|November 26, 2000|
|March 11, 2001, Game 1|
|March 11, 2001, Game 2|
|September 16, 2001|
|October 20, 2002|
|September 21, 2003|
|May 6, 2010|
|October 3, 2010|
|October 10, 2010|
|October 24, 2010|
|November 27, 2010|
The following game was my first win against Mr. Spektor in quite a while. The game was played with a time control of 45 minutes for the whole game.
Bill Price - Izyaslav Spektor
November 26, 2000
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 Bd7 5.0-0 a6 6.Ba4 Nf6 7.Re1 h6 8.c3 b5 9.Bb3 Na5? (Drops the e-Pawn. He obviously wasn't playing in good form this evening.) 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Nxe5 Nxb3 12.Qxb3 Be6 13.Qc2 Qd6 14.Bf4 Nh5
Position after 14...Nh5
(Now White wins Black's KR. But afterwards can he save his Knight?) 15.Nxf7 Qxf4 16.Nxh8 Bd6 17.g3 Qg4 18.e5 (To provide g6 as an escape hatch for the wayward Knight on h8.) 18...Be7 19.Qg6+ Qxg6 20.Nxg6 (White now has 2 extra Pawns and the Exchange. Easy win? Black has plenty of fight left with the two Bishops, and White's Q-side is still undeveloped. And my opponent's ability to defend well in lost positions is only too well known to me.) 20...Bc5 (Preventing White from playing f4. The pressure of the two Bishops begins to make itself felt.) 21.Nd2 (Finally.) 21...Bf5 22.Nh4 Bd3 23.Ne4 Bb6 (Note how Black's Bishops bear down on the White King.) 24.Rad1 Bc4 25.a3 (If 25.b3, then the c-Pawn becomes a target.) 25...Ke7 26.Kg2 (Breaking the pin on the frustrated f-Pawn.) 26...Be6 27.f4 Rg8 28.Nf3 Rf8 (Here I burned about 10 precious minutes on my clock trying to find a suitable plan. I have a material advantage but can't seem to make any headway. Realizing I had to do something, I decided on:) 29.Nd4 Bg4 30.Rd2 Bd7
Position after 30...Bd7
31.e6! (Finally I found a way to cash in on my extra material and centralized position. White now threatens to advance the Pawn-chain and gain some control over the White squares, which up to this point have been in Black's hands.) 31...Bxe6? (Black played this move rather quickly. Did he not see what was coming?) 32.Nc5 (Now Black is busted. But probably even better would have been 32 Nxe6, for if 32...Kxe6 then the Black King quickly falls into a mating net: 33. Ng5+! Kf6, (33...Kf5, 34 Rd5+ and mate next move) 34.Re6+, Kf5; 35.Rd5+, Kg4; 36.h3++) 32...Bxc5 33.Nxe6 Kf7 34.Nxc5 Resigns
The following game was played at a time control of 45 minutes. It was an enjoyable King's Indian in which I used pins against both King and Queen to apply pressure to White's position. The pressure paid off with a blunder by White on move 26.
Izyaslav Spektor - Bill Price
March 11, 2001
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.Bg5 0-0 6.e3 Nbd7 7.h3 e5 8.d5 a5 9.Bd3 Nc5 10.e4 Qe8 (Breaking the pin to advance the f-Pawn.) 11.Bc2 Nh5 12.Be3 f5 13.Bxc5 dxc5 14.g3 fxe4 (Opening the f-file.) 15.Bxe4 Ra6 16.Qd3 Qf7 17.Rh2 (Keeping an eye on f2, and declaring that the WK will not castle K-side.) 17...Rf6 18.Ng5 Qe7 19.Bf3 (Threatening 20. Bxh5 gxh5, 21. Qxh7++.) 19...e4! (Protects the Nh5, exploits the position of the WK, and opens up the a1-h8 diagonal for the Bg2.)
Position after 19...e4!
20.Ncxe4 (Eats the Pawn but pins the Knight.) 20...Rf5 21.Bxh5 Rxg5 22.Be2 (Breaks the pin against the King) 22...Bf5 (But now the pin is against the WQ.) 23.f3 (White's returns his extra Pawn.) 23...Rxg3 24.0-0-0 Qe5 (Threatens mate.) 25.Qc3 Bh6+ 26.Rd2? (An unnecessary blunder, probably a result of having to defend for most of the game. White seems to have a satisfactory game after 26.Nd2.) 26...Rg1+ 27.Kc2 Qxh2 28.Kb3 Bxd2 29.Qxd2 Bxe4 30.fxe4 Rg2 White Resigns
Who says that you can't gamble and play chess at the same time? Taking chances and playing a wild game - especially in "speed" games - is what makes chess enjoyable. Many years ago I used to be a dull, conservative woodpusher who hung onto every last Pawn as if my very life depended on it. Now in my old age I'm learning how to loosen up and enjoy chess. This game, played at a time control of 25 minutes per player, is a good example of this new philosophy. Sure, the sacrifice is probably unsound, but I had fun doing it, and in the end it paid off.
