Pursuits: Chess

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READER, LET me let you into a secret. Whisper it only, but Grandmasters blunder - not very often but, given enough pressure, just as horribly as everybody else.

Today's game, from the last round of the Spanish Team Championships on Sunday, is my most publishable loss for ages; my quickest defeat as White since I know not when.

My opponent was the Peruvian Grandmaster Orestes Rodriguez Varga, a very dangerous player in his mid-fifties

Immediately after the game, I thought that 14 Rad1 must have been wrong. But if instead 14 Rae1 e4 15 Nd2 Bf5 16 f3 Bg3! is strong. It turns out that my judgement was okay up to the fatal error in the diagram and that instead 22 Nde4! was perfectly good with the main point that the seemingly murderous Nf4? is parried by 23 Nf6+!

While I deprecate 22 Nd5?? as a player, as a member of the (fictional) guild of chess writers, I can have nothing but praise.

White: Jon Speelman

Black: Orestes Rodrigues

Salamanca (Round 9) 1998

Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 NF3 D5

2 d4 Nf6

3 c4 e6

4 Nc3 Bb4

5 e3 0-0

6 Bd3 Nc6

7 0-0 a6

8 h3 dxc4

9 Bxc4 Bd6

10 a3 e5

11 Qc2 Qe7

12 b4 Bd7

13 Bb2 Rae8

14 Rad1 e4

15 Nd2 Bf5

16 f3 exf3

17 Qxf5 Qxe3+

18 Rf2 Nxd4

19 Qd3 Bh2+!

20 Kf1 Nh5

21 gxf3 Nf5 (see diagram)

22 Nd5?? Nhg3+

23 Kg2 Nh4

White resigns