AUGUST 6 2002

Things were looking great this Tuesday at the NY Masters. The weather was perfect and the club had installed a brand new air conditioner which worked wonders. You have to be happy about the new AC and the addition of the water cooler at the Marshall Chess Club. We had a lot of new players again this week, and some very strong ones at that. GM Alex Sherzer joined the fray along with IM’s Hikaru Nakamura and Rashid Ziatdinov. Rounding out the new players was NM Brian Hulse and a French player Jose-Claude de Sousa (2306 FIDE). We had 6 GMs and 8 IMs in the field, although we seem to be getting used to such turnouts. Notable about this tournament was the first time first place reached $500, so that would be a nice payday for a few hours of playing chess.

GM Leonid Yudasin
GM Evgeny Najer
GM Alex Stripunsky
GM Pavel Blatny
GM Alex Sherzer
IM Kamil Miton
IM Hikaru Nakamura
GM Michael Rohde
IM Dmitry Schneider
IM Rashid Ziatdinov
SM Eli Vovsha
IM Dean Ippolito
FM Yuri Lapshun
IM Justin Sarkar
IM Jay Bonin
NM Evgeny Gershov
IM Jayson Gonzales
NM Jose-Claude De Sousa
NM Lev Milman
NM Noah Siegel (rd 1 Bye)
NM Peter Aravena (filler)
FM Ylon Schwartz
NM Rafael Furdzik
NM Alex Beltre
FM Boris Privman
NM Yefim Treger
NM Doug Pader
NM Brian Hulse
NM Oliver Chernin
NM Geoffrey Gelman
Qualifier – Aleksander Pelekhaty

1st - $500
2nd - $200
3rd - $100
U2400 - $150


The top seeds faired a lot better this week than the previous tournament, in which none of the top 4 players were able to advance past the first round unscathed. In the first round the winners of the 17th and 18th NY Masters were paired with one another! Jayson Gonzales, who surprised everyone with his clear victory in the 17th NY Masters, was paired up to Evgeny Najer in round 1. Najer is fresh off his US Open victory mention victory in and hoped to continue on his roll. He brought Gonzales down to Earth as he won 2 pawns early in the game and got up on the clock. Gonzales got low on time and managed to trick Najer into giving some of his material back, yet a few moves later Najer called his flag and was ready to continue upon last week’s victory.

Stripunsky was being pressed to the limit on board 3 against the French player De Sousa. The position became B+4P v N+4P all on the same side of the board. Of course it should be a simple draw, but De Sousa played too defensively and allowed Stripunsky to push all his forces back. When it seemed no progress could be made, Stripunsky sacrificed his knight for 2 pawns and with the use of some tricks proved this line to be winning.

Blatny and Milman had another exciting finish on board 4. Milman, playing the black pieces, had an extremely powerful passed pawn on b2 in a rook and minor piece endgame. It felt as though Lev should have a way to push for victory, but he allowed Blatny to simplify and all the material was traded, thus a draw was agreed.

The first bona-fide upset was on board 7. Michael Rohde seemed to have a comfortable opening against Furdzik and at some point sacrificed an exchange. He told me after that he simply didn’t get enough compensation and Furdzik eventually felled him with a nice trick.

Other minor upsets were Sarkar and Ippolito being held to a draw by Chernin and Pader respectively.


Key Pairings

1 Yudasin - Schneider
2 Ziatdinov - Najer
3 Stripunsky - Vovsha
4 Lapshun - Sherzer
5 Miton - Bonin
6 Furdzik - Nakamura

BOARD 1 Yudasin – Schneider

Things are changing these days for Dmitry Schneider. He just officially received his IM title, and is also moving to Dallas in a few days, to attend the powerful chess college, University of Dallas Texas. I predict that Dima will be replaced by his younger brother Igor quite soon, as I’d be surprised if Igor doesn’t reach the 2200 mark very soon. He hoped to leave New York in style with a strong showing in this weeks event. Unfortunately the black pieces against Yudasin doesn’t make things easy, as Yudasin won a pawn and eventually put the screws on the young Dima. In the end Dima could not defend.

