Many players get into trouble because they have definite assessments and vague ideas when what you want is clear ideas and revisable assessments - almost the exact opposite!
Jonathan Rowson in Chess for Zebras (page 47)
1) Mechanics' Institute Chess News 2) IM-elect David Pruess 2006 Samford Scholar 3) Smyslov at the Mechanics' and Walnut Creek in 1976 by Richard Shorman 4) San Francisco vs, Victoria - The Return Match by Stephen Wright 5) Chess in the Media 6) Chess bum days - a poem by Dennis Fritzinger 7) Los Angeles chess history 8) Here and There 9) Upcoming events
MI Chess Director John Donaldson will be in Turin as the US Men's Teams Captain and leaves for Europe next Monday. There will be no new MI Newsletters until June 7.
1) Mechanics' Institute Club News
NM Albert Rich ended Brendan Purcell's series of upsets last night to jump into the lead in the Tuesday Night Marathon with 6 from 7 with one round to go. Tied for second ay 5.5, in the 65-player field, are Purcell, NM Russell Wong and Experts Larry Snyder and Batsaikhan Tserendorj.
Sam Shankland upset IM Ricardo DeGuzman en route to tying with Dmitry Vayntrub in the 6th Annual Charles Powell Powell held May 6 at the Mechanics'. The two winners scored 4.5 from 5 to each take home $150 apiece. Tying for third in the 35-player event were newly relocated NM Nathaniel Graham - formerly of Minneapolis, Adarsh Konda, Erik Kislik and Yefim Bukh. Anthony Corrales and Alex Yermolinsky directed for the Mechanics'.
WGM Camille Baginskaite will playing in the Women's Olympiad in Turin in late May and early June but her Sunday classes for girls and women will continue in her absence. MI Scholastic Coordinator will Anthony Corrales will cover for her.
Copies of Richard Reinhardt's beautifully produced, lavishly illustrated hardback Four Books, 300 dollars and a Dream, a recounting of the history and highlights of the Mechanics' Institute over the past 150 years, is available for $35 plus $3.50 for shipping and handling. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for orders.
2) IM-elect David Pruess 2006 Samford Scholar
Congratulations to IM David Pruess who is the 2006 Frank Samford, Jr. Scholar. Pruess was selected from a strong field of candidates which included IMs Irina Krush and Daniel Fernandez. A native of the East Bay and a UC Berkeley grad, Pruess was instructed in his formative years by NM Robert Haines but has not had a formal coach for quite some time. The Samford Chess Fellowship is worth approximately $32,000 and is renewable for a second year.
3) Smyslov at the Mechanics' and Walnut Creek in 1976 by Richard Shorman
Thanks to Kerry Lawless for passing the following article along.
Hayward Daily Review, Sunday, March 28, 1976
Former world champion Vasilly Smyslov honored the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Room in San Francisco with a 30-board simultaneous display, Mar. 20. The four and one-half hour exhibition produced some unexpectedly tough opposition from three talented youngsters. Victor Baja (2052), 16, San Francisco, Randy Fong (1921), 17, Hayward, and Jay Whitehead (2175), 14, San Francisco, all of whom scored victories against the genial Soviet grandmaster.
Draws were achieved by nine of the combatants: Russell Bartoli, San Francisco, Gary Berry, San Francisco, Mike Dyslin, San Francisco, Pamela Ford, San Francisco, Barry Kraft, San Francisco, Charles Moore, San Bruno, Rodney Phillips, San Francisco, Peter Stevens, San Francisco, and Ted Zwerdling, San Francisco.
The remaining eighteen players were defeated in the style to which Smyslov has long become accustomed.
Here are some notable games from this signal event, recorded in streamlined coordinate chess notation (files lettered “a” to “h”, ranks numbered “1” to “8,” always counting from White’s lower left corner regardless of whose turn to move; pawn captures designated by file letters only).
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Jay Whitehead. Simultaneous exhibition, San Francisco, March 20, 1976. King’s Indian Defense. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 Nbd7 7.0-0 e5 8.d5 Nc5 9.Qc2 a5 10.Bg5 h6 11.Be3 Nh5 12.g3 Bh3 13.Rfe1 f5 14.Nh4 f4 15.Bc5 dc 16.Ng6 fg 17.hg Qg5 18.Bh5 Qh5 19.Nh4 Rf4 20.Re3 Qg4 21.Nf3 Qg6 22.Ne2 Raf8 23.Nf4 ef 24.Nh4 Qg4 25.Rf3 fg 26.Rf8+ Kf8 27.fg Qg3+ 28.Ng2 Bd4+ 29.Kh1 Bf2 30. Resigns.
* * *
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Victor Baja. Simultaneous exhibition, San Francisco, March 20, 1976. Sicilian Defense. 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 c5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d4 cd 5.Nd4 g6 6.e4 d6 7.Be2 Nd4 8.Qd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 Bd7 11.0-0 a6 12.Bh6 b5 13.Bg7 Kg7 14.cb ab 15.a3 Qb6 16.b4 Rfc8 17.Rfc1 Rc7 18.Bf3 Rac8 19.Ne2 Rc4 20.Rxc4 Rxc4 21.Ng3 Qc7 22.h3 Rc2 23.Qe1 Be6 24.Nf1 Rc3 25.Ne3 h5 26.Qe2 Rc1+ 27.Rc1 Qc1+ 28.Kh2 Bc4 29.Nc4 bc 30.b5 c3 31.b6 c2 32.e5 Qb2 33.ef+ ef 34.b7 c1Q 35. Resigns.
