Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #460, 9/16/2009
The psychological aspect of chess may be my strongest point. You cannot think how a win will affect your tournament result. Only think about one game at a time, and not how a result will help or hurt you. It is okay to win, lose, or draw a game. It happens. You cannot get stuck on a single-game result.

GM Robert Hess
1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News
2) USCF versus Polgar and Truong
3) Chess Books
4) Spice Cup
5) Here and There

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News
Last night's match with the division leading Miami Sharks was a good test for the Mechanics' and early season indicators suggest this year's team compares favorably with the 2007 USCL Championship squad. GM Jesse Kraai was the first to get on the scoreboard and he was quickly joined by Yian Liou. Up 2-0 and with Sam Shankland his customary 30 minutes up on the clock, and his opponent IM Blas Lugo running low on time, the match score was soon 3-0. GM Julio Becerra, the 2006 and 2007 USCL MVP and the first team all star selection for board one four seasons running averted a shut out for the Sharks.

Miami 1 - San Francisco 3
1. GM Julio Becerra (MIA) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1-0
2. GM Jesse Kraai (SF) vs FM Bruci Lopez (MIA) 1-0
3. IM Blas Lugo (MIA) vs IM Sam Shankland (SF) 0-1
4. NM Yian Liou (SF) vs NM Ernesto Alvarez (MIA) 1-0

Practical players and not perfectionists rule supreme in the USCL and Becerra is the practical player par excellence. Rule one is play quickly and confidently and try to set your opponent problems. Sometimes, as in this game, that can lead to a somewhat dubious position but if the opponent is low on time he will be hard pressed to find the right moves. One last observation is those who plays frequently on ICC tend to do better - it helps if playing in front of a computer screen feels nature.