BOARD 2 Ziatdinov – Najer

Ziatdinov is a strong IM who was rated over 2600 in 1997. Najer on the other hand is rated over 2600 now, and showed why as Ziatdinov had an extra pawn in a rook ending, but it was going to be lost quite shortly and after this his pawn structure was ripe to be attacked. Najer at 2-0 is looking like a real force after winning last week and winning the US Open, where he faced such fine players as Arthur Yusupov, Mike Shahade andYuri Shulman. (My dad always likes it if I can find a way to work him into the report)

BOARD 3 Stripunsky - Vovsha

The untitled Vovsha showed what he was made of in the 16th NY Masters, sharing joint first with Wojtkiewicz. However with a 3 pawn deficit against Stripunsky he was unable to shine and simply didn’t have enough play to counter the material deficit.

BOARD 4 Lapshun – Sherzer

It was great to see GM Alex Sherzer back in action, as he has not played much chess as of late. GM Sherzer was once one game away from winning the US Championship and also was playing the Berlin defense in the Ruy Lopez well before this Kramnik guy. In his duel with Lapshun it seemed as if Lapshun had a very strong attack. That was it seemed so until you noticed that Alex had a queen and Yuri didn’t. Sherzer moved to 2-0 in his return to chess action.

BOARD 5 Miton – Bonin

There were a lot of champions in the club tonight. The young GM-elect Kamil Miton tied for first at the World Open and won the following tiebreak fiasco. Jay was happy to finally avoid being paired to Novikov or Yudasin in round 1, as instead he was paired with the qualifier, Aleksander Pelekhaty. Miton was quite sharp in this battle as he fended off all of Jay’s tricks and won a piece. However Jay was not finished as he picked off some pawns and a position of R+N+2P vs R+3P all on the same side of the board occurred. I thought in the time scramble it should be reasonable drawing chances, but Miton had more time and Jay quickly had to resign.

BOARD 6 Furdzik – Nakamura

Furdzik has had his share of first round upsets in the past in the NY Masters, yet has always had trouble getting past his second round opponent. The 14 year old IM Hikaru Nakamura is a very dangerous opponent, especially in action chess. He is very adept at 1 and 2 minute chess as he possesses lightning speed and good instincts. He also recently got his first GM norm at the Bermuda Invitational. In this Sicilian battle Nakamura obtained a powerful bishop against a not so powerful knight. The end result was a victory for Hikaru and he became the 6th 2-0 score.

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Yudasin, Najer, Stripunsky, Sherzer, Miton, H.Nakamura

1.5 pts – Ippolito, Blatny


Key Pairings

1 Sherzer - Yudasin
2 Najer - Miton
3 H.Nakamura - Stripunsky
4 Blatny - Ippolito

BOARD 1 Sherzer – Yudasin

Sherzer was known in his time as a very sharp Sicilian player. He brutalized many a Sicilian in the past as I read about in my favorite old chess magazine, Chess Chow. Sherzer was at it again today, as he sacrificed his e pawn in a Sicilian today hoping to generate an attack and win some tempi against blacks exposed queen on e5. In fact it backfired as Yudasin seemed to be the only one with compensation for Sherzers extra pawn. Yudasin scored the win and went to 3-0.

BOARD 2 Najer – Miton

The showdown for US Open Swiss supremacy was today as US Open champ Najer squared off against World Open champ Miton. This game had quite a tame opening. Najer closed up the position and it became manuerving for a long while. Queens became traded and I guessed that the game would become drawn. I went to look at the other more action packed games and when I returned Miton was winning the exchange on what seemed to be the finishing stage of some swindle. Najer tried to hold on to his position as he at least had a pawn for the exchange, but black broke through. Just when I thought Najer would resign he somehow managed some counterplay and got the position down to rook+2 pawns for Miton versus Najers 2 bishops. The pawns were on the d and f file so I wasn’t sure of the theoretical implications of the position. Miton was shaking his head in disgust but continued to press onward and eventually realized some winning chances. Miton, the World Open champion, was king and moved to 3-0.

