MARCH 11th 2003

The weekly reports are back after a week’s absence. Sorry for not sending one out last week but I was incredibly busy, as I had to help organize the art gallery match between my sister and Irina Krush, as well as go to Columbus to coach some kids for the National High School Championships.

The match between Jenn Shahade and Irina Krush was a huge success! Approximately 80 people attended the exhibition match at the spacious and beautiful Viewing Gallery. Pictures and a report can be found at

The match ended in a 1-1 tie, as both players won with the white pieces. Thanks to the American Foundation for Chess, the USCF and the Viewing Gallery for making the event possible. Thanks also to two players from tonight, as Jonathan Corbblah manned the demo boards and David Zimbeck supplied the cookies!

Last week Ehlvest and Stripunsky shared joint first, and they were back again to go for the glory. So far Ehlvest had won all six games that were not agreed to quick draws. Included in his list of victims were GM Yudasin, GM Stripunsky, IM Kreiman and IM Charbonneau. Would his hot streak continue this week?

Participant List for 49th NY Masters:

1. GM Leonid Yudasin
2. GM Jan Ehlvest
3. GM Alex Stripunsky
4. GM Alex Wojtkiewicz
5. IM Boris Kreiman
6. IM Jay Bonin
7. NM Evgeny Gershov
8. FM Danny Shevelev
9. IM Justin Sarkar
10. IM Bobby Kurniawan
11. NM Rafal Furdzik
12. FM Boris Privman
13. NM Alex Lenderman
14. Qualifier – David Zimbeck
15. Filler – Jonathan Corbblah


1st - $350
2nd - $120
3rd - $60
U2400 - $70



1 Sarkar - Yudasin 1/2 -1/2
2 Ehlvest – Kurniawan SEE BELOW!
3 Furdzik – Stripunsky 0-1
4 Wojtkiewicz – Privman 1-0
5 Lenderman – Kreiman 0-1
6 Bonin – Zimbeck 1-0
7 Corbblah – Shevelev 0-1
1/2 pt. bye for Gershov

We had no big upsets in the first round, however Justin Sarkar held Yudasin to a draw. Justin had a long streak of losses to Yudasin in the past but seems to be turning things around after his strong US Championship performance.

Jan Ehlvest faced off against Indonesian IM Bobby Kurniawan. Bobby has played in the NY Masters once before, and is greeted with a very tough test in the first round.

(1) Ehlvest,J (2702) - Kurniawan,B (2311) [A74]
49th New York Masters New York (1), 25.03.2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 0-0 5.Bg5 c5 6.d5 d6 7.Nd2 a6 8.e4 e6 9.a4 exd5 10.cxd5 Nbd7 11.Be2 Re8 12.0-0 Rb8 13.f3 Qc7 14.Kh1 h5

15.f4 Nh7 16.Bh4 Ndf6 17.e5 Ng4 18.Nc4 dxe5 19.d6 Qd7 20.a5 b5 21.axb6 exf4 22.Rxf4 g5

Forcing Ehlvest to sacrifice the exchange! Kurniawan is playing very dynamic chess, however white will get some serious play for the exchange, as the pawns on b6 and d6 are VERY restricting.

23.Rxg4 hxg4 24.Bg3 Bd4 25.Nd5 Nf6 26.Qxd4!

26...Nxd5 27.Qxd5 Rxe2 28.Qxg5+ Kf8 29.Qf6 Kg8 30.Be5!

Now white is simply winning, the passed pawns will carry Ehlvest to victory in the endgame.

30...Rxe5 31.Nxe5 Qe6 32.Qxe6 Bxe6 33.d7

White is threatening Nc6, thus Kurniawan had no choice but to sacrifice his bishop, leaving him with an obviously hopeless endgame.

