Shulman, formerly of Belarus, will join the staff of the school.  Shulman, one of the top ranked players in the U.S., will assist Karpov in tailoring a curriculum for the school as well providing instruction to students.  Women¹s Grandmaster Anna Zatonskih has also been asked to join the school¹s cadre of instructors.
Chess in the Lindsborg area received a big boost when Korenman, who is the president of the Lindsborg Chess Club and INTECS, applied for a grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing.  INTECS, a nonprofit corporation, received State authorities blessings and a $261,000 grant to develop chess in the area.  Lindsborg had already established itself as a Mid-West chess center by hosting several major tournaments, including an international tournament in December 2002, which Anatoly Karpov presided over the opening and closing ceremonies."

4) Favorite Websites

This Newsletter, number 150, marks almost three years of weekly publication, but that pales compared to a milestone that GM Alex Baburin's Chess Today is about to reach.  The Internet daily is coming up on its 1,000 issue!  There is a small charge for this site ($15 for three months), but the amount of high quality material that readers receive is enormous.  Every day you get a well-annotated game and news from around the world.  There are interviews, editorials and puzzles to solve.  It's not the policy of the Newsletter to plug commercial sites, but in this case I'll make an exception as I know that no one is getting rich from it! Go to:  for a sample copy.

Closer to home, two California based websites deserve attention.  Former Mechanics' Institute member IM Jeremy Silman has a huge, free site called appropriately, where readers can find a wealth of chess related information.  The site is particularly strong on book reviews, with several hundred.  Those interested in things related to California chess history are blessed. Kerry Lawless and Richard Shoreman have produced a great site that contains all sorts of articles, photos, and other artifacts relating to chess played in California.  Their database of games played in California, close to 20,000, is quite impressive.

5) Here and There

Chess is very much in the news of late. The Wall Street Journal ran articles on Hikaru Nakamura and William Morrison a few weeks ago. The August issue of Smithsonian has an excellent eight page story on Jennifer Shahade by Paul Hoffman. Locally, the Berkeley Voice ran a cover page story on the Berkeley Chess School with Irish Olympiad team member Sam Collins among those featured. Last, and not least, KQED Radio ran a program on the Mechanics' Institute Chess Room on June 13rh.  Kelly Wilkenson produced the segment which was part of the California Report.  MI members Mike Goodall and Kevan Gross were featured along with chess director John Donaldson.  You can download the program from the KQED archives.

One piece of news that was very sad to read was Yasser Seirawan's retirement from chess which was the subject of IM Jack Peter's weekly column in the LA Times on July 6th.  Seirawan seemed particularly disappointed in the failure of the Prague Agreement to reunite the chess world.  It's hard to think of another person that's done more for American chess the past two decades.  We hope he reconsiders, but wish him well in his new endeavors.

SM David Pruess scored 5.5 - 3.5 in the Quebec Open.

Look to Games of Berkeley to be a good source for chess books and equipment in the near future.  Noted organizer Alan Benson will be working in the store shortly.

This October GM Nick DeFirmian will be returning to the West Coast for a visit.  The popular former US Champion will be playing in the Western States Open October 17-19 in Reno and giving a simul the evening of the 16th.

Newsletter #151, 08/06/2003

"Chess is more than a game or a mental training. It is a distinct attainment. I have always regarded the playing of chess and the accomplishment of a good game as an art, and something to be admired no less than an artist’s canvas or the product of a sculptor’s chisel. Chess is a mental diversion rather than a game. It is both artistic and scientific."
Jose Capablanca

1) World Championship Update

Garry Kasparov's manager Owen Wiliams released the following press release. There is no word on when Leko-Kramnik will be played.

"FIDE has announced the World Chess Championship for September/October 2003. Kasparov vs Ponomariov will take place in Yalta, Ukraine on September 18th (opening ceremony) to October 7th, 2003.  The twelve match days are September 19 & 20, September 22 & 23, September 25th & 26th, September 28th and 29th, October 1st & 2nd and October 4th & 5th.
The closing ceremony will take place on Monday 6th October, or in the case of a draw, Monday will be a free day and October 7th, 2003 will be the tiebreak and closing ceremony."

2) Akobian wins U.S. Junior

Nineteen year old International Master (IM) Varuzhan Akobian of Glendale, CA won the U.S. Junior Chess Championship, held July 26-31, 2003 at the World Chess Hall of Fame and Sidney Samole Chess Museum in Miami, Florida.  The top American chess players under age 20 as of January 1, 2003 were invited to participate in the tournament.  Games from the tournament were broadcast live on USChessLive, the official chess server of the United States Chess Federation.  Akobian had seven wins and two draws to score eight out of a possible nine points.  As a result of this victory, Akobian will be seeded into the 2004 United State Chess Championship.

IM Dmitry Schneider of New City, NY took second place with 6 points.  FIDE Master (FM) Lev Milman of Woodbury, NY finished third with 5 ½ points.  FM Matthew Hoekstra of Charlotte, NC finished fourth with 5 points.  Women’s FIDE Master Tatev Abrahamyan of Glendale, CA finished fifth with 4 ½ points.  National Master (NM) Joshua Friedel of Goffstown, NH, FM Bruci Lopez of Miami, FL and FM Daniel Fernandez of Florida tied for sixth place with 3 ½ points each.  FM Philip Wang of Reno, NV finished ninth with 3 points.  NM John Rouleau of Rockville, MD finished tenth with 2 ½ points.

Akobian is no stranger to success.  He was the winner of the prestigious 2002 Samford Fellowship, and he has won many tournaments including the John Rowell Invitational, the Imre Koenig Memorial, and the 2002 Western Class Championship.  He tied for first place in the 2002 World Open, and he is only one norm shy of the International Grandmaster title.  Varuzhan enjoys football and fishing when he is not playing chess.

The World Chess Hall of Fame & Sidney Samole Museum-whose landmark building, sporting a 45-foot rook-tower, is located just off the Florida Turnpike near 152nd St. S.W. in Miami-is the official museum for both the World Chess Federation and the U.S. Chess Federation, the governing bodies of the game of chess for the world and the United States. The Museum’s interactive displays, theatre and collection of personal artifacts from the world’s greatest players tell the story of chess and its masters from  its beginnings to modern times.

Akobian says that his best game was his first round victory over Hoekstra:

White: IM Varuzhan Akobian (2624)
Black: FM Matthew Hoekstra (2368)

1.d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. Bg5 c5 4. c3 d5 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Nbd2 Be7 7. Bd3 b6 8. O-O O-O 9. Ne5 Ne5 10. de5 Nd7 11. Be7 Qe7 12. f4 f5 13. ef gf 14. Rf3 Rf7 15. Rg3 Rg7 16. Qh5 Rg3 17. hg3 f5 18. Nf3 Nf6 19. Qh4 Qg7 20. Ne5 Nd7 21. g4 Ne5 22. fe5 Qe5 23. Qd8 Kf7 24. Kf2 f4 25. Re1 Qf6 26. Qc7 Kf8 27. ef Qh4 28. g3 Qh2 29. Kf3 Qd2 30. Qd8 Kf7 31. Bb5 Ba6 32. Qd7 Kf8 33. Qd6 Kg7 34. Qe5 Kf8 35. Qf6 1-0

USCF Press Release

3)  Ho wins Cadet on tiebreak

Ho and Melikadamian Become Cadet Co-Champions - Ho wins full scholarship to University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Matthew Ho and Alen Melikadamian, both from California, tied for first place at the 2003 United States Cadet Chess Championship, held July 27-31, 2003 at the World Chess Hall of Fame and Sidney Samole Chess Museum in Miami, FL.  The top American chess players under the age of 16 as of January 1, 2003 were invited to participate in the tournament.  Ho and Melikadamian both scored 3 ½ out of a possible 5 points to tie for first place, but Ho received the first prize due to his superior tie-breaks.  Ho receives a full tuition four year scholarship to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, subject to meeting and maintaining eligibility criteria.

Igor Schneider of New City, NY finished third with 3 points. Ruixin Yang of Virginia and Alexander Chua of Texas tied for fourth place with 2 points. Fabiano Caruana of New York, NY finished sixth with 1 point.

The World Chess Hall of Fame & Sidney Samole Museum-whose landmark building, sporting a 45-foot rook-tower, is located just off the Florida Turnpike near 152nd St. S.W. in Miami-is the official museum for both the World Chess Federation and the U.S. Chess Federation, the governing bodies of the game of chess for the world and the United States. The Museum’s interactive displays, theatre and collection of personal artifacts from the world’s greatest players tell the story of chess and its masters from  its beginnings to modern times.

Melikadamian took an early lead with a draw and two wins in the first three rounds, but this fourth round game moved Ho into a tie for first place:

White: Matthew Ho (2122)
Black: Alen Melikadamian (2109)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cd 4. Nd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Ndb5 Bc5 7. Nd6 Ke7 8. Bf4 e5 9. Nf5 Kf8 10. Bg5 Bb4 11. Qf3 d6 12. O-O-O Bf5 13. Qf5 Bc3 14. bc3 Ke7 15. Bc4 Qc8 16. Bf6 gf6 17. Qh5 Nd8 18. Bb3 a5 19. Rd3 Qc5 20. Rf3 d5 21. Bd5 Ra6 22. Rd1 Ne6 23. Rfd3 Qa3 24. Kd2 Rd6 25. Ke1 Qa4 26. Bc6 Qc6 27. Rd6 Qc3 28. Kf1 Nd4 29.Rd5 Qc2 30. f4 Rg8 31. g3 Qe4 32. R5d4 Qh1 33. Kf2 1-0

USCF Press Release

4) Dortmund starts

The chess world has three classical tournaments of long-standing that to some are the equal to the Grand Slam's normally associated with top sporting events such as tennis and golf.  The first two legs at Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands and at Linares in Spain are complete - and the third, the "Sparkassen Chess Meeting," is now underway at the Dortmund Theatre in Germany.
Last year's event was a one-off Candidates-styled affair to find a challenger for world champion Vladimir Kramnik, and was won by Peter
Leko.  This year, the top event features an "interesting mix" of three established stars and three raising stars playing in a double-round
Kramnik, Vishy Anand and Leko - respectively world numbers two, three and four - head the field in Dortmund as the established trio.  Making up the field, and in doing so looking to make a name for themselves, are wannabes Viktor Bologan of Moldova, who takes his spot as winner of this year's Aeroflot Open in Moscow; Germany's youngest grandmaster Arkadi Naiditsch, 17, from Dortmund; and the teenage prodigy Teimour Radjabov, 16, from Azerbaijan.
With Anand winning at Wijk aan Zee and Leko at Linares, all eyes will be on the performance of Kramnik, who badly needs a big win under his belt to re-establish his credentials as world champion.  In the opening round, Kramnik got off to the best possible start with a spectacular win over Radjabov.

V Kramnik - T Radjabov
Dortmund, (1)
Sicilian Sveshnikov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5 9 Bxf6 gxf6 10 Nd5 Bg7 11 Bd3 Ne7 12 Nxe7 Qxe7 13 c4 f5 14 0-0 0-0 15 Qf3 d5 16 cxd5 f4 17 Rfc1 Kh8 18 Nc2 Bd7 19 Ne1 Rg8 20 Be2 Bf8 21 Nd3 Re8 22 Rc7 Qd8 23 Rac1 Rg6 24 Qh5 Bd6 25 Ra7 Qe7 26 h3 f5 27 exf5 Rf6 28 Nc5 Rc8 29 Rxd7 Rxc5 30 Rxe7 Rxc1+ 31 Kh2 1-0

JOHN B HENDERSON writing in the Scotsman

5) Kunte wins British Championship

FOR the second successive year an Indian has taken the Smith & Williamson British Championship, after Abhijit Kunte successfully held off a last round challenge from 2001 champion Joe Gallagher to take the title.
With a final score of 8.5/11, Kunte, 26, took the top prize of £10,000 to become only the third - and last - Indian to win the crown.  The top junior prize of British under-21 title went to Kunte's compatriot Pentala Harikrishna, who was half a point behind on 8.
Due to the Commonwealth entry rule, recent championships have included many subsidized Indians, leading to widespread criticism and an all but virtual boycott of this year's event by England's top players.  Finally succumbing to the pressures, the British Chess Federation announced during the event that from 2004, entrants must have a British citizenship or a residential qualification.
Scotland's top two of Jonathan Rowson and Paul Motwani - who finished on 7.5 and 8 respectively - can only reflect on what could have been on home turf, after squandering golden opportunities that could well have ended the 57-year hoodoo of a Scot winning the title.
Unlike last year's championship that was dubbed "the Indian takeaway," this year the Indians were denied a clean sweep of top titles. Edinburgh-based Georgian internationalist Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant took the women's title on 7.5 points, following a close race with India's Subbaraman Vijayalaskshmi.
Although just missing out on her second full GM norm, the result concludes a fantastic double for Arakhamia-Grant, who recently tied with Motwani for this year's Scottish title.

K Arakhamia - S Reefat
British Ch., (10)
French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 dxe4 5 Nxe4 Be7 6 Bxf6 Bxf6 7 Nf3 Nd7 8 Bd3 0-0 9 Qd2 b6 10 0-0-0 Bb7 11 Qf4 Be7 12 h4 Nf6 13 Neg5 Qd6 14 Ne5 a5 15 Rh3 Ba6 16 Bxh7+ Nxh7 17 Ngxf7 Qxe5 (17 ..Qd5 18 Rg3 Nf6 19 Rxg7+!) 18 Nh6+ gxh6 19 Qxe5 Bd6 20 Rg3+ 1-0

JOHN B HENDERSON writing in the Scotsman

Newsletter #152, 08/13/2003

"Chess holds its master in its own bonds, shakling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom of the very strongest must suffer."
Albert Einstein

1) Kaidanov leads US Open

Kentucky GM Gregory Kaidanov leads the US Open in Los Angeles with a score of 8-1 with three rounds to go. There is a large group of players right behind at 7 1/2 including fomer Candidate Jaan Ehlvest. Top MI scorers at 7-2 in the 457 player field are IM Richardo DeGuzman, David Pruess, Michael Aigner (who just beat GM Blatny) and John Donaldson. Complete standings are available at

2) Bologan wins in Dortmund

Moldovan GM Viorel Bologan pulled off a major upset by winning the annual super tournament in Dortmund.

Final standings: 1 V Bologan (Moldova) 6.5/10; 2-3 V Kramnik (Russia), V Anand (India) 5.5; 4 T Radjabov (Azerbaijan) 5; 5 P Leko (Hungary) 4; 6 A Naiditsch (Germany) 3.5.

V Anand - V Bologan
Dortmund, (7)
Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Ng5 Ngf6 6 Bd3 e6 7 N1f3 Bd6 8 Qe2 h6 9 Ne4 Nxe4 10 Qxe4 Qc7 11 0-0 b6 12 Qg4 g5 13 Qh3 Rg8 14 Re1 Bf8 15 Qf5 Bg7 16 h4 Kf8 17 Qh3 Rh8 18 hxg5 hxg5 19 Qg4 c5 20 Bxg5 cxd4 21 Rad1 Bb7 22 Rxe6 fxe6 23 Be7+ Kxe7 24 Qxg7+ Kd6 25 Nxd4 Qc5 26 Bf5 Qe5 27 Nf3+ Qd5 28 Qg3+ Ke7 29 Rxd5 Bxd5 30 Qg5+ Kd6 31 Qf4+ Ke7 32 Be4 Rh5
33 Nh4 Rg8 34 Ng6+ Kd8 35 Qf7 Re8 36 Bd3 1-0

P Leko - V Anand
Dortmund, (6)
Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 f3 e5 7 Nb3 Be6 8 Be3 Nbd7 9 g4 Nb6 10 g5 Nh5 11 Qd2 Be7 12 0-0-0 Rc8 13 Rg1 0-0 14 Kb1 g6 15 Qf2 Nc4 16 Bxc4 Bxc4 17 Na4 Be6 18 Nb6 Rc7 19 Qd2 Rc6 20 Nd5 Bxd5 21 exd5 Rc8 22 Qd3 Qd7 23 c4 f6 24 gxf6 Rxf6 25 Nd2 Rf7 26 Rc1 Qf5 27 Rc3 b5 28 b3 Qh3 29 Rgc1 bxc4 30 Rxc4 Ra8 31 Ra4 Bf8 32 a3 Nf6 33 Bg5 Qxh2 34 Rh4 Qg2 35 Bxf6 Rxf6 36 Rg4 Qh3 37 Rcg1 Ra7 38 R1g3 Qh6 39 Ne4 Rf4 40 Rxf4 Qh1+ 41 Ka2 exf4 42 Rg4 Bg7 43 b4 a5 44 Kb3 axb4 45 Kxb4 Qe1+ 46
Kb3 Qc1 0-1

V Bologan - A Naiditsch
Dortmund, (6)
Marshall Attack

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 0-0 8 c3 d5 9 exd5 Nxd5 10 Nxe5 Nxe5 11 Rxe5 c6 12 d4 Bd6 13 Re1 Qh4 14 g3 Qh3 15 Qf3 Be6 16 Qg2 Qh5 17 Bd1 Qg6 18 Nd2 Rae8 19 Ne4 Bf5 20 f3 c5 21 Bd2 cxd4 22 cxd4 Bb8 23 Bb3 Rd8 24 Nc5 h5 25 Rac1 h4 26 gxh4 Qh5 27 Ne4 Bxe4 28 Rxe4 Nf6 29 Re7 Rxd4 30 Bg5 Nd5 31 Qf2 Rd3 32 Qe2 Rxb3 33 Re8 Ba7+ 34
Kh1 Rxf3 35 Rxf8+ Kh7 36 Qe4+ 1-0

3) Oldest chess clubs in the US

The Mechanics' Institute Chess Club, founded in 1854, is the oldest in the United States, but who is number two after the demise of the Manhattan last year?
Some might think it the Marshall in New York, which was founded around the time of the First World War, but they would be mistaken. Honors go the city of Philadelphia and its Franklin Mercantile club, as historians John Hilbert and Neil Brennen point out.

John writes, "I don't have all the details at hand, but the Franklin Chess Club was organized in October 1885. The Mercantile Library, which had had a chess room for quite a few years, I believe, finally formed an association early in 1896: the Mercantile Library Chess Association. The two clubs finally merged in 1955, forming the Franklin-Mercantile.Shipley on Saturday, January 26, 1878, for instance, went to the Mercantile Library to watch the chess games being played--but I don't think they had a formal association then."

Neil adds, "The merger of the Franklin and Mercantile took place at the end of 1955. Ray Glover discussed the politics involved in the merger in a series of articles in The Pennswoodpusher 30 years ago. Also, Milton Logan, age 94, has provided me some information as well.
The merger was something of a shotgun marriage. The Franklin had the name and the money, and the Mercantile had the players. The Franklin also had a home; the Mercantile Library was torn down in the early 1950's, and the Mercantile players had to move to a variety of locations. There was bitter opposition to the merger in some quarters, such as William A. Ruth's comment that his initials were WAR, and that the Mercantile faced that if they brought up the idea of a merger."

