Mechanics' Institute
Scholastic Chess Highlights
News & Updates --
Issue #7 - November 24, 2021
Happy Thanksgiving

Mechanics' Institute would like to wish players, parents, and all who support our players a very happy Thanksgiving. We are ever so grateful for your continued support, entrusting us with part of their education and bringing them to our events. Thank you!
Mechanics' Institute Chess Team

Monthly Scholastic In-Person Tournament
Report -- 2021 Halloween and November
We had a special Halloween scholastic tournament with players sporting some amazing costumes and excited about the special side-events. On this day, players were not only able to play USCF-rated games, but also got an opportunity to visit the library and participated in a fun scavenger hunt and of course, collected candies!

The Ma brothers dominated both sections: Matthew winning the 700+ section, while his brother, Ethan Ma won the under700 section. This was both players' first USCF OTB tournament, and their online tournament experience clearly showed their talent. USCF rating table:

We also had our monthly tournament on Saturday, November 13, with 18 players playing in two sections. Congratulations to Matthew Ma for winning the 700+ section, and Viyan Vijay for his clear first place in the under700 section.
Mechanics' Thanksgiving Gobbler KIDS
Friday, November 26 @ 9:30AM

Join us on Friday, November 26 @ 9:30AM to participate in a special Thanksgiving tournament at the historic Mechanics' Institute building. In the spirit of being thankful, we decided to lower the entry fee to $20 and $25 as a way for us to say Thank You for your continued support of our Institute and chess club.

The tournament will have the usual sections and time control, and we'll have awards for everyone: Trophies to top 5 players in each section, and medals to all others. We are also going to raffle off special prizes.
Hope to see many of you at the tournament!

Scholastic Chess Enrichment Classes
November Special Highlight -- Chess Club at Alice Fong Yu Alternative School
This Month's Special Highlight: The Chess Club at Alice Fong Yu Alternative School

The Mechanics' Institute is proud to offer a Free Youth Outreach program at Alice Fong Alternative School. We would like to thank chess parent Conor Moore for his amazing support and great organization that allowed the chess club to start in October. We are able to offer chess at school every Wednesday afternoon 2:30-3:30PM. The club meets at a special outside area called "the learning garden" and students are learning from Coach Danny. Many of the students are also tournament players, and have attended our past tournaments in-person and/or online.

Are you interested in starting a chess club at your school? Reach out to us and let us work with the school administration to start a chess session. Email us to
November Holiday Camps
In-Person and Virtual Chess Camps
Upcoming Camps:
November 22-24 - Thanksgiving Break: Online only
Dec 20-24 & Dec 27-31 - Winter Break: In-Person & Online

Chess camps will be in-person at Mechanics' Institute or online via Zoom.
For information about the levels and camp types, please visit our website:
Why I like Quads
by Andrew Ballantyne (special contributor and scholastic player)
First of all, what is a Quad tournament?

In a Quad tournament, you have three other opponents that you will play. The tournament directors find your opponents by arranging all players by their rating from highest to lowest. After that, the top four players are put into a Quad, then the sequential 4 are placed in another Quad. That repeats for the remaining players. 

One of the reasons I like Quads is because they are super quick. This type of tournament fits easily into my weekend schedule because they are usually held in the afternoon. If you complete your game early, you only have to wait for the other game in your Quad to finish. All the pairings are premade, which means that you can start your next round instantly. 

Quads are excellent for people that are beginning to play in person. These tournaments are really balanced, which means beginners have a good chance to get first place in their group. 
During a Quad tournament between the rounds, I usually get a chance to talk to my opponents and analyze our game. I think that looking through your games with your opponent can be beneficial for learning openings and tactics. 

I would definitely recommend playing a Quads tournament at the Mechanics. They are fun, fast, and sociable.


