JANUARY 28th 2003

There was a lot of chess action in NYC this Tuesday. I left the Kasparov – Deep Junior match about one hour before it’s conclusion to setup this weeks NY Masters. I even took 2 entries at the Kasparov match! Next Tuesday there will be a NY Masters, but Kasparov and the computer have a rest day, perhaps some of the strong players who are hanging around at the match will come by the Marshall to test their skills!

Also the NY Masters is running its first ever Round Robin tournament at a slow time control. The field will include 10 players with an average FIDE rating of 2203, with one game being played each Monday night beginning next Monday evening. This is hopefully just the start to more tournaments like this in the future! The webpage for this event is, and will be updated after the games each week!

Participant List for 41st NY Masters:

1. GM Giorgi Kacheishvili
2. GM Ildar Ibragimov
3. GM Alex Stripunsky
4. IM Eli Vovsha
5. IM Altin Cela
6. IM Jay Bonin
7. IM Irina Krush
8. NM Lev Milman
9. WIM Jenn Shahade
10. NM Evgeny Gershov
11. NM Rafal Furdzik
12. NM Samson Benen
13. FM Boris Privman
14. NM Oliver Chernin
15. NM Geoffrey Gelman
16. Qualifier – Furqan Tanwir
17. Filler – Robert Hess


1st - $400
2nd - $120
3rd - $60
U2400 - $80



1. Kacheishvili – Milman 1-0
2. J.Shahade – Ibragimov SEE BELOW!
3. Stripunsky – Furdzik 0-1
4. Benen – Vovsha 0-1
5. Cela – Privman 0-1
6. Chernin – Bonin 0-1
7. Krush – Tanwir 1-0
˝ point bye for – Gershov, G.Gelman

We started off the tournament with a big upset, as Rafal Furdzik, co-champion of last week’s NY Masters, knocked off GM Alex Stripunsky with the black pieces! Altin Cela, the Albanian IM, came back to play this week but met with an unpleasant surprise as Boris Privman took him out in round 1. WIM Jenn Shahade was hoping to keep this string of upsets going as she had the white pieces against GM Ildar Ibragimov….

(1) Shahade,J (2352) - Ibragimov,I (2651) [C92]
41st New York Masters New York (1), 28.01.2003


Jenn Shahade is coming off a fine performance in the US Championship, as she tied for first and gained her 2nd IM norm! Strangely her 1st IM norm was also gained in last year’s US Championship. Due to the serious lack of norm events in the USA, American players often have to resort to the US Championship for norm opportunities.

After Jenn’s tie for first place, she was forced into a blitz playoff with Irina Krush and Anna Hahn in which Anna emerged victorious. If Irina and Jenn continue to play in the NY Masters on a regular basis, and gain confidence at the faster time controls, it could be a huge boon for their chess, as the time controls seem to be speeding up all over the place!

1...e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Bb7 10.d4 Na5 11.Bc2 Nc4 12.b3 Nb6 13.Nbd2 Nfd7 14.Nf1 c5


This move is thought to be a mistake, as now white has no great plans of activity, yet black has a very simple plan of …..f5, underminding the d5 pawn.

15...f5 16.a4 fxe4 17.Bxe4 Nf6

At this point the ICC crowd already thought Jennifer would be forced into desperation tactics, as she is going to lose her VERY important d5 pawn…

18.Bf5 Nbxd5 19.Ng5

And here is the counterplay, white plans to use the weak square on e6 and it isn’t so simple for black to combat these ideas, especially in an action game.

19...Nc7 20.Be6+

Leading to the win of an exchange..

20...Kh8 21.Nf7+ Rxf7 22.Bxf7

Whites bishop seems short of squares, but fortunately it can always retreat to h5. The expected black move, and most likely the best, was 22….g6, shutting the bishop in. White could always play c4, to secure the d5 square for the bishop, but this would result in the loss of a 2nd pawn.

22...Qf8 23.Bh5

Now white has the advantage, although must play carefully as black does have compensation in the form of strong central control.

23...Ncd5 24.Bd2 b4 25.cxb4 Nxh5 26.Qxh5 cxb4 27.Rac1 a5 28.Ng3 g6 29.Qe2 Qf7 30.Ne4 Ba6 31.Qg4 Qf5 32.Bh6 Bd3

33.Rc6! A nice combative move, tying down the black pieces. However at this moment, both players were under 2 minutes (with 5 second time delay) for the remainder of the game…so anything could happen!

