Annie Wang/Nazi Paikidze Co-US Women Champions

Congratulations to Annie Wang

and Nazi Paikidze,

the new Co-Champions of the Women’s US Chess Championship!

Before sending emails and leaving comments, I am aware of the so-called “playoff” which was “won” by Nazi. The idea of some kind of “hurry-up and get it over” playoff in Chess is anathema to me. The two women tied for first in the only games that matter, serious games in which they spend hours playing. To my mind that is all that counts. I am aware that most people do not agree with my way of thinking. They are wrong. Back in the day playoffs consisting of serious games were held. I would prefer to see a match using the same time limit as the eleven games played during the tournament to settle the matter. Some players who are extremely strong at Chess played with longer time limits are not as proficient when forced to play “hurry-up” Chess. The challenger for the title of World Chess Champion falls into that category. Fabiano Caruana is no match for Magnus Carlsen in any kind of “hurry-up” playoff, which makes Magnus the favorite in the upcoming match. If Fabi is to win he MUST win in the much longer, much more serious, real games.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having Co-Champions, other than the driving forces prefer to have only one winner of each tournament to put on the cover of the magazine as the “face” of US Chess. Never thought I would live to see “speed” Chess settle a World Championship match…

At the beginning of his interview with Maurice Ashley, the new US Chess Champ, Sam Shankland, said about his play, “I played really well and got really lucky and that’s a tough combination to beat.” I was reminded of my days playing Backgammon. Many times after beating an opponent he would say, “You were lucky.” My response would invariably be, “I would rather be lucky than good, because when I am good and lucky, I cannot be beat!”

Yes, there IS luck in Chess. Ask Nazi…In the penultimate round she was dead lost, but due to a horrendous blunder by her opponent, Tatev Abrahamyan, she won the game. That is the kind of luck to which Sam was referring. She was also lucky in that Annie collapsed in the last round, which brings to mind one of the most, if not the most, famous collapse by a woman in the history of sport. That would be Julie Moss competing in the 1982 Hawaii Ironman Triathlon.

Nazi also had to overcome the unfair extra game with the black pieces. She had the white pieces five times while Annie sat behind the white pieces six times. On the other hand, Annie’s performance rating overall was slightly higher than Nazi, 2506 to 2503. If there must be a playoff I would like to see a playoff between the two using the same time control used during the Championship.

Finally, why is there a separate US Chess Championship for women? To have such a tournament is, quite simply, segregation.


Drifting Away at the 2018 US Chess Championship

Alexander Onischuk

v Sam Shankland

U.S. Championship 2018 round 10

D38 Queen’s Gambit Declined, Ragozin variation

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 h6 7. Bh4 O-O 8. e3 Bf5 9. a3 Bxc3+ 10. bxc3 Nbd7 11. Be2 c5 12. O-O g5 13. Bg3 Ne4 14. c4 dxc4 15. Bxc4 Rc8 16. Rc1 Qe7 17. Bd3 Rfd8 18. Qe2 Nb6 19. Bxe4 Bxe4 20. Ne5 cxd4 21. Rxc8 Rxc8 22. exd4 Bf5 23. Qh5 f6 24. Ng4 Bxg4 25. Qxg4 Qd7 26. Qf3 Nd5 27. Qh5 Kg7 28. f4 Qe8 29. Qf3 Qe3+ 30. Qxe3 Nxe3 31. Rf3 Nd5 32. fxg5 hxg5 33. h4 gxh4 34. Bxh4 Kf7 35. Be1 b6 36. Bd2 Rc2 37. Rd3 Ke6 38. g4 Kd6 39. Kf1 Kc6 40. Ke1 Kb5 41. g5 fxg5 42. Bxg5 Kc4 43. Rg3 Nc3 44. d5 Nxd5 45. Kd1 Rc3 46. Rg4+ Kb3 47. Rd4 Ne3+ 48. Bxe3 Rxe3 49. Kd2 Rh3 0-1

This was a well-played game except for a single move pair when both moves were “colorful” over at the ChessBomb. After 27 moves this position was reached:

Because of the pawn structure black has a minor advantage. According to Stockfish white should now play the move 28 Re1. The second choice of 28 h4 also looks reasonable. Unfortunately, Onischuk produced a RED MOVE with the awful 28 f4?