Bill Price - Izyaslav Spektor
March 11, 2001
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 (This has been one of my favorites lately.) 4...Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.Nxc3 (I should have tried 6. 0-0.) 6...h6 (This is a typical time-wasting move that my opponent seems to have a weakness for.) 7.0-0 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Nge7
Position after 8...Nge7
(One look at this position - the e8-h5 diagonal, the B on c4, no Black N on f6, a lot of open lines for my pieces - and what else could I do but:) 9.Bxf7+!? Kxf7 10.Nh4 g6 11.Qf3+ Kg7 12.Bb2 Rf8 13.c4+ Kh7 14.Qc3 Rf7 (So far the game has played itself. But now what?) 15.f4 d6 16.f5 (The f-Pawn is defended by three pieces but attacked by four; and yet it's safe because of the mate threat on g7.) 16...g5 17.f6 Ng6 18.Nf5 Nce5 19.Rad1 Nf4? (Having to defend at every move has finally taken its toll. Black conveniently returns the extra piece.) 20.Qxe5 Qf8 21.Qa5 (Not Qd4 or Qe3 because of 21...Ne2+.) b6 22.Qd2 Be6 23.Qc2 Ng6 24.e5 (Opening up the b1-h7 diagonal.) 24...dxe5 25.Ne7 ...
Position after 25.Ne7
(The gambling has paid off, since I win the Exchange at this point, and Black's flag fell. But the game was too interesting to abandon, and so we played on:)
25... Rxe7 26.fxe7 Qxe7 27.Bxe5 Qc5+ 28.Bd4 Qxc4 29.Qf2 Rf8 30.Qd2 Nf4 31.Rde1 Rd8 32.Rxe6 Nxe6 ... (Here we abandoned the game. I conceded that I had blundered into a very lost position. But it had been a fun game, and that's what really counts.)
Don't you just love games where White and Black castle on opposite sides of the board and then launch flank attacks on each other's Kings? Whoever gets there first wins. In this game Black gets a fine-looking Kingside attack under way but fails to take appropriate measures for a decisive breakthrough. While his attack fizzles out, White mounts pressure on the Queenside and gets Black's King into a mating net.
Bill Price - Izyaslav Spektor
September 16, 2001
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 (My opponent has a distinct preference for the Steinitz variation.) 4.d4 Bd7 5.Nc3 h6 6.0-0 g5 (A questionable K-side advance, but typical of his playing style.) 7.d5 Nb8 8.a4 a6 9.Bc4 Bg4 10.Be2 Nd7 11.Ne1 (Seeing that Black's Pawns are being fixed on black squares, I welcomed the exchange of white-squared Bishops, leaving him with a "bad" Bishop for the remainder of the game.) 11...Bxe2 12.Qxe2 Ngf6 13.Be3 (After making this move, I thought that I perhaps should have kept e3 free for a Knight en route to f5.) 13...Be7 14.f3 (Protecting e4, freeing the Knight on c3.) 14... Nh5 15.Qd2 (In preparation for Ne2-g3-f5.) 15...Ng7 16.Ne2 f5 (Black's Ng7 was aimed at this Pawn thrust, which I must admit I had overlooked.) 17.exf5 Nxf5 18.Bf2 Nf6 19.Ng3 Nxg3 20.Bxf3 Nh5 21.Nd3 (Watching the f4 square.) 21...Qd7 22.a5 (This grabs some more space on the Q-side where Black's King lives, and also starts putting some pressure on the black squares in Black's front yard, as well as vacating the square for a possible Ra4.) 22...Nf4 23.Bxf4 (Here I figured that eliminating the strongly posted Knight on f4 was more important than keeping my black-squared QB. I also noticed that the Nd3 can "hold the fort" if posted on g4.) 23...gxf4 24.Nf2 Rg8 25.Ne4 (A nice place for the Knight until needed for defence at g4.) 25...h5 26.c4 (This move gains more Q-side space, and it also locks the Black Queen out of White's Q-side for the time being.) 26...h4 (Black starts his K-side assault immediately, drawing the WN back to g4.) 27.Nf2 h3 28.Ng4 hxg2 29.Qxg2 0-0-0 (As was to be expected, Black castles Q-side, swinging all of his weight over to the K-side for an all-out assault - which, however, never materializes.) 30.Qc2 (This move eyes the b1-a7 diagonal, as well as occupying a file facing Black's King.) 30...Rg7 31.Rf2 Rh8 32.b4 (White continues a Q-side advance. The defence on g4 will hold until Black decides to sacrifice the Exchange on g4 or undermine the Knight's support on f3.) 32...Rh3 (Black goes straight for White's Achille's heel at f3.) 33. Qe2 Qf5 34.Rg2 (White needs to break the pin on the g-file.) 34...Qh7 (34...e4 seems much stronger.) 35.b5 (Getting closer to Black's King.) 35...Qg8 36.bxa6 (The b-file is finally open.) 36...bxa6 37.Qf2 (With an eye to Qa7.) 37...Kb8 38.Rb1+ Ka8 (But now Black's King is precariously stranded in the a-file.) 39.Qf1 (Now there are discovered threats against the Rh3, as well as a direct path to Black's a-Pawn.) 39...Qc8 40.Rgb2 Rh8 (Black has had a strong position on the K-side for quite some time, but has failed to take decisive action. The tide is beginning to turn.) 41.Kh1 (I considered this to be White's last defensive move. The Knight on g4 is now free to go on adventures.) 41...Bh4 (Saddling Black with a "bad" Bishop has paid off. Only now does Black attempt to put it to use, but it's too late.) 42.c5
Position after 42.c5
(The decisive strike. The immediate threat is Rb8+. Note the curious mirror-image symmetry of the position: WK on h1, BK on a8; WQ on f1, BQ on c8; WRs on b-file, BRs on g- and h-files; b-file open, g-file open; White's c- and d-Pawns advancing on Black's corresponding Pawns, Black's d- and e-Pawns potentially ganging up on White's f-Pawn. The one lopsided feature is the position of the Minor pieces, both on the K-side: White's excellently posted Knight has been blocking the g-file and defending the h-Pawn, whereas Black's Bishop has been doing next to nothing.) 42...dxc5? (Black doesn't see White's next move. I had been expecting something like 42...c6, opening up Black's second rank for the defense at a7.) 43.Rb8+! Qxb8 44.Qxa6+ Qa7 45.Qc6+ Resigns
Much of this enjoyable game was played two Pawns down, trying to keep up an attack against my opponent's exposed King. I almost lost my way on move 21, but then remembered the old maxim, "If you see a good move, look for a better one." And I found it.
Bill Price - Izyaslav Spektor
October 20, 2002
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 (I had been expecting an Albin Counter Gambit with 2...e5, something that he had tried on me before.) 3.Nc3 Bb4 (Another surprise. I can't remember ever having seen this move before.) 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.e4 b5 (Black apparently intends to keep the extra Pawn.) 6.Be2 Bb7 7.Qc2 h6 8.0-0 Bxc3 9.bxc3 Nf6
Position after 9...Nf6
(Black is going after the e-Pawn. I didn't like the way 10.e5 looked, and so I decided to try an aggressive gamble by giving up another Pawn to open the center files.) 10.d5 exd5 11.exd5 Bxd5 12.Ba3 (Locking Black's King on the open files.) 12...Be4 13.Qb2 a6 14.Rad1 Nbd7 15.Ne5 Qb8 16.Nxd7 Nxd7 17.Bg4 Bd3 (I overlooked this simple move.) 18.Rfe1+ Kd8 19.Bxd7 Kxd7 20.Qe2!
Position after 20.Qe2!
(Now the Queen comes immediately into play, thanks to the pin on Black's QB.) 20...Re8? (Not the best defense. At this point I spent considerable time looking for the best continuation. I'm two Pawns down and need to keep the ball rolling. I kept looking at two lines, neither of which seemed satisfactory. The first, 21.Qg4+ Kc6 would allow me to eat some K-side Pawns, but it opens the K-side files for Black. The second, 21.Rxd3+ cxd3, 22.Qxd3+ Kc6 didn't seem to go anywhere, either. And then I saw something much better...) 21.Qf3! (This quiet-looking move carries the devastating threat of Qd5+. 21...c6 is no good on account of 22.Qxf7+ Re7, 23.Rxe7+ followed by mate.) 21...Rxe1+ 22.Rxe1 c5 23. Qd5+ Qd6 (The Rook must fall. 23...Kc7 allows 24.Bxc5 followed by loss of material.) 24. Qb7+ Qc7 25.Qxa8 Kd6 26.Qe8 Qa7 27.Qe5+ Kc6 28.Qxg7 (Not just Pawn-grabbing. The threat now is Re6+ leading to mate or loss of the Queen.) 28...Kb6 29.Bxc5+! Resigns (29...Kxc5, 30.Qd4+ wins the Queen.)
We have played so many games where I get a good game out of the opening and middle game, but blow the ending. Here is a recent example.
Izyaslav Spektor - Bill Price
September 21 and October 12, 2003
1.e4 d5 2.e5 Bf5 (The correct response to 2.e5. Black ends up playing a French with a liberated QB.) 3.d4 e6 4.a3 (Another typical time-waster.) 4... c5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Nf3 Nge7 7.dxc5 Ng6 8.Bb5 Bxc5 (He had been playing too fast up to this point, and had overlooked the hanging Pawn on c5.) 9.Qa4 Qc7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.b4 Bb6 13.Re1 Be4 (Deliberately provoking the following response, locking in the White QB.) 14.Nbd2 Bd3 (If now 15.Nb3? then 15...Bb4 wins the Queen.) 15.Qd1 a5 16.Nb3 Bc4 17.g3 (I'm not quite sure what this does, other than restrict the N on g6.) 17... a4 18.Nbd4 c5 19.Nc2 Rfd8 20.Be3 Bb3 21.Qd2 Rac8 22.Rac1 Qc6 (Eying the N hanging on f3.) 23.bxc5 Bxc5 24.Bg5 Rd7 25.Nfd4 Qb6 26.Rb1 Rb7 27.Nxb3 axb3 28.Nb4 (His body language in executing this move was saying, "There! Now I eat the Pawn on b3." The following move, however, destroys his illusions.) 28... d4!
