NOVEMBER 19 2002

It was an exciting week at the NY Masters as we had FIVE first time players! The strongest of these were French GM Eloi Relange and IM (WGM) Almira Skripchenko. Almira is the 5th ranked female player in the world! They were in town for a week and it was great to see them stop in. Other new players were 2001 Denker High School Champion, Thomas Bartell, 20 year old master Joan Santana and Maxim Royzen, member of the championship high school chess teams of Edward R Murrow from the mid 90’s.

Sorry that the report was late this week, as things are slow without TD John Fernandez around. At least he is making us proud in Curacao, as he drew with GM Koshashvili (2550) in the first round, and in the meantime was able to log onto the internet to help me get this report ready for everyone!

Participant List:

1. GM Leonid Yudasin
2. GM Alex Stripunsky
3. IM Hikaru Nakamura
4. IM (WGM) – Almira Skripchenko
5. GM Eloi Relange
6. IM Jay Bonin
7. FM Alan Stein
8. IM Justin Sarkar
9. FM Ricardo D’Arruda
10. FM Ilye Figler (Round 1 bye)
11. NM Thomas Bartell
12. FM Boris Privman
13. FM Norman Rogers (Round 1 bye)
14. NM Peter Aravena
15. NM Joan Santana
16. FM Sunil Weeramantry (Round 1 bye)
17. NM Maxim Royzen
18. Qualifier – Maxsim Grinman
19. Filler – Robert Hess


1st - $400
2nd - $150
3rd - $80
U2400 - $90



1. Yudasin – D’Arruda 1-0
2. Bartell - Stripunsky 1-0
3. H.Nakamura - Privman 1-0
4. Aravena - Skripchenko SEE BELOW!
5. Relange – J.Santana 1-0
6. Royzen - Bonin 0-1
7. Stein - Grinman 1/2-1/2
8. Hess - Sarkar 0-1
9. ½ byes for Figler, N.Rogers and Weeramantry

The sensation of the first round was Thomas Bartell. This 19 year old from New Jersey defeated his first GM ever in his first ever NY Masters game! He won a pawn against Stripunsky and was positionally dominating. Stripunsky had no chance to pull off any tricks.

Grinman, the 2100 rated 16 year old from Long Island, had a totally winning position against FM Alan Stein, yet was forced to claim a draw as he had almost no time remaining on the clock.

The internet game featured Almira Skripchenko and Peter Aravena. Skripchenko is not only a WGM but on her way to the GM title, as she already has 1 GM norm and a near 2500 FIDE rating.

Peter Aravana is a chess master and an artist! You can check out his website at

Aravena,P (2228) – Skripchenko , A (2497) [D21]
34th New York Masters New York (1), 19.11.2002

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 e6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 c5 5.Bxc4 a6 6.Qe2 b5 7.Bd3 cxd4 8.exd4 Nf6 9.Bg5 Bb7 10.0-0 Be7 11.Nbd2 Nbd7 12.a4 b4 13.Rac1 0-0 14.Ne5 h6 15.Bf4 Nb6 16.Nc6 Bxc6 17.Rxc6 Nxa4 18.Be5 Nxb2 19.Bb1

White is down some pawns, and thus the only chance for Peter is to attack on the kingside, and to gain time based on the awkward position of the knight on b2….but will it succeed?

19. ... Na4 20.Qd3 g6 21.Rxe6

This move looks strong, however black has a winning shot here, can you find it?? The answer will be given at the end of the game.

21. ... Nc3? 22.Bc2 a5 23.Bb3 Kh7 24.Rc6 a4 25.Bc4 Nfd5 26.Ne4 Rc8 27.Nxc3 Nxc3 28.Ra6

Things are beginning to look quite dangerous from Almira’s point of view. White has the monstrous threat of Bxf7 Rxf7 Qxg6 mate. Almira made a practical decision to eliminate such worries of checkmate, by sacking the exchange, however it brought her little relief.

28. ... Rxc4 29.Qxc4 a3 30.f4!

A nice way to bring the last piece into the attack….

30. ... f6


This move was Peter’s fatal mistake. After 31.Qe6 I see no good defense for black.

For example if 31.Qe6 Nd5 32. Bd6 or 31. ... Kg7 32.Ra7 Rf7 33.Bf6! and 31. ...fe5 allows Qg6+. Now the tide turns incredibly quickly.

31. ...fxe5 32.f5 Kh8 33.dxe5? Qb6+ 0-1

ANSWER – Black’s winning countershot to 21. Rxe6 was 21. ... Nc5!. After 22.dc5 Qd3 23.Bd3 fe6, black is an exchange up with a totally winning position.



1 Relange - Yudasin SEE BELOW!
2 Bonin – H.Nakamura 0-1
3 Skripchenko – Bartell 1/2-1/2
4 Sarkar - Stein 1-0

We had some craaaaaaaazy (somehow Microsoft Word isn’t agreeing with my spelling of crazy?) action in the second round. Thomas Bartell, fresh off his victory over GM Stripunsky, had IM Skripchenko on the ropes! When I say on the ropes I do not exaggerate, as at one moment he could have played the move ...Rd2 and announced “checkmate”.

We had a GM vs GM duel in the second round this week. 26 year old Eloi Relange was faced with NY Masters giant, Leonid Yudasin. This was Eloi’s first taste of the NY Masters, so it was interesting to see how he would fare.

(2) Relange,E (2494) - Yudasin,L (2699) [E12]
34th New York Masters New York (2), 19.11.2002

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 b6 4.a3 Bb7 5.Nc3 d5 6.cxd5 exd5 7.g3 Be7 8.Bg2 0-0 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.b4 Ne4 11.Qb3 Ndf6 12.Bf4 Bd6 13.Bxd6 Qxd6 14.Rfc1

14. ... Ng4

Yudasin doesn’t seem content to sit and wait while white builds up his position.


A necessary retreat

15. ... Rae8 16.Qc2 Re7 17.h3 Nexf2!

Yudasin throws down the gauntlet and complicates the game. The fans on the internet were happy to see this move, and predicted a swift victory for Yudasin.

18.hxg4 Nxg4 19.Ne5 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Qxe5

Black has three pawns for the piece and looks very close to winning a 4th pawn, however Relange does not panic and defends quite nicely.

21.Qd3 c5 22.bxc5 bxc5 23.Rab1 c4 24.Qf3 Ba8 25.e3 d4 26.Qf4 dxe3 27.Qxe5 Rxe5 28.Nb2! Rg5 29.Bxa8 Rxa8 30.Kh2 h5 31.Nxc4 e2 32.Re1 Re8 33.Rb2 Rg4 34.Nd6 Re3 35.Rexe2 Rgxg3 36.Rb8+ Kh7 37.Nxf7

Now black has no chance to win. One example variation is 37. ... Rxa3 38.Re6 (threatens Rh8 checkmate) 38. ... g6 39.Ng5 Rg5?? 40. Re7 Kh6 41.Rh8 mate

37. ... Rh3+ 38.Kg2 Rhg3+ 39.Kh2 1/2-1/2

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – H.Nakamura, Sarkar
1.5 pts – Yudasin, Skripchenko, Relange, Figler, Bartell


Key Pairings

1 Nakamura - Sarkar SEE BELOW!
2 Yudasin - Skripchenko 1-0
3 Figler - Relange 1/2-1/2
4 Bartell – Bonin 1-0

Bartell continued his impressive debut with a win over Jay Bonin. It’s hard to imagine Bartell won’t be coming back for more after his powerful performance tonight! Figler continued his good form, by drawing Relange. As some of you may remember, last time Figler played he defeated IM Lapshun, GM Ashley and GM Novikov in succession. Figler was actually winning against Relange but was unable to finish the French GM off.

Yudasin jumped back up to 2.5/3 with a fine win against Skripchenko.

As Nakamura and Sarkar were the only undefeated players they earned the honor of playing on the demo board. Hikaru Nakamura got to 2-0 by beating Bonin with the black pieces. This must have been a welcome victory for Hikaru, as Bonin defeated him about a month ago. Sarkar took down FM Alan Stein in round 2.

(3) Nakamura,H (2614) - Sarkar,J (2368) [A34]
34th New York Masters New York (3), 19.11.2002

1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.g3 Nc6 6.Bg2 Nc7 7.0-0 e5 8.a3 Be7


A thematic idea by white. If black takes the pawn.... oh good he played that, I don’t have to explain myself.

9 ... cxb4 10.axb4 Bxb4 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.Qa4+ Nc6 13.Bxc6+ bxc6 14.Qxb4 Ne6 15.Ba3

Now blacks king is hopelessly stuck in the center, Sarkar should not last long against a player like Hikaru in a position like this.

