Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson


Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #600

September 28, 2012

I saw 18...Rg8 at the board, but rejected it since I assumed there had to be something good for White. The computer, as usual, proves what a bunch of clowns humans are at chess.

Hikaru Nakamura, from his notes to the position

after 18..g6 against Wang Hao
New in Chess, issue 6, 2012, page 31.)

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Congratulations go to IM Elliott Winslow, who won the Henry Mar Tuesday Night Marathon with a score of 9-0, two full points ahead of second-place finisher NM Romy Fuentes. Peter Grey, who has played in TNMs since the 1970s, can’t recall another perfect score. The 60-year-old Winslow, who defeated NMs Fuentes, Peter Zavadsky and Russell Wong en route to victory, collected $425 and 41 USCF rating points for his win.

Fuentes, despite a last-round loss to Zavadsky, was clear second and took home $300. Tying for third at 6.5 were Zavadsky and top Expert Steve Gaffagan (each $205).

For a complete list of prize winners please go to and click on the Tuesday Night Marathon icon. You will also find a crosstable of the event there. Those looking for the games from the 76-player Henry Mar TNM will find them (and for other TNMs going back to 2005) on the front page of the Mechanics’ Chess Club website (, thanks to Peter Sherwood, with help from IM Elliott Winslow.

The next Tuesday Night Marathon, a nine-rounder, starts October 16. All USCF members are welcome to participate in this event, which has an advance entry fee of $40.

A nice tie-in with the TNM, for class players looking to improve, is the Thursday Evening Class With Former U. S. Champion Nick de Firmian, starting Thursday October 18, 2012

8 weeks (October 18, 25, November 1, 8, 15, (no class November 22), 29, December 6 and 13), 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

This class, limited to a maximum of 8 students, is aimed at players below 2000 and is a perfect fit for the Tuesday Night regular who has been stuck for a long time at the same rating. Three-time U.S. Champion de Firmian will offer hands-on instruction including an in-depth analysis of the students’ games.

The cost for the eight classes is $240 for Mechanics’ Institute members and $270 for non-members.

Jules Jelinek, Weekly Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator writes:

Hello everyone,

Come join the fun; the past several weeks we have been 7 players typically showing up. Why not come and be the 8th or 9th player tonight!

It is time for the weekly blitz tournament at Mechanics Institute Chess Club. As always, the last entry is accepted at 6:40 pm, with sign-up beginning at 6:20 pm. Entry is $10 with clock, or $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.

Last week’s winners were
1st -
Carlos D’Avila $35
2nd & 3rd - Ray Kaufman and Arthur Ismakov - $17.50 each

2) Naroditsky and Shankland share top honors in 3rd Imre Konig Memorial

Youth triumphed at the 3rd Imre Konig Memorial Rapid (G/30 + 15 sec), held September 22 and 23 at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club of San Francisco.

The two youngest participants, 20-year-old Grandmaster Sam Shankland and 16-year-old International Master Daniel Naroditsky, scored 4 points from 6 games to divide $3500 in prize money.

This was yet another recent success for Shankland, who recently crossed the 2600-FIDE barrier, but he had to play catch-up after losing to Naroditsky in round one with White.

This event was honored by the participation of six-time US Champion Walter Browne. Walter doesn’t play much these days, but he showed he still possesses a deep understanding of the game, and, if not for some unfortunate time pressure episodes, could have easily finished much higher in the standings.

Thanks go to FM Tibor Weinberger for sponsoring this event (as well as the first two Konig Memorials), SM Arun Sharma and IM Elliott Winslow for relaying moves and Richard Shorman for taking great photos of the event, which can be found at

Standings: 1-2. IM Naroditsky and GM Shankland 4/6; 3-4. GMs deFirmian and Kraai; 5. GM Anka 3; 6. GM Bhat 2; 7. GM Browne 1.

Thanks to Walter Browne for the following notes to his games. In this Newsletter you will find his first three efforts, and in Newsletter 601 the remainder.

Sicilian Najdorf B90
Walter Browne (2449) – Emil Anka (2382)
3rd Konig Memorial - San Francisco (1) 2012

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7 9.Qd2 0–0 10.0–0–0 Qc7 11.g4 Rc8 12.g5 Nh5 13.Kb1
13.Nd5!? Bxd5 14.exd5 Nd7 15.Bh3 a5 16.a4 Qc4 17.Bxd7 Qxb3 18.Bxc8 Rxc8 19.Kb1±
13...b5?! 14.Nd5 Bxd5 15.exd5 Nd7 16.Bh3 Re8 17.Bg4 Nf4 18.Bxf4 exf4 19.Bxd7
19.Qxf4 Ne5 20.Nd4 g6 (20...Qc4 21.h4 Nxg4 22.Qxg4 Qxd5 23.Nf5±) 21.h4 Bf8 22.h5 Bg7 23.h6 Bh8 24.Rhe1+-
19...Qxd7 20.Qxf4± Bf8 21.Rhe1 g6 22.Nd4?!
22.Nd2! Bg7 23.Ne4 Re5 24.h4 Rc8 25.h5+-
22...Rxe1 23.Rxe1 Re8 24.Rxe8 Qxe8 25.Qe4 Qc8 26.h4 Qc4 27.c3 zeitnot Qf1+ 28.Kc2 h6 29.gxh6 Bxh6 30.Ne2?!
30.a3! Qf2+ 31.Kb3 Bc1 32.Qc2±
30...Bg7 31.a3 Bf6 32.h5 gxh5 33.Nf4= ½–½

