COMMENTARY BY GREG SHAHADE
27th NY MASTER ACTION
OCTOBER 1 2002
We had 4 Grandmasters competing in the NY Masters this week and one new participant. David Dick was visiting from Australia, where he holds a 2140 Australian rating. According to USCF rules, the Australian ratings should be adjusted by adding 100 points, thus making him eligible to play in the event. There were a lot of questions to be answered this week. Would Stripunsky make it 5 tournaments in a row? Would Schmaltz win the event as he has every time he has played? Would Novikov regain his winning form and get back into the winners circle, and Ashley, who has just started playing in these events again, would he make it to the winners circle for the first time?
1. GM Igor Novikov
2. GM Roland Schmaltz
3. GM Alex Stripunsky
4. GM Maurice Ashley
5. FM Yuri Lapshun
6. IM Ron Burnett
7. IM Jay Bonin
8. FM Alan Stein
9. FM Danny Shevelev
10. FM Norman Rogers
11. FM Lewis Eisen
12. NM Lev Milman
13. NM Rafael Furdzik
14. FM Boris Privman
15. NM Yefim Treger
16. NM David Dick (From Australia)
17. NM Glen Bady
18. NM Oliver Chernin
19. Qualifier – Kasaun Henry
20. Filler – Larry Tamarkin
1st - $360
2nd - $150
3rd - $70
U2400 - $100
ROUND 1 – (Milman - Schmaltz shown LIVE on icc)
There were a few upsets in the first round, starting on first board! Milman got a worse position and was down a pawn in a rook endgame, although it would be very difficult for Schmaltz to bring home his advantage. He quickly lost his extra pawn however and thus the draw became a much easier task for Milman. This must have been a nice present for him on the day before his 15th birthday. Also Oliver Chernin was able to hold Alan Stein to a draw.
The only decisive upset came from this week’s filler, Larry Tamarkin. Tamarkin managed to trap Norman Rogers’ rook and despite a lack of time, was able to force mate in the endgame with his extra material.
1 Burnett – Novikov
2 Bonin – Stripunsky
3 Ashley – Shevelev - LIVE ON ICC
4 Tamarkin - Lapshun
BOARD 1 Burnett – Novikov
Burnett played 6.g3 against Novikov’s Najdorf and obtained a pretty comfortable opening. However Ron was not in the most ambitious of moods and offered Novikov a draw. Novikov seemingly felt likewise and accepted the offer.
BOARD 2 Bonin – Stripunsky
For a while it looked like Jay would end his curse against Stripunsky. He has lost many games in a row to Strip, and today he seemed to have a comfortable endgame, but in the end the Grandmaster won a pawn and prevailed.
BOARD 3 Ashley – Shevelev (Shown Live on ICC)
We had a great game for the live broadcast in this round. Maurice went for the attack and made a crowd pleasing rook sacrifice with 23.Rh6!?. Shevelev should have immediately captured the rook but instead played the zwischenzug 23…..gh2 first. After 24.Kh1 gh6 25. Bd4 Kg8 26.Be5 black is losing as happened in the game, because next move when the black queen moves away white will play Bb3 and when black blocks white will simply capture with the rook on d5. The reason that gh2 was a big mistake was because if 23…gh6 immediately then after 24.Bd4 Kg8 25.Be5 is no good because of 25….gf2 26.Kf1 Bb5! and now it is black who is winning. Forgive me if you are unable to read the game scores and thus unable to understand the above analysis…I will only relay exact variations if the game is included with the report.
BOARD 4 Tamarkin – Lapshun
Tamarkin had to be feeling great after debuting in the NY Masters with an upset win, but Lapshun has been on fire lately and used his two rooks very well to overpower Tamarkin’s queen.
In other action, Lev Milman was stopped after his first round upset draw, as Alan Stein attempted to ruin his forthcoming birthday.
Leaders after Round 2
2 pts – Stripunsky, Ashley, Lapshun
1.5 pts – Novikov, Schmaltz, Burnett, Stein
1 Stripunsky – Ashley - LIVE ON ICC
2 Lapshun – Novikov
3 Burnett – Schmaltz
4 Stein - Bonin
BOARD 1 Stripunsky – Ashley - (Shown LIVE ON ICC)
Stripunsky played a pretty quiet opening in this game, and seemed to obtain a slight advantage, but not much more. His advantage on the board and on the clock seemed to increase, but Maurice always found a way to hang in there. At the very end, Maurice succumbed to the perils of time pressure as he blundered terribly on the final move of the game. After 36…. Qf3, black should have an equal position, but Maurice blundered with 36…. Qxe4, allowing 37.Bxf6 winning a piece and the game. After this win, Stripunsky seemed well on his way towards winning his 5th consecutive NY Masters.
BOARD 2 Lapshun – Novikov
Lapshun played a very unambitious variation against Igor, seemingly very content with a draw. They traded queens early but Novikov got some serious initiative and forced the win of an exchange for a pawn. Despite this material advantage, Igor had serious difficulties forcing the win. He gave back the exchange for some other advantages and went down into an even rook endgame. However despite the endgame being even, Igor always had some pull, and he used his fine endgame technique to score the victory and move to 2.5/3.
