Please forgive me for my lack of report last week. I received a lot of hate mail and death threats, but due to the holiday season I went straight to Philadelphia from the tournament last week. This combined with John Fernandez’ remaining absence, I was unable to write up a report. Thank the lord John was back with us tonight.

Tonight it was negative 855 degrees outside, thus we didn’t get the kind of attendance we are used to. As usual, some of our regular players are off playing in international tournaments as IM Hikaru Nakamura is currently playing in the Inmortales tournament in the Dominican Republic. After that he will be traveling to the World Junior Championships, Good Luck Hikaru! Also for the next 2 months, the honor of being the top seed will be decided randomly, as Leonid Yudasin and Igor Novikov have the exact same rating of 2721!

Congratulations to Igor Novikov, Leonid Yudasin and Alex Stripunsky for tying for first place in the National Chess Congress this past weekend. Also I must mention Lev Milman’s (So full of himself after dominating all the GMs in Philly that he is now too strong to show up at the NY Masters!) impressive result. Lev was barely above 2200 in March 2002, when he first joined the NY Masters. Since then everyone has been witness to a meteoric rise, as his rating is now 2370 and is going WAY up after his performance in Philadelphia. Here were his results from round 3-5 in Philadelphia

(Milman was 2-0 after 2 rounds)
3 - Milman vs GM Ashley 1-0
4 - GM Onischuk vs Milman 1/2-1/2
5 - Milman vs GM Ibragimov 1-0
Only Alex Shabalov was able to stop him in round 6.

Participant List:

1. GM Leonid Yudasin
2. GM Igor Novikov
3. GM Alex Stripunsky
4. IM Yuri Lapshun
5. IM Jay Bonin
6. FM Alan Stein
7. IM Justin Sarkar
8. FM Rafal Furdzik
9. FM Erez Klein
10. FM Boris Privman
11. NM Joan Santana
12. NM Alex Lenderman
13. FM Igor Schneider
14. Filler – Fabiano Caruana
15. Qualifier – Jonathan Corbblah


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



1. E.Klein - Yudasin 0-1
2. Novikov - Privman 1-0
3. Santana - Stripunsky 0-1
4. Lapshun – Lenderman 1-0
5. I.Schneider - Bonin SEE BELOW!
6. Stein - Caruana 1-0
7. Corbblah - Furdzik 0-1
8. ½ byes for Sarkar

We welcomed back two young players, who have just competed in the World Youth Championships in Greece. Igor Schneider and Alex Lendermann had their first taste of international competition, and it won’t be their last. Igor would be facing Jay Bonin in his first game back on American soil.

(1) Schneider,I (2202) - Bonin,J (2445) [B00]
36th New York Masters New York (1), 03.12.2002

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Na5 5.Bb5+ c6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bb3 Nxb3 8.axb3 e5 9.0-0 Be7 10.Nc3 Bg4 11.Be3 a5 12.h3 Bh5 13.Ne2 Bxf3 14.gxf3 Nh5 15.f4 Nxf4 16.Nxf4 exf4 17.Bxf4 0-0 18.Kh2 f5 19.e5

19. ... g5!

Just when the position is starting to fizzle down towards a draw, Jay finds a combatitive line to test the young player.

20.exd6 Bf6! 21.Bd2 Qxd6+ 22.f4 Kh8 23.Bc3 Bxc3 24.bxc3 Rg8 25.Qf3 Rae8 26.Rae1 g4 27.Qg3 Rxe1 28.Qxe1

Igor is defending very stubbornly. Now he has ideas of trading queens with Qe5+

28. ... a4


Now the worst is over for Igor, and he can comfortably draw the game. Jay must have missed some better chances a few moves ago.

29. ... Qxe5 30.fxe5 gxh3 31.Kxh3 a3 32.Ra1 Ra8 33.Kg3 Kg7 34.Kf4 Kg6 35.Rg1+ Kf7 36.Kxf5 a2 37.Ra1 h6 38.c4 bxc4 39.bxc4 c5 40.c3 h5 41.Kg5 Ke6 42.d4 cxd4 43.cxd4 Ra4 44.Kxh5 Rxc4 45.Rxa2 Rxd4 1/2-1/2


Key Pairings

1 Yudasin – Lapshun SEE BELOW
2 Furdzik – Novikov 0-1
3 Stripunsky – Stein 1/2-1/2

Before the game Lapshun said “I bet I won’t lose, I never lose when my game is on the internet”. Let’s find out if this streak could continue, as black against Yudasin is not a dream come true for most chessplayers.