15. ... f5 16.Qc4 Qd7 17.d4 Nc7 18.Rfe1 Ba6 19.Qc5 Kf7 20.e4 Rhe8 21.exf5 Bd3 22.Re3 Rxe3 23.fxe3 Nd5

Wait a moment folks! Black is getting back into this game. The fans watching on the internet felt kind of stupid as there was a big debate as to whether or not black should have resigned around move 19. Hikaru however amassed a big time advantage up to this point as he had about 15 minutes remaining to Justin’s 4 minutes.

24.e4 Nxc3 25.Qxc3 Bxe4

White will have a difficult time making progress, because the king on g1 is very exposed, and blacks bishop will eventually be posted at a very good square on d5.

26.Re1 Re8 27.Qc5

After the game, the players analyzed 27. ... Bd5 28.Re5 h5 as the best variation, with great drawing chances. Unfortunately, under the time pressure, Justin’s nerves finally broke down and produced a blunder.

27 ... Kg8?? 28.Rxe4!

Leaders After Round 3

3 pts – H.Nakamura
2.5 pts – Yudasin, Bartell


Key Pairings

1 Yudasin (2.5) – Nakamura (3) SEE BELOW!
2 Relange (2) – Bartell (2.5) 1-0
3 Stripunsky (2) – Sarkar (2) 1-0
4 Skripchenko (1.5) – Figler (2) 0-1

Thomas Bartell’s winning streak finally came to a close this round, as he was unable to hold against GM Relange. Figler’s streak did not end however, as he defeated IM Skripchenko, and thus wrapped up the U2400 prize with 3 out of 4.

The match everyone wanted to see was on first board. Leonid Yudasin, the all time leading money winner of the NY Masters, would face off against Hikaru Nakamura. You knew there would be no holds barred in this game, as Leonid was a half point behind and needed to beat Nakamura. This game produced the largest internet audience in NY Masters history, as over 220 people were watching at some moments, along with some very strong GM’s.

(4) Yudasin,L (2699) - Nakamura,H (2614) [B26]
34th New York Masters New York (4), 19.11.2002

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 g6 4.d3 Bg7 5.Bg2 Nc6 6.Be3 Nh6 7.h3 f5 8.Qd2 Nf7 9.f4 0-0 10.Nf3 Rb8 11.0-0 e6 12.d4 fxe4 13.Nxe4 b6 14.Rad1 d5 15.Nf2 Nd6


Nakamura – "Draw?"
Yudasin – "What do I need with a draw!"

16.c3 Nf5 17.Kh2 cxd4 18.Bxd4 Ncxd4 19.cxd4 Bd7

Yudasin has completely outplayed his young opponent and is on the verge of victory. White has complete control of the e5 square and black is saddled with a bad bishop on d7.

20.Ng4 h5 21.Nge5 h4 22.g4 Ng3 23.Rfe1 Ne4 24.Qe3 Be8 25.g5 Bxe5 26.dxe5 Ng3 27.Nxh4 Nh5

Nakamura is trying so hard to get some counterplay, but Yudasin is squeaching it at every opportunity. There is a reason that Yudasin has won $4,000 in this event.

28.Rd4 Rc8 29.Bf3 Ng7 30.Bg4 Rc2+ 31.Re2 Qc7 32.Nf3 Bb5 33.Red2 Qc5 34.Kg3 Rc1 35.Rf2 Rd1

Despite Yudasin’s best efforts to use his extra pawn for victory, Nakamura simply won’t let up. The counterplay is becoming serious now…

36.b4 Qc1! 37.Qxc1 Rxc1

Amazing! A few moves ago it looked hopeless, facing a strong GM with a terrible position. Yudasin was also not short on inspiration, as winning the game was worth $400 to him. Nakamura’s fighting spirit really shone through in this game, as in this endgame it is extremely difficult for white to prove an advantage. The c-file is firmly in black’s hand and with it so is the draw he so desires. Nakamura however was way down on time, would this be a factor towards the end of the game?

38.Rdd2 Rc3 39.Rc2 Rfc8 40.Rxc3 Rxc3 41.Rd2 Ra3 42.Kf2 Bc4

As you can see, white will not stay up a pawn for much longer, however Yudasin keeps punching, and tries to procure as great a positional advantage as he can, when Hikaru captures the pawn.

