Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #838
August 17, 2018
This weekend the Mechanics will host the two-day 13th Bernardo Smith Amateur, open to all USCF members rated under 2200. More information.
1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News
There were upsets galore in round two of the Walter Shipman Tuesday Night Marathon, and only 13 players remain with perfect scores, including International Master Elliott Winslow and National Masters Keith Vickers and Russell Wong. This event marks the 20th consecutive TNM with 100 or more entries, in a streak dating back to the Fall TNM of 2014. It’s still possible to enter the USCF- and FIDE-rated event with a half-point bye for rounds one and two.
|White to move (Cortinas–Walder after 22...Nc7)||White to move (McKellar–Zaman after 18...Rf8)|
|Black to move (Diaz–Adams after 40 Qa5)||White to move (Tsodikova–Bhattacharjee after 9...Nd5)|
|Black to move (Katsman–Cendejas after 24 Nf3)||White to move (Hack–Cole after 29...Qxg5)|
|For the solutions, see the game scores for round 2.|
Several players with Mechanics’ connections played in the Berkeley Summer IM norm tournament held August 11–15, which was won by International Masters Kim Yap (Philippines) and Rohan Ahuja (India) with scores of 6½–2½. FIDE Masters Ezra Chambers and Josiah Stearman, both TNM regulars, scored 4–5. The event was extremely hard-fought, with only six draws out of 45 games. Complete results for the event can be found here.
A Grandmaster norm round robin is running at the Berkeley Chess School from August 17–21 with Conrad Holt as the top seed (2592 FIDE), aiming to go over 2600 for the first time.
Last week (August 7–10) the Mechanics’ Institute hosted the U.S. Chess School, as it has done the past few years. USCS founder International Master Greg Shahade brought in U.S. Champion Sam Shankland to teach the camp, which had Kevin Pan, Ruiyang Yan, Rochelle Wu, Derek Wu, Eric Yuhan Li, Nastassja Matus, Sriram Krishnakumar, Bryan Xie, Robert Shlyakhtenko, Adrian Kondakov, Vyom Vidyarthi, Ronen Wilson and Shawnak Shivakumar attending.
International Master Greg Shahade (L) and U.S. Champion Sam Shankland, with participants at the U.S. Chess School camp held at the Mechanics’. (Photo: Paul Whitehead)
Additional pictures of Greg, Sam and the campers can be found here.
Book and equipment donations to the Mechanics’ are always welcome. All donations to the Mechanics’ are tax deductible, due to the M.I.’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. If you have any chess books or equipment that have been lying around unused for some time, consider donating to the Mechanics’. You will not only get a tax write-off, but also the satisfaction of seeing things put to good use.
2) US Top Players since 1970: Rating and Ranking
FIDE started publishing a rating list in 1970. Below are the top-rated players since then, their peak rating and when they achieved it. Rating were initially published annually, then semi-annually, later quarterly and finally monthly. The following ratings appeared on published rating lists and are not based on interim “live” calculations.
Top US players by rating
1. Fabiano Caruana 2844 (October 2014)
2. Wesley So 2822 (January 2016)
3. Hikaru Nakamura 2816 (October 2015)
4. Bobby Fischer 2785 (July 1972)
5. Gata Kamsky 2763 (July 2013)
6. Sam Shankland 2727 (July 2018)
7. Alex Onischuk 2701 (July 2010)
8. Timur Gareev 2682 (February 2013)
9. Ray Robson 2680 (July 2015)
10. Jeffery Xiong 2674 (February 2017)
11. Varuzhan Akobian 2673 (June 2017)
12. Alex Yermolinsky 2660 (January 1998)
13. Yasser Seirawan 2658 (November 2011)
Ratings are intended to rank players who are playing at the same time. They are not designed to compare players of different eras. The rankings below offer a different way to compare the performance of American players the past half century during which FIDE ratings have steadily increased.
No doubt there are more players, and more strong players in 2018, than there were in 1970. That is to be expected, as there are many more people living, and more chess players playing today than ever before. Today’s generation of elite players benefit from not only technology (computers, databases and the Internet), but the hard-won knowledge of previous generations.
