Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #723
October 23, 2015

It is an interesting question - why do so many players play the King’s Indian? Probably because it is easy to describe to students how to play it. ‘On the kingside your pieces stand close together. You advance them a little and castle your king. Then make a couple of pawn moves in the center, when your position is exactly the one Fischer used to have, and you need fear no one!’ But what the trainers and their young pupils forget is that Bobby Fischer, apart from his knowledge of the King’s Indian, also possessed the rare talent of understanding chess! - and this is a gift that God does not give to everyone!

—Viktor Korchnoi - Victor Korchnoi’s My Best Games Vol. 1, page 66

International Master Emory Tate died on October 17 while playing in the GM Sam Shankland Championship in Santa Clara. We will have an obituary in the next Newsletter.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

International Master Elliott Winslow and National Masters James Critelli, Uyanga Byambaa and Keith Vickers are the top seeds in the 85-player Fall Tuesday Night Marathon. The first round of action saw many upsets, with Asher Dan Eastham, David Smith and Enkhjin Gomboluudev defeating opponents that out-rated them by more than 500 points.

It’s still possible to join the nine-round Fall Tuesday Night Marathon with a half-point bye for round one. The event is both USCF- and FIDE-rated.

From round 1 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Rakonitz–Walder after 13 f3)White to move (Kuczek–Askin after 12...h5)
White to move (Robertson–Steger after 10...Nxe4)Black to move (Rudyak–Eastham after 15 Bg2)
Black to move (Askin–Gomboluudev after 36 Rb3)Black to move (Otterbach–Delaney after 20 f3)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 1.

Kevin Kuczek, who gained nearly one hundred rating points in the last TNM, nearly pulled off a big upset himself Tuesday night.

Note: the following game can be viewed in PGN by going to and clicking on round one under Fall TNM.

Caro Kann B18
Kevin Kuczek (1705)–Michael Askin (2097)
Fall TNM (1) 2015

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.Nf3 Nd7 7.Bd3 e6 8.0–0 Ngf6 9.c4 Bd6 10.b3 Qc7 11.Bb2 Bxd3

11...0–0 is the normal move here. Black isn’t afraid of White trading on g6, as after a later break with ...e5 the pawn on g6 denies White’s knight on g3 access to f5.

12.Qxd3 h5?

If Black wanted a more double-edged game a better way to achieve it was with the immediate 12...0–0–0.


White could have exploited the artificial nature of Black’s last move with the energetic 13.d5! cxd5 14.cxd5 Nxd5 (14...exd5 15.Rac1 Qb8 (15...Qb6) 16.Rfe1+ Kf8 17.Nf5) 15.Rac1 Qa5 16.Bxg7 with a large advantage.

13...Nxe4 14.Qxe4 Nf6 15.Qe2 0–0–0 16.Rfc1 Bf4 17.Rc2 Rh6?

17...h4 was much better.

18.g3! Bd6 19.c5! Be7 20.Bc1! Rhh8 21.Bf4

By a series of fine moves White has achieved a winning position, due to Black’s vulnerable king.


Forced, as 21...Qd7 22.Qe5 wins on the spot.


22.Ne5! Rxd4 (22...Rhf8 23.Nxf7) 23.Nxf7 Re4 24.Qd1 Rf8 25.Nd6+ Bxd6 26.Qxd6 Nd7 27.Rd2 Rf7 28.Rad1 would have won, with no effective way for Black to vary, but the text is also good.

22...Qa4 23.Rb2

23.Ne5 Rxd4 24.Nxf7 Re4 25.Qd3 was much more forceful.

23...Nd5 24.Bd2

24.Ne5 Nxf4 25.gxf4, and Black has no good answer to Nxf7.

24...a6 25.Ne5!

White has found the right plan, although it is not quite as dangerous as before.


25...Bf6 was a better try, although 26.Nxf7 Bxd4 27.Bg5 Rdf8 28.Nxh8 Rxh8 29.Rab1 Bxb2 30.Qxb2 still leaves White in control.

26.Nxf7 Rhg8 27.Qxe6+ Kb8 28.Ne5 Re8 29.Nc4?

29.Qg6 was the simple way, moving the queen out of danger, but 29.b5! was the pretty road to victory: 29...axb5 (29...Qxd4 30.Rab1; 29...Bxc5 30.Nxc6+) 30.Nxc6+.


Now Black is back in the game.

30.Qf7 Ref8 31.Qd7?

31.Qxg8 Rxg8 32.dxc5, with enough compensation for the queen, was obligatory.




32.Qxd8+ Rxd8 33.dxc5

32...Bxd4! 33.Nd6 Rxd6 34.Qxg8+ Ka7 35.Rab1 Bxb2 36.Rxb2 Qd1+ 37.Kg2 Qg4

37...Qa1 38.Rc2 Qe5 39.Kg1 Qe4 40.Rc1 Ne7, with a double attack on g8 and d2, could be found only by a computer.


38.Qh7 had to be played.

38...Re6! 39.Qf8 Rf6 40.Be3+

40.Qc5+ b6 41.Qc1 Qf3+.

40...Nxe3+ 0–1

Michael’s brother David was not so lucky. In the following game his opponent, 12-year-old Enkhjin (Cindy) Gomboluudev, rattled off 13 moves of theory (note—1400-players are not what they used to be) before varying from the theoretical 14…c4 or 14…h6 with 14…Be7, which looks quite playable.

David met the novelty with the exciting, but probably not quite sound, piece sacrifice 15.Nxb5. Black did not accept the offer (15…axb5) and soon found herself in a difficult position. White was winning near the end, but blundered into a checkmate in mutual time pressure.

