After my last post I got 4 draws ( and 1 loss ). Three draws were against higher rated opponents, but there was not much interesting happening there. The last draw was really entertaining, so I decided to post it. I had to do a lot of driving that day and needed 20 minutes nap to get myself into more or less “playable” state. My opponent was a little boy, same rating, my score with him +1, =1.  I got Black and we played Slav Defense, exchange variation.

The opening was quite boring and taking into account my physical shape that day I was ready for a draw. After I played c5, he unexpectedly moved his queen to c2. I realized that I am in trouble. I looked at different ways to get out of pin, but didn’t like any of them. Rb5 looked suspicious to me and I was afraid that in my shape I will make a mistake in my calculations and eventually will be without a piece. And yes, computer says I would be worse after e4. The only move saving the situation was a5, I didn’t see it. So, I played Nd7. On move 23 I didn’t want to play g6 taking that square from my knight and played h6, which was not a good move. I could play g5 instead. Then he made a mistake by playing g3, the only right move was Nc3 keeping the advantage. I saw d4 and played it. His exd4 was right, computer in some lines lets dxe3 happened and it is not good for White. After another move he offered a draw, which I accepted.

We did a post-mortem and discussed Kf1 with king escaping to the queenside. He said that he considered it risky. I actually thought that it could be not good for me, but in the shootouts most of the games ended up drawn and one game ended up with Black winning, as black queen developed a lot of activity and took all of the queenside pawns, sacrificing black knight at some point.

 

It was a first round of Monday’s tournament. My opponent was a guy I lost to once in the past. We played Ruy Lopez.  The goal of 13… cxd4 and all of my following moves was to avoid usual White’s pressure on the kingside with Nf5, etc.  I recently lost in such a game, so didn’t want to repeat it.

I was surprised by his 18. Bxd4, expecting Nxd4 and felt OK after that. But the real surprise was  25. e5. First I thought that it is a trap, but even without much calculation realized that it is not and took the pawn. He said after  the game that it was intentional. Of course he got some initiative, but I was optimistic. On move 29 Fritz found an amazing winning line starting with 29… g6. White can’t move the knight, because following 30… Nh5 31. Qg4 Bd6 creates Nxg3+ threat and if 32. g3 then Qf2.

Anyway, we exchanged queens later and then his 40. a4 somehow unbalanced me. I made a strange 41… Nxa4 instead of a5 and then I am not sure I even saw Bxc8 threat when I played 43. … Nc3, because usually I do not reply to threatening my piece by counter-threat. I saw Rd3 right after I made a move, luckily the same thing as in today’s game 6 of the World Championship  happened and he quickly played 44. Rd7.

Suddenly I found myself defending, trying to relocate my not well placed pieces. I made another mistake playing 51… f5, though not so crucial. I was having a very little time left, reaching 10 seconds at one moment and playing on increment. Then he allowed me to activate my pieces. In the end I could move my king to the center, but got a feeling that it is dangerous taking into account his active king, rook and bishop. So we went for a three-fold repetition and agreed to a draw.

I decided to post these two games together because they were played against the same opponent, though were very different.

Game 1. It was played in the last round of the tournament where I was +2, -3 against lower ( in average ) rated opponents. Interesting that my opponent beat me a few times in 2-3 minute blitz a few rounds before while we waited for the start.

I got Black and he played Torre attack. I was alright until his 14. Rf3, when I didn’t like his attack on the kingside and started to play weird. First I got that idea about exchanging on d2 and then played Ne4 to neutralize his bishop. Then after 17. Rg3  I saw that he can play Bh6 and didn’t realize that I can simply move out my rook. Then I played  18… Nxe5 not even seeing that I will have to give up the queen. I don’t know was it fatigue or a case of chess blindness.

I didn’t want to resign due to the tournament circumstances I described above and decided to organize some kind of attack on the kingside. He simply could play 26. exf4 and after exchanging rooks I had nothing. His next moves weren’t very good defense and suddenly I started to feel that I have a chance. Still it would be equal if he would play 33. h3. Instead he made a decisive mistake with 33. Qh3. He was really under a time pressure at this moment having 10-20 seconds left and playing on 10 seconds increment. After he gave up his queen my win was a matter of technique.

After the game he couldn’t believe he lost and pointed to a exf4 possibility. I could only smile, as I couldn’t believe myself I won.

Game 2.  This game was a first round. I got White and our game quickly transposed into Caro-Kann,  Gurgenidze variation. It was all about positional maneuvering where I tried to keep my two bishops.

33. Qxc4 was ending up with a perpetual, maybe he saw it  as more dangerous that’s why he played bxc4. He offered a draw soon after that, I refused on the base that he had less time and is 200 lower rated. I am not sure that  I wrote down the moves from 36 to 39 correctly, but the position on move 40 is right. On move 45 I already had a bit less time ( both about a minute ) and actually went for a 3-fold repetition. But he played Kg6 ( after the game he told me that he didn’t want repetition ) and it was a decisive mistake. 45… Ke6 would allow him to take on d5 with a king and it would be a draw. I thought that queens exchange given the pawn structure shouldn’t be bad for me and went for it. Then suddenly I realized that I can create a remote passed pawn and it’s a win.

I suffered four losses in a row, so coming to the club I clearly wanted to stop this bad streak. My opponent was a guy I know pretty well and have a score +1, -1 I think. I had Black and we played Four Knights game. After he exchanged bishops on e6 I started to feel comfortable.

