Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #701
February 27, 2015

Carlsen is a psychologist. He understands a secret of chess—that sometimes, however well you play and calculate, if a freak, brilliant tactic ruins your position, you’re dead. So he’s always in control—he’ll first prevent your counterplay, and then go about improving his position. Of course, when he’s pushed against the wall, particularly with Black, he can just as easily enter unexpected complications, but no more than he needs to. He doesn’t try to play the best move in the position, but the best move against the opponent. At the same time, he does whatever needs to be done—never getting hung up on the emotional aspects of the position such as its aesthetics, or how the position was two moves back.

—GM Parimarjan Negi, New in Chess 2015 issue #1

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliott Winslow’s performance at the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon showed that at 62 years old he still possesses plenty of “chesstosterone”. His win over Oleg Shakhnazarov in round eight of the event gave him clear first with a score of 7–1, good for $750. Elliott’s wins over national masters Tenzing Shaw, Uyanga Byambaa and Josiah Stearman pushed his rating back over 2300 USCF.

Shaw was second with 6½ points, good for $500, while Byambaa, FIDE Master Andy Lee, Natalya Tsodikova and Igor Traub tied for third at 6–2.

The Winter Tuesday Night Marathon set an attendance record with 121 entries. The Spring TNM starts March 17.

From round 8 of the Winter Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Byambaa–Askin after 27...Qd7)White to move (Klinetobe–Campers after 9...bxc6)
Black to move (Bayaraa–Drane after 19 d5)Black to move (Hakobyan–Ho after 38 Re4)
Black to move (Sherwood–Gupta after 15 Qf3)Black to move (Poling–McKellar after 23 Ng1)
Black to move (Montoya–Stuetzel after 16 f3)For the solutions, see the game scores (when available) for round 8.

It’s safe to say almost all blitz chess today is played online, but that didn’t stop the Stephen Brandwein Memorial Blitz from attracting 76 chess players to the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club of San Francisco on March 21. Among those participating were six Grandmasters and six International Masters, making this one of the stronger and larger stand-alone (not connected with another event like a US or National Open) blitz tournaments ever held outside New York City.

The winner of the six double-round Swiss (opponents played each other as both Black and White), played at a time control of 4 minutes a side plus two-second increment, was 2014 Tromso Olympiad gold medal winner Sam Shankland, who scored 10½ from 12. He took home $400 for his efforts.

Other prize-winners:

2. IM Ray Kaufman 10
3-4. GM Batchuluun Tsegmed and NM Andrew Boekhoff
5-7. GMs Daniel Naroditsky and Walter Browne, IM Vladimir Mezentsev 9

The success of the event was made possible by the generous donation of $500 to the prize fund by former MI Chess Director Jim Eade, honoring Stephen Brandwein. Steve, rated in the top 50 players in the United States in the mid-1960s and a USCF 2600-strength blitz player in his prime, was in attendance. Jim’s gift kept the entry fee at a very affordable $10 for the four-hour event, which offered book prizes to all participants, but no class prizes.

A crosstable of the event can be found at

Photos of the event can be found on the homepage of Chessdryad at

The Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club, the nation’s oldest, founded in 1854, will host the 9th Annual Ray Schutt Memorial Blitz on May 3rd. Go to for more information.

Jules Jelinek, director of the Mechanics’ Wednesday Night Blitz, reports the results for February 18.

1st – Arthur Ismakov
2nd – Jules Jelinek
3rd – Daniel Lagrotta and Brett Koonce

2) Max Euwe in Northern California, by Patsy D’Eramo, Jr.

While looking for the Grefe–Martz game from the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Room Newsletter for 30 January 2015, I came across a couple of games Max Euwe played in a Simul on 25 July 1976 from the Fremont Argus.


In addition to complimentary wine for the players and a Las Vegas Fun Chess tournament conducted by USCF President George Koltanowski, this year’s Paul Masson Championships featured the honored presence of former world champion and FIDE President Max Euwe, 75, who delivered a brief address and gave a simultaneous exhibition, winning 20 games, drawing two (with Mike Arne, 1553, Castro Valley, and Jerry Rogers, 1700, Hayward), and losing one (against Tom Pastusak, 1740, a 20-year-old senior chemical engineering student at U.C. Berkeley).

Benko Gambit A57
Saratoga (simul) 1976

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. Nc3 g6 6. e4 d6 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. Be2 axb5 9. Bxb5+ Nbd7 10. O-O O-O 11. Re1 Qb6 12. Nd2 Ne5 13. Nc4 Nxc4 14. Bxc4 Nd7 15. Qb3 Qd8 16. Bf4 Rb8 17. Qc2 Ne5 18. Bxe5 Bxe5 19. Rab1 f5 20. Bd3 f4 21. f3 Qe8 22. a4 g5 23. Nb5 Qh5 24. h3 Kh8 25. b4 cxb4 26. Rxb4 Rg8 27. Bf1 g4 28. fxg4 Bxg4 29. hxg4 Rxg4 30. Rc4 f3 31. Rc8+ Kg7 32. Kf2 Rxb5 33. gxf3 Qh2+ 34. Ke3 Qf4+ 35. Ke2 Rb2 36. fxg4 Rxc2+ 37. Rxc2 Qxe4+ 38. Kd1 Qxd5+ 39. Kc1 Bf4+ 40. Kb1 e5 41. Bb5 Qb3+ 42. Rb2 Qa3 43. Rd1 e4 44. Rf1 Be5 45. Rbf2 e3 46.Re2 Qa1+ 0-1

French Defense C06
Saratoga (simul) 1976

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. Bd3 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ne2 Be7 8. O-O f5 9. Nf4 Nb6 10. Qh5+ Kd7 11. Nxe6 Qe8 12. Qh3 Qf7 13. Bxf5 Ke8 14. Nc7+ Kd8 15. Nxa8 Nxa8 16. Bxc8 1-0

3) Harvard–U.C. Berkeley Correspondence 1927

The following game was played by correspondence between the chess organizations of Harvard and the University of California. The East and West broke even in a match of two games and as many years.

French Defense C01
Harvard–UC Berkeley
Correspondence 1927

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd3 dxe4 5.Bxe4 Nf6 6.Bg5 c5 7.Qf3 cxd4 8.0-0-0 e5 9.Bxb7Bxb7 10.Qxb7 Qb6 11.Qxa8 Bxc3 12.bxc3 dxc3 13.Re1 0-0 14.Qf3 Qb2+ 15.Kd1 Rd8+ 16.Ke2 Qb5+ 17.Qd3 Rxd3 18.cxd3 e4 0-1

Source: Christian Science Monitor, November 26, 1929, p.16.

Sicilian Taimanov B43
UC Berkeley–Harvard
Correspondence 1927

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0-0 b5 8.Bf3 e5 9.Nf5 d6 10.Bg5 Nbd7 11.Qd2 h6 12.Be3 Nc5 13.Rad1 Nb7 14.Be2 g5 15.g3 Be6 16.f4 gxf4 17.gxf4 b4 18.Na4 Nxe4 19.Qxb4 Bxf5 20.Nb6 Qxc2 21.Bf3 d5 22.Qe1 d4 23.Bf2 Rd8 24.Rc1 Qd3 25.Bg2 Rg8 26.Kh1 Rxg2 0-1

Source: Christian Science Monitor, December 10, 1929, p.17

4) This is the end

This is one of the most famous studies of all time, composed by Richard Réti, with contributions from Arthur Mandler and Henri Rinck. It looks simple, but is diabolically clever. Try to work it through completely before looking at the solution.

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.