* * *
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Randy Fong. Simultaneous exhibition, San Francisco, March 20, 1976. Queen’s Gambit Declined. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c5 5.cd ed 6.Bg5 Be7 7.e3 0-0 8.dc Be6 9.Be2 Nbd7 10.0-0 Nc5 11.Nd4 Nce4 12.Ne4 Ne4 13.Be7 Qe7 14.f3 Nf6 15.Qd2 Rfe8 16.Rac1 Rac8 17.Rc8 Bc8 18.Rc1 a6 19.Bd3 g6 20.a3 Kg7 21.Kf2 Qe5 22.Kg1 Qe3+ 23.Qe3 Re3 24.Bf1 Bd7 25.Rc7 b5 26.Kf2 Re8 27.Ra7 Bc8 28.b4 Nd7 29.Nb3 Nb6 30.Nc5 d4 31.Na6 Re3 32.Nc5 Nc4 33.a4 Ra3 34.Rc7 Ra2+ 35.Kg3 Bf5 36.ab5 Ne3 37.b6 g5 38.Ne6+ Be6 39.f4 Nf1+ 40.Kf3 Bd5+ 41.Kg4 Ne3+ 42. Resigns.
* * *
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Pamela Ford. Simultaneous exhibition, San Francisco, March 20, 1976. Vienna Game. 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 c6 4.Nf3 d5 5.ed e4 6.Qe2 cd 7.Bd5 Bd7 8.0-0 Be7 9.Nd4 Nc6 10.Bc6 bc 11.d3 c5 12.Nb3 Bg4 13.Qe1 0-0 14.de c4 15.Nd4 Bc5 16.Nc6 Qc7 17.de Rfe8 18.Be3 Nd5 19.Nd5 Qc6 20.Qa5 Qd5 21.Qc5 Drawn.
* * *
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Mike Dyslin, Simultaneous exhibition, San Francisco, March 20, 1976. Vienna Game. 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Bb4 4.d3 0-0 5.Nge2 d5 6.ed Nd5 7.0-0 Nc3 8.bc Bd6 9.f4 Nc6 10.f5 Be7 11.Ng3 b6 12.Ne4 Bf6 13.g4 h6 14.Qf3 Bb7 15.Be3 Na5 16.Bb3 c5 17.c4 Be4 18.Qe4 Qd6 19.Ba4 Rac8 20.Rf2 Nc6 21.Bc6 Qc6 22.Qc6 Rc6 23.Rb1 Re8 24.Re2 Bg5 25.Bg5 hg5 26.Rbe1 f6 27.Kf2 Rd6 28.Re4 Red8 29.Kg3 Rd4 30.h4 gh+ 31.Kh4 Re4 32.Re4 Rd4 33.g5 Kf7 34.Rd4 fg+ 35.Kg5 ed 36.a3 a6 37.a4 a5 38.Kh5 Kf6 39.Kg4 g6 40.fg Kg6 41. Drawn.
* * *
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Gary Berry. Simultaneous exhibition, San Francisco, March 20, 1976. Sicilian Defense. 1.c4 g6 2.d4 c5 3.Nf3 cd 4.Nd4 Nc6 5.e4 Nf6 6.Nc3 d6 7.Be2 Nd4 8.Qd4 Bg7 9.Be3 0-0 10.Qd2 Be6 11.0-0 Rc8 12.b3 a6 13.Rad1 Re8 14.f4 Qa5 15.Kh1 Bd7 16.Bd4 Bc6 17.Bf3 Red8 18.Bf6 Bf6 19.Nd5 Qd2 20.Nf6+ Kg7 21.Nh5+ gh 22.Rd2 Rc7 23.h4 Rdc8 24.Re1 Kg6 25.f5+ Kf6 26.Bh5 b5 27.c5 dc 28.e5+ Kg7 29.Kh2 Rd7 30.Rd7 Bd7 31.g4 c4 32.bc bc 33.Bf7 Drawn.
* * *
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Alan Piper, Simultaneous exhibition, San Francisco, March 20, 1976. King’s Indian Defense. 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d6 3.d4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.e4 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.d5 Nh5 8.0-0 c5 9.a3 Nf4 10.Re1 Nd7 11.Bf1 Nf6 12.Bf4 ef 13.e5 Ng4 14.ed Qd6 15.Ne4 Qc7 16.Qd2 Ne5 17.Qf4 Nf3+ 18.Qf3 Bb2 19.Rad1 Bd4 20.d6 Qc6 21.Qf4 Bf5 22.Rd4 cd 23.Nf6+ Kg7 24.Qe5 g5 25.Ne8+ Resigns.
Grandmaster Smyslov was persuaded to conduct another simultaneous exhibition at the site of the CCCA team championships in Walnut Creek, Mar. 21. On this occasion, no player managed to win. 21 lost and only two emerged with draws: Hans Poschmann, Fremont, and Martin Sullivan, San Leandro.
