JULY 23 2002

There was some good news and some bad news this week at the NY Masters. The good news was that it was voted that the tournament could stay in the upstairs room, which is much better for spectators and much larger. The bad news was that the air conditioner was malfunctioning. One thing you learned today is that 90 degree weather, a broken air conditioner, and 25 chess players enclosed in a small place don’t mix so well. A new AC is being installed tomorrow however, so things should return back to normal.

GM Ildar Ibragimov
GM Igor Novikov
GM Leonid Yudasin
GM Alex Stripunsky
GM Evgeny Najer
IM Greg Shahade
IM Boris Kreiman (Round 1 bye)
GM Michael Rohde
IM Dean Ippolito
FM Yuri Lapshun
IM Justin Sarkar
NM Evgeny Gershov
IM Jayson Gonzales
IM Jay Bonin
NM Dennis Monokroussos (Filler for round 1)
NM Samson Benen
FM Erez Klein
FM Boris Privman
NM Etan Ilfeld
NM Alexander Beltre
NM Doug Pader
NM Rafal Furdzik
Qualifier – David Franklin

1st - $350
2nd - $150
3rd - $75
U2400 - $110


Maybe it was the heat, but this was definitely the round of the upset. Of the 6 GMs playing only 2 made it through with a victory. The two highest rated IMs got cracked as well. On board one Gonzales managed to hold Ibragimov with the black pieces. Gonzales is picking up right where he left off last week and it’s funny to see the defending champion get paired up in the first round!

On board 2 Jay Bonin was paired with Novikov. Jay has lost every game to Novikov when paired in round 1, however he also had never lost to Yudasin until he beat him last week. This week Jay continued to break old trends by drawing with Igor.

Dennis Monokroussos, who moved from New York to Indiana was back in town for a little bit. Due to some new Marshall Chess Club policy, Ron Young is no longer able to be our filler player. I found this out right before the event so I had to scramble to find someone. Fortunately Dennis was on hand and willing to give it a shot, although he warned me he would have to leave before the end of the event. He was paired with Yudasin and was able to test his favorite Schleimann Defense in the Ruy Lopez. Yudasin ended up with an extra piece but Dennis had an armada of pawns, on e3,d4,c5,b5 and a5 opposed only by one single white pawn on a3. Dennis was low on time but eventually used these powerful pawns to force Yudasin’s capitulation. Dennis told me after the game that this was the first ever GM he has defeated in a tournament game. Despite this victory, Dennis would not play another game, as Boris Kreiman entered the event in the next round thus making it an even numbered playing field again, thus giving Dennis the highest lifetime percentage score in masters history with 1/1.

Stripunsky was watching all his GM compatriots have so much trouble, and I’m sure would really have liked to break the streak. However Samson Benen was too solid on this day, and made sure that none of the top 4 seeds could get past round 1 with a win.

Najer and Rohde were the two saviors for the GMs, as they managed to beat Erez Klein and Etan Ilfeld respectively. Meanwhile I was crushed by Boris Privman after playing a few too many speculative moves. Also Dean Ippolito was held to a draw by newcomer Alexander Beltre. The last upset of the round went to Furdzik who was able to hold Justin Sarkar to a draw. Already after round 1 everything was up in the air.

Leaders after Round 1

1 pt – Najer, Rohde, Privman, Lapshun, Gershov


Key Pairings

1 Lapshun – Najer
2 Gershov – Rohde
3 Ibragimov – Privman

BOARD 1 Lapshun – Najer

Lapshun went crazy attacking Najers king, eventually sacrificing two pieces for a rook, and a third piece was even thrown in at some point. However it was to no avail, as Najer simply exploited his material advantage.

BOARD 2 Gershov – Rohde

Rohde had a nice positional bind quite early in this game, and eventually won an exchange. He was able to give it back for a crushing attack, as whites king became trapped behind a set of tripled pawns! White had a king on h2, pawns on g2-g3-g4. Blacks queen was on e3 and blacks rook was threatening Rh8 checkmate. Needless to say there was no defense, so Gershov resigned.

