Mechanics' Institute
Scholastic Chess Highlights
News & Updates --
Issue #8 - December 23, 2021
Happy Holidays and a Wonderful & Healthy New Year

The Mechanics' Institute would like to wish players, parents, and all who support our players a very happy holiday season and a wonderful new year. Our enrichment programs are thriving because of your continued support and encouragement. We are grateful for the strong chess community we have here in the heart of San Francisco, and surrounding areas.

We hope everyone will enjoy a few slower weeks with focusing on family and friends. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Thank you from everyone at the Mechanics' Institute.
2021 National K-12 Grades Championships
The first weekend in December 2021, players gathered in Orlando, FL to attend the first in-person, over-the-board nationals in two years.
Several talented players represented our chess community, and scored amazingly well during this competition. The Mechanics' Institute is especially proud of the players who are regularly play our TNM and other weekend events:
Grade 2 - Tavi Tisminezky 5.0
Grade 3 - Ethan Guo 6.5 - National Champ!
Grade 3 - Katherine Zhuge 6.0 - 4th place
Grade 3 - Yuvraj Sawhney 5.0 - 8th place
Grade 4 - Jashith Karthi 5.5 - 5th place
Grade 6 - Sebastian Suarez 5.5 - 8th place
Grade 6 - Pranav Sathish 5.0 - 9th place
Blitz K-6 - Pranav Sathish 12.0/12 - National Champ!

Full list of players and final results:
One of the players, Ansh Shenvi Priolkar, scored 4/7 and scored against several much higher-rated players, including his game against Gabe Bencosme-Lee, a 1300+ rated from NY. He wrote this short summary of his trip:

"Four days before we were on the flight, you couldn’t have told me that I was going to play in the K-12 Nationals 2021. It was a last-minute decision. We only started packing the day before the tournament itself. When I got to Rosen Shingle Creek, in Orlando, Florida, where the tournament was being held, it was huge! There were at least 1500 kids playing there. It took some time to figure out where the playing hall was and how things work (we had to scan a QR code to find the pairing and the board number). Just 1 hour before the tournament started, we found we had to get our own clock! So I bought a fifty dollar one after standing in a long line at the US Chess Store.
The time control was G/90 d5. I feel the time control is fair, not too long, and not too short. Most of my games were against players 200-600 rating points above me. When I play higher rated players, I don’t have any pressure because if I lose, I’m not going to lose much rating. At the end of it, my result was 4/7, which I’m pretty happy with. My experience with playing Saturday Mechanics’ OTB helped me a lot in this tournament. This was my first Nationals OTB tournament, and I hope to play many more in the future!"

Let him be an inspiration for all of you who are practicing hard and playing daily; hard work pays off, and one day you may also have an opportunity to play in a US National Championship in person.
Monthly Scholastic In-Person Tournament
Report -- 2021 December
On December 11 we had our monthly in-person scholastic tournament. This recurring event gives our enrichment players a chance to compete in a fun and friendly environment and practice the USCF-rated tournament conditions, as well as notating and other important rules.
We had 18 players competing in 3 sections.

Congratulations to section winners Justin and Samuel for wining the 700+ section, Alexander for winning the 400-699 section, and Wyatt for scoring the highest in the under400 section.

Hope to see you at our next monthly scholastic over-the-board tournament on January 22!
Scholastic Chess Enrichment Classes
December Special Highlight - Chess Club at Hoover Elementary
This Month's Special Highlight: The Chess Club at the Hoover Elementary School

Mechanics' Institute provided chess enrichment classes at Hoover Elementary on Mondays during the 2021 Fall semester. We had more than 20 students join our coaches to learn new concepts, practice moves, and play against each other.

We utilized multipurpose room benches that are ideal for effective chess play. The chess lectures have been delivered via a demonstration board on the other side of the room, where players can gather around and actively participate in a dynamic lesson. Students have been solving the weekly worksheets created by Chessroom Director Abel Talamantez.

We thank the staff at the Burlingame Park and Recreation Center and the administration at Hoover Elementary School for their continued support. We are looking forward returning in the 2022 Spring.

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
December Holiday Camps
In-Person and Virtual Chess Camps
We are adjusting the camp schedule based on our customer's need and availability of our coaches. We have online camp the week of December 27-31. Please visit our website to learn more and sign up.

Understanding Chess Tournaments - Part 6
Why am I getting White/Black?
Due Color and
Rules for Color Allocations

Understand why you are getting your color, and what influences the pairings.
by Senior TD & FIDE Arbiter Dr. Judit Sztaray
When Tournament Directors assign colors to players, they have to consider a set of specific rules that's in US Chess Rules of Chess.

Rule 29E addresses how colors are determined for each players in any given round.
It is a complicated and tough subject, so it comes as no surprise that the matter is discussed and detailed out in almost 10 pages in the rule book!

