Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson


 
Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanic’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #683
September 19, 2014

No, I don’t think so, but I probably shouldn’t have lost by such a score. Fischer himself conceded that. He said the result didn’t correspond to the way the struggle went in the match, and that by the sixth game in his opinion the score should have been no more than 3½–2½ in his favor. But the psychological factor played a role. It was the first time I was encountering not a playing partner, but a computer that didn’t make mistakes.

—Mark Taimanov, in answer to the question Do you nevertheless
think that you had chances of winning your match against Bobby Fischer?”

This Saturday the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club will host the Dolan Memorial G/45, and on Sunday, the Neil Falconer Blitz, with Grandmasters James Tarjan, Patrick Wolff and Daniel Naroditsky planning to participate.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliott Winslow and young expert Pranav Nagarajan have joined FIDE Master Andy Lee (who took a bye in round 7) in the lead in the Jay Whitehead Memorial Tuesday Night Marathon. The three have 6 points from 7, with two rounds to go in the 88-player event. Experts Natalya Tsodikova and Steven Gaffagan are tied for fourth with 5½ points.


From round 7 of the Whitehead Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Thornally–Jaffray after 16...Bxh4)White to move (Gerwin–Steger after 25...Nd5)
White to move (Sherwood–Starr after 11...g6)White to move (Aquino–Hilliard after 25...Rg5)
White to move (Eytan–Ross after 8...Nd7)Black to move (Sachs-Weintraub–James after 16 Nd4)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 7.

The Mechanics’ entry in the United States Chess League drew its fourth round match with the Dallas Destiny last Tuesday night 2-2. Fourth board Siddarth Banik was the star of the match for the MI, as he equalized the score after Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky and FIDE Master Andy Lee drew and International Master David Pruess lost. This win brings Siddarth’s lifetime record in the USCL to 7½ from 8 for a performance rating of 2529!

USCL Western standings after 4 of 10 rounds:

1-2. Rio Grande and Dallas 3½/4; 3-4. Los Angeles and San Francisco 2/4; 5. Seattle 1/4; 6. Los Angeles ½/4.


One of the many benefits the Tuesday Night Marathon offers is the chance to play FIDE-rated chess. The Mechanics’ Chess Club has FIDE-rated the TNM for many years, and typically about 80 percent of the field has a FIDE rating going in. Below are the top FIDE-rated players in the Jay Whitehead Memorial TNM. Note that generally, but not always, FIDE ratings are 75–100 points lower than USCF ratings.

1. FM Andy Lee 2292
2. IM Elliott Winslow 2289
3. Romulo Fuentes 2191
4. Demetrius Goins 2135
5. FM Frank Thornally 2124
6. Russell Wong 2108
7. Steven Gaffagan 2102
8. Natalya Tsodikova 2079
9. Pranav Nagarajan 2064
10. Byambaa Uyanga 2048
11. Igor Traub 2042
12. Alex Steger 2008
13. David Askin 1991
14. David Klinetobe 1990
15. Steven Krasnov 1969
16. Peter Grey 1950
17. Osgur Sahin 1950
18. Keith Vickers 1948
19. Michael Askin 1924
20. Ashik Uzzamin 1907
21. John Jaffray 1902
22. Michael Anderson 1901


Jules Jelinek writes: At the Wednesday Night Blitz last week, we had 10 players, the results were

1st - Jack Zhu & IM Ray Kaufman
3rd – Arthur Ismakov


Svetozar Gligoric gave a simul at the Mechanics’ Institute on March 4, 1971, scoring 19 wins, 4 losses and 6 draws. One of Gligoric’s losses was the following game. Does any Newsletter reader know who Black was?

