May 6th 2003

We had the reigning US Champion in attendance this week, yet he wasn’t even our top ranked player, as GM Jan Ehlvest held that distinction. Rounding out the field of Grandmasters was Alex Stripunsky. We actually had two national champions playing in this event, as the champion of USA and Canada were both competing, as IM Pascal Charbonneau was also in attendance!

Also NM Mike Klein said to mention him in this report, so I guess ummm, hi Mike! Mike is the coach of IS 228, the team led by NY Master regular Alex Lenderman. They recently won the open section of the National Junior High School Championship. NY teams dominated the event as IS318, coached by Elizabeth Vicary, won the Under 1250, Under 1000 and Under 750, thus giving NY a clean sweep of all the team prizes.

Participant List for 55th NY Masters:

1. GM Jan Ehlvest
2. GM Alexander Shabalov
3. GM Alexander Stripunsky
4. IM Rashid Ziatdinov
5. IM Jay Bonin
6. IM Pascal Charbonneau
7. WIM Jenn Shahade
8. NM Evgeny Gershov
9. NM Rafal Furdzik
10. FM Boris Privman
11. FM John Bick
12. Qualifier – Yucet Sori
13. Filler – Evan Rosenberg


1st - $350
2nd - $120
3rd - $50
U2400 - $80



1 Ehlvest – J.Shahade LIVE GAME!!
2 Furdzik – Shabalov 0-1
3 Stripunsky – Privman 1-0
4 Bick – Bonin 0-1
5 Charbonneau – Sori 1-0
˝ bye for – Ziatdinov, Gershov

There weren’t many surprises in the first round. The qualifier, Yucet Sori, had great chances against Charbonneau but ended up botching up a rook and pawn endgame, and allowing the Canadian Champ to queen a pawn. Privman defeated Stripunsky last week in shocking fashion, but this week fell victim to a very common opening trap and lost right away. (1.e4 d6 2.d4 e5 3.Nf3 Nd7 4.Bc4 Be7 5.de5 de5 6.Qd5!) It’s funny because Privman knows about this trap, as he has avoided it every time he’s played me in this variation.

(1) Ehlvest,J (2705) - Shahade,J (2375) [D98]
55th New York Masters New York (1), 06.05.2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d5 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 Nc6 8.Be2 Bg4 9.d5 Na5

In last week’s NY Masters, I had this same position against Ehlvest and played the incorrect ….Bxf3. Nice to see that Jenn knows this move order better than I do.

10.Qa4 Bxf3 11.Bxf3 c6 12.0-0 b5 13.Qb4 a6 14.Rd1


A nice, thematic move. Nd7 breaks the pin on the d-file and also threatens …c5, which would win a piece after Qa3 b4. Ehlvest goes through some contortions to deal with black’s threats.

15.Ne2 c5 16.Qe1 Ne5 17.Nf4 Nxf3+ 18.gxf3 Nc4 19.Qe2 Qc8 20.Rb1 Ne5 21.Bd2


A powerful blow, wrecking havoc in white’s position. Once the knight moves, the queen will come to h3 with incredible force. GM Ehlvest seems to be in serious trouble early on in this week’s NY Masters!

22.Nd3 Qh3 23.Nxe5 Bxe5 24.f4

Ehlvest finds himself forced to give up a pawn.


Let’s take stock….Jenn has a solid extra pawn and also a nice attack on whites king, after ideas such as …Kh8 and Rg8. On the other hand Jenn’s Achilles heel was beginning to rear it’s ugly head, as she was nearing 5 minutes on the clock.

25.Qf1 Qh5 26.f3 Kh8 27.Kh1 Rg8 28.Qe2 Rg3

Increasing the pressure…..white is forced to place his pieces in passive defensive positions.

29.Rf1 Rag8 30.Bc3 Bxc3 31.bxc3 Qh3 32.Rf2 Qh5 33.e5 Qg6 34.Qf1 Rg5 35.Re1 Qh5 36.Qe2 Qg6 37.Qf1 Qg7 38.Rfe2 Rd8 39.d6

All of the sudden white is getting counterplay, and Jenn Shahade is down to her final minute or two on the clock…..


This may have been a bad practical decision, all of the sudden the e-file is open for the white rooks.

40.exd6 Qxc3 41.Re8+


41…Rg8 was the only attempt

42.Rxe8+ Kg7 43.d7 1-0

A close shave for Ehlvest, but he doesn’t repeat his first round woes of 2 weeks ago (When he lost in round 1 to Lev Milman) and thus moves to 1/1.