Let's try to list some of the basic principles:

Two Principle Guidelines

1) If a tournament has an even number of rounds, players should ideally get white and black the same number of times; in an event with an odd number of rounds, each player should receive no more than one extra white or black above an even allocation.
This is called EQUALIZING of colors.

2) In addition to the above guideline, the director, after the first round, tries to alternate colors, meaning switch white and black, by giving as many players as possible their due (correct or expected) color, round by round. This is called ALTERNATING of colors.

The due color is usually the color a player did not have in the previous round, but not always. For example, a player who had white in rounds one and two and black in round three, has a due color of black in round four, as equalization has priority over alternation.

First round colors in the top section is decided usually by coin toss. Consecutive sections are determined based on the open section. As many players as possible are given their due colors in each round, so long as the pairings conform to the basic chess rules.

What’s a due color?

A player who has had an unequal number of whites and blacks is due the color that tends to equalize the number of whites and blacks. A player who has had an equal number of whites and blacks is due the opposite color to that he received in the most recent round. Unplayed games, including byes and forfeits, do not count for color. This means forfeit wins, and byes!

So what’s the priority? Equalizing the number of whites and blacks? Or Alternating the colors?

Equalization of colors takes priority over alternation of colors. First, as many players as possible are given the color that tends to equalize the number of times they have played white and black. After that is accomplished, as many players as possible should be given the color opposite to that which they played in the previous round.

What about pairing players due the same color?

1. If one player has had an unequal number of whites and blacks, while the other has had equal colors, the player who has had unequal colors gets due color. Example: WBW gets black over BxW, where x denotes any unplayed game—full-point bye, half-point bye, forfeit win, forfeit loss, etc.

2. If both players have had an unequal number of whites and blacks, the player with the greater total color imbalance gets due color. Example: WWBW gets black over xWBW.

3. If both players have had an equal number of whites and blacks, or both are equally out of balance, and if they had opposite colors in the previous round, the players should be given colors opposite to that which they played in the previous round. Example: WWB gets white over WBW.

4. If both players have had an equal number of whites and blacks, or both are equally out of balance, and if they had different colors in one or more prior rounds, priority for assigning color should be based on the latest round in which their colors differed. One or both players should be assigned the color opposite to that which they played in that round. Example 1: WBWB gets white over BWWB, because the first player had black in round two, the latest round in which colors differed. Example 2: BWxBW gets white over BWBxW, because the first player had black and the second had no color in round 4, the latest round in which colors differed.

5. If both players have had the same color sequence, the higher-ranked player gets due color. The higher ranked player is the player with the higher score. If the players have the same score, the higher-ranked player is the higher-rated.

One extra help: when we print out the pairing sheet, we try to indicate what's the player's due color: w, W, or WW, or b, B, or BB. This indicate how "urgent" it is for any player to get their due color.

Do you still have questions about colors? Feel free to email us at!
Upcoming Tournament Schedule - January 2022

Upcoming USCF-rated Tournaments

In-Person at Mechanics' Institute @ 10AM:
January 22

Online on
December 26, 31, January 2, 8, 17

For more information and to register:

Tournament results & Featured Games
Weekend USCF Online Rated Tournaments

Congratulations to all the players who are playing in our weekend USCF online-rated tournaments!
Win or lose, you are practicing to get better and hopefully enjoying playing against other scholastic players.

Medals are mailed now on a weekly basis to ensure players get their hard-earned awards as soon as possible! Links to the past tournament results are below.
ChessKid results: Click here

ChessKid results: Click here

ChessKid results: Click here

ChessKid results: Click here

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

Gabe Bencosme-Lee (1370) - Ansh Priolkar (956) [A17]
2021 K-12 Nationals, Orlando, FL

