Games involving players of different generations usually end in favor of the younger player. But not always.

In his prime, Jon Speelman of England was one of the best players in the world. He was a candidate for the World Championship, reaching the semifinals of the candidates matches in the 1990 cycle. Though he is far from his peak, he continues to play creatively. 

In this contest, he faced Laurent Fressinet of France, a much younger player who is rated 2692. The game became quite chaotic and Fressinet chose to play very aggressively against Speelman, perhaps hoping that his older opponent would succumb amidst the complications. Fressinet does come close to winning, but Speelman finds some great resources to stay afloat and eventually it is the younger player who falls prey to the tactical chaos. 

Speelman, J. vs. Fressinet, L.
4NCL 2015-16 | Birmingham ENG | Round 10.121 | 01 May 2016 | ECO: A48 | 1-0
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bf4 d6 4. e3 Bg7 5. Be2 O-O 6. h3 Not the most exciting opening by White. Fressinnet plays this stage perfectly to create some great counterplay, despite the dry nature of the position.
6... b6 7. O-O Bb7 8. Bh2 Nbd7 9. a4 a6 10. c4 Ne4 11. a5 c5! Creating an interesting imbalance in the position.
12. axb6 Qxb6 13. Ra2 This doesn't seem required -- a better way to defend the pawn on b2 would have been to rely on some tactics and just continue development with Nc3. Now, the rook is slightly misplaced, and White is, surprisingly, behind in development. Fressinnet uses the opportunity to add more pressure:
13. Nc3 The position is probably around equal as Black can't take the pawn on b2 because:
13... Qxb2? 14. Na4! Qb4 15. Rb1 and Black loses the bishop on b7.  )
13... cxd4 14. exd4 e5! 15. dxe5 Nxe5 it is unusual to weaken the pawn on d6 like this, but Black has compensation because of his very active pieces.
16. Bf4! Bringing the bishop on h2 back into the game!
16... Qc6!? It seems strange to allow White to push the Black queen around with Nd4, but Fressinnet has an idea in mind.
16... Qc7 seems more natural but after
17. Nxe5 dxe5 18. Be3 White has a solid position.  )
17. Nd4 Qc7 18. b3 Qe7! A very surprising, but interesting transfer. The Black queen wasn't very useful where it was, but on the kingside it can create some real threats.
19. Rc2 Qh4 20. Be3 f5
20... Ng5 looks tempting to me but it allows
21. Nc3! Nxh3+ 22. gxh3 Qxh3 23. Nd5! and the deadly bishop on b7 has been blocked.  )
21. Nf3 Qf6 There are no immediate threats, but Black's pieces are all very intimidatingly placed.
22. Bc1 An interesting attempt to regroup pieces, but simply continuing to develop with Nbd2 would have been a lot more natural and solid.
22. Nbd2 Nxf3+ 23. Nxf3 Nc3 24. Qd2  )
22... g5!? Once again, Fressinnet choses the most aggressive option.
23. Bb2 Rad8
23... g4 doesn't quite work:
24. hxg4 fxg4 25. Nxe5 dxe5 26. Bxg4  )
24. Nc3 Nxc3 25. Bxc3 g4 26. hxg4 fxg4 27. Nxe5 dxe5 28. Rd2 Bh6 29. Rxd8
29. Rd3 Bf4! and Qh4 or Qh6 creates incredibly strong kingside threats:
30. Bxg4 Qh6 31. Bh3 Bxg2! It is amazing how tied up White is.
32. Kxg2 Qg6+ 33. Kh1 Rxd3  )
29... Rxd8 Here White misses a great way to almost equalize:
30. Bd3
30. Bxe5! Qe7 31. Bd3 Qxe5 32. Bxh7+ Kxh7 33. Qxd8 and the open Black king should give White plenty of chances to give checks.  )
30... Bg7 31. Qc2 Qc6! 32. f3 The White king looks close to getting mated on the dark squares, but it was very important to be precise for Black:
32... Qb6+
32... Qc5+! the lines are very similar to Qb6, but now White has no counterplay. Fressinet probably wanted the queen on b6 so he could play Qh6 easily. But Black could also play e4! to transfer the queen to the kingside from h5.
33. Kh1 e4! 34. Bxe4 Qh5+ 35. Kg1 Bxc3 36. Qxc3 g3 with a classic mating net.  )
32... g3 33. Bxh7+ Kh8 34. Bf5! Qh6 35. Bh3 would keep the balance.  )
33. c5! Qxc5+ 34. Kh2 Now things are very unclear because the Black queen doesn't have an easy way to get to the kingside. And the open position gives White counterplay
34... gxf3
34... e4 35. Bc4+! lets White survive!  )
35. Bxh7+ Kh8 36. Be4! Perhaps Fressinnet saw 33. c5 when playing Qb6...and missed this intermediate defensive move. Without it, White's position looks almost lost. But suddenly now things aren't at all easy.
36... fxg2
36... Bxe4 37. Qxe4 Qxc3 38. Qh4+! is the key idea which makes Be4 possible.  )
37. Kxg2 It's stunning how strange the position looks with almost all the pawns gone. With the extra pawn, Black should be fighting for more. Also, his king appears a little safer. But it is clear that White's pieces are better placed to switch to the kingside. Black needs to play a little precisely to generate threats while White can just continue playing natural moves. Now, in extreme time pressure, Fressinet plays a couple of natural but pointless moves.
37... Bc6 38. Rf3 Rc8?! The rook doesn't do anything on c8.
39. Qe2 Kg8?
39... Bxe4 40. Qxe4 Qc6 would have been perfectly fine, but Fresinnet was trying to play for a win.  )
40. b4! Suddenly, the sneaky threat of Qa2 decides the game
40... Bb5
40... Qb5 41. Qa2+!  )
41. Qd2 and Bd5 next.


Parimarjan Negi is an Indian grandmaster who is the second-youngest ever to earn the title (at 13 years 4 months and 22 days). Ranked No. 90 in the world, he is currently a sophomore at Stanford University.