Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Newsletter #461, 9/23/2009
A small correction: it is not Russian discipline, it’s the discipline of people who grew up in a non-free world, in totalitarian countries where your choices were highly limited and you had to work really hard. You could do music, you could so sports, you could do science. Everybody wanted to be successful, and since you did not have political or business opportunities – law was almost non-existent – so anybody who had talent would work really hard.

That was probably an advantage, not only of people from Russia, but from China, from other countries where they needed to show their best to get to the top. In the western world lacked the same kind of determination because they had other options, they always thought they would have other opportunities. I hope that Magnus is now learning that there is only one spot: number one. Everything else is irrelevant.

Garry Kasparov in response to the question "is there is something called Russian discipline"? (from an interview on Norwegian TV - see

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News
2) Spice Cup
3) KWA Meeting at Mechanics
4) Here and There

1) Mechanics Institute Chess Club News
US Chess League News
Chicago 1.5 San Francisco 2.5

1. IM Jan van de Mortel (CHC) vs GM Josh Friedel (SF) 1/2-1/2
2. GM Jesse Kraai (SF) vs FM Florin Felecan (CHC) 1-0
3. IM Angelo Young (CHC) vs IM Sam Shankland (SF) 1-0
4. NM Yian Liou (SF) vs IM Mehmed Pasalic (CHC) 1-0

This was not a pretty match to watch. Having convincingly defeated two of our main divisional rivals 3-1 the past two weeks some pundits had the Mechanics' running up a big score against Chicago but we were under no such illusion. Last year they drew with us using a "balanced" lineup where the rating differential from first to fourth board was less than one hundred points and they opted for something similar this year fielding a team with four IMs (Felecan has the norms and a rating of 2429 and is waiting for his the title). Such a strategy of using an evenly balanced lineup is not likely to lead to blowout victories but it does promise to always be competitive. I would expect to see Chicago fielding this lineup quite a bit in the second half of the season - especially as Young and Pasalic both entered this season with USCL ratings around 2500.

Prognosticators had the two teams splitting the bottom boards but few if any would have guessed it would be by the Mechanics' winning on board four and not three. IM Sam Shankland entered the match with the phenomenal score of 17 from 20 in USCL matches but one of his rare losses was last season to Pasalic in a game similar to the one against Young on Monday night. Both games developed along similar lines with White getting an equal and somewhat boring position out of the opening and Sam pressing and overextending. The game with Young reinforced the lesson and we don't expect to see Sam losing this way again.

Josh looked like he might be getting something against Van der Mortel (by the way the Chicago team might be the United Nations favorite in the USCL with Van der Mortel hailing from the Netherlands, Felecan being born in Romania, Young the Philippines and Pasalic the former Yugoslavia) but a draw was a fair result for the game. When the players split the point the Mechanics' were pressing on boards two and four.

Yian improved his season performance to 3.5 from 4 in his toughest test to date. The 12-year-old from Walnut Creek was in trouble after the strategic error Bb5xc6+ and had to hang on to survive for most of the game but grabbed his chances brought on by better clock management.

