Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson


 
Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #806
November 10, 2017

I found him surprisingly normal. Well, at least not very tense. He seemed to be relieved to be in the company of chess players. He was calm in that sense. He was also a bit worried about people following him, so the paranoia never really went away. But I am really happy I got the chance to meet him before he died in 2008. It was weird as well because I kept having to remind myself that this was Bobby Fischer sitting in front of me!

—Viswanathan Anand, in answer to what Bobby Fischer
was like when the two met in 2006 (interview here)

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The Fall Tuesday Night Marathon/William Lombardy Memorial is only a third of the way through, but there have been upsets galore. National Master Conrado Diaz, Expert Michael Walder and Alexander Ivanov and Class A players Alfonso Cheng, Greg Sarafian and Cailen Melville are the only perfect scores in a field of 120 players. It’s still possible to enter the FIDE and USCF rated event with half-point byes for the first three rounds.

This marks the 16th consecutive Tuesday Night Marathon in a streak extending back to the fall of 2014. Last Tuesday night 106 players competed at the same time which is a record for the TNM, which sees many of the participants take byes in the course of the lengthy event.


From round 3 of the Fall Tuesday Night Marathon:
White to move (Gomboluudev–Askin after 10...Ne4)White to move (Gomboluudev–Askin after 13...exd4)
White to move (Argo–Chan after 35...Nf7)White to move (Cohee–Boldi after 23...Qa5)
White to move (Cohee–Boldi after 29...Qb3)Black to move (Howell–Marquez after 34 Kb2)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 3.

The November 1st edition of the Wednesday Night Blitz attracted 10 players. National Master Ezra Chambers was first with a score of 11 from 12. Carlos D’Avila was second at 10 followed by Jules Jelinek with 8½ points.


Mechanics’ TNM regular Steven Krasnov shared his experience of playing the late Grandmaster Bill Lombardy before round two of the Fall TNM. Krasnov came to the MI one afternoon in September and was graciously invited to play some old-time skittles chess (no clock) by the famous Grandmaster. Expert-rated Krasnov caught Lombardy off guard and defeated him using the King’s Gambit and was then completely crushed in two games in short order. Steven remarked he will always be grateful for this opportunity.

National Master and High School Student Ezra Chambers also expressed thanks to Grandmaster Lombardy for his advice and encouragement.

2) Jay Whitehead (1961–2011)

Jay Whitehead, along with his brother Paul, and William Addison, are the strongest players to develop their strength while living in San Francisco. Jay played twice in the U.S. Championship and received his International Master title in 1986. That year he played in an international tournament in San Francisco at Miz Brown’s restaurant (one of several in a chain based in the Bay Area) located on Mission between 21st and 22nd street.

The event, organized by Guillermo Rey, who would later earn the IM title, is best remembered not for Nick de Firmian’s victory or Elliott Winslow’s second-place finish (his final IM norm), but for the participation of 16-year-old Susan (then Zsuzsa) Polgar.

The late Val Zemitis and Israel Parry were the go-betweens who helped to make Susan’s participation possible.

The first of the following four photos, all from 1986, has Jay playing Susan in the Miz Brown’s event. The following three are of Jay who was an active member of the Hare Krishna movement at the time. The photos were given to Jeremy Silman many years ago and he kindly passed them on us this past September. Jeremy doesn’t remember who took them.

   

3) John Blackstone, remembered by Erik Osbun (part two)

This beautiful game of John’s, with my notes, was honored as the Game of the Month in the California Chess Reporter, Vol. 11, No.8, June, 1962. The games editor, Valdemar Zemitis, wrote the forward: “The following game from last year’s California Open is a noteworthy example of enterprising play by one of northern California’s rising young stars. His opponent has been the area’s most active player in recent years—participating in and winning three separate qualifying tournaments for the 1961 State Championship alone. His sound style is difficult to win games against—here Jon Blackstone shows how.”

Sicilian Taimanov B48
John Blackstone–Julius Loftsson
California Open, Fresno, 1961

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Bd3 Nf6 7.Be3 Nc6 8.N4e2 Be7

8….Bd6 deserves consideration.

9.0-0 0-0 10.Ng3 b5 11.f4 d6 12.Qe2 Bb7 13.Kh1



An improvement on 13.Rad1 Rac8 14.a4 b4 15.Nb1 (Tolush–Tal, Riga, 1960), because Tal could forget about his a-pawn.

13….Rac8 14.a4 b4 15.Nb1 Na5?

15….a5 is necessary.

16.Nd2 Ra8

Black must, however reluctant, defend his a-pawn.

17.f5 Nc6 18.Nc4 Nd7 19.fxe6

19.Nh5 looks stronger but Black can grasp the thread leading to safety by maintaining a knight at e5.

For example. 19….N6e5 20.Nxe5 Nxe5 21.f6 gxf6! 22.Rxf6 Kh8 safe!

19.fxe6 forces each move.

19….fxe6 20.Qg4 Nd8 21.Bh6 Bf6



22.Nh5 Ne5 23.Nxe5 Bxe5 24.Rxf8+ Kxf8 25.Rf1+ Kg8 26.Bxg7!

A brilliant plan which ultimately over-taxes Black’s resources.

26….Bxg7 27.e5 dxe5



28.Nf6+ Kh8 29.Bxh7

Not 29.Qh5? Bxf6 easily defending against the mate threats.

Black is nearly in zugzwang. His best chance is 29….Nf7 30.Qg6! with the following possibilities (variation 4 is bifurcated and extended from the original publication.):

1. 30….Bxf6 31.Qxf6+ Kxh7 32.Qxf7+ wins.

2. 30….Nd6 31.Qh5 Bxf6 32.Rxf6 Qxh7 33.Rh6 Qxh6 34.Qxh6+ Kg8 35.Qxe6+ Nf7 36.Qg4+ Kh8 37.Qd7 Nd8 38.Qe8+, and Black loses too many pawns.

3. 30….Qc6 31.Rf3! Rd8 (Or 31….Qd6 32.Rd3 Qc6 33.Rg3) 32.h4, and Black cannot meet 33.Bg8 ( If 32….Rd2 33.Bg8 forces mate, and if 32….Rd1+ 33.Kh2 Rd2 34.Nh5 forces mate, and if 32….Rd1+ 33.Kh2 Qc8 34.Rg3 wins.).

4a. 30….Nh6 31.Bg8 Bf8 (Or 31….Bxf6 32.Qxh6+ Kxg8 33.Rxf6 wins the queen.) 32.

Nh5 (or 4b.) Nxg8 33.Rf7 Qxf7 34.Qxf7 Bd5 35.Qc7! gives a strong bind with the possibility of advancing the c-pawn, although a lot of play remains.

4b. 30….Nh6 31.Bg8 Bf8 32.Ne8 Rxe8 33.Rf7 (33.Qxe8? Qg7) Qxf7 34.Bxf7 Re7 35.Qf6+ Kh7 36.Bg6+ (36.Qg6+ draws.) Kg8 37.Qxe5 with good winning chances, although a lot of play remains.

29….Qf7? 30.Bg8 Qxf6 31.Rxf6 Bxf6 32.Qg6

Black underestimated this move.

32….Be4 33.Qxe4 Kxg8 34.Qxa8 1-0



4) This is the end

This is a recent Mechanics’ Chess Club ending.

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.