Speelman's Agony #58

by Jonathan Speelman
8/6/2017 – This week's pair of games are by Rodolfe Prevot a Frenchman in his mid fifties. who is currently rated 1867. Rodolfe writes: “I am 55 years old. After a life as a French teacher, I have decided to become a chess trainer (you can see two of my pupils from Blois on the photo above) and to improve my level of play (that shouldn't be too difficult!). Always in love with chess, I like to play, learn and teach!”

We start, relatively briefly, with the “Agony”game for which he wrote some notes in French, which I've attempted to translate reasonably faithfully. As usual, I've also added some comments of my own as JS.

[Event "Olivet Open"] [Site "?"] [Date "2016.??.??"] [Round "1"] [White "Prevot, Rodolfe"] [Black "Loiret, Stanislas"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "A09"] [WhiteElo "1867"] [BlackElo "2220"] [Annotator "Speelman,Jonathan"] [PlyCount "150"] [EventDate "29.??.??"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. Qa4+ Nd7 {The best move, but after considerable thought. Stan is a "truth seeker" and like Rubinstein enjoys putting himself in danger for the pleasure of the understanding it forces upon him.} 4. g3 a6 5. Qxc4 b5 6. Qc2 Bb7 7. Bg2 c5 8. b3 e5 9. d3 Bd6 10. Nbd2 Rc8 11. Bb2 Qe7 12. Rc1 Ngf6 13. Qb1 O-O 14. O-O h6 15. Rfd1 Rfd8 16. Nh4 {!?} Bxg2 17. Nf5 Qe6 18. Nxd6 Qxd6 19. Kxg2 Qc6+ 20. Kg1 h5 {JS: This is unnecessary.} ({Simply} 20... Qe6 {gave Black a very pleasant game.}) 21. Nf3 Qe6 22. Rc2 Re8 23. Qc1 {!} Nd5 24. a3 f6 25. b4 N7b6 26. bxc5 Na4 27. e4 Ne7 28. Re1 Qb3 29. Bxe5 $5 {Re3 is the move that Stan expected, and the computer's choice, but mine is ballsier and the right practical decision against a player who is very good in time trouble, though sadly the adrenaline rush helped him to transcend himself in what followed.} fxe5 30. Nxe5 Red8 31. c6 Qe6 32. c7 Rd6 33. Qg5 {?!} (33. f4 { as Rodlfe says, was rather better.}) 33... Qf6 $1 34. f4 Qxg5 35. fxg5 Re8 36. Rd1 $2 {JS: Losing the e-pawn after which White should be in trouble.,} Nc8 37. Nf3 Rxe4 38. Rdd2 Re7 39. d4 Nab6 40. Ne5 Nd5 41. Rc5 Ne3 42. Rd3 Ng4 43. Nf3 Re3 $2 {Zeitnot} (43... Ne3 {or}) (43... Re2 {maintained a nice advantage.}) 44. Rxe3 Nxe3 45. g6 $2 {JS; A counter blunder by Rodolfe.} (45. Re5 Kf8 46. Rxe3 {should be winning.}) 45... Nd5 46. Ne5 Nde7 47. Nf3 h4 48. Nxh4 Rxd4 49. Re5 Rd7 50. Re6 a5 51. Re5 Rd5 52. Re6 Rc5 53. Ra6 b4 54. axb4 axb4 55. Ra4 Rb5 56. Ra8 b3 57. Rb8 Rc5 58. Rxb3 Rxc7 {[#] JS: This still looks very far from trivial, if, indeed, Black is winning at all.} 59. Re3 Nd6 60. Re6 Rd7 61. Nf3 Ne8 62. g4 Kf8 63. Ng5 Kg8 64. Kg2 Nf6 65. h3 Nxg6 {[#] JS: With the capture of the menacing pawn, Black has made huge progress but even now there is plenty of work to be done.} 66. Ra6 Rd4 67. Kf1 Rd8 68. Ra7 Re8 69. Ra6 Nf4 70. Kf2 Rf8 71. Kg3 Ne2+ 72. Kh4 Nd5 {[#]} 73. Ra7 $2 {JS: After this, White is finally demonstrably lost. After} (73. Ne6 {kept on fighting.}) 73... Ndf4 74. Ra6 $2 {JS: Getting mated on the spot but} (74. Ne4 Re8 75. Nd6 Re6 76. Nf5 { would, as engines instantly tell you, lead to a very pretty mate} g5+ 77. Kxg5 Rg6+ 78. Kh4 Ng2+) 74... Ng2+ 75. Kh5 Nef4# 0-1

Rodolfe Prevot in Avoine 2016, on the right holding the prize: six bottles of wine for having won team blitz tournament with GM Thorsten Haub (standing next to him)

[Event "Gien"] [Site "Aajb"] [Date "2017.??.??"] [Round "3"] [White "Prevot, Rodolfe"] [Black "Vidal, Llewellyn"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A37"] [WhiteElo "1880"] [BlackElo "2247"] [Annotator "Speelman,Jonathan"] [PlyCount "61"] [EventDate "12.??.??"] 1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. g3 Bg7 4. Bg2 Nc6 5. O-O e6 6. Nc3 Nge7 {[#]} 7. d4 $5 { Playing a higher rated opponent, Rodolfe decided to randomise. My first thought was that while this is played in similar positions, it can't be that great a move "in theory". But in fact it has been played many times here precisely - I found 90 instances in a database - and in practice it certainly did disturb the course of the game.} Nxd4 8. Nxd4 cxd4 9. Nb5 Nf5 {This is what Black wants to play, but it does leave him temporarily behind in development and with the knight on b5 potentially a real threat.} (9... O-O 10. Nxd4 (10. Bf4 $6 e5 11. Bg5 d6) (10. e3 d5) 10... d5 {is unambitious but safer. }) 10. e4 $5 ({Engines want to play} 10. Bg5 {and my instinct was to take this, which leads to a splendid mess. I indulged myself with silicon assistance and produced these rough lines:} Qxg5 11. Nc7+ Kf8 {where he wants to go though not necessarily best.} 12. Nxa8 h5 13. Qa4 h4 14. Qxa7 hxg3 15. Qc5+ $1 (15. hxg3 Be5 16. Qc5+ d6 17. Qxc8+ Kg7 18. Qxb7 d5 19. f4 {[#]} Rh1+ $3 20. Kxh1 Nxg3+ 21. Kh2 (21. Kg1 Nxe2+ 22. Kf2 Nxf4) 21... Qh4+ 22. Bh3 Nxe2 {[#]} 23. Qb3 (23. Qxf7+ Kxf7 24. fxe5+ Kg7 25. Rf3 Qe4 26. Raf1 dxc4 27. Nb6 c3 28. bxc3 dxc3 29. Nd7 c2 30. Rf7+ Kh6 31. Rh7+ Kg5 {which is far too long a line, but certainly winning at the end.}) 23... Nxf4 24. Rxf4 Qxf4+ 25. Kg1 dxc4 26. Qc2 Qe3+ 27. Qf2 Qxh3 {[#] and Black has more than enough for the rook.}) 15... Kg8 16. Qxc8+ Bf8 {and Fritz and his friends tell me that the black square attack should be sufficient for a draw after lines like} 17. fxg3 (17. hxg3 Qh6 18. Rfd1 Qh2+ 19. Kf1 Rh5 20. Rd3 Ne3+ 21. fxe3 Rf5+ 22. Bf3 dxe3 23. Rxe3) 17... Qe3+ 18. Rf2 Rxh2 19. Qb8 Rxg2+ 20. Kxg2 d6) 10... dxe3 {[#]} 11. fxe3 {?!} ( 11. Bxe3 {was played by Lea Javakhishvili in the world rapidplay championships five years ago and led to success:} d5 12. Bxa7 Bd7 13. a4 O-O 14. Bc5 Re8 15. cxd5 Bxb2 16. Rb1 Be5 17. Na7 exd5 18. Bxd5 Rb8 19. a5 Qc7 20. Bb6 Qd6 21. Nb5 Qf6 22. Ba7 Rbd8 23. Qf3 Bc6 24. Rfd1 Bxd5 25. Rxd5 Rc8 26. Rd7 Qa6 27. Bb6 Rc6 28. Qd5 Ree6 29. Re1 Bf6 30. Rxe6 Rxe6 31. Kg2 Ne7 32. Qb3 Nc6 33. Nc7 Nxa5 34. Bxa5 Qxa5 35. Nxe6 Qe5 36. Nf4 Qe4+ 37. Qf3 Qa4 38. Qd5 {1-0 (38) Javakhishvili,L (2449)-Zhu Chen (2491) Batumi GEO 2012}) (11. g4 a6 $1 { looks good for Black and reasonably simple.}) 11... Qb6 {?!} (11... O-O 12. e4 Qb6+ 13. Kh1 Ne3 14. Bxe3 Qxe3 {With the black squares in such a mess, I really don't have much belief in White's position.}) 12. Kh1 a6 (12... d5 { would have left White grasping at straws.} 13. e4 dxe4 14. g4 Nd4 15. Be3 e5) 13. Nc3 $1 Nxe3 $6 {After this, White gets real play.} 14. Bxe3 Qxe3 15. Nd5 $1 Qe5 ({not} 15... Qc5 16. b4 Qd6 17. Nf6+ Ke7 18. Qf3 {with a very serious attack.}) 16. Nb6 Rb8 17. Nxc8 Rxc8 {[#]} 18. Rxf7 $1 {With Black's position breeched, it's game on.} Rc7 19. Rf4 $6 (19. Qf3 Qxb2 20. Rf1 Kd8 21. Qf4 Qe5 ( 21... Qd4 22. Qg5+) 22. Qh4+ g5 23. Qh5 Rxc4 (23... Kc8 $4 24. Rf8+ $1) 24. Bxb7 Kc7 25. Bg2 {And despite the two pawn deficit, with much the safer king White is perfectly okay. Engines now give:} g4 26. Qh4 Rf8 27. Rxf8 Bxf8 28. Rxf8 Rc1+ 29. Bf1 Qe4+ 30. Kg1 Qe3+ 31. Rf2 Rxf1+ 32. Kxf1 Qc1+ $11 {with perpetual check.}) 19... Qxb2 20. Rb1 Qxa2 21. Qd3 Rf8 {Rodolfe says that there was zeitnot here.} 22. Rh4 {[#]} Rh8 $2 ({The very far from obvious} 22... Kf7 $1 {would have given Black an easy draw and in fact the advantage if he managed to steel himself to avoid perpetual check:} 23. Rxh7 Qxc4 24. Rf1+ Kg8 25. Rxf8+ Kxf8 26. Qd6+ Ke8 $1 (26... Kg8 {is a pretty normal human reaction in time trouble but} 27. Rxg7+ Kxg7 28. Qe7+ Kh6 29. Qf8+ Kh7 { is simply a draw}) 27. h4 Bf6 {I'd definitely be scared in a time scramble that somthing horrible was going to happen, But the emotionless Silicon gives Black at least +2 pawns after} (27... Bf8 $4 28. Rh8 {loses.}) 28. Kh2 {[#]} Qc2 {prevetning} 29. Qf4 {due to} g5 $1) 23. Rxh7 {!} d5 $2 (23... Rxh7 24. Qxg6+ Kd8 25. Qxh7 Rxc4 26. Qg8+ Kc7 27. Rxb7+ Kd6 28. Rxd7+ Kxd7 29. Qxg7+ Kd6 30. Qf8+ Kd7 31. Qf7+ Kd8 32. Qf8+ Kc7 33. Qe7+ Kb6 34. Qxe6+ Kc5 $11) 24. Qxg6+ Kd8 25. Rxh8+ Bxh8 26. cxd5 {[#] and Black is blown apart.} Qd2 27. Qg8+ Kd7 28. dxe6+ Ke7 29. Qf7+ Kd6 30. Rb6+ Rc6 31. Qd7+ {A splendid attacking game by Rodolfe, in which he took serious risks against a higher rated opponent and tottered for a number of moves on the edge of the precipice, but eventually cast his opponent into it.} 1-0

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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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