Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #712
July 10, 2015

Q: What do grandmasters talk to each other about when they have some free time?

A: It depends on their interests. Younger ones discuss computer games and their twitter activities. I tend to minimize my communication and generally talk to my coach. I do that in order not to be under somebody’s negative influence and avoid bad emotions. I try to communicate with nice people. Grandmasters talk about everything. You speak what is important for you. Sometimes you just can’t say a word as you are really tired. After a game that lasts for seven hours you can only return to your hotel room and lie on the bed. You eat something, take a walk and that’s it, you go to bed.

—Boris Gelfand. For the complete interview go to

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

Elliott Winslow continues to lead the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon with a round to go. The 63-year-old International Master has 6½ from 7. Expert James Sun, who is having an excellent tournament, is alone in second with 6 points, followed by Experts Natalya Tsodikova, Igor Traub and Aniruddha Basak on 5½.

From round 7 of the Summer Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Kondakov–Porlares after 34...Qxc8)White to move (McKellar–Robertson after 13...Nc4)
Black to move (Nassif–Lagrotta after 17 a3)White to move (Eastham–Simpkins after 20...Nf8)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 7.

The 15th Annual Mechanics’ Institute Chess Camp for Advanced Players starts next Monday and runs the entire week. Held between 10 am and 4 pm daily, the staff of instructors includes three-time U.S. Champion Nick de Firmian, Grandmaster John Fedorowicz and International Master Elliott Winslow. Go to for more information on this camp, which is open to players of all ages and features small classes with expert instructors.

Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky is tied for first after seven rounds in the 412-player 35th Benasque Open, with a 6–1 score.

Congratulations to Cameron Wheeler, who made his first International Master norm in the 3rd D.C. International held June 25-30 in Arlington, Virginia.

The Southern California State Championship will take place on July 9–12 in Beverly Hills. Here is the official list of competitors:

IM Jack Peters
IM Keaton Kiewra
IM John Bryant
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan
FM Michael Brown
FM Konstantin Kavutskiy
FM Alexander Kretchetov
NM Ilya Serpik

The weekend of July 11 and 12 the Mechanics’ will feature a double-header, with the 15th Annual Charles Bagby Memorial G/45 on Saturday and the Tony Lama Blitz on Sunday. Details for the latter are as follows:

When: Sunday, July 12 (1–5 pm)

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

Format: Six double-round Swiss (12 games)

Time Control: 4 minutes with two-second increment

Registration: Noon to 12:45 pm.

Prizes: $650 guaranteed
1st - $300
2nd - $200
3rd - $100
Top under 2000 - $50

There will be book prizes for all participants.

Entry Fee: $10. Free to IMs, GMs, WIMs and WGMs.

2) Aaron Stearns

National Master Aaron Stearns of Santa Clara, who died on June 29, was one of the top junior players in the United States in 1983, narrowly missing qualification for the U.S. Junior Closed with his 2326 rating.

Aaron’s best result was his tie for first in the 2001 Bay Area Masters, where he shared top honors with Senior Master Vladimir Mezentsev and National Master Adrian Keatinge-Clay. Aaron showed his character by bouncing back from his result at the Linklater Memorial (0–10) earlier in the year. Starting off with a draw with NM Mark Pinto, Aaron then defeated Mezentsev, took a half-point bye, beat Keatinge-Clay, drew NM Mauro Casadei and finished off with a win over International Master Walter Shipman, for a performance rating of around 2550 USCF.

Aaron had many friends in the Bay Area chess community and was generous in supporting those in need. Among them was the late Alan Benson.

3) San Francisco-Los Angeles Telegraph Matches 1915-16

San Francisco and Los Angeles played many telegraph matches before the increasing popularity of the automobile made face to face North-South matches in central locations like San Luis Obispo or Fresno feasible.

John Blackstone, and Eduardo Bauza Mercere later, uncovered several games from the 1915 and 1916 matches that include many well-known names in Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club history including the famous problem composer and chess master A.J. Fink, the first M.I. Chess Club Director (Arthur Stamer) and E. J. Clarke, who had a long-running chess column in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Queen’s Gambit D37
Marcus Woodward–A.J. Fink
San Francisco v. Los Angeles Telegraph Match 1915

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. a3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. Nc3 O-O 6. e3 c5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. b4 Be7 9. Bb2 a5 10. cxd5 axb4 11. axb4 Rxa1 12. Qxa1 Bxb4 13. dxe6 Ne4 14. exf7+ Kh8 15. Bc4 Qf6 16. O-O Bxc3 17. Qa3 Nd7 18. Nd4 Bxb2 19. Qxb2 Nd6 20. Ba2 Nxf7 21. Bb1 Nde5 22. Qc2 g6 23. f4 Ng4 24. Qc3 Bd7 25. Qb4 Nd8 26. h3 Nh6 27. g4 Ng8 28. e4 Nc6 29. Nxc6 Bxc6 30. g5 Qg7 31. h4 Rd8 32. f5 gxf5 33. Rxf5 Qd4+ 34. Qxd4+ Rxd4 35. Kf2 Rb4 36. Bd3 Bxe4 37. Bxe4 Rxe4 38. h5 Kg7 39. Rb5 Re7 40. Rb6 Rd7 41. h6+ Kf7 42. g6+ hxg6 43. h7 Kg7 44. hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 45. Rxg6+ Kf7 ½–½

Source: Sunday Oregonian, January 23, 1916

QGD Semi-Slav D45
Marcus Woodward–Arthur Stamer
San Francisco v. Los Angeles Telegraph Match 1916

