51st NY MASTER ACTION
COMMENTARY BY IM GREG SHAHADE
April 8th 2003
Can anyone dethrone king Ehlvest? With 4 consecutive first place victories, he just needs a victory this week to tie Stripunsky’s record of being NY Masters champion for 5 consecutive weeks.
Stripunsky wouldn’t be in attendance to stop Ehlvest, as due to heavy traffic he was unable to make it to the tournament until midway through the 2nd round! Stripunsky was not the only victim of traffic, as Pascal Charbonneau tried to drive from Maryland, but faced a similar traffic jam. Perhaps they were in the same traffic jam and could have played each other during that time?
Special congratulations go out to NY Masters participants Peter Aravena and newly crowned national High School Champion, Samson Benen. Peter and Samson tied for first in the first ever NY Masters invitational Round Robin with 6/9. James Lewis still has a chance to tie for the prize if he can win his final game, which was postponed because of the snow.
Also there is only one week remaining in this season of the NY Masters. This means that if you plan to donate money to the event, please let me know before April 22nd so that I can add your donation to the prize fund! Thanks to everyone thus far for your support and it looks like the NY Masters will be going on strong throughout the summertime and the next 20 weeks!
Special thanks to Upma Sharma for making this report prettier than usual.
Participant List for 51st NY Masters:
1. GM Jan Ehlvest
2. GM Leonid Yudasin
3. GM Alex Wojtkiewicz
4. IM Jay Bonin
5. FM Lev Milman
6. FM Alan Stein
7. FM Danny Shevelev
8. FM Lew Eisen
9. NM Rafal Furdzik
10. FM Boris Privman
11. NM Yaacov Norowitz
12. NM Peter Aravena
13. Qualifier – Joe Lux
14. Filler – Jonathan Corbblah
1st - $330
2nd - $120
3rd - $60
U2400 - $75
1 Ehlvest – Eisen SEE BELOW!
2 Furdzik – Yudasin 0-1
3 Wojtkiewicz - Privman 1-0
4 Norowitz – Bonin 0-1
5 Milman - Aravena 1-0
6 Lux - Stein 1-0
7 Shevelev - Corbblah 1-0
First time qualifier, Joe Lux, shocked the world in the first round by knocking off FM Alan Stein. Alan was a regular in the NY Masters and has been gone for some time, as he was in California and plans to move there next week. Hopefully we will get to see him give it one more shot next week!
(1) Ehlvest,J (2705) - Eisen,L (2305) [B40]
51st New York Masters New York (1), 08.04.2003
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 Nc6 7.Nxc6 Qxc6 8.0-0 Bc5 9.Qd3 Qc7 10.Be3 Bxe3 11.Qxe3 Ne7 12.Rad1
A strange looking move, but Eisen is scared stiff of the push e5, and an having to defend an everlasting weak square on d6. If Eisen pushes ….d6 himself, the d-pawn itself will become terminally weak. Unfortunately, despite stopping white’s e5 thrust, the d6 square remains extremely weak.
13.a4 b6 14.Rd2 Bb7 15.Rfd1 Rd8 16.Bh5+ g6 17.Bg4
A very annoying move to deal with. Black can’t castle because of Rxd7, and meanwhile white is threatening Bxe6. The only way to fight this is to “castle by hand”.
17...Kf7 18.Qh3 Bc8 19.Rd6 h5 20.Be2 Bb7 21.Qe3
Now black has the chance to mix up the game with the move 21….Nd5. Black could have tried it last move as well, although now its even more logical, as it attacks the queen on e3. Maybe white has a strong retort, but black’s position is terminal and to pass up an opportunity to grab an exchange like this, doesn’t seem right, as there is no doubt that Ehlvest won’t allow such a shot again.
Perhaps Ehlvest would try the variation 21….Nd5 22.R1d5 ed5 (if 22.Bxd5 23.Qxb6, and an endgame will happen with 2 pawns for an exchange) 23. Qf4, with a very powerful attack for the exchange.
Despite this I think …Nd5 was the correct choice, as now the GM is going to grind him down without much trouble.
21...Nc8 22.R6d4 Ne7 23.Rb4 Nc8 24.f4 d6
Opening black’s position like a can of worms.
25...gxf5 26.exf5 e5 27.Rc4 Qd7 28.Rh4 Qxf5 29.Bc4+ Ke7 30.Bd5!
Black has to allow a knight on d5, and at then there will be no chance to resist.
