Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #763
October 28, 2016

Garry Kasparov because he revolutionized the idea of hard work and dominated the world with it; Magnus Carlsen because he is the strongest player on earth; and Hikaru Nakamura because he is the first and only truly elite player who grew up playing in American events since Fischer, and an inspiration that has convinced me that it is possible for me as well.

—Grandmaster Sam Shankland, in response to the question,
“Who are your heroes in present times?”

The 45th Carroll Capps Memorial will be held this weekend

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

There were upsets galore in round two of the 101-player Fall Tuesday Night Marathon, starting with David Askin’s win over top seed International Master Elliott Winslow on board one.

There are 18 remaining perfect scores, led by National Master Josiah Stearman, and it’s still possible to enter the event with half-point byes for rounds one and two.

From round 2 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Natraj–Riese after 29...Re6)White to move (Gaffagan–Hakobyan after 41...a5)
Black to move (Walters–Walder after 38 Nf6)White to move (Boldi–Askin after 40...Ke6)
Black to move (Hilliard–Argo after 14 Rhe1)White to move (Adams–Hack after 16...Nc2)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 2.

Jules Jelinek, Mechanics’ Wednesday Night Blitz Chess coordinator, reports on the results of the last two events.

October 12
1st – Derek O’Connor
2nd Carlos D’Avila and Oleg Shakhnazarov

October 19
1st – Jeff Sinick
2nd – Oleg Shakhnazarov, Jacob Sevall and Jules Jelinek

Former Mechanics’ Chess Director (1996–98) Jim Eade hold the title of FIDE Master and has a peak USCF rating of 2368. He has worn many hats in the chess world from tournament organizer to politician, but is perhaps best known as an author, particularly for his best-selling Chess for Dummies, now in its fourth edition. His book has sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide, and even been translated into Russian. WIM Alexey Root recently interviewed the best-selling author at

The Mechanics’ will be fielding a team in the newly formed Pro Chess League (, which is replacing the US Chess League. The format will continue to be four players per team each match, but instead of one-on-one each member of each team will play the four members of the other team. The new time control will be 15 minutes with a 2-second increment. FIDE ratings will now be used, as the PRO Chess League will have teams from Europe as well as the United States.

The San Francisco Mechanics’, in rating order (FIDE), are

GM Patrick Wolff 2564
GM Vinay Bhat 2519
FM Cameron Wheeler 2401
IM John Donaldson 2398
IM Teddy Coleman 2385
FM Rayan Tagizahdeh 2314
FM Paul Whitehead 2313
FM Andy Lee 2252
FM Josiah Stearman 2175
NM Siddarth Banik 2171

Incidentally, two-time U.S. Champion Patrick Wolff is the author of the other best-selling chess book in English this century—Chess for Idiots.

2) California State Chess Champions 1921-1973

Among the artifacts found in the late Peter Grey’s chess archive was the following game score from the 1949 California State championship which was won by George Croy of Los Angeles.

Irving Rivise (1918–1976), who is best known for being the referee of the Los Angeles leg of the Fischer–Reshevsky match, was a strong master who grew up in New York City but moved to Los Angeles in the late 1940s. He tied for first in the 1952 and 1961 California state championships with Henry Gross and Tibor Weinberger respectively.

Scandinavian B01
Irving Rivise–Leslie Boyette
California Ch. (7) September 5, 1949

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Nf6 3.d4 Nxd5 4.c4 Nb4 5.Nf3 Bf5 6.Na3 e6 7.c5 Be7 8.Be2 N8c6 9.0–0 Bf6 10.Be3 0–0 11.Qd2 Qe7 12.Nc4 Rfd8 13.Qc3 Rd5 14.Nce5 Rad8 15.Bc4 Bxe5 16.dxe5 R5d7 17.Bg5 f6 18.exf6 Qf7 19.Nh4 g6 20.Rae1 Nd5 21.Qg3 Na5 22.Nxf5 exf5 23.Bxd5 Rxd5 24.Re7 1–0

Irving Rivise lecturing during the Los Angeles leg of the 1961 Fischer-Reshevsky match. A young Jerry Hanken, far left in the front row with his head down with a crew cut and wearing black glasses, would go on to become one of the most important organizers in Southern California in the 1980s and 1990s. (Photo: Mechanics’ CC archives)

Here is a list of California champions from 1921–1973. The U.S. Chess Federation split California in two for administrative reasons in the mid-1970s, as the state had by then far more U.S.C.F. members than any other.