This is a losing move. All Sam needs to do is take the pawn with the knight and it’s “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.” There is really nothing else to consider…Unfortunately, Shankland did consider an alternative, producing another RED MOVE, with 28…Qe8?

After seeing his move I had to go back to the board containing pieces and look at 28…Nxf4 again and again. During the tournament I have awaited going to the ChessBomb for Stockfish analysis until after the game has ended. Inquiring minds want to know, so I “just had” to learn if there was something I was missing. There was not…The Fish gives 28… Nxf4 29. Qd1 Qxd4+ 30. Qxd4 Ne2+ 31. Kf2 Nxd4, along with more moves you can find if you check out the game at Da Bomb. This is another example of Shankland “drifting away,” like Dobie Gray. Fortunately for Sam, Al’s move was so bad Sam still retained an advantage with which he ground Onischuk down.

I have absolutely no idea why we Chess fans have seen such a proliferation of back-to-back blunders recently. Any readers have any ideas?

The Wesley So Forfeit

The St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center was in its infancy when I played in the St. Louis Open there in the spring of 2009. In the second round I faced a young boy, Kevin Cao, who was an expert at the start of the tourney. Playing my favorite Bishop’s opening the boy did not take advantage of the opportunities my play afforded, putting him in a difficult position. My opponent had been keeping score on a gizmo called “Monroi.” When the going got tough my opponent pulled the hood of his jacket over his head and placed his gizmo on the table, eschewing the actual chessboard in order to focus only on the chessboard on his gizmo. Since this violated the rules of chess, I lodged a protest with the TD’s. The rule is simple and clear: 11.3 a) During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse any game on another chessboard. (

The tournament director’s did not see it that way. Since the Monroi was a USCF “approved” gizmo they had trouble ruling the only way they should under rule 11.3. They decided to “compromise” by asking my opponents father have his son not use the gizmo as a chessboard the rest of the game. I agreed to this, and so did the father, albeit reluctantly. This was done because I was playing a child. If my opponent had been an adult I would not have agreed, but insisted he be forfeited because the rule is clear. Things change dramatically when a child is involved.

After a few more moves my opponent’s position deteriorated, and he was in also in time pressure which happens with a G/2 time control. His father, seeing this while constantly hovering over the board, told his son to do go back to using his gizmo. The boy then pulled his hood over his head and placed his gizmo on the table and again eschewed the actual chessboard. I protested, the clocks were stopped and into the TD room we went. This time things became, shall we say, heated. Actually, the father went ballistic. Some time later the USCF issued a ruling castigating the father for “reprehensible behaviour.” The father took his son home and when his time ran out, I was declared the “winner.” The young boy dropped back into the “A” class because of the loss. He is now rated 2300+.

This was written about and discussed on the forum of the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center, which no longer exists, and some have said it is no longer in existence was because of what was written on it, none of it positive toward me. Simply put, I was vilified. Much was written on the USCF forum at the time, where I was also excoriated unmercifully.

I closely followed the recent US Championship tournament, the one now called the “Open” tournament, as opposed to the one called the “Women’s” tournament. GM Wesley So is obviously a supremely talented chess player. I found the interviews with him intriguing, to say the least. After the interview early in the tournament,maybe the very first round, the one in which he mentions playing weakly in the middle game after not seeing his foster mother for some time, (She had been with Jeanne Sinquefield he said) I told the Legendary Georgia Ironman something was obviously “not right” about Mr. So. I could not put my finger on it, but knew something was wrong.

Much has been written about Wesley being forfeited, and I have read everything found on the interweb. I would like to share some of it with you, then share a few comments of my own.

“Akobian complained that this distracted him”!? What is the motive behind this statement? To me it looks like a “sucker punch” from Akopian to get an easy win. Chess referees should according to the rules always apply common sense. And the nature of this incident considering the actual writing of So does not by any means amount to such a serious offence that So should forfeit his game against Akopian.” – thomas.dyhr (Thomas Dyhr, Denmark)