1 Bonin – Ehlvest 1-0
2 Shabalov – Stripunsky LIVE GAME!
3 Ziatdinov – Charbonneau 0-1

There was a quick upset in round 2, as The Bone took out last’s weeks champion, Jan Ehlvest. Ehlvest came close to defeat in the first round and finally succumbed in round two, when he lost an exchange to Bonin and had to shortly resign. Charbonneau looked to have a difficult position, when suddenly Ziatdinov gave up a piece and with it the game. Let’s check out the GM vs GM battle, in just the 2nd round!

(2) Shabalov,A (2676) - Stripunsky,A (2643) [D47]
55th New York Masters New York (2), 06.05.2003

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bd6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Bd2 Bb7 11.Rc1 Rc8 12.Ne2 b4 13.e4 c5

14.e5 Bxf3 15.exd6

The fans thought that Stripunsky may be in big trouble at this point, as Shabalov had made all of his moves instantly, and Stripunsky had spent about 10 minutes, not to mention that black’s position looks rather suspect.

15...Bxe2 16.Qxe2

And Shabalov has two bishops against two knights!

16….cxd4 17.Bxb4 Qb6 18.Ba3 Nc5 19.Qc2

Yikes! This move attacks the knight on c5 and black can’t move the knight because white would have Qxc8. Stripunsky is forced to give up his h7-pawn.

19...Nfd7 20.Bxh7+ Kh8 21.b4


Attacking the bishop on a3 while defending the c8 rook.

22.bxc5 Qxa3 23.Qe4 Rxc5 24.Qh4??? - BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN

The crowd went NUTS when Qh4 was played, and also went nuts when Stripunsky instantly replied with …Nf6! Stripunsky missed …Qxc1, winning the game at once, as the queen come back to h6 to block any discovered checks.

24...Nf6 25.Bb1+ Kg8 26.Rcd1 Rd5 27.Rd3 Qxd6 28.g4

Shabalov is really going for it now! The immediate Rh3 didn’t work because of …Rh5, but now it becomes a threat. Stripunsky flees with the king, although there is nothing scarier then being attacked by Shabalov, one of the best attackers in the nation.

28...Rb8 29.g5 Ne8 30.Rh3 Kf8 31.Be4 Rc5 32.Rd1 Qe5 33.Rg3 g6 34.Rdd3 Rc3 35.Rgf3 Rxd3 36.Bxd3 Ke7 37.Qh7 Qxg5+ 38.Rg3 Qh5 39.Qg8 Rd8

Stripunsky has done a fine job of defending, as Shabalov can make no easy headway against the black king. He reacts by sacrificing more material!!

40.Bxg6 fxg6 41.Rxg6 Qf5 42.Rh6 Rc8 43.Rh7+ Kd6 44.Qg3+ Kc6 45.Rxa7 Nc7 46.Qb3 Qg5+!

A valiant attempt by the US Champ now ends in bitter defeat. Next move Stripunsky can trade queens by force, leading to an easily won endgame.

47.Kf1 Qb5+ 0-1

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Stripunsky, Bonin, Charbonneau
1.5 pts – Gershov



1 Stripunsky – Bonin
2 Gershov – Charbonneau

Charbonneau moved to 3-0 with a win over Gershov, and now he had to wait it out to see who would join him between Stripunsky and Bonin.

(3) Stripunsky,A (2643) - Bonin,J (2462) [B06]
55th New York Masters New York (3), 06.05.2003


Bonin is known for his historically bad results against Stripunsky, so he could not have been happy to sit across from him in round 3, however perhaps he gained some confidence from his round 2 victory over Jan Ehlvest?

1...c6 2.d4 d6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Nf3 b5 6.Bd3 Bb7 7.a4 b4 8.Ne2 a5 9.c3 Nd7 10.Qd2 c5 11.dxc5 Nxc5 12.Bxc5 dxc5 13.Bb5+ Kf8 14.Qe3

14...Qc7 15.0-0 Nf6 16.Rad1


Bonin accepts the sacrifice!

17.Ng3 Bb7 18.Rfe1 Nd5 19.Qd3 bxc3 20.bxc3 Bxc3 21.Re2 Bf6 22.Red2 Kg7 23.Qc4 Nb6 24.Qg4 Rhd8 25.Nh5+ Kh8 26.Nxf6 exf6 27.h4 Rxd2 28.Rxd2 h5 29.Qh3 Bc8 30.Qg3 Qxg3 31.fxg3 Be6 32.Rd6 Rb8

As you can see, Stripunsky was unable to drum up sufficient counterplay for his sacrificed pawn. Bonin has two extra pawns, it looks like he is well on his way to a very much desired win over Alex Stripunsky. With a win, it would be Jay Bonin’s first ever 3/3 start!

