COMMENTARY BY GREG SHAHADE
26th NY MASTER ACTION
SEPTEMBER 24 2002
The tournament was GM heavy tonight as 7 of the 20 players were grandmasters. This was complimented by 3 other 2500+ players in Hikaru Nakamura, Yuri Lapshun (who will be over 2500 on the next list) and myself. Once again, the coverage will not be as detailed this week, as I missed some of the action while I was playing.
1. GM Igor Novikov
2. GM Leonid Yudasin
3. GM Alex Wojtkiewicz
4. GM Alex Stripunsky
5. GM Roland Schmaltz
6. GM Pavel Blatny
7. GM Maurice Ashley
8. IM Greg Shahade
9. IM Hikaru Nakamura
10. FM Yuri Lapshun
11. IM Jay Bonin
12. WIM Jenn Shahade
13. FM Rodion Rubenchik
14. FM Norman Rogers
15. FM Ylon Schwartz
16. FM Rafal Furdzik
17. FM Boris Privman
18. FM Sunil Weeramantry (Round 1 bye)
19. NM Glen Bady
20. Filler – John Fernandez
21. Qualifier – Vladimir Yanovsky
1st - $300
2nd - $140
3rd - $80
U2400 - $100
ROUND 1 – (Bonin – Novikov shown LIVE on ICC)
There were definitely some interesting happenings in Round 1. The qualifier, Yanovsky, showed some nerves as he managed to lose to Lapshun in 4 moves! The game went 1.b4 d5 2.Bb2 e6 3.a3 Bd6??? 4.Bxg7 1-0. On board 2, Jenn Shahade had a terrible position against Yudasin and was down about 15 mintues on the clock. Perhaps this time deficit led Yudasin to overestimate his chances, as he missed some counterplay of Jenn’s. Despite Jenn being low on time, he was forced to shake hands and concede a draw, as Jenn forgot about trying to win and just went for perpetual check. The other higher rated player that was nicked in round 1 was GM Maurice Ashley. Privman played an English type of opening against Ashley, and the GM was unable to break white’s position. It seemed to me that white had somewhat the better of it, but it fizzled out to a drawn rook endgame in the time scramble. Aside from these two games, all the other favorites won.
1 Novikov - Blatny
2 Wojtkiewicz – G.Shahade
3 Nakamura - Stripunsky
4 Schmaltz - Lapshun
BOARD 1 Novikov – Blatny
Novikov seems to have Blatny’s number and things were no different today. Novikov had the extra exchange in an endgame and it was enough to force the victory.
BOARD 2 Wojtkiewicz – G.Shahade (Live on ICC)
Wojtkiewicz saddled me with an isolated pawn early in the game and I panicked. I sacrificed the exchange but it seemed as if it was incorrect after Wojo’s intermediate move 24.Rd2, it seemed as if black no longer had any real chances. However if black had found the incredible 24….Qc4!!!!, black would be winning all of the sudden. However I played Qb5 instead and white went on to win quite easily.
BOARD 3 Nakamura – Stripunsky
Nakamura is back in action after returning from San Fran, where he just barely missed out on his 2nd GM norm, missing by half a point. Meanwhile Stripunsky has won or tied for first in the last 3 NY Masters, YET Nakamura has defeated Stripunsky three times in a row. Something would have to give today and it was Nakamura’s winning streak, as Stripunsky won with the black pieces to move to 2-0.
BOARD 4 Schmaltz – Lapshun
Schmaltz had a better opening until he traded his good knight on d5 for blacks bishop which was not doing much. From this point on Lapshun had a lot of chances, but Schmaltz is a very good defender and weathered the storm to reach a rook and pawn endgame with an extra pawn. Once Schmaltz won the second pawn it was all over and his torrid streak in the NY Masters would continue.
In other games, Yudasin drew US Womens Champ Jenn Shahade in round 1, and was looking to get back on the winning track against the 500 point lower rated FM Sunil Weeramantry. However Sunil showed why they actually play the games, as he had a winning position but had to settle for a draw due to time pressure. Furdzik knocked off Jay Bonin, as Bonin fell to a rare 0-2 start to begin the tournament. Ashley got back on track with some speculative sacrifices against Jenn Shahade that turned out well.