Editor: Andrew is a key member of our Mechanics' Chess community. He has been playing at our scholastic and regular (open) tournaments for many years now and have been the most active player during the pandemic. His passion for chess and never ending enthusiasm for tournaments have been a shining example to many in our club! Thank you Andrew!
Understanding Chess Tournaments - Part 5
Moves, Moves, Moves
Legal move, Touch move, Illegal move, 50-Move Rule

Read the following column for all you need to know about different scenarios.
by Senior TD & FIDE Arbiter Dr. Judit Sztaray
When discussing different rules regarding moves, such as touch move rule, 50-move rule, or what happens if you make an illegal move, we first need to know what a move is.

The basic definition of the chess move is: with the exception of castling and promotion of a pawn, a move is the transfer of a piece from one square to another square that is either vacant or occupied by an opponent’s piece.

When is a move complete? The move is completed when the player presses the clock after executing the move. If no clock is used, then it is when the player's hand has released the piece.

With these definitions in mind, legal moves are those according to the rules of chess.

The touch move rule states that if you touch a piece you have to move it. No exceptions.
This is often hard to follow as we often touch a piece as a reflex only to realize that we will lose our queen or a major piece. This is where you can show your sportsmanship, and owe it up: move with the piece you touched, learn from your mistakes, and promise yourself: always THINK BEFORE you MOVE, and this won't happen again.
What if it is your move, and you touch your opponent's piece before your own piece? In that case IF that piece can be captured, you must capture it.

Illegal move is any move that is not following the rules of chess. When a player makes an illegal move, their opponent has the opportunity and the right to call the TD and request adjustment: the illegal move must be taken back and a correct move should be made, as well as the clock should be adjusted and two minutes should be added to the opponent's clock.
If the players do not use any chess clock, no time adjustment can be done, however, the move still can be corrected, and if legal move is possible with the piece that was touched (and the illegal move was made with), then the move should be made with that piece. Of course, if no legal move is possible with that piece, player is free to choose any piece to make the move with.

One of the most interesting rules in chess is the 50-move rule, which states that if no captures or pawn movements were made in 50 moves, then the game can be declared a draw. Of course, the tricky part is that players must demonstrate this to the TD, thus correct notation is needed. One of the opportunities TDs have during a long draws endgame is to count then move, and IF they count 75 or more, then they can intervene and declare the game a draw. But remember, this is only after 75 moves!

Hope this helps every player to pay more attention to every move and knowing the rules will help you in your future games.
Upcoming Tournament Schedule - November & December 2021

Upcoming USCF-rated Tournaments

In-Person at Mechanics' Institute @ 10AM:
December 12

Online on every weekend:
November 20 and 28, December 4, 18, 26

For more information and to register:

Tournament results & Featured Games
Weekend USCF Online Rated Tournaments

Our weekend USCF online-rated tournaments continue to offer players a chance to play rated games from the comfort of their homes.
Saturday or Sunday afternoon starting at 3PM scholastic players log into ChessKid and join the scheduled tournaments.
10/17: 4 games of G/20+10
ChessKid results: Click here

