On his way to winning the Spanish Championship, Francisco Vallejo Pons played some simple, elegant games, including the following one.

Last week, the game-of-the-day featured a recent victory by Francisco Vallejo Pons from the Spanish Championship. That was a nice game, but I preferred this one against Santiago Gonzalez de la Torre. 

Vallejo Pons, F. vs. Gonzalez de la Torre, S.
81st ch-ESP 2016 | Linares ESP | Round 5.1 | 09 Aug 2016 | ECO: B00 | 1-0
1. e4 d6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nge2 Nf6 4. g3 Be7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. d4 exd4 7. Nxd4 Re8 8. O-O Bf8 9. h3 Nbd7 10. Re1 Nc5 So far, the game has been nothing special. But now Vallejo begins to make things interesting.
11. Nb3! White needs to remove the Black knight on c5.
11. Be3 This would be a natural developing move, but
11... Ncxe4 Wins a pawn  )
11... Ncd7
11... Nxb3 12. axb3 Also looks good for White  )
12. a4! I like it. White gains space before doing anything else.
12. Be3 Nb6 This looks a bit annoying as Black may try to follow-up with Be6 and Nc4.  )
12... c6
12... a5 This looked more natural to me, though I still would have preferred Whites position.  )
13. a5! Preventing Nb6.
13... Qc7
13... Ne5 14. f4 Nc4 15. Qd3 Putting pressure on the Black knight.  )
14. Be3 h6
14... Ne5 15. Nd2! And then f4.  )
15. f4! Just 15 moves into the game, Black already has no good active moves.
15... b6 Black felt compelled to do this to gain some breathing room for the bishop on b7, but now his pawn structure is in ruins
15... Nb8 This is the computer's suggestion. As bad as it looks, it might be the best move.
16. g4 Na6 17. Qd2 White is better and can play on both the kingside and queenside.  )
16. axb6 Nxb6 17. Bd4! Energetic and strong; Bxf6 is a serious positional threat.
17... Nfd7 18. Na5! Another strong move. The threat is to play e5.
18... Rb8
18... c5 19. Nb5! And White would be winning easily.  )
19. Kh2 Nice and simple; Black still can barely move.
19... a6
19... Bb7 20. Nxb7 Would obviously be a train wreck for Black.  )
20. Bf2 The final move to prepare the advance e5.
20. e5 d5 This is still a very good position for White, but he might also have moved the bishop first to get it out of the way of Black's plan to play c5.  )
20... d5? Black's position was already difficult, but this loses quickly.
21. Nxc6! Qxc6 22. exd5 And Black's position collapses. If the queen moves, Rxe8 wins a rook.
22... Rxe1
22... Qd6 23. Rxe8  )
23. dxc6! Rxd1 24. Rxd1 Black will lose his temporary material advantage and still have all the problems inherent in his position. The game is effectively over.
24... g6
24... f5 25. c7! White doesn't even bother taking the knight. After White's advance to c7, Black is dead, no matter what he does.  )
25. c7!
25. cxd7 Nxd7 26. b3 Also would be winning, but it's slower and less flashy.  )
25... Rb7 26. Bxb7 Bxb7 27. Na4


Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 5 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook