Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #715
August 14, 2015

I became enamored with chess at a very young age. You have sort of a whole world inside your head of the pieces. The board becomes a prop—the players stare at the board, but it’s almost incidental.

It’s a very intellectual pleasure. It’s just not accessible to people who don’t understand the games.

—Grandmaster James Tarjan, quoted in an article by John Schlander
in the Greenville Argus-Record, July 6, 1983.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliott Winslow and FIDE Master James Critelli are among those with perfect scores after two rounds of the Leighton Allen Tuesday Night Marathon. It is still possible to enter the 86-player nine round event with half point byes for the first two rounds.

From round 2 of the Leighton Allen Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Grey–Wong after 17 Qc6)White to move (Kokesh–Babayan after 7...h6)
Black to move (Porlares–Allen after 23 Qa4)White to move (Handler–Brown after 19...Ne5)
Black to move (Hilliard–Kuczek after 28 Nd2)White to move (Furukawa–Ayinala after 20...Bc6)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 2.

A memorial for six-time U.S. Chess Champion Walter Browne will be held on Saturday, August 15, from 1 to 4 pm. Light refreshments will be served. All are invited to pay their respects. Those planning to attend are encouraged to RSVP the Mechanics’ Chess Club at

Grandmaster Timur Gareev will give a free lecture at the Mechanics’ Chess Club on Tuesday, September 1, from 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm. All are welcome to attend.

Congratulations to Andy Lee of Berkeley, who is the Bay Area’s newest Senior Master (2400 USCF) after his win at the Hans Poschmann Memorial held in Fremont July 25–26.

Daniel Naroditsky won the Politiken Cup Blitz, defeating Grandmasters Sergey Grigoriants and Gawain Jones by 2–0 scores in the final two rounds to take home the $750 first prize.

2) Walter Browne and Finesse

Walter Browne was one of the great games players of his generation. His chess and poker skills need no recounting, but Walter was also a strong backgammon player and quite competitive at Scrabble. He also invented his own game, Finesse, something he was working on as early as 1991 and possibly before. What will happen to the game with Walter’s passing is unclear.

Bay Area chess player Matthias Grabiak, who did much to help Walter with Finesse, writes:

Sadly, I had just finished a prototype for a site that allows playing Finesse online, see (feel free to check it out) and Walter was starting to check it out. He told me he wanted to challenge a friend to a game, but it looks like he never got to that. In addition to the interactive site I also started to develop a standalone program. At this stage it can be used to record games.

I also created all 5 piece tablebases—they take more space than the tables for chess, and I also have not added any compression to make them smaller. The stand-alone program can be used to analyze endgames with 5 or fewer pieces, it will tell you if it is a win, draw or loss, how far away it is from mate, and what the best moves are, either shortest number of moves to mate, longest number of moves to avoid made, or moves to maintain a draw. I was able to share a few interesting positions with Walter, and he was quite interested to see these results. It probably showed him things about Finesse he did not know.

3) Here and There

Washington FIDE Master William Schill was the surprise winner of the 20th Pacific Coast Open held mid-July in Southern California. The 58-year-old Schill, Washington State Champion in 2000 and 2001, showed that chess is not only a game for kids as he won the 221-player event scoring 5 from 6 with wins over International Master Kesav Viswanadha and 2354 rated Albert Lu and draws with Grandmaster Enrico Sevillano and Senior Master Tatev Abrahamyan.

Bay Area chess historian and noted chess-book collector Robert Moore, who first joined the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club in the 1950s, writes:

Harper’s Magazine, volume LXXVI, December, 1887, to May, 1880, contained on pages 621–624, Henry Sedney’s “Chess in America”. It shows portraits of Morphy and Mackenzie and lots of other historical information.

Chess players used to airport hotels will have the opportunity to play in quite another venue this fall. The 2015 Sioux Falls Open on September 26–27 will be held at the Great Plains Zoo. Organized by De Knudson and directed by Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky, the tournament features over $2000 in prizes with only a $20 entry fee (which includes admission to the zoo). Go to for more details.

International Master Anthony Saidy, 78-years young, tied for second in the U.S. Open Game/15 Championship held in Phoenix on August 5. The event was won by Grandmaster Alex Lenderman.

Andy Ansel and Fred Wilson pass along two lost games of Igor Ivanov found in a notebook of the late Bruce Albertston.

QGD Tarrasch D34
Igor Ivanov–Bruce Albertston
New York (World Open) round 2, 1982

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.0–0 0–0 9.Be3 c4 10.Ne5 Be6 11.Nxc4 dxc4 12.d5 Bd7 13.dxc6 Bxc6 14.Bxc6 bxc6 15.Qa4 Nd5 16.Rfd1 Qb8 17.Bd4 Nxc3 18.Bxc3 Qb5 19.Qc2 Rfd8 20.Qe4 Bf6 21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Rdc1 Qxb2 23.Qg4+ Kf8 24.Qxc4 Rd6 25.Rcb1 Qe5 26.Rb7 Re6 27.Rd1 Rae8 28.e3 R8e7 29.Rd8+ Kg7 30.Rxe7 Rxe7 31.Qg4+ Qg5 32.Qc8 Qc5 33.Rg8+ Kh6 34.Qf8+ Kh5 35.g4+ 1–0

Source: Albertston notebook

QGD Tarrasch D32
Igor Ivanov–Bruce Albertston
New York (Bar Point) round 3, September 1980

1.c4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e3 c5 4.b3 Nf6 5.Bb2 Be7 6.cxd5 exd5 7.d4 0–0 8.Be2 Nc6 9.dxc5 Bxc5 10.0–0 Be6 11.Nc3 Qe7 12.Nb5 Ne4 13.Rc1 Rac8 14.Nfd4 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 Ba3 16.Rxc8 Rxc8 17.Qa1 Bxb2 18.Qxb2 Qc5 19.f3 Qc3 20.Qxc3 Nxc3 21.Kf2 Nxe2 22.Kxe2 Kf8 23.Kd2 Ke7 24.g4 Bd7 25.h4 g6 26.Rh1 h6 27.a4 a6 28.g5 hxg5 29.hxg5 Kd6 30.Rh4 Ke7 31.Ne2 Bf5 32.Rb4 Rc2+ 33.Kd1 Rc7 34.Rb6 Bc8 35.Nf4 Rd7 36.Kd2 Rd6 37.Kc3 d4+ 38.exd4 Rxb6 39.Nd5+ Kd6 40.Nxb6 Be6 41.a5 Kc6 42.b4 Kd6 43.Kd3 Bf5+ 44.Kc4 Bh3 45.d5 Bg2 46.f4 1–0

Source: Albertston notebook

4) This is the end

A study in Black and White.

White to move

Show solution


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