It was fifth round in the Thursday’s club. I got Black again and played a boy, never played him before. We played Italian Game. I had an advantage in the opening and missed 16… b4!

Then he got a “Ruy Lopez” style attack on the kingside. I was holding up until I played Bxf5, Be6 was better. Computer criticizes my 34… Qd3, saying that Bh6 was much better. I thought that it was the only way to save the pawn on c4, but after 35. Nxc4 Nxc4 36. Bxc4 Qd2 37. Qf3 Black can force queens exchange with a transition into an opposite-colored bishops endgame.

After he played 36. Bd5 I thought that my days are numbered and made a desperate attempt to survive by playing 38… Bxe3 and 39… f5. He made two mistakes in a row – 40. Kd2 and 41. Bxe4. After he played 41. Bxe4 I saw that I can play Nb2+ and if he takes the pawn then after Nc5 he loses the bishop. The only way to keep advantage after 40… fxe4 was to play 41. Ke1, then after 41… Kf6 42. Bxe4 Nc4 43. Bxd3 Nxe3 he was still up a pawn.

So after his last inaccuracy – 44. g4, we reached a completely drawn position. When he realized that, we agreed to a draw.

My opponent in this forth round at the Thursday’s club was an old foe with whom I had a few draws and losses in the past. I was quite happy seeing him playing Ruy Lopez, Exchange variation. I knew that a book move is 7… Bd7, but decided to play Bd6 to avoid 8. e5. I didn’t realize that e5 is not good for White after 8… Ne7 9. Be3 Nd5.

After 10. Nc4 I had a long thought. In one of my past games I allowed Nxd6 and then my “d” pawn became a liability. Be7 looked too passive. Bf4 was giving up two bishops, but I eventually decided to play it.

After we exchanged rooks I looked in the future with an optimism. I knew that he has a pawn majority on the kingside, but thought that my bishop is better than his knight in this position and I can hold it. This is exactly what happened, we went for a three-fold repetition in the end.

I ran many shootouts to evaluate that position, about 80% of then ended up with a draw. A few cases when White won happened when after e5 Black played f6 and after exchange got an isolated pawn on f6. Two very deep shootouts ended up with a draw. So, my understanding is that with a precise play  it is a draw.

It was a third round in the Monday’s club, I played the guy who also was at the top of our section. My opponent’s choice to play English Opening was unexpected. A few years ago I would reply with Anglo-Gruenfeld, but I didn’t remember the lines, so played e5. I probably gave him too much space on the queenside, 13… Na5 wasn’t the best move, Nd8 was better.

23… g5 seemed risky to me, but I didn’t want him to have the “e” vertical after 23… f4. Computer suggests playing 33… a4 with the following a6 instead of 33… Qf6, with the idea of opening a “b” line for my rook.

Soon I got worse, also low on time and made a crucial mistake by playing 42… gxf4. I missed that he can take with a knight, creating a threat of fork on e6. Though I flagged in a few moves, it was completely lost.




Before this third round game in the Thursday’s club I didn’t sleep enough and had stresses, so wanted to take a bye. But I calmed down by the end of day and decided to play. I looked up a few opening moves in Sicilian e6, expecting one specific opponent with whom I played before and won. My guess was right, I got him and we played the same Szen (`anti-Taimanov’) Variation.

Frankly, all my opening knowledge ended up after 8 moves, so after his 9… b5 I had to decide what to do against upcoming b4. I saw that Nd5 was an only option and thought that if he takes on e4, then after Bb6 I will take his knight with a queen. As soon as he played Nxe4 I realized that I was seeing a ghost, because it was my king there on e1, of course, not queen. But I also saw that he has to move his queen and then I have a fork. He looked troubled and then he suddenly took on f2.

I didn’t like 12. Bxd8 and was seeing another ghost with 12. Kxf2 not liking Qh4+, though there was nothing after that. This and my earlier “vision” could be definitely explained by my state, it happened with me before. Then I saw 12. Bxf2 and played it.

So I got a knight for two pawns, much less than I could get after Kxf2. At that time I didn’t know that, I just felt that the momentum was on my side. Still I needed to play accurately in the arisen after queens exchange endgame. I found a simple solution with 46. Na3 not giving him any chances. I still remembered how I lost in the tournament in June in similar situation, just allowing my opponent to do whatever he wanted.

It became very technical soon and my main goal was not to make a mistake and at the same time advance my pawns. He resigned when it was a mate in 1 coming.

It was a second round in Monday’s club and I got this opponent, I played only one rapid game with him and won. So, my favorite Ruy Lopez, he played not quite by the book, but I decided to play simple. After the opening he blundered a pawn. Computer considers my 21. Qd2 as giving up the advantage, because after f5 my knight can’t go to d2. But he decided to exchange on c4 and then play f5.

It was a game losing mistake, he didn’t see d6. My bishop after a few moves from “bad’ became very powerful. I found 27. Ng5 and thought the best for him would be to give up an exchange taking on e7 and then on e6 after 28. Nxe6. But he went other way not seeing that it allows a smothered mate.

It was a first round of the Monday’s tournament and I got the second guy from that ~1400 rated pair of guys that won the middle section last time. His rating is now 1627.

I got Black and played Queen’s Indian Accelerated. His Bg5 surprised  me a bit and that bishop was quite annoying for a good part of the game. After the opening I was feeling under pressure and thought that I am in trouble, but it wasn’t that bad. He could play 18. Bb5 and after 18… Qxb5 19. Bxe7 Bxf3 20. gxf3 dxc5 21. Bxf8 Bxf8 22. dxc5 bxc5 23. bxc5 Rxc5 24. Rxc5 Rxc5 he would be 0.5.

But he played 18. Bg5 and I found a good defensive resource with Nd5. Again he could get a bit better with 25. Ne5, but he played Bd6 which was equal. When I decided to play 25… e5 it seemed risky, because it was leaving less protection for the knight, but it was the only way to free my pieces. It was also letting me to start a counterattack, computer sees it and recommends Bf1 right away. His Rc4 was a mistake, only preventing Qg4, but not Qf5. He still didn’t see the danger, even after I played Nf4. I realized that his Bb5 was bad, so I needed to decide, Nh3+ or Ne2+. I saw that gxh3 is bad as well as Kh1.

Computer suggests a nice queen sacrifice after 29. Kh1 – Qxf3!! . But what about 29. Kf1? It looked less forced, so I decided to play Ne2+.  Still the best was 28… Nh3+, winning after 29. Kf1 Bxf3 30. gxf3 Qxf3 31. Qe1 Nf4 32. Rxf4 Qh1+ 33. Ke2 exf4+ with a forced mate.

Anyway his position was difficult enough and then he played 31. Rh4??, probably trying to prevent Bh6. After 31… Nd4 not only his 32. Ke1, but also Rhxd4 was losing on the spot. I saw that his rook is hanging and played g5. After his 33. Rhxd4 it was a mate in 16, but even better 33. Rh3 wouldn’t save him.  34. Bxe8 made that mate shorter.



It was a second round and I got a boy with whom I played before, +1, -1 score. He had White and played Vienna game.  As I see the game now, I had to play d5 early to open the center and prevent any kind of pawn storm.

Houdini thinks that exchange of f5 on move 22 or 23 was keeping the balance. I didn’t like exf5, but didn’t see that after Rd4 my rook is very active.  25. g6 was a serious mistake, of course I saw Nh6, but underestimated it. 29. Rc8 was a game losing mistake, I wanted to play Rcc7, but didn’t notice Qf6+.