Commentary by IM Greg Shahade

It was a pleasure to see 4 new faces at this week’s Tuesday Night Masters. We had 3 time US Champion Joel Benjamin in attendance, ready to make some noise. US Womens Champion Jenn Shahade played this week. Yefim Treger, who usually plays in the slower events held on Tuesday, also gave it a go, and who could forget the qualifier and Masterman High School alum, Ben Johnson.

This weeks contestants:
GM Joel Benjamin
GM Igor Novikov
GM Leonid Yudasin
IM Greg Shahade
FM Yuri Lapshun
IM Irina Krush
FM Ricardo D’Arruda
IM Justin Sarkar
FM Jenn Shahade
IM Jay Bonin
NM Doug Pader
NM Adam Robinson
NM Yefim Treger
Ben Johnson


Joel Benjamin must have been looking for revenge, as Justin Sarkar beat him a few years ago at the New York Open, however it was not to be. Sarkar had white, and it quickly came to be a rook and pawn ending which was pretty balanced, thus peace was soon agreed. Novikov defeated my dearest sister on board 2. She played a variation of the Grunfeld that she told me was bad a few years ago.

(1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. Bf4 Bg7 5. e3)

and now instead of 5….c5 she played 5….0-0 allowing 6.cd5 Nd5 7.Nd5 Qd5 8.Bc7, and a pawn sacrifice which may be considered unsound by theory. She has been trying different openings of late, so one can’t blame her for forgetting some of her regular lines.

On board 3 Yudasin with black took care of business against Bonin. It seemed like a tough game, but at one point near the end of the game I heard Bonin say “Oh I cant go to d8, the rook is defending it....a hallucination” and then he stopped the clocks. On board 4 I was up a pawn in an endgame with Pader, but the bishops of opposite made it VERY difficult for me to do anything. Pader probably had great chances for a draw, but due to time trouble was unable to make it happen. On board 5, Lapshun won some pawns early on against Adam Robinson and took home the victory. On board 6 Irina Krush beat newcomer Yefim Treger. Board 7 was the game between this weeks U2200 qualifier Ben Johnson and Ricardo D’Arruda. Now Johnson is not like most of the past qualifiers, as his rating was 2280 USCF not so long ago. He looked as though he would make a serious statement, as he was crushing D’Arruda out of the opening and won a piece. However at some point he got low on time and blundered his piece back allowing D’Arruda to escape with the whole point. Also it was a shame because if Ben would have won he would be paired with me the next round, and I don’t think we’ve played in a tournament since our many battles in High School.

Leaders after Round 1

1 pt – Novikov, Yudasin, G.Shahade, Lapshun, Krush, D’Arruda


Novikov continued his mastery over Yuri Lapshun, beating him for the 3rd consecutive week. On board 2 it was teacher vs student in Yudasin vs Krush. It seems like Yudasin made sure to teach her just enough to ensure that she couldn’t beat him, as he got a quick opening advantage and won the game. On board 3 I somehow forgot one of the main lines of the Grunfeld and got a strange position. I had basically no idea what I was doing most of the game but when I managed to hold a shaky position and it got down to Rook and pawn vs Bishop and 2 pawns, the game was agreed drawn. Joel Benjamin tried to get back on to the top boards by beating Jay Bonin, however Jay managed to defend a difficult position and once again Joel had to settle with a draw. In the game Robinson – Treger, Robinson had 2 queens on the board in the form of pawns, as he didn’t have time to replace them in his time scramble, yet he did have enough time to use them to checkmate Treger.

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Yudasin, Novikov
1.5 pts – G.Shahade, D’Arruda


On the top board Novikov and Yudasin quickly agreed to a draw. On board 2 I had the white pieces against Joel Benjamin. Things worked my way as he played a line in the Schvenigen that I had studied a year or two before. It took me about 10 minutes to remember the lines during the game, but it gave him a very difficult position and also cost him a lot of time on the clock. Eventually he had to resign after losing the exchange. On board 3, Irina Krush dashed D’Arruda’s dreams of glory, beating him in a sharp Keres Attack. Pader also had a good result in this round, holding Lapshun to a draw, and as a reward was given the chance to play Joel Benjamin in the final round.

Leaders after Round 3

2.5 – Novikov, Yudasin, G.Shahade
2 – Sarkar, Krush


The big matchups of this round were G.Shahade – Novikov and Yudasin – Sarkar. Novikov was very tired as he had just come back from the Chicago Open that day, so he offered me a draw on move 5. I had to decline as I had the white pieces and if Yudasin was able to beat Sarkar, I would need to win to tie for first. I played a variation in the Najdorf where white sacks a piece right away, however I didn’t realize that the way I play it allows black a forced perpetual, so an early draw was the result. Yudasin was coming off a tie for first at the Chicago Open, worth $2700, and was looking to continue his form tonight. So far Yudasin had scored ¾ EVERY single time he had played in the Tuesday Night Masters,s o this game meant a lot to him as he had to win to get 3.5/4 and thus clear first. Sarkar seemed to have a really rough time of it from the start of this game, as Yudasins pieces swarmed the enemy king, and Sarkar was forced to resign pretty quickly, thus making Yudasin the champion this week. Irina Krush had a chance to tie with Novikov and I, if she were able to win with black against Lapshun. Last time they played she beat him in a nice endgame, but this week Yuri had the final say as her attempts for counterplay were refuted. It had been a rough tournament for the new players so far, as the only one to notch a win to this point was Ben Johnson in round 3. This round saw Joel Benjamin get his first victory, as he picturesquely mated Doug Pader on the back rank. Jenn Shahade got a very nice attack going against Treger and was able to sac her queen to force mate. Ben Johnson and Adam Robinson had a very controversial game. Johnson had a completely losing position, yet Robinson had just a few seconds remaining. Robinson wanted to claim a draw and didn’t know the correct procedure, which is to stop the clock and announce that you are claiming a draw. So eventually he flagged and Ben got the full point. We can bet that in the coming weeks Robinson will know the entire rulebook inside out after that incident.

11th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 28 v 2002
                                           1   2   3   4  Total
   1. Yudasin, Leonid     g  2668  +11 + 7 = 2 + 8  3.5  ($260)
   2. Novikov, Igor       g  2668  +10 + 4 = 1 = 3  3.0  ($100)
   3. Shahade, Gregory    m  2554  +12 = 5 + 6 = 2  3.0  ($100)
   4. Lapshun, Yury       f  2450  +13 - 2 =12 + 7  2.5
   5. D'Arruda, Ricardo   f  2437  + 9 = 3 - 7 +11  2.5
   6. Benjamin, Joel      g  2702  = 8 =11 - 3 +12  2.0
   7. Krush, Irina        m  2427  +14 - 1 + 5 - 4  2.0
   8. Sarkar, Justin      m  2435  = 6 =10 +13 - 1  2.0
   9. Johnson, Ben           2175  - 5 -12 +14 +13  2.0
  10. Shahade, Jennifer  wm  2379  - 2 = 8 -11 +14  1.5
  11. Bonin, Jay R        m  2382  - 1 = 6 +10 - 5  1.5
  12. Pader, Douglas         2221  - 3 + 9 = 4 - 6  1.5
  13. Robinson, Adam         2202  - 4 +14 - 8 - 9  1.0
  14. Treger, Effim          2228  - 7 -13 - 9 -10  0.0

1st Place - $260	
2nd Place - $130
3rd Place - $65