33.Nd2 Kg7 34.Ne4 c4 35.Nc3 Kf8 36.Rc6 Ke7 37.Kf2 Nd7 38.Ra6 Ne5 39.Rxa5 Rd8 40.Ra7+ Kf8 41.Ne4 Ng4+ 42.Ke2 Rd3

43.Nc5 Re3+ 44.Kd2 c3+ 45.Kc2 Bf5+ 46.Bd3 Rxd3

47.Nxd3 Ne5 48.Kxc3 Bxd3 49.a5 Bf1 50.a6

Oh no! Jay has gone terribly wrong, as the a-pawn is going to prove mighty difficult to stop. Fortunately even if black should sacrifice a piece for the pawn, it should be easy to at least draw with the extra pawns on the kingside

50...Bxg2 51.Rc7 g5 52.a7 Kg7 53.Kd4 gxh4 54.gxh4 Kg6 55.Ke3 Kf5 56.Kf2 Bd5 57.Kg3 Ke6 58.Rc8

58...Nd7 59.Re8+ Kd6 60.a8Q Bxa8 61.Rxa8 Ke6

All the sudden things are looking much more bleak for Bonin, as he is in serious danger of losing this game! It’s hard to have a winning position go to a better position, to slightly better, to equal and then to worse. Usually one goes all the way to losing in such situations, especially when Stripunsky has such a psychological edge over Bonin.

62.Rh8 Kf5 63.Rxh5+ Kg6 64.Ra5 Ne5 65.Kf4 Kh5 66.Kg3 Kg6 67.Rb5 Nc6 68.h5+ Kh6 69.Rb6 Ne5 70.Rxf6+ Kg5 71.Rf1 f5 72.h6 Kxh6 73.Rxf5

Jay had to be happy with this turn of events, as rook versus knight should be an easy draw. Yet how easy is it with the clock ticking and with only one minute remaining?

73...Ng6 74.Kg4 Kg7 75.Kg5 Ne7 76.Rc5 Kf7 77.Re5 Nc6 78.Re2 Nd4 79.Re3 Ne6+ 80.Kf5 Nd4+ 81.Ke5 Nc6+ 82.Kd6 Nd4 83.Re5 Kf6 84.Kd5 Nf5 85.Re2 Ne7+ 86.Ke4 Ke6 87.Rc2 Kd6 88.Rd2+ Ke6

White is making no progress……it looks like the draw is on the horizon


Not the best winning attempt

89...Nxd5! 1/2-1/2

Despite drawing his nemesis, Jay had to be very unhappy as he had an overpowering position. Meanwhile Stripunsky gets a new lease on life and gets to play for the title in the final round against Canadian whiz kid, Pascal Charbonneau.

Leaders after Round 3

3 pts – Charbonneau
2.5 pts – Stripunsky, Bonin


Key Pairings

1 Charbonneau – Stripunsky LIVE GAME!
2 Bonin – Shabalov 0-1
3 Ziatdinov – Ehlvest 1-0

The last round showdown is here and it’s going to come down to Canadian Champ, Pascal Charbonneau, and GM Alexander Stripunsky. Stripunsky is a half point behind Charbonneau, thus he will need a win for first place. Meanwhile, Jay Bonin is also in the running with 2.5/3, but to join the winners circle he will have to knock off the US Champion, Alexander Shabalov!

(4) Charbonneau,P (2444) - Stripunsky,A (2643) [B42]
55th New York Masters New York (4), 06.05.2003

1.e4 c5

Stripunsky plays his usual sharp Sicilian defense, needing a victory for $350.

2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Qc7 6.Qe2 d6 7.c4 Nf6 8.0-0 g6 9.Nc3 Bg7 10.h3 0-0 11.Nf3 Nfd7 12.Bf4 Ne5 13.Rac1 Nbc6 14.Rfd1 Bd7 15.b3 Rac8 16.Bb1

Charbonneau has to be happy with the opening outcome, as he has a very solid position, with no weaknesses. Stripunsky will be torturing himself trying to come up with some active plans here.

16...Nxf3+ 17.Qxf3 Nd4 18.Qd3 e5 19.Be3 b5!?

This move seems impossible??

20.cxb5 Qxc3!?!?!

And here we have it! Stripunsky has definitely found a way to mix the game up! However, does this give him any real active play or just hand white a clear advantage on a silver plate?

