Actions and excitement in New York rapid

7/6/2006 – The prestigious New York Athletic Club was recently host to a high-calibre event, with six GMs averaging over 2665 Elo apiece, played a rapid chess tournament. In the end it was won by the Grinder, ahead of the Ambassador, the Rock, the Gentleman, the Silencer and the Terminator. Interested to know who these players are? Well read our illustrated report.

Prestige, actions and excitement in NY City

The 2006 Mayor's Cup Invitational

After many months of preparing and planning, the 2006 NY City Mayor’s Cup Chess Invitational tournament took place on June 25 – 26, 2006 at the prestigious New York Athletic Club. The event was organized and sponsored by the Susan Polgar Foundation in collaboration with the NY Athletic Club, the NY City Sports Commission and the Office of Mayor Bloomberg. Susan was the chief organizer. She was the one who came up with the idea of the event to promote chess in the US, especially in NY City. She contacted the NYAC, NYC Sports Commission, raised funding and personally contacted the players.

The tournament consisted of six players who were invited based on a number of criteria such as: ratings, current titles, location of residence, past invitations, etc.

  1. GM Alexander “The Rock” Onischuk (Reigning US Champion, 2006 Olympiad Bronze Medalist)
  2. GM Gata “The Grinder” Kamsky (#1 USCF and FIDE rated player in the US, 2006 Olympiad Bronze Medalist)
  3. GM Susan “The Ambassador” Polgar (#1 USCF and FIDE rated woman player in the US, 2004 Olympiad Silver and Gold Medalist)
  4. GM Ildar “The Silencer” Ibragimov (Olympiad Bronze Medalist)
  5. GM Boris “The Gentleman” Gulko (Former USSR and US Champion)
  6. GM Alexander “The Terminator” Stripunsky (Former US Open Co-Champion)

This was the highest rated double round robin chess tournament in US history. The average USCF rating of the six players was 2665+. The time control of the tournament was 25 minutes per game with 5 seconds delay. One notable name that was missing in this event is Hikaru Nakamura who was invited and participated in the previous Mayor's Cup Invitational. The organizing committee and sponsors wanted to see different players in this event.

Most of the games were very hard fought and they were basically decided in the last minute or two, sometimes even in the last few seconds. In round one Boris Gulko with the White pieces created an incredible sacrifice against Susan that almost gave him a full point. She defended very well to hang on and even missed a winning combination toward the end of the game. The game ended with each player getting ½ point.

Boris Gulko took the early lead in round two by defeating Gata Kamsky. Gata overpushed and Boris displayed his impeccable endgame technique to score a full point.

In round 5 Susan and Alex Stripunsky (who happened to be neighbors in Forest Hills, NY) played a game that ended in a wild draw.

In round 8, the two leaders Gata and Susan faced each other. Rather than playing safe, Susan tried to go all out for an attack on the Kingside against Gata.

NYC Mayor’s Cup 2006 – Wall Chart

 Player

Elo

R 01

R 02

R 03

R 04

R 05

R 06

R 07

R 08

R 09

R 10

Rank

1. Gulko, Boris

2659

W 2

B 4

W 3

B 5

W 6

B 2

W 4

B 3

W 5

B 6

4
 

0.5

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.5

3.5

4.0

4.5

5.0

5.0 pts

2. Polgar, Susan

2557

B 1

W 6

B 4

W 3

W 5

W 1

B 6

W 4

B 3

B 5

2
 

0.5

1.5

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.5

4.5

4.5

5.0

6.0 pts

3. Onischuk, Alex

2704

W 6

W 5

B 1

B 2

W 4

B 6

B 5

W 1

W 2

B 4

3
 

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

4.0

4.5

5.0

5.5 pts

4. Kamsky, Gata

2736

B 5

W 1

W 2

B 6

B 3

W 5

B 1

B 2

W 6

W 3

1
 

0.5

0.5

1.5

2.5

3.0

4.0

4.5

5.5

6.0

6.5 pts

5. Stripunsky, Alex

2659

W 4

B 3

B 6

W 1

B 2

B 4

W 3

W 6

B 1

W 2

6
 

0.5

1.0

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.0

2.0

2.5

3.0

3.0 pts

6. Ibragimov, Ildar

2704

B 3

B 2

W 5

W 4

B 1

W 3

W 2

B 5

B 4

W 1

5
 

0.5

0.5

1.5

1.5

1.5

2.0

2.0

2.5

3.0

4.0 pts


Winner Gata Kamsky with second-placed Susan Polgar

These six players gave their all to try to win the prominent Mayor’s Cup. Gata played very well and deserved to win the tournament. He lived up to “the Grinder” nickname as he mowed down his helpless opponents. Alex Onischuk was truly the "Rock". He was the only player not to lose a single game! He even joked that he was the “Rock” and the “Invincible” at this event. Boris Gulko started out very well but he was tired at the end. Ildar Ibragimov fought valiantly and he was the unlucky loser in some of the games after outplaying some of his opponents. Alex Stripunsky fought hard until the last game and the clock did him a few times. But he never gave up. Susan had her ups and downs as she is clearly still rusty.

The tournament had incredible excitement and extremely high fighting spirits. Even though these six players get along well with each other, all friendships were left outside of the chess boards as they fought hard to defeat each other in every round.

Mr. Ken Podziba, NY City Sports Commissioner was on hand at the Closing Ceremony to congratulate all the participants and gave out the Mayor’s Cup. Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg was not able to make it as planned due to a last minute official function.


The closing ceremony of the Mayor's Cup. From left to right: GM Gulko, Alec Diacou (President of the NYAC Chess Club), GM Stripunsky, GM Ibragimov, me, Jim and Frank Berry (arbiters and sponsors), GM Onischuk, GM Kamsky, NYC Sports Commissioner Ken Podziba, Joel Channing (VP of Finance, USCF)

Unfortunately due to the horrendous weather in NY City the night before the event we had technical problems at the NYAC and could not record all the games. When we get hold of them we will provide them here on this page.

Information and pictures provided by Paul Truong


Feedback and mail to our news service Please use this account if you want to contribute to or comment on our news page service



Discuss

Rules for reader comments

 
 

Not registered yet? Register