Chess

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Jonathan Speelman is one of those players whose imagination outstrips his ambition. His calculations are always full of the most wondrous ideas, but he all too often manages to talk himself out of putting them into practice. When he allowed his id eas tooverrule his naturally cautious sense of responsibility a few years ago, Speelman reached the semi-finals of the world championship. Now he has lapsed back into a less ambitious mode, though even the strongest grandmasters occasionally need to be reminded that it is best not to rouse his somnolent creative spirit.

The following game is from England's splendid 31/2-1/2 win over the Netherlands in Moscow last week. In the first four moves, Speelman moved a knight out and back home again, and twice pushed the same pawn one square forwards. The justification lies in the cumbersome position of White's f-pawn, but Black's play still looks extravagant.

To punish him for this apparent breach of decency, White, a recent world title candidate himself, sacrificed a pawn for quick development and launched a quick attack.

18.Rxd5 looked dangerous, since either recapture is met by Nc7+, but Speelman had it all worked out. Interpolating 18...b6! he steered into an endgame with equal material but where Black's superior pawn formation and active bishop left him well on top.

Speelman played the endgame with great accuracy, finally leaving White tantalisingly close to a draw with h-pawn and wrong-coloured bishop against king, but White's king too far away to reach the pawn's queening square.

White: P. van der Sterren Black: J. Speelman 1 d4 d6 25 Nxe6 fxe6

2 e4 Nf6 26 Kd2 Ra8

3 f3 d5 27 a3 d4

4 e5 Ng8 28 Re1 Kd5

5 c4 e6 29 Re4 Rf8

6 Nc3 dxc4 30 Kc2 b5

7 Be3 Nd7 31 h3 Rf5

8 Qa4 Ne7 32 b4 Rxe5

9 Bxc4 Nf5 33 Rxe5+ Kxe5

10 Bf2 c6 34 bxc5 Bxc5

11 Bd3 Nb6 35 Kd3 Kd5

12 Qa5 Nxd4 36 f4 g6

13 Rd1 c5 37 Bg1 Bd6

14 Nge2 Nc6 38 g3 g5

15 Bb5 Qc7 39 Bxd4 gxf4

16 Bxc6+ Qxc6 40 gxf4 Bxf4

17 Nb5 Nd5 41 Bb2 Bd6

18 Rxd5 b6 42 Bc1 Bc5

19 Qa4 exd5 43 Kc3 e5

20 Nc7+ Kd7 44 Kb3 e4

21 Qxc6+ Kxc6 45 a4 bxa4+ 22 Nxa8 Be7 46 Kxa4 Kc4

23 Nf4 Be6 47 Bh6 e3

24 Nxb6 axb6 White resigns

Comments