US Players Ranked in the Top 20
|1||Bobby Fischer||2785||July 1972||1st|
|2–3||Fabiano Caruana||2844||October 2014||=2nd|
|2–3||Hikaru Nakamura||2816||October 2015||2nd|
|4||Wesley So||2822||January 2016||3rd|
|5||Gata Kamsky||2735||July 1995||4th|
|6–7||Lubomir Kavalek||2625||May 1974||10th|
|6–7||Yasser Seirawan||2635||July 1990||10th|
|8||Robert Byrne||2605||July 1973||=12th|
|9–10||Walter Browne||2585||January 1976||=14th|
|9–10||Boris Gulko||2610||January 1989||=14th|
|11||Sammy Reshevsky||2590||July 1970||=15th|
|12||Gregory Kaidanov||2645||July 1994||16th|
|13||Alex Yermolinsky||2660||January 1998||=19th|
The above information was obtained using the websites for Olimpbase, FIDE, and 2700 Chess.com. We’re pretty certain all of the above is accurate and no one has been left out, but would appreciate someone double checking. It goes without saying that any mistakes are the responsibility of your editor.
On a last note: while doing this research we noticed that on the January 1991 rating list the top ten was comprised of only players representing the Soviet Union. Times have changed.
3) Frank Marshall in 1917 (Part Seven) by Eduardo Bauzá Mercére
Under date of May 15 Marshall writes as follows:
"Dear Sir: I presume you are aware of the fact that Janowski has asked me to play a match this summer at Atlantic City. Such a contest would be interesting, but why not a regular tournament open to players of known strength from all parts of the country? A suitable purse could be raised toward prizes and both Janowski and myself would compete.
Sincerely, F. J. Marshall"
Washington Post, 3 Jun 1917, p. 9
Frank J. Marshall, the American champion, is still at his Divan, 118 West Forty-ninth street, New York City. He expects shortly, however, to move to the Atlantic City, where it will give him pleasure to meet all-comers over the board.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 27 May 1917, p. 6
June 2 Marshall again first
Frank J. Marshall, who is planning to arrange a masters tournament, to begin in Atlantic City on July 5, was again the victor in the rapid transit tournament, held at the New York City Chess Club, and in which a strong field of seven competed. Marshall made a score of 5-1, losing only to Chajes, who, however, was beaten three times. J. Bernstein, with 4-2, was placed second, while D. Janowski and C. Jaffe, with 3 1/2-3 1/2, shared the third and fourth places. Other scores were: O. Chajes, 3-3; A. Gordon, 2-4; S. Stevenson, 0-6.
Brooklyn Eagle, 7 Jun 1917, p. 3
Rapid Transit Chess in New York
From a strong field of seven competitors, including the visiting French master, Frank J. Marshall, the United States chess champion, emerged winner of first prize in the rapid transit tournament at the New York City Chess Club, with a total score of five wins out of six games played. The only opponent to defeat the American champion was Oscar Chajes, who, however, was not a prize winner on this occasion. J. Bernstein, with a score of 4-2, was the winner of second prize. D. Janowski, of Paris, shared the third and fourth prizes with C. Jaffe, of this city, each having scored 3 1/2-2 1/2. Janowski was defeated by both Marshall and Bernstein, while Jaffe drew with him. Chajes had a score of 3-3.
American Chess Bulletin, 7-8/1917, p. 170
We understand that the proposed match between F. J. Marshall and D. Janowski has not yet been definitely arranged. Chess lovers who would like to see these two experts in a battle this summer, should take the matter in hand and raise a moderate purse to be divided between the players. It cannot be expected that professionals can give their time to the game without compensation and as a series of games between these two brilliant experts will be of great interest, the general chess public should be willing to subscribe a reasonable sum to bring about the contest. F. J. Marshall we understand will again this summer resume his stand at Atlantic City and it is quite possible that D. Janowski may also spend a portion of his time at that resort. If the two could combine in a chess divan, visitors during their vacation would certainly have a treat in store for them. Considerable summer chess has for many years been played at the sea-side resorts and all that is needed is a nucleus where players all over the country who are away on their vacation can congregate and enjoy for an hour or two their favorite sport.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 3 Jun 1917, p. 6
Frank J. Marshall, the United States champion, announces a change of program for his contemplated match with D. Janowski of Paris. He says a masters' tournament will be arranged instead. This will be held at Atlantic City, beginning July 5. Marshall will extend invitations to leading American experts, including Shipley, Janowski, Hallgarten, Moorman, Banks, Jaffe, Chajes, Hodges, Bernstein and Black. Capablanca will also be welcome to play, but the Cuban champion is at present in Havana.
