We had two new players this week at the NY Masters. I went to a chess camp with Danny Shevelev when I was about 13 or 14 years old. It was the Yasser Seirawan chess camp held in Fond-du-Lac Wisconsin that we attended. Danny was in the US with the rest of the young Israeli chess players, a group that included super strong GM Emil Sutovsky. The other newcomer was Rodion Rubenchik, a regular in the Pennsylvania chess scene.

Participant List:

1. GM Igor Novikov
2. GM Alex Shabalov
3. GM Leonid Yudasin
4. GM Alex Stripunsky
5. FM Yuri Lapshun
6. IM Jay Bonin
7. FM Danny Shevelev
8. FM Ricardo D’Arruda
9. FM Rodion Rubenchik
10. NM Norman Rogers
11. NM Lev Milman
12. FM Ylon Schwartz
13. NM Rafal Furdzik
14. FM Boris Privman
15. NM Yefim Treger
16. NM Glen Bady
17. NM Oliver Chernin
18. Qualifier – Kasaun Henry
19. Filler – NM Miro Reverby


1st - $350
2nd - $140
3rd - $70
U2400 - $90

ROUND 1 – (Shabalov – Milman shown LIVE on icc)

As in the past weeks, there were no upsets on the top boards, as the GMs had relatively little trouble defeating their lower rated opponents. The only upset of the round was Oliver Chernin knocking off Ricardo D’Arruda. The regular qualifier, Kasaun Henry, also nicked Rodion Rubenchik for a draw, although he had a better position and more time at some moment, so he probably was hoping for more.


Key Pairings

1 Novikov - Lapshun
2 Shevelev - Shabalov
3 Yudasin – Bonin
4 Chernin - Stripunsky

BOARD 1 Novikov – Lapshun (LIVE ON ICC)

The relayed game was not to disappoint tonight. Lapshun used an idea that was made famous in an Alburt – Shabalov game from many years before (…..Nb4 with the idea of Qb4 e5). In this game it didn’t seem as effective, but white could never fully consolidate his position. Eventually Novikov allowed Lapshun to sacrifice the exchange in an endgame, and Lapshun didn’t hesitate. Lapshun had a ton of pressure for the exchange which eventually manifested itself into two connected passed pawns. Due to the pressure, Novikov had to return the material and from then on, with his powerful passed pawns, Lapshun did the impossible and beat Novikov with the black pieces.

BOARD 2 Shevelev – Shabalov

Shabba played the Dragon on Shevelev and Danny (also known as Dmitry) responded with the Fiancheto variation. Shabalov eventually used one of his trademark exchange sacrifices to pick up a lot of pressure. Whites king was caught in the crossfire and also his clock was getting low. At the end Shevelev had a lost position and only a few seconds left on the clock.

BOARD 3 Yudasin – Bonin

Bonin eschewed all logic when he played the self named “Trouve Gambit” against Yudasin. As mentioned in last weeks report, this line goes 1.e4 d5 2. ed5 c6!?!? Last week Stripunsky backed down and played 3.c4, but Yudasin would have none of that and he snatched the pawn right off the board. Yudasin had a good position, but at some point played the move c4……which is exactly the move black wants white to play, due to the new hole on d4. Bonin got lots of counterplay and obtained a good position, which was eventually traded down to an equal ending. When Bonin took Yudasins last pawn and left him with only a knight, Yudasin had to agree to the draw.

BOARD 4 Chernin – Stripunsky

Chernin was riding high off his first round victory over D’Arruda. Unfortunately such good feelings do not always help you win against GM’s, as Stripunsky got a vicious attack on Chernins queenside castled king and Chernin could only withstand the pressure for so long before giving up the battle.

In other games, the qualifier, Kasaun Henry, shocked the world again as he took out Philadelphia master Norman Rogers, thus placing him among the leaders with 1.5/2.

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Shabalov, Stripunsky, Lapshun
1.5 pts – Yudasin, Bonin, Henry


Key Pairings

1 Shabalov - Stripunsky
2 Lapshun - Yudasin
3 Bonin - Henry

BOARD 1 Shabalov – Stripunsky (LIVE ON ICC)

A game loaded with promise became a game riddled with controversy. After a pawn sacrifice in the Semi-Slav, Shabalov obtained a winning position late in the game and even had an extra queen, but only had about 30 seconds or so to finish Stripunsky off. Unfortunately Shabalov was under the impression that the clock was set for time delay, so he merrily took his time until he had about 5 seconds left and realized that his clock was moving right away. Shabalov was not fast enough and his clock eventually fell, at which point he asked for the TD, however once your flag is already down there is absolutely nothing a TD can ever do. He was under the impression that because the game broadcast on the internet in round 1 was using time delay (per Lev Milman’s request), that this game would also be using delay too. However delay is easy to spot before the game, as when it is used the clocks are set to 25 minutes and not 30. Shabalov was very frustrated by all of this and decided to withdraw from the event.