33...Rd8 34.Ng5 Kg8 35.Ne6 Qxg4 36.hxg4 Rd7 37.Ng5 Bxg5 38.Bxg5 Kf7 39.Rc8 h5 40.gxh5 gxh5 41.Bd2 e4 42.Rec1 Ke6 43.Rh8 Nf6 44.Bg5 Rh7

45.Bxf6 1-0

And with this win by Jennifer, we had the third big upset of the first round! Already you knew this would be a very interesting tournament…

Round 2

Key Pairings

1 Bonin – Kacheishvili 0-1
2 Vovsha – J.Shahade SEE BELOW!
3 Furdzik – Krush 0-1
4 Privman – Gershov 1-0

The favorites returned to form in Round 2 as GM Kacheshvili used his powerful light squared bishop on c6, to wreck havoc on Bonin’s king on h1. Krush has had big problems with Furdzik in the past, as she is lifetime 0-2 against him in the NY Masters, however this week she would strike back as she won a piece in an endgame. Despite having to convert this advantage in a mad time scramble, Furdzik’s flag was the first to fall.

Boris Privman was a happy camper as his 2 rooks and knight were no match for Gershovs lone queen, and thus he joined Kacheishvili and Krush at 2-0! Now let’s see if Jenn Shahade could continue her groove against the strong 17 year old IM, Eli Vovsha.

(2) Vovsha,E (2484) - Shahade,J (2352) [B90]
41st New York Masters New York (2), 28.01.2003

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.f3 Be7 9.Qd2 0-0 10.0-0-0 Qc7 11.g4 Rc8 12.Kb1 Nbd7 13.Qf2 b5 14.g5 Nh5 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.Rxd5 Rab8


A strong move which really puts the clamps down on black’s position. Stronger for black was 16...Rcb8 instead of Rab8. White now has an idea of exchanging all the minor pieces except for blacks dark squared bishop and whites knight on b3. Black’s bishop is restricted by her pawns, thus these types of positions should favour white.

17...g6 18.Bg4 Nf4 19.Bxf4 exf4 20.Bxd7 Qxd7

Mission Accomplished, although perhaps white didn’t have to rush into this trade, but Eli claimed to be worried about ...Ne5, sacrificing the exchange.

21.Qd2 Qc7

21...Qh3 was an interesting try. The idea is that if 22.Qxf4 Rxc2! 23.Kxc3 Qg2 regains the rook.

22.Rc1 Bf8 23.Qxf4 a5 24.Nd4 Qc4 25.Qd2 b4 26.Qd3

Now white is beginning to solidify. Black cannot dream of trading queens, as this pawn down endgame would be hopelessly lost. Thus black must retreat….

26...Qc7 27.Nb5 Qd8 28.f4!

The move f4, plans an eventual removal of the d6 pawn followed up by e5, which would really imprison the dark squared bishop. White doesn’t want to capture on d6 immediately as if 28.Nd6 Bd6 29.Rd6 Qg5, and although white is still up a pawn, black has a lot more play than before.

28...Rc5 29.Rxc5 dxc5 30.a4

30...bxa3 31.Nxa3 Qb6 32.Nc4 Qb5 33.Rd1 a4 34.Qc3 Qb4 35.Rd3 h6 36.h4 hxg5 37.hxg5 Bg7 38.e5 a3

What a picture, one could almost remove the g7 bishop from the board! Now white has a simple transposition into a winning endgame.

39.Qxb4 Rxb4 40.Rd8+ Kh7 41.b3 Rb7 42.Nxa3 1-0

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Kacheishvili, Vovsha, Krush, Privman



1 Kacheishvili – Krush SEE BELOW!
2 Privman – Vovsha 0-1

It was down to 4 players gunning for the top prize after Round 3, and the clear favorite of the bunch had to be GM Giorgi Kacheishvili. Kacheishvili is actually ONE rating point away from being on the FIDE top 100 list. Igor Novikov, whom is one point higher than Giorgi, is on the list at number 99.

Privman was walking on air with his huge start of 2-0, but Vovsha grounded him well in the 3rd round, taking on Privman’s London attack (1.d4 2.Nf3 3.Bf4) and scoring the victory. Who would join Vovsha at the top….Kacheishvili or Krush??

(3) Kacheishvili,G (2681) - Krush,I (2400) [A09]
41st New York Masters New York (3), 28.01.2003

1.g3 e5 2.Bg2 d5 3.c4 d4 4.d3 c5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.0-0 Nf6 7.e3 Be7 8.exd4 cxd4 9.b4 Nd7 10.b5 Ncb8 11.Re1 f6 12.Nbd2 Nc5 13.Nb3 Nbd7 14.Nh4 g6


White has already gained space on the queenside, and now is trying to open lines in the center and the kingside!

15...0-0 16.Nf3 Nxb3 17.axb3 Bb4 18.Re2 Nc5 19.fxe5 Bf5

It looks like black will win this pawn on d4, but Giorgi finds a nice response.

20.Bd2! Bxd2 21.Rxd2 fxe5 22.b4 Nd7 23.Nh4 Qc7 24.Rda2 Qb6 25.Nxf5 gxf5

26.c5! Qxb5 27.Qb3+

This check is the point, now after Ra5 the queen is trapped, as the queen defends the b4 pawn. However black has a trick up her sleeve….

27...Kh8 28.Ra5 Nxc5

Here is the trick, taking advantage of the pinned b4-pawn, but white has seen further..


And unfortunately for Irina, too many of her pieces are in take.

