Jon Speelman's Agony Column #30

by Jonathan Speelman
12/1/2016 – Some attacks in chess are brutal, displaying a firework of sacrifices and tactics, others are more subtle, showing a fine mix of determination and patience - which is often a pleasure to watch. In his Agony Column #30 Jon Speelman presents a nice example of an attack by amateur Fabrice Fiol (photo) that is at once determined and calm.

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Jon Speelman's Agony Column #30

This week's games are by Fabrice Fiol, a Frenchman who now lives in New York.

Fabrice Fiol

During the World Championship match he used the chance to see Carlsen and Karjakin in action.

Press conference after game five

Fabrice, who is in his early forties, studied chess in Cannes and at his peak was about 2270. He beat the odd IM and GM in open tournaments and in 1991 played in a simultaneous against Gary Kasparov eventually drawing a Queen's Gambit Tarrasch. But his competitive years were from about 1989 to 2000 and he hasn't played a long tournament game since 2003.

He moved to New York towards the end of the nineties and went to the famous Marshall Chess Club playing in a rapidplay in which he beat a very young Fabiano Caruana.

Fabrice works in Manhattan at a large financial institution running a risk management team and is married with kids in elementary school. They do play chess and of course computer games but "I spend a lot more time with them on soccer fields."

The two games are from an Open in Cannes and a rapidplay at the Marshall and we start with the Agony in the latter. Fabrice wrote excellent notes which I've appended to as JS in places.

[Event "Marshall ( Rapid)"] [Site "nyc"] [Date "2005.10.07"] [Round "?"] [White "Pressman"] [Black "Fiol"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B49"] [Annotator "Fabrice Fiol, Jonathan Speelman"] [PlyCount "97"] [EventDate "2005.??.??"] [EventType "rapid"] [SourceDate "2015.07.13"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Be2 a6 6. O-O Qc7 7. Be3 Nf6 8. Nc3 Bb4 9. Nxc6 (9. Na4 {The best move according to theory. Black can't take e4, and b6 is weak} O-O (9... Rb8 10. c4 $1 (10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Bf3 d5) 10... O-O (10... Bd6 11. f4 $1 Nxe4 12. Bf3 $44 Nf6 (12... f5 13. Nxf5 exf5 14. Bb6) 13. Nf5 $1 exf5 14. Bb6 {winning the queen. A neat trap}) (10... Nxe4 11. c5 $1 d6 12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Qd4 f5 14. Bh5+ Kf8 15. Rad1 {I like White here}) 11. Nxc6 (11. Qc2 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 Bd6 13. Bxf6 gxf6 14. g3 b5 15. Nc3 bxc4 16. Rad1 Be7) 11... bxc6 12. c5 $1 Qe5 13. f3 d5 14. Qd4 Qxd4 15. Bxd4 Bb7 16. a3 Bd2 17. Rad1 Bh6 18. b4 Rbd8 19. e5 Ne8 20. Nc3) 10. c4 $5 (10. Nxc6 bxc6 11. Nb6 Rb8 12. Nxc8 Rfxc8 $11) 10... Be7 11. Nc3 d6 12. Rc1 Ne5 13. f4 Ng6) 9... bxc6 10. Na4 Rb8 {Covers b6} 11. Bf3 h5 $5 {An ambitious move, but the white pieces aren't well coordinated.} (11... d5) 12. Rb1 $2 (12. h3 {is what I expected}) 12... Ng4 $1 13. Bxg4 hxg4 14. g3 Qa5 $1 {indirectly protects g4} 15. c3 {[#]} Qh5 {JS Fabrice criticised this move but it looks best} (15... Be7 $1 {Maybe stronger was to play ..Be7 first} 16. e5 $1 (16. b3 Qh5 $1 17. h4 Bxh4 $40) 16... Qxe5 (16... f5 {JS hopes for} 17. exf6 Qh5 18. h4 Bxf6 {but even this doesn't really work} 19. Re1) 17. Qxg4 {JS This is very nice for Black who has a good centre and two good bishops. My engine is giving just =+, however, because after} Qh5 18. Qxh5 Rxh5 19. Nb6 {is mildly annoying}) 16. h4 Be7 $17 { Black has good prospects here} 17. f3 {Almost forced, otherwise ..Bh4 or ..g5 is strong} gxf3 18. Qxf3 {[#]} Qxf3 $2 {The ending is slightly better for Black, but keeping the queens is better with ..Qg6 is even better. JS If Black wants to exchange queens then it's better to allow White to do so after 18...c5 but indeed Qg6 was even better} (18... Qg6 $1 19. Qg2 {is what my (JS's) engine preferred but it's also very nasty since Black can either simply mobilise his forces or perhaps even sacrifice the c-pawn to get the bishop on the long digonal} (19. Kf2 d6 20. e5 dxe5 21. b4 (21. Nc5 O-O) (21. Qxc6+ Bd7 22. Qxa6 Qf5+ 23. Kg1 Qg4) 21... Rh5 $19) 19... Rh5 (19... c5 $5)) (18... c5 19. Qxh5 Rxh5 20. Bf4 d6 21. c4 Bb7 22. Nc3 Bf6 $1 23. Bxd6 Rd8 24. e5 Bxe5 25. Bxe5 Rxe5 {with a serious advantage}) 19. Rxf3 d6 20. b3 O-O $2 (20... Bb7 $1 21. Rbf1 f6 22. Bf4 g5 23. hxg5 fxg5 24. Bd2 c5 25. Re1 Bc6 26. Nb2 Kd7 {and Black has the initiative on the h-file and the pawns on e4 and g3 are both weak.}) ( 20... e5) (20... f6 {JS} 21. c4 c5 22. Rf2 Bb7 23. Nc3 Bc6 24. Rd1 Kf7 25. Bf4 Rhd8 26. Rfd2 e5 27. Be3 a5 28. Rb1) 21. c4 (21. Nb6) 21... c5 $6 (21... e5 $1 22. Nc3 Bg4 23. Rf2 f5 $1 {Black wants to open the position to let the pair of bishops speak}) (21... Bb7 22. c5 d5 23. e5 f6 {was possible}) 22. e5 $1 { A good move to disrupt Black} Bb7 23. Rf2 Rbc8 $13 24. Rd1 d5 25. cxd5 exd5 26. Rc1 d4 27. Bg5 $1 {Trying to win c5} Bxg5 $6 (27... f6 $1 28. exf6 gxf6 29. Bf4 Rfd8 {was safer}) 28. hxg5 c4 $5 {24 I put my hopes on this move when I played ..d5} (28... Rfe8 29. Rxc5 Rcd8 (29... d3 $2 30. Rd2) 30. Rc7 Bd5 31. g6 fxg6 32. Rd2 Rxe5 $11) 29. Nb6 $2 {[#]} (29. Rxc4 Rxc4 30. bxc4 Rc8 31. g6 $1 fxg6 32. Nb6 Re8 33. Rd2 Rxe5 34. Rxd4 $11) (29. bxc4 Rfe8 30. Nb6 Rcd8) 29... Rcd8 $2 {This is probably the critical moment of the game.} (29... c3 $3 {Only move, but this is probably winning!! I didn't want to give the exchange, but the two pawns and the bishop are dangerous here JS Not just dangerous but murderous } 30. Nxc8 Rxc8 31. g6 $1 (31. Rf4 $2 d3 32. Rd4 d2 33. Rf1 c2 {is winning for Black}) 31... d3 $1 32. gxf7+ Kf8 {and White can't stop the pawns} 33. e6 d2 34. Rd1 Bd5 $1 {JS and it's trivial but not} (34... c2 35. Rfxd2 cxd1=Q+ 36. Rxd1 Bc6 {and White can try to fight})) 30. Nxc4 $16 Rd5 $2 (30... Bd5 31. Nd6) 31. Nd6 Ba8 32. Nxf7 $1 d3 {Now White should win quickly but he missed several chances} 33. g6 $2 (33. Rcf1 $1 {Was a winning move} d2 34. Nh6+ gxh6 35. Rxf8+ Kg7 36. gxh6+ Kxh6 37. Rxa8) 33... Rd4 34. Nd6 $2 (34. Rh2 $1 {Finish, Black can't escape being mated} Rxf7 35. Rh8+ $1 Kxh8 36. Rc8+) 34... Bf3 $1 {Now Black has a few chances on the kingside. My opponent had probably 1' against 4', with 5 sec delay, around here} 35. Rd2 Rg4 36. Rc8 $2 ( 36. e6 $1 Rxg3+ 37. Kh2 Rxg6 38. e7 Rxd6 39. exf8=Q+ Kxf8 40. Rf1 Rf6 41. Rxd3 $18) 36... Rxc8 (36... Rxg3+ 37. Kf2 Rg2+ 38. Ke3 Be2 39. Rc6 Rxg6 40. Rxa6) 37. Nxc8 Bb7 (37... Rxg3+ 38. Kf2 Rg2+ 39. Ke3 Be2 40. Ne7+ Kf8 41. Nd5 Rxg6 42. Nf4 $16) 38. Nd6 $2 (38. Rxd3 $1 Rxg6 39. Ne7+ $18) 38... Rxg3+ 39. Kf2 ( 39. Kh2 Rg2+ $1) 39... Rf3+ 40. Ke1 Bd5 $2 (40... Re3+ $1 41. Kf1 Rf3+ { And White has to take the perpetual, since continuing is dangerous for him} 42. Kg2 (42. Kg1 Rg3+ 43. Kh2 Rg2+ 44. Rxg2 Bxg2 45. Nc4 Be4) 42... Bc6 43. Nc4 Be4 44. Kg1 $2 Bxg6) 41. Rf2 Re3+ 42. Kd2 Rxe5 43. Kxd3 Be6 {[#]} 44. Nc4 (44. Re2 {JS caught my eye but after} Rd5+ (44... Rxe2 45. Kxe2 Kf8 {should be a draw as well}) 45. Kc4 Re5+ $1 {is a draw - not} (45... Rxd6+ $2 46. Kc5 Rd5+ 47. Kc6 {and White wins. Of course, this was the point of Re2 though it's flawed in two ways.})) 44... Rg5 45. Kc3 (45. Re2 Rxg6 46. Kc3 Kf8 (46... Rf6 47. Rd2 g5 48. Rd6)) 45... Rxg6 46. Rd2 Rg4 $2 {Dropping a pawn. In serious time trouble I (JS) would have been tempted as Black to kill the position with} ( 46... Bxc4 {Even though the bishop should be better than the knight in principle, this is very simple} 47. bxc4 $5 (47. Kxc4 Rf6 48. b4 Kh7 49. a4 g5 {is completely equal and should end up as king v king after both rooks have sacrificed themselves for a passed pawn}) 47... Kf7 48. c5 Ke7 49. Kc4 Rf6 $11 {Black would be in trouble if the pawn were on a5 so Kb5 were possible but here it's fine} 50. Rb2 (50. Rg2 g6 51. Rb2 g5 52. Rb7+ Ke6 $1) 50... Kd7 51. Rb7+ Kc6) 47. Rd6 Rg6 (47... Re4 48. Rxa6 g5 {gives more chances}) 48. Rxa6 $18 Rg3+ $2 {This helps White since the king is good on b4 and Black must lose a tempo with the bishop} (48... Rf6 49. Ne5 g5 50. b4 Kg7 51. b5 g4 52. Ra7+ Kh6 53. b6) 49. Kb4 {and I resigned after being left with a few seconds on the clock. JS Very early but if his clock was about to drop then I suppose it was over.} 1-0

 

[Event "Cannes Martinez op"] [Site "Cannes"] [Date "1996.08.??"] [Round "5"] [White "Fiol, Fabrice"] [Black "Masserey, Yvan"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C05"] [WhiteElo "2190"] [BlackElo "2295"] [Annotator "Fabrice Fiol, Jonathan Speelman"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "1996.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.07.13"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. c3 c5 6. f4 {looking for a sharp game} Nc6 7. Ndf3 Rb8 $5 (7... Qb6 {this is the normal move} 8. h4 $5 {most agressive} cxd4 9. cxd4 Bb4+ 10. Kf2 f6 $1 11. Be3 fxe5 (11... O-O $5 12. a3 Be7 13. b4) 12. fxe5 O-O 13. Ne2 Ndxe5 $5 (13... Be7 14. Qd2) 14. dxe5 d4 15. Nexd4 Bc5 16. Kg3 Nxd4 17. Nxd4 Rd8 18. Qa4) 8. Bd3 b5 9. Ne2 Be7 ({When I (JS) looked I found this game between top players} 9... g6 $5 10. O-O Qb6 11. g4 h5 12. h3 b4 13. Qa4 bxc3 14. bxc3 cxd4 15. Rb1 Qc7 16. Rxb8 Ndxb8 17. cxd4 Bd7 18. Qc2 Qa5 19. Bxg6 Nb4 20. Qb1 Qxa2 21. Bd2 Qxb1 22. Bxb1 hxg4 23. hxg4 Bb5 24. Re1 N8c6 25. Nc3 Bc4 26. Kg2 a5 27. Na4 Bb3 28. Nc5 Bxc5 29. dxc5 a4 30. Bxb4 Nxb4 31. Nd4 Bc4 32. Re3 Kd7 33. Ra3 Ra8 34. f5 Nc6 35. Nf3 Rb8 36. Ra1 { 0-1 (36) Shirov,A (2739)-Ponomariov,R (2705) Moscow RUS 2007}) 10. O-O g6 { seems natural, preventing f4-f5} 11. Kh1 b4 {Black expands on the queenside} ( 11... c4 12. Bc2 b4 13. Be3 O-O $11) 12. g4 $5 {renewing f4-f5 idea} bxc3 13. bxc3 cxd4 {[#]} 14. Nexd4 $5 (14. cxd4 Nb4 15. Bb1 Ba6 {JS This looks as though it gives Black play but after} 16. f5 Qa5 17. Rg1 {Black isn't creating anything since} Qb5 18. Nf4 {just drives the knight to a good square.}) 14... Nxd4 $6 (14... Qc7 {JS leaves White's centre more vulnerable} 15. f5 Ndxe5 ( 15... O-O 16. Nxc6 Qxc6 17. Bh6 (17. f6 {doesn't seem to work} Bc5 18. Qd2 Rd8 19. Qh6 Bf8 20. Qh4 $6 (20. Qh3 d4 21. Bh6 Bc5 22. Rae1 Bb7 23. c4) 20... d4 $1 {and Black is first}) 17... Bb7 {and White can take the exchange but the game certainly continues.}) 16. Bf4 {JS Okay, I suppose this is a catastrophe for Black but rather a messy one}) 15. cxd4 {JS With the centre completely stable and no danger of the long white diagonal opening, White can attack without recourse.} Nb6 {[#]} 16. f5 $5 $36 {As Black hasn't castled yet, I thought I could give a pawn away to open lanes JS Of course your hand itches to play this and it is an excellent move. Indeed Black's least bad response may be to ignore it.} exf5 {JS Black gets blown away after this so I suppose he should have tried} (16... Nc4 {which prevents the disruptive 18.Rb1 in the note below and has the psychological virtue of forcing White to choose between a simple stable and large advantage with f6 and some attempt at an immediate mating attack.}) 17. gxf5 gxf5 {Black is asking White about the follow-up : a pawn is a pawn} 18. Qc2 (18. Rb1 $5 {favoured by chess engines} Rg8 19. Bb5+ Nd7 20. e6 fxe6 21. Bxd7+ Bxd7 22. Ne5 $1 Rg4 23. Rxb8 Qxb8 24. Nxg4 fxg4 25. Qxg4 { JS and obviously White has a huge advantage. In fact, when Black tries to play actively:} Kd8 26. Bf4 Qb5 27. Rc1 Qd3 {he gets blown away with} 28. Qg8+ Be8 29. Rc8+ $1) 18... Be6 19. Bh6 $44 {Keeping the black king in the center} Qc8 20. Qg2 {White needs to keep queens on the board} Nc4 21. Rac1 $1 {White is in no hurry to regain his pawn but improves his pieces instead.} Qa6 (21... Kd7 $5 {JS suggested by Fabrice is my first instinct. I'd really want to run with the king here.}) 22. Ng5 Qa3 $2 {Here comes the first real mistake of the game JS Indeed this makes it easy for White but the attack is huge whatever Black plays.} (22... Rc8 23. Nxe6 fxe6 {Black's king remains stuck in the centre JS and it should be winning but it wouldn't be at all easy to choose how.} 24. Qg7 (24. Rb1 Kd7 25. Rxf5 $1 Rb8 (25... exf5 26. Qxd5+ Kc7 27. Bxc4 Qc6 28. Qxc6+ Kxc6 29. d5+ Kc5 30. Bb3) 26. Rxb8 Rxb8 27. Rf7 {is also winning but perhaps messier to the human eye}) 24... Kd7 25. Bg5 $1 Rhe8 26. Rb1 Qc6) (22... Qc8 23. Nxe6 Qxe6 (23... fxe6 24. Bxf5 exf5 25. Qg7 Rf8 26. Qxh7) 24. Qh3) (22... Rg8 $2 {JS runs into} 23. Nxe6 $1 Rxg2 24. Nc7+ Kd7 25. Nxa6 Rbb2 26. Bxf5+ Kd8 27. Bf4 $18) 23. Nxe6 fxe6 24. Bxc4 dxc4 25. Qc6+ Kf7 {[#]} 26. d5 $1 $40 { Despite exchanging exchanges, White is going after the king with direct threats ! JS And because there are two or indeed three different avenues of attack - via the a2-f7 diagonal, the h5-f7 diagonal and the g file - there are simply too many threats.} Rb6 27. Qxc4 $1 (27. dxe6+ Kg6 28. Qg2+ Kxh6 29. Rg1 Rb2 30. Qg7+ Kh5 31. Qf7+ Kh6 {JS is only a draw}) 27... Rb4 28. Qe2 { Switchback ! Qe2-h5 is coming} Qh3 {defending against the threat. What is next ?} 29. dxe6+ Kxe6 (29... Kg6 30. Bf4) 30. Rc6+ (30. Qa6+ $1 Kf7 31. Rc7 { with idea Qf6!} Rb6 32. Qc4+ Kg6 33. Bd2 $18) 30... Kd5 {[#] the king steps forward!} (30... Kf7 31. Qa6 $1 Qg4 32. Rf6+ $1) (30... Kd7 31. Rfc1) 31. Rfc1 $5 {another quiet move JS in positions like this, the important thing for the attacker is not to rush and to keep coordinated. By very sensibly defending the c6 rook, he threatens Qd2+} (31. Rc7 $1 Bc5 32. Qa6 {JS is the engine's choice}) 31... Rhb8 $2 (31... Qg4 $1 32. Qd2+ Qd4 33. Rc7 Qxd2 34. Bxd2 Bf8 35. Bxb4 Bxb4 36. Rxa7 $18) 32. Qd2+ Kxe5 (32... Rd4 33. Qa5+ Ke4 34. Re1+ Kf3 { and JS} 35. Rc3+ {or} (35. Qc3+)) 33. Bg7+ {[#] checkmate follows... JS A very nice attacking game. When Black lets White come at him just after the opening like this, then he needs to defend very well and perhaps be lucky. The exchanging sequence on d4 early on was very interesting. If Black had played 14...Qc7 then he would have put much more pressure on White.} 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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