Nimzo-Indian Leningrad E31
Vinay Bhat (2511) – Walter Browne (2449)
3rd Konig Memorial - San Francisco (3) 2012

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bg5 h6 5.Bh4 c5 6.d5 d6 7.f3 Qe7 8.e4 Bxc3+ 9.bxc3 Nbd7 10.Bd3
10.Ne2 Ne5 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.f4 Ng6 13.g3 exd5 14.Qxd5 Bg4 15.Rb1=
10...Ne5 11.Ne2 Nxd3+
11...g5!? 12.Bg3 exd5 13.cxd5 h5 14.Bxe5 Qxe5=
12.Qxd3 e5 13.Bf2 Nh5 14.h4
14.Qd2 Qg5! 15.Qxg5 hxg5 16.g4 Nf4 17.Nxf4 gxf4 18.h4=
14...Bd7 15.Be3 Qf6 16.0–0–0 unclear
15.g4?! Nf4 16.Nxf4 exf4 17.0–0 h5! =/+; 15.Qd2 f5 16.exf5 e4! 17.Qe3 Bxf5 18.Ng3 (18.g4 Rae8 19.gxf5 exf3 20.Qe6+ (20.Qxf3 Rxf5–+) 20...Qf7 21.Qxf7+ Rxf7–+) 18...Nxg3 19.Bxg3 Rae8 =/+
15...f5! 16.exf5 Rxf5 17.0–0 (17.g4 Nf4=/+) 17...Rf7=/+]
16.g4 Nf4 17.Nxf4 exf4 18.Qxf4 Ba6 19.Kd2?! Bxc4 20.Bg3 Rad8 21.g5 h5
21...f5 22.gxh6 fxe4 23.Qxe4 Qxe4 24.fxe4 gxh6=/+
22.Qf5 Qd7?!
22...Qb7! 23.Rhb1 (23.a4 Qa6 24.Rhe1 Bb3=/+) 23...b5 24.a3 Qa6=/+
23.Qxd7 Rxd7 24.Rh2 zeitnot f5 25.gxf6 Rxf6 26.Rf2 Rdf7 27.Ke3 Re7 28.Rd1
28.Bf4 Re8 29.Bg5 Rf5 30.Rd1 Rxd5 31.Rxd5 Bxd5 32.Bf4=
28...Ref7 29.e5 Rg6 30.e6? Rf5 31.Ke4 Rxd5! 32.Rxd5 Rxe6+ 33.Re5 dxe5 34.Bxe5 Bd3+ 35.Kd5 Rg6 36.Bb8! a6 37.Bc7 c4 38.a4 Rg1 39.Bxb6 Rh1 40.Bd8 Rd1 41.Kc5 Rb1 ½–½

Sicilian Najdorf B90
Walter Browne(2449) – Sam Shankland (2601)
3rd Konig Memorial - San Francisco (4) 2012