King’s Indian Saemisch E84
Svetozar Gligoric–???
San Francisco (simul) 1971

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Be3 Nc6 7.Nge2 a6 8.Qd2 Rb8 9.Rd1 Bd7 10.Nc1 e5 11.d5 Nd4 12.N1e2 Nxe2 13.Bxe2 Ne8 14.0–0 f5 15.c5 Nf6 16.b4 Qe7 17.Bc4 Kh8 18.a4 fxe4 19.Nxe4 Nxe4 20.fxe4 Bxa4 21.Rxf8+ Rxf8 22.Ra1 Bd7 23.c6 bxc6 24.Rxa6 cxd5 25.exd5 Qh4 26.Be2 Bh6 27.Ra1 Bxe3+ 28.Qxe3 Qxb4 29.h3 Bb5 30.Bxb5 Qxb5 31.Rd1 Qc4 32.Kh2 Qf4+ 33.Qxf4 Rxf4 34.Rc1 Rd4 35.Rxc7 Rxd5 36.Kg3 Rd4 37.Kf3 Kg8 38.Ke3 d5 39.Re7 Re4+ 40.Kd3 Re1 41.Kd2 Rg1 42.g4 e4 43.Re5 Kf7 44.Rxd5 Ke6 45.Ra5 Rg3 46.Ke2 Rxh3 47.Kf2 Rd3 48.Ra7 Ke5 49.Rxh7 Kf4 50.Re7 Rd2+ 51.Kf1 Rd4 52.Ke2 Kxg4 53.Ke3 Rb4 54.Rf7 g5 55.Rf8 Kg3 56.Rf1 g4 57.Rg1+ Kh3 58.Kf4 e3+ 59.Kxe3 Kh2 0–1


Falconer Blitz Tournament

Sunday September 21, 2014
5 double-round Swiss

PRIZES: $750 - total (guaranteed)
1st place: $300
2nd place: $200 
3rd place: $100 
4th place: $75 
5th place: $50 
6th place: $25 
Every player wins a book prize from Neil’s library.

ENTRY FEE:
$10 (free for International Masters and Grandmasters)
This tournament is unrated. (membership in USCF not required)

REGISTRATION:
1 to 1:45 pm on September 21st

TIME CONTROL:
5 minutes per player per game plus 2 second time delay from move one.

There will be no registration in advance. Register on-site on September 21. The tournament will be held between roughly 2 pm and 4:30 pm. The entire event will last from 1 pm to 5 pm. There will be an informal awards ceremony immediately following the tournament.

2) Zuckerman-Rankis, Marshall CC Championship 1961

The following game is one any player would be proud to have played. What makes it remarkable is Zuckerman was a very late beginner, only starting to play at 15, after Bobby Fischer (born the same month) had already become US Champion.

Ruy Lopez C82
Bernard Zuckerman–August Rankis
Marshall CC Championship 1961

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 0–0 11.Bc2 f5 12.Nb3 Ba7 13.Nbd4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Bxd4 15.cxd4 f4 16.f3 Ng3 17.hxg3

Declining the gift with 17.Rf2 is also popular.

17...fxg3 18.Qd3 Bf5 19.Qxf5 Rxf5 20.Bxf5 Qh4 21.Bh3 Qxd4+ 22.Kh1 Qxe5 23.Bd2 Qxb2 24.Bf4 d4

24...c5 25.Be6+ Kh8 26.Bxd5 Rd8 27.Rad1 c4 28.Bxg3 c3 29.Be5 b4 30.Bb3 Rd2 31.f4 h5 32.Rb1 Rf2 33.Rfe1 Qd2 34.Rbd1 Qb2 35.Rd8+ Kh7 36.Bg8+ Kg6 37.Rd6+ Kf5 38.Be6+ Kg6 39.Bd5+ Kh7 40.Be4+ Kg8 41.Bg6 1–0 Smyslov-Reshevsky, Radio Match 1945.

25.Bxg3 d3

25...c5 is the modern way to handle this variation.

26.Rad1 Qc2

26...d2 27.Rf2 Rd8 28.Bf4 c5 29.Rfxd2 Rxd2 30.Rxd2 Qa1+ 31.Kh2 c4 32.Be6+ Kf8 33.Bd6+ Ke8 34.Rd5 was another critical variation.

27.Be6+ Kh8 28.Bb3 Qc3 29.Rc1 Qd4 30.Rxc7 Rd8 31.f4 d2

Threatening ...Qd3 attacking two pieces.

32.f5!

Ignoring the threat.

32...Qd3 33.Be5 Qxf1+ 34.Kh2 h5??

34...Qc4 was the saving resource. 35.Bxc4 bxc4 36.Rxg7 Rd5 37.Bb2 Rd3 38.Bf6 Rd6 39.Be5 Rd5 drawing.