4) USCF update

The US Open in Los Angeles has provided several political bombshells.  Executive Director Frank Niro was not present at the meetings, having resigned shortly before for health reasons. The USCF is projecting a $365,000 loss this year instead of a $75,000 profit as had been projected a few months ago.. This marks over half a decade of annual losses.
The national headquarters will be moving from New Windsor to Crossville, Tennessee as soon as possible through the efforts of Harry Sabine and others in that state. The USCF was offered free land. The plan is that the organization will be able to use this opportunity to cut costs and finally make a much needed modernization of their computer system. This efficiency should result in savings due to the reduced number of employees required to operate the office. The USCF had originally entertained a couple of offers in Southern Florida, but neither panned out.
New Policy members Beatriz Marinello, Timothy Hanke, and Don Schultz took office and immediately made their weight felt in the voting for the new president. Some insiders had expected that many time PB member Frank Camaratta, who had played a key role in keeping the USCF solvent the past few years would finally be named president but that was not to be. Newcomer Marinello will be leading the USCF in very challenging times. Steve Shutt will serve as Vice President, Hanke as VP of Finance and Frank Brady as Secretary. Mike Nolan will be chief operating officer and Paul Troung Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

Newsletter #153, 08/20/2003

"What distinguishes a Grandmaster from a Master? ...You can pick out two essential qualities in which those with higher titles are superior to others: the ability to sense the critical moment in a game, and a finer understanding of various positional problems."
Artur Yusupov

1) Shabalov wins US Open

US Champion Alex Shabalov won the U.S. Open, held August 3-15 at the Radisson Hotel in Los Angeles, by defeating fellow GM Artashes Minasian in a tough last round battle. Shaba's score of 10-2 netted him $8,000 and continues his reign of dominance in big money American Swisses. Tying for second at 9 1/2, good for $2340 each, were GMs Leonid Yudasin, Sarunas Sulkis, Alex Wojtkiewicz, Gregory Kaidanov and IM Ricardo DeGuzman. Kaidanov was the leader throughout the event, but fell behind in the last round when he elected to take a half point bye. This option, which had to be made before the start of the event, was available to all players who were participating in the Continental Championship in Buenos Aires which started immediately after the US Open. Local hero Ricardo DeGuzman was near the top from the start. His score, which was just a half point short of a GM norm, included draws with GMs Alex Stripunsky and Leonid Yudasin as well as a last round victory over former Candidate Jaan Ehlvest.
The Bay Area contributed approximately 10 percent of the participants in the 458-player Open. Other top scores after DeGuzman were: 8 1/2 points - IM Donaldson, NM Ilfeld, SM Mezentsev, FM Wang and FM Zilberstein;  8 points GM Browne, Experts Haun and Peckham; 7 1/2 points FM Pruess, NM Shivaji and Experts Setzepfandt and Yap; 7 points NM Aigner, Expert Ho, and E. Perepletsky.
MI Chess Director John Donaldson recovered from a bad start and was tied for second with two rounds to go but lost the money game to GM Sulskis of Lithuania. FM David Pruess of Berkeley started very well beating GM Handoko and IM Ganbold but lost a heartbreaker when he pushed too hard in a drawn ending with GM Ibragimov. NM Michael Aigner and Expert Monty Peckham both collected GM scalps, Blatny and Handoko respectively. Peckham, Dmitry Zilberstein, and Philip Wang all took home prize money.
With the U.S. Open being one of the selected major tournaments on the U.S. circuit chosen by the America's Foundation for Chess to act as a qualifier to the 2004 U.S. Championships, two spots were up for grabs. And in a fiercely fought contest, they went to former champion GM Larry Christiansen (9-3), and WGM Rusa Goletiani (8.5-3.5).  The latter was in a last round dogfight with Vanessa West and was fortunate to avoid being checkmated.  West, a fourteen-year-old high school student from Los Angeles, impressed as she made a plus score against Masters in the open. No doubt, we will be hearing more from her and several other juniors who shined including Tatev Abrahamian, and Marc Arnold.
When one thinks of Los Angeles chess, one of the first names that comes to mind is Life Master Jerry Hanken who has been a fixture in the Southland for more than four decades. Hanken was the man who made it possible for the US Open to return to Los Angeles and who also insisted that it be a traditional 12-rounder. He personally guaranteed the success of the event serving as the guarantor in case the tournament incurred a loss. Though the tournament broke even financially and his streak of plus scores in the US Opens continued, I don't think Jerry was entirely happy with the turnout.  Just a little more than a decade before the US Open in 1991 had attracted several hundred players more. Of course the best attended US Open ever was the record setter in Pasadena in 1983 which had almost double the number of this year's event.
Attendance at this year's US Open was in the range that the event has been attracting for the last decade or so, despite the fact that the prize fund was one of the highest ever for this annual tournament. Southern California boasts one of the largest concentrations of USCF members, especially adults, in the nation. So why the low turn out? One could point to a strong causality between the location next to LAX and the fact that the event was two weeks long. This is certainly true, but the 1991 US Open was held just down the street. Of course, that event was only nine rounds, but this year's event offered many different playing schedules that didn't require players to spend any more time than six or eight days, if they wished.
While playing in the Open this year, I had a chance to chat with Larry Christiansen, last year's US Champion.  Larry was happy to be playing in the 2003 Open but couldn't help remembering back to the days when tournaments in LA were held in Santa Monica in a hotel on the beach. He fondly remembered US Opens in Aspen and Ventura.  It certainly is true that few people would plan a vacation and stay next to LAX.  The flip side, of course, are the cheap hotel rates that such locations offer. The Radisson offered a rate of around $89 a night. I would guess a third of the people from out of town used Priceline or the equivalent and paid no more than $40 a night to stay at the official site or neighboring hotels.
It's possible to theorize that American society goes faster and faster each decade and that today people don't want to or can't commit to two weeks of vacation time.  Certainly there is some truth to this, but when you look at tournaments like the World Open, the National Open, and the Western States Open that have all been drawing consistently well for more than two decades, it does suggest that this theory isn't so clear cut. I'm not really sure what the answer is but you would want to spend your vacation time in Florida or Arizona in August of 2004 and 2005 if there wasn't a US Open?
I can't help but mention that while conditions for the 2003 US Open were quite good for almost all of the event, the last round was abysmal. First a public disclaimer: I lost in the last round!  That said, being forced to move into a space a third of the size of the regular playing venue for the most important game of the tournament was not a pleasant surprise. As might have been expected, the spectators finally surfaced for the last round and created a formidable barrier between the top boards and the water and restrooms. Those who deigned to run the gauntlet in the hot playing hall risked losing five to ten minutes on their clock for each excursion. I would imagine that when the tournament bid was being discussed with the Radisson, the hotel staff mentioned there would be a problem on the final day as the regular playing space had already been committed to a different group.  No matter what the case, one was left with the feeling  that in the Radisson's eyes chess players were second class citizens.

A selection of games with an emphasis on Bay Area players follows.

A Minasian - A Shabalov
U.S. Open, (12)
Sicilian Rossolimo
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 b3 Nge7 5 Bb2 a6 6 Bxc6 Nxc6 7 0-0 b6 8 c4 Bb7 9 Qe2 Qc7 10 d4 cxd4 11 Nxd4 Bc5 12 Nxc6 Qxc6 13 Nd2 0-0 14 Qg4 f6 15 a3 a5 16 Rfe1 Rf7 17 Nf3 b5 18 Rad1 bxc4 19 bxc4 Ba6 20 Qg3 Rc8 21 e5 f5 22 Ng5 Rff8 23 Rd6 Qb7 24 Bd4 h6 25 Bxc5 Rxc5 26 Nh3 Bxc4 27 Nf4 Rxe5 28 Red1 Rf7 29 h3 Qb3 30 Qg6 Qb8 31 R6d2 Rb5 32 Nh5 Rd5 33 Rxd5 Bxd5 34 Rc1 Bc6 35 f4 Qb2 36 Re1 Qxa3 37 Rb1 Qd6 38 Qg3 Qc5+ 39 Kh2 Kh7 40 Rb8 a4 41 Qe1 Qc2 42 Qg3 Qe2 0-1

(1) Handoko,E (2429) - Pruess,D (2331) [B10]
US Open Los Angeles USA (4), 06.08.2003
1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd5 Nf6 5.Qa4+ Nbd7 6.Nc3 g6 7.g3 Bg7 8.Bg2 0–0 9.Nge2 Nb6 10.Qb5 Bf5 11.d4 Rc8 12.Nf4 g5 13.d6 e5 14.Nfe2 Nfd7 15.0–0 a6 16.Qa5 Bc2 17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.Qxd5 Nb6 19.Qxb7 exd4 20.Bh3 Rc5 21.d7 Nc4 22.Qa7 Rc7 23.Qxa6 Bd3 24.Nxd4 Bxd4 25.Rd1 Nxb2 26.Qd6 Bc5 27.Rxd3 Bxd6 28.Rxd6 Nc4 29.Rd5 h6 30.a4 f5 31.Bf1 Nb6 32.Rd6 Rf6 33.Rxf6 Qxf6 34.Bb2 Qd8 35.a5 Nxd7 36.a6 Nb6 37.a7 Na8 38.Be5 Rd7 39.Rb1 Rxa7 40.Rb8 Qxb8 41.Bxb8 Ra5 42.Bd6 Kh7 43.Bb4 Ra4 44.Bc5 Kg6 45.h3 Nc7 46.Bd3 Ne6 47.Be3 Kf6 48.Bd2 Ra3 49.Bc4 Ke5 50.Kg2 Nd4 51.f4+ Kf6 52.fxg5+ hxg5 53.Kf2 f4 54.gxf4 gxf4 55.Kg2 Rg3+ 56.Kf2 Rxh3 57.Ba5 Rh2+ 58.Kg1 Nf3+ 59.Kf1 Kf5 60.Be2 Kg4 61.Be1 Rxe2 1–0

(2) Pruess,D (2331) - Ganbold,O (2417) [A26]
US Open Los Angeles USA (7), 11.08.2003
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.e3 Be6 7.Nge2 Qd7 8.Nd5 Rb8 9.0–0 Nce7 10.d4 c6 11.Nxe7 Nxe7 12.d5 cxd5 13.cxd5 Bh3 14.Bxh3 Qxh3 15.Qa4+ Qd7 16.Qxa7 0–0 17.e4 f5 18.Bg5 fxe4 19.Bxe7 Qxe7 20.Qe3 Qf7 21.Nc3 Rbc8 22.Nxe4 Qxd5 23.Rfd1 Qe6 24.Rxd6 Qc4 25.b3 Qc2 26.Rd2 Qc7 27.Rad1 Rcd8 28.Rxd8 Rxd8 29.Rxd8+ Qxd8 30.Qc5 h6 31.Qd6 Qe8 32.Qd5+ Kh8 33.Qxb7 Qd8 34.h4 1–0

(3) Aigner,M (2158) - Blatny,P (2503) [B15]
US Open Los Angeles USA (9), 12.08.2003
1.e4 g6 2.d4 c6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Be2 Bg4 6.exd5 cxd5 7.Ne5 Bxe2 8.Qxe2 a6 9.0–0 Nd7 10.Nxd7 Qxd7 11.Rd1 Rc8 12.Bf4 e6 13.Be5 f6 14.Bg3 Kf7 15.Re1 Ne7 16.Na4 Rc6 17.Nc5 Qc8 18.c3 h5 19.f3 g5 20.a4 h4 21.Bf2 Ng6 22.Nd3 Bf8 23.Qd2 Bd6 24.Be3 Qb8 25.h3 Ne7 26.Nf2 Bh2+ 27.Kf1 Nf5 28.Ng4 Bg3 29.Re2 Qc7 30.Kg1 Rc8 31.Qd3 Kg7 32.Bd2 Qb6 33.Rf1 Qc7 34.f4 gxf4 35.Rxe6 Rxe6 36.Qxf5 Rce8 37.Bxf4 Bxf4 38.Rxf4 Qd6 39.Ne5 Rxe5 40.dxe5 Rxe5 41.Rg4+ Kf7 42.Qh7+ Ke6 43.Qxh4 Qb6+ 44.Kh2 Qxb2 45.Rb4 Qxc3 46.Rb6+ Kd7 47.Qh7+ Kd8 48.Rxb7 1–0

(4) Zilberstein,D (2357) - Rowley,R (2291) [E59]
US Open Los Angeles USA (12), 15.08.2003
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0–0 5.Bd3 d5 6.Nf3 c5 7.0–0 Nc6 8.a3 Bxc3 9.bxc3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Qc7 11.Bb2 b6 12.Bd3 e5 13.Qc2 h6 14.e4 Bg4 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Qxe5 17.c4 Qe7 18.e5 Ne8 19.f4 Bd7 20.Rae1 Bc6 21.Qf2 Rd8 22.Re3 Qd7 23.Qg3 f5 24.Qg6 Ba8 25.e6 Qe7 26.Rh3 Rf6 27.Bxf6 Qxf6 28.Qxf6 Nxf6 29.Bxf5 Rd2 30.Rg3 Nh5 31.e7 Kf7 32.Bg6+ 1–0

(5) Browne,W (2480) - Akopyan,H (2266) [E17]
US Open Los Angeles USA (11), 14.08.2003
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Be7 6.Nc3 Ne4 7.Bd2 Na6 8.d5 Nd6 9.b3 f5 10.0–0 Bf6 11.Rc1 0–0 12.Bf4 Nf7 13.e4 Bxc3 14.Rxc3 fxe4 15.dxe6 dxe6 16.Nd2 Qf6 17.Qa1 Qg6 18.Qb1 e5 19.Be3 Nd6 20.c5 Nb5 21.Rcc1 Nd4 22.Bxd4 exd4 23.c6 Bc8 24.Bxe4 Qh5 25.b4 Be6 26.Bd3 Nb8 27.a4 Kh8 28.b5 a6 29.Qb4 Qf7 30.Ne4 h6 31.f4 axb5 32.axb5 Ra2 33.Ra1 Rd8 34.Rxa2 Bxa2 35.Re1 Qd5 36.Qe7 Qg8 37.Nf6 Qf8 38.Qxf8+ Rxf8 39.Re8 Rxe8 40.Nxe8 Bd5 41.Nxc7 Bxc6 42.bxc6 Nxc6 43.Nd5 g6 44.Kf2 Kg7 45.Kf3 1–0

(6) Peckham,M (2170) - Handoko,E (2429) [C63]
US Open Los Angeles USA (5), 07.08.2003
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5 4.d3 Nf6 5.Qe2 d6 6.Nc3 Be7 7.d4 fxe4 8.Nxe4 0–0 9.dxe5 Nxe4 10.Qxe4 d5 11.Qa4 Rxf3 12.gxf3 Nxe5 13.Be2 Bf6 14.Be3 b5 15.Qxb5 c6 16.Qa4 Rb8 17.Rb1 a5 18.Bd2 Qe8 19.Kd1 Bd7 20.Rg1 Qh5 21.Qf4 Rf8 22.Qg3 Qf7 23.Bxa5 d4 24.f4 d3 25.Bxd3 Nxd3 26.Qxd3 Be6 27.Kc1 Bc4 28.Qg3 Re8 29.b3 Bd5 30.Bc3 Re7 31.Kb2 g6 32.Rbc1 Rd7 33.Qe3 Bxc3+ 34.Kxc3 1–0

2) Anand defeats Polgar

Viswanathan Anand defeated Judit Polgar 5-3 in an exciting rapid chess match in which all games were decisive.

J Polgar - V Anand
Mainz Classic, (8)
Ruy Lopez
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 0-0 8 h3 Bb7 9 d3 d6 10 a3 Na5 11 Ba2 c5 12 Nbd2 Bc8 13 Nf1 Be6 14 Bb1 Nd7 15 Ne3 Nb6 16 Nf5 Bf6 17 Be3 Na4 18 g4 g6 19 Nh6+ Kh8 20 Qc1 Bg7 21 Ba2 Rc8 22 Bg5 Qd7 23 Bd5 Nc6 24 c3 Nb6 25 Bxc6 Qxc6 26 Kh2 f6 27 Be3 d5 28 b4 Na4 29 Bd2 c4 30 dxc4 dxe4 31 cxb5 axb5 32 Nh4 Nb6 33 a4 bxa4 34 b5 Qxb5 35 Rb1 Qc6 36 Rg1 Nc4 37 N6f5 Nxd2 38 Nxg7 Kxg7 39 Qxd2 Rfd8 40 Qe2 Bb3 41 Rg3 Qc4 42 Qe3 Rd3 43 Qb6 Rxg3 44 Kxg3 Qxc3+ 45 Kh2 Qc5 46 Qb7+ Rc7 47 Qxe4 Bc2 0-1

J Polgar - V Anand
Mainz Classic, (5)
Sicilian Scheveningen
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 f3 b5 8 g4 Nfd7 9 Qd2 Nb6 10 0-0-0 N8d7 11 Bd3 Bb7 12 Kb1 Rc8 13 Bg5 Qc7 14 Rhe1 Ne5 15 f4 Nec4 16 Qc1 h6 17 Nd5 Qc5 18 Nb3 Qf2 19 Rf1 Qg2 20 Nxb6 Nxb6 21 Qe3 Nc4 22 Qa7 Bxe4 23 Qxa6 Rb8 24 Rg1 hxg5 25 Rxg2 Bxg2 26 Bxc4 bxc4 27 Qa4+ 1-0

3) Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon

Egle Morkunaite, Larry Snyder, David Karapetian and Guy Argo lead the 77-player  MI Mike Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon with scores of 3-0. It is still possible to enter the 9 round event with half point byes for each of the first three rounds. The event is named for long time Bay Area organizer Mike Goodall who began his directing career in the 1960s and is still going strong.

4) Here and There

Irish FM Sam Collins, who taught at the Berkeley Chess School this summer, made his first IM norm at the Lancashire Chess Festival  held August 4-9.
Final standings: 1-3 GM N Davies (England), GM A Kunte (India), IM J Shaw (Scotland) 6/9; 4-6 FM S Haslinger (England), FM S Collins (Ireland), IM A Hunt (England) 5; 7-8 IM R Palliser (England), IM D Gormally (England) 3.5; 9 GM C McNab (Scotland) 3; 10 FM C Hanley (England) 1.5.

X3D Technologies have now announced a new $1m challenge: the ultimate "Man vs Machine" showdown, as Kasparov goes head to hard drive with X3D Fritz - except this time its in total virtual reality, with the  chessboard floating in the air between man and computer.  The four-game classical match - officially sanctioned by the International Computer Games Association and the United States Chess Federation as the First Official World Chess Championship in total virtual reality - will take place 11-18 November in the New York Athletic Club in New York City.

This year the traditional German GM tournament in Lippstadt  was won by one of Fritz's stable mates from the Hamburg chess software specialists ChessBase, Brutus.
O Romanishin - Brutus
Lippstadt, (1)
Catalan Opening
1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 e6 5 g3 Nbd7 6 Qd3 Be7 7 Bg2 0-0 8 0-0 b6 9 Rd1 Ba6 10 b3 Rc8 11 e4 c5 12 exd5 exd5 13 Bb2 Re8 14 Rac1 dxc4 15 bxc4 cxd4 16 Nb5 Bxb5 17 cxb5 Rxc1 18 Rxc1 Bc5 19 Nxd4 Ne5 20 Qd1 Qd6 21 Nb3 Bxf2+ 22 Kxf2 Nfg4+ 23 Kg1 Qh6 24 Rc3 Qxh2+ 25 Kf1 h5 26 Qd4 h4 27 gxh4 Qxh4 28 Rh3 Nh2+ 29 Kg1 Nhf3+ 30 Bxf3 Qxh3 31 Nd2 Qxf3 0-1

FM Bruce Harper of Vancouver, British Columbia, is planning on holding a ten-round tournament next summer, July 9-18, 2004.  For information on the proposed event and some interesting poll questions, see

Armenian GM Artashes Minasian has bounced back from his last round loss in the US Open and leads the Los Angeles International with a 2-0 score. Results for the 10 player GM norm round robin can be found at

5) Lubosh Kavalek turns 60

Congratulations to GM Lubosh Kavalek who recently celebrated his 60th birthday. Kavalek, who was one of the top rated players in the world during the 1970s, was a true renaissance chess figure who enjoyed considerable success as a second (World Junior Champion Mark Diesen and Nigel Short), organizer (Montreal 1979 and the GMA World Cup) and author. I still remember NM Dennis Fritzinger  telling me that while Bronstein's Zurich 1953 was always praised to the high heavens he personally preferred Kavalek's book on Wijk aan Zee 1975. Dennis is right,  Wijk aan Zee 1975 is a great book.