Position after 28...d4
(Now if 29.Rxb3 Black gets a fine game with 29...dxc3, since both 30.Qxc3 and 30.Rxc3 fail to 30...Bxf2+.) 29.cxd4 Bxb4 30.axb4 Qxb4 31.Rec1 R8c8 32.Rb2 h6 (Preparing the way for the N to occupy the beautiful outpost on d5.) 33.Be3 Ne7 34.Kf1 Nd5 (I felt very good at this point. My Nd5 has a home it can occupy as long as it wants, whereas White's QB is stranded in an ocean of black-square Pawns. My extra Pawn on b3 is strong and healthy, tying down White's pieces to the defense, while his own extra Pawn on d4 is backward and blockaded.) 35.Ke2 Qa4 36.Qd1 ... (Here the game was adjourned. My opponent offered a draw, which I refused. I felt that I should win in this position, in spite of the fact that I had lost many an endgame to him in the past. My plan here is to push the b-Pawn down by maneuvering the N to c4 via b6. Since an immediate Nb6 blocks the Rooks, I first move one of them up.)
Position after 36. Qd1
36... Rb4 37.Ke1 (Stepping away from the N's forking square at c3) 37...Nb6 38.Ra1 Qb5 39.Qe2 Nc4 40.R2b1 b2 41.Ra2 Rb3? (Following my original plan, and preparing the way for Na3. But 41...Qd5 was much better here, threatening not only a discovered attack on the hanging Ra2 but also the devastating 42...Qe4! It also avoids the Queen trade. Even better, according to Fritz, is 42...Qc6 43.f3 Nxe3.) 42.Ra7 (White is hoping for some counterplay on f7). 42...Na3 43.Qxb5! (White suddenly realized that 43.Qf3? immediately loses to 43...Nc2+. He therefore goes for the Queen trade and simplifications.) 43...R8xb5? (The simple 43...Nxb5 avoids White's next move.) 44.Rxa3! (White coughs up the Exchange. But now the b-Pawn is a sitting duck, and Black's overwhelming position of a few moves ago has been swept away like a dream.) 44...Rxa3 45.Kd1 Kf8 46.Kc2 R3b3 47.Bd2 Ke8 48.Bc3 Kd7 49.Rxb2 (Not 49.Bxb2, pinning the B against the R.) 49...Rxb2+ 50.Bxb2 Kc6 51.Ba3 Kd5 (Worth considering here was 51...Ra5) 52.Bc5 (White could eat a g or f-Pawn here, but for whatever reason decides to hold the d-Pawn instead.) 52...h5 53.h4
Position after 53.h4
53... Ra5?? (As soon as I made this horrible move I realized that I had just thrown away my big chance to position my King on e4. Now things are looking very good for White.) 54.Kd3! Rb5 55.Ke3 Rb2 (Fritz here recommends 55...Rxc5 56.dxc5 Kxe5 57.c6 Kd6) 56.Bf8 g6 57.Bc5 Rb3+ 58.Kf4 (My opponent was starting to talk about going for a win. I didn't know if he was serious or just bluffing. In any case I realized that my winning chances had dwindled away, and the word "draw" was beginning to have a nice ring to it.) 58...Rd3 59.f3 Rd1 (I was starting to worry about my f-Pawn.) 60.Ke3 Rb1 61.g4 hxg4 62.fxg4 Rh1 63.Be7 (I had overlooked this simple defense of the h-Pawn before starting the Pawn exchange. Now the prospects of an outside passed Pawn on the h-file started looking very ominous.) 63...Rf1 (I figured I could at least keep White's King cut off from the g and h files.) 64.Bc5 Rh1 65.Be7 Rf1 (Here I offered a draw. "You want a draw?" he asked. "I do not accept!" - and he promptly plays:) 66.Bf6 (Zugzwang. My Rook cannot move without leaving the f-file, and so where does my King go? I decided to stay near home territory.) 66...Kc6 67.Ke2 Rh1 68.Kf3 Rf1+ 69.Kg3 Kd5 70.Kg2 Rf4 71.Kg3 Rf1 72.h5 (White finally decides to go for it.) 72...gxh5 73.gxh5 Rh1 74.Kg4 Rg1+ 75.Kh4 (Here another Rook check lets the King slip in front of the Pawn. I was sweating bullets. How was I going to stop that terrible h-Pawn? The Bf6 holds the queening square, and also serves to cut off the BK from a back line defense... Then I remembered a tournament game I had played many years ago in which I got a cheap win in an inferior position by mating my opponent's King on the side of the board with my Rook.) 75...Ke4! (The King and Rook are positioned to mate in two with ...Kf4 and ...Rh1. If White moves his Bishop, Black plays 76...Kf5 and the h-Pawn is lost. If 76.h6, then 76...Kf5, 77.Kh5 (77.h7 Rh1+) 77...Rh1+ 78.Bh4 Rxh4+ 79.Kxh4 Kg6 and draws.) 76.Kh3 Rh1+ 77.Kg4 Draw Agreed.