29...Qxd3 30.Qxe5+

The finishing touch. If 30...Kg8 31. Bd5 quickly decides the issue.


Leaders after Round 3

3 pts – Kacheishvili, Vovsha
2 pts – Ibragimov, Stripunsky, Krush, Bonin, Privman


Key Pairings

1 Vovsha (3) – Kacheishvili (3) SEE BELOW!
2 Ibragimov (2) – Privman (2) 1-0
3 Bonin (2) – Stripunsky (2) 1-0
4 Krush (2) – Gershov (1.5) 1/2-1/2

This last round would feature two undefeated scores going head to head. One might suspect a short draw, but Eli told me that he doesn’t come to these events for the money but instead for the competition. Also it really helps to promote chess when players fight hard in last round situations like this, as there was a lot of recent controversy after the many last round quick draws in the US Championships. I was very glad to hear his sentiments and looked forward to an exciting last round duel.

Other big news in Round 4 was the end of Bonin’s curse! Bonin has lost an unbelievable 20-25 consecutive games to Alex Stripunsky. Despite the 200 point rating gap, a result that dominant is nearly impossible to achieve against a player as strong as Jay. Anyway Jay pulled out the victory and now the streak has finally ended!

Now on to our last round matchup...

(4) Vovsha,E (2484) - Kacheishvili,G (2681) [C11]
41st New York Masters New York (4), 28.01.2003

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Be7 6.Bxf6 Bxf6 7.Nf3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nd7 9.0-0-0 b6 10.Qf4 Bb7 11.Bc4 Bd5 12.Bxd5 exd5


This is definitely the type of move one would play, if one wanted to fight on. 13. Nxf6 probably leads to a small edge for white, but not enough to have any serious chances to win against someone of Giorgi’s caliber. However most of the strong GMs and IMs who were observing on ICC preferred Nxf6 over Ng3.

13...Re8 14.Rhe1 Rxe1 15.Rxe1 Nf8 16.Nh5 Ne6

At this point Giorgi offered a draw, but true to his word, Vovsha fought on. To be honest white is the only one with any chances in the resulting endgame, due to the new weaknesses in black’s pawn structure.

17.Nxf6+ Qxf6 18.Qxf6 gxf6 19.Kd2 Kf8 20.g3 Ke7 21.Nh4 Kd7 22.c3 c5 23.Nf5 cxd4 24.cxd4 Rc8 25.b3

So we have arrived in this endgame, and although most people still thought white had the advantage, one strong commentator (A VERY strong GM) thought that although white is still better, the result should be a draw.

25...b5 26.f4

Vovsha no longer knew how to make progress and would suffice himself with the $260 he would receive splitting 1st and 2nd. This decision is understandable as he had a time disadvantage of about 8 minutes to 18 at this moment.


And so there we have it, IM Vovsha and GM Kacheishvili are co-champions of the 41st NY Masters. Tying for 3rd place were GM Ibragimov and IM Bonin. This was a real fighting event as out of 26 games we had a grand total of just 2 draws! Next week we have our first ever WILD CARD WEEK, so that should be very interesting. Also I plan to jump back in the mix, and even Canadian Champion Pascal Charbonneau claims he will come down and join the party!

41st New York Masters Action USA (USA), 28 i 2003
                                     1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Kacheishvili,Giorgi  g  2681 +11 + 4 + 5 = 2   3.5  ($260)
    2. Vovsha, Eli          m  2484 + 9 +14 +10 = 1   3.5  ($260)
    3. Ibragimov, Ildar     g  2651 -14 +12 +13 +10   3.0  ($ 30)
    4. Bonin, Jay           m  2445 +17 - 1 +14 + 6   3.0  ($ 30)
    5. Krush, Irina         m  2400 +16 + 8 - 1 = 7   2.5
    6. Stripunsky, Alex     g  2649 - 8 + 9 +11 - 4   2.0
    7. Gershov, Yevgeniy    f  2356 =   -10 + 8 = 5   2.0  ($ 20)
    8. Furdzik, Rafal          2319 + 6 - 5 - 7 +13   2.0  ($ 20)
    9. Benen, Samson           2258 - 2 - 6 +12 +14   2.0  ($ 20)
   10. Privman, Boris       f  2227 +13 + 7 - 2 - 3   2.0  ($ 20)
   11. Milman, Lev             2370 - 1 +17 - 6 =     1.5
   12. Gelman, Geoffrey        2200 =   - 3 - 9 +16   1.5
   13. Cela, Altin          m  2454 -10 +16 - 3 - 8   1.0
   14. Shahade, Jennifer    m  2352 + 3 - 2 - 4 - 9   1.0
   15. Hess, Robert            2104 --- --- --- +17   1.0
   16. Tanwir, Furqan          1787 - 5 -13 +17 -12   1.0
   17. Chernin, Oliver         2213 - 4 -11 -16 -15   0.0

PRIZES 1ST - $400 2ND - $120 3RD - $ 60 U2400 - $ 80