AUGUST 13 2002

I feared another hot NY Masters as the weather was approaching 100 degrees outside. Things were looking good on the inside however, as it seems the new air conditioner was able to completely handle such temperature. There were film crews back again today to film for a documentary. Also today was our first live internet coverage. We relayed the games played on first board live on the Internet Chess Club. To see the gamescores log onto ICC and type liblist Newyorkmasters.. The games were very hard fought and exciting, and each watched by over 70 people, so this should be a great boon to the event in the future! The only new players this week we were very happy to see. Norman Rogers and Glen Bady drove up from Philadelphia to play in the tournament. Hopefully we can get them and some more Philadelphia players to make the trip up for what is unquestionably the strongest weekly event in the United States (Perhaps the World?)

GM Leonid Yudasin
GM Alex Wojtkiewicz
GM Evgeny Najer
GM Alex Stripunsky
GM Pavel Blatny
IM Kamil Miton
IM Hikaru Nakamura
GM Michael Rohde
SM Eli Vovsha
IM Dean Ippolito
FM Yuri Lapshun
IM Justin Sarkar
IM Jay Bonin
SM Gregory Braylovsky
NM Evgeny Gershov
IM Jayson Gonzales
WIM Jenn Shahade
NM Norman Rogers
NM Lev Milman
NM Samson Benen
NM Rafal Furdzik
FM Boris Privman
NM Rafael Furdzik
NM Doug Pader
NM Mike Klein (filler)
FM Sunil Weeramantry
NM Glenn Bady
Qualifier – Ben Johnson


1st - $410
2nd - $200
3rd - $85
U2400 - $140


The real action in round one was on board two. The ever dangerous IM Jayson Gonzales had the black pieces against Alex Wojtkiewicz. Alex emerged from the opening with a clear advantage and what seemed to be a totally won position. However after the game, Wojo confided to me that he had a bit of vodka to drink after taking his friend GM Alex Onischuk to a Russian restaurant. This explained why he played Ra1-b1, allowing Bf5xb1! After this Alex sacrificed 2 more pieces so that he was down a rook and 2 pieces on the board. Then he stood up on his move and explained to me that he had a forced draw on that very move, where he proceeded to sit down and play an entirely different move, simply opting to play on down a rook and a piece with some minor attacking chances. At least Alex isn’t scared to lose! Jayson of course defended properly and our 2nd seed started the tournament with a big zero. Note that this was Wojtkiewicz’s first loss in the NY Masters to date. The other upset involved the filler Mike Klein who got a good position against Yuri Lapshuns modern defense. He won a pawn and traded down to a bishop and pawn endgame with his extra pawn still intact. It seemed as if it would be a difficult task to win, but Mike made it look easy with quite efficient technique. I like to think that this tournament supplies some of the strongest fillers in the world with FM Ron Young and NM’s Mike Klein, Dennis Monokroussos and Peter Aravena doing the job in the past.

There were 3 draws in the first round as well. Rohde, Vovsha and Ippolito drew with Beltre, Privman and Pader respectively.


Key Pairings

1 Yudasin - Nakamura
2 Najer - Sarkar
3 Bonin - Stripunsky
4 Blatny - Braylovsky
5 Gonzales - Miton

BOARD 1 Yudasin – Nakamura

This was the first ever game of the NY Masters broadcast live on ICC and what a game it was. Nakamura is coming a really tremendous result at the Continental Open in Massachusetts. He took clear first over about 10 GM’s by defeating Shabalov, Stripunsky and Blatny in sucession. Also these two guys both scored 4-0 the previous week, so to see these guys match up in just round 2 was exciting. Yudasin played 1. e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 against Nakamura’s Sicilian setup. It seemed that Yudasin didn’t achieve much from the opening and that the game would fizzle into a draw. However things were not so simple. The game got into a queen+bishop vs queen +bishop ending, with opposite colored bishops and equal pawns. It was clear Yudasin was ready to accept a draw, but with both players having under 5 minutes, and Nakamuras skill at blitz he would have none of it. He achieved some annoying threats and made Yudasin work hard, but Yudasin is a world class player and he calmly managed to weather Nakamura’s storm and thus neither of these two would have a perfect 4-0 score this week.