Newsletter #154, 08/27/2003

"Analysis: Irrefutable proof that you could have won a game that you lost."
Eliot Hearst

1) Challenging Times in New Windsor

The United States Chess Federation, which was founded in 1939, faces the greatest challenge in its history. The USCF is struggling to stem the bleeding caused by a series of bad years in which it burned through over two million dollars. The bleeding seemed to have been stanched earlier in 2003 when Executive Director Frank Niro assured everyone the organization was turning a $74,117 profit for the year, but closer examination showed the Federation was in the hole for over $350,000. Mr. Niro was not present at the US Open in early August when this information was made public, and sent in his resignation prior to the annual Delegates Meeting.
Newly elected Beatriz Marinello, Timothy Hanke and Don Schultz join fellow Executive Board Members Frank Camaratta, Frank Brady and Steve Shutt in trying circumstances.  Regular payments to staff and the Chess Life printer head the top of the USCF's obligations. Close behind is money to pay for the USCF summer catalogue which was printed a few months ago, but not mailed out due to cash flow difficulties. The lack of a summer catalogue understandably had a negative impact on book and equipment sales. Fourth on the list of those to pay, and one sure to attract a lot of attention in the near future, are the prize winners from the recently concluded US Open in Los Angeles. All pre-entries were sent to the USCF office and the $20,000 to $25,000 that Chief Organizer Jerry Hanken collected from entries at the door was immediately sent to New Windsor per Niro's orders over Hanken's protestations. The result is that it may take awhile for prize winners at the Open to collect their checks.
Does the USCF have a chance to survive this situation? I think so. The six Executive Board members -- the seventh, past President John McCrary who had trusted Niro implicitly, resigned in Los Angeles --  have already shown they are capable of making tough decisions. President Marinello announced on the USCF website on August 20th that the organization let 17 employees go. This was close to half the work force and included such well-known names as Chess Life Editor Peter Kurzdorfer, Scholastics Coordinator Tom Brownscombe and CL Art Director Jami Anson. While it is never nice to see someone lose their job there is a lot of evidence to support the position that the office in New Windsor was overstaffed. Grant Perks, a well-respected CPA and longtime USCF member, has been brought in on a short term mission to clarify the USCF's financial position.
Don't forget the USCF owns its building in New Windsor outright and still has several hundred thousands dollars in Life Member Assets at its disposal. One of the great challenges facing the USCF, and one which has plagued the organization for many years, is an antiquated computer system. Even Mike Cavallo, who in retrospect turns out to have been the best Executive Director
the Federation has had the past decade, was not able to do much to change this chronic problem which has led to widespread inefficiency. Clearly this situation needs to change. Unfortunately Niro got the ED job in part because of his perceived expertise in systems operation. This time the Federation will have to choose the right person and there is no room for a mistake.
Members of the United States Chess Federation may wonder what they can do to help. Can you imagine chess in the United States without the USCF?  I can't, but I can think of a couple of things we can do to support the USCF. One is simply to renew your dues earlier. If your membership is expiring next March why not renew now? A quick infusion of cash will help the USCF weather the short-term cash flow crunch. Secondly consider buying some books or equipment from the USCF. Yes, I know, in the past the Federation has not always measured up in
service to some of the private chess vendors around the country like Chessco or Chess Cafe. Clearly the USCF is not going to beat Amazon or Walmart on price when the latter are offering 40 percent off and free shipping for new books, but nor are they going to support chess in the United States. For all of its failings the USCF is the national federation, and chess in the United States will be weaker without it. If every USCF member bought just one book or clock from the USCF it would help a lot.

2) Yudasin and Becerra tie for first in Los Angeles International

The Southern California Chess Federation website posted the following report this morning on the just-concluded LA International. Congratulations go to the two winners, the two norm makers and organizer (and player!) Varuzhan Akobian. This was the strongest closed event in Southern California in some time. TD John Hillery did a good job getting the games and results up ASAP. Hillery, who also did the website for the US Open, set a record of sorts for major US national events by getting the games from the Open out on TWIC just two days
after the event.
The Los Angeles International, a 10-player, Category X tournament which took place from August 18 though 26 at the California Chess Club, ended in a tie between GMs Leonid Yudasin and Julio Becerra, both with 6½-2½. The undefeated Yudasin drew quickly in the last round with tournament organizer IM Varuzhan Akobian, but Becerra had to battle to the last minutes of sudden death to wrest the full point from IM Melikset Khachiyan, in a crowd-pleasing slugfest. Other notable results include IM Enrico Sevillano's 6-3, good for a GM norm, and Armen Ambartsoumian, who earned his third IM norm with 4½. John Hillery directed.
Final standings and games may be found at

Standings: 1-2. GMs Yudasin and Becerra 6.5/9; 3. IM Sevillano 6; 4. GM Minasian 5.5; 5. IM Akobian 5; 6-7. IMs Matikozian and Ambartsoumian 4.5; 8. IM Khachiyan 3; 9. FM Kretchetov 2; 10. IM Taylor 1.5.

3) DeGuzman wins 4th Annual Pafnutieff Memorial

IM Ricardo DeGuzman won the 4th Annual Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial held August 23 at the MI with a perfect score, defeating SM Vladimir Mezentsev in the last round. Tied for second at 4-1 in the 48-player field were Mezentsev, NM Paul Gallegos, Expert Nicolas Yap and Class A player Erik Kislik. Anthony Corrales directed the event which honored the memory of the late Russian-American Master who made the Bay Area his home for seven decades. A crosstable of the event can be found at

4) Morkunaite leads Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon

NM Egle Morkunaite, the 11th highest rated women in the United States, leads the Mike Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon with a perfect score after four rounds. Tied for second at 3.5 in the 78-player field are NM Russell Wong, Experts Larry Snyder and Matthew Gross, and Class A play David Karapetian. Five rounds remain in this Mechanics' traditional event.

5) Earliest Recorded Game in California

Earlier this year renowned chess historian John Hilbert discovered several games played in San Francisco in 1858 which appeared in the MI Newsletter. At the time these were the earliest recorded games played in the Golden State but now he has pushed the record back two more years!

Grotjan,T - Schleiden,P [C44]
San Francisco, 1856

Played in 1856 (but never before published) between Professor Schleiden, president of the German Chess Club, San Francisco, and T.J. Grotjan, of the Pioneer Club. The German Club had won a supper in a match by correspondence with the Pioneer Club, and this game was played over the board for another supper, each club selecting a player.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4
This is not a very usual move, 4.Nxd4 is usually played. Mr. Stiebel played Mr. Home (London Chess Monthly, Vol. II, page 114) 4.Bc4 followed by Ng5 with great success.
4...Bc5 5.c3 Nge7 6.cxd4 Bb6 7.Nc3 d6 8.0-0 0-0 9.a3
We think this move rather weak, we prefer 9.Be3.
9...Bg4 10.Be3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3
Rather than lose the d-pawn, we should have preferred to have taken with g-pawn.
11...Nxd4 12.Qd1 Ne6 13.Bxb6 axb6 14.Qg4 c6 15.f4 d5
This is not a good move, as it affords White to open a very strong attack; ...b5 trying to drive the White bishop out of the line we think would have been better or ...Kh8.
16.Rad1 Nc7 17.f5 Kh8 18.f6
White pushes the game in brilliant style.
18...gxf6 19.Rxf6 Rg8 20.Qf3 Ng6 21.Bf1 Rg7 22.exd5 Qg8 23.dxc6 bxc6 24.Rxc6 Ne5 25.Qf6 Nxc6 26.Qxc6 Ne6 27.Ne4 Nf4 28.Qf6 Qb8 29.Nd6 Nh3+ 30.Kh1 Ng5 31.h4 h6 32.hxg5 hxg5 33.Nxf7+ Kg8 34.Rd8+ Qxd8 35.Nxd8 Kh7 36.Bd3+  1-0

Black fought the end bravely, but the White attack was irresistible.

Baltimore Sunday News, March 25, 1883; annotations by J.B. Muncy

6) Warren Billings - Chessplayer

Does the name Warren Billings ring a bill? If you are interested in California or Labor history you probably remember the famous Mooney-Billings case where the two were falsely convicted of organizing a bombing in San Francisco in 1916. What you might not know is that Billings was a chess player and played correspondence games while in prison, some of them under the auspices of the Correspondence League of America. Billings opened a small jeweler's shop in San Francisco after leaving Folsom Prison in 1939. He eventually became vice president of the Watchmakers Union and died in 1972. Does anyone have any of his games by any chance? Would anybody know if he was a member of the MI and played in the Chess Room? If you have any information please contact John Donaldson at

7) Here and There

Congratulations go Eric Schiller who was finally awarded his FIDE Master title for results from 1986 and 1987!
Bill Goichberg points out that the 1991 US Open was actually a 12 rounder and that in fact there were very few 9 rounders before 1998- maybe only Fort Worth 1984, Chicago 1989 and Philadelphia 1993.
The August 2003 issue of The DeSoto Cab has a nice writeup of the Louie Ladow Memorial Taxi Cab Drivers tournament held at the MI this past June.
The Kasparov - Computer match will receive extensive coverage according to the ChessBase website which writes: "The announced broadcast schedule is as follows, set your recorder now. All times are EST (New York). November 11th 1-6, 13th 1-6, 16th 1-3:30, 18th 1-6 The announcers will be ESPN sports anchor Jeremy Schapp, GM Yasser Seirawan, and writer Paul Hoffman. There will also be guest
commentators each day. ESPN coverage will likely also include radio and web postgame updates.

Newsletter #155, 09/03/2003

"When I am down in material and do not have a plan, I simply develop in the hope of finding one later."
Max Dlugy

1) ll Continental Championship of the Americas

The Pan American Continental Championships took place August 16th to 30th in Buenos Aires, Argentina with most of the top US players competing. The 7 who qualified for the next FIDE Championships were Lazaro Bruzon, Alexander Goldin, Ivan Morovic, Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Onischuk, Yuri Shulman and Giovanni Vescovi (Charbonneau, Gulko, Kaidanov and Shabalov were already qualified).  Several young players had outstanding results including Nakamura, UMBC srudent Charbonneau and Ramirez of Costa Rica. Congratulations go the American qualifiers Goldin, Nakamura, Onischuk and Shulman.

The cancellation of  the Kasparov vs. Ponomariov match adds increased importance to the World Championship knockout set for this December. That event will determine who plays Kasparov  with the winner playing Leko or Kramnik. That is the plan in theory.

1. Goldin, Alexander g USA 2608           8.5
2. Vescovi, Giovanni g BRA 2618

3.  Morovic,  Ivan g CHI 2573   8
4.  Nakamura, Hikaru g USA 2568
5.  Charbonneau, Pascal m CAN 2442
6.Bruzon, Lazaro g CUB 2614
7.Onischuk, Alexander g USA 2657
8. Shulman, Yuri g USA 2559

9. Dominguez, Lenier g CUB 2610       7.5
10.  Milos, Gilberto g BRA 2592
11. Gulko, Boris F g USA 2583
12.  Vasquez, Rodrigo m CHI 2514
13.  Kudrin, Sergey g USA 2538
14  Shabalov, Alexander g USA 2575
15. Ivanov, Alexander g USA  2538
16. Gurevich, Dmitry g USA 2502
17. Felgaer, Ruben g ARG 2551
18. Ramirez, Alejandro m CRC 2450

2) Labor Day Tournaments

MI Chess Director John Donaldson and NM Mikhail Langer tied for first in the 22nd North American Open held August 29-September 1 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The two winners, who were both undefeated with 8 from 10, divided $1400. Tying for third at 7.5 in the 88-player event were IM Michael Brooks and WGMs Rusa Goletiani and Anna Zatonskih. Jim and Frank Berry organized and directed for the Oklahoma Chess Foundation.

IM Tim Taylor, SM Dmitry Zilberstein and NM Tigran Iskhanov tied for first in the annual Labor Day tournament for Northern California held in San Francisco. Zilberstein took the title of Northen California State Champion on tiebreak. We hope to have more details about this event next week.

NMs David Roper, Bill Schill, and Ben Lin tied for first at 5-1 in the 2003 Oregon Open - Richard Wood Memorial held August 30-September 1 in Gresham.

3) Morkunaite leads Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon

Egle Morkunaite defeated fellow NM Russell Wong to maintain her perfect score after 5 rounds of the Mike Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon. David Karapetian continued his string of upsets by beating Expert Matthew Gross and is second with 4.5. The 78 participants have 4 rounds to go.

4) Zuckertort in San Francisco

Sometime ago we reported on the great Zuckertort's visit to San Francisco in the summer of 1884 which you can find under the MI History on this website. Recently John Hilbert has unearthed several new games which he has kindly shared and which will appear in this and forthcoming  Newsletters. Zuckertort was the first World Class player to visit the MI. Pierre Saint Amant served as French consul during the Gold Rush but there is no record of  his playing. He left California several years before the Mechanics' was formed in 1854.

Zukertort - Franklin,S [C25]
San Francisco Blindfold Simul (1:12), 08.07.1884

The subjoined is one of twelve games, played simultaneously, blindfold, at the Irving Hall, San Francisco, on the 8th of July last.
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Bc5 3.f4 Bxg1
An unfavorable defense; but especially so if followed up as in the text by ...Qh4+. Of course, 3...d6 is the correct move.
4.Rxg1 Qh4+
Comparatively better is  4...exf4 White replies  5.d4 then 5...Qh4+ 6.g3 fxg3 7.hxg3 Qd8 but White's position is far superior.
5.g3 Qxh2 6.Rg2 Qh6
6...Qh1 would be more dangerous if anything.
7.fxe5 Qe6
At g6 the Queen would be placed better, in view of the threatened advance of White's center pawns.
8.d4 h6 9.Be3 Na6 10.Qd2 Ne7 11.0–0–0 b6 12.Rh2
This is a subtle maneuver. White's intention being to play d5, but the e5-pawn must be guarded first. If he were to play Bf4, Black would reply ...g5, thus gaining a safe square for his Queen at g6 in case White should attack it with d5. The text move obviously prevents Black from dislodging the bishop with ...g5.
12...Bb7 13.Bf4 Ng6 14.d5 Qe7 15.d6 Qe6 16.Bh3 Qc4 17.Bxd7+
Considering that Dr. Zukertort played eleven games blindfold in the same time enhances the merit of the sacrifice, which is perfectly sound. Of course, 17.dxc7 would be quite sufficient, because if Black were to castle, White could probably play Bxh6 and win; but the sacrifice at one is prettier.
It is immaterial whether Black takes the bishop or plays 17...Kf8. In the latter case one of the many continuations might be: [17...Kf8 18.e6 fxe6 19.Qf2 Kg8 20.Rd4 Qc5 21.Bxe6+ Kh7 22.Bxh6 and wins.
18.dxc7+ Kxc7 19.e6+ Nxf4 20.Qxf4+ Kc8 21.exf7 Qc5 22.Rhd2 Bc6 23.e5 Kb7 24.Ne4 Bxe4 25.Qxe4+ Qc6 26.Rd7+ Nc7 27.Qxc6+ Kxc6 28.R1d6+ Kb7 29.e6 Raf8 30.Re7 Rc8 31.Rdd7 Kc6 32.Rxc7+
If 32...Rxc7, then 33.Rxc7+ Kxc7 34.e7, etc.

The Field, August 23, 1884 1–0

Newsletter #156, 09/10/2003

"In chess it is more important to frustrate your opponent's strategy than to be obsessed with your own."
Larry Evans

1) More Labor Day Tournament Results

Michael Aigner writes that the results for the CalChess Labor Day weekend event are up ( . As reported in the last Newsletter, SM Dmitry Zilberstein is the new state champion.  He defeated IMs Walter Shipman and Tim Taylor on the way to picking up $543. The two other players who tied for first, IM Taylor and NM Tigran Iskhanov, also had excellent results. Taylor beat IM DeGuzman in the last round while Iskhanov performed the rare double of defeating Bay Area's heavyweights DeGuzman and SM Vladimir Mezentsev in the same event.  The turnout of 190 players was outstanding. Credit goes to Richard Koepcke who organized and directed.

The other California State championship, for the Southland, was held in San Diego over Labor Day weekend. Chuck Ensey gives a good report on the event on the San Diego Chess Club website ( Here is a brief excerpt.
Enrico Sevillano (5/6) of Nevada won clear first place in the Southern California Open held over Labor Day weekend in San Diego's scenic Balboa Park Club. He was the highest rated player to enter, checking in at 2563. Melikset Khachiyan (4 1/2) won the State Championship Title of Southern California, edging out Cyrus Lakdawala (4 1/2) and Eduardo Ortiz (4 1/2) on tie breaks. Also scoring 4 1/2 was Daniel Rensch (4 1/2) of Arizona, a young scholastic player with a very high rating (2360) for someone his age. The Balboa Park Club is an excellent facility with lots of room, good lighting and beautiful surroundings. It is much bigger than the other building in Balboa Park where the San Diego Chess Club normally meets, near Sixth and Ivy, which can only accommodate about 100 players. The spacious Balboa Park Club site could easily handle 300 players and is located between the Organ Pavilion and the Aerospace Museum. When it was held here two years ago, it drew 191 players and was won by Levon Altounian, also with 5 points. Last year's SCO in Los Angeles drew another big crowd of 192 players and was won on tie breaks by Andranik Matikozian, again with 5. This year the huge US Open was held in Los Angeles for the first time since 1991, and it was just recently completed on August 15th. It was feared that this extra large and expensive event would cut into the players' budgets of both time and money and ultimately hurt the attendance for the Southern California Open. That is exactly what happened, as only 126 players decided to compete this year. This was despite a large fully guaranteed prize fund of $8,000.

David Presser writes that the new Ohio champions are Mike Joelson, Bob Basalla and Ananth Pappu. They scored 4.5 – 1.5 on the Labor Day weekend event. IM Ron Burnett of New York, the only titled player competing, won with 5-1. There were only 110 entries versus 150 last year.

2) Karapetian leads Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon

UC Berkeley Senior David Karapetian continued his string of upsets last night by defeating leader NM Egle Morkunaite. Karapetian, who was not ranked in the top 25 players going into the 9 round event, has shown that his current rating of 1890 is not very accurate. Besides beating Morkunaite, one of the top rated women in the United States, he has defeated NM Victor Ossipov and Expert Matthew Gross. The only blemish on his record so far is a round four draw with Expert Larry Snyder.

