A Star-Studded Rapid at the Mechanics Institute

The legendary Mechanics Institute Chess Room wrote another chapter in its august history last night with a star-studded Wednesday Night Rapid Event. The tournament  was stocked with top-flight talent in town for the 2019 Pro Chess League Finals, taking place this weekend in San Francisco, and the locals came out in force to welcome them.

37 titled players – 13 GMs, 9 IMs, 5 FMs, 7 NMs, 1 WGM, 1 WIM, and 1 WFM – made up over 75% of the field of 48. Among the top players were former US Champions GMs Fabiano Caruana, Sam Shankland, and Patrick Wolff, along with dozens of other elite talents. Mechanics regulars like IM Elliott Winslow and FM Kyron Griffin upheld the local honor. The event was directed by Chess Room Director Abel Talamantez with assistance from Judit Sztaray.


After five rounds of play, there was a three-way tie for first place between Caruana, GM Jon Ludvig Hammer, and GM Georg Meier at 4.5/5. Four players – GMs Vinay Bhat, Dimitrij Kollars, Zviad Izoria, and Robert Hess – finshed a half-point behind at 4.0/5.

The event was livestreamed on Twitch, and the top ten boards were broadcast as well via the club’s DGT boards. Here are some of the more interesting games.

Fresh off of his triumphant return to tournament chess at the Denver Open, IM and chess.com co-founder Danny Rensch was back at the board in San Francisco. This slugfest against WIM Inna Agrest isn’t perfect, but it sure is fun!

Pro Chess League Commish and IM Greg Shahade talked some trash before his game with GM Jon Ludvig Hammer:

…but Hammer dropped the hammer on  Shahade, starting his clock while Shahade was on-camera, and then defeating him. Was it because of the lost time on the clock? Only Twitter can decide that.

It was Caruana against his second Cristian Chirila in this round three matchup.

Caruana and Hammer were the only players with perfect scores after four rounds, but neither could take the full point in their final round game.


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