(2) Yudasin,L (2721) - Lapshun,Y (2572) [C90]
36th New York Masters New York (2), 03.12.2002

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.0-0 0-0 8.Re1 d6 9.c3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.Nbd2 Qc7 12.Nf1 Re8 13.h3 Nc6 14.a4 Bd7 15.Bg5 h6 16.Bh4 Nh7 17.Bg3 Bg5 18.Nxg5 hxg5 19.Bb3 Be6 20.Bxe6 fxe6 21.axb5 axb5 22.Rxa8 Rxa8 23.Qb3!

A strong move that poses black some problems. This move seems to win a pawn, however black can regain the pawn on b2, by Rb8, if white takes on b5. The key to this move is that after the removal of the b5 pawn, the white knight on f1 will find a fantastic home on the c4 square.

23. ... Qd7 24.Qxb5 Rb8 25.Qa4 Rxb2 26.Ne3

And here comes the knight to it’s new home on c4. From c4 it eyes the d6 pawn and forever stops ... d5, as it puts pressure on the e5 pawn as well. At this point Yudasin had 22 minutes to Lapshuns 12, and a terrible positional bind. It’s only a matter of time before Yudasin breaks Lapshun’s defenses.

26. ... Nf6 27.Nc4 Rb7 28.Qd1

Stopping blacks Nh5 idea

28...Qd8 29.h4!

Bringing the white bishop back into the game. White’s position is improving every move.

29. ... gxh4 30.Bxh4 Rf7 31.Qa4!

The white queen is jumping from queenside to kingside and back to the queenside.

31. ... Qc7 32.Qa8+ Kh7 33.Nd2 Nd8

The ICC crowd was waiting patiently for Lapshun to break, but he simply wouldn’t abide them. He is going to make Yudasin do something in order to get the point.

34.Nf3 Rf8 35.Rb1 Kg8 36.Rb8 Qc6 37.Qa2 Qc7 38.Ra8

38. ... c4!

Yudasin has let his guard down and Lapshun now gets counterplay. If white should capture on c4, the black knight will have a tremendous new home on c5. White has trouble pushing d4, because of the pressure on the e4 pawn by blacks f6 knight.

39.Ra7 Qc6 40.Ra6 Qc7 41.Bxf6 gxf6 42.dxc4 Nb7 43.Ra7 Qb6 44.Ra6 Qc7 45.Nd2 Nc5 46.Ra8 Rxa8 47.Qxa8+ Kg7 48.Qa1 Qb7 49.Qe1 Qb2 50.Qe3 Qc2

Look how drastically the situation has changed. Earlier black’s position was so constricted and passive, and now that role is played by the white pieces. Lapshun had only 2 minutes left to Yudasin’s 10 at this point, thus made no serious effort to win the game. Black’s counterplay is too great, and whites extra pawn is meaningless so a draw was quickly agreed upon.

51.Kh2 Qc1 52.Qg3+ Kf7 53.Qe3 Kg7 54.g4 Kg6 55.Kg2 Qc2 56.Kh3 Qc1 57.Kg2 Qc2 58.Kh3 Qc1 59.Kh2 Qc2 60.Kg2 Qc1 61.Kf3 Qd1+ 62.Qe2 Qc1 63.Qe3 Qd1+ 1/2-1/2

An impressive display of defensive skill by Yuri Lapshun. He held on tight and seized the moment when he saw a chance for counterplay. An amusing scene ensued after the game, as Yuri insisted he was lost (Thus indirectly praising himself for drawing and mocking Yudasin for being unable to win), whereas Yudasin claimed over and over “It’s not so simple!” (Thus defending his inability to win the game). They went back to around move 25, and turned the board around and played some moves. Needless to say Yudasin was able to hold with black, so it seems as if he won the postmortem battle, albeit for his opponent!

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Novikov
1.5 pts – Yudasin, Stripunsky, Lapshun, Stein, Bonin


Key Pairings

1 Novikov – Yudasin 1/2-1/2
2 Bonin – Stripunsky SEE BELOW
3 Lapshun – Stein 1-0

There were a few interesting results in round 3. Lenderman moved to 2-1 by beating Erez Klein. Privman joined Lenderman in this scoregroup by defeating Rafal Furdzik. Novikov had 2 points to Yudasins 1.5, so was happy to make a quick draw with the white pieces. Now it was up to Bonin, Stripunsky, Lapshun and Stein to see who would join Novikov at the top.

Jay is currently in the midst of a 20 game losing streak to Stripunsky. This is unbelievable considering there is only a 200 point rating gap. Jay decided today was the day to break the streak and came out with a new and original opening variation….

(3) Bonin,J (2445) - Stripunsky,A (2649) [A00]
36th New York Masters New York (3), 03.12.2002


The game Lapshun – Stein, which we also considered relaying, featured the also popular first move 1.b4. That game actually went 1.b4 a5 2.b5 d6.