33...Bxd7 34.Nxd7 Rb7 35.Rd1 c4 36.Kg1 a5 37.Rd6 Kg7 38.Nc5 1-0


Key Pairings
1 Kreiman – Ehlvest SEE BELOW!
2 Stripunsky – Bonin 1-0
3 Shevelev – Wojtkiewicz 0-1

Again the favorites were victorious as GM’s Wojtkiewicz and Stripunsky moved to 2-0. It’s rather funny that if Yudasin had ended up defeating Sarkar in round 1, we would have seen Wojtkiewicz paired up in the 2nd round! I would bet that this hasn’t happened to him in any American tournament in a VERY long time.

Let’s see if the always dangerous IM Boris Kreiman, could contain GM Jan Ehlvest.

(2) Kreiman,B (2581) - Ehlvest,J (2702) [D85]
49th New York Masters New York (2), 25.03.2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 0-0 8.Be2 b6 9.0-0 Bb7 10.Qd3 Nc6 11.Bg5 Qd7 12.Qe3 Rfe8 13.Bb5 a6 14.Ba4 b5 15.Bc2 Na5

16.Rad1 Qc6 17.e5 Qe6 18.a4 Nc4 19.Qf4 f6 20.Bh4 fxe5 21.Ng5

21...exf4 22.Nxe6 Bh6! 23.Nxc7 g5

Ehlvest is going to get 2 pieces for a rook, but Kreiman felt there was some compensation as black’s pawns are a bit discombobulated. Will Ehlvest be able to consolidate?

24.axb5 axb5 25.Nxa8 Bxa8 26.Rfe1 gxh4 27.Bf5 Bg5 28.d5 Nd6

The answer seems to be YES! Black has firmly defended all of his weaknesses and now can look towards picking the white position apart with material advantage.

29.Be6+ Kg7 30.Ra1 Bf6 31.Ra3 Bb7 32.Rb1 Bc8 33.Rb4 Bxe6 34.dxe6 Be5 35.Kf1 Rc8


White has been pushed into total passivity. It’s only a matter of time before this one is over.

36...Kf6 37.Ke2 Kxe6 38.Kd3 Rc5 39.Ra6 Kf5 40.Ra8 Bf6 41.Rb8 Rd5+ 42.Kc2 h3 43.gxh3 Re5 44.Kd3 f3 45.Rg8 Ne4 46.Rb2 Nc5+ 47.Kc2 Re2+ 48.Kb1 Rxb2+ 49.Kxb2 b4 50.Rg3 Bxc3+ 51.Kc2 Ke4 52.Rg4+ Kd5 53.Rf4 Bd4 54.Rxf3 b3+ 55.Kb1 Kc4 56.Rf7 Bf6 57.Rf8 Ne4 58.Rc8+ Kd3 59.Rb8 Nd2+ 60.Kc1 b2+ 0-1

Another impressive performance by Ehlvest. So far in this event it is hard to even find a mistake in his play! Maybe someone will show him how to make a mistake in the final rounds of this event?

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Ehlvest, Stripunsky, Wojtkiewicz
1.5 pts – Yudasin, Sarkar


Key Pairings

1 Ehlvest – Stripunsky SEE BELOW!!
2 Wojtkiewicz – Yudasin 0-1
3 Sarkar – Kreiman 0-1

Yudasin fully recovered from his early round draw by knocking off Alex Wojtkiewicz with the black pieces. Alex is very strong with the white pieces, thus this was an impressive result for Yudasin. He now awaited the winner of Stripunsky and Ehlvest….

(3) Ehlvest,J (2702) - Stripunsky,A (2648) [B42]
49th New York Masters New York (3), 25.03.2003

1.e4 c5

In Ehlvest’s first NY Masters, these guys faced off for first place, in the final round. Ehlvest had white in that game, played the English opening and beat Stripunsky in a long and exciting game. This time he has chosen 1.e4, let’s see what he has in store for Stripunsky’s favorite Paulsen type setups…

2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.Nb3 Be7 7.0-0 d6 8.c4 Nf6 9.Nc3 b6 10.Be3 Bb7 11.Rc1 Nbd7 12.Nd4 0-0 13.Bb1 Rc8 14.Qe2 Re8 15.f4 Bf8 16.Nf3 Qc7 17.b3 g6

We have reached a typical Paulsen where white has more space, but is unsure how to use it. Meanwhile black awaits the right moment to make either the …b5 or …d5 pawn break. Ehlvest lunges with his knight…

18.Ng5 Bg7 19.Kh1 Qb8 20.Bd2 h6 21.Nf3 Nh5 22.Qf2 b5!?