Standings: 1. Karapetian 5.5/6; 2-4. FM Frank Thornally, NMs Morkunaite and Ossipov 5.

3) Short Draws

The new USCF rule book is out. There are numerous changes throughout, some minor and others that may have a significant impact. The old rule that the top seed who wins all his games alternates colors automatically except when facing an opponent with has had two consecutive Whites or Blacks is no more. Now the rules call for the players color history to be compared. For example if the top seed and his last round opponent in a 10 round tourney have both had 5 Blacks and 4 Whites the higher rated player does not automatically get his due color. In this case the lower-rated player had started with White, but gotten a double Black in the middle of the event, while the top-seed had begun with Black and alternated perfectly. The double black in the middle caused the lower-rated player to receive White in the last round.

The US Open in Los Angeles saw the enforcement of a new (old) rule regarding short draws. Former Candidates Leonid Yudasin and Jaan Ehlvest drew in round five of the short schedule. Their initial game lasted one move. Tournament Director Carol Jarecki reminded them that the sheet handed to all players before the event said no draws in less than 15 moves or one hour of play. They then sat down to play and drew in 17 moves in a Flohr-Zaitzev Ruy Lopez (Ng5, Rf8. Nf3, Re8, Ng5).  Then Jarecki, Chief TD Randy Hough and Chief Organizer Jerry Hanken sanctioned the two players, telling them that the amount of their free entry fee (approximately $200) would be deducted from any prize they won.

Ehlvest didn't win any prize money but Yudasin did in tying for second. At present it's a moot point since the prizes for the Open have yet to be paid, but it does raise some interesting questions. Interestingly both Yudasin and Ehlvest are known as uncompromising fighters and both played with distinction in Maurice Ashley's event earlier this year where the players had to sign contracts expressly forbidding short draws. Clearly these two players are fighters. They both pointed after the sanction that they have no problems in agreeing to a policy of no short draws, but they make a distinction between events in which they receive conditions and those in which they don't. Yudasin and Ehlvest both said they would not have agreed to short draws had they been playing in the US Championship where conditions were given (in the form of a very rich prize fund). They also point out that they were playing in the fast schedule in the US Open, that they had played four games the day before and were tired.

In Los Angeles Hanken gave all GMs free entry, and contrary to prevailing practice did not deduct it from their winnings. He did not have the sponsorship for this event which would have made it possible to offer hotel and air for the top players, but is known to be one of the more generous organizers in the United States. A holder of the USCF LifeMaster title he is a strong supporter of top level chess.

So who is right? Back in the 1960s FIDE tried to bar short draws and the players easily found ways around the rule. Today they will do the same thing again. The only way to prevent short draws is to create an atmosphere in which it is not in the players interest to make them. When the last round scenario is a win picks up $1500, a draw $1000 and a loss $200, it is not surprising that draws occur. Organizers can select players that are known for their uncompromising attitude. The current rule is unenforceable. What do you do if the Flohr-Zaitzev is your main weapon for Black?

4) Kavalek on ChessFM

The induction of GM Lubosh Kavalek into the US Hall of Fame a few years ago was richly deserved. One of the renaissance men of chess, Kavalek has contributed to the game in many ways, particularly as a player, coach, writer and organizer. This evening offers a rare opportunity to hear the veteran GM talk on a wide range of subjects on Chess.FM. Details are below as well as the latest article  (   by Lubosh. Kavalek is the longtime columnist of the Washington Post. His material appears every Monday. It is always on a very high level and it is free! I can't recommend this column enough.

with Fred Wilson
Live Internet Radio Show
This Week's Guest, Wednesday, September 10th is GM Lubomir Kavalek.

Fred Wilson Wednesdays on Chess.FM!
Wednesday night now brings you back-to-back "Chess & Books with Fred
Wilson" for your listening enjoyment!

5:00 PM ET   Chess & Books - Replay of Maurice Ashley interview--
7:00 PM ET   Chess & Books - Replay of Douglas Bellizzi interview --
9:00 PM ET   Chess & Books - Live Show
11:05 PM ET   Replay of Live Show

    "Fred's next guest on Wednesday, Sept. 10th will be three-time US
Chess Champion GM Lubomir Kavalek.  Lubosh, as he likes to be called, was
one of the top ten players in the world for several years, winning a number
of very strong tournaments including Caracas 1970 & Solingen 1974 (tied
with Polugaevsky).  He is also the author of the now classic tournament
book "Wijk aan Zee Grandmaster Chess Tournament 1975" (RHM Press, 1976) and
currently conducts an award winning chess column for the Washington Post.
Additionally, as a trainer Lubosh was instrumental in helping Nigel Short
successfully fight his way to a title match with Kasparov in 1993.  Please
send questions for Lubosh Kavalek to either or
Tony Rook".

CHESS Lubomir Kavalek
By Lubomir Kavalek
Monday, September 8, 2003; Page C10

Sometimes an important opening line travels in a full circle. In 1960 in Buenos Aires, in a tournament celebrating the 150th anniversary of Argentina, Bobby Fischer made a queen move in his favored Sicilian Najdorf variation that was brought into a full swing only after a few decades.

A slightly different version of Fischer's idea began to appear in Denmark 30 years ago and after traveling around the globe it ended in the Argentine capital last month during the American Continental championships. U.S. champion Alexander Shabalov and his countryman Sergei Kudrin benefited from it, both defeating Colombian grandmaster Gildardo Garcia.


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.Bg5
(The opening theory and players' taste change quickly. Only two years ago in his excellent book "The Sicilian Sozin," Mikhail Golubev advocated 8.0-0 Be7 9.Qf3! to pressure black with an active piece play. In his intriguing new book, "Play Najdorf: Scheveningen Style," recently issued by Everyman Chess, John Emms writes: "One of the earliest examples of 9.Qf3 was in Bobby Fischer-Fridrik Olafsson, Buenos Aires 1960. Despite a victory for the young American 9.Qf3, and the plans associated with it, remained in the shadows." Except, the game was drawn in 43 moves.)
8...Be7 9.Qf3
(This move order gives white a choice of where to castle.)
(Two rounds later Garcia chose 9...Qc7 against Shabalov, and it continued with the trendy play through the center 10.e5!? Bb7 11.exd6 Bxd6 12.Qe3. Black tried 12...Be5, but after 13.0-0-0 0-0 14.Rhe1 Nbd7 15.Kb1 Rfe8 16.a3 Rac8 allowed a little combination 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Nxe6! fxe6 19.Bxe6+ Kf8 20.Rxd7 and white won.)
10.0-0-0 0-0 11.g4!
(By castling to the queenside, white can generate his attack with both pieces and pawns. In the game Yemelin-Nepomnishay, St. Petersburg, Russia, 1996, white included 11.Be3 Qb7 and only now played 12.g4. He won quickly after 12...Nc6 13.g5 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Nd7 15.Qh5 Nc5 16.Rhg1 Re8 17.Rg3 Nxb3+ 18.axb3 e5 19.Nd5 g6 20.Qh6 Kh8 21.Bxe5+ dxe5 22.Nf6 and black resigned, since after 22...Bxf6 23.gxf6 Rg8 24.Rd8 white mates.)
(In a 1973 game, Kristiansen-Heim, white won beautifully after 11...Bb7 12.Be3 b4 13.g5 Nfd7 14.Qh5 Qa5 15.Nxe6 fxe6 16.Bxe6+ Kh8 17.Rd5! Qd8 18.g6 Nf6 19.Qxh7+! and black resigned, because on 19...Nxh7 20.Rh5 white mates.)
12.Na4 Qb7 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.h4 Nd7
(Later in the Buenos Aires tournament, Chilean grandmaster Ivan Morovic tested Kudrin with a direct challenge in the center: 14...Nc6. After 15.Nxc6 Qxc6 16.g5 Be7 17.Qe3 Rb8 18.f4 Rb5 19.h5 Bb7 20.Rhe1 Bd8 21.Kb1 Re8 22.Qd2 Bc7 23.h6 g6 24.Qd4 e5, the American grandmaster missed 25.fxe5!, for example 25...dxe5 26.Qd7! or 25...Rexe5 26.Rf1! winning. And on 25...Rbxe5!? 26.Qf2 R8e6 27.Bxe6 Rxe6 28.Qd4 Re5 29.Qxb4 Rxg5 30.Nc3, white keeps winning chances. Kudrin missed more opportunities later and lost in 53 moves.)
15.g5 Be7 16.Rhg1
(White's g and h pawns are ready to roll.)
16...Nc5 17.Nxc5 dxc5
(Where should the knight go?)
(Spicing the attack with a temporary knight sacrifice.)
18...cxf5 19.Bd5 Qb8 20.exf5 Ra7 21.f6 Be6
(Black has to give the bishop back. After 21...Bd6 22.g6 white's pressure is too powerful, for example 22...Bf4+ 23.Kb1 Bh6 24.gxf7+ Raxf7 25.Bxf7+ wins; 22...h6 23.gxf7+ Rfxf7 24.Rxg7+ Kf8 25.Kb1, threatening to win with 26.Rdg1; or 22...Be6 23.gxh7+ wins.)
22.fxe7 Rxe7 23.h5 Qe5!
(The centralized queen gives black some chances to get back into the game.)
(Utilizing the pin on the e-file.)
24...Qd4 25.Qe4 Qxf2?
(Too greedy. Garcia should have challenged the bishop with 25...Rd8, although after 26.Qxd4 cxd4 27.Bxe6 fxe6 [or 27...Rxe6 28.Kd2!] 28.Re4 white has the edge.)
26.Rgf1 Qd4
(After 26...Qg3 27.g6! decides.)
(The roof is caving in and black doesn't have a good defense against 28.gxf7+.)
(Opening the h-file gives white additional attacking opportunities. But on 27...Rd7 28.Qxd4 cxd4 29.Bxe6 fxe6 30.gxh7+ wins.)
28.hxg6 Bxd5
(After 28...Qxe4 29.Rxe4 Bxd5 30.Rxe7 wins; and on 28...Rd7 29.Qh1! decides.)
29.Qxe7 Bxa2 30.Re4
(Here 30.Rd1! Qc4 31.Rxf7 won faster.)
30...Qd5 31.Rh4
(Threatening 32.Rh8+! Kxh8 33.Qxf8 mate.)
31...Qd8 32.Rfh1!
(Triumphing on the h-file. After 32...Qxe7 33.Rh8 mates.)
Black resigned.

5) Here and There

The Mechanics' will contest a four board junior match against the Marshall Chess Club on September 27. Representing the MI in the match, which will start at noon and be played live on the ICC, are Matthew Ho, Nicolas Yap, Drake Wang and Ewelina Krubnik. More details to follow.

Happy Birthday to Elmars Zemgalis who turned 80 yesterday. The Latvian born Zemgalis, who has made Seattle his home for 50 years, is best known for tying for first at Oldenburg 1949 with Bogoljubow (12/17) ahead of GMs Rossolimo, Unzicker, O'Kelly and Saemisch.

Check out the redesigned website of former MI member Jerry Silman ( . The Los Angeles based Silman has a huge site which is not only devoted to chess. There is lots of free instructional material and many book reviews.

The Atlantic Open, played Aug. 22-24 at the Washington Wyndham Hotel, ended in a six-way tie for first place between Jaan Ehlvest, Gennadi Zaichik, Ildar Ibragimov, Alexander Stripunsky, Norman Rogers and Marc Esserman. They scored 4 points in five games. Ehlvest won the title in a playoff.

The Bay Area has recently gained two strong players. IM Walter Morris is a visiting professor at UC Berkeley this quarter while NM Cindy Tsai is starting her freshman year at Stanford.

Chess in the East Bay is not just confined to Friday's nights with the Berkeley Chess Club. Those looking for some five minute chess can find it at the International House (at the top of Bancroft) in Berkeley. Regulars, led by SM Craig Mar, gather there on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting around 5pm.

Monty Peckham started his freshman year at US Davis and strengthens the local chess community which already boasts SM Chumachenko and NMs Aigner, Langreck and Lazetich.  It would be great to see someone organize a tournament in Davis sometime soon.

Wilmot McCutchen informs us that an informal chess club has been formed in Orinda and meets Saturday afternoon at the Orinda Public Library, just a short walk from the BART station.

Paul Truong writes: " I would like to inform all of you that Grandmaster Susan Polgar (Susan Polgar Foundation) has created a FREE scholastic website for the benefit of the US Chess Federation for all children, parents and coaches from across the country.   Supporting quotes from World's #1 Garry Kasparov will be published shortly.  We are working on getting articles, news reports, TLAs, tips, links, scholarships opportunities, and any other relevant information to help the kids." The name of the site is

Rusty Miller points out that the USCF has a very interesting prototype up at ( ) which gives all sorts of information on individual players rating history, tournaments that have been rated and tournament director histories.

Jim Berry wonders if anyone can explain the photo of former USCF President Jerry Spann giving a simul at the Mechanics'. The photo, which looks to be from the late 1950s, shows Spann in suit and tie at the MI. All well and good, but Spann was usually rated around 1700, not the sort you would expect to give a simul. Does anyone have an explanation?

Newsletter #157, 09/17/2003

"For serious players to improve at chess 80 serious games is ideal and the absolute minimum number of tournament games per year is 50."
Lembit Oll

1) Mezentsev wins 4th Annual Donnelly Memorial

SM Vladimir Mezentsev defeated IM Ricardo DeGuzman in the next to last round of the Howard Donnelly Memorial to win with a 5-0 score. Expert Ben Haun was second at 4.5 followed by DeGuzman and Jacob Lopez in third at 4-1.  Brandon Purcell, rated only 1637, had an excellent result scoring 3.5 with wins over Steven Krasnov and Yefim Bukh in the last two rounds. Anthony Corrales directed the 39-player event for the MI.

2) Karapetian leads Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon

US Berkeley student David Karapetian continued his winning ways in the Mike Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon, knocking off top-seed FM Frank Thornally. Karapetian, who started the event rated 1890, has scored 6 1/2 points from his first seven games, knocking off 1 - 2300, 2 - 2200s, scoring 2.5 from 3 against 2000s as well as winning in round 1 versus a 1300. We don't want to put the jinx on Mr. Karapetian, but with two rounds to go he has already gained 137 rating points according to the USCF rating calculator putting him firmly in Expert territory. For the statistically minded David's performance rating for the event so far is 2594 and he is up 55 bonus points. The latter is no easy feat as changes in the USCF rating formula have made it harder for players in the 1800-2200 range to move up quickly.

3) San Francisco Chess History - 1881

The following nugget comes from well-known chess historian Neil Brennen of Pennsylvania.

Peipers,F - Mr.__ C44
Blindfold simul, San Francisco, 1881

One of four games played simultaneously, and without sight of the board, by Professor Fritz Peipers of San Francisco against four amateurs of that city. The games were all won by the blindfold player.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bc5 5.Ng5 Ne5
Well-known to be inferior to 5...Nh6.
6.Nxf7 Nxf7 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxc5 d6
If Black's remaining Knight now stood at c6 instead of g8, he could play here 9...d5 with great effect.
10.Qxd4 Nf6 11.0-0 Re8 12.Nc3 Qe7 13.Bd2 Qe5 14.Qd3 Re7 15.f4 Qc5+
In these movements of the Queen Black has consumed valuable time which he might have devoted to bringing out the Queen's Rook and Queen's Bishop.
16.Kh1 b6 17.e5
A decisive blow.
If 17...Bf5 White wins by 18.Qf3
18.fxe5 Rxe5 19.Ne4
White plays the terminating moves in good style.
19...Bf5 20.Nxc5 Bxd3 21.Nxd3 1-0

Brentano's Chess Monthly, August 1881, p177

4) Here and There

Former US Champion Nick deFirmian, who is on the cover of the latest issue of New in Chess, will be at the Mechanics' on Wednesday, October 15. deFirmian, who has been living in Denmark for some time, has longtime ties to the Bay Area. He grew up on Santa Barbara, but after finishing high school moved north to attend UC Berkeley where he graduated with a degree in physics. Nick has been a regular in US Championships and on medal-winning Olympiad teams for two decades.  He is the author of several editions of Modern Chess Openings. Immediately following his visit to the Mechanics' Nick will travel to Reno where he will give a simul on Thursday evening before playing in the Western States Open over the weekend. More details on Nick's visit will appear in the next Newsletter.

Several Newsletters ago I wrote about the financial troubles of the USCF and that prizes had yet to be paid for the US Open in Los Angeles, which finished in mid-August. Grant Perks at the USCF recently announced that checks to all prize winners have been sent out which is certainly good news and hopefully a sign that things are turning around. Consider renewing your USCF dues early to help support chess in the United States.

The MI-Marshall ICC junior match set for Saturday, September 27, has been moved to Sunday, September 28. The starting time of noon PST stays the same. Spectators are welcome to watch at the MI or on the Internet Chess Club.

GM Gennadi Zaichik of Philadelphia won the New Jersey Open held over Labor Day weekend with a score of 5.5 from 6. Noted Benoni expert, IM Albert Kapengut was second with 5 and was the top-scoring New Jersey player.  Former MI member IM Mladen Vucic, who recently moved to the Garden State, was among those tied for third at 4.5. A total of 155 players competed in the 9 section event.

Many contemporary players rank Garry Kasparov as the number one player of all time but don't count Srjdan Sale among them. The Croatian IM's favorite is Bobby Fischer. Among the points that Sale makes is that Bobby completely dominated his contemporaries. In 1975 he set the record for the largest rating differential between number one and two on the FIDE rating list - 120 points (1. Fischer 2780 2. Karpov 2660).

The Championship of the Americas for women was held September 5-12, in San Cristobal, Venezuela. Final results are not well-publicized or given at all. There was no mention in the latest TWIC, at the FIDE website or at The Orinoco web site from Venezuela has a link to the event, which seems to be broken. The only news I have is from Paul Truong who wrote almost a week ago, "I received news just minutes ago that WGM Rusa Goletiani (personal student of GM Susan Polgar and a member of the US Women's Olympiad Program) has just won clear first at the Continental Championship in Venezuela with the score of 7.5/9 (6 wins - 3 draws).  Even though the tournament is still on going, no other player can catch her."

5) Bridge and Chess in New York

Regulars at Bill Goichberg's old Bar Point chess club in New York will remember that sometimes poker seemed to be more popular than chess and more than one titled player tried to earn money that way.  MI member John Heymann passes along the following interesting reminiscence which suggests that strong chessplayers have always had to work hard to eke out a living. The entire article can be found at .

Here was much choice of bridge games in the Village. One might go to Frank Marshall's chess club, where the maestro played bridge more often than chess. With equal vigor he would scold his partner and slap his breast to dislodge temporarily the layer of cigar ashes that continuously settled on his blue serge vest. Here the game was easy to beat and there was the occasional thrill of playing with the Great Names of chess -- Capablanca and Doctor Lasker and even Alekhine. But the card fee was 50 cents, while at the Vag and other coffee houses it was possible to buy a cup of coffee for a quarter and nurse it through a full evening of bridge--unfortunately, in a tougher game. On payday there was no question as to where one would go: the Lafayette, with its higher stakes and higher prices but no better players. What if a dish of ice cream did cost 80 cents? Four times as much could be won from an unwise opponent in a single bridge hand.

Some of the habitués lived where they played, in the Village; some did not. Milton Hanauer and Tony Santasiere took the long (45-minute) subway ride to Washington Heights after the evening session was ended; Tholfsen went to Brooklyn; Barnes walked home to Chelsea; and I lived in the Tenderloin, at Ninth Avenue and Forty-second Street....