His 16. g3 was a mistake, I saw Nxd3 right away, but noticed that he has Ng5+ move. Computer still gives it ~-1, I thought less, but didn’t like going back to g6 with the same Ng5+ and then Qh5, so took on d3. I saw Bd2 too. 19. Kg2 was another mistake, Ne1 was better.

Then I made a mistake myself. Not knowing how to continue better, I offered to exchange queens. I didn’t see that he can sacrifice bishop on h6 afterwards and I can’t take it because of the fork. Of course, all the time I was seeing that he can take on h6, but I still saw the rook standing on f7 and defended by the king. He missed that and I developed a strong attack.

On move 40 I saw a rook sacrifice with mate in 5 and played it. He resigned after two moves seeing the rest – 42. Kf1 Nd3 + 43. Qf4 Rxf4+ 44. Rf2 Rxf2#.

It is about two games on consecutive Thursdays. They were somewhat similar in the sense that tactical strike decided the game. Unfortunately only one of them was mine.

October 2. I was paired with a master, but I didn’t see him coming. As I knew that he usually comes early, I asked TD almost right after the start and he said: “Oh, I forgot, he took a bye”. So, he quickly re-paired me with a guy that got a 1-point bye.

I got Black and we played Queen’s Pawn defense. Before the start I played 4 blitz games with some schmuck that wanted to play only with 2-3 minutes control, lost all of them. Maybe that, as well as distraction because of re-pairing caused me to blunder on move 6, automatically playing e6 and not seeing Qb5+. For some reason Fritz gives it only +0.5 and shootouts end in a draw. Anyway, he didn’t see it and castled.

Then we got into some positional maneuvering until he played 22. Bh2. I saw Nxc3 right away and calculated it, seeing also his hanging knight on d2. Then I found another good move – 24… Nd1 and the game was over. It took him some time to realize that.

 October 9.  I was paired with the guy I never played before. I guessed him playing me before the game and knew he can play Sicilian Nc6. I played my favorite Rossolimo attack, but his Qc7 was a surprise, I wasn’t ready for that and spend too much time in the opening.  The best was not to play Nc3 and d4, but to castle and play Re1, not letting his knight on f6.

So, it was equal and then he played this bad move b5. I saw e5 and played it, but after Qxf3 “automatically” took by rook. I consider it now one of the worst moves in my chess life, because it decided the game.  I would get at least a draw after gxf3, not letting his knight on g4. As soon as played 18. h3 I saw his Rxd4. He thought for a while and played it. 20. Rg3 was another very bad move instead of 20. Rff4. After 20… Bc5 I could just play Kf1.

My position became very bad and Ne6 was a final blunder, I thought so much about Rxg7+ that I was sure that Ne6 was a check. That loss, third out of four games and with White to 200 lower rated player (though he is in the top with +3 right now), also quick, really upset me.

 

I decided to put two my Monday’s games in one post.

September 29.  My opponent was a boy, my score with him I think is =2, -1 . Recently his rating from expert’s jumped to 2000. So, I had Black and for the first time in my life ( OTB ) played Hungarian Defense. Fritz thinks it was equal until I played 11… f5, he had to play exf5.

Then I had to play c5 one move earlier, instead of Qe8. The line 12… c5 13. Bxg7 Kxg7 14. exf5 was giving me advantage and 12… c5 13. Be3 c4 was even worse for White. Instead of it I got under pressure.

But then I managed to get into a rook ending where my king and rook were very active and despite being two pawns down I was feeling OK. Fritz thinks that 62… Kd3 was keeping it equal. Then I missed another chance after he made a mistake playing 66. Kg6. Instead of queening I had to play Rb6+, Rb7+, Rb3 and then Rg3 checking White king. After he gave up his rook the resulting R vs. 2P endgame was lost for me.

October 6. My opponent was a man, score – =1, -1.  I had White, played Ruy Lopez and he played 7… O-O. I didn’t want to play against Marshall attack (even I actually have one win with White) and decided to play Anti-Marshall a4. It wasn’t a good idea, as I got an unfamiliar position.

On move 17 I decided to play g4, usually I don’t like making moves like this, but I just didn’t like what I would get if I wouldn’t do it. By the way computer thinks I am fine after 19.Qe2 giving +0.32 evaluation. Anyway it is equal until I, not knowing what to do, played 25. Bd3.  It was still more or less OK, but by playing 37. Ne2 I completely missed f5. It was really sudden and I overestimated the danger of this move. 38. exf5 was really bad and my position started to deteriorate. Eventually I got under a straight attack, had to give up an exchange and lost the ensuing endgame.

 

 

It was a last round and I really wanted to do well. My opponent was a young man. He replied with Nc6 to my e4, it was a first time I encountered Nimzowitch Defence. I didn’t want to go into Scotch, so chose a quiet positional line. Then we exchanged queens and light pieces. Eventually he got some pressure on e5.

I do not agree with computer that 22… g6 wasn’t a bad move, it seems me that 22… Nc5 or Nb6 was better keeping alive his bishop. You will see later how important it was.  Anyway, he had to play 23… Bc6 and I felt a relieve after 24. Nxc6. Then I saw e5. I calculated it deep enough to see that I probably win a pawn and so it happened. Then I didn’t use his Kf6 move to get an essential advantage after Rf3+ and Rfe1. 33… g5 was a bad move creating a weak pawn. Then I implemented the idea with doubling rooks on “f” vertical, but instead of that 36. Re5 was simply winning.

Anyway after 40 moves the position became technical. 49… Ne4 was a mistake that accelerated the end. Interesting that he played fast all the game and only after he got into real trouble started to think more, but it was already late. In the end I managed to “catch” his rook and after a few moves he resigned.

 

 

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