Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club #696
January 23, 2015

He was a pitiful sight to behold. Over and over he calculated and miscalculated the variations, and couldn’t understand how I could save myself. Of course he couldn’t—he was looking for something that wasn’t there.

—Anatoly Karpov, quoted in The Inner Game of Chess: How to Calculate and Win,
by Andrew Soltis, revised edition, p. 300 on a Candidates’ Match game
he managed to draw from a lost position against Lev Polugaevsky

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Three rounds into the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon International Master Elliott Winslow, National Master Tenzing Shaw and Expert Josiah Stearman have the only remaining perfect scores among the 111 participants. It is still possible to join the eight-round tournament with three half-point byes.

From round 3 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Shaw–Uzzaman after 70...Rf1)White to move (McCarty-Snead–Whitehead after 37...Be2)
Black to move (Tsodikova–Steger after 46 Kh1)Black to move (Bayaraa–Poler after 29 Ng3)
White to move (Simpkins–Cheung after 36...c5)Black to move (Eastham–Palmeri after 18 f5)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 3.

Mechanics’ Institute Grandmaster-in-Residence Nick de Firmian has compiled the following attendance statistics that track the growth of the Tuesday Night Marathon from 2000 to 2014. There are five tournaments a year - typically eight rounds each.

2000 - average 51 players per event
2001 - average 54 players per event
2002 - average 68 players per event
2003 - average 78 players per event
2004 - average 77 players per event
2005 - average 71 players per event
2006 - average 63 players per event
2007 - average 75 players per event
2008 - average 68 players per event
2009 - average 65 players per event
2010 - average 59 players per event
2011 - average 57 players per event
2012 - average 70 players per event
2013 - average 88 players per event
2014 - average 94 players per event
2015 - Winter TNM 111 players

Tuesday Night Marathon regular Ashik Uzzaman writes:

Filmmaker Jeffrey Plunkett recently started a crowd-funding campaign in IndieGoGo named  Pushing Wood

I wrote a small post on it

Lauren Goodkind was recently featured on InMenlo.

The January 2015 FIDE rating list has two Americans in the top ten.

1. Carlsen 1990 NOR 2862
2. Caruana 1992 ITA 2820
3. Grischuk 1983 RUS 2810
4. Topalov 1975 BUL 2800
5. Anand 1969 IND 2797
6. Aronian 1982 ARM 2797
7. Giri 1994 NED 2784
8. Kramnik 1975 RUS 2783
9. Nakamura 1987 USA 2776
10. So 1993 USA 2762

MI member Sam Shankland has been rated around 2650-2655 the past month and has been moving in and out of the top 100 live rating list on a daily basis.

No Americans are rated in the top 10 female players in the world, but MI member Daniel Naroditsky is one of the best junior players (under 21) in the world.

Top-10 juniors:
1. Rapport 1996 HUN 2716
2. Wei Yi 1999 CHN 2675
3. Fedoseev 1995 RUS 2668
4. Artemiev 1998 RUS 2659
5. Dubov 1996 RUS 2632
6. Naroditsky 1995 USA 2622
7. Bukavshin 1995 RUS 2622
8. Anton Guijarro 1995 ESP 2617
9. Nyzhnyk 1996 UKR 2616
10. Cori 1995 PER 2603

FIDE top rated countries

Top-10 countries:
1. Russia 2744 228
2. China 2697 35
3. Ukraine 2686 86
4. USA 2668 87
5. France 2657 48
6. India 2655 36
7. Hungary 2653 52
8. Armenia 2653 37
9. Netherlands 2635 33
10. Poland 2631 39

The second column is the average rating of country’s top 10 players, while the third column is the number of Grandmasters in the country.

South Bay high school student Kesav Viswanadha writes about his road to the International Master title at

2) Jacob Yukhtman (1935-1985) and Stephen Brandwein

The Czech Benoni in Action, by FM Asa Hoffmann and Greg Keener, has an interesting anecdote on page 79 about the late Jacob Yuchtman and longtime Mechanics’ member Stephen Brandwein.

“I first met Yuchtman in 1973 at the Chess and Checker Club of New York, commonly known as the ‘Flea House’. I remember a short, stocky man with a smile like a Cheshire Cat, but when he was displeased with something, a dark cloud would come over his face. A brilliant blitz player, there was no one to compete with Yuchtman at the Flea House and he soon moved to ‘The Game Room’ at West 74th St. Here, one could play chess, Scrabble, backgammon, and gin rummy day and night. The resident champion of The Game Room was master Steve Brandwein. He and Yukhtman would play countless hours of blitz with about equal results. I sometimes played these two myself, but could only manage to win about 25% of my games against either of them. ...”

3) Here and There

International Master Boris Kogan, who died of colon cancer on Christmas Day in 1993, is best remembered for playing in three U.S. Championships and winning the Georgia state championship seven years in a row (1980-1986). He was also the coach of Stuart Rachels, helping him advance from being a young national master to sharing the U.S. Chess Championship. What isn’t so well known is that Kogan was a very promising player (Soviet Junior Champion in 1956 and 1957), before making the transition from player to coach at a very early age.

The 1974 Southern Open still ranks as one of the biggest and strongest ever held in Nashville. It ended in a five-way tie, in this order:

1. Kim Commons, Los Angeles       5½ (7)
2. Larry Christinsen, Riverside, CA  5½
3. Milan Momic, Muscle Shoals, AL  5½
4. Bruce Albertson, White Hall, PA   5½
5. Kenny Thomas, Memphis, TN    5½

This information and the following games were supplied by Peter Lahde.

Gared Radin–Kim Commons
Nashville 1974

1 e4  c5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. d4  cxd4  4. Nxd4  Nf6  5. Nc3  d6  6. Bc4  Qb6  7. Nxc6  bxc6  8. 0-0  e6  9. Re1  Be7  10. e5  dxe5  11. Rxe5  0-0  12. Na4  Rd8  13. Qe2  Qd4 14. Bg5  h6  15. Bxf6  Bxf6  16. Re4  Qd6  17. a3  Rb8  18. Re3  Qc7  19. Rd1  Bxb2  20. Nxb2  Rxb2  21. Bb3  Ba6!  22. Qe1  Rxd1  23. Qxd1  Qd6!  24. Qe1  c5 25. Bxe6 fxe6  26. Rxe6 Rb1!   0-1  (If 27. Re8+, Kf7 wins)

Dave Truesdel Jr.–Larry Christiansen
Nashville 1974

1. c4  e5  2. Nc3  Nf6  3. g3  Bb4  4. Bg2  0-0  5. Nf3  Re8  6. 0-0  e4  7. Ne1  Nc6  8. Nc2  Bxc3  9. dxc3  d6  10. Ne3  Re5  11. Qc2  Be6  12. Rd1  Qd7  13. Nd5  Bxd5 14. cxd5 Nxd5  15. Bxe4  Nf6  16. Bf3  Qh3  17. Bf4  Rf5  18. Bg2  Qh5  19. e4  Rc5  20. Be3  Re5  21. Bf4  Re7  22. Re1  Rae8  23. Qe2  Qxe2  24. Rxe2  Nxe4 25. Rae1  f5  26. g4  g6  27. gxf5  gxf5  28. Bh3!  Ng5!  0-1

4) This is the end

The following position occurred in Sherwood–Kolla. With the black king unable to get to b7, Black shuffles his knight between a8 and c7. How should White proceed?

White to move.

Show solution

This is the same position, but without the h-pawns. Can White win this?

White to move.

Show solution


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.