Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson


Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Chess Club Newsletter # 623
April 10, 2013

“I think if we all play at our best it’s probably not that big a difference but I think the difference is I never really have any bad tournaments. I might have some mediocre ones but I never really perform under 2800 and that’s why I’m way ahead of the others.”

—Magnus Carlsen

This Saturday the Mechanics’ will be hosting the 13th annual Imre Konig Memorial G/45.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Oleg Shaknazarov and Tim Kokesh are the only remaining perfect scores at the halfway point of the Spring Tuesday Night Marathon. The two Experts will meet in round 5, but if either wins they will not have an easy route to the finish, as half a point back in the 89-player field are NMs Romy Fuentes and Russell Wong, plus Expert Uyanga Byambaa. Trailing by a point is a large group led by IM Elliott Winslow, FM Andy Lee and NM Natalya Tsodikova.

Second seed FM Andy Lee, who has taken two half-point byes, annotates his round-four victory over Gary Luke.

Italian Game C5
Andy Lee–Gary Luke
Spring Tuesday Night Marathon (4) 2013

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 d3 h6

Black typically moves the bishop here, but this move is also reasonable. White does the same general thing against most of Black’s setups, so the next few moves weren’t hard to find.

5 c3 d6 6 Bb3 Be7 7 Nbd2 00 8 Nf1

A small subtlety, hoping to save a tempo over the normal 0–0, Re1, Nf1-g3 by omitting the need for Re1 entirely.

8 ... Nh7

However, I’m still not entirely sure what White is supposed to do after 8... d5 9 Qe2 dxe4 10 dxe4 Nh5, when Black seems equal.

9 Ng3 Ng5 10 h4

Remarkably, this has all been played before. In the previous game, Black played the highly cooperative 10... Nxf3+ 11 Qxf3 Bxh4? 12 Bxh6! gxh4 13 Qh5, but my opponent played a more critical continuation.

10 ... Ne6 11 Nf5 Nf4

Black could also play 11... Nc5 here, after which I intended something like 12 g4 Nxb3 13 axb3, when it’s probably equal but White’s position might be a little easier to play.

12 g3 Bxf5 13 exf5 Nh5 14 Ng5!?

Given that Black doesn’t have to ever take the knight, this is a little optimistic. My computer prefers 14 g4 Nf4 15 Bxf4 exf4 16 d4, with some edge for White.

14 ... Nf6 15 Qf3?

A natural continuation, but now the Ng5 becomes a real liability. 15 Nxf7 Rxf7 16 Bxf7+ Kxf7 17 Qb3+ is interesting, although I’m suspicious of trading White’s two most active pieces. Probably 15 Ne4 is best.

15 ... d5

I had been hoping to coax something like 15...Na5?! 16 Bxf7+ Rxf7 17 Nxf7 Kxf7 18 g4 with a very promising attack and the threat of g5 and Qd5+. The text ends such threats and leaves the knight with only the h3 square.

16 a3

Now this felt like an unfortunate necessity to keep the bishop.

16 ... Bc5 17 0–0 Qd7

Even without the rook on the h-file, it is very dangerous to take the knight—White can play a quick Qh5, Kg2, Rh1, and give mate. Instead, Black increases the pressure on White’s creaky attacking setup.

18 Be3?!

It was time to bail out with 18 Nh3.

18 ... Bd6?!

Missing an opportunity to alter the structure of White’s kingside and take the knight: 18... Bxe3 19 fxe3 e4! 20 dxe4 hxg5 21 hxg5 Nxe4, and White has little to show for his material investment.

19 Rad1 Ne7 20 g4 c6?

We both missed 20... Qb5, when there’s no good way to hold the queenside together. Now, out of the blue, White’s position regains its lost synergy.

21 Ne4! dxe4 22 dxe4

For the piece, White now has threats down the d-file and the renewed plan of pushing the g-pawn. The first is more annoying than dangerous, but the second cannot be effectively stopped.

22 ... Qc7?

Now White is just winning, although the path to a successful defense is extremely difficult. Black had to give back the piece with 22... Rfd8 23 g5 Nxe4! 24 Qxe4 Qxf5 with an unclear but more or less balanced position.

23 g5 hxg5?!

Opening the h-file only increases White’s initiative.

24 hxg5 Nfd5 25 Kg2!

There’s no need to play 25 exd5 c5, allowing Black to close the dangerous diagonal. The attack down the h-file is much more critical.

25 ... Ng6 26 fxg6 fxg6 27 Qh3 Rf7 28 Rh1 Rf8

Or 28 ... Kf8 29 Qe6 is similarly deadly.

29 Rxd5 1-0

Hello everyone,

The annual Schutt Memorial Blitz tournament is scheduled for Sunday May 5. Entries accepted between 1 pm and 1:45 pm. $10 Entry. five-round double Swiss. Free to GMs and IMs. Prizes are $300-$200-$100-$75-$50-$25 Light refreshments will be served at the event.

