JULY 16 2002

23 players came out for the first Grand Prix NY Masters. We had a new GM in the young Moscovian player Evgeny Najer (FIDE 2585). Also showing up for the first time was Bryan Smith, a young master from Alaska, who now attends the chess powerhouse college, University of Maryland Baltimore County. Michael Klein made his debut as the filler, as we needed someone to fill in for Ron as he was directing the event this week. Our usual TD, John Fernandez, is busy playing in the Canadian Open. Below was the field

GM Ildar Ibragimov
GM Leonid Yudasin
GM Evgeny Najer
IM Greg Shahade
GM Michael Rohde
SM Eli Vovsha
FM Yuri Lapshun
FM Ricardo D’Arruda
IM Justin Sarkar
FM David Pruess
IM Jayson Gonzales
IM Jay Bonin
FM Alan Stein
FM Bryan Smith
FM Lew Eisen
FM Boris Privman
NM Peter Aravena
NM Michael Klein
FM Ilye Figler (Round 4 bye)
NM Yefim Treger (Round 1 bye)
NM Doug Pader
NM Rafal Furdzik
Qualifier – David Franklin

1st - $400
2nd - $170
3rd - $80
U2400 - $110


The first round produced some surprises. Bonin was black against Ibragimov on first board and seemed to have some very serious chances, but botched it up and gave the point to Ibragimov. Lapshun had to resort to his advantage on the clock and some tricks to swindle my fellow Williamsburg resident Michael Klein. The ever solid Boris Privman held GM Rohde to a draw in his favorite French defense. The upsets started with Ilye Figler, who took out D’Arruda with the white pieces. Another favorite going down was David Pruess, losing quickly to Rafal Furdzik. Pader and Sarkar drew and all the other favorites won.


Key Pairings

1 Vovsha – Ibragimov
2 Yudasin – Lapshun
3 Gonzales – Najer
4 G.Shahade – Figler
5 Rohde - Furdzik

BOARD 1 Vovsha – Ibragimov

I’m sure Vovsha was coming off his tournament victory from last week in a very confident frame of mind. Unfortunately in a Ruy Lopez middlegame he had two knights and Ibragimov had two bishops and confidence can’t fight the two bishops. A lot of players claim that one big reason a lot of GMs earned their title is because they know how to handle the two bishops. Ildar used them well and scored the win to move to 2-0.

BOARD 2 Yudasin - Lapshun

The game between Yudasin andLapshun was a real barnburner. Lapshun played the rare Bird Defense in the Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4), and achieved what looked to be a very bad position. Quickly Yudasin was winning and one would expect the GM technique to take over. However things became unclear after some Yudasin mistakes when Lapshun forced his way down to a bishops of opposite ending. Despite his two pawn disadvantage and having less time, he was able to draw by simply moving his pieces back and forth, Yudasin could make no progress.

BOARD 3 Gonzales – Najer

It looked like Gonzales had some attacking chances in the opening but Najer neutralized everything into a rook and pawn ending which was shortly drawn.

BOARD 4 Shahade – Figler

Figler played the super solid Steinitz defense in the Ruy Lopez. I didn’t feel like I had much out of the opening but perhaps Figler made some mistakes to give me an initiative. Eventually he defended well and gained an equal position. The only realistic way for me to win was to take a risk of going into a queen and pawn endgame with an Unprotected passed pawn on e6, which was also firmly blockaded. My efforts to support my passer with another pawn was soundly thwarted and I found myself wishing I had simplified to a draw earlier in the game when I had the chance. Fortunately for me I was able to use my queen to drum up some threats and despite the fact that he won my passed pawn, the queen was enough of a nuisance to force Figler to agree to split the point.

BOARD 5 Rohde – Furdzik

Rohde played something rare against Furdzik’s Caro Kann (1.e4 c6 2.c4) and seemed to not get very much out of the opening. However in the time scramble that ensued Rohde showed some moxie (first time I’ve ever used the word moxie in my life, but what better a moment) and got the victory.