30...Bxd5 31.Nxd5+ Ke6 32.Qb3 Kd7 33.Rf1 Qg5 34.Rc4 Rdf8 35.Rc7+ Kd8 36.Qc3 Qg4 37.Nxf6 Qd4+ 38.Qxd4 exd4
1 Bonin – Ehlvest 0-1
2 Yudasin – Milman SEE BELOW!
3 Shevelev – Wojtkiewicz 0-1
4 Eisen – Lux 1-0
Ehlvest continued his great run by moving to 2-0 by beating Jay Bonin. However Jay’s run of playing in all 51 NY Masters is perhaps much more impressive. Lux was unable to play the Cinderella role for another round as he couldn’t pull off another upset against FM Lew Eisen. Crowd favorite, 15 year old Lev Milman, was set to take on former World Championship Candidate Leonid Yudasin….
(2) Yudasin,L (2666) - Milman,L (2414) [B20]
51st New York Masters New York (2), 08.04.2003
1.e4 c5 2.g3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2
Unorthodox Opening as usual from Grandmaster Yudasin. More typical, although also unorthodox is 5.Bg2 Qe6 6.Kf1.
5...Nc6 6.h3 Bf5 7.Nc3 Qd7 8.g4 Bg6 9.d3 e6 10.Be3 Nf6 11.Qd2 Nd5 12.0-0-0 0-0-0 13.Kb1 Be7 14.Nxd5 exd5 15.Bf4 f6 16.Rhe1 d4 17.Nh4 Bf7
Quite an annoying move! White is now threatening 18.Bg4. Milman has to resort to desperate measures to deal with this threat.
18...h5 19.gxh6 g6 20.b3 Nb4 21.Bf3 f5 22.Bg5 Bxg5 23.Qxg5 Qd6 24.a3 Nc6 25.Bxc6 bxc6 26.Re7
Things seem to be going very well for white thus far. White has an extra pawn, a powerful rook on the 7th rank, but watch as Milman throws caution to the wind and creates some interesting counterplay..
26...Rd7 27.Rde1 c4!? 28.dxc4 d3 29.Rxd7 Kxd7 30.Rd1 Bxc4
Lev tries to save the day with a bold sacrifice, however Milman’s sacrifice was never really precise, and against someone as strong as Yudasin, such trickery is usually to no avail.
31.bxc4 Rb8+ 32.Ka2 Qe5 33.Rxd3+ Kc7
34.Rb3! Rxb3 35.Kxb3 1-0
Standings after Round 2
2 pts – Ehlvest, Yudasin, Wojtkiewicz
1 Ehlvest (2) – Yudasin (2) SEE BELOW
2 Wojtkiewicz (2) – Bonin (1) 1-0
Wojtkiewicz moved to 3-0 after knocking off Jay Bonin and now it was up to Ehlvest and Yudasin to see who would join Wojo at the top. I know that Yudasin REALLY wanted to beat Ehlvest, as Ehlvest has been UNSTOPPABLE thus far in the NY Masters, as he has won the first 4 times he has played. In head to head NY Masters matchups thus far, Ehlvest is up 3-0 against Yudasin. Yudasin is NOT an easy player to have a 3-0 score against, that much I assure you. A fourth consecutive victory over Yudasin should be enough to give him his 5th consecutive title.
(3) Ehlvest,J (2705) - Yudasin,L (2666) [E20]
51st New York Masters New York (3), 08.04.2003
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Be7 6.e4 c5 7.cxd5 exd5 8.dxc5 d4
Yudasin is going for a risky pawn sacrifice on just move 8! He’s hoping that Ehlvest’s offsides knight and weakened king position (because of the move f3) will give him sufficient compensation…
9.Na4 0-0 10.Ne2 Nc6 11.b4 b5 12.cxb6 axb6 13.Nf4 Bb7 14.Bb5 Na7 15.Bd3 Bc6 16.0-0 Nb5 17.Qc2 Rc8 18.Qe2 Nc3 19.Nxc3 dxc3 20.Be3 Bd6 21.Ba6 Rb8 22.Nd3 Qc7
It seems like Yudasin is getting very good compensation! The h2 pawn is under attack, the passed c-pawn is a real thorn in Ehlvest’s side, and the bishop on a6 may be cut off at any moment with the move ….b5. Ehlvest decides to forget about his h-pawn for now, and worry about eliminating this c3-pawn.
23.Rfc1 Bxh2+ 24.Kf1 Nh5!
Look at white’s weak dark squares! Ehlvest is no longer even up material, and thus will have to fight very hard to pull this one out, with his king’s perilous situation.
25.Bf2 Ba4 26.b5 Rfd8 27.Nb4 Rd2!