BOARD 3 Burnett – Schmaltz
Burnett played the Closed Sicilian and a pretty equal middlegame was reached. However despite an equal position on the board, the position on the clocks was by no means equal as Roland had a 15 minute time advantage very early in the game. Roland used this advantage to force some mistakes and gain a real advantage, which combined with Burnett’s lingering time trouble was too much to handle. This game was just more proof that you not only have to play good moves, but you have to play them quickly.
BOARD 4 Stein – Bonin
Stein took a huge step towards making his first big money finish with a win here over Jay Bonin. It was Q+B+3 pawns versus Q+B+2 pawns, but Alan’s outside passed a pawn was just too much for the Bone.
Leaders after Round 3
3 pts – Stripunsky
2.5 pts – Novikov, Schmaltz, Stein
1 Novikov – Stripunsky
2 Schmaltz – Stein (LIVE ON ICC)
BOARD 1 Novikov – Stripunsky
Once again, whenever these two play they always agree to a quick draw, thus giving Stripunsky 3.5/4 and a guaranteed split of the first place prize. This win means that Stripunsky has won 5 events in a row, a remarkable feat, especially since he struggled in the early stages of the event.
BOARD 2 Schmaltz – Stein - (LIVE ON ICC)
Schmaltz now just needed to beat the 200 points lower rated Stein to join Stripunsky in first place. The opening was a Taimanov Sicilian and it seemed like it would be not such a big problem for Schmaltz, as he had a nice attacking formation and a HUGE advantage on the clock of about 20 minutes to 6 minutes. I don’t know when it all started, but at some point things drastically turned around. White played some very dangerous looking attacking moves, but Stein defended very calmly, responding to 27. Ne6 with 27….Neg4. Black had some serious threats of trapping the white bishop on b3 with ….a5 and a4. Whites attack soon fizzled out completely and blacks two knights turned out to be better than whites two bishops. Black had the chance for a knockout blow with the fantastic 34….Qxf1, sacrificing the queen and the online crowd was going wild at this point. After 35.Rxf1 axb2, black is completely dominating as whites queen is absolutely terrible on h3. After this, the game continued and Stein shocked Schmaltz with the move 40….Rc3. Both players were under 3 minutes at this point, and Roland said after the game he almost thought he had to resign. However he found the move 41.Rd1, and thus could play on. Both sides missed some chances in the next moves and things fizzled out to R+B+2 vs R+N+2. Stripunsky must have been happy, as it looked like clear first was a new possibility, however both players had under 20 seconds, albeit with 5 second time delay. Schmaltz had some winning chances in this endgame, but I suspect with best play it would end in a draw. It was a shame to see such an exciting game decided by a one move blunder, as the underdog Stein folded under the pressure and allowed his knight to get pinned to his rook. After losing the piece, Schmaltz won with no problems and thus tied with Stripunsky for first place.
So both Schmaltz and Stripunsky continued their torrid pace. They will both be playing again next week, so let’s see if these trends can continue.
Lapshun beat Ashley on time to share 3rd place with Novikov. Norman Rogers had a tough start with a loss to Tamarkin, but came back by scoring 2.5 out of the last 3, but it wasn’t enough for the U2400 prize, as Dmitri Shevelev beat IM Ron Burnett in the last round to go ¾ and clinch the U2400 prize of $100.
27th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 1 x 2002
1 2 3 4 Total
1. Schmaltz, Roland g 2621 = 9 +16 +11 + 6 3.5 ($255)
2. Stripunsky, Alex g 2618 +14 +12 + 8 = 3 3.5 ($255)
3. Novikov, Igor g 2719 +13 =11 + 4 = 2 3.0 ($ 35)
4. Lapshun, Yury f 2501 +15 +19 - 3 + 8 3.0 ($ 35)
5. Shevelev, Danny f 2351 +17 - 8 +19 +11 3.0 ($100)
6. Stein, Alan f 2385 =16 + 9 +12 - 1 2.5
7. Rogers, Norman f 2324 -19 +20 =10 +15 2.5
8. Ashley, Maurice g 2518 +10 + 5 - 2 - 4 2.0
9. Milman, Lev 2312 = 1 - 6 +16 = 2.0
10. Privman, Boris f 2261 - 8 +17 = 7 =12 2.0
11. Burnett, Ronald m 2497 +20 = 3 - 1 - 5 1.5
12. Bonin, Jay m 2413 +18 - 2 - 6 =10 1.5
13. Eisen, Lew f 2314 - 3 -15 +18 =17 1.5
14. Furdzik, Rafal 2304 - 2 +18 =15 --- 1.5
15. Treger, Yefim 2218 - 4 +13 =14 - 7 1.5
16. Chernin, Oliver 2212 = 6 - 1 - 9 +19 1.5
17. Henry, Kasaun 2079 - 5 -10 +20 =13 1.5
18. Bady, Glenn 2210 -12 -14 -13 +20 1.0
19. Tamarkin, Larry 2026 + 7 - 4 - 5 -16 1.0
20. Dick, David 2240 -11 - 7 -17 -18 0.0
1ST - $360
2ND - $150
3RD - $ 70
U2400 - $100