1.c4 e6 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 d5 A Reti/Catalan opening - just like the world championship. 4.cxd5 This is a safe way to play instead of letting Black have the option of capturing on c4, but it is less ambitious. 4...exd5 5.Bg2 c6 6.e3 Bd6 7.Nge2 0-0 8.0-0 Be6 9.d4 Re8 10.b3 Nbd7 11.Bb2 Both sides are developed and chances are even. 11...Qc7 12.Re1 Bf5 13.Nf4 Nf8
14.e4? You want to do something with White but this just gives away a center pawn. 14...Nxe4 15.Re2?! Nxc3 16.Bxc3 Ng6?! [16...Bxf4! 17.gxf4 Ng6 wins another pawn with a great position] 17.Nh5 Qd7 18.Qd2 Rxe2 19.Qxe2 Bg4
20.Nf6+? [White can save the piece with 20.Bf3] 20...gxf6 21.Qd2 Qf5?! 22.Re1?! [22.f3! Bh3 (22...Bxf3 23.Rf1) 23.g4 wins the piece back though Black would still have a big advantage with the weak squares around the white king] 22...Qg5 23.Qd3 Kf8 24.Bd2 Qf5 25.Qe3 Qd7 26.Qc3 Re8! It's important to get all your pieces in the game. 27.Be3 Qd8 28.Qd2 Kg8 29.Qd3 Be6 30.Bh6 Bf8 31.Be3 Bd7 32.Qe2 Bh6 33.Qf3 Bxe3 34.fxe3 Kg7 35.Rf1 Qe7 36.Kf2 Qe6 37.h3 Qf5 The right way. Trading into a piece up endgame avoids any surprise attacks. 38.Ke2 Qxf3+ 39.Rxf3 a5 40.Rf1 Ra8 41.a4 b5 42.Rb1 Ne7 43.axb5 cxb5 44.Rc1 Rc8 45.Rxc8 Bxc8 The endgame should be an easy win with the extra knight. Ansh has played with good technique after winning the extra material. 46.h4 Kf8 47.Kd3 Ke8 48.Kc3 Kd7 49.Bf1 Kc6 50.b4 a4 51.Be2 Bf5 52.Bf3 Be4 53.Bg4 f5 54.Bh5 Ng6 55.Bxg6 fxg6 56.Kb2 It seems for the moment that Black has trouble with a breakthrough. 56...Kd7 57.Ka3 Ke7 58.Kb2 Kf7 59.Ka3 Kg7 60.Kb2 Kh6!
Fine play! The a-pawn ties down the white king so the black king takes a nice long walk and gobbles up the black pawns. 61.Ka3 Kh5 62.Kb2 Kg4 63.Ka3 Kxg3 64.Kb2 Kf3 65.Kc3 Kxe3 66.Kb2 f4 67.Ka3 f3 68.Kb2 f2 69.Ka3 f1Q 70.Kb2 Qe2+ 71.Ka1 Qc4 72.Kb2 Qc2+ 73.Ka3 Qb3# 0-
Xu,Gorden - Suarez,Sebby [B01]
2021 K-12 Nationals, Orlando, FL

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd8 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 Bf5 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 c6 8.Re1 Be7 9.h3 0-0 10.Bf4 Nd5 A nice blocking move. White is a little freer but Black is solid. 11.Bh2 Bb4 12.Qd2 Qa5
13.Bxd5 safe but Black is very solid after this [13.a3 Bxc3 14.bxc3 Qxc3 15.Qxc3 Nxc3 16.Nh4 Bg6 17.Nxg6 hxg6 18.Re3 Nd5 19.Rb3 would be an interesting pawn sacrifice to get the bishop pair in the endgame] 13...cxd5 14.a3 [14.Nh4 right away would be a bit better] 14...Bxc3 15.bxc3 Black has better long term prospects with the weak doubled white c-pawns 15...Rc8 16.Nh4 Bg6 17.Nxg6 hxg6 18.Re3 Nd7!
heading for the wonderful c4 square 19.Bd6?! White tries to get another defender on the queenside but the white bishop has no secure squares over there. 19...Nb6 20.Bb4 Qa4 21.Rf3 Nc4 22.Qf4 Qd7 easily defending White's one threat. Meanwhile 23...a5 threatens to trap the white bishop. 23.Qh4?! [23.a4] 23...Rc7! to stop 24. Be7 24.a4 a5 25.Ba3 Qxa4 Black is strategically winning with well placed pieces against White's scatterred forces. 26.Bb2 Qxc2 27.Bc1 Qd1+ 28.Kh2 Nd2! winning the exchange 29.Bxd2 Qxa1 30.Qf4 Rac8 31.h4 Qb1 32.g4 a4 Black is just marching to a queen with the a-pawn so White needs to try a desparate attack 33.h5 gxh5 34.gxh5 Qf5 35.Qe3 Qxh5+ 36.Rh3 Qf5 37.Qg3 Kf8 38.Bc1 [38.Qd6+ Kg8 39.Qg3 would repeat once. Then Black could play 39...f6 or 39...a3] 38...Rxc3 39.Rh8+ Ke7 40.Ba3+ Kf6 It's a little bit scary for the black king, but no real danger. 41.Qh4+ Kg6 42.Qh7+ Kf6 43.Qh4+
43...g5! 44.Qh6+ Qg6 The checks are stopped and the queens must be traded. The endgame is an easy win. 45.Qxg6+ Kxg6 46.Rxc8 Rxc8 47.Bd6 Rc3 48.Kg2 a3 49.Bb4 Rb3 50.Bc5 a2 51.Bd6 a1Q 52.Bc5 Qd1 53.Bd6 Qf3+ 54.Kh2 Qh3+ 55.Kg1 Rb1# 0-1