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Martin Sullivan. Simultaneous exhibition, Walnut Creek, March 21, 1976. English Opening. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.Nf3 cd 4.Nd4 e6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bf4 e5 8.Bg5 a6 9.Bf6 gf 10.Na3 f5 11.g3 Be6 12.Bg2 Qg5 13.0-0 h5 14.Nd5 Rc8 15.Qb3 Nd8 16.Qb6 Bd5 17.cd h4 18.e3 Be7 19.Rfc1 Rc1+ 20.Rc1 hg 21.hg f4 22.ef ef 23.Qd4 Qf6 24.Qf6 Bf6 25.Nc4 fg 26.fg Bd4+ 27.Kf1 Rh6 28.Bf3 f5 29.Kg2 Rg6 30.Rc2 Be5 31.Ne5 de 32.Kf2 e4 33.Be2 Nf7 34.Bh5 Rf6 35. Drawn.
* * *
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Hans Poschmann. Simultaneous exhibition. Walnut Creek, March 21, 1976. English Opening. 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.d4 Bb4 4.e3 c5 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Bd3 d5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.a3 Bc3 9.bc Qc7 10.cd ed 11.Nh4 Be6 12.f3 Rfe8 13.Bd2 Ne7 14.g4 h6 15.Ng2 Ng6 16.Qe1 Qd7 17.Qg3 Kh8 18.a4 a6 19.a5 Re7 20.h4 Rae8 21.h5 Nf8 22.Nf4 Qc7 23.Kg2 N8h7 24. Drawn.
* * *
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Randy Fong. Simultaneous exhibition. Walnut Creek, March 21, 1976. Albin Counter Gambit. 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.de d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.g3 Bg4 6.Bg2 Qd7 7.0-0 h5 8.Nbd2 0-0-0 9.a3 d3 10.ed h4 11.Re1 hg 12.hg Qd3 13.b4 Nd4 14.Bb2 Nc2 15.Rc1 Ne1 16.Qe1 f6 17.c5 Qh7 18.c6 b6 19.Rc4 Be6 20.Rh4 Qc2 21.Rh8 Qb2 22.ef Ba2 23.Qe2 Qa3 24.fg Bg7 25.Rh7 Bf6 26.Nf1 Bd5 27.Ne1 Qa2 28.Qg4+ Be6 29.Qf4 Be7 30.Nf3 Bd6 31.Qh4 Rf8 32.N3d2 Qb2 33.Bh3 Bh3 34.Qh3+ Kb8 35.Qe6 Qb4 36.Rf7 Rc8 37.Ne4 a5 38.Rg7 Nh6 39.Rg6 Nf7 40.Qf7 Qe4 41.Rd6 Rh8 42.f3 Qc2 43.Qf6 Qc5+ 44.Kg2 Rh7 45.Rd2 Qh5 46.Qd8+ Ka7 47.Qc8 Resigns.
* * *
White: Vasily Smyslov, Black: Tom Dorsch. Simultaneous exhibition. Walnut Creek, March 21, 1976. English Opening. 1.c4 g6 2.d4 c5 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3 cd 5.Nd4 Nc6 6.e3 Nf6 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 d6 9.b3 a5 10.Bb2 Nd7 11.Qd2 Nc5 12.Rad1 Be6 13.Ne6 Ne6 14.Nd5 Bb2 15.Qb2 Nb4 16.Nc3 Nc6 17.f4 Nc5 18.Bf3 Rc8 19.e4 Qe8 20.Nd5 Rd8 21.Rfe1 f6 22.a3 e5 23.b4 ab 24.ab Ne6 25.f5 Ned4 26.Bg4 h5 27.Be2 Ne2+ 28.Re2 Nd4 29.Rd4 ed 30.Qd4 Kg7 31.Nc7 Qe7 32.Ne6+ Kh7 33.fg+ Kg6 34.Qd5 Rg8 35.Nd8 Rd8 36.Rf2 Qe5 37.Qb7 Qa1+ 38.Rf1 Qd4+ 39.Kh1 Qc4 40.Rd1 Re8 41.b5 Qe4 42.Qe4+ Re4 43.Rb1 Re7 44.b6 Rb7 45.Kg1 Kf5 46.Kf2 d5 47.Ke3 Ke5 48.g3 Ke6 49.Kd4 Kd6 50.h4 Kc6 51.Rf1 Rf7 52.Rf5 Kb6 53.Kd5 Rg7 54.Rh5 Kc7 55.Ke6 Rg3 56.Rf5 Kd8 57.Kf7 Rd3 58.h5 Rd7+ 59.Kg6 Ke8 60.h6 Resigns.
4) San Francisco vs, Victoria - The Return Match by Stephen Wright
Pasted from BCCF Email Bulletin #93
SAN FRANCISCO vs. VICTORIA - THE RETURN MATCH
Elsewhere I have written about the 1895 telegraph matches between Victoria, Vancouver, and San Francisco (see Bulletin #51, En Passant December 1999, or http://www3.telus.net/public/swright2/cablematches.html). To summarize: San Francisco and Victoria drew a two-game match 1-1, while Vancouver went down to defeat 0-2 against San Francisco. My final sentence in the article read as follows: "Eventually arrangements were made for a rematch [between Victoria and San Francisco] on three boards to be played 1 November 1895, but at the last minute San Francisco found the date unacceptable and the match was postponed indefinitely. Regrettably, as far as I can tell the rematch never did take place."