35.Bxg7+ Kh7 36.Bd4+ 1–0

This game was published in Chess Review, May 1961, page 152.

3) Arthur Stamer—1905 Mechanics’ Champion

Arthur Blaine Stamer, the winner of the tourney at the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club, was born in Berkeley and is a little over 21 years of age. He took up the study of the game of chess about five years ago, and during Pillsbury’s visit to San Francisco during April 1904, young Stamer succeeded in winning his game against the champion in a simultaneous exhibition at the San Francisco Chess and Whist Club.

Stamer plays a splendid game for one so young, and his victories over his much older opponents in the above-mentioned tournament have given rise to the opinion that there is a bright future ahead of him in the realm of chess.

Stamer, the young local chess player, whose play in the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club tournament, just concluded, has attracted so much attention, finally emerged the winner and will come into possession of the gold medal to be presented by the trustees of the Institute. His score consisted of fourteen games won, two lost and two drawn.

On the whole the tourney was handled much better than the ones in past years, and the committee in charge, composed of Messrs. Dolan, Manson and Eels, deserves credit for the improved order of things.

Past champions:

1894-95 Dr. Walter Romaine Lovegrove
1895 George Thompson
1896 (May) Selim Franklin
1896 (October) Oscar Samuels
1897 Oscar Samuels
1898 Dr. Walter Romaine Lovegrove
1899 J.J. Dolan
1901 Valentine Huber
1902 Hobart K. Eels
1903 Nathaniel J. Manson
1904 Wallace E. Nevill
1905 Arthur Stamer

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, November 19, 1905

4) Fine or Reshevsky—who was better?

The two-leading American players of the late 1930s were Sammy Reshevsky and Reuben Fine, who were unquestionably among the top ten players in the world when World War II broke out. Reshevsky maintained his position for several decades, but Fine stopped playing seriously and went for a career in psychiatry.

Looking back it’s interesting to compare the years when they were both active and to speculate as to who was the better player then. Reshevsky unquestionably had the better domestic record (Fine never won a US Championship) but Fine claimed to be better internationally on the basis of his tie for first at the super strong AVRO tournament.

That may not be true. International Master Jack Peters has done some digging and it looks like the players overseas results were pretty even.

Peters writes:

I did some research about their international results. They competed together in five European tournaments:

1936 Nottingham: each tied for 3rd-5th at 9½-4½
1937 Kemeri: Reshevsky 1st-2nd with 12-5, Fine 8th with 9-8
1937 Semmering-Baden: Fine 2nd with 8-6, Reshevsky, 3rd-4th with 7½-6½
1937/8 Hastings: Reshevsky 1st with 7-2, Fine 4th-5th with 6-3
1938 AVRO: Fine 1st-2nd with 8½-5½, Reshevsky 4th-6th with 7-7
Also, Reshevsky had a fair result (+6, =7, -3) as first board on the US team in the 1937 Stockholm Olympiad, while Fine won the second board prize with +9, =5, -1.

So, it’s debatable who did better in Europe. Fine had a poor result in Kemeri, but he excelled in the most important tournament (AVRO).

The MegaBase gives 16 of their encounters. Reshevsky led, 3-1, with 12 draws. All of their games in the US were drawn except for the first, which Reshevsky won in Detroit 1933.

Reshevsky’s US Championship results were clearly superior. Fine wrote in 1951 that Reshevsky’s international results weren’t as good as his US performances, which suggests that Fine thought Reshevsky underperformed internationally.

One last bit of evidence, which I do not take very seriously, is Chessmetrics ratings. This unreliable system ranks Fine second in the world (behind Botvinnik) in 1939, with Reshevsky fourth (behind Alekhine). This order is almost entirely due to AVRO 1938. But Reshevsky was ranked higher in preceding years. In the early 1940s, both players briefly ranked first in the world, mostly because other contenders lost rating points. Chessmetrics also contends Reshevsky was #1 in the world for several months in 1952 and 1953.



 

You can browse through our archived newsletters using the "next" and "previous buttons".

Alternatively, you can select a newsletter to read from this list:

Want to save this newsletter for reading at a later time? Click here to learn how.