May 13th 2003

Last week the US Champion competed in the NY Masters and this week we had the reigning US Woman’s champion, playing for her first time! We had another new player this week, as the Colombian master, Mauricio Uribe joins the fun. According to Mauricio these will be his first serious chess games in a year! At 2387 FIDE, one may suspect that his 2330 US rating should be somewhat higher.

Participant List for 56th NY Masters:

1. GM Jan Ehlvest
2. GM Leonid Yudasin
3. IM Greg Shahade
4. IM Jay Bonin
5. IM Irina Krush
6. SM Gregory Braylovsky
7. FM Bryan Smith
8. NM Evgeny Gershov
9. FM Mauricio Uribe
10. NM Rafal Furdzik
11. FM Boris Privman
12. WIM Anna Hahn
13. NM Marc Esserman
14. NM Alex Lenderman
15. Qualifier – Robert Hess
16. Filler – Evan Rosenberg


1st - $400
2nd - $150
3rd - $60
U2400 - $110



1 Ehlvest – Uribe 1-0
2 Furdzik – Yudasin 0-1
3 G.Shahade – Privman 1-0
4 Hahn - Bonin LIVE GAME!!
5 Krush – Esserman 1-0
6 Lenderman – Braylovsky 1-0
7 B.Smith – Hess 0-1
½ bye for – Gershov

There were a few upsets in the first round, and they belonged to the youth of the event. The two youngest, and lowest rated players emerged with a victory in round one! Lenderman sacrificed a pawn against Braylovsky and had enough compensation not to lose, but probably not enough to win the game, however Braylovsky’s ambition proved the better of him, and Lenderman was able to use his a-pawn to create unstoppable queening threats in the endgame.

This week’s qualifier, 11 year old Robert Hess, scored an upset over the strongest ever Alaskan player, 23 year old Bryan Smith. Now let’s see how the US Woman’s Champion fares in her first game, against the fixture of the NY Masters, Jay Bonin. Jay has played in all 56 events thus far, a remarkable achievement!

(1) Hahn,A (2231) - Bonin,J (2462) [A40]
56th New York Masters New York (1), 13.05.2003

1.d4 Nc6 2.c4 e5 3.d5 Nce7 4.e4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Ng6 6.Nf3 Bc5 7.Bd3 0-0 8.0-0 a5 9.a3 d6 10.Rb1 Nh5 11.b4 axb4 12.axb4 Bb6

13.Na4 Ba7 14.Bc2 Nhf4 15.c5 Bg4 16.g3 Qf6

Bonin offers a piece for a kingside attack…..he is hoping that the pin on the f3 knight will make it too dangerous to accept the offering

17.Rb3 Bxc5 18.Nxc5 dxc5 19.bxc5 Ra1

White’s pieces are being pinned from all directions! Finally Anna decides to accept the piece……as if your position is going to suck, you may as well have a piece for it!

20.gxf4 Nxf4 21.Kh1 Nh3 22.Qe2 Rfa8 23.Rc3 R8a2

Very picturesque! White is up a piece, but her pieces are completely and hopelessly pinned. Anna succumbs to the pressure…



Removing the defender of the f4 square. Now it’s all over, a nice attacking game by IM Jay Bonin!

25.Rxc1 Nf4+ 26.Kf1 Nxe2 27.Kxe2 Qf4 28.Re3 Bxf3+ 0-1


Key Pairings

1 Bonin – Ehlvest 0-1
2 Yudasin – Krush LIVE GAME!
3 Hess – G.Shahade 0-1
4 Gershov – Lenderman 1-0

Last week Jay Bonin scored a huge upset victory over Jan Ehlvest, but this week Ehlvest was more alert, as Jay seemed to have an alright position, but Ehlvest outplayed him in an endgame and moved to 2/2. The two youngsters dreams ended, as I defeated Robert Hess and Gershov mowed down Alex Lenderman.

Now lets check out GM Leonid Yudasin versus the highest rated active female in the US, Irina Krush.

(2) Yudasin,L (2666) - Krush,I (2425) [B50]
56th New York Masters New York (2), 13.05.2003

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Nc6 5.c3 g6 6.0-0 Bg7 7.Bb3 0-0 8.Re1 e5 9.Nbd2 h6 10.Nf1 d5 11.Ng3 Be6


A good idea to remember! Attacking the defender of the e5 pawn and also planning to ruin black's pawn structure.

