May 27th 2003

This week we knew it was possible that we wouldn’t get many strong players, as the Chicago Open had ended just the day before, and many of our regular GM participants might still be in Chicago. We were right, as the only GM that was able to make it was Alex Stripunsky, who finished in a tie for second place in Chicago (Note that in all 58 weeks, we have never had a week in which no GM’s showed up). Fortunately we still had a decent attendance as we 15 players competing for the grand prize.

Also this week there is some great news! The final round of the NY Masters is now being broadcast LIVE on chess.fm, ICC’s chess radio station, which has hundreds of listeners. Chess.fm has plans to eventually broadcast the entire NY Masters event, which would also lead to mentions of all sponsors during the broadcast. So from now on, every Tuesday, tune into chess.fm for live audio coverage of the New York Masters, with master commentary (IM William Paschall commented on this week’s event)!

Participant List for 58th NY Masters:

1. GM Alex Stripunsky
2. IM Greg Shahade
3. IM Jay Bonin
4. FM Lev Milman
5. FM Bryan Smith
6. NM Evgeny Gershov
7. FM Dmitri Shevelev
8. FM Ilye Figler
9. NM Rafal Furdzik
10. FM Boris Privman
11. FM Erez Klein
12. NM Oliver Chernin
13. FM Joel Salman
14. Qualifier – Daniel Lowinger
15. Filler – Larry Tamarkin


1st - $420
2nd - $170
3rd - $60
U2400 - $100



1 Stripunsky – Privman 1/2 - 1/2
2 E.Klein – G.Shahade 0-1
3 Bonin – O.Chernin 1-0
4 Salman – Milman LIVE GAME!
5 B.Smith – Lowinger 1-0
6 Tamarkin – Gershov 1/2 - 1/2
˝ bye for – Shevelev, Figler, Furdzik

The shocker of round one was Privman’s draw against GM Stripunsky. Not only was the result surprising but more surprising was the manner that it was achieved. Privman was simply down two pawns for nothing in a rook endgame, and somehow managed to get Stripunsky to go into a rook + f + h pawn versus rook endgame. Privman had a drawn position, but botched it up to give Stripunsky a winning chance, but in his time trouble and perhaps his exhaustion from just having returned from Chicago, he missed his chance and a draw was agreed.

Our filler, Larry Tamarkin also managed to draw against a higher rated player with a two pawn deficit, as his rook+1 pawn held Gershov’s rook + 3 pawns to a draw. Let’s see how the two Long Island players, FM Joel Salman and rising star, FM Lev Milman would do against each other….

(1) Salman,J (2220) - Milman,L (2400) [D47]
58th New York Masters New York (1), 27.05.2003

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Be2 a6 9.0-0 c5 10.a3 Bb7 11.dxc5 Bxc5 12.b4 Be7 13.Bb2 0-0 14.a4

14...bxa4 15.Qxa4 Qb6 16.b5 a5 17.Qd4 Rfc8 18.Na4

18...Qxd4 19.Nxd4 Nd5 20.Rfc1 Nc5 21.Nxc5 Bxc5 22.Nc6 Bb6 23.Bf3 Bxc6 24.bxc6 Kf8 25.Ba3+ Ke8 26.Rab1 Bd8 27.g3 Be7 28.Bxe7 Kxe7

29.Bxd5 exd5 30.Rc5 Kd6 31.Rbb5

An interesting endgame….white will win this d-pawn, but the black a-pawn looks EXTREMELY fast with the rook nicely placed behind it on a8…

31…a4 32.Rxd5+ Kc7 33.Ra5 a3 34.Rd7+ Kxc6?

This was Lev’s chance! Salman informed me that Lev missed a win here with 34….Kb6, thus stopping Rda7.

35.Rda7 Rxa7 36.Rxa7 Kd6 37.Rxa3


A VERY important idea in this kind of endgame. If white gets to play the move g4, he will have great winning chances. The idea of h5, is that now if white plays g4, black gets to trade off a set of pawns, and the more pawns that are traded in this position, the better chances black has to draw.

38.Ra7 Ke6 39.h4

It was pretty generous of Salman to offer a draw here. He only had 50 seconds on the clock, but with a 5 second increment there is really no possibility to lose the game, but surely still a 10-20% chance of victory.



Key Pairings

1 G.Shahade – Bonin LIVE GAME!
2 Stripunsky – B.Smith 1-0

We had a horde of players entering this round with a half point bye, but there were only 3 undefeated players going into round 2. One of them was knocked off by Stripunsky, who cleared the cobwebs from his first round draw, and beat Bryan Smith.

(2) Shahade,G (2495) - Bonin,J (2462) [B12]
58th New York Masters New York (2), 27.05.2003

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d6 3.Nc3 a6

Very strange opening choice by Bonin. He played this line against me once in the past, and didn’t fare very well…

4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 Bxf3 6.Bxf3 e5 7.0-0 Be7 8.Be2 Bg5 9.f4!