All of Yudasin’s pieces are storming in! Ehlvest has no choice but to bail out into an endgame down the exchange, because if the queen moves, black has the fatal …Qc4 check.
28.Qxd2 cxd2 29.Rxc7 Bxc7 30.Ke2 d1Q+
Now Yudasin has an extra exchange and it looks like Ehlvest won’t get nearly enough compensation. Before rushing to grab the rook, Yudasin takes another pawn with some in between move knight checks.
31.Rxd1 Nf4+ 32.Ke1 Nxg2+ 33.Kd2 Rd8+ 34.Nd5 Bxd1 35.Kxd1 Nf4
Finally Ehlvest has been dethroned! Black’s position is totally won. Black has an extra exchange and the passed h-pawn should eventually decide matters. Congratulations to Yudasin for being the first player to beat Ehlvest!
Standings after Round 3
3 pts – Yudasin, Wojtkiewicz
2 pts – Ehlvest, Shevelev, Milman (last round .5 pt bye)
1 Yudasin (3) – Wojtkiewicz (3) 1/2 -1/2
2 Shevelev (2) – Ehlvest (2) SEE BELOW!
Yudasin and Wojtkiewicz became joint winners after agreeing to a quick draw in the final round. Both players picked up $225 for their efforts. In the battle for third place we had Isralien FM Danny Shevelev and GM Jan Ehlvest. Let’s check out the action….
(4) Shevelev,D (2349) - Ehlvest,J (2705) [B83]
51st New York Masters New York (4), 08.04.2003
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Be2 Be7 7.g4 d5 8.exd5 Nxd5 9.Bb5+ Bd7 10.Nxd5 exd5 11.Bxd7+ Qxd7 12.Nf5 0-0 13.0-0 Nc6 14.c3 Rfe8 15.Bf4 Bf8 16.Qf3 g6 17.Ne3 Rad8 18.Rad1
You know what they say about moving pawns in front of your king… This would be a completely normal position if the move g4 hadn’t been played, but because of it’s inclusion, black already has the initiative.
Now if white captures on d4, black wins after Nxd4 followed by Ne2 check and Nxf4.
19.c4 Bg7 20.Nd5 Rc8 21.Rfe1 Re6 22.Bg5 Ne5
Shevelev pitches the exchange, hoping to get pressure on the dark squares around black’s king.
23...Bxe5 24.b3 Bg7 25.h3 Rce8 26.Kg2 Re1 27.Rd3 f5 !?
An interesting way to give breathing room for the black king and to diffuse white’s threats of entering the f6 square.
28.Bf6 R8e4 29.Bxd4? Rxd4 0-1
Thus despite not winning the event, Ehlvest stays on the moneyboard while picking up the $60 third prize. Shevlev, Eisen and Furdzik all split the U2400 money with 2/4. It’s nice when 2/4 basically gets you your money back, as all three of these players received $25. Congratulations to Yudasin and Wojtkiewicz again, and congratulations to Stripunsky as your streak of 5 consecutive titles remains the longest streak in NY Masters history!
51st New York Masters Action USA (USA), 8 iv 2003
1 2 3 4 Total
1. Yudasin, Leonid g 2666 + 7 + 4 + 1 = 2 3.5 ($225)
2. Wojtkiewicz, Alek g 2617 +12 + 5 + 8 = 1 3.5 ($225)
3. Ehlvest, Jaan g 2705 + 6 + 8 - 3 + 5 3.0 ($ 60)
4. Milman, Lev f 2414 +10 - 1 + 6 = 2.5
5. Shevelev, Danny f 2349 +14 - 2 +11 - 3 2.0 ($ 25)
6. Eisen, Lewis f 2305 - 3 +11 - 4 +13 2.0 ($ 25)
7. Furdzik, Rafal 2287 - 1 +10 = 9 = 8 2.0 ($ 25)
8. Bonin, Jay m 2462 +13 - 3 - 2 = 7 1.5
9. Stein, Alan f 2378 -11 +13 = 7 --- 1.5
10. Aravena, Peter 2204 - 4 - 7 +14 =12 1.5
11. Lux, Joseph 2055 + 9 - 6 - 5 =14 1.5
12. Privman, Boris f 2283 - 2 =14 -13 =10 1.0
13. Norowitz, Yaacov 2233 - 8 - 9 +12 - 6 1.0
14. Corbblah, Jonathan 2019 - 5 =12 -10 =11 1.0
1ST - $330
2ND - $120
3RD - $ 60
U2400 - $ 75