Falling prey to tactical tricks seems to be the theme of the following game:
Bill Price - Izyaslav Spektor
May 6, 2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 4.Nxd4 exd4 5.0-0 a6 6.Bc4 b5? (The first tactical blunder. Black leaves his Ra8 vulnerable and allows White the check on f7.) 7.Bb3? (Played too quickly. I didn't see Bxf7+ until a moment later.) 7... a5? (Black graciously allows White a second chance!) 8.Bxf7+ Kxf7 9.Qh5+ Ke7 (The Ra8 is a sitting duck. Black cannot avoid the check on d5.) 10.Qe5+ Kf7 11.Qd5+ Kf6 12.Qxa8 c6 (Well played. White's Queen is temporarily sealed off from the center of the board.) 13.a4 (A waste of time.) 13... b4 14.d3 g5 15.e5+ Kf5 (If 15...Kxe5, then 16.Bxg5!) 16.Nd2 Bg7 17.Nc4 (Fritz prefers 17.Ne4 Bxe5 18.Bxg5.) 17... Ne7 18.f4 g4 19.Nd6+...
Position after 19.Nd6+
(Black is down in material, his Queenside is paralyzed, and his King is precariously situated in the middle of the board. Who would have thought that Black would go on to win this game?) 19... Kg6 20.Qa7 Rf8 21.Qxd4 Nf5 22.Qe4 Qb6+ 23.Be3? (Now it's White who commits a tactical blunder. The Knight pin on f5 is good only when the Queen stays on e4!)
Position after 23.Bd3?
23... Qxe3+! 24.Qxe3 Nxe3 25.Rf2 Ba6 26.Ne4? (Setting myself up for another tactical trick.) 26... Nxc2! 27.Rd1 (It may have been better to play 27.Rxc2 Bxd3 28.Ra5 and pick up the a5 Pawn.) 27... Ne3 28.R1d2 Nd5 29.Nc5 Bc8 30.g3 Nb6 31.Rde2 Rf5 32.e6 (Desperation. If 32...Rxc5 then White wins with 33.e7.) 32...dxe6 33.Nxe6 Bxb2! White resigns.
Greed does not pay. In this game White finds out that winning a Pawn does not compensate for losing a King.
Izyaslav Spektor - Bill Price
October 3, 2010
1.e4 e5 2.f4 fxe4 3.Nf3 d5 4.e5 g5 5.h4 g4 6.Ng1 h5 7.d4 Nh6 (He thought I should have held onto the extra Pawn, but I didn't think it would be worth it.) 8.Bxf4 Nf5 9.g3 Be6 10.c3 Nd7 11.Bd3 c5 12.Qc2 Ne7 13.Ne2 Bg7 14.Bh7 c4 (I originally intended to use the c-Pawn to break things up on the Queenside, but here I erroneously thought that I could trap his KB.) 15.Bg5 (Now I realized that this pin makes his KB safe, and I regretted having pushed that c-Pawn so quickly.) 15...Qb6 16.Nf4 Nxe5?
Position after 16...Nxe5
(This doesn't quite work. I was thinking that the Queen check on e3 would be advantageous to Black, but the reply Ne2! covers everything.) 17.Nxh5? (White should have grabbed the Ne5 and allowed Black to self-destruct.) 17...Nd3+! 18.Bxd3 Rxh5 19.Bh7 0-0-0!
Position after 19...0-0-0
(Here I saw a chance to exploit the exposed position of White's King. I thought through the exchanges to move 24 and saw that the resulting position looked very promising. My opponent took the time to think it through as well, but he only saw that he would wind up with an extra Pawn."Are you sure you want to do this?" he asked, offering me the choice of taking back the move. "You're going to lose a Pawn!" I just smiled and indicated that I intended on sticking by my decision.) 20.Bxe7 Re8 (The Knight is of course not a gift. Black wins the piece back in the melee following the discovered check.) 21.Bc5 Bf5+ 22.Kf2 Bxc2 23.Bxb6 Bxh7 (Winning back the piece.) 24.Bxa7 (At this point my opponent declared, "So, I end up with an extra Pawn!". But then came a sobering reply.) 24...Rf5+!