9...Bxf4 10.Bxf4 exf4 11.Rxf4 Nd7 12.Bc4 Ngf6


A strong move, keeping black’s king in the center.

13…dxe5 14.dxe5

If 14….Qc7, white wins with 15.ef6 Qxf4 16. Bxf7! Kxf7 17.Qxd7 Kxf6 18. Rf1

14…Nxe5 15.Qe2 Qe7 16.Re1 Nfd7 17.Rxf7 Qc5+ 18.Kh1 0-0-0 19.Ne4

19...Qb6 20.Rxg7 Nxc4 21.Qxc4 Qxb2 22.Re7 Kb8 23.Nd6 Rhf8 24.h3 Rf2 25.Nf7?


Black missed his chance here with 25….Qg7! Now all the sudden white has some troubles. We thought that white could play 26.g4, but then black has 26….Qf6, and all of the sudden, black has the preferable position. After Jay’s move, black is simply lost

26.Rxd7 Rgxg2 27.Re8+ Ka7 28.Qc5+ Qb6

29.Rxb7+ !

Winning instantly. White has to make every move with check, as black is threatening perpetual check with Rh2-g2-h2. Fortunately Rxb7 accomplishes this goal.

29...Kxb7 30.Rb8+ Kxb8 31.Qxb6+ Kc8 32.Qxc6+ 1-0

Jay resigned, as white can simply capture on g2 next move.

Leaders after Round 2

2 pts – G.Shahade
1.5 pts – Stripunsky, Milman, Furdzik, Salman


Key Pairings

1 G.Shahade – Stripunsky LIVE GAME!!
2 Furdzik – Milman 0-1
3 Salman – Bonin 0-1

Milman moved to 2.5/3 with his win over Furdzik, but since he has school the next morning, he almost always takes a final round bye, thus leaving him with 3/4. The other player with 1.5, Joel Salman, went down to the hands of Jay Bonin. With his win Jay moved to 2/3.

Let’s check out the key battle this round, as I was in sole possession of first place with 2/2, but Stripunsky was ready to make amends for his first round accident…

(3) Shahade,G (2495) - Stripunsky,A (2643) [B42]
58th New York Masters New York (3), 27.05.2003

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.Nb3 Ba7 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.0-0 d6 9.Qe2 Nge7 10.Be3 e5

For those avid chess fans out there, you may recognize this opening setup from the 2nd game of the Deep Junior – Kasparov match. This game eventually ended in a draw.

11.Nd5 0-0 12.c4 Bxe3 13.Qxe3 a5 14.Rad1 a4 15.Nc1 Nd4 16.Ne2 Nxd5 17.cxd5 Nxe2+


18.Qe2 was better, discouraging ….f5. I didn’t play 18.Qxe2 because I was worried about 18….Qb6, but Qb6 is not checkmate. I can simply play Rc1, and double on the c-file and white has a slightly better position. After Be2, black wrests the initiative.

18…f5 19.exf5 Bxf5 20.f4

20...Re8 21.Bb5 Re7 22.Rfe1 Qa5 23.Bd3 Rf8 24.Bf1 h6 25.Kh1 Bg4 26.Rc1 Qb4 27.fxe5 Rxe5 28.Qg3 Rxe1 29.Rxe1 Qf4

Stripunsky is confident that his active pieces will lead him to victory in an endgame….

30.Qxf4 Rxf4 31.h3 Bd7 32.b3 a3 33.Kg1 b5 34.Re7 Rf7 35.Re3 !

With the idea of b4….If black plays …b4, white picks off the b-pawn with Re4.

35...Rf4 36.Re7 Rf7 37.Re3 Kf8 38.b4 Rf4 39.Rxa3 Rxb4


A big mistake. Better was 40.Ra7, keeping the rook active and on the board. For instance 40.Ra7 Ke8 41.Be2-f3, and the position is roughly equal.

40…Rd4! 41.Rd3 Rxd3 42.Bxd3 Ke7 43.Kf2 Kf6 44.Ke3 Ke5 45.Be4 b4!

Now white is lost, as black is going to play …Bb5-c4 and pick off the pawns. I was down to a few seconds on the clock, but there is no chance for defense anyway.

46.Bf3 Bb5 47.g3 Bc4 0-1

Stripunsky moves back into first place with this win. He is tied with Milman with 2.5/3, but don’t forget that Milman requested a last round bye, thus Stripunsky can guarantee clear first place with a last round victory.

