COMMENTARY BY GREG SHAHADE
NY MASTER ACTION
JULY 9 2002
Now that the World Open is finished, the Tuesday Night Masters is back! We had 27 players tonight, including 5 GM’s, and lots of new faces as well. Our newcomers were on the young side tonight. They were IM Leonid Sokolin, 18 year old IM (and GM-elect) Kamil Miton, 17 year old SM Eli Vovsha, 17 year old German WGM Elisabeth Paehtz, FM Robby Adamson from Arizona, and NM Leslie Au from Hawaii. Below is the complete list of players
1. GM Alex Wojtkiewicz
2. GM Leonid Yudasin
3. GM Alex Stripunsky
4. GM Pavel Blatny
5. IM Leonid Sokolin
6. IM Greg Shahade
7. IM Kamil Miton
8. GM Michael Rohde
9. SM Eli Vovsha
10. FM Yuri Lapshun
11. FM Ricardo D’Arruda
12. IM Justin Sarkar (Round 1 bye)
13. NM Evgeny Gershov
14. FM David Pruess
15. WGM Elisabeth Paehtz
16. IM Jay Bonin
17. FM Robby Adamson
18. NM Samson Benen
19. FM Ron Young
20. FM Boris Privman
21. NM Peter Aravena
22. NM Leslie Au
23. NM Doug Pader
24. NM Oliver Chernin
25. NM Rafal Furdzik
26. NM Geoffrey Gelman
27. Qualifier – Jonathan Corbblah
1st – $410
2nd - $200
3rd - $100
U2400 - $130
There were not too many surprises in round 1. The high rated Isreali player, 17 year old Eli Vovsha, was held to a draw by Doug Pader. GM Michael Rohde was struggling against Leslie Au, as he was down a pawn in an endgame, however his GM experience carried the day and he ended up winning. Geoffrey Gelman pulled off the only ‘upset’ by beating Evgeny Gershov with the black pieces.
1 Wojtkiewicz – Rohde
2 Miton – Yudasin
3 Stripunsky – Lapshun
4 D’Arruda – Blatny
5 Sokolin – Pruess
6 G.Gelman – G.Shahade
It’s not often that you see a GM vs GM battle in just the second round of a tournament. Wojtkiewicz was in top form in this game, as he methodically ground Rohde down for the win.
You could call this a GM vs GM matchup also, as Miton has all the norms and the rating necessary for the GM title. Also Miton is fresh off a tie for first at the World Open, so he is not an easy pairing for Yudasin so early in the event. It was a Grand Prix Sicilian that was hard fought, but eventually fizzled into a draw.
Stripunsky played the English Opening against Lapshun, and had some nasty queenside pressure the entire game. He eventually converted this into a pawn, and then he converted this pawn into a knight. The only problem was that all the pieces that remained were a rook and a knight for Stripunsky and a rook for Lapshun. The time delay clock was activated and Lapshun proved that this type of position really is a simple draw. This is opposed to R+B vs R, which seems to be a forced win in the NY Masters.
Blatny played his favorite fiancheto Caro-Kann setup and D’Arruda had no aggressive answer. Instead he settled for mass exchanges leading to a equal endgame. Both players proved the equality of the endgame as the game was drawn
IM Sokolin is not your average IM, as he has 2 GM norms and needs just one more to get the GM title. In this game he had a difficult time, but this could be contributed to rust, as he has not played in a tournament since 1999. It’s always good to see the NY Masters bringing players out of retirement! Pruess had a very strong position with the Semi Slav defense, and according to David it was completely winning. Unfortunately for David he blundered terribly and ended up giving the point to Sokolin.
It was a nostalgic game on board 6, as the last time I played Gelman was probably when I was 14 years old. I played the Caro-Kann in an effort to play more solid chess. Unfortunately the position became too solid and I felt that I had to try to do something to win. One knows that when you overpress in a position that should be equal, bad things can happen. Gelman quickly gained an advantage but my gambles paid off, as his time trouble produced some mistakes and eventually I got a rook and 3 connected passed pawns, against a rook and knight. He made it easy for me by hanging his knight and resigning.
Leaders after Round 2
2 pts – Wojtkiewicz, Sokolin, G.Shahade
1.5 pts – Yudasin, Stripunsky, Blatny, Miton, Vovsha, Lapshun, D’Arruda
1 G.Shahade – Wojtkiewicz
2 Yudasin – Sokolin
3 Vovsha – Stripunsky
4 Blatny – Lapshun
5 D’Arruda – Miton
It was a 6.Be3 Najdorf on board 1. I got no advantage out of the opening and then simply blundered an exchange and a pawn on move 17. It was amazing when it turned out that I had good compensation for the material (Maybe I should have pretended that it was my plan all along). His king was stuck in the center and all of his pieces were undeveloped. Things got better and better to the extent that I could have forced a draw at one occasion. I probably had some good chances to win, this will be revealed later as I plan to annotate the game for the games section of the website. Anyhow I was overcome by the momentum and in my thirst for blood I blundered and gave Wojo a good position. Now I had 2 pieces for a rook and 2 pawns, yet my pieces were uncoordinated and my king was weak, which led to my quick demise. This victory left Wojtkiewicz as the only undefeated player.
Sokolin is a very tough nut to crack, and it would be interesting to see if Yudasin was up to the task. It turned out that he was, as he was up one pawn in an endgame, and then forced resignation after winning a second pawn and consolidating.
Vovsha rebounded nicely from his first round draw, with a nice win over Alex Stripunsky. It’s hard to believe that the 17 year old player from Israel is untitled, and you can be sure that this won’t last long.
Blatny took care of business in his game with Lapshun. It seemed to me that Pavel had a very strong position quickly out of the opening, as he used some pins and blacks weak king placement to win some material and wreck havoc upon Lapshun’s position.