Newsletter #158, 09/24/2003

"If we were looking at a poor developing country, the world gives them just enough rope to hang themselves. A country like the United States, they give them enough rope to tie the noose around their neck several times. But it does happen in the end," he said.
Grandmaster and IMF Chief Economist Kenneth Rogoff

1) Shabalov wins Levy Memorial

US Champion Alex Shabalov continued his stellar year on American soil (1st US Championship, 1st Chicago Open, 1st US Open, =1st World Open), winning the 2nd Edward Levy Memorial held September 18-21 in Denver. Shabalov's score of 4 1/2 from 5, which included wins over GMs Dmitry Gurevich and Alexander Stripunsky plus IM Varuzhan Akobian, earned him $5000. His only draw was with IM Nazar Firman of Ukraine in round 5. Firman tied for second with Stripunsky and GM Viktor Mikhalevski in the 42-player top section which included 16 GMs and 6 IMs. A total of 260 players competed in the Continental Chess Association organized by Bill Goichberg. Crosstables for the event can be found at

2) Karapetian leads Mike Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon

UC Berkeley senior David Karapetian continued his amazing run of success last night, holding a draw in a difficult position against junior star Alex Setzepfandt. Karapetian now leads with 7 from 8, a remarkable achievement considering he started the event at 1890. His rating, with the first 8 rounds of this event thrown in, is now 2032(!) according to the USCF rating calculator, thanks to a 2476 performance. David won't be counting his winnings yet as Expert Matthew Gross is only half a point behind having defeated NM Egle Morkunaite in round eight.  Morkunaite, NM Victor Ossipov and rapidly improving junior Nicolas Yap are tied for third at 6 and still in the running for first. It looks likely that Karapetian will play Yap as he has already defeated Gross, Morkunaite and Ossipov.  The next Marathon starts October 21 and runs until December 16.

3) Marshall - Mechanics' Under 16 Match this Sunday

This Sunday at noon (3pm EST) the Marshall Chess Club of New York and the Mechanics' Institute of San Francisco will be squaring off in a 4 board junior match for players under 16. Each team is composed of three boys and one girl. Time control for the event, which be played over the Internet on the Internet Chess Club, is Game in 90 minutes with a thirty-second increment. Marshall players have White on the odd-numbered boards.  Mechanics' will be playing on the 4th floor of the Institute in the Chess Room. Spectators are welcome.

Board 1: Igor Schneider (2250) age 15 vs. Matthew Ho (2179) 15
Board 2: Nicolas Yap (2172) 13 vs. Laura Ross (2186) 14
Board 3: Fabiano Caruana (2103) 10  vs. Drake Wang (2037) 13
Board 4: Ewelina Krubnik (1682) 13 vs. Marc Tyler Arnold (2084) 10

4) GM Ken Rogoff and the IMF

MI member Larry Snyder and Newsletter reader Kurt Stein both spotted Grandmaster Ken Rogoff in the news the past week. Rogoff, the chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, is best known to the chess world for winning the US Junior Championship, earning the GM title and representing the United States in the 1976 Interzonal in Biel.

Larry read an article in the Financial Times (September 19, 2003, page 8) where the English paper noted his satirical fervor when giving a report on the state of the world economy. Kurt found another article on Rogoff online at,12271,1045369,00.html . A partial excerpt follows.

Charlotte Denny and Larry Elliott
Friday September 19, 2003
The Guardian

The International Monetary Fund yesterday warned that the colossal United States trade deficit was a noose around the neck of the economy, emphasising that the once mighty dollar could collapse at any moment. Arguing that the world's big economies were already too dependent on the willingness of American consumers to live beyond their means, the IMF said the US could not continue to run a current account deficit of 5% of GDP.
The IMF's chief economist Kenneth Rogoff said that it was just a matter of time before the gap closed, tipping the dollar into a potentially steep fall.
"If we were looking at a poor developing country, the world gives them just enough rope to hang themselves. A country like the United States, they give them enough rope to tie the noose around their neck several times. But it does happen in the end," he said.
In its twice yearly report on the world economy, the Fund warns that even a controlled slide in the dollar's value is likely to slow US growth and unless other countries picked up the slack, the global economy would suffer.
Mr Rogoff said the collapse of world trade talks last weekend in Cancun could spell disaster for a global economy already too dependent on unbalanced growth in the US. Describing the breakdown as a "tragedy", he said global poverty would rise if protectionism took root in the world's biggest economies.
Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and heightened geopolitical tensions worldwide after the September 11 attacks on the US would "unquestionably" hold back growth in the decades ahead, Mr Rogoff told reporters.

5) Zukertort in San Francisco

Here is one more game uncovered by John Hilbert.

Zukertort - Jefferson
Remove White's QN,
Played at the Chess Room of the Mechanics' Institute, San Francisco, July 1884.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.0–0 d6 6.d4 exd4 7.cxd4 Bb6 8.d5 Ne7 9.e5 dxe5 10.Nxe5 Nexd5 11.Bg5 Be6 12.Re1 0–0 13.Qf3 c6 14.Rad1 Qc8 15.h3 Bc7 16.Bd3 Re8 17.Bb1 Bxh3 18.Rxd5 Nxd5 19.Qxf7+ Kh8 20.Bh6 Bxe5 21.Rxe5 Rg8 22.Rh5 Nf6 23.Rxh3 Qd7 24.Qxd7 Nxd7 25.Bg5 Nf8 26.Bc2 h6 27.Bb3 Nh7 28.Bd2 Rgf8 29.Bc3 Nf6 30.f3 b6 31.g4 Nd5 32.Rxh6+ Kg8 33.Rxc6 Rad8 34.Rg6 Rf7 35.Rg5 Nxc3 36.bxc3 Kf8 37.Bxf7 Kxf7 38.Rf5+ Ke6 39.Rf4 Rd1+ 40.Kf2 Rd2+ 41.Kg3 Rxa2 42.Re4+ Kf6 43.f4 Ra3 44.g5+ Kf5 45.Re5+ Kg6 46.Kg4 Rxc3 47.Re7 a5 48.f5+ Kh7 49.Re8 g6 50.f6 a4 51.f7 1-0

The Chess Monthly, October 1884, pp.44-46

6) Here and There

John Henderson reports in The Scotsman:

CHESS gets set for the red carpet treatment, as the 10th Sheffield International Documentary Festival opens on 13th October with the UK
premiere of "Game Over: Kasparov And The Machine".
The film is the first release from the newly-formed World Documentary Fund, dedicated to the production of feature-length documentaries to
follow on from the success of Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine".The fund is a co-production between the BBC, the UK Film Council and the
National Film Board of Canada.
Acclaimed director Vikram Jayanti, the man also behind the award-winning "When We Were Kings" and "The Man Who Bought Mustique", will accompanyhis new film to this year's festival, and will be the subject of a masterclass where he will talk candidly about his experience of making
the documentary.
Last week the film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in Canada to enthusiastic reviews. Far from making chess "boring", Jayanti's film -
seen as an everyday story of psychological warfare, personal pride, paranoia, deflated egos and corporate ambition - is being talked-up by
the critics as a slick and surprisingly suspenseful investigation into Garry Kasparov's infamous 1997 loss to IBM's Deep Blue.
To this day, Kasparov is still smarting over his defeat to the silicon monster, and he raises the specter of "cheating" with a claim of human
intervention during critical moves.  Kasparov passionately believes in the conspiracy theory that he was "used" by IBM in order to gain
computer supremacy over the competition.

October FIDE Rating List

1 Kasparov 2830 = (0)
2 Kramnik 2777 – 8 (11)
3 Anand 2766 – 8 (10)
4 Bareev 2739 +18 (11)
5 Shirov 2737 +5 (2)
6 Topalov 2735 = (0)
7 Grischuk 2732 = (0)
8 Adams 2725 +6 (10)
9 Svidler 2723 = (0)
10 Leko 2722 –17 (10)
11 J. Polgar 2722 +4 (9)
12 Ponomariov 2718 = (0)
13 Ivanchuk 2710 = (0)
14 Dreev 2705 +7 (9)
15 Gelfand 2703 +8 (11)
16 Morozevich 2702 +23 (10)
17 Short 2701 = (0)
18 Malakhov 2696 = (0)
19 I. Sokolov 2695 +2 (4)
20 Azmaiparashvili 2693 –9 (7)
21 Karpov 2693 = (0)

The figure next to their rating is the rating change, while the figure in brackets shows the number of games played since the June 2003 list.

The Wall Street Journal ran two articles related to chess last week. Thursday Garry Kasparov appeared with an editorial telling the US to wake up to the fact that Putin was not moving Russia closer to being a democracy. On Friday Roger Lowenstein gave a thumbs up review of the new book The Chess Artist (St. Martins, 334 pages, $25.95, hardback) by J.C. Hallman.

Alan Benson, one of the key Bay Area organizers of the late 1970s and early 1980s is back at Games of Berkeley (on Shattuck across from the downtown BART station) where he is the chess specialist.

Newsletter #159, 10/01/2003

"In chess as in backgammon the game boils down to a race. In chess not only is there the race to queen a pawn but there is also the race of the attack. One more defensive move and there is no more attack or one more advance and there is no defense."
IM Mike Brooks

1) Three Tie in Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon

The last round of the Mike Goodall Tuesday Night Marathon, held August 5-September 30, was full of excitement. Leader David Karapetian looked to have the better of it for much of the game, but a blunder at the end gave Expert Nicolas Yap the victory, enabling him to reach Karapetian at 7-2. Joining them in the winner's circle was NM Victor Ossipov who defeated Expert Matthew Gross. Gross could have taken clear first if he had won. Tying for fourth through seventh at 6.5 in the 78-player field were Gross, FM Frank Thornally, NM Russell Wong and Expert Alex Setzepfandt.
The Fall Tuesday Night Marathon starts Tuesday, October 21 and ends December 16. Advance entry fee for the nine round event is $35.

2) Marshall CC v Mechanic's Institute Junior Match

John Fernandez reports: On Sunday, September 28th, two world famous chess clubs, the Marshall Chess Club and the Mechanics' Institute Chess Club squared off despite being separated by 2600 miles (4150km), in what will hopefully be the first in a series of distance matches between the famous New York City and San Francisco clubs. This match pitted four of New York's best players under the age of 16 versus four of Northern California's best and brightest. The games were played at a Game 90 + 30 second increment over the Internet Chess Club ( In four very exciting games, the Marshall Chess Club won the match with the score of 3 wins to 1 loss. On board one, FM Igor Schneider and Matthew Ho went into some deep preparation in the Center Counter Defense, based on the Anand - Lautier clash from Biel 1997. On board two, Nicholas Yap and WFM Laura Ross played an exciting game in the Sveshnikov variation of the Sicilian Defense. Yap excellently controlled the center and created tactical problems with his passed b pawn, forcing home the full point with good technique. On board three, FM Fabiano Caruana chose the Two Knights variation of the Caro Kann Defense versus Drake Wang. In a shocking blunder, Wang hung mate in one on move 9, although it must be admitted that his position was probably already quite critical. On board four, Ewelina Krubnik went headlong into Marc Tyler Arnold's Benko Gambit. Arnold played a brilliant game in true Benko Gambit style, pressuring the b2 weakness, trading queens, and winning the game. Especially pleasing was Arnold's beautiful geometric motif of Ba6-Be2-Bb5-Bd3! on three consecutive moves to seal the game, and his exchange sacrifice on b2 to tear Krubnik's position to shreds.

White: Nicolas Yap
Black: Laura Ross
Sveshnikov B33

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 Bg5 12. Nc2 Rb8 13. Be2 O-O 14. O-O a5 15. b4 Be6 16. a4 bxa4 17. Rxa4 axb4 18. cxb4 Ne7 19. Bc4 Qd7 20. Ra6 Qc8 21. Qe2 Ng6 22. g3 Rd8 23. b5 Bxd5 24. exd5 Ne7 25. Nb4 Nf5 26. Nc6 Nd4 27.Qd3 Nxc6 28. dxc6 e4 29. Qd5 1-0

3) Karpov to play in Lindsborg

Organizer Mikhail Korenman reports that Anatoly Karpov will play in an action tournament in Lindsborg the weekend of December 13-14. Other participants in the event are GMs Alex Onischuk, Yury Shulman, Ulf Andersson, Ivan Morovic and IM John Donaldson.

4) Yasser Seirawan

As mentioned in a previous Newsletter, Yasser has announced he is retiring from tournament play at the age of 43, in part because of general disgust at the dysfunctional state of affairs in world class chess. With the breakdown of the Prague Agreement chess is in danger of making the chaos in boxing look good.
Seirawan, who was a two-time Candidate for the World Championship, was the most accomplished of many fine players who emerged from the Fischer generation. He didn't confine his contributions to just playing. An accomplished author, founder and publisher of Inside Chess, GMA board member, longtime USCF delegate, active in FIDE, ESPN commentator and tournament promoter, Seirawan wore many hats.  He goes out on a high note having medaled for the 2002 US Olympiad team and helped rescue the US Championship.

Seirawan,Y (2626) - Xie Jun (2569)
Kings Indian E73

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 Bg7 5.Be2 0–0 6.Bg5 Na6 7.Qd2 e5 8.d5 c6 9.f3 cxd5 10.cxd5 Bd7 11.g4 Qa5 12.Nh3 Nc5 13.Rb1 Qb6 14.Nf2 a5 15.Be3 Rfc8 16.0–0 Qd8 17.Rbc1 Qe8 18.Nd3 b6 19.Nxc5 bxc5 20.Nb1 Rcb8 21.Na3 a4 22.Nc4 Qe7 23.Bg5 Rb4 24.Rc2 Qf8 25.Be3 Qe7 26.Nxd6 Rd4 27.Bxd4 cxd4 28.Nc4 Rb8 29.Na5 h5 30.g5 Nh7 31.h4 Rf8 32.Rc7 Qd8 33.Rfc1 f6 34.Nb7 Qe8 35.Nc5 Bc8 36.d6 Qd8 37.Bc4+ Kh8 38.Be6 Qxd6 39.Rxc8 fxg5 40.Rxf8+ Bxf8 41.Bh3 1–0

5) Here and There

Players in Northern California will be saddened to learn that longtime CalChess Journal Editor Frisco del Rosario has retired. Frisco put in many hours for little pay to produce a quality magazine that dates back to the 1951 founding of the California Chess Reporter. Thanks Frisco! We wish you well in your future endeavors.
The Mechanics' Institute has reinstated its Thursday afternoon USCF rated play starting at 1pm. Those interested in the no entry fee/no prize format should show up shortly before 1pm to be paired. Call (415) 421-2258 for more information.
Eric Schiller's Development of a Chess Master (Cardoza 2002) features many games against Bay Area players from local events. Among those featured are Mike Arne, David Blohm, John Grefe, Adrian Keatinge-Clay and David Pruess. Though Development of a Chess Master is primarily an instructional book it doubles as a game collection. To my knowledge it is the second by a Bay Area player, Vladimir Pafnutieff's being the first.

Newsletter #160, 10/08/2003

"Greed is an integral quality of a strong player"
GM Sergey Shipov

1) Matikozian wins Los Angeles Open

Glendale IM Andranik Matikozian won the Los Angeles Open, held October 3-5, with a score of 4.5 from 5. Matikozian, who took a third round bye, beat IMs Melik Khachiyan and Ricardo DeGuzman in the final two rounds. Tying for second at 4-1 in the 43-player field were DeGuzman (who beat IM Jack Peters), Khachiyan (who defeated GM Blatny), GM Pavel Blatny (who beat IM Peters) and NM Michael Casella (who beat top-seed GM Alex Wojtkiewicz who also lost to Peters). MI member Larry Snyder of Berkeley was top Expert with an undefeated 3 1/2.
Complete standings are available at:

2) GM Nick deFirmian at MI on October 15

Three-time US Champion Nick deFirmian will give a talk and show some of his best recent games at the MI on Wednesday, October 15. deFirmian, who currenly lives in Denmark,  is a graduate of UC Berkeley and has long ties to the Bay Area.  A many-time US Olympiad member, Nick has ranked among the top US players for over 20 years. He is the author of MCO 13 and 14. The two hour program, free to all, starts at 5pm.

3) Here and There

Former Bay Area master Erik Osbun has recently written a book abouit a strong correspondence tournament. You can find a review of the First Anglo-Pacific Invitational Chess Championship at IM Eric Tangborn's website - .

MI Chess Director John Donaldson's  CD Two Masters from Seattle has recently been released by ChessBase. A review can be found at :
Click here: Two MASTERS from SEATTLE

The Western States Open is right around the corner. If you want to play for the MI please contact John Donaldson (preferably in advance) at  All current MI members are eligible to play except those competing in the Open section.

Newsletter #161, 10/15/2003

"In the middlegame one should not hesitate to advance a central passed pawn."
David Bronstein

Three-time US Champion Nick deFirmian will be at the MI tonight at 5 to give a talk. Among those expected to attend are IMs Elliott Winslow and Walter Morris plus SM Boris Men.
Don't forget the Western States Open starts this Friday in Reno. Details are given below under upcoming events. Consider playing for the MI. Signout up sheets will be posted at the tournament.

1) DeGuzman wins McClain Memorial

IM Ricardo DeGuzman continued his domination of MI monthly G/45 events, going 5-0 in the 4th annual J.J. Dolan Memorial held October 11. DeGuzman numbered among his victims NM Victor Baja and rising star Nicolas Yap. Dmitry Vayntrub was second at 4-1 in the 28-player field.

2) GM Nick deFirmian at MI today

Three-time US Champion Nick deFirmian will give a talk and show some of his best recent games at the MI on Wednesday, October 15. deFirmian, who currently lives in Denmark, is a graduate of UC Berkeley and has long ties to the Bay Area.  A many-time US Olympiad member, Nick has ranked among the top US players for over 20 years. He is the author of MCO 13 and 14. The two hour program, free to all, starts at 5pm. Those who arrive in Reno on Thursday for the Western States Open will have a chance to play Nick in a simul that evening.

4) Governor Schwarzenegger is a Chessplayer

Arnold Schwarzenegger is not only the governor who bench presses the most weight he is also the chessplaying governor. Check out the ChessBase site to learn more about the Schwarzenegger clan's chess playing activities and photos of Arnold with Garry Kasparov. For an example of a "strong" chessplayer ChessBase ran a photo of GM-elect and weightlifting enthusiast Boris Kreiman. They might have also included GM Anatoly "the Bull" Lein, who even at 72 still looks like he could lift manhole covers for fun. According to MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky, Lein has practiced Olympic lifts for most of his life.

5) Here and There

The Mechanics' Institute Chess Room staff wishes MI member Bryan Bilby well in his move to the East Coast. Bryan was not only a fixture in the Tuesday Night Marathons but also owned the well-regarded Chelsea book store in the Inner Sunset. Good luck Bryan!

Lindsborg, Kansas, looks to be the hotspot for US chess this December. Among those already signed up for the 2nd Annual Lindsborg Open are GMs Onischuk, Andersson, Yudasin, Atalik, Baburin, Shulman, Yermolinsky, Blatny and Sharavdorj. This event, which produced one GM norm and one IM norm last year looks like a prime chance to meet first rate opposition and earn international title norms. Full details are given below.

