Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by John Donaldson


 
Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #847
November 2, 2018

I’ve long felt that Caruana has the strength to be almost at my level, but he hasn’t been stable enough. This year he’s been very stable, and it’s meant that he’s approached my rating and qualified for a battle that’s going to be very tough.

—Magnus Carlsen, interviewed at Chess 24

The World Championship match between Carlsen and Caruana will be held November 11–30 in London.

The Mechanics’ will host the 47th Carroll Capps Memorial this weekend.

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

The Vartan Bedjanian Memorial, doubling as the 2018 Mechanics’ Chess Club Championship, is the 21st consecutive Tuesday Night Marathon to attract triple-digit attendance. Among the 103 competitors are International Master Elliott Winslow and FIDE Master Ezra Chambers. It’s still possible to enter the nine round FIDE- and USCF-rated event with half-point byes for rounds one and two.


From round 2 of the Bedjanian Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Winslow–Uribe after 24 Re3)White to move (Fuentes–Pham after 19...Rc7)
Black to move (Cortinas–Ivanov after 32 Rb3)Black to move (Morgan–McKellar after 22 Re1)
Black to move (Ansari–Diaz after 14 Bb2)Black to move (Nassif–McEnroe after 28 Qe5)
White to move (Revi–Sullivan after 25...Qe7)For the solutions, see the game scores for round 2.

Jules Jelinek and Munci Inonu of Turkey tied for first in the October 24 edition of the Wednesday Night Blitz. Noted problemist Gady Costeff was third.


Tony Miles gave a 4½ hour simul at the Mechanics’ Institute in April 1980 scoring +16, -2, =0. National Master Robert Burger and Expert Borel Menas were the winners.


Vince McCambridge and Elliott Winslow are the headliners for the North Bay Chess Festival in Novato next March. The two International Masters will give 20-board simuls and the two day event will feature a first prize of $1000. Check here for more information on possibly the biggest tournament ever held in Marin County.


8-time Russian Champion Peter Svidler defeated reigning U.S. Champion Sam Shankland 3½–2½ in a match held October 20–27 in Hoogoveen, Netherlands. Shankland, who lives in Walnut Creek, is currently rated number 29 in the world at 2724 and fourth among American players, after Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura.


Polish Grandmaster Radoslaw Wojtaszek defeated Arkday Naiditsch of Azerbaijan in a playoff to win the 2018 Isle of Man ahead of a field that included 20 players rated 2700 or higher. The two winners score 7 out of 9. Among those a half point behind were Americans Hikaru Nakamura and Jeffery Xiong. The 17-year old Xiong had an exceptional event scoring 3 from 5 against five world class players with an average rating of over 2750. His performance of 2811 brings him to 2676 making him the highest rated player in the world under 18.


Grandmaster Emil Sutovsky and International Master John Donaldson will be among the panelists at a seminar on Mikhail Botvinnik, co-sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the Center for Jewish Studies, Harvard University, as part of their “Great Russian Jews Who Shaped the World” series. More information on this free event to be held April 10, 2019.


Grandmaster Fidel Corrales Jimenez won the 36th Western States Open held October 19–21 in Reno, Nevada. Jimenez, who defeated FIDE Master Ezra Chambers in a tense last-round game, scored 5–1 to win the 34-player top section. Grandmaster Sergey Kudrin and Enrico Sevillano and FM Andrew Hong tied for second through fourth at 4½ with Chambers and fellow MI member Derek O’Connor among those on 4.

The Mechanics’ won the ten-player team competition with 36½ points, led by top scorers Kevin Yanofsky, who won the A section with a 5–1 score, and Ashik Uzzaman and Kristian Clemens, who were a half-point behind him. Another outstanding performance was turned in by Renate Otterbach (rated 1287) who, playing up in the C section, scored 3½–2½ to gain 109 rating points. Renate has gone from 901 to 1395 in the past four months, a remarkable rate of improvement for any player, particularly so for someone who didn’t take up the game until the age of 55, but has been playing tournament chess since 2011.

2) Ross Sprague (1940–2018)

We note the recent passing of four-time (1958, 1975, 1976, and 2005) Ohio state champion Ross Sprague. Sprague learned to play in Cleveland, the city that would be his home for most of his life. A promising junior player, he made plus scores in the 1957 to 1959 U.S. Opens before a national breakout in 1960, when he tied for seventh at 8½–3½.

Sprague was never a professional player, but that didn’t stop him from being one of the best players in the Midwest for three decades. His peak rating on the USCF MSA, which goes back to September 1991, was 2416 in 1992, and he might well have been higher earlier in his career.

Sprague joins Milan Vukcevich, Robert Burns, Richard Noel, James Harkins, Richard Kause and James Schroeder as departed giants who made Cleveland one of the most important chess centers in the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s.

3) Unpublished A.J. Fink Games

Here are some previously-unpublished games of A.J. Fink, which were found in the archives of the late Peter Grey. Fink, was along with Walter Lovegrove, the standard-bearer of MI chess before World War Two.

The May 1939 issue of Chess Review reports that two of the MI players, Charles Bagby and A.J. Fink, drew a ten-game match 5–5. Neither player was ever ahead by more than a game, and Fink won the last to force the tie.

The following game is from this match.

French C10
A.J. Fink–Charles Bagby
San Francisco (match) 1939

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Bd3 c5 6.Nxf6+ gxf6 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Be3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 e5?

10...Be7

11.Bc3

11...Qd5?

11...Bd7

12.Qe2 Be7 13.0–0–0 Qe6 14.Bb5+ Kf8 15.Bc4 Qb6

16.f4! exf4 17.Qh5 Be6 18.Qh6+ Ke8 19.Bxe6 fxe6 20.Bxf6 Bxf6 21.Qxf6 Rf8 22.Qg7 Qc6 23.Rd2 Rc8 24.Rhd1

24...Rf7

After 24...Qc7 25.Qh6 Qe7 26.Qh5+ Rf7 27.Rd7 Qf6 28.Qb5 wins.

