JUNE 11 2002

Its 3 AM and I just got home from a night out with my dad, my sister and some of the other players from the NY Masters. Despite this I am going to stay up and write a tournament report! We tied the record again this week with 22 players. This week was also notable because it was the first week that the class prize was in effect. We had four new players this week…. The strongest one was a very great surprise in GM Alex Shabalov. Also joining him was IM Bobby Kurniawan from Indonesia, Evengy Gershov and Peter Aravena.

Here was tonights field…
1. GM Alex Shabalov
2. GM Igor Novikov
3. GM Leonid Yudasin
4. GM Alex Stripunsky
5. IM Greg Shahade
6. FM Ricardo D’Arruda
7. IM Justin Sarkar
8. IM Irina Krush
9. NM Evgeny Gershov
10. FM David Pruess
11. WIM Jenn Shahade
12. IM Jay Bonin
13. FM Lew Eisen
14. IM Bobby Kurniawan (ROUND 1 BYE)
15. NM Woody McClelland
16. FM Ron Young (Came in for round 2)
17. FM “Iron” Mike Shahade
18. NM Peter Aravena
19. FM David Koenig
20. NM Yefim Treger
21. NM Doug Pader
22. Qualifier – Ervin Matthew


1ST - $360
2ND - $180
3RD- $90
U2400 - $105


The top seeded Shabalov was playing a national champion in the first round in US Woman’s Champion Jenn Shahade. Jenn had a very comfortable position but Shabalov is the master of the tactics and swindling, and eventually Shabalovs tricks along with Jenn’s time trouble led to her demise. On board 2 there was the traditional first round pairing of Novikov and Bonin. The result was the same as it has been recently as Novikov won. Board 3 was an exciting battle. Yudasin had an overwhelming position with the black pieces against Lewis Eisen, and was also way up on the clock. Perhaps these factors led him to underestimate Dr. Lew as the position eventually became dead drawn. Eisen, using a quartz clock, realized just in time that he was about to flag and asked for a time delay clock. It turned out that Lew was down to only 3 seconds, however with the delay clock he was able to easily hold the game. On board 4 Stripunsky beat McClelland in a tactical game. On board 5 it was a family rivalry, as I had the black pieces against my dad. Unfortunately father’s day is almost a week away, so I felt a little guilt winning the game. I guess this means I’ll have to get him a really nice present.

On board 6 Peter Aravena entered the tournament with a bang. Sitting right next to the game it seemed to me as if he was hopelessly lost, as D’Arruda had a queen, and Peter didn’t. However he hit D’Arruda with a neat bishop sacrifice, forcing a knight fork winning the queen, and it was curtains.

One problem with time delay, is that it’s possible for a game last extremely long. This is especially the case when one side has a Rook and Bishop and the other side has a Rook, as occurred in Koenig – Sarkar. As is always often the case, the rook and the bishop ended up victorious. Other results had Irina Krush beating Treger, Pader and Gershov drew and David Pruess beat the qualifier Ervin Matthew.

Leaders after Round 1

1 pt – Shabalov, Novikov, Stripunsky, G.Shahade, Sarkar, Krush, Pruess, Aravena


Key Pairings

1 Shabalov – Krush
2 Sarkar – Novikov
3 Aravena – Stripunsky
4 Shahade – Pruess

BOARD 1 - Shabalov must have thought he was playing in the US Womens Championship, as he was paired with arguably the two strongest women in the country in rounds 1 and 2. Irina Krush, as tradition dictates, always gets black against the grandmasters. I think she has had about 8 blacks and zero whites against GMs so far in the NY Masters. Shabalov played a nice attacking game, and it seems has good chances to be the next US Womens Champion.

BOARD 2 – It looked like Sarkar got a basically equal endgame with the white pieces against Novikov. One thing that’s for certain is that an equal endgame against Novikov, is not as equal as you may think, as his technique is extremely strong. Novikov eventually got the point.

BOARD 3 – Aravena hoped to continue his impressive debut with a score against Stripunsky, but the GM’s technique was too strong as he ground him down for the victory.