BOARD 2 Lapshun – Yudasin

Could Lapshun do the impossible and beat both Novikov and Yudasin in the same tournament? No one has ever done it so this game was met with anticipation. Yudasin played his trusty Hedgehog and Lapshun had trouble making headway. Yudasin was the first to strike, as he made a temporary piece sacrifice to open up Lapshuns king position. Eventually an endgame was reached where Yudasin had the more active pieces and clearly the better chances. Yudasin won two pawns and then returned the material to place white’s king in a mating net and thus forced Lapshuns resignation.

BOARD 3 Bonin – Henry

The record for points by a qualifier, 2.5 set by Jonathan Corbblah, was in jeopardy tonight. Henry needed 1.5/2 to break the record and 1/1 to tie. This game was a Grunfeld defense and Bonin played the same variation that he used to beat me in 16 moves! Things looked like they would go the same way for Henry, but he clearly defended much better than I did and brought the game down to a rook and pawn endgame. However Jay found a very strong move to stop blacks pawn armada (Pawns d4,e7,f5) by simply playing f4. Otherwise black would have played …e5 and obtained VERY strong counterplay. The black pawn on d4 was disconnected and white eventually used the passed a pawn on the 7th rank to restrict blacks rook on a8 and score the win.

Leaders after Round 3

3 pts – Stripunsky
2 pts – Yudasin, Bonin


Key Pairings

1 Stripunsky – Yudasin
2 Novikov - Bonin

BOARD 1 Stripunsky – Yudasin (LIVE ON ICC)

Stripunsky was up a half point on Yudasin, thus Yudasin had to win with the black pieces. This is never an easy task against a GM. These two guys tied for first last week, so it was going to be interesting to see if Yudasin, the all time NY Masters leading money winner, could make something happen. Stripunsky played a very positional line with white (1.e4 c5 2.nf3 d6 3.c3 nf6 4.be2) and Yudasin had trouble getting anything out of the opening. Stripunsky played the move b4 and offered Yudasin a draw, but Yudasin was not ready to give up on first place so easily, and principally declined the draw. However Yudasin soon made some big positional mistakes, such as 16….Nc5. After this move white had a clearly better position, close to winning even, with no serious counterplay for black. Yudasin tried to renege his refusal of the draw offer by offering one back. Stripunsky thought for a minute or so, but then realized the only way he could be tied would be for Bonin to defeat Novikov with the black pieces. One doesn’t see Novikov lose with white too often, especially twice in the same event! In the end Stripunsky took the draw and then went to watch the Novikov – Bonin duel.

BOARD 2 Novikov - Bonin

The Novikov – Bonin game started as a peaceful affair, with a pretty quiet middleagme. However we all know that Novikov enjoys this type of position very much. Novikov put the clamps on, and Bonin’s attempts to free his position and reach full equality were denied. Novikov won some pawns and soon Bonin had to give up. Novikov’s win meant that his friend Alex Stripunsky, would be getting clear first place and $350.

In other action, Lapshun knocked out D’Arruda to split the 2nd and 3rd place prizes with Novikov and Yudasin. They received $70 a piece. Shevelev sacrificed a queen for a rook against Ylon Schwartz, and despite it being unnecessary it was enough for victory and with ¾ it was good for sole possession of the Under 2400 prize. Oliver Chernin beat Rodion Rubenchik and was happy to have scored his first even score in the NY Masters. Kasaun Henry had good chances against Glen Bady, if only due to his advantage in time, but Bady gets very fast when he is under one minute and outblitzed Henry in this game to score 2/4.

24th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 10 ix 2002
                                    1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Stripunsky, Alex    g  2629 +14 +10 + 7 = 3   3.5  ($350)
    2. Novikov, Igor       g  2724 +11 - 4 +12 + 6   3.0  ($ 70)
    3. Yudasin, Leonid     g  2696 +13 = 6 + 4 = 1   3.0  ($ 70)
    4. Lapshun, Yury       f  2438 +15 + 2 - 3 + 8   3.0  ($ 70)
    5. Shevelev, Danny     f  2351 + 9 - 7 +10 +13   3.0  ($ 90)
    6. Bonin, Jay          m  2391 +18 = 3 +16 - 2   2.5
    7. Shabalov, Alex      g  2698 +12 + 5 - 1 ---   2.0
    8. D'Arruda, Ricardo   f  2350 -10 +17 +14 - 4   2.0
    9. Bady, Glenn            2210 - 5 -14 +18 +16   2.0 
   10. Chernin, Oliver        2201 + 8 - 1 - 5 +17   2.0
   11. Rogers, Norman         2324 - 2 -16 =15 +18   1.5
   12. Milman, Lev            2323 - 7 +15 - 2 =     1.5
   13. Schwartz, Ylon      f  2294 - 3 =18 +17 - 5   1.5
   14. Furdzik, Rafal         2287 - 1 + 9 - 8 =     1.5
   15. Privman, Boris      f  2252 - 4 -12 =11 +19   1.5
   16. Henry, Kasaun          2015 =17 +11 - 6 - 9   1.5
   17. Rubenchik, Rodion   f  2346 =16 - 8 -13 -10   0.5
   18. Treger, Yefim          2242 - 6 =13 - 9 -11   0.5
   19. Reverby, Miro          2302 --- --- --- -15   0.0


1ST - $350
2ND - $140
3RD - $ 70
U2400 - $ 90