Last to finish was Kraai-Felecan. Jesse, who was nursing a serious cold, essayed the unconventional plan of dxe5 against Felecan's pet Kings Indian. The game was an up and down struggle. Jesse, who was ahead on the clock most of the game, sacrificed a pawn for positional pressure. A logical continuation was a draw had Felecan accepted the Knight at move 32 but his electing to continue could have had serious consequences had White played the intermezzo 34.Rg3+. Eventually the players found themselves in an interesting ending that both played quite well for a long time. A rare rook ending was reached with White having two extra, but blockaded pawns (g5 and h6) . These positions, first analysed by Kling and Horwitz in the 19th century and later quite extensively by Kasparian right after WW2, can be tricky. The game should have been drawn but Felecan, down to the increment (30 seconds a move) missed one last trick for White. So San Francisco defeated Chicago by the minimum score bringing our record against the Windy City to 2.5-.5 (The Mechanics' defeated Chicago 6.5-5.5 in a match played by telegraph in 1922).
van de Mortel,Jan (2456) - Friedel,Josh (2612) [E15]
USCL Chicago vs San Francisco Internet Chess Club (4), 21.09.2009
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.d4 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qa4 Bb7 6.Bg2 c5 7.dxc5 bxc5 8.0-0 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Bf4 d6 11.Rfd1 Qb6 12.Qb5 Qc7 13.Rd2 Rd8 14.Rad1 h6 15.Qa4 a6 16.b4 e5 17.Be3 Bc6 18.Qb3 cxb4 19.Qxb4 Nbd7 20.Nd5 Bxd5 21.cxd5 Rdb8 22.Qa4 Rb5 23.Rc2 Qb7 24.Nh4 Bf8 25.Nf5 e4 26.Rcd2 Re8 27.h3 Re5 28.g4 h5 29.Bf4 Rexd5 30.Rxd5 Rxd5 31.Rxd5 Qxd5 32.Ne3 Qd2 33.g5 Nc5 34.Qc6 Nfd7 35.Qd5 Qc1+ 36.Kh2 Nb6 37.Qc6 Nd3 38.Qxe4 Nxf4 39.Qxf4 Qc5 40.Qf5 g6 41.Qxc5 dxc5 42.Bb7 a5 43.Nd5 Nxd5 44.Bxd5 1/2-1/2
Kraai,Jesse (2552) - Felecan,Florin (2430) [E94]
USCL Chicago vs San Francisco Internet Chess Club (4), 21.09.2009
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0-0 6.Be2 Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Qc2 c6 10.b4 Re8 11.Rd1 a5 12.b5 Qc7 13.Rb1 Bf8 14.Bg5 Nh5 15.Na4 Nf4 16.b6 Qb8 17.Bf1 Ne6 18.c5 Nexc5 19.Nxc5 Nxc5 20.Rd8 Rxd8 21.Bxd8 Bf5 22.exf5 Qxd8 23.fxg6 hxg6 24.Nxe5 Qd4 25.Re1 Bg7 26.Nf3 Qc3 27.Qd1 Bf6 28.Re3 Qb4 29.Qd6 Kg7 30.Ne5 Qxb6 31.Nxf7 Rf8 32...Kxf7 33.Bc4+ Kg7 34.Re7+ is a draw. 32.Nh6 Qd8 33.Nf5+ gxf5 34.Qxc5 34.Rg3+ Kh7 35.Qxc5 is an improvement as Black's King doesn't have the option of f6. 34...Bd4 35.Rg3+ Kf6 36.Qc1 Rg8 37.Rf3 Qd5 38.Qh6+ Ke7 39.Qh7+ Rg7 40.Qxf5 Qxf5 41.Rxf5 b5 42.h4 Ke6 43.Rf3 a4 44.Kh2 Kd5 45.Kh3 b4 46.g4 Rb7 47.Bg2 Kd6 48.Rd3 Kc5 49.Bxc6 Kxc6 50.Rxd4 b3 51.axb3 axb3 52.Rd1 b2 53.Rb1 Rb3+ 54.Kg2 Kd5 55.h5 Ke5 56.h6 Kf6 57.f4 Kg6 58.g5 Kh7 59.Kf2 Kg6 60.Ke2 Kf5 61.Kd1 Kg6 62.Kc2 Rb4 63.Rh1 b1Q+ 64.Rxb1 Rxf4 65.Rg1 Ra4 66.Kd3 Rh4 67.Ke3 Rh3+ 68.Kf4 Rh4+ 69.Kf3 Ra4 70.Rh1 Ra8 71.Kf4 Ra4+ 72.Ke5 Ra8 73.h7 Re8+ 74.Kd6 Rh8?? Black could draw with 74...Kh8 or improving the position of his Rook with so it has sufficient checking distance with 74...Ra8 or 74...Rb8. What he can't do is allow White's King the e7 square when his Rook is passive. 75.Ke7 Kg7 76.Rh6! Ra8 77.h8Q+ Rxh8 78.Rxh8 Kxh8 79.Kf7 1-0
