Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson


Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News #590
June 27, 2012

A lot of people are going broke playing chess. They all have a strong background in analysis and studying so it makes a lot of sense to make the move to poker to actually make some money.

—Ylon Schwartz, a chess master who earned more than
$3.7 million finishing fourth in the main event of
the 2008 World Series of Poker and recently
won his first World Series of Poker bracelet.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Mechanics’ Institute and Portland Chess Clubs renewed their rivalry after a hiatus of more than 90 years this past Saturday. The friendly match, held on six boards, with each team fielding a master and then a player from each of the next five rating classes from Expert to Class D, saw the M.I. win by the narrowest of margins.

Initially it looked like the Mechanics’ would win the match going away.
Scott Poling on board 4 scored first blood for the M.I and Mechanics’ Trustee Michael Hilliard, a piece ahead on board 5, looked like he would make it 2-0, but his opponent Mark Hanna found a tactical trick that turned the tables. No sooner was the score tied than Mechanics’ captain Payam Afkham-Ebrahimi won on board three to again put San Francisco in the lead.

The marquee matchup on board one, between
FIDE Masters Andy Lee of the Mechanics’ and Nick Raptis for Portland, was a topsy-turvy affair with both players having chances to win at various times in the game and the final result of a draw was a fair one.

Portland equalized the score with a win on the bottom board and this left board 2 to be the decider.
Todd Rumph essayed a Staunton Gambit against Mike Janniro’s habitual Dutch Defense. Todd had the very slightest of advantages before Mike allowed a combination that allowed White to win a bishop and knight for a rook. Play went into an ending in which Todd had winning chances but Mike’s rook was especially active. Only a blunder on move 47 by Black in time pressure insured the Mechanics’ would win the match 3.5 - 2.5. Counting the three previous matches, played by telegraph in 1919-1921, the score between the clubs is now 3-1 in favor of the Mechanics’.

Players on both sides had a very nice time and plans are afoot to hold a rematch. Thanks goes to
Bill Scott and Martin Grund of the Internet Chess Club for helping to make this well-received event possible.

This time the two teams battled over the Internet, but for a history of the earlier matches played over the Internet go to Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #475 -

2 ½ - San Francisco 3 ½
1. FM Nick Raptis 2323 ½ - ½ FM Andy Lee 2292
2. Michael Janniro 2000 0-1 Todd Rumph 2179
3. Jason Cigan 1906 0-1 Payam Afkham-Ebrahimi 1873
4. Bob Malone 1785 0-1 Scott Poling 1788
5. Mark Hanna 1552 1-0 Michael Hilliard 1494
6. Harry Buerer 1286 1-0 David R. Olson 1400

Portland was White on boards 1, 3 and 5.

The Mechanics’ team (l-r) Michael Hilliard, David Olson, Scott Poling, Andy Lee, Todd Rumph and Payam Afkham-Ebrahimi

Benko Gambit A59
FM Nick Raptis – FM Andy Lee
Portland CC – Mechanics’ Institute CC (board one)
June 23, 2012

Notes by FM Andy Lee

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 g6 6.Nc3 Bxa6 7.e4 Bxf1 8.Kxf1 d6 9.Nf3 Bg7 10.h3

I was happy to see this, as the lines with 10 g3 00 11 Kg2 Nbd7 12 Re1 are a tempo faster for White and somewhat more challenging to face.

10...0–0 11.Kg1 Nbd7 12.Kh2 Qa5 13.Qc2 Rfb8 14.Bd2

A typical Benko Gambit position, which, although I did not realize it, I had once reached before, against Edward Perepelitsky in 2005.

14...Ne8 15.b3 Qa6 16.a4 c4!


It’s important to destabilize White’s position before he can properly organize his queenside. I felt like I was in the driver’s seat at the point, and Raptis spent half his remaining time (35 minutes) on his next two moves.

17.Rhb1 Rb4

I considered 17... Nc5, but didn’t like the looks of 18 b4 Nb3 19 b5 Nxa1 20 Rxa1. Now the computer tells me that 20... Rxb5! is winning for Black, but White can deviate earlier: 17... Nc5 18 b4 Nb3 19 Rxb3! cxb3 20 Qxb3, with compensation for the exchange.