12...dxe4 13.dxe4 Qc7 14.Bxc6 bxc6 15.Be3

And Yudasin’s plan bears fruit, as black has very weak pawns.

15...c4 16.Qa4 Nd7 17.Rad1 Rfd8 18.h3 Qb7 19.Qc2 Qb5 20.Nf1 Nc5 21.Bxc5 Qxc5 22.Ne3

A peculiar position which seems to laugh in the face of the old Russian axiom “The worst bishop is better than the best knight”. Yudasin has two knights against Irina’s two bishops but he’s hoping that the closed nature of the position and the weakness of black’s pawns will give him a pull..

22...a5 23.Rxd8+ Rxd8 24.Rd1 Rf8 25.Qe2 Kh7 26.Nd2 f5 27.Nexc4 fxe4 28.b3 Bd5 29.Qe3 Qe7 30.Nxe4

And Yudasin wins a pawn! Will the two bishops finally find the activity they need to create some counterplay for the pawn?

30...a4 31.Ncd2 axb3 32.axb3 Rf4 33.c4 Be6 34.Nf3 Bf5 35.Ng3 Bc8 36.Re1

Guess not! The knights are really taking care of business this game, and now there is no chance for black to defend the e5 pawn. With a two pawn advantage, this position should be no problem for Yudasin to win.

36...Rf8 37.Nxe5 Qd6 38.Nf3 c5 39.Ne4 Qb6 40.Nxc5 Rf5 41.Ne6 1-0

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Ehlvest, Yudasin, G.Shahade
1.5 pts – Gershov


Key Pairings

1 Ehlvest – Yudasin LIVE GAME!
2 G.Shahade – Gershov 1-0

I was happy to start off with a 3/3 score for the first time in a LOOOOOONG time. The big showdown was happening on board one, as Ehlvest and Yudasin always have fighting games in this event and this one would prove to be no different…

(3) Ehlvest,J (2705) - Yudasin,L (2666) [E29]
56th New York Masters New York (3), 13.05.2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Nc6 7.Bd3 0-0 8.e4

A bold pawn sacrifice…

8...cxd4 9.cxd4 Nxd4

Yudasin accepts!

10.e5 Ne8 11.Bb2 Nf5 12.Nf3 d6 13.0-0 dxe5 14.g4!?


The only move, if 14…Ne7, 15.Bxh7 wins the queen and if 14…N5d6 15.c5 e4 16.Bxe4, and the knight on d6 is pinned and lost. After the counterthrust, 14….e4, Black forces the trade of queens and goes into an endgame with an extra pawn, however Ehlvest still has quite a bit of compensation for the material..

15.Bxe4 Qxd1 16.Rfxd1 Nfd6 17.Bd3 f6 18.c5

Ok black does have an extra pawn, but just look at the difference in development. All of white’s pieces are well placed whereas black’s bishop is still at home on c8, the knight is passive on e8 and the rooks are sitting at home.

18...Nf7 19.Nd4 Nc7 20.Be4 Rb8 21.a4 a6 22.Ba3 Re8 23.Bb4 Nd5 24.Ba5 Ne5 25.h3 Nc6 26.Bb6 Nxd4 27.Rxd4


Yudasin gives up and wisely decides to let Ehlvest win his pawn back. In return he finishes his development and a completely equal rook + bishops of opposite colors endgame arises.

28.Bxd5 exd5 29.Rxd5 Bc6 30.Rd4

An interesting game by the Grandmasters has fizzled out to a draw, as neither side has any real chances to win this position.


Leaders after Round 3

3 pts – G.Shahade
2.5 pts – Ehlvest, Yudasin


Key Pairings

1 Ehlvest (2.5) – G.Shahade (3) LIVE GAME!!
2 Yudasin (2.5) – Bonin (2) 1/2 – 1/2
3 Braylovsky (2) – Krush (2) 0-1
4 Uribe (2) – Gershov (1.5) 0-1

The last round duel between Ehlvest and I took greater importance, as Bonin was able to hold GM Yudasin to a draw. Bonin has been scoring better against the GM’s the last few weeks, as last week he scored 1.5/3 against the powerful trio of Ehlvest, Shabalov and Stripunsky. He seems to have picked his game up a notch in the past few months.

