Mechanics' Institute Chess Room Newsletter

by Abel Talamantez

Gens Una Sumus!

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Newsletter #852
December 7, 2018

Up to this point, White has been following well-known analysis. But now he makes a fatal error: he begins to use his own head.

—Siegbert Tarrasch

1) Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club News

FIDE Master Ezra Chambers and Expert Aleksandr Ivanov share the lead in the nine-round Vartan Bedjanian Tuesday Night Marathon with 6 points each after seven rounds, and are sure to play in the penultimate round. Right behind the leaders, with 5½, are National Masters Conrado Diaz, Tenzing Shaw, Jordy Mont-Reynaud, Romulo Fuentes, and Expert Ethan Boldi.

From round 7 of the Bedjanian Tuesday Night Marathon:
Black to move (Mont-Reynaud–Chambers after 27 Rxc3)White to move (Mont-Reynaud–Chambers after 44...Kg7)
White to move (Ivanov–Kuczek after 33...Qd8)White to move (Ivanov–Kuczek after 41...Qf8)
Black to move (Wong–Jensen after 23 Qe4)White to move (Jain–Smith III after 7...a6)
White to move (Vickers–Mays after 19...Bf6)White to move (Kim–Cortinas after 26...Kh8)
White to move (Kim–Cortinas after 28...h5)White to move (Bentz–Newey after 12...Nxc3)
White to move (Baer–Olson after 15...f4)White to move (Simpkins–Revi after 15...g5)
For the solutions, see the game scores for round 7.

Experts Carlos Davila and Jules Jelinek tied for first and second places in the December 5 edition of the Wednesday Night Blitz, each with 10 points from 12 games. Clear third was Expert Joe Urquhart with 7 points. Nine players participated.

The Tuesday Night Marathon lecture given by Mechanics’ Institute grandmaster-in-residence Nick de Firmian can now be seen live every Tuesday at 5:15 pm on our Facebook page. A big thanks goes out to Juan Cendejas for making this happen.

Two Mechanics’ Chess Club regulars, one former and the other still active, traveled to St. Louis to hunt title norms just prior to Thanksgiving. International Master Hans Niemann (2439 FIDE), who now calls Connecticut home, scored 5½ from 9 (performance rating 2521) to finish second in the GM-norm section, while FIDE Master Josiah Stearman (2309) also won rating points. Stearman also finished with 5½ points, placing fourth in his section for a performance rating of 2415, just half a point short of a IM norm. More on the event, held November 16–21 at the St. Louis Chess Club, here.

2) Letter from the New Chess Room Director

Hello everyone, my name is Abel Talamantez and I am honored to be the 10th Chess Room Director of the Mechanics’ Institute. I accepted this position knowing there is a great history and responsibility here in the chess room, and I very much look forward to the challenges ahead. I come into this role looking to preserve the history and feel of the chess room, while at the same time trying to bring about some exciting innovations that I think will add new energy to our community.

First, a little about my background. I graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 2002 with a degree in political science and will receive my MBA in summer 2019. I worked in the healthcare industry for 16 years before leaving to start my own chess school in 2012, which was called Castling Kids. Over three years, I developed 30 enrichment programs in the San Jose area, which included after-school and lunch programs. In 2014, I merged my company with Bay Area Chess and was hired as their Deputy Director and Director of Enrichment. In my role at Bay Area Chess, I managed nearly 100 programs, including after-school, lunch and weekend classes, and helped direct and run hundreds of tournaments, both regular and scholastic. While there, I managed a coaching and administrative staff of about 30 people. Chess is my passion, and I especially believe in the power of chess to positively impact the lives of individuals and promote social change and justice. I believe chess is much more than an intellectual activity; it teaches people about sportsmanship, fair play, calculation, and persevering through adversity, all life lessons that make better citizens, who then go on to make an impact in their communities and in the world.

I will lead following a core set of principles, which I believe reflect the mission and values of the original founders of the Mechanics’ Institute and that sets the bar for what a program with a 164-year history should represent. First and foremost, we want to provide excellent customer service and programs that serve the chess community. We want to represent the highest in quality by working in conjunction with the resources of the library and creating a chess room meant for the bettering of one’s self and to build community. Just as San Francisco has always been a leader in innovation in the world, so too can the chess room bring innovative programs that bring a new energy. We will explore holding some events with longer time controls, holding some events outside of the Mechanics’ Institute in order to promote Mechanics’ from the outside back in, the development of scholastic tournaments, trying out some new weekly offerings; perhaps a FIDE-rated rapid weekly or a weekly evening where we engage with local cultural and community groups for a social evening of chess. We will also look to further develop some enrichment programs in the community that build upon Nick de Firmian’s great work in providing free chess programs in about 20 schools. These are just a few of the ideas I will be working on, and I would greatly appreciate the feedback of the chess community in what they would like to see at Mechanics’.

I want to thank John Donaldson for his amazing 20 years of service to the Mechanics’ Institute and the chess community in general. He has been very helpful to me in the transition and has provided me great support. I also want to thank Paul Whitehead and Nick de Firmian for making me feel welcome and part of the team; I know together our team will do great things. A very special thanks to Ralph Lewin and Bobbie Monzon for trusting the leadership of the chess room to me and to Vladimir Naroditsky for his guidance and advice. Lastly, I want to thank Dr. Judit Sztaray, Executive Director of Bay Area Chess, from whom I learned so much and who also shares an innovative daring that makes great things happen.

I look forward to the many challenges ahead. I think this is an exciting time for chess, and now is the time to further engage the community of its power. I would love to see chess continue to become part of the regular culture of the city and find ways to elevate those who come to Mechanics’ to play, be it developing their skills, or being able to socialize and play casually with others. I want our chess room to be a home for chess players, a welcoming place that preserves and promotes chess, and a chess room that will always be there for those looking to play.

I look forward to meeting everyone. See you all soon.

Abel Talamantez

3) Strange Days

The Charles Bagby Memorial Invitational, doubling as the Northern California State Championship, was held at the Mechanics’ Institute and ran from 1976 (won by Roy Ervin) to 1987 (won by John Frankle).

Many interesting games were played through the years, but we are showing two oddities. The shortest decisive result was Charles PowellJon Frankle, 1985 and won by Black in 16 moves. Nick de FirmianPaul Whitehead, played 40 years ago in 1978, ran a whopping 139 moves and was by far the longest game—it was adjourned twice, and the current M.I. Chess Coordinator barely held the draw against the current M.I. grandmaster-in-residence.

Both games are given here with light notes by International Master Elliott Winslow, himself a Bagby participant long ago.

B22: Sicilian, Alapin
Charles Powell–Jon Frankle (2230)
San Francisco San Francisco (7), 1985
Annotations by Elliott Winslow

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3

Not quite caught on the other side of his favorite Morra Gambit (Declined): the line he played (at least twice against me, including the 3rd round of this event), goes: 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.Bc4 Qc7 6.Qe2 Nb6 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.Nf3 g6 9.0–0 dxc3 10.Nxc3 Bg7 11.Bf4 0–0 12.a4 a5 13.Nb5 Qd8 14.Be4 Ra6 15.Rfd1 Na8 16.Bd3 Nb4 17.Bc4 Rc6 18.Nfd4 Nb6 19.Bb3 N6d5 20.Bg3 Rc5 21.Bc4 Nb6 22.Bd3 Nxd3 23.Rxd3 Nc4 24.Rc3 Bxe5 25.Bxe5 Rxe5 26.Qxc4 d6 27.Qc7 Rd5 28.Rac1 Bf5 29.Nxf5 gxf5 30.Qxb7 e6 31.Nc7 Rd2 32.Rg3+ Kh8 33.Nxe6 Qb8 34.Qe7 1–0 (34) Frankle,J (2230)-Winslow,E (2365) 10th Bagby (3), San Francisco 1985.

2...Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 d6 7.Bc4 e6 8.0–0 Be7 9.Qe2 0–0 10.Qe4 Kh8!?

