November 23, 2013
That was a question that I was asking myself on Thursday. I woke up at that day at four something am and after not being able to get back to sleep decided to watch the game 9. I saw the whole thing and then went to work. Physically I felt OK, just sleepy, so after some thought decided that after a little nap at home I could be OK. I expected higher rated opponent, but got this 1777 rated boy and already felt better.
I had White and played again my Moscow variation in Sicilian. It surprised me that he allowed exchange of the dark-colored bishops and I thought that I am getting advantage, Fritz agrees. Fritz also prefers f4 to my h4, I kind of didn’t feel ready to give up e5 after f5, but didn’t see that I can put my knight on e6. On move 21 I decided to sacrifice the pawn on h4, though was surprised again when he took it. I didn’t see a forced win after 25. fxg6 Qxg6 26. Qh3 Rd8 27. Nc7 Rb8 28. Re3 Nf8 29. Rg3 with Qh5 threat. Anyway my attack continued. Then I missed another forced win with 35. Rg3.
Finally I found another attacking resource – passed “d” pawn. He had to exchange queens, but didn’t do it and eventually lost an exchange still being under attack. I started to chase his king, but didn’t see the winning move 47. Qe7+ allowing my rook check or losing rook with a check. I am glad that at least I saw that his check on e3 could be fatal and it was! He was simply mating me. We both were under 5 minutes already. Eventually I prevented all the checks with Qg5 and Rd1 and he resigned.
November 15, 2013
Yesterday I wasn’t very happy when I learned who will be my opponent. It was an expert to whom I lost rather painfully two years ago, at Canadian Open. But then I decided what the hell… Our game quickly transpired into Semi-Slav Defense. I played a few games recently and had good results in it.
We got the Carlsbad pawn structure, which I studied more than 30 years ago, reading Russian book “How to become a class “A” player”, very systematic and good. The plan is a minority attack (with “f” pawn in this case), that’s why I played Ned6. Also you put a knight on e4. I didn’t like his 20. f3, computer’s evaluation also goes to ~-1 after that. Even less I liked his g4 and decided to use it right away. I got h5 and f5 ideas from Aronian’s or Ivanchuk’s Marshall attack game.
26. Nf1 was a decisive mistake, computer says it’s ~-5. I considered 27… Bh3, but saw f4 and played simple Nxf3+, computer agrees. Then I found Bg4! and after careful checking that he gets mated if he takes the bishop, played it. Basically, winning an exchange with his king being “barenaked” meant winning the game, but I tried to be careful, knowing that the guy is very experienced. I found another good move – c5, after which thought that that was it. But he got me worried with Kb4, when I had to move my queen out, still defending my pawn and at the same time preventing check. Computer criticizes my Qh3 giving it only ~-3 and prefers Qg5. I can only say that I had a bit more than 5 minutes left at that moment.
In the end I saw that I can’t take the knight right away because of the queen fork and approached my queen by giving checks. After he lost the rook his time ran out, I still had about 3 minutes left.
I was really happy after the game. A few people watched it and congratulated me (after the guy left), knowing that he is a strong player. My rating went up sharply after the last tournament, maybe it inspired me.
October 29, 2013
I played on Monday, here is the game. My opponent was an old guy rated 1674, he had a break for a quite a few years, played just in one tournament afterwards, but unexpectedly didn’t look rusty, quite the opposite. He played very fast, even on d5 he didn’t spend much time. I didn’t feel comfortable until he played 18… bxc6.
I felt that bxc6 wasn’t the best move and after 19. Bb6 thought that I am better. This is a typical move in this line and this bishop is really strong. He started to think more, especially after he understood my intention to occupy “d” vertical. His 28… Kh7 was an already losing move, then Kg6 was a final mistake. I saw that I am better in the bishop endgame and then I realized that b5 is winning.
September 18, 2013
I played on Monday with a boy rated ~1450 and had White. He started bravely, with Jaenisch Gambit, here is the game.
I knew that I have to play d3 and Nc3, then had to improvise. When he played Bg4 I had a feeling that have a winning line there. After some calculation I realized, that even with him getting the piece back after g5 I am better, so played Bxf6.
After 16… Rf4 I saw the idea of mating combination with Nxg6, but it was not possible in this position. Rxe4 was a good move and a trap at the same time, inviting to take on c2. He did and after Ng6+ resigned.
September 14, 2013
This is a refrased title of the one of my favorite AC/DC songs. The season in the club started with a changed time control – 60/G plus 15 seconds increment. I got an opponent with whom despite of his higher rating I had a positive score.
I got Black and we got Slav defense, Exchange variation, here is the game. He got an attack after the opening and told me after the game, that he saw 17. Bxh7, but decided not to follow with it. Funny that after 17. Bxh7+ Kxh7 18. Qh5+ Kg8 even Fritz thinks that Black is better until you force him to play 19. Rf3. That was winning.
21. Rf3 was his big mistake allowing me to win an exchange. Then I didn’t have to give up my queen for his rook and night, but situation looked too dangerous to me. I didn’t see that after 27… Rc7 28. Rh7 Qf6 my knight was coming to f7 to defend from Kf2 and Qh1. Anyway I got a material and positional advantage and he was really low on time, less than 30 seconds. But he started to play fast and he saw a plan with his queen penetrating into my backyard.
That really worked well and I had to switch to defense. Then he repeated moves a few times and after me noticing it thought a bit and agreed to a draw. In the final position I was actually worse, he still had less time and probably didn’t see how he can win.
June 2, 2013
I played on Monday, my opponent was a young guy rated ~100 higher than me. I had White, played Ruy Lopez and he after some thinking chose Marshall attack, here is the game. I played a few Marshall attack OTB games with Black – without much success, but I never played it with White, though I had some knowledge and online blitz experience, preferring modern variation Re4. I liked more the line with d3, where Black can’t play g5 after Re4.
After 18… c5 I think I found a way to neutralize his initiative. The position started to look better and better to me. He had less time, so I decided to stir up things a little bit and played b3. It worked and he missed 35. Rd7. Another mistake and he resigned before getting mated.
I was really happy after the game. My efforts related to Marshall attack eventually paid off.
May 5, 2013
It was a strange French, with a twist and the game had a twist too. My opponent was a young guy, I lost to him before once in the team blitz tournament. I had White, here is the game.
I was a bit better after the opening, but his 15… Bc5 equalized the game. It was pretty quiet until I played 27. e4. His Qg3 was a mistake. I calculated Rxd5 and decided that if he plays Rf2 I have Re8 and I should get a least perpetual. It was actually only if he would play 30… Kf7 and I will answer Qe8+. The thing is Qh5 was winning. So, he went for Rf2 and then Kh7.
I saw Qg6 and after some pause realized that I am winning here after Rh8. He resigned after that.