Mechanics' Institute
Scholastic Chess Highlights
News & Updates --
Mechanics' Institute Monthly Scholastic Tournaments
Next Live Scholastic Tournaments @ Mechanics' Institute
Sept 11, Saturday 10AM

Tournament Format
  • Four rounds: Win or lose you play all four games.
  • Time control: G/30;d5 - Game in 30 minutes with a five second delay.
  • Round times: Tournament starts at 10AM. Next rounds start as soon as all the games are finished from the previous round (aka rolling schedule.)
  • Awards: We have trophies, medals, and fun alternative choices (magnetic sets, scorebooks, analysis boards) for players.
2021 Summer Camps - Report
Summer full of chess!
What a fun summer we had with both in-person and virtual camps. The Mechanics' Institute hosted a total of 10 weeks of chess camps onsite at the Mechanics' Institute building, in Burlingame, and online via zoom. We served more than 100 youth players during this summer.
All of us at the Mechanics' Institute would like to express our biggest appreciation for your continued support.

We are busy planning for the Fall, and excited that our 2021 Fall chess camp schedule has been published. Please do not hesitate to email us with any question you might have. We look forward having students at our camps during school breaks.
Understanding Chess Tournaments - Part 4

Tournament Etiquette
What is acceptable and what is not for
USCF-rated tournaments
As we are getting back to live, over-the-board chess, it's important to help guide our scholastic players, and often times, our adult beginner players as well, on what is acceptable and what is not at a chess tournament.

There is one general rule that hopefully everyone can remember: Whenever you do something, always ask yourself is this something I would be bothered by if my opponent were doing it? If the answer is yes, it's simple, don't do it!

If the answer is no, then still, ask yourself, can this be a bit annoying to others? For example, perhaps you are a player who is not bothered by outside noise, but others might be, so don't tap your foot on the ground, or don't play with the pieces on the table, or don't bang the pencil on the table. In addition, please do not eat or drink at the table. This could not only annoy your opponent, but is against COVID-19 regulations right now! If you need a drink or a snack, please go outside or a designated area where social distancing can be maintained.

It's also customary to wish 'Good Luck' to your opponent before the game, and say 'Good Game' at the end of the game. Not doing so is considered bad sportsmanship and rude.

Chess tournaments are quiet events, so no loud talking. If you have to say something to your opponent, say it softly, quietly. The acceptable phrases to use during a game include the following: "Adjust or draw?" (if you are offering a draw), "I resign," and phrases equivalent to these. On your own time, you may also ask your opponent to share his/her scoresheet in case you get behind with the notation. Other than this, you should not talk to your opponent.

To be continued - Part 5 - Byes, Forfeits and More
Online Tournament Schedule - Sept & Oct 2021
USCF Online rated tournaments continues in the Fall
Every weekend Saturday or Sunday @ 3PM

September 4, 12, 18 and 26
October 2, 10, 16, 24 and 30

For more information and to register:

Free practice tournaments - every day @ 4PM
To get more information on the tournaments, including links, please visit:
Tournament results & Featured Games
Weekend USCF Online Rated Tournaments

On August 1st, we held a Mechanics' Institute Players appreciation event as a way to say thank you for all the support and patience as we went through this past year of new adventures. The event was a success with three sections, and a total of 56 players.
Congratulations to all the players!
7/11: 8SS G/5+2
ChessKid results: Click here

7/17: 4SS G/20+10
ChessKid results: Click here

7/25: 6SS G/10+2
ChessKid results: Click here

7/31: 6SS G/15+2
ChessKid results: Click here

8/1: 5SS G/8+4 - Players Appreciation
ChessKid results:
Open: Click here
u1500CK: Click here
u1300CK: Click here

8/8: 6SS G/10+2
ChessKid: Click here

8/15: 8SS G/5+2
ChessKid: Click here
USCF Cross table: coming soon

8/21: 4SS G/20+10
USCF Cross table: coming soon

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

SoftSweetShop (1384) - PureBubblingDolphin (1230) [C59]
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6! The aggressive Two Knights' Defense. This is a good opening but it takes a brave player to choose it. 4.Ng5! SoftSweetShop takes up the challenge and attacks on f7. Slower, safer play results after 4. d3 4...d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Be2

8...Bd6?! Black has compensation for the pawn but must make use of the initiative. [8...h6! forces the white knight to decide where it is going. 9. Nh3 has drawbacks and 9. Nf3 e4 gives Black play for the pawn sacrificed.] 9.0-0 [9.Nc3! to control the e4 square] 9...0-0 [9...h6!] 10.Nc3 Bb7 White now has the opening advantage. 10..h6 was now no help because of 11.Nge4. Still, the bishop move to b7 doesn't put it on a better square. 11.d3 c5 12.Bh5 [12.Bf3! is the positional move to take control of the light squares] 12...Nxh5 13.Qxh5 h6 14.Nf3 c4
15.Bxh6!? gxh6 16.Qxh6 an interesting and dangerous sacrifice. The black king is exposed and needs protection. Objectively Black is quite ok, but one slip is often fatal with little king protection. 16...cxd3? The pawn is not important here! Each tempo is critical when attacks are in motion. Black needed to play [16...Be7 to stop the white knight from jumping in.] 17.Ng5! That's it. Black will either lose the queen or get checkmated. 17...Re8 18.Qh7+ Kf8 19.Qxf7# SoftSweetShop won by checkmate. Nice aggressive attacking play from SoftSweetShop. 1-0

DarkCapableCharm (1625) - BestMiddleSun (1754) [C54]
Live Chess

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 The modern move is played by Magnus Carlsen and top players these days. [5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bxd2+ 8.Nbxd2 d5! has been show to be equal chances] 5...0-0 6.0-0 d6 7.a4 trying to trap the black bishop after 7...a5 [7...Bg4? 8.b4 Bb6 9.a5] 8.Nbd2 h6 9.Nb3?! The white knight has little future over here on the queenside. The usual plan for White is [9.Re1 Re8 10.Nf1] 9...Bb6 10.Re1 Ne7 This transfer of the black knight to the kingside is logical and good. 11.d4 Ng6 12.dxe5?!
12...Ng4! Fine play by BestMiddleSun! Attacking the f2 pawn gives time for Black to recapture on e5 with the knights and keep an aggressive position. 13.Re2? This is the wrong square for the rook to defend f2. [13.Rf1 is better defensively though Black would still have the advantage.] 13...N4xe5 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.Nd2 Qh4 [15...Bg4 wins the exchange, but Black wants to go for the white king] 16.h3
16...Bxh3! 17.gxh3 Qg3+! forceful play. White has no time to get the defense organized. 18.Kf1 Qxh3+ 19.Kg1 [19.Ke1 Qh1+ 20.Nf1 Nf3# is mate!] 19...Qg4+ 20.Kf1 Rae8! Now all the black pieces get into play. There is no proper defense for White anymore. 21.b4 Qh3+ 22.Kg1 Re6!
Very nice! One rook gets taken, allowing the other rook to come into the attack. 23.Bxe6 fxe6 24.bxa5 Rf6! BestMiddleSun won by resignation. 25...Rg6+ will be the end. A fine attacking game from BestMiddleSun. 0-1