Young,Angelo (2325) - Shankland,Sam (2564) [D31]
USCL Chicago vs San Francisco Internet Chess Club (4), 21.09.2009
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bd2 Bd6 6.c5 Bc7 7.f4 b6 8.b4 a5 9.a3 Ba6 10.Bxa6 Nxa6 11.cxb6 Bxb6 12.Qa4 0-0 13.b5 cxb5 14.Qxb5 Ne8 15.Nf3 Nd6 16.Qd3 Nc4 17.0-0 Qe7 18.Ne5 Rfc8 19.Na4 Bd8 20.Rfc1 Nxd2 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.Qxa6 Qc7 23.Nc5 Rb8? 23...Be7 was better not fearing 24. Nxf7 on account of 24...Bxc5 25.Qxe6 Qxf7 28.Qc8+ Bf8. On 24.Rc1 Ne4 Black should be equal. 24.Rd1 Ne4 25.Nxe4 dxe4 26.Qc6 g6?? This loses on the spot. Black had to trade Queens an endure the worst side of the ending. 27.Qe8+ Kg7 28.Nd7 Qd6 29.Nxb8 Qxb8 30.Qa4 Qb2 31.d5 Bb6 32.Qxe4 Qxa3 33.dxe6 Qxe3+ 34.Qxe3 Bxe3+ 35.Kf1 fxe6 36.g3 Kf6 37.Rd6 Bc5 38.Ra6 Bb4 39.Ke2 h5 40.Kf3 Kf5 41.h3 Kf6 42.Ke4 Be1 43.g4 hxg4 44.hxg4 Kf7 45.Ra7+ Kg8 46.Re7 1-0
Liou,Yian (2149) - Pasalic,Mehmed (2346) [B60]
USCL Chicago vs San Francisco Internet Chess Club (4), 21.09.2009
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Bd7 6.Be2 Nc6 7.Bg5 Qa5 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.Nb3 Qg5 10.g3 f5 11.f4 Qg7 This is not commonly seen here. Usual are 11...Qg6 or 11...Qh6. The objection to the text might be that Black can't post his Bishop on g7. 12.exf5 Bxf5 13.Bb5? 13. Qd2 followed by castling queenside looks better. The text cedes Black two strong Bishops and a big pawn center. 13...a6 14.Bxc6+ bxc6 15.Qe2 Qg4 16.Qg2 Bd7 17.Nd4 Bg7 18.Qe4 0-0 19.Kf2 f5 20.Qd3 e5 21.Nde2 d5 22.h3 Qg6 23.fxe5 Bxe5 24.Nf4 Qd6 25.Nce2 d4 26.b4 a5 27.Qc4+ Kh8 28.a3 Bc8 29.Rad1 axb4 30.axb4 Ba6 31.Qe6 Qc7 31...Qxe6 32.Nxe6 Bxe2 33.Kxe2 Rfe8 34.Nc5 Bxg3+ leaves Black on top but with good chances for White to draw. As is often the case in the USCL towards the end of matches it was not clear for Pasalic what his team needed. The score at this point was 1.5 -.5 Chicago but Jesse Kraai was pressing against Felecan on board two. 32.Rhe1 Rae8 32... Bxe2 33.Nxe2 f4 looks easier to play in time pressure (Pasalic had less than three minutes at this point). After the text the worst is over for White and he exploits his chances. 33.Qh6 Rf6 34.Qh5 Rg8 35.Qf3 Bb7 36.Qb3 Qb6 37.Nd3 Bd6 38.Nef4 Ba6 39.Re6 Rxe6 40.Qxe6 Bxf4?? Down to less than a minute Black blunders. He had to play 40...Qc7. 41.Qf6+ Rg7 42.gxf4 Bxd3 43.Rg1 1-0
WESTERN DIVISION W L Game Points Opps Avg Rating Opps Record
San Francisco 3.5 0.5 10.5/16 (66%) 2418 7.0-5.0 (58%)
Seattle 3.0 1.0 9.5/16 (59%) 2420 6.5-5.5 (54%)
Miami 2.5 1.5 9.0/16 (56%) 2400 6.0-6.0 (50%)
Tennessee 2.0 2.0 8.0/16 (50%) 2408 4.0-8.0 (33%)
Arizona 1.5 2.5 8.5/16 (53%) 2399 6.0-6.0 (50%)
Dallas 1.0 3.0 7.0/16 (44%) 2440 9.0-3.0 (75%)
Chicago 1.0 3.0 5.5/16 (34%) 2420 6.5-5.5 (54%)