Leaders after Round 2
2 pts – Novikov, Wojtkiewicz, Stripunsky, Schmaltz
1.5 pts –Ashley
1 Stripunsky - Novikov
2 Schmaltz – Wojtkiewicz
3 Yudasin - Ashley
BOARD 1 Stripunsky – Novikov
As is customary between these two friends, Novikov and Stripunsky agreed to a quick draw.
BOARD 2 Schmaltz – Wojtkiewicz
Schmaltz played his favorite 6.f4 variation against the Najdorf, although he admits that it gives white absolutely no advantage. Wojtkiewicz agreed with this as he got a pleasant position out of the opening and won an exchange. Wojtkiewicz had a winning position and there was the rumor of bets on Schmaltz at 20-1 odds. Someone must have become a rich man, because Schmaltz swindled Wojtkiewicz in incredible fashion as he saved his completely lost position and turned it into a win. With this win, Schmaltz’ domination of the NY Masters would continue till at least round 4 where he would have to face a hungry Novikov.
BOARD 3 Yudasin – Ashley
Ashley wanted to join the leaderboard with 2.5/3 and Yudasin was out of the hunt with only 1/2. Despite this, Yudasin showed a lot of ambition as he got a huge space advantage against Ashley’s Pirc Defense. Yudasin used his advantage well and earned the victory.
There were some upsets on the lower boards as I sacrificed a pawn against Furdzik, but it was he who got the compensation. Lapshun had never lost to Privman in the NY Masters, but that all ended this week as Privman scored the victory. Privman’s updated rating was back above 2300 last I checked, and this result couldn’t have hurt it.
Leaders after Round 3
3 pts – Schmaltz
2.5 pts – Novikov, Stripunsky
1 Novikov – Schmaltz
2 Wojtkiewicz - Stripunsky
BOARD 1 Novikov – Schmaltz (LIVE ON ICC)
Novikov had to win against Schmaltz in the last round to get first place, yet no one to date has been able to achieve this task. Novikov took on Roland’s Pirc defense and used a very positional treatment. He traded queen’s early and tried to grind Roland down in an endgame. Roland remained solid however and held on to draw and thus was guaranteed at least a part of first place, depending on the result of Wojtkiewicz – Stripunsky.
BOARD 2 Wojtkiewicz – Stripunsky
Stripunsky had to win this game with the black pieces, a very difficult task, however it would be nice for him to increase his streak to 4 consecutive tournament victories. This game went down to the wire, but near the end Stripunsky won 2 pieces for a rook in the endgame. With this advantage Stripunsky was able to continue the streak, as he has won every NY Masters in the month of September.
The leaders for the U2400 prize didn’t have much luck in this round, yet they had quite difficult opponents. Furdzik with 2/3 had to play against Yudasin, Privman against Nakamura and Weeramantry against Blatny. They all lost their games, which gave Glen Bady the chance to join them as he defeated Bonin after Jay tried too hard to win the game. This loss by Jay gave Lapshun a commanding lead in the Race for Bermuda, as Lapshun outscored Jay by a point.
26th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 24 ix 2002
1 2 3 4 Total
1. Stripunsky, Alex g 2629 +19 + 6 = 3 + 7 3.5 ($220)
2. Schmaltz, Roland g 2614 +15 + 9 + 7 = 3 3.5 ($220)
3. Novikov, Igor g 2724 +16 + 5 = 1 = 2 3.0 ($ 20)
4. Yudasin, Leonid g 2696 =17 =12 +14 +10 3.0 ($ 20)
5. Blatny, Pavel g 2564 +10 - 3 +18 +12 3.0 ($ 20)
6. Nakamura, Hikaru m 2536 +21 - 1 +15 +11 3.0 ($ 20)
7. Wojtkiewicz, Alek g 2683 +18 + 8 - 2 - 1 2.0
8. Shahade, Greg m 2537 +13 - 7 -10 +14 2.0
9. Lapshun, Yury f 2438 +20 - 2 -11 +18 2.0
10. Furdzik, Rafal 2287 - 5 +16 +18 - 4 2.0 ($ 25)
11. Privman, Boris f 2252 =14 =19 + 9 - 6 2.0