Jon Speelman's Agony Column #44

by Jonathan Speelman
3/11/2017 – This week's games are by Andrew Sainsbury who is in his early thirties and lives in Bolton in Greater Manchester. Aside from chess, he enjoys playing the guitar, practicing Kung Fu, and learning languages. One of the games he sent is a Modern Defense that transposes to an Accelerated Dragon, and brings very detailed analysis by Jon Speelman.

Jon Speelman's Agony Column #44

He writes: “I am 32. I have a maths background and am a chartered accountant by training but now work in pricing analytics for a company which makes tools and consumables for the construction industry. Outside of chess, I enjoy playing the guitar, practising kung fu (nam pai chuan) and learning languages. I live in Bolton with my lovely wife Nicole - we've been married 18 months.

A little about my chess - I started playing chess when I was 16 at school in Lancaster - I went to the same school as James and Craig Hanley (Lancaster Royal Grammar School) - they were much better than everyone! 

In terms of my chess development, I have hovered around the 160 mark (JS: 1880 ELO) for the last 8 years but now slowly nudging towards the 170 mark (1960)! I study a lot and seem to be making slow progress but feel I have had a bit of an epiphany recently. I am spending much more time on endings and really concentrating on the middle-game which is helping my chess enormously. 

I play chess for Chorlton Chess Club in Manchester and have played for them since 2008. It's a friendly club and quite well known in the area for being a classic old, cold venue. We share the venue with the church social club on their bingo night so it's quite funny that you can be walking downstairs after your game to be greeted by some of the old ladies who have just got a full house after the Irish priest who does the bingo calling has just announced "two little ducks, 22!"  it's certainly different!It's got its charm though and is a very welcoming club with lots of the senior players investing a lot of their time training the up and coming players.

I am a trained ECF arbiter and will be supporting at the Blackpool congress this year.”

Andrew also mentioned that he has a website aimed mainly at players who are starting out: The Quiet Move. The two games he sent me are a nice positional win in which he completely outplayed his opponent in a Advance French and a tough loss in a Modern Defence which transposed into an Accelerated Dragon. We start with the latter.