1921: Elmer Gruer
1922: Adolf Jay Fink
1923: Stasch Mlotkowski
1926: Elmer Gruer
1927: Elmer Gruer
1928: Adolf Jay Fink
1929: Adolf Jay Fink
1930: Harry Borochow
1931: Harry Borochow
1932: Harry Borochow
1933: Harry Borochow
1934: Harry Borochow
1935: Harry Borochow
1936: Harry Borochow
1937: Harry Borochow
1938: Harry Borochow
1939: Philip Woliston
1945: Adolf Jay Fink and Herman Steiner
1946: Adolf Jay Fink
1948: Jim Cross
1949: George Croy
1950: Ray Martin
1951: Arthur Spiller
1952: Henry Gross and Irving Rivise
1953: IM Herman Steiner
1954: IM Herman Steiner
1955: Cancelled due to Herman Steiner’s passing.
1956: Gilbert Ramirez
1957: Jim Cross
1958: Charles Bagby
1959: Tibor Weinberger
1960: Zoltan Kovacs
1961: Irving Rivise and Tibor Weinberger
1962: William Addison
1963: William Addison
1964: Zoltan Kovacs and Norris Weaver
1965: Don Sutherland
1966: Charles Henin
1967: Walter Browne
1968: David Blohm
1969: Charles Henin
1970-71: Dennis Fritzinger and Charles Henin
1972: Kim Commons
1973: David Strauss

3) Boris Gelfand Talks About Chess

Grandmaster Boris Gelfand has not only been one of the best players in the world for three decades and a first-class author (Positional Decision Making in Chess and Dynamic Decision Making in Chess), but is also well-known for having wise things to say about chess, both on the board and off.

Sam Shankland (R) and Boris Gelfand playing in the 2015 World Team Championship in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia. Next to them are Emil Sutovsky and Alex Lenderman with Vassily Ivanchuk in the background.

Grandmaster Jacob Aagaard, one of the founders of the publishing firm Quality Chess and collaborator with Gelfand on his books, did a two-part Q & A session with the great Israeli player during an international chess tournament held in Denmark in July 2016 that all chess fans will enjoy.

Part one:

Part two:

4) Here and There

Chess Olympiads are team events first and foremost, but outstanding individual results are also recognized. The United States, for the first time in recent memory, had two individual medalists in Wesley So (gold on board three) and Fabiano Caruana (bronze on board one). Particularly impressive was Georgian Grandmaster Baadur Jobava’s performance on top board—8 out of 10, for a 2926 performance rating!

Former world championship Candidate Eugenio Torre holds the all-time record for most Olympiads played. Baku was his 23rd, but he didn’t just show up to play a ceremonial game or two. The 64-year-old Grandmaster played all 11 rounds and scored 10 points, for a performance rating of 2836.

2016 Baku Olympiad Board Prize Winners
Board 1: 1. Baadur Jobava (Georgia); 2. Leinier Dominguez (Cuba); 3. Fabiano Caruana (USA).
Board 2: 1. Vladimir Kramnik (Russia); 2. Anton Kovalyov (Canada); 3. Jorge Cori (Peru).
Board 3: 1. Wesley So (USA); 2. Zoltan Almasi (Hungary); 3. Eugene Torre (Philippines).
Board 4: 1. Laurent Fressinet (France); 2. Ian Nepomniachtchi (Russia). 3. Aleksander Indjic (Serbia).
Board 5: 1. Andrei Volokitin (Ukraine); 2. Sami Khadar (Jordan); 3. Aleksej Aleksandrov (Belarus).

International Master Anthony Saidy of Los Angeles points out an excellent interview that Boris Spassky gave in early 2016, which can be found at Spassky may be in poor health but his mind is still quite sharp.

5) This is the end

Who will promote first in this study? And does it matter?

White to move

Show solution


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