18.bxc4 Rxc4 19.Ra3 Nc5

Again, a difficult position to assess, as there were a number of intriguing candidate moves: 19... Rac8 and 19... Qc8 were also interesting, but I couldn’t find any clear path to an advantage.

20.Qa2 Bxc3!?

A risky decision that could have backfired later, but I wanted to win both the e4 and a4 pawns, and after 20... Nxe4 21 Nxe4 Rxe4 22 a5 it was not clear to me what my bishop is doing.

21.Bxc3 Nxe4



I had missed this tactical trick, but it’s actually a mistake that could leave White in difficulties. Better is 22 Bd4 Rxa4 23 Rxa4 Qxa4 24 Qe2! N8f6 (24... f5 25 Ra1!) 25 Ra1 Qe8 26 Rxa8 Qxa8 27 Bxf6 Nxf6 28 Qxe7 Kg7 29 Qxd6 Qxd5, with the deadest of draws.


Obviously not 22... Nxc3? 23 Qxc4, but both 22... Rxb4 23 Bxb4 Qb7! and 22... Rxc3 23 Rxe4 Qd3 24 Rxc3 Qxe4 25 Re3 Rxa4! 26 Qb3 Qc4 27 Qxc4 Rxc4 28 Rxe7 Kf8 give Black good chances, in light of the weak d5-pawn.

23.Rxc4 Rxc4 24.Bd4

We might have both underestimated 24 Qe2 Nc7 25 Bd4 f5 26 Rb3, when the computer thinks that it’s equal, but Black has to find some tough moves to avoid losing.



I was banking on this idea, with Qf1 and mate to follow, as a way of holding onto some bit of initiative, but White defuses it easily. As it turns out, Black has to be careful here. The a-pawn and the potential threats to the black king are beginning to look dangerous.

25.Nd2 Qe2 26.Nxe4 Qxe4 27.Qd2 Rc4 28.Bb2 Rxa4

“Winning” a pawn at last.


I had missed the strength of this move and began to play carelessly.

29... Qf4+

One of the problems that Black faces is that the natural simplifying move, 29... Qxb4, fails to 30 Rxe7!.




I was still chasing after an imagined win. The only line that works now is 30... Qf5! (keeping an eye on the f-pawn and thus tying down the white queen) 31 Rxe7 Re4 32 Rxe4 Qxe4 33 Qc3 Kf8 with equality.


We both missed 31 f4! Qf5 32 Qc3! Nf6 33 Rxe7 Ra2 34 Re8+! Kg7 35 Re2, and White is winning (he threatens 36 Qxf6+, among other ideas).


Again, Black had to play 31... Qf5, transposing to the earlier note.



I had spent most of my time trying to work out a win after 32 Rxe7? Rxh4+! 33 Kg2! (not 33 gxh4? Qxh4+ 34 Kg2 Qxe7, and wins) 33... Rh2+ 34 Kg1 Rh1+ 35 Kh2 Qh3+!? 36 Kf3 Qf5+ 37 Kg2, but it’s only a dramatic draw. The text move is an ugly reminder that Black faces some big problems on the long diagonal.

32... Nf6

There doesn’t seem to be anything better. In addition to 33 Qh8#, White is threatening 33 Qc6, forking rook and knight.

33.Rxe7 Ng4+ 34.Kg1

The computer likes 34 Kh3, but it’s not very natural to allow the capture of pawns with check in time trouble.

34...Ne5 35.Qc8+ Kg7

The last critical position. White has only one path to a win.



This allows a neat drawing idea. Instead, 36 Bxe5+! dxe5 37 Rxf7!+ Kxf7 38 Qd7+ Kf6 39 Qxa4 picks up the rook while guarding d1, so white should win on the strength of his extra, passed pawn.

36...Qd1+ 37.Kh2 Qf3!

I had five minutes left here, and spent most of it trying to find a way to play a creative move like 37... Rd4, since after 38 Bxd4 Qxd4 Black can play on. But 38 Qxd6! Nf3+ 39 Kg2 Ne1+ 40 Rxe1 finishes Black’s bid for a counterattack.

38.Bxe5+ dxe5 39.Qxa4

Oddly, White has no way to defend f2.