QGD Meran D48
David Askin (1974)–Enkhjin Gomboluudev, 1416)
Fall TNM (1) 2015

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.0–0 a6 10.e4 c5 11.d5 Qc7 12.dxe6 fxe6 13.Ng5 Qc6 14.Qe2 Be7 15.Nxb5? h6? 16.Nc7+ Qxc7 17.Nxe6 Qc6 18.Nxg7+ Kd8 19.Nf5 Bf8 20.f3 Ne5 21.Bc2 Kc7 22.Bf4 Re8 23.Rac1 Kc8 24.Rfd1 Nh5 25.Be3 Qb5 26.Qe1 Qxb2 27.Bb3 c4 28.Bxc4 Nxc4 29.Rxc4+ Kb8 30.Qa5 Ba3 31.Qc7+ Ka8 32.Ra4 Qb5 33.Rxa3 Rc8 34.Qf7 Rhd8 35.Rf1 Rc2 36.Rb3 Qxf1+ 0–1

The Mechanics’ entry in the US Chess League is currently in fourth place in the 10-team Western Division with a score of 5 from 9. Next Wednesday evening it finishes its regular season against the Rio Grande Ospreys, with a playoff spot on the line.

Jules Jelinek, Weekly Wednesday Night Blitz Coordinator, writes:

Wednesday Night Blitz at the club (Mechanics’ Institute) continues without interruption until Thanksgiving. Sign-up is at 6:30; round one at 6:40 pm. Late entries are accepted.

Results for 9/30
1st – Jules Jelinek
2nd - Arthur Ismakov
3rd – Bryan Doyle

Results for 10/7
1st – Arthur Ismakov
2nd - Jules Jelinek
3rd – Michael Askin

Results for October 14
1st – IM Elliott Winslow
2nd – Jules Jelinek
3rd – David Flores

Grandmaster Sam Shankland gave a well-received lecture last Tuesday night at the MICC.

Congratulations to Grandmaster Jesse Kraai and Womens’ Grandmaster Tatev Abrahamyan, who tied for first in the Western States Open in Reno last weekend, with Jesse winning the playoff. The Mechanics’ won the top scoring team prize in the event, organized and directed by Fran and Jerry Weikel.

Good luck to Mechanics’ US Chess League team members Cameron Wheeler and Rayan Tagizadeh, who are playing in the 2015 World Youth Championships in Greece. They will be joined by MI Grandmaster-in-Residence Nick de Firmian, who will serve as one of the US coaches.

Former MI member Grandmaster James Tarjan, now living in Portland, scored a very competitive 5 from 9 in The Isle of Man International Chess Tournament, sponsored by PokerStars, earlier this month.

Here is a fighting win played near the end of the tournament.

Ruy Lopez C77
Ticia Gara–James Tarjan
Isle of Man (7) 2015

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Nbd2 O-O 9. Re1 Nh5 10. Nf1 Kh8 11. Bg5 Qe8 12. d4 h6 13. Be3 Bd7 14. dxe5 dxe5 15. Qd2 Kh7 16. Bc5 Rg8 17. Ne3 b6 18. Ba3 Nf4 19. Nd5 Ne6 20. Bxc6 Bxc6 21. Ne7 Rd8 22. Qe2 Rh8 23. Nxc6 Qxc6 24. Qxa6 Rd7 25. g3 Rhd8 26. Qe2 Qa4 27. Rac1 Rd3 28. Nd4 exd4 29. Qxd3 dxc3 30. Qc2 Qa8 31. Red1 Nd4 32. Qd3 c5 33. bxc3 Ne6 34. Qf3 Ng5 35. Qg4 Qxa3 36. h4 Ne6 37. h5 Ng5 38. hxg6+ fxg6 39. Rxd8 Qxc1+ 40. Kg2 Qxc3 41. Rd6 b5 42. Qe2 Qe5 43. Rd5 Qe7 44. f3 b4 45. Qc4 Qf6 46. Qe2 Ne6 47. e5 Qf5 48. Qd3 Qxd3 49. Rxd3 Nd4 50. f4 h5 51. Kf2 Kg8 52. Ke3 Kf7 53. Ke4 Ke6 54. g4 hxg4 55. Rg3 Nf5 56. Rxg4 Ne7 57. Rg1 Bf8 58. Rg2 c4 59. Kd4 c3 60. Ke4 Kf7 61. Kd3 Nf5 62. Rh2 Ke6 63. Rh8 Kf7 64. Rh7+ Ng7 65. Rh2 Ne6 66. Ke4 Bc5 67. Rh7+ Ke8 68. Rh1 Kd7 69. Rf1 Nd4 70. Kd3 Kc6 71. Rg1 Kd5 72. Rxg6 c2 73. Kd2 b3 74. axb3 Bb4+ 0-1

The third and final article in former M.I. member Jeremy Silman’s Cracked Grandmaster Tales series makes for an entertaining read. It can be found at

2) A chess poem by Dennis Fritzinger

pity has no place on the chessboard

I set the chess set up to play
a chess game with my dad;
and right away I could tell
his moves were very bad.

I decided to give him a break,
and made some weak moves too;
then suddenly he played better,
almost as if he knew.

realizing my mistake,
I tried to right my game;
like a ship steered to an iceberg,
I had just myself to blame.

no matter what it was I tried,
I couldn’t avoid my fate;
and so the inevitable happened
and I had to face checkmate.

so take a lesson from me--
it’s always a mistake,
if you have a winning position,
to give your dad a break.

3) This is the end

It looks like Black has this wrapped up with his h-pawn; does White have a chance?

White to move

Show solution


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