Jon Speelman's Agony Column #28

by Jonathan Speelman
11/17/2016 – There is a reason why many players love to attack - it is fun! Even though you occasionally may have to suffer the agony of missing a brillant shot in a tactical game. But a bold and fierce attack can even confuse grandmasters!

Jon Speelman's Agony Column #28

Kevin Winter

This week's games are by Kevin Winter, a 57 year old solicitor and father of three daughters, who lives in Bingley near Bradford and plays in the thriving Bradford league for Bradford itself. They meet at the local Latvian club. Kevin, who is rated 1815, has a lively playing style with a predilection for attack as you can see below. He writes:

"I love playing international tournaments and have played in masters' tournaments in Vienna, Riga, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Sicily amongst others. You could call me a chess tourist! My chess claim to fame is that I have beaten GMs Short, Arkell and Gordon and drew with Bronstein in simuls. I have won many domestic major and minor tournaments and was British Rapidplay Major Champion in 2015.

Nigel Short and Kevin Winter

I enjoyed my win against Nigel, as he is a chess hero of mine and I used a line that John Littlewood used to play. As for my loss, I loved my tussle with my friend Robert Clegg in yet another KID. I missed the double queen sacrifices to stalemate as I had seconds left on the clock. I had a vague idea of the sequence but had no time to calculate. I kick myself today as it would have been a beautiful way to finish a great game.

Kevin Winter and Hikaru Nakamura

We start with that comparatively mild "Agony" before moving on to two "Ecstatic" wins in simultaneous displays. The vast majority of the notes are mine but I have included the odd comment by Kevin marked KW.

[Event "Whitby Major"] [Site "?"] [Date "2012.09.29"] [Round "3"] [White "Clegg R"] [Black "Winter K"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E99"] [WhiteElo "155"] [BlackElo "151"] [Annotator "Jonathan Speelman"] [PlyCount "115"] [EventDate "2012.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.07.13"] 1. d4 d6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e4 Bg7 5. Be2 O-O 6. Nf3 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Ne1 Nd7 10. Be3 f5 11. f3 f4 12. Bf2 g5 {Kevin provided this very nice comment: "As so often in chess, this variation involves a straightforward trade of advantages. The white bishop is better on e3 than d2. The advance c5 is always looming. However, Black wins a tempo with ...f4 and can play ...g4 easily and ...g3 may be on the cards. Let battle commence !"} 13. Rc1 Nf6 14. c5 Ng6 15. Nd3 Rf7 16. cxd6 cxd6 {[#]} 17. Qb3 {KW: "Relatively unexplored but not sure what the point of it is ?! JS White's queenside attack involves playing Nb5 so this is very odd. This position is horrendously theoretical and Black has generally done very well but without work, which would have taken a week without engines (and could presumably be done much faster nowadays) I frankly have no idea what's "really" happening. One interesting idea is} (17. Re1 {to help guard the e4 pawn, the point being that if}) (17. Nb5 {at once} g4 18. fxg4 {runs into} Nxe4 {Instead White has tried several moves after 17...g4 but without great success.}) 17... h5 18. Kh1 Bf8 {KW: "This completes the so-called Mar del Plata sequence; founded by Gligoric and Najdorf in the Argentinian city! "} 19. Bg1 g4 20. Rc2 Rg7 21. Rfc1 {[#]} Nh7 $2 {This doesn't further the attack or the defence} (21... Nh4 {was possible} 22. Ne1 gxf3 23. Bxf3 Bd7) (21... Ne8 {is slow but defends c7}) (21... h4 {was what I (JS) wanted to play so I asked the engine.} 22. fxg4 Nxg4 23. Nb5 h3 24. Ne1 Nf6 25. Nc7 Nxe4 26. Nxa8 hxg2+ 27. Nxg2 Bf5 28. Nc7 Rh7 {Houdini 5 now gives this as almost equal continuing the line as below. I'd be pretty scared as White but then I never play the main line of the Classical King's Indian.} 29. Ne6 Bxe6 30. Nxf4 Bf5 31. Ne6 Qa5 32. Qb5 Qxb5 33. Bxb5 a6) 22. Nb5 {Now White is too fast.} Bd7 23. Nc7 Rb8 (23... gxf3 24. Bxf3 Nh4 {White can even simply take the rook here since he can then defend.} 25. Nxa8 (25. Ne6 {is much safer of course}) 25... Nxf3 26. gxf3 Bh3 27. Ne1 (27. Nxf4 {is forcing} exf4 28. Bd4 Rg6 (28... Qxa8 29. Bxg7 Bxg7 30. Rc7 {and White will play Rg1}) 29. Nc7 Qg5 30. Rg1) 27... Qg5 (27... b6 28. Nc7 Qg5 29. Bxb6 axb6 30. Qxb6) 28. Bxa7 { is quite good enough.}) 24. Bxa7 Qh4 {KW: "Take the rook then and let Black get on with the attack... speculative perhaps!" JS: You seldom play Nxa8 is this line. It's much more important to prevent ...Bxh3.} 25. Ne6 $1 Ra8 (25... g3 {KW is not the saving move} 26. Bg1 Re7 27. Rc3 $18) 26. Bg1 {[#]} (26. Nxg7 {is liked by engines but White has no need to give up the massive knight since Black is collapsing.} Rxa7 27. Ne6 g3 $18) 26... Bxe6 {KW: The Knight is too dangerous and must be lopped off even at the cost of the essential KID white squared bishop, which is often needed for the coming kingside attack." JS Positional sucide but otherwise one day White might play Nxg7.} 27. dxe6 Ne7 28. Nb4 (28. Bf1 Kh8 29. Rc7 {or simply}) (28. Ne1 {would leave the white king completely safe after which Rc7 would be murder}) 28... Nf6 29. Rc7 g3 $2 ( 29... d5 {would have created some trouble. I'd be very tempted then to play} 30. Rxe7 Bxe7 31. Nxd5 Nxd5 32. Qxd5 {but it's far from over.}) 30. h3 (30. Rxb7 $6 gxh2 31. Bxh2 Rh7 {The engines now give} 32. Nd5 Ng4 33. fxg4 hxg4 34. Nf6+ Qxf6 (34... Kh8 35. Nxg4 $1) 35. Bxg4 {but why would White even consider playing like this?}) 30... Ng4 {[#] KW: Pseudo-sacrifice but causes mayhem !" JS Absolutely the only chance but it doesn't really work.} 31. fxg4 $5 { Not necessary, but simplest since it wins.} hxg4 32. Bxg4 Rxg4 33. Qf3 (33. Nd5 $5 {was even stronger since f3 isn't a problem at least yet.}) 33... Rg6 34. Rxb7 Rxe6 35. Rcc7 Re8 36. Rd7 Rh6 37. Bb6 Qg5 {threatening a rook sac on h3 perhaps !} (37... d5 38. Nxd5 (38. exd5 $6 Nc8 39. d6 Nxd6 $16) 38... Nxd5 39. Rxd5 $18 (39. exd5 $6 e4 40. Qf1 f3 $11)) 38. Kg1 $5 (38. Bd8 $1 {is perhaps stronger. You want to make sure the king's safe before finishing Black off but the king isn't really safer on g1 than h1.} Re6 39. Nc6 d5 40. Nxe7+ Bxe7 41. exd5 Rd6 42. Bxe7 Qf5 43. Qg4+ $1) 38... Ng6 (38... d5 $5 39. Nxd5 (39. exd5 $4 {lets Black's pieces out} e4 40. Qxe4 Qh5 41. Qf3 Nf5) 39... Nxd5 40. Rxd5 Rc8 {White is in control though there's still some work to do.}) 39. Rbc7 Nh4 $6 { KW: The computer says no but instinct tells it gives Black counterchances. JS Black's task here is to give White as many chances as possible to go wrong. This looks scary and wasn't a bad idea had Black continued with 40...Rhe6 but} (39... Kh8 {was also interesting, giving White a difficult choice. My software likes simply} 40. a4 {but that's not necessarily easy to play in the heat of battle.}) 40. Qb3+ Ree6 $5 (40... Kh8 {KW doesn't get the cat off the tree} 41. Qf7 Ra8 (41... f3 42. Qxe8 {and both c1 and e3 are covered}) 42. Nd5 Nxg2 ( 42... f3 43. Be3 f2+ 44. Kf1 Qh5 45. Qxh5 Rxh5 46. Nf6) 43. Kxg2 $18) (40... Rhe6 {was more confusing though of course White is completely winning} 41. Nd5 f3 42. Rf7 Kh8 {and now the engines point out} 43. Rh7+ Kg8 44. Rh5 $1) 41. Rc8 {[#]} Nxg2 {KW had to be done... and looks like a chance, another sac ! JS But f3 was much more confusing} (41... f3 $1 {praying for a miracle} 42. Rdd8 (42. Be3 f2+ 43. Kf1 Nf3 $3 44. Bxg5 Nh2+ 45. Ke2 f1=Q+ 46. Ke3 {and in the calm light of day it's possible to see that White is still totally winning but Nf3 would have been a hell of a shock.}) 42... Qd2 43. Rxf8+ Kg7 44. Rg8+ Kh7 45. Rxg3 Qe1+ 46. Kh2 fxg2 47. Rc7+ Kh8 $11 48. Bg1 {and it's finally over.}) 42. Rxd6 (42. Rdd8 {KW and White can already relax} Qg7 43. Kxg2 Rhf6 44. Rxf8+ Qxf8 45. Rxf8+ Kxf8 $18 {is trivial}) 42... f3 $2 (42... Qg6 $1 43. Qxe6+ $5 ( 43. Rdd8 Qxe4 44. Rxf8+ Kg7 {This is also totally winning but you really don't want to have to defend with a quiet move.} 45. Nd3 Ne1 46. Rc7+ $1 {and Black gets mated first}) 43... Qxe6 44. Rxe6 Rxe6 45. Bc5 Nh4 46. Rxf8+ Kg7 47. Nd3 f3 {Of course White's winning but the pawns would make me still a tiny but nervous.}) 43. Rxe6 f2+ 44. Kxg2 f1=Q+ 45. Kxf1 Qf4+ 46. Kg1 Kh8 47. Rxh6+ Kg7 {[#]} 48. Qe6 $2 {Walking into a gorgeous defence} (48. Rxf8 {was trivial}) 48... Bc5+ $1 49. Bxc5 (49. Rxc5 $4 Qf2+ 50. Kh1 Qf1#) 49... Qc1+ 50. Kg2 Qd2+ $4 {KW gives away a clear draw !!! With seconds left Black misses the brilliant saving resource despite being four pieces down..50...Qh1+ !!! what a glorious finale it would have been... Black played as if inspired by Kasparov ! } (50... Qh1+ 51. Kxh1 g2+ 52. Kxg2 $11) 51. Kxg3 $4 (51. Kf3 {kept the black pawn so avoiding stalemate and wining easily}) 51... Qf4+ 52. Kg2 Qxe4+ $4 { lifting the stalemate} (52... Qf3+ {and several other moves too such as}) ( 52... Qf1+ {forced the draw}) 53. Kf2 Qf4+ 54. Ke2 Qe4+ 55. Kd2 Qf4+ 56. Kc2 Qf2+ 57. Kb3 (57. Bxf2 {obviously won as well} e4 58. Bd4#) 57... Qf3+ 58. Ka4 {Black lost on time. A sad end for Kevin to a splendid fighting game in which he kept going in a bad position, managed to create a very pretty stalemate defence and then in horrendous time trouble blew it.} 1-0


[Event "Simul, Idle WMC BRILLIANCY PRIZE"] [Site "?"] [Date "2009.06.24"] [Round "?"] [White "Winter K"] [Black "Arkell K Grandmaster"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A46"] [WhiteElo "114"] [BlackElo "232"] [Annotator "Jonathan Speelman"] [PlyCount "53"] [EventDate "2009.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.07.13"] 1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bg5 c5 4. e3 cxd4 (4... Qb6 {is often played and makes a lot of sense before White gets organised though Black has to be prepared to face the pawn sacrifice} 5. Bxf6 ({or first} 5. Nbd2 Qxb2 6. Bxf6 gxf6) 5... Qxb2 6. Nbd2 gxf6) 5. exd4 Be7 6. Nbd2 d6 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8. O-O O-O 9. Re1 b6 10. h3 {A reasonable move controlling g4, giving the king "luft" and in some cases preparing a retreat for the black-squared bishop. It does take the h3 square away from a possible rook lift but that's very hard to arrange in any case.} Bb7 11. c3 a6 12. a4 Re8 13. Nc4 b5 14. axb5 axb5 15. Ncd2 Bc6 16. Qe2 Qb6 17. Bh4 g6 {[#]} 18. Ng5 $5 {A nightmare move to face in a simul though Black does have a strong response} Bf8 (18... Rxa1 $1 19. Rxa1 e5 $1 {gives Black the initiative after for instance} 20. dxe5 dxe5 21. Bc2 Nd5 22. Bb3 Kg7) 19. Rxa8 $1 Rxa8 20. Nde4 {In a position like this White wants to sacrifice but} (20. Nxf7 Kxf7 21. Qxe6+ Kg7 {doesn't work so he first exchanges off some of Black's defenders.}) 20... Nxe4 $2 (20... Re8 $1 21. Qf3 Be7 {defends but in a simul it's very tempting to play the apparently "simple" move}) 21. Bxe4 { [#] When giving a simul, you don't normally calculate much unless you have to, which is why attacking is such a good option for the players being "simuled". Keith will have thought here that he just had to survive the attack then would start a minority attack on the queenside and would perhaps even end up with rook and 4 v rook and 3 on the kingside which he very often wins. However White has real threats and with his next natural move he walks into a haymaker. } Re8 $4 (21... Bxe4 22. Qxe4 Ra7 23. Nxf7 $1 Kxf7 24. Qxe6+ Kg7 {is extremely dangerous. White can then win the queen with} 25. Re4 (25. Re3 $2 d5 26. Bf6+ Kh6 $1) 25... d5 26. Bf6+ Nxf6 {Of course with the rook on e4 if} (26... Kh6 27. Rh4#) 27. Qxb6 Ra1+ 28. Kh2 Nxe4 (28... dxe4 29. Qb7+ Kh8 30. Qxb5 { is probably even worse}) 29. Qb7+ Kh8 30. Qxd5 Nd6 {Black is fighting here and could easily still win but the queen and pawns are surely better than the pieces - in theory at least.}) (21... d5 22. Bd3 {gives White a very nice edge with several different knight sacrifices in the air.}) 22. Nxh7 $6 {This is strong but} (22. Qf3 $1 {won on the spot}) 22... Kxh7 $2 {Losing but} (22... Bxe4 23. Nxf8 Nxf8 24. Qxe4 d5 {is very grim due to the dark squares}) 23. Qf3 Bxe4 {Trying to fight it out since if} (23... Kg8 24. Bxc6 Qc7 {there is simply } 25. Bxb5) 24. Qxf7+ Bg7 25. Rxe4 Qc6 26. Rg4 g5 27. Rxg5 {[#] As Kevin says: " A great victory against the English Champion !"} 1-0


[Event "Clock Simul 45m/60mins, Gatwick"] [Site "?"] [Date "2011.10.27"] [Round "?"] [White "Short, Nigel"] [Black "Winter, Kevein"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C41"] [WhiteElo "2698"] [BlackElo "1859"] [Annotator "Jonathan Speelman"] [PlyCount "60"] [EventDate "2011.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.07.13"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 g6 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Be3 Nc6 7. Qd2 Nf6 8. f3 O-O 9. O-O-O Re8 10. g4 {[#]} Be6 $2 {Very dubious since the exchange on e6 followed by Bc4 is natural and strong. Instead} (10... Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Be6 { is normal}) (10... d5 {is a move Black would like to play but} 11. g5 Nh5 12. Nxd5 Nxd4 13. Bxd4 Bxd4 14. Qxd4 Qxg5+ 15. Qd2 $1 {is very uncomfortable}) 11. h4 h5 12. Nxe6 Rxe6 13. Bc4 Re8 14. gxh5 Nxh5 {[#]} 15. Bg5 {This doesn't help the attack.} (15. Rdg1 $1 Kf8 {if} (15... Ne5 16. Be2 {threatening f4}) 16. f4 {gave a huge attack.}) 15... Qd7 16. Rhg1 a6 17. Nd5 Ne5 18. Be2 b5 19. c3 ({ Engines like} 19. b3 {which would be a good move if you were confident that a sacrifice with ...Nc4 doesn't work. This may well be the case but in a simul you'd be very loath to take the risk and voluntarily soften up the long diagonal..}) 19... Rab8 20. f4 Nc4 21. Qd3 c6 22. Bxh5 $2 {Trying to keep control but in fact losing it.} (22. Nb4 a5 23. Nc2 Nxb2 24. Kxb2 b4 {looks very scary and could very easily go wrong especially in a simul though engines are fairly dismissive.} 25. e5 Qb7 (25... Rxe5 26. fxe5 Bxe5 27. Bxh5 bxc3+ 28. Ka1 Rb2 29. Rb1 {and Black has run out of ammunition}) (25... bxc3+ 26. Ka1 Qb7 27. Rb1) 26. cxb4 dxe5 27. Kc1 Nxf4 28. Bxf4 exf4 29. h5 $1 {and White is attacking too. If} Re3 30. Nxe3 Qxb4 31. Nc4 Bb2+ 32. Kc2 Qa4+ 33. Qb3 $1 { wins easily}) 22... cxd5 23. exd5 $2 {[#]} (23. e5 {was necessary to block the diagonal at least for a tempo}) 23... Re3 $6 (23... gxh5 $4 {would of course be ridiculous. Black needs to attack}) (23... Nxb2 $1 24. Kxb2 b4 {would have annihilated White who has no defence on the diagonal and cannot now run into the corner without the knight blockading the pawn on c2.} 25. Rde1 (25. Bxg6 bxc3+ 26. Kc1 Qa4 27. Bxf7+ Kxf7 28. Qf5+ Kg8 {and Black is first.}) 25... bxc3+ 26. Kc1 Qa4 27. Rxe8+ Rxe8 28. Rg2 Qa3+ 29. Kd1 Qa4+ 30. Rc2 (30. Qc2 Qd4+ 31. Kc1 Qe3+) (30. Kc1 Re1+) 30... Re4 {Black could also now take the bishop if Black likes} (30... gxh5)) 24. Qc2 b4 $2 {[#] Too slow} (24... Nxb2 $1 {was also good now, though since the queen isn't attacked, White can ignore it and try} 25. Bxg6 $1 fxg6 $1 (25... Nxd1 $2 26. Bf5 Qc7 27. Bh6 Rxc3 28. Rxg7+ Kf8 29. Rh7+ Ke7 (29... Ke8 $2 30. Rh8+ Ke7 31. Bg5+ f6 32. Rh7+ { and White wins.}) 30. Bg5+ Kf8 31. Bh6+ {with perpetual check}) (25... Rxc3 $2 {is parried by} 26. Bf6 $1 Bxf6 (26... Rxc2+ $2 27. Bxc2 Rc8 28. Rxg7+ Kf8 29. Bxb2 $1 {and White is much better}) 27. Qxc3 Bxc3 28. Bf5+ Kf8 29. Bxd7 Nxd1 30. Kxd1 Ke7) 26. Qxg6 Nxd1 27. Bf6 Rb7 {and with an extra-rook Black is winning}) 25. Be2 $2 {Also too slow.} ({White had to try} 25. Bxg6 $1 bxc3 26. b3 $1 fxg6 27. Qxg6 Nb2 28. Bf6 Rb7 {which is a total mess}) 25... Nxb2 $1 ( 25... Na3 $1 {was also winning as indeed was}) (25... bxc3 26. Bxc4 Rxb2) 26. Qxb2 Rxc3+ 27. Kb1 (27. Kd2 Qh3 {and White is blown apart.} (27... Rd3+ $2 { only wins the queen})) 27... b3 28. a3 Rc2 29. Qxg7+ Kxg7 30. Bd3 Qa4 {[#] A very nice attack by Kevin. As in the previous game, this would be a nightmare in a simul even for a player who is usually as effective at giving them as Nigel.} 0-1

Submit your games

Did you enjoy the column and instructive analysis by GM Jonathan Speelman? Do you wish you could have a world-renowned grandmaster analyzing your play? You can! Just send in two of your games: one success story (Ecstasy) and one loss (Agony). Tell why you chose them, where or when they were played, and if they are selected, not only will you get free detailed commentary of your games by one of chess’s great authors and instructors, and former world no. 4 player, but you also win a free one-month Premium subscription to ChessBase Account.

A one-month Premium subscription to ChessBase Account, means that for one month you get:

  • Premium access to the Playchess server with ratings, simuls, lectures, and live commentary of top games.
  • Access to all Web apps with no restrictions, such as the Cloud database (, and more!
  • Full access to the Video archive, which not only includes all the past lectures by Daniel King, Simon Williams and others, but also a large number of full ChessBase products you would normally need to buy in the ChessBase Shop, but that you can view for free as a Premium subscriber.

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


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register