Well, I can now reveal that the rematch did indeed take place, on New Year's Day 1897. It was agreed to play one game, beginning at 7 pm with a time limit of ten moves per hour. Each city had timekeepers who kept track of the elapsed time for both teams: C.A. Lombard and Thomas Lawrie for Victoria, Dr. Benjamin Marshall for San Francisco. Playing for Victoria were Thomas H. Piper (see http://www3.telus.net/public/swright2/who.html#piper), W.C. Chapman, Major B. Williams, and Dr. Griffith Hands. To facilitate transmission a direct cable was run into the Driard Hotel, the Victoria site of the match, where numerous spectators also gathered to follow the game on their own boards. The San Francisco players, Walter S. Franklin, Oscar Samuels, Rodney Kendricks, and Valentine Huber, were all members of the Mechanics' Institute, and all except Kendricks were champions of the MI chess club in various years. The C.P.R. Telegraph Co. and the Pacific Postal Telegraph Co. gave the clubs free use of their wires for the occasion; the chief operators were W. Christie and Tom Martin respectively. The day before the match the Victoria Daily Colonist noted "In San Francisco the match is exciting especial interest, a young 'prodigy' having lately appeared in the Bay City, who it is predicted, will before many years eclipse Pillsbury himself. The California club is confident of success, and pins its faith on the youthful champion." Presumably this reference is to Franklin, a medical student who when he won the MI club championship in May 1896 was "not yet 18 years of age."
San Francisco - Victoria [C67] Telegraph match, 01.01.1897
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Be7 6.d5 Nd6 7.Be2 e4 8.dxc6 exf3 9.cxd7+ Bxd7 10.Bxf3 0-0 11.Bf4 Be6 12.Nc3 c6 13.Re1 Re8 14.Bg4 Nf5 15.Qf3 Nd4 16.Qh3 Bxg4 17.Qxg4 Qc8
"Victoria missed a good chance to secure an advantage at the seventeenth move, by not capturing White's pawn with the knight. Victoria evidently scented a trap in this taking move, and such it was intended to be by White, but careful analysis has since shown that this would have been a sound move on the part of Black and given the Northerners a superior game." - from the San Francisco Examiner, quoted in the Victoria Daily Colonist of January 7, 1897.
18.Qxc8 Raxc8 19.Rad1 Ne6 20.Bg3 Bb4 21.Re3 Rcd8 22.Kf1 Rxd1+ 23.Nxd1 Rd8 24.Rd3 Rxd3 25.cxd3 f6 26.f3 Kf7 27.a3 Bc5 28.Bf2 Ke7 29.Bxc5+ Nxc5 30.Ke2 Ke6 31.Ke3 1/2-1/2
"Although they did not win the match and by it the championship of the Pacific Coast, on New Year's Day, the Victoria Chess Club by that important contest supplied an advertisement of the city that is worth very considerable.... People who have thought of Victoria as little more than a frontier town cannot but find their opinion changing and their respect for British Columbia's Capital increased when they find that it has a chess club superior to any other in Canada and second to none on the Pacific coast. Such matches as that of New Year's Day go far to remove the impression--drawn from the pictures on the cans of salmon, which are perhaps the greatest advertisers this province has ever had--that British Columbia is a land of sea and siwash and salmon." [Ibid]
5) Chess in the Media
Chess seems to be popping up all over in the media. Last Newsletter I wrote about the recent lengthy piece in the New Yorker magazine about King Kirsan. The latest copy of National Geographic has a four page spread on Lindsborg, Kansas, and its recent chess boom engineered by Mikhail Korenman. The following insightful article appeared in the Atlantic Monthly last December.
How the former world chess champion Garry Kasparov hopes to unseat President Vladimir Putin
Politics in Russia has historically been a game of winner take all. Victors amass booty and virtual immunity from censure or even prosecution. The vanquished, if they are lucky, escape abroad or putter away their remaining years in dacha gardens. On the surface the contemporary situation is not much different: President Vladimir Putin, in power since 2000, has packed the State Duma and the Federation Council (Russia's bicameral legislature) with his supporters, and the national media are largely subservient to his wishes. During the first four years of his rule Putin's approval ratings never dropped below 70 percent, and in 2004 he won re-election with 71 percent of the vote. His closest competitor, the Communist candidate Nikolai Kharitonov, received only 14 percent and has drifted back into the muddy fields of his demographically doomed party. Now Moscow is awash in rumors that in 2008 Putin may seek election to a third term—a move currently prohibited by the constitution, but easily arranged.
All is not well for Putin, however. His approval ratings have swung wildly over the past twelve months, at times dropping by twenty points or more. Despite five years of draconian measures designed to suppress challenges to his authority, Putin looks increasingly vulnerable, especially since his botched attempt to rescue the schoolchildren taken hostage in Beslan in September of 2004 (which sparked angry protests in the North Caucasus, to say nothing of horror and dismay among his supporters elsewhere in the country) and his bungled economic reforms of last winter (which led to the first violent demonstrations of his tenure). If ever the opposition in Russia has had a chance, it is now; and the man most eager to seize the moment is a highly recognizable and admired public figure in Russia, better known internationally for most of the past twenty years as the world's chess champion: Garry Kimovich Kasparov. Russia is roughly as enamored of chess as the United States is of pro tennis. When Kasparov left the game to enter politics, in March of this year, the move sparked puzzlement among fans and skepticism from political commentators, who stressed his inexperience and lack of status in the no-holds-barred arena of Russian politics. But the pundits' declarations notwithstanding, Kasparov is no novice in politics. He quit the Communist Party in 1990, when it became clear that the days of the Soviet system were numbered. He then went on to help found the Democratic Party of Russia and the pro-Western bloc Russia's Choice, now defunct but once the standard-bearers of liberalism. And in 1996 he campaigned actively for Boris Yeltsin's re-election. These are passable bona fides for any Russian liberal.
