AUGUST 19th 2003

Our regular NY Masters champion, Leonid Yudasin was absent again this week as he’s busy playing a closed event in California, however he was effectively replaced by super strong Estonian GM, Jan Ehlvest. Last week’s champion, Jay Bonin, was present as usual. Bonin is coming off the NY Masters of his life, with a perfect 4/4 score, and everyone wondered…..would he be able to continue the magic this week?

Participant List for 69th NY Masters:

1.GM Jan Ehlvest
2. GM Alex Stripunsky
3. IM Greg Shahade
4. IM Magesh Panchanathan
5. IM Jayson Gonzales
6. IM Jay Bonin
7. FM Boris Privman
8. FM Ron Young
9. NM Marc Esserman
10. FM Rafal Furdzik
11. FM Igor Schneider
12. NM Yaacov Norowitz
13. NM Oliver Chernin
14. WFM Laura Ross
15. Qualifier – Ben Johnson
16. Filler – Jeff Mitchell
17. Filler – Marc Widimaier


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



1 Esserman – Ehlvest 0-1
2 Stripunsky - Furdzik 1-0
3 I.Schneider – G. Shahade 1/2-1/2
4 Panchanathan - Norowitz LIVE GAME!!!
5 O.Chernin - Gonzales 0-1
6 Bonin – Ross 1/2-1/2
7 B.Johnson - Privman 0-1
8 Young – Widimaier 1-0

The youth was served well in the first round of this week’s NY Masters. Both Igor Schneider and Laura Ross achieved draws against their higher rated opponents. After just round 1 it was clear that last week’s champ Jay Bonin would not achieve last week’s 4-0 score again, however he was fortunate to escape Laura’s grasp, as Laura had a two pawn advantage.

Igor put on an impressive display in the first round last week, as he knocked off IM Irina Krush. He was looking for a repeat performance as he had a strong initiative against me for a pawn, however with a few inaccuracies from Igor, I was able to go into a pawn up, and easily winning endgame. My endgame tecnique was far from perfect and we eventually drew.

All of the other favorites won their first round games, and now let’s see what would happen in our featured game. This game featured the reigning Asian Junior Champion, IM Magesh Panchanathan. Panchanathan has just moved to the USA to become a student at University of Texas Dallas. He faces off against blitz specialist, Yaacov Norowitz, who has achieved ICC blitz ratings as high as 3100!

(1) Panchanathan, Magesh (2465) - Norowitz,Y (2204) [D41]
69th New York Masters New York (1), 19.08.2003

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Bd3 0-0 9.0-0 Nf6 10.Re1 b6 11.Bc2 Nc6 12.a3 Ba6!

A good idea in this position. White’s idea is to play Qd3 and use mating threats to disrupt black’s kingside (for example by forcing black to play ..g6). This move nips of all white’s hopes in the bud. If white should try a move such as 13. b4, I believe black has the option of …Bc4 or even ignore the b5 fork threat with an immediate….Rc8. (Idea if b5 Na5!?

13.Be3 Rc8 14.Rc1 Na5 15.Bb1 Nc4 16.Qc2 Nxe3 17.fxe3 Bb7 18.e4 e5 19.Rcd1 Nd7 20.Kh1 Qc7 21.d5 Bd6 22.Qf2 a6 23.Qh4 Qd8 24.Qh3 Qe7 25.Nh4

It looks like Panchanathan is going for the kill. Norowitz must stop the knight from coming to f5, thus has only one real move….

25...g6 26.Re3 Nf6 27.Rf1 Nh5 28.Nf5 gxf5 29.Qxh5 f4 30.Rxf4

Whoa!!! This is Panchanathan’s first ever NY Masters and we were unfamiliar with his style, however this move answers any questions we may have had. Panchanathan is willing to burn his bridges in an attempt to checkmate Norowitz’s king. There is no turning back…..

30...exf4 31.e5 f5 32.exf6


Amazing! Panchanathan sacrifices all his material to attack Norwitz’s king, and now all the sudden he is defeated because of his own king’s back rank weakness. Cool and calm defense from Norowitz under some serious pressure.



Key Pairings

1 Ehlvest – Privman 1-0
2 Norowitz – Stripunsky LIVE GAME!!
3 Gonzales – Young 1-0

Ehlvest and Gonzales moved off to a quick 2/2 score with victories over Boris Privman and Ron Young. Now the question was…who would join them at the top. Would it be GM Alex Stripunsky or 21 year old 2210 player Yaacov Norowitz?

(2) Norowitz,Y (2204) - Stripunsky,A (2660) [D00]
69th New York Masters New York (2), 19.08.2003

1.d4 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Bd3 c6 4.Nd2 Bg4 5.Ne2 Nbd7 6.f3 Bh5 7.Nf4 Bg6 8.Nxg6 hxg6 9.f4

Norowitz’s favorite stonewall formation

9...e6 10.c3 Bd6 11.0-0 Qe7 12.Qe2 g5

Looks like we’ve got another action packed game ahead of us! Stripunsky BLASTS open the position of whites kingside. The f-pawn is pinned as if moved it would allow black to take on h2.

13.Nf3 g4 14.Ne5 0-0-0 15.g3 Ne4 16.Bxe4 dxe4 17.Qxg4 f5 18.Qe2 Bxe5 19.fxe5 Rh3 20.b4 Rdh8 21.Rf2 Nf8!

A fine idea by Stripunsky. He wants to attack white’s kingside, but how to do so with the knight completely out of play. He comes up with this attempt to reroute the knight via h7-g5-f3!

22.b5 cxb5 23.Qxb5 Nh7 24.Rb1 Ng5 25.Ba3

Norowitz doesn’t stand by and watch his king get brutally attacked. Instead he goes on the offensive! Both sides are attacking ferociously….who will be first??

25...Qc7 26.Bd6 a6 27.Qa4 Nf3+

28.Kf1 Qf7


Given the time situation (16 seconds remaining for Norowitz with a 5 second increment), this brilliant queen sacrafice to force a draw is quite impressive. However if Norowitz had more time he might have found the winning blow Rb5!, with the idea bringing another piece into the attack via c5. After this move Stripunsky would have had no defense. After the text a draw is forced and is soon agreed upon.

29...bxc6 30.Rb8+ Kd7 31.Rb7+ Kc8 32.Rb8+ 1/2-1/2

A hard fought and action packed game from these two guys. Norowitz is showing that his 2210 rating might be quite a bit low compared to his actual playing strength.

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – Ehlvest, Gonzales
1.5 pts – Stripunsky, G.Shahade, Norowitz, Ross



1 Gonzales – Ehlvest LIVE GAME!!
2 Stripunsky – Ross 1-0
3 Norowitz – G.Shahade 1-0

Laura Ross was having a great event after two rounds (with a win against Igor Schneider in round 2), but was ground down by GM Stripunsky in round 3. In a Closed Sicilian, Stripunsky always had the spatial edge and it became too much for Laura to handle.

Meanwhile Yaacov Norowitz continued his impressive performance with a victory over yours truly. Yaacov found a tactic which I completely overlooked yet was very lucky to have a counter tactic against. I was delighted after the game that Yaacov has such faith in my playing abilities that he didn’t believe that I didn’t see his tactic or my counter tactic until the position actually occurred on the board! Yaacov still had a slight edge and when I should have played solidly I played wildly, and Yaacov took complete advantage of my friskiness, picking off a pawn and winning a pawn up, king and pawn endgame.

On display in round 3 were the two undefeateds remaining in the event, GM Jan Ehlvest and IM Jayson Gonzales.

(3) Gonzales,J (2404) - Ehlvest,J (2662) [E91]
69th New York Masters New York (3), 19.08.2003

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0-0 6.Be2 Na6 7.0-0 e5 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.h3 f6 11.Bc1 Nh6 12.dxe5 fxe5 13.Be3 Nf7 14.Qd2 b6 15.Rab1 Bb7 16.b4 c5

17.a3 h6 18.Rfd1 Kh7 19.Qc2 Rd8 20.Nb5 Bc6 21.Nc3 Nc7 22.b5 Bb7 23.Nd5 Ne6 24.Bd3 Rb8 25.Re1 Qd8 26.Nh2 h5 27.Qd2 Bh6 28.Rf1 Nd4

29.Rbd1 Kg7 30.Kh1 Ra8 31.Qb2 a6 32.bxa6 Rxa6 33.f4 Bxd5 34.cxd5 Ra7 35.Bxd4 cxd4 36.Nf3 Bxf4 37.Nxd4 exd4 38.Rxf4 Ne5 39.Rxf8 Qxf8 40.Qxb6 Rxa3

With extremely active pieces and a monstrous knight on e5, Gonzales looks to be in deep trouble. Ehlvest has no problems converting this advantage. Note that white cannot try 41.Qxd4 due to 41…Rxd3 42.Rxd3 Qf1+ , picking up the rook on d3 plus change.

41.Rf1 Qe7 42.Ba6 d3 43.Bc8 Ra2 44.Be6 Ra8 45.Qd4 Kh6 46.Qb6 Rf8 47.Rd1 Rf4 48.Qe3 Qg5 49.Rxd3 Rf1+ 50.Kh2 Nxd3 51.Qxd3 Qf4+ 52.Qg3

52...Rh1+ 53.Kxh1 Qxg3 0-1

A well played and dynamic game by GM Ehlvest, who takes possession of sole first place with 3/3. Stripunsky and Norowitz are close on his heels with 2.5/3.

Leaders after Round 3

3 pts – Ehlvest
2.5 pts – Stripunsky, Norowitz
2 pts – Privman, Panchanathan, Gonzales


Key Pairings

1 Ehlvest – Stripunsky LIVE GAME!!
2 Privman – Norowitz 0-1
3 Panchanathan – Gonzalez 1-0

Yaacov Norowitz took care of his end of the bargain, with a win over FM Boris Privman in the final round. This meant that unless Ehlvest won his final round game, we would see by FAR the lowest rated player to ever come in first place in the NY Masters.

Our final round matchup would be a real treat, as we see two GM’s going head to head for the first place prize. Ehlvest has an extra half point and thus only needs to draw with the white pieces, but Stripunsky doesn’t seem perturbed, as he’s prepared to go all out for the victory.

(4) Ehlvest,J (2662) - Stripunsky,A (2660) [D43]
69th New York Masters New York (4), 19.08.2003

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6

Ok ok…maybe this isn’t really going all out. Stripunsky is the type of player who doesn’t completely change his opening repertoire just because he needs a win. He’s going to play what he knows and hope that somewhere down the line a chance will arise. Unfortunately against someone of Ehlvest’s strength, such chances are not too likely to come up.

7.e3 Nd7 8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 g6 10.0-0 Qe7 11.h3 Bg7 12.Bb3 0-0 13.Re1 Rd8 14.Qc2 b6 15.e4 Bb7 16.Rad1 Rac8 17.Qe2 a6 18.a4 Qb4 19.Ba2 Nf8 20.Qc4 Qxc4 21.Bxc4 b5 22.Be2 b4 23.Na2 c5

Wow! Ehlvest has managed to trade the queens, and thus one would think its more likely he could achieve a draw, however Stripunsky has the two bishops and is opening up the game in vicious fashion.