BOARD 4 – As usual I got lucky. I had a VERY bad position but my opponent was low on time. I tried a few swindles and David was unable to sort through them with only 2 minutes left. Eventually he hung a rook and resigned.

Yudasin and Kurniawan had a very exciting game. Kurniawan came into the event with a half point bye, and as a reward was given the black pieces against Yudasin, however he went after Yudasins king and it looked like his attack might be enough to force at least a draw, however due to some time difficulties, he was unable to follow the most accurate path. Lewis Eisen’s good fortune continued as he turned a lost position into a winning one against the newcomer Gershov, as Gershov hung a rook in time trouble. Jay Bonin had a chance to win the Shahade triple crown today. Very few players have defeated myself, my sister and my father. Jay had only beaten my sister and I. He got a winning position against my dad, but the cagey veteran held on for the draw and it looks like once again there won’t be a triple crown winner.

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Shabalov, Novikov, Stripunsky, G.Shahade
1.5 pts – Yudasin, Eisen



1 Stripunsky – Shabalov
2 Novikov – G.Shahade
3 Sarkar – Yudasin
4 Eisen – D’Arruda

BOARD 1 – Stripunsky played the Kings Indian attack and an interesting battle ensued. The final position was queen and 4 pawns vs 2 rooks and 1 pawn. Sounds like it should be a win, however the pawn was passed and was unstoppable, so Shabalov’s only recourse was to give perpetual check.

BOARD 2 – On board 2 we learned one reason why Novikov is a GM and I am not. I got an endgame where the first thing I thought to myself was “Any reasonable GM would draw this position easily”. It was 2 rooks, a bishop and 4 pawns vs 2 rooks a bishop and 4 pawns, with opposite colored bishops. First maybe I’m wrong about that evualation, and secondly I lost of course. He had one of these positions with a bishop on d4, a rook on d6 and my king on g8 with pawns on h7, g6 and f7. So to avoid mate I must leave my rook on the back rank. Another thing I could do is move my pawn to h5, and when he plays h3 and g4 I could trade the pawns off, thus ensuring that he can create more checkmate threats by swinging his rook to the h-file. This is of course what I did and the threats of the rook mating me from two different directions were too much for me to take. Maybe I was much worse the entire time and Novikov is laughing because I don’t even understand this, but Yudasin seemed surprised that I lost, so that probably means that I should have drawn.

BOARD 3 – Sarkar and Yudasin had a funny game because they played for 15 minutes before they realized that they had forgotten to hit the start button on the clock. So while my game had 15 minutes off the clock their time was just starting. Despite this Yudasin won the game quite quickly. What a treat it is for Sarkar to lose to Novikov and then get paired against Yudasin. Sometimes in the NY Masters you don’t get a break when you lose a game.

I didn’t see much of the Eisen – D’Arruda game, but I heard that Eisen should have won but they ended up drawing. Peter Aravena continued his strong showing by knocking of IM Irina Krush. There was another family affair with the long anticipated Mike Shahade – Jenn Shahade showdown. Of course my dad found a new way to trade queens on move 2 and the game ended peacefully. Pruess got back into the U2400 prize picture by beating David Koenig.

Leaders after Round 3

3 pts – Novikov
2.5 pts – Shabalov, Yudasin, Stripunsky
2 pts – G.Shahade, Pruess, Eisen, Aravena



1 – Shabalov – Novikov
2 – Yudasin – Stripunsky
3 – G.Shahade – Eisen
4 - Aravena – Pruess

BOARD 1 – I knew this would be an exciting game, as Shabalov needed to win against Novikov. Shabalov is a very imaginative and has a lot of fighting spirit so I expected an all out struggle to break through Novikov’s extremely solid defenses. However Novikov was simply too solid, and Shabalov got no advantage from the opening. This is just a testament to how hard it is to beat Novikov. Novikov was now assured of at least a tie for first, and had to hope that Yudasin and Stripunsky drew their game to win clear…

BOARD 2 – Yudasin beat Stripunsky in a key game the previous week, so Stripunsky must have been out for revenge. Unfortunately with the black pieces, Yudasin is not a simple task. The game was complicated but eventually Yudasin prevailed and took his share of first place as Novikov and Yudasin both won $270.