Not surprisingly, Kasparov has given up on pursuing change through the system as restructured by Putin, and has instead embarked on a campaign to effect, in his own words, nothing less than the "dismantlement of the regime"—an undertaking that will surely demand as much determination, brashness, and brio as he displayed during his career in chess. He is a revolutionary, goaded into action by the Kremlin's authoritarianism and the impotence of the liberal opposition, and he has concluded that Russia's fate will be decided through something resembling the mass protests that recently toppled corrupt governments in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. His aim is to unseat Putin through a sort of eclectic command center known as Committee 2008: Free Choice—a group made up of thirty-two members of various ideological persuasions, and affiliated with a broader outgrowth, the United Civic Front, which consists of about 2,000 liberals, Communists, members of extreme nationalist parties, and even defectors from the pro-Putin behemoth United Russia, scattered across twenty-one regions. What unites them all is the threat presented by the government's authoritarianism, and a determination to stop Putin from seeking a third term.
Early one clement morning in August, Kasparov took me along for a series of speaking engagements that Committee 2008 had arranged for him in Vladimir, a small city 120 miles northeast of the capital. He stepped out of the entryway of his apartment building, in central Moscow, trim and vigorous, his salt-and-pepper hair thick under a baseball cap, his swarthy complexion suggesting Jewish and Armenian descent—a strike against him on the pavement of a city where skinheads and other extremists frequently assault those who look "non-Russian." Kasparov's public-relations officer, a luminous young blonde named Marina Litvinovich, introduced us, and we climbed aboard a pearl-gray minibus. Several other members of his entourage hopped in as well. Bodyguards would trail us in a silver-hued SUV. Our driver navigated among begrimed Ladas, Volgas, and Moskviches in a lurching cavalcade studded with clean new Mercedes and the occasional glistening black Volvo (perhaps belonging to a Duma deputy or other state official) forcing traffic aside with sirens and flickering high beams. Muscovites, many dressed to the nines, slipped between vehicles to cross the jammed streets. Soon we passed the Ring Road—Moscow's Beltway—and trundled into the countryside, where steel-and-glass buildings gave way to gritty cement hovels with hand-painted wooden signs. At the roadside scarved old ladies sold mud-covered produce or stood waiting for buses. "Leaving Moscow is like entering another dimension," Kasparov said, his eyes on the montage of rural decay sliding by. "As things are now, Russian politics is conducted within the Ring Road. Even liberal politicians don't travel much. They fear the people." Kasparov has no choice but to hit the road to deliver his message: state-friendly television gives scant airtime to opposition figures. But there is more to his travels than that, he said. "For me leaving the capital is like attending university. We'll visit some twenty regions by year's end, and I'm correcting our actions based on what I learn. I want to shift the center of political gravity from Moscow to the regions, to bring big politics down to the molecular level, to show people how it affects them, and how we can change policy to change our lives." His peripatetics so far have proved neither smooth nor safe. In a throwback to hammer-and-sickle days, when the state found ingenious ways to harass lone but dogged dissidents like Solzhenitsyn and Sakharov, the authorities now seem determined to discourage Kasparov. High-ranking police officers regularly await him at venues. Interior Ministry troops roughed him up at a rally this past May. When he visited the North Caucasus, in June, the trip devolved into quasi-farce: three airports denied his chartered plane landing rights; auditoriums at which he was scheduled to speak inexplicably closed or lost their electricity; hotels at which he was booked turned suddenly "full"; rowdy teenagers hurled ketchup-covered eggs at him; and the police denied him access to Chechen refugee camps. Kasparov's worldwide fame probably dissuades his opponents from more-aggressive tactics; two other Putin challengers have fared worse. One of them, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the oligarch and chief of the oil company Yukos, sits in jail, ostensibly for tax evasion and fraud, but probably because he planned to finance the opposition. The other, the former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov, voiced an interest in the presidency and soon found himself facing accusations of fraud and abuse of office, plus a tax audit. As we neared Vladimir, I asked Kasparov what motivated him to leave chess for politics, risky as it is, and when a majority of Russians appear so apolitical. "I can't say I'm not afraid," he replied. "But the government is destroying our country. I feel a moral imperative to act—either to act or leave. And I'm not leaving. Putin knows if he leaves the Kremlin, he'll be heading not to a retirement pension but to Lefortovo [Prison]. People are asking why, with state revenues at record highs from oil prices, they're living worse and worse." Notwithstanding an 85 percent rise in oil prices over the past twelve months, the growth in Russia's GDP—20 percent of which derives from oil and gas—is expected to drop from 7.1 percent last year to 5.9 percent this year. After six years of much-touted economic growth, wages average only $200 to $300 a month in Moscow—and the average is half that, or less, in the provinces. Kasparov noted that under Putin, as under Yeltsin, politicians and bureaucrats batten on the kormushki (feeding troughs) their offices provide them, extracting bribes, "gifts," and other lucrative benefits from their sinecures. According to the Moscow think tank Indem, since 2001 the average bribe has jumped from $10,200 to $135,000—despite Putin's loudly publicized anti-corruption campaign. "All the bureaucrats must get their share," Kasparov told me. "They side with Putin as long as he gives them kormushki, but they will run out. When that happens, and it's a matter of time, they will have less reason to support him. One can't rule out violence; there are too many hyenas to feed."