In other action we saw D’Arrudas start go from bad to worse as he lost to the greatest Alaskan player of all time, Bryan Smith.

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Ibragimov

1.5 pts – Yudasin, Najer, G.Shahade, Rohde, Lapshun, Gonzales, Privman, Figler


Key Pairings

1 Ibragimov - Yudasin
2 Najer - Rohde
3 G.Shahade - Gonzales
4 Lapshun – Privman
5 Figler - Vovsha

BOARD 1 Ibragimov – Yudasin

Ibragimov went heads up against Yudasin’s Nimzo Indian defense in this big Grandmaster battle. They played for some time and some complications ensued, but in the end things were agreed drawn thus giving Ibragimov 2.5/3 and Yudasin only 2/3.

BOARD 2 Najer – Rohde

We had another GM vs GM battle on board two. Rohde was confused by the pairing, expecting to get paired down, however got a very solid opening with his Bogo Indian and things looked to me like they would gear towards a draw. Somehow Rohde found a way to stick a knight on d4, causing all kinds of havoc in Najers position. He eventually won some pawns and got a winning position. Both players were very low on time so things were not so simple. A mad time scramble ensued with Rohde having queen and 2 pawns versus a queen. They were using one of those BHB clocks so you can’t really tell when someone is about to flag, thus adding to the intrigue. Eventually the clock became irrelevant as after missing mate in one a few moves earlier, Rohde found it and moved up to joint first with 2.5/3.

BOARD 3 G.Shahade – Gonzalez

The pain of writing about this game is too great. Imagine this position if you will, White has pawns on a2, b3 and g3, a bishop on d3 and a king on e3. Black has pawns on a7 and h5, with a bishop on e6 and a king on e5. It is white to move. One may think it’s impossible to lose such a position with the white pieces, yet I found a way. I wonder if there is any universe in which Novikov would ever LOSE such a position! Gonzales moved his pawn to a4, with his bishop on d1. I didn’t want to trade pawns to preserve more winning chances, so I played b4. Gonzalez pushed his pawn to a3, and eventually used the trick Bb3 to his advantage. If I ever capture the bishop the pawn becomes a queen. So with this win Gonzalez had moved up to 2.5/3.

BOARD 4 Lapshun – Privman

I believe Lapshun was expecting to be paired up, so he was quite happy to notice that he would be paired down. However in the past weeks Privman has scored some draws on Yuri. This week it was not to be as Lapshun got the win and joined the leaders with 2.5/3.

BOARD 5 Figler – Vovsha

Figlers quest to get ¾ (He had requested a last round bye, so that was the maximum he could score), ended in failure at the hands of Eli Vovsha, yet Vovsha was a half point behind Figler so now only had 2/3.

Leaders after Round 3

2.5 pts – Ibragimov, Rohde, Lapshun, Gonzalez

2 pts – Yudasin, Vovsha, Bonin, Stein, B.Smith


Key Pairings

1 Lapshun – Ibragimov
2 Gonzalez - Rohde
3 Yudasin - Bonin
4 Vovsha - Stein
5 B.Smith – G.Shahade

BOARD 1 Lapshun – Ibragimov

Lapshun played the 4 knights opening against Ibragimov, a line that I don’t see often outside of the games of the kids that I teach. A very early queen exchange was made and it seemed as if Lapshun was content to draw. On the contrary Ibragimov was not content with such a result and gained a nasty initiative, destroying Lapshuns pawn structure by saddling him with doubled c – pawns. Lapshun however proved that his defense in round 2 against Yudasin was no fluke, as he skillfully held off Ildar to split the point and sit back and await the board 2 result, as that would determine their fate.