The championship of this week’s NY Masters would all come down to the final showdown between Ehlvest and I. Ehlvest has owned me thus far in the NY Masters, with 2 relatively painless victories. I was hoping that my 3/3 score would spur me to play a much tougher game. If I could manage to draw or win the game I would win clear first place, whereas Ehlvest needs to win to get the $400 first prize.

(4) Ehlvest,J (2705) - Shahade,G (2495) [D97]
56th New York Masters New York (4), 13.05.2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.Bf4 Na6 8.e4 Bg4

Probably this was already a mistake. In 45 games of players rated over 2400, somehow all 45 of them played 8….c5. Do I really think that differently than everyone over 2400?

9.Ne5 Nh5 10.Be3


I was banking my hope on this move, followed by a timely c5 to undermine the e5 knight. The move ….c5, as suggested by Ehlvest after the game, seems to fail after 11.Nxg4 cd4 12.Rd1, followed by Nh6+

11.Qa4 c5 12.Bxa6 cxd4 13.Bxd4 bxa6 14.Nc6 Qc7 15.Bxg7 Nxg7 16.0-0 Rfc8


A fine move which I completely overlooked. Now 17….Qc6 is impossible because of 18.Rd8 Ne8 19.Qxc6 Rxc6 20.Ra8, winning the exchange. I had thought that I was about to liquidate into a pretty drawn position when the knight moved away from c6, but now I was thrown back on the defensive.

17...Qb7 18.Nd5 Bxd5 19.exd5 Nf5 20.g4!

A nice move. White has no reason to worry about the weakened kingside with all of my pieces chilling on the queenside. The coming pressure on the e-file will be incredibly difficult to bear.

20...Nd6 21.Qf4 Re8 22.Rd2 Rac8 23.Re1 Rc7 24.Rde2

White’s position is picture-perfect. We were both down to 3 minutes, so I was hoping the clock would be my savior…..

24...Rd7 25.b3 Qc7 26.Re3 Nc8 27.Qh6!

I got very excited at this point, because Ehlvest has just hung his d5-pawn! In the time trouble I somehow convinced myself that such a strong GM would simply hang the pawn that was the glue of his position. The wishful thinking on my part is amazing….the simple idea of white’s last move was Rh3 with basically forced mate on h7.

27...Rxd5 28.Rh3 Rh5 29.gxh5 Qxc6 30.hxg6 Qxg6+ 31.Rg3 1-0

A clean effort by GM Ehlvest to finish with 3.5/4 and take home clear first place of $400. GM Yudasin, IM Krush and IM G.Shahade finished in a tie for 2nd place with ¾ and we each received $70. Evgeny Gershov scored a crucial last round victory over Mauricio Uribe, to wrap up the $110 Under 2400 prize. Congratulations again to Jan Ehlvest and see you all next week!

56th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 13 v 2003
                                     1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Ehlvest, Jaan        g  2705 + 8 + 5 = 2 + 3   3.5  ($400)
    2. Yudasin, Leonid      g  2666 +12 + 4 = 1 = 5   3.0  ($ 70)
    3. Shahade, Greg        m  2495 + 9 +13 + 6 - 1   3.0  ($ 70)
    4. Krush, Irina         m  2425 +10 - 2 +13 + 7   3.0  ($ 70) 
    5. Bonin, Jay           m  2462 +15 - 1 + 9 = 2   2.5
    6. Gershov, Yevgeniy    f  2357 =   +11 - 3 + 8   2.5  ($110)
    7. Braylovsky, Greg        2406 -11 +15 +10 - 4   2.0
    8. Uribe, Mauricio      f  2330 - 1 +16 +11 - 6   2.0
    9. Privman, Boris       f  2283 - 3 +14 - 5 +12   2.0
   10. Esserman, Marc          2217 - 4 +12 - 7 +13   2.0
   11. Lenderman, Alex         2212 + 7 - 6 - 8 =     1.5
   12. Furdzik, Rafal          2287 - 2 -10 +15 - 9   1.0
   13. Hess, Robert            2095 +14 - 3 - 4 -10   1.0
   14. Smith, Bryan         f  2386 -13 - 9 --- ---   0.0
   15. Hahn, Anna          wm  2231 - 5 - 7 -12 ---   0.0
   16. Rosenberg, Evan         2058 --- - 8 --- ---   0.0

PRIZES 1ST - $400 2ND - $150 3RD - $ 60 U2400 - $110