WGM Anna Zatonskih of Bowling Green, Ohio, made her third and final IM norm in the 12th Monarch Assurance Open held on the Isle of the Man with a 2575 performance. This was her second near GM norm miss, her first was at Lindsborg in December 2002. Her third IM norm was at this summer's World Open. She becomes the second women to earn the International Master title while representing the United States (Irina Krush was the first).

Zatonskih is not the only member of the US Women's Olympiad Training Team to be making the news of late.  WGM Rusa Goletiani won the Womens Championship of the Americas in Venezuela this past September to qualify for the FIDE Knockout World Championship. 2002 US Womens Champion Jennifer Shahade, who has two IM norms, is featured on the October issue of the English magazine Chess.

Longtime Bay Area chess supporter Val Zemitis of Davis is featured on IM Jeremy Silman's website  Zemitis win over postal master Dan Marshall of Washington State in a theoretical Evans Gambit gets a serious examination by several well-known GMs including John Nunn and Lubomir Ftacnik as well as the MI's Chess Director. You can find this article at . Look for original work by GM Larry Christiansen on the Evans on Silman's site shortly.

Samford Scholar Dmitry Schneider is off to a good start in the October First Saturday Tournament in Budapest with a score of 4.5 from 6 in the Category 8 (2429 - GM norm = 8/11) according to The Week in Chess (The First Saturday website seems to be temporarily out of commission) . Los Angeles based IM Tim Taylor has 1.5 in the event which is scheduled to finish today.

Leonid Yudasin and Julio Becerra won the 76th New York Masters on 7th October 2003 with 3/4. Go to
for more information.

Just in case you thought you could take a "live" cellphone into the tournament hall Mark Crowther reports what recently happened to FIDE World Champ Ponomariov. Incidentally the USCF rule has you getting clipped 10 minutes (or half your remaining time) for the first infraction.

"Plovdiv in Bulgaria hosts the European team championship October 10th-21st 2003. 37 men's and 31 women's teams are competing. Russia are very clear favorites with Bareev, Svidler, Grischuk, Morozevich and KhalifmanShirov plays for Spain, Gelfand for Israel, Topalov for Bulgaria, Van Wely for the Netherlands and Ponomariov for the Ukraine. Round 1 saw Ruslan Ponomariov's 20th birthday and a mortifying incident for him. His mobile phone went off in the middle of a game and under new rules It is not allowed to bring any mobile phone into the playing hall. Violations of this rule will be punished according to art.13.4 of the Laws of Chess by loss of their game.". This rule didn't appear on the official site of the event and many teams didn't receive the rules until after the game. Rather fortunately for Ponomariov he didn't lose too much through this as his position was quite terrible at the point he was disqualified. My thanks to David Llada for some of the details of this incident.Official site: "

Here are two recent e-mails from readers of the Newsletter.

1) I am collecting the games and tournament information of International Master Nikolai Minev for use in a planned book on his chess career. A number of his games played in the United States have not been published, and are most likely lost unless his opponents retained scores of the moves.
f you have played against Dr. Minev in any US event, and still have a score of the game, I would be most grateful if you would send me a photocopy of the game, any relevant details of the pairing (tournament, date, round, etc), and your contact info (name, address, phone, email, etc.).

Games and other information should be directed to:
Philip McCready
12615 SW 297th Way
Vashon, WA 98070-8816
(206) 463-1495
Please contact me early, as I will be out of the country starting November 26th.

2) Information about our four tournaments for 2003/04 is at:
Please let your kids know and encourage them to join us!
In 2004, we may add a rated section if there is sufficient interest.

Eric Schiller

Newsletter #162, 10/22/2003

"A young player, specifically because he is so inexperienced, naturally fears an established master. Only the ambitious player becomes a solid master, and that by breaking that fear. How? By being prepared to play out every game. He must gamble on losing; there is no other way of winning. We all make mistakes. A determined player makes fewer, and those he does make are more often overlooked simply because of the pressure and tension he exerts on his rival!"
William Lombardy

1) Kudrin and Nakamura wins Western States Open

A full report of this event, which included the participation of over 50 MI members will appear in the next Newsletter.
Standings for the Western States Open (406 players) October 17-19 in Reno at the Sands Regency Hotel and Casino
1-2. GMs Nakamura and Kudrin 5-1
3-10. GMs Yermolinsky, Wojtkiewicz, Serper, Stripunsky and A. Ivanov, IM De Guzman and NM G. Small 4.5

Pavel Blatny - Chouchanik Airapetian
Van’t Kruijs Opening A00
Western States Open  2003

The Van’t Kruijs opening, named after the Dutch master from the 19th century, is not exactly a common choice for Grandmasters. Its chief virtue is its ability to transpose into many different openings which probably explains its attraction for the Czech GM.
Though today he is know for unconventional openings, Blatny can go either way. He knows a lot of classical openings and can open 1.e4 and defend double King and Queen Pawn games very successfully, but he also enjoys setting new challenges for his opponents. In particular he loves formations characterized by advancing his f-pawn two squares and fianchettoing his Queen Bishop.
1...e5 2.b3 d5 3.Bb2 Bd6 4.f4!? exf4
Taking up the challenge! The next few moves are forced for both sides.
5.Bxg7 Qh4+ 6.g3 fxg3 7.Bg2 gxh2+ 8.Kf1
If this position seems vaguely familiar it may be because you are confusing it with the Queen’s Fianchetto Defense: 1.e4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 f5 4.exf5 Bxg2 5.Qh5+ g6 6.fxg6 Bg7 7.gxh7+ Kf8
8...hxg1Q+ 9.Kxg1 Qg5 10.Bxh8
It's time to count material. White is an Exchange up and hopes to win time by the attack against the pawn on h7.  Black has an extra pawn and chances to trap the Bishop on h8.  Who has evaluated the position correctly?
10...Bg4 11.Qf1
If White can improve his play, it may be here with 11.Qe1!?, trying to deny Black’s Queen h4.
This theoretical novelty is a substantial improvement over the previously played 11...h5. Airapetian offers the h-pawn, and more, as she concentrates on development at all cost.
White could also capture on h7 immediately which could lead ton play very similar to the game: 12.Rxh7 Ngf6 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.Rh8+ Ke7 15.Rxa8 Qh4.
12...c6 13.Rxh7 Ngf6!
Please take my other Rook!
14.Bxf6 Nxf6 15.Rh8+ Ke7 16.Rxa8 Qh4 17.Qe1 Bg3
Now Black seems to have an overwhelming attack but Blatny finds a nice resource that he must have foreseen before capturing the Rook an a8.
Take my Rook!
18…Nh5 19.Qxg3 Qxg3 20.Rf1 Bh3 21.Rf2 Bxg2
Black must force the perpetual before White consolidates.
22.Rxg2 Qe1+ 23.Kh2 Qh4+ 24.Kg1 Qe1+ 25.Kh2 Qh4+ 26.Kg1 Qe1+ Draw
A game that reflects well on both players.

2) Yasser Seirawan to talk at MI

Two-time World Championship Candidate Yasser Seirawan will be giving a free talk at the Mechanics' Institute on Saturday, November 1, at 3pm. Seirawan, who recently announced his retirement from tournament play, will talk about the world of top level chess and the problems it is currently facing. Yasser played often in Northern California tournaments during his formative years and has many ties to the area. We hope his many friends in the Bay Area will come out to hear him in his first appearance in San Francisco since the 1999 Bronstein Jubilee Action Tournament.

Among those expected to attend Yasser's talk is Mikhail Korenman, organizer of the Lindsborg Chess Festival this December and director of the first Karpov Chess School in North America. The Lindsborg Open promises excellent norm hunting opportunities with GMs Onischuk, Andersson, Atalik, Yermolinsky, Yudasin, Shulman, Blatny, Baburin, Kudrin and Sharavdorj all signed up to play.

3) Ralston Memorial

The MI will be hosting a round robin tournament offering IM norm possibilities starting this weekend. The field for the 12-player, Category 3 (2315) event is GM Yermolinsky, IM DeGuzman, IM Ilic, FMs Evans, Keatinge-Clay, Zilberstein, Mezentsev and Lobo plus NMs Poehlmann, Ishkhanov and Shivaji and up-coming Expert Mathew Ho. Vladimir Mezentsev will be gunning for his third and final IM norm. Among other contestants Lobo and Keatinge-Clay each have one norm. Play starts October 25.
This will be one of only a handful of tournaments held in the USA this year offering norm possibilities and continues an annual MI tradition dating back to 1995. Vinay Bhat, Cyrus Lakdawala, Jesse Kraai and Mark Paragua are among those who earned their title at the Mechanics'.  Running these events is expensive when you factor in the cost of travel to bring in foreign players, a prize fund and honoraria for titled participants. If you would like to help to support these events consider sending a tex-deductible donation to the MI (57 Post St., Room 408, San Francisco, CA 94104) which enjoys 501 (c) (3) status as an officially recognized nonprofit educational organization.

Newsletter #163, 10/29/2003

"If a player isn't Grandmaster by 18, I would advise against becoming a chess professional."
Yasser Seirawan

1) Governor's Cup

The 8th Governor's Cup was held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, from October 24-26. The event attracted 131 players in three sections and was organized as usual in fine fashion by David and De Knudson for the Sioux Empire Chess Foundation.

1-2. GM Alex Yermolinsky 2546 (USA) and NM Alexander Stamnov 2234 (MKD) 4.5/5
3-5. GM Sergey Kudrin 2542 (USA), IM John Donaldson 2456 (USA) and IM Formanek 2306 (USA) 4
5-11. GM Dasheveg Sharavdorj 2411 (MGL), GM Marcin Kaminski 2455 (POL), FM John Bartholomew (USA) 2316, FM Andrew Karklins (USA) 2283, IM Victor Adler (USA) 2415 (USA), Ron Deike unrated ((USA) 3.5
12-19. GM Alex Wojtkiewicz (USA) 2571; Mike Sailer 2129 (USA), Keaton Kiewra 2294 (USA), Reuben Lubka 2119 (USA), Nathan Hoover 2174 (USA), Herman Chiu unrated (USA), Nikita Barabanov unrated (USA) and Robert Plunkett 2074 (USA) 3

Ratings given are FIDE.

The MI's GM-in-Residence showed his efficient style when he won one game before some players had a chance to sit down.

Mr. X-Yermo: 1.e4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.e5 Nfd7 4.d4 c5 5.Nxd5 cxd4 6.Qxd4?? Nb6  oops!  and ...0-1 shortly.

2) Western States Open

Complete standings for the recently concluded Western States Open are available at the Reno Chess Club's excellent website at Note an important correction. Hikaru Nakamura defeated Sergey Kudrin in the first place playoff.
One of the many things that makes the Western States Open unique are its special prizes for best teams and top finishing seniors.  This year the Seattle Chess Club was the top finishing club with 36.5 points. Reno was second with 35.5 followed by the Mechanics' A team 33.5 and Sacramento 33.
Dan Mayers was top senior with 5 points. MI member Victor Todortsev was among those tied for second senior with 4 points.
This years WSO was such a success that organizer Jerry Weikel is considering having two events in Reno at the Sands Regency Hotel and Casino. The new event would be set for mid-April.

3) Yasser Seirawan to talk at MI

Two-time World Championship Candidate Yasser Seirawan will be giving a free talk at the Mechanics' Institute this Saturday, November 1, at 3pm. Seirawan, who recently announced his retirement from tournament play, will talk about the world of top level chess and the problems it is currently facing. Yasser played often in Northern California tournaments during his formative years and has many ties to the area. We hope his many friends in the Bay Area will come out to hear him in his first appearance in San Francisco since the 1999 Bronstein Jubilee Action Tournament.
Among those expected to attend Yasser's talk is Mikhail Korenman, organizer of the Lindsborg Chess Festival this December and director of the first Karpov Chess School in North America. The Lindsborg Open promises excellent norm hunting opportunities with GMs Onischuk, Andersson, Atalik, Yermolinsky, Yudasin, Shulman, Blatny, Baburin, Kudrin and Sharavdorj all signed up to play. Details for the Festival may be found below.
There will be a blitz tournament immediately after Yasser's talk. Entry fee is $10 for the 5 double round Swiss with all money collected returned as prizes.

4) Ralston Memorial

The H.J. "Bip" Ralston IM Tournament has started and the surprise early leader is the lowest rated player, fifteen-year-old Matthew Ho of San Jose. The first weekend of competition he scored 3 1/2 from 4 including a victory over SM Vladimir Mezentsev.
This will be one of only a handful of tournaments held in the USA this year offering norm possibilities and continues an annual MI tradition dating back to 1995. Vinay Bhat, Cyrus Lakdawala, Jesse Kraai and Mark Paragua are among those who earned their title at the Mechanics'.  Running these events is expensive when you factor in the cost of travel to bring in foreign players, a prize fund and honoraria for titled participants. If you would like to help to support these events consider sending a tax-deductible donation to the MI (57 Post St., Room 408, San Francisco, CA 94104) which enjoys 501 (c) (3) status as an officially recognized nonprofit educational organization. Entry fees and donations have raised $2250 of the needed $3150 so far. Consider helping if you can.

5) Fall Tuesday Night Marathon

IM Walter Shipman, FM Frank Thornally, and NMs Win Ye of Myanmar, Egle Morkunaite of Lithuania and Andy Lee are among those with perfect scores after two rounds of Mechanics' Institute Tuesday Fall Marathon. The nine round continues every Tuesday until December 16. It is still possible to enter the 9 round event with a half point byes for the first two rounds.

Newsletter #164, 11/05/2003

"If you have seen one Alekhine game you've seen them all."
Bobby Fischer

1) Yasser Seirawan visits the Mechanics' Institute

Two-time World Championship Candidate Yasser Seirawan visited the Mechanics' last Saturday afternoon and gave an excellent if depressing account of the current state of affairs regarding the World Championship situation and FIDE's continuing insistence on drug testing and faster time controls -- despite the objections of an overwhelming majority of the best players. One bright spot was the announcement that the 2004 US Championship will be held next fall in San Diego. Though Yasser has announced that he has retired from active play he will continue to devote himself to trying to improve the structure of World Chess. Among his ideas is a revival of the old World Cup series, but with some new twists. Each year the top players would play a "season," much like professional sports, which would culminate in an annual championship. The above is just a bare bones sketch, but the idea holds great merit. The old PCA World Cup series of Bessel Kok and Lubosh Kavalek is still warmly remembered. We wish Yasser the best of success in his new work.

Preceding Yasser's lecture was a really fine talk by Peter Ralston about his father, H. J. "Bip" Ralston (1906-1993). Veteran Mechanics' members remember Bip as one of the best players at the M.I. for over half a century. The cofounder of the California Chess Reporter with his good friend Guthrie McClain, Bip also found time to write a weekly chess column in the San Francisco Argonaut and published several books including Imre Konig's on the Marshall-Capablanca match. A man of uncommon intellectual vigor, this native San Franciscan was a pioneer in the field of prosthetic limbs and was a professor at UCSF for many years. You can find a picture of Bip on the M.I. library site at  He is the young man who is looking directly at the camera during the SF-LA telegraph match.

Yasser and Peter attracted quite a crowd. Famous author and teacher Bruce Pandolfini, International Masters Walter Morris and Vince McCambridge, former MI President NM Mark Pinto, International Arbiter Mike Goodall, Lindsborg Chess Festival organizer Mikhail Korenman and noted chess book collector and historian Robert Moore were among the 40 attendees.

2) Ralston Memorial

Leaders in the Ralston Memorial are 1. GM Alex Yermolinsky 7/8; 2. FM Vladimir Mezentsev 6.5/10; 3. FM Dmitry Zilberstein 5.5/8; 4. IM Ricardo DeGuzman 5.5/9. Those in the hunt for the IM norm of 7.5 are Mezentsev (who must win his last game against FM Bela Evans), Zilberstein and Matthew Ho.

Ilic,Z (2379) - Keatinge_Clay,A (2248) [D76]
Ralston IM San Francisco (11), 24.10.2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.e4 Nb6 9.d5 Na5 10.Nc3 c6 11.Bf4 Nac4 12.Qe2 cxd5 13.exd5 Nxb2 14.Qxb2 Na4 15.Nxa4 Bxb2 16.Nxb2 Qxd5 17.Rfe1 Qb5 18.Nd1 e6 19.Nc3 Qa5 20.Ne4 f6 21.Bh6 Rf7 22.Red1 f5 23.Nd6 Re7 24.Bg5 Rd7 25.Bf6 Qa6 26.Be5 Rd8 27.Ng5 Qe2 28.Re1 Qd2 29.Ndf7 Rd3 30.Nh6+ Kf8 31.Nxh7+ Ke8 32.Bf4 Qb2 33.Ng5 Qf6 34.Nhf7 Bd7 35.Bxb7 Rc8 36.Bxc8 Bxc8 37.Rac1 Rc3 38.Be5 1-0

3) Fall Tuesday Night Marathon

NMs Win Ye of Myanmar and Egle Morkunaite of Lithuania are the only perfect scores after three rounds of the 74-player Mechanics' Institute Tuesday Fall Marathon. The tournament continues every Tuesday until December 16. It is still possible to enter the 9 round event with a half point byes for the first three rounds.

Newsletter #165, 11/12/2003

"Chess is not a game, but a disease"
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman

1) Yerminator tops Ralston Memorial

It seemed only fitting that with the Terminator/Governator due to take over shortly in Sacramento that the Yerminator should run away with the H.J. Ralston Memorial held October 25-November 8 at the Mechanics' Institute. MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky, aka the Yerminator,  scored 10 from 11 to win the Category 3 (FIDE 2320) IM norm round robin. Senior Master Vladimir Mezentsev was second at 7.5, making his third and final IM norm.

This was the 18th IM norm (plus two GM norms) made at the Mechanics' in 10 International events dating back to December 1998. This might make some think that the MI has become a title norm factory, but in fact what it glaringly shows is how few opportunities players have in the United States. Mezentsev made all his norms at the MI as did Vinay Bhat, while Cyrus Lakdawala and Jesse Kraai both made two norms. What did they have in common? They were all rated over 2400, in some cases for many years. Considering the IM norm performance is 2450 it is not surprising that players rated 2420-30 should be successful much of the time. In Europe players can try in events practically every week where in the United States there are only a handful of opportunities each year, with the Mechanics' providing the only annual round robin event.

International Master Ricardo DeGuzman was third in the Ralston at 6.5 followed by SM Dmitry Zilberstein and 15-year-old Matthew Ho at 6. The latter, the lowest rated player in the event, more than held his own. This performance puts him firmly in the Master class. The prize for most bloodthirsty combatant was shared by Tigran Ishkanov and Adrian Keatinge-Clay who didn't draw a single game. Over 70 percent of the games (48 of 66) were decisive in this hard fought event. The oldest participants, IM Zoran Ilic and FM Richard Lobo, were both greatly handicapped by a lack of recent practice.

The tournament directing staff of Stephen Brandwein, Anthony Corrales and John Donaldson would like to thank all the players for their good sportsmanship which helped make this event a pleasure to organize.

2) DeGuzman and Tserendorj share first in 33rd Carroll Capps

Filipino IM Ricardo DeGuzman and newcomer Batsaikhan Tserendorj of Mongolia both went 4-0 to win the 50-player 33rd Carroll Capps Memorial held November 8-9 at the Mechanics' Institute. DeGuzman downed FMs Adrian Keatinge-Clay and Emmanuel Perez on the final day while Tserendorj beat IM-elect Ron Cusi and NM Victor Baja to take home $325 apiece. Kenneth Hills had a successful return to the tournament arena after a break, scoring 3.5 points by defeating NM Keith Vickers in the final round. Hills score was good for first Expert and $200.