39...Qxf2+ 40.Kh3 Qf1+ 41.Kh2


Not 41 Kg4?? Qf5 mate!

41...Qf2+ 42.Kh3 Qf1+ 43.Kh2 Qf2+ ½–½

The PCC Team (l-r) Harry Buerer, Jason Cigan, Mark Hanna, Nick Raptis, Mike Janniro and Bob Malone

Todd Rumph- Michael Janniro
Portland CC – Mechanics’ Institute CC (board two)
June 23, 2012

Preliminary notes by Todd Rumpf

1.d4 f5 2.e4 fxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 e6 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Qh5+ g6 8.Qh6 Qe7 9.Nxf6+ Qxf6 10.Nf3 Nc6 11.0–0–0 Ne7 12.h4 d6 13.Bd3 Bd7


14.h5 0–0–0 15.Qg5 Qf7 16.Rde1 Rde8 17.Kb1 Rhg8 18.hxg6 hxg6 19.Rh4 Rh8 20.Reh1 Rxh4 21.Rxh4 Nf5 22.Rg4 Rg8 23.Rf4 Qh7

Both sides made mistakes on moves 23 and 24. (23...Rh7! 24.b3 Rh5 25.Qg4, and White is tangled; 24.b3!; 24...Qh1+ 25.Kc2 Qa1! with great counterplay).

24.c3 Bc6 25.Qf6 Kd7



As flashy as 26.Qxe6 was, I think 26.Be4 was probably better (26...Bxe4 27.Rxe4 with the threat of Rxe6 with an edge for White).

26...Kxe6 27.Ng5+ Ke7 28.Nxh7 Bxg2 29.Rg4 Bf3

I thought 29...Bd5 was critical, but after 30.c4 and a check on the e-file, White must be better (29...Bd5 30.c4 Bf7 31. Re4+ Kd8 32.Ng5, but maybe 30...Rh8 is an improvement?)

30.Bxf5 Bxg4 31.Bxg4 Rh8

We both missed 31...g5! 32.Bf5 Rg7, and Black can keep the White minor pieces tied up. Of course, his rook and king are also tied up.

32.Ng5 Rh1+ 33.Kc2 Rh2 34.Nh3 b6 35.Kb3 d5 36.f3 Kd6 37.Nf4 Rh6 38.c4 dxc4+ 39.Kxc4 c6 40.a4 a5 41.Nh3 Rh8 42.Ng5 Rh2 43.b3 Rc2+ 44.Kd3 Rb2 45.Kc3 Rh2 46.Nf7+ Kd5 47.Ne5



47...c5 had to be tried (J.D.).

Sounds right to me, but I think my ending was technically won, even with 47....c5 48.f4 cxd4+ 49. Kd3 Rb2 (49...g5 50.Bf3+ Ke6 51.Kxd4 gxf4 52. Bd5+ keeps winning chances too.) 50.f3+. Of course, I hadn’t completely decided on 48.f4, but was still considering my original line (from 42.Ng5) after 48.dxc5? Kxe5 49.cxb6 Kd6! (49...Rh7? 50.Bc8 +-) with a probable draw. I was still trying to figure it all out (T.R.)

48.Nc4 b5 49.axb5 cxb5 50.Nxa5 Re3+ 51.Kb4 Kxd4 52.Kxb5 Kc3 53.b4 Re5+ 54.Ka6 Rg5 55.Nc6 Rd5 56.b5 Kc4 57.Be6 1–0

Ruy Lopez C78
Jason Cigan- Payam Afkham-Ebrahimi
Portland CC – Mechanics’ Institute CC (board three)
June 23, 2012

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Bc5 6.c3 0–0 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 Bb6 9.d5 Ne7 10.Nc3 d6 11.h3 Ng6 12.Re1 Nd7 13.Bg5 f6 14.Be3 Bxe3 15.Rxe3 Nde5 16.Bb3


16...f5 17.exf5 Bxf5 18.Nd4 Qh4 19.Rg3 Nf4 20.Ne6 Rf7 21.Nxf4 Qxf4 22.Ne2 Qh4 23.Qd4 Qf6 24.Rd1 Bg6 25.Nc3 Raf8 26.Rd2 Qe7 27.Re2 Rf4



28.Qxe5! Qxe5 29.Rxe5 dxe5 30.d6+ Bf7 31.Nd5 would have led to an equal ending.