Stripunsky felt that the timing was right and opens up the position.

23.cxb5 axb5 24.Nxb5 Ba6 25.a4 Bxb5 26.axb5 Qxb5 27.b4

Here is the result of ….b5. Will the pawn on b4 be a strength or a weakness? I think that the two bishops, combined with the later threats involving the passed b-pawn, give white the advantage.

27...Ndf6 28.h3 Nd7 29.Rfe1 Rxc1 30.Rxc1 e5?! 31.f5! gxf5


A move of incredible power, which gives white a HUGE advantage. The knight on f5 is simply too strong.


A flashy try, but it gives white a simple path to a winning advantage.

33.Qxe2 Ng3+ 34.Kh2 Nxe2 35.Rc7

This is the point, the knight will come to f5 after black’s d7 knight moves, and blacks h6 pawn and probably the f7 pawn will soon fall.

35...Nf6 36.Nxf5 d5 37.Bxh6 Bf8 38.Bxf8 Kxf8 39.Nd6 Re6 40.Rc8+ Ke7 41.Nf5+ Kd7 42.exd5 Nxd5 43.Rf8 Nec3 44.Rxf7+ Ke8 45.Rb7!

Nxb1 is now impossible due to Ng7 check, picking up the rook.

45...Rf6 46.Bc2 e4 47.g4 e3 48.Kg3 e2 49.Kf2 Ra6 50.Bd3 Ra2 51.Nd6+ Kf8 52.Bc4 Rd2 53.Rf7+ Kg8 54.Re7

Jaan was low on time at this point, but has been playing very coolly. He has given Stripunsky a lot of hope with that passed e-pawn but has it firmly in check for now.

54...Kh8 55.Re8+ Kg7 56.Nf5+ Kf6 57.Bxe2 Nf4 58.Ng3 Nxh3+ 59.Ke3 Rb2 60.Ne4+ Nxe4 61.Rxe4

And now the battle is over. Even though Ehlvest had only about 30 seconds at this point, with the 5 second increment, there is no way he can be stopped in this position.

61...Ng5 62.Rf4+ Ke5 63.Rf5+ 1-0

Another impressive display by Ehlvest. I don’t mean to heap so much praise upon one player, but until someone stops him what choice do I have? Yudasin would have a great shot in the final round as he would have the white pieces, and they would be playing for first place!

Standings after Round 3

3 pts – Ehlvest
2.5 pts – Yudasin
2 pts – Stripunsky, Wojtkiewicz, Kreiman, Bonin


Key Pairings

1 Yudasin (2.5) – Ehlvest (3) SEE BELOW!
2 Stripunsky (2) – Wojtkiewicz (2) 1/2-1/2
3 Kreiman (2) – Bonin (2) 0-1

This round gave us the matchup that everyone was waiting for. Two world championship candidates would go head to head with this week’s championship on the line! Yudasin was a half point behind thus needed a win to clinch first place whereas a draw or a win by Ehlvest guaranteed the $350 to him. Let’s check it out!!

(4) Yudasin,L (2706) - Ehlvest,J (2702) [B30]
49th New York Masters New York (4), 25.03.2003

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3

Despite needing the victory, Yudasin sticks with his slow Kings Indian attack type setups. Would Ehlvest be unable to take the pressure of white’s slow build-up?

3...Nc6 4.g3 Bd6 5.Bg2 Nge7 6.0-0 0-0 7.Be3 b6 8.c3 Bc7 9.d4 cxd4 10.cxd4 d5 11.e5 a5

12.Qd2 Ba6 13.Rc1 b5 14.Nc3 Bb6 15.h4 Qd7 16.Bf1 f6

Ehlvest must feel that he was more prepared to open the position than Yudasin..

