AUGUST 27 2002

We had 31 players this week at the NY Masters, not to mention 4 first timers! IM Ron Burnett played for the first time. Ex New York resident, FM Jonathan Ady who is now living in England, was in vacation in New York and decided to drop by. FM Joel Salman from Long Island made his long promised debut. Last but not least, Taghian Taghian, the manager of the Manhattan Chess Club when it was still in existence, dropped by to play for the first time in two and a half years! Also we are now at the halfway mark for the trip to the 2003 Bermuda Open! The 3 leaders for this prize so far are….

1st – 23 pts – FM Yuri Lapshun
2nd – 22.5 pts –IM Jay Bonin
3rd – 21 pts – IM Justin Sarkar

1. GM Igor Novikov
2. GM Leonid Yudasin
3. GM Alex Wojtkiewicz
4. GM Evgeny Najer
5. GM Alex Stripunsky
6. GM Pavel Blatny
7. GM Michael Rohde
8. IM Altin Cela
9. SM Eli Vovsha
10. IM Ron Burnett
11. IM Dean Ippolito
12. FM Yuri Lapshun
13. FM Jonathan Ady
14. IM Justin Sarkar
15. IM Jay Bonin
16. NM Gregory Braylovsky
17. IM Jayson Gonzales
18. NM Norman Rogers
19. NM Lev Milman (round 4 bye)
20. NM Samson Benen (round 1 bye)
21. NM Taghian Taghian
22. FM Ylon Schwartz
23. FM Ilye Figler
24. FM Rafal Furdzik
25. NM Elvin Wilson
26. FM Boris Privman
27. NM Doug Pader
28. FM Joel Salman
29. NM Glen Bady
30. filler – Ben Johnson
31. qualifier – Kasuan Henry


1st - $465
2nd - $200
3rd - $100
U2400 - $150


Unlike some of the previous weeks, the lower rated players didn’t make their share of noise in the first round. There were no upsets and only two draws from the lower rated players. The most notable of these draws came from the qualifier Kasuan Henry. Kasuan has been on a roll lately, as he scored 3.5/4 on Thursday Night to win the tournament and thus qualify to play for the second consecutive week. He took on Jay Bonin’s favorite Kalashnikov and fought to a draw. The other draw came from Doug Pader. In Pader’s last three tournaments he has capped it off with a draw to IM Dean Ippolito. To see the game Najer – Milman log on to ICC and type ex newyorkmasters %8.


Key Pairings

1 Novikov- Cela
2 Rohde - Yudasin
3 Wojtkiewicz - Burnett
4 Vovsha - Najer
5 Stripunsky - Lapshun
6 Ady - Blatny
7 Ippolito - Sarkar

BOARD 1 Novikov – Cela

Novikov has just returned from Ukraine and I’m sure he was hoping to regain his place atop the NY Masters money list. It was a Samiesch Kings Indian Defense and Cela amassed two very dangerous looking passed pawns, but Novikov managed to get things under control and scored the victory.

BOARD 2 Rohde – Yudasin (Broadcast Live on ICC - ex newyorkmasters %9 to see the game)

This game was broadcast on ICC as it was the only GM vs GM game in round 2. Rohde played a quiet English type opening and Yudasin responded with his favorite Hedgehog setup. Queens were traded and although it seemed like an equalish position, Yudasin made an aggressive move attacking whites f2 square and Rohde blundered right away, allowing Yudasin to win a pawn. Rohde fought on but there was no chance to defend this position against someone of Yudasin’s caliber.

BOARD 3 Wojtkiewicz – Burnett

Wojtkiewicz is a great technical player and he played against Burnett’s hanging pawns in this duel. In the end Alex won a pawn and Burnett had to resign as Alex’s initiative became too powerful.

BOARD 4 Vovsha – Najer

So far this NY Masters was totally lacking in the upset department. Vovsha has played well lately and would try to put an end to that. These players repeated the moves from last weeks NY Masters game Nakamura – Najer (ex newyorkmasters %6). Vovsha deviated from last week’s game by playing 16.g6 instead of 16.gf6. I was told this was analyzed as better for white by Kasparov so it was interesting to see the line tested. Vovsha traded his queen for two rooks, however he was down on time and Najer eventually gained a passed a-pawn, that combined with his queen’s powerful threats, could not be contained. Najer continued the streak of no upsets by moving to 2-0.

BOARD 5 Stripunsky – Lapshun

Lapshun played the Scandinavian Defense in this battle, and the players traded down to a queen and rook endgame except Stripunsky had a passed pawn on d6. However it was not a protected passed pawn and despite his best efforts, Lapshun was able to pick it off. Now Lapshun had to win a queen endgame up a pawn. Yuri soon won another pawn and in the end with 2 queens on the board, Stripunsky’s flag fell and we had the first upset of the tournament!