The following game could be analyzed for hours but in a nutshell White was outplayed in the early middlegame and found his best chance in sacrificing a piece for two pawns and a mobile center. One answer to this was to return the material for a better position. It appears Black had at least two opportunities to do this. First he had 34...Bxf2+ 35.Nxf2 Nxd6 when the pin on f2 and the passed pawn on b3 give Black the advantage. The second possibility was 37...Bxd7 ( and not 37...Ba6??) 38.cxd7 Ra7. Josh might well have found the latter if the match had not already been decided, but up 3-0 he was noticeably relaxed.
Becerra,Julio (2615) - Friedel,Josh (2612) [C88]
Miami vs San Francisco (3) 2009
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.Nc3 d6 10.a3 Nd4 11.Ba2 c5 12.d3 h6 13.b4 Qc7 14.Bd2 Rfe8 15.bxc5 dxc5 16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 Bd6 18.c3 Nf5 19.c4 Bc8 20.Bc3 Bd7 21.Nd2 b4 22.axb4 cxb4 23.Bb2 a5 24.Ne4 a4 25.Rc1 b3 26.Bxb3 axb3 27.c5 Bf8 28.c6 Bc8 29.d4 Qb6 30.dxe5 Ra2 31.Bc3 Bc5 32.Qf3 Bd4 33.e6 fxe6 34.d6 Rf8 35.d7 Ba6 36.Bxd4 Nxd4 37.Qxf8+ Kxf8 38.c7 Qxc7 39.Rxc7 Ke7 40.Nc5 Kd8 41.Ra7 Bc4 42.Rb7 Ra8 43.Re4 1-0 Black was already worse (and getting low on time) when he blundered with 20...f5. A very efficient performance by Jesse.
Kraai,Jesse (2552) - Lopez,Bruci (2480) [E97]
Miami vs San Francisco (3) 2009
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Bg5 Qxd1 10.Rfxd1 h6 11.Be3 Bg4 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 Rfd8 14.Nd5 Nxd5 15.cxd5 Nd4 16.Rac1 Rd7 17.Kf1 h5 18.Be2 Rf8 19.Bc4 Kh7 20.g4 f5 21.exf5 gxf5 22.Bxd4 exd4 23.Bd3 Re7 24.Bxf5+ Kh8 25.Re1 Rfe8 26.Rxe7 Rxe7 27.d6 1-0 Sam's win clinched the match and was filled with some eventful moments. White got nothing from the opening but Black decided to unbalance things with 26...Qb4 ( in place of 26...Rd4 or 26..Rbd8). White should have tried 29.Rxd4 but very low on time blundered with 29.Kb2 and 30.a3.
Lugo,Blas (2351) - Shankland,Sam (2564) [B90]
Miami vs San Francisco (3), 2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.f3 Be6 9.Qd2 0-0 10.0-0-0 Nbd7 11.g4 b5 12.g5 b4 13.gxf6 bxc3 14.Qxc3 Nxf6 15.Na5 Rc8 16.Nc6 Qd7 17.Nxe7+ Qxe7 18.Qa5 Rc6 19.Bd3 Rb8 20.Rhg1 Qb7 21.b3 Nd7 22.Qd2 g6 23.h4 Nc5 24.Bxc5 dxc5 25.c4 Rd6 26.Qg5 Qb4 27.Qxe5 Rd4 28.Bc2 Rbd8 29.Kb2 Bxc4 30.a3 Qb6 31.Rxd4 cxd4 32.h5 d3 33.h6 f6 34.Qe7 Bf7 35.Rd1 Re8 36.Qd7 dxc2 37.Rd3 Qc5 38.Kc1 Rc8 0-1 Yian had the advantage in the middlegame when his opponent went wrong with 25...Qe7 ( better was 25...Qxa5 26.Qxa5 Rxa5 27.Rxd6 Ra2 when White has two connected passed pawns but at least Black has some activity. In the game after 27.Qb6! White's d-pawn is a game winner.
Liou,Yian (2149) - Alvarez,Ernesto (2200) [B92]
Miami vs San Francisco (3), 2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be7 8.0-0 b5 9.a4 b4 10.Nd5 Bb7 11.Be3 Nxd5 12.exd5 0-0 13.a5 Nd7 14.c4 bxc3 15.bxc3 Rc8 16.c4 Bg5 17.Qd2 Bxe3 18.Qxe3 Nc5 19.Rfb1 Qe7 20.Nxc5 Rxc5 21.Rb6 Qc7 22.Qb3 Bc8 23.Qb4 f5 24.Rd1 e4 25.Rc6 Qe7 26.Rxc5 dxc5 27.Qb6 f4 28.d6 Qf7 29.f3 e3 30.Qxc5 Be6 31.Qd4 Qg6 32.Bd3 Qh5 33.c5 Bh3 34.Qe4 e2 35.Bxe2 Qxc5+ 36.Qd4 Qxd4+ 37.Rxd4 Bd7 38.Bxa6 g5 39.Rb4 Kf7 40.Re4 Kf6 41.Bb7 Bc8 42.a6 Rd8 43.Bxc8 Rxc8 44.d7 1-0
WESTERN DIVISION W L Game Points Opps Avg Rating Opps Record
San Francisco 2.5 0.5 8.0/12 (67%) 2428 4.5-1.5 (75%)
Miami 2.0 1.0 7.0/12 (58%) 2414 3.5-2.5 (58%)
Seattle 2.0 1.0 6.5/12 (54%) 2421 4.5-1.5 (75%)
Arizona 1.5 1.5 7.0/12 (58%) 2405 3.0-3.0 (50%)
Tennessee 1.5 1.5 6.0/12 (50%) 2408 2.0-4.0 (33%)
Dallas 1.0 2.0 6.0/12 (50%) 2431 4.5-1.5 (75%)
Chicago 1.0 2.0 4.0/12 (33%) 2404 3.0-3.0 (50%)

Josh won the USCL game of the week for his win over Dallas IM Zivanic. You can read about this at You may also wish to check out GM Freidel's website at Josh recently learned that he has been officially invited to play in the FIDE World Cup (knockout championship) in Khanty Mansiyk beginning on November 20. Josh replaces Hikaru Nakamura who will be playing in a big tournament with Kramnik and Carlsen in December in London.

The second Tanaka Invitational held at the Mechanics' Institute on Thursday evenings just finished.has finished. Results of the six-round four-player double-round-robin tournament can be found at . James Jones dominated from beginning to end with a 5-1 score. George Sanguinetti came in second 3.5; Payam Tanaka was third with 2 followed by Ramin Farzaneh-Far at 1.5 points.

Andy Lee defeated fellow NM Russell Wong last night to take the lead with 6 from 7 with two rounds remaining. Tied for second at 5.5 are Wong and Expert James Jones who defeated Romulo Fuentes in excellent fashion in round seven.

Wednesday Night Blitz Results for 09/09

1st : Rey Salvatierri 7.5/10
2nd : Romy Fuentes 7
3rd : Yefim Bukh & George Sanguinetti 5
2) USCF versus Polgar and Truong
Australian GM Ian Rogers will be visiting the Mechanics' Institute in early October. Recently he wrote about the ongoing relationship between the US Chess Federation and Susan Polgar and Paul Truong. Roger's Australian newspaper doesn't put his column on the net but you can find it in Italian on A Babelfish translation provides the gist of the column on this depressing subject.
3) Chess Books
Mechanics' member FM Daniel Naroditsky will become what appears to be the youngest author in the history of chess when his Mastering Positional Chess: Practical Lessons of a Junior World Champion is published by New in Chess. The book is due out in the first half of 2010 and Daniel turns 14 on November 9. Go to for article 6310 of Edward Winter's Chess Notes for a list of other young authors.

