This is a pretty rare ending. I had one 11 years ago, when played on FICS. I won on time, then studied it. Another one happened two days ago, on chess.com, in the blitz game 3+2. The general frequency of appearing it is 400 per 1 million games, i.e. 1:2,500. I played ~7,500 games on FICS and ~10,000 on chess.com, so it was due.

It was a regular blitz game with quite a few mistakes. Eventually we got into a rook endgame and after giving up my rook for his passer one of mine became a queen. After I got into a queen vs. rook ending I thought I forgot how to play it, but intuitively eventually came to a Philidor position. Soon I checkmated my opponent.

It was a game born by a deficit of a slow chess, played with my long-time friend. The format was 30+30, proved to be better than blitz and rapid 15+10. I had White, we played Ruy Lopez. It was a quiet and positional until I blundered with 23. Nf5. I thought that I am in a big trouble, it looked like 26. f6 would give me a chance. Computer prefers 26… Nc4 to exchange on c2. 

I didn’t realize how strong my attack could be after 28. Qd2 Kh7 29. Re4. After 29… c6 there was a move that didn’t come to my mind – 30. Rxe6!!, where 30… dxe5 loses because of 31. Nxg6! and after 30… Qa2 White is +4.

On move 32 I saw Nf5 and after some consideration played it. 33… Kh8 was a right move, after 33… Rg6 there was a mate in 5. After 34. Qh5 the right move would be 34… Qf8, 34… Rxg3 led to a perpetual.

 

I played rapid 15+10 today and had a short game I decided to post. I had White and it was Caro-Kann, so I played Fantasy variation. In the line, where Black takes on e4 and then plays e6, I have a proved plan with creating a strong center and attacking the kingside.

It worked here. After 15. Qg4 he had to play the exact Ne7, then Ng6 to keep the balance, Kh8 was a mistake. My attack developed smoothly, then I saw 22. Nh5+ with a mate after either 22… Kf8 or 22… gxh5.

 

The first time I played Maroczy bind against Sicilian in an OTB game was probably December 2008, when I posted such a game. Since then I played it quite a few times, but not recently as people are playing Nbd7 after Bb5+ or take on d7 with a knight after bishops exchange so I don’t play c4.

It was an online blitz game, 3+2. On the contrary to many others the quality of my play was pretty high and close to rapid or even slow chess, that’s why I decided to post it. So, Sicilian, Moscow variation, Maroczy bind.  My opponent decided to close the center right away. Exchanging my dark colored bishop for the knight was unusual to me as well  as attacking on the both sides of the board.

I saw 22. b6 as a way to reposition my knight. After 24. Ne6 I started to regroup my pieces for an attack. Computer says 28… hxg5 was a very serious mistake, the right move was fxg5. After I played 31. Qh2 my opponent flagged. Computer prefers Qh3, in any case I was +4. After Nh7 involvement of the second rook wins.

The move that was not played in this blitz game was the most interesting one. I had Black and it was Giuoco Piano. Houdini thinks that 14. f4 was not a good move, White wasn’t prepared to open the game.

Then White made a mistake playing 20. Nxf4. I played Marshall-like Rae8 and didn’t notice a motif for a combination. The right move was quiet 20… Bd7, leaving the knight f4 under attack. 21. Ng6 is followed by 21… Qd4+ 22. Kh2 Qxb2 with a big advantage.

On move 22 White made another mistake and I didn’t let go this one unpunished. I was watching h3 square closely and finally was able to play Bxh3. Accepting the sacrifice was a final mistake, 23. Rf1 would be -2.3.

 

 

I finally played a rapid game that I considered worth posting. It was played on chess.com, the format was 15+10. My opponent chose a rare variation in French, d6 on the second move. He developed slowly and I decided to hit in the center.

Then I saw a sacrifice on b5 and went for it. Computer evaluates it as ~-0.6. His 20… Qc7 wasn’t good, but I had to play 21. Bb6, as I wanted, but instead played 21. Nb5. Then his 22… Nc6 was a game losing mistake, Qc6 was equal.

I saw that 24. Bd6 pretty much decides the game and played it. Then I found a strike on e5, after which he resigned.

It was a last regular game I played, seems like it was a long time ago. I got a master rated 2194, last time he played 2 years ago, same club Championship, I lost to him then. He played Modern Defense. My 7. g3 instead of Qd2 started my movement along the curve, instead of going straight.