21.Rxc3 Rxc3 22.Qd2 axb5 23.Qb2 b4 24.Bd3 Be6 25.Bxd4 exd4 26.f4 Rfc8 27.Qf2 Rc1 28.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 29.Kh2 Rc3 30.Qe2 h5 31.g3 d5


This move was criticized by the crowd……it seems foolish to open up the position for blacks two bishops. Now black has ideas of Rc1-h1 mate. It was felt that e5 would be sufficient to hold a draw and thus first place, but perhaps Charbonneau now wanted to play for the victory?

32...Bxd5 33.g4 h4

Shutting the king in, renewing the idea of Rc1-h1 checkmate. White does not have to allow checkmate after Rc1 of course, but it’s at least something for Stripunsky to dream about.

34.Qd2 Bh6 35.Kg1 Bf8 36.Kf2

Charbonneau has removed his king from the corner and brought it to perhaps a safer spot on f2..

36...Bd6 37.f5 Bg3+ 38.Ke2 Kg7 39.Qg5

And now Charbonneau is on the counterattack!! White is threatening fg6 and in some cases f6! What can Stripunsky do? It’s time to forget about winning this for black and think about holding a draw and taking a piece of 2nd place.

39...Bf3+ 40.Kxf3 Rxd3+ 41.Ke4 Rd1 42.f6+ Kh7 43.Qd5

Things are beginning to look very hopeless for Stripunsky, black’s position is hanging on by a thread.

43...Re1+ 44.Kd3 Re3+ 45.Kc4 Re6 46.g5 Bd6 47.Qxd4 Kg8 48.Qxh4 Bf8 49.Qf4 Re2 50.h4 Rxa2 51.h5 gxh5 52.Qh4 Rc2+ 53.Kb5 Rg2

Amazing! Black is planning to set up a fortress! With the rook on the g-file, shuttling back and forth, how can white make any progress? The b-pawn is firmly defended and white can never play g6 or approach with the king. If the king ever goes to e8, black will just push it back with a timely check on the e-file. Let’s see what Charbonneau can come up with, as I’m sure he wasn’t happy with drawing and clear first, but also wanted to defeat the Grandmaster.

54.Qxh5 Rg3 55.Kc4 Rc3+ 56.Kd5 Rd3+ 57.Ke4 Rg3 58.Kf4 Rg1 59.Kf3 Bc5?

And the fortress falls apart! Black had to play …Bd6 to keep any chances alive. Now white wins with a simple tactic.


And the unfortunate bishop on c5 is left undefended.

60...Rxg6 61.Qxc5 Rxf6+ 62.Ke3 Re6+ 63.Kd3 1-0

Congratulations to Charbonneau on his perfect 4-0 score! Charbonneau is as close as you get to GM strength, especially at game 30. Shabalov got clear 2nd place defeating Bonin with 3/4. Jay has to be commended on his fine tournament, playing a field of 3 very strong grandmasters and scoring 1.5/1.5 against them. It’s a rare 4 round event where you get the chance to play Ehlvest, Shabalov and Stripunsky!

55th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 6 v 2003
                                     1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Charbonneau, Pascal  m  2444 +10 + 4 + 7 + 3   4.0  ($350)
    2. Shabalov, Alex       g  2676 + 9 - 3 +10 + 5   3.0  ($120)
    3. Stripunsky, Alex     g  2643 + 8 + 2 = 5 - 1   2.5  ($ 20)
    4. Ziatdinov, Rashid    m  2498 =   - 1 +13 + 6   2.5  ($ 20)
    5. Bonin, Jay           m  2462 +11 + 6 = 3 - 2   2.5  ($ 20)
    6. Ehlvest, Jaan        g  2705 +13 - 5 + 8 - 4   2.0
    7. Gershov, Yevgeniy    f  2357 =   +13 - 1 = 9   2.0  ($ 40)
    8. Privman, Boris       f  2283 - 3 +11 - 6 +10   2.0  ($ 40)
    9. Furdzik, Rafal          2287 - 2 -10 +11 = 7   1.5
   10. Sori, Yucet             2049 - 1 + 9 - 2 - 8   1.0
   11. Bick, John           f  2264 - 5 - 8 - 9 =12   0.5
   12. Rosenberg, Evan         2061 --- --- --- =11   0.5
   13. Shahade, Jennifer   wm  2375 - 6 - 7 - 4 ---   0.0

PRIZES 1ST - $350 2ND - $120 3RD - $ 60 U2400 - $ 80