Six-time US Champion Walter Browne has collaborated with Slovak GM Lubomir Ftacnik and IM Danny Kopec on the outstanding Chess Champions of the New Millennium. The 453 page book features biographies and four heavily annotated games by 18 of today's best players with over 100 color photographs. The publisher is Quality Chess (
4) Spice Cup
The Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence at Texas Tech University is putting on two high level GM round robin events that start this Saturday and MI member GM Vinay Bhat is among the participants. The following information comes from the official website -
SPICE Cup A Group – Category 16 (6-player DRR) - Average rating: 2631 – Average age: 20
Grandmaster Dmitry Andreikin, Russia, 2659, 18 years old (Top-rated Russian Junior and reigning Russian Junior Champion)

Grandmaster Wesley So, Philippines, 2644, 15 years old (Top-rated Filipino and member of the 2008 Filipino Olympiad team)

Grandmaster Varuzhan Akobian, United States, 26 years old, 2636 (2008 SPICE Cup Co-Champion and 2-time Olympiad Bronze Medalist)

Grandmaster Yuriy Kuzubov, Ukraine, 2636, 19 years old (2nd ranked Ukrainian Junior and 8th in the world)

Grandmaster Rauf Mamedov, Azerbaijan, 2626, 21 years old (5th ranked Azerbaijani and member of the 2008 Azerbaijani Olympiad team)

Grandmaster Jon Ludwig Hammer, Norway, 2585, 19 years old (2nd ranked Norwegian and member of the 2008 Norwegian Olympiad team)
SPICE Cup B Group – Category 11 (10-player RR) - Average rating: 2503
International Master Gabor Papp, Hungary, 2562, 22 years old (Texas Tech student and member of the TTU Knight Raiders)

International Master Davorin Kuljasevic, Croatia, 2547, 22 years old, (Texas Tech student and member of the TTU Knight Raiders)

Grandmaster Eugene Perelshteyn, United States, 2542, 29 years old (2007 SPICE Cup Champion and former winner of the prestigious Samford fellowship)

International Master Ray Robson, United States, 2527, 14 years old (Reigning U.S. Junior Champion and winner of the prestigious Samford fellowship)

Grandmaster Andre Diamant, Brazil, 2526, 19 years old (Top rated Brazilian Junior and Reigning Brazilian National Champion)

International Master Ben Finegold, United States, 2515, 40 years old (2-time U.S. Open Champion, 2-time National Open Champion and former winner of the prestigious Samford fellowship)

International Master Gergely Antal, Hungary, 2486, 24 years old (Texas Tech student and member of the TTU Knight Raiders, 2009 National Collegiate Champion)

Grandmaster Vinay Bhat, United States, 2474, 25 years old (2007 USCL MVP and former winner of the prestigious Samford fellowship)

International Master Dean Ippolito, United States, 2459, 30 years old, (Former winner of the prestigious Samford fellowship and 11-time All-American)

FIDE Master Danny Rensch, United States, 2388, 23 years old (Former National Elementary, Junior High, and High School Champion and 6-time All-American)

All ratings listed are from the September 2009 FIDE rating list.

Games will be broadcast LIVE on MonRoi, ICC, and PlayChess.
5) Here and There
The Southern California Open held on September 5th to 7th in San Diego. GM Melik Khachiyan became state champion on tiebreak.

Final Standings:

1-3. GM Khachiyan, GM Ramirez (Costa Rica) and Shver – 5/6,

4-8. IM Aldama (Mexico), Banawa, Kudryavtsev, Kretchetov and IM Sevillano - 4½, etc

Kayden Troff, an 11-year old expert rated 2100, beat Aldama and two masters, and lost only to Khachiyan in the final round, scoring 4 points

Here is a nice win by GM Jesse Kraai who finished with four points.
Kraai,Jesse (2526) - Kavutskiy,Konstantin (2117) [E06]
31st Southern Califor nia Open San Diego (2), 05.09.2009
1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 e6 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.0-0 Nf6 6.c4 Be7 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.a3 0-0 9.b4 Be7 10.Nbd2 b6 11.Bb2 Bb7 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.Qa4 a5 14.cxd5 Nxd5 15.b5 Nb8 16.Rxc8 Qxc8 17.Rc1 Qd8 18.Ne5 Ne3 19.Bxb7 Qxd2 20.Qd4 Qxe2 21.Nc6 Bf6 22.Ne7+! Kh8 23.Qxf6! Qxb2 24.Qxb2 1-0


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