43.Nd4 Kf7 44.Rc2 a5 45.bxa5 Rxa5 46.Rb2 Rxa2 47.Rxa2 Bxa2 48.h4 Bc4 49.Ke3 Ba6 50.Nc6 Bb5 51.Nd4 Bd7 52.Kd3 Ke7

White has the better position. The knight dominates the Bishop on d7 and the Bishop on g4 has the knight on g7 in check. It’s very pretty to look at, but unfortunately white cannot improve his position, whereas black can just shuttle back and forth forever. Yudasin tried as hard as he could but in the end it was to no avail.

53.Kc3 Kf7 54.Kb4 Ke7 55.Be2 Be8 56.Bg4 Bd7 57.Ne2 Be8 58.Nc3 Bd7 59.Be2 Be8 60.Bd3 Kd8 61.Ne2 Nh5 62.Ba6 Bd7 63.Bd3 Be8 64.Bc2 Ke7 65.Ba4 Bxa4 66.Kxa4 Ng7 67.Kb5 Nf5 68.Kxb6 Nxh4 69.Kc5 Nf5 70.Nc1 Kf7 71.Nd3 Ke7 72.Kb6 Nd4 73.Kc7 Nb5+ 74.Kc8 Na7+ 75.Kb7 Nb5 76.Nb4 Kd7 77.Nc6 Nc3 78.Nd4 Ne4 79.Kb6 Nd2 80.Kb5 Nc4 81.Kc5 Ne3 82.Ne2 Nf5 1/2-1/2

With this draw, Nakamura wins first place and $400. Second place of $80 was split between GM Yudasin, GM Stripunsky and GM Relange. Once again the class prize belonged to Ilye Figler, who is on a serious hot streak these days.

Below are the results of former NY Masters participants who are now playing in the World Youth Championships in Greece. Best of luck to them all, and congratulations to Fabiano Caruana, who is near the top of his section right now. Also congratulations to Elisabeth Paethz, who visited the New York Masters last July. She is currently in first place in the girls under 18 section!

Boys U18
Dmitry Schneider – 4/6 11th-21st place

Boys U14
Igor Schneider – 4/6 13th – 29th place
Alex Lenderman – 2/6 66th-78th place

Strangely Alex got off to the good start by defeating Igor in round 2, but since then it has been all Igor, as he has won his last 3 games.

Boys U10
Fabiano Caruana 5/6 4th-7th place

Girls U18
Elisabeth Paehtz 5/6 1st place!

34th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 19 xi 2002
                                    1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Nakamura, Hikaru    m  2571 + 9 +11 + 8 = 2   3.5  ($400)
    2. Yudasin, Leonid     g  2699 +13 = 4 +10 = 1   3.0  ($ 80)
    3. Stripunsky, Alex    g  2618 - 7 +18 +14 + 8   3.0  ($ 80)
    4. Relange, Eloi       g  2544 +14 = 2 = 5 + 7   3.0  ($ 80)
    5. Figler, Ilye        f  2298 =   +17 = 4 +10   3.0  ($ 90)
    6. Rogers, Norman      f  2279 =   =15 = 9 +12   2.5
    7. Bartell, Thomas        2219 + 3 =10 +11 - 4   2.5
    8. Sarkar, Justin      m  2370 +19 +12 - 1 - 3   2.0
    9. Privman, Boris      f  2261 - 1 +16 = 6 =11   2.0
   10. Skripchenko, Almira m  2547 +18 = 7 - 2 - 5   1.5
   11. Bonin, Jay          m  2413 +16 - 1 - 7 = 9   1.5
   12. Stein, Alan         f  2385 =17 - 8 +15 - 6   1.5
   13. D'Arruda, Ricardo   f  2347 - 2 -14 +17 =     1.5
   14. Santana, Joan          2213 - 4 +13 - 3 =15   1.5
   15. Weeramantry, Sunil  f  2200 =   = 6 -12 =14   1.5
   16. Royzen, Maxim          2200 -11 - 9 +18 =     1.5
   17. Grinman, Maxim         2126 =12 - 5 -13 =18   1.0
   18. Aravena, Peter         2228 -10 - 3 -16 =17   0.5
   19. Hess, Robert           2022 - 8 --- --- ---   0.0

PRIZES 1ST - $400 2ND - $160 3RD - $ 80 U2400 - $ 90