BOARD 2 Najer – Sarkar

Sarkar played into the famous piece sacrifice (for 3 pawns) line of the Slav defense, which has been a huge point of theoretical debate for many years now. Score another victory for the white side of the debate as Najer converted the piece into victory.

BOARD 3 Bonin – Stripunsky

If there is one player who really has Bonin’s number it’s Stripunsky. Novikov and Yudasin used to have that honor against Bonin, but recently Jay knocked off Yudasin and also held Novikov to a draw in their last game. Jay was looking to rid himself of all of his demons with the white pieces against Stripunsky. The game quickly became an endgame and things didn’t seem so bad for Jay, however Alex got a passed b-pawn and then a passed g-pawn to go along with it. Soon Jay had to concede another victory to Stripunsky.

BOARD 4 Blatny – Braylovsky

Blatny loves to play openings involving either 1.b3 or b6, and today was no exception. In round one Pavel successfully used 1.e4 b6 to defeat the young Milman. Blatny trotted out 1.b3 against Braylovsky and got a quick attack going with his h pawn on the castled black king. Forgive me if some of my descriptions are a little inaccurate as I was also busy relaying moves to the Internet Chess Club, but for 90 percent of the games I was able to see most of the critical moments.

BOARD 5 Gonzales – Miton

Gonzales continued his fine showing this week against the Polish Olympic team by drawing against the GM-elect Kamil Miton.

In other action Boris Privman was off to a nice solid start by drawing his 2nd 2400+ player in a row in Dean Ippolito. The filler Mike Klein was robbed of following up on his 1-0 score as Norman Rogers had to take a bye to take his family up to Harlem. The life of a filler can be so difficult sometimes.

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Najer, Stripunsky, Blatny

1.5 pts – Yudasin, Miton, Nakamura, Rohde, Vovsha, Gonzales


Key Pairings

1 Stripunsky - Najer
2 Yudasin - Blatny
3 Miton - Rohde
4 Nakamura – Vovsha
5 Ippolito - Gonzales

BOARD 1 Stripunsky – Najer

After Stripunsky played the Closed Sicilian and a quick queen trade ensued, most people watching this game live thought it would fizzle into a quick draw. How wrong they were as both sides kept making moves and eventually Najer got some pull. At some point Stripunsky’s rook became terribly misplaced on c4, in front of his pawn on c3. After black played b5, white played ab5 and black recaptured with the bishop, whites rook had no safe haven. Stripunsky played down an exchange but most people gave him no chance to survive, however he made SERIOUS trouble for Najer. He started attacking Najer’s king with just his bishop and his rook, and eventually won some pawns so had two connected passers in the center for Najer to contend with. Najer meanwhile had a passed g pawn that was storming its way to the 8th rank. Stripunsky missed a great chance to confuse issues and perhaps even win the game with the move 44.c6. After his mistake 44.Ba6, Najer was able to easily bring home the victory. This game can be found on ICC, but it was incorrectly entered as white having played 44.c6 in the key position. After this win Najer moves to 3-0 and waits to see if Blatny will join him in the land of undefeateds.

BOARD 2 Yudasin – Blatny

Was it a sign of respect that Blatny did not play 1….b6 in response to Yudasins 1.e4? Instead he played his favorite carokann/fiancheto setup of 1.e4 c6 2.d4 g6 3.nc3 Bg7 and Yudasin reacted with the aggressive 4.f4 resulting in a Gurgenidze type of setup. The game went back and forth and reached a double knight endgame with 3 pawns per side. Yudasin complained to me after the game that he simply forgot about his clock! Noticing that he had no time left he started blitzing and promptly hung a few pawns and resigned, thus vaulting Blatny to 3-0! Blatny has wanted to end the “curse”, as so far he has not won any money in this event. He was already talking about how this event could finally be the end of the great NY Masters curse on himself.