DeGuzman,R - Keatinge-Clay,A [A43]
Carroll Capps (3), 11.2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 a6 6.a4 Be7 7.Bc4 e5 8.0–0 0–0 9.h3 Ne8 10.Re1 g6 11.Bh6 Ng7 12.g4 Kh8 13.Kh1 Nd7 14.Rg1 Nf6 15.Qd2 Ng8 16.Rg2 Rb8 17.a5 f6 18.Be3 f5 19.gxf5 gxf5 20.Bh6 Bf6 21.Rag1 Rf7 22.Ng5 Bxg5 23.Bxg5 Qxa5 24.f4 b5 25.Be2 fxe4 26.fxe5 dxe5 27.Bh6 Nxh6 28.Qxh6 Qc7 29.Nxe4 Bf5 30.Nd6 Rd7 31.Nxf5 Nxf5 32.Qf6+ Ng7 33.Bd3 e4 34.Bxe4 Re8 35.Qh4 1–0

Cusi,R - Tserendorj, B. [D30]
Carroll Capps (3)

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.e3 e6 5.Nbd2 Bd6 6.Bd3 0–0 7.0–0 c5 8.dxc5 Bxc5 9.a3 a5 10.b3 Nc6 11.Bb2 Bd6 12.Qc2 h6 13.e4 d4 14.c5 Bc7 15.Nc4 e5 16.Qd2 Nh5 17.b4 Bg4 18.Ne1 axb4 19.axb4 Rxa1 20.Bxa1 Nf4 21.b5 Ne7 22.g3 Ne6 23.Qb4 Bh3 24.Ng2 Ng6 25.b6 Bb8 26.Nd6 Bxg2 27.Kxg2 Ngf4+ 28.gxf4 Nxf4+ 29.Kh1 Nxd3 30.Qc4 Nxc5 31.Nxf7 Rxf7 32.Qxc5 Rf6 33.f4 Qxb6 34.Qc8+ Rf8 35.Qc4+ Kh7 36.fxe5 Rxf1+ 37.Qxf1 Qg6 38.Qf4 d3 39.Qe3 Qa6 40.Bc3 Ba7 41.Qe1 Qg6 42.h3 b5 43.Kh2 Bc5 44.Bd2 Bd4 45.Bf4 b4 46.e6 Qxe6 47.e5 Qf5 48.Bg3 Bc3 0–1

3) Seven-way tie for First in Fall TNM

The field is closely packed together as the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon approaches the halfway mark with seven players tied for first at 3.5 from 4. Leading the 74-player field are: IM Walter Shipman, NMs Egle Morkunaite, Win Aung Ye, Russell Wong, and Experts Victor Ossipov, Larry Snyder and Matthew Gross.

4) Kasparov versus X3D Fritz

The latest computer challenge for Garry Kasparov began on Tuesday, November 11, in New York with the first game ending in a draw.  The remaining three games, which start at 10am PST, will be held November 13, 16, and 18. ESPN 2 is televising the games with commentary by GMs Yasser Seirawan and Maurice Ashley and Paul Hoffman.

5) Lindsborg Chess Festival

Readers of Chess Life that are receiving their December issue and looking for tournaments may not realize just how strong the 2nd Annual Lindsborg Open will be. A first prize of $1200 doesn't sound like much of a draw but organizer Mikhail Korenman has opted for a different approach to bring in top players. He has offered conditions (air, lodging and meals) which is a rarity in all but the strongest events these days. The result is that nine GMs have already committed with several more expected to accept shortly. Importantly for norm seekers six of the GMs (Andersson, Agrest, Baburin, Blatny, Sharavdorj and Atalik) are foreign. This, coupled with the small field (27 players entered so far), means this "Lone Pine" of the Midwest should offer excellent chances to earn GM and IM norms.

6) Zemgalis receives  FIDE Honorary Grandmaster title

USCF Delegate Bill Kelleher of Boston reports that 80-year-old Elmars Zemgalis of Seattle, Washington, received the FIDE Honorary Grandmaster title at the recent FIDE Congress in Haldiki, Greece. The award honors players whose careers ended before the establishment of the current FIDE title system. Zemgalis, a native of Latvia, was the dominant force in German tournaments in the period 1946-49. His greatest success was Oldenburg 1949 where he scored 12 from 17, tying for first with Bogoljubow. Among the other participants were Rossolimo, Unzicker, O'Kelly and Saemisch.

7) USCF seeks new Executive Director

Looking for a challenge? The USCF, after a string of disastrous choices for its Executive Director culminating in Frank Niro, is once again looking for the right person.


The United States Chess Federation, (USCF), located in New Windsor, NY is accepting resumes for the position of Executive Director. The following qualifications are necessary for someone who:

  * will lead our membership and expand our role in promoting chess in the United States.
  * will have background and experience to manage a not-for-profit organization of 20-plus employees with an annual budget of $5 million.
  * will have background knowledge and experience in communications including computer, telephone, and Internet systems.
* experience in marketing and knowledge of the chess world is desirable.

Please send your resume and cover letter to: Beatriz Marinello, President of USCF Executive Board, 3131 Gifford Lane, Miami, FL 33133.

8) Capps and Ralston featured at ChessDryad

The Chess Dryad troika of Kerry Lawless, Richard Shorman and Mark Shelton have outdone themselves. Go to for a tremendous pictorial on the recently concluded Carroll Capps and Ralston Memorials.

9) Here and There

Congratulations to GM Alexander Baburin's Chess Today which recently celebrated its 3rd year of publication. The online subscription based daily
is one of the best values around with lots of annotated games, positions to solve, book reviews, tournament reports and editorials. Go to http://www.chesstoday for more information.

FM Eric Schiller writes; "For advance planning, the Western Canadian Open looks great. For non-titled players, advance entry this year cuts the fee from $150 to $79."

Josh Karnad ( 1623) is looking for opponents for USCF rated match play between 1500-1800. He is a regular at the Mechanics' and can be reached at or (510) 258-1999.

Utah IM Igor Ivanov has an interesting homepage at .

with Fred Wilson
Live Internet Radio Show
This Week's Guest, Wednesday, Nov. 12th will be GM John Fedorowicz
Fred Wilson Wednesdays on http://wwwChess.FM!

"Fred's next guest on Wednesday, Nov. 12th, will be his friend, and one of the most entertaining and knowledgable American chess professionals,
GM John Fedorowicz.  "Fed", who will be doing live commentary on all four games of the Kasparov-X3D Fritz match in NYC on Chess.FM, will give his
"take" on what happened during the first game Tuesday, along with his considered opinions on what may occur during the remaining three games.  He
will also discuss his work on the excellent website, wherein he conducts a monthly survey on recent Sicilian theory, and his currently quite active playing and coaching career.

Here is a nice win by the late Jim Hurt over the long-time Virgin Islands board one.

Hurt,J - Hook,W [C02]
Saratoga, 1968

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Bd7 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 cxd4 8.cxd4 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Nc3 Qxe5 11.Re1 Qd6 12.Nb5 Qb8 13.Qf3 Bd6 14.Nxd6+ Qxd6 15.Bf4 Qe7 16.Qg3 f6 17.Rac1 Rc8 18.Rxc8+ Bxc8 19.Bd6 Qf7 20.Rc1 Bd7 21.Rc7 g5 22.Rxb7 Qh5 23.f3 Ne7 24.Bb5 Bxb5 25.Rxe7+ Kd8 26.Qe1 1-0

Newsletter #166, 11/19/2003

"It may look as though two chess players are sitting at the board peacefully calculating possibilities, but in actuality they are seething with a kaleidoscope of emotions."
Swami Shankaranda

1) Man versus  Machine

Garry Kasparov and X3D drew the final game of their match to tie 2-2. Games two and three were excellent examples of the strengths of each player, with the computer taking game two in tactical fashion and then showing poor strategical planning in game three.

Game 4
X3D FRITZ - Kasparov New York City, USA (4), 18.11.2003

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 e6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.Bb3 cxd4 8.exd4 Nc6 9.Nc3 Be7 10.Re1 0-0 11.Bf4 Na5 12.d5 Nxb3 13.Qxb3 exd5 14.Rad1 Be6 15.Qxb7 Bd6 16.Bg5 Rb8 17.Qxa6 Rxb2 18.Bxf6 Qxf6 19.Qxd6 Qxc3 20.Nd4 Rxa2 21.Nxe6 fxe6 22.Qxe6+ Kh8 23.Rf1 Qc5 24.Qxd5 Rfxf2 25.Rxf2 Qxf2+ 26.Kh1 h6 27.Qd8+ Kh7 draw

2) World Blitz Chess Association Ends

Six-time US Champion Walter Browne is ending the World Blitz Chess Association and its magazine Blitz Chess after more than 15 years of dedicated service. That the operation lasted as long as it did is due to Walter's dedication and hard work. He has asked that the following material appear in as a many places as possible to get the word out.

Dear WBCA members:

When I grew up in the 1960’s it seemed that almost everybody loved to play Blitz, but there were very seldom any Blitz events and certainly not rated. In the 1980’s I sought to change that by forming the World Blitz Chess Association which thrived with thousands of events all over the globe. Today rated Blitz events are held at almost every major event including the Internet 24 hours a day!
Despite the fact that this has brought about Chess boom in the last 15 years the USCF never sponsored or condoned Blitz Ads. As a result organizers including Bill Goichberg were loath to promote Blitz large scale, although the two events he held each year were appreciated. The National Open was the best attended and it all started in 1986 when Fred Gruenberg kindly took a chance, which to this day continues to be a hit the night before each National Open. Jerry Hanken tried a WBCA event at the 1987 American Open, which had a great turnout of around 80 players, and continues as a popular event to this day! In the early 90’s Jerry Weikel started a WBCA Blitz event just after Larry Evans' inspiring lectures at the Western State’s Open, which has been a welcome addition.
Thanks to all the clubs who ran events especially the Rochester, Arlington, Manhattan, Marshall and Bakersfield who ran hundreds of events over the last 15 years. Last but not least to Ralph Bowman who gave great support in the early days and more recently Toshio Imai for his encouragement and very generous support.
Attempts to rate international events had some fleeting success. Unfortunately many players resented paying membership dues although they love to play Blitz.
The initial wave of interest and support when the WBCA started from 1988 to 1990 was inspiring but then interest slowly subsided. I created a much better magazine in 1993 with many in-depth GM annotations with several well-paid contributors. Additionally a website was created, but maintaining it was a thankless task. Due to competition from rated online Blitz, membership fell off to a point where I not only worked for free, but I was at a loss. Despite the
fact that Blitz Chess sold well in stores, I couldn't get enough distributors and advertising waned.
In 2002 AOL swallowed up my website and due to a hard drive crash several programs were lost irretrievably. After 4 months and a new program I've recovered the addresses. The cost of producing, not to mention the incredible effort of putting out a slick magazine, besides doing all the ratings single handedly is unbearable, forcing me to retire the WBCA at this time. I will continue to compete in chess events and hope to do a book of my life in the near future. I will play in The National Open and CCA International in 2004 and will give lessons. I will rate any events properly reported and postmarked by 12/31/03.
I want to thank personally all the individuals, Affiliates and sponsors who believed in the WBCA with their undying support. I believe the compensation I’ve offered is very fair and well thought out, but welcome your E-mails:

Attention: IF YOUR WBCA MEMBERSHIP EXPIRED PRIOR TO 8/1/03 YOU HAVE NO CREDIT DUE.   ITEMS WILL GO QUICKLY ORDER EARLY!   ALL REDEMPTION MUST BE POSTMARKED or E-mailed by January 31,2004 (Except for simuls and lessons where credit is valid til 1/1/2011)
Only those who’s WBCA membership was still valid after 8/1/2003 will have $1.20 credit for each month(4 cents per day) for the first year (till 8/1/04)and $1 credit per month thereafter. For example if you expire 1/1/2004 You have $6.00 credit If you expire 5/14/04 you have $11.32 credit. If you expire 8/1/04 $14.40 credit,etc. Life members all will get $150(-$5 for each full year they were a member) credit. For example if you became a Life member in July,1993 you have $100 credit.If you joined July,1999 you have $130 credit,etc.

1) Back issues of Blitz Chess 1988-2003  (Prices listed in the final issues)
2) Historical Chess bulletins  1972-1985 (Pricelist in Fall & Winter 2002-2003 Blitz Chess)
3) Karpov Vol. 1-4 videotapes $38 each or Shirov Vol.1-5 videotapes $41 each
4) Browne Najdorf or anti-Najdorf videos $30 each
5) Browne’s best games from US ch. 1974-1983 Vol.1 or Vol.2 videos $33 each
6) Chess World Title contenders & their styles by Danny Kopec and Craig Pritchett  $11
7) Blitz Theory by J. Maxwell  $13
8) Chess master 5000 $30, 5500 $40,  6000 $50
9) Private one hour Chess lessons with Walter Browne a 6-time US champ $100
10) Credit in future simultaneous exhibitions up to 50% off each
simul regular EF.
Please allow 4-6 weeks mailing and handling

3) Ibragimov wins Kings Island

Ildar Ibragimov defeated fellow GM Igor Novikov in a blitz playoff to win the title of King's Island Open Champion this past weekend.  GMs Alex Shabalov, Alexander Goldin, Alex Wojtkiewicz and Jaan Ehlvest also scored 4-1 in the CCA event held just north of Cincinnati. Crosstables for the different sections can be found at .

4) Shipman and Gross lead Fall TNM

IM Walter Shipman defeated NM Egle Morkunaite in round five of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon to grab a share of the lead. He is tied for first at 4.5 with Expert Matthew Gross who has upset FM Frank Thornally and NM Win Aung Ye the past two rounds. Four rounds remain to be played by the 76-player field.

5) Here and There

The Pan American Team Championship, a qualifying event for the 2005 World Team Championship, will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from
December 13-18. Due to financial difficulties the USCF is in no position to send a team. Anyone with ideas for financing, potential sponsors, etc., is asked to contact USCF President Beatriz Marinello at

Newsletter reader Andy Ansel passes along this interesting middlegame zugzwang.

Podgaets - Dvoretsky
USSR 1974

1.d4 c5 2. d5 e5 3. e4 d6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. h3 Bxf3 7. Qxf3 Bg5 8.Bb5+ Kf8 9. Bxg5 Qxg5 10. h4 Qe7 11. Be2 h5 12. a4 g6 13. g3 Kg7 14. O-O Nh6 15.Nd1 Nd7 16. Ne3 Rhf8 17. a5 f5 18. exf5 e4 19. Qg2 Nxf5 20. Nxf5+ Rxf5 21. a6 b6 22. g4 hxg4 23. Bxg4 Rf4 24. Rae1 Ne5 25. Rxe4 Rxe4 26. Qxe4 Qxh4 27. Bf3 Rf8 28. Bh1 Ng4 29. Qg2 Rf3 30. c4 Kh6 0-1

Source: Chess To Enjoy by Soltis, pages 55-56.

The last Newsletter had the address for Chess Today as It is actually .

with Fred Wilson
Live Internet Radio Show
This Week's Guest, Wednesday, Nov. 19th will be GM Lev Alburt. Fred Wilson Wednesdays on http://wwwChess.FM!
Wednesday night now brings you back-to-back "Chess & Books with Fred Wilson" for your listening enjoyment!

5:00 PM ET   Chess & Books - Replay of Bruce Pandolfini (3rd interview)--
7:00 PM ET   Chess & Books - Replay of GM Lev Alburt (2nd interview)--
9:00 PM ET   Chess & Books - Live Show
11:05 PM ET   Replay of Live Show

"Fred's next guest Wednesday, Nov. 19th will again be the highly acclaimed teacher & author GM Lev Alburt!  Lev, who was US Champion three times, US Open Champion twice, and also three times champion of the Ukraine, will give his "take" on what really happpened during the amazing Kasparov-X3D Fritz match and its implications towards future human vs. computer chess encounters.  Lev will also discuss his two excellent and fascinating new books "Three Days With Bobby Fischer & Other Chess Essays" (with Al Lawrence) and "Chess Rules of Thumb".

Newsletter #167, 11/26/2003

"The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess."
Benjamin Franklin

1) Mezentsev wins Saint Amant Open

IM-elect Vladimir Mezentsev won the 48-player Pierre Saint Amant Open held November 22 at the Mechanics' Institute. Mezentsev's 5-0 score included victories over NMs Michael Aigner and Victor Baja. IM Ricardo DeGuzman, who took a first round bye, was second at 4 1/2.

2) Four-way tie in Fall Tuesday Night Marathon

IM Walter Shipman, Experts Matthew Gross and Alex Setzepfandt, plus Class A player George Sanguinetti, lead the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon at 5-1. This event has featured more upsets than any in record memory with many masters falling by the wayside. Three rounds remain for the 76-player field.

3) David Pruess shines in New York Masters

Berkeley SM David Pruess, who is currently based back east, did very well in the November 18 edition of the New York Masters tying for second. GM Alex Wojtkiewicz won with 3.5 while David and GMs Pavel Blatny and Leonid Yudasin were right behind him at 3. David's result included a win over young star Fabiano Caruana, a loss to a Wojt, a win over NM Marc Esserman and a last round upset over Cuban-American GM Julio Becerra.

SM David Pruess - Fabiano Caruana
Sicilian Sveshnikov B33
NY Masters (1)

1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 Ne7 12. Nxf6+ gxf6 13. Nc2 f5 14. exf5 Bxf5 15. Ne3 Be6 16. Qh5 O-O 17. Bd3 Ng6 18. O-O Qd7 19. Bf5 Bxf5 20. Qxf5 Qxf521. Nxf5 Rfd8 22. Rfd1 d5 23. Rd2 Rd7 24. a4 Rb8 25. axb5 axb5 26. Ra6 b4 27.cxb4 Rxb4 28. Ra8+ Nf8 29. Rd3 Rb6 30. Rc3 Rf6 31. Rxf8+ 1-0

GM Julio Becerra Rivero - SM David Pruess
French Alekhine-Chatard C13
NY Masters (4)

1.e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 c5 7. Nb5 O-O 8. Bxe7Qxe7 9. Nc7 f6 10. Nxa8 cxd4 11. Nc7 fxe5 12. Qd2 Nf6 13. f3 Qxc7 14. O-O-O Nc615. Bb5 Bd7 16. Nh3 Qb6 17. Bxc6 bxc6 18. Rhe1 Rb8 19. b3 c5 20. Rxe5 a5 21.Nf4 a4 22. Kb1 axb3 23. cxb3 Qd6 24. Rde1 c4 25. Qxd4 cxb3 26. Rg5 Qa3 27. Qd2bxa2+ 28. Ka1 Qb3 29. Qc1 Qb4 30. Ne2 Rc8 31. Nc3 Rxc3 32. Qd2 Qc5 33. Rge5 Rc2 34. Qe3 Qb4 0-1

For more on the New York Masters, which has awarded $54, 342 in prize money over 82 events,  go to

4) Akobian, Kraai and Khachiyan fight for GM norms in Gufeld Memorial

Armenian GM Arsen Yegiazarian leads the Eduard Gufeld Memorial, a category 9 (2452) GM roundrobin, being held in Los Angeles with a score of 5 1/2 from 7. Tied for second at 5, and needed 1 1/2 points from their final two games, are IMs Varuzhan Akobian and Jesse Kraai.  Also in the running for a GM norm is IM Melikset Khachiyan at 4 1/2, who needs to win his final two games. Other scores are: 5-6. GMs Mikhalevski and Sharavdorj 3 1/2; 7. IM Sevillano 3; 8. IM Matikozian 2 1/2; 9. FM Ortiz 1 1/2; 10. FM Kretchetov 1.