BOARD 3 Ibragimov – Privman

Privman was high on life after his victory over me in round 1. Although the black pieces against Ibragimov didn’t make it easy for him to continue his streak. Ibragimov won in nice style, in a positional grind.

In other action, Novikov squeezed Samson Benen with a powerful passed pawn on d6. Stripunsky attacked Bonin successfully as Jay’s king was enveloped by white pieces. Kreiman had a short tournament as Jayson Gonzales showed that last week was not a fluke, with a win over Boris and caused Boris to withdraw. Dean got back to 1.5/2 by beating Furdzik and Justin Sarkar moved to 1.5/2 by beating Alex Beltre after winning a queen for a rook and minor piece. Meanwhile I was upset again, as I was held to a draw against Doug Pader.

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Najer, Rohde

1.5 pts – Ibragimov, Novikov, Gonzales, Stripunsky, Ippolito, Sarkar


Key Pairings

1 Najer - Rohde
2 Ippolito - Ibragimov
3 Sarkar - Novikov
4 Gonzales - Stripunsky

BOARD 1 Najer – Rohde

The battle of the only 2 undefeateds took place on board 1. Najer lost to Rohde last week with the white pieces and surely wanted to make some amends. He played an Anti Sicilian variation, and with his king uncastled and his rook still on h1, eventually rammed his h pawn down the board into the heart of blacks position. In the end it was too much for Rohde, so Najer moved to 3/3.

BOARD 2 Ippolito – Ibragimov

Ildar played a famous pawn sacrifice variation in the Nimzo Indian. He had hoped to get some compensation I’m sure, yet it didn’t turn out this way, as Dean emerged up a pawn in the endgame. However the GM’s defenses were too much to break and Dean had to satisfy himself with a draw.

BOARD 3 Sarkar – Novikov

Justin has always had trouble against Novikov (who hasn’t) and it continued today. Novikov had absolutely no problems out of the opening and was able to outplay Sarkar to move to 2.5/3.

BOARD 4 Gonzales – Stripunsky

Gonzales seriously does not want to lose in this event. He made another GM’s life difficult by holding Stripunsky to a draw. Gonzales surely won’t be eligible for the U2400 prize for long, as we will soon see his rating rocket up towards the 2450-2500 level.

In other games, what began as a bad tournament for me got even worse. In a pretty comfortable position, albeit in the midst of a time scramble, I blundered terribly against the newcomer Alex Beltre allowing him a forced mate. Yudasin started creeping back into the event by beating Gershov and coming back to 2/3. However it was Najer at 3/3 and Novikov with 2.5/3 who would be competing on first board in the last round.

Leaders after Round 3

3 pts – Najer

2.5 pts – Novikov

2 pts – Ibragimov, Stripunsky, Yudasin, Rohde, Lapshun, Gonzales, Ippolito


Key Pairings

1 Novikov - Najer
2 Rohde - Ibragimov
3 Yudasin - Ippolito
4 Stripunsky - Lapshun
5 Sarkar - Gonzales

BOARD 1 Novikov – Najer

The stakes were high on board 1. If Najer could win or draw, he would win clear $350. If Novikov won, the $350 would be his. Igor played to win using his slow positional approach, but today Najer was simply too solid as Novikov was unable to gain any type of workable advantage. In the end the game was agreed drawn and Najer took home the $350 first place prize.

BOARD 2 Rohde – Ibragimov

This was quite a peculiar game. Rohde played a quiet Reti opening, and it eventually came down to a time scramble with Rohde having an extra pawn. The term scramble might be inaccurate as it was only a scramble for Rohde. Rohde had about 20 seconds left (with 5 second time delay) and Ibragimov had about 8 minutes remaining. Rohde made some mistakes and it became rook, knight and h pawn for Rohde versus rook, bishop and g+h pawns for Ibragimov. Before we could find out if Rohde could defend such a position, he flagged, spending too much time to decide whether to move his king to g2 or g3. This meant Ibragimov would share 2nd with Novikov with 3/4.