17.exf6 Rxf6 18.Nh2 Nf5 19.Nxb5 Nxe3 20.Qxe3 e5!

21.Qb3 Nxd4 22.Nxd4 Bxd4 23.Ng4?

If 23...Qxg4, white captures on d5 and picks up the a8 rook, however Ehlvest uses a simple Zwichenszug (1000-1 odds that I spelled that right)


A winning blow! Yudasin didn’t even come close in this one, as Ehlvest’s pieces are now coming from all directions. The rook is heading for b2, and then f2. Meanwhile the knight on g4 is hanging!

24.Nxe5 Qd6 25.Rc6

This move is equivalent to resigning. Ehlvest now wins a piece in a completely normal position.

25...Rxc6 26.Nxc6 Qxc6 27.Rd1 Bc4 28.Qc2 Qc5

Now the mopping up process begins. Yudasin fought on, which is always encouraged, but the latest star of the NY Masters easily converted the extra piece.

29.Qd2 Bxf1 30.Qxd4 Qxd4 31.Rxd4 Be2 32.Rxd5 Bc4 33.Rd2 Bxa2 34.Kg2 Bb3 35.g4 a4 36.Kg3 Re8 37.h5 Kf7 38.Kf4 h6 39.f3 Re7 40.g5 hxg5+ 41.Kxg5 Re5+ 42.Kh4 Rd5 43.Re2 Kf6 44.Rg2 Rd4+ 45.Kg3 Rc4 46.Rd2 Rc2 47.Rd6+ Ke7 48.Ra6 Rxb2 49.f4 Ra2 50.f5 Ra1 0-1

So Ehlvest has now won the event for 3 weeks running. I’m not sure how long he will be in the USA, but if he sticks around he has a serious shot at Stripunsky’s record of winning the tournament for 5 consecutive weeks.

Quietly coming in clear 2nd was Jay Bonin, who knocked off IM Boris Kreiman in the final round. Under 2400 prize went to Justin Sarkar, who beat Furdzik in the final round to finish with 2.5/4. Justin won’t likely be eligible for the U2400 prize anytime soon, as his rating just jumped up from 2346 to 2429, due to some recent strong performances.

49th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 25 iii 2003
                                     1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Ehlvest, Jaan        g  2702 +12 + 7 + 4 + 3   4.0  ($350)
    2. Bonin, Jay           m  2415 +13 - 4 + 8 + 7   3.0  ($120)
    3. Yudasin, Leonid      g  2706 = 6 +14 + 5 - 1   2.5  ($ 20)
    4. Stripunsky, Alex     g  2648 +11 + 2 - 1 = 5   2.5  ($ 20)
    5. Wojtkiewicz, Alek    g  2637 + 9 + 8 - 3 = 4   2.5  ($ 20)
    6. Sarkar, Justin       m  2349 = 3 +12 - 7 +11   2.5  ($ 70)
    7. Kreiman, Boris       m  2581 +10 - 1 + 6 - 2   2.0
    8. Shevelev, Danny      f  2349 +15 - 5 - 2 +12   2.0
    9. Privman, Boris       f  2241 - 5 =10 =11 +14   2.0
   10. Lenderman, Alex         2206 - 7 = 9 +14 =     2.0
   11. Furdzik, Rafal          2282 - 4 +13 = 9 - 6   1.5
   12. Kurniawan, Bobby     m  2311 - 1 - 6 +13 - 8   1.0
   13. Zimbeck, David          2160 - 2 -11 -12 +15   1.0
   14. Gershov, Yevgeniy    f  2359 =   - 3 -10 - 9   0.5
   15. Corbblah, Jonathan      2019 - 8 --- --- -13   0.0

PRIZES 1ST - $350 2ND - $120 3RD - $ 60 U2400 - $ 70