24.dxc5 Rxd1 25.Rxd1 a5 26.Nc1 Bxe4 27.Rd2 Bd5 28.Nd3 Nd7 29.Rc2 Be4 30.Nd2 Bxd3 31.Bxd3 Rxc5

And Stripunsky has won a pawn!!! It’s unbelievable but he is well on his way to knocking off the extremely strong GM Ehlvest, with the black pieces! Sometimes it’s incredible what the psychological pressure of only needing to draw can do to a player…

32.Nb3 Rxc2 33.Bxc2 Bxb2 34.Kf1 Be5 35.Nxa5 Nc5 36.Ke2 Kf8 37.Nc6 Bc3 38.Na5 Ke7

So here we have it…..Stripunsky has an extra pawn in an endgame. A win for Stripunsky would mean $275, as he would split first place with Norowitz. Meanwhile if Ehlvest draws he gets the $275 along with Norowitz. I’m going to discount the possibility of Ehlvest winning and getting $400, as this doesn’t seem possible in such a position….

39.Ke3 Kd6 40.Bd1 e5 41.g4 Bd4+ 42.Ke2 Ne4 43.Bb3 Nxf2 44.Nc4+ Kc5 45.Nxe5

Ehlvest is doing a fantastic job of defending this endgame. What you want to do in such endgames, when down a pawn, is to trade as many pawns as possible. It seems as if every one of Ehlvest’s moves is creating the threat of massive pawn exchanges.

45...Nxh3 46.Nd3+ Kb6 47.Bxf7 Ka5 48.Bb3 Ng5 49.Nf4 Ne4 50.Kd3 Nc5+ 51.Kc4 Bf2 52.Nd3!

Trading down into a knight versus bishop endgame, where white immediately wins black’s b-pawn. After this the draw is within reach.

52...Nxb3 53.Kxb3 Bg3 54.Nxb4 h5

Stripunsky is making a last ditch attempt to win this game based on the speed of his passed h-pawn, but the knight is too quick to return to the kingside.

55.gxh5 gxh5 56.Nc6+ Kb6 57.Nd4 Kc5 58.Kc3!?

Black can pin the knight with 58….Be5, but then we reach an endgame where black has the wrong color rook pawn, thus the game would end in a draw.

58...h4 59.Kd3 h3 60.Nf3 Kd5 61.Ke2 Ke4


Ehlvest had his mind set on getting the king to the corner and let’s nothing stand in his way, not even the possibility to win the h-pawn for free with Ng5+. A fine defense by Ehlvest who keeps his share of first place, along with surprise co-champion, Yaacov Norowitz. Tied for third place this week at ¾ were GM Alex Stripunsky and IM Magesh Panchanathan, who managed to string together 3 straight victories after his first round defeat.


69th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 19 viii 2003
                                    1   2   3   4   Total
  1. Ehlvest, Jaan         g  2662 +10 + 8 + 7 = 3   3.5  ($275)
  2. Norowitz, Yaacov         2204 + 4 = 3 + 5 + 8   3.5  ($275)
  3. Stripunsky, Alex      g  2660 +16 = 2 +12 = 1   3.0  ($ 30)
  4. Panchanathan, Magesh  m  2465 - 2 +13 + 9 + 7   3.0  ($ 30)
  5. Shahade, Greg         m  2514 =11 + 6 - 2 +12   2.5  
  6. Bonin, Jay            m  2377 =12 - 5 +14 +11   2.5  ($110)
  7. Gonzales, Jayson      m  2404 +13 + 9 - 1 - 4   2.0
  8. Privman, Boris        f  2331 +14 - 1 +10 - 2   2.0
  9. Young, Ronald         f  2284 +17 - 7 - 4 +13   2.0
 10. Esserman, Marc           2267 - 1 +15 - 8 +14   2.0
 11. Schneider, Igor       f  2259 = 5 -12 +16 - 6   1.5
 12. Ross, Laura          wf  2124 = 6 +11 - 3 - 5   1.5
 13. Chernin, Oliver          2200 - 7 - 4 +15 - 9   1.0
 14. Johnson, Ben             2113 - 8 +16 - 6 -10   1.0
 15. Mitchell, Jeffrey        2089 --- -10 -13 +16   1.0
 16. Furdzik, Rafal           2265 - 3 -14 -11 -15   0.0
 17. Widmaier, Marc           2062 - 9 --- --- ---   0.0

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