Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #375, 12/10/2007
"His match strategy was brilliant. Garry was tortured – but for me the Berlin is one of the most depressing things in chess. I’d give up the game if I were forced to play it."
~Joel Lautier commenting on Vladimir Kramnik’s successful use of the Berlin Defense in his World Championship match with Garry Kasparov. (King’s Gambit by Paul Hoffman, page 131)
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
2) Gata Kamsky shines in World Cup
3) New Rules for Chess Olympiads by Almog Burstein
4) Stuart Wagman 1919-2007
5) Thomas Groombridge 1953-2007
6) Here and There
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess Club News
IM Ricardo DeGuzman won the 7th Annual Guthrie McClain Memorial on December 8 with a 5-0 score, defeating NMs Michael Pearson and Keith Vickers en route. Tying for second at 4-1 in the 34-player event were Pearson, Romulo Fuentes and Nicholas Nip.

IM John Grefe and Expert Jules Jelinek are tied for first at 6.5 from 8 going into the final round of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon and will play each other to decide first place.

IM Enrico Sevillano and NM John Bryant scored 4.5 from 5 to tie for first in the 3rd Annual Igor Ivanov Memorial held December 8 in St. George, Utah. MI Chess Director IM John Donaldson drew with Sevillano and Bryant to share third place at 4-1.

Last night IM David Pruess gave a well received talk at the MI on his recent tour of Europe where he earned his second GM norm. Look for special lectures like this on a monthly basis at the Mechanics'. Next up is IM Josh Friedel in January.
2) Gata Kamsky shines in World Cup
America's number one player Gata Kamsky has had an incredible run in the FIDE World Cup and now only Alexey Shirov stands between him and a match with Veselin Topalov for the right to play the winner of Anand-Kramnik.

Gata's performance, in which he has won 6 matches with only the one with Svidler going to tiebreak, has been superb .Unofficially he has picked up around 20 FIDE points which puts him in the mid 2730s and is a clear indication Gata has fully recovered the form that made him number 3 in the world in the 1990s.

The round 7 will be a four game match with tiebreakers if necessary.

Round 1 Ahmed Adly (2494) 1.5-.5
Round 2 Boris Avrukh (2641) 1.5-.5
Round 3 Kiril Georgiev (2649) 1.5-.5
Round 4 Peter Svidler (2732) 2.5-1.5
Round 5 Ruslan Ponomariov (2705) 1.5-.5
Round 6 Magnus Carlsen (2714) 1.5-.5
Round 7 Alexei Shirov ( 2739)
3) New Rules for Chess Olympiads by Almog Burstein
Dear Chess Friends,

Re: New Rules for the Chess Olympiads

FIDE Executive Board approved, in its recent meeting in Antalya, Turkey, new rules for the Chess Olympiads, which will come into effect at the 2008 Dresden Olympiad. As there are many significant changes, FIDE draws the attention of national federations to ensure that they and their players are acquainted with the new rules before they attend the Olympiad.

After 50 years (until 1974) of playing the Chess Olympiads under the round-robin system (mostly with preliminaries and finals), FIDE adopted (from 1976) the Swiss System. So, let me introduce the main important changes:
  • 1. The number of boards in each match in the Women's Olympiad was increased from 3 to 4; the number of reserve players in the Open Olympiad was reduced from 2 to 1. That means that all teams in both olympiads will be composed of four players and one reserve.
  • 2. The number of rounds was reduced to 11 (instead of 13-14 rounds in previous Olympiads).
  • 3. In the first round, two 'imaginary' match points shall be added, for pairing purposes only, to each of the teams in the top half of the initial list. That means that in an Olympiad with 120 teams, the pairings for the first round will be 1-31, 2-32, 3-33 … 29-59, 30-60 and then 61-91, 62-92, 63-93 etc. (instead of 1-61, 2-62, 3-63 etc. in previous Olympiads).
  • 4. In the second round, the winning teams in the top half will play with one another (i.e. 1-16, 2-17 etc.), the losing teams in the bottom half will play with one another (i.e. 91-106, 92-107), while the losing teams in the top half will play against the winning teams in the bottom half! (i.e. 31-61, 32-62, 33-63 etc.). This way we 'save' one round which is very important towards the end of the Olympiad. The `imaginary` points shall be deducted before making the pairings for the third round.
  • 5. The final standing shall be determined by match points (instead of game points). That means that the winning team in each match (by game result of 2.5:1.5, 3:1, 3.5:0.5 or 4:0) gets 2 match points while its opponent gets no match points. In case of a draw (game result of 2:2) each team gets one match point.
  • 6. The position of teams that finish with the same number of match points shall be determined by the Sonnenborn-Berger system which is the sum of the match points of all opponents, excluding the opponent who scored the lowest number of match points, while each opponent's match score is multiplied by the team's game result against this opponent. The idea behind this new rule is to combine, in the first procedure of the tie breaking, both the strength of the opponents and the number of game points scored against each one of them. The more game points scored against stronger opponents, the better for the team. This way we also give the teams a substantial incentive to win as many game points as possible in each match and not to be satisfied with the minimal win of 2.5:1.5. The exclusion of the weakest opponent is made in order to neutralize the effect of non played matches on the final results.
  • 7. If Sonnenborn-Berger does not break the tie, the next tie-breaking procedures are: (b = Buchholz) by the sum of the match scores of all the team's opponents, excluding the opponent who scored the lowest number of match points; and (c) by the sum of the game points scored.
  • 8. The standing after each round, according to the procedure explained in points 5-7 above, is also the basis for the pairings of each next round.
    Yours sincerely,

Almog Burstein, Chairman

Technical Administration Panel
4) Stuart Wagman 1919-2007
FM Stuart Wagman died Nov. 24 in Livorno, Italy, where he had lived for the past half-century. A member of the Washington Chess Divan in the 1940s Wagman was inactive for many years but started to play again regularly after his retirement. He earned the FM title in his 60s and was a strong player even in his last years. His score of 6 from 11 in the 2006 World Senior Championship at the age of 87, was the best by an American.

