Erenburg Wins in New England
By Betsy Dynako/Jennifer Shahade   
August 17, 2008
GM Sergey Erenburg, Photo Betsy Dynako
GM Sergey Erenburg, hailing from the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, and originally from Israel, took clear first in the New England Masters (August 11-15, Pawtucket) with 7.5/9. The closing ceremony featured not only prize money (900 for first place), but chicken wings, two IM norm awardees, blitz and pool. 

Sergey won his penultimate round against IM Eli Vovsha, shooting his fellow Israeli/American college student chances for a GM norm.  Can you see how Sergey, playing White, did Eli in  in the following position?

Position after 21...Ra3, White to Move

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In the final game, Sergey prevailed over the young Parker Zhao to score 7.5/9, a half point ahead of GM Timur Gareev, who finished in clear second.

Evan Rosenberg (left) and Elliot Liu check out Parker Zhao's game.

Despite his last round loss, Parker Zhao couldn't have been too disappointed with his first IM norm! The following two games show that future opponents may want to think twice before trotting out the Sicilian against Parker.

How did Parker win against NE Masters defending champion Leonid Kritz in the following position?

Position after 21...Rb8,
White to Move

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Here is the full game, and another White Sicilian win by Parker over Dean Ippolito.

Canadian teenager Victor Kaminski also won an IM norm at the New England Masters- here is a key win of his over Denis Shmelov.

Chris Bird (right) poses with IM norm recipients Victor Kaminski and Parker Zhao

Near Misses

Eli Vovsha may have lost out on a norm, but he finished in clear third and earned almost 20 USCF rating points, scoring four full points, including wins over IM Jacek Stopa, IM David Vigorito and GM Keith Arkell. Vovsha told CLO about his miniature win over Arkell: “I didn’t prepare for the game as usual.  My opponent of course, thought that I did, so he played a slightly unusual move for him line in the Caro-Kann.  I played an unusual move 5.a3, and it is a  difficult continuation from Black’s point of view.   He choose a very awkward plan and as a result I got a very strong initiative straight away."

GM Keith Arkell and IM Eli Vovsha analyze.

As a student at Columbia University, Eli has few chances to play against such high-end competition. For Eli, the New England Masters was a great alternative to the more expensive World Open, and he was happy with the way Chris Bird organized the event.
Justin Sarkar lost to on the final day to GM Gareev and GM-elect Josh Friedel, but still must have good memories of his seventh round miniature win over local star Jorge Sammour-Hasbun:

Alisa Melekhina also came close to a WGM norm, defeating IM Robert Hungaski in the penultimate round:

You can find more puzzles to solve, games and photos in CLO's first report on the event, "New England Masters in Full Swing." Click on the following link for complete standings of the New England Masters and also check the homepage for blogs and games.  

The New England Masters featured some of the toughest fights and prettiest wins of the American chess summer. Judging from Betsy Dynako's photo gallery, it was also a fun time with great playing conditions.

Photo Gallery by Betsy Dynako
The top four (L to R): GM Timur Gareev, IM Eli Vovsha, GM Leonid Kritz and GM Sergey Erenburg

Timur Gareev and Eli Vovsha, on their way to the game.

WFM Alisa Melekhina

FM Elliot Liu

GM Keith Arkell

Guess who?

David Vigorito, Alisa Melekhina and Leonid Kritz

Paul MacIntrye

GM Leonid Kritz

Jorge Sammour-Hasbun