Three hours after setting out, we pulled into Vladimir's suburbs, a wasteland of concrete apartment blocks standing in shabby dominion over ragged fields. Near the dusty glass doors of the Palace of Young Creators—a cement edifice that blends the bleakest of Soviet and Bauhaus styles—a chunky middle-aged police officer stood glaring at us, his arms crossed. Two younger policemen loitered near the doors, looking bored. They made way for a crowd of forty or fifty of Kasparov's fans, led by the palace's director, emerging to greet their idol. Kasparov took a seat on the stage of an auditorium that was almost full. He spoke matter-of-factly, as he had to me. Answering the first question, he dispelled a common misperception about his entry into politics: "I have no plans to run for office myself. My aim is to ensure that we have free and fair elections in 2008, and that the president of Russia has the mandate of the Russian people. The government must know it can be replaced; only then will it be accountable to the people. Officials from the lowest to the highest must be elected." This was an oblique reference to Putin's decision last year to abolish gubernatorial elections and appoint governors himself, and to the rumors that he may soon do away with mayoral polls. Questions on a variety of subjects followed in respectful volleys, but Kasparov stayed on message: Russians must embark on an open national discourse to determine their goals and how to attain them. Only then will development and prosperity ensue. "It's our country," he said, "and all of us must do what we can to help it." If this seems a statement of the obvious, one should remember that throughout history ordinary Russians have shunned politics as a rule, intervening only at cataclysmic junctures, and with mostly negative results. After a fifteen-minute interview outside with Vladimir's TV 6, we bundled back aboard the minibus and took off for lunch and a press conference at the Staryi Gorod restaurant, in the town's center. All the seats were occupied. In attendance around a quadrangular arrangement of tables, along with disheveled local reporters, were saggy-jowled civic leaders and bureaucrats; a camera crew from RTR, Russia's state-television channel 2; and five hulking members of a pro-Kremlin youth group called Nashi ("Us"—as opposed to "Them"). Nashi's founder, Vasily Yakemenko, has pledged to use his members, who number around 150,000 and come from thirty regions, to help Putin combat, in unspecified ways, corrupt bureaucrats and oligarchs along with "liberals, fascists, pro-Western politicians, and ultranationalists." Yakemenko has designated Kasparov and Committee 2008 as enemies. Analysts and human-rights activists believe that the Kremlin may arrange to deploy Nashi against demonstrators in the event of widespread unrest in the run-up to elections. Kasparov agrees, calling them the "shock troops of the regime." Three sat directly facing him, and two were nearby on his left. A middle-aged woman stood up and asked why Kasparov cites the dismantlement of the regime as his primary aim. Couldn't he offer a more positive goal? Kasparov acknowledged that some of his supporters and colleagues had asked him to soften his message. "To that," Kasparov said, "I answered, Let's say the overthrow of the regime." He smiled. Some in the crowd winced at his words; for understandable reasons, Russians as a rule distrust talk of revolution. But he didn't slow down. Reminding the audience that Putin had strangled the media and cut off channels of communication with the people, thereby consigning resistance to the streets, he hit his stride. "We must do everything so that money remains in the regions, where it is earned, to solve the regions' problems. Moscow is a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up the wealth of the regions and sending it abroad." Capital flight, around $2 billion in 2003, hit $7.9 billion in 2004 and is expected to reach $10 billion this year. "Why, five years after the sinking of the Kursk submarine [and the loss of the 118 sailors aboard it], do we still have no naval rescue service? Why is Russia selling nuclear technology to Iran when Iran sponsors Islamic terrorism—a grave threat to us? Why are we selling weapons to China and supporting the Chinese geopolitical agenda—the gravest threat to Russia, and a country with claims to our territory that it doesn't bother to hide? Our army has been reduced to nothing. Our cities are collapsing ..." The Nashi youths stirred, crossing their arms and cocking their heads. Kasparov shifted gears and addressed them. "I have one question for you," he said. "Why did President Putin award the highest medal of honor in Russia, the Order of Hero of Russia (the same order given to the defenders of Moscow against the German Nazis in World War II!), to Akhmad Kadyrov [the Chechen rebel leader, assassinated last year, whom Putin chose to administer Chechnya] and his son, Ramzan [his successor], bandits and murderers of our Russian soldiers? Tell me, why?"
The hall was silent. The Nashi members dropped their eyes to the floor. "Why? I ask you again, why did the president cheapen our award by giving it to the murderers of our soldiers, of guys your own age? Answer me!" "We'll ask him when we see him," one grumbled, eyes downcast. As we left the restaurant after the press conference, I wondered aloud to Kasparov about the wisdom of riling the masses. "To demand free elections but to fear the people at the same time is absurd," he answered. "Implementing the will of the majority, whatever it is, will offer us the best chance of success"—even if that means letting Russia break up. In a country so vast and bristling with nuclear weapons, this would be a strikingly risky move, not only for Russia but for the world. But as a chess player Kasparov knows that risk means opportunity—and he has almost always outwitted his opponents.