“This decision is absolutely ridiculous I take it So has been writing on his scoresheet sometimes which would show on his copy handed in and is against Fide rules ok and Rich told him this.
He gets a blank piece of paper instead to write some thought positives and Akobian complains to Rich who forfeits So.
Akobian if he was distracted by So’s actions should have asked him to stop first.
Rich should have seen that this was not writing on a scoresheet which he warned him about and if he was not allowing So to write on blank paper as well told him to stop immediately and if So complied let the game continue.
Akobian and Rich do not come out of this with any credit and Akobian should be ashamed of himself as a man of integrity.” – Gilshie (Thomas Gilmore, United Kingdom)

“I guess they wanted to guarantee that an American wins the US Championship…” – Shtick (Nick Daniels, Canada)
(All of the about quotes from:

“PS: editorial comment to myself

Many chess writers and commentators seem to have little better to do this weekend than to talk about a silly forfeit incident in the US championship, so I will throw in a few of my own observations.
The first is that even though some tournament rule might give the tournament arbiter, Tony Rich, the POWER or the AUTHORITY to forfeit Wesley So , no rule –just because it is written–gave Tony Rich the RIGHT to forfeit Wesley So for doing what he did. So offended no one nor did he disrespect his opponent; he caused no disturbence, nor did he cheat. Wesley So’s actions were not designed to give him anything other than peace of mind and a calm spirit.
Please understand that I am not saying that Akobian–who is a perfect gentleman– acted wrongly when he drew to the arbiter’s attention So’s actions. Nor am I saying that Tony Rich acted incorrectly when he decided to act according to the written rules. And especially I am not saying that So was right when he lashed out when interviewed afterwards…there were CLEARLY better ways to have handled the situation.
What I am trying to say is that once more the game of chess DESERVES to be belittled because of this incident. ONCE MORE, mainstream media will target and make fun of us. Chess LOST some prestige on that day. When Jon Stewart recently did a humorous skit on the USCF trying to recruit F.Caruana for the national team, many–including ChessBase–thought it was also a bit insulting to the game of chess. Perhaps it was a bit insulting, even though it might not have been intended to be insulting…
But until the day we (the chess community) STOP allowing silly and poorly written rules to hurt and denigrate the noble game of chess in the eyes of normal and intelligent onlookers (and let us not forget about potential sponsors and patrons), then we deserve to be insulted a little bit more each time…” – Grandmaster Kevin Spraggett

“Guess my point is – even if he warned So, forfeiting is a staggering over-reaction. Threaten with forfeit = fine. Actually doing it = insane” – GM Jon Ludvig Hammer (Also from the aforementioned chess24 article, and if you click on this, you will find more comments, including this one by IM Mark Ginsburg, “Correct. Time penalty first. This action was wildly disproportionate as GM Hammer points out. Bad call.”)

GM Emil Sutovsky, President at Association of Chess Professionals, wrote this on his Facebook page (taken from the aforementioned chess24 article) “The arbiter’s decision to forfeit Wesley So for writing down irrelevant notes on his scoresheet during the game seems weird to me. Indeed, that can be seen as a violation of rules: ” 8.1 b. The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, offers of a draw, matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.” And arbiter has repeatedly urged Wesley to stop it. But awarding a loss is way too harsh a punishment for such a minor sin. Yes, it can be disturbing for the opponent, and the arbiter could and should have deducted the time on Wesley’s clock for disturbing the opponent. And to keep deducting it (2 minutes each time), if needed after each move (warning Wesley, that a forfeit will come after 2nd or 3rd deduction). That was the most painless and logical decision. Unfortunately, the arbiter has preferred the most brutal solution. These things should not happen.”

It should be obvious from the above that the TD, Tony Rich, and the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center have not come out of this sordid incident in a favorable light. As GM Spraggett says, once again chess has suffered a black eye. I agree with Kevin when he writes, “…no rule –just because it is written–gave Tony Rich the RIGHT to forfeit Wesley So for doing what he did.” The reputation of the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center has been sullied.

The punishment should fit the crime. As GM Kevin Spraggett writes, “So offended no one nor did he disrespect his opponent; he caused no disturbence, nor did he cheat. Wesley So’s actions were not designed to give him anything other than peace of mind and a calm spirit.”

Contrast this with how I was treated at the St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center. My opponent violated the rule in order to gain an ADVANTAGE! GM Wesley So did no such thing. He is one of the elite chess players in the world and has no need to gain an advantage against any other player in the world.