[Event "Bolton 2 - Chorlton 2"] [Site "Bolton 2 - Chorlton 2"] [Date "2013.05.07"] [Round "?"] [White "McGlory, Ian"] [Black "Sainsbury, Andrew"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B06"] [Annotator "Speelman,Jonathan"] [PlyCount "117"] [EventDate "2013.??.??"] 1. e4 g6 (1... c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Qa5 7. Qd2 Nf6 {leads to the game}) 2. d4 Bg7 3. Be3 {Normally White plays Nc3 first} c5 4. Nc3 Qa5 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Qd2 cxd4 (6... Ng4 {doesn't work at all well after} 7. Nd5 Qd8 8. Bf4 d6 9. h3) 7. Nxd4 Nc6 8. Nb3 Qd8 9. Be2 (9. Bh6 {makes sense here. If Black castles then White gets quite a nice version of a Yugoslav attack type position.} O-O 10. h4 Bxh6 11. Qxh6 d6 12. h5 Be6 13. f3 {Some engines now initally want to play} Nxh5 {, but unsurprisingly this is extremely dangerous. For instance} 14. g4 Nf6 15. O-O-O Ne5 16. Nd4 Rc8 17. Nf5 $1 Bxf5 18. Nd5 Re8 19. Nxf6+ exf6 20. gxf5 {and White should win.}) 9... d6 10. f3 Be6 11. Nd4 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 O-O 13. O-O a6 14. a4 Rc8 15. a5 h5 {This interesting move is rather loose but is certainly likely to wind White up.} 16. f4 {Rising to the provocation immediately.} (16. Nd5 {was a natural continuation but after} Nxd5 17. Bxg7 (17. exd5 $2 Rxc2 $1 {is lovely for Black }) {And now} 17... Kxg7 (17... Ne3 18. Bd4 Nxf1 (18... Nxc2 $6 19. Bb6 Qd7 ( 19... Qe8 20. Rac1 Bb3 21. f4) 20. Rac1 Qa4 21. f4 {gives White a huge attack while Black is distracted by defending the knight.}) 19. Qh6 f6 20. Qxg6+ Kh8) 18. exd5 Bd7 {ought to give White some sort of edge maybe after} 19. Rfd1 (19. Qd4+ Kg8 20. c4 Re8 21. f4 Bf5 22. Bf3 Qc7 23. b3) 19... Re8 20. c4 e5 21. dxe6 Rxe6 22. Bf1) 16... Bc4 17. f5 Bxe2 18. Qxe2 Ng4 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Nd5 e6 21. h3 (21. f6+ Kh7 22. h3 Ne5 23. Ne3 {Black's king is pretty safe so with the huge knight anchored on e5 he should be fine.} (23. Nb6 Rc5 24. b4 Rc3)) (21. Nb6 Rc5 22. b4 (22. h3 $2 Rxa5) 22... Rc3 23. h3 Ne5 (23... Ne3 $2 24. Qd2 Qc7 25. Rf3) 24. Qd2 Qc7 25. Rf2 {The knight is better on b6 than e3 but this is still just a battle.}) 21... exd5 22. hxg4 hxg4 $2 {This invites the queen into what is rapidly becoming a real attack.} (22... Qh4 23. gxh5 Rh8 24. f6+ Kg8 25. hxg6 {was still fine for Black}) 23. Qxg4 Rh8 $2 (23... Qf6 {was necessary. After} 24. c3 {White looks a tad more comfortable.than Black though lines like} d4 25. fxg6 Qxg6 26. Qd1 dxc3 27. Qd4+ f6 28. bxc3 Rc5 {are likely to end up about equal.}) 24. fxg6 fxg6 25. Rf4 (25. exd5 $1 {was stronger because if} Rxc2 {which is the move he wants to play} 26. Qd4+ {is disastrous.} ) 25... dxe4 26. Raf1 Rc7 27. Rxe4 {[#] In late middlegames / endgames with queens and rooks, king safety is paramount and even if engines like Fritz are happy after 27... Re8 for a human being it's really difficult to play for Black.} Rf8 $6 28. Rxf8 Qxf8 29. Re6 Qf5 {[#]} 30. Qd4+ $1 {Quite rightly keeping the queens on. If} (30. Qxf5 gxf5 31. Rxd6 Rxc2 32. Rb6 $1 ({if} 32. Rd7+ Kf6 33. Rxb7 {Black's king is very active.}) 32... f4 $1 (32... Rc7 33. Kf2) 33. b4 Rb2 34. Kf1 Kf7 {[#] This is unpleasant for Black but looks defensible. White will have to let the Black king out when he takes on b7 and his king is tied to the g2 pawn and can't escape since Kh2 will always be met by ...f3. If} 35. Rxb7+ Ke6 36. Rb6+ Kf5 37. Rxa6 Rxb4 38. Ra8 Ra4 39. a6 Kg6 40. Kf2 Ra3 {is just a draw, whatever engines may say. as the 7-piece Lomonosov tablebases confirm.} 41. a7 (41. Ke2 Kh7 42. Kd2 Ra2+ 43. Kd3 Rxg2 44. Ke4 Rg6) 41... Kh7 42. Ke2 {Even if White could take the f4 pawn it wouldn't help at all . As soon as the king goes to b6 the rook will check him away from the a pawn.}) 30... Kf7 31. Rxd6 Re7 32. Qf2 Rc7 33. Qxf5+ gxf5 34. c3 Ke7 35. Rb6 Kd8 36. Kf2 Re7 (36... Kc8 37. Rf6 (37. Kf3 Rc5 38. b4 Rxc3+ 39. Kf4 Rc2) 37... Rc5 38. b4 Rxc3 39. Rxf5 Kd7 (39... Rc4 $2 40. Rc5+) 40. Rf4 Kd6 41. g3 Ke5 42. Kg2 Rc6 43. Kh3 b6 44. Kg4) 37. Rb4 Kc7 38. Rc4+ Kd6 39. b4 Re5 40. Kf3 {[#]} Rd5 $2 {A blunder allowing White to liquidate to a completely won pawn endgame.} ({After} 40... Re1 {White has excellent winning chances. I suppose Black might hold on a really good day but if say} 41. Rc5 Rf1+ 42. Ke3 Rg1 43. Kf2 Rc1 44. Rxf5 Rc2+ 45. Kg1 Rxc3 46. Rf7 Kc6 47. Kf2 Rc4 48. Rf6+ Kc7 ({or} 48... Kd5 49. Rb6 Rc7 50. g4 Ke5 51. Kg3) 49. Rb6 {and Black is completely lost}) 41. Rd4 Rxd4 42. cxd4 Kd5 43. Kf4 Kxd4 44. Kxf5 Kc4 45. g4 Kxb4 46. g5 Kxa5 47. g6 b5 48. g7 b4 49. g8=Q Kb5 50. Ke4 a5 51. Kd4 Ka4 52. Kc4 Ka3 53. Qg3+ Ka2 54. Qb3+ Ka1 55. Qa4+ Kb2 56. Qxa5 b3 57. Qb4 Ka1 58. Qa3+ Kb1 59. Qxb3+ {A tough battle, in which Andrew made some dubious choices around move 22.} 1-0


[Event "Chorlton - Holmes Chapel"] [Site "?"] [Date "2014.01.28"] [Round "?"] [White "Scattergood, Ben"] [Black "Sainsbury, Andrew"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C02"] [Annotator "Speelman,Jonathan"] [PlyCount "48"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bd7 6. a3 Nge7 7. b4 c4 {[#] Gaining space on the queenside but taking pressure off the centre.} 8. Nh4 $2 { A bad move because after the following exchange on g6 Black has the h-file.} ( 8. h4 f6 9. Bf4 {is sensible keeping a decent hold of e5}) 8... Ng6 9. Nxg6 hxg6 10. g3 Ne7 11. Bg5 Qc7 {[#]} 12. Bxe7 $2 {A very strange decision. Now Black gets the two bishops and will find it easy to play ...f6 when he wants to.} Bxe7 13. a4 O-O-O 14. Be2 $2 {Now Black gets serious play along the h-file.} (14. Bg2 g5 15. O-O Rh6 16. Na3 Rdh8 (16... a6 17. b5 a5 18. b6) 17. h3 Kb8 18. Nb5 Qb6 19. Re1 a6 20. Nd6 Bxd6 21. exd6 Qxd6) 14... g5 15. Qc2 Rh6 16. Bd1 Rdh8 17. f3 f6 $1 {Opening the centre. With White horribly discoordinated this is already fatal.} 18. Qe2 fxe5 19. dxe5 Be8 20. Bc2 a5 21. b5 Bc5 22. Na3 Rh3 ({As it happens, Fritz and his friends point out that Black can win with} 22... Rxh2 23. Rxh2 Rxh2 24. Qxh2 Qxe5+ {when the queen's entry proves decisive. Ex: After} 25. Kd1 Qxc3 26. Ra2 Qxf3+ 27. Qe2 Qh1+ {However, there was no reason on earth to play this when simply improving the pieces is utterly deadly.}) 23. g4 $6 {Making it even easier but} ({If} 23. Kd2 {there are many ways to win, most simply:} Qe7 24. Nb1 Rxg3) 23... Qf7 24. Bd1 Qf4 { [#] And White resigned. A crushing positional win by Andrew.} 0-1

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Jonathan Speelman, born in 1956, studied mathematics but became a professional chess player in 1977. He was a member of the English Olympic team from 1980–2006 and three times British Champion. He played twice in Candidates Tournaments, reaching the semi-final in 1989. He twice seconded a World Championship challenger: Nigel Short and then Viswanathan Anand against Garry Kasparov in London 1993 and New York 1995.
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