6) Chess bum days - a poem by Dennis Fritzinger
Max Burkett writes:
Below is the latest poem by Fritz. "The Ghetto" was a house that C Bill Jones rented for the chess bums during the 1971 US Open in Ventura.
Dennis, who arrived early, got the bed. I slept with my upper body in the closet. At 2AM it was, quite literally, wall to wall bodies.
chess bum days
max burkett heating tortillas
7) Los Angeles chess history
A little while back I was forwarded the following e-mail by IM Jack Peters. It was written by Gordon Brooks who is a longtime tournament player and works at the downtown public library in Los Angeles. It offers some interesting information and suggestions for further research into Southern California chess. Thanks to Jack and Gordon for sharing this.
You might be interested in this message from Gordon Brooks, one of the leaders of the Santa Monica Bay Chess Club in the late 1970s and now a member of the Pasadena Chess Club. I had asked him about the origins of local clubs and which ones were active in pre-Fischer days. Here is his reply.
Best wishes, Jack Peters
Here is some information about local chess clubs and some possible leads for more.
First I don't know if you know about the Los Angeles Times Historical Archives database or not. You can now search the full text of the Times from 1881 to 1985 in this database; and post 1985 in another one. With your library card you can search the latter database over the Internet from home at no charge. The historical db can only be searched by the public by going to a LAPL branch or Central Library.
Here is the problem however. The historical database was produced by scanning the microfilm made of the actual newsprint and as a result varies in quality. The search technology of the database as I understand it is based on OCR technology (optical character recognition) and as a result because of the poor quality of the print image the number of hits you get on a particular search can be very misleading. You are suppose to be able to search by phrases, but I have found that very difficult. Talk to the LA Times librarians they are the experts and if you get any good leads pass it on to me please!
The post historical database should be easier to search because at some point the Times converted over to digital technology to produce the newspaper and the db contents should be perfectly searchable at that point.
I kind of doubt however you are going to find much historical information about chess clubs in the Times; and most that is going to be in the chess column. I did some quick searching and came up with the following.
The earliest regular column I found about chess was edited by John Dougherty although it was titled the "Checker Column".
It began Jan. 9, 1916 p.v112. It generally had very little information about chess. His Jan. 4, 1920 column p. v114 begins with the phrase "Chess & checkers Headquarters. This column also mentions the Pacific Chess Club and the Los Angeles Chess & Checker Club.
Clif Sherwood became the first regular editor of the chess column Oct. 23, 1927 p.A5 (Sports section!). He was followed by Herman Steiner, Isaac Kashdan, and yourself.
I have no historical files about the Pasadena Chess Club or the Santa Monica Bay Chess Club. When I left the SMBCC I turned over all of the files I had to the existing officers, but I don't remember much in the way of historical information about the club. What I strongly suspect is that these clubs went in and out of existence (in a active sense) intermittently.
Neil Hultgren is the oldest member of the Pasadena Chess Club. He started about 1954 and has been treasurer for many years, but could not find any historical information I started about 1987/88 when a Dr. Richard Lewis now deceased was pres. We had one period of inactivity when we lost our meeting place at the South Pasadena Sr. Center.
Here are some things I found in the Times:
Santa Monica Bay Chess Club
Here are some other ideas.
The Chess Set started by Lina Grumette in her home after the Bobby Fischer craze about 1974 I think (Fischer lived in her home for a short period of time) which continued until her death.
The Herman Steiner Chess Club had a permanent location in Beverly Hills. I visited a couple of times in the early 1970s, never felt very welcome and as far as I know it did not sponsor any events.
J. Piatigorsky sponsored a chess club on the West side of Los Angeles in 60s provided financial support and a place to meet, but apparently there were disagreements among the players and the club closed down. I don't know the name or the details of problems, but you might ask Tibor Weinberger whom I told was involved.
Another person you might talk to if he is still alive is Gordon Barrett. He moved to Las Vegas, but he published a newsletter about chess in S. California in the 60s. Ron Gross also in Las Vegas was a strong player in S. Calif. for many years and might be able to give you some background information.
8) Here and There
HOLLINBERGER INVITATIONAL CHESS TOURNAMENT --- MAY 11-13, 2006
Barbara S. Wynne Tennis Center(North Central High School)
The field is set for the Hollinberger Invitational this upcoming weekend Indianapolis and is as follows!
IM Ben Finegold 2653 2563
The event will begin with a BLITZ TOURNAMENT on Thursday night Registration 6-6:45 at least 5 double-rounds. EF $10 to adults $5 to juniors. The prize fund will be double the entry fees raised minus expenses. Bring sets and Clocks!
Friday night the first round of the invitational tournament will begin at 7PM. Games will be broadcast on a large screen in a room with stadium seating for hundreds. FM Aviv Friedman, coach of the US Jr National Team, will be providing commentary and analysis for those in attendance.
Saturday morning at 10AM top-ranked Ben Finegold the best American-born chess player in the world will be giving a lecture free to all. The second round will then begin at 11AM. The third round will take place at 6PM.