If one closely examines the rule, “11.3 a) During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse any game on another chessboard,” it is clear the meaning is that a player cannot use any “NOTES, sources of information or advice,” to help, or assist him in regard to making his MOVES. A player cannot utilize a book, or gizmo containing chess information, or any “advice” from another person. There is no ambiguity here.

I was not there and do not know EXACTLY what Tony Rich said to Wesley, but from what I heard on the broadcast, and have now read, GM So was under the impression he could not write on his scoresheet, so he wrote on another piece of paper. How culpable is Tony Rich in this matter? Did he make himself COMPLETELY understood? Besides, as “Najdork” (Miguel Najdork, from Nepal) commented, “Also I would like to point out how from rule 8.1 you are allowed to write on the scoresheet any “relevant data”, and that is so vague that I guess you could write almost anything.” Who defines what is “relevant?” Your relevant may differ from what I consider “relevant.” For example, what if your opponent in a Senior event wrote on his scoresheet, “Take heart medication at 3 PM.” Who, other than GM Varuzhan Akobian, would complain? And who, other than Tony Rich would forfeit the man? I know Tony Rich. As Tony reminded me in 2009, I won our game at the Missouri State Championship in 2002 in Rollo. He was nice to me then, and has been every time I have encountered him, such as at the US Open in Indiana a few years ago. I liked Tony until he lost his mind. What could possibly have motivated the man to issue this stupid ruling, which will have lasting repercussions? If you were Wesley So would you join the American team at the Olympiad?

“In love with this rule: “12.2 The arbiter shall: b. act in the best interest of the competition.” Common sense.” – GM Jon Ludvig Hammer.

The forfeit defies common sense. “Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rule; they apply them. The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules. But it is limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.” – John Roberts, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2005. (
No one watches a chess tournament to see the TD. In lieu of watching Wesley So play GM Akobian, the world was instead subjected to a TD try and explain his “logic.” As many a TD has proven over the years, the less involved they are, the better the outcome.

None of this made any sense to me until reading this, “In the final reckoning Wesley So’s forfeit had no effect on the top three standings. Even a win against Akobian would only have tied So with Ray Robson on 7.5/11, and since he lost against Robson he would still have finished third. The person who has a real cause for complaint seems to be Gata Kamsky, who was edged out of 5th place – his goal in order to qualify for the World Cup later this year – by Akobian.” (

There it is, the reason for this whole debacle. It always comes down to “Who profits?”

The whole affair is disgusting, and sickening. It proves only that a TD has only one rule by witch to abide: Do What Thy Wilt! There should be some kind of punishment for a TD who oversteps his bounds. I have seen far too many tournament director’s puff out their chest while strutting around singing, “I’ve got the power,” such as Richard Crespo, the former TD spending his days in prison after abducting a woman and shooting it out with police in San Antonio, Texas a decade ago.
I am embarrassed, and ashamed, to be an American involved with chess. This putrid affair rivals anything I have written about FIDE and the nefarious Russians. United States chess has reached a new low. Tony Rich has now made everyone forget about L. Walter Stephens, the TD who awarded Sammy Reshevsky a win against Arnold Denker in the 1942 US Championship even though it was Sammy who lost on time. The game will die before the shock waves emanating from this debacle subside. The St. Louis Chess Club AND Scholastic Center touts itself as the US Capital of Chess. Knowledgable players and fans know that three of the players in the Championship, Sam Shankland, Sam Sevian, and Daniel Naroditsky, cut their chess teeth in the San Francisco Bay area, home of the oldest chess club in America, the venerable Mechanic’s Insitute Chess Room. If any area should be acknowledged as the “Capital of US Chess,” it is San Francisco, in lieu of the neuveau rich, faux chess club AND scholastic center in St. Louis, which has now been tarnished. No longer can it be considered a “leading light,” or “shining example.”

I can only hope this affair does not dessiccate Wesley So’s desire. If one watches the interviews with Mr. So during the US Chess Championship he will see a dramatic change in Wesley as the tournament progressed. Hopefully, this will fire him up and prod Wesley to play the kind of chess of which he is capable culminating in a match for the World Chess Championship.

Dark Side of the 2015 US Chess Championship

At the beginning of February an interesting article appeared on the USCF website, “Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part I” By GM Sam Shankland, dated February 3, 2015. After perusing the article I went to the trouble of cutting and pasting it in order to save it in hopes of being able to read it later. Part II appeared February 12, 2015 and I once again copied and saved the article. Although I have had the time I have yet to go back to it, but it has been on my mind.

