Two positions from Gibraltar

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.

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