Miton showed in this game why he is soon to be a GM. He ground D’Arruda down positionally and had a total blockade of whites isolated d4 pawn. All of his pieces were active and well placed, as opposed to D’Arrudas forces which were defending. Miton never gave him a second chance and scored the victory.
In other action, Bonin had great winning chances against Rohde, with an extra pawn in a queen and pawn ending. However in the mad time scramble that ensued, all the pawns came off the board and a draw was agreed.
Leaders after Round 3
3 pts – Wojtkiewicz
2.5 pts – Yudasin, Blatny, Miton, Vovsha
2 pts – Sokolin, G.Shahade, Pruess
1 Wojtkeiwicz – Yudasin
2 Miton – Blatny
3 Sokolin – Vovsha
4 Pruess – G.Shahade
Yudasin was placed in the unenviable position of needing to defeat Wojtkiewicz with the black pieces. This would be a difficult enough task for Kasparov. Actually Wojtkiewicz achieved a better position out of the opening and then had a way to win the exchange. He completely overlooked it and was quite upset about this. After this missed chance the game fizzled into a draw. Now with only 3.5/4, Miton, Blatny and Vovsha all had chances to tie with Wojtkiewicz.
In this must win game for both sides, things did not go as they could have hoped. It quickly became a rook and pawn endgame, with 2 rooks and 4 pawns versus 2 rooks and 4.pawns. Miton even went so far as to offer a draw, but Blatny refused as the only way to make any serious money was to win this game. As it would turn out, a win would be worth 10 times more than a draw. Despite this the position was very equal, and neither side could muster up anything. Sadly for both players, the draw was agreed.
Only Vovsha had a chance to leap to first place as he was a half point ahead of Sokolin. Once again Vovsha showed his talent as he outplayed Sokolin in the complications and won, meaning that it would be Wojtkiewicz and Vovsha in a tie for first place. This result netted both players a nice payday of $305. So in his first ever NY Masters, Vovsha started slowly with a draw, yet ended as champion.
With a win, Pruess would guarantee himself the clear U2400 prize. With a draw he would be guaranteed at least a split. It was a 6.Bg5 Najdorf and I sacked a pawn to open the position up a bit. At some point Pruess overlooked an elementary trick, which netted me the exchange and a winning position.
Now the battle for the U2400 was raging. Elisabeth Paehtz had a winning position against GM Stripunsky, and a win would have guaranteed her a piece of the prize, but she made some blunders and Stripunsky ended up winning the game. Robby Adamson had 3 pieces against Lapshun’s queen, but made a flurry of mistakes in time pressure and ended up losing a game which probably could have been won. Geoff Gelman tried to cap off his fine performance with a win over D’Arruda, yet it was not to be, as D’Arruda was up a pawn and a whole lot of time in a bishop endgame. Samson Benen had a tough task in GM Michael Rohde, but he played solidly and achieved a draw, yet this would not be enough for the class prize. It all came down to the Bonin – Gershov match up. As they were both U2400, whoever won this game would win the prize. Bonin is tough with the white pieces, but wasn’t tough enough tonight as he lost a few pawns and had to capitulate. This gave Gershov the top U2400 honors and $130. Gershov also was upset in his first game so must be commended for fighting back to win the prize.
16th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 9 vii 2002
1 2 3 4 Total
1. Wojtkiewicz, Alek g 2666 +16 +12 + 5 = 3 3.5 ($305)
2. Vovsha, Eli 2486 =20 +13 + 7 +11 3.5 ($305)
3. Yudasin, Leonid g 2665 +17 = 6 +11 = 1 3.0 ($ 25)
4. Blatny, Pavel g 2603 +15 = 9 + 8 = 6 3.0 ($ 25)
5. Shahade, Greg m 2534 +23 +21 - 1 +14 3.0 ($ 25)
6. Miton, Kamil m 2537 +24 = 3 + 9 = 4 3.0 ($ 25)
7. Stripunsky, Alex g 2640 +18 = 8 - 2 +16 2.5
8. Lapshun, Yury f 2459 +26 = 7 - 4 +18 2.5
9. D'Arruda, Ricardo f 2387 +25 = 4 - 6 +21 2.5
10. Gershov, Evgeny 2377 -21 +20 =16 +17 2.5 ($130)
11. Sokolin, Leonid m 2576 +22 +14 - 3 - 2 2.0
12. Rohde, Michael g 2508 +19 - 1 =17 =15 2.0
13. Sarkar, Justin m 2402 = - 2 =21 +23 2.0
14. Pruess, David f 2403 +27 -11 +23 - 5 2.0
15. Benen, Samson 2321 - 4 =25 +26 =12 2.0
16. Paehtz, Elisabeth 2381 - 1 +19 =10 - 7 1.5
17. Bonin, Jay m 2383 - 3 +24 =12 -10 1.5
18. Adamson, Robby f 2353 - 7 =26 +20 - 8 1.5
19. Au, Leslie 2239 -12 -16 +27 =24 1.5
20. Pader, Douglas 2200 = 2 -10 -18 +26 1.5
21. Gelman, Geoffrey 2200 +10 - 5 =13 - 9 1.5
22. Young, Ron f 2280 -11 --- --- +27 1.0
23. Privman, Boris f 2253 - 5 +27 -14 -13 1.0
24. Aravena, Peter 2251 - 6 -17 =25 =19 1.0
25. Furdzik, Rafal 2229 - 9 =15 =24 --- 1.0
26. Chernin, Oliver 2221 - 8 =18 -15 -20 0.5
27. Corbblah, Jonathan 2006 -14 -23 -19 -22 0.0
1ST - $410
2ND - $200
3RD - $100
U2400 - $130