I brought the article to the attention of the Legendary Georgia Ironman. When I mentioned the games were not complete, but truncated, with diagrams, Tim related something he had seen decades ago at a major tournament such as the New York or World Open. The Ironman recalled being near when now FM Miles Ardaman wanted GM William Lombardy to look at a position. “Do you have the moves leading up to the position?” asked Father Lombardy. Miles said he did not, and the GM said, “In that case I have no interest in the position whatsoever,” and walked away.

I was gratified to here this because I, too, have always felt that past is prologue, and if you do not know where you have been, you do not know where you are going. It means something because there is the “chess door” principle. The higher rated players walk through the door first and a Grandmaster enters before a floored Expert. One of the wonderful things about the game of chess is that it matters not what title one has in the world outside of chess. It does not matter what elected office one holds in the chess world, or how many times one posts on any chess forum, the only thing that matters is one’s strength at playing the Royal game.

The Ironman said he could not understand why the opening moves had not been given in light of the fact that an article on the endgame in a recent Chess Life by IM Danny Kopec on the “Browne Endgame” contained the moves leading up to the position in the diagram, “Just like the endgame book Smitty had squirreled away you found at that downtown library book sale.” The Ironman was referring to, Exploring the Endgame by Peter Griffiths. He also made a comment about how the USCF does not have an interactive feature as do most, if not all, chess websites. “The USCF is so far behind the times it has 1995 type features,” he said. The Ironman is correct because it is a fact the USCF has been behind the curve when it comes to anything computer for the past quarter century, if not longer.

The Ironman also decried that such an article would be posted on the scroll at the USCF online website in lieu of in the magazine. I concur with the Ironman’s astute assessment of the situation. Chess Life proudly boasts on the cover that it is, “The World’s Most Widely Read Chess Magazine.” Would that not seem to be reason enough to have the article included in the moribund magazine? As it is, to read the article I would need to have my computer sitting next to my chessboard, which is possible with a laptop, but not for someone like Tim who has a much larger home unit. Even with a laptop it is unwieldy with a board, and I have never done so. When I have my board on the table I have a book or magazine, open.
I realize it is possible to print out the article, but I have no printer. I also realize it would be possible to obtain the missing moves by finding the games online, but why should I have to go to all the trouble, especially when there is so much chess readily available online, and all I have to do is plug in and turn on without having to jump through all those hoops?

I mention this because the US Championship is only about a week away, and there may not be any better article to read before the first round begins. “I did not know Wesley So was playing this year,” the Legendary one exclaimed the other day. “Now I am really FIRED UP!” The Ironman is not the only one…it is almost time for Yaz & Jen, not to mention Maurice & the ‘puter…I can hardly wait!

Yet there is a dark side to the tournament…This can be found on the USCF forum:

Post: #289601 by sunmaid on Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:58 pm
Last year Kamsky, Akobian and Lenderman tied for first place at the US championship and it was only through a very unfair playoff system that Gata Kamsky was ultimately crowned champion. Since Kamsky and Akobian are in, I think it would have been a wise decision to give the wild card entry to Alex Lenderman. Sam Sevian is an exciting young player, but he will get his chance in many years to come to play in this tournament.

It is a travesty that one of the players who TIED FOR FIRST PLACE last year is not included in the field this year. This brings SHAME on all involved with the tournament, and especially on the pooh-bahs of the USCF, who obviously have no shame. Only someone like Darth Cheney would be content with this sorry state of affairs…(

Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part I
By GM Sam Shankland
February 3, 2015

Shankland on his Rise From GM to Top Hundred: Part II
By GM Sam Shankland
February 12, 2015