Position after 24...Rf5+
(At this point he realized that he had just eaten a very expensive Pawn! The white King finds itself in a mating net.) 25.Kg1 Re1+ 26.Kg2 Re2+ 27.Kg1 Rff2(?) (Here I missed a clear win. 27...Bh6! leads to a mate in four: 28.Rh2, Be3+; 29.Rf2, Re1+; 30.K any, Rxf2mate.) 28.Na3 Be4(?) (Black is taking the long way around. 28...Bh6! still forces an immediate win.) 29.Nb5 Kd7 30.Bb8 Bh6 (Here I finally noticed the devastating threat of ...Be3, but it's a little late. White's Bishop can now intervene and buy White some time.) 31.Bf4 Bxf4 32.gxf4 Bxh1 33. Kxh1 Rxb2 34.a4 g3 (The advance of the g-Pawn promises to bring things to a rapid close.) 35.Kg1 Rh2 36.Na3 Rxh4 (The point here is not so much capturing a Pawn as preparing for ...g2 with the threat of ...Rh1+.) 37.Rb1 Rxb1+ 38.Nxb1 Rh2 39.f5 Ra2 (Black is playing cat and mouse. The white King is imprisoned, the white Knight is dead meat, and the black King is now free to stroll around the board and gobble up Pawns at will.) 40.a5 Ke7 41.Kf1 Kf6 42 Resigns.
This was a game played without a clock, and it went for nearly five hours. It's good not to have to fight the clock, but it certainly tends to let things drag on longer.
Izyaslav Spektor - Bill Price
October 10, 2010
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bf4 dxc4 5.e3 Bf5 6.Bxc4 e6 7.Nf3 Bd6 8.Bg5 Qa5 (Threatening ...Bc2 followed by Qxg5. This allows White to capture the Knight and double the f-Pawns, but it opens up the g-file, shuts out e5 for White's Knight, and in general makes the game more interesting. But will White make the exchange?) 9.Bxf6 (Yes, he will.) 9...gxf6 10.a3 Nd7 11.b4 Qc7 12.h3 h5 (Intending a quick ...h4 to gain space and make White's K-side uncomfortable.) 13.Nh4! (I hadn't anticipated this move.) 13...Nb6? (With the idea of playing ...Nxc4 after 14.Nxf5. But White can follow 14.Nxf5 with 15.Ng7+.) 14.Be2? (14.Nxf5 is much better.) 14...Bg6 15.Rc1 Qe7 16.Bf3 Nc4 (Again looking at ...Nxe3, which still doesn't work. Better is 16...a5 which leads to equality.) 17.Qb3 (Now the Knight has nowhere to go but:) 17...Nb6 18.g3 Nd5 19.Nxd5 exd5 (Now Black has the e-file to play with.) 20.Qa4 (Bearing down ominously on c6, with such threats as Bxd5 and Rxc6.) 20...Bxg3!
Position after 20...Bxg3!
21.Ke2? (But this just loses a piece with no compensation. Fritz recommends 21.Ng2 Be4 22.fxg3 Bxf3 23.Rg1 h4 24.b5 Kd8 25.bxc6 Bxg2.) 21...Bxh4 22.Bxd5 0-0 (Castling out of danger just in the nick of time! I figured that even with the open g-file, my King would be relatively safe on the black square h8, whereas the White King is stuck in the center.) 23.Bf3 Rfd8 24.Qd1 (Protecting the d-Pawn, which was hanging.) 24...Kh8 25.Rc5 f5 (The only way to cover the h5 Pawn, but unfortunately burying the QB in a triangle of white-squared Pawns. The QB is now just a big, overgrown Pawn and stays that way for about twenty more moves. Black now threatens ...f4.) 26.Kf1 a5!
Position after 26...a5!
(Black now looks to some action on the Q-side. He can make good use of the a-file if it opens up.) 27.bxa5? Qxc5! (Oops! Now after the exchange of a Queen and a Rook, Black's extra piece becomes more valuable.) 28.dxc5 Rxd1 29.Bxd1 Rxa5 20.a4 Rxc5 (I am now up a piece and a Pawn in an endgame. It looked like a fairly easy win, but now my opponent started hunkering down for a long, bitter defense.With no clock ticking away and faced with defeat, he begins playing much more slowly and deliberately.) 31.f4 Rc1 32.Ke2 Kg7 33.Kd2 Ra1 34.Kc3 Bf6+ 35.Kb4 b6 (Stopping the White King's advance.) 36.Bf3 (White's only two pieces have been paralyzed by the Rook on a1, and this was his only chance of freeing things up.) 36...Rxh1 37.Bxh1 c5+ 38.Kb5 Bd8 39.Kc6 c4 40.Bd5 c3 41.Bb3 Bh4 42.Kd5 Kf6 (Preventing White from dominating the center with Ke5.) 43.Kd4 Be1 44.Kd3 h4 (At last Black's QB gets some air!) 45.Bd1 Ke6 46.Bb3+ Kd6 47.Kd4 f6 48.Bc2 Be8 (Here White sat and brooded over the position for what must have been twenty or thirty minutes. It had been a long, hard game, and it was already past midnight! How long was he going to hold out before resigning? Or did he have something up his sleeve? He had been taking an awfully long time coming up with his moves, playing much more slowly than he usually does. Was he planning a surprise, or was he just dragging his heels out of spite?) 49.e4 fxe4 50.Kxe4 Bc6+ 51.Kf5 Bg2 52.Kg4 Kd5 53.Kf5 Bxh3+ 54.Kxf6 Bg2
Position after 54...Bg2
Now it's an easy win for Black with advancing the h-Pawn. At this point my opponent played 55.Ke7, took back the move, played Kg7, took back that move, and then tried taking back two moves to try something else! With all the retracted moves and shuffling of pieces on the board and my trying to correct my scoresheet at the same time, the white Pawn on f4 somehow magically found its way to f5! But even with an extra move, White is still lost. And the game continued: 55.Kg6 Be4; 56.Bxe4+ Kxe4; 57. f6 ("How did that Pawn manage to get so far advanced?" I wondered to myself.) c2; 58.f7 Bg4, and White finally concedes defeat at 12:30 a.m.! "Next time we play with a clock," he complained. "You play too slow!"
