IM Ostrovskiy Wins His Second NY State Title
By David A. Hater   
September 8, 2015
Two-time NY State Champ IM Alexandr Ostrovskiy
The 137th running of the New York State Chess Championship was held from September 4th to 7th at the Marriott Hotel in Albany, New York.  201 players competed in five sections for bragging rights and the state championship title.  Past champions of this tournament read like a who’s who of American chess including World Champion Jose Capablanca, US Chess Hall of Famers Frank Marshall, Fred Reinfeld, Isaac Kashdan, Arnold Denker, Reuben Fine, Edmar Mednis, Pal Benko, Leonid Shamkovich, and Joel Benjamin as well as other notable GMs including William Lombardy Maxim Dlugy, Alex Stripunsky, Michael Rohde, and Hikaru Nakamura.  

IM Alexandr Ostrovskiy again added his name to the distinguished history of this event by scoring an undefeated 5-1. Aleksandr also won the NY State Championships in 2010, at the time the youngest ever to win it (a record since eclipsed by Nicolas De Checa). Ostrovskiy pocketed $1600 for this year's victory.  Ostrovskiy also did well in the blitz finishing second for $150 and his mixed doubles team finished in a tie for 3rd netting his team $100. A good weekend for the new State Champion!

The tournament had a four day, three day, and two day schedules.  Most of the players opted for the three day schedule. The top players chose to compete in the New York Blitz Championship Friday night which had a guaranteed $1000 prize fund. The blitz was won by Levy Rozman (readers may remember he recently won the Manhattan Open blitz).  Rozman won $300.  Rozman also tied for second in the championship winning $600.

The top seed in both the main event and the blitz was GM Alexander Ivanov.  Unfortunately, he came away empty handed.  He won $60 in the championship, but that was less than his free entry fee!   He scored 6 ½ 3 ½ in the blitz and 4-2 in the Championship.  This is a testament to how hard fought the tournament was.

Ostrovskiy counts his best game as the following win versus FM Rico Salimbagat:

Ostrovskiy,Aleksandr (2488) - Salimbagat,Rico (2316) [C67]
NYS Championship (5), 07.09.2015

Heading into the penultimate round I was in a three way tie for first with 3.5/4. I was paired with FM Rico Salimbagat, a strong attacking player whose 2300 rating doesn't do him justice.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6

Salimbagat played the Jaenisch against me two days prior in the blitz tournament.
4.0-0 Nxe4


This was a genuine surprise. As I mentioned, Salimbagat had previously displayed a preference for more aggressive chess, but perhaps he wanted to be solid with the Berlin Wall given the tournament situation.
5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.h3

The modern trend.
An alternative to the more popular Bd7 or Ke8. This move was tried by Carlsen 3 times against Caruana in the past year, although black only managed half a point.
10.Rd1+ Ke8 11.Nc3 Be6?!

This move has been relatively popular in this position but should be a mistake as Black allows his bishop to get hit by Nd4. [11...Ne7 intending to maneuver to g6, has been the most popular try, as played by Carlsen, Anand, Topalov etc.]
12.g4 Ne7 13.Nd4 h5
Funnily Black has most often chosen to retreat the bishop from exchange with 13...Bd7 but after 14.Kh2 Ng6 15.f4 h5 16.Kg3! (an important idea for White in order to bolster his mobile kingside pawns. 16...Be7 17.Be3 Bh4+ 18.Kf3 Be7 19.Kg3 Bh4+ 20.Kf3 Be7 21.Nf5 Nh4+ 22.Nxh4 Bxh4 23.f5 White's advantage was obvious as he managed to successfully push his pawn majority. 1-0 (43) Sutovsky,E (2700)-Fressinet,L (2698)/ Khanty-Mansiysk 2011
14.Nxe6 fxe6