Updates on the event, scheduled to end this evening, can be found at .

5) Here and There

Congratulations to Mechanics' member Alex Setzepfandt for being named to the 2004 Pressman All-America Team. This is the third consecutive year that Alex, who is also an honor student, has been a member of the Pressman Team.  The award requires that players attain a specific rating by a certain age.  In Alex's case, at age 13, he needed to be 2100 and is currently rated 2132. This is a slight rise from his initial rating of 296 on the August, 1996 rating list!  GM Joel Benjamin is famous for having tripled his USCF rating, but Alex has already got that one covered.

The latest USCF top 50 list for players age 13 has several MI members on it, including Nicolas Yap #7 at 2164, Alex Setzepfandt #8 at 2132, Drake Wang #16 at 2037, and Daichi Siegrist #27 at 1858.  We believe that Nicolas will also be named to the Pressman Team, but have not been able yet to confirm this, yet.

International Master Melikset Khachiyan has an interesting website at: .  There's a report on the first Najdorf FIDE Invitational, which was held in Los Angeles in the first part of November. Top-rated FM Eduardo Ortiz was first with 7 from 9, followed by fellow Filipino NMs
Reynaldo Del Pilar with 6.5 and FM Hugo Villanueva at 6. The revelation of the event was 14 -year-old Vanessa West, rated 2036, who was among the leaders for most of the tournament before slowing down at the finish. Her final score of 5.5, was a master strength result. Vanessa is a student of former MI member IM Jeremy Silman.

Newsletter #168, 12/03/2003

"A chess game is divided into three stages: the first, when you hope you have the advantage, the second when you believe you have an advantage, and the third... when you know you're going to lose!"

1) Akobian, Blatny and Atalik tie for first in American Open

GMs Suat Atalik and Pavel Blatny and GM-elect Varuzhan Akobian tied for first in the American Open held over Thanksgiving Day weekend in Los Angeles. The three winners, who scored 6 from 8, each received $1523. Several MI members made the trip south led by Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky who scored an undefeated 5-3 against strong oposition. Tuesday Night Marathon regular Kayven Riese, rated 1756, led the Under 2000 section by wining his first five games before cooling down. Alan Howe took third in the under 1600 group.

2) Akobian, Kraai and Khachiyan tie for first in Gufeld Memorial

The United States has a new Grandmaster. Varuzhan Akobian of Glendale made his third and final GM norm by tying for first in the Eduard Gufeld Memorial held immediately before Thanksgiving in Los Angeles. Joining him in the top spot, and also making GM norms, were IMs Melik Khachiyan (I believe his second) and Jesse Kraai (his first). Congratulations!!!

Eduard Gufeld Memorial: Category IX (2452) GM norm = 6.5

Final standings: 1-3. IMs Akobian (USA 2537), Kraai (USA 2443) and Khachiyan (USA 2464) - 6½ points out of 9.
4. GM Yegiazarian (ARM 2521) – 6 pts;
5-7. GMs V. Mikhalevski (ISR 2548) and Sharavdorj (MGL 2411), IM Sevillano (USA 2498) – 4 points;
8-9. Ortiz (PHI 2310) and IM Matikozian (ARM 2450) – 3 points;
10. FM Kretchetov (RUS 2360) - 1½ point.

3) Nicolas Yap wins Falconer Award

Nicolas Yap of San Francisco, soon to be the Bay Area's newest Master, is the winner of the 2004 Falconer Award, given annually to the top rated Northern California junior under 18. Yap, who is 14, narrowly edged out 15-year-old Matthew Ho of San Jose, by a margin of 9 rating points (2192 to 2183) on the USCF's December 2003 rating list. Yap, who is coached by IM Guillermo Rey, will win a prize equal to his rating ($2192).
The Falconer Award is made possible by the generosity of former California State and US Senior Champion Neil Falconer who has served for many years as a Trustee of the Mechanics' Institute. Previous winners of the Falconer Award are:

2000 Vinay Bhat
2001 Vinay Bhat
2002 Vinay Bhat
2003 Michael Pearson

4) Matthew Gross leads Winter TNM

Expert Matthew Gross was only seeded number 10 before the start of the latest Tuesday Night Marathon but he is now threatening to win the event. Thanks to wins over top-seed FM Frank Thornally and NM Win Aung Ye and a draw with IM Walter Shipman, Gross leads with a score of 6-1 with two rounds to go. Right behind him, at 5.5, are Shipman, NM Egle Morkunaite and Experts Alex Setzepfandt and Larry Snyder.

5) Appeal for Donations

All donations to the Mechanics' (including your annual membership dues) are tax deductible due to the M.I.'s 501(c) (3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that has been lying around unused for some time consider donating to the Mechanics'. You will not only get a tax write off but also the satisfaction of seeing it put to good use.

6) Lindsborg

The second Lindsborg Rotary Open promises to be the strongest tournament ever held in the center of the United States.  Ten Grandmasters have confirmed their participation: Alex Baburin, Suat Atalik, Sergey Kudrin, Alex Yermolinsky, Nikola Mitkov, Yury Shulman, Thrace Nedev, Pavel Blatny, Evgeny Agrest, and Dashzeveg Sharavdorj. In addition GM-elect Pascal Charbonneau, IMs Mladen Vucic, Jesse Kraai, Melik Khachiyan, Eugene Perelshteyn, John Donaldson, Irina Krush, Enrico Sevillano and Stanislav Smetankin plus IM-elects Anna Zatonskih and Stephen Muhammad and WGM Rusa Goletiani will be participating.
The nine round format of Lindsborg, plus the presence of many foreign players offers a very unusual opportunity for Experts and Masters to have a shot at norms or earning a FIDE rating. Contact Mikhail Korenman for more information at:

7) Here and There

Grandmasters Ildar Ibragimov and Igor Novikov shared first place at 5-1 in the National Chess Congress held over Thanksgiving weekend in Philadelphia. Tying for third at 4.5 in the Continental Chess Association event were GMs Onischuk, Shulman, Stripunsky, Sherzer, and A. Ivanov,  IM Sarkar, SM Milman and NM Benen.

GM Suat Atalik, fresh from his victory at the American Open, was a special guest lecturer at the Mechanics' last night.

Congratulations to 14-year-old Nicolas Yap of San Francisco who has been named to the 2004 Pressman All-America Team.

Happy birthday to NM Max Burkett who celebrates his 65th in a few days. Max, who now lives in Missoula, Montana, was New Mexico State champion in the 1960s before moving to the Bay Area. Many will recall him as the bulletin editor of some of the Lone Pine events and many Northern California tournaments.

Newsletter #169, 12/10/2003

"In chess, as in life, we are constantly subjected to tests. We are immersed in a world of struggle, which demands that
we be constantly on the alert. We need to be able to carry out our ideas, to achieve recognition."
GM Joseph Dorfman - The Critical Moment

The Guthrie McClain Memorial (5 round/G/45) will be held this Saturday at the MI starting at 10 AM.

1) Anatoly Karpov to play in Lindsborg

Former World Champion Anatoly Karpov will be making his first tournament in the United States since San Antonio 1972 this weekend in Lindsborg, Kansas. GMs Alex Onischuk, Ivan Morovic, Yury Shulman, GM-elect Pascal Charbonneau and IM John Donaldson complete the field in this Category 13 (2574+ FIDE) game/25 (with ten-second increment) roundrobin event which will be shown live on the ICC ( Round times (Central time)  are December 13: 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM December 14: 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 4:00 PM.

2) Matthew Gross leads Fall TNM

Rapidly improving Expert Matthew Gross is still in the lead with one round to go in the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon. Gross, who nearly beat NM Egle Morkunaite in round eight, has 6.5/8 followed by Morkunaite, IM Walter Shipman, NM Victor Ossipov and Expert Larry Snyder.
The last round of the Fall TNM will be played next Tuesday. The Winter TNM starts January 6.

Note that the last of MI GM-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky's weekly lectures for 2003 will be held tonight starting at 5:15 PM. The series resumes on January 6.

3) Berkeley Chess Club Moves

The Berkeley Chess Club has moved back to its old location at the beautiful Berkeley City Club at 2315 Durant Avenue. The location is only a block from the UC Berkeley campus and is a 5 minute walk from the downtown Berkeley BART station. The club, which meets Fridays, offers weekly USCF rated play. The program for kids run 6:30 PM to 8 PM and for adults 8 PM to Midnight. Call Alan Glascoe at (510) 652-5324 for more information.

4) Here and There

Congratulations to 15-year-old San Jose High School student Matthew Ho who just earned his USCF Master title. His post-tournament rating from the Ralston Memorial was 2236.

Congratulations also go to another MI member. Well-known author FM Eric Schiller (USCF 2210) had an excellent performance at the American Open, scoring 4-4 while playing up the entire event against opposition averaging over 2300.

5) Appeal for Donations

All donations to the Mechanics' (including your annual membership dues) are tax deductible due to the M.I.'s 501(c) (3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that has been lying around unused for some time consider donating to the Mechanics'. You will not only get a tax write off but also the satisfaction of seeing it put to good use.

Newsletter #170, 12/17/2003

"Intuition in chess can be defined as the first move that comes to mind when you see a position.
Viswanathan Anand

1)Karpov wins Lindsborg Invitational

Anatoly Karpov won the Lindsborg (Kansas) Invitational this past weekend. The former World Champion scored an undefeated 3.5 from 5 to win the Category 13 (2574 FIDE) Rapid Chess (G/25 minutes + 10 second increment) roundrobin and pick up $4000. This was Karpov's 158 tournament victory in his career. GM Alex Onischuk was second at 3 followed by GM Yury Shulman and IM John Donaldson 2.5, GM Ivan Morovic at 2 and IM Pascal Charbonneau at 1.5. Karpov led throughout as he won in the first two rounds versus Shulman and Charbonneau. Donaldson had a chance to tie for first if he won in the last round but lost his only game to Shulman.
This event, one of the strongest rapid chess tournaments ever held in the United States, was organized by Dr. Mikhail Korenman of Bethany College and directed by Frank Berry. This coming weekend the Lindsborg Open promise to be a very strong tournament with over 20 GMs and IMs in a 40 player field headed by GM Evgenij Agrest (2605) of Sweden.

2) Ehlvest Marshall Chess Club Champion

GM Jaan Ehlvest of Estonia, currently living in Baltimore, won the 2003 Marshall Chess Club Championship with a score of 6.5 from 9, good for $2000. Tying for second in the small, but strong field, were GMs Alexander Shabalov and John Fedorowicz at 6. Standings can be found at

3) Ossipov and Bukh tie for first in McClain Memorial

There were upsets all over the place in the Guthrie McClain Memorial held December 13 at the Mechanics' Institute. NM Victor Ossipov and Class A player Yefim Bukh drew in the last round to tie for first in the 39-player Swiss. Mongolian master Batsaikhan Tserendorj was the chief giant killer as he knocked off top-seed IM Ricardo DeGuzman.
DeGuzman, NM Victor Baja and upcoming junior Wesley Chen tied for third at 4. Anthony Corrales directed for the Mechanics.

Newsletter #171, 12/24/2003

"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."
Ken Whyld

1) Yermo, Baburin and Mitkov tie for first in Lindsborg

Mechanics' Institute Grandmaster-in-Residence Alex Yermolinsky shared first prize in the 2nd Lindsborg Open, tying with fellow GMs Alexander Baburin and Nikola Mitkov at 6 1/2 from 9.  The last round  featured plenty of fighting chess. Yermo defeated GM Sergey Kudrin while Alexander Baburin beat GM Suat Atalik.  The latter had been among the leaders of the event throughout.  Tying for fourth in the 42-player event, which included ten GMs and eight IMs, were GM Trajce Nedev and IMs Melik Khachian and Pascal Charbonneau with six points.  Khachian made his  third and final GM norm and should be awarded the title by FIDE in 2004.  Well done, Melik!
Making IM norms were Anna Zatonskih (her fifth! - she should get the title shortly) and the Bay Area's Dmitry Zilberstein.  This was Dmitry's first norm, and we are confident that he will soon make more.  Just missing out on norms were IM Eugene Perelshteyn and FM Sean Nagle who both needed to beat their opponents in the last round but only drew.  Chess Today founder Alex Baburin was particularly tough on the ladies as he beat all three members of the US Olympic training team who were competing (Krush, Zatonskih and Goletiani).

Final standings:
1-3.   GMs Baburin, Mitkov and  Yermolinsky 6.5
4-6.  IM Charbonneau, IM  Khachian and GM Nedev 6
7-14   GMs Agrest,  Atalik,  Kudrin, Shulman,  Sharavdorj, IMs Perelshteyn, WGM Zatonskih  and FM Zilberstein 5.5
15-23   GM Blatny, IMs Sevillano, Donaldson, Krush, Smetankin, WGM Goletiani, NMs Betaneli and Langer  5

The two week-long Lindsborg Chess Festival was a great success and the bulk of the credit goes chiefly to  Mikhail Korenman of Bethany College in Lindsborg. Mikhail has been the driving force not only for the Chess Festival but also for launching the first Karpov Chess School in the United States. Next summer Lindsborg will be hosting the US Junior Closed and Junior Open thanks to Mikhail's efforts. Also on the agenda for 2004 are chess classes for college credit at Bethany College (GM Shulman main instructor). US chess needs to clone Mikhail!

2) Matthew Gross wins Fall Tuesday Night Marathon

Expert Matthew Gross make a big step to becoming a Master by winning the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon with a score of 7.5 from 9, good for $450. Tying for second at 7 were IM Walter Shipman and NM Egle Morkunaite. David Karapetian was clear fourth at 6.5. The next TNM starts January 6.

Newsletter #172, 12/31/2003

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

1) Shaba does it again

US Champion Alexander Shabalov of Pittsburgh has done it again, winning the North American Open, held December 26-29 in Las Vegas.  Shaba started with a draw against promising young Master Daniel Rensch and then reeled off five wins in a row over NM Gallegos, SM Friedel, IM Finegold, GM Izoria and GM Filippov to triumph over a field which included 28 GMs.
Shaba's victory in the NAO added to his haul of tournament wins in the US in 2003, including the US Championship, World Open, Levy Memorial, US Open, and Chicago Open.  Yes, there were a few minor blemishes on Shaba's US record, like Foxwoods, the National Chess Congress, and the Vermont International, but, all in all, it was a phenomenal performance, especially if you consider the increasing number of strong GMs competing regularly in US Swisses.  Congratulations to the US Champion on a job well done!
There was a five-way tie for second in Las Vegas at 5-1 with GMs Yury Shulman, Jaan Ehlvest, Vadim Milov, Georgy Kacheishvilli, and Evgeny Najer winning the remainder of the prize money in the open section.  Mechanics' members Michael Aigner and Paul Gallegos both shined at the NAO in the open section.  Michael's score of 3 1/2 from 6 included wins over IM Elizabeth Paehtz and SM Steven Winer, plus a draw with IM Uriel Zak.  His only loses were to GM Pavel Blatny and GM-elect Varuzhan Akobian.  The latter was in the last round, and if Michael drew, he would have qualified for the 2004 Championship. Paul Gallegos was tough on German titled players in the tournament, defeating GM Raj Tischbierek and drawing with Paehtz.
MI members also did well in the lower sections.  Veteran Victor Ossipov tied for first in the Expert section with 5 1/2 from 6.  Drake Wang scored a very respectable 4 points in this group.
This year's NAO was a US Championship qualifier.  Earning trips to San Diego were GM Gregory Serper, IM Ben Finegold, SM Levon Altounian, and FM Robby Adamson.  FM Jennifer Shahade earned the woman's seed.
The North American Open was a Continental Chess Association event organized and directed by Bill Goichberg.  The turn out of around 600 made it the second largest open tournament in the Western US in 2003, after the National Open.

2) Winter Tuesday Night Marathon starts next Tuesday

The Winter TNM starts next Tuesday evening and will run eight weeks.  MI GM-in-residence Alex Yermolinsky's popular weekly lectures on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5:15-6:15 PM resume next Tuesday evening.

3) US Championship information


San Diego’s NTC Foundation’s Promenade Centre Is New Home for the 2004 U.S. Chess Championship
SEATTLE, Wash. — (December 22, 2003)  — America’s Foundation for Chess (AF4C) announces the NTC Foundation as its new partner for the annual U.S. Chess Championships scheduled for the first two weeks in December 2004. The NTC Foundation in San Diego, Calif., will host this historic national tournament at their new arts and cultural venue, Promenade Centre. The winner will represent the United States at the World Chess Championships.
This will be the fourth year that AF4C has hosted the annual tournament – one of the oldest and most prestigious national titles in the world - and its first year doing so with a co-sponsor. Expected to maintain its record-breaking $250,000 prize fund, the 2004 U.S. Chess Championships will be held over 11 days and will attract widespread media attention from around the world. Chessmaster® will also return as a 2004 corporate sponsor.
Event Offers Something for Chess Fan and Non-Chess Players Alike
The 2004 tournament will highlight not only the elite chess competition, but also offer valuable educational activities sure to make chess more accessible to the general public. Promoting chess as a learning tool that is fun, engaging and available to people young and old, novice or master, is another reason AF4C is seeking the large public venue offered by NTC’s Promenade Center.
“We are proud to welcome this high-profile, national tournament as one of the Promenade Centre’s inaugural events,” said Murray Galinson, chairman of the NTC Foundation Board of Directors. “AF4C and the Foundation both understand the importance of bringing innovative learning and education to the public.”
“AF4C has been looking for a partner whose mission is aligned with ours: NTC supports creative education and believes in the value the U.S. Chess Championships can bring to the national expansion of the AF4C classroom chess curriculum,” said Erik J Anderson, president and co-founder of AF4C.
A community that embraces education and culture, San Diego is enthusiastic about AF4C’s relocation of the US Chess Championships.
President and CEO of the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau Reint Reinders explains, “Relocating this national event to San Diego’s Promenade Centre will give more chess enthusiasts access to players and commentary. Those unfamiliar with the game will receive an introduction to the value of chess in America. We are excited that AF4C recognizes the potential that a co-sponsor such as the NTC Foundation can have in drawing more attention to this elite event. San Diego is thrilled to carry on the chess torch.”
About NTC Foundation
The NTC Foundation, a private 501(C)3 nonprofit corporation, is charged with the preservation and renovation of 26 historical buildings that are part of the historic core of the former Naval Training Center in San Diego, California. The Foundation is also responsible for the creation of a civic, arts and cultural center known as the Promenade Centre to occupy the renovated buildings. For information, visit
About America’s Foundation for Chess
Founded on the hope of making chess a subject taught in every school in the United States, AF4C, a nonprofit organization, is committed to making chess a larger part of America's cultural fabric — accessible in schools and in popular culture. By organizing events such as the U.S. Championships, AF4C hopes to elevate the profile of chess in America so that it will soon become a regular part of every child's classroom experience.

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