BOARD 2 Gonzalez – Rohde

The winner of this game would now win clear first, or if it ended in a draw we would see a massive split at the top of the crosstables. It was a funky looking English opening with play for both sides. Eventually both players got down to under 5 minutes, with Rohde being up the exchange for a pawn, yet with Gonzalez having a very strong initiative. Gonzalez is a very quick blitz player, so things would be quite difficult for Rohde. Rohde offered Gonzalez a draw somewhere in the time scramble and Jayson admitted to me after the game that he wanted to accept, but then decided he had nothing to lose (based on the assumption that he would win the class prize if he lost the game) and played on. What happened was that Jaysons position combined with Rohde’s lack of time were simply too much to handle and when Jayson called Rohde’s flag, he became the clear winner and happy recipient of $400. Also note that Jayson was the only non GM to ever win clear first.

BOARD 3 Yudasin – Bonin

Jayson’s result on board 2 may have made Jay Bonin happy, as now all he had to do was beat Yudasin with the black pieces and he would get a big piece and probably the clear U 2400 prize. Unfortunately for Jay, he has lost to Yudasin every time they have faced in the NY Masters thus far. However all things must come to an end, and despite the fact that it seemed that Yudasin had a good position, according to the spectators Jay won the game in spectacular style finishing in a tie for 2nd and thus guaranteed himself at least a split of the U2400 prize, depending on the result of Stein and Smith.

BOARD 4 Vovsha – Stein

This was a complicated Sicilian battle that went the distance. It was the last game finished, but in the end only Vovsha was left standing, and with his ¾ score thus rocketing him to a tie for 2nd.

BOARD 5 Smith – G.Shahade

Only Smith had anything to play for as a win would leapfrog him into 2nd place and a guaranteed piece of the class prize. However I did have my pride to play for, and I played the spoilers role well, defending against Smith’s dangerous attack and eventually winning a piece and the game.

17th New York Masters Action GRANDPRIX (USA), 16 vii 2002
                                  1   2   3   4   Total
   1.  Gonzales, Jayson      m  2381 +21 = 6 + 7 + 8   3.5  ($400)
   2.  Ibragimov, Ildar      g  2707 + 5 + 3 = 9 = 4   3.0  ($ 85)
   3.  Vovsha, Eli              2484 +22 - 2 +13 +12   3.0  ($ 85)
   4.  Lapshun, Yuri         f  2438 +23 = 9 +17 = 2   3.0  ($ 85)
   5.  Bonin, Jay            m  2391 - 2 +22 +20 + 9   3.0  ($110)
   6.  Najer, Evgeny         g  2635 +12 = 1 - 8 +17   2.5  
   7.  Shahade, Greg         m  2554 +16 =13 - 1 +12   2.5
   8.  Rohde, Michael        g  2518 =17 +20 + 6 - 1   2.5
   9.  Yudasin, Leonid       g  2696 +11 = 4 = 2 - 5   2.0
  10.  Sarkar, Justin        m  2414 =14 =19 -12 +21   2.5  
  11.  Stein, Alan           f  2408 - 9 +21 +19 - 3   2.0
  12.  Smith, Bryan          f  2373 - 6 +15 +10 - 7   2.0
  13.  Figler, Ilye          f  2247 +15 = 7 - 3 =     2.0
  14.  Pader, Doug              2220 =10 -17 +18 =16   2.0
  15.  D'Arruda, Ricardo     f  2350 -13 -12 =16 +19   1.5 
  16.  Eisen, Lew            f  2331 - 7 =18 =15 =14   1.5
  17.  Privman, Boris        m  2265 = 8 +14 - 4 - 6   1.5
  18.  Pruess, David         f  2388 -20 =16 -14 =22   1.0
  19.  Treger, Yefim            2240 =   =10 -11 -15   1.0
  20.  Furdzik, Rafal           2283 +18 - 8 - 5 ---   1.0
  21.  Franklin, David          2041 - 1 -11 +22 -10   1.0
  22.  Aravena, Peter           2251 - 3 - 5 -21 =18   0.5
  23.  Klein, Mike              2245 - 4 --- --- ---   0.0


  1ST - $400
  2ND - $170
  3RD - $80
U2400 - $110