Last Friday we reported on a quick win for David Spence at the recent Gibraltar Masters. David has also provided detailed annotations on a couple of positions from his games.
The first was against a lower-rated player, Pascal Verneuil (2065), with David as White:
19. Rac1 I need to stop the rook infiltrating. I was doubting whether my extra pawn would be enough to win this notoriously drawish opposite-colour bishop endgame.
… Rxc1 20. Rxc1 Rc8 Black continues his quest to simplify and ‘half out’. 21. Rc5! This keeps the winning chances alive … Rxc5? Natural though wrong as now White has a 3 – 1 queenside majority, better than the previous 2 – 1 majority. 22. dxc5 Kf8 23. Bd6+! Part of a cunning plan to restrict the Black king. … Ke8 24. c6! If Black were allowed to get in Bd7, he has hopes of drawing. … Kd8 25. Kc3 Be4 26. Kd4! Exceptionally strong as Black cannot push his d-pawn in exchange for White’s c-pawn. … Bxg2 The pawn parity is irrelevant. 27. b4 Bf1 28. a4 Bc4 29. Kc5 The passed pawns cannot be stopped. … Bb3 30. b5! Resigns.
In the second position David was Black against IM Alessio Valsecchi (2418):
16… b6. b5!+ was possible and more dynamic, however I was worried my c5 pawn would be too weak. 17. Qa4 Nd4 18. Bxd4 exd4 19. Nb5 Nd5 Black is slightly preferable, with the bishop pair and space. 20. Nbd6 b5! Just hoping I had correctly analysed I was winning material! 21. Nxb5 Qd7 22. Ncd6 Nc7 Overloading b5. 23. Qxa5 Nxb5 24. Ne4 Correctly keeping on his knight, rather than simplifying when material down. … Rfc8 25. Rbc1 c4 26. a4 Qa7 Trying to simplify. 27. Qxa7 Nxa7 28. Nd6 Rc5 Clearly better for Black still. 29. dxc4 Rxb2 30. Rb1?! Rxb1 The cold-blooded Rxe2 is comfortably winning, though I was getting very short of time and needed to get to move 40. 31. Rxb1 Nc8 32. Nb7! Setting up a trick. Rxc4? Re5 is still winning. 33. Nd8 Now my IM opponent is blitzing me and threatening some nasty traps. … Bf5 34. Bd5+ Kf8 35. Ne6+ Not the best move, though my opponent may be risking the whole point on me not making it through the next six moves in under one minute! … Bxe6 36. Bxc4 Bxc4 37. Rb8 Decision time for Black: Ba6 or Be6? … Ba6 I did not like the idea of the a-pawn marching home. 38. Ra8 Bb7 39. Rb8 Ba6 40. Ra8 Bb7 ½ – ½. A strange outcome, though 32… Rxc4 was risky for Black.