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 h5 9.Qd2 Nbd7 10.0–0–0 Be7 11.Kb1 Qc7 12.f4 b5 13.Nd5 Bxd5 14.exd5 0–0 15.Be2 Rac8 16.c3 Rfe8 17.Rhg1 Ng4 18.Rgf1
18. fxe5!? Ndxe5 (18...Nxe3 19.Qxe3 Nxe5 20.Bxh5 Bf6 21.Qf2 Nc4 with compensation) 19.Bd4 Qd7 20.h3 Nf6 21.g4 hxg4 22.hxg4 Nfxg4 23.Rdf1+/=
18...Bf6 19.f5
19.Bg1 exf4 20.Bxg4 hxg4 21.Qxf4 Ne5=
19...Nxe3 20.Qxe3 Nb6
20...e4! 21.Bxh5 b4–+
21.Qe4! Na4 22.Rc1 Qb6 23.Rc2 a5
23...Nc5 24.Nxc5 Rxc5 25.g3 Rec8 26.h4=
24.Bxh5 Rc4 25.Qe1?! zeitnot
25.Qe2! e4 (25...Rec8 26.Nd2±) 26.Nd2 Rxc3 27.bxc3 e3 28.Rf4! Nxc3+ 29.Rxc3 Bxc3 30.Ne4+-
25...b4 26.Be2 Rc7 27.c4 e4 28.g4
28.Qg3 Rb7 29.h4 Nxb2 30.Rxb2 a4 31.c5 dxc5 32.Nd2 Bxb2 33.Nc4 Qf6 34.Nxb2 a3–+
28...e3! 29.h4 Rb8 30.Rf3 Nxb2 31.Rxb2 Bxb2 32.Kxb2 a4 33.Bd1 Re7–+
29.g5 Bxg5 30.f6 Nxb3
30...Bxf6 31.Rxf6 Nxb3 32.Qg3 Nd4 33.Rxd6 Qc5–+
31.Qg3 Qe3? 32.Qxe3 Bxe3 33.axb3 Re5 34.Bg4! Rg5 35.h3= Bd4 36.fxg7
36.Rf4 Bxf6 37.Rxe4 g6 38.h4 Re5 39.Rxe5 Bxe5 40.Rg2 Kg7 41.h5 Kh6 42.hxg6 Kxg6=
36...Re7 37.Re2 Ree5 38.Bd7 Kxg7 39.h4 Rg3 40.Kc2 Bc5 41.Rf4 Be3 42.Rg4+ Rxg4 43.Bxg4 Bc5 44.Rg2 Kh6 45.Be2 f5 46.h5 f4 47.Rg6+ Kh7 48.Bg4 f3 49.Kd1=
It’s hard to believe, but Fritz says equal, though in practice I’d prefer Black.
37.Rf4 Be5 38.Rxe4 Rc5
38...f5 39.Rxe5! dxe5 40.d6 Rc8 41.c5 (41.Be2 Rg1+ 42.Ka2 Rh8 43.c5 Rxh3 44.Rd2 Rhh1 45.Bd1 Rxd1–+) 41...fxg4 42.d7 Rf8 43.c6 gxh3 (43...Rf1+ 44.Ka2 gxh3 45.d8Q Rgg1 46.Qe7+ Kh8 47.Qxe5+ Kg8 48.Qd5+ wins) 44.Rc1!!= (44.c7 Rf1+ 45.Rc1 Rxc1+ 46.Kxc1 h2–+)
39.h4 Rg6 40.Rf2+/= Rh6 41.Rg2
41.h5 Rc7 42.Rf1 (42.Kc2 Rf6 43.Bf5 (43.Rg2) 43...Kh6 44.Rf3+/=) 42...Rh8 43.Rg1 Kh6 44.Bf3 Re8 45.Kc2 f5 46.Rg6+ Kh7 47.Re2 with a big edge.
41...Kf8 42.Bf5 Rf6 43.Rg5 Rc7 44.Kc2 Re7 45.Kb1? zeitnot
45.h5 Re8 46.Rh4 Rh6 47.Rg2 Bf6 48.Rhh2 Re5 49.Rf2 Re1 50.c5! dxc5 51.d6 Be5 52.d7±
45...Re8 46.Reg4 Ke7 47.Re4 Kd8 48.Kc2 Kc7 49.Bg4
49.h5 Kd8 50.Rh4 Rh8 51.c5 dxc5 52.Re4 Bd4 53.Kd3 Bxb2 54.Bg4 a4 55.bxa4 b3 56.d6 Ba3 57.Kc3 b2 58.Re1 Rxd6 59.Kb3 Rd3+ 60.Ka2 c4 61.Rb5 Kc7 62.Rf1=
49...Rf2+ 50.Re2 Rxe2+ 51.Bxe2 Bf6 52.Rg2 Bxh4 53.Bh5 Re7 54.Rg7 f5 55.Rxe7+ Bxe7 56.Bg6 f4 57.Kd3 Kb6 58.Ke4 Bg5 59.Be8 Kc5 60.Bd7 Bh6 61.Be8 Kb6 62.Bd7 Kc7 63.Bc6 Kd8 64.Ba4 Ke7 65.Bc6 Kf6 66.Bd7 Kg5 67.Kf3 Bg7 68.Ke4 Bxb2 69.Kf3 Bd4 70.Ke4 Bb6 71.Kf3 Bc5 72.Ke4??
Even with a minute or so on the clock there aren’t enough question marks for this move! I was simply exhausted, and had a senior moment after three intense games. My two-year layoff showed, too.
72...a4! 73.bxa4
73.Bxa4 Kg4 74.Bd7+ Kg3 75.Bc8 f3–+
73...b3 74.Kd3 Bb4 75.a5 Bxa5 76.c5 dxc5 77.d6 c4+ 0–1

3) Stephen Brandwein retires as Mechanics’ Institute Chess Coordinator

National Master Stephen Brandwein is retiring at the end of September, after over a dozen years on the Mechanics’ staff, and another decade as a volunteer.

The 69-year-old Brandwein, who was rated over 2300 and ranked in the top 50 players in the country in the mid to late 1960s, retired early as a tournament player, but has maintained a life-long interest in the game.

He served the Mechanics’ Chess Club in many capacities, including as a tournament director and guest lecturer, but his principal duties were planning the calendar of activities, processing entries and rating tournaments. This behind-the-scenes work is seldom observed, but absolutely essential to the successful running of a chess club. Steve did many other things for the M.I.C.C., including helping the Institute Library order chess books (thank Steve for the historical McFarland biographies) and researching the history of the club pre-1930 by going through years of chess columns in old San Francisco newspapers.

Mr. Reliable, who came into the club seven days a week like clockwork, is looking forward to having more time to read (mostly history and literature) and hang out with friends, but the Chess Room is grateful that he has graciously agreed to stay on-call to help out at future Mechanics’ events.

You don’t replace a guy like Steve.

Steve Brandwein
Mr. Reliable


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