Leaders after Round 3

2.5 pts – Stripunsky , Milman (3/4)
2 pts – G.Shahade, Bonin, Shevelev


Key Pairings

1 Bonin – Stripunsky LIVE GAME!!
2 Shevelev – G.Shahade 0-1
˝ bye for Milman

I was brutally attacked by Dmitry Shevlev in a Keres attack sort of Sicilian, but he wasn’t able to finish things off, and my counterattack was too powerful. Thus I now finished with 3 points, along with Lev Milman, and we hoped that Jay could either draw or defeat Stripunsky, thus making 3 points enough for a 3 way first way split.

Jay Bonin was in the same spot the previous week, with the white pieces against GM Yudasin, and a chance for first place. Last week he had a drawn position but decided to get ambitious and it showed to be his demise, as he blundered a piece. Will he remain more levelheaded in this final round encounter….

(4) Bonin,J (2462) - Stripunsky,A (2643) [A00]
58th New York Masters New York (4), 27.05.2003


1...d5 2.e4 d4 3.Nce2 e5 4.Ng3 Be6 5.c3 g6 6.cxd4 exd4 7.f4 Ne7 8.Nf3 Bg7 9.Ng5 Qd7 10.Nxe6 Qxe6 11.Bb5+ c6 12.Ba4 d3!

Oh man…look at Jay’s bishop on c1!!

13.0-0 Na6 14.Bb3 Qd6


Jay sacrifices a piece! I suppose he felt some measure of desperation, with his bishop stuck on c1.

15…Kxf7 16.Qb3+ Qe6 17.Qxe6+ Kxe6 18.f5+ gxf5 19.exf5+ Kf7 20.f6 Bxf6 21.Ne4 Nd5 22.b3 Kg6 23.Nxf6 Nxf6 24.Bb2


And Stripunsky keeps the extra piece, and Jay is in serious trouble, without even a pawn to show for his piece disadvantage.

25.Rae1 Nc7 26.Re7 Ncd5 27.Rxb7 Rf7 28.Rxf7 Kxf7 29.Rf3 Re8 30.Rxd3 Re4 31.h3 Ke6

Now it’s just a mop-up job, an unorthodox opening and a desperate sacrifice gone terribly wrong for Jay Bonin.

32.a3 Re1+ 33.Kf2 Rb1 34.Bxf6 Kxf6 35.b4 Ke5 36.Kg3 Rd1 37.Kh4 Ke4 38.Rg3 Rxd2 39.Rg7 a6 40.g4 Rd3 41.Rxh7 Rxa3 42.g5 Kf5 43.Rf7+ Kg6 44.Rd7 Rc3 45.Rd6+ Kf5 46.g6 Nf4


Oops! There is no way for white to stop …Rxh3! A splendid comeback by Alex Stripunsky, who managed to erase the psychological effects of his terrible first round draw, and come back to win three straight games. Stripunsky’s result was good for $420. This is really not bad considering that a tie for 2nd in the gigantic Chicago Open was only $1500, yet the tournament takes many many days, and you have to figure in costs for airfare, hotel room, food and etc, whereas in the NY Masters, you just hop on the subway and play for a few hours! Lev Milman and Greg Shahade tied for 2nd place with 3/4, and each received $115 dollars. The U2400 prize went to two first round bye receivers, as Figler and Furdzik got 2.5/4. Figler beat Privman in the final round and Furdzik had a nice win against FM Bryan Smith. Next week the top GM’s should be back in action, see you then!

58th New York Masters Action USA (USA), 27 v 2003
                                     1   2   3   4   Total
    1. Stripunsky, Alex     g  2643 =10 + 9 + 2 + 6   3.5  ($420)
    2. Shahade, Greg        m  2495 +11 + 6 - 1 + 7   3.0  ($115)
    3. Milman, Lev          f  2400 = 8 + 4 + 5 =     3.0  ($115)
    4. Figler, Ilye         f  2318 =   - 3 +13 +10   2.5  ($ 50)
    5. Furdzik, Rafal          2287 =   +13 - 3 + 9   2.5  ($ 50)
    6. Bonin, Jay           m  2462 +14 - 2 + 8 - 1   2.0
    7. Shevelev, Danny      f  2349 =   =10 +11 - 2   2.0
    8. Salman, Joel         f  2203 = 3 +14 - 6 =11   2.0
    9. Smith, Bryan         f  2386 +12 - 1 =10 - 5   1.5 
   10. Privman, Boris       f  2283 = 1 = 7 = 9 - 4   1.5
   11. Klein, Erez          f  2264 - 2 +12 - 7 = 8   1.5
   12. Lowinger, Daniel        2105 - 9 -11 +14 =13   1.5
   13. Gershov, Yevgeniy    f  2357 =15 - 5 - 4 =12   1.0
   14. Chernin, Oliver         2221 - 6 - 8 -12 +15   1.0
   15. Tamarkin, Larry         2100 =13 --- --- -14   0.5

PRIZES 1ST - $420 2ND - $170 3RD - $ 60 U2400 - $100