29.Bc2 Bh5 30.Ne4 Qh4 31.Re1?


31.Ree3, with equal chances, was the last chance.

31...Bg6! 32.Qd4 Rxf2 33.Qxf2 Rxf2 34.Kxf2 Qf4+ 0–1

National Masters Peter Zavadsky and Russell Wong and Expert Steven Gaffagan, powered by wins over Farid Watson, Michael Lin and Andy Lee respectively, are tied for first at 5-1 with two rounds remaining in the 69-player Mechanics’ Institute Summer Tuesday Night Marathon.

Mechanics’ International Master Daniel Naroditsky tied for 7th with a score of 6-3 in the 1st Forni di Sopra Open won by Grandmasters Ivan Salgado and Pavel Tregubov.

Congratulations to
Uyanga Byambaa, who tied for second in the Experts section of the 2012 National Open in Las Vegas. Her 5-1 score earned her 47 rating points.

2) 2012 USCF Awards, by Mike Nietman

1) Distinguished Service Award
a. Randy Bauer (IA)
b. John Donaldson (CA)

2) Outstanding Career Achievement Award

a. Duane Polich (WA)
b. Michael Morris (OR)
c. Neil Dale (OR)
d. Barry Eacker (ID)

3) Special Services Award
a. Jeff Roland (ID)
b. Eric Holcomb (OR)
c. Elliott Neff (WA)

4) Meritorious Services Award

a. Russell “Rusty” Miller (WA)
b. Kevin Korsmo (WA)

5) Committee of the Year
a. Ratings Committee

6) Chess City of the Year

a. Los Angeles

7) Koltanowski Awards - Gold

a. Rex Sinquefield (MO)
b. Jeanne Sinquefield (MO)

8) Scholastic Service Award

a. Individual
i. David Mehler (DC)

b. Organization
i. US Chess Center (DC)

9) Organizer of the Year

a. Chad Schneider (NM)

10) Frank J. Marshall Award
a. Anthony Saidy (CA)

11) Grandmaster of the Year
a. Hikaru Nakamura (MO)

12) Honorary Chess Mates
a. Susan Barber (CA)
b. Kathy Miller (WA)

13) Chess Club of the Year
a. Portland Chess Club
b. Seattle Chess Club

14) College of the Year
a. University of Texas – Dallas

15) Tournament Director of the Year

a. Tim Just (IL)

16) Lifetime Tournament Director Award
a. Martin Morrison (CA)

17) Special Friend of the USCF Award
a. Barbara Pryor (WV)

3) Here and There

The recent Tal Memorial in Moscow produced some changes in the FIDE top 10. Here is how things look right now.

1. Carlsen 2837.1
2. Aronian 2816.4
3. Kramnik 2799.4
4. Radjabov 2788
5. Anand 2780.2
6. Karjakin 2779
7. Nakamura 2777.7
8. Caruana 2775.7
9. Morozevich 2770
10. Ivanchuk 2769.3

International Master Anthony Saidy passes on information on the following event that should prove interesting for lovers of chess and train travel.

(October 2012, Prague - Dresden – Wroclaw – Piestany – Vienna – Prague)

Take a trip to five beautiful Central-European cities and play the rapid chess tournament on the way. Specially launched train will start from Prague on October 12th, 2012 at 10 am and during the way to Dresden you will play first 2 rounds of the tournament. There you can visit the famous Gallery or Opera or just take a walk in baroque streets where the Chess Olympics took place. Going to Wroclaw, the birth-place of famous chess player Anderssen, 2 more rounds would take place. On October 14th the Chess train will continue to small spa town Piestany remembering Rubinstein, Bogoljubow and Alekhine. On October 15th the train will go to Vienna, the Austrian metropolis famous for its Sacher cake, Viennese coffee and the chess tournaments. On October 16th the last 2 rounds of this unusual tournament will be played on the way back to the magic town of Prague.

Go to for more information.


You can browse through our archived newsletters using the "next" and "previous buttons".
Alternatively, you can select a newsletter to read from this list: