Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News #698
February 6, 2015

Half the variations which are calculated in a tournament game turn out to be completely superfluous. Unfortunately, no one knows in advance which half.

—Jan Timman, quoted in The Inner Game of Chess: How to Calculate and Win,
by Andrew Soltis, revised edition, p. 175

This Saturday the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club will host the 15th annual Henry Gross G/45.

This coming Tuesday, world top-ten player Wesley So will give a free lecture from 5:15–6:15 pm. All are welcome.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

FIDE Master Andy Lee and National Master Uyanga Byambaa moved into a tie for first in the 116-player Winter Tuesday Night Marathon after winning tense games in round five. The former defeated International Elliott Winslow and the latter Expert Michael Walder.

The two leaders, who have 4½ from 5 (each has taken a half-point bye), are trailed by a large group with four points, headed by FIDE Master Paul Whitehead. Three rounds remain to be played.

From round 5 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Everett–Askin after 17 Qh3)Black to move (Maser–Wong after 11 Nc3)
White to move (Poling–Smith after 13...Bd7)White to move (Grey–Matz after 13...Qxe7)
White to move (Sherwood–Uzzaman after 31...Nf5)Black to move (Rosenstein–Poler after 17 Ba5)
White to move (Brown–Montoya after 10...fxe4)For the solutions, see the game scores (when available) for round 5.

Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky is having a tremendous tournament at the Gibraltar Open and, with two rounds left to be played, has an undefeated score 6½ from 8, good for a tie for second. Initially seeded 26th at 2622 FIDE, Daniel has a performance rating of 2758, bringing him up to 2636.

Results from the January 28 Wednesday Night Blitz, by Jules Jelinek

Last week the results were
1st – Arthur Ismakov
2st – Jules Jelinek
3rd – David Flores

Also, mark your calendars for the Steve Brandwein Memorial Blitz Tournament (he will be attending).

The Steve Brandwein Memorial Blitz Tournament

A chance to pay tribute to an old friend (Steve will be attending!)

Saturday February 21, 2015
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

6 double-round Swiss (12 games) 4 minutes + 2 second increment

Don’t miss this chance to play and watch some of the Bay Area's best players!

SITE: Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club, 57 Post Street 4th floor (Montgomery BART)

PRIZES: ($1000 guaranteed in part through a generous donation from former Mechanics' Institute Chess Director James Eade)

1st $400, 2nd $250, 3rd $150, 4th $100, 5th $100

Every participant will win a book prize (Quality Chess, Everyman, New In Chess, etc). Many of the books are worth more than the cost of the entry fee.

ENTRY FEE: $10. Free to GMs, IMs, WGMS and WIMS.
Enter at tournament from Noon to 12:45 p.m. No phone or e-mail entries.

For more information contact Paul Whitehead or John Donaldson at (415) 393-0110.

The Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club has held two traditional weekend events, the Stamer and the Capps, for over forty years. The former is named for the Mechanics’ first chess director Arthur Stamer and the second after the chess master and science-fiction writer Carroll Capps.

Here is some information about Capps.

Carroll Mathers Capps (1917-1971), by Mike Goodall

Back in the thirties, forties and fifties, Carroll Capps was one of the masters who dominated the club and Northern California Chess.

Carroll was born in 1914 in San Francisco. He attended U.C. Berkeley, where he lost an eye playing football. Undeterred, he joined the Navy and became a photographer in the Pacific theater of World War II. After the war he made a career as a paint chemist. In the 1960s he retired to write science fiction. Sci-fi buffs may remember C.C. MacApp, the pseudonym of Carroll Capps, as the author of many short stories and a couple of novels.

But Carroll Capps was more than a mere chess master, he was a good friend to all who knew him. He was a raconteur par excellence, who sort of “held court” at the club. It was his popularity, rather than his achievements as a master, that resulted in the tournament named in his honor, which has been held 43 years.

Chess Life, March 1995, page 23

2) Grandmasters Jacob Aagaard and John Shaw’s list of the top ten chess books of all time

The following excerpt is taken from Aagaard’s Quality Chess Blog at

I will take this one up front. No, there was no room on the list for Watson or Silman. But also, there was no room for Kasparov, Karpov, Kotov, Reti and so on.

John (Shaw) and I agreed our way to ten books and I have put them in order of quality, as I see it. It is certainly up for debate. Below I will give books that fell just outside the list.

One of the rules of the list is that the same writer cannot be repeated. Another rule is that the books should be relevant today.

1. Mikhail Tal: The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal
2. Bent Larsen: 50 Selected Games
3. Bobby Fischer: My 60 Memorable Games
4. John Nunn: Secret of Practical Chess
5. Isaak Lipnitsky: Questions of Modern Opening Theory
6. Mark Dvoretsky: Secrets of Chess Training (now School of Chess Excellence 1)
7. Alexander Alekhine: Best Games
8. Mikhail Botvinnik: Best Games
9. Aron Nimzowitsch: My System
10. David Bronstein: Zurich 1953

Other books we seriously considered were Practical Chess Endings (Keres), Secrets of Pawn Endings (Mueller/Lambrecht), The Art of the Middlegame (Keres/Kotov), Simple Chess (Michael Stean), Endgame Strategy (Shereshevsky), Modern Ideas in Chess (Reti), Zurich 1953 (Najdorf), Three Matches (Kasparov), Karpov’s Best Games (written by Razuvaev, but published as if written by Karpov).

3) 1929 Dimock Thematic Tournament

Eduardo Bauzá Mercere and Andy Ansel have succeeded in bringing this forgotten event back to life. All games were required to start 1.c4 e5, which might partly explain Marshall’s poor score.

Edwin Dimock of New London, Connecticut, sponsored a series of thematic tournament throughout the 1920s at the Marshall Chess Club.

The following crosstable, not previously published, was reconstructed using the following sources: New York Post, 13 NOV 1929, p. 20; Brooklyn Eagle 9 MAY, 12 MAY,23 MAY, 16 JUN, 25 JUL 1929.

New York
Dimock Thematic

                           1    2    3    4 
                          ---  ---  ---  ---
1. Tholfsen, Erling       * *  1 =  1 1  1 1  5½
2. Reinfeld, Fred         0 =  * *  1 0  1 =  3
3. Marshall, Frank James  0 0  0 1  * *  1 =  2½
4. Hanauer, Milton Loeb   0 0  0 =  0 =  * *  1
5. Perkins, Frank Kendall 1 -  0 -  = -  - -

This was a leisurely-played tournament. It started in May, but then was delayed when Marshall participated at Bradley Beach in June and traveled to Europe to play at Carlsbad. The tournament ended in November. Perkins withdrew, “his business took him to Chicago”.

Frank Marshall–Erling Tholfsen
New York 1929

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 d6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. d3 Nge7 7. Bg5 f6 8. Bd2 Be6 9. Qc1 h5 10. h4 Qd7 11. e4 Bg4 12. Be3 O-O 13. Qd2 Kh7 14. Nh2 f5 15. f3 f4 16. gxf4 exf4 17. Bxf4 Be6 18. Be3 Nd4 19. O-O-O c5 20. f4 Rab8 21. Nf3 b5 22. Bxd4 cxd4 23. Nxb5 Rxb5 24. cxb5 Bxa2 25. Qb4 Rc8+ 26. Kd2 Qg4 27. Ng5+ Kg8 28. Bf3 Qxf4+ 29. Ke1 Qe3+ 30. Be2 Be5 31. Ra1 Rc2 0-1

Source: Brooklyn Eagle, May 30, 1929

Fred Reinfeld–Frank Marshall
New York 1929

1.c4 e5 2. e3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qb3 Nc6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Nxe5 Bxc3 7. Qxc3 Nxe5 8. Qxe5 Re8 9. Qc3 d5 10. Qc2 Ng4 11. f3 Ne5 12. cxd5 Qxd5 13. Be2 Nc6 14. Qc3 Qd6 15. b3 Bf5 16. Bb2 Qg6 17. g4 Bd7 18. Bd3 Qh6 19. O-O-O Ne5 20. Be4 Bc6 21.g5 Qe6 22. d3 Bxe4 23. dxe4 Qc6 24. Qxc6 bxc6 25. Bxe5 Rxe5 26. h4 a5 27. Rd4 a4 28. Rxa4 Rxa4 29. bxa4 h6 30. gxh6 f5 31. Rg1 fxe4 32. Rxg7+ Kh8 33. f4 Rh5 34. Rxc7 Rxh4 35. a5 Rh1+ 36. Kb2 Rh2+ 37. Kb3 Re2 38. a6 Rxe3+ 39. Kc4 Ra3 40.a7 e3 41. Rc8+ Kh7 42. a8=Q 1-0

Source: Brooklyn Eagle, May 23, 1929

Erling Tholfsen–Frank Marshall
New York 1929

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Bb4 3. g3 h5 4. Nf3 d6 5. Bg2 Bxc3 6. bxc3 e4 7. Nd4 c5 8. Qa4+ Kf8 9. Nb5 Qe7 10. O-O Nd7 11. d3 a6 12. Bf4 Ne5 13. d4 Nxc4 14. dxc5 dxc5 15.Qxc4 axb5 16. Qxb5 Ra6 17. Rfd1 Nf6 18. Qxa6 bxa6 19. Bd6 h4 20. gxh4 Rxh4 21. Rab1 Rh5 22. Rb8 Qxd6 23. Rxd6 Ke7 24. Rxf6 Rd5 25. Rxc8 1-0

Source: Brooklyn Eagle, May 30, 1929

Erling Tholfsen–Fred Reinfeld
New York 1929

1. c4 e5 2. d3 Nf6 3. e3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Nf3 Bd6 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O c5 8. Nc3 Nxc3 9. bxc3 Nc6 10. d4 Qc7 11. d5 Ne7 12. e4 f5 13. Nd2 f4 14. c4 Rf6 15. Bg4 Bxg4 16. Qxg4 Raf8 17. a4 Rh6 18. Rb1 Rff6 19. h4 Rfg6 20. Qh3 Nc8 21. Bb2 Rh5 22. a5 Ne7 23. Nf3 Rgh6 24. g3 Rg6 25. Bc3 Qc8 26. Qxc8+ Nxc8 27. Kh2 b6 28. Kh3 fxg3 29. fxg3 1-0

Source: Brooklyn Eagle, July 25, 1929, p. 26

The following four game scores are courtesy of Andy Ansel and taken from Reinfeld’s notebooks.

Milton Hanauer–Fred Reinfeld
New York 1929

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Bd2 Be6 7. Nf3 h6 8. O-O Qd7 9. Nd5 Nd8 10. Ba5 Bxd5 11. cxd5 Ne7 12. d4 e4 13. Ne1 f5 14. f3 Nxd5 15. Nc2 exf3 16. Rxf3 Nf6 17. Re3+ Kf7 18. d5 Ng4 19. Re6 Qb5 20. Qd2 Nxe6 21. dxe6+ Ke7 22. Nd4 Bxd4+ 23. Qxd4 Qxa5 24. Qg7+ Kxe6 25. Qxg6+ Nf6 26. e4 Raf8 27. Qg7 Nxe4 0-1

Source: Reinfeld’s notebooks

Fred Reinfeld–Milton Hanauer
New York 1929

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 Nge7 6. O-O O-O 7. d3 d6 8. Bd2 h6 9. Nd5 Nxd5 10. cxd5 Ne7 11. Ne1 c6 12. dxc6 bxc6 13. Qc1 Rb8 14. Rb1 Nf5 15. Nc2 c5 16. e4 Nd4 17. Nxd4 cxd4 18. Bxh6 Ba6 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qd2 Qd7 21.f4 Qb5 22. Rf3 Qb4 23. Qf2 f5 24. exf5 Bb7 25. fxe5 Bxf3 26. f6+ Kh7 27. Bxf3 dxe5 28. Be4 Rb6 29. g4 Rfxf6 30. Qh4+ Kg8 31. Bd5+ Kf8 32. Qh8+ Ke7 33. Rc1 Qd6 34. Rc8 Qd7 35. Bg2 Rxb2 36. Qg7+ Ke6 37. Bd5+ Qxd5 38. Re8+ Kd6 39. Rd8+ Ke6 40. Qg8+ Rf7 41. Qe8+ Kf6 42. Rxd5 Re2 43. Rd8 Rxa2 44. g5+ 1-0

Source: Reinfeld’s notebooks

Frank Marshall–Fred Reinfeld
New York 1929

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. e3 Nf6 4. d4 d6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Be2 Be7 7. h3 Bf5 8. d5 Nb8 9. O-O h6 10. b4 g5 11. Nh2 h5 12. e4 Nxe4 13. Nxe4 Bxe4 14. Bxh5 Qd7 15. Re1 Bf5 16. Nf1 Na6 17. Ng3 Bh7 18. Qf3 Rf8 19. Qa3 O-O-O 20. b5 Nb8 21. Qxa7 f5 22. a4 c6 23. Bd2 f4 24. a5 g4 25. Qa8 b6 26. axb6 1-0

Source: Reinfeld’s notebooks

Fred Reinfeld–Frank Perkins
New York 1929

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 g6 4. d3 Bg7 5. e3 Nge7 6. a3 O-O 7. Be2 d5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Bd2 Nce7 10. Rc1 c6 11. b4 Nxc3 12. Bxc3 Qd6 13. e4 Bg4 14. h3 Bxf3 15. Bxf3 Rad8 16. Be2 f5 17. O-O h5 18. Qb3+ Kh7 19. Qb2 f4 20. f3 g5 21. Rfd1 Ng6 22. Rd2 Rf7 23. Rcd1 Rfd7 24. Bf1 Qc7 25. Kh1 Qb6 26. a4 a6 27. Kh2 Bf6 28. Kh1 Kg7 29. Rb1 g4 30. b5 cxb5 31. axb5 Qe3 32. Ba5 b6 33. Re2 Qxd3 34. Bxb6 gxf3 35. Ree1 fxg2+ 36. Qxg2 f3 37. Qxg6+ Kxg6 38. Bxd3 Rb8 39. Rg1+ Kh7 40. bxa6 Rxd3 41. a7 Ra8 42. Bf2 Rd7 43. Ra1 Rd2 44. Rgf1 Re2 45. Rab1 0-1

Source: Reinfeld’s notebooks

4) Here and there

Bay Area youth have a national scholastic tournament coming up soon in their own back yard.

February 28 - March 1, 2015

WHEN: 2/28 - 3/1/2015

WHERE: San Mateo Event Center – Free parking provided by the organizers
1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo, CA 94403

Go to for more information.

5) This is the end

In the game Sherwood–Uzzaman, the following position arose:

White to move

In the game, White played 57 Kc2, but suppose White had instead played 57 Rxb4 Kxb4, to give this position:

White to move

Is this still a win for White, or can Black draw?

Show solution


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