10/23: 6 games of G/10+2
ChessKid results: Click here

10/31: 4 games of G/5+2
ChessKid results: Click here

11/7: 6 games of G/10+2
ChessKid results: Click here

Game Analysis
by Three-Time US Champion GM Nick de Firmian

MiniFestiveDay (1770) - AyanG_ACC (1487) [C50]
Live Chess, 06.11.2021
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Bc5 4.Bc4 [4.Nxe5! Nxe5 5.d4 wins the piece back with an opening edge] 4...Nf6 5.h3 0-0 6.d3 h6 7.0-0 d6 8.a3 Bb6 9.Be3 Be6 
So far very even play with an almost symmetrical position. 10.Ba2 Bxa2 11.Rxa2 Qd7 12.Re1 Qe6 13.Ra1 Bd4!? [13...d5 would be a direct plan to open up the center] 14.Bxd4 exd4?! This loses the pawn coming to d4 as it can only be defended once. 14...Nxd4 would have kept it even. 15.Ne2! Rfe8 16.Nexd4 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 Qe5 18.c3 Very nice. White has a clear extra center pawn which gives more control of the central squares. 18...c5 19.Nf3 Qe7 20.d4?! giving back the e-pawn 20...cxd4 21.cxd4 Qd7?! Which Black doesn't take! 21...Nxe4 was back to even. 22.e5! dxe5 23.dxe5 Qxd1 24.Raxd1 Nh7 25.Rd7! 
White has a big edge in the ending with and extra pawn and a powerful rook on the seventh rank. 25...b6 26.Rc1 f6? [26...Nf8! 27.Rb7 Ne6 is a much tougher defense] 27.Rcc7! The white rooks doubled on the seventh rank are monsters. 27...fxe5? [27...Nf8 28.Rxg7+ Kh8 29.exf6 is really bad, but would at least save the black knight] 28.Rxg7+ Kh8 29.Rxh7+ Kg8 30.Rxa7?! [30.Nh4 Re6 31.Rcg7+ Kf8 32.Nf5 is checkmate next move with 33. Rh8.] 30...Rxa7 31.Rxa7 e4 32.Nd2 e3 33.fxe3 Rxe3 34.Kf2 Still, White is winning comfortably with the extra knight and pawns. 34...Rb3? The last slip. The rest is easy. 35.Nxb3 Kf8 36.Kf3 h5 37.Kf4 h4 38.Kf5 Ke8 39.Ke6 Kd8 40.Rh7 Kc8 41.Kd6 Kb8 42.Kc6 Ka8 43.Kxb6 Kb8 44.Rh8# MiniFestiveDay won by checkmate 1-0

(2) OldLumpyBean (1574) - AdityaKBayAreaChess (1803) [C50]
Live Chess, 31.10.2021
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nc3 [4.Ng5!? is the super sharp Two Knights' Defense where Black must figure out how to guard f7. (4...d5 5. exd5 Na5 is most common.)] 4...Bc5 5.d3 h6 6.Be3 Bb6 [6...Bxe3 7.fxe3 leaves White with a nice open f-file while the doubled pawn on e3 helps control the center] 7.0-0 d6 8.h3 0-0 9.a3 Be6 10.Ba2 Qd7 11.Kh2 Nd4 12.Nd5!? [12.Bxd4 Bxd4 13.Nxd4 exd4 14.Ne2 Bxa2 15.Rxa2 Qe6 is fine for Black] 12...Nxf3+ [12...Bxd5! 13.Bxd5 (13.exd5 Nf5 is more control of the kingside and dark squares13...Nxd5 14.exd5 Qb5!] 13.Qxf3 Bxd5 14.exd5 Rac8?! 
allowing a shot 15.c4?! [15.Bxh6! picks up a kingside pawn since 15...gxh6 16.Qxf6 is really good] 15...Qa4 16.Qd1 [16.Bxh6!] 16...Qxd1 17.Raxd1 Nd7 18.Bxb6 Nxb6 The endgame is very even. There will be a battle to see if the black knight can be better than the white bishop. 19.f4 f6 20.f5 Na4 21.Rd2 Nc5 22.b4 Nd7 23.g4 Rfe8 24.Re1 Nf8 25.c5 Nh7 26.Kg3 Ng5 27.h4! OldLumpyBean is doing a good job of using the pawns to restrict the black knight. 27...Nf7 28.Kf3 a6 29.a4 b6 30.c6?! This puts another pawn on the same color of the white bishop (which restricts its movement. Better was to keep the game fluid with [30.Rc1] 30...a5?! [30...Ra8 31.Bb3 a5] 31.b5?! [31.bxa5! bxa5 32.Rb1 Rb8 33.Rdb2 grabs the important open file. White would have a clear endgame edge] 31...Nd8 32.d4 Nf7! 
White has more space but the black knight is a better piece than the restricted white bishop 33.dxe5 fxe5?! This gives White mobile kingside pawns. [33...Rxe5 34.Rxe5 Nxe5+ 35.Kg3 leaves Black with the winning chances] 34.Rg1 Kh7 35.g5 hxg5 36.hxg5 Kg8 37.g6?! [37.Bb1! Kf8 38.Rh2 gives White excellent winning chances as the rooks, bishop and kingside pawns all work together] 37...Nh6 38.Ke4 Rf8 39.Rf2 Rf6! everything is blocked up now 40.Bb1 Rcf8 41.Rgf1 Rd8 42.Rg2 Kf8 43.Bc2 Ke7 44.Bd1 Rdf8 45.Rgf2 Kd8 46.Bh5 Ng8 47.Bd1 Ne7 48.Bg4 Rh8! 
with control of the h-file Black has all the winning chances 49.Bd1? [49.Rg2 was needed. Now Black wins pawns.] 49...Rh4+ 50.Kd3 Rd4+ 51.Ke3 Rh4 [51...Nxd5+] 52.Bb3 Rh3+ 53.Rf3 Rxf3+ 54.Rxf3 Rxf5 55.Rxf5 Nxf5+ 56.Ke4 Ne7 57.Bd1 Nxg6 58.Bh5 Nf4 59.Bf7 Ke7 60.Bg8 
with two pawns up the game is an easy win, especially since the white bishop cannot attack the black pawns 60...g6 61.Kf3 Kf8! 62.Be6 Nxe6 63.dxe6 Ke7 64.Ke4 Kxe6 65.Ke3 d5 66.Ke2 Kd6 67.Ke3 Kc5 68.Kd3 Kb4 69.Kd2 Kxa4 70.Kc2 Kxb5 71.Kd3 Kxc6 72.Ke2 Kd6 73.Kd2 c5 74.Kc2 b5 75.Kb2 g5 76.Kb3 e4 77.Kc3 d4+ 78.Kd2 c4 79.Ke2 b4 80.Ke1 a4 81.Kd2 g4 82.Kc2 g3 83.Kd1 e3 84.Ke1 d3 85.Kf1 c3 86.Ke1 b3 87.Kf1 a3 88.Kg2 e2 89.Kf3 g2 90.Kxg2 e1Q 91.Kf3 d2 92.Kg2 c2 93.Kf3 b2 94.Kg2 a2 95.Kf3 a1Q 96.Kg2 b1Q 97.Kf3 c1Q 98.Kg2 d1Q 
fortunatelly for Black it's not stalemate 99.Kh3 Qh5+ 100.Kg2 Qg7# AdityaKBayAreaChess won by checkmate 0-1