1. ... d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nxe4 g6 4.d4 Bg7 5.Nf3 Nd7 6.Bc4 Nb6 7.Bb3 Nf6 8.Neg5 0-0 9.Ne5 e6 10.0-0 Nbd5 11.c3 h6 12.Ngf3 Ne7 13.Bc2 b6 14.a4 a5 15.b3 Bb7 16.Re1 c5 17.Ba3 Qc7 18.Rc1 Ned5 19.Qd2 Rad8 20.Bb1 Nd7 21.Nxd7 Rxd7 22.Ne5 Rdd8 23.b4

23. ... Ne7?

23. ...cb4 24.cb4 Qe7 is better for black. Also better for black is 23. ...Nb4!? 24.cb4 Be5, as 25.Re5 allows Qe5. After this move white procures an edge.

24.bxc5 bxc5 25.Qf4 Nd5 26.Qg3 cxd4 27.cxd4 Qb8 28.Bxf8 Rxf8 29.h4 Nf6 30.Ba2 Bd5 31.Bxd5 Nxd5

The curse will finally be broken. White has the extra exchange and black has absolutely no real compensation for it.


Uh – oh, the curse is rearing it’s ugly head... This clunker gives away the key d4 pawn, but despite this white should still not lose this position. Both players were now under 4 minutes, so anything could happen...

32. ... Qxg3 33.fxg3 Bxd4+ 34.Kh2 Rd8 35.Ne5 Bc3 36.Re2 Rb8 37.Nc6 Rb3 38.Rec2 Bf6 39.Nxa5 Ra3 40.Nc4 Rxa4 41.Nd6 Be5 42.Nc4 Bc7 43.Kh3 h5 44.Ne3 Nxe3 45.Rxc7 Nf5 46.R7c4 Ra3 47.R1c3 Ra5

White can now simply shuttle the rook opposite blacks rook, and then would have no serious chance of losing the game, however Bonin exhibited some bravery and went for more, probably based on the intertia of having such a winning position a few moves before.

48.g4 hxg4+ 49.Kxg4 Re5 50.Kh3 Kg7 51.Rc5 Re4 52.R5c4 Re2 53.g4 Ne7 54.Rc5 Nd5 55.Rf3 Re4 56.Kg3 Nf6 57.Rf4 Re3+


oops, the curse continues

58. ... Ne4+

Game over

59.Kf4 Rxf3+ 60.Kxe4 Rh3 61.h5 gxh5 62.gxh5 Rh4+ 63.Kf3 Kh6 64.Rc7 f5 65.Re7 Re4 0-1

Leaders After Round 3

2.5 pts – Novikov, Stripunsky, Lapshun
2 pts – Yudasin, Privman, Lenderman


Key Pairings

1 Stripunsky (2.5) – Novikov (2.5) 1/2-1/2
2 Lapshun (2.5) – Privman (2) SEE BELOW!!
3 Yudasin (2) – Lenderman (2) 1-0

Stripunsky and Novikov agreed to their customary quick draw, despite the fact that this would allow Lapshun to leapfrog over them, with a win over Boris Privman. Lenderman held really tough against Yudasin, but in the end the Grandmaster won (however according to witnesses he only had 20 seconds left on his clock!)

Lapshun must have liked his pairing for this round. While Novikov and Stripunsky played each other, and would thus draw, Lapshun got to play down 300 points for a chance at CLEAR first place! However things are not so simple, as Boris defeated Lapshun in their last encounter, and has drawn him on many occasions. Lapshun does have a nice plus score against Boris but Boris has shown the ability to take him out. Boris would not just be playing the role of spoiler in this game, as a win for Boris would entitle him to a share of first place!

(4) Lapshun,Y (2572) - Privman,B (2227) [A90]
36th New York Masters New York (4), 03.12.2002

1.Nf3 e6 2.d4 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 d5 5.0-0 Bd6 6.c4 c6 7.Bf4 0-0 8.Nbd2 Ne4 9.Qc2 Qe7 10.Bxd6 Qxd6 11.c5 Qe7 12.Ne5 Nxd2 13.Qxd2 Nd7 14.b4 Nxe5 15.dxe5 a5 16.a3 Qc7 17.Qd4 Bd7 18.Rfd1

White seems to have a clear positional advantage as blacks bishop on d7 is worse than its counterpart on g2. However white’s position is prettier looking than it actually is. If white could magically trade his bishop on g2 for a knight, and place it on d4, then he would be optimally placed to fight against the bad bishop on d7. Without the prescense of a white knight, its hard for white to prove the superiority of his bishop.