This exciting game was played with clocks, set for one hour for each player, the game to be finished in no less than two hours. The opening went smashingly good for me, and by the 22th move I had the game in my pocket. But I moved too quickly and instantly found myself in an endgame, down in material. But there was still plenty of fight left in the game, and I was able to pull off a couple more tricky combinations that landed me in a winning position for a second time. With my clock on the verge of running out I missed the clear win that was staring me in the face, and consequently settled for a draw.
Bill Price - Izyaslav Spektor
October 24, 2010
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.d4 (We've been here many times before.) 4...exd4 5.Nxd4 Bd7 6.Nc3 Ne5 (This was something new.) 7.0-0 a6 8.Bxd7+ Qxd7 9.f4 Ng6 (I thought he was going to play 9...Ng4, something more along his style of play.) 10.Be3 0-0-0 11.Nd5 (Starting to play aggressively, cashing in on my lead in development. Black of course cannot chase the Knight away by 11...c6 because of 12.Nb6+.) 11...N8e7 12.c4 Nc6 13.b4 (Here I decided to pull out all the stops and storm Black's Queenside. I figured that with a black-squared Bishop on the a7-g1 diagonal, my King would be relatively safe, in spite of the wide-open position.) 13...Re8 14.Qc2 (Protecting the e4 Pawn and positioning the Queen on the same file as the King - a nice place to be if things open up.) 14...h5 15.b5 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 a5 (Black hopes to seal off the Pawn advance on the Queenside, but only plays into White's hands.) 17.Bb6!
Position after 17 Bb6!
(The first bolt from the blue, which took Black completely by surprise. The Bishop is of course immune to capture, since 17...cxb6 allows White to win Black's Queen with 18.Nxb6+. Now the a5 Pawn falls, and Black's castled position begins to crumble.) 17...c6 18.bxc6 bxc6 19.Bxa5! (A second surprise for Black. White offers a Knight in return for open lines against the Black King.) 19...cxd5 (I really didn't expect him to take the gift, but he did! Apparently he thought that he would be able to weather the storm.) 20.cxd5+ Kb7 21.Rab1+ Ka1 22.Qc4! (Eyeing the deadly square a6 for the coup de grace. I remember that one Soviet grandmaster had once said, "Three pieces is mate." I had a Queen, Bishop, and Rook hovering over my opponent's King, with a second Rook in reserve. That's plenty for a checkmate. In spite of being a piece ahead, Black's exposed King position and undeveloped kingside give his opponent a tremendous winning advantage.) 22...Be7
Position after 22...Be7
(Black is toast. Now all White needs to do is play the simple 23.Bc7!, blocking off lateral intervention from the Black Queen, and mate follows a few moves later. But in the lust of victory, I thought that all I had to do was Qa6+, followed by Qc6+, winning the interposing Black Queen with mate on b7, a maneuver I had pulled against him in the September 16, 2001 game nine years earlier.) 23.Qa6+?? Qa7+! (Wowzer!! I had completely forgotten that my Bishop had left the a7-g1 diagonal, leaving myself wide open to check! Now Black forces the trade of Queens, and that completely changes the landscape. What a difference a single move can make!) 24.Qxa7 Kxa7 (In my younger days I would have been completely disheartened at this point. But in my old age I think I have learned a thing or two, one of them being the fact that one must learn to take things as they are, without letting oneself be discouraged by useless regrets. The past is past. Every day is a new day. Play the position as it is, and try to make the most of it. This is true in life as well as it is in chess.) 25.Bb6+ Ka8 26.g3 (Shoring up my Kingside Pawn position. I have, after all, two Pawns for my piece.) 26...Rc8 27.Rfc1 (Loathe as I was to exchange Rooks, I couldn't let him dominate the c-file.) 27...Rxc1+ 28.Rxc1 Rb8 29.Bd4 (A nice place for the Bishop, preventing ...Rb7 and attacking g7.) 29...f6 30.Kf2 Rb4 31.Ke3 Bd8 32.Rc6 Be7 33.Ra6+ Kb8 34.a4 Rb3+ 35.Ke2 Kb7 36.Ra7+ Kb8 37.f5! Bd8 (37...Rxd4 might have been worth a try, but White could answer Rxe7.) 38.fxg6 Bc7 39.a5 Ra3 40.Kf2 Ra2+ 41.Kf3 Rxh2 (Black thinks he has won a Pawn, but White has another little surprise in store.)