Why not stop by tonight (Wednesday) to get your Blitz game into shape for this exciting event.

Every Wednesday evening is the time for the weekly round-robin 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 and games starting soon after. Entry is $7 with clock; $8 without clock. Non-member entry is $9 with clock; $10 without clock. Prizes are 50%, 30%, 20% of base entry fees ($7 per player) collected. Time control preferably is 3 minutes, increment 2 seconds; otherwise 5 minutes, no increment.

Last week we had 8 players in the Blitz. The winners were

1st - Carlos D’Avila
2nd – IM Vladimir Mezentsev
3rd/4th - James Jones and Jules Jelinek

Look forward to seeing you tonight.

Jules Jelinek
Weekly Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator

2) A Chess Poem by Dennis Fritzinger

think back
think back
to when you were younger
and chess
was all you could think of.
it’s like anything—
baseball, music,
movies, any obsession.
think back
to when the opportunity
to get a game
was first on your list
of things to do.
life was simpler
everything was painted
in primary colors.
think back to when
the word “checkmate!”
uttered by you
left a taste in the mouth
sweet as a georgia

3) 7th Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz Tournament—May 5th

A chance to remember and pay tribute to an old friend

When: Sunday, May 5th from 1 to 5 pm. The blitz tournament will be held from 2 to 4 pm. There will be a chance to reminiscence about Ray over light refreshments both before and after the event.

Where: Mechanics’ Institute, 57 Post St, San Francisco (Montgomery BART)

Format: Five Double-Round Swiss.

1st $300
2nd $200
3rd $100
4th $75
5th $50
6th $25

There will be book prizes for all participants, including several copies of new books by 6-time US Champion Walter Browne and 17-year-old IM (2 GM norms) Daniel Naroditsky, donated by Bill Schutt.

Entry Fee: $10; free to IMs and GMs.

Enter at tournament from 1 pm to 1:45. Please take note: entries close at 1:45 pm. No phone entries.

Come honor Ray’s memory and help make this the largest and strongest blitz tournament in the history of Northern California chess!

Past Winners of the Ray Schutt Blitz and number of participants:

2007 GM Walter Browne (34)
2008 GM Melik Khachian (34)
2009 IM Ricardo DeGuzman (28)
2010 FM Andy Lee, ahead of 2 GMs and 5 IMs (46)
2011 GM Walter Browne and IM Daniel Naroditsky (50)
2012 IM Daniel Naroditsky (43)

4) Joseph Redding—early star of San Francisco Chess

The name of Joseph Redding comes up again and again in the history of the Mechanics’ Chess Club in the last half of the 19th century. There is an excellent article on him—“The Untold Talent of Joseph Redding: Profiling a Polymathic Chess Expert”—written by Jerry Spinrad, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Vanderbilt University. Professor Spinrad’s work can be found at

Here is additional material on one of the first great San Francisco players, who we last wrote about in Newsletter #620.


HON. JOSEPH D. REDDING was born in Sacramento, September 13, 1858. In 1871 he entered the California Military Academy at Oakland, of which the Rev. David McClure was principal, and the discipline to which he was subjected served to fix a habit of precision which has adhered to him ever since. He received an honorable discharge in 1873. From that school he entered the Urban academy and prepared for a collegiate course under professor Nathan W. Moore. He graduated there in 1876, and was admitted into the scientific department of Harvard University in the same year. During 1878 and a portion of 1879 he attended the lectures of Harvard Law School. In August, 1879, he entered the law offices of McAllister & Bergen, in San Francisco, and was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of California, in December of that year. He has been in active practice in this city and county ever since. He has also practiced before the Supreme Court of the United States and before the departments at Washington. He has been one of the attorneys for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company since 1881, with special reference to the land departments. This was a responsible position for a young attorney of only twenty-three years of age.

He had a wide experience in many important legal cases, having been directly connected with them. He conducted that of the United States vs. Kagama, before the Supreme Court of the United States, at Washington, and before the Circuit Court of the United States, in California, to a successful termination. The case was one of national importance, from the fact that it was the first attempt of the United States to arrest and try an Indian for the killing of another Indian, both being upon their reservation. Mr. Redding appeared for the defendant, who was acquitted by the jury under instructions from the Circuit Court, regarding the jurisdiction of the United States in these matters. Had he not carefully and closely examined the legal points connected with this case, he could never have gained the victory over the plaintiffs.

He was connected with the Nanon case, which was a suit involving the right of a composer of an opera, who had his composition in manuscript, to an injunction preventing the production of the same by third parties. The Circuit Court sat in the bane, and after three days’ argument granted the injunction.

Mr. Redding has a large and lucrative practice, which is estimated at between $15,000 and $20,000 per year.

