Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition

Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition‎

GM vbhat
11 | Strategy

The USCL ( is the American version of a national chess team league. In the fall, 14 teams in 2 conferences battle it out in matches with 4 boards apiece. I've played in the USCL for the San Francisco Mechanics since the league's inception in 2005 (although I only started playing as a substitute when IM Mladen Vucic dropped out). The past few years, I've played a bunch of games every season, but this season, I only played 4 games during the regular season and 2 during the playoffs.

In Week 9, the SF Mechanics faced off against the Tennessee Tempo. I had the black pieces against FM Todd Andrews, and got a Spanish Game (or Ruy Lopez). Normally when you think of the Spanish Torture, it's something White does to Black when Black plays too passively. White maneuvers his b1-knight to f5, gets a kingside attack going, and slowly slaughters Black. This game evolved a little differently ...

Question 1: What would you play as Black after 17.Qd1?

Question 2: What would you play as Black after 21.Ne3?

Question 3: What is Black's plan now after 25.Rxc1?

Question 4: How would you finish White off 40.Bc2?


And here's the whole game in one viewer:

We won the match 2.5-1.5, behind my win and GM Patrick Wolff's win on board 1. Sadly, our season came to an end in the Western Conference finals with a loss to the Miami Sharks.

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