Mechanics' USCL tournament director Payam Tanaka has put together a tremendous statistical analysis of optimal lineups for teams in the US Chess League. Go to to check it out.

NM Andy Lee has clinched at least a tie for first with a round remaining in the Max Wilkerson Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon. Lee has 7 from 8 with NM Russell Wong and Expert George Sanguinetti a point back.

Here is a nice victory by Expert James Jones from round 7. White's motto in the game seems to be "never retreat"!
Jones,James - Fuentes,Romulo [B28]
Wilkerson (7), 17.09.2009
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.Nf3 a6 4.Bc4 e6 5.Bb3 Bc5 6.0-0 Nc6 7.c3 dxc3 8.Nxc3 b5 9.Bg5 f6 10.Bf4 Nge7 11.Rc1 Qb6 12.Bd6 Bxd6 13.Qxd6 Qb8 14.Qc5 d6 15.Qh5+ g6 16.Qh6 Kf7 17.Ng5+ fxg5 18.f4 Qb6+ 19.Kh1 Nd4 20.f5 gxf5 21.exf5 Nxb3 22.f6 Ng6 23.Qg7+ Ke8 24.f7+ Kd8 25.Qxh8+ Nxh8 26.f8Q+ Kd7 27.Qg7+ Kc6 28.Na4+ Nxc1 29.Rxc1+ Qc5 30.Nxc5 dxc5 31.Qxh8 Bb7 32.Qe5 c4 33.Rd1 Kb6 34.Rd7 Rc8 35.Qxe6+ Bc6 36.h3 Ka5 37.Ra7 1-0 George Sanguineti reports on the Wednesday blitz held at the MI on September 16.1st : Rey Salvatierri 10.5/12 ; 2nd : Rich Calo 9; 3rd : Yefim Bukh 6.5
2) Spice Cup
The Spice Cup (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) held at Texas Tech University in Lubbock is just over the halfway point.

Standings after 6 rounds:
A group

1-3. GMs Hammer, Kuzubov and Andreikin- 3.5
4. GM Mamedov 3
5. GM So 2.5
6. GM Akobian -2

Michigan IM Ben Finegold, of GM strength for 15 years (+2500 FIDE) needs only 1 from 3 for his final GM norm. Mechanics' member Vinay Bhat, who is the third lowest rated player in the event (2473 - average rating 2503), is off to a great start.

Standings after six rounds

B group

1. IM Finegold 5.0 (needs 1/3 for GM norm and title)
2-3. GM Bhat-4.5
3.GM Perelshteyn 4.0
4-5. IM Antal and IM Robson (needs 3/3 for GM norm and title) 3
6. IM Papp (needs 3.5/4 for 2nd GM norm)-2.5
7-8. FM Rensch (needs 1.5/3 for IM norm and title) and IM Kuljasevic -2.5
9. GM Diamant 2
10. IM Ippolito 1
3) KWA Meeting at Mechanics
The Ken Whyld Association of chess historians is holding its annual meeting in San Francisco this year at the Mechanics' Institute.
The meeting is open to those with an interest in chess history. Contact John Donaldson at imjd (at) for more information.

Friday October 9

Opening Reception and Consultation Game 5pm-7pm
Dinner afterwards

Saturday October 10

9:30 -10:30 Tour of Mechanics' Chess Club and Library by IM John Donaldson
10:30-11:30 Opening of KWA meeting
11:30-12:30 talk by GM Ian Rogers on Cecil Purdy
12:30-2:00 Lunch
2:00-3:00 Talk by Yakov Susmanovich on Feodor Bohatirchuk
3:00- 3:45 Talk by IM Anthony Saidy on "My Battles with Fischer"
4:00-4:30 Talk by Michael Negele on Emanuel Lasker
Dinner in Berkeley after visit to Moe's bookstore

Sunday October 11

9:30 -10:30 Book fair
10:30-11:00 Talk by world's soon to be youngest author (publisher New in Chess)
by 13-year-old FM Daniel Naroditsky
11:00-11:30 Talk by Phil McCready on Nikolay Minev and self publishing
11:30-12:00 Talk by Kerry Lawless on and California Periodicals
12:00-12:30 Talk by IM John Donaldson on the longest running regional periodical in the world (Northwest Chess - 1947 to the present)
12:30-1:00 Closing comments

4) Here and There
Jay Blem, the well known and liked bookseller from Southern California who was a fixture selling at events throughout California and Nevada for over twenty years, died of a heart attack earlier this week at the age of 51. A funeral service will be held October 11 in Ontario, California.

Alan Naroditsky has started his freshman year at UCLA but took advantage of his last opportunity to play in the Bay Area by winning the Expert section of the Labor Day tournament at the Holiday Inn on Van Ness. Alan scored 5 from 6 to raise his rating to just under 2100.


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