BOARD 3 – Eisen needed to win to get ¾ and win the class prize. Meanwhile I had to win to get a share of third place. So in this must win game for both sides, of course the game ended in a draw. It was a long maneuvering game where at some moment I broke through with some help from my opponent and was winning, yet I hallucinated terribly and allowed Lew to get a queen and pawn ending up 2 pawns, where he was surely winning. However I was able to use the exposed position of his king to check him a bunch of times and trick him into hanging 2 pawns. At this point he had enough and took a perpetual check.

ROUND 4 – The winner of this game would be the first ever U2400 champion of the NY Masters. So far Aravena has had an extremely impressive result, beating Krush and D’Arruda and only losing to Stripunsky. Now only David Pruess stood in his way. However in this game Pruess was a serious roadblock as he won a piece very early and Aravena had to resign. This meant that Pruess was the winner of the $105 U2400 prize. This was a big turnaround from his ¼ performance the previous week. In this tournament it’s very easy to have a great performance and turn around and have a bad performance the next week. Sometimes it’s tough being faced with strong masters no matter what your result. It’s good to see the young Californian player rebound and take home the prize. Also Yefim Treger had a nice rebound performance. Last time he played he finished 0-4, however he got a free entry by going 4-0 last Thursday night and after losing the first round this week, ended up beating IM Justin Sarkar, WIM Jenn Shahade and drawing Ron Young to finish with 2.5/4.

 13th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 11 vi 2002
                                  1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Yudasin, Leonid   g  2665 = 7 +15 +19 + 5   3.5  ($270)
    2. Novikov, Igor     g  2692 + 9 +19 + 6 = 3   3.5  ($270)
    3. Shabalov, Alex    g  2697 +21 +11 = 5 = 2   3.0  ($90)
    4. Pruess, David     f  2403 +22 – 6 +20 +12   3.0  ($105)U2400
    5. Stripunsky, Alex  g  2640 +18 +12 = 3 - 1   2.5  
    6. Shahade, Greg     m  2534 +13 + 4 - 2 = 7   2.5  
    7. Eisen, Lewis      f  2288 = 1 + 8 =14 = 6   2.5
    8. Gershov, Evgeny      2377 =17 - 7 +15 +16   2.5
    9. Bonin, Jay        m  2391 - 2 =13 +17 + 6   2.5
   10. Treger, Yefim        2216 -11 +21 =16 + 7   2.5
   11. Krush, Irina      m  2437 +10 - 3 -12 +20   2.0
   12. Aravena, Peter       2251 +14 - 5 +11 - 4   2.0
   13. Shahade, Mike     f  2259 - 6 = 8 =21 +18   2.0
   14. D'Arruda, Ricardo f  2387 -12 +17 = 7 - 9   1.5
   15. Kurniawan, Bobby  m  2308 =   - 1 - 8 +21   1.5
   16. Young, Ron        f  2280 --- +22 =10 - 8   1.5
   17. Pader, Doug          2200 = 8 -14 - 9 +22   1.5
   18. McClelland, Woody    2275 - 5 -20 +22 -13   1.0
   19. Sarkar, Justin    m  2402 +20 - 2 - 3 -10   1.0
   20. Koenig, David E   f  2250 -19 +18 - 4 -11   1.0
   21. Shahade, Jenn    wm  2379 - 3 -10 =13 -15   0.5
   22. Matthew, Ervin       1968 - 4 -16 -18 -17   0.0
Above ratings are using weekly updates so you can keep track. Hence Pruess’s rating on the supplement was not over 2400 but was actually 2388. I will continue doing this, as it’s interesting to see how the ratings fluctuate from week to week, yet in the future will not explain myself, so don’t be shocked if someone rated 2420 shows up winning an U2400 prize, or if someone under 2400 is not eligible to win the prize.


1ST - $360
2ND - $180
3RD- $90

U2400 - $105