BOARD 3 Miton – Rohde

Rohde played his favorite BogoIndian variation, which he used to defeat Najer a few weeks in the past. It ent 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 c5. Rohde eventually managed a strong attack on the Polish phenom, but time became an issue again and there was never anything too clear for Rohde. The always sharp Miton eventually got the upper hand on both the board and the clock and it was too much for GM Rohde to handle. This win put Miton ½ point out of first with 2.5/3

BOARD 4 Nakamura – Vovsha

Another battle of youth took place with 14 year old IM Nakamura and 17 year old IM-elect Eli Vovsha. Nakamura trotted out the extremely aggressive Austrian attack. Hikaru had quite an initiative from beginning to end, coupled with a good 10 minute lead on the clock. Eli could not resist and Hikaru moved towards the leaders again with 2.5/3.

BOARD 5 Ippolito – Gonzales

Ippolito with 1 out of 2 was trying to get back into the running by beating Gonzales. Ippolito claims that he has not lost with white in the last year until last weeks loss to Nakamura. It’s funny how such things come in waves as Ippolito lost again to the ever-tricky Gonzales. Jayson now would join Miton and Nakamura with 2.5/3.

Leaders after Round 3

3 pts – Najer, Blatny

2.5 pts – Nakamura, Miton, Gonzales


Key Pairings

1 Najer – Blatny
2 Nakamura – Miton
3 Gonzales – Stripunsky

BOARD 1 Najer – Blatny

It was good to see these guys come out swinging in the final round this week. Both players had 3-0 but Najer was not content to draw with the white pieces. Perhaps Blatny’s opening of 1.d4 b6 makes it hard for some players to acquiesce to an early draw. Blatny seemed to be very well versed in the intricities of the Owen’s Defense as at one point he had spent under one minute whereas Najer had spent about 12! Things were looking very rosy for Blatny as he hit Najer with a fancy little piece sac, where Najer had no choice but to give the piece back. The internet crowd seemed quite sure that Blatny would pull through but then everyone realized that things were not as they seemed. Najer hit back with a vicious counterattack and after a piece sac, already the crowd decided that Najer was winning by force. Blacks king was stuck in the center of the board, and blacks rook was trapped on h8 to be gobbled up by whites bishop on b2 at any time. The old proverb, all that glitters isn’t gold came to mind, as after Najer’s game continuation, his attack seemed to be nothing more than a mirage. Blatny managed to trade down into an endgame up a piece and very shortly the curse was finally broken as Blatny rolled into first place and collected $410 with a 4-0 score.

BOARD 2 Nakamura – Miton

So far in this tournament Nakamura had a 1-0 score against 17 year olds, after his victory over Vovsha. Could he go to a perfect 2-0 and clinch at least a share of second place? Miton played the Slav defense and Hikaru opted not to play one of the sharpest continuations. Hikarus position drifted until he was forced to give up a pawn. Miton used his extra pawn well and eventually mated white’s king in the center of the board, thus dealing Nakamura his first NY Masters loss, and guaranteeing Miton at least a share of 2nd place, depending on the result of Gonzales’ game.

BOARD 3 Gonzales – Stripunsky

Gonzales drew against Stripunsky in their last encounter, and probably would have been happy with such in this game, as a draw would all but lock up the U2400 prize for Jayson. However it was not to be as he was simply outplayed by the grandmaster and had to concede defeat. Lets note that Jayson played an extremely tough field tonight in GM Wojtkiewicz, GM Stripunsky, GM-elect Miton and IM Dean Ippolito. 2.5/4 was nothing to hang his head about tonight.

