SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Canada’s top player at Barcelona Sants Open!
It was a good day all round yesterday! Many thanks to all of my fans back in Canada for writing me and wishing me well! Four rounds to go and the race for the top prizes is heating up. Just 3 players with 5.5 points (Perez, Narciso and Nisipeanu) followed by 14 players with 5 points, including yours truly. I recommend the readers to visit the tournament link to follow games (live) and to check out the other tidbits available…
My game against the young talent Lillo Castay–whom I expect to become a GM very shortly– was a long drawn out game where both players were involved in Petrosian-type manoeuvres and cat and mouse play. I had the more comfortable game and felt I was making progress at several moments, but each time my resourceful opponent found obstacles to put into my path. However, there was one opportunity I missed before the first time control:
POSITION AFTER 32 MOVES:
Here I could have gained a clear edge with 33. Bxe5! fxe5 34. Qxc5! (I missed this shot, considering only 34.Nxe5 which is not clear) 34… Nc8 35. Nxe5 Qe8 36. Nxd7 Qxd7 37. d4! and White’s centre is about to move forward. After the likely 37… Bg7 38. Rd1 Bxb3 39. Bc4 Bxc4 40. Qxc4 Black has an uphill struggle
INSTEAD, I played 33.Nd2 and had to settle for a long manoeuvring game where I was only slightly better. The game became very exciting as the final minutes approached, and I managed to break in on the Kingside:
POSITION AFTER 60 MOVES:
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
61. Rxf4!! Qxf4 [ No better is 61… Qxd3 62. Re5! Kg6 63. Rf6!! with a forced mate] 62. Re5 Kg4 63. Qe2 Kg3 64. Re3 [Here I missed the quicker mate: 64. Rg5!! Qxg5 65. Qf3 Kh4 66. Qh3#] 64… Qxe3 65. Qxe3 Kg4 66. Qh3 [1:0]