BOARD 3 H.Nakamura – Stripunsky

These two were going to fight hard to join the group of undefeateds. One thing that we didn’t see a lot of on the top boards were draws, and this game would be no exception. After a normal looking QP opening, Nakamura found a way to get a raging attack and win a pawn. It seemed as though Hikaru would finish things off quickly but had some mercy on Alex and agreed to trade queens. All of the sudden things were not so simple, as Hikaru had just one pawn more in a rook and opposite colored bishops ending. Also Stripunsky was able to win this pawn back quite quickly. At this point chaos ensued as both players were in time trouble (Under 3 minutes). Nakamura was not at all ready to agree to a draw and found a way to win another pawn. It became rook, bpawn and hpawn versus rook and h pawn. Hikaru was able to use his passed pawn to create unstoppable threats and picked off the other pawn quite easily. From this point it was child’s play as Hikaru was off to a strong debut with a 3-0 score.

BOARD 4 Blatny – Ippolito

Ippolito is quite solid with the black pieces and has surprised many a strong player who has pressed too hard. A few weeks earlier he defeated Jonathan Rowson in short order and also had a victory over the great Alexander Morozevich many years ago in his beloved Petroff defense. There would be another victim tonight as Blatny’s pawns were picked off like grapes and when Dean was up 3 pawns in a queen and pawn ending Blatny had to call it quits.

Leaders after Round 3

3 pts – Yudasin, Miton, Nakamura

2.5 pts - Ippolito


Key Pairings

1 Yudasin - Miton
2 Ippolito – H. Nakamura

BOARD 1 Yudasin – Miton

As a reward for beating Najer with the black pieces, we decided to give Miton the black pieces again against an even higher rated opponent. Yudasin was due the white pieces and was happy about that. He played the Rossolimo against Miton’s Sicilian. It always seemed to me as if Miton had an alright position, but Yudasin always kept some nasty pressure. Even when Miton traded into a rook and minor piece ending, Yudasin still had some play. When Yudasin finally won a pawn you knew Miton was in big trouble. They traded down into a double rook ending, but Yudasins extra outside passed pawn proved too great an obstacle to overcome and Yudasin became just the 2nd player ever to go through the NY Masters with a perfect 4-0 score. He was now guaranteed $350 but if Nakamura failed to win with black vs Ippolito, he would win clear first and $500.

BOARD 2 Ippolito – Nakamura

A lot was at stake in this game. If Nakamura could win he would get $350. If he drew he would get $200. If Ippolito won he could get clear 2nd and $200. It would be interesting to see Ippolitos technical style face off against Nakamura’s more dynamic edge. Nakamura played the Slav defense and Ippolito met it with 4.Qb3. The game became complicated quite early as black managed to get an annoying passed pawn on c3. To compensate Dean had a protected passed pawn in the center of the board, however it was firmly blockaded by one of Hikarus knights. Dean stayed solid and began to make plans to round up the pawn. Eventually Dean was successful and removed this pawn from the board while Hikaru had to satisfy himself with Deans a-pawn. Hikaru had moved quite quickly up to this point and Dean was down quite a bit of time on the clock. This could explain what happened next as Dean made a terrible blunder allowing Hikaru to win a piece with a skewer. White had a knight on f3 and a queen on c3 and allowed Ra3 forcing the win of a piece. Dean played a few more moves in desperation but shortly had to capitulate and congratulate Hikaru on his perfect score. Strangely there had been only one perfect score in 18 weeks of action before tonight’s event, and then there were two perfect scores in one day!

Despite the rest of the games having no serious impact in the money standings, there were some great matchups on hand. Dmitry Schneider got a chance to leave in good style as he played a fine game against Evgeny Najer and handed the US Open champ his second loss in a row. So after drawing only 2 games in the US Open in 9 rounds, he lost 2 games in 4 rounds tonight. However to be fair he did play strong competition as he faced a GM-elect and 3 IMs in 4 games. Usually things are not so tough for the top seeds.

Also we had Stripunsky faced with Lapshun. Lapshun has had good results against Stripunsky lately so you can be sure Stripunsky wanted to make a statement. Well that he did by pounding Lapshun with a relentless attack. Rohde moved to 3-1 with a win over the young Eli Vovsha. Sherzer beat Ziatdinov in a game which he called “very lucky” and from the positions that I saw, I couldn’t disagree with that synopsis. In the end in turned out that all the 3-1 scores got $20 in a split of 3rd place.

Winning the U2400 prize was Evgeny Gershov, who beat Pader in a heated duel, in which Pader missed a chance to force a draw and thus force a big tie for the prize at 2/4.

19th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 6 viii 2002
                                    1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Yudasin, Leonid     g  2696 +11 + 7 + 4 + 5   4.0  ($350)
    2. Nakamura, Hikaru    m  2536 +19 +24 + 3 + 9   4.0  ($350)
    3. Stripunsky, Alex    g  2629 +18 +14 - 2 +15   3.0  ($ 20)
    4. Sherzer, Alex       g  2541 +30 +15 - 1 +13   3.0  ($ 20)
    5. Miton, Kamil        m  2537 +31 +16 +12 - 1   3.0  ($ 20)
    6. Rohde, Michael      g  2518 -24 +17 +16 +14   3.0  ($ 20)
    7. Schneider, Dmitry   m  2517 +20 - 1 +19 +12   3.0  ($ 20)
    8. Blatny, Pavel       g  2564 =17 +29 - 9 +20   2.5
    9. Ippolito, Dean      m  2460 =22 +23 + 8 - 2   2.5
   10. Sarkar, Justin      m  2414 =23 =22 =20 +21   2.5
   11. Gershov, Yevgeniy   f  2387 - 1 =21 +29 +22   2.5  ($150)
   12. Najer, Evegny       g  2635 +28 +13 - 5 - 7   2.0
   13. Ziatdinov, Rashid   m  2502 +25 -12 +18 - 4   2.0
   14. Vovsha, Eli            2484 +21 - 3 +24 - 6   2.0
   15. Lapshun, Yury       f  2438 +26 - 4 +25 - 3   2.0
   16. Bonin, Jay          m  2391 +27 - 5 - 6 +25   2.0
   17. Milman, Lev            2323 = 8 - 6 =22 +27   2.0
   18. De Sousa, Jose-Claude  2358 - 3 +26 -13 =19   1.5
   19. Schwartz, Ylon      f  2294 - 2 +30 - 7 =18   1.5
   20. Beltre, Alexander      2262 - 7 +27 =10 - 8   1.5
   21. Treger, Yefim          2242 -14 =11 +23 -10   1.5
   22. Pader, Douglas         2241 = 9 =10 =17 -11   1.5
   23. Chernin, Oliver        2201 =10 - 9 -21 +28   1.5
   24. Furdzik, Rafal         2287 + 6 - 2 -14 ---   1.0
   25. Privman, Boris      f  2252 -13 +28 -15 -16   1.0
   26. Hulse, Brian           2206 -15 -18 -27 +30   1.0
   27. Pelekhaty, Aleksander  2034 -16 -20 +26 -17   1.0
   28. Gonzales, Jayson    m  2381 -12 -25 =30 -23   0.5
   29. Siegel, Noah           2320 =   - 8 -11 ---   0.5
   30. Gelman, Geoffrey       2200 - 4 -19 =28 -26   0.5
   31. Aravena, Peter         2313 - 5 --- --- ---   0.0


1ST - $500
2ND - $200
3RD - $100
U2400 - $150