When I came to the club, I initially got a 1-point bye. I had a feeling that I am in a good shape and asked TD, should I go home or wait. He said maybe one guy will not come, I waited half an hour and eventually was paired with the boy who was waiting for that opponent.

I got White and after he chose Sicilian with Nc6 I played my favorite Rossolimo variation. His maneuver Nd7-f8-e6-d4  was good and I got a feeling that I am losing a thread of the game. I expected his f5 and he played it. It was a mistake, especially taking with a pawn 20… cxd4. I saw that I can force the exchange of the bishops and then take on f5. Then his 25… Kh8 was a crucial mistake as you will see, instead 25… Bf7 was -0.7.

I naturally played Rg3 and Ng4, then thought where my knight could jump. e5 looked like a good square with possible Ng6. Of course he didn’t take the knight after 29. Ng6+, because after 29… hxg6 30. Qh6+ he would lose the queen. But the winning move was 32. Nf2!! Qf6 33. Ne4 and Black loses because of the threat of queen check. I saw at some moment the threat on a1-h8 diagonal, but didn’t see how I can do that with him controlling e5 square, that backwards knight move never came to my mind.

Anyway I continued to pressure until he blundered with 34… Qg7. Then 37. Qc7 was the best move, winning b7 pawn as he couldn’t move his bishop because of Rg7. The intention of 42. g4 was to open up the play for the rooks. I can’t believe that I missed a mate in one on move 47, I even thought that I mixed up the score. I only can say that I had less than 10 minutes at that moment. Then having about 5 minutes left I started to play just on increment. I definitely could win faster, but the time pressure didn’t allow me to stop and think what is my plan.
Eventually my pieces took the right positions and when the result became inevitable he resigned.

 

It means “wise is he who looks ahead”. It was a night when I expected to play White with a not very strong opponent according to my current standing. So, I got a boy and he played Sicilian, Anderssen variation.

White should play 5. Nc3, but I didn’t like Bb4, though after Ndb5 or Qg4 White is better. 5. Bd3 is better for Black if answered by Nc6, but he played a6. On move 10 I decided to play g4, basically this is Keres attack, based on Black’s lost control of g4 after d6. There is one game in online DB with 10… e5. After Nf5 he had to counter g5, Nd5 threat, so Bxf5 was the only choice. I needed to decide with which pawn to take on f5. To me exf5 looked like giving him the pawn center after d5, but gxf5 is just equal. I forgot, what was the goal of my g4, it was to play g5 and push out the knight on f6. So, after 12. exf5 d5 13. g5 Bc5 14. exf6 Bxe3+ 15. Kh1 White is much better, this is what happened in that game from DB and Black was crushed.

In another line – 12… exf4 13. Rxf4 f6 White is 0.85, still better. Anyway after 16 moves I saw f6 and Qe4. His h6 was bad, after Nd7 he was losing just h7 pawn. I saw Rxf6 sacrifice and thought that he is lost after 19. Rxf6 gxf6 20. Bxh6. But he made a check on b6 and suddenly I realized that after 21. Kh1 f5 22. Qg2+ Qg6 he defends successfully. So I played Be3, which gave away a win.

Here is where that Latin phrase applies, if there would be just one more move in my calculation – Qh3, I would see that there are threats of Rg1 or Bxf5, so after 23. Qh3 e4 24. Be2 Black loses.

After 21… Qd6 White still could have some advantage after calm c4, but I played Rf1, still seeing the attack that was already dead. He estimated the position right and offered a draw, I refused. 24. Qh6+ was a really bad move, because then I, to my horror, saw that the rooks are coming to h8 and g8. This is exactly what happened.

Then he unexpectedly gave me a chance by sacrificing an exchange and forcing B vs. N endgame. I played losing 37. Kg3, it was a draw after 37. Kg2 Nxe1+ 38. Kf1 Nf3 39. Bc8 and White eventually wins the “e” pawn. I had a few minutes left at that moment and definitely wasn’t thinking clearly.

 

My opponent was a young man, rated 1905, never played him before. I had White and he chose Owen Defense. I thought I needed to play a3 in order to prevent Bb4. Interesting that looking back I probably wouldn’t play 14. d5, even computer actually suggests it. Anyway computer then recommends 16. e6 instead of 16. exd6. But I didn’t want to give him the “f” vertical. Instead of 17. Qxd6 computer says Qe4 is equal.

I didn’t see his f5 coming, but calculated b4 and during the process found Bxc5 after f4. I thought quite some time what piece I should take – knight or bishop and decided that leaving bishop will be a bit risky. He got some pressure and eventually I decided to exchange the rooks. It was a mistake, because in the knight ending his “a” pawn is stronger than my “c”.  He had essentially more time than me, something like 25 minutes vs. my 10, but then I started to play on the increment and his time went down to ~19 minutes.

After 45. Nc4 he asked me if we had a threefold repetition. I said not yet, but I am not against a draw. He said something like he needs to think and continued to play, but after two more moves he agreed to a draw.

 

I reviewed my recent games before Thursday and realized that I should play something reliable, I experimented too much lately. So, I came and my opponent was the guy to whom I lost 3 months ago having a gum inflammation, i.e. pain not quite suppressed by Tylenol. I decided then to play a Closed Sicilian and miscalculated right in the opening.

Sicilian d6 again, this time Bb5+ and he played Nc6. I felt relief right away and took on c6, it was my favorite Rossolimo variation.  I was satisfied with the opening and slowly developed an attack on the kingside. Back then when he played 10… Qb6 I thought how good would be Qa5 instead and suddenly he played 18… Qa5. I checked the lines and took on d5. Instead of 19… Qd8 keeping the important bishop by Bd8 was better.

I continued my attack and two times in a row missed a chance to strike a crucial blow using both times his weak dark squares. First, 25. Bh4 Nh7 26. Ng5 Nxg5 27. Qxg5 Rad8 28. Qh6 Rd6 29. Bf6 Qxf6 30. Rxf6 Rxf6 31. Qe3. Second, 26. Ng4 Rf8 27. Bf6 Nxf6 28. Rxf6 Qe8 29. Qg5 Bc5 30. Nxr5 Kh7 31. Nxf7 Qxf7 32. Rxf7+ Rxf7 33. Qxc5.

After I played  33. Qc3 and he played Rd7 I hesitated to take on c5 with the bishop because then I couldn’t defend g4 pawn, but missed that after 34. Bxc5 Qe6 35. Be3 Qxg4 my queen can take not only on c6, but also on e5 with  a check. Then I continued to press and eventually he blundered and resigned.

It was a first round and I got the same guy with whom I played in the last round of the previous tournament. I got Black this time and decided on Petroff defense, last time I played it a year ago with a master getting a good position after the opening and losing later. After his 10. bxc3 I got worried about his possible Bxh7 sacrifice, it looked like a typical position for that, so I played h6. It was a mistake, the sacrifice doesn’t work because after Bxh7+, Ng5+ and Qh5 Black has Bf5.

The two book moves are 10… dxc4 and 10… Bg4.  The next move 11… Be6 was even a bigger mistake, because of 12. Ng5 with 12… hxg5 losing after Qh5. He didn’t see it. I thought first on playing 15… Qc7, but then decided to keep my queen’s access to the kingside because of Bxh6. By the way that sacrifice has evaluation about -.2, so it is sound. I saw that he can play Ng6 and Nf4 forcing an exchange, but decided to live with it.

His 19. Qg4 was unexpected and reacting to it, I missed Rc8 winning the “c” pawn. Then with the same idea I played 23… Rf7 with an intention to move it to c7, but then saw 25. Rxe6 Qxe6 26. Bxf5 and returned the rook back. I didn’t see that 26… Qe2 creates a mate threat and saves the Black rook, so Black has exchange for the pawn.