NY Sun, 3 Jun 1917, p. 5
Marshall + C. A. Miller–Frank Percival Beynon + P. Redlick
June [?] Consultation game
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Nf3 Ngf6 6. Nxf6+ Nxf6 7. Ne5 Qd5 8. c4 Bb4+ 9. Bd2 Qxd4 10. Qa4+ Bd7 11. Qxb4 Qxe5+ 12. Be2 c5 13. Qb3 O-O 14. Be3 Bc6 15. f4 Qf5 16. O-O Rad8 17. Rad1 Ng4 18. Bc1 Rd4 19. Qg3 Nf6 20. Be3 Rxd1 21. Rxd1 Qc2 22. Qe1 Ne4 23. Bc1 f5 24. Bd3 Qa4 25. Bxe4 Bxe4 26. Be3 Qxc4 27. Rc1 Qxa2 28. Rxc5 Qxb2 29. Bf2 Rd8 30. h3 Qd2 31. Qxd2 Rxd2 32. Rc8+ Kf7 33. g4 a6 34. g5 Kg6 35. Rc7 h6 36. h4 hxg5 37. hxg5 Kh5 38. Rc8 Rd1+ 39. Kh2 Kg4 0-1
Brooklyn Eagle, 19 Jul 1917, p. 3
4) Here and There
Grandmaster Alex Baburin, in his long-running online daily Chess Today, wrote about the 75th birthday of the legendary Czech-American GM Lubomir Kavalek, who was born on the 9th of August 1943.
Kavalek finished first in three U.S. championships—in 1972, 1973 and 1978. In 1974 he was No. 10 player in the world. In 1979 Kavalek organized a super-tournament in Montreal, in which he also played, finishing last in first half with 1½/9, but winning the second half with 6½/9. Kavalek played in nine Chess Olympiads, representing Czechoslovakia in 1964 and 1966 and the US between 1972 and 1986. Kavalek is a well-known author, coach, organizer and columnist.
Ding Liren defeated Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria 3–1 in a match held the first half of August, to becomes the 14th player in chess history to attain a FIDE rating over 2800.
The late 1960s to mid-1980s were a special time for chess in Northern California, but there can be no doubt that the present is truly the best ever. Just this month the Mechanics’ has hosted the US Chess School, the Berkeley Chess School put on IM and GM norm round robins, and Bay Area Chess recently held a camp and simul featuring the highest-rated player in the world, Shakhriyar Mammedyarov.
National Master Ben Johnson’s Perpetual Chess Podcast is likely the most popular chess interview program in the world, with guests ranging from Hikaru Nakamura to Peter Svidler. His 86th and latest guest is the noted chess book dealer, historian and teacher National Master Fred Wilson.
FIDE, founded in 1924, has been around almost 100 years. During that time, it has had only six Presidents. That will change this fall when number seven takes office at the end of the Batumi Chess Olympiad. That’s guaranteed to happen because incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who has been in charge since 1995, has decided not to run again.
FIDE will hold its Presidential elections on October 3 in Batumi, Georgia, during the Chess Olympiad. All three candidates have launched websites for their campaigns: Georgios Makropolous (site), Arkady Dvorkovich (site) and Nigel Short (site).
The team headed by English Grandmaster Nigel Short, who is the outsider in the race, has a Northern Californian on its slate, former U.S.C.F. President Ruth Haring of Chico. Haring, who represented the United States in five Olympiads in the 1970s and early 1980s, has played in many tournaments at the Mechanics’ over the years.
The first few events honoring Chinggis Khaan were held far in the Bay Area, far from home for the man better known in the West as Genghis Khan, but the latest in the series is back on his home soil in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The 10-player round robin was held August 8–16 and featured a strong lineup, with half the players rated over 2600 FIDE.
Grandmaster Ray Robson, a member of the gold medal winning 2016 US Olympiad team, turned in a tremendous performance, winning the event with an undefeated score of 7 from 9, good for a performance rating of 2772. Ray is now at his highest ever FIDE rating (2682) and is currently ranked #59 in the world.
5) This is the end
How should White play? He does have the two-knight advantage, but how about that black pawn?
White to move