BOARD 6 Ady – Blatny

Ady had to face Blatny’s famed Owens defense and seemed to have a comfortable position after the opening. However whatever comfort he felt did not last long, as Blatny counterattacked and put a damper on Ady’s vacation by winning and moving to 2-0.

BOARD 7 Ippolito – Sarkar

Ippolito had only drawn his first game while Sarkar had won, so he really needed a win to get back amongst the leaders. Dean got back on the winning track this round as he won an exchange early in the middlegame and despite his best efforts, Justin could not hold on.

In other action, the qualifier kept on rolling, this time taking out young NM Samson Benen to move to 1.5/2. His reward for his impressive score was a date against GM Alex Stripunsky in round 3.

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Novikov, Yudasin, Wojtkiewicz, Najer, Blatny, Stripunsky
1.5 pts – Bonin, Ippolito, K.Henry


Key Pairings

1 Najer - Novikov
2 Yudasin - Blatny
3 Lapshun - Wojtkiewicz
4 Bonin – Ippolito
5 K.Henry - Stripunsky

BOARD 1 Najer – Novikov (Broadcast Live on ICC – ex newyorkmasters %10 to see the game)

It’s funny that in the US Open, which Najer won, he got paired up for the first time in round 9. In the NY Masters he is getting paired “up” in round 3, although to try to determine who is the stronger of these two players is not an easy task and is not sufficiently answered by their USCF ratings. This was definitely the game of the round as Najer played with extreme aggression against Novikov’s Semi Slav and it paid off in spades. Novikov’s king was stuck in the center of the board and it looked as if Najer would end my biggest claim to fame as the only person to defeat Novikov in the NY Masters. Najer had a chance to win a pawn with a much better position yet declined it in order to go for the quick kill. This turned out to be a mistake as Novikov defended very smoothly, but there was only so much the solid GM could do against Najers fierce attack. Even after weathering the first storm, Najer had another storm brewing and looked to have won a piece when both players were down to 2 minutes on the clock. Just when it looked like it was over Novikov managed to find Houdini like escape methods and with both players in disbelief, the position traded into a bishops of opposite color endgame and the flags hanging in the balance, they agreed to a draw.

BOARD 2 Yudasin – Blatny

Blatny and Yudasin have clashed heads for the past three weeks and all three times Blatny had black. Blatny won the first of their series but fell last week in their second game. Who would take the lead in Round 3 of the series? In past week’s I attributed Blatny’s failure to play 1…b6 against Yudasin as a sign of respect for the strong GM. This week Blatny decided to treat Yudasin like he treats everyone else and boldly trotted out his favorite 1….b6. It looked like 1….c6 would have been the better option tonight for Pavel as Yudasin obtained a crushing position very quickly into the game. Blatny had to jettison the exchange and Yudasin was able to win the position with no difficulties, moving him to the perfect 3-0 score.

BOARD 3 Lapshun – Wojtkiewicz

Lapshun had to face Wojtkiewicz’s Accelerated Dragon this round. Wojo used to be a pure Najdorf player, but has recently been favoring these new Dragon setups. Wojo got a very solid position where he had a good knight against Lapshuns bad bishop on b3. Wojo continued his pressure by winning a few pawns, and it was lights out for Lapshun and his dreams of a big money finish. Wojo now joined Yudasin as the only 3-0 scores.

BOARD 4 Bonin – Ippolito

The game reeked of solidity, as it seemed as if it would be hard for either side to make headway. Bonin told me that in the end he was very fortunate to hold on to the draw, and this draw effectively took both players out of the hunt for first place as they were now at 2/3.

BOARD 5 Henry – Stripunsky

The qualifier would now have a much harder task in GM Alex Stripunsky. It was a Taimanov type of setup, and Stripunsky simply knows these positions too well. He won a pawn quite early and Kasuan tried to mix it up with an exchange sac, but his lack of time and lack of real compensation made itself shown as he had to submit to his Grandmaster opponent. On the other hand Kasuan has qualified two weeks in a row and has had a chance to play a GM on both occasions. His rating is sure to skyrocket from his recent results and hopefully we will see him in a situation where he no longer needs to qualify in order to play on Tuesdays.

Leaders after Round 3

3 pts – Wojtkiewicz, Yudasin
2.5 pts – Novikov, Najer


Key Pairings

1 Wojtkiewicz - Yudasin
2 Novikov - Burnett
3 Stripunsky - Najer

BOARD 1 Wojtkiewicz – Yudasin

As the only undefeated scores, they were willing to agree to an early draw and wait upon the other results to see how much money they would end up winning. If Novikov and Najer failed to win they would split solely with each other and net $330 each. If both of them won however it would become a 4 way tie in which case they would all receive $190.

