Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson


 
Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #694
January 9, 2015

His behavior at the board should draw warning cards. In his defense I’ve seen him behave badly against Deep Blue where such antics have no effect. Perhaps all the energy and passion that he puts into his game bubbles to the surface and he is unaware of the effect this has on his opponents. Is he not embarrassed when he sees himself on video?

—Yasser Seirawan about Garry Kasparov, in response to the question “Who is the most irritating opponent you have faced.”, Kingpin, Spring 1998, p.5

1) Mechanics’ Chess Club News

FIDE Masters Andy Lee and Paul Whitehead are the top-rated players in the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon, which started January 6. The field to date consists of 95 competitors, including National Master Jordy Mont-Reynaud, playing in his first tournament in almost ten years. It still possible to enter the eight-round event with a half-point bye for the first game.

The Winter Tuesday Night Marathon will have two special guest lecturers. Sam Shankland, winner of a gold medal as the top reserve player in the 2014 Chess Olympiad, will talk on Tuesday January 27 about his experience playing in the B-group of Tata Steel.

Wesley So, currently ranked number ten in the world at 2770, and who is playing in the A-group of Tata Steel, will talk on Tuesday February 10.

All are welcome to attend both events, which will run from 5:15 to 6:15 pm, free of charge.


From round 1 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Wang–Morgan after 17...Ng6)Black to move (Eastham–Poling after 13 fxe5)
White to move (Royzen–Gomboluudev after 17...Bxd5)For the solutions, see the game scores (when available) for round 1.

17-year-old Yian Liou of Alamo is the winner of the 2015 Neil Falconer Award for the highest-rated player in Northern California under the age of 18 on the December 2014 United States Chess Federation rating list. Yian, who earned his International Master title this past summer, is rated 2502, and earns that amount in cash.

This was Yian’s last year of eligibility. The second and third players this year, International Master Kesav Viswanadha (2413) and FIDE Master Cameron Wheeler (2381), are both eligible in 2016, in what promises to be a hard-fought competition.

Neil Falconer Award Winners:

2000 Vinay Bhat
2001 Vinay Bhat
2002 Vinay Bhat
2003 Michael Pearson
2004 Nicolas Yap
2005 Matthew Ho
2006 Matthew Ho
2007 Nicolas Yap
2008 Sam Shankland
2009 Sam Shankland
2010 Steven Zierk
2011 Daniel Naroditsky
2012 Daniel Naroditsky
2013 Daniel Naroditsky
2014 Yian Liou
2015 Yian Liou

Bhat, Shankland and Naroditsky have all earned their Grandmaster titles since receiving the Falconer. Shankland is currently rated number 100 in the world, and Naroditsky is equal number six on the under-21 list.

2) Sam Shankland to play in B Group of Tata Steel

List of Participants: Tata Steel Challengers 2015—January 9–25

(FIDE ratings 1 December 2014)

IM Ari Dale (Australia, 2252)
WIM Anne Haast (The Netherlands, 2360)
GM Samuel Sevian (United States, 2511)
GM David Klein (The Netherlands 2514)
GM Valentina Gunina (Russia, 2522)
GM Bart Michiels (Belgium, 2554)
GM Salem Saleh (United Arab Emirates, 2586)
GM Jan Timman (The Netherlands, 2592)
GM Robin van Kampen (The Netherlands, 2606)
GM Vladimir Potkin (Russia, 2608)
GM Erwin l’Ami (The Netherlands, 2613)
GM Sam Shankland (United States, 2642)
GM Wei Yi (China, 2668)
GM David Navara (Czech Republic, 2727)

Average rating: 2554

3) The History of the Chess Pieces and Chess Tables
at the Mechanics’ Chess Club
, by Neil Falconer

The following information comes from an e-mail sent by Neil Falconer dated August 8, 2005, in response to Guthrie McClain’s article in Chess Life about the Mechanics’ which was published in July of 1981.

The trustee with the shipyard referred to by Mac was presumably Joe Moore - although he may not have been a trustee when the wood was “borrowed”. Is it possible that Moore’s father, or some Moore of that generation, had a connection with the MI? The dates would fit better with that assumption. Of course, Mac was not speaking from personal knowledge, but instead repeating what he had understood when he first became aware of the MI. I worked for a couple of months on the graveyard shift at the Moore Drydock Navy yard in Oakland in mid-42, while finishing at Cal, and Joe Moore and Jim Moore were only a few years older than I was. I first personally visited the MI Chessroom in 1938, and it certainly looked like the old sets had been there for years and years.

The long tables: I think the Chessroom acquired these in the late 70s or early 80s. My dim recollection is that the son of Mark Eudey, Mac’s partner at Cal Muni, was handy with woodwork and needed work, and Mac arranged for him to put in the chessboards at a very favorable price (to MI).

All the original tables had “moats” (your e-mail is the first time I have heard this term) when I first visited the MI. The big pieces were bulky, and there was not sufficient room for them on the side of the table. The plastic sets came in about the same time there was more and more emphasis on speed chess (now called blitz). The moats now became a hindrance, rather than a help, and at some point it was decided to remove them by putting in little covers.

4) Northern California State Chess Champions 2002-2014

The Northern California champion was determined from the late 1970s to the late 1990s year by an 8-player round named after the late Charles Bagby, a strong master and long-serving Mechanics’ Institute Trustee. Since then, the winner has been decided by a Swiss held over Labor Day weekend. Since the event is open to all, sometimes the top-scoring Northern California player is not the winner. 2014 is a case in point, where Romanian GM Ioan Chirila and Filipino GM Oliver Barbosa won the tournament with 5 from 6, with Arun Sharma and Paul Richter a half-point behind. We believe the following to be accurate, but are not 100-percent certain.

2014 – FM Arun Sharma and Paul Richter (top finishing Northern Californians)
2013 – IM Ricardo De Guzman
2012 – IM Ray Kaufman
2011 – IM Ricardo DeGuzman
2010 – GM Jesse Kraai
2009 – IM Sam Shankland
2008 – IM Sam Shankland (age 16)
2007 – IM Josh Friedel
2006 – IM Josh Friedel
2005 – GM Alex Yermolinsky
2004 – FM Vladimir Mezentsev
2003 – FM Dmitry Zilberstein
2002 – IM Ricardo de Guzman

Title listed is what the player had at the time they won.



 

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