GM Sam Shankland – Official Site

Sam “The Shank” Shankland

GM Sam Shankland has left blood on the board at the 2014 Olympiad! He bested Judit Polgar in the game today for his SEVENTH consecutive victory without a loss.
During a phone conversation with the Legendary Georgia Ironman I mentioned that if Sam were in the Mafia, his nickname would be “The Shank.”
Slang. a dagger fashioned from available materials by a prison inmate. (
The Shank has left seven opponents bleeding all over the board.
I searched for “Mafia nicknames,” then surfed over to The Mafia Name Generator (
The name it chose for GM Shankland was, “Giorgio the Brain.” How apropos. I give the games in honor of the streak by The Shank:
Ssonko, Mathias Allan (2138) – GM Shankland, Samuel L (2624)
41st Olympiad Open 2014 Tromso NOR (1.7), 2014.08.02
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 4.Bc4 e6 5.Nge2 Nf6 6.O-O a6 7.a4 d5 8.exd5 exd5 9.Ba2 Bd6 10.d3 O-O 11.Nxd4 cxd4 12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.Bxd5 Bxh2+ 14.Kxh2 Qxd5 15.Re1 Bd7 16.c4 dxc3 17.bxc3 Bc6 18.f3 Qh5+ 19.Kg1 Qc5+ 20.d4 Qxc3 21.Ba3 Rfe8 22.Be7 Qa5 23.Qc1 Rac8 24.Qf4 f6 25.Qg3 Kf7 26.Qd6 Qf5 27.a5 Bd5 28.Re2 Be6 29.g4 Qd5 30.Rae1 Rc6 31.Qxd5 Bxd5 32.f4 Rc3 33.g5 Rh3 0-1
GM Shankland, Samuel L (2624) – IM Martinez Romero, Martin (2387)
41st Olympiad Open 2014 Tromso NOR (2), 2014.08.03
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 Be7 8.O-O-O O-O 9.f4 h6 10.Bh4 e5 11.Nf5 Bxf5 12.exf5 Qa5 13.g4 exf4 14.Qxf4 d5 15.g5 hxg5 16.Bxg5 d4 17.Bxf6 Bxf6 18.Ne4 Be5 19.Qg5 Nb4 20.f6 Bf4+ 21.Qxf4 Rac8 22.Bd3 Qa4 23.Qf2 Rxc2+ 24.Bxc2 Rc8 25.Rd2 Qxa2 26.Kd1 Qa1+ 27.Ke2 Qxh1 28.Qg3 g6 29.Bd3 Nxd3 30.Kxd3 Rd8 31.Qf4 b5 32.Ng3 Qc6 33.Ke2 Rd6 34.Ne4 Re6 35.Rxd4 Qc2+ 36.Kf3 Qb3+ 37.Nc3 1-0
GM Shankland, Samuel L (2624) – IM Gluckman, David (2236)
41st Olympiad Open 2014 Tromso NOR (4), 2014.08.05
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nc6 4.Ngf3 Nf6 5.e5 Nd7 6.Nb3 a5 7.a4 Be7 8.c3 b6 9.h4 h6 10.Rh3 Ba6 11.Bxa6 Rxa6 12.h5 Ra8 13.Rg3 Bf8 14.Kf1 Ndb8 15.Be3 Qd7 16.Nc1 Kd8 17.Nd3 Kc8 18.Rc1 Kb7 19.Qb3 Ka7 20.Rg4 Na6 21.Qb5 Rd8 22.Rf4 Ncb8 23.Nd2 c6 24.Qb3 Qe8 25.Qd1 Be7 26.Qf3 Rf8 27.Rg4 g5 28.hxg6 fxg6 29.Qh3 h5 30.Rf4 Nc7 31.Nf3 Rg8 32.Rf6 Bxf6 33.exf6 Rf8 34.Bg5 Nd7 35.f7 Qxf7 36.Bxd8 Rxd8 37.Nfe5 Nxe5 38.Nxe5 Qe8 39.b4 Na6 40.Rb1 axb4 41.cxb4 Rc8 42.Qc3 Kb7 43.Rc1 g5 44.Kg1 g4 45.g3 Qf8 46.Nd3 Qf3 47.b5 Nb8 48.a5 h4 49.gxh4 Qf8 50.axb6 Qd6 51.Nc5+ Kxb6 52.Ra1 cxb5 53.Qa5+ Kc6 54.Qa8+ 1-0
GM Shankland, Samuel L (2624) – IM Hambleton, Aman (2458)
41st Olympiad Open 2014 Tromso NOR (5), 2014.08.06