After 27… Rb1 I got annoyed by the absence of the progress in the game and played e5. It wasn’t a bad move, but it created the same R+B endgame that I had with him the last time. He was a bit better then, but exchanged rooks and then blundered the bishop. This time I had to play 38… Bxe5 with a draw, but I hesitated to give him a protected passed pawn.

After move 40 I got less than 5 minutes and stopped writing the moves. He pressured and won the “d” pawn, I activated my rook and eventually we got the position on the diagram. At that time I had about two minutes and played on 10 seconds increment. I decided to play b4 and win both his pawns on the kingside after Kc4, Ra5, but then he put his rook on f2, cut off my king and won. The right move was Kf7 and if he plays Kc5, then Rc4+, Rxd4 and then Black wins both pawns on the kingside with a draw.

I think I needed it after four losses in a row. On Thursday because of the freezing rain about 1/3 of the players took byes, so both my opponent and the color I got were unexpected. I got a guy with whom I played recently and who missed the zwischenzug. I got White and we played Sicilian, Moscow variation. This is a second game when I allowed a6, b5, c5 and as a result my knight ended up on d1. After the first game computer recommended a6, but here I didn’t see how it could stop b4. The thing is after 12. a3 b4 13. axb4 cxb4 14. Na2 Black doesn’t have a5 because of Nxb4. If he plays Bb7 and then b4, my knight should go to a4, not d1 disrupting rooks.

Then I made another bad knight move playing Nh2 and forgetting about d5. Computer thinks that 18… d4 19. Bf2 Bh6 was strong for Black with about 1.5 advantage. After his 21… Ne5 I was so happy to exchange my knight on h2 that missed his f5 after exchange, saw it as soon as I put my knight on f3. I even thought to take on f3 with a pawn, but it was just losing a pawn on h3. For some reason he decided to play f4 instead of taking on e4, maybe he thought the same as me that his bishop will be hanging.  But after 24… fxe4 25. dxe4 Bxe4 26. Bg5 he could play Bf3 keeping the pawn.

I was just hanging until move 32, when I started to breath easier. I had a feeling that his 34… e6 wasn’t that good, but hurried to play Bc5 not seeing Rf5. After we exchanged rooks the game started to look drawn. I thought that maybe playing h4 was a mistake, but computer does the same. I thought at some moment that he can win my h4 pawn, but it is possible only with bishops exchange and the pawn endgame is won for me because of the remote passed pawn which I would create on the queenside.

We both had about 3 minutes left, when he played Kf4. I played Bg5+ and he resigned.

 

My opponent was a guy to whom I lost recently having an “opening catastrophe”. He had White and suddenly started with 1. e3, it was Van’t Kruijs Opening. I never had it OTB, though got it online a few times. The first 6 moves were book moves, though I never knew them.

After his 0-0 I saw an idea of Nxd2, so my two next moves were kind of preparation for that, with c6 being useful and “waiting” move. I had a problem with deciding what to do after 14… Bxe3+ 15. Kh1, choosing the obvious and the worst Bxf4 with only 1.85 advantage. The best was 15… Qd6 16. Bd3 Qxf4 with the queen out of “e” vertical and the same material advantage.

After 18. Rad1 I definitely hurried to play Ne4, Bd7 as the game showed was much better. I expected 19. Nxe4, so Bxe4 was a surprise.  Computer says that 20… Qh6 was the right move. I made a mistake in two moves playing 22… Bf4. I considered Bg4, but didn’t like 23. Rd4. Computer says, I could play Rf2 and if Rxg4, then Raf8, having a clear advantage. I missed his Re7.

Then my advantage started to disappear gradually, as well as my remaining time. He spent much less time and played fast. It was an absolutely right plan to force exchange of the rooks on g7, but I had to be very careful, for example 44… Re8 simply loses after Kf7. The only drawing move was 44… h6 with an idea of 45… a4 after 45. Kf7 and White has to force a draw – 46. Rg8+ Kh7  47. Rg7+ Kh8.

I had seconds and thinking about my 44th move forgot about the clock and suddenly saw it blinking. Needless to say I was very disappointed.

 

 

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