Sunday Morning at 10AM FM and several time state champion Jim Dean will be playing a simultaneous exhibition for junior players...and adults if there is room. Again with rounds to follow at 11AM
The Frank Doyle Open, held April 22-23 in Santa Rosa, drew 33 players about evenly distributed in three sections. The prize winners were:
Open R. DeGuzman 3 1/2 $250
Reserve W. Leavens 3 109
Booster K. Mitev 3 1/2 150
Frank Doyle was the architect who built the Golden Gate Bridge. God willing and the creek don't rise, the tournament will be held again next year.
The open section of the EBCC April Swiss ended in a three way tie for 1st between Kenneth Hills, Adarsh Konda, and Larry Snyder at 3 from 4.
Fischer's longest game - Canadian Open ( Montreal 1956)
One game of this round was remarkable for the determination of both its players, and for its unusual length. Bobby Fischer and Hans Matthai played a 108 move draw, Which Frank Anderson described as "the most interesting game of the tournament".
Fischer's second longest game was a 99 move win over Sherwin in the 1966 US Championship.
Fischer - Matthai
9) Upcoming Events
Arthur Stamer - June 3 and 4
East Bay Chess Club May Swiss
Saturday, May 13th through Sunday, May 14th, 2006
A USCF rated 4-round Tournament in 2 sections
Prizes: (Based on 40 full entries, but top 3 prizes guaranteed)
Open Section $150, $100, $50; 1st U2000: $100
Reserve (U1800) Section $100, $75, $50; 1st U1600: $75; 1st U1400: $75
Entry fee: $35 if mailed before 5/6/06, $40 at site; $5 discount for EBCC members
Registration/Check-in: 10-10:45 AM on Saturday
Rounds: 11 AM and 4:00 PM on both days
Time control: 30 moves in 90 minutes, followed by Sudden Death in 1 hour.
Questions or Comments? email@example.com or call (510) 845-1041
2006 Lina Grumette Memorial Day Classic
5-SS, 3-day 40/2, SD/1, 2-day rds. 1-2 G/75 then merges.
Burbank Airport Hilton, 2500 Hollywood Way, Burbank CA (adjacent to Burbank Airport). $$10,000 b/200, 60% of each prize guaranteed.
In 5 sections:
Open: $$T+1700-750-400-300-200, U2400 400, U2200 700-300-200.
Premier (under 2000): $$750-300-200-100.
Amateur (Under 1800): $$750-300-200-100.
Reserve (Under 1600): $$750-300-200-100.
Booster (Under 1400/unrated): $$T+400-200-100, U1200 T+150, Unr T+150. (Unrated may win Unrated prizes only.)
EF: $81 if received by 5/18, $97 at door. Booster: $66 if received by 5/18, $80 at door.
All, Reg: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, 8:30-10 a.m. Saturday.
Rds: 3-day 7 p.m., 11-5:30, 10-4:30. 2-day: 10:30-1:30 (G/75), then merges. $25 Best Game prize, all sections eligible. One half-point bye rds. 1-3 if requested with entry.
SCCF membership req. of rated S. Cal. res., $14 reg, $9 junior. No credit card entries or checks at door.
HR: $99, (818) 843-6000 or (800) 840-6450. Be sure to mention Western Chess. Parking $8/day.
Inf: John Hillery.
Ent: SCCF, c/o John Hillery, 835 N. Wilton Pl. #1, Los Angeles CA 90038.
On-line entries: www.westernchess.com
NS. NC. F. GP: 40. State Championship Qualifier
2nd California Classic Championship!
South Bay - Cupertino, CA May 27: Scholastics, Blitz, Bug; May 27-28: 2-Day Adult; May 28: 1-Day Adult
20085 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA TDs: Salman Azhar, Jacob Green, Jason Gurtovoy Sponsored by USF Chess Club, Alan Kirshner, Granite Rock
PLACE: University of San Francisco, 2nd floor, 20085 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA (on Stevens Creek between De Anza Blvd & Wolfe Rd) DIRECTIONS: From I-280 N/S take De Anza exit & go South; Take left on Stevens Creek; U-turn @ Blaney & arrive 20085 Stevens Creek. Enter from the parking lot side (North) of the building. AMPLE PARKING AVAILABLE
USCF Membership: $49, Adult; $36, Senior; $25, Youth (19 & under); $13, Economy Scholastic (U14)
TOTAL (Make checks and mail to Jason Gurtovoy 34249 Fremont Blvd. #158 Fremont, CA 94555; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Name: Grade: Date of Birth: . E-mail: _________________________
USCF ID: Expiration Date: Rating: __ Byes (Round): School/Club (if applicable): .
Address: City, State, Zip: . Phone: ( ) ___________
BYES: ½ point byes available in any round and must be requested before the start of round 1. Maximum one ½ point bye per entry.
OTHER: Bring chess clocks; very few provided! Tournament Director (TD) reserves the right to not pair players from the same school in any or all rounds. Late entries will be given a 0 or ½ point bye or be paired against another late entry at the TD’s discretion. Players in adult sections and grades K-12 section will be required to record their games. TD reserves the right to merge section(s). Ratings used will be from the April 06 USCF rating supplement for all rated players. Current rating may be used for players not rated in the supplement.
USCF membership required and may be purchase with registration or on-site.
1st place Trophy tie-break (Playoff, White 6 minutes, Black with 5 minutes and draw odds
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