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd7 7.O-O Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Qe2 a6 10.a4 Bd6 11.Rd1 O-O 12.Nbxd4 Nxd4 13.Rxd4 Qc7 14.Bg5 e5 15.Rh4 Bf5 16.Bxf6 gxf6 17.Bd3 Bg6 18.Rg4 Rfe8 19.Nh4 e4 20.Bxe4 Bxh2+ 21.Kh1 Bf4 22.Qf3 Bg5 23.Nxg6 hxg6 24.Bxb7 Rab8 25.Bc6 Rec8 26.Bd5 Kg7 27.g3 Rxb2 28.Bb3 Qe5 29.Rd1 Rc3 30.Qd5 Qxd5+ 31.Rxd5 f5 32.Rgd4 Rb1+ 33.Kg2 Bf6 34.Rd2 Re1 35.Rd7 Be7 36.Ra7 Rc6 37.Rdd7 Kf6 38.a5 g5 39.Rdb7 Rd6 40.Rb6 Ra1 41.Rxd6+ Bxd6 42.Rxa6 Ke7 43.Ra7+ Kd8 44.Bxf7 Bb8 45.Ra8 Kc7 46.Ra6 f4 47.gxf4 gxf4 48.Kf3 Ra3+ 49.Kg4 Rc3 50.Rf6 Rxc2 51.Rxf4 Kd8 52.Rf5 Ba7 53.f3 Rc3 54.Bd5 Bf2 55.a6 Ra3 56.Rf6 Ra5 57.Be4 Ke7 58.Rc6 Ra4 59.Kh3 Ra3 60.Kg2 Be3 61.Kf1 Bd4 62.Ke2 Re3+ 63.Kd2 Ra3 64.Bd3 Be5 65.Rc2 Kd6 66.Ke2 Bd4 67.f4 Ke7 68.Rc6 Kd7 69.Bb5 Ke7 70.Rc4 Bb6 71.Ra4 Re3+ 72.Kd2 Ba7 73.Bd3 Kd6 74.Rb4 Re7 75.f5 Bc5 76.Rg4 Be3+ 77.Kc3 Rc7+ 78.Rc4 Ra7 79.Re4 Rc7+ 80.Bc4 Bg5 81.Re6+ Kc5 82.f6 Bf4 83.Re7 Rc8 84.f7 Bd6 85.Re8 Rc7 86.f8=Q Bxf8 87.Rxf8 Kb6 88.Kb4 Rc6 89.Rb8+ Ka7 90.Rb7+ Ka8 91.Rh7 Kb8 92.Bb5 Rf6 93.Kc5 Rg6 94.Bc6 1-0
FM Vazquez, Guillermo (2323) – GM Shankland, Samuel L (2624)
41st Olympiad Open 2014 Tromso NOR (6), 2014.08.08
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h5 5.Bg5 Qb6 6.Bd3 Qxd4 7.Nf3 Qg4 8.O-O Bxd3 9.Qxd3 e6 10.Nbd2 Be7 11.c4 Bxg5 12.Nxg5 Ne7 13.Qb3 b6 14.cxd5 cxd5 15.Rac1 Nbc6 16.f4 Rc8 17.Qd3 Nf5 18.Ndf3 O-O 19.Nh2 Qg3 20.Qd1 Nxe5 21.Rxc8 Rxc8 22.fxe5 Qe3+ 0-1
IM Vakhidov, Jahongir (2471) – GM Shankland, Samuel L (2624)
41st Olympiad Open 2014 Tromso NOR (7), 2014.08.09
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 d5 3.e3 c6 4.c4 Bf5 5.Nc3 e6 6.Bd3 Bg6 7.O-O Nbd7 8.Ne5 Bxd3 9.Qxd3 Be7 10.f4 O-O 11.b3 Bb4 12.Bd2 Bxc3 13.Bxc3 Ne4 14.Bb4 Re8 15.a4 f5 16.a5 a6 17.Nf3 Ndf6 18.Rfc1 h6 19.Ne5 Nd7 20.Rc2 Nxe5 21.dxe5 dxc4 22.Qxc4 Qd5 23.Qxd5 exd5 24.h3 h5 25.Ra4 Kf7 26.Ba3 Rad8 27.h4 Re6 28.Rb4 Rd7 29.Rb6 Rg6 30.Bb2 c5 31.Rc1 Rxb6 32.axb6 Ke6 33.Ba3 d4 34.Bxc5 d3 35.Bb4 d2 36.Rd1 Rd5 37.Bxd2 Nxd2 38.Rc1 Nxb3 39.Rc7 Rd7 40.Rc3 Nd2 41.Rc8 Ne4 42.Re8+ Re7 43.Rh8 Kd5 44.Rxh5 g6 45.Rh6 Re6 46.h5 gxh5 47.Rxh5 Rxb6 48.g4 fxg4 49.e6+ Kd6 50.f5 Rb1+ 51.Kg2 Rb2+ 52.Kg1 g3 0-1
Shankland, Samuel L (2624) – Polgar, Judit (2676)
41st Olympiad Open 2014 Tromso NOR (8), 2014.08.10
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Nbd2 b6 5.a3 Bxd2+ 6.Qxd2 Bb7 7.e3 a5 8.b3 d6 9.Be2 Nbd7 10.Bb2 O-O 11.O-O Qe7 12.Qc2 c5 13.Rfd1 h6 14.Rac1 Rfc8 15.a4 cxd4 16.Nxd4 Nc5 17.Ba3 Nfe4 18.Nb5 d5 19.f3 Nf6 20.Qb2 e5 21.cxd5 Nxd5 22.e4 Nf4 23.Bc4 Rd8 24.Kh1 Rxd1+ 25.Rxd1 Rd8 26.Qc2 Rxd1+ 27.Qxd1 Qg5 28.Qd2 Nxe4 29.fxe4 Bxe4 30.Bf1 Bc6 31.Bc1 Qg4 32.Nc3 g5 33.Qc2 Kg7 34.Be3 Qe6 35.Kg1 Bb7 36.Nb5 Nd5 37.Bf2 Nf4 38.Nc7 Qg4 39.Bxb6 Nh3+ 40.Kh1 Qf4 41.Qc4 Qd2 42.Qe2 Qc1 43.Ne8+ Kf8 44.Nd6 Bd5 45.Be3 Qb1 46.Qd3 Qe1 47.Qe2 Qb1 48.Nc4 Qxb3 49.Qd3 Qxd3 50.Bxd3 Nf4 51.Bxf4 exf4 52.Nxa5 f3 53.gxf3 Bxf3+ 54.Kg1 Bd1 55.Bb5 Ke7 56.Nc4 Bf3 57.a5 f6 58.a6 Kd8 59.Kf2 Bh1 60.Ne3 1-0

