Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #458, 9/2/2009
Chess has a great future. It is a marvelous tool of the mind that transfers skills such as reasoning, planning, strategic thinking, responsibility and discipline to everyday life. Chess players are more aware of when their brains are working and whether they are having productive mental storms or not. Chess players understand the need to invest their time to improve their game and when they don’t put in the required work their results will suffer. This is true for all things, whether building a house or a business. Planning is key. Things don’t just happen. An idea is conceived, nurtured and brought into being. Theory and practice go hand in glove. As teachers become more aware of how chess can positively impact the lives of children, chess will become an elective class for schools.

Yasser Seirawan interviewed by Jeremy Silman (
1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News
2) Myron Johnson
3) FIDE Rating List

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News
The Mechanics' drew its opening US Chess League match with arch-rival Seattle 2-2. Both teams were without some of their top guns and evenly matched. The final score was probably fair but the individual results could have easily have been quite different. Josh Friedel and Gregory Serper have a real history in the USCL and have met roughly a half dozen times on board one with the same result in every game - White won! Strange things have happened as the two players checked each other out. Try Gregory playing 1.e4! This time he put his favorite Kan Sicilian on the bench and played the French. Mega Database gives one game where he played the French, back in 1991, so it was definitely a surprise. Josh was always slightly better but hallucinated on move 27 ( he thought Qb4+ would pick up the Rook forgetting it was protected).

David Pruess and Eric Tangborn played the longest game of the match and the last to finish. Both sides had terrible pawn structures in the Rook ending ( 4 doubled f-pawns) but David was able to defeat Eric despite playing the last part of the game on the increment.

Board three saw the game go back and forth between a Black advantage and White holding even chances. Fortunately for me Michael spent a lot of time in the opening and was in time pressure for much of the game which is annotated below.

Hikaru may have been missing from the Seattle lineup but his team gained one advantage as they could put Josh Sinanan, one of the league's best fourth boards ( 2300 and very good with White), into the match. When he secured three connected passed pawns for the exchange I figured Yian Liou was a goner but the 12-year-old played very well and was able to hold. A draw with Black against a tough opponent was a good start to the USCL for Yian.
San Francisco 2 -2 Seattle
1. GM Josh Friedel (SF) vs GM Gregory Serper (SEA) 0-1
2. IM Eric Tangborn (SEA) vs IM David Pruess (SF) 0-1
3. IM John Donaldson (SF) vs FM Michael Lee (SEA) 1/2-1/2
4. NM Joshua Sinanan (SEA) vs NM Yian Liou (SF) 1/2-1/2
Friedel,Josh (2612) - Serper,Gregory (2592) [C10]
USCL San Francisco vs Seattle
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Be7 5.Nf3 Nf6 6.Bd3 Nxe4 7.Bxe4 c5 8.0-0 Nd7 9.c3 0-0 10.Bc2 Qc7 11.Re1 Rd8 12.Qd3 Nf8 13.Qe4 cxd4 14.Nxd4 Bd7 15.a4 a6 16.a5 Be8 17.h4 Rd5 18.Bb3 Rxa5 19.Rxa5 Qxa5 20.Qxb7 Qd8 21.h5 Bf6 22.Bf4 h6 23.Bc2 a5 24.Qe4 a4 25.Bd6 Ra5 26.Bxf8 Kxf8 27.Nxe6+?? fxe6 28.Qh7 Re5 29.Rd1 Rd5 30.Re1 Qd6 31.Qh8+ Ke7 32.g4 Re5 33.Rd1 Rd5 34.Re1 Rd2 35.Bf5 Rd1 0-1
Tangborn,Eric (2455) - Pruess,David (2418) [D31]
USCL San Francisco vs Seattle
1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 d5 3.d4 c6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Qc2 Bd6 6.Nf3 Ne7 7.Bg5 f6 8.Bh4 Bf5 9.Qd2 0-0 10.Bg3 Be4 11.e3 Bxf3 12.gxf3 f5 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.f4 Nd7 15.Bd3 b5 16.Rc1 Rf6 17.Ne2 a6 18.Ng1 c5 19.dxc5 Nxc5 20.Nf3 d4 21.Nxd4 Nc6 22.Bc2 Nxd4 23.Qxd4 Qxd4 24.exd4 Ne6 25.Bb3 Kf8 26.Rc6 Nxd4 27.Rxf6+ gxf6 28.Kd2 Rd8 29.Ke3 Nxb3 30.axb3 Re8+ 31.Kd3 Re4 32.Ra1 Rxf4 33.Rxa6 Kf7 34.Ke3 Rb4 35.Ra3 Kg6 36.Kf3 Kg5 37.Kg3 Rg4+ 38.Kh3 h6 39.Ra8 Rb4 40.Rg8+ Kh5 41.Rg3 Rd4 42.Kg2 Rg4 43.Kf3 Kh4 44.Kg2 h5 45.h3 Rg5 46.Kh2 Rxg3 47.fxg3+ Kg5 48.Kg2 f4 49.Kf3 fxg3 50.Kxg3 b4 51.Kf3 0-1
Donaldson,John (2408) - Lee,Michael (2384) [A33]
1.Nf3 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.g3 Qb6 7.Nb3 Ne5 8.e4 Bb4 9.Qe2 d6 10.f4 Nc6 11.Bg2?! I was playing too fast and forgot to play 11.Be3 first, and am immediately fighting for equality after Black's next move. It is some consolation that this mistake has been made by such greats as Karpov and Portisch. 11...e5! 12.f5 12.Bd2 is likely better. 12...Nd4 13.Qd1?! Here 13.Nxd4 exd4 14.a3 Qa5 15.Rb1 Bxc3+ 16.bxc3 Qxc3+ 17.Bd2 was superior. 13...Qc6?! This wins material but allows White to resolve his King position. Maybe 13...Bd7 14.Bg5 Rc8 15.Bxf6 gxf6 or 13...0–0 14.Bg5 Bd7 15.Bxf6 gxf6 made more sense. In the latter position White would have to try something like 16.Kf1. 14.0–0 14.Nxd4 exd4 15.Qxd4 Bxf5 16.Bd2 Bc5 17.Qd3 0–0 18.0–0–0 was sharper but risky. 14...Qxc4 15.Bg5? This was a major mistake that could have had very serious consequences. White wants to resolve the situation in the center but the Bishop on c1 doesn't yet know it's best square. Much better was 15.Kh1 with the idea 15...Bxc3 16.bxc3 Nxb3 17.axb3 Qxc3 18.Qxd6 Qxa1 19.Ba3. 15...Bxc3 16.bxc3 Nxb3? This isn't bad it's just that 16...Ne2+ probably wins or is at least very strong for Black. . For example 17.Kh1 Nxe4 18.Nd2 N2xg3+ 19.hxg3 Qxf1+! 20.Bxf1 Nf2+ 21.Kg2 Nxd1 22.Rxd1 f6 23.Be3 Bxf5 24.Nc4 Ke7 25.Nxd6 Bg4 26.Rd2 b6 and Black is consolidating his material advantage. 17.axb3 Qc5+ 18.Kh1 h6?! 19.Bh4 19.Bc1 was suggested by Josh Friedel after the game and it is definitely better than what I played. After 19... 0–0 20.Ba3 Qxc3 21.Bxd6 Re8 (21...Rd8 22.Bxe5) White has better chances than in the game. White could capture on f6 but after 19...gxf6 20.Rf3 Ke7 21.Rd3 b6 22.Qd2 Bb7 23.Rd1 Rad8 it's hard to see how I can improve my position. 19...b6 20.Ra4 This weird looking move with a crude threat ( 21.Rc4) is designed to provide ...b5. I thought if I tripled on the d-file and put my pawns on b3 and c4 Black would guard d6 and later play ...a5-a4. 20... b5 21.Ra5 Qb6 22.b4 Now Black has the use of the c4 square but a break with ...a5 and later ...b4 will trade all the queenside pawns. 22... Bb7 23.Qe2 a6 24.Rd1 Rc8 25.Rd3 Rc4 26.Bxf6 gxf6 27.Ra1 Ke7 28.Rad1 Rd8 29.g4? This looks good as it prepares Rh3 but it is another critical mistake. 29.Re1 Qc6 30.Qd2 was correct. White should hold the position. 29...Qc7? Immediately after the game Josh pointed out the brutal double attack 29...Qc6! hitting c3 and more importantly e4. White has no satisfactory answer to this move. To be fair to Michael he had only three minutes on his clock and had disconnected twice in the last twenty minutes which might have rattled him. 30.Qe3 White doesn't miss the opportunity to improve the position of his Queen and hits the pawn on h6 hoping to capture it and quickly follow up with g5.. 30...Rh8 31.Qd2 31.Rxd6 Qxd6 32.Rxd6 Kxd6 33.h4 was possible but the inactivity of the Bishop on g2 leaves the Queen playing by itself. 31...Rc6 32.Rh3 Rg8 33.Rg3 Rc4 34.Re1 I was very conscious of my weak back rank. 34.Qxh6 Rxc3 35.g5 Rxg5 36.Rxg5 Rc1! would not have been pretty. 34...Rh8 Black could have tried 34...a5 35.bxa5 Qxa5 planning ...b4 in the future, but down to less than two minutes ( against twelve for White) decides to allow a repetition. 35.Rh3 Rg8 36.Rg3 Rh8 37.Rh3 Rg8 38.Rg3 ½–½
Sinanan,Josh (2284) - Liou,Yian (2149) [A86]
USCL San Francisco vs Seattle
1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nc3 d6 6.Nh3 e6 7.Nf4 c6 8.h4 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.Nd3 e4 12.Nf4 Ke7 13.h5 Nxh5 14.Nxh5 gxh5 15.Rxh5 Be6 16.Bh3 Nd7 17.Bxf5 Nf6 18.Rg5 Bh6 19.Nxe4 Nxe4 20.Bxe4 Bxg5 21.Bxg5+ Kf7 22.b3 a5 23.a4 Rac8 24.Bd2 b6 25.Bc3 Rhe8 26.Bxh7 Bg4 27.Ra2 Rcd8 28.Rc2 c5 29.f4 Re6 30.Kf2 Rd1 31.Bd3 Rh6 32.Ke3 Rh3 33.f5 Rxg3+ 34.Kf4 Rg2 35.Be4 Rxe2 36.Rxe2 Bxe2 37.Bd5+ Rxd5 38.cxd5 Bd1 39.Be5 Bxb3 40.Bc7 Bxd5 41.Bxb6 Bc6 1/2-1/2 Wednesday Night Blitz Winners for the week of 08/26/2009 are:
1st : Romy Fuentes 9-0 $22.50
2nd : Jules Jelinek 7.5 $13.50
3rd : George Sanguinetti 5.5 $ 9.00
NM Russell Wong leads the Max Wilkerson Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon with 4.5 from 5 with four rounds remaining. Tied for second with four points are NMs Oleg Shakhnazarov and Andy Lee and George Sanguinetti.