Other Action

Justin Sarkar scored his first ever win against a GM in the NY Masters by defeating GM Alex Wojtkiewicz. He claimed he got lucky, but I’ve also seen Justin get unlucky plenty of times as well, so some luck was surely due to come his way. This win got Justin a share of 3rd place and finally got him onto the moneyboard.

Braylovsky could win the U2400 prize with a win over Lapshun, and it sure seemed as if things were headed that way as Lapshun played a theoretical exchange sac in the Grunfeld, but got nothing for it. However Braylovsky’s technique was less than perfect and Lapshun managed to get down to Rook+Bishop vs Rook. However we all know that in Game 30 this endgame is almost a forced loss for the defending side. Lapshun soon had to give up his rook for Braylovsky’s bishop and Braylovsky showed sufficient technique in mating with rook versus the lone king. This win would net Braylovsky $140. Jay Bonin had a chance to tie with Braylovsky, but the pairing gods were cruel to him as he was paired with Yudasin and despite having an extra exchange at some moment, I was told he blundered a rook in some position.

All in all it was a great week for the NY Masters, as the live internet coverage was received very well by everyone online. It’s great to see players driving from Maryland and Philadelphia to play in this event, hopefully we will soon have people flying in from California or Europe!

20th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 13 viii 2002
                                    1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Blatny, Pavel       g  2564 +19 + 6 + 7 + 3   4.0  ($410)
    2. Miton, Kamil        m  2537 +22 = 9 +11 + 8   3.5  ($200)
    3. Najer, Evgeny       g  2635 +17 + 5 + 4 - 1   3.0  ($ 28)
    4. Stripunsky, Alex    g  2629 +18 +15 - 3 + 9   3.0  ($ 28)
    5. Sarkar, Justin      m  2414 +21 - 3 +25 +10   3.0  ($ 28)
    6. Braylovsky, Greg       2388 +26 - 1 +21 +14   3.0  ($140)
    7. Yudasin, Leonid     g  2696 +16 = 8 - 1 +15   2.5
    8. Nakamura, Hikaru    m  2536 +23 = 7 +12 - 2   2.5
    9. Gonzales, Jayson    m  2381 +10 = 2 +13 - 4   2.5
   10. Wojtkiewicz, Alek   g  2683 - 9 +22 +24 - 5   2.0
   11. Rohde, Michael      g  2518 =20 +27 - 2 =12   2.0
   12. Vovsha, Eli            2484 =24 +20 - 8 =11   2.0
   13. Ippolito, Dean      m  2460 =27 =24 - 9 +18   2.0
   14. Lapshun, Yury       f  2438 -25 +23 +17 - 6   2.0
   15. Bonin, Jay          m  2391 +28 - 4 +19 - 7   2.0
   16. Gershov, Evgeny        2387 - 7 -21 +27 +23   2.0
   17. Shahade, Jennifer  wm  2350 - 3 +28 -14 +24   2.0
   18. Rogers, Norman         2324 - 4 =   +20 -13   1.5
   19. Milman, Lev            2323 - 1 +26 -15 =     1.5
   20. Beltre, Alexander      2262 =11 -12 -18 +27   1.5
   21. Weeramantry, Sunil  f  2216 - 5 +16 - 6 =22   1.5
   22. Benen, Samson          2309 - 2 -10 =28 =21   1.0
   23. Furdzik, Rafal         2287 - 8 -14 +26 -16   1.0
   24. Privman, Boris      f  2252 =12 =13 -10 -17   1.0
   25. Klein, Mike            2241 +14 --- - 5 ---   1.0
   26. Johnson, Ben           2181 - 6 -19 -23 +28   1.0
   27. Pader, Douglas         2241 =13 -11 -16 -20   0.5
   28. Bady, Glenn            2210 -15 -17 =22 -26   0.5


1ST - $410
2ND - $200
3RD - $ 85
U2400 - $140