Mechanic’s Institute Chess Club Newsletter

The latest Mechanic’s Institute Chess Club Newsletter, #634, just appeared online. I have been a regular reader for many years. The Mechanic’s Institute is one of my favorite places in the country. Upon entering the historical feeling is palpable. IM John Donaldson does a fine job keeping not only club members informed, but also those of us who have left their hearts in San Francisco. John writes about the recently completed US Junior Closed in this issue. What he writes is so incredibly impressive I want to share it with you:
Long-time MI member Daniel Naroditsky of Foster City won the 2013 US Junior Closed, held June 14-22 at the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center. Daniel’s undefeated score of 6½ from 9 earned him spots in both the 2014 US Championship and the 2013 World Junior.
Tying for second with 6 points in the 10-player event was fellow Mechanics’ US Chess League teammate Samuel Sevian of Santa Clara, along with Luke Velotti-Harmon of Boise. Victor Shen of New Jersey was fourth with 5½ points, followed by another MI member, Yian Liou of Alamo, and World Under 14-Champion Kayden Troff on 4½. Yian played an important role in determining the top spots, as he beat Sevian and Velotti-Harmon.
Not only were three of the top five finishers in 2013 MI members, but three of the five winners dating back to 2009 were as well.
Recent US Junior Closed Winners
(MI members in bold)
2009 Ray Robson
2010 Sam Shankland
2011 Gregory Young
2012 Marc Arnold
2013 Daniel Naroditsky
There are several reasons for this, one of which is the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room. Young players need a place to play. Another is regular tournaments in the Bay area. There is a strong and vibrant chess community because of the tradition made possible by the Institute, and the many people who love the Royal game. The milieu fosters and engenders strong players because the area has everything needed for chess players to develop. A community trying to develop a culture of chess could do no better than trying to emulate the Bay area, which also happens to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I hope you will check out the Mechanic’s Institute Chess Newsletter at: