Jon Speelman's Agony Column #32

by Jonathan Speelman
12/15/2016 – One of the worst nightmares of a chessplayer is to resign in a won position. Agony, pure and simple. But no reason to give up chess and the joys it offers.

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Jon Speelman's Agony Column #32

This week's games are by Bharat Singh Rawat, who is doing a Masters in Nuclear Engineering at Pandit Deen Dayal Petroleum University in Ghandinagar, the capital of the state of Gujarat in Western India.

Bharat Singh Rawat

Sending me his games Bharat wrote: "I am a Nuclear Engineering student from India and a chess lover. When I was young my mother introduced me to chess and I liked it very much. She told me chess improves your mathematical abilities and since I was very good at maths I started playing it. I am a regular reader, in fact it’s the first news that I read in the morning when I arrive at my lab."

The games that Bharat sent me were a selection from his chess practice during university life. Chess is of course a secondary pursuit for him and there are places where the games are a little rough. But there's plenty of interest and we start with perhaps the most agonising things that can ever happen to a chess player - resignation in a winning position!

[Event "Open Festival Anand Niketan,Ahmedabad"] [Site "?"] [Date "2003.03.21"] [Round "?"] [White "AJ Shroff"] [Black "Bharat Singh Rawat"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C01"] [Annotator "Jonathan Speelman"] [PlyCount "47"] [EventDate "2003.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.07.13"] 1. c4 e6 2. e4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. d4 {This is playable but a little unusual. The same position but with the pawn on e7 rather than c7 ( 1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 etc) is the very well-known Botvinnik Panov Attack v the Caro-Kann} Nf6 5. Bg5 Bb4+ 6. Nc3 O-O 7. Bd3 h6 8. Be3 c6 9. Nf3 dxc4 10. Bxc4 b5 11. Bd3 (11. Bb3 { keeps a bit more control perhaps}) 11... Nd5 12. Qd2 f5 $5 {[#] Annoying for White but loosening} 13. g3 (13. Qc2 $1 {is okay since} f4 ({after} 13... Nxe3 14. fxe3 Bd6 15. O-O {Black's white squares are weak on the kingside}) 14. Bd2 Re8+ 15. Kf1 {is fine}) 13... Bb7 14. O-O c5 15. Ne5 c4 16. Be2 Nd7 17. f4 N7f6 18. Bf3 Ne4 {There was no particular need to play this move which plugs a hole and blocks the long diagonal though it is perfectly playable.} (18... a6 { is one sensible move maintaining the queenside but the best of all may be}) ( 18... Ba5 {preparing ...b4 in some lines or to play Bb6 and fasten on the weak d-pawn.}) 19. Bxe4 fxe4 20. a3 Bxc3 21. bxc3 a6 22. f5 {[#]In positions with opposite coloured bishops the scope of the prelates is crucial and this fine move opens up a diagonal for White's bishop and prepares a possible kingside attack.} Qa5 23. Bxh6 $5 {looks good but doesn't work} (23. Rac1 Qxa3 24. Ng6 ( 24. Bxh6 gxh6 25. Qxh6 Qe7 {Black can just about defend but it would be very dangerous in practice.} 26. Qg6+ Kh8 27. Qg4 Qg7 28. Qxe4 Kg8 29. Qh4 {and most likely White will give perpetual check at some stage.}) 24... Kh7 $1 { Cutting out Bxh6. Although Black loses the exchange he has an excellent game.}) 23... Qxc3 24. Qg5 {[#] BSR "Here I didnt see that the queen defends g7 after 24...Qd4+ 25.Kh1 Qxe5 and resigned immediately because I thought I was losing material!" JS Utterly horrible!} 1-0

[Event "PDPU U-25 selection"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Bharat Singh Rawat"] [Black "Vishvesh Doshi"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E70"] [Annotator "Jonathan Speelman"] [PlyCount "49"] [SourceDate "2015.07.13"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Bd3 O-O 6. Nge2 Nbd7 (6... Nc6 { is often played here} 7. O-O e5 8. d5 Nd4 9. Nxd4 exd4 10. Ne2 Re8 11. f3 c5 { Now White can't win a pawn with} 12. dxc6 bxc6 13. Nxd4 Qb6 14. Be3 {because} Ng4 15. fxg4 Bxd4 {is fine for Black}) 7. O-O a6 8. Rb1 {This doesn't achieve much and in fact might sometimes even encourage Black to play ...b5 since after an exchange on that square a2 migth be loose. Instead either f3 or h3 look normal} c5 9. Be3 $2 (9. d5 {is normal. Be3 is a mistake that an experienced player would never make because even if it isn't a total disaster to allow ...Ng4xe3 it's certainly not what you want. But later Bharat makes up for this with some nice white square play.}) 9... Re8 $2 (9... Ng4 {is nasty for White who must surrender the crucial black square bishop.}) 10. dxc5 $6 ( 10. d5 Ne5 11. h3 {looks about equal while}) (10. f3 {was also very acceptable} ) 10... Nxc5 11. Bxc5 {It's very odd to give up the black squared bishop for a knight though it did work out well in the end.} ({However if} 11. f3 Nxd3 12. Qxd3 b5 {Black is extremely active}) 11... dxc5 12. Bc2 Qc7 (12... b5 {would create a lot of activity}) 13. a3 Ng4 14. f4 Ne3 (14... Be6 $1 {prevents the Nd5 tactic in the game and keeps the advantage}) 15. Nd5 $1 Nxd5 16. exd5 (16. cxd5 {was better}) 16... b5 17. Ng3 bxc4 18. Qf3 Bb7 19. f5 {[#]} Rab8 $2 { White's attack should fail and since Black has the two bishops, an extra pawn (at least for the moment), and considerable pressure against d5 he should have a big advantage.} (19... Bd4+ 20. Kh1 e6 21. fxe6 fxe6 22. d6 Bxf3 23. dxc7 Bd5 {is very strong}) (19... Rf8 {keeps a very nice advantage}) 20. fxg6 fxg6 {[#]} 21. Qf7+ (21. Bxg6 $1 {Gave a very dangerous attack} hxg6 {In contrast to the game, here refusing the sacrifice doesn't work. If} (21... Rf8 22. Bf5 Qd6 23. Qh5 Qh6 24. Be6+ {White has a good game.}) 22. Qf7+ Kh8 23. Rf4 Bf6 24. Nh5 Bxd5 25. Qxg6 Bg8 {and White can make a draw with} 26. Qh6+ Bh7 27. Rxf6 exf6 28. Qxf6+ Kg8 29. Qg5+ Kh8 30. Qf6+) 21... Kh8 22. Nh5 {[#]} gxh5 $4 {When an opponent offers a sacrifice you must assess whether it's dangerous and then decide by calculation whether to take it. Of course, if it looks ridiculous then you'll be inclined to take the bait - though you should never underestimate the opponent and should search for their justification. But if as here it looks dangerous (in fact here it's completely winning) - then my first reaction is normally to look for a way to refuse the opponent's kind offer for the moment. If you can improve your position then the piece should still be en prise later and perhaps then you will be threatening to take it. As a result, the opponent may have to spend time retracting the offer which you can use.} (22... Bd4+ 23. Kh1 Qd6 $1 {Was correct. Unfortunately for White everything is protected and with d5 dropping off Black should win.} (23... Rf8 $4 24. Qxf8+ Rxf8 25. Rxf8#) 24. Be4 (24. Rbd1 Bxd5 25. Rxd4 Bxf7 26. Rxd6 exd6 27. Rxf7 $2 Re1+) 24... Rbd8 25. Rbd1 Bxd5 26. Rxd4 Bxf7 27. Rxd6 Rxd6 {or} ( 27... exd6 {are both totally winning})) 23. Qxh5 Bd4+ 24. Kh1 e5 25. Rf7 { A nice finish though the game was rather ropey in the middle.} 1-0

I'm including a third game with some very brief notes, mainly  because of the pawn ending.

[Event "HGCE College Championship"] [Site "?"] [Date "2009.11.13"] [Round "?"] [White "Bharat Singh Rawat"] [Black "Uchit Dalal G"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C41"] [Annotator "Jonathan Speelman"] [PlyCount "85"] [EventDate "2009.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.07.13"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d4 d6 {Unusual but a straight transposition into a line of the Philidor (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 Nf6)} 4. dxe5 Nxe4 5. Nbd2 (5. Qd5 Nc5 6. Bg5 Be7 7. exd6 Qxd6 8. Nc3 {is supposed to give White the advantage because of the lead in development}) 5... d5 6. Bd3 Bf5 7. Nxe4 $6 dxe4 8. Bb5+ c6 9. Nd4 cxb5 (9... Bg6 10. Be2 Qa5+ 11. c3 Qxe5 {White has some play for the pawn}) 10. Nxf5 Qxd1+ 11. Kxd1 Nd7 12. Nd6+ Bxd6 13. exd6 O-O 14. Re1 Rfe8 15. Bg5 $6 {Black wants to play...f6 to give his king the f7 square} f6 16. Bf4 Nb6 17. Ke2 Nc4 $6 {The knight doesn't achieve much by jumping around} 18. Rad1 Rad8 19. b3 Ne5 20. Bxe5 Rxe5 21. g4 Rc5 22. Rd2 a5 23. Kd1 Rc6 24. d7 Re6 25. Kc1 Kf7 26. Rd5 b6 27. Rxb5 Rxd7 28. Rd1 Red6 29. Rxd6 Rxd6 30. b4 a4 31. Rf5 g6 (31... Ke6) 32. Rf4 Rd4 33. c3 Rc4 34. Kd2 Ke6 35. f3 Ke5 36. Rxe4+ Rxe4 37. fxe4 Kxe4 38. Ke2 {[#] This ending should be won for Black due to his much better king} h5 39. h3 hxg4 40. hxg4 Kf4 (40... b5 $1 {Kills the white majority. Since White can't play b5 successfully, Black will simply create a passed f-pawn, and then clean up on the queenside. For example:} 41. c4 (41. Kd2 f5 42. g5 f4 43. Ke2 f3+ 44. Kf2 Kd3 45. Kxf3 Kxc3 46. Kf4 Kb2 47. Ke5 Kxa2 48. Kf6 Kb3 49. Kxg6 a3) 41... bxc4) 41. c4 Kxg4 $4 42. c5 bxc5 {[#]} 43. b5 $1 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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