Wednesday, August 20, 2008


The St. John's Masters has seen some of the most illustrious names in American chess as participants. But for sheer depth of strong players, the August 19, 2008 edition will be hard to surpass. Thirteen of the 27 entries had FIDE titles. There were former Champions of the United States (Nick De Firmian, Irina Krush, Jennifer Shahade) and Canada (Pascal Charbonneau.) There was a US Junior Champion (Robert Hess,) a Pan-American junior champion (Alec Getz,) and a former World Cadet Champion (Alex Lenderman.) There was at least one former State Champion (Jay Bonin) and several Marshall Chess Club Champions (Leonid Yudasin, Bonin, Yury Lapshun.) There was even a former Candidate for the World Championship (Yudasin.)

When battle was finished, the GM's Pascal Charbonneau and Leonid Yudasin and the IM's Jay Bonin and Alex Lenderman divided the top four prizes and earned $197.50 each. Charbonneau and Bonin won their first three games and took a quick draw with each other in the last round, while Yudasin and Lenderman drew in the third round and won their last games, the latter upsetting former US Championship runner-up GM Alex Stripunsky.

The big stars did not hog all the glory. Expert Marajudin Daftani and "A" player Nelson Farber each managed a draw against IM Krush and divided the Under 2300 prize, taking home $27.50 for their 2.5 scores. But Farber, an attorney and aspiring filmmaker, earned another $55 by scoring the biggest upset of the evening, a win over Master Adam Maltese, who outrated him by over 400 points. Farber's performance rating of 2381 made this the best result of his chess career.

One game which had no effect on the prize distribution was nonetheless notable. After the Charbonneau-Bonin quickie draw, Nick De Firmian and Yury Lapshun saw the first board unoccupied and sat down to play on the famous Capablanca table under the unblinking scrutiny of Frank Marshall's bust. Fittingly, the players followed the game Capablanca-Marshall, New York 1918, which introduced the Marshall Countergambit in the Ruy Lopez! De Firmian, White, varied from the Cuban's play with a now standard Bishop move, but Lapshun had a new idea of his own and the game ended in an exciting draw. We hope to procure a complete score quickly from Mr. Lapshun and post the game as a postscript to this report. At any rate, your reporter had one last smile on this summer night.

Thanks to co-sponsor, St. John's Masters founder, and Marshall Chess Club President Dr. Frank Brady, Dr. Glenn Statile, and Assistant TD Ed Frumkin for their support.
The next event in the series will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008 at 7:00 PM.

by Nick Conticello,
Chief TD, Marshall Chess Club

Click to show the crosstable

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