Position after 41...Rxh2
42.Rxc7!? Kxc7 43.Bxf6! (If now 43...gxf6, White's g-Pawn marches on to queen.) 43...Ra2? (Better is 43...Kd7 and head towards the g-file.) 44.Bxg7 Rxa5 45.Bf8! Ra3+ 46.Kf4 Ra1 47.g7 Rf1+ 48.Kg5? Rg1 49.Kh4 Rh1+ 50.Kg5 Rg1 51.Kf4 Rf1+
By now my clock had only four minutes left, and my opponent had ten. I was getting nervous and wasn't able to calculate quickly enough to see a clear win. And so rather than risk losing on time (as I had so many times before in such positions) I offered a draw - which was immediately accepted!
Had I had a moment to sit and think clearly about the position, I would have seen that White has a very simple win with 52. Ke3! I should have been moving toward the Rook instead of trying to move away from it! Black quickly runs out of checks, and as soon as he does, the g-Pawn queens, and it's all over.
What a game!
Ah, the vicissitudes of chess! In this game Black gets the worst of the early middle-game, falters, and loses a piece in the center while getting pounded badly on the Queenside. Just when it looks like it's curtains for Black, White drops the ball and allows Black to storm his King from the other side of the board. While trying to tuck his King away in a corner, White makes a further slip and returns the piece. Subject to various long-range mating threats from Black's marauding Queen, White trips up again and loses the Exchange. When the dust settles White finds himself in a hopelessly lost endgame. This game was played with clocks, a two-hour game with one hour alotted to each player for the entire game.
Izyaslav Spektor - Bill Price
November 27, 2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d5 3.c4 e6 4.a3 c5 5.dxc5 Bxc5 6.b4 Be7 7.c5 0-0 (Fritz prefers 7...a5) 8.Bf4 (Taking the b8-h2 diagonal.) 8...b6 9.cxb6 Qxb6 10.Nc3 Nbd7 11.Na4 Qd8 12.Rc1 Ne4 (12...Ba6 was better.) 13.e3 Ndf6 14.Bc7 Qe8 15.Ne5 Bd7 16.Nxd7 Qxd7 17.Ba6! (Stealing away the c8 square for Black's Rooks.) 17...Bd6 18.Ba5 (This move keeps the pressure on Black's position, but the Bishop ends up sitting here on the sidelines for most of the game.) 18...Qe7? (18...Ng4 is better, according to Fritz. Now the Ne4 is a goner.) 19.f3! Kh8? (Seeing that the Knight was lost, I wasn't sure what to do at this point, and so I just played a waiting move, thinking that perhaps the g-file might be useful for my Rook sometime in the future. Fritz again prefers ...Ng4, but White would still have the better game.) 20.fxe4 Nxe4 21.Nc3?? (This unnecessarily gives Black his big break. 21.Qh5! was much better.)
Position after 17 Nc3??
21...Qh4+! (From here on the game practically plays itself.) 22.Ke2 Qf2+ 23.Kd3 Qb2! (This gives White more headaches than the "obvious" ...Qxg2.) 24.Nxe4 dxe4+ 25.Kxe4? (Another poor choice. White can safely cross over onto the c-file with 25.Kc4.) 25...Qxg2+ 26.Kd3 Qd5+ (I was happy to settle for a draw, but...) 27.Kc2?? (White loses his last chance to draw the game with 27.Ke2 Qg2+ 28.Kd3 with repetition of moves. Now he loses his extra piece.) 27...Qc6+ 28.Kb1 (Fritz prefers 28.Kd2.) 28...Qxa6 (Things are looking good for Black now.) 29.h4 Rac8 (Black finally has a chance to mobilize his Rooks.) 30.Qd2 Be5 (Seizing the important a1-h8 diagonal. Fritz, however, considers 30...Be7 to be a stronger move.) 31.h5 Qb7 (Threatening ...Qe4+.) 32.Qd3? (This allows White a killer move. Better, according to Fritz, is 28.Rxc8 Rxc8 29.Rc1.)
Position after 32 Qd3?
32...Qg2! (Now White is lost. The threat is ...Qb2++. The awkward placement of White's QB is really making itself felt.) 33.Qb3 Qe4+ 34.Ka2 Rc3!! (At first glance it looks like Black is giving up a piece, but in fact he wins the Exchange.) 35.Rxc3 Qxh1 (And now White's Rc3 is paralyzed because of the threat of ...Qa1++.) 36.b5 Bxc3 37.Qxc3 Qd5+ 38.Qb3 (Otherwise the b-Pawn falls.) 38...Qxb3+ 39.Kxb3 Rc8 ... and White resigned ten moves later.
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