Mechanics' member Vinay Bhat is having a great result in Montreal. He started with 1 from 4 in the 12 player round robin averaging 2615 ( over 2630 for Vinay who is the lowest rated player in the field at 2473) but he has just defeated Sergei Tiviakov and Thomas Roussel Rouzman to get back to 50 percent.

Standings in the bitterly fought event:

1. Bacrot 4.5; 2-3. Naidtsch and Kovalyov 4; 4-5. Bluvstein and Maze 3.5; 6-8. Onischuk, Akobian, Bhat 3; 9-10. Shulman and Tiviakov 2.5; 11. Moiseenko 1.5; 12. Roussel Rouzman 1.

Go to to follow the action.
2) Myron Johnson
Kenn Fong writes that Myron Johnson, a key worker in helping the Lone Pine tournaments flourish in the 1970s, suffered a stroke but is doing well. He is staying at McClure Rehabilitation Hospital ( 2901 McClure Street (corner of 29th, three blocks parallel to Broadway near Summit Hospital in Oakland) Oakland, CA 94609 - 510-836-3677) and would appreciate visitors.
3) FIDE Rating List
Vassily Ivanchuk gained 53 points (!) and is back in the top 10 while Anatoly Karpov (2619) is out of the top 100 for the first time.

Top 20 players:
1. Topalov BUL 2813 (0)
2. Anand IND 2788 (0)
3. Aronian ARM 2773 (13)
4. Carlsen NOR 2772 (10)
5. Kramnik RUS 2772 (10)
6. Leko HUN 2762 (23)
7. Radjabov AZE 2757 (10)
8. Ivanchuk UKR 2756 (42)
9. Gelfand ISR 2756 (33)
10. Morozevich RUS 2750 (18)
11. Jakovenko RUS 2742 (24)
12. Svidler RUS 2741 (9)
13. Ponomariov UKR 2741 (9)
14. Gashimov AZE 2740 (0)
15. Wang Yue CHN 2736 (0)
16. Nakamura USA 2735 (17)
17. Grischuk RUS 2733 (0)
18. Shirov ESP 2730 (18)
19. Alekseev RUS 2725 (23)
20. Karjakin UKR 2722 (13)

US Top Players

1. Nakamura 2735
2. Onischuk 2699
3. Kamsky 2692
4. Seirawan 2646
5. Shulman 2638
6. Akobian 2636
7-8. Ehlvest and Shabalov 2607


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