Black to play and win

Ryan-Rafiee, XV Foment Martinec 2013As the title says: Black to play and win.

(N.B. If you’d like to try it as an exercise, don’t read any further for now: the answer is given below.)

This is from a game of Joe Ryan’s (White), played on Saturday in an IM-norm tournament in Barcelona. There seem to be quite a few such events being organised in Barcelona these days and Joe is ideally placed for invitations, as a non-Spanish player with an FM title. The present event, XV Foment Martinec, is another 10-player, game-a-week all-play-all, with (I think) 6½/9 required for an IM norm in Joe’s case.

Going into this game he was on 2½/5, requiring wins in his last four games, quite a long shot. The game itself is an interesting one with many twists and turns, and is well worth playing over. It seems Joe built up a winning attack but misplayed it around the time control, and in the diagrammed position (reached shortly after the time control) was lost. Black has 43. … Kc4! 44. Qxe5 (there’s obviously nothing else) 44. … Qd1+ 45. Be1 Nd5! and the white knight has nowhere to go. Black missed the chance with 43. … Qg5? and after another error ended up losing. So the norm is still possible, though still a long shot. [Click to replay the full game.]

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