From his boyhood days he has been a passionate admirer of music. He commenced to compose at an early age, and his compositions evince a remarkable degree of rhythmic harmony and pleasing evenness. There was a sympathy and a musicalness in them that was delightfully combined with freedom of expression and richness of cadence. His numerous published compositions have not only been greatly admired, but have won their way in public favor and popular attention. Such was his proficiency in musical execution that when, at the age of thirteen, he accompanied Hugo Mansfeldt on a concert tour to Marysville, he was pronounced a “phenomenon.” He studied earnestly under the best masters, and by assiduity and determination he has reached an eminence in musical skill that but few can attain. When he was in college at Cambridge, such was his marked ability that he received the directorship of the college orchestra. He was also stage manager of the Athenseum in 1878-’79. He wrote several comedies, which were produced in many of the college societies of New England, with great success, and much money was gained through them, which was all applied to charitable purposes.

In 1878 he won the cue at billiards at Cambridge at the tournament. He is very proficient in the fascinating game of chess; and his moves and plans are devised with a deep knowledge of the game, and his manoeuvres are executed with such strategy as to insure success. He held the chess championship for 1884-’85. Dr. Zukertort, the world’s champion, visited the coast at that time, and when he returned he published in the chess magazines that Mr. Redding was the best player on the Pacific coast. He succeeded in winning three games from Dr. Zukertort in 1884 at Mechanics’ Library.

Mr. Redding was appointed Major in the State Militia, by Governor Stoneman, in 1888, but declined the appointment. He evidently does not seek for military glory “in these piping times of peace.”

He has taken an active interest in pisciculture, particularly since the death of his father, the late B. B. Redding, in 1882. In this matter he has ever evinced a laudable regard for the welfare of the State and the happiness of the citizens, by his active exertions in favor of stocking the interior waters of the State with fish suitable for food. He was appointed special agent of the United States Fish Commission for the Pacific coast, by the Hon. Spencer F. Baird.

He was instrumental, with Hon. W.W. Morrow, in securing the passage of an act of Congress, appropriating $27,000 for the purpose of bringing the United States ship Albatross to this coast to investigate the marine fisheries on it. Mr. Redding has shown a persistent determination that the fish in our inland waters, the young of which were placed there for the benefit of the citizens, shall be protected from depredations, and that the blessings of a plentiful supply and a wide variety shall both be firmly secured.

In the multitude of his vocations he still finds time to prove that his sympathies are with those who are proper recipients for charitable aid. In the furtherance of these kindly dispensations, he has often expended time that otherwise was valuable to himself, in preparing to take a part in theatrical representations, the proceeds of which were to be used in benevolent purposes. He appeared upon the stage in San Francisco several times for this generous purpose. He was manager of the “Cervantes” booth during the Authors’ carnival in 1880, and also manager with Charles E. Locke of the carnival of 1881. He also participated in the performance of “Our Boys,” at the Alcazar Theatre, in 1886, with General Barnes and other prominent persons, for the benefit of charity, on which occasion over $5,000 was realized. This proves what can be accomplished by an able, liberal and energetic man, who is desirous to exert himself in the line of beneficence and ameliorate humanity. The nobleness of his character is proven in the fact, that though he has never known want or experienced privation, he generously and practically sympathizes with those whose lot in life has not been favored with all that existence requires to produce comfort and sustenance. To such his hand is ever open, and his words and acts prove his sincerity in their behalf.

He is an able, forcible and convincing speaker. His predicates are logically sustained, and the subject matter clearly elucidated, while his manner is attractive and his magnetism decidedly evident. In 1884, he delivered a lecture before the Academy of Science, on the fish supply of the Pacific coast, which was warmly applauded.

As a writer, his opinions are warmly and fairly stated, and his line of argument closely followed. In descriptive subjects he is an elegant word-painter, and presents them in so pleasing, graphic and attractive a manner that his readers are charmed and impressed by his delineations. He has been, and is a frequent contributor of articles to the leading magazines and literary journals of this coast, on a variety of subjects which always command attention.

He is genial and sociable, and his presence is desired and welcomed at all times in the club rooms and society gatherings. He was elected president of the Bohemian Club in 1885.

He appreciates art, and is a liberal patron of its productions. So well is this feature in his character understood and esteemed, that in 1886 he was elected to the presidency of the San Francisco Art Association, which honorable position he still retains. He was elected president of the Haydn Society in 1887, and still occupies that chair. He is also a member of the Pacific Club, as well as of many other societies and organizations of this city.

In his home relations, he is exceedingly happy, with a lovely wife who is in full accord with his characteristics, and who presides over the domestic arrangements in an intelligent and kindly manner. She is the daughter of the Hon. Samuel W. Cowles and they were married in 1881. A lovely daughter has blessed their union, and their home is brightened with the infantile presence of the baby girl.

Transcribed by Terry Smith. Source: “The Bay of San Francisco,” Vol. 2, pages 16-19, Lewis Publishing Co, 1892.


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