Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson


 

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #642
September 4, 2013

Of all my Russian books, The Defense contains and diffuses the greatest ’warmth’ which may seem odd seeing how supremely abstract chess is supposed to be.

—Vladimir Nabokov

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

FM Andy Lee defeated Hovik Manvelyan in round 5 of the Tuesday Night Marathon, and leads the 80-player event with the sole remaining perfect score. He will face Hovik’s son, top seed Hayk Manvelyan (2340), in round 6.

The Mechanics’ entry in the US Chess League faces off against Arizona this evening, with a lineup of GM Jesse Kraai, GM-elect Daniel Naroditsky, FM Yian Liou and Siddarth Bannik.


Jules Jelinek won the August 28 edition of the Wednesday Night Blitz, ahead of IMs Elliot Winslow and Ray Kaufman.


From round 5 of the Tuesday Night Marathon:

White to move (Lee−Manvelyan after 24...Nxe5)White to move (Sherwood−Olson after 15...Nxe4)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 5.
Black to move (Traub−Andries after 35 Bxf4)

Eduardo Bauzá Mercére sends in the following swashbuckling game from San Francisco’s past.

King’s Gambit C39
San Francisco 1903
Nathaniel Manson–L.F. Griffin

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ng5 h6 6. Nxf7 Kxf7 7.d4 d5 8.Bxf4 dxe4 9.Bc4+ Kg7 10.O-O Nf6 11.Nc3 Be7 12.Nxe4 Nxe4 13.Bxc7 Qxc7 14.Rf7+ Kg6 15.Qd3 Bf5 16.Rxf5 Kxf5 17.Rf1+ Kg6 18.Qxe4+ Kh5 19.Rf5+ Bg5 20.hxg5 hxg5 21.Rf7 Qxf7

White announced mate in 3 moves

1-0

Source: British Chess Magazine, December 1903, p. 513

2) Zoltan Kovacs: Mystery Man of California Chess

The impact of players from the former Soviet Union has been immense but it’s not the only country to have a major impact on American chess. In fact many European nations have played a role in raising the level of play in this country with some less populated ones punching well above their weight—Latvia being a very prominent example (Mednis, Kalme, Karklins, Dahlbergs, Pupols, Zemgalis, Zemitis and Liepnieks, to mention just a few).

Hungary is another nation that also contributed greatly to chess in the US, particularly California. The Revolution in 1956 was the impetus for many players from this Central European country to move to the New World, Pal Benko being the best-known.

Tibor Weinberger played in two US Championships after settling in Los Angeles, and won many tournaments in Southern California in the 1960s and 1970s. Imre Barlai and Stephen Matzner also played a prominent role in chess in the Southland during this period, but after Benko and Weinberger, the third Hungarian to make a nationwide impact was Zoltan Kovacs. His peak (1959-1961) was brief but quite impressive, including a tremendous result in the 1961 US Open in San Francisco, where he finished second to Benko (whom he lost to with the black pieces after a huge fight).

Other highlights for Kovacs during this time included winning the 1960 California State Championship and 1960 California Open. He continued to play in California off and on for much of the rest of the 1960s, but never with the same degree of success.

Curiously, unlike the rest of the other Hungarians, Kovacs came before the revolution and played in a previous California US Open (Long Beach 1955). A year earlier it appears that he played for Austria in the 1954 Olympiad. We write this with the caveat that Zoltan Kovacs is a common Hungarian name and there could have been two strong players in the 1950s with it. We would love to hear from anyone with more information.

3) Here and There

IMs Ricardo De Guzman and Wen Liang Li tied for the first the Cal Chess Labor Day Championship held last weekend in Burlingame with 5-1 scores. The open section was stronger than normal, with one GM and seven IMs competing, and the overall attendance of 219 players was impressive.

Besides the play of the two winners, the results of NM Paul Gallegos (clear third at 4½) and Michael Wang deserve to be recognized. The later picked up 77 points for scoring 3 out of 4 against IMs, losing only to DeGuzman in the last round.


September FIDE Top 20

1. Carlsen 2862
2. Aronian 2802.2
3. Kramnik 2797.2
4. Grischuk 2785.8
5. Caruana 2778.8
6. Anand 2775
7. Nakamura 2774.8
8. Topalov 2769
9. Gelfand 2765.4
10. Karjakin 2762.0

11. Mamedyarov 2758.8
12. Dominguez 2757
13. Adams 2753.4
14. Ponomariov 2751
15. Vachier-Lagrave 2745.6
16. Giri 2744
17. Svidler 2740.4
18. Morozevich 2734
19. Kamsky 2733.6
20. Ivanchuk 2733


The Berkeley Chess School has moved its administrative office to the building at MLK and Berkeley Way, right across the street from the Trader Joe’s parking lot in one of the upstairs offices off the rooftop parking lot.  The BCS summer camp and the big Friday night classes, plus the BCC, will remain at Hillside School.


GM Timur Gareev is going to give a 50-board blindfold simul in Austin on Sep 21.

There are no restrictions on his opponents rating or age. Go to http://www.westlakechess.org/GM_Timur_Gareev.html for more information.


The following crosstable, not found in Di Felice’s authoritative series, is sent by Eduardo Bauzá Mercére.

1904
New York
Brooklyn CC-ch
JAN-MAR

                               1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2
 1. Fox, Albert Whiting        * 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1   10
 2. Curt, Charles              0 * 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1   9
 3. Barrett, Herbert M.        1 1 * 1 0 0 1 1 = 1 1 1   8½
 4. Howell, Clarence Seaman    0 0 0 * 1 0 = 1 1 1 1 1   6½
 5. Libaire, Edward William    0 0 1 0 * 0 1 1 1 = 1 1   6½
 6. Zirn, Harry                0 0 1 1 1 * 0 0 1 1 = 1   6½
 7. Swaffield, Arthur E.       0 0 0 = 0 1 * = = 1 = 1   5
 8. Dickerson, H. L.           0 0 0 0 0 1 = * 1 0 1 1   4½
 9. Lawrence, Charles A.       0 0 = 0 0 0 = 0 * 1 1 1   4
10. Tolchinsky, L.             0 0 0 0 = 0 0 1 0 * = 1   3
11. Farren, W. A.              0 0 0 0 0 = = 0 0 = * 1   2½
12. Chittenden, Simeon Baldwin 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 *   0

Source: Brooklyn Eagle, 6 MAR 1904, p. 14


Issue 2 of 2013 of New in Chess has an article on Harry Pillsbury which includes a game with the longtime Brooklyn chess player and organizer Harry Zirn, then at the beginning of his career. Bay Area players may be interested to know that Zirn was the grandfather of the late Jim Buff of San Francisco, a lifelong friend of Bobby Fischer.


2013 World Cup Statistics

128 total players

38 rated 2700+

52 rated 2600-2699

27 rated 2500-2599

11 rated U2500

highest rating = 2813

median rating = 2647

lowest rating = 2304


Anand–Carlsen is not the only World Championship being held in the second half of 2013. The World Engines Championship started a few days with Houdini, Stockfish, and Rybka among the competitors. The tournament will last 3 (!) months. Go to http://www.tcec-chess.net/index.php for more information.


Go to http://youtu.be/Mh94SV3gqb8 to see the video Chris Mavraedis made of the First Far West Open held in Lake Tahoe in 1993. Walter Browne, Anthony Saidy, Jeremy Silman, Tal Shaked and Gregory Kaidanov are among those featured.


 

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