Deep move, too deep: so that after ...f5; exf6 Nxf6 the e-pawn isn’t hanging with check? But the bishop isn’t on c4 any more! 10...b6 11.h4 Bb7 12.Qg4 Kh8 13.Bxd5 exd5 14.Nc3 dxe5 15.dxe5 f6 16.exf6 Bxf6 17.Bg5 Sveshnikov,E (2545)–Gufeld,E (2530) Sochi (Russia) 1979 1–0 (63).

11.Bd3 f5 12.exf6 Nxf6 13.Qh4N

The more stable 13.Qe2 went 13...Qb6 14.Be3 Nd5 15.Nc3 Nxe3 16.fxe3 Bd7 17.Nh4 Bxh4 18.Qh5 h6 19.Qxh4 Qxb2 20.Rac1 Nb4 21.Bb1 Bc6 22.Qg3 Rxf1+ 23.Rxf1 Qxc3 24.Qg6 Qxe3+ 25.Rf2 Qe1+ 26.Rf1 ½–½ (26) Chekhov, V-Dorfman,J Kishinev/ Chisinau (Moldavia) 1975.

13...Nb4 14.Bg6 Kg8


15.a3! Qa5!? 16.axb4! Qxa1 17.Bd3 Qa4 18.Bg5 g6 19.Nc3 with compensation. Somehow Stockfish 10 makes this 0.00 equal.

15...hxg6 16.Bxb4 Nd5 0–1

B47 Sicilian, Taimanov
Nick de Firmian–Paul Whitehead
San Francisco San Francisco (2), 1978
Annotations by Elliott Winslow

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.g3

From Fischer’s opening repertoire.

6...a6 7.Bg2 Nf6 8.0–0 h6 9.b3 d6 10.Bb2 Bd7 11.Nce2 Be7 12.c4 0–0 13.Qd2 Rac8 14.Rac1 Qb8 15.f4 Rfd8 16.f5 e5 17.Nc2 Ng4 18.h4 b5 19.Bf3 Nf6 20.cxb5 axb5 21.Ne3 Qa7 22.Ba1 d5 23.exd5 Bxf5 24.Kh2 Be6 25.Rxc6 Rxc6 26.Bxe5 Ra6 27.Bd4 Bc5 28.dxe6 Bxd4 29.e7 Qxe7 30.Nxd4 Qa7 31.Nec2 Rxa2 32.Kh1 Qc7 33.Bd1 Qxg3 34.Qf4 Qh3+ 35.Kg1 Kh8 36.Rf3 Qd7 37.Be2 b4 38.Rf2 Qb7 39.Rg2 Qb6 40.Kh1 Qd6 41.Qxd6 Rxd6 42.Bc4 Kg8 43.Nf5 Rd1+ 44.Kh2 Kf8 45.Nxb4 Raa1 46.Nc2 Rac1 47.Nce3 Rh1+ 48.Kg3 h5 49.Ra2 Ra1 50.Rxa1 Rxa1 51.b4 Rb1 52.b5 Ne4+ 53.Kf4 Nc3 54.Nd4 Ke7 55.Nef5+ Kf6 56.Nd6 Rb4 57.Nc6 Rxc4+ 58.Nxc4 Nxb5 59.N4e5 g6 60.Nd7+ Ke6 61.Nce5 Nd6 62.Nc5+ Kf6 63.Nf3 Nf5 64.Ne4+ Kg7 65.Kg5 Nxh4 66.Nxh4 Kf8 67.Kf6 Ke8 68.Ng5

68...Kd7 69.Ng2 Kd6 70.Nh4 Kd5 71.Nxf7 Ke4 72.Kg5 Kd4 73.Nd8 Ke4 74.Nb7 Kd5 75.Na5 Ke4 76.Nc4 Kd4 77.Nd2 Ke3 78.Nb3 Ke4 79.Nc5+ Kd5 80.Nd3 Ke4 81.Nf4 Ke5 82.Nfxg6+

Finally: Two knights versus pawn. So, Good News and Bad News. First the good news: it’s won for White. Now the bad news: 83 moves. And now I’m looking and it looks like there’s a way out: you let the pawn move. Incredible. In fact, you let it get to h3 (with one of your knights on h2).

82...Ke4 83.Kf6 Kd5 84.Kf5 Kd4 85.Nf4 Ke3 86.Ke5 Kf2 87.Nfg2 Kf1 88.Ke4 Kf2 89.Ne3 Kg3 90.Nef5+ Kg4 91.Ke3 Kg5 92.Kf3 Kf6 93.Kf4 Ke6 94.Ne3 Kf6 95.Nd5+ Ke6 96.Ke4 Kd6 97.Nf4 Kc6 98.Kd3 Kc7 99.Ke4 Kc6 100.Ke5 Kc5 101.Nd3+ Kc4 102.Ke4 Kc3 103.Ne5 Kc2 104.Nc4 Kc3 105.Nd6 Kc2 106.Kd4 Kd2 107.Nc4+ Kc2 108.Ke3 Kc3 109.Nd6 Kb3 110.Kd3 Kb4 111.Kd4 Kb3 112.Ne4 Kb4 113.Nc3 Kb3 114.Nd5 Kb2 115.Kc4 Kc2 116.Ne3+ Kd2 117.Nef5 Kc2 118.Nf3

This is actually the fastest mate.


And this is a faster mate by 8. But note also: it’s a pawn move, thus the 50-move count restarts. [118...Kb2 #61 119.N3d4 h4 (or 119...Ka3 , same #60) 120.Nf3 only move. Really? The only move? We just came from there. 120...Ka3 (120...h3 drops three moves!) 121.N5d4 (121.Nd6 same) 121...Ka2 (121...Ka4 drops 2).

119.Ne3+ Kb2 120.Kb4 h3 And again. 121.Nh2 Ka2 122.Nc4 Ka1 123.Kc3 Kb1 124.Kd2 Ka1 125.Kc1 Ka2 126.Kc2 Ka1 127.Kb3 Kb1


Nick missed the amazing 128.Nd2+! Kc1 (128...Ka1? 129.Nhf1 h2 130.Ne3 h1Q 131.Nc2#)!

129.Kc3 Kd1 130.Nb3 (White forces the king towards the N+P on the other side.) 130...Ke1 131.Kd4 Ke2 132.Ke4 Ke1 133.Ke3 Kd1 134.Kd3 (it’s only 30 moves to mate) 134...Ke1 135.Nd4 Kd1 136.Ne2 Ke1 137.Nc3 Kf2 138.Kd2 Kg2 139.Ke2

139...Kg3 (139...Kxh2? 140.Kf2 Kh1 141.Ne4 Kh2 142.Nd2 Kh1 143.Nf1 h2 144.Ng3#!) 140.Ke3 Kh4 Black heads away. But now the knight on h2 is slightly closer to the corner where mate will be achieved when the pawn is released. This was supposed to be “light” notes. I’ll let you find it. Tablebase Training Time. (140...Kg2 141.Ne2! Kxh2 (141...Kh1 142.Kf2 Kxh2 143.Nc3 Kh1 144.Ne4 Kh2 145.Nd2 Kh1 146.Nf1 h2 147.Ng3#) 142.Kf3! Kh1 143.Kf2).

128...Kc1 129.Kc3 Kb1 130.Nd3 Ka2 131.Kb4 Kb1 132.Kb3 Ka1 133.Nf4 Kb1 134.Ne2 Ka1 135.Nc1 Kb1 136.Nd3 Ka1 137.Nb4 Kb1 138.Na2 Ka1 139.Nf3 ½–½

4) PRO Chess League News

Play in the PROChess League. The SF Mechanics are back in the PROChess League for the 2019 season, which runs from January to May. The team already includes Sam Shankland, Daniel Naroditsky, Vinay Bhat, Steven Zierk, Yian Liou, Arun Sharma, and Josiah Stearman, but there is room for a couple more players. Manager David Pruess (email) will be holding a tryout in December for players rated 2000+ FIDE or 2200+ USCF. The event will consist of six 15-minute chess games against other hopefuls or team members. Location and date to be determined.

5) This is the end

Things look bad for White in this study. But just how bad?

White to move

Show solution


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