Now Black is deprived of his two bishop advantage and doesn't have compensation for his inferior pawn structure. Nevertheless he is still solid, so it is not easy to break through.
15.Kg2 Ng6 16.f4 Be7 17.Be3 Rf8N
17...Rd8 0-1 (53) Kotronias,V (2570)-Smyslov,V (2540)/Karditsa 1995
18.Rf1 Rd8 19.a3
Maybe not strictly necessary but in some lines a3 serves as a prophylactic against Bb4 [19.Rae1?! Bb4=; 19.Ne2 Bb4 20.Ng3?? (20.c3?! Rd3=) 20...hxg4 21.hxg4 Bd2!-+]
19...b6 20.Ne2?!
20.Ne4 Would have made preferring 18. Rf1 over 18. Ne2 look farsighted.
20...hxg4 21.hxg4 Bc5! is a fantastic idea suggested by the computer. White is unable to coordinate in time against the incursion of the Rook to d2.20. Ne4 would have avoided this issue.
21.Ng3 Nh4+ 22.Kg1 hxg4 23.hxg4 g5!?


An aggressive possibility that I had foreseen. I thought it was a mistake, but it turns out to be an interesting try. [23...Rd5! Preparing ideas of g5. For example: 24.Rae1 (24.c4 Rd3 is annoying) 24...c4 Setting up counterplay with g5 (24...g5 25.c4 allows White to push f5 next) 25.Ne4 possibly preparing Kh2-Kg3.]
24.f5 exf5?
Rico blitzed this one out, which turns out to be the real mistake. [24...c4! This was necessary now 25.f6 (25.Nh5 I had thought this move was strong but after 25...Kf7! Everything is protected. I have to be careful not to overextend. 25.Rae1!?) 25...Bc5 26.Bxc5 bxc5 Black has a horrible pawn structure while White has a connected passed pawn on f6. Despite this, Black's activity offers compensation for these static features. In particular, the idea of pressing the e5 pawn with Rd5 and Ng6 is appealing.
At this point Black went in for a lengthy think as he had found a hole in his variation. But with the mobile passed pawns it's difficult now.

Too late for this one! 25...Rd5 was the intention 26.f6 Rxe5 (26...g4 See 25....g4) 27.fxe7 Rxf1+ 28.Nxf1 This recapture, defending the Be3, was what my opponent missed. 25...g4 26.f6 Rd5 (26...Nf3+? 27.Rxf3 gxf3 28.fxe7) 27.fxe7 Nf3+ 28.Kg2 Kxe7 with the technical stage ahead.
26.f6 Bc5 27.Bxc5 bxc5 28.e6 Rd2 29.Nh5

29...Rh8 30.Ng7+ Kf8 31.e7+ Kf7 32.e8Q+ Rxe8 33.Nxe8 g4!?
Resourceful till the end.

Practical. I also didn't see the other refutations. 34.Rae1 is the cold blooded solution. 34...g3 35.Rf4! The only winning move but good enough; 34.Nxc7 Nf3+!? (34...g3 35.Rf4!) 35.Rxf3 gxf3 Allowing this position did not feel like the cleanest conversion.
 34...Nf3+ 35.Kg2 Rxf2+ 36.Kxf2 Kxe8 37.Kg3 Kf7 38.Kxg4 Ne5+ 39.Kf5 Nd7 40.Rf1 c3 41.bxc3 c4 42.Rf4


Salimbagat led for the first three rounds.  He defeated GM Alexander Ivanov in round 2.  He played on board one in rounds 2 through 5. Unfortunately after losing to Ostrovskiy and taking a half point bye in the last round, he finished tied for 6th with 4 points and won only $60.

The other sections were won by Max Li, Brendan Lee, and Jaime Palafox in the Under 2100 section, Polly Wright and James Oslica in the Under 1900 section, William Yen in the Under 1500 section and Ram Kancharla in the Under 1200 section. The Mixed Doubles prize was a tie between the teams of Polly Wright/FM Robert Sulman and Meghana Kancharla/Ram Kancharla.   

One unusual statistic from the tournament is there was not a single forfeit loss!

Another unusual statistic is that I played.  This was my first US tournament in a year and a half.  I had chances.  If I could have won the last round, I would have finished in the money.  Instead I tied for 9th. I was just happy to remember how the pieces move!  I had one nice tactic:

David Hater 2050--Kenneth Evans 1800


Show Solution

The tournament was directed by Bill Goichberg and Steve Immitt for Continental Chess.  They were assisted part-time by Sophia Rohde and David Hater.


Full tournament results can be found at