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. c4 c6 5. Nc3 Bd6 6. Qc2 Nbd7 7. e4 dxe4 8. Nxe4 Nxe4 9. Qxe4 Nf6 10. Qc2 O-O 11. a3 Re8 12. Bd3 e5 13. dxe5 Bg4 14. O-O Bxe5 15. Nxe5 Rxe5 16. b4 h6 17. Bb2 Re8 18. f3 Be6 19. Rad1 Qe7 20. Qc3 a5 21. Rfe1 axb4 22. axb4 Red8 23. f4 Qc7 24. f5 Bd7 25. Rf1 Ra2 26. Rf3 c5 27. Rg3 Qb6 28. Qxf6 1–0

Source: Los Angeles Times, September 10, 1916

QGD Slav D15
Ernest Clarke–Robert Griffith
San Francisco v. Los Angeles Telegraph Match 1916

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 Bf5 5. Qb3 b6 6. Bf4 e6 7. e3 Bd6 8. Ne5 O-O 9. Be2 dxc4 10. Qxc4 Nd5 11. Bg3 Nb4 12. e4 Nc2+ 13. Kd2 b5 14. Qd3 Nb4 15. Qe3 Bc5 16. Kc1 Bxd4 17. Qd2 Bxe5 18. Qxd8 Rxd8 19. Bxe5 Bg6 20. h4 f6 21. Bg3 N8a6 22. h5 Bf7 23. a3 Nd3+ 24. Kc2 Ndc5 25. b4 Nd7 26. Rad1 e5 27. Rd6 Rac8 28. Rhd1 Nab8 29. Bg4 Be8 30. Kb2 c5 31. Nxb5 cxb4 32. axb4 a6 33. Nc3 Kf8 34. f4 ½–½

Source: American Chess Bulletin,11/1916, p. 216

Evans Gambit C51
Stasch Mlotkowski–Elmer Gruer
San Francisco v. Los Angeles Telegraph Match 1916

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bb6 5. b5 Na5 6. Nxe5 Nh6 7. d4 d6 8. Bxh6 gxh6 9. Nxf7 Qf6 10. Nxh8 Nxc4 11. c3 Be6 12. O-O O-O-O 13. a4 Rxh8 14. Nd2 Nxd2 15. Qxd2 Ba5 16. f4 Rg8 17. f5 Bc4 18. Rf2 Re8 19. Qe3 Bd5 20. Rf4 Qg5 21. h4 Qf6 22. Qd3 Bf7 23. g3 Rg8 24. Kh2 h5 25. Rd1 Rd8 26. Qe3 Re8 27. Re1 Qe7 28. e5 dxe5 29. dxe5 Bb6 30. Qe4 Rf8 31. e6 Be8 32. Kh3 c6 33. c4 Bc7 34. Rf3 Qf6 35. Qe3 Rg8 36. Qxa7 ½–½

Source: American Chess Bulletin, 11/1916, p. 217

Ruy Lopez C80
Gerald Branch–Everett Perry
San Francisco v. Los Angeles Telegraph Match 1916

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5 8. dxe5 Be6 9. Nbd2 Nc5 10. Re1 Be7 11. c3 Nxb3 12. Nxb3 O-O 13. Nbd4 Nxd4 14. Nxd4 Qd7 15. Qf3 c5 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Qg4 c4 18. Be3 Rf5 19. Rad1 Raf8 20. f4 Qc6 21. g3 Bc5 22. Bd4 Bxd4+ 23. Rxd4 a5 24. Qd1 R5f7 25. Qc2 Rb7 26. Rd2 Rfb8 27. Kg2 b4 28. h4 b3 29. axb3 Rxb3 30. Qb1 d4+ 31. Qe4 Qxe4+ 32. Rxe4 dxc3 33. bxc3 Rxc3 34. Ra2 h5 35. Rxa5 Rb2+ 36. Kf1 Rf3+ 37. Ke1 Rxg3 38. Re2 c3 39. Ra2 Rxa2 40. Rxa2 Kf7 41. Kf2 Rh3 42. Ra7+ Kg6 43. Rc7 0–1

Source: American Chess Bulletin, 11/1916, p. 217

Ruy Lopez C75
Gibbs–A.J. Fink
San Francisco v. Los Angeles Telegraph Match 1916

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 d6 5. c3 Bd7 6. O-O Be7 7. d4 Bf6 8. Be3 Nge7 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. d5 Nb8 11. Bc2 Kh8 12. Ne1 Ng6 13. Qh5 Qe7 14. Rd1 a5 15. f4 Nxf4 16. Bxf4 exf4 17. Rxf4 g6 18. Qe2 Be5 19. Rf2 Bc8 20. Qc4 Bg4 21. Ndf3 Bf4 22. h3 Bc8 23. Qd4+ f6 24. Nh2 Be5 25. Qc4 b6 26. b4 axb4 27. cxb4 Ra7 28. Nd3 b5 29. Qxb5 Bd4 30. Qc4 Bxf2+ 31. Nxf2 Nd7 32. Nhg4 Ne5 33. Nxe5 fxe5 34. a4 Qh4 35. Rf1 Qf4 36. b5 Bd7 37. Bd3 Qe3 38. Bc2 Rf7 39. Qd3 Qb6 40. Qg3 Ra8 41. Re1 Raf8 42. Re2 Qd4 43. Qh4 Qa1+ ½–½

Source: American Chess Bulletin, 11/1916, p. 217

4) This is the end

This one is from a game.

Black to move

Those advanced black pawns look dangerous, but White has both promotion squares covered. How should Black proceed?

Show solution


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