BOARD 2 Novikov – Burnett (Broadcast LIVE on ICC ex newyorkmasters %11 to see the game)

Burnett only had 2 points, but was faced with the tough task of defending the black pieces against Novikov when a win meant big money for Igor. Igor castled queenside in a strange Queens Indian setup. A tactical wave occurred quite early in the game but in the end Burnetts king stuck in the center on e8 was the telling factor and thus Novikov joined the party at first place with 3.5/4.

BOARD 3 Stripunsky – Najer

Najer and Alex have faced off the past three weeks. Najer won 2 weeks ago and last week they fought to a very tough draw in the last round to tie for first. Last time Stripunsky had white he played the Closed Sicilian against Najer and got nothing from the opening. This week Alex played his patented and much more dangerous Poisoned Pawn against Najers Najdorf. Both players needed a win in this game as Najer needed a win to tie for first place and Stripunsky needed a win if he wanted to dream of any chance to win money with ¾. Stripunsky seemed to have a powerful initiative out of the gate, as his superior preparation in this variation gave him a sizable time advantage of 15 minutes to 5, however Najer defended very well as usual and Stripunsky became saddled with a lost endgame of one pawn versus bishop and pawn. It must have been very sad for Najer when Stripunsky informed him that his flag had fallen, and thus ended Najer’s mission of tying for first place.

In other action Lapshun was happy to beat his 2nd GM of the tournament in Pavel Blatny. This win and his ¾ score also were a great boost to his chances to win the prize to Bermuda. Jay Bonin, Yuri’s main competition for Bermuda, kept pace however as he also won over GM Michael Rohde to score ¾ and win the U2400 Prize. He did not win it clear however, as NM Rafal Furdzik pulled off an upset by beating IM Dean Ippolito with the black pieces. Furdzik had a great result tonight as he beat IM Ippolito, FM Ady and NM Braylovsky, basically 3 2400+ players, and his split for the U2400 prize was well earned.

22nd New York Masters Action USA (USA), 27 viii 2002
                                    1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Novikov, Igor       g  2724 +29 +13 = 8 +14   3.5  ($255)
    2. Yudasin, Leonid     g  2696 +10 +20 +12 = 3   3.5  ($255)
    3. Wojtkiewicz, Alek   g  2683 +26 +14 + 5 = 2   3.5  ($255)
    4. Stripunsky, Alex    g  2629 +17 - 5 +24 + 8   3.0
    5. Lapshun, Yury       f  2438 +28 + 4 - 3 +12   3.0
    6. Bonin, Jay          m  2391 =24 +19 =15 +20   3.0  ($ 75)
    7. Furdzik, Rafal         2287 -13 +29 +25 +15   3.0  ($ 75)
    8. Najer, Evgeny       g  2635 +11 + 9 = 1 - 4   2.5
    9. Vovsha, Eli            2484 +27 - 8 =17 +24   2.5
   10. Gonzales, Jayson    m  2381 - 2 +30 =20 +22   2.5
   11. Milman, Lev            2323 - 8 +27 +13 =     2.5
   12. Blatny, Pavel       g  2564 +18 +25 - 2 - 5   2.0
   13. Cela, Altin         m  2516 + 7 - 1 -11 +27   2.0
   14. Burnett, Ron        m  2472 +22 - 3 +18 - 1   2.0
   15. Ippolito, Dean      m  2460 =19 +16 = 6 - 7   2.0
   16. Sarkar, Justin      m  2414 +31 -15 =22 =17   2.0
   17. Taghian, Taghian       2299 - 4 +28 = 9 =16   2.0
   18. Schwartz, Ylon      f  2294 -12 +23 -14 +28   2.0
   19. Pader, Douglas         2241 =15 - 6 =21 +25   2.0
   20. Rohde, Michael      g  2518 +30 - 2 =10 - 6   1.5
   21. Benen, Samson          2309 =   -24 =19 =23   1.5
   22. Privman, Boris      f  2252 -14 +26 =16 -10   1.5
   23. Bady, Glenn            2210 -15 -18 +30 =21   1.5
   24. Henry, Kasaun          2015 = 6 +21 - 4 - 9   1.5
   25. Ady, Jonathan       f  2418 +23 -12 - 7 -19   1.0
   26. Rogers, Norman         2324 - 3 -22 -28 +31   1.0
   27. Wilson, Elvin          2271 - 9 -11 +29 -13   1.0
   28. Salman, Joel        f  2223 - 5 -17 +26 -18   1.0
   29. Braylovsky, Greg       2388 - 1 - 7 -27 =30   0.5
   30. Figler, Ilye        f  2288 -20 -10 -23 =29   0.5
   31. Johnson, Ben           2181 -16 --- --- -26   0.0


1ST - $465
2ND - $200
3RD - $100
U2400 - $150