I had the opportunity to meet Stuart at the Lugano Open in 1983. He was always friendly and in good spirits but his play was uncompromising. He loved sharp, romantic openings.

The following game was typical of his style.
Sax,G (2535) - Wagman,S (2180) [C57]
Montecatini Terme op Montecatini Terme (4), 1998
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nd4 6.c3 b5 7.Bf1 Nxd5 8.Ne4 Qh4 9.Ng3 Bg4 10.f3 e4 11.cxd4 Bd6 12.Bxb5+ Kd8 13.0-0 exf3 14.Rxf3 Rb8 15.Bf1 Re8 16.Nc3 Nb4 17.d3 Bxf3 18.Qxf3 Nc2 19.Rb1 Qxd4+ 20.Kh1 Bxg3 21.Qxg3 Qxc3 22.bxc3 Rxb1 23.Qg5+ f6 24.Qd5+ Kc8 25.Qf5+ Kb8 26.Bd2 Re2 27.h4 Rxd2 28.Kh2 Ne3 29.Qxh7 Rxf1? (likely time pressure 29...Nxf1+ won easily) 30.Qg8+ Kb7 31.Qb3+ Ka8 32.Qg8+ ½-½
5) Thomas Groombridge 1953-2007
NM Thomas Edward Groombridge of Lathrop, California, died on November 21 of a heart attack. Tommy, as he was known to his friends, started the Lubbock Chess Club with Robert Montgomery in the 1980s. He served as president of the LCC and was the driving force to promote chess in West Texas in the 1990s, organizing and directing many tournaments. His passion for chess was such that after retiring from playing he continued to devote himself to promoting the royal game, first through a chess learning center for kids in Casa Grande, Arizona, and later by setting up one of the better chess book stores on Ebay. His dealings with his store, which listed hundreds of books and magazines in all languages, earned him a lasting reputation for friendliness and honesty.

Thanks to Mitch Suess for providing some of this information.
6) Here and There
The new Italian Champion, 15-year old GM, Fabiano Caruana (2594) will be one of the favorites in the C-tournament at Curus ( Wijk aan Zee) this January. Fabiano had a fabulous result in the Italian Championship scoring 9.5 from 11 for a 2729 performance.

GM William Lombardy turned 70 on December 4th. One of the strongest junior players America has ever produced (his 11-0 score in the 1957 World Junior is unmatched), Lombardy is perhaps best remembered for his historic win over Boris Spassky in the 1960 World Student Team Championship in Leningrad, an event the Americans won. His duties as a Roman Catholic priest never fully allowed Lombardy to realize his potential as a chess player but his performance on US Olympiad teams in the period 1958 to 1978 is nonetheless quite impressive with a lifetime score of 63 points from 91 games (69.2 percent), with four team medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze) and two individual board prizes ( gold and silver). An accomplished author - his book on the 1973 US Championship comes immediately to mind, Lombardy was also a longtime columnist for Chess Life. Though he has not been active in recent years Lombardy's considerable achievements deserve to be remembered.

Hikaru Nakamura turned 20 on December 9. Best known for his playing skills Hikaru has recently branched out and penned some articles for the New in Chess series Secrets of Opening Surprises including one on his old favorite 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5.

Here is an exciting Bishop versus Knight ending from the recent American Open won by GM Alex Yermolinsky.
Khachiyan,M (2506) - Bhat,V (2483) [C68]
American Open Los Angeles (7) 2007
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0 Qf6 6.d4 exd4 7.Qxd4 Qxd4 8.Nxd4 Bd7 9.Be3 0-0-0 10.Nc3 Re8 11.a3 b6 12.Rfe1 c5 13.Nf3 f5 14.Bf4 Nf6 15.Ne5 Nxe4 16.Nxe4 fxe4 17.Rxe4 Bd6 18.Rae1 Rhf8 19.Nd3 Bxf4 20.Rxe8+ Bxe8 21.Nxf4 Ba4 22.Ne6 Re8 23.Re3 Bxc2 24.Nxg7 Rxe3 25.fxe3 Kd7 26.Kf2 Bg6 27.Kf3 Ke7 28.Kg4 Kf6 29.Nh5+ Ke5 30.Nf4 Be4 31.Kg3 c4 32.Kf2 b5 33.Ke2 c5 34.Kd2 b4 35.g4 Kd6 36.h4 Kc6 37.g5 Kb5 38.h5 Ka4 39.axb4 cxb4 40.g6 hxg6 41.hxg6 Kb3 42.g7 Bh7 43.Kc1 Bg8 44.e4 a5 45.e5 a4 46.e6 c3 47.bxc3 a3 48.Kb1 bxc3 49.Ne2 a2+ 50.Ka1 Bxe6 51.Nxc3 Kxc3 52.g8Q Bxg8 ½-½


You can browse through our archived newsletters using the "next" and "previous buttons".

Alternatively, you can select a newsletter to read from this list:

Want to save this newsletter for reading at a later time? Click here to learn how.