(3) dinosaurus333 (1422) - aniruddhudgir (1327) [C41]
Live Chess, 23.10.2021
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 The Scotch Game 3...d6 This allows White more space. Usual is 3...exd4 4.d5 Nce7 5.Bc4 Ng6 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Bg5 Be7 8.Be3 Bd7 9.Qd3 0-0 10.0-0-0 Bg4 11.Bd2 Nh5 12.h3?! Bxf3?! [12...Nhf4! 13.Qf1 Bxf3 14.gxf3] 13.Qxf3 Nhf4? The knight gets trapped here. It needed to retreat to f6. 14.g3 
14...Bg5 15.h4! Ne6 16.Bxg5 Nxg5 17.hxg5 Qxg5+ 18.Kb1 a6 19.Rh5 White has an extra piece and play on the h-file. 19...Qe7 20.Rdh1 h6 21.g4 Rad8 22.Qg3 Nf4 23.R5h4 Qg5 24.Qh2?! [24.Ne2 would challenge the strong black knight on f4] 24...b5! 25.Be2? The wrong square, giving back the piece. 25. Bf1! 25...b4! now Black is doing well 26.Na4 Nxe2 27.Rh5 Qf4 28.Qg2 Rfe8 [28...f6 would help to block White's planned g5] 29.g5 The game is getting very sharp. 29...f6?!
30.gxh6 30...Kh7? Black needed to play 30...g5! to close dwon the files. On 31. h7+ Kh8 hides behind the white pawn. 31.Qxg7# dinosaurus333 won by checkmate 1-0