18. ... Rfb8 19.f4 Be8 20.Bf3 b6 21.g4 bxc5 22.bxc5 Bg6 23.gxf5 Bxf5 24.e4 dxe4 25.Bxe4 Rd8 26.Qe3 Bxe4 27.Qxe4

If it was whites move, white would stick a rook on d6, thus black’s move is forced. However after ... Rd5, blacks position is perfectly fine.

27. ... Rd5 28.Rxd5 cxd5 29.Qd4 Rc8 30.Rc1 Qc6 31.Rc3 Rb8 32.Rf3 g6 33.h4 Rb5 34.Rc3 Rb1+ 35.Kg2 Rb2+ 36.Kg3 Qb5

Yuri is on the run! Boris is showing that he can be very dangerous, as white’s position has been slowly getting worse for the past 10 moves. Now Yuri has to be very careful or he could lose this game very quickly.


Yuri has given up and is ready to go into an endgame. Boris will win a pawn in this line, but at least the initiative falls into white’s hand.

37. ... Qxd3+ 38.Rxd3 Rc2

The fans watching on the internet thought that black had good winning chances here and that Yuri should be scraping to get the draw. Imagine their surprise when they were told that black offered a draw after this move, and that Yuri immediately declined!

39.Rb3 Rxc5 40.Rb6 Kf7 41.Rb7+

This is Yuri’s plan, as he is hoping that his active rook combined with the infiltration of his king, will cause some havoc.

41. ... Kg8 42.Re7 Rc6 43.Kg4 h6 44.Ra7 Rc5 45.a4 Kf8 46.Rh7 Rc1 47.Ra7 Rc5 48.h5 gxh5+ 49.Kxh5 Rc4


The best try for white, with the idea of creating a powerful passed e pawn and some mating threats when the white king arrives on f6. The pawn on f5 will act as a shield, as black will not have the move Rf4 check when the king arrives on f6.

50. ... Re4?

Black had a draw with 50. ... Rf4. For example 50. ... Rf4 51. f6 (Im sure Boris was worried about this move, as it looks very aesthetically strong, however it takes the very important f6 square away from the white king) 51. ... Rxa4 52. Kg6 Rg4 and white has no way to make any progress. After the text move white is winning.

51.Kg6 exf5

If 51. ... Re5 52. Ra8! Ke7 53.f6+ Kd6 54.f7 is winning for white.

52.Kf6 Kg8 53.Ra8+ Kh7 54.Kxf5 h5 55.Rxa5 h4 56.Ra7+ Kg8 57.Ra6 h3 58.Rh6 Rxa4 59.Rxh3 d4 60.Kf6 Ra1 61.e6 Rf1+ 62.Ke7 Ra1 63.Rg3+ Kh7 64.Kf7 Rf1+ 65.Ke8 Ra1 66.e7 Ra2 67.Kd7 Ra7+ 68.Ke6 Ra6+ 69.Kf7 1-0

A great effort by Boris Privman, but not a complete one, as his mistakes at the end of the game were very costly. Meanwhile Yuri Lapshun has to be commended for his fighting spirit and for his ability to find serious chances to win such a position. Congratulations to Yuri Lapshun, who finished in first place for the first time in his NY Masters career! The sad news was that with this performance he jumped ahead of me in the all time money leaders list!!

36th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 3 xii 2002
                                    1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Lapshun, Yury       m  2572 + 8 = 2 +11 + 7   3.5  ($350)
    2. Yudasin, Leonid     g  2721 +12 = 1 = 3 + 8   3.0  ($ 70)
    3. Novikov, Igor       g  2721 + 7 + 6 = 2 = 4   3.0  ($ 70)
    4. Stripunsky, Alex    g  2649 +13 =11 + 5 = 3   3.0  ($ 70)
    5. Bonin, Jay          m  2445 = 9 +10 - 4 +11   2.5
    6. Furdzik, Rafal         2319 +15 - 3 - 7 +12   2.0  ($ 18)
    7. Privman, Boris      f  2227 - 3 +15 + 6 - 1   2.0  ($ 18)
    8. Lenderman, Alex        2205 - 1 +13 +12 - 2   2.0  ($ 18)
    9. Schneider, Igor     f  2202 = 5 -12 +10 =     2.0  ($ 18)
   10. Sarkar, Justin      m  2368 =   - 5 - 9 +13   1.5
   11. Stein, Alan         f  2362 +14 = 4 - 1 - 5   1.5
   12. Klein, Erez         f  2272 - 2 + 9 - 8 - 6   1.5
   13. Santana, Joan          2213 - 4 - 8 +15 -10   1.0
   14. Caruana, Fabiano    f  2125 -11 --- --- +15   1.0
   15. Corbblah, Jonathan     1965 - 6 - 7 -13 -14   0.0

PRIZES 1ST - $350 2ND - $150 3RD - $ 60 U2400 - $ 72