BOARD 3 Yudasin – Ippolito

Ippolito brought out his trusty Petroff defense, which he had used to great success the last time he played, defeating GM Rowson right out of the opening. This time things were not so successful, as Yudasin had two bishops for Deans two knights, not to mention a nice advantage on the clock. In the end it was all too much for the newlywed (CONGRATLUATIONS DEAN) as Yudasins pressure was too strong. Now Yudasin had joined Ibragimov and Novikov in 2nd place. Dean came out the winner of our $500 bet over who would get married first.

BOARD 4 Stripunsky – Lapshun

Lapshun has given Stripunsky fits lately, and things didn’t change any today. Lapshun had a vicious attack on Alex’s king and it ended in a win for Yuri and him sharing the 2nd place spotlight.

BOARD 5 Sarkar – Gonzales

As the lowest rated 2/3, Gonzales played the top 1.5/3, whom happened to be Justin Sarkar. Gonzales continued his terrific form with a tremendous attack on Justin’s kingside in an exchange Alekhines defense. This victory brought him the clear U2400 prize and $110.

I showed my ignorance while watching the game Benen – Furdzik. I looked at the position and it seemed as if Benen was completely lost, yet somehow he won the game in about 4 moves, when Furdzik hung his queen. I asked Samson “weren’t you losing there” after the game, when he explained to me that this position was a recent Kasparov – Adams game.

18th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 23 vii 2002
                                   1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Najer, Evgeny       g  2635 +15 + 5 + 9 = 3   3.5  ($350)
    2. Ibragimov, Ildar    g  2672 = 6 +20 =10 + 9   3.0  ($ 57)
    3. Novikov, Igor       g  2668 = 7 +12 +14 = 1   3.0  ($ 57)
    4. Yudasin, Leonid     g  2666 -19 +16 +11 +10   3.0  ($ 57)
    5. Lapshun, Yury       f  2450 +18 - 1 +15 + 8   3.0  ($ 57)
    6. Gonzales, Jayson    m  2381 = 2 +22 = 8 +14   3.0  ($110)
    7. Bonin, Jay          m  2376 = 3 - 8 +20 +17   2.5
    8. Stripunsky, Alex    g  2637 =12 + 7 = 6 - 5   2.0
    9. Rohde, Michael      g  2508 +16 +11 - 1 - 2   2.0
   10. Ippolito, Dean      m  2460 =17 +21 = 2 - 4   2.0
   11. Gershov, Evegeny       2395 +24 - 9 - 4 +20   2.0
   12. Benen, Samson          2321 = 8 - 3 =18 +21   2.0
   13. Shahade, Greg       m  2554 -20 =18 -17 +23   1.5
   14. Sarkar, Justin      m  2435 =21 +17 - 3 - 6   1.5
   15. Klein, Erez         f  2297 - 1 +24 - 5 =18   1.5
   16. Ilfeld, Etan           2233 - 9 - 4 =21 +24   1.5
   17. Beltre, Alexander      2226 =10 -14 +13 - 7   1.5
   18. Pader, Doug            2221 - 5 =13 =12 =15   1.5
   19. Monokroussos, Dennis   2332 + 4 --- --- ---   1.0
   20. Privman, Boris      f  2265 +13 - 2 - 7 -11   1.0
   21. Furdzik, Rafal         2209 =14 -10 =16 -12   1.0
   22. Kreiman, Boris      m  2551 =   - 6 --- ---   1.0
   23. Fernandez, John        2113 --- --- =24 -13   0.5
   24. Franklin, David        2018 -11 -15 =23 -16   0.5


1ST - $350
2ND - $150
3RD - $ 75
U2400 - $110