25.Qg8+ Rf8 26.Qxh7 Rf7 27.Qh8+ Rf8 28.Qh5+ Rf7 29.c3 1–0

Source: Fink’s scoresheet

Fink won the California State Championship in 1922, 1928, 1929, and tied with Herman Steiner in 1945.

Sicilian Dragon B35
A.J. Fink–E.W.Gruer
California State Championship 1925

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 0–0 8.0–0 Ne5 9.Be2 d6 10.h3 Bd7 11.f4 Nc6 12.Rf3 Qc8 13.Qd2 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 Bc6 15.Bd3 b6 16.Re1 Qb7 17.Qf2 e6 18.Nb1 d5 19.e5 Nd7 20.b4 b5 21.Nd2 Nb6 22.Nf1 Nc4 23.Nh2 Rfd8 24.Qh4 Nd6 25.Ng4 Ne8 26.Rg3 Qd7 27.Nf6+ Bxf6 28.exf6 Qd6 29.Re5 Qxb4 30.c3 Qa3 31.Rh5 1–0

Source: Fink’s scoresheet

This photo of A.J. Fink and Jose Capablanca, was taken in April 1916 by the noted photographer C.V. Estey.

French Winawer C15
A. J. Fink–Henry Gross
California State Championship 1928

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 dxe4 6.Qg4 Qf6 7.Qxe4 Qg6 8.Qe2 Bd7 9.Bf4 Ne7 10.Bxc7 Nbc6 11.Qd2 Nd5 12.Bg3 Qe4+ 13.Ne2 Na5 14.f3 Qf5 15.Nc1 Rc8 16.Bd3 Qh5 17.Ne2 Nc4 18.Bxc4 Rxc4 19.0–0 0–0 20.Be1 Rfc8 21.Nf4 Qf5 22.Nxd5 Qxd5 23.Qe3 Ba4 24.Rf2 b6 25.Qc1 h6 26.Re2 Qf5 27.Ra2 Bc6 28.Rb2 Qg6 29.Kf2 Bd5 30.Rb4 R4c7 31.h3 Bc4 32.Re4 Bd5 33.Rg4 Qh7 34.Rg3 Kh8 35.Kg1 Qf5 36.Bd2 Kh7 37.Rb1 Re7 38.Qb2 Rec7 39.Re1 Kh8 40.Re5 Qh7 41.Rh5 f6 42.c4 Rxc4

42...Bxc4 43.d5 e5 (43...Bxd5 44.Rxh6) 44.d6 Rd7 45.Bxh6 gxh6 46.Qc1 Rg7 47.Rxh6 Rxg3 48.Rxh7+ Kxh7 49.Qe1 Rg6 50.Qh4+ Kg7 51.d7 Rd8 52.Qxc4 Rxd7 53.g4 with a large advantage.

43.Bxh6! gxh6

43...g6 44.Bg7+ Kxg7 45.Rxh7+ Kxh7 46.Qb5 R4c7 47.Qd3 winning.

44.Qc1 Rg8 45.Qxh6 1–0

Source: Fink’s scoresheet

Dutch A91
Walter Lovegrove–A.J. Fink
California State Championship 1928

1.d4 f5 2.c4 Nf6 3.g3 e6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.Nc3 0–0 6.Qb3 Na6 7.Bf4 d6 8.h4 c5 9.0–0–0 Ng4 10.Be3 cxd4 11.Bxd4 e5 12.Bd5+ Kh8 13.Be3 Nxe3 14.fxe3 Nc5 15.Qc2 e4 16.Nh3 Bf6 17.Nf4 g6 18.Nb5 Be5 19.Nd4 Qa5 20.Kb1 Bd7 21.Rdf1 Rab8 22.h5 g5 23.Nfe6 Bxe6 24.Nxe6 Nxe6 25.Bxe6 Bxg3 26.h6 Qe5 27.Bd5 b5 28.Rd1 bxc4 29.Bxc4 Rfc8 30.b3 Qc5 31.Rc1 Qxe3 32.Rh3 Qf2 33.Rd1 Be5 34.Qc1 Qc5 35.Be6 Qxc1+ 36.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 37.Kxc1 g4 38.Rh1 Rf8 39.Rf1 g3 40.Kd2 Bf4+ 0–1

Source: Fink’s scoresheet

Old Indian A53
A.J. Fink–Harry Borochow
California State Championship 1929

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 Bf5 4.Nc3 Nbd7 5.g3 e5 6.Bg2 c6 7.0–0 Be7 8.b3 0–0 9.Bb2 Qc7 10.Qd2 Ne4 11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.Qe3 Bxf3 13.exf3 Bf6 14.dxe5 Bxe5 15.Bxe5 Nxe5 16.f4 Ng4 17.Qd4 f5 18.Rad1 Rf6 19.h3 Nh6 20.Rfe1 Qb6 21.Re7 Qxd4 22.Rxd4 Rb8 23.Rd7 Nf7 24.b4 a6 25.a4 c5 26.bxc5 dxc5 27.R4d5 b6 28.Ra7 Nd6 29.Re5 Kf8 30.Bd5 b5 31.axb5 axb5 32.Ree7 Rg6 33.h4 h5 34.cxb5 Rxb5 35.Rec7 Rb8 36.Rxc5 Ne4 37.Rcc7 Nd6 38.Kg2 Nb5 39.Rf7+ 1–0

Source: Fink’s scoresheet

4) This is the end

What can White expect from this endgame?

White to move

Show solution


 

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