Computer thinks 12. Na4 was better then Bc5, I think I didn’t like my knight’s placement after d4. Then 17. Nc1 was the move instead of Nd2. I didn’t realize how weak my pawns would be when played Nc4 and didn’t expect him to trade his bishop. Playing 27. f5 was another bad idea.

In a few moves I found myself in a very difficult endgame. He didn’t give me any chances and after 42 moves I resigned.

It was a second round in the Mondays club. My opponent was an old foe, score +1, -2. He got White and started, kind of unexpectedly, with Benko’s Opening, i.e. g3. My 4th move had to be d5, not d6. Computer doesn’t like his 9. f4, but I had to respond by 9… exf4, not Bg4.

After his 13. Qd2 I saw an opportunity to use the fact that his queen is overloaded. I spent quite some time calculating and then took on e2. In a few moves I had an advantage and started to regroup my pieces. His 27. h4 was definitely a mistake. His 31. Qf3 was another mistake, I missed a decisive Nd4. I remember I thought that he can play Qd3, but didn’t see Qg4, so the best for him was to give up the exchange.

I continued to press on the kingside with f5, f4, he resisted. Then he tried to muddy the waters by g5. It actually worked, as I exchanged the queens, instead of playing Qh7. Computer doesn’t like my 43… g6, preferring Kh7. So it became actually an equal endgame despite of me having an extra pawn. He had less time, like 7 minutes vs. my 13.

On move 53 I played Nc6 thinking that he might play Bc8 as I left my c7 pawn unprotected. He actually played it and didn’t even see the fork until I played Ne7+. He resigned on the spot and was visibly unhappy, saying: “It was a draw, it was a draw”. I didn’t remind him how I lost the last game to him, when he in the worse position made two unsound sacrifices counting on my time trouble. Then it was me who was upset.

 

It was a first round in the Mondays club, I got 16-year old teenager rated 2086 with whom I played in December 2018 at the big tournament. His rating then was 260 lower. It was a last round, having 15 minutes left I forced a perpetual in a position where I had a complicated win.

So I got White, he played French, Tarrasch, we got classical Korchnoy-Karpov candidates match variation with an isolated pawn. I don’t know that line too deep and I made a mistake playing 7. Qe2, the mainline is 7. dxc5 Bxc5 8. O-O Nge7 9. Nb3 Bd6.

After he pinned my knight on f3 I got into a kind of panic mode because of possible Ne5 and exchanged on c6, it was not  a good move. The cool 13. Rae1 was equal, after 13… Ne5 I could just play g4. He got an advantage by move 22, then the crucial moment came. I decided to attack on the kingside and played f4.

I kind of saw d4, but then expected Bd5. He played d4 and then Nd5, though computer prefers to play c4 first. My reply Ng2 was not good, I could try to hold with 25. dxc5 Nxe3 26. cxd6 Qb6 27. Qd4 Nxf1. In a few moves I got into a bad endgame which was lost. I resigned in a few moves, of course I was disappointed.

 

 

I played this game exactly a month ago, before the big tournament. I didn’t want then to post it, but now calmed down and decided to do it. My opponent was a boy rated 1835, never played him before. He had White and chose Ruy Lopez, then played Nc3 line, I rarely get it. I chose all the right moves, then on move 9 he played a novelty, Ng5.

Of course I didn’t take the knight on c3 and just castled. Then 11… Nd4 would give me 0.75 advantage. We had a few exchanges, it all was looking good for me. I found 16… Rb6 and then… hurried to play Rg6. Computer says there was 17… Bh3 instead and he has to play 18. f4, because f3 doesn’t defend enough after Rg6 and there is no Rf2 due to Qxc1+.

I continued my attack, but didn’t feel that it is dangerous, Instead of obvious 27… hxg3+ I could play Rh6 with an equal position. 31… c5 was unnecessary, 31… Rh6 32. Rxh6 gxh6 33. Rxc6 h5 would keep the balance. On the next move 32… Rh6 again was the best move. After the queens exchange I thought that 39… Bb3 would win a pawn, but instead it worsened my position. It was difficult to defend it. Then I made a crucial mistake by playing 59… Ba4 and soon the game was over.