Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter
by John Donaldson
Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #596
August 6, 2012
It’s almost scary to realize that generally we tend to trust the computer like we do a calculator. When I do analysis with the computer most of its conclusions I tend to trust blindly at any given moment in time. However, it turns out that as the hardware improves and the program gets more and more sophisticated it will often change its opinion on many positions and it’s scary to realize that in 2006 I went to some games fully confident that the computer’s verdict that Black was much better in that position was correct. I went to the board and played on that basis. And let’s say in 2008, with the same confidence and conviction, I went to the board thinking that White was better. And clearly both can’t be right. But as a competitive skill it doesn’t matter. It’s much better to be deluded and confident than to have the right information but not know what to do.
The Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club is proud to announce that Dr. Joseph Ponterotto of Fordham University will give a lecture on Tuesday, August 7, from 5:15 to 6:15 pm, on his recently-released book Psychobiography of Bobby Fischer. Dr. Ponterotto will have copies of his book to sell. All are welcome to attend this free talk.
1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News
International Master Elliott Winslow is the top seed in the 65-player Henry Mar Tuesday Marathon that started on July 31. It is still possible to enter the nine-round event with a half-point bye for round 1.
The first round of the TNM saw the form charts predicting almost all the results. Only 1721-rated Richard Newey, who drew with Expert David Klinetobe, turned in an upset.
More typical was the following snap, crackle and pop performance by Expert Steven Gaffagan.
Goring Gambit C44
Steven Gaffagan–Ryan Russell
Henry Mar Tuesday Night Marathon (1) 2012
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Bb4 6.Bc4 Bxc3+ 7.bxc3 d6 8.0–0 Be6 9.Bxe6 fxe6 10.Qb3
10...Qd7 11.Qxb7 Rb8 12.Qa6 Nge7 is a safer way to play for Black. The text hangs on to the extra pawn but Black has trouble completing his development.
11.Ng5 Nd8 12.f4 Nf6
12...h6 13.Nh3 has done well for White.
13...Ng4 14.Qd1 Nh6 15.Qh5+ Kf8 16.Ba3 Ndf7 is relatively better try for Black but still in White’s favor.
14.fxe5 Nd5 15.c4 h6 16.Qh3! Nb6 17.Qh5+ Kd7 18.Rd1+ Kc6 19.Qf3+ Kc5
20.Be3+ Kb4 21.Rab1+ Ka4 22.Bxb6 1–0
International Master Ricardo DeGuzman won the 12th Vladimir Pafnutieff Memorial held August 4 at the Mechanics’ Institute. The former member of the Filipino Olympiad team scored 4½ from 5 to top the 47-player field. DeGuzman needed some help after drawing with UC Berkeley student Michael Lin in round 4, and he got it in round 5 when Jack Zhu beat Lin, while the I.M. defeated FIDE Master Ryan Porter.
Zhu and fellow Experts Alan Beilen, Paul Richter, William Gray, Tanuj Vasudeva and Anthony Zhou tied for second at 4-1.
M.I. Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator Jules Jelinek writes:
As always, the weekly blitz tournament starts no later than 6:40 pm, with sign-up beginning at 6:20 pm. Entry is $10 with clock, $11 without clock. Prizes are 50%, 30%, 20% of entry fees. Time control preferably is 3 minute, increment 2 seconds; otherwise 5 minutes, no increment.
Winners on July 25 were
1st - Carlos D’Avila
2nd - Jules Jelinek
3rd - Arthur Ismakov
Winners on August 1 were
1st - Arthur Ismakov
2nd - Carlos D’Avila
3rd – I.M. Elliott Winslow
2) Melvin Thomas (1948-2012)
Tuesday Night Marathon participants will be saddened to learn that one of their own, Melvin Thomas, died on July 7, when the driver of the vehicle he was traveling in suffered a fatal heart attack and crashed.
Melvin Thomas only started playing in USCF-rated tournaments in 2009 at the age of 61, but that didn’t stop him from making remarkable progress, gaining over 200 points in his last three events to reach Class A. The way he was progressing Melvin might very well have been an Expert within a year.
A friendly and well-liked competitor, Melvin earned a master’s degree in nursing from Cal State University at Hayward, and his disposition, always seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, made him ideally suited to his profession.
He is survived by his wife, Carl Clark-Thomas; son, Damani Thomas; daughter, Tasha Thomas; brothers, Larry Thomas and Rudolph Thomas; niece, Anisha Thomas; nephew, Philip Thomas.
3) Here and There
Hikaru Nakamura’s result in Biel earned him 5 ELO points, which enabled him to pass Viswanathan Anand and move up to number 6 in the world at 2783. Gata Kamsky won the Washington International, thanks to wins over Grandmasters Timur Gareev and Joel Benjamin, and earned $5000. He maintains his position as the 14th-rated player in the world at 2746.
Awonder Liang, at 9 years, 3 months and 20 days, became the youngest player in U.S. chess history to defeat a GM in a tournament game, by defeating Larry Kaufman at the Washington International. The youngster also drew with Joel Benjamin.
The previous record holder was Fabiana Caruana, then representing the United States, at 10 years one month and 29 days.
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